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Donna Is A Book Junkie! (5)

This is a continuation of the topic Donna Is A Book Junkie! (4).

This topic was continued by Donna Is A Book Junkie! (6).

75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Edited: Aug 31, 2015, 7:26pm Top

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. –Neil Gaiman

What books will you be dreaming along with this autumn?

Here is a short list of new books that I am anticipating:
The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series by David Lagercrantz (Knopf, Sept.) - Journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander are back in a fourth novel in the late Stieg Larsson’s mega-selling Scandinavian crime series

Coming in October:
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks: The author known for her abilities to bring history to life has turned her attention to David King of Israel. Taking the famous stories of his shephardic childhood, defeat of Goliath, and troubled rule as king, Brooks fills in the gaps and humanizes the legend in a saga of family, faith, and power.

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving (Simon & Schuster, Nov.) - Irving’s 14th novel relates what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, and how his past in Mexico collides with his future.

Hope loves going to Chick-Fil-A on Monday night to see the cow, work the tables, play with the other kids in the playroom, AND get a free book! You can see in the second picture that she is a Serious Reader!

Edited: Dec 5, 2015, 4:14pm Top

Books Read in December:
100. We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride. 4.3

Books Read in November:
92. Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold; read by Grover Gardner. 3.7
93. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates. 4.1
94. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. 4.1
95. The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. 4
96. Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. 3.9
97. The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson. 3.9
98. Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Glegg. 4.6
99. The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman. 4.1

Books Read in October:
82. The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness. 4⭐️
83. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Conner. 4
84. A Land More Kind than Home - Wiley Cash. 4.3
85. Kafka On the Shore - Haruki Murakami. 4.2
86. Our Spoons Came From Woolworths - Barbara Comyns. 3.4
87. Your Blue-Eyed Boy - Helen Dunmore. 3.7
88. Empire of the Summer Moon - S. C. Gwynne. 4.4
89. The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury. 3.8
90. The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks. 3.2
91. Etta and Otto and Russell and James - Emma Hooper. 4.1

Books Read in September:
75. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. 4.1⭐️
76. Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming. 4.1⭐️
77. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. 2.8⭐️
78. The Secret Place by Tana French. 3.3⭐️
79. 🏆Homestead by Ronia Lippi (reread). 4.2⭐️
80. The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. 4.1⭐️
81. The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman. 3.9⭐️

Books Read in August:
67. Mirror Dance by LM Bujold; read by Grover Gardner. 3.6 ⭐️
68. Some Luck by Jane Smiley. (read for Book Group) 3.7 ⭐️
69. Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry. 3.8 ⭐️
70. 🏆Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh. 4.6 ⭐️
71. The Shore by Sara Taylor. 4 ⭐️
72. One Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming; read by Suzanne Toren. 3.9 ⭐️
73. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. 4.2 ⭐️
74.Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson. 3.6 ⭐️

Books Read in July:
58. 🏆A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson. 4.5 ⭐️
59. Academy Street by Mary Costello. 4.2 ⭐️
60. People of Darkness by Tony Hillerman. 3.4 ⭐️
61. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. 4.2 ⭐️
62. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; audio read by Josh Cohen. 4 ⭐️
63. The Little Free Library Book by Margaret Aldrich. 3.8 ⭐️
64. The Short History Of A Prince by Jane Hamilton. 3.7 ⭐️
65. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold. Audio by Grover Gardner. 3.7 ⭐️
66. Dewey: The Library Cat by Vicki Myron. 4 ⭐️

Edited: Oct 29, 2015, 12:22pm Top


There are so many worthy choices on LT that it's hard to narrow my challenges down to a manageable few. This year my reading will be guided by TIOLI (Take It Or Leave It) as it has been for the past five years. I love this no-pressure group with varied challenges each month that inspire me to read my books on the shelf and library holds as they come in.

I was a completist in Mark's American Author Challenge in 2014 and was very happy to see twelve new authors lined up for the new year. I'll do my best, but as I am also pondering Paul's new British Author Challenge, I'll probably have to make compromises some months.

I am looking forward to the Hillerman/Longmire Project. I am listing the books here to help me keep track of them:
January - The Blessing Way ✔️
February - The Cold Dish ✔️
March - Dance Hall of the Dead ✔️ (Read in 2013)
April - Death Without Company ✔️
May - Listening Woman ✔️
June - Kindness Goes Unpunished ✔️
July - People of Darkness ✔️
August - Another Man's Moccasins ✔️
September - The Dark Wind
October - The Dark Horse
November - The Ghostway
December - Junkyard Dogs

American Author Challenge 🇺🇸

Carson McCullers- January: The Member of the Wedding ✔️
Henry James- February: The Turn of the Screw ✔️
Richard Ford- March: The Lay of the Land ✔️
Louise Erdrich- April: Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country ✔️
Sinclair Lewis- May: Babbitt ✔️
Wallace Stegner- June: Angle of Repose ✔️
Ursula K. Le Guin - July: The Dispossessed ✔️
Larry McMurtry- August - Dead Man's Walk ✔️
Flannery O' Connor- September: A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Ray Bradbury- October: The Halloween Tree
Barbara Kingsolver- November
E.L. Doctorow- December: Ragtime

British Author Challenge 🇬🇧 (Not a Purist)
January Penelope Lively: Family Album ✔️
Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day ✔️
February Sarah Waters: The Little Stranger ✔️
Evelyn Waugh: Scoop ✔️
March Daphne Du Maurier: Jamaica Inn ✔️
China Mieville
April Angela Carter:
W. Somerset Maugham: The Razor's Edge ✔️
May Margaret Drabble: The Pure Gold Baby ✔️
Martin Amis
June Beryl Bainbridge: The Birthday Boys ✔️
Anthony Burgess:
July Virginia Woolf: Jacob's Room - DNF
B.S. Johnson
August Iris Murdoch:
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock ✔️
September Andrea Levy:
Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses
October Helen Dunmore: Your Blue-Eyed Boy
David Mitchell:
November Muriel Spark:
William Boyd: An Ice Cream War
December Hilary Mantel:
P.G. Wodehouse:

Edited: Nov 30, 2015, 4:00pm Top

Read a Book:

1. Set in a country other than my own: Through Black Spruce - 3/3
2. That is a Genre Bender: The Book of Strange New Things - 7/18
3. That reminds me of my childhood
4. Chosen by someone else: Radiance of Tomorrow (chosen by Book Group - 3/7
5. Where an animal is of importance: The Bees - 5/22

6. With correspondence or letters: The Season of Migration - 3/11
7. That I've owned for more than one year: Christine Falls - 1/5
8. Translated from a language I don't speak: A Man Called Ove - Swedish - 2/8
9. Centered around a major historical event: The Ghost Road - WWI - 1/2/15
10. Published in 1915: The Good Soldier - 4/26

11. Where prophecies or portents are part of the plot: The Blessing Way - Navajo beliefs - 1/18
12. With scientists: The Sparrow
13. CAT - Stands for Category Challenge - FREE Space!
14. Whose author shares an ancestor's first name: H Is For Hawk - Helen MacDonald
15. With a natural disaster

16. With a mythical creature: At The Water's Edge - Loch Ness Monster - 4/29
17. With an LGBTQ character: Stuck In the Middle With You - 1/8
18. By an LT author - Brighton Rock by Graham Greene - 8/29
19. About language: Lexicon - 2/12
20. That is completely outside my comfort zone: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? - Graphic Memoir - 2/2

21. About Autism: The Girl in the Spider's Web
22. Inspired by another piece of fiction: The Catcher in the Rye, inspired by My Salinger Year - 4/2
23. On a subject I'm unfamiliar with: Euphoria - anthropology of indigenous tribes of New Guinea - 1/30
24. Based on a fairy tale or myth: The Crane Wife - 10/1
25. With a protagonist of the opposite gender: The Cold Dish - 2/6.

Thank you to the Category Challenge Group for coming up with the Bingo card and the interesting challenges.

Just as in last year's Random House Bingo game, some of these squares will be difficult for me to fill. I plan to read in my usual sort-of-planned but mostly spontaneous way and fill in the spaces accordingly.

Aug 31, 2015, 6:49pm Top

So that's how it's done. I wondered. Just grab those box seats at the top. Neat!

Aug 31, 2015, 7:17pm Top

Aug 31, 2015, 7:21pm Top

>5 weird_O: I learned to reserve beginning posts from the pros around LT.
Here you go, Bill. The best seat in the house is reserved for my first visitor!

Edited: Aug 31, 2015, 7:24pm Top

>6 thornton37814: I read it more than a few times the week I was out in Colorado, Lori! I think Hope would give it 5 🌟!

Aug 31, 2015, 7:22pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna! I am also looking forward to The Secret Chord and the new Irving. I am waiting on the sidelines, for the LT response to the new Millennium Series book. Don't worry, I have plenty to keep me busy...

Aug 31, 2015, 7:36pm Top

Happy New Thread, Donna. Love the pics.

Aug 31, 2015, 7:39pm Top

Happy new thread! I love the Gaiman quote and the topper! And cute Hope with her books. :)

I'm still working on a 900+ page US History and I've got some books on the shelf I want to get to. On this rainy September morning, I am looking forward to summer reading and hoping we'll have the weather for it soon!

Edited: Aug 31, 2015, 7:47pm Top

>9 msf59: I'm not a bit worried about your reading, Mark. I have been breathing your dust all year! I took your stance about the new Lisbeth Salander novel with Go Set A Watchman. So far I haven't read anything that makes me want to read it. I read "The Girl Who…" books for pure fun, but To Kill A Mockingbird is my gold standard among books.

>10 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! I imagine Scout likes to read, too. I can't believe she is already 2. Hope's second birthday isn't until November 23.

>11 nittnut: Summer reading is still going strong here, Jenn. I love to read outside! I am very impressed with your 900-page history book!

Edited: Aug 31, 2015, 8:08pm Top

>7 Donna828: Wow. I am so honored.


Does that thing recline? Where's the table for my cappuccino? And cookies? Where's the bookcase for my reading? I'm going to need a good reading lamp.

I'm sorry. Is this being ungrateful?

Aug 31, 2015, 8:47pm Top

Happy new thread, Donna!

Aug 31, 2015, 9:55pm Top

>13 weird_O: Not ungrateful at all. We readers need our "stuff"! With me, it is a cool bookmark and some post-it notes. Snacks are also helpful in case I get the munchies.

>14 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

Aug 31, 2015, 10:08pm Top

Great new thread!

Hope does look like a serious reader! Good on her, Donna. What's that old adage about the apple and the tree, LOL.

Aug 31, 2015, 10:44pm Top

I love the picture and the quote at the top, Donna! And Hope just gets more adorable with every pic...those big, beautiful eyes! All of your grandkids seem to be avid readers...thanks to their book-loving Grandma!

Sep 1, 2015, 9:41am Top

What a perfect fall book picture! Happy new thread, Donna!

Sep 1, 2015, 11:32am Top

Congrats on the new thread, Donna! Love the dream book image up top, and the pics of Hope.

Publishers Weekly gave a quite positive review of The Girl in the Spider's Web. I'm looking forward to that one, too. I miss Lisbeth Salander and Blomkvist. I was afraid the publisher/author would blow it in extending the series, but this sounds like a worthwhile addition.

Sep 1, 2015, 12:17pm Top

Wow, what fabulous opening photos, Donna. Happy New thread.

Sep 1, 2015, 2:42pm Top

More great photos of Hope! And a beautiful opening picture and sentiment. Happy new thread, Donna!

I just received books from two of my favorite authors today, just published!

Sep 2, 2015, 9:07am Top

Hi Donna! Love the pictures of Hope with books (I won't go to Chick-Fil-A, but that's another story...).

You're doing well with your challenges. And we're still in the third quarter of the year! :-)

Sep 2, 2015, 9:49am Top

Happy new thread, Donna!

Sep 5, 2015, 9:12am Top

Just catching up. Glad you liked the first Smiley. I was just looking at it at a bookshop yesterday! Didn't bite that day, but I will sooner or later. Intriguing review of The Shore - yours is the second to praise it.

Sep 5, 2015, 8:46pm Top

>16 lit_chick: Ah, back to the ol' reading tree. Ha! Yup, that's me alright. I like to read under a tree and I don't mind being the tree that sprouts some little apples readers! Good analogy, Nancy.

>17 Nancy618: I hope all my grandchildren grow up to be lifelong readers, as I'm sure you do, Nancy. So far we're doing a great job. *Pats self on back* I hope you get to go to a bookstore with Emma while you're in Texas and help her pick out those new books for her birthday!

>18 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. I had fun choosing a fall image. It still looks like summer around here.

>19 jnwelch: I hope PW is on track with their favorable review of the new Lisbeth Salander book, Joe. I'd like to see the series continue.

>20 Ameise1: I'm glad you liked the pictures, Barbara.

>21 ronincats: Those are happy days when new books come in the mail. Good for you, Roni. I know you will enjoy them.

>22 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. I understand your feelings about Chick-Fil-A, but I go where Hope goes. She's in love with the cow! I'm right on track with my reading so far. Things will get busier here in another month or so. My reading always falls off as the year wanes.

>23 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

>24 sibyx: Lucy, I'm not sure I want to own the Smiley books but I am on the reserve list for the second one so I guess I will finish out the trilogy. Thanks for stopping by.

Sep 5, 2015, 9:25pm Top

Book No. 75: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. 4.2 stars.

"There's a term in the hood for a face like Tony's, that cold frozen stare. The ice grille. It's a great phrase. A look of blank hostility that masks two intense feelings--the fire evoked by grille (which is also slang for face), and the cold of the ice. But the tough facade is just a way to hide a deeper pain or depression that kids don't know how to deal with."

This book about two young black boys starting their lives at approximately the same time, with the same name, living a few blocks apart in Baltimore raised many unanswerable questions in last week's book group. Both boys were clever and ambitious and both boys were experiencing the enticement from the street gangs, but one went on to be a Rhodes Scholar and served his country as a decorated military officer while the other Wes is serving the rest of his life in prison for his part in the robbery that ended with a dead policeman. What makes two boys growing up under similar circumstances turn out so vastly differently?

