Laytonwoman's Bookin' to the Finish Line of 2015 (Fourth Quarter)
This is a continuation of the topic Laytonwoman's Third Quarter 2015.
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Captured this lot at the Friends of the Library book sale this morning. I was good, though...this is approximately half of what was in my sack before I did my sit-down-and-get-real assessment.
Links to my previous threads for the last 7 years, as much for me as for anyone else (following the link above this thread will get you back through the previous ones for 2015, some of which start with my biographical sketch, if you don't know me yet) :
First thread for 2014.
Chapter Two is here.
And Chapter Three.
The Fourth and final chapter for 2014 is here.
This is my last thread for 2013.
My first thread for 2013 is here.
Here's where I began my 2012 reading record. And I continued with a second thread for 2012. Yet one more thread for 2012 can be found here.
My first 2011 thread is here. and Part Two and Third and final thread for 2011.
My 2010 reading thread can be found Here. and Here and
Links to my 2009 threads at Laytonwoman3rd ups the ante for 2009
and its spin-off here with yet another extension here.
My 50 Book Challenge thread for 2008 is here
This is my 2007 thread
EDIT 11-7-17 Tickers removed due to McAfee warning about TickerFactory.com
Total books read in 2015 86
Off the Shelf: 38
Current reading list for the last three months of the year will be kept here:
Titles will link to the post where I commented on the book. ROOT means it's been on my shelf for a year or more; LOA means it was read from a Library of America edition. Library books are marked with an *
86. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
85. Translation is a Love Affiar by Jacques Poulin
84. Sweet Land Stories by E. L. Doctorow ROOT, AAC
*83. Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel by Robert B. Parker and Helen Brann
82. Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse ROOT, BAC
81. Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan
*80. Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey Audio performed by Cassandra Campbell NF
79. Hard Row by Margaret Maron
78. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
*77. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
76. The Fugitive Wife by Peter C. Brown ROOT
75. The Rural Schools of Manchester Township, and The Rural Schools of Buckingham Township by Mimi Steffen NF
74. Dickey Chapelle Under Fire by John Garafolo NF, ER
73. A Legacy by Sybille Bedford ROOT
72. Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
*71. Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
70. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore ROOT, BAC
*69. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury AAC
68. Winter's Child by Margaret Maron
67. Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden ROOT
Books read this year through the end of September:
(Titles link to the post in an earlier thread where I commented on the book.)
SEPTEMBER When the autumn weather, turns the leaves to flame...
(Series and Sequels month)
66. A Question of Identity by Susan Hill S&S
65. The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill S&S
64. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
*63. A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd S&S
62. Flannery O'Connor, A Memorial by J.J. Quinn, SJ
61. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor ROOT, AAC, LOA
60. X by Sue Grafton S&S
AUGUST Lazy, hazy days...
59. The Nine Mile Circle by Pati Hill ROOT
58. This Gun For Hire by Graham Greene ROOT, BAC
57. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, and Camille Kingsolver ROOT
*56. Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley Audio
55. Crazy Horse by Larry McMurtry AAC, ROOT
54. Frost in May by Antonia White ROOT, Virago
53. Frances & Bernard by Carlene Bauer ROOT
*52. The Murder of Roger Akroyd by Agatha Christie
51. Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
50. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
49. The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck
*48. Zigzagging Down a Wild Trail by Bobbie Ann Mason
47. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
46.5 DNF's Three non-starters that almost make a book
*46. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
45. Virginia Military Institute (Campus History) by Keith E. Gibson
44. The Unvanquished by William Faulkner ROOT, LOA
JUNE This 'n' that...as I am moved.
43. Disarmed by Ginger T. Manley
42. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner ROOT, AAC
41. A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw
40. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
39. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
MAY Murder & Mayhem; finish my Erdrich selection for April's AAC; perhaps read Dodsworth for May.
*38. Sycamore Row by John Grisham Audio, with some print reading to speed it along
DNF Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis ROOT, AAC
37. The Bedquilt and Other Stories by Dorothy Canfield Fisher ROOT
36. Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen ROOT
35. The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds by Matt Adrian
34. Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron, ROOT
33. Burning Bright by Ron Rash e-book
DNF With a Crack in Her Voice by Judi Dench and The Christmas Carol Murders by Christopher Lord 2 ROOTs
*32. The Shadows in the Streets by Susan Hill
31. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich for AAC, ROOT
APRIL Atwood April; finish Julius left over from March's BAC; Maugham for April's BAC; Louise Erdrich for the AAC (Can I do all that?)
30. An Open Life by Joseph Campbell and Michael Toms
29. Doc by Mary Doria Russell
28. Arthur and Guen by Jon Koons
*27. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood for Atwood April
26. Julius by Daphne DuMaurier BAC, ROOT
MARCH Mystery March, DuMaurier for the BAC, and Richard Ford for the AAC
25. The Secret Place by Tana French
24. Canada by Richard Ford for the AAC
23. The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler LOA ROOT
22. The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria ER, ROOT
*21. Wings of Fire by Charles Todd
20. The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy
FEBRUARY Short month=short books
DNF Pepper, Silk & Ivory by Marvin Tokayer ER, ROOT
19. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh Audio & print, BAC, ROOT
18. Bayou Suzette by Lois Lenski
*17. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
16. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters OK, not so short, but a fast read just the same. For the BAC, ROOT
15. The Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett
14. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri ROOT
13. The Aspern Papers by Henry James LOA, for the AAC, ROOT
*12. A Little yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
11. Life & Death on the Loxahatchee by James Snyder ROOT
10. Negotiating With the Dead by Margaret Atwood ROOT
*9 Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke
*8. The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively for the BAC
*7. If You Ask Me by Betty White Audio
6. The Cutting Season by Attica Locke ROOT
*5. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
4. A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers LOA, for the AAC, ROOT
2. Practise to Deceive by Frances & Richard Lockridge ROOT
1. Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island by Will Harlan
Books Acquired in 2015 Part 1 (See >7 below for continuation)
I haven't kept track of this information by the numbers before; I'm scaring myself!
1. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
2. Virginia Military Institute (The Campus History Series) by Keith E. Gibson
3. Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow
4. Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard by Isak Dinesen
5. Nashville 1864 by Madison Jones
6. Bruno, Chief of Police by martin walker
7. Margaret Mitchell, Reporter by Margaret Mitchell, edited by Patrick Allen
8. The Velvet Horn by Andrew Lytle
9. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
10. Meanwhile There are Letters edited by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan
11. Belzoni Dreams of Egypt by Jon Clinch
1. Troubles by J. G. Farrell
2. The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick
3. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
4. Swallowing the World, New and Selected Poems by Don Freas
5. Disarmed, An Exceptional Journey by Ginger T. Manley
6. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
7. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
8. The Classic Rockers' Reunion With Death by R. J. McDonnell (Kindle edition)
9. Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson
10. Jews, God and History by Max I. Dimont
11. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
12. Zealot by Reza Aslan
13. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
1. Seasoned Timber by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
2. The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds
3. The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck
4. A Distant Trumpet by Paul Horgan
5. Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney
April (These are nearly all my daughter's fault too--she's HERE, and we have to visit all the book shops and library sale shelves...)
1. Doc by Mary Doria Russell
2. Jacob's Oath by Martin Fletcher
3. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
4. This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
5. My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
6. Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
7. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
8. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
9. Stuart Little by E. B. White
10. Arthur and Guen by Jon Koons
11. Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron
12. Vanity Dies Hard by Ruth Rendell
13. Colonel Jack by Daniel DeFoe
14. The Confederate Reader edited by Richard B. harwell
15. A Question of Identity by Susan Hill
16. The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill
17. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
18. Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
ONLY ONE! (And that's my daughter's fault; she sent it to me)
The Secret Place by Tana French
1. Death's Half Acre by Margaret Maron
2. The Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett
3. Bayou Suzette by Lois Lenski
4. Judy's Journey by Lois Lenski
5. The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria (An ER book)
6. The Essential Tales of Chekhov Edited by Richard Ford
7. Winter's Child by Margaret Maron
8. Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery
9. Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey
10. Hard Row by Margaret Maron
11.- 14. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings leather-bound boxed set
15. Burning Bright by Ron Rash (e-book)
16. The Town by William Faulkner First UK edition, because I NEEDED another copy of this novel!
17. The Death of Santini by Pat Conroy
18. Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andrei Makine
19. In the Salt Marsh by Nancy Willard (poetry)
20. A Bit on the Side by William Trevor
21. My Old Sweetheart by Susanna Moore
1. The Christmas Carol Murders by Christopher Lord
2. Fear and What Follows by Tim Parrish
3. Children of the Dark House by Noel Polk
4. The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case by Michael A. Ross
5. Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron from PBS
6. A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo
I'm participating in both the British Authors Challenge and the American Authors Challenge, and will keep track of my progress here
2015 British Authors Challenge
The monthly choices are:
January : Penelope Lively & Kazuo Ishiguro
February : Sarah Waters & Evelyn Waugh
March : Daphne Du Maurier & China Mieville
April : Angela Carter & W. Somerset Maugham
May : Margaret Drabble & Martin Amis
June : Beryl Bainbridge & Anthony Burgess
July: Virginia Woolf and B. S. Johnson
August: Iris Murdoch and Graham Greene
September: Andrea Levy and Salman Rushdie
October: Helen Dunmore and David Mitchell
November: Muriel Spark and William Boyd
December Hilary Mantel and P. G. Wodehouse
Penelope Lively -- Read The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
Sarah Waters -- The Little Stranger finished 02-16-15
Evelyn Waugh -- Brideshead Revisited Listened to the audio version narrated by Jeremy Irons in conjunction with some print reading. Finished 2-26-15
Daphne duMaurier -- Julius finished
Somerset Maugham -- Of Human Bondage currently reading
Beryl Bainbridge -- Watson's Apology tried, abandoned it; Mum and Mr. Armitage read the title selection
Virginia Woolf -- Three Guineas gave it a try, found it too "of its time" and set it aside;
Iris Murdoch -- Skipped our Iris
Graham Greene-- This Gun For Hire Finished 8-30-15
Salman Rushdie-- Midnight's Children Reading
Helen Dunmore -- A Spell of Winter Finished 10-21-15
P. G. Wodehouse -- Leave it to Psmith finished
I definitely hope to finish both Midnight's Children and Of Human Bondage, but it won't be before the end of the year. Skipped May and November entirely (well, I did read a few pages of The Mandelbaum Gate, but decided the time wasn't right.) Maybe I can claim 60% of this challenge, as I did both of the February authors.
