Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 7

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Talk75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Smiler's Balancing Act - Part 7

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Edited: Dec 31, 2015, 1:37pm

From my ever-expanding "Reading Love" Pinterest board: "A Common Reader" and "Fable" by Christian Schloe.

Table of Contents:
Reading Plans for December & January
Reading Plans for 2016 (CAC, BAC, AAC)
Picked for Me! 2016 Plans
Books Completed in September-December
Books Completed in May-August
Books Completed in January-April
AAC, BAC, ANZAC, Zweig Reading Challenges
Picked for Me! Challenge
Booker Prize Books
A Century of Books!
Reading Bingo
Ongoing Series

Currently reading, listening to, and occasionally browsing through:

All the World's Birds: Buffon's Illustrated Natural History General and Particular of Birds by Georges-Louis Leclerc
Slightly Foxed: No. 47: Curiouser and Curiouser by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)
Le Spleen de Paris by Charles Baudelaire
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse


Favourites of 2015: (★★★★½ and up, by reading order)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (review)
The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal ★★★★★ (review)
Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen
Clockwork by Philip Pullman (review)
Lamentation by C. J. Sansom
The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier (review)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett (review)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★ (review)
Fräulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim (review)
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (reread - tutored read with Liz)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (reread)
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham (review—sort of)
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble (review)
The Accursed Kings: The Iron King (Part 1) by Maurice Druon
The Accursed Kings: The Strangled Queen (Part 2) by Maurice Druon
The Accursed Kings: The Royal Succession (Part 4) by Maurice Druon
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (reread)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (mini-review)
Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess (review)
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
Parle-leur de batailles de rois et d'éléphants by Mathias Enard (review)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Les gens de l'ours by LB (manuscript) ★★★★★
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (reread)
Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan (comments)
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot ★★★★★
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift ★★★★★
Farthing by Jo Walton
Cecilia by Fanny Burney
Le liseur du 6h27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (review)
Man-Tiger by Eka Kurniawan
Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer (comments)
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (comments)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (comments)
West with the Night by Beryl Markham ★★★★★ (review)

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

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

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

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

Reserving first 12 posts for organizational and planning needs.

Edited: Dec 31, 2015, 12:14pm

Tentative December Plans:

✪✔ Cecilia by Fanny Burney - Group read (Nov/Dec), TIOLI #14: Finish a book you started before 01/Dec/15 - COMPLETED
✭✔ As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee - TIOLI #18: written by a new to you famous/prolific author - COMPLETED
✪✔ The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark - BAC, TIOLI #2: on your list at the beginning the year as "to read in 2015" - COMPLETED
✪✔ Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow - AAC, ACoB! (1975), TIOLI #2 - COMPLETED
✪♫ The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel - BAC, TIOLI #13: by an author who has published at least 12 books - COMPLETED
✭✔ Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse - BAC, TIOLI #13 - Reading
✭*✔ The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat - Picked for Me! (by Nathalie/Deern), TIOLI #13
✭*✔+♫ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - Picked for Me! (by Darryl/kidzdoc) - TIOLI #2
✭✔ The Bone People by Kery Hulme - TIOLI #14
✪♫ Blood & Beauty: The Borgias; A Novel by Sarah Dunant (before Dec. 5th) - TIOLI #15: "All is want for Christmas is ..." - COMPLETED
✭♫❉ Sweet Caress by William Boyd - TIOLI #13
✭❉ Man-Tiger by Eka Kurniawan - TIOLI #15 - COMPLETED
✭♫ Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer - TIOLI #13 - COMPLETED
✭♫ Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - ACoB! (1955) - TIOLI #3: no red or green whatsoever on the front cover - COMPLETED
✭♫ The African Queen by CS Forester - ACoB! (1935), TIOLI #10: Rolling challenge: title starting with the next letter in Santa Claus - COMPLETED
✭♫ The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #4: a mystery that has something odd or unexpected in the title - COMPLETED
✪♫ Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle - TIOLI #8: set in Tudor England- COMPLETED
✪♫ The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska - ACoB! (1905), TIOLI #1: a book with the word “adventure” on the covers - COMPLETED
✪♫ Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff - TIOLI #9: colour or word blue on the cover - Listening
✪♫ Outline by Rachel Cusk - TIOLI #9 - COMPLETED
✭♫ The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg - TIOLI #12: written by a woman in a language other than English (Swedish) - COMPLETED
✭✔ West with the Night by Beryl Markham - TIOLI #7: Read a book that is dedicated to a family member - COMPLETED
✭✔ The Young Ardizzone by Edward Adizzone - TIOLI #16: Read a book of nonfiction
✭♫ Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome by Jérôme Ferrari - TIOLI #10 - Unfinished
✭♫ Le Spleen de Paris by Charles Baudelaire - TIOLI #17: Read a book with something Parisian in the title or plays in Paris - Listening
Nouvelles Orientales by Marguerite Yourcenar - TIOLI #10

Spur of the moment:
✪♫ The Finishing School by Muriel Spark - TIOLI #11: a "campus novel" or non-fiction book about academia - COMPLETED
✪♫ Le liseur du 6h27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent - TIOLI #7 (father) - COMPLETED
✭♫ Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer - TIOLI #5: a funny book about a holiday - COMPLETED
✭❉ Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - TIOLI #10 - COMPLETED
✭♫ How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell - TIOLI #1 - COMPLETED
✭♫ Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff - TIOLI#20: in which a party or celebration takes place - COMPLETED
✭♫ Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate - TIOLI #13 - Unfinished
✪♫ My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - TIOLI #12 - COMPLETED
✭♫ The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri - TIOLI #3: has no red or green on the front cover - COMPLETED


January Plans:

*✭♫ Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell - picked by Kerry/avatiakh, TIOLI #15 : a book from the travel literature genre
✪✔ The Manticore by Robertson Davies - CAC, TIOLI #1: Read a book whose ISBN has at least one number in its correct numeric position
✪✔ Ru by Kim Thúy - CAC, TIOLI #1
I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill - BAC
✭♫+✔ Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth - BAC, Doorstopper Challenge (640p), TIOLI #13: D or U starts a word in the title or an initial of the Author's name
✭✔ Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler - AAC, Pulitzer, TIOLI #1
✪♫ H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald - picked by Mark/msf59, TIOLI #5: from a list of best or notable books of 2015
✭♫+✔ War and Peace by Leo Tolstloy - Group read, Doorstopper Challenge, TIOLI #9: already owned on 1 January 2015, but haven't yet read
✭✔ Drawing is Thinking by Milton Glaser - TIOLI #2: received as a gift in 2015
✪♫ Funny Girl by Nick Hornby - TIOLI #5
✪♫ Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann - TIOLI #5
✭♫ La promesse de l'aube / Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary - TIOLI #8: a title word refers to something which is starting/beginning
✭♫ A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - TIOLI #7: a name in the title, in rolling alphabetical order
✭♫ Le dernier ami / The Last Friend by Tahar Ben Jelloun - TIOLI #14: Novella that has been translated to English
✭♫ Le vice-consul by Marguerite Duras - TIOLI #14 (Novella)
✭♫ Eldorado by Laurent Gaudé - TIOLI #14 (Novella)
✭♫ Le grand cahier by Agota Kristof - TIOLI #14 (Novella)
✭♫ La femme qui attendait by Andreï Makine - TIOLI #14 (Novella)


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

- Listening
- Reading

Edited: Dec 31, 2015, 1:33pm

Books completed in December
178. ✔ As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee ★★★★
179. ♫ Blood & Beauty: The Borgias; A Novel by Sarah Dunant ★★★
180. ♫ Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer ★★★★
181. ♫ The Finishing School by Muriel Spark ★★★★
182. ✔ Cecilia by Fanny Burney (group read) ★★★★½
183. ♫ Outline by Rachel Cusk ★★
184. ♫ The African Queen by CS Forester ★★★★
185. ✔ The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark ★★★★⅓ (review)
186. ♫ Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov ★★★★⅓
187. ♫ Le liseur du 6h27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent ★★★★½ (review)
188. ♫ The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel ★★★★⅓
189. ♫ The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★
190. ❉ Man-Tiger by Eka Kurniawan ★★★★½
192. ♫ Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer ★★★★½ (review)
193. ♫ How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell ★★★★½ (review)
194. ❉ Nimona by Noelle Stevenson ★★★★½ (review)
195. ♫ Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle ★★★★
196. ♫ The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska ★★★¾
197. ♫ Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff ★★★★
198. ✔ Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow ★★★★⅓
199. ♫ The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg ★★★½
200. ♫ My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by Elena Ferrante ★★★½
201. ♫ The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★
202. ✔ West with the Night by Beryl Markham ★★★★★ (review)

Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome by Jérôme Ferrari

Books completed in November
162. ♫ The Age of Doubt by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★
163. ♫ Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver ★★★★
164. ♫ Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ★★½ (review)
165. ❉ⓔ Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan ★★★★½ (comments)
166. ♫ All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot ★★★★★★★★★★
167. ♫ Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift ★★★★★
168. ♫ Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari ★★★★ (review)
169. ♫ Farthing by Jo Walton ★★★★½
170. ✔ An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd ★★★½
171. ✔ Une simple histoire d'amour by Angèle Delaunois ★★★½
172. ♫ The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert ★★★½
173. ❉ L'écluse No 1 (Maigret #18) by Georges Simenon ★★★
174. ♫ Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood ★★★★
The Playground by Ray Bradbury (short story) ★★★★
175. ♫ Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson ★★★½
176. ♫ The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell ★★★★
177. ♫ Just Kids by Patti Smith ★★★½

140. ♫ Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle ★★★★
141. ♫ Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie ★★★★
142. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 3: Sharks, Otters and Fast Cars by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
143. ✔ Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie ★★★★
144. ♫ Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver ★★★¾
145. ❉ Le fou de Bergerac / The Madman of Bergerac Maigret #16 by Georges Simenon ★★★★⅓
146. ♫ Past Caring by Robert Goddard ★★★★
147. ♫ Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier ★★★★
148. ✔ Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov ★★★½
149. ♫ The Siege by Helen Dunmore ★★★★⅓
150. ✔ The Children Of Dynmouth by William Trevor ★★★★½
151. ♫ The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer ★★½
152. ✔ Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor ★★★★⅓
153. ♫ All Our Worldly Goods by Irène Némirovsky ★★★★
154. ❉ The Rights of the Reader / Comme un roman by Daniel Pennac ★★★½
155. ❉ Liberty Bar by Georges Simenon (Maigret #17) ★★★★
156. ♫ Black Swan Green by David Mitchell ★★★★½ (review)
157. ♫ Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O' Connor ★★★★⅓
158. Les gens de l'ours by LB (manuscript) ★★★★★
159. ♫ Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier ★★★½
160. ♫ The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss ★★★★
161. ✔ Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (reread) ★★★★½

The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge

126. ♫ The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis ★★★
127. *♫ My Antonia by Willa Cather ★★★
128. ♫ A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess ★★★★
129. ♫ The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham ★★★½
130. ♫ Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie ★★★★
131. ♫ August Heat by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★⅓
132. ✔The Fortnight in September by R. C. Sherriff ★★★½
133. ♫ The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★⅓
134. *♫ A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute ★★★★
135. ❉ Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie ★★★★
136. ♫ The Track of Sand by Andrea Camilleri ★★★
137. ♫ The Likeness by Tana French ★★★★⅓
138. ♫ Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell ★★★★⅓
139. ♫ The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri ★★★★⅓

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Edited: Nov 8, 2015, 5:28pm

Book completed in August
111. ✔+♫ Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey ★★★★½
112. ♫❉ La mort du roi Tsongor / Death of an Ancient King (Goncourt des lycéens 2002) by Laurent Gaudé ★★★★⅓
113. *✔ The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson ★★★ (review)
114. *♫❉ The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry ★★¾ (didn't enjoy)
115. ♫❉ Le soleil des Scorta / The House of Scorta by Laurent Gaudé ★★★★
116. ♫❉ Pas Pleurer by Lydie Salvayre ★★★
117. ❉ La bibliothèque idéale RTL edited by Bernard Lehut ★★★★½
118. ♫❉ L'étranger / The Stranger by Albert Camus (reread) ★★★★
119. ✔ Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene ★★★★
120. ❉ Matin Brun by Franck Pavloff ★★★★
121. *♫ The Bell by Iris Murdoch ★★★★
122. ❉ Meursault, contre-enquête / The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud ★★★
123. ♫❉ Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan ★★★★ (review)
124. ♫ The Accursed Kings: The Lily and the Lion (part 6) by Maurice Druon ★★★★⅓
125. ♫❉ La vérité sur l'affaire Harry Quebert / The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker ★½

87. ♫ All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ★★★★¾
88. ♫ Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess ★★★★½ (review)
89. ♫ L'échappée belle / French Leave by Anna Gavalda ★★★½
90. ♫ A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 1 by Marie Brennan ★★★★
91. ✔ The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield ★★★★½
92. ♫ Orlando by Virginia Woolf ★★★ (review)
93. ❉ River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (reread) ★★★★⅓
94. *✔ Catharine: and Other Writings by Jane Austen ★★★★
95. ❉ The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Leguin ★★★★ (review)
96. ♫ Evelina by Fanny Burney ★★★★⅓
97. ♫ The Collectors by Philip Pullman ★★★★
98. ♫ Lettres by Madame de Sévigné ★★★★
99. ♫ Parle-leur de batailles de rois et d'éléphants by Mathias Enard ★★★★½ (review)
100. ❉ Le Port des brumes / Maigret and the Death of a Harbor-Master #15 by Georges Simenon ★★★★ (review)
101. ♫ Fifth Business by Robertson Davies ★★★★½
102. ♫ Rue des boutiques obscures / Missing Person by Patrick Modiano ★★★½
103. ❉ The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami ★★★½
104. ❉ Unterzakhn by Leela Corman ★★★★
105. ❉ My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman ★★★½
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt ; pictures by Oliver Jeffers ★★★★
106. ❉ⓔ Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh
107. *♫ Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (reread) ★★★★⅓
108. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 46: Grecian Hours by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors)
109. ❉ The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett ★★★½
110. ♫ The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith ★★★★

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (review)

75. ♫ The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman ★★★¾
76. ♫ The Strangled Queen (The Accursed Kings, Part 2) by Maurice Druon ★★★★½
77. ✔ Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh ★★★★½ (reread)
78. ♫ Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis ★★★½
79. ♫ The Accursed Kings: The Poisoned Crown (Part 3) by Maurice Druon ★★★★⅓
80. ✔ Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge ★★★★⅓ (review)
81. ♫ The Accursed Kings: The Royal Succession (Part 4) by Maurice Druon ★★★★½
82. ❉ Maigret chez les Flamands / Maigret and the Flemish Shop #14 by Georges Simenon ★★★★
83. ♫ Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner ★★★★
84. ♫ The Accursed Kings: The She-Wolf of France (Part 5) by Maurice Druon ★★★★
85. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 33: A World of Shining Beauty by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
86. ♫ The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera ★★★★

62. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 31: The Return of Grouse by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
63. ♫ The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer ★★★★½
64. ♫ The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier ★★¾
65. ♫ The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann ★★★★⅓
66. ✔ Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (group read)
67. ♫ The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa ★★★★½
68. ♫ L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre / Maigret Goes Home #13 by Georges Simenon ★★★★
69. ✔ Ross Poldark by Winston Graham ★★★★¾ (review—sort of)
70. ♫ The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye ★★★⅓
71. ✔ Slightly Foxed: No. 32: At Home with the Pewters by Gail Pirkis, Hazel Wood (Editors) ★★★★
72. ♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith ★★★★
73. ✔ The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble ★★★★½ (review)
74. ♫ The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, Part 1) by Maurice Druon ★★★★½

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

⅛ ¼ ⅓ ½ ¾ ⅞

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

Edited: Nov 8, 2015, 5:28pm

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

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

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

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

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

Edited: Dec 22, 2015, 12:42pm

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


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


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


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


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

January: Dans la neige (Im Schnee), 1901
February: Printemps au Prater (Praterfrühling) & Un redoublant
March: Deux Solitudes (1901), Le Voyage (1902)
April: L’Amour d’Érika Ewald / The Love of Erika Ewald (1904)
May: L'étoile au-dessus de la forêt / The Star Over the Forest (1903)

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

Edited: Nov 8, 2015, 5:29pm

This is my fourth year with this personal challenge. It's a real treat reading something that was specifically chosen for me from my TBR by this wonderful bunch of passionate readers, and of course helps reduce that pile which I seem to never stop adding to. I asked participants select a book from my "To Read" collection then tell me, in a few words why you they though I should read the suggested work. I'm doing pretty well so far, and should complete the main list by the end of the year.