As the author visits with the other Wes in prison, he thoughtfully searches for the answer to that question and others. He seems like a humble young man of great talents, and I'm so glad he will be visiting Missouri State next month to tell more of his story. This book was chosen as the book every freshman at the local university will read and discuss in some manner throughout their first college semester. Many of the students are from troubled urban centers in St. Louis and Kansas City and may have even had some of the same experiences in the book. After reading about the children consumed by the drug culture, my fervent hope is that many more will be rescued by strong family members or mentors who can take away the pain of growing up in poverty and encourage these kids to take advantage of every opportunity to better their lives.

Edited: Sep 5, 2015, 9:40pm Top

Book No. 76: Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming. 4.2 stars.

"You okay? Russ touches her neck, her shoulder, her leg, his mind already racing ahead to what they were going to do, stuck in the snow halfway between an armed meth head and their cabin, night coming on fast."

That's just the beginning of the problems Russ and Clare face on their honeymoon in a remote area in the middle of the worst ice storm Upper New York has experienced in many years. Their communication is cut off and travel is dangerous as they find out when they almost hit a deer and end up in a snowbank. And then there's the missing girl that the Millers Kill Police Department is searching for under these adverse conditions while their police chief is off gallivanting in the woods with his new wife. There are so many plot lines and twists and turns that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There is nothing slow about this book. Oh no! I came to the end and there is another cliffhanger. These series books are killing me!

Sep 6, 2015, 2:34pm Top

>26 Donna828: I loved The Other Wes Moore when I read it a year or so ago. Mr. Moore was at Chautauqua this summer and I heard him speak. He's amazing!! Don't miss him when he comes to town.

Sep 6, 2015, 6:40pm Top

>27 Donna828: I don't remember what the cliffhanger was exactly, but I remember there being one and her next book can't come quickly enough for me.

Sep 14, 2015, 2:22am Top

Happy New Thread Donna! Congrats on 75 and you got me with #76. Thanks! : )

Sep 14, 2015, 8:37am Top

Congrats on blowing past 75!

Sep 14, 2015, 9:00am Top

Congrats to you on reaching 75 already, Donna!

I keep meaning to try the Russ and Clare series. I have one or two of them.

Hope all is well. I know you're keeping busy!

Sep 14, 2015, 12:57pm Top

Congrats on 75, Donna. Well done :-D

Sep 14, 2015, 5:51pm Top

Kudos on 75!

Sep 15, 2015, 1:25pm Top


Sep 15, 2015, 1:33pm Top


Sep 15, 2015, 2:20pm Top

Congrats on the new thread and blowing past 75! The Other Wes Moore sounds like a good one.

Sep 15, 2015, 2:30pm Top

Congratulations on passing the 75 book mark!

Sep 15, 2015, 2:34pm Top

Congrats on passing the 75 milestone, and with such an inspitational book, too!

Sep 16, 2015, 12:35pm Top

It is heartwarming to visit my thread and see recent activity. It's fun to get some congratulations for reading 75 books. Thanks to Kimberly, Jim, Joanne, Barbara, Bill, Lori, Peggy, Mary, Roni, and Carrie.

>28 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks for the seal of approval, Reba. I have Wes Moore on the calendar for later next month. I'm looking forward to hearing him speak.

>29 lauralkeet: Laura, I agree that the series' books don't come quickly enough. I have a love and hate relationship with cliffhangers!

LibraryThing has taken a backseat in my life recently but it's still my go-to place when I have the time. Grandchildren and duplicate bridge have been taking up lots of my time along with chores around the house I've been putting off too long and more time with friends. The grands keep my life centered on what is most important to me and bridge keeps me humble! I did listen to a book last week when I was immersed in cleaning and painting...

Sep 16, 2015, 12:47pm Top

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. 2.8 stars.

I've been curious about this author. I probably won't bother with her other books unless I want something light for an in-between book. The setting on an Australian island was interesting, but the premise was based on a big lie that had gone on far too long in my opinion. I can't help but classify it in my mind as "chick lit" because Sophie was so focused on finding her perfect mate on the island after she inherited a house there. Ugh. Just not my thing but it did make my chores go quickly without taking up too much brain space and I rather liked the droll voice of the Australian narrator. Very soothing.

Sep 16, 2015, 7:08pm Top

Hi Donna, I'm joining with so many other to congratulate you on 75! Woot!

Sep 16, 2015, 8:06pm Top

>40 Donna828: I like your comments about the grands and bridge. Sounds like you have your priorities straight, Donna!

Sep 17, 2015, 2:12am Top

A very belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY - and slightly belated congrats on 75 books, Donna!

Aaawww, Hope is a reader already :))

Sep 17, 2015, 10:48am Top

>27 Donna828: I've read some of Julia Spencer Fleming's books. I very much like her writing style.

And, your opening image is wonderful!!!!

Sep 17, 2015, 11:31pm Top

Congratulations on the 75 books , Donna! I've wondered about Liane Moriarty too, and thanks for taking that book bullet for me. An author I won't rush to read!

Very much enjoyed Maisie Dobbs. I think you said you were a fan too.

Sep 18, 2015, 5:35am Top

>27 Donna828: Oh no! Another one. I guess I'll have to go see if my library has it.

Congratulations on getting to 75!

Sep 18, 2015, 12:40pm Top

>42 lit_chick: Thanks for that big YAY, Nancy!

>43 lauralkeet: Laura, my priorities about bridge could change any day, but Family is always #1 with me!

>44 Deern: Hi Nathalie! I'm late on everything around here lately, so belated wishes are perfectly fine with me. Thank you.

>45 Whisper1: Linda, I love autumn! And you never know what can pop out of a book, right?

>46 vancouverdeb: Deb, I have a feeling that the Moriarty book I read wasn't the place to start with her books. I might try one more before I give up on her as other people seem to like her books.

>47 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn. The latest Spencer-Fleming was a pretty good one with lots of typical Clare flakiness. She is an interesting character for sure.

Edited: Sep 18, 2015, 3:21pm Top

Book No. 78: The Secret Place by Tana French. 3.3 stars.

"…a place like this is riddled with secrets but their shells are thin and it's crowded in here, they get bashed and jostled against each other; if you're not super-careful, then sooner or later they crack open and all the tender flesh comes spilling out."

The place in the quote is the hidden cypress clearing on the campus of the posh St. Kilda's School for Girls on the outskirts of Dublin. A popular boy from the neighboring school was found there with his head bashed in about a year ago, but the killer is still on the loose. A note with a picture of Chris Harper and the caption, "I know who killed him," comes to the attention of Detective Stephen Moran by way of Holly Mackey, a student at St. Kilda's. They were both bit players in a previous book. This might just be the break that Moran needs to become a member of the coveted Dublin Murder Squad.

That's the setup, and it sounds okay, right? Well, the execution is a tough read, or at least it was for me, because we are totally immersed in the petty war between two cliques of spoiled schoolgirls and the author beats us over the head with teen-talk that reminded me of the Valley Girl days: 'Like, OMG, so not cool that you could like, you know, gag me with a spoon?' That is my version but a close one to the dialogue in the book. Believe me, it gets old, especially with the addition of gutter talk and texts.

If you can ignore or at least get used to the vernacular, you still have to overcome the "magic" tricks of Holly's posse…which served no purpose that I could see. Still, it is Tana French and there is a twisted plot to unravel so I wouldn't like, totally rule out this book, ya know? Just prepare yourself for a blast from the past!

Sep 19, 2015, 8:45am Top

Happy weekend, Donna.

Sep 19, 2015, 10:07am Top

>49 Donna828: A little surprised to see a Tana French with that low of a rating. I haven't managed to get to that one yet.

Sep 20, 2015, 8:12am Top

I haven't read that Tana French one either. Maybe someday...your review did not scream "read me now!" ; )

Sep 20, 2015, 2:26pm Top

*waves cast*

Sep 20, 2015, 7:13pm Top

I wasn't wild about that Tana French either. Not her best work.

Sep 20, 2015, 7:58pm Top

>50 Ameise1: What a lovely autumn picture, Barbara. It's beginning to feel a bit "fallish" here. I love the cooler mornings.

>51 thornton37814: I know, Lori. It was a big disappointment to me.

>52 Berly: Kim, I have enjoyed her other books a lot more than this one. I did like the alternating chapters that featured the young male detective with the seasoned but unpopular female detective. Too bad the other half of the book was about those silly girls!

>53 ronincats: Cast? That doesn't sound good, Roni. I'll be right over to see what's up with you.

>54 lauralkeet: Let's hope the next book is back on target, Laura.

Sep 20, 2015, 10:12pm Top

Book No. 79: Homestead by Rosina Lippi. 4.2 stars.

"The alp at Gunta Steeple, with its pastures and long, low structure--half barn, half living quarters--was the only thing of value left to Angelika and Johanna by their father; Angelika's half of the holding had gone to Hans when she married him. Even so it was the only place where Johanna felt at ease. From May to late September, when the snows drove her away, she had a home of her own. Now she would go back to sleep alone in the sparsely furnished rooms scoured clean by sharp, cold winds. She could wake at dawn in the generous silence of the Three Sisters and feel them wrapped around her like an embrace."

I loved my reread of these interconnecting stories of the women of rural Austria during the 1900s. They were far away from the two world wars that dominate the twentieth century but felt the results just the same as their men went to war and they were left to carry on the best they could. Lippi spent years in the area researching the life stories of the women. She wrote about fictional women but they seemed so real it is as though she was retelling the stories she heard.

I first read this book in 2006 and will keep it in my permanent library so I can read it again in another decade or so. The setting is different yet the alpine region of Austria reminds me of Norway, and I can sense that these women had the same hardships as my Norwegian ancestors endured. I came across this book while reading the majority of Orange Prize winners and shortlisted runners-up. The OP or Bailey's Prize for Women's Fiction as it is now known is a good source for the kinds of books about strong women that I enjoy. This one was shortlisted for the prize in 2001and is also the winner of The Pen/Hemingway Award. It's not a long book but it is rich in the dramas of village life that form the relationships between the families as they are affected by two wars and the growing modernization of their little world.

Sep 20, 2015, 10:46pm Top

I had a fun and busy weekend. Thursday was Haley's 5th Birthday. Unfortunately, she had strep throat and wasn't able to enjoy the day. She did go to the doctor and get some medicine so she could at least have some fun at her dance party on Saturday. Of course, I must share a few pictures…

She came over to share her germs with Grandma after her doctor's visit on her birthday!

Haley was gracious and read each card before she opened the present with it.
She got six Barbie Dolls--all different! Molly is wiggling out of her mother's arms to get to the presents!

Making her entrance from the castle. I love the two "token" boys peeking out from the background!
They performed several dances for their enthusiastic audience. So much fun!

Sep 20, 2015, 11:01pm Top

Today was the final kick-off for the library renovation fundraiser. There was lots of entertainment, a raffle (I won some tickets to Little Theatre), and a book signing by a local author who happens to be an old friend of mine…

We didn't have much time to visit because the book she wrote was so popular.

Isn't the cover lovely? Well, so is the story. From the back cover: "Sherry Lincoln's childhood home sat next to the Brentwood Library for forty-two years. Each time she visited the library, she always took a moment to reminisce and also to inspect it for changes as the house embraced new owners. In 2013, she noticed something peculiar: her house was gone. Puzzled and saddened, she inquired at the library, hoping someone would have information about why her house was "missing." Not only did the library manager have information, she had also been a part of the deconstruction effort, which was to provide land for the expansion of the library. Still saddened, but now wanting to hear more of the story, she contacted Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, MO, the organization that recycled every piece of the house, and learned that her house was not gone--it was everywhere, piece by piece incorporated into the homes of others."

Sep 20, 2015, 11:11pm Top

Hard to believe Haley is 5 already! Looks like a fun weekend in Springfield. . .

Sep 21, 2015, 12:30am Top

Loved Haley's birthday pics. So glad she felt better and could enjoy her party!

The Everywhere House sounds lovely!

Sep 21, 2015, 10:04am Top

Great pictures of Haley's birthday celebrations! And that's a great picture of you, Donna...I love your new haircut!

I'm anxious to read Sherry Lincoln's book...hopefully I can find someone who will lend it to me someday! ;-)

Sep 21, 2015, 10:52am Top

Donna, I always love to see photos of your grandkids! They're all so photogenic. Shame that Hayley had strep throat on her birthday, but glad she enjoyed herself in spite of it. Molly looks like a girl on a mission, trying to get away from mom!

Sep 21, 2015, 6:45pm Top

Hi Donna - I can't believe Haley is five! Thanks for sharing the photos of your beautiful girls. I've heard so many good things about Homestead; I should try to get to it soon.

Sep 22, 2015, 3:21am Top

Chiming in on all the love for the pictures of the grandkids. Feels like yesterday that you presented Haley's first pics here on LT. *sigh* :))
Happy Tuesday!

Sep 22, 2015, 11:02am Top

>59 brenpike: It was a fun week end, Brenda. How are things in Lawrence?

>60 coppers: Joanne, it was good to have an activity type of party for the kids. I think even the two boys attending had a good time with the hip-hop dance!

>61 Nancy618: My books are your books, Nancy. It won't take us long to read it but it will be fun to read about the neighborhood before the library was built. I still miss my long hair!

>62 lit_chick: Those girls are so much fun for me. Haley is starting to have a life of her own with Pre-Kindergarten, dance lessons, play dates, etc. I don't see her as often but Molly makes up for it.

>63 BLBera: Beth, I think you would love Homestead. It was even better the second time around. I enjoy sharing pics of my grands. They are growing up too fast!

>64 Deern: Nathalie, it seems like yesterday that Haley was born! My world got better when they moved here from Texas when she was 21 months old!. It hasn't slowed down since!

Sep 22, 2015, 11:53am Top

Love the photos of the grandkids and >58 Donna828: sounds like a charming book.