2015 American Author Challenge
This is the second year of this challenge, hosted by Mark, msf59. It's a marvelous way to read books I already own, reacquaint myself with old favorites among the Americans, and get around to some of those authors I haven't sampled yet.
January Carson McCullers -- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter finished 1-15-15
February Henry James --The Aspern Papers finished 2-7-15
March Richard Ford -- Canada finished 3-21-15
April Louise Erdrich -- The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse finished 5-3-15
May Sinclair Lewis -- Dodsworth DNF
June Wallace Stegner -- Angle of Repose finished 6-19-15
July Ursula K. Le Guin Skipped
August Larry McMurtry Crazy Horse finished 8-19-15
Sept. Flannery O' Connor Wise Blood finished 9-6-15
October Ray Bradbury "The April Witch" 10-1-15; "Pillar of Fire" 10-3-15 (Meh. Some interesting concepts explored, but it lacked something, and strained my credulity waaaaay past the point where I'm willing to suspend disbelief.) Dandelion Wine Finished 10-14-15
November Barbara Kingsolver Animal, Vegetable, Miracle finished 8-27-15
December E.L. Doctorow Sweet Land Stories finished
So, I'd say I did 93% of this one.
Part 2 of Books Acquired in 2015
1. Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr
2. The Vermont Country Store Cookbook by Andrea Diehl
3. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
4. Fault Lines by Nancy Huston
5. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
6. The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro
7. Translation is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin
8. Journey into Childhood by Lois Lenski
9. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
10. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald
11. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm by Betty MacDonald
12. Downton Abbey, A Celebration: The Official Companion to All Six Seasons by Jessica Fellowes
1. The Peregrine by J. A. Baker
2. The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirahk
3. The Writer's Art by James J. Kilpatrick
4. On the Side of the Angels by Betty Miller
5. Ride With Me, Mariah Montana by Ivan Doig
6. M.F.K. Fisher, A Life in Letters
1. Ulysses by James Joyce (ML)
2. True Grit by Charles Portis
3. Silk by Alessandro Baricco
4. In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
5. A Watery Grave by Joan Druett
6. Shark Island by Joan Druett
7. Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful by Alan Paton
8. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed by John Irving
9. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers
10. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers
11. A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
12. Up In the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell
13. Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes
14. Hiding My Candy by The Lady Chablis with Theodore Bouloukos
15. Emma by Jane Austen (Word Cloud Classic edition with faux
leather cover; I'm going to fall in love with these)
16. The Quiet Don
17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
18. The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian
19. Wolves & Honey by Susan Brind Morrow
20. Primo Levi's Resistance by Sergio Luzzatto
21. Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine by Jesse Graves
22. The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
23. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
24. Kurt Vonnegut: Novels 1987-1997 LOA
1. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
2. The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill
3. The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
4. Murder in a Hurry by Frances & Richard Lockridge
5. Stand Up and Die by Richard and Frances Lockridge
6. Robert Penn Warren, a Biography by Joseph Blotner
7. Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman
8. Prosper by Pati Hill
9. Impossible Dreams by Pati Hill
10. Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake
11. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (Word Cloud Classic faux leather-bound
12. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
13. Demelza by Winston Graham
14. Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham
15. The Black Moon by Winston Graham
16. The Four Swans by Winston Graham
17. The Angry Tide by Winston Graham
18. The Stranger from the Sea by Winston Graham
19. The Loving Cup by Winston Graham
20. The Miller's Dance by Winston Graham
21. Women Crime Writers; Four Suspense Novels of the 1950s Library of America
1. Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s: Laura / The Horizontal Man / In a Lonely Place / The Blank Wall (Library of America) by Vera Caspary and others
2. The Straight and Narrow Path by Honor Tracy
3. Edith Wharton: Four Novels of the 1920s: The Glimpses of the Moon / A Son at the Front / Twilight Sleep / The Children (Library of America)
4. X: A Kinsey Millhone novel by Sue Grafton
Am I second? Happy new thread! Great book haul. Love the reference to the "sit-down-and-get-real assessment." I know how those go at big book sales.
Nice new thread! Great haul from the library sale too - I do like the Sayers reprint black and purple covers, they look quite stylish.
>10 tymfos:, Yup, another early bird! I'm getting much more sensible these days, as the space to lodge the newcomers doesn't stretch as far as it used to.
>11 charl08: There were more of those there, but I'm still deciding how I feel about the Peter Wimsey series, so I only took the two earliest ones. I've read Whose Body? already, and I didn't see it at the sale.
Interestingly, these particular covers don't seem to be in the mix on LT yet. I'll have to scan mine and add them.
Nice new thread and great book haul, Linda! I look forward to your comments about Up in the Old Hotel. I also own a copy of it, but I haven't read it yet.
>1 laytonwoman3rd: Hey hey. Nice stack o' books. Love Roddy Doyle; the title isn't one I've heard of. Just started The Van this evening, and have Paddy Clarke... on deck. True Grit is great. Seem to remember seeing an adaptation of ...the Bellona Club on PBS; was it back in the Alistair Cooke days?
Libraries having sales all over the place. My daughter just posted her stack o' buys from the Boston P Library on Facebook.
Anyway, good start on the new thread.
I read True Grit ages ago and really liked it. If I run across a good copy at a book sale it is probably one I would pick up for a re-read. There are a handful of classic westerns I want to read or re-read. I really enjoyed "Shane" a couple years ago. I have AB Guthrie's Pulitzer winning "The Way West" teetering near the top of my read soon stack.
I love your "my sit-down-and-get-real assessment" because I have made myself do it more and more. It is too easy to get carried away but all I have to do is look at my current overstuffed bookshelves to get real. Our next library sale is this coming week. One of the best (and worst) things about LT is seeing the great books that others have found and enjoyed. When I run across some of these at library sales it is nearly impossible to resist. My list of LT recs has been growing this spring and summer.
That Treasury of Great Science Fiction collection is I believe the very first science fiction I ever purchased, along with Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, courtesy of joining the Science Fiction Book club as a teenager. The Bradbury story in there is possibly the first one of his I ever read.
Can anybody give me a clue as to why I can't get the touchstones to show in >5 laytonwoman3rd: above? Are there just too many of them? I'm waiting til I see them fully loaded in the "Touchstones" bar, but they never activate in the post.
EDIT: Could not get that whole post to load the touchstones. I think I was overloading the system. So I cut the last three months out, and put them in a separate post, >7 laytonwoman3rd: above. That worked.
>13 Caroline_McElwee: I left behind 4 matching brand-new hardcover Agatha Christies, which I snatched from the table because they were so pretty. Upon consideration, I decided I had two of the titles in other editions, and the pages of these had a sourish smell. I had a copy of Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory in the sack, but it was an ancient book club edition, quite a bit the worse for wear, and I decided against it. I grabbed a copy of Life and Fate which turned out to be mightily marked up inside so I left it. There were 2 more each of Joan Druett and Dorothy Sayers which I decided to leave for someone else, as I'm not that certain I will stick with either series. A few more, I think, but can't recall what they were. OH...a copy of Stegner's Crossing to Safety, which wasn't in great shape either, and upon checking at home, I find I already have a copy!
>14 kidzdoc: Thank, Darryl. The Mitchell was a serendipitous find...I remember knowing about it, but it wasn't on my wishlist or my radar...it just popped out at me and begged to follow me home.
>15 weird_O: Yes, Amazon has a set of the Lord Peter Wimsey adaptations from Masterpiece Mystery of that time period...there were five different titles, beginning with The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. (Can be had for a mere $224.00!) I sure do miss Alistair Cooke.
>16 msf59: Hey, Mark! I know I've heard good things about In Other Rooms...another one that practically leaped into my bag on its own.
>17 RBeffa: I've actually skipped a couple library sales in the past 2 or 3 years...very unlike me, but there comes a saturation point, I guess. Even though I've dispatched a couple boxes back to the library sale this year, you can see by >5 laytonwoman3rd: above that I really am nowhere near moving my in-house totals downward.