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

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

♫ = audiobook
✔ = off the shelf
ⓔ = eBook

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 12:27pm

Booker Prize Books

Read in 2015
(in reading order)
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (Booker Prize 1982)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (Booker Prize 1987)
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 1986)
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel Longlist 2005)
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Longlist 2007)
Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood (Shortlist 1977)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 2003)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Longlist 2008)
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge (Shortlist 1998)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (Booker Prize 1988)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize 1981)
The Children Of Dynmouth by William Trevor (Shortlist 1976)
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (Longlist 2006)
An Ice-cream War by William Boyd (Shortlist 1982)

On my TBR (and previously read)
Bruno's Dream by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1970)
*Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Shortlist 1970)
14The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (Booker Prize 1970)
14Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (Shortlist 1971)
14The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (Booker Prize 1973)
*The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (Booker Prize 1974)
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (Shortlist 1977)
14A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (Shortlist 1978)
*The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (Shortlist 1978)
13The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Booker Prize 1978)
14A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (Shortlist 1980)
*Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (Shortlist 1980)
13Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (Shortlist 1981)
*Waterland by Graham Swift (Shortlist 1983)
*Small World by David Lodge (Shortlist 1984)
12Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (Booker Prize 1984)
The Good Apprentice by Iris Murdoch (Shortlist 1985)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Booker Prize 1985)
13The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1986)
87The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies (Shortlist 1986)
87What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies (Shortlist 1986)
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Shortlist 1988)
*Nice Work by David Lodge (Shortlist 1988)
14Restoration by Rose Tremain(Shortlist 1989)
The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Shortlist 1989)
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1989)
13The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro(Booker Prize 1989)
Possession by A.S. Byatt (Booker Prize 1990)
*Two Lives by William Trevor (Shortlist 1991)
14The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje(Booker Prize 1992)
*Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (Booker Prize 1992)
Under the Frog by Tibor Fischer (Shortlist 1993)
13Morality Play by Barry Unsworth (Shortlist 1995)
11The Ghost Road by Pat Barker (Booker Prize 1995)
10Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Shortlist 1996)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 1996)
*Last Orders by Graham Swift (Booker Prize 1996)
08The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Booker Prize 1997)
14Amsterdam by Ian Mcewan (Booker Prize 1998)
13Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (Booker Prize 1999)
08The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (Booker Prize 2000)
Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (Longlist 2001)
12Atonement by Ian McEwan (Shortlist 2001)
09True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (Booker Prize 2001)
10Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Shortlist 2002)
*Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (Shortlist 2002)
05Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Booker Prize 2002)
Astonishing Splashes Of Colour by Clare Morrall (Shortlist 2003)
Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Shortlist 2003)
13What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller (Shortlist 2003)
The Master by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2004)
08The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (Booker Prize 2004)
10Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (Shortlist 2005)
08Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 2005)
06On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Shortlist 2005)
08Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Shortlist 2005)
The Accidental by Ali Smith (Shortlist 2005)
09The Sea by John Banville (Booker Prize 2005)
14The Ruby in Her Navel by Barry Unsworth (Longlist 2006)
12The Secret River by Kate Grenville (Shortlist 2006)
Mother's Milk by Edward St. Aubyn (Shortlist 2006)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (Booker Prize 2006)
14Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Shortlist 2007)
09On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Shortlist 2007)
13The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Shortlist 2008)
12Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (Shortlist 2008)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Shortlist 2008)
08The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Booker Prize 2008) (to reread)
Heliopolis by James Scudamore (Longlist 2009)
11The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt (Shortlist 2009)
12The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (Shortlist 2009)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Shortlist 2009)
12Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Booker Prize 2009) (to reread)
Trespass by Rose Tremain (Longlist 2010)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Longlist 2010)
14Room by Emma Donoghue (Shortlist 2010)
11The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Shortlist 2011)
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Shortlist 2011)
11The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Booker Prize 2011)
14The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Shortlist 2012)
12Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Booker Prize 2012)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Longlist 2013)
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (Longlist 2013)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Shortlist 2013)
13The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (Shortlist 2013)
13Harvest by Jim Crace (Shortlist 2013)
13The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Booker Prize 2013)
*Orfeo by Richard Powers (Longlist 2014)
*The Blazing World by Siri Hustdvedt (Longlist 2014)
*History of the Rain by Niall Williams (Longlist 2014)
*We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Shortlist 2014)
14The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Booker Prize 2014)
*The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Shortlist 2015)
*A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Booker Prize 2015)

12 = read in 2012
13 = read in 2013
14 = read in 2014
& etc.
* = recent additions

(Much more on the wishlist of course!)

Edited: Dec 24, 2015, 12:10pm

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

1904 The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
1907 Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
1908 The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
1913 O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
1915 Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
1918 The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
1920 In Chancery by John Galsworthy
1922 Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
1923 Murder on the Links by Agatha Chrisite
1925 The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
1926 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
1928 Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayer
1929 Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig
1930 Le Bal by Irène Némirovsky
1931 Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon
1932 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
1933 High Rising by Angela Thirkell
1934 Miss Buncle's Book bu D. E. Stevenson
1936 The Dark Frontier by Eric Ambler
1938 Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
1939 Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
1940 Native Son by Richard Wright
1941 Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers
1942 Le joueur d'échecs / Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
1943 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
1944 Dragonwyck by Anya Seton
1945 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
1946 Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
1947 Wolf Story by William Mccleery
1948 A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck and Robert Capa
1950 Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert
1951 My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
1952 A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
1953 The Unstrung Harp: Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel by Edward Gorey
1954 Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
1956 The Accursed Kings: The Poisoned Crown (Part 3) by Maurice Druon
1957 The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
1958 10146::The Leopard by Guisepe Di Lampedusa
1960 The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning
1961 Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
1962 Cover Her Face by P. D. James
1964 Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken
1965 Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
1966 The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
1968 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
1969 The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
1970 Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
1971 Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
1972 All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
1973 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
1974 Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
1975 Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
1976 The Children Of Dynmouth by William Trevor
1977 Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood
1978 A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens
1979 The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
1980 A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
1981 Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini
1982 Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
1983 The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
1986 An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1988 Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
1989 Restoration by Rose Tremain
1990 The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
1991 The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
1993 A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess
1994 The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
1995 Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
1996 The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri
1997 Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
1998 Amsterdam Ian McEwan
1999 Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Edited: Nov 8, 2015, 5:32pm

One last category to go... I really need to make a point of finishing this challenge!
I got this card from the 2015 Catergory challenge, where there are three fun designs to choose from.

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

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

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

✭16. Based on a fairy tale or myth: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ★★★★½
✭17. Inspired by another piece of fiction: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ★★★★⅓
✭18. With correspondence or letters: The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace ★★★★½
✭19. By an LT author: A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 1 by Marie Brennan ★★★★
✭20. Where an animal is of importance: Small Gods: Discworld #13 by Terry Pratchett ★★★★½

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

Edited: Dec 27, 2015, 2:22pm

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

African Trilogy - Next up: No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (2/3)
Alan Grant Mysteries - Next up: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1/6 - read out of order)
*♫ All Creatures Great and Small" - Next up: All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot (2/5)
The Australian Trilogy - Next up: Tommo and Hawk by Bryce Courtenay (⅔)
The Balkan Trilogy - Next up: The Spoilt City by Olivia Manning (2 of 3)
*♫ Barsetshire Books - Next up: August Folly by Angela Thirkell (4/29)
Bartimaeus Trilogy - Next up: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud (Prequel)
Bernie Gunther - Next up: A German Requiem by Philip Kerr (3/9)
Bloody Jack Adventures - Next up: Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L. A. Meyer (2/12)
Border Trilogy - Next up: The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (2/3)
Cannery Row - Next up: Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (2/2)
Cazalet Chronicles - Next up: Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard (2/5)
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books - Next up: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2/3)
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache - Next up: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (2/10)
Chocolat - Next up: The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (2/3)
The Chronicles of Barsetshire - Next up: Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (2/6)
The Chronicles of St Mary's - Next up: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor (2/4)
Claudius - Next up: Claudius the God by Robert Graves (2/2)
La Comédie Humaine - Next up: Le curé de Tours by Honoré de Balzac (31/88 - read out of order)
Commissario Brunetti - Next up: Acqua Alta by Donna Leon (5/23 - read out of order)
*✔ Commissario Montalbano - Next up: The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri (16/19)
Corfu Trilogy: The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (3/3)
*♫ Cormoran >: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (3/3)
The Cousins' War: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (2/6)
The Dark is Rising Sequence - Next up: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (4/5)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Next up: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (2/3)
De Luca Trilogy - Next up: The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli (2/3)
The Deptford Trilogy - Next up: The Manticore by Robertson Davies (2/3)
The Dresden Files: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3/15)
Dr. Siri Paiboun - Next up: Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (5/10)
*♫ Dublin Murder Squad - Next up: Faithful Place by Tana French (3/5)
*❉ The Earthsea Cycle - Next up: The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (3/6)
Easy Rawlins Mystery - Next up: White Butterfly by Walter Mosley (3/11)
Elizabeth and her German Garden - Next up: The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim (2/2)
Empire Trilogy - Next up: The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (3/3)
*❉♫ Erica Falck and Patrik Hedström - Next up: The Stonecutter by Camilla Läckberg (3/9)
❉♫ Flavia de Luce - Next up: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (3/7)
Forsyte Saga - Next up: To Let by John Galsworthy (3/3)
Green Town - Next up: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (2/2)
The Harlem Cycle - Next up: All Shot Up by Chester Himes (4/8)
Harry Potter - Next up: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (reread) (5/7)
*♫ Hercule Poirot - Next up: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (2/39 - read out of order)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dramatization - Next up: Tertiary Phase (BBC Radio Collection) by Douglas Adams (3/5)
The House of Earth Trilogy - Next up: Sons by Pearl S. Buck (2/3)
The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh - COMPLETED in August
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place - Next up: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (3/4)
Inspector Yashim Togalu - Next up: The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin (2/5)
Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries - Next up: The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (3/10)
Jack Reacher - Next up: The Enemy by Lee Child (8/20)
Jackson Brodie - Next up: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (3/4)
John Russell - Next up: Lehrter Station by David Downing (5/6)
*♫Joseph O'Loughlin - Next up: Shatter by Michael Robotham (3/7)
Kenzie & Gennaro - Next up: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane (2/6 - read out of order)
Kurt Wallander - Next up: The White Lioness by Henning Mankell (3/11)
*♫❉ Lady Trent's Memoirs - Next up: The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (2/4)
The Last Lion - Next up: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940 by William Manchester (2 of 3)
* Leo Demidov - Next up: The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith (2 of 3)
Leviathan - Next up: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (2/3)
The Lord of the Rings - Next up: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (3/4)
Lord Peter Wimsey - Next up: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers (5/15)
♫❉ MaddAddam Trilogy: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (2 of 3)
*❉ Maigret - Next up: Maigret Returns by Georges Simenon (19/76)
Mapp and Lucia - Next up: Lucia in London by E. F. Benson (3 of 8)
*♫ Marcus Didius Falco - Next up: Shadows in Bronze by Lyndsey David (2/20)
Matthew Shardlake by C. J. Samson - Next up: Awaiting publication (7/7)
Miss Marple - Next up: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (2/12)
Night Soldiers - Next up: Dark Star by Alan Furst (2/13)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Next up: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith (6/15)
The Obelisk Trilogy - Next up: Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller (2/3)
Oxford Time Travel series - Next up: Blackout by Connie Willis (3/4)
Parker - Next up: The Mourner by Richard Stark (4/24)
Philip Marlowe - Next up: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (6/9 - read out of order)
*♫ Phryne Fisher Mysteries - Next up: The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood (5/20)
*✔ The Power Of One - Next up: Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (2/2)
The Prairie Trilogy - Next up: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (⅔)
The Raj Quartet - Next up: The Towers Of Silence by Paul Scott (3/4)
Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan (3/12)
❉♫ The Raven Cycle Next up: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2/4)
Richard Hannay - Next up: Greenmantle by John Buchan (2/5)
❉♫ Les Rois Maudits - Next up: Quand un roi perd la France (7/7)
Les Rougon-Macquart - Next up: La joie de vivre by Émile Zola (12/20)
Ruby Trilogy - Next up: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (2/3)
Sally Lockhart Mysteries - Next up: The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (2/4)
*♫ Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (5/9)
*♫ Small Change - Next up: Ha'penny by Jo Walton (2/3)
A Song of Ice and Fire - Next up: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/7)
Sookie Stackhouse - Next up: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (3/14)
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Next up: The Nixie's Song by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi (6/8)
Tales of the City - Next up: Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (3/6)
Tales of the Otori - Next up: Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn (3/4+prequel)
*♫ Thomas De Quincey - Next up: Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell (2/2)
Three Men in a Boat - Next up: Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome (2/2)
Timothy Wilde Lyndsay Faye (3/3) - COMPLETED in June
Tom Ripley - Next up: The Boy Who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (4/5)
* Victor Legris - Next up: La disparue du Père-Lachaise by Claude Izner (2/11)
Wolf Hall Trilogy - Next up: The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (awaiting publication) (3/3)
Wolves Chronicles - Next up: Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken (3/11)
Wyoming Stories: Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx (2/3)


First in Series on my TBR
Albert Campion: The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (1/19)
The American Trilogy: American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1/3)
Aristide Ravel Mysteries : The Cavalier of the Apocalypse by Susanne Alleyn (1/4)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (½)
*♫ Brother Cadfael: A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (1/20)
Aubrey-Maturin: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (1/21)
Avalon: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1/7)
*♫ Bernard Samson Novels: Berlin Game by Len Deighton (1/9)
The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy: The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf (1/3)
The Borrible Trilogy: The Borribles by Michael De Larrabeiti (1 of 3)
*♫ Captain Gregor Reinhardt : The Man from Berlin by Luke McCallin (1 of 3)
Carl Webster: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (1/3)
Chief Inspector Adamsberg: The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (1/9)
Cicero: Imperium by Robert Harris (1/2)
A Dance to the Music of Time: A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring by Anthony Powell (1/4)
Danzig Trilogy: The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (1/3)
Empress Orchid: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (1 of 2)
Eustace and Hilda: The Shrimp and the Anemone by L. P. Hartley (1 of 3)
Hank Thompson: Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston (1/3)
Haroun: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (1/2)
Harry Hole: The Bat by Jo Nesbø (1/10)
Henrietta's War: Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennys (1/2)
The Hummingbird's Daughter: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (1/2)
The Inheritance Cycle: Eragon by Christopher Paolini (1 of 4)
In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1/8)
James Bond: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (1/14)
*♫ James Maxted: The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard (First in series)
Joona Linna: The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (1 of 3)
*♫ Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1 of 2)
*♫ The Kingkiller Chronicle : The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (1/3)
Latin American Trilogy: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis de Bernières (1/3)
Leonid McGill: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley (1 of 4)
✔❉♫ The Magicians: The Magicians by Lev Grossman (1/3)
McCaskill Trilogy: English Creek by Ivan Doig (1/3)
Micah Dalton: The Echelon Vendetta by David Stone (1/4)
Michael Forsythe: Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty (1/3)
Mistress of the Art of Death: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (1/5)
*♫ Neapolitan Novels: My Brilliant Friend) by Elena Ferranted (1 of 4)
On Foot to Constantinople: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (1/3)
Outlander: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1/9)
♫+ⓔ Patrick Melrose: Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn (1/5)
The Psammead Trilogy: Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1/3)
♫+✔ Quirke: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (1/6)
Revelation Space: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (1/7)
*♫ Rumpole of the Bailey: The Trials of Rumpole by John Mortimer (2/20)
*✔ Sacred Hunger: Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (1 of 2)
*♫ San-Anonio: Réglez-lui son compte! by San-Antonio (1/175)
*❉♫ Sean Duffy: The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (1/4)
Shanghai Girls: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (1 of 2)
*♫ Ship Breaker: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (1 of 2)
Sprawl: Neuromancer by William Gibson (1/3)
Swallows and Amazons: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1/12)
Sword of Honour: Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh (1 of 3)
The Vampire Chronicles: Interview with the Vampire (reread) by Anne Rice (1/10)
❉♫ The Wolves of Mercy Falls: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (1/4)
World War II Saga: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (1/2)

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

Edited: Dec 26, 2015, 5:12pm

2016 Plans

♫+✔ War and Peace by Leo Tolstloy - Group read, Doorstopper Challenge
✔ The Manticore by Robertson Davies (CAC)
✔ Ru by Kim Thúy (CAC)
✔ I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill (BAC)
♫ Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (BAC), Doorstopper Challenge (640p)
✔ Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (AAC + Pulitzer)

♫+✔ War and Peace by Leo Tolstloy - Group read, Doorstopper Challenge
✔ The Frozen Thames byHelen Humphreys (CAC)
✔ The Penguin Book of Stephen Leacock by Stephen Leacock (CAC)
♫ A Murder Is Announced Agatha Christie (BAC)
✔ From The Holy Mountain William Dalrymple (BAC)
✔ Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo (AAC)

✔ The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat (CAC)
♫ Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat (CAC)
✔ The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami (CAC)
❉ How to Be Both by Ali Smith (BAC)
♫ The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (BAC)
♫ Some Luck by Jane Smiley (AAC)

♫ The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (CAC)
♫ Galore by Michael Crummey (CAC)
♫ The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (BAC)
❉ The Buddha of Suburbia Hanif Kureishi (BAC)
Poetry Month (AAC)