Sep 22, 2015, 1:23pm Top

Ahh, grandchildren. Gotta love 'em.

Sep 22, 2015, 7:52pm Top

Oh wow, Haley is five! So sorry she had strep though. I hope she's feeling better! I love the pics.

The Everywhere House sounds really neat.

Sep 23, 2015, 2:31am Top

>65 Donna828: Hi Donna. Things are good in Lawrence. 2nd birthday party coming up Saturday for Ollie, so fun times!

Sep 23, 2015, 6:36am Top

Hi Donna. I'm another person who can't believe that Haley is five already! Glad she felt well enough to enjoy her birthday party in the end.

Edited: Sep 23, 2015, 1:18pm Top

Howdy Donna! First, happy belated birthday to you. I hope your day was wonderful. Will go visit your previous thread to find out. Love photos of the grands.

I am currently in the middle of Faithful Place by Tana French and I'm loving it. I suppose The Secret Place will be a letdown afterwards. Good to have some warning.

Love the photo at the library fundraiser with you and your author friend.

I caught a book bullet with you #75 >26 Donna828:. Congratulations on your 75!

Sep 23, 2015, 9:07pm Top

Loving all the pictures!! Thanks for sharing.

Edited: Sep 23, 2015, 10:07pm Top

Hi Donna! Happy 75 and beyond to you! Love the pics up top of Hope with her book -- sweet little bookworm! I'm so sorry Haley had strep on her birthday -- that is so sad! But we've been through it also. Hope she is 100% again.

Two book bullets: Homestead and The Everywhere House. Thanks for the recommendations!

Edited to remove my attempt at touchstones. The Everywhere House comes up as Green Eggs and Ham:)

Sep 24, 2015, 11:41am Top

Ooh, Tana French! After his little part in Faithful Place, I rushed into Broken Harbor hoping the detective du jour would be Stephen. Since he wasn't there, I'm glad that I'll be finding him in The Secret Place, even if it IS a weaker work!

PS: Haley is adorable, even when she's sick!

Edited: Sep 24, 2015, 12:42pm Top

Hi Donna! How are you? Sorry, for the long delay. I miss my pal.

Congrats on hitting the Mighty 75! Always a fun milestone. (And this is your #75 post. How cool!)

It seems we had similar feelings about The Secret Place. Actually, I was disappointed in it, especially after Broken Harbor, which, might be my second favorite in the series.

Haley is getting to be such a big girl! Wow! They grow up so darn quickly.

Sep 25, 2015, 2:56pm Top

*waves cast*

Sep 25, 2015, 4:19pm Top

Homestead sounds great. I'm adding it to the pile. Loved the photos of Haley. Can't believe she's 5!
I think I need to read The Everywhere House too. I love the idea of the parts of the house being used all over. :)
Hope you have a lovely weekend.

>76 ronincats: Everywhere I go, you're there waving that cast around. What happened?

Sep 25, 2015, 5:09pm Top

Hi, Donna! How weird ~ I thought I'd already posted a comment on your newish thread but see I hadn't. Guess I've just been lurking all this time. :) Love the top image, and of course all the pics of the grandkids! Happy birthday belatedly to Haley. Love the pic of Molly squirming to get down and get her mitts on Haley's presents. What a cutie!

When you coming back this way next?

Oh, yes, and congrats on hitting 75!

Sep 26, 2015, 1:53pm Top

Hooray for lots of visitors!

>66 RebaRelishesReading: Glad you liked the photos, Reba. I'll let you know about the book my friend wrote. "Charming" is probably the best descriptor from the bits I've read so far.

>67 weird_O: Oh yes, grands are the best!

>68 bell7: I'm looking forward to reading The Everywhere House, Mary. I think the audience for the book will be mostly local but with some very good points about recycling in it. It's not too often that an entire house gets recycled!

>69 brenpike: Happy Birthday to Ollie! We are having Haley's family party today. It was postponed because she wasn't quite up to her natural exuberant self last week.

>70 souloftherose: Yes, the dance party was a big hit, Heather. The grownups got to get out on the dance floor and "shake their booties" for the grand finale!

>71 luvamystery65: Hey Roberta, it's good to see you here! The Secret Place may (or may not) be a letdown for you, but it's still Tana French and another good tale about the Dublin Murder Squad. I just wish she had toned down the teen-speak a bit and made them slightly more appealing. I still need to read this month's Hillerman book. I am loving that group even though I don't comment that much.

>72 Berly: I enjoy sharing my pictures with an appreciate audience, Kim!

Sep 26, 2015, 2:07pm Top

73: It's not surprising that The Everywhere House doesn't have a touchstone, Anne, as the appeal of it is mostly local. It is on Amazon, though, if anyone wants to read a sweet story about growing up in Springfield, Missouri! We had to work around several birthdays with sick kids when my three were little. I'm just glad Haley was over the contagious part of strep throat when she had her "friend" party last week. Tonight is the "family" party!

>74 countrylife: Stephen's role in The Secret Place was the best part of the book, Cindy! Haley doesn't get sick very often and, when she does, is a real trooper. I could only tell she didn't feel well because she was quieter and had those dark circles under her eyes.

>75 msf59: 75th Post = Very Cool, Mark! You've been a busy booker with Booktopia! I'm glad you had such a good time. Yes, I agree with you once again. Broken Harbor was very good and her latest was a disappointment. That just means her next one will be another good one, right?

>76 ronincats: Roni, you are getting a great workout waving that cast around. *Waving back!*

>77 nittnut: Jenn, I highly recommend Homestead to those of us who enjoy connected stories with historical backgrounds and where setting is important. I'm going to check into some of Lippi's other books; she also writes under the name of Sara Donati. Her "Wilderness" series looks intriguing.

>78 Storeetllr: Thanks for the congrats and feel welcome to lurk around here anytime, Mary. My husband and I are driving back to Colorado the last weekend in October. He'll fly back here November 4th. I don't plan to stay as long as I usually do but will be up for a meet up if we can arrange something. Maybe closer to you this time?

Sep 26, 2015, 2:44pm Top

Book No. 80: The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. 4.2 stars.

"He walked up to the etching, and stopped. Considering the monster. Then he laid his palms flat on it. Feeling the cold metal. Almost expecting to feel a pulse… Then Professor Rosenblatt stepped back. and back again. And another step. Craning his neck, dropping his head back until it could go no farther. His mouth open, his eyes wide, he tried to take in the magnitude of what he was seeing. Not simply the size of the weapon, but the very fact of it."

This book starts out very sadly with the murder of a child in the woods surrounding Three Pines. In the search for clues, a hidden behemoth is found that could have a major impact on world politics and safety to the North American continent. Inspector Gamache may be retired, but he is a welcome advisor to his former employees as they investigate two murders in Three Pines and the threat to world peace. I thought perhaps Penny was being too bold with her story until I read in the Author's Note at the end, the truth about Project Babylon giving credence to her amalgam of fact and fiction.

This is the eleventh book in the Chief Inspector Gamache novels. If you've read them all, then, like me, you are probably a fan of the characters of Three Pines, the fictitious village in Quebec just north of the Vermont border. Most of the regulars are in this book along with the parents of the young boy who is killed at the beginning and a few outsiders. It will be interesting to see if Armand Gamache will stay retired. There are vague hints about new possibilities open to the ex-Chief. Wherever Ms. Penny takes us in the next installment, I will be following along with interest.

Edited: Sep 26, 2015, 4:12pm Top

Oh, dear. I'm going to be in Los Angeles from October 29 to November 10, so unless we can plan a get together before I leave, I'll have to miss the meet up this time. :(

ETA I just reread what you wrote and guess I'll be in L.A.before you begin your drive out.

Sep 26, 2015, 7:45pm Top

Wonderful review of The Nature of the Beast, Donna. What a delight that Penny continues to write Three Pines. I thought she had finished with Gamache's retirement.

Sep 27, 2015, 6:52am Top

Happy Sunday, Donna.

Sep 27, 2015, 10:43am Top

Don't forget to let me know when you figure out a day to be in San Diego.

Sep 28, 2015, 2:41pm Top

>81 Donna828: I had the same reaction to the seemingly out-there premise of Nature of the Beast until I read that Author's Note, Donna. Who knew?

Sep 30, 2015, 3:13pm Top

>82 Storeetllr: Darn it! This is going to be a quicker trip for me, Mary, and DH will be along for much of it so who knows if I will even have time for a meet up? You enjoy your trip back to LA…and don't even think about moving back there!

>83 lit_chick: That would have been a logical place to stop the series, Nancy. But i'm glad that she didn't. Inspector Gamache will just have to keep up his helping role or take another job…

>84 Ameise1: Those apples look so inviting, Barbara. Hey, it's almost snack time here in the midwest and I have some lovely Missouri Jonathan apples. The power of suggestion!

>85 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba, I wish I were heading out west with Mary. You two (or three counting Roni) have fun if she travels down your way.

>86 jnwelch: I certainly didn't, Joe! It sounds like Project Babylon was hushed up unless you lived in that area. it made for a terrific story!

Sep 30, 2015, 4:37pm Top

Book No. 81: The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman. 3.9 stars.

"Someone who violated basic rules of behavior, and harmed you was, by Navajo definition, 'out of control.' 'The dark wind' had entered him and destroyed his judgment. One avoided such persons, and worried about them, and was pleased if they were cured of this temporary insanity…"

I finished this book several days ago and forgot to enter it here. I am squeaking into October with only seven books to record for September. I am listening to a long one, The Empire of the Summer Moon and am finishing up with my book for tomorrow night's book group, The Crane Wife. But I digress…

I love the books where Hillerman features Jim Chee because I learn so much about the Navajo Nation. Chee is supposed to be investigating the vandalism of a windmill in the desert when he witnesses a plane crash followed by a gun shot. Federal investigators are supposed to be solving the crime of murder and drug smuggling, but to Chee, that is more important than a vandalism case. Besides, the DEA and FBI aren't making any progress. Chee has the dogged perseverance and tracking skills to circumvent the official investigation. He also has the humility not to expect any credit for solving the bigger crimes. I really liked the way he resolved the windmill incident. Go, Jim! Another good, fast read by Hillerman. These books keep getting better and better!

Oct 1, 2015, 10:57am Top

I absolutely loved The Empire of the Summer Moon Donna. I am enjoying The Navajo Police mysteries too. Chee is a great character.

Oct 1, 2015, 2:49pm Top

>87 Donna828: wish you were too!

Oct 2, 2015, 2:06pm Top

That's my wisdom for the day! Today is the 65th anniversary of The Peanuts comic strip. I'm sort of in love with Charlie Brown and his gang! Coming up: A new Peanuts movie and Peanuts Christmas stamps to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

>89 luvamystery65: Hi Ro! Gosh, those Comanches were something, weren't they? I am "enjoying" the book very much.

>90 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks, Reba. One of these days...

Edited: Oct 2, 2015, 2:37pm Top

I found a little Woodstock love to head up my October books list in msg. #2. I hope a new month brings more reading time for me…

Book No. 82: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness. 4 solid stars.

"There were as many truths--overlapping, stewed together--as there were tellers. The truth mattered less than the story's life. A story forgotten died. A story remembered not only lived, but grew."

Patrick Ness is quite a story teller. In his latest book for adults, he reworks the old Japanese myth of the crane who falls to earth and is rescued by a man who meets a woman the next day and marries her… The myth has several variations but all of them end with the discovery of who the wife truly is…and she flies away. The best way to learn about or remember the myth is to listen to The Decemberists sing their rendition on YouTube.

Ness takes quite a lot of poetic license with the myth when he recreates the background of Kumiko who appeared to George Duncan in London the day after he rescued a crane in his garden who had been shot in one of its massive wings with an arrow. I liked the way the story began but thought it got too convoluted with the parallel myth of The Lady (Crane) and the Volcano. Volcano? With green eyes? Hmm, you can probably guess that fantasy isn't quite my thing. But beautiful writing is, and this book is a pleasure to read because of the poetic phrasing. My library copy was a rainbow of post-it arrows marking memorable passages! Our smallish book group had lots to discuss including the importance of Story and the impact of Art. We also had fun looking at some more examples of the cover art of Su Blackwell.

Bonus: another Bingo spot filled. Three more to go!

Oct 2, 2015, 2:48pm Top

>91 Donna828: Yes! Words to live by. I'll be resting this afternoon. :-)

I've got The Crane Wife somewhere on the TBR shelf, and you've encouraged me to find it.

Oct 3, 2015, 12:23am Top

The Crane Wife looks really good. I haven't read any of Ness' books, though I own The Knife of Never Letting Go and the rest of that series. I won it on a blog giveaway. I really should read them. :) Hope you're doing well!

Oct 4, 2015, 10:43am Top

>91 Donna828: The resting bit rounds it off nicely!

Have a lovely Sunday, Donna. xx

Oct 4, 2015, 5:59pm Top

>93 jnwelch: Resting is something I combine with reading…and not enough of either has been taking place lately. I do hope you look for your copy of The Crane Wife, Joe. It's a fascinating book, although I'm not sure I "got" all of what Ness was trying to convey.

>94 The_Hibernator: Hey there, Rachel! I'm glad to see you are back to posting again. The Ness Trilogy you own is supposedly his biggest success. Why don't you read them and let us know what you think? Very cool to win them on a blog giveaway.

>95 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Sunday is kind of cool and dreary here. But it is warm inside and my world will brighten up when I do my usual evening reading. I have gotten hooked on Indian Summer on PBS and will either watch it tonight or record it. It all depends on which book I pick up next!

Oct 4, 2015, 6:23pm Top

Book No. 83: A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor. 4 stars.

"The fortress line of trees was a hard granite blue, the wind had risen overnight and the sun had come up a pale gold. The season was changing. Even a small change in the weather made Mrs. Cope thankful, but when the seasons changed she seemed almost frightened at her good fortune in escaping whatever it was the pursued her."