That 2 volume treasury of science fiction was a book my husband brought to our collection from his teenage years. A treasure for that reason alone. He has two favorites in there..."Rebirth" (don't remember who wrote that one off-hand) and "Waldo" by Heinlein. He encouraged me to read both of those while we were dating...I was polite, but unenthusiastic (I did read both), but he married me anyway!
>18 NanaCC: I don't believe I had heard of this particular Doyle title before. Glad to know you enjoyed it, Colleen. I have a couple others and always snatch his books when I find them on sale shelves. I took the Druetts because rebeccanyc has recently been reading them with pleasure.
>22 lycomayflower: Thenk yew. Could have looked, of course. The title of the Twilight Zone episode we were discussing last night is Time Enough at Last...a reader's nightmare, to be sure, and written by a woman who loved to read and wore very very thick glasses!
>21 laytonwoman3rd: Hope you enjoy them too, Linda. And how did you do that link to my profile? Very cool trick.
>24 rebeccanyc: Just put the @ sign in front of the username, Rebecca.
Happy new thread, Linda, and what a lovely pile of books you've got up there.
Happy new thread, Linda. Great show of restraint at the library sale!
Quite the haul up there and a lovely photo to start your new thread. I nearly lost you!
When there are a lot of books you have to sit and wait for it to process - once the books show up in the column on the right--of the comment that you are actually working on--the touchstones will also appear. If it is a long list you might wait a minute or two. I learned that by accident really.
>32 sibyx: Oh, I waited for them all to appear in the right hand column, Lucy. I did it repeatedly over a 2 day period. Once I let it sit there with the list complete in the right hand column for an hour before I tried posting my message. They simply would not show in my post until I broke it into two parts. There must be an upper limit on how many touchstones one message can handle.
67. Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden Sophie Ward, according to her Aunt Portia, has never learned the law of cause and effect. She does as she sees fit, usually with the best of intentions, and then puzzles over why things didn't work out as she planned. She married a handsome man, who ought to have had a spiffing career, but that didn't turn out quite the way she expected either, and when she found herself stuck with little to do and no one to do it with on one of his remote postings in Bengal, she decided to take matters into her own hands, and find things for herself to do. Her daughter, Teresa, lost track of how many times they moved, but wherever they went Teresa clung to certain objects that she considered essential...their books, her doll Pussy Maria, her little brother's tricycle, a little gold carriage clock...these things were her security. Her mother offered none; whenever she had a new idea, she dove relentlessly after it, much like the kingfishers that plunged into Dal Lake near Srinigar in Kashmir, hoping to catch yet another elusive darting fish in the shadows. At last, however, following the death of her husband, and a long bout of illness during which Sophie and her children were cared for by the Sisters at the Mission in Srinigar, Sophie found the spot where she felt she could---must---settle. A dilapidated house called Dhilkusha (roughly, "heart's delight") seemed to offer the chance to live simply, "like the peasants", and become herself at last. Her good intentions often reveal her ignorance, and her attempts to help the local people do not go over well. Ultimately it takes a near tragedy for Sophie to begin to understand where it all went wrong, and how much of it was her own doing. This is a deceptively simple story. There are many many profound elements explored, from the nature of a mother/daughter relationship to the culture clash of English mem with Kashmiri villagers; from the tribal tensions and religious conflicts that still afflict the region to the struggle of a single woman to make her place in a male-dominated, couple-oriented society. This surprisingly thought-provoking tale is a minor masterpiece.
>34 laytonwoman3rd: I started reading this last year and it just didn't click for me. I didn't review it so I can't remember exactly why either. It's not unusual for me to feel a little guilty about a DNF, or wonder if it was just the wrong book at the time. I have a few Rumer Godden VMCs on my shelves so I should probably try again.
I did think this was a little slow getting started, Laura. I hung on because it was set in Kashmir, and there were elements that echoed bits in Midnight's Children, which I am working through slowly. I didn't realize that when I picked up Kingfisher, I just thought I needed something lighter to balance the Rushdie, which I can't read with any distractions. I thought this less stylistic picture of the area would inform my reading of Midnight's Children, and I think perhaps it did help. At first, Sophie struck me as a typical clueless British wife in a colonial environment, but she...and the book...turned out to have much more to offer than it seemed to promise. I haven't read Godden before, although I have a good many of her books on the TBR shelves (none of them are Virago editions, though.)
Yeah that was my problem with Sophie, but if I try this one again I will give her more time.
I think Godden might be a good choice for the British Author Challenge. Your review might prompt me to have another go at her. I read "The River" many years ago and really got caught up in it. Over the years I picked up a few of her books but a year or two ago I gave them away as part of "reduce the piles I'm probably never going to get to" purge. I've had some regrets about it ever since, but I did hold onto an omnibus that has three of her books in it. She'll get another go from me sometime. I like your review Linda.
>39 charl08: Oh, yes, I think so, Charlotte. The line “What I do is me: for that I came” is very fitting for Sophie's character...and the "self" as verb concept applies to her as well. She spends most of the novel pointedly trying to "self".
Here's the first stanza in full:
As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves -- goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
68. Winter's Child by Margaret Maron The further adventures of Judge Deborah Knott
I've really enjoyed the Maron books I've read so far. It's good to see that there's more good reading ahead.
>40 laytonwoman3rd: Argh, now I need to revisit Hopkins' poetry too. Lovely.
69. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury From the public library, for the AAC.
I wanted to read something non-sci-fi for Bradbury month in the AAC, and this was it. Good choice, Linda! Summer begins for Douglas and his younger brother Tom, as always, with the gathering of dandelions for his grandfather's press. As summer progresses, the ketchup bottles full of golden wine line the basement shelves, and the boys do what boys do when allowed to run blissfully free all summer...they explore, they imagine, they learn things, some of which they'd rather not know, some of which will color their lives forever. Along with a growing sense of his own "aliveness", inevitably Douglas comes to face his own mortality as well, and in the hideous heat of late August, with the help of a caring friend, shakes it off. "June dawns, July noons, August evenings over, finished, done, and gone forever with only the sense of it all left here in his head...And if he should forget, the dandelion wine stood in the cellar, numbered huge for each and every day. He would go there often, stare straight into the sun until he could stare no more, then close his eyes and consider the burned spots, the fleeting scars left dancing on his warm eyelids; arranging, rearranging each fire and reflection until the pattern was clear..."
In the beginning, I struggled a bit with Bradbury's poetic style, which seemed wrong for the subject matter. I felt I was wading through hip-deep rose petals to find the dandelions. But either he eased up or I grew accustomed, because I soon found myself totally absorbed in the summer of 1928 in Green Town, Illinois. Many of the chapters of this novel could easily stand alone as short stories, and I think I will need to find a keeper copy of the book so that I can revisit some of them from time to time.
ANOTHER READING CHALLENGE????? OK, nobody here needs this. I'm posting it anyway.
Nice review of Dandelion Wine, Linda. That's one beautiful book; I need to re-read it some time.
I like the way they do that reading challenge, with broad categorizing rather than titles; "you may be surprised by what you find you enjoy!" Makes me think of my trying and enjoying Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, like The Grand Sophy. As soon as I told my daughter that I liked them, she said she had to tell her brother, so they could tease me. :-) (I actually think she would enjoy them, if I ever persuade her).
>46 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yaaaa. That's the challenge I've been working on this year. Down to--roughly--a half-dozen books, two or three of which are still unknowns.
But I'm not likely to do that sort of thing next year.
>47 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I was very pleasantly surprised by Dandelion Wine. See, that is what challenges are for, right? My daughter gave her grandmother a copy of The Grand Sophy for Christmas last year, and now I have it....I'll be giving it a try pretty soon, I think.
>48 weird_O: I think I'll just see what fits in the various categories as I read, rather than trying to choose things that fit the categories. But, as I said, the point of a challenge is to stretch your horizons and surprise yourself with new things.
>44 laytonwoman3rd: Nice review Linda. Presently my favourite Bradbury book for sure.
Thanks for your note on my thread Linda. I loved my re-read of Dandelion Wine last year, but I certainly got the feeling in the beginning that Bradbury was going way over the top. If the whole book had been written like the start it would have been a very different creature.
That is quite an interesting review of Dandelion Wine, Linda. I've never been tempted by Bradbury before, but....
>53 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. I miss having time to check in with my LT buddies on a more regular basis.
70. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore For the BAC, ROOT
I finished this several days ago, and have been letting it perk. My initial reaction to it was, it was a good read, one I was always eager to get back to, but upon completion I wasn't sure what I was supposed to make of it. It's a 20th century tale in the gothic mode, with an isolated home falling on hard times; insanity (mostly hinted at--no madwoman chained in the attic here); incest; unwanted babies; an innocent-seeming heroine (is she an unreliable narrator?); an overbearing older woman; a mysterious missing mother; a rich man who could, maybe, make everything fine; murder and secrets.....so many secrets. The writing is superb, the setting and tone DO make you think of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. And yet, something is lacking. There's no BIG secret, no great reveal, no climax, really. I can't say I was disappointed by this, as nothing in the story misled me into expecting a startling revelation...but I did expect SOMETHING. The ending just fizzled, I thought. 3 stars for the marvelous sensual experience....Dunmore made me see, hear, smell, touch... everything.