❉ C't'à ton tour Laura Cadieux by Michel Tremblay (CAC)
❉ Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel (CAC)
❉ The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam (BAC)
♫ The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard (BAC)
♫ English Creek by Ivan Doig (AAC)

✔ The Piano Man's Daughter by Timothy Findley (CAC)
✔ Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (CAC)
♫ Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser (BAC)
♫ Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (BAC)
♫ The Shipping News Annie Proulx - reread (AAC)

❉ Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (CAC)
❉ Klondike : the last great gold rush, 1896-1899 by Pierre Berton (CAC)
✔ Mr Wakefield's Crusade Bernice Rubens (BAC)
♫ The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (BAC)
♫ Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (AAC)

♫ The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordechai Richler (CAC)
❉ Bonheur d'occasion by Gabrielle Roy (CAC)
❉♫ Sweet Tooth Ian McEwan (BAC)
♫ Lovely, Dark, Deep by Joyce Carol Oates (AAC)

✔ A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (CAC)
♫ L'énigme du retour Dany Laferrière (CAC)
♫ The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (BAC)
✔ Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee (BAC)
♫ A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (AAC)

✔ The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (CAC)
❉ The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart (CAC)
✔ When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (BAC)
♫ The Spire by William Golding (BAC)
✔ The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (AAC)

✔ In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje (CAC)
❉ The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (CAC)
✔ The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (BAC)
❉ The Ipcress file by Len Deighton (BAC)
✔ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (AAC)

ⓔ The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro (CAC)
❉♫ De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage (CAC)
♫ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (BAC)
Don DeLillo (AAC)


Suz's Nonfiction Challenge Possibilities

(coming soon)


Weird_O's Doorstopper Challenge

War and Peace (1296 pages) - January/Febuary
Camilla (992 pages)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (832 pages)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (944 pages)
Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (640 pages)
Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (656 pages)

Possession by A.S. Byatt (528 pages)
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (448 pages)
Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (448 pages)


Picked for Me 2016:

1. ✔ Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Thurston - picked by Charlotte/Fourpawz2
2. ♫ Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell - picked by Kerry/avatiakh
3. ♫ H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald - picked by Mark/msf59
4. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee - picked by Paul/PaulCranswick - COMPLETED 2015
5. ♫ Being Mortal by Atul Gawande - picked by Mary/mdoris
6. ✔ Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund - picked by Ellen/EBT1002
7. ♫ Mystic River by Dennis Lehane - picked by Jim/drneutron
8. ♫ The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezani - picked by Judy/DeltaQueen50
9. ✔ The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru - picked by Deborah/Cariola
10. ✔ Good Evening, Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes - picked by Heather/souloftherose
11. ⓔ History of the Rain by Niall Williams - picked by Charlotte/charl08
12. ♫ The Road Home by Rose Tremain - picked by Peggy/LizzieD

Left over from 2015 (aka the list of shame)
✔+♫ Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - picked by lunacat
ⓔ The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom - picked by lyzard (tutored read)
✔ The Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher - picked by LauraBrook
✔+♫ A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - picked by kidzdoc
✔ The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat - picked by Deern


Pulitzer Prize Possibilities from my tbr:

1923: One of Ours by Willa Sibert Cather
1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
1937: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1941: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
1947: All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
1965: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
1975: The Killer Angels by Michard Shaara
1977: Roots by Alex Haley (Special Citation)
1981: Peter the Great by Peter K. Massie (Biography/Autobriography)
1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
1989: Breathing Lessons Anne Tyler
1989: Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann (Biography/Autobriography)
1997: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
1998: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
2000: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
2004: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
2005: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
2006: Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky (History)
2010: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt T. J. Stiles (Biography/Autobriography)
2011: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee (General Nonfiction)
2014: The Goldfinch Donna Tartt

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

eta: Touchstones not working

Nov 8, 2015, 7:06pm

Done setting up? I waited a coupla hours to wish you Happy New Thread. xx

Nov 8, 2015, 7:46pm

Joining Paul in saying Happy New Thread!!!!

Nov 8, 2015, 9:20pm

Happy Sunday, Ilana! Happy New Thread! Love the bookish toppers!

Hope you had a good weekend.

Nov 8, 2015, 10:52pm

Lovely new thread again, Ilana! I remain in awe of your organization!

Edited: Nov 9, 2015, 12:58am

>13 PaulCranswick: Yes yes, sorry Paul, I set this thread up in a bit of a rush and forgot to indicate we are open for business. Welcome to my first visitor!

>14 EBT1002: Thanks and welcome, Ellen!

>15 msf59: Hi Mark, thanks for all the happiness wishes. Had a lovely weekend, thank you!

>16 LizzieD: It's all fairy dust Peggy; just an illusion to hide how truly DISorganized I am!


Today was our first year anniversary, Pierre and I, as we met at his vernissage on Nov. 8th last year, and the rest, as they say, is history. We had a lovely homemade dinner and watched a movie (Ed Wood by Tim Burton) and generally enjoyed each other's company. I am a lucky woman to have such a thoroughly nice man in my life.

Very late now; off to get ready for bed.

Nov 9, 2015, 5:31am

Happy new thread, Ilana! Loved the watercolors on your last thread.

Oh, and congrats on the anniversary!! :)

Nov 9, 2015, 6:49am

>17 Smiler69: Congratulations to you both, Ilana. It is great to see you with such a spring in your step.

Nov 9, 2015, 9:15am

Congratulations on the new thread, Ilana, and on your anniversary with Pierre!

Love the Christian Schloe illustrations up top.

Nov 9, 2015, 1:06pm

Happy New Thread, Ilana! Congrats on one year with Pierre!

Nov 9, 2015, 1:42pm

Going to see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Hamlet at a National Theatre Live cinema presentation tonight. Much looking forward to it, as everything I've seen from NTL has been amazingly good.

>18 Deern: Hi Nathalie, thanks for dropping by. I still need to do a little work on my bluebird watercolour. Hopefully will finish it soon, as I'm eager to start on other things.

>19 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul, Pierre is certainly contributing to making me a happy woman.

>20 jnwelch: Thanks Joe, glad you like the artwork too on what will most probably be my last thread of 2015.

>21 connie53: Thanks so much Connie!

Edited: Nov 11, 2015, 2:09pm

Book #164: ❉♫ Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Source: National Library OverDrive collection
Edition: Random House Audio (2015), Unabridged MP3; 3h35
Awards & Distinctions: National Book Award finalist (Nonfiction, 2015),
Kirkus Reviews Nonfiction Finalist 2015, Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Nonfiction Longlist (2016)
Read for: Nonfiction November, November TIOLI #1: Read a book whose author's name contains a mark other than plain English letters
Original publication date: 2015

I found Between the World and Me a very tough read and very divisive. Especially as I may be among those Coates calls "those who consider themselves to be white" and am Canadian, where race is nowhere near as big an issue as it has been historically and still is in the USA; this among other things, I should say. I had a discussion with my partner as to wether I should share my thoughts on this book or not, because I felt expressing any sort of negative feedback on it might be inflammatory, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone. But I'm not black, nor male, nor American, nor WASP, and I'm not in a position to say I can fully understand what he talks about and can't relate to Coates' diatribe in any way, other than sharing with him the firm belief that slavery was wrong and has resulted in grave repercussions. I think it's unfair that he divides the world between "those who are considered black" and "those who consider themselves as white". But if we MUST divide the world between "Black and White", I need to point out that white people also were made, and still are made slaves to this day (thinking of women forced to become sex workers, for example). I also need to point out that children and women across the globe are daily made victims of rape, beatings and torture, simply by virtue of being female, or small and vulnerable. Those women who haven't been made victims of these abuses have learned from a very young age that they must be ever-vigilant against these very real risks. How does that differentiate us from the experiences Coates relates in his writings?

I learned recently that the very word "slave" comes from the word Slav, as slavic people were routinely traded as slaves over the centuries, and the Russian serfs were treated as slaves in their very own country under the feudal system. This is to say that Oppression carries many names and many colours and shades of pink, brown, beige, and there is no such thing as an "Us" vs "Them" which can be neatly divided in just two camps. Historically speaking, and on a planetary level, it just isn't a valid division. This book might be considered a must-read among Americans, but I felt the author was judging everyone and everything very harshly, and through a narrow lens, and it wasn't until he mentioned travelling to France that I felt he was perhaps able to put the "Black Problem" in perspective. But then why did that perspective not come through more strongly? I certainly don't mean to minimize the suffering that people of colour have gone through and still go through to this day. I find this book gave me a view from a very particular perspective, but having the privilege to be able to look at a wider picture, I found myself struggling to stick to the book to then end. I could just keep my opinions to myself, but amid all the acclaim, I don't think it's helpful to just say "It's brilliant", because that is the politically correct thing to say. It also worries me that this "Us" vs "Them" is a message that is still to this day being transmitted from father to son. Surely we should be finding ways to become a collective "We" in the 21st century? But then of course, I have very naïve wishes and dreams, I know.

I've now moved on to Jame Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, which I figure will probably be a comfort read for the big animal lover that I am.

Nov 9, 2015, 4:02pm

>23 Smiler69: - I've got this book on the list of stuff I plan to get frm the Library. Am thinking that I need to push it closer to the top of the list as I am curious to read it for myself.

Love the bluebird watercolor, Ilana. I've always thought doing water colors is an incredibly difficult thing. Granny introduced me - and my cousins - to watercolors when we were pretty young and mine always turned into big muddy messes. Oils were more forgiving, I thought - they always give you a chance to set things right.

Enjoy the Herriot - another book I've been meaning to re-read for a long while.

Nov 9, 2015, 4:14pm

>23 Smiler69: Good for you for sharing your thoughts on Between the World and Me, Ilana. It's interesting to hear from someone who's non-American and a whole lot of other non's in the context of this book.

This may be one where you need to grow up here to really appreciate it. For me it was straight talk from a father to his son, trying to explain his own experience, and understanding his son's experience is different, but fearing for him. I see the problem all the time where I live. I do wish he had paid more attention to the idea of whites believing (or not believing) they're whites - we're all immigrants here, from all over the globe, or immigrants' descendants (including Native Americans if you go far enough back). It's a patchwork, and approaching it from a color vs. color perspective in the end is unsupportable and wrong-headed.

But we're not post-racial by a long shot yet, and I found what he was telling his son quite moving.

Nov 9, 2015, 8:45pm

>22 Smiler69: oh boy. That'd be good to see!

>23 Smiler69: neat divisions of us them ,black white, or whatever, are rarely what things come down to. I love your review, it creates some interesting discussion points. Which is what we should all be able to handle here without fear of repercussions :)

Nov 9, 2015, 11:31pm

Watching Benedict Cumberbatch play Hamlet at a National Theatre Live performance tonight was breathtaking. As always with these shows, I found the production quality and acting outstanding, and as always, incredibly intense too, which resulted with a wicked migraine which is slowly dissipating now I'm back in my quiet abode. It's getting late, and I must get to bed to finish Beauty is a Wound, which I have on loan from the library as an OverDrive ebook and will disappear from my iPad if I don't finish it tonight.

Thanks Charlotte, Joe, and Megan for your visit and kind and thoughtful comments. I'll respond tomorrow once I'm all rested up again.

Nov 10, 2015, 11:14am

Happy new thread and happy anniversary to you and Pierre!

>23 Smiler69: Appreciate your thoughts on Between the World and Me - I am curious to read it although not sure I'm in the mood for something that challenging right now (and, oh boy, I feel like I've been saying that all year). My nephew (who's currently a very cute one) is mixed race and this is a subject I would like to read more about to try and help me understand how life may be for him.

Sorry your theatre trip resulted in a migraine - hope it's gone or going by the time you wake up.

Nov 10, 2015, 9:21pm

>24 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I think this is a book you need to read for yourself to get your own idea of it. I'll be curious to see what you make of it. I've been neglecting my bluebird since last week, need to get back to it and finish it so I can start on a new project! Really enjoying All Creatures Great and Small, just as I knew I would! :-)

>25 jnwelch: Thanks so much Joe, first for showing appreciation for my thoughts on Between the World and Me, and also for giving me your perspective as someone living in a place where all the points the author makes in the book are plenty relevant. I'm not sure why, but somehow I can imagine myself in another place when I'm reading fiction, but not so much when I'm reading non-fiction, which may have been part of the reason I found this book hard to relate to.

>26 LovingLit: It certainly was, Megan! Cumberbatch has been a real treat to watch in everything I've seen him in (not that much actually... now I think of it), but he seems to always give 110% of himself in every performance. How many ways are there to say intense?!

I did feel my review was relatively safe to post on my own thread because most of my visitors have an idea of how outspoken I can be and that I don't always navigate in the usual currents of thought. I've been reluctant to post it on the main book page however. What do you think?

>28 souloftherose: Hi Heather, as I mentioned to you in an earlier communication, head has been much better today. However, after seeing my neurologist a week ago, I've now switched to a new med to try to control the migraines, and the current dose is only a quarter of the treatment dose we're aiming for, five weeks from now, so it's bound to create discomfort. I should be getting botox treatments in three weeks, which I dearly hope will make a world of difference.

I was thinking of you as I listened to Ta-Nehisi Coates and concluded you would probably NOT be in the right frame of mind these days to approach this particular book. I very nearly dropped it early on, feeling I wasn't either, but I'd committed to it two months in a row on the TIOLI wikis and figured I should stick to it, given it was so short. I'm not willing to take on anything else heavy for a while now though...

Edited: Nov 10, 2015, 9:47pm

Book #165: ❉ⓔ Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
Source: National Library OverDrive collection
Edition: New Directions (2015), eBook, 384 pages
Read for: November TIOLI #5: Read a Fantasy
Original publication date (in English): 2015

Finished Beauty is a Wound last night, which I'm so glad I picked up more or less out of the blue. What sold me on it was the publisher's writeup, which in lieu of a review, I'll just copy/paste here, as I think it describes what you can expect from this novel beautifully. It's billed as being "the English-language debut of Indonesia's rising star", and I'll certainly look out for anything else published by him in English or French in future.
The epic novel Beauty Is a Wound combines history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. The beautiful Indo prostitute Dewi Ayu and her four daughters are beset by incest, murder, bestiality, rape, insanity, monstrosity, and the often vengeful undead. Kurniawan’s gleefully grotesque hyperbole functions as a scathing critique of his young nation’s troubled past: the rapacious offhand greed of colonialism; the chaotic struggle for independence; the 1965 mass murders of perhaps a million “Communists,” followed by three decades of Suharto’s despotic rule.

Beauty Is a Wound astonishes from its opening line: "One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years...." Drawing on local sources―folk tales and the all-night shadow puppet plays, with their bawdy wit and epic scope―and inspired by Melville and Gogol, Kurniawan’s distinctive voice brings something luscious yet astringent to contemporary literature.

A well-deserved 4.5 star rating from me on this wild and fantastical magical ride, for being one of the most memorable stories I've read this year and for teaching me about a nation I knew very little about until now. ★★★★½

eta: I've just put in a reservation for Kurniawan's Man Tiger at the library.

Nov 11, 2015, 12:35pm

If you'd like to pick a book for me for 2016, today is the last day to put in your suggestions!

See >12 Smiler69: for details.

Nov 11, 2015, 8:32pm

>23 Smiler69: HI Ilana, I saw Ta-Nehisi Coates interviewed on Charlie Rose before I read the book and I was pretty much hooked as the feelings he expresses (so articulately) are so deep and central and there was so much I didn't really understand, the huge concerns for safety (within communities and police relationships) and his personal family histories. Yes it was a very tough read but I didn't consider it divisive while I was reading it. I was reading it as his story. You bring up a very good comparisons to the huge challenges that women experience but I don't think that is what this book needed to address. I think the pain that he is trying to work out for himself and for the future of his son is what is so pressing of concern for him and it sure gave me food for thought. Good review Ilana, it gave me food for thought too!

Nov 13, 2015, 8:43pm

Terribly upset about tonight's events in Paris.

Nov 13, 2015, 8:49pm

Happy new thread, Ilana!

Oh, I can see why you like Christian Schole's artwork. Those pictures are beautiful.

I love new threads at this time of year. You get to see all the great reading that has been occuring. Your lists continue to awe and inspire me.

>17 Smiler69: - Sounds like your anniversary was perfect. Congratulations!

Nov 13, 2015, 8:49pm


Nov 14, 2015, 7:36am

>33 Smiler69: Indeed. xx

Nov 14, 2015, 11:50am

>32 mdoris: Thank you Mary for sharing your experience of the book. Of course it's a given that we all approach any given book from our own perspectives, which makes talking about them that much more interesting.

>34 lkernagh: Hi Lori! Thanks so much for dropping by. I'm glad you too enjoy Christian Schole's work; it gives me real pleasure to look at. I've certainly had a great year of reading; not beating any personal records by any means, but that doesn't bother me... what counts is I can look back and feel like I've truly been enriched, and had some fun while I was at it too.

