Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 3

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Talk75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 3

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Edited: May 25, 2015, 3:44pm

Dreaming of Spring... Artwork by Catrin Welz-Stein. Here: "A long Way Home", and "Flower Power". She posts her work at:

Table of Contents:
Books Completed in Jan-May
Reading Plans
AAC, BAC, ANZAC Reading Challenges
Reading Stefan Zweig
Picked for Me! Challenge
Booker Prize Books
A Century of Books!
Reading Bingo
Ongoing Series
Books Purchased Jan-May

Currently reading, listening to, and occasionally browsing through:
*✔ Catharine: and Other Writings by Jane Austen
The Iron King by Maurice Druon (On hold due to technical difficulty)
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Slightly Foxed: No. 33: A World of Shining Beauty by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)


Favourites of 2015: (★★★★½ and up, by reading order)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (review)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen
Clockwork by Philip Pullman (review)
Lamentation by C. J. Sansom
The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (review)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett (review)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★ (review)
Fräulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim (review)
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (reread - tutored read with Liz)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (reread)
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham (review—sort of)

Favourites of 2014:
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★★ (review)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (review)
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton by Edith Wharton
Lady Susan by Jane Austen (review)
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (review)
Restoration by Rose Tremain ★★★★★ (review)
The Quick by Lauren Owen (ARC) ★★★★★ (review)
Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson (review)
Dissolution by C. J. Samson (review)
The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey ★★★★★
Treehorn Times Three by Florence Parry Heide & Edward Gorey
Merivel by Rose Tremain (review)
A Café on the Nile by Bartle Bull (review)
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (review)
The Waiting Game by Bernice Reubens (review)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar (review)
Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister (Volume II) (tutored read)
Breakfast With Lucian: A Portrait of the Artist by Geordie Greig (review)
The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth ★★★★★ (review)
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming (review)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Le joueur d'échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig ★★★★★
La Petite Bijou by Patrick Modiano

My rating system:
★ - Hated it (May or may not have finished it)
★★ - Has some redeeming qualities (Just ok)
★★★ - Enjoyed it well enough (Good)
★★★★ - Loved it! (Very good)
★★★★½ - Favourites of the year (Want to read it again!)
★★★★★ - All-time favourite (Would read again, and again... and again!)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook
* = Picked for Me

Reserving first 10 posts for organizational and planning needs. Also helps in post rankings ;-)

Edited: May 25, 2015, 3:41pm

Books completed in May
62. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 31: The Return of Grouse by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
63. ♫ The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer ★★★★½
64. ♫ The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier ★★¾
65. ♫ The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann ★★★★⅓
66. ✔ Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (group read)
67. ♫ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa ★★★★½
68. ♫ L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre / Maigret Goes Home #13 by Georges Simenon ★★★★
69. ✔ Ross Poldark by Winston Graham ★★★★¾ (review—sort of)
70. ♫ The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye ★★★⅓
71. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 32: At Home with the Pewters by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★

Books completed in April
45. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 28: Happy Ever After by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½
46. ❉ Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol ★★★★⅓
Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag: 31 Objects from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum by Maira Kalman ★★★★
47. ♫ The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne ★★★★½
48. ✔+♫ Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham ★★★★⅓
49. ✔ Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (reread - tutored read with Liz) ★★★★½
50. ♫ The Round House by Louise Erdrich ★★★½
51. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 29: An Editorial Peacock by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)
52. *♫ I, Dreyfus by Bernice Rubens ★★★★⅓
53. ❉ Maigret Mystified / L'Ombre chinoise by Georges Simenon ★★★★
54. ♫ Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (reread) ★★★★½
55. ✔ The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter ★★★★½
56. ♫ The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham ★★★★
57. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 30: A Personal Landscape by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)
58. ♫ Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood ★★★★⅓
59. ♫ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan ★★★★⅓
60. ✔ High Rising by Angela Thirkell ★★★★⅓
61. ♫ The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham ★★★★⅓
The Love of Erika Ewald by Stefan Zweig (short story)

Books completed in March
31. ♫ Lamentation by C. J. Sansom ★★★★¾
32. ♫ Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch ★★★
33. ♫ The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier ★★★★½ (review)
34. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 27: Well Done, Carruthers! by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
35. ♫ What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris ★★★★
36. ⓔ The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★½
37. ♫ Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½ (review)
38. ⓔ Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood ★★★★⅓ (review)
39. ✔ Slightly Foxed: Part 45: Frankly, My Dear by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
40. ♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★ (review)
41. ♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ★★★★⅓ (review)
42. ⓔ Fräulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim ★★★★½ (review)
43. ♫ Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey ★★¾
44. ♫ Guards! Guards!: Discworld, Book 8 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★⅓

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Books completed in February
16. ❉ An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓
Rêves oubliés (Vergessene Träume) by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Un redoublant by Stefan Zweig ★★★★⅓ (short story)
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½ (short story)
17. ❉ⓔ Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast ★★ (review)
18. ♫ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓
19. La Guinguette à deux sous / The Bar on the Seine (Maigret #11) by Georges Simenon ★★★★
20. ♫ The Europeans by Henry James ★★★
21. ♫ Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★⅓
22. ♫ The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓ (review)
23. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 26: A Nightmare on Wheels by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
24. ♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters ★★★★⅓ (review)
25. ♫ Vol de nuit / Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★½
26. ♫ Clockwork by Philip Pullman ★★★★½ (review)
27. ♫ A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★⅓
28. ✔ Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ★★★ (review)
29. ✔ Diary Of A Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield ★★★★
30. ♫ Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel ★★★

Books completed in January
1. Slightly Foxed: 44: My Grandfather and Mr. Standfast by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½ (review)
2. ♫ Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½ (review)
3. ✔ Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally ★★★★ (review)
4. ♫ Chocolat by Joanne Harris ★★★★⅓ (review)
5. ♫ Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ★★★★⅓ (review)
6. Slightly Foxed: No. 24: A Pash for Nash by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★½ (review)
7. ♫ Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★½ (review)
8. ⓔ Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively ★★★½ (review)
9. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 25: A Date with Iris by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★½
10. ♫ Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
11. ❉ⓔ The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel ★★★¾
12. ✔ The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
13. ♫ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy ★★★★
14. ❉ Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
15. ♫ The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)

My rating system:
★ : Hated it! (May or may not have finished it)
★★ : It was just ok...
★★★ : Enjoyed it (Good)
★★★★ : Loved it! (Very good)
★★★★½ : Loved it—must read again! (Excellent)
★★★★★ : Brilliant!—will read again, and again... and again! (All-time favourite)

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 25, 2015, 3:56pm

Reading Plans for May:
✭*✔ Catharine and Other Writings by Jane Austen - Picked for Me! (by souloftherose), TIOLI #9: a book that you started in April - Reading
✭♫ Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - AAC, A Century of Books! (1922), TIOLI #7: Read a regional novel
✪♫ Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis - AAC, A Century of Books! (1927), TIOLI #7
✭✔ The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble - BAC, TIOLI #8: A word in the title that means a Female - Reading
✭♫ The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis - BAC, TIOLI #14: A book about systemic oppression
✭*♫ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa - Picked for Me! (by @Ireadthereforeiam), A Century of Books! (1958), TIOLI #10: Author is of a different gender and ethnicity than you are - COMPLETED
✭*♫ The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann - Picked for Me! (by drneutron), TIOLI #1: Title has at least three words starting with the same letter - COMPLETED
✪✔ Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth - Tutored read with Liz, TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
✪✔ The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield - ANZAC, TIOLI #17: A book that's been published as a Penguin Modern Classic
✭♫ All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - TIOLI #5: Read a Book with a Sentimental Dedication
✭♫ The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer - TIOLI #21: Read a book you think will make you laugh - COMPLETED
✭✔ Ross Poldark Winston Graham - TIOLI #7 - COMPLETED
✭♫ L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre / Maigret Goes Home #13 by Georges Simenon - May Murder & Mayhem, TIOLI #2: Series Next Challenge - COMPLETED
✭♫ Men at Arms: Discworld, Book 15 by Terry Pratchett - TIOLI #9, A Century of Books! (1993)
✪♫ The Iron King by Maurice Druon - A Century of Books! (1955), TIOLI #6: A book with a list of characters at the front - On hold due to technical difficulty
✪♫ Euphoria by Lily King - TIOLI #23: Read a book purchased at an independent bookstore

May Murder & Mayhem
✭✔ Maigret chez les Flamands / Maigret and the Flemish Shop #14 by Georges Simenon - May Murder & Mayhem, TIOLI #4: set in a city, region or country that you haven't visited yet but would like to
✭♫ Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen - TIOLI #13: Written by an author from a country you've never been to
✪♫ The Farm by Tom Rob Smith - TIOLI #4 (shared read)
✭♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith - TIOLI #22: Read a book with a creepy atmosphere - Listening
✭♫ The Likeness by Tana French - TIOLI #11: Author's last name is one of the 50 most popular languages
✪♫ Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier - TIOLI #4 (shared read)
✭♫ A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - A Century of Books! (1912), TIOLI #15: A book that involves 'aliens'
✭♫ A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley - TIOLI #16: Read a book with the word "us" in the title, subtitle, or author's name
✭ⓔ The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart - TIOLI #12: An author who shares a name with your mother or grandmother

Spur of the moment:
The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier - TIOLI #18 - COMPLETED
The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye - TIOLI #2 - COMPLETED

* = Picked for Me challenge
** = Picked for Me challenge extra picks
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook
✪ = Shared TIOLI

Edited: May 22, 2015, 2:30pm

American Authors Challenge (AAC)
January:Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers - COMPLETED
February: The Europeans by Henry James - COMPLETED
March: ❉♫ The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - wasn't up to it
April: *ⓔ The Round House by Louise Erdrich - Picked for Me! - COMPLETED
May:Dodsworth or Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
June:Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
July: (Ursula K. Le Guin)
August: *♫ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry - Picked for Me!
September:Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O' Connor
October:Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (reread)
November:Flight Behavior, ✔ The Lacuna or ✔ Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
December:Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow


British Authors Challenge (BAC)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - COMPLETED
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - COMPLETED
*♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters - Picked for Me! - COMPLETED
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - COMPLETED
*✔ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - Picked for Me! - COMPLETED
Railsea by China Mieville - wasn't up to it
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter - COMPLETED
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham - COMPLETED
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble - Reading
The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge
A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The Bell by Iris Murdoch
Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
The Long Song Andrea Levy
The Siege by Helen Dunmore
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark
An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd
The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel
Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse


ANZAC Author Reading Challenge 2015
April: Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff - lost at library, will try to get somewhere else.
May: The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
June: Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
July: Oscar and Lucinda, Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
August: The Bone People by Keri Hulme
November: Phryne Fisher mysteries Kerry Greenwood


Tutored and Group Reads
February:Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield - shared read with Liz - COMPLETED
March:Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - tutored read with Liz - COMPLETED
June:Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - shared read with Ellen
July:Evelina by Fanny Burney - Group read
November / December:Cecilia by Fanny Burney - Group read
???:The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom - Tutored read


Reading Stefan Zweig
I discovered Stefan Zweig in April 2012 and found a soulmate. I've since acquired a treasure in the form of a luxurious La Pléiade leather-bound two volume collection of his complete novels and stories in French translations. Since all his novels are quite short, I'd like to read at least one per month. I'll list what I've read here.

January: Dans la neige (Im Schnee), 1901
February: Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) & Un redoublant
March: Deux Solitudes (1901), Le Voyage (1902)
April: L’Amour d’Érika Ewald / The Love of Erika Ewald (1904)

* = Picked for Me challenge
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 11, 2015, 8:38pm

I'm running this personal challenge for the fourth year in 2015. It's a real treat reading something that was specifically chosen for me from my TBR by this wonderful bunch of passionate readers, and of course helps reduce that pile which I seem to never stop adding to. I asked participants select a book from my "To Read" collection then tell me, in a few words why you they though I should read the suggested work. I really look forward to the following bunch this year:

1. ♫ The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy - picked by Ameise1 - COMPLETED / January
2. ✔ The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace - picked by luvamystery65 - COMPLETED / January
3. ✔+♫ Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - picked by lunacat
4. ⓔ The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom - picked by lyzard (tutored read)
5. ♫ I, Dreyfus by Bernice Rubens - picked by avatiakh - COMPLETED / April
6. ✔ The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson - picked by LizzieD
7. ♫ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry - picked by msf59 (August - AAC)
8. ♫ A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute - picked by DeltaQueen50 (ACoB!, 1952)
9. ♫ The Lost City of Z by David Grann - picked by drneutron - COMPLETED / May
10. ⓔ The Round House by Louise Erdrich - picked by Donna828 (April - AAC) - COMPLETED / April
11. ♫ Affinity by Sarah Waters - picked by PaulCranswick - COMPLETED / February
12. ✔ Catharine and Other Writings by Jane Austen - picked by souloftherose - Reading
13. ✔ The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher - picked by LauraBrook
14. ♫ The Bell by Iris Murdoch - picked by @sibyx (August - AAC)
15. ♫ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa - picked by @Ireadthereforeiam - COMPLETED / May
16. ✔ The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - picked by jolerie
17. ✔+♫ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - picked by kidzdoc
18. ♫ Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier - picked by Fourpawz2
19. ♫ Chocolat by Joanne Harris - picked by Crazymamie - COMPLETED / January
20. ♫ My Antonia by Willa Cather - picked by jnwelch
21. ♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - picked by @Cee- (March - BAC) - COMPLETED / March
22. ♫ Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (reread) - picked by cameling (ACoB!, 1985)
23. ✔ The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat - picked by Deern

Extra Picks (optional)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - picked by lunacat (reread)
Dessins d'écrivains by Pierre Belfond - picked by @Cee-
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - picked by @Cee-
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame - picked by @Cee- (reread) (ACoB!, 1908)

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: May 7, 2015, 6:52pm

Booker Prize Books

Read in 2015
(in reading order)
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (Booker Prize 1982)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Booker Prize 1987)
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 1986)
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel Longlist 2005)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Longlist 2007)
Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood (Shortlist 1977)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 2003)

On my TBR
Bruno's Dream by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1970)
*Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Shortlist 1970)
14The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (Booker Prize 1970)
14Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (Shortlist 1971)
14The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (Booker Prize 1973)
*The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (Booker Prize 1974)
*The Children Of Dynmouth by William Trevor (Shortlist 1976)
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (Shortlist 1977)
14A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (Shortlist 1978)
13The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Booker Prize 1978)
14A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (Shortlist 1980)
*Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (Shortlist 1980)
13Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (Shortlist 1981)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize 1981)
*An Ice-cream War by William Boyd (Shortlist 1982)
*Waterland by Graham Swift (Shortlist 1983)
The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1985)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Booker Prize 1985)
13The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1986)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Shortlist 1988)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (Booker Prize 1988)
14Restoration by Rose Tremain(Shortlist 1989)
The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Shortlist 1989)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1989)
13The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro(Booker Prize 1989)
Possession by A.S. Byatt (Booker Prize 1990)
*Two Lives by William Trevor (Shortlist 1991)
14The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje(Booker Prize 1992)
*Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (Booker Prize 1992)
Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer (Shortlist 1993)
13Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (Shortlist 1995)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 1996)
*Last Orders by Graham Swift (Booker Prize 1996)
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (Shortlist 1998)
14Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan (Booker Prize 1998)
13Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Booker Prize 1999)
Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (Longlist 2001)
*Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 2002)
Astonishing Splashes Of Colour by Clare Morrall (Shortlist 2003)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Shortlist 2003)
13What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller(Shortlist 2003)
The Master by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2004)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 2005) - reread
The Accidental by Ali Smith (Shortlist 2005)
14The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth (Longlist 2006)
Mother's Milk by Edward St. Aubyn (Shortlist 2006)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (Booker Prize 2006)
14Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Shortlist 2007)
*Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Longlist 2008)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Shortlist 2008)
13The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Shortlist 2008)
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Booker Prize 2008) (reread)
Heliopolis by James Scudamore (Longlist 2009)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Shortlist 2009)
Trespass by Rose Tremain (Longlist 2010)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Longlist 2010)
14Room by Emma Donoghue (Shortlist 2010)
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Shortlist 2011)
14The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Shortlist 2012)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Longlist 2013)
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (Longlist 2013)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Shortlist 2013)
13The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2013)
13Harvest by Jim Crace (Shortlist 2013)
13The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Booker Prize 2013)
*Orfeo by Richard Powers (Longlist 2014)
*The Blazing World by Siri Hustdvedt (Longlist 2014)
14The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Booker Prize 2014)

13 = read in 2013
14 = read in 2014
* = recent additions

(Much more on the wishlist of course!)

Edited: May 11, 2015, 8:35pm

A Century of Books! 1900-1999
I stole this challenge idea from Heather/souloftherose. I'm trying to read a book published in every year of the 20th century; I've been at it for a couple of years already, so obviously haven't set myself a time limit to complete it. Hopefully I'll put a good dent in this one in 2015!

1904 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
1907 Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
1908 The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
1913 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
1915 Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
1918 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
1920 In Chancery by John Galsworthy
1925 The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
1926 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
1928 Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayer
1929 Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig
1930 Le Bal by Irène Némirovsky
1931 Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon
1932 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
1933 High Rising by Angela Thirkell
1934 Miss Buncle's Book bu D. E. Stevenson
1936 The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler
1938 Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
1939 Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
1940 Native Son by Richard Wright
1941 Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers
1942 Le joueur d'échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
1943 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1944 Dragonwyck by Anya Seton
1945 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
1946 Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
1947 Wolf Story by William Mccleery
1948 A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Robert Capa
1950 Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert
1951 My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
1953 The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey
1954 Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
1957 The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
1958 The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa
1960 The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning
1961 Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
1962 Cover Her Face by P. D. James
1964 Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
1965 Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
1966 The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1969 The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
1971 Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
1973 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
1974 Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
1977 Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood
1978 A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens
1979 The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
1980 A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
1981 Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini
1982 Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
1983 The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
1986 An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1988 Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
1989 Restoration by Rose Tremain
1990 The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
1991 The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
1994 The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
1995 Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
1996 The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri
1997 Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
1998 Amsterdam Ian McEwan
1999 Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Edited: Apr 22, 2015, 3:28pm

A NEW BINGO LINE with the vertical on the right!

I got this card from the 2015 Catergory challenge, where there are three fun designs to choose from. Unlike last year, I'll count any book that fits the criteria, as opposed to counting only books that I rate 4 stars and up, to give myself a chance to complete the challenge...

✭1. With a protagonist of the opposite gender: Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally ★★★★
✭2. Chosen by someone else: Chocolat by Joanne Harris ★★★★⅓
✭3. That I've owned for more than one year: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively ★★★½
✭4. With scientists: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭5. On a subject I'm unfamiliar with: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★⅓

✭6. Translated from a language I don't speak: Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen ★★★★½
✭7. With a natural disaster: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ★★★½
✭8. About Autism: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion ★★★★⅓
✭9. With an LGBTQ character: Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers ★★★★⅓
✭10. Set in a country other than my own: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill ★★★★⅓

11. About language:
✭12. Published in 1915: Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
✭13. Category Challenge - FREE Space!
✭14. That reminds me of my childhood: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter ★★★★½
✭15. Where prophecies or portents are part of the plot: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng ★★★★½

16. Based on a fairy tale or myth: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½
✭17. Inspired by another piece of fiction: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
✭18. With correspondence or letters: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
19. By an LT author:
✭20. Where an animal is of importance: Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½

✭21. With a mythical creature: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling ★★★★⅓
22. Centered around a major historical event:
✭23. Whose author shares an ancestor's first name: The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★
24. That is a Genre Bender: Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
✭25. That is completely outside my comfort zone: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast ★★

Edited: May 13, 2015, 9:37pm

Ongoing Series
An idea Heather (souloftherose) borrowed from Liz (lyzard), which caught on like wildfire. Ongoing series that I am more or less actively reading; this doesn't include series I have in my TBR but haven't started reading yet (that is covered in the next list!)

African Trilogy - Next up: No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (2/3)
Alan Grant Mysteries - Next up: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1/6 - read out of order)
The Australian Trilogy - Next up: Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (⅔)
The Balkan Trilogy- Next up: The Spoilt City by Olivia Manning (2/3)
Bartimaeus Trilogy - Next up: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (Prequel)
Bernie Gunther - Next up: A German Requiem by Philip Kerr (3/9)
Bloody Jack Adventures - Next up: Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (2/12)
Border Trilogy - Next up: The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (2/3)
Cannery Row - Next up: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (2/2)
Cazalet Chronicles - Next up: Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard (2/5)
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books - Next up: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2/3)
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache - Next up: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2/10)
Chocolat - Next up: The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (2/3)
The Chronicles of Barsetshire - Next up: Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (2/6)
The Chronicles of St Mary's - Next up: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (2/4)
Claudius - Next up: Claudius the God by Robert Graves (2/2)
La Comédie Humaine - Next up: Le curé de Tours by Honoré de Balzac (31/88 - read out of order)
Commissario Brunetti - Next up: Acqua Alta by Donna Leon (5/23 - read out of order)
Commissario Montalbano - Next up: August Heat by Andrea Camilleri (10/19)
Corfu Trilogy: The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (3/3)
The Cousins' War: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (2/6)
The Dark is Rising Sequence - Next up: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (4/5)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Next up: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (2/3)
De Luca Trilogy - Next up: The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli (2/3)
The Deptford Trilogy - Next up: World of Wonders by Robertson Davies (3/3)
The Dresden Files: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3/15)
Dr. Siri Paiboun - Next up: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/10)
Dublin Murder Squad - Next up: The Likeness by Tana French (2/5)
Easy Rawlins Mystery - Next up: White Butterfly by Walter Mosley (3/11)
Elizabeth and her German Garden - Next up: The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim (2/2)
Empire Trilogy - Next up: The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (3/3)
❉♫ Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström - Next up: The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg (2/9)
❉♫ Flavia de Luce - Next up: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/7)
Forsyte Saga - Next up: To Let by John Galsworthy (3/3)
Green Town - Next up: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (2/2)
The Harlem Cycle - Next up: All Shot Up by Chester Himes (4/8)
Harry Potter - Next up: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (reread) (5/7)
Hercule Poirot - Next up: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie (8/39 - read out of order)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dramatization - Next up: Tertiary Phase (BBC Radio Collection) by Douglas Adams (3/5)
The House of Earth Trilogy - Next up: Sons by Pearl S. Buck (2/3)
The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh - Next up: Flood of Fire - Awaiting publication (3/3)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place - Next up: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (3/4)
Inspector Yashim Togalu - Next up: The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin (2/5)
Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries - Next up: The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/10)
Jack Reacher - Next up: The Enemy by Lee Child (8/20)
Jackson Brodie - Next up: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
John Russell - Next up: Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/6)
Joseph O'Loughlin - Next up: Shatter by Michael Robotham (3/7)
Kenzie & Gennaro - Next up: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/6 - read out of order)
Kurt Wallander - Next up: The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/11)
The Last Lion - Next up: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 by William Manchester (2/3)
Leviathan - Next up: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (2/3)
The Lord of the Rings - Next up: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (3/4)
Lord Peter Wimsey - Next up: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/15)
*❉ Maigret - Next up: Maigret and the Flemish Shop by Georges Simenon (14/76)
Mapp and Lucia - Next up: Lucia in London by E. F. Benson (3/8)
Matthew Shardlake by C. J. Samson - Next up: Awaiting publication (7/7)
Miss Marple - Next up: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (2/12)
Night Soldiers - Next up: Dark Star by Alan Furst (2/13)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Next up: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (6/15)
The Obelisk Trilogy - Next up: Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
Oxford Time Travel series - Next up: Blackout by Connie Willis (3/4)
Parker - Next up: The Mourner by Richard Stark (4/24)
Philip Marlowe - Next up: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (6/9 - read out of order)
Phryne Fisher Mysteries - Next up: Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood (4/20)
The Power Of One - Next up: Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (2/2)
The Prairie Trilogy - Next up: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (2/3)
The Raj Quartet: The Towers Of Silence by Paul Scott (3/4)
Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (3/12)
❉♫ The Raven Cycle Next up: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2/4)
Les Rougon-Macquart - Next up: La joie de vivre by Émile Zola (12/20)
Ruby Trilogy - Next up: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (2/3)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Next up: The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
*♫ Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (5/9)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/7)
Sookie Stackhouse - Next up: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (3/14)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: The Nixie's Song by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (6/8)
Tales of the City - Next up: Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (3/6)
Tales of the Otori - Next up: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn (3/4+prequel)
* Thomas De Quincey - Next up: Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell (2/2)
Three Men in a Boat - Next up: Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome (2/2)
Timothy Wilde - Next up: Unknown title by Lyndsay Faye (awaiting publication) (3/3)
Tom Ripley - Next up: The Boy Who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (4/5)
Victor Legris - Next up: La disparue du Père-Lachaise by Claude Izner (2/11)
Wolf Hall Trilogy - Next up: The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (awaiting publication) (3/3)
Wolves Chronicles - Next up: Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken (3/11)
Wyoming Stories: Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx (2/3)


First in Series on my TBR
Albert Campion: The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (1/19)
The American Trilogy: American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1/3)
Aristide Ravel Mysteries : The Cavalier of the Apocalypse by Susanne Alleyn (1/4)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (1/2)
Aubrey-Maturin: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (1/21)
Avalon: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1/7)
The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy: The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf (1/3)
The Borrible Trilogy: The Borribles by Michael De Larrabeiti (1/3)
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (1/3)
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (1/9)
Cicero: Imperium by Robert Harris (1/2)
A Dance to the Music of Time: A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring by Anthony Powell (1/4)
Danzig Trilogy: The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (1/3)
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (1 of 2)
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston (1/3)
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1/2)
*♫ Harry Hole: The Bat by Jo Nesbø (1/10)
Henrietta's War: Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennys (1/2)
The Hummingbird's Daughter: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (1/2)
*♫ The Inheritance Cycle: Eragon by Christopher Paolini (1 of 4)
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1/8)
James Bond: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (1/14)
Joona Linna: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (1/3)
The Kingkiller Chronicle : The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (1/3)
Latin American Trilogy: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis de Bernières (1/3)
*♫ Leo Demidov: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (1 of 3)
Leonid McGill: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley (1 of 4)
*♫ MaddAddam Trilogy: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (1 of 3)
✔❉♫ The Magicians: The Magicians by Lev Grossman (1/3)
McCaskill Trilogy: English Creek by Ivan Doig (1/3)
Micah Dalton: The Echelon Vendetta by David Stone (1/4)
Michael Forsythe: Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty (1/3)
Mistress of the Art of Death: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (1/5)
On Foot to Constantinople: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (1/3)
Outlander: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1/9)
♫+ⓔ Patrick Melrose: Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn (1/5)
The Psammead Trilogy: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1/3)
*♫+✔ Quirke: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (1/6)
Revelation Space: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (1/7)
*✔ Sacred Hunger: Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (1 of 2)
Shanghai Girls: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (1/2)
*♫ Small Change: Farthing by Jo Walton (1/3)
Sprawl: Neuromancer by William Gibson (1/3)
Swallows and Amazons: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1/12)
Sword of Honour: Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh (1 of 3)
The Vampire Chronicles: Interview with the Vampire (reread) by Anne Rice (1/10)
❉♫ The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (1/4)
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (1/2)

✔ = in my TBR
♫ = audiobook (in my TBR)
❉ = library book
ⓔ = eBook
* = recent changes

Edited: May 27, 2015, 7:57pm

Books Purchased in 2015

362 Books purchased in 2014. That's almost 1 book a day and definitely excessive. But then, books are my major indulgence and I have no plans to vastly reduce my book-buying habit. Would be nice to generally buy less this year, if only because I worry I won't ever be able to read all of my vast and ever-growing tbr (1,734 titles strong as I write this), but then I guess there could be much worse things. This is where I keep track of the damage.

1. The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self - Bloomsbury edition (AbeBooks)
2. Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood by Angelica Garnett (Amazon seller)
3. Slightly Foxed: No. 3: Sharks, Otters and Fast Cars by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
4. Slightly Foxed: No. 5: A Hare's Breadth by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
5. Slightly Foxed: No. 6: Taking the Plunge by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
6. Slightly Foxed: No. 15: Underwear Was Important by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
7. Slightly Foxed: No. 27: Well Done, Carruthers! by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
8. Slightly Foxed: No. 31: The Return of Grouse by Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood (Editors) (AbeBooks)
9. ⓔ Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
10. ⓔ The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
11. ⓔ Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
12. ⓔ You Can't Go Home Again / Of Time and the River / Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (Kindle Deal)
13. ⓔ Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
14. ⓔ McTeague by Frank Norris (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
15. ⓔ The American by Henry James (99¢ HarperPerennial Classics)
16. ⓔ The Green Mill Murder: Phryne Fisher #5 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
17. ⓔ Blood and Circuses: Phryne Fisher #6 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
18. ⓔ Ruddy Gore: Phryne Fisher #7 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
19. ⓔ Urn Burial: Phryne Fisher #8 by Kerry Greenwood (Kindle Deal)
20. ⓔ April Lady by Georgette Heyer (Kindle Daily Deal)
21. ⓔ The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer (Kindle Daily Deal)
22. ⓔ The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
23. ♫ The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier
24. ♫ A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
25. ♫ Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
26. ♫ Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault
27. ♫ Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
28. Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (AbeBooks)
29. The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor (AbeBooks)
30. ♫ The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith (Audible Daily Deal)
31. ♫ The Collectors by Philip Pullman
32. ♫ Peaches for Monsieur le Curé by Joanne Harris
33. ♫ Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Audible Daily Deal)
34. ♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Audible Sale)
35. ♫ Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstoreby Robin Sloan (Audible Sale)
36. ♫ The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (Audible Sale)
37. ♫ Faithful Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 3 by Tana French (Audible Sale)
38. ♫ Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh by Joseph Conrad (Audible Sale)
39. ♫ I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Audible Sale)
40. ♫ Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Audible Sale)
41. ♫ The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Audible Sale)
42. Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden (Taschen Sale)
43. Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra (Taschen Sale)
44. Mark Ryden. Pinxit (Taschen Sale)

45. ♫ Eragon by Chirstopher Paolini (Audible Sale)
46. ♫ Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Audible Sale)
47. ♫ The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (Audible Daily Deal)
48. ♫ Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
49. ♫ Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant by Tracy Borman
50. ♫ Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin (Audible Daily Deal)
51. ♫ Possession by A. S. Byatt
52. ♫ Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
53. ♫ Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin
54. ♫ Dirty Story : Arthur Abdel, Book 2 by Eric Ambler
55. ♫ The Odyssey by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation
56. ♫ The Iliad by Homer, Fitzgerald Translation
57. ♫ Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
58. ♫ Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
59. ♫ The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
60. ♫ The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Volume I: 1660 - 1663 Samuel Pepys
61. ⓔ+♫ A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor (Kindle+Audible Deal)
62. ♫ Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (Audible Daily Deal)
63. ♫ A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
64. ♫ Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh
65. ♫ Clockwork by Philip Pullman (Audible Daily Deal)
66. ♫ The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (pre-order)
67. ♫ The American Boy by Andrew Taylor
68. ♫ The Colour by Rose Tremain
69. A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor (NYRB BookDepo)
70. The Runaways by Elizabeth Goudge (BookDepo)
71. The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (BookOutlet)
72. ♫ The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
73. ♫ Orlando Virginia Woolf
74. The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig (NYRB from
75. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (NYRB from
76. ⓔ Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig (Kindle Daily Deal)
77. Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II (
78. ♫ There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz (Audible Daily Deal)
79. ⓔ+♫ Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (Kindle+Audible Deal)
80. The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman (AbeBooks)

81. ⓔ+♫ Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens (Kindle+Audible Deal)
82. ⓔ+♫ The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Kindle+Audible Deal)
83. ⓔ+♫ Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy (Kindle+Audible Deal)
84. ⓔ+♫ The Torrents of Spring by Ivan Turgenev (Kindle+Audible Deal)
85. ⓔ+♫ The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace (Kindle+Audible Deal)
86. ⓔ+♫ Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
87. ⓔ+♫ The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
88. ⓔ+♫ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
89. ⓔ+♫ The Last Man by Mary Shelley (Kindle+Audible Deal)
90. ⓔ History of the Rain by Niall Williams (Kindle Daily Deal)
91. Dead Man's Land Robert Ryan (Book Depo)
92. ⓔ Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill (Kindle Deal)
93. ♫ Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Audible Daily Deal)
94. ♫ Victoria: A Life by A. N. Wilson
95. ♫ The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Audible Sale)
96. ♫ The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Audible Sale)
97. ♫ I, Claudius (Dramatised) by Robert Graves (Audible Sale)
98. ♫ Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell
99. ♫ What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris - Completed in March
100. ♫ The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier - Completed in March
101. ♫ Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier - Completed in March
102. ♫ Small Gods by Terry Pratchett - Completed in March
103. ♫ Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
104. ⓔ+♫ Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
105. ♫ The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis (Audible Daily Deal)
106. ♫ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
107. ⓔ+♫ Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Kindle+Audible Deal)
108. ⓔ+♫ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (Kindle+Audible Deal)
109. ♫ The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (Audible 2 for 1)
110. ♫ The Man from Berlin by Luke McCallin (Audible 2 for 1)

(need to update)

♫ = audiobook
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: Mar 28, 2015, 4:23pm

Quite a lot of books have come into the house since I've last reported book acquisitions.