>59 laytonwoman3rd: Well, then. I kinda want to read it for the writing, but I don't want to be disappointed in the ending... This is a pickle... (Read: I want you to just come out and tell me to read it or not.)
>62 scaifea: Here's what I'll do for you, Amber...if you're in the mood for some good gothic atmosphere, and this book happens to be lying around, pick it up and read some of it. As long as you know going in that nothing really exciting is going to happen, you can just enjoy it for the writing.
>61 lauralkeet:, >63 rebeccanyc:, >64 lauralkeet: In line with what I said to Amber, I guess if a copy of The Siege should fall into my possession (yes, that kind of thing does happen, sometimes), I'll read it. But I won't actively seek out more Dunmore.
71. Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew Well, this is a fairly standard actress's memoir, establishing her version of her career and her love life. Nothing too titillating, no unnecessary name-dropping, no dishing of dirt on fellow actors or other insiders. Some very moving episodes of love lost, a baby given up for adoption at a very young age, a satisfying reunion with that child grown to adulthood. I'm not sorry I read this, but I kinda wanted to fall in love with Kate Mulgrew the way I'm in love with Kate Hepburn...and it didn't happen.
>69 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Paul. Off to have lunch out with my husband in a little while, and then to visit a couple of 'The ancients'...elderly relatives abound.
72. The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill This is No. 8, and the most recent entry, in the Simon Serrailller series. As I realized what Hill was getting our man Simon into this time, I had some serious doubts that she knew what she was doing---that either she or Simon could pull it off. I hoped she wasn't going to disappoint me by setting up a scenario that I couldn't buy; I really should have known better. Serrailler is recruited to go undercover in a maximum security rehabilitation facility, known as a "therapeutic community", where inmates convicted of sexual crimes are offered an opportunity to address their impulses and possibly learn to overcome or control them, in a more respectful and trusting environment than they are accustomed to in regular prisons. Admission is only upon request, and only after a strenuous vetting process. Simon's job is to get close to one of those inmates, a man who has steadfastly refused to provide any information whatsoever about other members of a large ring of child pornographers and abusers. Aside from the team of detectives assigned to this particular undertaking, only the governor of the facility was to be aware of Simon's true identity and purpose. How in the world could he pull this off...convincing not only the perpetrators of such hideous crimes, but the group therapists involved in their rehabilitation, that he was guilty of similar horrors. I should have trusted Hill to handle this without forcing a total suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader. Nevertheless, the ending of this one---one of her darkest and most difficult---still has me hoping she knows what she's doing.
Just posting this here for myself, so I can find it easily and make some notes for 2016's Canadian Author Challenge. This is the list we'll be reading from:
January: Robertson Davies (multiple titles on my shelves)
Kim Thúy (Library has a copy of Ru)
February: Helen Humphreys (Library has Coventry and Leaving Earth; would probably prefer to find The Frozen Thames)
Stephen Leacock (Nothing in the library system but his bio of Dickens Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Literary Lapses now on my Kindle)
March: Farley Mowat (have Farfarers; may want to try some of his YA fiction)
Anita Rau Badami (have read 2 of hers already)
April: Margaret Atwood (have Surfacing unread);
Michael Crummey (Three of his novels available in Library system)
May: Michel Tremblay (1 novel available in library system, French only)
Emily St. John Mandel
June: Timothy Findley
Joseph Boyden (Library has Three Day Road in print and audio)
July: LM Montgomery (some Anne of Green Gables, perhaps)
Pierre Berton (Library has a few titles, including Niagara)
August: Mordechai Richler
Gabrielle Roy (available in French only in library system)
September: Miriam Toews (Library has a few of her titles, in print and in audio)
October: Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negroes is on my wishlist, but library does not have it; they do have Someone Knows My Name in print and on audio)
Jane Urquhart (4 of her novels available in Library system)
November: Michael Ondaatje (various choices available in library system)
December: Alice Munro (several volumes of hers unread on my shelves)
Rawi Hage (Cockroach available in print and audio in library system)
>75 tiffin: Oh...thanks for the recommendation, Tui. I was thinking maybe Niagara, as our library has a copy. As I was doing my list last night, a little bleary-eyed, I searched for Pierre Breton in the library catalog and found nothing. Now I see why.
>73 msf59: I may have read my Kingsolver in advance---I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in August. I still have Flight Behavior unread, but I don't know whether I'll get to it in November or not.
Animal, Vegetable was so good on audio. Her husband and daughter narrated their own sections.
Morning Linda! I like Dunmore's writing and atmospheric tone but I do NOT like the "yucky" turn in A Spell in Winter. Ewwwww....
>78 Familyhistorian: Ahh...thank you for that. Apparently the original title wasn't considered politically correct here, since we have such a great record for being color-blind and have laid all racial issues to rest.
>79 charl08: I remember reading several glowing reviews of The Frozen Thames. I hope to get to it next year. It's one that may break my "read what you own or can borrow" rule for this challenge, if I can find a used copy somewhere.
>80 msf59: Hmmm. What can you be referring to? (As if I didn't know, really.)
What a superb review of the Godden! I must reread that one. Too bad about the Dunmore, it sounds like it gets so close to being terrific.
>82 NanaCC: Did you also review The Frozen Thames favorably Colleen? You seem to be among the recommenders in my head.
>83 sibyx: Thanks, Lucy. I want to read more of the Goddens on my shelf soon...I bought a pile of them, all vintage book club editions, when a beloved indie.secondhand bookstore liquidated its stock a few years ago.
73. A Legacy by Sybille Bedford Apparently this is a brilliant novel...many have praised it since it was published in 1956. But it's too much like Henry James at his most obscure, and I know too little about the politics and social realities of life in Germany--or the rest of continental Europe, for that matter--around the turn of the 20th century, for it to be anything other than baffling to me. Bedford's narrative style is not fluid and her dialog is maddeningly without context. Who's speaking? What are they talking about? Very little is clear---much is implied, suggested, "understood". The characters are flat and there are too many of them, with too many names and titles. Family dynamics are complicated and motivations a puzzle. Animals with disturbingly human habits offer a little comic relief from time to time, but they seem totally out of place. I didn't get it, and I didn't like it. Sometimes the deaths made sense. At least they cut down on the cast of characters.
>59 laytonwoman3rd: Excellent review of A Spell of Winter, Linda. I loved her prose and admire her courage but in the end I had hoped for a bit more from the story.
Susan Hill is one of the series writers I may dedicate much of 2016 to reading. I've only read the first.
AND I'm very much looking forward to finally reading some Helen Humphreys. I expect to like her work a great deal.
>88 laytonwoman3rd: Oh dear. I guess this is one of those novels that were worth reading at the time it was published, but no longer. Can't all be classics...?
>88 laytonwoman3rd: like Henry James at his most obscure
What a great description Linda, it tells me exactly what I need to know. I can take a pass on this one for sure.
>89 Familyhistorian:, >91 charl08:, >92 lauralkeet: My work here is done! Actually, I think part of the problem is with this reader...a little more background might have helped me considerably. And there were numerous passages or dialogues in French and in German, with no translation cues. I could make out the gist of some of it, but some essential information was obscured there. A sad commentary on 20th century education in America there, I suppose. The sequel to A Legacy, Jigsaw, was published in 1989 or thereabouts, made the Booker shortlist. It's almost a memoir, apparently. Perversely, I'm inclined to give it a go one of these days.
>90 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. I tried hard to parcel out the Hill novels, but in the end, ARCS of the last 3 titles fell into my possession (well, you know...) and I just couldn't leave them alone.
Hill's Serrailler series is a favorite of mine, but that last one was a bit hard to take. She did a remarkable job, but it was such a dark book.
I loved Dandelion Wine.
really like your Rebecca West review. Return of the Soldier sounds like my kind of book.
74. Dickey Chapelle Under Fire by John Garofolo Fifty years ago this month, Dickey Chapelle became the first American female war correspondent to lose her life under fire when a piece of shrapnel brought her down as she was covering the war in South Vietnam, embedded with a American Marines. She was 46 years old. In the course of her career, she had covered WWII battles on Okinawa and Iwo Jima; relief efforts in Europe, India and the Middle East during the 1950's; conflicts in Algeria, Cuba, Lebanon and the Dominican Republic. Her photos and essays had appeared in National Geographic, Life and National Observer magazines. She was not, perhaps, as widely known and appreciated as Margaret Bourke-White, for example, but this collection of her photographs suggests that her eye for the human detail was as sharp as anyone's, even when her technique appeared slightly less than perfect. She admitted that she had no affinity for a light meter, and usually did not use one. That is apparent in some of the pictures reproduced here, which may seem improperly exposed, or badly focused; but this lack of clarity is oddly appropriate to the subject matter, demonstrating the haze and confusion of war. I do not mean to imply that there are no sharp, startling, heart-rending images among Chapelle's work; in particular her close-ups of individual soldiers, rebels, nurses and civilians caught up in the circumstances of war are magnificent. It is unfortunate, perhaps, that we do not know her work better than we do. Not one of the images in this book was familiar to me, although some are at least as arresting as a few now considered iconic which we all would recognize. As another correspondent noted in the foreword to this collection, Dickey Chapelle deserves to be remembered with Martha Gellhorn, and Christiane Amanpour, if not with Bourke-White, whose work was perhaps more intense and artistic. Having known an excellent black-and-white photographer quite well, I realize that much of the art we eventually see happens in the dark room, not in the field. Perhaps it is better that we experience this subject without such enhancement. This volume is a production of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, and is a well-made, square format, quality edition. It is short on text, for the most part letting the photos speak for themselves with only minimal context provided. I rate this book a solid 4 stars. If you cannot get your hands on it, a Google image search does turn up a sampling of Chapelle's work, although it seems easier to find pictures of her than by her.