Our anniversary was low key and very pleasant, as is our relationship in general, and I must say it seems to have made me a much happier woman overall, which of course I'm hugely grateful for.

>35 avatiakh: :.(

>36 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. My mum is well away from Paris, in a tiny little economically depressed town that tourists never visit, so in that sense she is very safe from any of this kind of madness, but as she swims in news and current affairs as her daily bread and has always been rather a leftist than otherwise, dealing with the aftermath in what has become a very intolerant culture will be difficult for her, so I've sent her thoughts of courage and fortitude.

Nov 14, 2015, 12:43pm

My mum provided the words on FB; I reworked the typography a little, because I share the sentiment entirely:

Nov 14, 2015, 1:07pm

Finished the bluebird with more layers of watercolour and then colour pencil details. Have started on a fruit dove, which will be in pen and watercolour (possibly colour pencil too).


Nov 14, 2015, 1:52pm

I never get tired of looking at your work. Your bluebird takes my breath away. Were you able to draw as a child? Does this incredible ability run in your family?

Nov 14, 2015, 3:32pm

Love the bluebird pic - so beautiful

Nov 14, 2015, 8:46pm

Good questions from >40 Dianekeenoy:. The bluebird is stunning and it's so great to see the progress over time.

Nov 15, 2015, 8:27am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! Glad your Mum is safe and sound. My heart goes out to the families in Paris. What a horrible tragedy.

Love the bluebird watercolor. I bet she is a Warbler!

Nov 15, 2015, 8:48am

So glad to hear your mum is safe, Ilana!

Nov 15, 2015, 12:45pm

Happy Sunday, Ilana!

Beautiful bluebird. Thanks for sharing the progress.

Poor Paris.

Nov 15, 2015, 12:52pm

>40 Dianekeenoy: Thank you so much for your kind comments Diane. I don't know if I was particularly talented as a child, but I did grow up with a mum who made art, music and culture a very important part of my upbringing and I found many affinities there. I can attribute my ability for drawing to a single book which my mum had brought home when I was about nine years old, which was Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It's now in its 4th edition, and it taught me everything I ever needed to learn about learning to look and reproduce what I saw. It's used by many art schools and art teachers to teach the principles of drawing, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the remotest interest in learning how to draw.

My maternal grandmother was a talented artist, and I have a cousin on that side of the family who is also an artist, so it would seem I may have inherited that trait from there. My mother often told me that I resembled my grandmother in character, which greatly baffled her, as she herself was and is vastly different from her mother.

>42 mdoris: Thanks Kerry. I hope my next one will be better. I'm not entirely satisfied with that drawing actually, but considering I hadn't played around with watercolours, or indeed ANY colours for a long time, I was happy enough with it to show it to the world as what I hope will be the first in a long-running series. After the fruit dove, I'll be drawing a chickadee for my mum, by special request.

>43 msf59: Hi Mark! Thanks for your thoughts about my mum. She is well away from any danger, but is nonetheless very much affected by the current tensions all this creates in her adoptive homeland.

>44 connie53: Thanks Connie! xx

Nov 15, 2015, 12:53pm

>45 jnwelch: Hi Joe, having a lovely day despite my heart being sore for the events of Friday. I hope my next bird drawings will put my bluebird to shame. ;-)

Edited: Nov 15, 2015, 1:07pm

I took on a home reno project over the weekend; to paint over my hallway wall, which was a deep red, to a brighter pink (sort of magenta). I'd been wanting to do this for a long time, but kept putting it off as non-essential, but then Pierre and I found a bookshelf unit on the sidewalk by my house someone had put out there for someone like me to pick up last week... it was a similar red as my wall, but with star and shark motifs I'm not especially fond of, and it gave me the idea to finally repaint the wall and the new shelving unit over the weekend. Hopefully the pink I got is deep enough to end up looking sophisticated rather than like cotton candy. That's the general idea. I coated shelving and wall with and undercoat yesterday, and today applying to popping pink. Should be fun!


Nov 15, 2015, 2:14pm

>48 Smiler69: I have been meaning to tell you something, Ilana.

Last weekend I was visiting my friend Vera and I was checking my FB account. I happened to come across one of your posts and I showed her the drawing of 'the girl next door'. She was flabbergasted! She could not believe it was a drawing! So she told me to let you know how much she loved it!.

Nov 15, 2015, 10:17pm

>48 Smiler69: - Love your home reno project! Looks like a wonderful shade of red from the pictures you have posted.

Nov 19, 2015, 9:04am

The red looks great in the photographs .... and the grey kitty sneaking in . . .

The bluebird is indeed beautiful.

Brave and apt remarks about the Coates book.

Nov 19, 2015, 10:43am

I love the bluebird, Ilana. And chickadees are one of my favorites. I'm looking forward to seeing your watercolor of it. I've had a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for quite a while. I should make a resolution for 2016 to finally read and do.

Nov 19, 2015, 1:22pm

An overdue update: a few people have expressed curiosity about what the list of selections for this challenge is, so I thought I should post it today. It seems after the initial 12 books were suggested, others forbore choosing other books for me, probably not wanting to cause those books already chosen to risk going unread in 2016! I guess it's just as well, as the dozen chosen is a really great bunch. Thanks to those of you who participated. Needless to say, all of them are books I've been looking forward to getting to.

The selections:

1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Thurston - picked by Charlotte/Fourpawz2
2. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell - picked by Kerry/avatiakh
3. H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald - picked by Mark/msf59
4. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee - picked by Paul/PaulCranswick
5. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande - picked by Mary/mdoris
6. Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund - picked by Ellen/EBT1002
7. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane - picked by Jim/drneutron
8. The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezani - picked by Judy/DeltaQueen50
9. The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru - picked by Deborah/Cariola
10. Good Evening, Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes - picked by Heather/souloftherose
11. History of the Rain by Niall Williams - picked by Charlotte/charl08
12. The Road Home by Rose Tremain - picked by Peggy/LizzieD

Edited: Nov 19, 2015, 1:35pm

My painting project ended up taking FOUR DAYS!!! And all just for a stretch of wall and a shelving uni. Unbelievable! You can count on me never buying Sherwin Williams paints ever again. They had me buying their most expensive line, because they assured me it was the easiest to clean and would only require two coats for perfect colour application. But then they also gave me a base which was basically charcoal grey. When I said I thought it was probably too dark, they said no no no, that was JUST what I needed. I had to put on FOUR coats of paint on wall and cabinet to cover that damned grey! That's five coats of paint in all!!! Unbelievable! I was in a rage. I'll be going to that store with the empty paint cans—a whole gallon and a pint—and expect to walk out of there with at least enough "free" paint for any retouches that might prove necessary in future. Not a lick of paint left over, for, once again: ONE wall, and ONE not overly large cabinet!!! Can you tell I'm hopping mad about this?

Anyhow, no pictures to show for it yet, because I thought the cabinet might need a couple of days drying time before I put books in it, given there are 5 coats of paint that need to harden on there. Sheesh. Just... unbelievable. I think I'm going to take myself to Sherwin Williams now to give them a piece of my mind and get something back for my pains... not to mention all the expense I went through, for this supposedly wonderful quality paint line. I hate being taken for a ride.

Edited: Nov 19, 2015, 1:41pm

Yes and um... thanks so much Connie, Lori, Lucy and catarina for your visits and lovely comments. I need to take care of business right now, as mentioned above. Also need to bring Coco for what will no doubt prove a very expensive vet visit, since I think they'll have to run a battery of tests on him... he's been complaining a lot lately, and I want to make sure he's fine, also take care of his eye infection. I dearly hope it won't prove a ruinous visit.

All this to say I'll write personal responses soon, but right now my mind is rather elsewhere!

Nov 19, 2015, 1:46pm

>53 Smiler69: That's quite a varied list! I've read five of them and have a sixth in my TBR stacks, so I w'll be interested in hearing what you think of them.

Edited: Nov 19, 2015, 5:56pm

Taxi driver home was wearing some obnoxious after shave which set off a monster migraine (+nausea, yay!). Just took two Fiorinals and hoping it abates. The good news is Coco's medical bill was not absolutely ruinous, since the vet said his eyes were probably hurting him enough to make him extra grumbly these days, so we stuck just to eye tests, and not the full gamut, as I was expecting. I'm only sorry I didn't bring him to get treated sooner. Now he's wearing a cone for a week or two to prevent him rubbing his eyes and will receive eyedrops several times a day.

>49 connie53: Connie, that is such a wonderful story! You are so sweet to report it to me, and please say thank you very much to your friend for her nice comments. Also, that I'm happy to take commissions. ;-)

>50 lkernagh: Hi Lori, the shade of red wasn't bad, but more sombre than what it seems to be on those pics. I'd had it for over 10 years though and was ready for a bit of a change, hence the switch to a magenta (sort of hot pink). I'll take pictures soon, though don't know how true to life they colour will be.

>51 sibylline: Yes, I was quite happy that Ezra decided to be part of that photo, Lucie. I'm glad you like the bluebird. I think the fruit dove will be quite a bit nicer, because it's much more colourful, and also because I think (hope) my technique is getting less rusty. Watercolours can be very tricky when you don't know what you're doing, as was the case with the bluebird, since it had been a few years since I'd played around with them. Time does fly!

>52 catarina1: Thank you catarina. I hope I'll be able to do justice to one of your favourite birds when I tackle the chickadee next. Get that Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain cracked open ASAP! You'll be amazed how quickly you'll learn from it when you start doing the exercises!

>56 Cariola: Deborah, I think it's a really interesting list. I'll have to make more of an effort next year to at least write a couple of lines about the books I read; I really slacked off this year.

Nov 19, 2015, 10:36pm

Hi ilana. It's been awhile since I've visited and as always your thread is so well organized and the artwork (both yours and others) is beautiful.

I know you participated in the Bingo Challenge last year and thought you might be interested in the two separate Bingo Challenges the Category Challenge is doing next year. One is a general Bingo, while the other is aimed at woman authors.

The first can be found at message 119 here: and the Woman Bingo Card is at message 49 here:

There are two styles for each card to pick from and I think they are going to be a lot of fun.

Edited: Nov 21, 2015, 1:03pm

I posted this photo of Coco on FB yesterday and thought I'd share it here too. His eye infection was very bad, and I'm now giving him drops three times daily, while he wears a cone to prevent him from rubbing his eyes. The cone bothered me at first, but he seems to wear it rather proudly, and as a friend of mine said on FB, it almost looks more like an Elizabethan collar on him! His eyes are already a paler shade of pink now, so still some way to go, but nice to see an improvement.

>58 DeltaQueen50: Thanks so much for posting those links Judy. I'll surely take on both those bingo boards next year and see how they get filled up with all the other challenges I've got going on. This reminds me I still need to read a book on language to fill the last square for this year's bingo game... best get to it soon!

Edited: Nov 21, 2015, 1:35pm

As I was reporting on the NF thread a few minutes ago, so far I've read the following NF books this month:
Between the World and Me
All Creatures Great and Small
Modern Romance
Currently reading: The Sixth Extinction.

Of course I have about ten times as many on my "possibilities" list for this month, but considering I only tend to read a handful a year, it's not a bad track record. I really need to make more room for NF in my reading diet, because I enjoy it just as much as fiction... it just somehow takes me that added nudge to start on non-fiction books for some reason.

I'm only about a third of the way into The Sixth Extinction, and it's quiet terrifying so far, though absolutely fascinating.

Book #168: ❉♫ Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari ★★★★
Source: National Library OverDrive collection
Edition: Penguin Audio (2015), Unabridged MP3; 6h14
Read for: Non-Fiction November, TIOLI #18: title is not something to be thankful for (!)
Original publication date: 2015

I thought this book was a lot of fun, if rather daunting; told in a light and humorous way by Ansari, who doesn't hesitate to insult his audio listeners for being "too damn lazy to read the book for themselves", and throwing in plenty of jokes, while the research for the book was sound and seemed quite thorough, basing the results on responses and travels not just from in and around the US, but also France, Japan and Argentina. Comparisons are made between the older generation of 65+ people and how they met and married their partners in their youth, and what the dating scene looks like today, with the widespread use of online dating sites and recent arrival of dating applications, which give seemingly endless and instant possibilities to singles; where once people paired off with whoever was closest and the emphasis was on marrying young, now the trouble is narrowing down all the options out there, on a worldwide stage, while looking for a true soul mate; raising the stakes that much higher. There are tips for singles on how to navigate our Brave New Dating World, and this taught me what I had long suspected; that I made that fatal mistake of relying too much on the internet part of the equation and not so much the real-life dating side of it during my single-and-looking years, about a decade ago, so it's no wonder I wasn't too successful at it (the goal then was finding a husband). One of the issues women face with online dating is they are flooded with options, and narrowing down the possibilities alone can become a full time occupation. It was an interesting look at the current state of romance, and mostly made me very grateful my current partner Pierre and I met in an old fashioned way (through friends, at an outing) and have an old fashioned, simple kind of relationship where texting is kept to a minimum and phone calls are a regular daily occurrence!

Nov 23, 2015, 8:15pm

I've never seen a dog look as cute in a cone as Coco! Just adorable! Hope he feels better soon.

Edited: Nov 23, 2015, 8:31pm

>60 Smiler69: Over the weekend, I watched Aziz Ansari's new Netflix comedy series, 'Master of None,' in its entirety. His character deals with some of the same dating dilemmas--as well as ethnic stereotyping in the acting world. I thought it was pretty good--probably would give it a grade of B with B+ moments.

Nov 23, 2015, 10:25pm

Ilana, I have The Journey to Tunisia, 1914: Paul Klee, August Macke, Louis Moilliet out from the library at present. I think you'd enjoy browsing through this one.

Coco looks very cute!

Nov 24, 2015, 2:33pm

>59 Smiler69: Poor Coco, but I agree he does look very smart in the collar! Glad to hear the infection is starting to clear up.

Edited: Nov 24, 2015, 3:21pm

Funny anecdote about Coco and his cone: I just now thought I'd take it off him so he could play with a chew toy for a little while, but as soon as I'd removed it, he looked at me questioningly and then at the collar, as if he was wanting to have it back on! I believe he must think it gives him some distinction and he wears it proudly as it it were a fashion statement; seems the Elizabethan ruff is making a comeback! Funny little guy. :-)

Just finished Maigret #18 The Lock at Charenton last night, and must say I was rather confused with the undercurrents of the story... lots of things unsaid between the characters which are left to the reader to figure out, but as I'm never very good at that, it mostly left me wondering what the whole thing was about.

On audio, I'm currently listening to Death at Victoria Dock, a Phriney Fisher mystery for a dose of light reading (after the rather depressing Sixth Extinction) and my somewhat remote participation to the ANZAC challenge. I like this series, but it's so lightweight I have no compunction about listening to it at x1.5 speed, which I very rarely do!

Will probably start on As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee as my bedtime reading tonight for Nonfiction November.


>61 Dianekeenoy: Diane, it seems Coco is all too aware of how cute he is in that cone, as I found out a few minutes ago! :-)

>62 Cariola: I wasn't familiar at all with Aziz Ansari until he released this book, Deborah. I might try to watch the first episode of "Master of None' if it's available to us on Netflix Canada to see what it's about. The book was lightweight, but fun to listen to and seemed to give a rather accurate picture of what life for the singles-and-looking crowd is like nowadays.

>63 avatiakh: Oh Dear, Kerry! As soon as I saw your post I rushed over to see if the book is available at one of our libraries, which it is not. I then looked it up on Amazon, and am I love. It's not available at our local Indigo store, but I think I'll order it from them online merchant, so I can browse through it and decide whether it's all I think it is, and will more than likely end up keeping it!

>64 souloftherose: I'm pleased too, Heather. You are another fan of Coco's collar it seems! I may have to look around for an Elizabethan ruff to wear when the infection clears up, since he seems to think it gives him so much distinction! ;-)

Edited: Nov 24, 2015, 3:43pm

Phryne Fisher! I probably asked you this, Ilana, but have you seen any of the Aussie TV series? It's very good, and my wife and daughter love the clothes she wears, in keeping with the novels.

I'm a good ways into the book series, but still have some left.

Nov 25, 2015, 8:14pm

>29 Smiler69: I think you should post the review to the book page. At least here there are no comments sections, so no one will be able to start a pointless attack-style conversation. (maybe you already have posted it?)

>57 Smiler69: wow, strong smells can set off a migraine? I abhor strong smells and would even more if they triggered migraines. Poor you!

Edited: Nov 26, 2015, 12:51pm

>66 jnwelch: Hi Joe, I really enjoyed the 4th Phryne Fisher book, really great light-hearted fun, with a social agenda which is pleasing for us liberal-types.

I did watch the first of the TV shows, Cocaine Blues and have to say I wasn't that taken with it. For one thing, it bugged me that the actress looks so much older than the 20-something Phryne is supposed to be. I also watched it with Pierre, who didn't think much of it, so I think I'll give it another chance and watch the second episode by myself sometime to see if I take to it more next time. In any case, I have every intention of pursuing the book series, which I've enjoyed listening to as audiobooks.