A funny thing happened on Friday. I picked up this book planning to read just one story in it so I could say I had read something by O'Connor for Mark's American Author Challenge…and before I knew it I was halfway through the book. Flannery O'Connor does quirky characters and dark themes so well that I had to keep reading to see what she conjured up next. She has an offbeat sense of humor but there is such a sense of impending doom that I wouldn't want to read these late at night. As in most story collections, I liked some more than others. They were all quite good with strong characterizations, and I would be hard-pressed to declare a favorite. I will be checking into more of her work in the future.

Oct 4, 2015, 7:00pm Top

>92 Donna828: The Crane Wife book sounds good. I love The Decemberists' song about it.

Oct 4, 2015, 7:16pm Top

*waves cast--ONE MORE DAY!*

Oct 4, 2015, 8:26pm Top

Happy Sunday, Donna! How is my pal doing? I am so glad you enjoyed the O' Connor collection. That one remains my favorite.

Good review of The Crane Wife. I love Ness and this one has been on my To-Read list.

Oct 5, 2015, 11:13pm Top


Oct 9, 2015, 9:19am Top

I didn't read the spoiler for the latest Gamache, but I know all about what inspired it. It was a huge story here in Vermont when it broke!

The Everywhere House sounds lovely.

Haley was born the year I joined LT so I have seen her grow!

Oct 9, 2015, 5:45pm Top

>98 dallenbaugh: Donna, I played the "No. 3" part of the song for the book group as it ends with the keening that begins the book. They loved it, and now The Decemberists have some more fans!

>99 ronincats: Roni, your cast is off by now so you can get back to doing handstands. Lol. Seriously, I'm sure you're glad to lose it.

>100 msf59: Hi Mark, I'm doing well but very busy. Today was a stay-at-home day for me. I spent part of it cleaning, and now I'm resting up for the onslaught arrival of two sweet little girls. They are coming over in the morning for a sleepover. I hope I survive!

Thank you for choosing Flannery O'Connor as one of your American authors. I can't believe how long I've owned that book without reading it. She is awesome!

>101 ronincats: Freedom! *Waving Back*

>102 sibyx: Lucy, I kind of gathered that from Ms. Penny's comments at the end. It sounds like you were up close and personal to the *spoiler* across the border. The last five years have passed quickly, haven't they?

Edited: Oct 9, 2015, 7:09pm Top

Book No. 83: A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash. 4.3 stars.

"People out in these parts can take hold of religion like it's a drug, and they don't want to give it up once they've got hold of it. It's like it feeds them, and when they're on it they're likely to do anything these little backwoods churches tell them to do."

I can see why Mark and many others in this group have been excited about Wiley Cash. The man knows how to tell a story. His debut novel is southern gothic at it's best. It had me turning its pages as quickly as I could, although I wanted to slow down and marvel at his fervent prose.

My heart ached for Jess, the little boy who tried to protect his brother who wasn't able to stand up for himself. I know the book was fiction but it rang true and made me think of all the children who are at the mercy of adults who have their own agenda. Sometimes this type of emotional story gets out of hand and drifts into melodramatic territory but Cash avoids this by using a real event as the basis for his story. Knowing this makes the tale doubly sad. There are plenty of reviews that will tell you some plot details; i'm more interested in relating my reactions.

If you don't like sad stories, steer clear of this one. An additional caution I will add is to stay away from a church that finds it necessary to cover its windows so people can't see what they might be getting into!

Oct 9, 2015, 9:16pm Top

Hi Donna - Nice comments on the Cash book. It's on my list. I'll keep in mind your advice about churches!

Oct 9, 2015, 9:58pm Top

Happy weekend Donna!

Oct 9, 2015, 10:51pm Top

Delighted you enjoyed A Land More Kind Than Home as much as I did, Donna. Wholly agree that it is very well written and does not demean itself with melodrama.

Oct 9, 2015, 11:33pm Top

Another fan of A Land More Kind Than Home here!

Oct 10, 2015, 6:34am Top

>104 Donna828: I agree with your thoughts completely. It was a very sad story, but so well written.

Oct 10, 2015, 7:12am Top

Happy Saturday, Donna! And hooray for A Land More Kind. I am glad you were pleased with it. Looking forward to seeing what Cash does next...

Oct 10, 2015, 9:13am Top

Happy weekend, Donna.

Oct 10, 2015, 10:02am Top

I really loved A Land More Kind Than Home, too. It was sad, but fascinating. A well told story. Wiley Cash has another book that I have somewhere in my TBR piles This Dark Road To Mercy: A Novel and I need to get to it sooner than later. He is a wonderful writer.

Oct 12, 2015, 1:58pm Top

>105 BLBera: I was trying to lighten things up a little with my advice, Beth. I still stand by it, though.

>106 The_Hibernator: Thank you, Rachel. It was devoted to my two grands in town. Haley is 5 and Molly almost 2.5. They can be a handful together, but they were little angels this time. I see more sleepovers in our future!

>107 lit_chick: Nancy, I'm not surprised that we both liked A Land More Kind than Home as we share similar tastes in books. I need to stop by to see what you've been reading lately.

>108 katiekrug: And you got to meet the author in NC, right, Katie? Lucky you! I'll definitely be checking out his second book soon.

>109 lauralkeet: Ah, more agreement. Thanks for checking in, Laura.

>110 msf59: Me too, Mark. Lucky for me, I still have an unread book of Cash's in my near future.

>111 Ameise1: So lovely, Barbara. Many thanks!

>112 vancouverdeb: Good to see you, Deborah. Another like-minded reader. Wiley Cash seems to be on the LT Hit Parade of New Authors!

Oct 12, 2015, 3:35pm Top

Book No. 84: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. 4.2 stars.

"…the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me. What I've done up till now, and what i'm going to do--they know it all. Nothing gets past their watchful eyes…how many other things haven't i noticed in the world, things I know nothing about? I suddenly feel helpless completely powerless. And I know I'll never outrun that awful feeling."

Kafka Tamuro is a 15-year-old boy on the run. He has escaped his dreadful father before he is completely ruined. He leaves because he is afraid of the prophesy about his little-remembered mother and sister. He doesn't reveal just how terrible his home life is, but we find out through another character in the book. Nakata is simple-minded because of a strange incident he underwent as a child, but he is guided by something irrepressible inside him, perhaps the same something that allows him to talk to cats. And yes, they answer back!

This is the fourth and most accessible Murakami I've read to date. He is a hypnotic writer who can draw me into his strange dreamlike worlds to the point where I am almost in a trance. I can't always make sense of what i'm reading but i am compelled to read on to see where his fantastical mind takes his characters. I liked both of the main characters and wish their stories had intersected at some point. Two things kept me from rating this book higher: The Oedipal Prophesy that was carried out a bit too graphically for me…and the mutilation of the cats. Both of these elements were vital to the story, however distasteful they were, and both will remain with me…just not in a good way.

I have several other unread Murakami books on the shelf which I will get to when i'm in the mood for a surreal look at life filled with riddles that have no answers. I always look forward to the motifs in his books, especially the music that plays a large role. As a bonus in Kafka, I learned more about the life of Beethoven and the impact of his compositions. I always look for cats, caves, time shifts, historical and literary references, shadows, and philosophical musings. His books are a treat to read and ponder for a bit. I try not to read too much into them. As Miss Saeki said to young Kafka about a book she had written, "The book didn't come to any conclusion, and nobody wants to read a book that doesn't have one. For me, though, having no conclusion seemed perfectly fine." I'm perfectly fine with Murakami's metaphysical works and hope he continues to dream and write.

Oct 12, 2015, 3:58pm Top

LTers--like you Donna--have pointed out Murakami on the radar screen, and now I actually see him. Going to have to keep an eye out for his books. Got three library book sales coming up before Christmas.

Oct 12, 2015, 4:07pm Top

>114 Donna828: Glad you liked it, Donna. Still my favorite of his.

Oct 12, 2015, 4:47pm Top

Gak! Murakami's one writer I just never could get into. I may have to try again with this one.

Oct 12, 2015, 4:51pm Top

Great comments on Kafka on the Shore. That was my first Murakami. I would like to read it again. I felt that I missed things related to Japanese popular culture. And, he said that it should be reread. :) My book club read it, and we had an excellent conversation.

Oct 12, 2015, 8:01pm Top

Excellent review of Kafka on the Shore, Donna. I felt much the same way when I read Never Let Me Go: not really sure what I was reading some of the time, but compelled to read on, and faster and faster.

Oct 13, 2015, 2:22pm Top

Great review Donna! This one was my very first Murakami and I read it in one go. I remember having had plans that Saturday and I cancelled everything and read through with hurting eyes. Your middle paragraph including the spoilers exactly describes my feelings. I was not in this world while reading it.
I had a very similar reaction to 1Q84 and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, though this year's The Strange Library was quite disappointing and now I'm scared to start that Colorless book.

Oct 15, 2015, 10:44am Top

>115 weird_O: Thanks for those kind words, Bill. Murakami is a weird writer so you should like him, right? Actually he is a very good writer who writes about weird connections. Kafka is more straightforward than some of his other books but they all have that dreamlike quality to them. I hope you give him a try. I don't think you will be disappointed.

>116 jnwelch: Joe, Kafka is tied with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. That one blew me away because I wasn't as familiar with his style when I read it. I think I might get more out of Bird if I went back to it someday.

>117 Storeetllr: Mary, he is fantasy through and through. Give Kafka a go one of these days and let me know how it goes.

>118 BLBera: Beth, your book club is more open-minded than mine. We read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and most everyone hated it but me. I had trouble articulating why I liked it so didn't make any converts either.

>119 lit_chick: You got that right, Nancy. Some books are just darn compelling!

>120 Deern: Nathalie, I thought Colorless was more realistic than Murakami's other books I've read. It wasn't very memorable so perhaps it was a bit colorless! It was about lost friendships and loneliness. I'm glad I read it but don't need to own a copy as I won't be rereading it. It looks like IQ84 should be on my radar. I'll probably read A Wild Sheep Chase next as I own a copy.

Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 10:22pm Top

Book No. 85: Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns. 3.4 stars.

"Sometimes I would find myself quite looking forward to the baby, and long to see and hold it in my arms, but when I told Charles I felt like this, he was annoyed and made me feel I had betrayed him in some way and had got all sentimental."

Sophia is telling a friend about her marriage at an early age to Charles. It is so clear that they were not suited to each other, although it took Sophia seven years and two children to come to terms with her bad decision. I looked for more humor in the situation but I kept getting dragged down into their painful poverty and mostly unsympathetic relatives. The fairy tale ending seemed out of place to me, but I was happy for Sophia and her son when their lives changed so dramatically.

It sounds like I didn't like the book. I liked it fine but I prefer a more emotional writing style for a story with so much struggle and sorrow. It was different from the types of books I'm used to reading. The story was so simply and honestly written that it will stay with me. I read it in one sitting and certainly see why others loved it.

Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 10:25pm Top

Book No. 87: Your Blue-Eyed Boy by Helen Dunmore. 3.7

"What kind of a man waits twenty years and then posts a letter? The tone of it frightens me. That eerie cosiness, as if we'd been wrapped in the same sleeping bag just a couple of nights ago."

Simone seems to have the perfect life. She is a district judge in a remote seaside village in England with an architect husband and two handsome young boys. In reality, she is barely holding herself and her family together. On the brink of bankruptcy, her husband is depressed and the boys are unhappy with the move away from London. Simone dislikes making the decisions that can ruin the lives of those that appear in her court... And then she gets the letter from an old boyfriend with whom she had a wild summer romance years ago. He mentions the pictures that could ruin her present life and the suspense begins.

Dunmore's writing is flawless as she creates the tension that mirrors the eerie atmosphere of the marshy land where Simone walks tirelessly to try and find a way out of her desperate plight. This was a quick read but I suspect that the slow-paced plot will not stay with me. I would mainly recommend it on the basis of Dunmore's lovely writing.

Book No. 88: Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwinne. 4.4 stars.

I listened to this comprehensive study of the last 40 years of the Comanche Indians over the course of several weeks. I was fascinated by the amount of research and the amount of violence on both sides of this long war to make the lands of the horse warriors safe for settlement.

The subtitle suggested it would be a book about the Parkers, both Cynthia Ann who was captured in 1836 and her son Quanah, who led his people with dignity and bravery from the plains to the reservation. As difficult as the battles and raids were to read about, the indignity of a proud people like the Comanches being reduced to living on a reservation was heartbreaking. The book was so much more than I expected. I learned about the Texas Rangers, the role of the Civil War in the Indian Wars, and why the buffalo herds were destroyed. The narrator, David Drummond, did a fine job and was a pleasure to listen to.

Oct 16, 2015, 10:31pm Top

I am off on an adventure tomorrow. I'll drive up to Kansas City for some quality time with my older grandchildren, and then on Sunday afternoon will fly to Las Vegas with my daughter, her MIL and a few other "old" ladies. We will be at The Mirage for three nights. I am really looking forward to seeing The Beatles' Cirque du Solei and ALL the changes that have taken place since I was last there around 30 years ago! I'll take some pictures but not sure how many stories I can share. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!!!

Oct 16, 2015, 10:48pm Top

The Comancheria.
"The book was so much more than I expected."....I thought so too Donna.

Have a lovely weekend with your grandchildren and Kansas City.

Oct 17, 2015, 6:41am Top

Safe and happy travels, Donna!

Oct 17, 2015, 8:20am Top

>104 Donna828: I very much liked this book. But, snakes scare the bejesus out of me and at times it was difficult to read.

Hayley is becoming quite a little lady. How blessed we are to have seen her grow from a wee baby into a beautiful girl.

Life is good!

Oct 17, 2015, 8:56am Top

Your Vegas trip sounds like fun! We'll look forward to whatever you're able to tell us, and imagine the rest. ;-)

Oct 17, 2015, 10:49am Top

Safe travels, Donna. Enjoy Vegas.

Oct 17, 2015, 11:05am Top

We saw Beatles' Cirque du Soleil a few years ago. It's quite a show! (only Cirque du Soleil I've seen -- they're probably all amazing). Hope you have a great time on your adventure.

Oct 17, 2015, 12:50pm Top

Woot! Hitting Vegas! Enjoy your travels, Donna!