75. The Rural Schools of Manchester Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania and The Rural Schools of Buckingham Township, Wayne County, Pennsylvania by Mimi Steffen These two volumes, published by local historical associations in my home county, document the rural, mostly one-room schools that were part of life well into the second half of the 20th century in the region of Northeastern Pennsylvania where I grew up. They include photos, reproductions of "souvenirs" passed out by teachers at the end of school terms, abstracts from annual teacher's reports and other information gleaned from existing records and the recollections of a few surviving teachers. All of great interest to me, as I attended one of these schools through 5th grade, when it became one of the last of its kind to close, in 1961. I fault them only for failing to seek contributions from my generation, a good many of whom still live close enough to have been contacted for input about what it was like to be a student in one of those small country schools with no running water or indoor plumbing, no playground or lunchroom, and one wood-burning stove in the middle of the room to provide heat all winter at a time when most of our homes were much more up-to-date.
>94 Caroline_McElwee: Yes, Caroline, the challenges can get to be too much. I'll use them as guides, and read from the lists as the spirit moves me, mainly from books I have on hand that fit. But I am going to try a bit harder with the Canadians next year, as there are many that are not familiar to me, or who I have been "meaning to get to" on that list.
>95 tymfos: It was tough, wasn't it, Terri? I wonder what she's going to do with Simon now.
>96 RBeffa:, >99 RBeffa: Thank you and thank you!
^Congrats on hitting our favorite number, Linda! Hope you are having a good weekend. Happy reading!
>100 Familyhistorian:, >105 Familyhistorian: Sorry, Meg...I'll bet I was typing and posted, and missed seeing yours tucked in there! Thanks. 75 is not hard for me to hit, but I still feel like I've accomplished something when I get there. The year I hit 100 I was really chuffed.
>104 msf59: Not as much reading as I'd like so far this weekend, Mark, but I hope to get more in tomorrow! Thanks.
>106 laytonwoman3rd: There are still the better part of seven weeks in 2015, Linda. Maybe you can make it to 100 again!
Only seven weeks left - only 6 weeks until Christmas - maybe I should start doing something about that!
>107 Familyhistorian: Please...I'm spazzing out over Thanksgiving...don't start on Christmas yet! (And I'm not even cooking the dinner....)
>108 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yeah, you celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Ours is long gone - just the steady slide into Xmas and the New Year left here.
>109 Familyhistorian: I think having Thanksgiving in October makes ever so much more sense. In addition to Christmas and New Year's, we have 5 family birthdays between December 15th and January 4th.
Congratulations on making 75 Linda! I might make it but it will be close.
Well done Linda for zapping the 75, even if one of them, A Legacy was not at all your cup of tea. (Good job I didn't finish up with her for next year then isn't it?
Sometimes the deaths made sense. At least they cut down on the cast of characters.
As with Meg, I couldn't suppress a guffaw.
Have a lovely Sunday.
>111 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura. I hereby grant you permission to read one extra hour every day in order to meet your goal. (By the authority vested in me by ... well, by me, I guess!)
>112 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Glad I could give you a chuckle with Bedford----she wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs for me!
76. The Fugitive Wife by Peter C. Brown This book has been languishing on my shelves for almost a decade. I believe I picked it up without knowing anything about it---it was acquired a little too early in my LT experience for it to have been recommended by any of the usual suspects. I'll compose my thoughts when my brain is less fuzzy, and they will come with a recommendation.
And congrats for hitting 75! I'm 15 off the mark so don't know if I'll make it this year or not.
>118 tiffin: Thanks, Tui. I'll tell you what I told @lauralkeet...another hour a day. It's Dr. K's prescription!
regarding the frozen Thames, I've read an article or two in recent times that the cold period in Europe that precipitated that event in the 1700's may be happening again. Some believe it was tied to a quiet sun, and apparently the sun seems to have entered (unexpectedly) a quiet period. It doesn't have anything to do with global warming - but rather the type of solar radiation that affects jet streams and stuff and it has an effect on Europe in particular.
>121 RBeffa: Given what scientists predict for our technology as a result of a big solar flare, we must hope for a long period of quiet, mustn't we? Troublesome as it might be, frozen Thames isn't the worst thing that could happen.
>123 laytonwoman3rd: Very timely - a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it.
This Wendell Berry character keeps popping up recently, and I'd not even heard of him until a couple of weeks ago. Strange.
The list for the American Authors Challenge for 2016 has been decided. Posting it here for my own reference, and for anyone else who hasn't seen it yet and would like to know!
January- Anne Tyler
February- Richard Russo
March- Jane Smiley
April- Poetry Month
May- Ivan Doig
June- Annie Proulx
July- John Steinbeck
August- Joyce Carol Oates
September- John Irving
October- Michael Chabon
November- Annie Dillard
December- Don DeLillo
Hi, Linda! I hope you can join us on a few of the AAC authors. Which ones are you really looking forward to?
Have you read Oates? I have not.
I have never read Trying to Save Piggy Sneed and have not seen much buzz on it. There are several of Irving's books I still need to get to.
>131 msf59: I love Trying to Save Piggy Sneed. Irving is one of my favorite authors---and yet some of his stuff I simply cannot read. I've Pearl-ruled A Son of the Circus and The Fourth Hand, and although I enjoyed The World According to Garp when it came out (and it would have been the first Irving I read), I hated the ending, and don't think I could re-read it now. I'm very partial to The Cider House Rules, Last Night in Twisted River and A Prayer for Owen Meany.
I have read all the 2016 AAC selections except Don DeLillo. I intend to read more of each of them, as I believe I have at least one unread book on hand for every author. I have read some Oates---short fiction, I Lock My Door Upon Myself (excellent), and We Were the Mulvaneys (meh). I'm looking forward to a collection of her fiction called The Museum of Dr. Moses. Also highly anticipating reading more of Annie Proulx, Ivan Doig, and Annie Dillard. I have many to choose from for each of them.
I might have to try Trying to Save Piggy Sneed. I also have his latest, saved on audio. Like you, I didn't care much for The Fourth Hand and loved
The Cider House Rules, Last Night in Twisted River and A Prayer for Owen Meany. I also enjoyed Widow For One Year.
Looking forward to finally trying J.C.O.
>133 NanaCC: Hope you can join us, for a few.
Jane Smiley has a new book out but I haven't read any comments about it so far.
>136 tiffin:, >137 laytonwoman3rd: Jane Smiley has winners and losers, at least for me, and I read a lot of her back in the 90s and some since. I think The Greenlanders, which I just read in the past few years, is her masterpiece, and I also enjoyed Moo and Horse Heaven. I've never read A Thousand Acres, although I think I own it but LT says otherwise. I haven't started the new trilogy.
>123 laytonwoman3rd: I greatly admire Wendall Berry. Very appropriate poem Linda, very necessary.
>130 laytonwoman3rd: hmmm interesting, split between favourites and some authors I haven't read. I'm so bad at challenges though. Having one reading group dictated choice a month is about as much as I can manage. I may dip in and out of AAC intentionally next year, and not by tardiness.
>138 rebeccanyc: I intended to read Greenlanders on your recommendation, a couple of years go Rebecca, but somehow I haven't got to it yet.
>138 rebeccanyc: Aside from my lukewarm response to the one Smiley novel I did read, the descriptions and reviews of Moo and Horse Heaven just never made me think they would be for me. Greenlanders, maybe, and >139 lycomayflower: I did note the availability of that title in your collection. Ahem.
>140 Caroline_McElwee: I don't do great with the challenges Caroline. I start out thinking I "how hard can it be" but always my intentions get ground into the dirt. I like to follow along with them, though, and see what others are reading, even when I'm not participating. And with this AAC list, I have a fair chance of knowing what people are talking about, as I have read some of most of the authors, and a lot of a few of them. (You can quote me on that!)
>141 laytonwoman3rd: Look, if you're going to "ahem" at every book I have on my shelf that I haven't read, you're going to get a powerful sore throat. I wouldn't want to have that on my conscious.
>142 lycomayflower: Wasn't hemming 'cause you have it unread...just 'cause I might be wanting to borry the loan of it, see?
I have read only Moo, which I thought was a hoot. I acquired Horse Heaven at a library bag-sale a month or so ago. My DIL recommended A Thousand Acres and Good Faith, and since I got her a super-cheap copy of Wolf Hall in hardcover to replace the copy she left in Dublin, Ireland, she will lend either or both books to me. I'll certainly read the Acres book for Pulitzer and AAC in 2016, maybe the other two as well for AAC.
I liked "Moo" a lot too. Will put Greenlanders on the wishlist so I don't forget the title.
>148 rebeccanyc: May I ask what it was that spoiled the book for you?
ETA: I see that it has a mixture of reviews. Some like it, others don't. Still, I'm interested in what you thought.