I'm a third of the way into As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning now, and have to agree with you it's a pure joy to read. What beautiful prose! I've been wondering whether I should have started on Lee with Cider With Rosie, as I hadn't realised that the two books were part of an autobigraphic trilogy, but my understanding is they all stand alone very well, so I'll keep CWR for the 2016 BAC. Glad you spurred me on to pick AIWUOMM sooner than later!

>67 LovingLit: Hi Megan, I did in the end decided to post the review. One thing that encouraged me was seeing someone else's review who quite clearly disliked the book, in which the person held back nothing, but which I still found was a fair enough point of view, so I thought mine would be very tame in comparison.

Yep, smells can do it for me every time. Apparently this is not at all unusual. Sounds, smells, visual stimulation, are three things I've pinpointed as being migraine triggers for me. For some people certain foods are off-limits, such as cheese, dark chocolate and red wine which are often named as migraine-inducers. I steer clear of red wine, but the other two seem to be ok for me, and I guess it helps I only have them occasionally and in reasonable doses. I'm getting my first botox treatment a week from now, and I can't wait to see if it'll make a difference. I pray it does, because there's lots of migraine activity for me this month and I've been taking Fiorinal rather more often than I'd like. Right now I'm ok, just mild pain, which is the best I can hope for, so I'm grateful for that state of things at least!

Nov 27, 2015, 3:57am

If I had to go without chocolate, red wine and cheese I would probably collapse. Which tells me I probably need to give up at least some chocolate, red wine and cheese.

Good luck for your treatment. I am often thankful that I don't have arthritis anymore, daily pain is like having a constant enemy.

Nov 28, 2015, 1:35am

Hey Ilana! I am sorry to hear that Coco's eye was so infected but glad that he is adjusting to the collar so well! When we tried to put one of those on Abby a while back, she just froze. I probably should have forced myself to give her a chance to get used to it but watching her just stand there, not moving, freaked me out. I bailed very quickly.

I really appreciate your courageous and honest review of Between the World and Me and I also really appreciate Joe's comments. I have not much in common with Coates when it comes to shared identities, so I'm not sure I could "relate" to the book at all but I did empathize with his fear for his son and appreciated his perspective on the experience, in the U.S., of having a Black male body with all its particular vulnerability. It felt like a book that challenged me in a good way.

I love love love your drawings and, as a bit of a bird-lover, I really love the bluebird. Oh, and I like watercolors, too. :-)

I'm so pleased that you chose Ahab's Wife for one of your 2016 reads! I would have been totally fine not to have "my" book make the list of twelve but this will motivate me to finally read this one, too. And, despite the difficulty (for me) of truly synchronizing a read with almost anyone on LT, I will enjoy at least a sort-of-shared read with you in the coming year!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Give dear Coco a scritch under his chin for me.

Edited: Nov 29, 2015, 12:51pm

I've spent quite a few days working out what my last reads of 2015/first reads of 2016 are likely to be, so here are my (highly ambitious) reading plans for December in their respective Take it or Leave It challenge slots:

TIOLI #1: a book with the word “adventure” on the covers
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska

TIOLI #2: on your list at the beginning the year as "to read in 2015"
The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark - BAC
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow - AAC, ACoB! (1975)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - ACoB! (1955)
The African Queen by CS Forester - ACoB! (1935)
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - Picked for Me! (by Darryl/kidzdoc)

TIOLI #4: a mystery that has something odd or unexpected in the title
The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri

TIOLI #7: Read a book that is dedicated to a family member
West with the Night by Beryl Markham

TIOLI #8: set in Tudor England
Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

TIOLI #9: colour or word blue on the cover
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Outline by Rachel Cusk

TIOLI #10: title starting with the next letter in Santa Claus
Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome by Jérôme Ferrari

TIOLI #12: written by a woman in a language other than English
The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg

TIOLI #13: by an author who has published at least 12 books
The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel - BAC
Carry On, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse - BAC
The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat - Picked for Me! (by Nathalie/Deern)
The Trials of Rumpole by John Mortimer

TIOLI #14: Finish a book you started before 01/Dec/15
Cecilia by Fanny Burney - Group read - Reading
The Bone People by Kery Hulme

TIOLI #15: "All is want for Christmas is ..."
Blood & Beauty: The Borgias; A Novel by Sarah Dunant

TIOLI #16: Read a book of nonfiction
The Young Ardizzone by Edward Adizzone

TIOLI #17: Read a book with something Parisian in the title or plays in Paris
Le Spleen de Paris by Charles Baudelaire

Edited: Nov 29, 2015, 1:12pm

>69 LovingLit: Megan, I say if you can consume chocolate, cheese and red wine with impunity, then have double doses with me in mind! I'm quite fond of the first two, but by no means addicted to either, so small doses are fine for me. As for red wine, I used to be quite a fan, but have woken up too many times in the middle of the night with horrible tummy and headache to make it enjoyable any longer, plus I guess my body has helped me somewhat by rendering all wine tasting more like alcohol than anything else, so whatever palate I once had is now all but gone. A shame, but it is helpful considering it makes me much less keen on drinking the stuff.

Really glad for you that you don't have to deal with chronic pain any more. Who needs it, right? I'm hopeful the botox treatments will be helpful. One good thing is unlike most medications, there won't be a waiting period to find out whether the treatment works on not.

>70 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, what a lovely visit and message! As soon as I'd read it, I went over and gave Coco and very nice scritching under the chin telling him it came from you all the way across the continent from Seattle, and he seemed especially appreciative.

You're much more of a softie with Bailey than I am with my Mimi and Ezra. I love them to bits, but if something is needed for their health or my mental/physical well-being, I don't much care whether they like it or not, and that would go with a cone too. Again, with Coco though, it isn't an issue, because he wears it with the same indifference he wears his sweaters or regular collars; I took it off him for a day or two because his eyes were much better, but then caught him rubbing his eyes again yesterday so put it back on him, and when I did he put out his paw the same way he does when I put the harness on him, so obviously he just thinks it's just more gear he needs to help me put on him. It hasn't even occurred to him to try to take it off, so I can leave the tie totally loose so it won't get scratchy around his neck.

Thanks for the comment on my bluebird. It was a first attempt at watercolour after a very long break, and I'm not quite happy with it, especially now I'm almost done with the fruit dove, which I think is doing quite nicely. I've been posting updates on it on FB and will post one here too.

I'll be happy to read Ahab's Wife along with you whenever you feel like slotting it in. I'm not great at discussing shared books, but I do like the idea other people are reading them along with me.

Weekend's been fine, though I've been fighting off a cold which has been trying to latch on to me for the past week and keeping a low profile. Swallowing whole garlic cloves every other day and taking massive dosses of vitamin C seems to have worked so far, but I'm still low on energy. Hope yours is proving restful. xx

Edited: Nov 29, 2015, 1:56pm

Here are a few of the stages of my fruit dove drawing, for those of you who haven't seen it on FB. Still working on minute details:

Nov 30, 2015, 12:40am

I almost recommended Ragtime for you, so I'm glad to see it on your list. I also liked The Giant, O'Brien and Outline.

Nov 30, 2015, 9:05pm

>74 Cariola: I'm reading Ragtime for the AAC and am looking forward to it. Same goes for the other two. I'm about to start on Blood & Beauty: The Borgias by Sara Dunant. I've enjoyed all the other books I've read by her before, so this one should be interesting too I should hope. I see you didn't like The Birth of Venus much. I read that one long before joining LT and remember liking it a lot. Ah well!

Dec 1, 2015, 7:55am

The fruit dove is beautiful. Never heard of this type of dove before. Where is it from?

How nice and cooperative Coco is. Maybe you could make him a little Elizabethan ruff. I saw some instructions for people ruffs online.

I have a copy of Blood & Beauty I'm looking forward to. It'll be a while before I get to it, though.

Dec 1, 2015, 4:44pm

I LOVE the colours and the detail of the feathers on the breast and the look in the eye of the fruit dove in your beautiful painting in # 73. It is very gorgeous! It is so great to see from frame to frame how you do this.

Dec 2, 2015, 2:20pm

>76 Fourpawz2: Hi Charlotte! I posted the finished fruit dove piece on FB and should post it here too now—will do v soon. I do like the idea of making Coco an Elizabethan ruff to wears as a fashion statement. Will look up options on how to make one online, if only for the photo op!

I'm about ¼ of the way into Blood & Beauty and must say so far am finding it rather dry... none of the characters is really standing out, but maybe this will change? In any case, I'm interested in finding out about the Borgias and figured this might be a good introduction to get me reading NF about them.

>77 mdoris: Thank you so much Mary. I had a lot of fun making that fruit dove drawing, and must say I'm pleased with the final result. I've started working on a chickadee for my mum now. Should be applying the first watercolour wash today, and will show the progression for that one too.

Dec 2, 2015, 2:22pm

Here is the finished piece at full size:

Dec 2, 2015, 2:27pm

As just posted on FB: My new pink hallway and bookshelf—everyone on the home front seems to like the new look.


Dec 2, 2015, 3:57pm

The finished fruit dove is just lovely. Its feathers are so perfect - I can almost feel them under my fingertips.

Such a pretty hallway! And so nice to see the troops passing through. Clearly Ezra and Mimi were on serious cat missions but Coco is posing so beautifully. I can picture him modeling that Elizabethan ruff....

Dec 2, 2015, 9:12pm

Coco looks rather stunned by the lovely magenta! Very stylish indeed.

Dec 2, 2015, 9:16pm

Love the colour, very jewel like. Need some turquiose in there somewhere! Also your dove pic is beautiful.

Dec 3, 2015, 12:21am

The color of the wall sets off the picture above perfectly.

Dec 3, 2015, 4:35am

>79 Smiler69: This is so beautiful, you just want to very carefully touch those breast feathers, hoping it won't shy (and fly) away!

>80 Smiler69: and I LOVE that pink! You have such a lovely appartment, the floorboards, the colors, the light - the pictures always show such a warm atmosphere.
The cats look like they don't care much, but Coco seems to have noticed a change.

Edited: Dec 3, 2015, 9:52am

Finished As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, my first Laurie Lee book, and certainly not my last. The writing was just sublime, the story interesting, though not grabbing me entirely on the moment, but as I reflect back on it, I think I'll revise my measly 3.5 stars and give it four, as a book I truly did love. Now have started on The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark who is among my favourite British writers (though Scottish), one month late for the BAC, but the point is I'm making room for her as a priority.

As I just posted on FB:

In the meantime, I wasn’t going to show anything at this very early stage, but I’ve ripped my first dabblings off the drawing board (figuratively speaking, natch), and stuck my nascent chickadee drawing into the scanner to send my mum a little something to look at, since the final piece will be going out to her in France.

She's had some very bad news, involving serious age discrimination and being refused a teaching job she had already started on, (and which she is the best qualified person for) because she is over 65 years old, this apparently being excused by national policy, so I wanted to cheer her up a little.

I’m deriving inspiration on this one from my Buffon book and Nicolas-François Martinet’s engravings (as above)—sort of, as the background will be coloured—, starting with line drawing and will apply watercolour washes over that.

Edited: Dec 3, 2015, 9:54am

>81 Fourpawz2: Charlotte, I'm always immensely pleased when my furry ones decide to pass through my camera viewer when I'm taking shots around the house; I always find pets really make a home well-lived in and add a magic spark to photos. I'm really excited about my new drawing, since each new one is built on the last and I hopefully get better as I learn my way around a subject.

>82 Cariola: Thanks Deborah. You should have seen my furry crew during the four days it took me to complete this project... they were besides themselves with anxiety with the changes around the house; things being moved around, etc. Now I think they've found their quiet harbour again and are back to their routine. What they don't know is I plan to repaint my apartment one wall at a time this year (it's been 15 years since most of them were first painted), so they'll be going through similar upheavals repeatedly...

>83 avatiakh: Agree about the turquoise, Kerry, very good observation. There is a little bit of it in the drawing framed on the wall, but I'll look for other items of that colour to insert in there somehow. Here's the drawing, by the way, done for an art class and shown at the student exhibition in 2012:

>84 kac522: Thank you Kathy! I completely agree with you! You can judge better how accurate your comment is with the image above. ;-)

>85 Deern: Nathalie, I really love my apartment, and I guess my photos reflect that. I've had over 15 years now to turn it into a cozy cocoon, the only trouble being I like it so much here, I never want to leave it if I can help it, even just to go out for an errand! Naturally I don't show my eternal mess on those photos, though my friends always assure me my mess is quite neat... I'm sure photos of said mess, which is spread around every corner of the house, would attest to the contrary... ;-)


Off to see my new neurologist for first botox treatment in an hour or so. Didn't get much sleep, as woke up v v early this morning, thanks to very painful churning guts (something which happens rather too often to my liking, maybe a couple of times a month—linked to constipation caused by meds and especially FIORINAL, which I'm obliged to take when head pain gets out of hand, as it did last night), but I'm taking the opportunity to do all kinds of little things. Will go spend a bit of time on my chickadee drawing now. Much looking forward to this treatment as eager to see whether it'll help reduce the migraine pains...

Dec 3, 2015, 6:27pm

>86 Smiler69: It was a fairly safe bet for me that you would like As I Walked out one Midsummer Morning and sometimes being proven right is very gratifying!

Love the bird series, Ilana. xx

Dec 3, 2015, 7:17pm

Hi, Ilana!

Fabulous colours in all those posts! I love your fruit dove---we have several indigenous species, including in my area, though I haven't been lucky enough to see one in the wild. This is our superb fruit dove:

BTW, I've been wondering if you and I should tackle The Midnight Bell for the "meant to read this year" TIOLI challenge?? :D

Dec 3, 2015, 7:35pm

How brave to paint the wall and bookcase magenta! But it works very well. I like it. And the drawing above the shelf. I'm just a fan of your work. Keep up delighting us.

On another subject, I hope that the injections help.

Edited: Dec 3, 2015, 8:40pm

I had a near nightmare situation this morning, when I showed up for my long-awaited botox treatment for my migraines and was told I wasn't on the list! Seems someone made a mistake and didn't slot me in after all. The upshot is they'll insert me for a consult next week and reshuffle the other appointments around to fit me in, so there won't be much longer to wait. Also, I at least didn't waste a trip because I was able to get a cardiogram at the medical centre I was at, which my neurologist requested I get last week because of the Tizanidine I'm now taking to help prevent migraines. Not very successfully thus far, I should add, because I had two major migraine episodes today, the first of which, unsurprisingly, showed up when I was told my appointment for today didn't appear on their schedule. Eek.

>88 PaulCranswick: Paul, I didn't even realise when I picked up AIWOOMM that I was reading one of my 2016 planned reads. Guess I was in a hurry to get started on 2016!

>89 lyzard: Liz, thanks for the photo—my drawing is also based on a superb fruit dove image. I didn't realise you had them in Oz; how cool!

I'd say yes to The Midnight Bell, only I can't, because I'm already vastly overbooked and reading two physical books a day with the current Cecilia group reading going on right now... we should definitely slot it in early next year. FYI, I do plan on starting the year with War and Peace, so might be best to wait till I'm finished with that tiny pamphlet... ;-)

>90 catarina1: I really wanted a colour that would cheer me up as soon as I walked into the appartment, and magenta seemed like the right colour for me. I'm really pleased with it, only the hallway is usually quite dark so the colour rarely looks as luminous as it does on that photo where Ezra my cat is walking through, but that was certainly the colour I had in mind. Thank you so much for your comment about my work. I'm glad it gives people pleasure to see work that gives me so much joy to make. What could be better? Well... maybe getting paid for it, but then again, maybe not...

Dec 3, 2015, 8:22pm

Hi, Ilana! Your fruit dove is gorgeous. I had never heard of that bird. I also LOVE your bookshelves. Nice job.

I am loving the Berlin collection. She has such a good voice.

Dec 3, 2015, 8:52pm

>91 Smiler69:

I thought they were very similar but I wasn't sure if you had a different species in mind; I know there are many variations.

If you have War And Peace scheduled for January, I guess I should move Emma to March, hmm?? :)

Dec 3, 2015, 9:03pm

>92 msf59: Hi Mark. I had never seen these birds either until I started a "birds" Pinterest board and stated collecting bird images. Apparently there are many varieties of these colourful fruit doves, so there's a good chance I'll be painting more of them. I'm really happy about my new bookshelves; glad you like them too.

>93 lyzard: I hand't realised how many varieties of these birds there were until I looked up the wikipedia article and was rather astounded! I've collected quite a few images I think I could work from and will revisit these birds as often as I can, I think. Simply stunning in their colours and variety.

Ummm... I guess March would be a good idea, yes. April for The Midnight Bell then, or do you have something else planned for that month?

Dec 3, 2015, 9:15pm

Believe it or not, I haven't planned that far ahead!