Oct 17, 2015, 5:15pm Top

Have fun in Vegas, Donna! I haven't been there for at least 40 years, and I understand it is a completely different place now!

Oct 18, 2015, 1:19am Top

Yay.... Vegas!

.... and that is all i am going to say. ;-)

Oct 18, 2015, 6:43pm Top

Have fun in Vegas Donna!

Oct 19, 2015, 3:58am Top

Oh, Vegas! Enjoy! :))

Oct 24, 2015, 5:56am Top

Will you get to read whilst the roulette wheel is turning?
Enjoy, Donna.

Oct 24, 2015, 7:21am Top

Morning Donna! Happy Saturday! Miss seeing you around but I am glad to see you are doing some "killer" reading.

I am glad you loved both Empire of the Summer Moon & Kafka, 2 of my absolute favorites.

Enjoy your Vegas trip.

Oct 24, 2015, 9:45am Top

Happy weekend, Donna.

Oct 24, 2015, 10:48am Top

So . . . Vegas? Inquiring minds want to know :)

Oct 24, 2015, 7:23pm Top

I've been back from Las Vegas for 48 hours now…and still trying to get my bearings. I did go to the half-price day Library Book Sale today and bought ONE book for a buck! I am trying to cut back but that was ridiculous. I bought a much-needed copy of The Dark Horse, this month's selection for the Longmire group. I have been waiting a month for my library copy!

>126 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! It was a great time.

>127 Whisper1: Linda, I know what you mean about the snakes. They are not my favorite reptiles. I'm glad Haley has a following on LT. I don't get to see her as often as I used to due to her busy schedule. Thank goodness for Molly!

>128 cbl_tn: Oh oh! I'd better reveal all, Carrie, as I know how imaginative we readers can be.

>129 BLBera: Thanks Beth!

>130 RebaRelishesReading: We can share the Beatles love, Reba. Cirque du Soleil was even better than I expected. I thought for sure I'd have flying dreams that night!

>131 lit_chick: Vegas was a fun trip, Nancy. The boozing and gambling was wasted on me, but I did enjoy the shows, lights, palm trees, and happy faces.

>132 Storeetllr: It has been 30+ years for me, Mary. They've cleaned up the Strip a lot and made it a classier destination. Downtown is just the way I imagined it. We didn't venture down there the first time I went. It was like two different cities!

Oct 24, 2015, 7:33pm Top

>133 lkernagh: I enjoyed your photo tour of Vegas so much, Lori, I'll post my own pictures in a little while.

>134 luvamystery65: We had a BLAST, Roberta!

>135 Deern: It would be hard not to enjoy Vegas, Nathalie. There is something for everyone. I even saw The Mob Museum as we whizzed by! I missed having some downtime, though. I would have liked to have time to sneak down to the pool area with my book and listen to the waterfalls.

>136 PaulCranswick: I failed miserably at reading in Vegas, Paul. I tried to at night but was too tired to focus on the words…or maybe it was that one drink I had!

>137 msf59: Mark, I've had Kafka on the Shore highlighted on my WL for years because of you. I was not disappointed.

>138 Ameise1: I love that gorgeous image, Barbara. Thank you.

>139 brenpike: Hi there, Brenda. I'll give a brief travelogue after I give a brief review of the book I listened to on the way up to Kansas City. Will I see you in Joplin this year?

Oct 24, 2015, 7:57pm Top

Book No. 89: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. read by Bronson Pinchot. 4 stars.

I was disappointed at first when I realized this was a children's book. My inner child took over, though, and I ended up happily listening to the bone-chilling journey of eight boys searching for their "lost" friend on Halloween night. They undertake a fantastical journey with the very creepy Mr. Moundshroud. There are "Pipkin" sightings all over the world including the Scottish moors, Notre Dame in Paris, ancient Egypt, and Mexico. Bradbury's writing is always a treat no matter where he takes us. I thought the narrator did a great job but sometimes his voice dropped to a whisper and it was difficult to hear what he said over the road noise. It made my 3-hour drive to Kansas City go by quickly. I think I am going to have a yearly date with Mr. Bradbury in October. He may be dead, but his books live on!

Oct 24, 2015, 8:54pm Top

Playing a little catch-up here, but first of all…how about those Royals?

Highlights of Las Vegas trip…
Sorry to disappoint, but I didn't go crazy in Sin City. I had one fruity alcoholic drink, one night where I was up (shortly) after midnight, and I only lost $19 gambling, if you call playing video poker for quarters gambling. But I did have a wonderful time thanks to my daughter's planning. I even had my first Uber ride!

A few pictures…

Lori and me "warming up" for Cirque du Soleil!

I could have watched this more than once. Awesome show!

Casino Tour -- we walked over 8 miles this day!

I fell in love with Caesar's Palace. It's a good thing because we got
lost in there and walked through parts of it several times!

The fountains at The Bellagio. Great display from the ground and from
the Eiffel Tower!

The Venetian. Probably the closest I'll get to Venice!

Some Night Life

The iconic Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

Fremont Street in downtown Vegas.

Paris on The Strip.

Almost done…

Our group on top of The Stratosphere.

Terry Fator was hilarious and a good singer for
someone who didn't move his lips!

If I had time to read, this would have been my preferred spot
at The Mirage where we stayed. I love the sound of waterfalls.

Oct 24, 2015, 9:45pm Top

Wonderful pics, Donna! Thanks for sharing. So glad you had a good time!

Oct 24, 2015, 11:06pm Top

Fun times in Las Vegas! Great pics . . .
And, yes to Joplin :)

Oct 25, 2015, 12:08am Top

LOVE the photos of Vegas, Donna. Great looking group of friends, too! I can see why you'd have chosen that spot to read at ...

Oct 25, 2015, 4:50am Top

Woohoo for these wonderful photos. Thanks so much for sharing them, Donna. It looks like you had a fab time.

Oct 25, 2015, 10:08am Top

Happy Sunday, Donna! Go Royals!

Oct 25, 2015, 11:05am Top

It looks like you had a wonderful time in Las Vegas. Thanks for sharing all that you did and saw!

I agree with reading more Bradbury. I read two, and enjoyed them both, although I think you liked The Halloween Tree better than I did.

Keeping up with the challenges is like riding a very fast train. I enjoy an author and think, "Oh I want to read more" and then the next authors come roaring into view.

Oct 25, 2015, 11:53am Top

Thanks for sharing your pics, Donna. The Bradbury sounds fun.

Oct 25, 2015, 12:04pm Top

Whew! What a relief to have you safely back home! ;-)

Oct 25, 2015, 4:53pm Top

Hi Donna. Glad to see you enjoyed your trip to Vegas! I don't think we have anywhere similar in the UK. Your review of Kafka on the Shore reminded me that I have had that one on the TBR pile for ages. I loved Norwegian Wood when we read it as a group all those years ago but for some reason have still not got round to reading anything else by Murakami.

Sorry that Our Spoons Came From Woolworths wasn't everything you'd hoped. I couldn't really say why this one worked for me so well - perhaps it just caught me in the right mood.

Oct 25, 2015, 5:11pm Top

Hi Donna - I'm catching up at last and loved the photos from Hayley's party and Vegas, and the book reviews. Looks like you had a great time in Vegas.

I went to add Homestead to my wishlist and found that I'd put it there already years ago so it must be time for me to find it.

Oct 25, 2015, 6:45pm Top

Love your photo journey of Vegas, Donna! Even better, you made it Fremont Street. We meant to go while in Vegas but thought that the rain would interfere Yes, we had some rain during one of our days in Vegas!) but now I see that Fremont Street appears to be covered, just like the shops. Good to know.

Oct 25, 2015, 11:01pm Top

Love the photo review of your trip to Las Vegas, Donna! I'm glad that you had such a great time.

Oct 26, 2015, 1:38pm Top

>144 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary. I look forward to seeing your pics from southern California. My Denver visit will be short so I don't think there will be a meet up without you after all. I'll try to stay longer on my late winter/spring trip.

>145 brenpike: And, yes to Joplin :) Yippeeee!!!

>146 lit_chick: Nancy, I should have carved out a little reading time. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of Vegas!

>147 Ameise1: Fab time indeed, Barbara!

>148 msf59: I hope The Royals can stay on fire long enough to give the Mets a challenge!

>149 streamsong: Janet, that train analogy is brilliant! The new authors and books can keep on roaring in…we'll do our best to keep up. I really had to revert to my inner child to come up with that 4 star rating on the Bradbury.

>150 BLBera: It was a fun book, Beth. It would be an excellent choice for a 10 to 12-year old boy!

Oct 26, 2015, 1:47pm Top

>151 ronincats:: Roni, I bumped into Frankenstein on the walk home from the Bellagio in the dark. I thought I was a goner for sure…especially when he blocked my way as I tried to avoid him. Yikes!

>152 souloftherose: Hi Heather, I liked Kafka better than Norwegian Wood. In fact, it is tied with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle on my list. You are so right in saying that mood has a huge influence on reading. I've had two clunkers in a row. Must be the Vegas letdown!

>153 cushlareads: It's so good to see you here, Cushla. You are so busy being mother to two darlings and an inspiring math teacher all while supervising the rebuilding of your house. Yes, I have been lurking a bit!

>154 lkernagh: Lori, the other good news about Fremont Street is that courageous ones can either zip or zoom above the crowds. Two members of our group chose to zoomline down the length of the street. They looked like birds! I was happy to cheer them on.

>155 rosalita: It was good to get away, Julia. I'm glad my daughter wanted me along. We were definitely the quiet ones in the group. Hey, have you thought about coming back to Joplin after Thanksgiving? We sure liked having you along last year and hope you can make the trip again.

Oct 26, 2015, 3:01pm Top

Well, I mentioned to Cushla that I've read two clunkers in a row. I actually gave up on the first one which is highly thought of around here and by the Booker Prize judges: A Brief History of Seven Killings. I listened to it on the drive home from KC and for several nightly sessions after I got home, but the violence did not agree with me. The cast of narrators was excellent, the writing was wonderful, but I lost track of the killings and rapes. I'm at the stage in my life where senseless violence gets to me to the point where it was interrupting my sleep. It reminded me of reading 2666 which I almost gave up on after that long chapter about rape and murder on the Mexican border. I paid good money for that book so I continued…

My second clunker is by one of my favorite authors. A few comments below as to why it didn't sit well with me despite the usual good writing.

Book No. 90: The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. 3.2 stars.

"I have not yet described his singing voice. It is hard to describe a sound without likening it to another sound, and yet the timbre of David's voice was a thing apart…It was a bright flare of shimmering gold. It could transmit light and warmth…Sometimes, the voice could summon such a power that it recalled not sunlight but lightning--something so fierce and magnificent that when it passed through you, it left you stricken and hollowed."

I am not a Bible scholar, but I have read it from cover to cover and survived the four year-long Discipliship classes that covered the Bible including David's story. David was indeed a Bad Boy; in fact, he prayed the Mercy prayer more frequently than anyone else in the Bible. It's true that Ms. Brooks relayed the historical facts of David's life as chronicled in the Bible. I read most of Samuel II once again just to make certain. But she did embellish these facts a great deal and made him into a sort of monster who raped and killed with abandon. She turned his love for Jonathan into a homosexual relationship. I had to keep reminding myself that this is a work of fiction. Her writing is wonderful as always and she doesn't claim to be writing a biography but I'm afraid that readers without a Biblical background will get a totally wrong picture of this ancestor of Jesus. He had his flaws but he accepted the resulting curses and never lost his great love for God.

Oct 26, 2015, 4:02pm Top

>145 brenpike: I did say yes to Joplin. Now that I'm looking at the calendar - would that make the date for Joplin meet-up Dec 1st? If so, I'm going to have to change my answer to no :(

Oct 26, 2015, 5:51pm Top

>158 Donna828: Thanks for your comments on The Secret Chord. I am certain it wouldn't sit well with me, either, for the same reasons. When there are so many other books available to read, I don't want to spend time on a book I'm certain I won't enjoy.

Oct 26, 2015, 10:12pm Top

>157 Donna828: - I would be a zipper/zoomer! Good to know, because I am pretty darn sure I will go back. ;-)

Oct 26, 2015, 11:28pm Top

OK, I won't be buying The Secret Chord now - thanks! I liked half of People of the Book (not the modern story in it though) and her memoirs but will leave this one.

Oct 27, 2015, 5:40am Top

Sorry you disliked 7 Killings... I guess listening made the experience even more intense in a bad way. I put a "lots and lots of violence and first-person-suffering" warning into my review. Maybe I should post it on the book page. Definitely not a feel-good book although I loved it in the end.

I thought I had commented on the pics already, but I see I haven't. Thanks for sharing, it looks like you all had a great time.

Oct 27, 2015, 9:44am Top

>157 Donna828: I am indeed planning to come back to Joplin if you'll have me! Like Brenda, I'm not sure of the date, though. Is it Dec. 1?

Oct 27, 2015, 11:38am Top

Hi Donna - just checking in to say hi. I'll be starting The Secret Chord for my book group this week so I was interested to read your comments. I loved some of her books (especially March and The Year of Wonders but not some of the others. I did get a chance to hear her speak at a local library last month and was very impressed. She was articulate and extremely well-prepared, and talked about her journalistic background in how she prepared for writing this book. She used the original texts (rather than later translations such as the King James) and many historical sources. I'm also a great reader of the Biblical text and hope I won't feel as disillusioned when I read it! The story of Uriah and Batsheva always disturbed me so I'm eager to hear her take.

Oct 27, 2015, 1:32pm Top

>158 Donna828: My first reaction was "oh good, another Geraldine Brooks" because I've loved the others of hers that I've read but, regardless of the Biblical connection, a story about someone who rapes and kills just doesn't appeal. I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the warning.

Oct 29, 2015, 11:11am Top

>159 brenpike: Oh noooo! As far as I know, the date for the Joplin meet up is December 1st. It is Stasia and Terri's gig, though, so you'd better check with one of them to be certain. Who knows, we may not even be meeting this year?!? it won't be the same without you, Brenda.