>149 weird_O: I read it pre-LT, which means I don't remember much of it, except that it's about the evils of real estate, and I think Smiley can be a little over the top, bordering on didactic, at times. But I could be all wrong about that and that it just didn't grab me the way other books I've read of hers did. (I also didn't like The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton for I think the same reasons.)
>150 rebeccanyc: Uh oh. The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton is the unread Smiley in my stacks.
77. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith Another page-turner in the Cormoran Strike series. This time, a psychopath with a grudge against Strike targets Robin to satisfy his twisted urges, and to wreak vengeance on Strike. But which of several potential perps from his past is responsible, and can Corm and Robin figure it out while keeping his floundering business above water? There might have been one too many suspects here...the threads get mightily tangled and snarled. But as usual, Galbraith is supremely skillful at keeping track of all the ends and making them meet tidily in the end. Naturally, there are developments in the Robin/Matthew romance as well. He is still not much of a character, as we see him mostly through Robin's reactions to his behavior, but he has been fleshed out a bit now, and he's not a bad guy, really. I don't think he's right for our Robin, though. (And no, I don't want to see her and Strike become a couple. Much more interesting if they hammer out a successful working partnership.)
>152 laytonwoman3rd: I almost wish I had waited until she was done writing this series, because I hate waiting for the next book. Almost..... I agree with your take on the Robin/Matthew & Robin/Strike relationships.
I also agree about the romantic partnership. I know that adds an element of suspense from one book to the next, but it doesn't need to be fulfilled. While Robin and Matthew don't seem that well suited to one another, a relationship with Strike doesn't seem realistic to me. At least not yet!
Happy Thanksgiving, Linda! Have a great holiday, my friend.
I think I better start the Cormoran Strike series. It seems like all my LT pals are fans.
>155 laytonwoman3rd: So sweet. Thank you for those sentiments. Today is my favorite holiday and I feel incredibly lucky to have a family who loves me, meaningful work, reasonably good health, and a rich and enriching on-line family of book-lovers.
>152 laytonwoman3rd: Agreed this was a good read - for me the best one yet. I'm keen to read the next one although who knows when that will be published...
>158 msf59: I am indeed a Doctorow fan. I'm looking forward to reading some of his short fiction in December.
>159 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! It's all over but the nibblin' now.
>160 EBT1002: Most of those things are what I'm thankful for as well...I'm a little less than enthusiastic lately about the "meaningful work" part!
Thanksgiving for us means a trip to "the farm", where my brother, sister-in-law, niece and her husband and two little girls live. It is our ancestral home near the Delaware river in northern Wayne County, PA. My great-grandfather came there in the late 19th century from Slovakia, and now my grand nieces are the sixth generation of our family to live there. It is where my dad grew up, where I stayed with my grandmother as a child, where my parents lived for approximately 20 years. We gather for a dinner that can't be beat; for a wee drop of something excellent and aged; for toe-tapping sing-along music with my brother and my nephew on guitars; for reminiscing with the ancients (my uncle who is 94, my mother who is 85, and my mother-in-law, who is 87); for playing with babies and making them laugh; for jeep rides around the lower meadow and up along the creek to the cabin with at least one dog running alongside; for collapsing at home in the evening with tea and leftovers...in my case usually just a piece of pie I was too full to eat at dinnertime. Thankful doesn't begin to describe the way I feel.
>161 charl08: She's been turning them out at a pretty good rate, and I always get the feeling she has a good idea where the next one is going. I think she may have the whole series planned out, just as she did with HP.
78. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples Suzanne Fisher Staples is a local author, by which I mean she lives within 25 or 30 miles of me, by very familiar back roads. She plans an annual symposium called The Gathering at Keystone College in LaPlume, PA. She writes for "young readers", but as a former reporter based in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, she covered a lot of difficult territory and now uses her knowledge of the region and its varied cultures to create engaging and informative fiction that appeals to adults as well. In Under the Persimmon Tree she gives us two main characters, Najmah, a twelve year old Afghani girl orphaned by war in post-9/11 Afghanistan, who travels, sometimes alone and disguised as a boy, to a refugee camp across the border in Peshawar, Pakistan; and Nusrat, an American woman who converted to Islam and traveled to her husband's homeland of Pakistan with him on a humanitarian mission. Nusrat teaches refugee children in the garden of her home outside Peshawar, while she waits for word from her husband, a doctor who has gone into the war zones to provide medical assistance in field clinics. Naturally, we anticipate an intersection of the lives of these two characters, whose stories are written in alternating chapters. Najmah's journey is told to us in her voice, in first person, in the present tense. Nusrat's story comes to us from her point of view, but in the third person, also in the present tense. I suppose the author felt the difference would make it easier for young readers to make the shift from chapter to chapter, but I didn't care for that aspect of the book. I'm not a fan of present tense, either. But there is excellence in this story; there is insight into Muslim daily life; into the impact of generations of war on people whose lives are mostly about survival, no matter who has power; and about the simple acts of kindness and generosity that can bring about healing and growth. The ending feels inevitable, but not totally predictable. I enjoyed it, even though there were spots where the "informative" part was a little too obvious.
>164 laytonwoman3rd: I have not heard of that book before but the title at least is very suggestive to me. When Hani was pregnant with Yasmyne, our eldest, her food fetish was suddenly one Saturday morning that she desired Persimmon. I was travelling across the Straits for a meeting in Singapore and was told not to return empty handed. Fortunately I was able to find some in a place called Bishan 8. Had my first experience of that silky smooth fruit and managed to get back into the family home.
Have a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend. xx
>165 PaulCranswick: I have never tasted persimmons, Paul. In the book someone says it is impossible to describe the taste.
I haven't either, Linda, although they are in the supermarkets here. I wouldn't know how to pick one that's ripe.
Belated congrats on passing the 75-book mark!
>141 laytonwoman3rd: I don't do well with the challenges, either. I'm a rather moody reader, and generally prefer to go my own way in reading, except for very broad themes like Mystery March or the September sequels and series. Reading designated authors in designated months just doesn't work well for me. The one exception this year was reading the Hillerman books for that group read. (I'd already read all the Longmire novels.) I plan to continue with that next year.
79. Hard Row by Margaret Maron Another good entry in the Judge Deborah Knott series. Dismembered body parts start showing up in odd places (OK, I don't know what would NOT be an odd place for them to show up) and Dwight Bryant has his hands full both with the investigation and with his young son, who is still grieving for his dead mother and trying to adjust to his new living situation. Maron handles all this life story stuff so well I wouldn't even care if the mystery was a bit lackluster, but this one was very well put together. I had a pretty good idea who was dead and even who was responsible, but the side bits and whys and wherefores were not so obvious. Solid escape read, and just what the doctor ordered for this weekend.
>169 tymfos: Look at us, typing at the same time! I am a moody reader too. And my mood lately hasn't been conducive to anything very challenging in the reading department. I've decided not to feel bad about that...one of these days I'll be very much in a non-fiction mood, or all about the Brits, or something, and sometimes it will fit a challenge, and I'll be pleased about that.
I think I have Bootlegger's Daughter on my TBR for December. Your review has just pushed it onto the 'definitely' pile by putting it back in my view. :)
>162 laytonwoman3rd: that all sounds exceedingly joyful Linda.
>171 laytonwoman3rd: my mood lately hasn't been conducive to anything very challenging in the reading department
Me, either. I, too, have decided that that is OK.
80. Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey Audio. I must say I am mightily relieved to be finished with this one. Not that it isn't good...it's too good. It is subtitled "A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins", but I think that's misleading. It is more a journey into the harrowing and horrifying world of dolphin exploitation and abuse. As I listened to it on audio, I can't go back through the book and cite examples, but the overwhelming feeling I had during most of it was "I can't take much more of this". Wholesale slaughter and heartless captivity conditions, even in the big-name theme parks we've all heard of...these marvelous, intelligent creatures have been very badly served by humanity in the last few centuries...by modern societies and primitive ones alike. Their teeth used for currency; their bodies contaminated by pollutants; their environment bombarded by sonar, the noise of ship engines, drilling rigs and naval war games; their lives appropriated for human entertainment or experimentation, whole pods slaughtered for political or monetary gain. Casey has interviewed a number of activists who are risking their own lives to try to stop some of the worst abuses; as well as one researcher who decided to give up her work, which she had come to view as unethical; and Joan Ocean, a new age guru from "Dolphinville" in Hawaii who claims to have a mystic, spiritual relationship with cetaceans. Dolphins have no autonomic nervous system and must consciously breathe. Therefore, if they are stunned they can "drown" because they stop breathing. There is also anecdotal evidence that depressed individuals have simply refused to take another breath, effectively committing suicide.
Thankfully, Casey concluded her book with visits to ancient Minoan sites on the Isle of Crete, where back in the Bronze Age they apparently appreciated and lived in harmony with nature and its other creatures, particularly those dwelling in the sea around them. Their art is glorious, even after all these centuries buried under rock and ash from the volcanic eruption that apparently eradicated their civilization. Here's a small example I found to lift our spirits:
I believe this is one of the frescoes referred to by Casey in her book. Her writing is very fine, and the reading performance by Cassandra Campbell was outstanding. This is important stuff, and if you can stand it, I recommend it.
Today is my 10th Thingaversary! I know that the custom is to gift oneself with an equal number of books, but after 10 years of hanging around this place, I'm darn near buried in books. What I'd really prefer is to spend the next 10 hours doing nothing but reading and being with my books. *sigh* Next year.