The year's looking pretty crowded, tho', with six group / tutored reads on the table already. {*girds loins*}

I'd like to see you tackle the rose-crowned fruit dove:

Dec 5, 2015, 10:54am

>72 Smiler69: Hi Ilana. Thanks for giving Coco the chin-scritch for me. :-)
I am on the verge of joining you in being much more fierce with Abby. We are simply going to have to do the cone, that is clear. Now the challenge is getting to the vet to buy one: they appear to have ones that are much softer and, I hope, easier to manage than the old cones!

"I'm not great at discussing shared books, but I do like the idea other people are reading them along with me." I am on that very same page, Ilana, so our shared read of Ahab's Wife can be an experience of quiet companionableness.

I love the pink wall and bookshelf and the images of your furkidz investigating them.

And >79 Smiler69: ---- stunning. Really beautiful. Thank you for posting.

Dec 5, 2015, 12:35pm

>95 lyzard: I should definitely book you ahead then, Liz! When are we doing a group reading of Camilla?? ;-)
(or maybe that's already being talked about?)
I'm much behind on all the threads, but really should go catch up with you to see what's being discussed as far as group and tutored reads, so I can add some to my 2016 reading plans.

Thanks so much for the rose-crowned fruit dove pic... I sourced it via google images and got a larger version of it. I've been looking out for fruit dove varieties; finding high-res images to work from as I am fascinated by their gorgeous colouring and will most definitely do several; this one you've posted will definitely end up on my drawing board sooner or later.

>96 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, lovely to have your visit. I've been so behind and meaning to visit you too, but intimidated by all the posts I've missed. I imagine there would be better cones out there by now, and am considering making or sourcing some kind of ruff for Coco which would be both stylish and practical, because it seems after this week's visit to the vet that while his eyes have definitely improved, he is prone to allergies and his condition is likely to be one that needs constant treatment with eye drops and preventing him from scratching his eyes.

I love the idea of quiet companionableness. Definitely what suits me best nowadays, and what Pierre and I seem to have, though not always so quiet as we do seem to find a lot of things to talk about... but then are also perfectly content to share our silences.

Thanks so much for your comment on my fruit dove. I spent a couple of days on the drawing portion of the chickadee I'm working on for my mum, and now hesitant to add colour because I like the black and white so much. Here it is:

Dec 5, 2015, 3:04pm

>97 Smiler69:

Actually there *has* been some discussion of Camilla! :D

I have responded to your post and put up a list on my thread of tentative plans for next year.

Dec 6, 2015, 10:04am

>79 Smiler69: Beautiful!

>97 Smiler69: And also loving the chickadee drawing.

Also sorry to hear your botox treatment was delayed :-( I hope they can fit you in soon.

Dec 6, 2015, 11:24am

>98 lyzard: Guess I should order it up then! How many months will that reading take us??

>99 souloftherose: Thank you Heather. The good news about the botox treatment is that they are fitting me in next week, although they need to move the other patients appointments around; shows they're really trying to make up for their mistake within a reasonable time-frame, and I can only be grateful to them for that.


Yesterday was very productive in terms of book-reading. I'm only three chapters away from completing Cecilia, and also completed Rumpole of the Bailey, which I thoroughly enjoyed and a series I will most certainly continue to listen to. Followed that up with The Finishing School by Muriel Spark, which I thought was pretty great and a very interesting 21st century answer to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Followed that up with Rachel Cusk's Outline, which I may or may not finish today, depending on how much listening time I get.

Dec 6, 2015, 11:51am

I'm growing quite a huge collection for my "Books Live Here" Pinterest page (link takes you to the page). I have hundreds of gorgeous photos with books in them in there, but I just saw this one which I find simply sublime:

Dec 6, 2015, 12:02pm

It's a room to read comfortably, for sure. Simple but very restful.

Dec 6, 2015, 2:40pm

What a gorgeous room. The idea of the sun pouring over your shoulders to light up your page from those stunning windows. I'll take it! I love the cool and simplicity of the white bedding. I think it must be in France.

Edited: Dec 7, 2015, 12:27am

OMG!!! Outline felt like the longest book I've ever listened to, even though it was only 4 hours long or something. I was so bored with it I started reading reviews of it in the last 45 minutes of the audiobook, just to make the time go by faster. You won't catch me reading anything else by Rachel Cusk anytime soon!

Dec 7, 2015, 2:03pm

>104 Smiler69: Oh, dear, sorry about that one. While I can't say that it was very exciting, I liked the way she played with structure.

Edited: Dec 7, 2015, 2:22pm

>102 connie53: >103 mdoris: I imagine it is somewhere in Europe, but wherever it is, it seems like a very pleasant harbour of peace I wouldn't mind spending time in.

>105 Cariola: No worries Deborah, and no need to apologize; I'd gotten Outline because of all the coverage it had gotten for all the award buzz, much before you had mentioned liking it. I guess I don't think enough like a writer to enjoy the structure or much of any of it at all; it just seemed tedious and I now wish I'd just quit it, but I was determined to finish it as a TIOLI shared read, so that'll teach me!


I don't often report my book hauls anymore, because the sheer volume of audiobooks alone that gets added to my monstrous tbr on any given week is rather astounding, but being inspired by Paul's recent listings, which must be the longest I've been in this group in the five years made me feel like putting up a small list of some of the things I've acquired in the last week or so.

Library OverDrive Collection:
Atlantic by Simon Winchester
Pacific by Simon Winchester
On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
A German Requiem by Philip Kerr - Bernie Gunther #3
The One From the Other by Philip Kerr - Bernie Gunther #4
The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

Library OneClickDigital Collection:
Sweet Caress by William Boyd
All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer - Read
The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
Stories from a Corfu Childhood: A Selection of His Own Stories Written and Read by Gerald Durrell
Just for the pleasure of hearing his voice
The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir
Awakenings by Oliver Sacks

Physical books:
The World of Herodotus by Aubrey De Selincourt
Seen as a recent release at Folio Society, got a first edition softcover.
Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall
A very fun visual collection based on Craigslist postings
The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami - for the CAC
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard - for the AAC
First edition gotten for a good price
From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple
For the BAC, rec'd by Suz
Drawing is Thinking by Milton Glaser
One of my design and drawing heroes, since a workshop I did with him in the 90s;
Also, a 1 year anniversary gift from Pierre.
Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee - for the BAC
A beautiful hardcover design, but unfortunately very cheap paper, and did NOT come cheap!

Dec 7, 2015, 4:51pm

>106 Smiler69: Great list! I really liked The Heroes Walk.

Dec 7, 2015, 7:17pm

44 posts behind???? How on earth did that happen? At least I've been able to follow you some on fb.
I don't know where to begin. So glad that Coco's little eyes are bright and healthy again. Our Willow went insane in the E-collar after her spaying. It was take it off or confine her so that she couldn't move at all. We took it off and sat with her to keep her from scratching and biting her outer stitches for nearly 24 hours.
I wonder whether anything has developed with your mother's employment situation. I further wondered at the time whether the problem was what it would have been here: our administrations would rather have a cheap, inexperienced hire than to pay for experience.
Hmmm. I sort of inherited a copy of Ahab's Wife. So far it hasn't called me very loudly, so I'll be interested to see what you and Ellen think.
Fruit doves! I wish we had fruit doves!
Lovely book room! Definitely French!
LOVELY book haul! Congratulations!

Dec 8, 2015, 10:08am

I've been out of the loop for a bit, Ilana, but I'm glad you enjoyed the Laurie Lee book as much as I did (As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning). Wait until you get to Cider with Rosie!

Edited: Dec 8, 2015, 1:06pm

>107 Cariola: I got The Hero's Walk for the Canadian Author Challenge Deborah. Anita Rau Badami was suggested by a couple of people on that thread, and as it happened I'd taken an art class or two with her here in Montreal in recent past and thought she was a really interesting lady, I didn't hesitate too much to add her as one of our authors for the first edition of the CAC. I could have gotten her books at the library, but I had extra incentive to encourage her by actually buying it.

>108 LizzieD: Oh dear me Peggy, you SO have nothing to worry about. I'm HUNDREDS of posts behind most people in this group, which scares me off even trying to catch up, but I'll just have to roll up my sleeves and tackle a few here and there, because I hate being so out of touch with everyone. I'm immensely grateful that friends such as yourself still take time to visit me all the same. If you've followed me on FB, then I think you've seen the essential stuff, as I post regular updates of my artwork there (as you already know), and that is really what is most important to me these days. Not to say reading has taken a back seat by any means, but somehow reporting in said reading has of late. I'm sorry about that because I find it helpful to write at least short reviews to help jog my memory because I all too often forget much of it after a few months and many books later.

My mum's situation, as far as I know hasn't really progressed my, other than she's been encouraged to seek legal counsel. She also mentioned something on her blog today about receiving a mysterious phone call of someone saying she'd be better off NOT going to court over it, so I'll have to check in with her and see what the situation is. As I understand it though, it's not so much a matter of them not wanting to pay for experience, but rather that in France everyone over 65 automatically receives a pension, and so is declared unfit to earn a salary. Never mind those who actually want to continue working, or those like my mum who, not having worked in France until very recently, are not eligible for this pension to begin with. A bit of a sticky situation, as you can imagine.

I'm really pleased with my pink hallway and have made it my profile pic. I should report my book hauls more often, but it just gets embarrassing considering books are constantly flowing my way. ;-)

>109 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Join us out-of-the-loopers! I spend less time on the computer these days, and consequently less time on LT. It's not so much having Pierre in my life, as me making time for other activities. I took up tai-chi a couple of weeks ago with a video I purchased on iTunes and am doing a short routine every other day to help my back, and of course I spend more time on my artwork, have also taken up giving Coco and extra walk every day (to help his bladder and my back), and I also now make daytime timeslots available for physical book-reading. All good stuff! I'm also looking forward to Cider with Rosie. I just wish they'd bothered to use a decent paper instead of a kind of cheap newsprint for a $28 anniversary hardcover edition they commissioned special artwork for. :-|

Dec 11, 2015, 10:50am

I think it's great that you are so busy! I'm also a bit less diligent here on LT, although I love it as much as ever.

Your fruit dove is exquisite and the hallway paint saga sounds so typical. I hope you did get a free can of paint out of them! Grey undercoat, well, that is just weird!

Edited: Dec 12, 2015, 1:52pm

I should be at the cinema right now with my friend Kristyna watching an NT Live presentation of Winter's Tale with Judy Dench which I was much looking forward to, but three days of screaming migraine and the monthly arrival of the mean Russians on the scene have left me rather depleted, and I wanted nothing but to stay at home and cozy up to my new electric blanket. It that very terrible of me?

I finally figured out this week how to make animated short movies to show the progression of my various art projects from all the still photographs I take while the work is in progress. I've posted them to YouTube, so I can share them here for those of you who are interested. By the way, I also finished my chickadee drawing, which will be going out to France to my mum very soon. Here's the final drawing, followed by links to a few videos:

Click on the images or text links see the YouTube videos (with sound effects!):

Chickadee video (0:35)

Fruit Dove video (0:50)

Rocky drawing video (0:49)

Edited: Dec 12, 2015, 2:26pm

On the reading front: I finished listening to The African Queen this week, which was very good, if also rather technical in the description of who our two protagonists navigate their way through the wild waters of German Central Africa in 1914. A good love story, which I read because Pierre has been wanting to re-watch the movie with me for months and I insisted I wanted to read the book first. I can't wait to watch the movie now—Hepburn and Bogie made quite a pair in that one.

Book #185:The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark ★★★★⅓
Edition: Virago (2013), Paperback, 400 pages
Awards & Distinctions: James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Fiction, 1965)
Anthony Burgess: 99 Novels
Read for: BAC, December TIOLI #2: on your list at the beginning the year as "to read in 2015"
Original publication date: 1965

I also completed The Mandelbaum Gate, which came a month late for the BAC. I know this is among Paul's favourites, and I picked it up for that reason, having already read most of Muriel Spark's other better known works. I'm definitely a fan of Muriel Spark, having read a good number her other better known works and short stories, but I found this novel, which takes place in the then new country of Israel in 1961—when Jerusalem was divided between the Israeli state and Jordan by the Mandelbaum gate—was slow to get off the ground. Spark spent the first half of the book situating her characters and the geographic and political situation, at which time any Jewish person was barred from Jordan and immediately suspected of spying if they ever DID make it across the borders, which of course could result in very dire consequences. Our two main protagonists are Freddy Hamilton, a Britisher working for the foreign office, and Barbara Vaughan, a British old-maidish teacher on a visit to Israel and Jordan on a religious pilgrimage; she has Jewish roots on her mother's side and considers herself a half-Jew, but as a convert to Catholicism, is eager to visit all the sacred sites the old city has to offer, added to which she has entered into a love affair with an archeologist working on the Dead See Scrolls site (also on the Jordanian side of the border), whom she hopes to meet there and eventually marry if certain circumstances prove favourable. The story really takes off when Freddy comes back from what should have been a routine weekend visit to friends of his on the Jordanian side of Jerusalem, having blanked out several days from his memory; he is convinced he's returned to his hotel on the Sunday night as per his usual, only it is Tuesday, and the people at the F.O. have been nervously looking for him. When it turns out he's somehow been involved in the disappearance of Barbara Vaughn, who up till then was only a passing acquaintance because they were staying at the same hotel, a very interesting adventure is described to to the reader, one involving espionage and bed-hopping, with plenty of mixed messages and cultural incidents which show Spark's mordant humour to brilliant effect. Definitely a novel I'll want to revisit now I have the measure of it, so I can better appreciate Spark's slow buildup next time.

On to other reading, I've now picked up a French translation of Man-Tiger by Eka Kurniawan, who's Beauty is a Wound was a wonderful revelation recently (DO look out for it!), has been named as one of the NYT notable books of 2015 and will likely win some prize or another.

On audio, I'm vastly enjoying Jeremy Iron's interpreting Humbert Humbert in Lolita. He gives a brilliant reading of this book which I was slightly apprehensive to revisit after 30 years, as I'd vastly enjoyed it in my 16th year and worried that my adult self would have moral issues with it, and while I can't say I have any sympathy for pedophiles, there's no denying Nabokov was a brilliant writer and managed to make his protagonist a very engaging story-teller indeed.

Dec 12, 2015, 3:39pm

So sorry t hear about the recurrent migraines and missing the cinema. But the videos ares great! I especially liked the ones of Mimi and Coco. Too cute.

Dec 12, 2015, 5:52pm

The videos of your beautiful drawings are outstanding. Thank you so much for sharing.

Dec 12, 2015, 6:04pm

Hi Ilana, I am another one who is very much "out of the loop" these days! I was glad to read that you enjoyed The African Queen which I read a year or so ago and really like it. Hepburn and Bogart - casting genius!!

Your bird pictures are quite wonderful.

Dec 12, 2015, 6:24pm

I have the audio of The Mandelbaum Gate so will keep it in mind for early next year.

Dec 12, 2015, 9:08pm

>113 Smiler69: Another smile of gratification from myself on a book well received.

Had a lovely evening last night with our good friend's daughter (the mum is a half Ceylonese half Malay born and raised in Singapore but living in Ealing, London) and her girlfriend. Frida (our friend) had a lot of trouble coming to terms with her adopted daughter Nadia's sexuality but nowadays the three ladies live happily together in Ealing (the two young ladies are in their late twenties). Shared a nice meal together and they were really enjoyable company and I could see that they thoroughly enjoyed Hani and myself being in a jokingly constant state of war! They are off to Bali for the week today and I thought to myself last night how our lives are so enriched by the people who come into it, however briefly.

Have a great Sunday. xx

Dec 13, 2015, 8:10am

Happy Sunday, Ilana! Hope you are feeling better. Amazing book haul, by the way! That should keep you busy.

Love how the chickadee drawing is coming together. I may have to borrow that image for one of my warbler toppers. Smiles...

Dec 13, 2015, 8:05pm

Iliana, I have been absent too long from your threads. I do follow your brilliant art work on FB so I just had to catch up on your reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the YouTube videos...I even watched Coco cavorting in the snow and Mimi eating with her hands. So precious, the both of them. I hope your latest treatments help your headaches.

Dec 14, 2015, 12:25am

>112 Smiler69: Loved your videos and the sound effects had my 3 dogs turning their heads from side to side! Your little Coco must take cute pills, he's so adorable!

Edited: Dec 16, 2015, 12:31pm

Sorry, no updates in a while, since I've been struggling with very mean migraine bout for the past five days or so. Low pressure systems must be the cause, as it's been raining and generally humid atmosphere and I don't think I'm able to put a decent sentence together. Reading going along nicely though. Almost finished listening to The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel. Brilliant and... surprising I guess? Not sure I can find the right word for it, but I'm glad I picked it up in any case, as it's set in late 18th century and deals with a giant who has a special skill for storytelling and a medical man who is obsessed with obtaining his carcass. Dark and fantastic at once.