>160 cbl_tn: Carrie, I only gave it a shot because it was Geraldine Brooks. I should have known better. I'm not a fundamentalist by any means, but I don't like it when authors mess with Bible stories!

>161 lkernagh: The reports on the zoom line were thumbs up! I hope you get back to try it, Lori, and I wish I weren't such a coward.

>162 cushlareads: Cushla, I hope I didn't steer you wrong. However, some of the other reviewers didn't like it because it was so slow. Two strikes against it!

>163 Deern: Nathalie, it was an intense listening experience. If I become a completist on the Booker Prize winners, I might try it in print. It is easier for me to read about violence than to hear or watch it! I'm glad Seven Killings had a good payoff for you!

>164 rosalita: Julia, see my response to Brenda in >159 brenpike:. I hope we get official word of the Joplin meet up soon.

>165 vivians: Vivian, I hope you have a better response to The Secret Chord than I did. I've been a Brooks fan since I read Nine Parts of Desire years ago. Her writing is stellar and I know as an ex-Wall Street Journal writer that she knows how to do her research. She has an interesting little twist on the Batsheba story as well.

>166 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I am losing my stomach for reading about rape and graphic violence, too. I think it's an age thing with me. I get enough of the evil side of life from the daily newspaper and want a kinder, gentler reprieve in my recreational reading.

Oct 29, 2015, 11:58am Top

Book No. 91: Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper. 4.1 stars.

"Etta walked and her legs did not get tired and her feet did not get tired and her back did not get sore. She closed her eyes and saw herself in the read and white uniform of a sprinter, in the long black lines of a cross-country skier, in the green and gray uniform of Otto's regiments. These are good boots, she said to James.

Shoes, said James. Yes, they are excellent shoes."

I wanted to love this debut novel. I ended up liking it very much and wondering about it…a lot. Etta was the young teacher of Otto and Russell in a rural Saskatchewan school when Otto left at the age of 18 for WWII. They fell in love through their letters while Russell remained a good friend to both despite carrying a torch for Etta through the years. They were neighbors for over 60 years when Etta left a short note for husband Otto and embarked on a 2,000 mile journey by foot to see the Atlantic Ocean. Really? At the age of 83? You go, Etta. That Canadian farm life must create tough women!

Etta travels light, carrying a few necessary provisions and a note reminding her of who she is and a list of significant people in her life. You see, Etta, is in the early stage of dementia and sometimes forgets important things. It turned out that the most important of her possessions, however, was her life story. The journey itself becomes a mashup of reality and mysticism as Etta walks and walks further into her memories.

James is my favorite character in the book. He comforts and encourages Etta when she is cold and hungry. He is a rather unusual guardian angel, but he protects Etta while allowing her to travel in grace and dignity as her legs march purposefully eastward and her mind becomes mired in thoughts of love and war. She becomes so entangled in her ruminations that she adopts Otto's experiences as her own:

...she had started getting pulled into Otto's dreams instead of her own at night. She would be pulled right in and would be there. In water, in trousers, standing on a gray beach with blood lapping up to her knees and men all around yelling and she would be there, sometimes with a spoon or a towel in her hand and sometimes with nothing. Night after night.

As Etta nears her destination, events become even more dreamlike and readers have to determine the outcome for themselves. Whatever... Etta is a good role model for embracing old age and achieving life-long desires. This book jumped around a lot and needs to be read carefully. It is also necessary to read it with a mind that is open to imagination.

Oct 29, 2015, 4:42pm Top

>158 Donna828: Donna, just stopping by to say that your thoughts on Brief History of Seven Killings were helpful to me. I was only a few pages into the book when I read your post, and I had already seen very positive comments from Nathalie and others and thought I could deal with the violence. But no. I gave up 50 pages into it, because like you it was interfering with my sleep and just making me feel icky.

Oct 29, 2015, 7:35pm Top

I am another who does not think I could stomach a Brief History of Seven Killings. I'm not even sure it is age thing for me, but such dark stuff kind of gets to me. And it is a real chunkster too. Thanks for your thoughts on that.

Oct 31, 2015, 5:15pm Top

Just haunting some of my oft-visited threads today, Donna. I'll bet your grandkids are excited!

Oct 31, 2015, 9:19pm Top

>169 lauralkeet: Glad I could be of help, Laura.

>170 vancouverdeb: Good point about the length, Deborah. I might have finished it had it been shorter...but probably not.

>171 lit_chick: Happy Halloween, Nancy. 🎃👻 We went to a Halloween party with the girls yesterday. It was a lot of fun, but I'm sad to miss trick-or-treating tonight. We spent the day driving to Colorado. My brother just sent me a picture. Haley is Sleeping Beauty and Molly is Ariel. Of course, neither one is looking at the camera. Where is the candy?!?

Nov 1, 2015, 1:46am Top

Hey! Coicidence! It's been 30 years since I was in Vegas too...actually 32 years. But that's close considering we are on other sides of the world :)

Lovely photos and it looks like you had fun!

>158 Donna828: something to consider when getting through my Booker Prize winning list! Too much violence can get to a person.

Nov 1, 2015, 3:08pm Top

>172 Donna828: - What sweet costumes for two very sweet girls!

Nov 2, 2015, 8:38am Top

What beautiful little princesses!

I hadn't yet heard of The Secret Chord, so I'm glad I read your thoughts on it before I found out about it elsewhere. I loved her Year of Wonders and Caleb's Crossing, but I'll just pass this one by.

Nov 2, 2015, 4:38pm Top

The girls are getting so big! What a couple of cuties.

Edited: Nov 2, 2015, 8:56pm Top

>172 Donna828: *meltmeltmelt*

Yeah, Marlon James is not a writer of feel-good books. I read The Book of Night Women and have to say it was violent and brutal and horrifying in parts (and I listened to it), but it was so powerful and ended up being one of my favorites from a few years ago.

I enjoyed Brooks' People of the Book, though I didn't love it, and haven't read any of her others. I think I started Year of Wonder but didn't get far; for some reason, it just didn't grab me. Not sure if I'll read The Secret Chord, though I did notice it awhile ago and thought I might.

Have a great trip and I ll look forward to seeing you in the spring.

Edited to fix typo

Nov 3, 2015, 11:52am Top

>173 Ireadthereforeiam:. I just estimated the time at 30 years, Megan. It's possible we bumped into each other on the strip. I mean that literally as I walk around Vegas with my eyes going everywhere except where I am walking. So much to see!

>174 lkernagh: They are sweet, Lori. I'm having fun with another sweet girl named Hope here in CO.

>175 countrylife: Well, Cindy, Brooks writing is still excellent if you don't mind her artistic license with King David's life going way beyond known facts.

>176 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. It's about time for another baby in the family. its probably not going to happen but I can dream.

>177 Storeetllr: Mary, I thought Marlon James did a great job capturing the spirit of Jamaica in the 70s... It was just a place I didn't want to experience in such a visceral way.

My time in the Denver area is passing way too quickly. Hope is a joy to be around. I wish I could stay longer. Heading for Kansas City (Yea ROYALS!) for a quick overnight stop with my crew there.

Edited: Nov 3, 2015, 5:04pm Top

I had my first surprise birthday party on Sunday. It wasn't for me but it allowed DH and Me to attend Hope's 2nd birthday celebration, albeit almost 3 weeks early.

Hope the Genius setting up her "new" kitchen with Cousin Gwen.

Who wants cucumbers and carrots when there is birthday cake to eat?

The party's over...🎶

Nov 3, 2015, 5:57pm Top

Thanks for sharing the pictures, Donna! Hope's just as adorable as ever! And, I have to say, that's quite a kitchen...was that from you and DH? Even though you didn't know there was going to be a surprise party, I bet you arrived with birthday presents! ;-)

Nov 3, 2015, 11:07pm Top

Oh, Donna, Hope the Genius is as sweet as sweet can be! What a kitchen! Girl knows how to roll, LOL!

Nov 4, 2015, 12:34am Top

Love the photos, especially that last one. Just darling. And yay for early birthday parties with grandma and grandpa!

Safe travels home!

Nov 4, 2015, 9:19am Top

>180 Nancy618: You know me well, Nancy. I had a Fisher-Price carnival play set wrapped and ready. We had intended to leave it for the real birthday on Nov. 23 but Hope didn't seem to mind opening it early. She loves the Ferris wheel.

>181 lit_chick: The kitchen set has been broken in by her older cousins. She gets most of her toys from Sadie, Audrey, and Griffin. They are gently used and new to her so she rolls along nicely with the system.

>182 coppers: Thanks, Joanne. I am dropping DH at the airport for his flight to Seattle so it will be just me and my audio books on the drive back to Missouri. This visit was way too short.

Nov 4, 2015, 9:40am Top

I love the way that the pup is watching the kitchen setup. That looks like a dog who knows what a refrigerator is for! :-)

Nov 4, 2015, 2:10pm Top

Adorable photos. Happy listening and smooth traveling on the way home.

Nov 4, 2015, 3:41pm Top

Oooh, a Fisher-Price carnival play set! I bet my Dylan Rainne would love one for Christmas!

Safe travels, Donna. Wish we could have had a meetup, they are always so much fun, but needs must! Next time for sure!

Nov 4, 2015, 7:49pm Top


Empire of the Summer Moon sounds wonderful, and The Secret Chord sounds awful. I am a huge fan of Geraldine Brooks, and have found her to usually be quite responsible in her treatment of historical figures. Rats. Thanks for taking one for the team. :)

Love the photo of the worn out cousins - tired but not ready to quit yet. :)

Nov 4, 2015, 7:57pm Top

One of my favorite childhood playthings was a kitchen my grandparents gave me when I was about 5. The sink would even run water( (if I could get an adult to fill it!). I woukd get one of my mother's cookbooks and spend hours "cooking" in my kitchen. I was an early reader so I actually read the recipes.

Drive safely Donna. I'll look forward to your review of your car book!

Nov 6, 2015, 7:54pm Top

I arrived home last night from Denver and Kansas City and hubby is home as of today from Denver and Seattle. Another whirlwind trip with the only disappointment being that I didn't arrange for a meet-up with my CO reading friends. I just couldn't shortchange Hope when I had only three days to spend with her. I'll definitely do better next time.

>184 streamsong: Janet, Buster is interested in everything that involves food even if it is plastic! He managed to puncture the plastic orange which has a very odd shape now.

>185 RebaRelishesReading: The trip went well, Reba. I know you travel cross-country so I won't complain about having to drive myself home. Actually, I like to drive. When I'm a passenger, I tend to fall asleep from boredom, especially since we have traveled I-70 many, many times.

>186 Storeetllr: Definitely next time, Mary. I missed seeing you, Joanne, Anne, and Kris! Hope liked the carnival set and didn't even mind having to turn the handle of the ferris wheel to get her Little People around and around…

>187 nittnut: Jenn, I am also a fan of Geraldine Brooks. I'm sure she did her research and perhaps she is right about King David spearing babies and raping women. I like to think that was due to a vivid imagination. I know that period of time was brutal, but I like my heroes to be up on their pedestals. The Bathsheba/Uriah story is naughty enough for me.

>188 cbl_tn: Carrie, you gave me a great idea to take some cookbooks with colorful pictures out to Hope to use in her kitchen. I have some tattered children's cookbooks used by my kids that are in a box somewhere. I'm sure she'll be reading by next spring. Lol. Car book reviews coming right up!

Nov 6, 2015, 8:51pm Top

Book No. 92: Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold. Audio by Grover Gardner. 3.7 stars.

This was a flashback to Miles and his cousin Ivan when they were in their early twenties. I love the way they interact with both fun and genuine concern for each other. They were the Barrayaran ambassadors to Cetaganda when the Empress died. Before they could assume their diplomatic duties, they had a strange encounter with a servant and Miles obtained an unfamiliar object in the scuffle. Of course, the object turned out to be of great importance! He uncovered a scheme for an internal revolt in this evolved society. If it succeeded, it threatened the strained relations between the two planets. Great fun in this book along with the more serious stuff. I loved the Bubble Ladies, but then so did Ivan and Miles! I forget their names but they were at the top of the levels of society. My listening skills are improving but I still miss some plot details. I continue to enjoy this series and save it for the several road trips I take each year. They make the miles float along as I enter the Vorkosigan World.

Book No. 93: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, audio by Hilary Huber. 4.1 stars.

I enjoyed this quiet book about friendship between two Neapolitan girls that began shortly after WWII ended. As their families grappled with harsh economic times, the girls shared books and dreams. When they got older, Elena went on to high school while Lila helped in her father's shoemaking business. It's natural that they drifted apart, but they always started right back where they left off when they did get together. It's a great story of friendship but Ferrante also examines what life was like in this poor section of Naples.

Families fought within their homes and in the community. Rivalries were common and life could be harsh if one was of the less-advantaged class. It is only with the help of a teacher that Elena was able to continue in school. Both girls were very bright, but Lila was gifted. It's ironic when she refers to Elena as "her brilliant friend" toward the end of the book when both girls were sixteen. There is nothing remarkable about the story, but I got hooked, knowing that three more books await. I will probably listen to them as I liked the soothing voice of the narrator, though I do have a fondness for Europa editions. I'll look for them at library sales and at used bookstores so I can revisit Naples, next time in print.

Nov 6, 2015, 9:15pm Top

Love the beauty of those wonderful, delightful grand babies.

Also, I enjoy the opening image. And, you read 93 books thus far...wow, way to go!

Book #93 is now on the tbr list.

Nov 6, 2015, 9:38pm Top

I read one more book on my trip, mostly in the hotel at night finishing up in Kansas City. It's a short book, but an important one.

Book No. 94: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 4.1 stars.

"Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made. That is a philosophy of the disembodied, of a people who control nothing, who can protect nothing, who are made to fear not just the criminals among them but the police who lord over them with all the authority of a protection racket." (82)

I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. Coates is a marvelous writer. He writes with passion to his teenage son about the repression of black people in today's society. He grew up in Baltimore in much the same area and circumstances as Wes Moore. I recently read The Other Wes Moore which was about two black men of the same name who grew up in the same area. One ended up in prison while the author is a successful man by any standards, black or white. Coates is an educated man like Wes Moore but he is a bitter man and it comes through in his writing.