Happy Thingaversary Linda - well maybe you could do 5 books and 5 hours?
>176 laytonwoman3rd: What a beautiful piece of art. Thank you for posting it.
I watched a documentary about the Sea life centres and their treatment of killer whales, and could well believe that a similar study of Dolphins would be grim reading. I was amazed to hear that there are some theories suggesting group consciousness across whale/ dolphin/ killer whale populations, and that may explain the group beaching phenomena. I understand that the sealife centres are claiming to be moving away from exhibition shows, so perhaps things are moving in the right direction?
>177 laytonwoman3rd: Dang it! Mine was yesterday, and I forgot again. (Not that I could have gone out and bought ten books and still had a happy home when I got back. *whistles*)
>176 laytonwoman3rd: You're right: I don't want to read that. But if there's a Reading Further list with any more general titles, sharesies plox.
>177 laytonwoman3rd: Congratulations! On my 9th Thingaversary earlier this year, I likewise felt buried in books, so I started Project TBR to read 10 books from my TBR piles before the end of the year.
>181 lycomayflower: Since it was an audio book, I don't know about a further reading list. BUT...do read the Natl Geo article you said you have on hand. It has some of the same information in it, and it won't wreck you.
And yeah, see, the book thing...I'm almost at critical mass, and with Santa coming I expect there will be some new additions. So. See comment below in response to >179 Caroline_McElwee:.
>180 charl08: Yes, Charlotte, Casey did mention that at least one of the major marine world attractions is eliminating "performance" shows and that there is some heightening awareness of the wrongheadedness of a lot of what's been happening in that area. I think the documentary you refer to may have been one she mentioned in the book as well. It worked well on audio, but I could have used a print version at hand at the same time, to go back and make note of certain facts and references. I may see if the library has the print book and do that for myself when I return the discs. She really fired me up to investigate the Minoan civilization and its art. I was only vaguely aware of it before, and now I must see much much more.
>179 Caroline_McElwee: You know, Caroline, I think I'm going to "bank" it all, and withdraw it after the hols when I will have some time on my hands, as you are aware!
>178 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!
wow, a ten year thingamajiggy - that is like pioneer time. First settler status. Considering the effect that LT has had on my book collection in the nearly 7 years I have been a member I would probably be at Homer and Langley status if I had a full ten years!
I started reading Homer and Langley and I am completely seduced by it.
Happy Thingaversary! My 9th was in October, and like you I felt awash in books so I didn't do anything to mark the occasion. I am also not as noble as >182 rebeccanyc:. :)
>182 rebeccanyc: You sneaked in there, Rebecca. I remember you saying you were going to try to read 10 books from the stacks....I'm always trying something of the sort, but it is a good idea. Put in that context, it might actually work for me!
>186 lauralkeet: I don't know if it's noble, but it sure is practical, and I may give it a try myself.
>187 laytonwoman3rd: You'll have to put 11 on the list, Linda -- one to grow on!
>190 EBT1002: Yeah, it's pretty special, Ellen. Here's a picture taken a couple years ago, as we approached the house for Thanksgiving. There was no snow on the ground this year.
>191 laytonwoman3rd: Oooo, that is a nice photo. Where are my promised photos of Thanksgiving this year, hmmm?
Now I've started, I will share these, as well:
This is Unk, in what we call the "Ancestors' Chair"---it's been around as long as my brother and I can remember, and my Dad told us he's pretty sure it was in the house when he was a kid. (this picture is also a couple years old---Unk is much frailer these days.)
and my brother
(Yes, they are rather serious about their music!)
Lily telling her Mama something very important:
Lovely family photos. Congrats on your Thingaversary. I think I am getting to that critical mass stage as well so know the feeling!
>192 lycomayflower: Well...there's that one of Lily and the Grans...I didn't get many. There might be one or two more.
>194 Familyhistorian: Thanks. I hope to read a LOT in 2016, especially during the early winter months, so I can feel good about loading up at our library sales in April!
81. Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan This is a book I never would have known about, and probably wouldn't have chosen for myself if I did. It was strongly recommended to me by lycomayflower, and she's hard to resist when she gets pushy. Of course, now I have to thank her profusely in a public forum, because it was just so good.
The story involves two young men, Emmet and Jeremey, who meet and fall in love. No, the conflict isn't that they are gay. It is that Emmet is autistic and Jeremey has severe clinical depression and suffers debilitating anxiety attacks. Emmet has an admirable grasp of his own abilities and needs. Supported by his rather incredible parents and an aunt who is also on the autism spectrum, he has worked out various signals and coping mechanisms, is attending college, and is quite possibly better adjusted than a lot of so-called "normal" people, or people "on the mean" as he often refers to us. Jeremey, on the other hand, is afflicted by his parents...they don't understand why he doesn't just "get over it"; they have spent most of his young life trying to cure him, fix what's wrong, turn him into a normal person, rather than seeking useful treatment that could help him function better and lead a fulfilling life on his own terms. They insist he will go to college, although he does not want to do so and is clearly unequipped to handle that environment. The idea of treating him as an individual with emotional needs they should meet, let alone with unconditional love and respect, seems beyond their understanding. His meltdowns embarrass them and they blame him for behavior that is impossible for him to control. And then they find out he's gay, and wants to move out of the house to live with his boyfriend. AY! Dio mio!
There are fascinating insights here into what I believe is called neuro-diversity, and i applaud the author for educating me without throwing me out of the story. Watching Jeremey and Emmet learn to relate to one another as loving partners is one of the best things about this book. It's all a journey of exploration and discovery and --fair warning--it includes some graphic descriptions of their sexual life, which has both a clinical aspect due to Emmet's detailed internet research on "how to do it", and a very moving tenderness as they are both utterly unselfish in their approach. Carry the Ocean is first and foremost a romance, so all the elements are designed to bring about a happy ending. One or two situations seem to resolve a little too easily, but you WANT that HEA so much that you just don't care.
>197 laytonwoman3rd: Aw, lookit you, all loving the romance. (I'm just chuffed enough to ignore that "pushy" comment up there.) Seriously, very glad you enjoyed it.
Ack! I was wondering why I hadn't seen any posts from you recently, Linda. I accidentally hit the "Ignore topic" red X button! Sorry about that...
Congratulations on your 10th Thingaversary! You're "older" than me by about six months.
Retirement in January? Wow, that is next month. That sounds scarily fabulous.
>200 tymfos:, >201 PaulCranswick:, >202 kidzdoc: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
>203 Familyhistorian: Yup, I'm taking the plunge. About six months sooner that I had originally planned. I have calculated that I have 11 1/2 work days left. "Scarily fabulous" sums it up nicely. I'm quite happy to think that I won't need to be driving in the winter weather...should we ever get any. It's 60F and pouring rain in NE PA right now.
>204 laytonwoman3rd: The weather is rather scary at this point. I can't say that I want winter to arrive, but the reasons for this crazy weather is what makes it scary.
Retirement is awesome. You will love it!
>205 NanaCC: Today feels a bit more December-ish, Colleen. At least the air is brisk. I know I am going to enjoy retirement. 6 full work days and counting!
82. Leave it to Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse Typical, snortworthy Wodehouse. Shenanigans and hijinks, confusion and coincidences at Blandings Castle. Slim plot, silly people, some laugh-out-loud moments. Poor Dominated Fellow wants to give his step-daughter a bit of cash to help her and her husband buy and run a farm, but PDF's wife Lady Constance (who is NOT the girl's mother or anything) won't hear of it because she disapproves of choices the girl has made (most especially her choice of marriage over college). So PDF devises a plot, with the aid of Freddie Threepwood, Lady Constance's idle nephew, to purloin his wife's diamond necklace, replace it for her with a conspicuously better one to justify a large expenditure (part of which, naturally, will be sent off to Phyllis and her lad rather than being invested in said necklace). Psmith (the P is silent) and a few others get tangled up in this scheme and it all turns quite delightfully ridiculous with umbrellas and flowerpots and men up trees and Canadian poets, not to mention imposters.
>208 lauralkeet: I assume he knows there are more Psmith adventures?
83. Silent Night by Robert B. Parker and Helen Brann Subtitled, "A Spenser Holiday Novel", this is the book Parker was working on when he died at his desk in 2010. It was finished by his long-time agent, and literary executor, Helen Brann. It's a short and simple story in which Spenser responds to the plea of Slide, an 11-year-old street urchin, to protect the man who has given him and a number of other homeless kids a safe place to be, outside the system. Naturally, there's more to this than first appears, and Spenser soon finds himself with a potential conflict of interest when another would-be client asks him to get her out of a relationship with a wealthy and dangerous man, who happens to be the brother and financial support of Slide's benefactor. Meanwhile, Christmas is approaching, and Spenser has decided to tackle the preparation of a turducken...you know you HAVE to read this.
I'm really not into the Spenser series, but I think I'd really like to read this one. I guess if you're a writer, a heart attack at your desk while writing isn't a bad way to go.
Hi Linda. I'm stopping by to wish you and your family a bright, wonderful Christmas.
Congratulations on your retirement Linda. I can assure you that it is good and you will have plenty more time to read. We still never seem to have enough time, but that is because we keep finding things to pique our interest and to rediscover old interests (like ancestry research).
Merry Christmas to you.
Merry Christmas, Linda! I hope you have a wonderful time with your family. Maybe 2016 will be the year I learn how to add pictures to my posts. :).
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!
So many lovely Christmas messages! Thank you all. If I've missed your individual threads with my greetings, please know it wasn't intentional, but merely a result of my trying to get to everyone while tidying up things at my office and wondering if I have every gift and all the groceries, and...well, you all know. So Merry Christmas to all who visit here. Your presence is always a gift to me.
Linda, Thank you so much for the wonderful books. I am going to savor the Haruf and save it for a while - just don't want to read the last one and then there is no more. I am sure that I will enjoy the French and Semaphore looks interesting and I like the story behind it. It was a treat opening the gifts this morning.
That is odd. It seems as though I had sent books to your daughter! Rather circular, or something.
>224 catarina1: Really?? Isn't that something... One of my daughter's best friends/roommates from college lives in Baltimore, btw. So if you needed any further coincidences...
I'm glad you like my selections. I have the Haruf myself, and like you, I'm saving it. It makes me very sad that there will be no more from him.
>222 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul....that's quite a graphic!
>220 Familyhistorian: Had to share that one with my husband, Meg. He's both a martini drinker and a James Bond fan.
>219 ronincats: How lovely, Roni. My sentiments exactly.
>218 NanaCC: You can DO it, Colleen! And you'll wonder why you waited so long once you get the hang of it.
>217 RBeffa: mmm...I expect there will not be as much time as I wish for either. And although I've done a lot of ancestry research in the past, my husband and I have plans to visit a few more courthouses, historical societies and cemeteries together hoping to fill in gaps on his side of the family; my brother and I did some road trips of that sort years ago, and turned up a few delightful surprises.
>216 SandDune: Is that your tree, Rhian? SO pretty. Thanks for sharing it with me.
>215 msf59: Books. Bookish friends. Yes. It will be so!
84. Sweet Land Stories by E. L. Doctorow For the first time that I can remember, I loved every single selection in a collection like this. Short fiction is so often hit or miss with me, and even when I greatly enjoy some of the stories, others usually feel flat and pointless. There are only five stories in the collection, and each one is a gem. Three of the five are told in the first person. The most powerful of the lot is "Walter John Harmon", a first person narrative from inside the head of a member of a religious cult founded by a former mechanic who survived a cyclone that engulfed the repair shop where he worked. It is downright terrifying to note how the healthy skepticism of the seemingly rational narrator gradually turns to cautious acceptance of the cult's lifestyle requirements, and ultimately morphs him into a true believer and incipient fanatic. In "A House on the Plains", the narrator is a young man whose mother is up to something, the nature of which gradually and subtly becomes horribly clear. It's a tiny little novel, and I rate it right up there with Tom Tryon's The Other for the way pieces fall in place to suggest and then reveal a picture you don't want to see but can't look away from. "Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden" is a touching portrait of a disillusioned FBI agent who does what he can unofficially to rectify a sad situation created by a disturbed young woman with a grudge against her father and a bureaucratic system that sees nothing in human terms. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed Sweet Land Stories too but I read it pre-LT so I don't remember much!
>228 rebeccanyc: Doctorow is one of my favorites, and he never seems to repeat himself.
>230 tymfos: How sweet to have Sig sleeping on my thread! Thank you, Terri.
>227 laytonwoman3rd: I feel the same way about short story collections but you've got me interested in this one. Its on my TBR.
Nice review of Sweet Land Stories, Linda. I'll be on the lookout for it.
I wasn't as active in visiting the threads in 2015. I hope to remedy that in 2016. I took time this morning to visit here and read your excellent reviews. Your description s jump off the page and want me to read all the great books you read. Alas. That isn't possible with only a few days left in the year, but, my goal is to read at least one from every thread I visit.
Congratulations on your retirement. Happy reading!
>232 catarina1:, >233 msf59:, >234 kidzdoc:, >235 NanaCC: Wow! My work here is done. I'm thrilled to have spurred such interest in one of favorite authors. And thanks, Mark, for the link to the Tyler thread. I'll skip right over and star it.
>236 Whisper1: Thanks for the good wishes and kind words, Linda. I hope 2016 allows you more thread time, more reading time, and much much less pain.
>237 rebeccanyc: I'm puzzled that The March doesn't show up in my library, Rebecca. I'm sure I read it. I probably borrowed it from the library, and it may have been BLT.
>238 laytonwoman3rd: Unless it was a book I kept, a lot of books I read before LT don't show up in my library. When I first joined I added some from memory but soon stopped and only add them once in a while. Mostly I added books that had left a strong impression on me, and yet I think I still don't have Ragtime listed as a "read but not owned" despite it being a long ago favorite of mine. I should fix that now. Generally I didn't hold on to 3 star type books and of course all the library books read across the years. The best of the library books I sometimes ending up buying at some point when I came across a nice copy.
>239 RBeffa: My library on LT doesn't include any books that I read before I joined, unless they were physically in the house when I started cataloging in 2005. But that's a LOT of books. Anything that was added to LT, but later culled, still appears in my Read But Unowned, and/or Removed From Library collections. The March was published in 2005, and I didn't start keeping track of my reading here until 2007, so it's very likely I read it sometime in between there.
85. Translation is a Love Affair by Jacques Poulin, translated by Sheila Fischman. A delightful short tale about a novelist and his translator who find themselves involved in the life of a mysterious young girl who appears to be in trouble, through the intercession of a small black cat. If you crossed Rear Window with Plainsong, dashed in a few drops of Breakfast at Tiffany's, wrote it in French and then translated it into English, you might get something like this.
86. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf What better book to end the year, this tender and poignant little glimpse of ordinary people living the best they know how in the face of bewildering changes and unreasonable expectations. The story is utterly unpretentious, uplifting and sad in equal measure. Addie Moore, a lonely widow, proposes to her neighbor, Louis Waters, that they spend a few nights together at her house, talking and sharing a bed ---nothing more. It's chancy, and they both know it might be a bust. But then again, it might relieve their mutual loneliness. Honesty, kindness and general common sense are hard at work in these characters, as they explore in conversation their marriages, their past sorrows and failings. Just as it seems the experiment might actually be working, Addie's son drops her six-year old grandson into her care for the summer without much warning. The boy is having a very hard time dealing with his parents' break-up, and he hardly knows his grandmother. He soon finds he is lucky to have her and Louis on his side. Kudos to Haruf for spending his final days crafting this gift to his readers, and for avoiding either an unrealistic happy ending or an outright tragedy. That's life, so much of the time.
>243 laytonwoman3rd: that little novel is on my best of the year list Linda, and you summed it up perfectly,
>243 laytonwoman3rd: Nice review Linda. Our library has this and I'm looking forward to reading it next year.
>243 laytonwoman3rd: ooh, definitely a perfect way to wrap up 2015. I thought Our Souls at Night was a lovely book. With just the single storyline it wasn't as complex as his earlier books but the Addie and Louis story was so touching, especially considering it as a tribute to his wife. And, as you said, as a final gift to his readers.
I don't know whether I'm going to do a more in-depth look at my 2015 reading or not, but for the moment, this is my "best of the year" list, in no particular order:
In no particular order, my favorites of 2015 are:
Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
All the Light We Cannot See
Brown Girl Dreaming
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
H is for Hawk
Doc and Epitaph
Sweet Land Stories
Our Souls at Night
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (I'm listening to this on audio when driving, and am not quite finished, but it has been wonderful so far, and deserves to be on this list.)
I had completely forgotten you loved Canada. I had a really difficult time getting past the style it was written in. I was initially disliking it quite a bit but I somehow got used to the strange way he was telling the story - but the dislike didn't turn to like.
I am really hoping to read the McCullough in 2016. I was thinking of doing a Paris Wife/Hadley/Moveable Feast/Greater Journey plus? theme sequence at some point during the year.
and I still need to get to Doc.
>249 RBeffa: I noticed that Canada didn't work for you, Ron. Hey, that's why there's chocolate and vanilla. I think your Paris themed reading sounds like a great idea. I still haven't read The Paris Wife, but A Moveable Feast always makes me wish I liked more of Hemingway's stuff. You should definitely move Doc up the list...it's terrific.
I got the idea for a themed read about Paris shortly after the terrorist attack. The first book that sprang to mind was a moveable feast, probably my favorite Hemingway. I want to add a WWII novel into the mix as well, and after really enjoying Alan Furst in 2015 I thought I might include his Mission To Paris although I think all or most of his books are at least partially set in Paris. I also have yet to read The Paris Wife but it is sitting there on a shelf in my reading corner waiting. When I came across a brand new looking copy of Hadley recently my theme was sealed.
>5 laytonwoman3rd:, >7 laytonwoman3rd: I just totaled my acquisitions. It comes to 142 books into the house in 2015. I read 86. This is not the kind of math I'm aiming for. *sigh* I did not keep track of the numbers for the books that I removed from the house. Maybe in 2016 I'll try to do that. Stand by, as I hope to start my new thread tomorrow.
>253 laytonwoman3rd: Same here, Linda. More books came in than were read (176 to 117). No wonder shelf space is getting tight. I did move a few bags full on to new homes but I didn't keep a count. Keeping track of those might help the problem - thanks for the idea.
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