Somehow, writing without thinking overmuch, I came up with the following (rare thing for me, reviews these days):

Book #187: ♫ Le liseur du 6h27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent ★★★★½
Source: Municipal Library
Edition: Gallimard (2015); Unabridged MP3; 3h33
Awards & Distinctions: Communauté française (Grand Prix, 2005)
Cezam Prix Littéraire Inter CE (2015)
Read for: TIOLI #7: Read a book that is dedicated to a family member (father)
Original publication date: 2014

Really, REALLY enjoyed The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent in the original French on audio, a novella I'd spotted at the library as a recent release and just pounced on when I saw the story was about a lonely young man who works in a book processing factory (i.e. destroying books for a living, to his ongoing horror). He makes up for this by picking up flyaway sheets he manages to rescue from the horrible machine he's paid to operate and reading them out loud on the metro on his way to work in the morning. Eventually he finds a USB key on said metro, on which is the diary of a young woman who works as a "Madame Pipi" (bathroom attendant) who obviously has talent and aspirations of being a writer and finds himself more and more vested in discovering the woman behind the writing hiding in one of many public bathrooms somewhere in or around Paris. Very very charming story which I think any true blue booklover will adore. Available in translations all over the world, as I understand it.


Don't think I'll hit 200 books this year, but I'll be pretty close, somewhere in the 90s probably. I'm happy with whatever numbers I end up with, and as I'll try to make room for more doorstoppers next year to join Bill's challenge, numbers will probably be lower, though I'll probably make up for it with plenty of novellas too, as he proposes to do.

Dec 16, 2015, 12:46pm

>114 catarina1: Thanks Catarina. I wish I could say that bout of migraine is a thing of the past, but it seems to have taken a great liking to me and won't leave me alone. Sort of like my lovely Mimi, who insists on laying or sitting in or around me any chance she gets, which is really cute, but sometimes gets a bit wearying, especially as the loud purring sounds she emits are no good for my head, being low frequency sounds which just, well, hurt.

>115 mdoris: Thank you Mary for viewing those videos. I had fun making them and plan on creating more of works past, present and future.

>116 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, I don't think I've been quite out of it as this year, though I persist in enjoying being part of this group even though it's only a tenuous connection at best lots of the time. Looking forward to another great year of reading and sharing in 2016.

>117 avatiakh: I considered getting the audio for Mandelbaum, Kerry, but didn't feel like listening to Frederick Davidson, a narrator I can only take in small doses and when I'm in the mood for his snooty delivery.

>118 PaulCranswick: Neat little story you've shared with us Paul. I'm currently reading Man Tiger by the writer who brought us Beauty is a Wound recently, Eka Kurniawan. I was very pleased to see the latter was included in the New York Time's 100 notable books for 2015, as I'd discovered this novel very simply, when it was featured as a new arrival on our library's OverDrive catalogue and I was immediately taken in by the book publisher's blurb. It made me want to discover more of his writing and Man Tiger is the only other book of his currently available in translation. I've talked to Pierre about both books and his first question was whether I'd spoken to you about Kurniawan, as he is of course Malay and writes about his native home and people and traditions. Have you read him yet? What are you waiting for if you haven't?!? ;-)

Dec 16, 2015, 12:52pm

>119 msf59: Hey Mark, I believe the migraine was less punishing on Sunday, which was a nice restful day for me. I'm happy for you to feature any or my warblers on your threads, which would be an honour of course! Have you seen the chickadee video I put together? If you scroll up a bit you'll find the link for it, or on FB as I posted it there too.

>120 Donna828: Hi Donna, thanks so much for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoyed my pet videos as much as the others. My furry friends are my joy, but also sometimes my sorrow, especially Coco who keeps getting more and more neurotic and lets out ear-splitting screeches at the merest hint of not-even provocations... it's a bit nerve-wracking for everyone, as you can imagine, but of course I still adore him and try to make life as stress-free for him as possible. My vet said she could recommend an animal behaviour specialist for me to try to see if we could correct this screeching habit, but at $150 a visit, I'm not all that keen...

>121 Dianekeenoy: Yes, I agree Coco is very cute indeed. That really is his saving grace these days, because he will try my patience at every turn (as I described just above to Donna).

Dec 16, 2015, 1:21pm

50% off for members sale going on at Audible. I wait for this recurrent sale to buy some of the mid-priced audiobooks to get them at a lesser costs than their credits, as I like to save those up for really expensive books (sale ending tonight for those interested):

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin
The recent Mr Homes featuring Ian McKellen was based on this book
Cold Comfort Farm (Dramatised) by Stella Gibbons
A BBC Radio presentation—those are usually rather excellent.
Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer
Currently listening to this one for some seasonal blistering joy.
The Matisse Stories by A. S. Byatt
Accumulating quite a few books by this author on the tbr...
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Many of Crichton's works made available as unabridged audio productions this year... and affordable prices too.
The Spire by William Golding
Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch—am ready for BAC2016!
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady by Anita Loos
This should be good fun with a narrator who does the vapid blonde beautifully
Rumpole’s Return by John Mortimer
Wanted to secure the Patrick Tull recording as he's so fun to listen to.
Ha’penny: Small Change, Book 2 by Jo Walton
Loved the first book in the series and ready for more.
Shatter: Joseph O'Loughlin, Book 3 by Michael Robotham
Been meaning to get back to this series for a long while.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Expecting some good fun with this one—David Tennant narrates.
Berlin Game by Len Deighton
Another one bagged for BAC2016.
The Chimes by Charles Dickens
A Christmas freebie for audible members, narrated by Richard Armitage.

Dec 16, 2015, 1:59pm

>122 Smiler69: I have this home from the library at present. I'll have to check where I put it in the TIOLI challenges.

Dec 16, 2015, 2:02pm

>126 avatiakh: I listed it as a shared read with you for challenge #7 Kerry; he dedicated it to his father, among others.

Dec 16, 2015, 2:13pm

>122 Smiler69: Heeyyyy! Attalady! I'm so glad to have a few fellow-travelers willing to have a go at reading extra-long books. :-)

Dec 16, 2015, 5:36pm

A screeching dog - that must be unnerving. I've never had a screeching cat, though Willie had an incredibly loud and full-throated meow that he would unleash when he thought he needed to be fed at the bloody crack of dawn or when I was on the phone with my aunt. I wonder what's at the bottom of whatever it is that's making Coco do that...

Dec 16, 2015, 6:16pm

>127 Smiler69: Yeah, I just saw that, I hadn't noticed that you'd joined me on the read. Well I better pick it up and make a start! Not sure how I came across the book.

Edited: Dec 19, 2015, 1:49pm

The sun came out briefly this morning, which was quite a marvellous sight; we haven't had many dry days in the past couple of weeks, let alone sunshine, which high pressure system has been making my migraines hard to bear. The dry day yesterday allowed Pierre and I to finally get our Christmas tree without getting soaked through in the process, and it stands close to me smelling wonderful and ready to be decorated.

It seems the botox isn't working at all at this point, save for slightly paralising the inside of my eyebrows so only the outer portion lift up and very high arches that make me look extra fierce. I've tried another medication called Zomig (or Zonig?) in a spray which is supposed to relieve migraines instantly and almost miraculously, but the miracle didn't happen for me and both times I tried it, the pain actually got worse for a period before being alleviated so very slightly that it isn't worth bothering with. So yeah. I guess I've had a hard time of it, but I've read plenty and been working on my latest drawing project, Metro Series #9, which I think I'll call "Gone Shopping" or "Running Errands". Can't say I'm inspired with the title, but the colourful image itself has me keen to work on it and I look forward to starting to apply watercolours on it. Will show early stages when there is something to see.

Read and listened to in the past few days:

Man Tiger: A Novel by Eka Kurniawan who brought us Beauty is a Wound recently. I'll make an effort to write a short review for this one within a day or two, as I think this Indonesian writer needs to get widely read. Beautiful mix of magical realism, with supernatural elements beautifully blended into the very real details of life for a family in Java. Won't say more to keep it for my brief comments later, but let's just say I'm definitely under the spell of this tremendously talented writer and looking forward to reading more of his works when they are made available in translation.

Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer, is my second book in this series; I'm a recent fan of "Grumpole", having just discovered him for myself a week ago, with the first book in the series, Rumpole of the Bailey, with Patrick Tull narrating on the audio version I listened to. I thought no one else could possibly do Rumpole quite as briliantly as Tull did, but must say I enjoyed Bill Wallis's performance as the hapless yet sympathetic barrister tremendously for this collection of Christmas stories (and I believe the last Rumpole book Mortimer published before his death in 2009). Rumpole is no great fan of the Christmas season, which every year brings him a new tie from She Who Must Be Obeyed and a yearly bottle of lavender water from him to this unbending wife, who drags him from one Christmas engagement he can little look forward to, to yet another worse engagement, with the finale being a stay at a "health farm" where the best he can hope for finally happens: a murder suspect to defend, to take him away from insipid health food and miserable company. A very entertaining holiday read that I'll be sure to return to regularly during the Christmas season.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. I'd heard a lot of good things about this one, and especially about the audio version narrated by David Tennant, and I must agree it's a great deal of fun. Short enough to listen to in one sitting, about a young viking boy who fears he won't make it as the hero he is supposed to become when he traps the smallest dragon ever seen, but then shows his elders and bullying competitors that kindness and understanding can in fact make you a very effective leader indeed. I look forward to continuing with the other 11 books in the series, even if I have to spend Audible credits to get them.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a graphic novel which well deserves all the praise it's been getting lately. A young girl who is a shapeshifter decides to help a villain called Blackheart. The setting is medieval yet includes modern technology and science. Nimona herself is a serious badass yet very sympathetic, as Blackheart turns out to be too, and together they make the whole notion of good vs evil sort of turn on its head.

For what it's worth, I've given all the above 4.5 stars, meaning they are among my favourites this year and I'd gladly re-read them sometime.

Now reading: Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow for the AAC. This one is a real page-turner and lots of fun.
Listening to Sisters of Treason the second Tudor book by Elizabeth Fremantle, combining historical fiction and romance. Just finished the first chapter last night and so far very engaging.

Edited: Dec 19, 2015, 1:58pm

>128 weird_O: It's a scary commitment to make, which is why I won't be pinning myself down too much... but given I have LOTS of wrist-breakers in the piles, I definitely want to make room for them.

>129 Fourpawz2: I would very much like to know why Coco is so neurotic Charlotte, but it seems I'd have to dish out a small fortune to even attempt to get a handle on the problem, with no guarantee at all that he'd improve by seeing an animal behaviourist. Of course I'm constantly asking myself what I can do to help him feel more calm and not be so reactive even when there ISN'T anything to react to (sometimes he suddenly screeches when he's just sitting or laying there—always just once—or even when I'm petting him gently; it almost always comes at a very unexpected moment). Pierre suggested maybe he's a migraine sufferer like me so that he's on edge all the time. Anything is possible at this point, but it seems clear old age is not making him more tolerant whatever the issue may be. I hate to say this, but I catch myself almost hoping he's had some form of abuse in his early life, not because I want him to have been abused of course, but maybe to explain why he gets so easily freaked out now there is no menace at all.

The best reason I can come up with for being like that is maybe the fact that he lives with me, and as neurosis seems to have been my constant companion in life...

>130 avatiakh: As it happens Kerry, I'd just reserved it from the library a little while ago and got it last week and was going to listen to it eventually, but seeing you'd listed it on the TIOLI wiki made me reach for it sooner. I do so enjoy those TIOLI challenges!

Dec 21, 2015, 12:10pm

I'm glad you're enjoying the Rumpole stories and had a good time with Nimona, Ilana. It made me happy to see the late John Mortimer's nice-looking house in Little Venice in London our last trip, and to think of him enjoying life there. I like your description of Nimona and Blackheart turning the whole notion of good versus evil on its head. That was a charming book.

Dec 23, 2015, 7:26am

>122 Smiler69: Have added The Reader on the 6.27 to my library list - they have lots of copies in translation so hopefully that means they think this will be a hit.

>124 Smiler69: On pet behaviour management, we saw the vet for a consultation for Erica as she gets stressed so easily. One of the easiest (and cheapest) recommendations she had was for diffusers which give out pheremones that naturally calm anxious pets. We tried Feliways which is a natural cat pheremone and noticed a difference within a few days. Feliways is only for cats but looks like they have one for dogs called Adaptil. We're also about to try a Pet Remedy diffuser which is essential oils which is also supposed to help. I think she will still get stressed whilst we're away but hopefully not to the extent that she gets sick and we get hit with a vet's bill when we get back. The vet's consultation we had was really helpful but only cost £25 - not sure I would have been as willing to have it if it would have cost $150.

I have got a list of other things the vet recommended that might help which we still need to sit down and consider properly but let me know if you want me to pm you the other recommendations.

>131 Smiler69: Boo to the migraines and botox and Zonig not working :-(

Really glad you enjoyed Nimona. I wasn't sure about the art style at first but it grew on me. Not as good, but still fun is Noelle Stevenson's Lumberjanes series which I got as ebooks along with a selection of other graphic novels from Humble Bundle this month. Lumberjanes is more young adult and can be quite silly but it has been making me smile quite a lot.

>132 Smiler69: 'The best reason I can come up with for being like that is maybe the fact that he lives with me, and as neurosis seems to have been my constant companion in life...'

I sometimes torment myself by wondering the same about our cat - perhaps she would have turned out normal rather than neurotic if anyone else had taken her home from the shelter? But with rescue animals you just don't know what has happened to them in the past and the vet said that a lot of it is to do with the pet's temperament too - some animals are always going to have a tendancy to be nervous/anxious.

Bookish Christmas/holiday wishes too as I probably won't get a chance to stop by again before Friday.

Dec 23, 2015, 10:00am

>134 souloftherose: I'll second the use of pheromones. I've been trying to introduce a second cat into the household for a few months. She is a rescue cat who came from, not an abused home, but a neglected one and one where she probably experienced a lot of disruption. With consultation with a behaviorist vet, I'm using Feliway, along with a Sentry pheromone collar and Zylekene in her food in the AM. These have made a tremendous difference. But we are still working on the issue.

I've also heard of a treat-like product called VetriScience Composure. These are all for cats but there are probably versions for dogs. I get them all from Amazon. Sometimes I think there are so many pheromones around the house, I'm going to turn into a cat!

Dec 23, 2015, 2:38pm

I'll be finishing both The Scarlet Pimpernel and Ragtime today. Two novels I've enjoyed quite a bit. Ragtime is a major tour de force and I'm glad Mark's challenge gave me the extra push to finally pick it up as it makes for quite fascinating reading. Those two will bring me to 196 books so far this year, and I may help things along a little to help me push beyond 200 by picking up a few short titles.

Insomnia all of last night with tiny bouts of sleep and waking seemingly every few minutes to toss around and drink water. The nice bit was all those vivid dreams of flying I had. I always do love those, especially as they seem so real and so effortless somehow. I've got Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff, a novel in verse in mind, which grabbed spots on both NPR's recommendations for 2013 and the NYT's 100 best of that year. I've also got Le Spleen de Paris by Charles Baudelaire already planned for TIOLI challenge #17 to read a book with something Parisian in the title or that plays in Paris. I'm hoping to pick up and finish the last third of The Bone People, which I gave up on for being too depressing at some point. The end of the year looms large, and then MORE reading plans await.

>133 jnwelch: Joe, I'm really glad I followed suggestions and decided to pick up Nimona sooner than later. It really made for a fun read and cheered me up a lot during a day of lots of pain and low spirits.

>134 souloftherose: Heather, thank you so much for your suggestions. I hadn't considered pheromones for Coco, but I will definitely try that method. I did try a plug-in pheromone thingie with Ezra a few times to help solve his inappropriate peeing problem (i.e. refusing to use the litter box), but that had little to no effect unfortunately. I'm certainly willing to try it for Coco though. As a matter of fact, I need to return something to the pet store and might drop by this afternoon to see what product they can suggest to me as they tend to be very well stocked with quality products of all kinds for animals. As you say, if the consult with the pet behaviourist was more affordable I would seriously consider going. I think I'll ask my vet about it again though; if a single consultation might prove helpful, I may consider going all the same. What I'm NOT willing to do is to enrol Coco and I on a program which involves a long course of consultations, which would simply be ruinous. I'll try the pheromones first and hope for a marked improvement. If that fails, then I'll likely go see the behaviourist to see what she can recommend else, because his frequent screeching is definitely causing tension for all of us. That being said, by all means DO share with me whatever other recommendations you've gotten.

For the botox, I'm hoping the neurologist gets it right with my next treatment, with 39 injections that time (in 9 weeks or so). Apparently botox doesn't work the first time for a lot of people, even when used, as it is most often, for cosmetic treatments. But if the second treatment doesn't work, my doctor says we'll have to forget about that option. So keeping my fingers crossed there.

I liked Nimona right from the beginning. The drawing style is quirky in a way that works for me. Illustration is such a personal thing though, and each person reacts differently to various styles. I might look up Stevenson's other work, but as I don't feature graphic novels heavily in my book diet, there are a lot of other ones I mean to get to as well. I've got The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1, which has been sitting her on loan from the library for weeks which I want to get to. I also saw a recommendation for Pablo: Art Masters Series, a GN about Picasso on Shelf Awareness, which I got in the original French version from the library, also patiently waiting for me.