I can't even pretend to understand what it is like to grow up in the inner-city with gangs ruling the streets and drugs openly dealt on the neighborhood corners. I do believe that all people have value no matter what color they are or what background they come from. I also believe there are bad cops out there who have cracked under the pressure of their jobs. On the other hand, I think most of our policemen are honorable and try to enforce the law to the best of their abilities.

I can recommend both of these memoirs written by Baltimore men of color for the clear writing and the different viewpoints. I gave them both 4 stars…Wes Moore's stars are for inspiration and hope while Coates's stars are for his passion and eloquent words. Racism in America is still evident, but as I think more about this book which I finished a few days ago, I find myself wondering if racism doesn't work both ways. Many blacks seem to hate everything about white people. I wish we could live in a world where everyone gets along. In the meantime, I will keep an open mind and try to understand why so many people in our country are full of hate and rancor, whether it is blacks against whites, poor against rich, Democrats against Republicans, etc. I just don't get it.

Edited: Nov 6, 2015, 9:46pm Top

>191 Whisper1: Hi Linda, you sneaked in here while I was trying to write a coherent response to the Coates book. I seem to have read shorter books this year as a general rule. I am about 4,000 pages behind last year's 94th book. I've also listened to roughly twice as many books as I did last year. I'm glad I got you with a book bullet. Bonnie Renzi told me I would like Ferrante's books. She was correct as usual!

I loved your Disney World pictures on FB. We are planning to go with our youngest son and family in late February. I think Haley and Molly will be in seventh heaven with all those princesses around them!

Nov 6, 2015, 9:50pm Top

Great review, Donna. I have the Coates waiting for me from the library and I would like to read the Ferrante sooner rather than later. Are you home now for awhile? It seems like you have done a lot of traveling this year.

Nov 7, 2015, 6:30am Top

>190 Donna828: I really liked My Brilliant Friend, too, Donna. And those Europa editions are just gorgeous. If Santa doesn't bring at least one this year I will probably give in to temptation.

>192 Donna828: That's a very thoughtful review. I haven't read the book, nor have I read Wes Moore. I probably should.

Nov 7, 2015, 2:30pm Top

Wonderful reviews, as always, Donna. I'm very tempted by My Brilliant Friend, having read both Laura's and now your reviews. Must agree that the edition/cover art is beautiful!

Nov 7, 2015, 5:09pm Top

>192 Donna828: I read Coates. Borrowed it from a library. Sure wish I owned it so I could reread it. Trying to get all the facets together. Bitter isn't how I read Coates, but yeah, I admit there is bitterness in him. But why wouldn't there be?

I gotta read the book again.

Nov 9, 2015, 11:12am Top

You're hitting on all cylinders with me, Donna. I loved Cetaganda, my wife loved My Brilliant Friend (and is looking forward to reading the ones that come after), and I was moved by Between the World and Me.

For me, Coates came across as straight-talking and eloquent. I share your sentiments. I'm not sure this is really a spoiler, but for those who haven't read the book, I'll put it under a spoiler cloak: Coates talks about the harm coming from "blacks believing they are black", but he doesn't apply the same thinking to "whites believing they are white". We're a nation of immigrants from all over the place (including Native Americans, if you go far enough back); monolithic color comparisons when we're a patchwork make no sense, IMO).

If you decide to post the review, I'll thumb it.

Nov 10, 2015, 3:41pm Top

What a fun birthday party, Joanne! I've yet to read Between the World and Me. I wanted to let you know that a new Stuart McLean book was out, Vinyl Cafe Turns the Page. I've yet to get a copy to read, but I am quite keen to read of his books. I think I remember that you are a fan!

Nov 12, 2015, 10:53pm Top

>194 BLBera: Beth, I think you will enjoy both of the books. The Coates will make you think and the Ferrante is just a good story about friendship set in Italy. I am ready to stay home for awhile now and catch up with myself! I've let so many things around the house slide that I am going to be very busy between now and Thanksgiving. The family dinner is here!

>195 lauralkeet: I am a sucker for "pretty" books, too, Laura. It's also very nice when the inside matches the outside!

>196 lit_chick: Go for it, Nancy. I'm already trying to work in the second book in the series. Library books keep rolling in to work around. Not a bad problem, though.

>197 weird_O: Perhaps "bitter" wasn't the greatest word to use, Bill, but Coates did write with resentment about the experiences and unjust treatment of his fellow black men. Yes, he had his reasons and his example of Prince being shot by a (black) policeman without just cause. He basically blames white people for everything bad that happens to black people. I know bad things happen…but (sorry) it isn't black and white. There are many success stories about black people. We have our first black President and Dr. Carson is making an impressive bid to become the next one.

I think the reason I called his tone bitter is partly because Coates felt no compassion for the policemen and firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. He didn't mention how other people of color (Asians in particular) have thrived under the dreams of the white man's system. Granted, the book is his opinion and his words to his teenage son. But where is the sense of hope and inspiration that one would expect a father to give to a son?

I think I should read the book again, too, just to make sure I didn't miss anything that might be a suggestion to improve things instead of a diatribe about the way he sees the world…a world in which he is a successful writer for The Atlantic and has written a bestselling book read by many of the white people that he hates. Sounds pretty bitter to me…resentful, cynical, intense, critical, harsh…whatever the word(s) used to describe his feelings about whites.He is entitled to express his views and he does so with passion and clarity. I'm glad I read his words but I wish he had left room for compassion for all humans. White lives matter, too!

Sorry for the rant!

>198 jnwelch: Haha! Still want to thumb my review, Joe?

>199 vancouverdeb: Hi there, Deborah. I'm flattered that you have me confused with Joanne. Yes, she is a fan of McLean, I only know of him through her comments.

This has been a wild and crazy week for me with two doctor appointments and my usual bridge and canasta games, babysitting, and trying to line up a repairman for a ceiling on one of the stairway landings that had a leak. At least I have the Lady Bears' Basketball game to look forward to tomorrow night. Our opener is against the University of Missouri. It should be a great game. I'm also happy because I managed to squeeze in reading another book...

Nov 12, 2015, 11:10pm Top

Book No. 95: The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. 4 stars.

"She shuddered at the creeping realization that we live in a twisted world where everything, both big and small, is subject to surveillance, and where anything worth money will always be exploited."

The new author carries on the Stieg Larsson legacy quite well in my opinion. I don't read these books for stellar writing but for the physical abilities and intelligence of a punk-looking computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander. I rather liked the story about young August, an autistic boy who is being abused by his mother's boyfriend until Lisbeth steps in. Of course, there is much more to the story than this. Government officials from the United States get involved with the bad guys and Millennium journalist Mikael Blomkvist has to sort this out with the aid of computer genius Lisbeth and her new assistant, August, who displays his own superpowers of artistry and mathematical savant. I'm already looking forward to the next installment in the series.

Nov 13, 2015, 12:53pm Top

Oh, fabulous to know that The Girl in the Spider's Web does not disappoint, Donna! I've got this one waiting in my iPad. I remember picking up the first in Larsson's trilogy several years ago, thinking I'd give it a try, but that it wasn't really my thing: and then I proceeded to INHALE the three of them! I read them for the same reasons you do.

Nov 13, 2015, 3:02pm Top

>200 Donna828: Still want to thumb my review, Joe? You bet, Donna. We don't all need to agree - how boring would that be? The latest review now on the book page for Between the World and Me really hates the book, and gives it one-half star. I have to admit, I love the discussions it's generating.

In my lifetime, race-based disparities have hugely improved. But there's still plenty to be ashamed of and despondent about. I'm hoping that there's a comparable improvement during our children's lifetimes; at some point, race-based distinctions should start seeming foolish across the board, not just among some fraction of us.

I had the same positive reaction to The Girl in the Spider's Web as you did. That was a pleasant surprise, as continuations by a different author so often are disappointing. I'm looking forward to the next installment, too. I'm so glad we get to experience more Lisbeth, one of my favorite literary characters ever. I enjoy Mikael, too, and I hope August remains a series character.

Nov 13, 2015, 4:57pm Top

Oh sorry Donna, for mixing you up with Coppers, aka Joanne! Silly of me!I'd best head over to her thread.

Nov 13, 2015, 7:13pm Top

Since Ian Fleming died so many - Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, William Boyd, Jeffrey Deaver and Anthony Horowitz - have done Bond but with varying degrees of success.

It is good to see that the first attempt at Larsson, post-Larsson, is something of a success.

Have a lovely weekend, Donna.

Nov 15, 2015, 5:27pm Top

>202 lit_chick: Inhaling instead of merely reading is the best way to "get" a Lisbeth Salandar fix. She's a strange one but her antics make for compelling reading.

>203 jnwelch: Joe, I too enjoy divisive books because of the discussion opportunities. I think most everyone would agree that Coates has an impressive way with words. One of my earliest important memories was school integration pictures on TV. My school in Germany was integrated but I found a completely different attitude when I started third grade in Kentucky. I remember being so sad for those "colored" children as we were taught to call them.

>204 vancouverdeb: No worries, Deborah. We've all done it!

>205 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. You are right, those continuing authors don't always cut it. I'm glad we've got more Lisbeth to look forward to. I wish there had been more of her in the latest book but I think Lagercrantz was playing it safe for his first effort. I hope your weekend has gone well, too. I must get over to see you…and many others.

Nov 15, 2015, 9:24pm Top

Oh! So glad you enjoyed Spider Web! I have the audio from the library waiting for me to get to it, but I admit I've been hesitant because I didn't want to be disappointed. I also find Lisbeth Salander to be fascinating and compelling character, much more so than Mikael Blomqvist, whom I often find incredibly annoying.

Nov 16, 2015, 11:32am Top

>206 Donna828: I grew up in "liberal" Ann Arbor, Donna, and the schools there weren't desegregated until 1965. Mind-boggling that it would take that long. Good thing they were, or I never would have met our son's godfather, or any number of other folks in my youth. Because of the way I was raised, it was more weird to be in non-diverse classes than it was to finally have them diversified.

We've been handed down so many good things from the early days of this country, but slavery and continuing racism is a curse we're still trying to get out from under. I often can't believe how hard it is to get it behind us. The concept of equality is pretty simple, right? But living it obviously isn't.

Nov 17, 2015, 7:28am Top

jnwelch: I believe it will take generations to purge the mindset of racism - if it ever happens. Such biases are learned through family and passed down. Such is the perpetuation in the "deep South" of the U.S. where Confederate flags still fly on private land, and kids see them every day. We will never integrate until we desegregate.

Nov 17, 2015, 9:37am Top

>209 mldavis2: Yeah, you're right, generations it will likely be, unfortunately. We're seeing many more mixed marriages these days, and that may help in the long run, as "us" and "them" starts having more "us", and more links to each other.

I know, we still have de facto segregation in various parts of the country. A good part of that is simply due to lack of economic opportunity, which often has direct ties to lack of educational opportunity. I'd love to see more swords turned into plowshares, and more military money directed to economic and educational opportunity.

Nov 19, 2015, 5:03pm Top

>207 Storeetllr: Mary, we are in agreement about Lisbeth and Mikael…but their different personalities do meld together to create some great stories. I just wish Lisbeth had a bigger role in this book.

>208 jnwelch:, >209 mldavis2: I'm so glad the conversation about racism continues…and that Mike added his usual bit of wisdom to a heavy topic. We do have more than a few rebels in our part of the state, don't we, Mike? That's probably why our black population is comparatively low here.

Edited: Nov 19, 2015, 5:19pm Top

Book No. 96: Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. 3.9 stars.

"In that summer of flying calendar pages, Big Hole haying was a streak of time, when I take account of myself then, that I can scarcely believe packed so much into my life in so short a period. I suppose it would be like a kid of today thumbing through the holdings of some smartphone that shows him himself and realizing that a couple of years and robust inches have been slipped onto his pouty eleven-year-old self without notice."

Some thoughts I shared on the Book's Page:
This was a likable coming-of-age story written by the late great Ivan Doig. How fitting that the author draws on his own memories of attending Indian Pow-wows during the mid-1950s. The bus trip itself is the product of a good imagination and an even better storyteller. I liked the range of ages and backgrounds in the characters. Every boy (or girl) needs a grandparent figure to look up to and learn from. Eleven-year-old Donal was lucky to have a mentor of both genders, one blood-related and the other a good friend. This was a simple story not quite up to the standards of some of Doig's earlier works, but it put a smile on my face and is a wonderful homage to a simpler time in America.

Nov 19, 2015, 10:10pm Top

"put a smile on my face and is a wonderful homage to a simpler time" sounds like pretty high praise. I've never read anything by Doig -- mayhaps I should ;)

Nov 21, 2015, 7:21am Top

Hi Donna, I finally find time to do some weekend greetings. Wishing you a most lovely weekend.

Nov 22, 2015, 9:31pm Top

>213 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba, I wouldn't start with this one unless you have a fondness for coming-of-age stories. The Whistling Season has been my favorite of his so far. I was also fond of the McCaskill Trilogy. Doig's books have all been of the feel-good sort so far. It's a pleasant change from the edgy modern books I've been reading.

>214 Ameise1: What a beautiful fall scene, Barbara. I feel fortunate to still have some orange trees around with so much of our country covered in snow. Thanks for the visit and peaceful scene.

Nov 22, 2015, 10:08pm Top

It looks like we have very similar feelings about Last Bus, Donna. It was sweet, not his best, but I'm not sorry to have read it. I'd always recommend The Whistling Season or This House of Sky over it. I promised myself I'd read English Creek soonish.

Nov 22, 2015, 10:21pm Top

Book No. 97: The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson. 3.9 stars.

"I get asked sometime about what it is that makes a good cop. Of course, typing is handy, but really it's as simple as noticing things. Ask a good cop into your house once, and a year later he'll be able to tell you the layout of the furniture, what pictures are on which walls, and whether the toaster is white or stainless steel."

I enjoyed this fifth book in the Longmire Series as much as the others, though it was a bit of a stretch for Sheriff Walt Longmire to go undercover in a neighboring county. I realize the counties in Wyoming are huge, but lawmen are fairly scarce and he has a good reputation in the area. Plus, it's hard to imagine him as an insurance man trying to determine who burnt down the barn that killed Mary Barsad's horses and then spread to the big house.

Mary is being housed in the Absaroka County jail. Walt's intuition alerts him from the first time he met her that this vulnerable woman is innocent, and he has the patience to ferret out the truth once again. There is lots of action and one of the most despicable bad guys ever. Best of all, there is a horse with the heart and soul to rival Dog, who is one of my favorite recurring characters, along with Henry Standing Bear who only played a bit role in this installment.

Nov 22, 2015, 10:25pm Top

>216 coppers: Hi Joanne, and I promised myself I would read This House of Sky soon after you raved about it. Maybe in January… Where has this year gone anyway? All of a sudden, I am thawing a turkey and making out my list of what to buy for the grandkids. The older ones are getting more difficult.

Nov 22, 2015, 10:37pm Top

I know, Donna, here we are again, the holidays are upon us. Some of your grands are getting to the gift card age, sadly...

Nov 23, 2015, 11:43am Top

Good to know the Longmire mysteries make for good reading, Donna. This is a show I started watching on Netflix before I even realized it originated with a series of books. The TV series is also very well done.

Nov 24, 2015, 7:23am Top

Hi, Donna! Just checking in with my pal. I have added Doig to the AACIII. I NEED to read more of this guy. I have several of his on shelf.

Love that Longmire!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Nov 25, 2015, 12:46pm Top

>192 Donna828: Thanks for your thoughts on Between the World and Me. I had a very similar reading experiences to yours, I think. He writes wonderfully, and though I didn't agree with him all the time I think it's a really important topic and a book I'd read again just to take everything in since I'm sure I didn't get it all the first time. I'll have to add The Other Wes Moore to my list.

Nov 25, 2015, 5:50pm Top

>201 Donna828: wow, I was going to say...that book looks like a direct copy of the Stieg Larsson ones! How brazen! Hehe. Then I realised its a continuation of the series ;)
I read the first one and it made me feel tense, so I never read the rest. I have a delicate contstitution.

Nov 26, 2015, 2:11pm Top

Donna, I hope you and yours are well and enjoying this special holiday.

Nov 26, 2015, 2:33pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Donna!

Nov 26, 2015, 9:33pm Top

>219 coppers: That or money is probably what they want, Joanne, but its not nearly as much fun to give. I'm glad I have a few more years of choosing gifts for the younger grands.

>220 lit_chick: Nancy, I've heard that the TV series is different from the books. I will check into it when I get some extra time…if there is such a thing.

>221 msf59: Thanksgiving was a good day here, Mark. It would have been better if all my kids and grands could have been here but that doesn't happen too often. I'm glad Ivan Doig made the AAC list for next year as there are still several of his books I am looking forward to reading.

>222 bell7: Hi Mary! I have thought about rereading the Coates book, too. As you said, I didn't get all of it and I may have misunderstood part of his message. It's a heavy topic and one which needs careful consideration.

>223 Ireadthereforeiam: Megan, you make me laugh. You, with your delicate constitution. I have had to give up several books recently for that very reason. It's a good thing there are lots of mild-mannered books out there for us sissies!

>224 EBT1002: Love that Woodstock, Ellen. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

>225 Storeetllr: Mary, I'm hoping that Dylan was part of your Turkey Day. Haley and Molly made my heart even more thankful -- as they always do.

Nov 26, 2015, 9:50pm Top

Here are some of the people in my life I am thankful for…

I love how Lucky parked himself by the Princess table. He is one smart dog!

Just a few of the relatives who joined us today. Son Ben, DIL Mary, Brother Blair, SIL Dorothy.
That's Katie and Josh (my great-nephew) with their backs to the camera. They just got engaged!

Another view of the table. Niece Suzann is upper left.
Standing is her fiancé Casey, who is also our trusted dog sitter.

Thanks for letting me share here. I feel funny about posting my family pictures on FB but don't mind sharing with my LT friends. The Kansas City crew is coming tomorrow. It's a long story about why they couldn't make it today… I promised we wouldn't have leftovers, darn it. I am cooked out so it looks like pizza may be on the menu.

Nov 26, 2015, 9:55pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Donna. Lovely family pics.

Nov 27, 2015, 1:05am Top

Thanks for posting the family pics, Donna. It looks like it was a lovely day and I hope the Kansas City folks are able to make it tomorrow and that they are thankful for pizza! :-)

Nov 27, 2015, 8:52am Top

Lovely family photos - and what a beautiful table setting! Love and care went into those scenes.

Lucky you to have more family today! Enjoy!

Nov 27, 2015, 9:41am Top

It looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Donna. Thanks for sharing your pictures. My nephew and his wife from Kansas City were at our feast yesterday.

Nov 27, 2015, 11:58am Top

>228 lit_chick: Thanks, Nancy!

>229 EBT1002: The KC Gang is on their way. Pizza is everyone's favorite, right? At least it goes over well with the kiddos. I'm glad you liked the pictures, Ellen.

>230 streamsong: Yes, Janet, there was a lot of love in the air yesterday! Especially with the newly engaged couple. I have one more great-nephew we need to get to the altar. He already has the right woman, who happens to be the mother of his 5-year-old son…a surprise for everyone including Zac earlier in the year!

>231 BLBera: Beth, it sounds like Kansas City people are going off in different directions. I hope you had a good time at your celebration of thanks. I feel fortunate that we have so many wonderful people in our lives…including our LT family!

Nov 27, 2015, 12:33pm Top

Book No. 98: Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Glegg. 4.6 stars.

"She has not cried. Not that day, not at the funerals, not after. She has said little, has had few words when she needs them, so she finds herself only able to nod, shake her head, and wave the concerned and curious away as she would marauding gnats."

June may have survived the fire that killed her daughter Lolly and fiancé, her boyfriend Luke, and her ex-husband in the early morning hours before Lolly and Will's wedding, but she didn't really survive so much as become one of the walking wounded who have lost everything that give meaning to their lives. It was strange reading this poignant book while preparing for a family holiday knowing that family celebrations are tinged with sadness for so many who are mourning their loved ones. June knows that life in Connecticut will never be the same so she heads west to the place that meant a great deal to Lolly. "She needs to hear the wind howl and the waves crash as Lolly described, see the same stars and moon, breathe the same salt air. It is not her daughter she is driving to, but it is as close as she will ever get."

This is a debut novel by a New York literary agent who has guided other writers to success. I loved this quiet, thoughtful book about family and loss. It is told in many voices that react to an unthinkable incident that changed so many lives. It is rich in details about what it means to be a family and how to pick up the pieces after one's life is shattered. I see that he has written two memoirs. That's good, because it will give me something to read by him while he hopefully is working on his next novel.

Nov 27, 2015, 12:58pm Top

Sounds like a good one, Donna.

Glad you had such a nice Thanksgiving - thanks for posting those photos of the family gathering.

Nov 27, 2015, 2:10pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving Donna! I'm glad you've got so many family members to help you celebrate.

Nov 27, 2015, 2:42pm Top

>233 Donna828: Sounds like one I would need to read only during the day in the height of summer, when the sun shines warm and bright all day and there are no shadows anywhere. During winter, I already feel moody enough with all the cold and snow and overcast days that a tragic story like that might drive me right over the edge.

Glad you had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends! Due to work requirements, a scheduling miscalculation, and other last minute issues, it was only my sister, one of her daughters and me for dinner yesterday, but we had a really good time.

Nov 27, 2015, 3:04pm Top

All caught up here again! Looks like you had a wonderful time in Vegas and a great Thanksgiving. As usual, your granddaughters are adorable. : ) Lots of great books here...I really must get Kafka on the Shore--I love Murakami! I have done no reading recently, but I am watching Longmire on Netflix and I like it! Hugs and be seeing ya.

Nov 27, 2015, 4:11pm Top

>233 Donna828: I'm reading the same book right now, Donna. I'm about halfway through and loving it. I could probably read the rest in one sitting but I'm intentionally taking a slower pace, it seems to fit the contemplative nature of the novel. It's very good.

Edited: Nov 27, 2015, 6:02pm Top

Lovely pictures of your family, and the " children's table " is one I am so familiar with. Perhaps in a few years hubby and I will need a children's table , instead of it being our kids at children's the table!. I really enjoyed Did You Ever Have a Family - glad you did too!

Nov 27, 2015, 8:01pm Top

I hope you and your family had a nice Thanksgiving, Donna. I'm looking forward to seeing you in just a few days!

Nov 29, 2015, 8:06am Top

Beautiful family photos, Donna - thanks so much for sharing them!

Nov 30, 2015, 3:36pm Top

>234 jnwelch: Did You Ever Have A Family is recommended wholeheartedly to those who don't mind a slow contemplative read. To my friends who prefer adventure, better take a pass on this one. I think you would like it, Joe.

>235 cbl_tn: Thanks, Carrie, it was chaotic fun!

>236 Storeetllr: I wouldn't want you to go over the edge, Mary. We've had rain, mist, and clouds for several days in a row now. I'm ready for some sunshine in my life! No Dylan? Oh well, grown ups can be fun, too. Our real fun began the day after Thanksgiving when the cousins arrived. We always have sleepovers with Haley and Molly. They all get along well despite the wide range in age from 2 to 13. Plus, it's good to have eager babysitters so the adults can play games.

>237 Berly: Hugs back at ya, Kim! I'm loving the Longmire books but I haven't watched it on TV. I may have to subscribe to Netflix in order to get caught up. I think you would love Kafka on the Shore. Thanks for coming by. I've missed you.

>238 lauralkeet: I don't blame you for slowing down, Laura, to get every bit of meaning from the book. I probably read it too fast. Just couldn't help myself!

>239 vancouverdeb: I wish we could seat the little ones at the big table, Deborah. When I bought that table, my husband insisted it was too big. I'm glad to prove him wrong!

>240 rosalita: You may be driving as I'm typing this, Julia. One of these years, I am going to spend the night in Joplin so I can get in on the game action. But not this year… I can't wait until I see you and the others again tomorrow!

>241 scaifea: I'm glad you liked the pictures, Amber!

Edited: Dec 5, 2015, 3:16pm Top

Book No. 99: The Ghostway by Tony Hillerman. 4.1 stars.

"Everything is connected. Cause and effect is the universal rule. Nothing happens without motive or without effect. The wing of the corn beetle affects the direction of the wind, the way the sand drifts, the way the light reflects into the eye of man beholding his reality. All is part of totality, and in this totality, man finds his hozro, his way of walking in harmony, with beauty all around him."

The quote is from Jim Chee's basic rules for the universe based on his Navajo beliefs. I think I will adopt his creed, especially the last bit about walking in harmony with beauty all around me. This sixth book in the Navajo detective series is more intricately plotted than some of the others. The mystery is interesting but I still read these mainly to learn more about The Navajo Way.

The Ghostway is the ritual ceremony performed by a shaman, whose numbers are dwindling, to cleanse a person infected with the Chindi, a malevolent spirit left behind when the death ceremony is not carried out correctly. Chee has been very concerned about the young Navajo woman who has been in the hogan where the Chindi resided. He follows her to Los Angeles where he met up with the very much alive antagonist who tried to kill him. This is only a small part of the action.

Chee has plenty to think about when he is doing all the driving this story demands and while he recovers from his concussion. You see, he is decidedly in love with Mary, a white woman, who wants him to take the FBI job that is on the table. Chee's "hozro" is muddled and he is in a state of grave confusion. There is a lot in this book to ponder. I am so glad our little group on LT is going to continue with the series in 2016.

Dec 1, 2015, 12:09pm Top

Love your Thanksgiving pictures, Donna. Hope you're all having a great time in Joplin today!

Dec 3, 2015, 5:02pm Top

Love the Thanksgiving photos -- sorry it took me so long to get to them

Dec 4, 2015, 7:44am Top

Sorry I couldn't make it to the annual Joplin meeting - last minute unavoidable conflict.

Was anyone there?

Dec 4, 2015, 11:55am Top

>244 countrylife: We had our usual fun time together in Joplin talking about books and life in general. We missed you and your mother, Cindy.

>245 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, don't apologize. I have been absent from your thread too long. One of these days I hope to get caught up…but it might be next year! Hope all is well at your place.

>246 mldavis2: You were missed, Mike. There were six of us at the meet up. Nancy and I drove down from Springfield, Sandy from Kansas City, Terri from St. Charles, Stasia from Texas, and Julia gets the prize for coming the greatest distance…all the way from Iowa City. Of course, we ate at the Red Onion again. Books were bought and laughter shared. Hopefully you can make it next year.

Dec 4, 2015, 1:54pm Top

>247 Donna828: When you said you ate at the Red Onion, I wondered what you were doing in Boone, North Carolina. It's been one of my favorite places to eat there for years. I wondered if it had franchised and somehow skipped this area on its way out of Boone, but it seems like they are two different entities.

Dec 5, 2015, 7:18am Top

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Donna.

Dec 5, 2015, 3:20pm Top

>248 thornton37814: That is quite a coincidence, Lori. We stumbled on to the Joplin Red Onion six years ago at our first annual meet up. It's a short walk from the bookstore where we shop and get caught up with each other. We liked it so much that we haven't even thought of eating anywhere else!

>249 Ameise1: I love the simplicity of the candles and holly. Thank you, Barbara.

I think I'll start a new thread to wrap up the old year. This one has a lot of pictures on it and is sometimes slow to load. Please come over and join me...

Dec 20, 2015, 3:10pm Top

I am slowly getting caught up after some time away from LT, Donna and wanted to post here that I love your Thanksgiving pictures! Also taking a book bullet for Did You Ever Have a Family?.

This topic was continued by Donna Is A Book Junkie! (6).

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2015

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