In purchases, the most recent arrivals, taking advantage of Kindle/Audible deals and the recent 2 for 1 sale (on till 11:59 tonight):

ⓔ+♫ Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite by Anthony Trollope (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (Kindle+Audible Deal)
ⓔ+♫ The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (Kindle+Audible Deal)
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (Audible 2 for 1) - for a reread
The Man from Berlin by Luke McCallin (Audible 2 for 1)
The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis (Audible Daily Deal)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - to help me actually get to this huge novel this year...

Total books purchased to date: 110

Also got LOADS of recent titles as well as classic audiobooks from the library's OverDrive collection this week:

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle - follow-up to Queen's Gamit
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar - for a 'reread' as I loved the book and there's a great audio cast.
Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon - have yet to listen to Istanbul Passage which was recommended by Joe, I think.
Burmese Days by George Orwell - had been on my wishlist for a long time
Coming up for Air by George Orwell - new to me, but a classic on the original 1001 list.
The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky - read the first half when I was 16, maybe time to finish it eventually?
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells - classic horror
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair - didn't read this one in school as many people did
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - I really should move on to the next books in the series, but love this one—for a reread
The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen - brand new espionage title seen on Audible
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - Larson's latest comes highly recommended by Suz
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson - Seems Suz recommended it last Sept. when she got it as an ARC
Hausfrau Jill Alexander Essbaum - don't know much about this one, other than it's brand new and has a gorgeous cover!
Girl in the Dark: A Memoir - written by a woman who developed a strange allergy to light.
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott - Gone With the Wind, Carole Lombard... a Big Hollywood Romance
Touch by Claire North - a man switches into the body of the man who's just killed him? Intriguing premise for another brand new title.

Next one's all yours! :-)

Mar 28, 2015, 5:17pm

Happy New Thread, My Friend!

Mar 28, 2015, 7:59pm

Shiny new thread!

Mar 28, 2015, 11:58pm

>12 lunacat: Hi Jenny, and welcome!

>13 drneutron: Hi Jim! :-)

Mar 29, 2015, 9:49am

Ilana, your shiny new thread is very inviting. Congrats on completing some more Bingos. You will have your card completely filled in no time. I will update mine when I start my new thread in the next day or two.

From your last thread…your metro woman drawing is lovely. I admire your patience for that exquisite detail. I enjoyed your review of The Scapegoat very much. Du Maurier books are on my list to acquire at the next library book sale. I've only read Rebecca and Jamaica Inn so far. I love how she recreates the atmosphere of the English moors for her books. I have never experienced that part of England but she makes me want to go there to see for myself. I understand Jamaica Inn is a real place. Onto the Bucket List it goes!

Mar 29, 2015, 10:27am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! Happy New thread. I love the toppers. I hope you enjoy Oryx and Crake as much as I did.

I've been hearing good things about Hausfrau, although I've not seen any LT pals chime in yet.

Have a great day.

Edited: Mar 29, 2015, 1:50pm

>15 Donna828: Hi Donna, and welcome! I didn't think it was likely I'd ever fill that Bingo card at first, because some categories seemed impossible to fill somehow, but now I see it's within reach. Thanks for taking the time to visit my last thread. It's looking like I might finish my 'Woman with Headscarf' sometime soon and move on to my next Metro Series drawing very soon—might ever start sketching it out today or sometime in the coming week, though it might be a drawing I end up sending to my father as he's asked me to do one for him and I took loads of photos of him on the metro for just that purpose.

I really enjoy Rebecca du Maurier and only seem to grow fonder of her writing with every book of hers I read. I was tempted to read a third book by her this month, as didn't end up reading any China Mieville at all (both attempts were soon aborted, I'm afraid), but I know she'll keep and it'll be something to look forward to. I've got several titles by her still on the tbr, but that won't stop me from acquiring yet more titles in the meanwhile! :-)

>16 msf59: Hi Mark! Thanks for visiting my new digs. I always have fun looking through Catrin Welz-Stein's blog to find two images I think will look good together for my thread toppers, so glad you enjoy what I've put together this time too. I usually end up appreciating Margaret Atwood's work quite a lot, so am looking forward to finally plunging into Oryx and Crake. I'd given up hope on ever getting my hands on an audio version of it because didn't think one even existed, but it seems it's been around since 2003 and narrated by Campbell Scott too! which should be a treat.


Next will attempt to dash off several reviews as I somehow managed to only put one out this month so far. Must fix that. Must do SHORT'n sweet so I can do LOTS. Can I do it? Will give it an earnest try anyway. Will just type them, unformatted, unedited, etc and post, then go back and fix them, so they'll be messy at first, but it's the only hope I have of actually getting them out there!

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 3:00pm

Book #40:The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★
Source: Audible
Read for: March TIOLI #4: Read a book with a 2015 copyright
Edition: Canongate Books (2015), Unabridged MP3; 9h00
Original publication date: 2015

Kazuo Ishiguro's latest is an epic English fairy tale that takes us into the land of Tolkien and Beowulf and all the great myths of old with the same magic and fantasy that we've come to expect from certain authors, but rarely from those who appear on Booker Awards lists. Axl and Beatrice are an old couple who love each other and are suffering the same forgetfulness that has taken over the whole of England. They decide to embark on a journey to the next village to visit their long-forgotten son, but along the way they'll meet with many dangers. After all, this is an England when ogres still roamed the land and Knights still fought living, breathing dragons, and bargemen asked questions which could leave couples separated from one another for all time. Haunting, moving, sublime.

eta: edited and available on the main book page.

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 3:00pm

Book #41:Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ★★★★⅓
Source: Audible
Read for: Picked for Me!, British Author Challenge, March TIOLI #2: Read a book whose title includes the name of a country
Edition: Hachette Audio (2014), Unabridged MP3; 10h28
Original publication date: 1936

When young Mary Yellan's mother, lying on her deathbed, makes her daughter promise she will seek out her aunt Patience for shelter, the dying woman can have no idea of the curse she is putting on her daughter. On the way to Jamaica Inn by coach, where Mary Yellan has learned her aunt has been living with her husband, she learns that the inn has earned a terrible reputation and that no proper lady or gentleman dare approach the place. Upon arrival, she discovers her aunt Patience is half mad with fear and that her uncle Joss Merlyn is a violent drunken brute who threatens her to keep her place and to take no notice of the nightly goings on; that she is to keep her eyes and ears shut and ignore any strange noises or risk bodily harm. But Mary is curious and headstrong and soon finds out her uncle is a smuggler involved in terrible crimes. She resolves to bring him to justice, putting herself in great peril, though she doesn't want to put her aunt at risk as well. An exciting adventure with truly evil characters and a surprising plot twist near the end. I really enjoy Rebecca du Maurier and only seem to grow fonder of her writing with every book of hers I read—her unique mixture of strange human behaviour with beautiful descriptions of the wilds of Cornwall make for an irresistible combination.

eta: edited and available on the main book page.

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 3:00pm

Book #42:Fräulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim ★★★★½
Read for: A Century of Books!, March TIOLI #1: first three-letter combination in your city’s name (shared read with Heather - Leighton Buzzard)
Edition: Kindle (free) eBook, 212 pages
Original publication date: 1907

Rose-Marie Schmidt lives with her poor step-mother and father in the university town of Jena in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. They are forced to take in lodgers to make ends meet, the latest of which was Roger Anstruther, an English student from a wealthy family, who spent a year with the Schmidt family to perfect his German, as he has views on a career at the Foreign Office. When the novel begins, Rose-Marie's first letter in this epistolary novel informs us, among other things, that Roger has asked her to marry her just before his departure to England. What follows is the one-sided correspondence of Rose-Marie's answers to Roger's letters. She is a brilliant young woman with perfect English, as her mother was and Englishwoman. Her father is a Goethe scholar, and she pours out her life philosophy and her reflections on daily life. Her passionate nature fills the pages of every letter, and she omits no details about how very humble her circumstances are, to make it very clear to her fiancé just what kind of wife he will be getting. The reader becomes immediately attached to her within the first couple of letters, but it seems Rogers has a roving nature, and within a month he has called off the engagement and gotten engaged instead to a very wealthy, much younger English young lady. Rose-Marie in the interim almost dies from a terrible illness, but within a few weeks, the correspondence picks up again, as it seems Roger has developed a strong wish to keep her as a pen-pall, and an unusual friendship develops. A fascinating character study and a subtle social commentary, I found here the Elizabeth von Arnim I so enjoyed in Elizabeth and Her German Garden, with her independent spirit shining through her observations on human nature. The ending was not as one would expect from a novel of that period, but somehow very satisfying.

eta: edited and available on the main book page.

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 2:34pm

Book #38:Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood ★★★★⅓
Read for: Booker Prize Challenge, A Century of Books!, March TIOLI #15:
Read a book of which at least three books in the "LibraryThing Recommendations" section are featured in your collections
Edition: NYRB Classics (2012), Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Awards & Distinctions: Booker Prize Shortlist (1977)
Original publication date: 1977

Caroline Blackwood, aka Lady Caroline Maureen Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, was well-known for her journalism and her novels, and also for her high-profile marriages, the first of which was to the artist Lucian Freud. This novel is largely autobiographical and depicts her great-grandmother, whom the narrator in this story spent some time with as a convalescing teenager in postwar years because the old woman lived close to the sea near Brighton and it was hoped the young girl would benefit from the sea air. Great Granny Webster was a humourless, austere and loveless old woman who passed the better part of her days in a wooden upright chair which seems more suitable as a decorative hallway ornament than for actual human usage, sitting in it in a ram-rod straight posture not uttering a words while staring ahead with an unhappy expression on her face. This likely caused her great discomfort, but the narrator explains to us that Great Granny Webster made it her duty to make life as unpleasant as possible. The one time she left her torture device was to go on daily drives:
Great Granny Webster knew that I was meant to need sea air, and this suited her very well because apparently she needed it herself. At four o'clock every afternoon a hired Rolls-Royce from a Hove car firm appeared at her door with a uniformed, unctuous chauffeur, who would then drive both of us, as if he was driving two royalties, at a slow creep along the bleak misty sea-front of Hove. To and fro, to and fro, we would drive for exactly an hour while one of the windows of the Rolls-Royce was wound down just enough to let in a very small sniff of salt and seaweed-smelling air. There was something memorably awful about those pointless and monotonous afternoon drives in the vast, soft-wheeled, swaying black car with the silver emblem of a dashing sea-horse on its bonnet. In that car I felt that I was much too near to Great Granny Webster. Sealed off behind the glass partition that separated us from the driver, I felt that I could actually smell the acid scent of her old age—smell the sourness of her displeasure with everything, past, present and future.

She goes on to describe to us her father's family, who lived in an unlikely mansion in the Irish countryside which was falling apart so badly that it likely drove her grandmother to complete and utter madness, though one could be excused for thinking being saddled with that old biddy, Great Granny Webster for a mother would be enough to have driven her into the loony bin for the rest of her life, which the old biddy in question did facilitate by signing the papers to ensure this was indeed done. To lighten things a little, there is the wonderful Aunt Lavinia who couldn't stand Great Granny Webster and insisted on being light and frothy and gay and had many loving ex-husbands who financed her very expensive and lavish lifestyle, but still somehow attempted suicide and eventually succeeded to do away with herself, on the very day she'd acquired a very sweet pekinese puppy, leaving behind no hint of unhappiness, much less a suicide note. A dark novel with appealingly eccentric characters, it has the kind of Gothic fascination which will engage those who can laugh at the more morbid side of life.

eta: edited and available on the main book page.

Edited: Mar 31, 2015, 12:38am

Book #37:Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½
Read for: TIOLI #11: Read a book with something you should beware of in the title
Edition: ISIS Audio Books (2003), Unabridged MP3; 9h38
Awards & Distinctions: BBC's Big Read
Original publication date: 1992

Brutha is a novice who works in the garden and is happy to provide melons for the monks who work at the temple, and is also happy enough to stay away from Vorbis, the head Inquisitor and his followers, until the day he somehow comes into Vorbis's notice. He has no idea how this can be and is sure he's in for terrible torture and a very painful death. He doesn't know how to read or write, so what else could Vorbis want with him? But it so happens Brutha has an incredible memory and can't forget a thing, and Vorbis does indeed intend to make good use of him for political purposes. Meanwhile, the Great God Om has appeared to Brutha in the garden in the form of a small turtle who seems to be able to speak only to Brutha, for nobody else can hear him. But how is this possible? Om the Great, Om the Almighty, in whose name Vorbis and the Quisition have been taking countless lives... in the form of a basically powerless turtle?!

My fist journey into Terry Pratchett's Discworld is a great parody on certain forms of organised religion, the Inquisition and religious wars, and made for a terribly enjoyable read. I'm not sure all the Discworld books will be to my liking, but it certainly makes me want to discover others and I'll definitely want to return to this one— adding it to my pile of favourites of the year!

eta: edited and available on the main book page.

Mar 30, 2015, 11:40am

Nice little flurry of unedited reviews, Ilana. I just snagged the audios of The Buried Giant and the Alphabet House. B.A.G.

Mar 30, 2015, 12:03pm

>23 msf59: Thanks Mark! 3 out of 5 reviews have been edited and formatted since I posted them (maybe I should indicate that in an eta?) but I still have to work on those that aren't formatted yet. I did find that working on them this way encouraged me to work a lot faster and helped me keep them shorter than usual and produce a lot more of them than I could have otherwise. Congrats on your new audio snags. B.A.G.??

Mar 30, 2015, 12:19pm

B.A.G. = Big Ass Grin

Mar 30, 2015, 12:27pm

>25 msf59: Oh, oops! sorry I asked! :-b

Mar 30, 2015, 3:03pm

Happy new thread, Ilana!
It feels nice to knock out all those reviews right??

Mar 30, 2015, 3:41pm

>27 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Welcome!

It really did feel good to put out all those reviews at once. I did spend just as much time re-editing them afterwards, but still, I did manage to do a lot more of them than I would ever have otherwise, so I think I'll use that method from now on. I'll probably put out another batch in the coming days, as I was going to keep going yesterday but then ran out of steam (and time!)

Mar 30, 2015, 5:25pm

>22 Smiler69: Oh my, you make that sound awfully good, Ilana. I'm adding it to my Pratchett WL.

Mar 31, 2015, 7:20am

Finally catching up with you Ilana and I love the opening artwork at the top of your thread. I am thrilled that you enjoyed Small Gods so much. Sorry Thief of Time didn't quite hit the spot but hoping Guards! Guards! will.

Re Mieville - PSS is certainly very, very weird. I managed to enjoy it despite the weirdness and despite finding some aspects very disturbing but I think I would struggle with it at the moment.

Mar 31, 2015, 2:00pm

I love the pictures of the girl wishing to see spring flowers pop up. Very well choosen.

Happy new thread Ilana. So glad you are all right.

Apr 1, 2015, 9:53am

Lovely, lovely new thread, Ilana! And wonderful reviews! I'm happy that your reading lately has been so satisfactory. You still are making me want to dash over and get everything D du M wrote, but I'll try to content myself with reading Frenchman's Creek first. (As you know, I have a copy.)
I doubt that I'll try the TP, but the others sound like things I'll want to get to eventually.
And I can't wait to see the completed Headscarf Woman!

Edited: Apr 2, 2015, 12:03pm

Hi visitors and lurkers! Thanks to those who've left messages. Sorry I've been so absent, I've been around, just not posting and really busy with general stuff, though I couldn't say what exactly. Yesterday for instance, I spent some hours on the phone with utility companies getting them to cut back on services I don't need and don't use to reduce my monthly bills, and managed to cut back $40/month on cable (tv/internet) and iphone bills, which sort of compensates for the hike in hydro bills due to extra cold winter and the increase they've just implemented as of April. I did this by cutting back on tv services altogether as I don't ever watch television and getting less data capability on my phone plan.

I'm off to see my friend Liselotte shortly to bring her finished and now framed portrait to her. Her children are visiting her today and staying the weekend, and she wanted to have my drawing in hand to show them. Unfortunately though, she's having eye trouble and I don't think she'll get to see much of it herself.

I'm making headway with Of Human Bondage for the BAC and really enjoying it so far. I've only managed about 80 pages or so in the last three days and have now finished chapter 21, where our protagonist Philip is disappointed not to have met more resistance in his decision to leave school. I'm currently reading from my beautiful Folio Society edition I got during a Folio sale, but I may supplement with an audio edition I got for one of those really good audio/kindle deals as it might otherwise take me all month to get through it.

On audio right now, I've got The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things going. I'm really enjoying it, only I'll have to reserve a visual copy from the library as well, because each chapter starts off with an object (the 'small thing' from the title) and I'd like to see the objects they mention. It seems OverDrive have a Kindle edition available to borrow, so I'll try to get my mitts on that asap.

Right! Can't be late to see my elderly friend! Off I go for now!

Joe, Heather, Connie, Peggy, thanks for your messages! I'll be back to respond later. xx

Apr 2, 2015, 12:57pm

Like you, Ilana, I really enjoyed The Real Jane Austen. Good idea to check out the visuals in a library copy; they are interesting.

Edited: Apr 2, 2015, 5:49pm

>29 jnwelch: >34 jnwelch: Joe, I think you'll enjoy Small Gods. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and add Guards! Guards! to the wishlist too—I thought it was pretty great too and can see why it makes it to most people's list of favourites among the Discworld offerings.

I've borrowed the kindle The Real Jane Austen this afternoon so I'll be able to see what the objects are which are mentioned in each chapter opening now. I was surprised to see when I was on the OverDrive site that they'd removed the audiobook file, so it's really lucky I caught it while it was on the site very briefly!

>30 souloftherose: Heather, Guards! Guards! was good fun and I loved it from beginning to end, so thanks for the recommendation. I've since added lots more options from the Discworld to my wishlist, and since I can return any book I don't love to Audible (doesn't hurt that I'm among their best customers!), I won't hesitate to try anything that strikes my fancy in the audio format, which works very well as I really like both narrators they use for almost all the books.

I was definitely in the WRONG headspace for PSS when I went for it. I thought I was ready for some weirdness, as I remember really loving The City & The City, but this was just way past anything I could tolerate. Perhaps someday I'll be ready for it, but then there are so many books I want to read in the meantime... ;-)

>31 connie53: Hi Connie, thanks for the visit! That girl really spoke to me, so I just had to share her on my thread for this month.

>32 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, glad you enjoyed the little flurry of reviews. I thought I'd put out another little flurry this week, but the week is almost over and I haven't produced anything else as yet... I have Frenchman's Creek on the tbr, so will look forward to your comments on it. I think I'll be finishing my Headscarf Woman in the coming days. There are lots of odds and ends to finish up, which always tend to take up more time than your originally figure though. I'll be starting on my dad's drawing any day now and going back and forth because the last bits or the finishing up process tend to get a bit maddening sometimes, so it's good to have another project to get started on!

Apr 3, 2015, 7:01am

Happy new thread and Happy Easter weekend, Ilana! I see you are making great progress with your Bingo challenge. It looks like you have had a great batch of recent reading. Good job on cutting back on your TV and iPhone charges. I recently negotiated a new cell phone plan - actually my other half negotiated it, I just developed a headache over the whole business - and it is frightening how difficult it was to convince the carrier that I don't need a big data package because I will hardly ever download or stream content on my phone.

Apr 3, 2015, 6:06pm

Shiny new thread and a host of great reviews--I haven't read that von Arnim, don't think I have it, so it must be WL'd!

Apr 3, 2015, 10:54pm

*out of lurk* Hi, Ilana!!! *into lurk*

Apr 3, 2015, 10:58pm

Hi Ilana, I picked up The Buried Giant from the library today, hope to enjoy it as much as you did.

Apr 4, 2015, 12:58am

I'm glad that you're enjoying The Real Jane Austen, and that you managed to borrow it before it disappeared off the system.

Edited: Apr 4, 2015, 2:33pm

We had a gorgeous day yesterday, a real promise of Spring, 13 degrees celsius (55.4 F), sunny and warm enough so I could shed my winter coat for once and don my beloved Barbour autumn/spring jacket, no hat, no gloves; Pierre, Coco and I took a long walk to the museum, about an hour away taking Coco's pace into account, to where my optician is located to pick up my new reading & computer glasses (wearing them right now). I don't want to check the weather now though; the sky is gorgeous and blue, sun shining, buds on the trees outside my window, but I looked out on the grounds and there is an even layer of snow everywhere which evidently fell overnight and we're back to winter cold. *Sigh*. Spring WILL come to stay soon enough...

In Reading: enjoying Of Human Bondage; only 10 chapters to go with my tutorial of Mansfield Park, which I've hugely enjoyed revisiting. I'm almost finished the 10th out of 14 chapters of The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne, which is an excellent biography, and I have to agree with others who find it even excels Claire Tomalin's very good Jane Austen: A Life, which I read last year. As it happens it's a perfect complement to the MP tutored read because Mansfield Park is clearly one of Byrne's favourite Austen books, as she quotes from it often and frequently takes it as an example, so that I get additional background information on it, so it seems I picked up this biography at the perfect time without even knowing it initially. I think when I'm done with it I'll start in on the audio to Of Human Bondage so I can alternate with the book version, as I want to make sure I don't spend the whole month on it, even though reading 3-4 short chapters in bed at night from my beautiful Folio book is very pleasant.

Apr 4, 2015, 2:33pm

>36 lkernagh: Hi Lori, thanks for dropping by! Neither Pierre nor I celebrate Easter, so we were both forgetting it was Good Friday yesterday, and Pierre was surprised to find his bank closed when he made his way there. Doy! :-)

For the tv, it took me a long time to make up my mind, but I've had two-three solid years of not watching it now, and when I want to watch a show I can usually get it from iTunes, and Pierre gets anything he likes from the internet. I hesitate to do so, but seeing as I hardly watch anything, maybe just 2-3 shows a year, it just doesn't make sense to keep paying a monthly fee. As for iPhone, my cable company did me a favour the other day when they aggressively tried to pry me away from my current provider with a much cheaper plan, so that I immediately afterward called my provider, told them their competitor were offering me an offer which was hard to refuse and asked them what they could do for me to keep me, since I'd been with them for some 15 years now, and wouldn't you know it, they were very amenable to cutting back unnecessary services! That strategy will work every time, try it and see!

>37 sibylline: Hi Lucy, very glad to have introduced you to a new-to-you Von Arnim. I have so many more on the tbr (10 titles in all), must make time for them as I've loved what I've read by her so far (three, with this one and Elizabeth and her German Garden and The Enchanted April, both of which I want to reread too of course!).

>38 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, thanks for the momentary delurking!

>39 avatiakh: Oooh, I hope you end up loving The Buried Giant too Kerry! I'll be sure to check for your comments on it.

>40 elkiedee: Luci, I suppose I could always have read the print or eBook version, but chances are it would have taken me ages more to get to it than it did with the audiobook. I'm really pleased about the fact she talks so much about Mansfield Park too, given the fact I just happen to be doing the tutorial at this time too—the timing couldn't be more perfect! :-)

Apr 4, 2015, 2:45pm

Well done on talking down your iPhone bills! I was here for a while just now, and got side tracked away, but was looking at your beautifully prepared first ten or so posts.

Glad to see it got up (!!) to 13 deg C for you! It has been lovely and warm still here, mostly. Good for the Easter long weekend, and concurrent school holidays. W had people here for a BBQ last night, and they were used to 35degC as are from Brisbane. Yikes, that is hot. Clearly, they were cold here in our sunshine ;)

Apr 4, 2015, 2:50pm

I'm glad that Spring was in the air yesterday, though sorry to see Winter is still hanging on today. The daffodils are starting to wilt here and I saw our first ducklings of the season on my way out of our road today. Sadly, this batch probably won't survive as the weather is still very unpredictable, but it was a definite sign Winter is over for us. The ducks who have their first flock early are less likely to have any make it, but will then have a later hatch in June or July. This mother duck only had five ducklings around her so either a lot didn't hatch or she lost about half in the first day or so. Others wait until the end of April, beginning of May, when more are likely to make it but won't have time to fit in two sets of eggs.

Apr 5, 2015, 11:49am

Brilliant with your bills!!!

Isn't this weather pattern maddening?

And your present reading sounds so delightful, Tomalin and Maugham and Austen....

Apr 5, 2015, 12:04pm

What a nice period of topnotch reading you're in, Ilana. Hope you're having a good holiday weekend.

Apr 5, 2015, 12:29pm

>43 LovingLit: Hi Megan, I really need to go and catch up with you too! Not easy keeping up with everyone is it? Don't be fooled by my first ten posts; I've had time to perfect them as I keep copy/pasting them from thread to thread and just updating the information throughout the month.

I'm envious of your warm weather, but then I know ours is just around the bend, and I'm already starting to pray that we won't get intolerable heat waves this summer, as we often get, though my prayers were answered last summer, which I was incredibly grateful about! :-)

>44 lunacat: Jenny! How wonderful to have your visit—a sure sign you're on on the mend! A bid sad about the ducklings though. I rarely get to see any wildlife at all, living in the city as I do, and then it's mostly squirrels, which we learn to rather dislike as they do so much damage, but I end up having this incredibly romantic notion about nature which is probably terribly skewed so that your post made me almost weepy! Silly I know, but anytime you want to share a bit more or the scenery about you, you are more than welcome! :-)

>45 sibylline: I know, I felt so incredibly proud about that $40 reduction in my monthly bills the other day Lucy, even though talking to utility company CS employees must be at the top of my least favourite things to do. It does feel weird to have permanently done away with television, but there's nothing preventing me from getting hooked to it again if ever I feel the need.

Maddening weather patterns, yes. This time of year always is. And then the sudden rise is temperatures always is to me also, switching from all the layers to suddenly going practically naked is a shock to my body, which has been so used to being all covered up and protected, to suddenly shell-less and offered up to the glaring rays of the sun, me being so very very white and unadapted to sunshine... but I won't complain. I'll just run out and buy tubes of sun block and be ready when the next phase hits. I've got the hat and sunglasses standing by.

Present reading is really very good, but you must mean, Byrne, Maugham and Austen... ;-)

>46 jnwelch: Hi Joe, yes, I'm very pleased with my current reading choices. Mind you, A Life in Small Things is coming to an end soon, probably around the same time as I'll be finishing Mansfield Park, as I've only got seven chapters to go with MP, and I'm reading 2-3 chapters a day, sometimes more, so 2-3 days should do it. The Maugham should take quite a while longer, but then I've got quite a few books in my planned reading list I'm quite looking forward to, not least of which the Angela Carter. I'm so pleased about the BAC this year, as it's getting me to read so much from my tbr!

Apr 6, 2015, 7:22am

Hi, Ilana! Just popping in. I hope you had a nice weekend and your current reads are treating you well.

Apr 6, 2015, 12:33pm

Pleased to see you tied up in Of Human Bondage so to speak, Ilana. I bet you're not disappointed that it isn't a sort of Edwardian Fifty Shades of Grey!

Trust your holiday weekend has been a good one. Sorry I have been so absent this last month but RL has taken over for once. xx

Apr 6, 2015, 3:48pm

>48 msf59: Hi Mark, I just had a really nice time poring over Anya's Ghost, which I went through in one quick sitting. Really loved it, and I'm glad I took up your suggestion and picked it up from the library, and finally DID read it! Great story!

>49 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, never did occur to me to consider Of Human Bondage would be anything like those awful oft-copied E. L. James books, which I have no immediate or future, far or near plans of ever reading. Am enjoying it very much so far, I must say, and very glad you've provided an opportunity for me to finally pick up so many books from my tbr!
Happy to see you making the rounds. It hasn't be the same around here without your cheerful presence.

Apr 7, 2015, 8:46am

Just stopping by to say hello Ilana. I may have to check out the Paula Byrne Austen bio if you think it's better than Claire Tomalin's. Somerset Maugham scares me and I don't know why....

We've had a sudden turn to spring in the weather too and it's wonderful.

Apr 7, 2015, 8:06pm

Hi Ilana. I had lost you for a while there and now I'm behind (I know, I know, what else is new?).

You are reading Of Human Bondage. I have a copy of that one and was intending to read it this month, but for some reason I am wavering. I was thinking I would seek out something else by him while at the infamous Powell's this Friday. You are almost done with OHB --- worth reading? Do you recommend?

As always, your thread toppers are delightful.

Apr 9, 2015, 12:24pm

Reading: Only 1.5 chapters to go to finish Mansfield Park, which I'll do sometime this afternoon no doubt. It's been really fun revisiting that novel while doing the tutorial with Liz, and I'll be sorry to finish it. Tutorials are definitely one of the great highlights of LT.

I've now got a good chunk of Of Human Bondage read, four fifths, I guess, with just about four hours of audio/reading left altogether, so I should be done within two or three days. It's a great book, but the main topic being unrequited love, the main character Philip is made to suffer via a heartless b**** which one can't help but want to scream at him for being obsessed with first, being in love with and then wanting to help when she is so obviously using him for all he's got. All the same, great story.

It'll be nice though, when I'm done with these two above, which have taken quite a chunk of my time, to move on to other things—what a sense of freedom all of the sudden!


The 8th of the month is always a mini-anniversary for Pierre and I, since we met at his vernissage, which was on Nov. 8th. We don't actually make a big deal out of it; I usually just give him a kiss and a hug and point out the date, and he says 'oh yes, I'd forgotten'. Yesterday he came home with a dozen white roses, though he said it was just the usual bimonthly flowers he gets me. I'd called him earlier as we both had appointments downtown and I thought maybe we could walk home together, but he sounded like I'd caught him at a bad moment. While we were preparing dinner, I game him a hug and kiss and asked him if the flowers weren't really for our mini-anniversary, and he pretended he'd forgotten the date, but then he said 'I can't lie' and gave me a Hermès bag. I'd told him a while back that for an eventual big present, he could get me a new bottle of a Hermès scent I love, called Eau des Merveilles, and that's what he got me (he was in the Hermès shop when I'd called him earlier). I was shocked he'd get me such a big gift for such a small event, but he said that was the whole point, and since we always stay in to eat and watch movies at home, he was happy to splurge on me once in a while. What a doll!

Apr 9, 2015, 12:52pm

>51 souloftherose: Hi Heather! I don't know if it's fair of me to say the Byrne's is better than Tomalin's bio, since the latter is after all excellent, but Byrne takes an unusual approach and because of this, the information she conveys is structured very differently and she seems to have brought forth some new facts, though I may be wrong about this. I do mean to write a review about the book, once I get my thinking cap on. In the meantime, Joe has written a very good review himself, which I don't think I can improve on, which is on the main book page.

I'm not sure what puts you off about Maugham exactly, because there are probably lots of factors that could be the cause, but I can tell you his writing is very straightforward and he is a good storyteller. I've only read two other books of his so far, one of which one is among my all-time favourites, being The Moon and Sixpence, which is a biographical fiction piece about the painter Gaugin.

We're supposed to get 15 degrees Celcius (59 F) on Sunday and then and 18 C (64.4 F) on Monday, which is the warmest we'll have gotten this season yet, which I'm pretty excited about. So far I've only had one day when I've been able to wear anything other than my winter coat, though I've seen other people walk around in light jackets and even t-shirts, but then I'm really not tolerant to the cold at all and it has been rather too near 0 degrees to seriously consider shedding layers.

>52 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! What a lovely visit! No worries about being behind, we all know you're a busy lady and don't have much time for LT, such is life!

I'm not sure what to tell you about Of Human Bondage. Personally, I'm very glad I've finally made time for it because it's such a huge 20th century classic and I did have this gorgeous Folio edition of it, and I do think it's a book I'll eventually want to revisit. The characters can be quite frustrating, but that's because it deals with a timeless topic in which protagonists always suffer: unrequited love, which always makes one or the other, or both people involved behave in ghastly ways. It is a big book though and as such a big time commitment, so you may want to go with something less time-consuming. I was considering listening to The Painted Veil and/or The Magician also this month, and there's also The Moon and Sixpence, which I was mentioning to Heather above, which I find excellent.

Apr 10, 2015, 2:22pm

Hi Ilana. I've been away for a couple of weeks visiting my family on Vancouver Island and now I am starting the process of catching up. Your thread toppers are beautiful, I see you are in the midst of some very good reading and Pierre seems to know his way to his lady's heart. Sounds like life if pretty good! :)

Edited: Apr 11, 2015, 10:27pm

I suffered from insomnia Friday night, and it always takes me a couple of days to get over the consequences after just one night of sleeplessness, so I'm still pretty well out of it today and will be turning in early. Pierre had a beautiful large book cabinet which was crowding his place moved over to my place on Thursday; it's a 30s or 40s piece and rather handsome, and I've started transferring books into it, though when I get my shelves built I'll probably reorganize everything again.

In reading: Finished Of Human Bondage on Thursday, then finished Mansfield Park last night, though have yet to finalize the tutorial and post my last questions. I was going to jump into my next BAC book and start on The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, which I'm quite looking forward to, but I think I'll break things up a little and read the next Maigret story from the Omnibus edition I keep re-borrowing from the library. So next up tonight is Maigret Mystified / L'Ombre chinoise, #12 in the series by Georges Simenon, for a short break from planned reading.

In the meantime, back to planned reading, I started on The Round House by Louise Erdrich yesterday. I was able to get the audio from the library but didn't think I'd like the narrator, so had the ebook on standby, but am now into chapter 6 or 7 and am liking his native voice, even though he sounds like a bit like a quavering old man and is far from a polished reader. Really enjoying the story so far.

Apr 11, 2015, 10:27pm

>55 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy! Good to see you over here, and glad you like my thread toppers, as I always have fun deciding what to put up next. I've had a very good reading streak so far which has been going on for quite a while, and with plenty more great reads planned ahead, it should keep going for a while more. Thanks for visiting!

Apr 12, 2015, 10:25am

Happy Sunday, Ilana. It is has been quite a few years since I read Of Human Bondage but I remember loving it. I think I will try The Moon and Sixpence. I found it on audio.
I also have The Bloody Chamber and The Round House lined up for the next 2 weeks.

Hope all is well.

Apr 13, 2015, 9:25pm

I finished the title story of The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter, which is a retelling of Bluebeard by Charles Perrault and found it thrilling and difficult to put down.

We've had a couple of beautiful warm spring days with more planned this week. Pierre and I took a long walk around town yesterday, and visiting a couple of second-hand bookshops, I managed to snag several La Pléiade tomes, among them three volumes of the complete 17th century correspondence of Madame de Sévigné. Her letters were recommended in an issue of Slightly Foxed I recently read (the touchtone takes you to the actual issue). La Pléiade is the French edition house Gallimard's upscale line of small leatherbound books printed on bible paper which are horrendously expensive when bought new, but there is a large market for them second-hand and good deals can be had, so I've got a nice little collection of them going. Pierre got me one, since of course he knows one sure way to my heart is through books! :-)
We had Coco with us, but around 5 pm, with quite a bit of walking done we were both very hungry and hid Coco in a bag and went into a very good Japanese restaurant for a bit of sushi and cold sake to keep us sated till supper. Coco decided to come out of the bag and show himself to the waitress when we ordered, but all she said was she had a Bichon and she loved dogs, so we were fine. Otherwise dogs are strictly not allowed anywhere food is sold here.

Continuing to enjoy The Round House.

Of to go draw in a moment. Want to watch Game of Thrones, but not sure I can fit it in tonight, and drawing must take precedence over entertainment. That's the kind of major problem I can deal with.


>58 msf59: Hey Mark, as you can see from what I wrote above, Sunday was very good. Hope it was for you too. Bloody Chamber is off to an excellent start, and halfway through The Round House, I'm very glad I picked it up sooner than later.

Apr 14, 2015, 10:34am

>59 Smiler69: Oh, that's good to hear re The Bloody Chamber, Ilana. It's my next one after The Round House for the AAC. Like you, I'm enjoying The Round House.

Congrats re finishing The Mansfield Park tutorial with Liz. Outstanding.

Apr 15, 2015, 4:36pm

I just finished listening to The Round House for the AAC. I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of it, but then found the last part was dragging on and was impatient for the resolution, and the ending was really depressing, so I'm quite happy to move on to something else now. That being said, this was my second book by Erdrich and I'll definitely read more of her work as she is a very interesting writer and her characters are incredibly vibrant and true to life.

Read the second story in the Bloody Chamber and Other Stories last night, called The Courtship of Mr Lyon, which is a retelling of the original French Beauty and the Beast / La belle et la bête by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Carter certainly has a magical way with words and her tales exert magic for the adult audience.

Came back from the neurologist today with a prescription for a new medication since the last one I've been on for six months now isn't giving the results we were hoping for, even after we increased the dosage three months ago. I haven't been complaining about my migraines here much, but they're still with me, mostly medium-grade ones, but I got tired of mentioning them, and as the digestion troubles have taken over, they're almost an afterthought these days.

As for drawing projects, am currently working on a portrait of my dad on the metro, which he commissioned for his own self. It's a smaller format (8.5 x 11") and presumably should take me less time to do, but that remains to be seen since I'm working on a miniature scale, which in and of itself presents difficulties, but is an interesting challenge. I've just finished the very detailed sketch and moving on to the tones now. I'll be posting it when there is something to show soon.


>60 jnwelch: Joe, hope your overall impression of The Round House is better than mine, especially when it comes to the ending.

I really loved the Mansfield Park Tutorial and have been enjoying seeing people's comments. Now just need to make time to respond to some of the closing comments people have been contributing and look up the latest I haven't read yet!

Apr 20, 2015, 3:28pm

>54 Smiler69: 'I'm not sure what puts you off about Maugham exactly'

Neither am I! I have a highly irrational fear that he is a hard, depressing author but I have nothing to base that on. Straightforward writing and good storyteller sound like strong plusses to me so I will try to overcome my irrational fear of his books :-)

>59 Smiler69: I've just started reading The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories and, like you, really enjoyed the title story. Very sensual and creepy.

Sorry to hear about the continuing migraines. I hope the new medication helps.

And looking forward to seeing your updates on your new commission. Are you working from a photo again?

Realised you haven't posted for a few days - hope you're ok.

Apr 20, 2015, 5:20pm

I'm not sure where I've been, but I was very behind here. All I can say is that Pierre is amazingly good. I'm delighted that he's in your life - and that you're in his!
I also look forward to seeing your father's pic when you're ready.
As Heather says, hope all is well with you and that the migraines are responding to the new meds.

Edited: Apr 20, 2015, 8:05pm

>62 souloftherose: >63 LizzieD: Hi Heather, Hi Peggy! Lovely to hear from you two! The migraines are... well they're around, but not TOO too awrful, though the Russians were making their preparations for a while and keeping me down, and now they've arrived I'm keeping to the trenches and hoping for the best. I guess I'm not feeling terribly sociable or wordy lately, mostly buying an unsreasonalbe amount of (mostly audio) books and cataloguing and sorting my online library as well as organizing my new-to-me beautiful book cabinet. Working on my father's portrait every day, which will be part of the metro series. And reading, of course. The new medication will take some time to adjust to the full strength—another 3 weeks to go, so we won't know how effective it is for another couple of months, I'd say.

Thanks for checking in on me, I'll try to visit some threads soon, including yours when I come out of my cave! :-)

Apr 21, 2015, 1:12pm

Just thought I'd post a fist look at my dad's portrait on the metro. This one is small, just 8 x 10" or so, so like working on a miniature, but I'll be doing another large one eventually. Have to run to the groomer's with Coco shortly. Poor thing is having back trouble lately. Maybe related to a long walk we had on Sunday, but I hope not.

Apr 22, 2015, 6:05pm

>53 Smiler69: "Yesterday he came home with a dozen white roses..."

Hi Ilana! I'm reading The Painted Veil, my first-ever Maugham, and so far I'm quite enjoying it. I don't think I had any idea what to expect from this author.

Apr 22, 2015, 10:45pm

I don't know that you look like your father, but he is certainly a handsome man (as you are a lovely woman) and a worthy addition to the metro series!

Apr 24, 2015, 6:57am

>53 Smiler69: I love those surprisesl to me there is nothing worse than romance by numbers. It is the small, the unplanned and the unpredicted that makes things special.

>65 Smiler69: when you mentioned taking Coco to the reminded me of this morning when my fluffy white cat came into our house drenched in wet mud! I barely recognised him, and as I was naked just out of the shower was not in a position to pause for thought. Still, I ended up bathing him with the help of my lovely other, and a very excited 3 year old who uses any excuse to go mental. It was so bizarre. Poor wee mite. He needed a jolly good washing and towelling down, and he was shivering afterwards. We set him up a warm spot and he seemed ok. But I do wonder how he got in that state!

Apr 25, 2015, 7:34am

Happy Weekend, Ilana! I miss seeing you around. I hope all is well.

I started The Buried Giant and it grabbed me immediately. Thanks to your warbling, I moved it up in the stacks. And you are correct, the audio narration is terrific. Hugs!

Apr 25, 2015, 2:46pm

This week was largely taken up with caring for Coco, who made me lose a lot of sleep because of his back pain and his nightly screaming fits brought on, I think, by sudden spasms. I think probably taking him on a long walk last Sunday started it all. I took him to a different vet, which is the one next to the groomer I brought him to this week, as she (the groomer) told me they do acupuncture which she'd had done on her own dog which worked very well.

Coco and I went for a consult and first acupuncture session on Thursday. I really liked the vet, who was a lovely young woman who seemed very competent and to genuinely like animals. But Coco is a major drama queen so it was hard to tell what he was screaming about at any point after the hour-long consult and inverview when we started with the needles (which are so tiny they can't possibly hurt going in—I know because I've had it done—and he was screaming when she hadn't even touched him yet), but when he wasn't screaming he was laying there quietly, seemingly happy about the comfy rug they had on the counter in the consulting room. He's now taking a medication called Gabapentin I once took to control my bipolar disorder, and which is also used for migraine, which is used too for pain relief. We're going for the next acupuncture treatment next Friday. Last night was the first time he didn't wake us all up screaming (the cats get freaked out too), so that's a sign of progress I'm happy about.

Otherwise, on the reading front, I've been listening to Oryx and Crake for Atwood April, which I'll be finishing today. It's very good, and Margaret Atwood never disappoints, though it's predictably rather depressing, being a dystopic novel, but she makes it interesting enough and strange enough to keep it upbeat in a weird kind of way. I'm counter-balancing that with my first Angela Thirkell, High Rising, which I'm finding is really good fun and is making me want to read more of her Barsetshire novels, and also reading short stories from Jane Austen's Catharine: and Other Writings, which are her early adolescent writings and as such, fun and rather delightful.

It's very cold these days and almost feels like we're about to go right back into winter, which is rather depressing. I spend at least an hour everyday drawing, but sorry to say still not much keen on socializing, which is why I haven't been much around the threads lately; very sorry to be neglecting my friends and this group in general, though I'm obsessively organizing and re-organizing my LT library for several hours on a daily basis for what it's worth...

Edited: Apr 25, 2015, 3:04pm

>66 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, thanks for dropping by, I know you're a busy lady and don't have as much time to devote to LT as you'd like. I was hoping to get to The Painted Veil too this month. I recently finished listening to Maugham's The Magician, which is one of his early novels from 1908, and a gothic horror extravaganza based on his real-life encounter with Aleister Crowley, whom he obviously didn't like very much. I really enjoyed it a lot, actually. Narrated by David Rintoul on the audio version, it was hugely entertaining and recommended as such. Hope all is well.

>67 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, that is certainly a very nice comment. My father is a lurker on my thread here and saw what you wrote recently, and said to me in an email yesterday he very much appreciated your comment as he'd been very ill with pneumonia recently and I think it gave him a little boost to get that indirect compliment. It did give me a boost as well; I'm not exactly depressed lately, I don't think, but certainly the winter blues are lingering rather too long with this prolonged cold weather. As to resemblance to my father, I've been told we have similar eyes I think, though of course you couldn't tell that from the drawing.

>68 LovingLit: Megan, I think you, Pierre and I are on the same page when it comes to romance-by-numbers as a big no-no. We're neither of us constantly serenading each other, but I think we do show each other how much we care for one another with lots of little gestures, with his constant attentions, such as running errands and getting me all kinds of odds and ends and then not such small things (a very good and rather large light-table was the latest gift, as he said I needed a professional-quality piece of equipment for my professional-quality artwork!), and I... I'm not sure what I do for him exactly, but I do hug him a lot and try to laugh at some of his jokes and also try to be pleasant even when I'm feeling terrible, which unfortunately happens too often to mention.

Funny incident about your cat. I should think most cats would want to stay well away from wet mud, so that is rather perplexing. Also surprising he let you bathe him without maiming anyone. I used to be able to bathe Mimi when she was a young thing, but now I think she'd take one of my eyes out if I tried!

>69 msf59: Hi Mark, I'm sorry I'm being anti-social lately. I do miss interacting with this lovely bunch, but then it just seems like such a big effort which I can't seem to work up the energy for somehow, but I'll get back into the groove of things. I'm really happy you picked up The Buried Giant. I had pre-ordered it from Audible, but of course had no idea what to expect and was absolutely thrilled with it when I got to it.


Off to my artwork now!

Apr 27, 2015, 4:29pm

>65 Smiler69: So pleased to see you're doing another Metro portrait as I love that series. Looking forward to watching your progress.

>70 Smiler69: Poor Coco and poor you :-( I'm glad to hear that medication and acupuncture may be helping him.

Apr 27, 2015, 11:47pm

>71 Smiler69: I call them as I see them, Ilana, and that's the truth! If I made you both happy, that's a happy bonus for me.
Hope you and Coco are getting some much-needed, much-deserved rest!
Also, as to the order of the A. Thirkells.... I think that the only ones that you really have to get in order are the WWII ones, and you're far from getting to them yet. LT lists them correctly, I think, beginning with Cheerfulness Breaks In, Northbridge Rectory, Marling Hall, and so on. Enjoy!

Apr 28, 2015, 3:24pm

I listened to and finished John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps very quickly; it's short and thrilling, and I had a very good narrator, Robert Powell, which made it an extra fun treat. Now I've moved on to another W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil, which I'm liking very much, again with a narrator I'm liking a lot, Sophie Ward, and English actress as so many of the English narrators tend to be. I should be finishing High Rising within a day or two, and might be tempted to jump right into another Angela Thirkell right away, but then I've already started making reading plans for May, which includes May Murder & Mayhem, a department in which I have loads of books on the tbr waiting in the audio and physical stacks.

I guess I should also list all the book purchases I've made this month. Somehow I avoided doing that mostly because I hadn't been posting much, but also because it's really out of hand, but it IS helpful to keep a visual score, even if it doesn't seem to slow me down much...

Coco is doing MUCH better. No waking up screaming at night; no screaming in pain at all in fact since Saturday. We went on an hour-long walk yesterday and about halfway through he got tired and wanted me to pick him up, but that's to be expected. He's getting his next acupuncture treatment on Friday, and I'll be getting my next leg scan tomorrow afternoon, but I'll ask them to scan my left leg as well because I've been feeling strange numbness there that isn't painful, but doesn't feel quite right.

I'm making what I find is slow progress on my father's portrait, but Pierre assures me it's going at a good pace. I'm finding it challenging to work in this small format and had expected it would go much faster to work on a smaller surface without anticipating a different set of difficulties, but I'm enjoying this new challenge. I'll scan it and post it soon, but right now Pierre's just called and said he's going to market, and as it's a rare sunny day I'll go join him for a brisk walk with Coco to take in a bit of vitamin D the natural way.

Heather, Peggy thrilled to hear from you both! I'll get back to you when I come back to post my drawing and book lists later today. xx

Apr 28, 2015, 9:26pm

>72 souloftherose: Hi Heather, well you've obviously seen the drawing on FB! I post it there first so I can post it in a large enough format here to allow to show enough detail. Off to work on it again shortly. I try to put in an hour each day, but sometimes only manage 30 minutes. Other days, a couple of hours; as long as I work on it daily I'm happy.

Coco is doing much better, thanks. Seems the treatments are working, and/or the pain from the walk has died down on its own. Whatever the cause, I'm much happier and so is he!

>73 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, I'm glad to know I don't need to read the Barsetshire novels in any specific order. It does seem like book #3, The Demon in the House should be read after High Rising, since Laura and Tony Morland and Adrian Coates are back in that one, and thanks for pointing out the WWII ones should also be read in order as I didn't know about that. The ones currently on my tbr should keep me busy for a while.


Here's the drawing the way it's looking at the moment, a week after >65 Smiler69: I'll go work on it another 90 minutes or so now.

Apr 28, 2015, 9:38pm

Wow Ilana! I'm continually impressed with your artistic abilities!

Sorry to hear about the health issues with Coco. I hope he starts to feel better soon so you don't have to worry too much about it.

I have Oryx and Crake on my TBR mountain and it's been there for a long time. I was meaning to start on it for Atwood April but decided to go with The Penelopiad because I didn't want to start yet another series.

Apr 28, 2015, 10:19pm

Your drawing of your father is really taking shape. Good job, my friend.

I really enjoyed The Buried Giant and I moved on to H is For Hawk and it grabbed me immediately.

Apr 29, 2015, 4:03am

>75 Smiler69: Really very good! You are so talented!

Apr 29, 2015, 8:53am

Wow, I love seeing the in-process versions. I've never really thought about how folks make these pictures, and it's fascinating.

Apr 29, 2015, 11:38am

>75 Smiler69: Impressive, Ilana! Thanks for letting us follow along on the drawing.

Apr 29, 2015, 12:57pm

>76 jolerie: Hi Valerie, thanks for dropping by! I've been really enjoying working on this drawing series. I'm finally making up for years and decades when I didn't ever pick up a pencil or brush at all, and must say it feels good, and all the encouragement is an extra bonus.

Coco is doing fine at this point, but we're continuing the medication and he'll be going to his next acupuncture session on Friday, at which point we'll decide what should be done next.

I've had The Penelopiad in the stacks for longer than I care to remember, so really should get to it. On the other hand, the MaddAddam series is a trilogy, so doesn't tie you down too an endless series really. I look forward to continuing with the next two books. They'll be there when you're ready for them!

>77 msf59: Hi Mark, I knew you'd love Ishiguro's latest, and the audiobook was perfectly narrated, wasn't it? I've requested H is For Hawk on audio from the library, so am currently waiting for that one. Looking forward to your comments on it.

>78 connie53: >79 drneutron: >80 jnwelch: Thanks so much Connie, Jim and Joe for your very kind comments on my drawing-in-progress. Much like reading, drawing used to be a very solitary activity, and it's very nice being able to share it and get feedback from friends during the process, which in my case with the technique I use, can be very drawn out indeed! so any encouragement is very much appreciated!

Jim, I'm sure every artist has his or her own way of going about making a picture, and even I approach each one a little differently, trying out different things. I like seeing in-process versions too and often consider leaving my drawings half-finished, but then can't resist completing them.

Apr 30, 2015, 9:40am

I'll be interested to hear what you think of The Penelopiad, Ilana. I'm a fan of The Odyssey, and was looking forward to reading The Penelopiad, but the latter just didn't work for me, and I Pearl-ruled it. Maybe my timing was off.

Apr 30, 2015, 5:41pm

Your father's portrait is coming into focus! So exciting to witness the process.

Many things here, how lovely of Pierre to choose such a delicious perfume.

I'm very glad too that Coco is doing better. I missed something about what the acupuncture is for? Is it hips? We had a corgi that ended up with 'golden beads' -- sort of permanent acupuncture -- and his hips never bothered him again. (He had minor hip displasia). Sometimes spinal difficulties can be treated that way too.

I had a Maugham phase decades ago (scary thought 'decades'). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed his novels and stories.

May 4, 2015, 11:09am

Great to see things so positive around here, Ilana and your father appearing wonderfully before our very eyes.

I am so pleased that Maugham met with favour - one of my favourites as you know.

I haven't been around much I know but hopefully May augurs well for me to get back to more like my old self again.

May 4, 2015, 11:26pm

Hi, Ilana. Hope all is continuing to go well with you. That's all I have to say for myself.....

Edited: May 5, 2015, 6:23pm

We went to a wonderful concert, Pierre, my friend Kristyna and I on Saturday to see the Emerson String Quartet performing The Art of the Fugue by Bach, followed by a lovely piece by Beethoven, which I can't recall right now. Finished The Grand Sophy yesterday, which I must say I enjoyed TREMENDOUSLY, and made me look forward to my next Georgette Heyer experience. Now am listening to The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier and as it's a fairly straightforward story, I'm missing her twisted psychological mystery element which she tends to be so good at, and dare I say it? finding it a bit boring.

My reading plans for May are outrageously ambitious, and I'm sure will inspire me to pick up a bunch of books I haven't planned for.

Healthwise, everything was as well as could be, other than the regular fatigue, but my throat ached all night and I woke up with a proper cold today. Just hoping it'll clear up soon. Pierre was lovely, and though he's (rightfully) wanting to keep away from me while I'm contagious, he went and picked up a few essentials for me today which he came to deliver, while I stayed at the other end of my (large) kitchen so I wouldn't breathe on him.

Coco is doing great. No sign of pain at all, and I'm very pleased about it!


>82 jnwelch: Hi Joe, sorry I didn't reply sooner. I've been busily planning my reading for May, but not really looking after my thread in any other way. I guess it'll be a while before I get to The Penelopiad, since I mean to reread The Odyssey beforehand so I can compare with the original work. But as I've gotten a wonderful audio version narrated by Dan Stevens, who really impresses me with his talent as a reader, it might happen sooner than later now you've mentioned it!

>83 sibylline: Hi Lucy—you remind me I'm due to make another scan of my father's portrait and might post it soon too.

Seems Coco's treatment, between the acupuncture and the Gabapentin did him good, and then also his little crises tend to last a few days to a week and then clear up on their own, so could be a combo of all the above.

I think there'll be plenty more Maugham for me in future too. I absolutely loved The Moon and Sixpence when I discovered it quite a few years ago, but had no idea his other novels would please me as much.

>84 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! What a lovely visit! I know I've been mostly awol, though I do lurk here and there and it's been nice to see you reappear after an prolonged absence. LT isn't the same without you, that's for sure! I'm really glad your BAC gave me an excuse to read so much Maugham last month, as I can now count him among my favourite authors as well thanks to you. Here's hoping May is a good month for you and we can all benefit from your presence. xx

>85 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, thanks for keeping my thread alive while I've been so neglectful of it. I was lurking on your thread and saw that there was a health scare with your dog and hope for everyone's sake that she gets better soon.

May 7, 2015, 12:42pm

>86 Smiler69: Now you have me intrigued by The Grand Sophy, Ilana. Off to investigate it. . .

Edited: May 7, 2015, 3:45pm

>87 jnwelch: Joe, the heroine of the book, the Grand Sophy herself really steals the show with her gumption and meddlesome ways, somehow managing to make everyone's lives better, and you can't help but cheer her on. I have a greater appreciation now for Heyer's regency novels with my ever-growing love for Jane Austen's work, which of course in no coincidence, even though in Heyer's case there is no getting around the fact they are obviously romance novels, but she goes about it with so much humour you can't hold it against her! :-)


Finished Daphne du Maurier's The Parasites last night and must say I found it to be quite a let-down. I've grown to love this author's twisted plots and devious characters and the sense of not knowing what might come next, but here she plots what is pretty much a straightforward family history about three siblings who are the children of a famous theatre duo and the close relationship among one of the sisters with her half-brother. I guess I might have liked it if it had included some darker elements, or else if it had been written by someone else, maybe, but overall found it pretty dull and ended up asking for my credit back from Audible, which is to say I don't greatly recommend this one*. Two and three-quarter stars.

eta*: I should add that out of the six novels by du Maurier I've read, this is the only one I haven't thoroughly enjoyed so far.

I've now moved on to The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann, which was picked for me by Jim and is pretty exciting so far.

May 7, 2015, 5:02pm

>86 Smiler69: 'Finished The Grand Sophy yesterday, which I must say I enjoyed TREMENDOUSLY'

That exactly sums up my feelings about TGS :-)

Sorry to hear The Parasites was rather disappointing but as I have so many other novels by Daphne du Maurier to work my way through I don't really mind hearing about what I can pass over.

May 8, 2015, 2:43pm

>86 Smiler69: Hi Heather! I really ought to make more of an effort to write brief reviews at least, but these days, saying whether I enjoyed a book TREMENDOUSLY (such as The Grand Sophy) or just found it middling to boring (as with The Parasites) is about all I can bring myself to write. I know I'll regret it when I look back on my reading this year and realise how few reviews I've got to base myself later to remind myself what stood out for me most in any one book.

I feel the same as you about du Maurier; so many other books of hers on the tbr that it isn't any big deal if one of them wasn't a hit for me, as I know there are others I will love.


We've had beautiful warm weather in Montreal this last week, which Pierre and I have taken advantage of on daily walks, but the past couple of days have been too much of a good thing, with temps at 28 and 29 degrees celsius (84 F), which is too warm for comfort for me with the sun hitting full force when there is little shade to be found. All this hot weather will turn to thunderstorms this weekend, and then next week we're back to cool weather with lots more rain and temps around 11-15 degrees (51-59 F). Spring can be a strange time in these parts!

My drawing is progressing as ever; slowly but surely since I'm at it every day. With this head cold I've caught goodness knows where since Monday, Pierre has wisely (and with my blessing) taken his meals at his place to reduce his chances of catching it too and only comes over for afternoon walks, and then tea and desert before Coco's night walk, which means I have a lot more free time to listen to audiobooks while drawing, so that I'm at it at least 2 hours a day lately. Very happy about this, and will have to find a way to keep drawing at least as much even when we do spend more time together.

I made the grave mistake last night of listening to The Lost City of Z while attempting to eat my dinner. It just so happened the narrative reached a point where the various life-threatening insects of the Amazon forest were being described, along with all the horrible effect they have on the human body in GREAT DETAIL, and to cap it all off, the various ways of cooking humans for consumption by cannibal tribes. It seems different parts of the body are cooked using different methods. JUST what I wanted to find out about as I was attempting to eat one of my favourite dishes: sauerkraut with sausages (needless to say, the meat sausages wouldn't go down very well!)

May 8, 2015, 9:01pm

>90 Smiler69: Oops, sorry! :)

May 8, 2015, 11:43pm

>91 drneutron: No great harm done, Jim! ;-)

Other than a spoilt dinner, I'm enjoying the book quite a lot!

Edited: May 9, 2015, 1:10pm

Well, we've got almost a third of the month gone already, but I thought I'd still post my (overly ambitious)

Reading Plans for May:

✭*✔ Catharine and Other Writings by Jane Austen - Picked for Me! (by souloftherose), TIOLI #9: a book that you started in April - Reading
✭♫ Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - AAC, A Century of Books! (1922), TIOLI #7: Read a regional novel
✪♫ Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis - AAC, A Century of Books! (1927), TIOLI #7
✭✔ The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble - BAC, TIOLI #8: A word in the title that means a Female
✭♫ The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis - BAC, TIOLI #14: A book about systemic oppression
✭*♫ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa - Picked for Me! (by @Ireadthereforeiam), A Century of Books! (1958), TIOLI #10: Author is of a different gender and ethnicity than you are
✭*♫ The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann - Picked for Me! (by drneutron), TIOLI #1: Title has at least three words starting with the same letter - Listening
✪✔ Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth - Tutored read with Liz, TIOLI #7 - Reading
✪✔ The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield - ANZAC, TIOLI #17: A book that's been published as a Penguin Modern Classic
✭♫ Fifth Business by Robertson Davies - shared read with Ellen, A Century of Books! (1970), TIOLI #18: By an author whose first name starts with a J, or whose surname starts with a D
✭♫ All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - TIOLI #5: Read a Book with a Sentimental Dedication
✭♫ The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer - TIOLI #21: Read a book you think will make you laugh - COMPLETED
✭✔ Ross Poldark Winston Graham - TIOLI #7
✭♫ L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre / Maigret Goes Home #13 by Georges Simenon - May Murder & Mayhem, TIOLI #2: Series Next Challenge
✭♫ Men at Arms: Discworld, Book 15 by Terry Pratchett - TIOLI #9, A Century of Books! (1993)
✪♫ The Iron King by Maurice Druon - A Century of Books! (1955), TIOLI #6: A book with a list of characters at the front
✪♫ Euphoria by Lily King - TIOLI #23: Read a book purchased at an independent bookstore

May Murder & Mayhem
✭✔ Maigret chez les Flamands / Maigret and the Flemish Shop #14 by Georges Simenon - May Murder & Mayhem, TIOLI #4: set in a city, region or country that you haven't visited yet but would like to
✭♫ Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen - TIOLI #13: Written by an author from a country you've never been to
✪♫ The Farm by Tom Rob Smith - TIOLI #4 (shared read)
✭♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith - TIOLI #22: Read a book with a creepy atmosphere
✭♫ The Likeness by Tana French - TIOLI #11: Author's last name is one of the 50 most popular languages
✪♫ Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier - TIOLI #4 (shared read)
✭♫ A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - A Century of Books! (1912), TIOLI #15: A book that involves 'aliens'
✭♫ A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley - TIOLI #16: Read a book with the word "us" in the title, subtitle, or author's name
✭ⓔ The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart - TIOLI #12: An author who shares a name with your mother or grandmother

* = Picked for Me challenge
♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
ⓔ = eBook
✪ = Shared TIOLI

May 12, 2015, 3:48pm

Hi Ilana. I've been AWOL for the last week while on a road trip with my hubby. May seems to be slipping away and I fear my ambitious reading plans for the month are due to fail. I am, however, planning on getting to The Farm and hope to start it by the end of the week.

I remember reading The Lost City of Z a few years ago and being totally engrossed (and occasionally totally grossed out) by it!

May 12, 2015, 7:00pm

Hi, Ilana! I am a big fan of The Lost City of Z. I am glad you finally got to it and you are enjoying it. I was also crazy about The Farm. I hope it works for you too.

I started Babbitt. Not far in but I like it.

May 13, 2015, 9:22pm

>94 DeltaQueen50: Judy, engrossed and grossed out sums up my experience of The Lost City of Z too! I've now put Exploration Fawcett on the wishlist as am curious to see what Percy Fawcett's son book is like.

>95 msf59: Hi Mark, I haven't been updating on my reading much, other than in the first message at the top of the thread. I finished Z a couple of days ago, and have had time since then to finish the latest Maigret novel by Georges Simenon. I'll be moving on to Sinclair Lewis soon too.

Edited: May 13, 2015, 9:26pm

I started on Ross Poldark by Winston Graham a couple of days ago and am fairly wrapped up in it now. This series has come much recommended, and though I've barely got one fourth of the first book read so far, I can see what the big deal is. The pages are flying by during my nightly reading sessions!

Did I mention how fantastic I found The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa? Definitely joins the ranks of my all-time favourites.

May 13, 2015, 11:13pm

I don't know why my mind insists that I have a copy of The Leopard. I can't find it, and I never catalogued it, and none of the covers rings a bell. Nevertheless, I think I have it. Maybe I'd better get it again to be sure.
I'm tickled that *Poldark* is hitting the spot with you. It's good entertainment, and the quality remains the same for all the 13 (I think) books in the series.
I'm loving your progress on your drawing of your father. I can't wait to see his hands more clearly!
Stay warm and feel 100% quickly!

May 14, 2015, 10:31pm

REALLY enjoying Ross Poldark. Took him to the hospital with me today as I waited for blood tests and then to see the hematologist. It made the time go by faster, but also made me lose my turn, as I had #326 in the queue, but I was sure I was #336 and ended up missing my turn after I'd put the number in my pocked and plunged into Poldark! The blood clot (all 6 inches of it!) is completely gone, and I'll be finishing the blood thinners they gave me in 11 days, then be off them for good, so that's that. Seems like the whole thing was easy to take care of and completely painless, other than the initial few weeks before I had my leg tested, and good thing there was pain there to tell me there was something wrong! I wish all health problems were that easy to solve!


>98 LizzieD: Peggy, I'd had a copy of The Leopard lying around for ages, but then when I saw that David Horovitch was narrating the audio version, I just had to spend an Audible credit to get that version, since I love everything he does, and he only puts his voice to some of the very best classic fiction out there (his latest project is The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I simply adored.) I'm sure this particular novel is great whichever format you read it in, but listening to Horovitch made it that much more special to me. I hope you find your copy soon, and if you don't, hurry and get one!

Thanks so much for bringing Poldark to my attention. If you hadn't made such a big deal about him I would probably has said, 'sounds neat, but I've got other books which are more pressing', and have waited years to get to him. Amazing entertainment, just perfect right now somehow, and I can see I'll want to continue with the series!

My dad's hands: I have very little information to go on from the photos I took of him. Somehow in all the shots, the hands are 'burnt out' (meaning the light was too strong on them so they appear practically white). I've already extrapolated quite a bit, but will find another photo from another photo session so I can work on them more, even if I have to invent something, because they DO look kind of flat right now.

Edited: May 14, 2015, 10:33pm

For those who haven't seen my post on FB, here is the drawing as it looked on the 5th of May, then the 11th (it's progressed further since, as I have the legs and coat almost finished by now, but I'll post another update at another time):


May 15, 2015, 3:10am

It's fascinating to watch the progress!

May 15, 2015, 7:25am

Happy Friday, Ilana! You are making fine progress on the drawing. It is really taking shape.

I am enjoying Babbitt but it is a slow read.

May 15, 2015, 9:37am

It is thrilling to watch the drawings evolve.

I might be tempted by that audio of The Leopard. I might be in the same boat as you -- I know I have it, but where is it????

May 15, 2015, 2:06pm

Everyone's enjoying Ross Poldark so much that I think I'll give it a reread. I read the first four books in the series ages and ages ago when the first series was on the TV.

Edited: May 15, 2015, 2:56pm

Thanks for the wonderful comments about my drawing-in-progress! As I was just saying to a friend a moment ago, I'll probably be finishing my father's portrait rather soon, as I've been wanting to do a 'non finito' (meaning 'unfinished') piece in that series from the start, and this smaller format lends itself well to that exercise. In this case, I will likely work in all the detail I can on my father and the central part of the image and leave the rest just sketched in, though I'll make the rest of the drawing more visible by strengthening the lines and maybe putting a bit of detail here and there.

I'm likely to continue working on the metro series for a number of years still, as I want to put together a large collection of portraits. I've already got MANY photos of interesting strangers to work from, but have also started asking people I know to pose for me in the metro to add to the mix. I'm really having fun with it, but as I mentioned to this friend who is considering a commission for a pet portrait, I'm happy to take on paying work as a priority and continue my own projects in between, as the added revenue is always welcome! So if anyone is interested in getting a personalised piece from me, just ask! :-)


In audiobooks, I started listening to Maurice Druon's The Iron King, the first part of a series on medieval rulers in France, but it took several chapters to realise that somehow these are all mixed up, which explains why I found the story so confusing to follow for a third of the way! What was misleading was the first three chapters were fine, but the rest was all jumbled, and I couldn't figure out if the author had meant to jump from one thing to another until I restarted the book and paid closer attention. I've re-ordered the CD from the library and will make a fresh start when I can.

May 15, 2015, 3:03pm

>101 connie53: Connie, I like to see works in progress too, which is why I started taking photos and scans of my own work at different stages. Then I always have fun looking at the different steps and imagining how the work might develop in different ways.

>102 msf59: Hi Mark! Happy Friday to you too my dear. I'll be getting to Sinclair Lewis this month for sure, and maybe join you for Babbitt, as I've planned both that books and Elmer Gantry too; we'll see if I have time to fit them both in.

>103 sibylline: Lucy, I definitely recommend getting the audio version of The Leopard. I'm progressively acquiring all the recordings David Horovitch has worked on; there are only 14 books read by him available on Audible so far, but I keep looking out for more!

>104 SandDune: Hi Rhian! I guess the new TV series based on the Poldark books is partly what is getting some people to revisit it. I don't get cable TV anymore, so won't likely see it anytime soon, but am very happy to stick to the books for now. Do you think you'll continue beyond the initial four books eventually?

May 15, 2015, 3:45pm

Howdy Ilana! It's been forever since I've been by. I barely manage to visit my own thread except for spurts at a time. I hope all is well with you.

Poor Coco! I almost lost my Freddy recently due to bowel obstruction but he the old guy made it through surgery and seems to be recovering nicely.

May 16, 2015, 1:45pm

Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying Ross Poldark? Am halfway through the book and finding it so hard to put down during my nightly reading sessions. Thanks a million again to Peggy, who was the first person to bring the series to my attention some months back, when she was very enthusiastic about revisiting the novels. As I was just now mentioning on Joe's thread, I'm pretty much sold on reading all following 11 books, which I've just now requested the library for purchase as audiobooks and ebooks (the first 3 books were just released on audio).

Yesterday I got my hands on the audio version of The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye, the final book in the Timothy Wilde trilogy, which I'll probably listen in coming days. Also got The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman which came highly recommended by Suzanne a short while back. Both should do fine for M&M, even though I had plenty of other books planned already!

Must now go to H&R Block for a very belated appointment to take care of my very much overdue tax papers. I always manage to file them late. Not a good thing of course, but I'll be rid of it soon enough. I've got Pierre to thank for gently nudging me to get it done and over with.


>107 luvamystery65: Lovely to get a visit from you Roberta! I've not been active on the threads either, including my own, so it's always appreciated to get any sort of visitors!

Please don't worry about Coco, he's recuperated wonderfully between the acupuncture treatments and Gabapentin and is now in great shape, enjoying our long walks and running around, though I do spare him by carrying him up and down stairs and furnitue and picking him up during our walks when he shows signs of tiring. I'm glad your Freddy is recovering well from his troubles. We do love our furry kids so, don't we? xx

May 17, 2015, 11:43pm

Love the progress in your drawing, watching the defined person coming forth from the sketch.
I remember we talked briefly once about watching the Arab movie on Israel TV every Friday afternoon back in the early 1980s. I just read this article about the Israeli penchant for the Arab movie back then:

>90 Smiler69: Your comments on Lost City of Z not going down well at dinner time reminds me of when I started watching a French crime show, Spiral, while eating dinner. The first 15 minutes were particularly not suited to watching while eating anything. It's taken me a few weeks to sit through the opening sequence a second time but now I'm quite into the show.
My daughter is currently making her way through The X-files, she's arrived at season 2 so will be at it for a while yet.

>105 Smiler69: I remember being completely confused by an audiobook about the history of Jerusalem, I had my iPod set to shuffle at the time.

I'll have to try Poldark at some stage, currently I'm besotted with Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series.

May 18, 2015, 1:43pm

>109 avatiakh: Kerry, thanks for that article! I was definitely one of the regular watchers on Friday afternoons—just loved all that melodrama and piquancy—the tragic storylines especially appealed to me because there was always some unsavoury business lurking; for some reason I especially remember storylines featuring the Oedipus complex in various guises. Somehow this seemed to recur over and over again. The musical comedies didn't appeal to me so much, except when a belly dancer was featured of course! :-)

I really loved The Lost City of Z and think it'll make the cut among my favourites this year, but I all too often listen while I'm preparing meals and eating (when Pierre and I have our 'single' nights), and with some books, the timing of meals and audio has been disastrous, and this one in particular was memorable for being especially nauseating. Maybe if I'd been eating a vegetarian meal that day it wouldn't have affected me so badly, I wonder? But the combination of nefarious bug infestations and cannibalistic practices in all their complex manifestations was quite over the top and would probably not have mixed well with any food intake whatsoever! I don't quite understand now why I didn't simply put the earphones aside...

I did think my phone might have been on shuffle when the storyline of The Iron King became irremediably confused, but no. I think I must have numbered the tracks wrongly when I copied the CD. I hope the library gets that audiobook to me very soon so I can start over again, because I found what bits I could make out of of the story really fascinating.

I'd say Poldark and Harry Hole are probably universes apart from each other. I haven't started the Harry Hole series yet, but I've seen you posting about wanting to get through it this year, and it seems you've been making lots of headway! I don't know that it'll be feasible for me to finish all 12 Poldark books in 2015, but I'm definitely committed to completing the series at some point!

Edited: May 18, 2015, 2:16pm


I just saw in my inbox that NYRB are publishing a new edition of Elizabeth Taylor's A View of the Harbour. I'd jump on a copy, but I've already got a lovely one on my tbr from Virago (VMC designer edition). Guess I'll have to put it higher on the reading pile!

A View of the Harbour
Elizabeth Taylor
Introduction by Roxana Robinson

Hailed by Antonia Fraser as "one of the most underrated novelists of the twentieth century," Elizabeth Taylor was much admired by Kingsley Amis, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Barbara Pym, Robert Liddell, and Elizabeth Jane Howard. She wrote brilliant fiction that was sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes witty, and always singularly perceptive. A View of the Harbour is Taylor's unsparing look at a seedy seaside town and the sexual and emotional tensions that preoccupy its inhabitants. Beautifully observed, Taylor’s novel examines the lies and truths around which we build our lives.

"Taylor records the family dramas, the overtakings of the soul by passion, in precise and luminous language, dealing an exquisite double blow of beauty and pain." —Roxana Robinson, from the introduction

In addition to A View of the Harbour, NYRB Classics also publishes Taylor's short story collection You'll Enjoy It When You Get There, and the novels Angel and A Game of Hide and Seek. For a limited time, all titles by Elizabeth Taylor will be 35% off.

May 19, 2015, 4:52am

So happy you are enjoying Poldark so far! I've just finished Jeremy Poldark which is book #3, a bit darker than the first two books but still very good. Who would have thought tin and copper mining could be so fascinating?! I will add my thank you to Peggy for the push to read these wonderful books.

>111 Smiler69: I do like the NYRB cover of A View of the Harbour and that was one of my favourite Taylor's when we did the Virago read. Of course the Virago designer cover is also very pretty :-)

Edited: May 21, 2015, 2:14pm

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham ★★★★¾

I stayed up very late for a few nights reading the first book in this series, and just finished it last night. Somehow I vastly increased my reading speed with this novel from nearly 2 mins/page nearly by half—to just 1 minute and a few seconds! (my normal rate in much younger days). Not sure how that happened, but I'm hoping it carries over with other books, though I suspect it has a lot to do with reading interest and a narrative you don't want to pull away from even for a mere moment!

Of course this doesn't constitute much of a review, or if it even is one, which I doubt, but, in my defence, other than rehashing the book synopsis and expressing how excited I was about this novel I don't feel I have much to add; and as the former can be found everywhere and others have already done a great job of interpreting their take on the story, I think my job is done. I hope I did manage to get across how much I enjoyed it and will add that I'm seriously considering reading the whole series in short order, as I have it from knowledgeable sources that all the following 11 books are of equal quality of writing and period detail.

Can't wait to continue on with Demelza now... I may get it from the library, if they have it, but more likely will opt for the Kindle version, which is reasonably priced at $8 CAD; must say though I much enjoyed holding the physical book in my hands with the first book however, and yet they DO have the first three books available on audio, newly released, so have yet to decide on the format to continue with. Decisions, decisions... :-)

4.5 stars, being one of my favourite reads this year, which I will likely revisit in future.

eta: upgraded rating from 4.5 to 4.75

Edited: May 20, 2015, 2:30pm

>112 souloftherose: Hi Heather, I'm being so bad about reviews these days, aren't I? I just feel, in my defence with this latest book, I don't have much to say about Ross Polark, other than just rehashing the book synopsis and expressing how excited I was about it, and as the former can be found everywhere, I think my job is done; but I hope I did manage to get across how much I enjoyed it! Do you think you'll continue with all 12 books now you've gotten through a quarter of the series?

Very glad NYRB are releasing a 3rd book by Elizabeth Taylor, I have the other two from them, Angel and A Game of Hide and Seek. Loved the first, not so much the second, but have so many more on the tbr I really need to make room for her, as she is a great writer. This new publication can only increase her visibility, something which she much deserves after all these years.

Edited: May 20, 2015, 2:32pm

* Any help with helping me reach 150 post by month's end would be much appreciated, as I wouldn't mind starting a new thread with new visuals for June... *

May 20, 2015, 3:12pm

Pierre just sent me a link to a French blog post entitled "The Ten Most Beautiful Libraries in the World" (

I'll probably post more images, but here is one for now:

Bibliothèque nationale de France – Paris

May 20, 2015, 3:26pm

Howdy Ilana!

May 20, 2015, 3:27pm

>113 Smiler69: I would much rather read how a book made someone feel or their reaction to it rather than a critical review. Don't get me wrong, I like reviews, but something about a gut feeling will steer me to a book any day.

May 20, 2015, 3:28pm

I remember Poldark series back in the day. I was young but that Robin Ellis was sure easy on the eyes. I definitely will get this series read but not today. ;-)

May 20, 2015, 3:29pm

I don't know if I told you that I am volunteering with a dog rescue that my friend started. I love it. I mostly transport dogs but I will be fostering a dog at the end of the month. She is mean little thing but she can also be quite sweet. Fingers crossed it works out with my Devilles. I'll keep you posted.

May 20, 2015, 3:30pm

I hope my talking on and on and on helps!

I'll be back later to continue to bore you with my chattering if you need it.

May 20, 2015, 5:21pm

I just started Ross Poldark, Ilana, and am having a similar positive response.

May 20, 2015, 7:24pm

I love it when you get excited, Ilana! LOL. Ross Poldark sounds really good. I always get a kick out of it, when a book I had never heard of, suddenly explodes on LT and all my pals are warbling, their little tails off! I hope I can find it on audio.

May 20, 2015, 7:26pm

I've been hearing very good things about The Fair Fight. I may have to hunt that one down. Sounds like my cuppa!

Can you believe I have never read Elizabeth Taylor?

...but I do LOVE her movies. Grins...

Edited: May 20, 2015, 7:48pm

>117 luvamystery65: to >121 luvamystery65: Hi Roberta, so lovely to hear from you! And thanks for helping fill up my thread too! :-)

I'm curious to watch both the original series and the one they'll be releasing soon, but would want to read all the books beforehand to avoid all the spoilers, since as I understand it the series covers all the novels as far as content. Let's see how long it takes me to actually complete all the books now...

Good for you for volunteering at your friend's dog rescue! I thought of fostering cats and dogs too at some point, but now find that three are enough of a handful, especially as they all expect quite a lot of affection from me, and wouldn't want them to feel little 'strangers' are stealing their thunder. I did try to foster Little Ben last year, but that didn't go so well because of his health problems. But I'm definitely always happy to hear of others who are doing it—best of luck with your mean little friend! ;-)

May 20, 2015, 7:57pm

>122 jnwelch: So glad you're enjoying Ross Poldark, Joe. I think it's the kind of book that easily becomes an instant-favourite among many readers who discover it. Winston Graham just spins such a good yarn, and you can't help getting attached to the characters. In this case, I'm very glad there are lots more books to look forward to in the series!

>123 msf59: Hi Mark! I know eh? I love it too when suddenly it seems like everyone on LT has discovered a book which isn't recently published at the same time. All the excitement that generates is positively contagious! I've asked the library to purchase the audio version of all three first books, and they've just sent me one of their standard approval forms, which always states: "Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec will acquire this title if it is available in audio digital format and if the publisher grants the rights specifically related to library loans." Sometimes they get the books within a couple of weeks when they are recent publications, so I'm very excited to see whether my wish will come true. I've suggested a whole whackful of other new publications on audio which they've similarly conditionally approved today, so I can't wait to see what comes in in the next few weeks!

Edited: May 20, 2015, 8:01pm

>124 msf59: I tried to get the touchstone to point to, but somehow can't seem to make it happen. But I'm sure you knew that's the one I was talking about, right?? ;-)

No big surprise you haven't read her yet, since she was completely unknown to me until a couple of years ago when the Virago group decided to devote a year to her books (probably back in 2012, which would have been her 100th birthday anniversary), reading them by date of publication. This got quite a few people on LT talking about her work at the time. I think she is probably not very well known other than by a small fan base, which is growing larger all the time now, in no small part thanks to NYRB who've been republishing some of her works in the past couple of years. I forgot to mention I also have NYRB's recently released (in 2014) volume called You'll Enjoy It When You Get There: The Stories of Elizabeth Taylor. I know you enjoy short story collections, so I thought I'd mention it.

eta: just noticed that story collection was selected by this month's female BAC author, Margaret Drabble.

May 20, 2015, 9:17pm

"The Stories of Elizabeth Taylor " sounds like a good place to start, Ilana. I will have to check with my library.

I do not think I will get to a Drabble this month but I did just finish a Martin Amis. I had mixed feelings about it.

May 20, 2015, 9:24pm

I put a library request in for A View of the Harbour. They also had You'll Enjoy It When You Get There but it is over 400 pages, so I want to go with the shorter work. Looking forward to it.

May 20, 2015, 11:32pm

I am THRILLED to see new *Poldark* fans in the making - and THRILLED that you're so enthusiastic. They are complete, satisfying entertainment, and I don't quite know how they slipped out of popular view. I could say the same about E. Taylor on another level. Count me as a great and devoted fan of A View of the Harbor. I haven't reread it, but I certainly hope to have another couple of times with it while I still have book, eyes, and mind to appreciate it.
I'm also a Drabble fan more than a Byatt fan although I like Byatt too. And I've read one M. Amis, London Fields, which I liked O.K. and maybe one Kingsley..........or maybe I just meant to read K.
Who knows?
Give Coco a pet for me and have a good evening!

May 21, 2015, 7:29am

Sweet Thursday, Ilana!!

May 21, 2015, 9:59am

I join Mark in Sweet Thursday greetings, Ilana!

Ross just met Demelza . . . How am I supposed to work today?

Edited: May 21, 2015, 8:41pm

My, all I had to do was ask! Thanks so much friends for helping fill up my thread! :-D

I started on a book that's been sitting on the tbr since 2008, a few years before I joined this group. The BAC has finally given me the best excuse to pick up The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble, the only book by this author currently in my possession. I'd added it to my wishlist years ago, after I'd created a wishlist on my then very active blog ( after culling through all the "Best Of" lists I could find, from Nobel Prize laureates, Booker Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, the 1001 Books lists, etc, making a list of approx 150 books I felt I needed to read in this lifetime. Of course the list has grown exponentially since I joined this group and am now also trying to make my way through the Guardian 1000 list.

Back to The Red Queen, I got hooked in right from the prologue, as Margaret Drabble has based herself for this biographical fiction on various translations of The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea. Now of course I'm dying to get my hands on that book too and have suggested it as a library purchase, since it's nearly impossible to find a good copy at much less than $30, including the Kindle version. Am now just 30 pages in with the Drabble book, so we'll see how I find it going forward, but so far, so very good.


Edited: May 21, 2015, 8:56pm

>128 msf59: Which Martin Amis book did you read Mark? I've got his latest, The Zone of Interest planned, and I'm also curious about London Fields since it's on the Guardian 1000 list, among others.

>129 msf59: I'll gladly join you for A View of the Harbour. I have lots of Elizabeth Taylor books on the tbr, and it's been too long since I read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, which I found amazing enough to put it on my 'Best of 2014' list.

>130 LizzieD: Petting to Coco delivered Peggy. I'm SO glad I decided to read Ross Poldark sooner than later. Hoping the library acquires all the other books, as a 12-books series represents quite an investment!

So far I've read 4 Elizabeth Taylor novels (have 6 more on the tbr), and loved them all, save for A Game of Hide and Seek. Maybe I'll revisit that one after I've read all the others and find something to enjoy about it.

>131 msf59: This day has been a bit all over the place Mark. It started out fine, then I hit a serious slump after talking to a couple of insurance companies (no surprise there, as they always play on your worst fears to sell you their policies), and then Pierre came over and made me feel 100% percent better with his flurry of small attentions and generally pleasant company (as well as a very good dinner accompanied by a nice white wine). Hope you've had a good Thursday too. I'll be capping it off with the latest episode of Game of Thrones and a drawing session before Pierre's regular night visit for tea and dessert, followed by a late walk for Coco.

>132 jnwelch: Ross just met Demelza . . . How am I supposed to work today?

I can't tell you how wide that made me smile, Joe! You've got plenty more to get excited about with this novel. I'm so glad you're reading it and enjoying it so much. That stuff is to good too keep for oneself.


Off to watch episode 6 of A Game of Thrones: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.

May 21, 2015, 11:13pm

(Actually, Ilana, I'm happy to tell you that there are 13 books in the *Poldark* saga. Graham added the last one many years after finishing #12. It's called Bella Poldark and deals with Ross and Demelza's youngest daughter, an opera singer.)
Meanwhile, good for Pierre and good for Coco!

May 22, 2015, 7:12am

Happy Friday, Ilana! What did you think of the latest GOT? The rape scene has caused quite a fuss in the states. I thought they handled it well. Poor Sansa!

May 22, 2015, 1:45pm

I finished The Fatal Flame last night. It was so good. I didn't want it to end. I want more adventures with Timothy Wilde. It's a trilogy so I am sad its over. I hope she changes her mind one day.

May 22, 2015, 2:19pm

>135 LizzieD: Peggy, I'm only too happy to find out there's one more book in the Poldark Saga, but a bit confused; I've based myself on the series page here on LT ( where only 12 books are listed. Might they be missing one there?

I must say I was feeling very much down in the dumps yesterday after those insurance people finished working on all my worst fears. Logically I knew very well what they were up to and thought I was able to 'handle it', but the physical depression that hit me was beyond my strength—the kind that can sometimes loom over me for days and sap me of the will to live, and I can't emphasise enough how much difference Pierre made after I told him how low I was. I was telling so as a warning to stay away for the day, but he on the contrary decided to come right over to cheer me up and get me thinking of other things and then talk things over when I needed to, so I ended up having a lovely evening, against all expectations. Better than any therapist I've had for sure. I must say I adore him when he's like that, which happens to be a lot of the time.

>136 msf59: Thanks Mark, Happy Friday to you too! Pierre had warned me he had seen people talking online about a major spoiler about GOT this week, and of course when I got to the end of the show I knew that's what it had to be. Apparently fans of the books are incensed that the HBO people have added this scene which isn't at all part of the books. I thought it was really awful, but as you say, well handled and more mentally disturbing than graphically obscene (thank goodness!). I did think it was perfectly in keeping with the character, who is an unrepentant sadist. Thing is—and I've been wondering about this since the previous season—I can't remember this Bolton heir or any of his doings with Theron and his various torture and killing sprees at all in the book. Did they make him up from scratch or what??

>137 luvamystery65: Roberta, I'll be finishing The Fatal Flame today, with about 90 minutes to go now. I'm glad you enjoyed the last book so much. I'm somehow not as keen about this final instalment so far though, I'm sorry to say. Can't figure out if it's the narrator change that's bothering me, but he's making Timothy sound like even more of a sop than he probably actually is, and I'm finding it more difficult to sympathise with him this time, mostly because he's coming through for me as more preachy somehow. Again, I think it might have a lot to do with the the narrator, but I can't be sure. It's a great yarn for sure and plenty entertaining. I also find it hard to believe Lyndsay Faye is really going to end the series there, as it seems it could go on for quite a while still, but maybe she was looking forward to moving on to another project?

May 22, 2015, 6:45pm

I'm happy to read how good Pierre is to and for you!
And, you're right. I went back and counted only 12 Poldarks too. Who knows what happens in the Lizzie brain?

May 22, 2015, 6:52pm

Hi, Ilana! Honestly, I do not remember this Bolton character much. It has been many years since I read the books.

I am so glad you are enjoying The Fatal Flame. I NEED to get to Book 2. Bad Mark.

May 24, 2015, 4:03pm

>114 Smiler69: 'Do you think you'll continue with all 12 books now you've gotten through a quarter of the series?'

Definitely :-)

>133 Smiler69: Glad to hear you're enjoying The Red Queen which is one I have seen other positive comments about this month. I've really enjoyed The Millstone so will definitely be looking out for more books by Drabble.

May 24, 2015, 4:07pm

>134 Smiler69: Yay for Pierre!

>138 Smiler69: I am several series behind on the GOT TV series but I do vaguely recall a rather horrible Bolton character from the books.

May 24, 2015, 5:43pm

I am so happy that people are rediscovering the Poldark series. I devoured these books about 10 years ago and have seen bits of the original TV series, but I am looking forward to revisiting the Poldarks with the new TV series. From my memory, the series stays consistently good and are really fun to read.

May 25, 2015, 4:59pm

Yay for Pierre, and yay for the Poldark series! Glad things are looking up just when they seemed on a downswing, Ilana.

I'm having a kind of oddball intermezzo reading time, with Artificial Absolutes and The Chimes. So far I'm enjoying the sci-fi space opera of the first, and I'm still working my way into the second, a recommendation of our NZ friend Alex.

May 25, 2015, 8:17pm

I am just swinging through and saying hi! I am loving A God in Ruins!! Just sayin'...

May 25, 2015, 8:36pm

Just sayin! LOL! I love when people say that when they like something but it's annoying when they are trying to tell you that you are wrong about something. Just my not so humble opinion.

Another post to help you on your goal for the month dear Ilana. ;-)

May 25, 2015, 8:37pm

BTW I did not like any of the narrators for the Timothy Wilde series. I'm glad I read them because I just need to hear that voice in my head that sounds like Timothy. Yes, I am a bit mad.

May 26, 2015, 4:00am

Almost there...

May 26, 2015, 4:53am

>146 luvamystery65: Is there a monthly post goal? Hope this helps :-) Thanks for visiting my thread. I have been rather put off Poldark by all the nonsense surrounding the new BBC version's hero (and his stripped back farming) but fun to see the enthusiasm spread across the threads.

May 26, 2015, 5:12am

>149 charl08: I watched the first two episodes of the BBC series and then gave up on it - personally I think the books are much better.

May 26, 2015, 11:07am

>149 charl08: >150 souloftherose: Heather, that weighs heavily with me. I doubt I'll bother with the new version. The first series was perfectly cast except maybe for Ross (I never liked Robin Ellis), and a wonderful thing in itself. The books are better.......... It's the same for me as The Enchanted April. Book is better, but the movie was a grand movie.
Hi, Ilana!

May 26, 2015, 1:10pm

>149 charl08: No I think Ilana is just ready for a new thread next month and was hoping to get to the 150 mark before the end of the month. Looks like we got her there.

May 26, 2015, 5:20pm

Hi Friends! Beautiful summer day here in Montreal, which isn't taken for granted, as the weather's been all over the place. As a matter of fact, finding it TOO hot today, and Coco was dragging when I took him outside, so have started up the AC. All or nothing in these parts!

Still rolling along nicely with The Red Queen. Since I was forewarned thanks to other readers that the second part offered a stark contrast to the first, I'm able to enjoy it for what it is, or I would otherwise have lamented the change of voice from the Princess Consort to the narrative of a modern-day professor who is affected by her reading of the Princesses's diaries while travelling to Southern Korea for a conference. Very interesting, and a good start for me as far as discovering Margaret Drabble.

Just a few minutes left to finish off Child 44 on audio. I left it last night as was getting to bed v late and wanted to fit in some Drabble before sleep. Child 44 fitted in nicely for a TIOLI challenge calling for books with 'a creepy atmosphere', that's for sure! I'm not sure how else I feel about it otherwise. Very well written, and I hope I can get to Tom Rob Smith's The Farm soon too for M&M, as I've heard great things about it.

Thanks for all the help filling up my thread!
Answering messages next.

May 26, 2015, 5:32pm

>139 LizzieD: No troubles Peggy. I'm glad to know the LT information on the series is accurate, otherwise I would have happily made any changes necessary to update it.

>140 msf59: Hi Mark! You've been a help this past week, thanks! I actually ended up not so much loving The Fatal Flame. For one thing, I found it too melodramatic for my taste, but this was probably partly due the the narrator and the chances are I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read the book instead of listening to it, as Roberta did. I did enjoy the first two books though.

>141 souloftherose: Hi Heather! Thanks for the comment on Margaret Drabble. I'll definitely add The Millstone to my wishlist based on your comment here, though I hope maybe you'll have a chance to write a line or two about it on your own thread. Or maybe you have already and I need to catch up with you?

>142 souloftherose: Pierre is here right now doing odd jobs for me, which I can't say how much I appreciate. I'm terrible with little fix-it dingies and leave all kinds of things hanging if they're not essential to my well-being, so it's great having a man in my life who's handy as well as generally generous and caring. I think I'll read to him what I've just written here as I'm sure he'll appreciate the compliment (though he'll probably pretend he doesn't deserve it).

GOT has been very exciting this season. The Bolton boy has definitely taken over as the evil character you love to hate now that King Joffrey is gone. I'll maybe have to reread book 4 before moving on to A Dance with Dragons since I've forgotten so many details from the narrative.

>143 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for confirming that the series is great as a whole Judy, that's what other fans have said. I'm really happy to have discovered it, but at the same time, did I really need to add a 12-book series to the tbr? In this particular case, it's a resounding YES.

>144 jnwelch: Hi Joe, I haven't dipped into space operas yet, and hesitate to do so as it seems so far outside my comfort zone, but at the same time quite a few of my friends here enjoy them while also enjoying classics too, so I'll definitely have to soak a toe or two soon so I can get a feel for what the big deal is about.

May 26, 2015, 5:37pm

>145 msf59: Glad you're loving A God in Ruins Mark. I'm generally a fan of Kate Atkinson's, but unlike many people here, can't say I loved Life After Life, so it'll take me some convincing to fit it into my overloaded reading schedules.

>146 luvamystery65: Have to agree with you there Roberta! Thanks for the extra post, you've definitely been helpful in helping me start up a thread for June. It'll come in the next few days! :-)

>147 luvamystery65: See my comment to Mark above re: The Fatal Flame. Glad you enjoyed it. I think it has a lot of merit, but Kirby Heyborne really rubbed me the wrong way for this one.

>148 souloftherose: ;-)

>149 charl08: Charlotte, the only reason I asked for extra posting was so I could use the 'continue topic' feature, which kicks in at 150 posts. Don't let the Poldark TV series turn you off this wonderful saga! There's a good reason why so many of us are warbling about the novels!

>150 souloftherose: message noted. I don't think I'll make an effort to watch it, besides which I wouldn't want to before finishing all the books anyway.

>151 LizzieD: I loved The Enchanted April, both book and movie!

>152 luvamystery65: Looks like we got her there.

You sure did! :-D

May 26, 2015, 8:51pm

I am woefully behind on posting. So sorry to be out of touch with you. I love your opening images. I believe I've seen previous posts wherein you used images of this artist. What an incredible talent.

Thinking of you and sending hugs!

May 27, 2015, 11:37am

>154 Smiler69: If you decide to dip your toe into the space opera ocean, Ilana, I suggest the Vorkosigan series that you've probably seen other LTers reading. But it may not be your cuppa - very different from other genres!

May 27, 2015, 12:37pm

I quite second *Vorkosigan* series! I think that you'll be smitten. Of course, it is another series, but it's not like the decades and decades of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's *Liaden* series that some of us are also always reading and warbling about. What fun you're going to have if you take the plunge!

Edited: May 27, 2015, 2:37pm

>156 Whisper1: Hi Linda, lovely to see you here, and so glad you are well enough to be making the rounds.

I've just checked, and it looks like I've been posting images from Catrin Weiz Stein ( since my September 2014 threat. I keep thinking I should switch to something else, but then I keep finding more great images by her, and since I get to see my topper every day, sometimes several times a day as I update information here and look up my reading plans, I find I want to keep looking at her work which appeals to me on many levels. I guess it's the kind of work I imagine myself doing if I was to take to doing computer artwork. Very glad you like it, as I keep growing my CWS collection on Pinterest and there's lots more where it came from! :-)

>157 jnwelch: Joe, I've been surprised to see readers like our lovely Donna take to the Vorkosigan series, and got Shards of Honor on audio almost exactly a year ago (on May 26th). I guess I'll have to include in my monthly planning soon to find out for myself what everyone is getting so excited about.

>158 LizzieD: Peggy, the *last* thing I need it to add yet another series to my ongoing reading, but then, there's no getting around the fact that some stories are best enjoyed over many books and the desire to revisit favourite characters and situations. I'm of two minds about this particular series. On the one hand, I hope I love it too because so many people I like and whose reading I follow with interest (including you) are big fans, and on the other, if I don't take to it, it'll just mean one less series to take up the time I could devote to other books. Basically, it's a win-win situation! :-D

May 29, 2015, 1:45pm

>115 Smiler69: Ok, done! I'm looking forward to the new 'Poldark' dramatization and will get around to reading the books sooner or later.

Mark mentioned The Fair Fight. It surprised me and ended up being one of the best historical novels I've read in a long, long time. Initially the subject matter didn't interest me, but I downloaded a Kindle sample and was hooked--couldn't wait to continue reading it. I posted a review on the book's page and on my 75 Books Challenge and Club Read threads. Highly recommended!
This topic was continued by Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 4.