Best Christmas wishes to you too my dear.

>135 catarina1: Thanks for the input catarina. That is definitely the thing for me to try at this point.

Dec 23, 2015, 2:58pm

Happy Christmas Ilana!

Dec 23, 2015, 6:01pm

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!

Dec 24, 2015, 2:29pm

>137 SandDune: Thanks you Rhian, very sweet to include me in your holiday wishes. xx

>138 ronincats: I can see why you felt you wanted to share that photo Roni: simply gorgeous! Many thanks for your holiday wishes and I join you in wishing for the very same! xo

Dec 24, 2015, 2:48pm

Wishing you happy holidays, Ilana, and a year full of wonderful reading.

Dec 24, 2015, 3:31pm

Best wishes for the holiday season, Ilana!

Dec 24, 2015, 4:24pm

Merry Christmas

Dec 24, 2015, 5:32pm

Have a lovely holiday, Ilana dear.

Dec 24, 2015, 6:22pm

Completely impossible for me to get caught up but I wanted to make sure to wish you a wonderful holiday season, Ilana!

Dec 24, 2015, 6:27pm

Happy Holidays, dear Ilana, and a very happy 2016 too!

Dec 24, 2015, 9:07pm

Thank you for all the holiday cheer dear friends. I'm mostly resting. Just too tired to do anything really.

Dec 25, 2015, 1:02am

Happy quiet holidays, Ilana

Dec 25, 2015, 8:39am

Happy Holidays, Ilana! Hope you have a great day and begin to feel better.

Dec 25, 2015, 1:12pm

>147 Deern: >148 msf59: Thanks for the good wishes friends. Return of a nasty backache, ongoing migraine and lack of snow doesn't make me feel all that festive, but I still look forward to the new year which I hope will bring better health.

Dec 25, 2015, 7:47pm

>136 Smiler69: Just read the Rakoff. I wasn't blown away, but by the end I was very taken up into it. A second read might be in order, but will I?

It is weird without snow and so warm, isn't it?

Merry Happy from the newest member of the clan!

Tenzing Norcat investigates the tree:

Dec 25, 2015, 7:54pm

Sorry you aren't feeling your best for holiday fun, Ilana. Here's wishing you peaceful and healthy days ahead as the hectic season winds down. Merry Christmas!

Dec 26, 2015, 11:46am

Hey Ilana! Hope you are feeling a bit better today - or a whole lot better. That would be good too.

The weather is so nuts. I was watching the little girl across the street who was alternately supervising her grandfather as he loaded the back of the pick-up truck with presents and helping him by bringing presents to him for loading. She went so far as to come outside and run down the path carrying the smaller presents to the truck - absolutely barefoot. It didn't seem weird - as the temperature was so warm - until I thought that a year ago we had already had snow. It was certainly nowhere near okay last December to be paddling around in the shorts, short-sleeved shirts and flip flops that I observed elsewhere in my travels yesterday. We are so going to pay for this next summer.

My very best to you, Ezra, Mimi, Coco and Pierre. Hope you are having a nice holiday!

Dec 26, 2015, 12:24pm

My Christmas content contribution for this year:

I made a 10 lb turkey for perhaps the second time in my life yesterday and it turned out beautifully. Also the same apple and prune stuffing I made last year with the duck, because I liked it so much. A tiny piece of foie gras as an appetizer which I grilled on the pan and served with a port reduction. Delicious dinner. I felt a tiny bit of Christmas cheer as we opened our gifts in front of the tree. Pierre got me a professional quality projector to help me on my future artworks, which should be on the way next week, and never mind paying for half the limited edition Folio Society edition of Alice in Wonderland (delivery end of January), but he still wanted me to have a gift to unwrap and so I also got three pairs of cashmere socks to wear in bed at night. The man spoils me beyond reason. I gave him a cashmere sweater and another scarf, as he manages to keep stealing mine. It was lovely.

Now I'm glad it's over. Although I do enjoy seeing that beautiful tree all lit up next to me as it is right now.

Started reading Beryl Markham's West With the Night Thursday night, and I can confirm Ernest Hemingway did not exaggerate when he said she was an outstanding writer (I paraphrase). Also listening to The Preacher by Camilla Läckberg, because somehow a Scandi murder mystery seems just the right thing for my current mood. Back still killing me. Head is better though today; an unbelievable sight when I woke up today: blue skies and sunshine. A nice change from the constant grey we've had this month. With luck it'll hold up all day, or what is left of it.

I'm so grateful some of you saw it fit to drop by and share a bit of seasonal cheer with me and only sorry I'm not in the mood for reciprocating; I feel it wouldn't come honestly on my part, so I'd rather visit around when I'm in better spirits.

Edited: Dec 26, 2015, 12:35pm

>150 sibylline: Interesting how we've had opposite reactions to the Rakoff Lucy. I started out being very much impressed and quite charmed with it in the beginning, but then grew very confused when the characters and timelines changed around (hadn't read the book blurb first and only knew it was written in verse) and then lost interest toward the end with the AIDS epidemic and whatnot. It's a gorgeous piece of writing and very short, so perhaps a second listen will take place eventually. Very touching knowing he recorded the audiobook when he knew he was dying and his voice was getting weak.

Very weird weather. I kept reminding myself half the continent celebrates Christmas in summer weather, but its still didn't make me feel the spirit any better.

Three cheers for Tenzing Norcat! Lovely addition to the family!

>151 Donna828: Thank you so much Donna. I've been enjoying my coffee and Bailey's morning combo, which I only ever do during the holidays, but otherwise going through the motions more than anything else. But then I think it's been the case with a lot of Montrealers, where lack of snow makes for less than Christmassy weather. We've been more often than not blessed with white Christmasses in these parts and so we're sort of spoiled in that sense.

>152 Fourpawz2: Lovely to have your visit Charlotte. It was 16 degrees C (around 60 F) on the 23rd here, and Pierre told me he saw young guys walking around in t-shirts. I'd enjoy the warm unseasonable weather more if it didn't have me freaking out about global warming and thoughts about Polar bears drifting away of chunks of melting ice floes. I bought a couple of very expensive plug-in pheromone diffusers for Coco this week (a Christmas gift for all of us, I guess). So far I don't see a difference, because once again he went into a screeching fit a short while ago, as I was whispering sweet nothings to him and gently petting him... yikes. I hope Santa Claus gifted me with extra patience during the night. All the best to you and sweet Jane my dear.

Dec 27, 2015, 7:33pm

Have I mentioned that I love chickadees?

Edited: Dec 27, 2015, 7:39pm

Hey Ilana, I hear ya on the being too tired to do much. It is always gray this time of year and the days are short. We're at 47.6097° N latitude so December is always tough. But this year has been particularly brutal and I'm feeling it. I'm taking Vitamin D supplements every evening but I am still having to fight the blues harder than usual.

So. P and I have booked a long weekend in Tucson for February. :-)

Yesterday we spent Boxing Day at the home of some longtime family friends. They have a sweet 19-year-old cat named Manky who spent some time on my lap. You would have liked him.

I have started reading Bring Up the Bodies and I think it's going to be a stellar read.

How about February for our quiet, companionable read of Ahab's Wife?

Dec 27, 2015, 9:19pm

Hi Ilana - it's very summery here. I've added West with the night to my 'to read' pile, it sounds lovely. I've made a start on The Reader on the 6.27 and hope to finish by the end of the year. I have 4 or 5 books in a pile that I want to finish to see the year out.
Our cat has run off again, haven't seen him since before Xmas Day, it's only two months since he last disappeared for a week. The other cat seems to enjoy being the 'one and only' in the house.

Dec 28, 2015, 2:42am

Hi Ilana, just checked out your YouTube videos of the illustrations. What a cool way to display their progression. I can't normally view that website, but as I am at my dads place with superb views and Internet access, I am able to.
I hope you get some snow soon, even if it has missed the Christmas period.

Dec 28, 2015, 11:42am

Happy Holidays, Ilana!

Our daughter and I loved The Scarlet Pimpernel. She went on and read many others that Baroness Orczy wrote featuring the same character. I remember enjoying Ragtime back in the day, and I had a good time with World's Fair for Mark's AAC Challenge.

Dec 28, 2015, 1:17pm

>155 EBT1002: >156 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, lovely to see you in these parts! Chickadees seem to be popular. I know that when I asked my mum to choose any bird for me to draw for her, that was her first and only choice.

The new medication I've been taking these past couple of months is known to cause A LOT of somnolence (caps by my pharmacist, who really emphasised this), so that could very well be the cause for me being extra tired lately. The low pressure system we've been under all month long certainly has its role to play too, since that tends to cause more intense migraines for me, and constant pain can certainly wear a person down. Lucky for me, I can sleep as much as I feel a need to, plus take extra naps any time, but I do wish sometimes I were more energetic so I could get more things done.

I'm glad you've tackled Bring Up the Bodies. I've been really enjoying catching up on Mantel's other writings, but those first two Wolf Hall books certainly blew me away, and I will certainly reread them before tackling the final book in the trilogy, whenever that event takes place.

I'll be happy to plan for Ahab's Wife in February. Consider it a date of sorts! :-)

>157 avatiakh: Kerry, I'm certain you'll love West With the Night when you get to it. It really is superbly written and is quite a fascinating read besides. Of course it's constantly niggling me, wondering whether she did or not write the book herself, since there always has been controversy around that, but ultimately it doesn't really matter because it is such a great piece of writing. I'll look forward to seeing your take on The Reader on the 6.27. It must have come at just the right time for me, because I really enjoyed it.

I'm very sorry to hear about your escaped cat. That must be very distressing indeed. I know the first time I ever let Ezra out of the house when he was a couple of years old, he stayed away for a good 48 hours or more and I was extremely worried about him. I hope your little guy shows up again soon, unharmed.

>158 LovingLit: Hi Megan! Glad you got to see my videos. I had a great time putting them together, and I plan on making one for every art project I complete from now on. I started posting the videos on the Vimeo platform, which I find much more elegant in general, but will continue to post them to YouTube too because it reaches so many more people.

We had a snowfall in the last couple of days, and the ground is finally covered in a layer of snow. Coco loves the white stuff and had a good frolic last night when we took him to a park which has been turned into a construction site, but abandoned for the winter and now safe to walk on with the covering of snow. He hadn't run around that much in quite a while and it was a blast seeing him clown around like that. Had it been daytime I would definitely have gotten video of it to share with everyone. Will think of brining my iPhone with me anytime we go back so I can try to catch him at it.

>159 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I liked The Scarlet Pimpernel a lot, but of course had figured out who "the Jew" was right from the beginning! Ragtime was a very nice discovery, and as the library has The March on offer as an audiobook, I may pick up that one for my next Doctorow read eventually. Hope you're having a lovely holiday season. xx

Edited: Dec 28, 2015, 1:33pm

I'm still much enjoying West with the Night. Don't know if I'll finish it this year, but probably will as I'm tempted to make time for it during the daytime. I'll definitely reach 200 books after all this year, as I now have My Brilliant Friend, the first book in the much talked about Neapolitan series going on audio, and should finish that by tomorrow. I'm liking it, but not completely bowled over either. Must be a mood thing. I've still reserved the other three books from the library on audio and will certainly give them all a listen, in hopes the characters grow on me.

Had to take Fiorinal these past couple of days to keep the migraine under control, but now as we near the end of the month I've taken it 11 out of the 12 allowed days in the month, so hopefully the next few days will be tolerable. I had to resort to an anti-inflamatory prescription I'd gotten in the summer for my back, and that's been very helpful, so that I woke up today with much increased mobility. The Tai Chi session I did yesterday (extra, extra gently) might have helped too.

Busy making reading plans for 2016. I've also taken it upon myself to finally read War and Peace with the categories challenge group. I'm tempted to get through it as quickly as possible with an audio and print book combo, but then again if I'm patient with it I'll probably be able to fit in more books in the next couple of months, so we'll see how that goes. A bit apprehensive about that one, though I couldn't say why; possibly the war theme which I'm not too keen on, but as I've managed to read Anna Karenina thice in my lifetime so far, I must obviously enjoy Tolstoy's writing!

Dec 28, 2015, 10:37pm

Hi Ilana! A belated Merry Christmas to you, and an early Happy New Year! I hope 2016 is wonderful and kind and filled with excellent books for all of us! (((hugs)))

Dec 29, 2015, 1:44pm

A belated Merrry Christmas Ilana!

Edited: Dec 29, 2015, 7:21pm

>162 LauraBrook: Hi Laura, thanks for the lovely Christmas greeting. And may your New Year wish come true!

>163 evilmoose: Very cute Megan, wishing the same to you!


Just finished My Brilliant Friend a little while ago. I liked but wasn't enamoured. All the same, I have the rest of the series on audiobook from the library's OverDrive collection, so will probably pursue it over the coming year. Yesterday I thought I only had a half hour left to finish the book, and then it ended in the middle of a sentence. Seems the two final files for the audiobooks hadn't copied onto my computer and I was (I think understandably) quite upset. I got it from Audible so I could finish it. Hate spending a credit that way, but it was a desperate situation since there is a long waiting list with the library.

Now listening to Treasure Hunt. The Montalbano series steadily grows on me, and this one, two hours in has already had me chuckling out loud quite a few times. All I'll say is: inflatable dolls. :-D

Dec 30, 2015, 1:36pm

Go Montalbano! Hi, Ilana. Ah yes, inflatable dolls. :-)

Dec 30, 2015, 1:56pm

>165 jnwelch: Only, those same dolls weren't making me laugh so much at the end...

Hi Joe! :-)

Dec 30, 2015, 3:50pm

>166 Smiler69: Yeah - this one was almost two different books - very funny in the first half, and disconcerting (for me, anyway) crime-solving in the second half.

Edited: Dec 31, 2015, 1:30pm

>167 jnwelch: Joe, I finished the book while getting into bed for the night, and was very grateful I had West With the Night to turn to before going to sleep, because the second part of Treasure Hunt certainly was incredibly disturbing. I wondered to myself afterwards how come I hadn't seen it coming. Did you?


Book #202:West With the Night by Beryl Markham ★★★★★
Source: BookDepository
Edition: Martino Fine Books (2010), Paperback, 306 pages
Awards & Distinctions: The Modern Library's 100 Best Nonfiction,
500 Great Books by Women,
National Geographic Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time,
Read for: TIOLI #7: Read a book that is dedicated to a family member (father)
Original publication date: 1942

Finished this new all-time favourite last night. Each page, each paragraph, and (not to overdo it), each sentence is a real pleasure to read. I have no idea whether Markham herself wrote it, or whether her husband did (somehow I'm leaning toward the second conjecture; it just doesn't seem to have been written by a woman somehow, though I couldn't say what leads me to that impression), but ultimately it hardly matters. It's a book one must simply read for the love of reading. You won't learn much by the way of Markham's personal life; she certainly doesn't delve at all into her love life, marriage and affairs (you'll have to read Paula McLean's Circling the Sun to get the romance angle, though I wasn't able to finish what read like a bodice ripper to me). In fact, she only mentions those men who are known to have been her lovers when they were work connections, but the story she does tell, about her love for horses and then her infatuation with flying at a time when such an activity was extremely dangerous, all the more so in a place like Africa in the 20s and 30s, when most of the land was plunged in darkness as soon as the night dropped down without warning and where there were hardly any real landing strips to speak of. She learned from the best and apparently came to be considered one of the best flyers herself, which is why she took on flying solo from East to West to cross the Atlantic from Great Britain to North America in 1936, a route which is much more difficult than going the other way because the of the wind currents. This made her the first woman to have accomplished that feat, though the flight almost ended in disaster and she was unhappy with the fact she hadn't managed to reach New York, as had been originally planned. One doesn't learn much about the woman's inner workings, although it is written as a first person account; she recounts her experiences in a rather detached manner, but always with a touch of what I'd call British humour. I cringed a bit at the description of the hunting parties she took part in, scouting bull elephants from the air to help wealthy foreign hunters kill the largest animals to get their hands on the biggest tusks that could be found, but here again, the quality of the writing was such that I couldn't keep from turning the pages and taking in every single word and turn of phrase. Simply sublime and highly recommended. I'll definitely reread this one some time in future.

Dec 31, 2015, 2:29pm

>168 Smiler69: That's one I've had lying around forever. I'll have to move it up in the pile!

Dec 31, 2015, 2:45pm

I strongly suggest you do Deborah! It had been highly recommended from several quarters, and I certainly understand why now.

Jan 1, 2016, 12:17am

>169 Cariola: It's been many years since I read it and I remember reading it non-stop, it was so good. About time for a re-read... thanks for bringing back great reading memories!

Jan 1, 2016, 12:08pm

>171 kac522: Kathy, I agree this is one book that should be read more than once. I'm really glad this was my last book of 2015; a lovely way to end my reading year!


I've moved on to 2016 as we all must! Here is my 2016 thread: