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detailmuse's 2016 ROOTings

2016 ROOT Challenge - (Read Our Own Tomes)

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1detailmuse
Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 12:30pm Top

Welcome!

My ROOT goal is to read 30 TBRs that I acquired prior to 2016. That’s about half of all books I’ll read. In this message, I’ll keep a list of books finished. To see longer reviews (and all of my 2016 reading), visit my Club Read thread.

ROOTs Read in 2016:

Fiction
30. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (dnf)
27. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (4)
26. The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey (3.5)
22. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (4.5)
16. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (3) (See review)
14. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2)
10. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (4.5)
9. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (3)
5. The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (3.5) (See review)

Memoir
19. M Train by Patti Smith (3.5)
15. One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty (3.5) (See review)
4. I Must Say by Martin Short (4) (See review)
2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (5) (See review)

Nonfiction
31. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (4.5)
29. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (3.5)
25. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell/Thomas M. Campbell
24. Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan by Suze Orman (3.5)
23. Encore Provence by Peter Mayle (3)
20. Women & Money by Suze Orman (4.5)
17. Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe (3.5) (See review)
7. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers (3)
6. The Trauma Myth by Susan Clancy (3.5) (See review)
3. The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean (4.5) (See review)

Other
28. Essential Landscaping by the editors of This Old House (5)
21. Day Trips from Chicago by Elisa Drake (4)
18. Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2 by America’s Test Kitchen (3.5) (See review)
13. True Friends Always Remain in Each Other's Heart (2.5)
12. Images of America: Park Ridge by David Barnes (3.5)
11. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman (5)
8. Long Story Short by Margot Leitman (4) (See review)
1. What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund (3) (See review)

2detailmuse
Edited: Jul 6, 2016, 5:18pm Top

wow, the number of passes I had to make to decrease my “want to read right now” list to this shortlist!



Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Kristen Miglore
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
M Train by Patti Smith
What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey Through a Century of Biology by Bernd Heinrich
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Mosque by David Macaulay
Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey
Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories by Joan Silber
The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian
The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane
Here's Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos
Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life by Eva Jablonka
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History by David Christian
Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America by Laura Shapiro
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Laura Schenone
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

3connie53
Dec 31, 2015, 7:43pm Top

Welcome back, MJ!

4rabbitprincess
Dec 31, 2015, 7:46pm Top

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

5connie53
Jan 1, 2016, 3:06am Top

6tess_schoolmarm
Jan 1, 2016, 5:34am Top

7detailmuse
Edited: Jan 1, 2016, 3:51pm Top

Happy 2016!

I came up with some "up nexts" in msg 2 above. >4 rabbitprincess: Thanks for the idea (from your thread) of a single screenshot of cover images instead of posting them individually.

8rabbitprincess
Jan 1, 2016, 4:01pm Top

You're very welcome! :) I see The Violinist's Thumb in your shortlist -- will be interested to hear what you think of that one!

9lkernagh
Jan 1, 2016, 8:52pm Top

Good luck with your ROOT reading!

10detailmuse
Jan 2, 2016, 5:09pm Top

>9 lkernagh: and you!

11tess_schoolmarm
Jan 3, 2016, 12:18am Top

Some very good reading on your list. All the Light We Cannot See was my fav book of 2015.

12Jackie_K
Jan 3, 2016, 7:13am Top

I haven't read any of the books on your list, but they look like the kind of nerdy things that I really like! Hoping I don't get hit with too many BBs!

13avanders
Jan 3, 2016, 4:37pm Top

Welcome back & Good luck in 2016! Looks like All the Light We Cannot See is on both of our lists for this year ;) & Congrats on already finishing 1 ROOT!

Also,

14MissWatson
Jan 4, 2016, 6:16am Top

Welcome back and good luck with your ROOTing. There are some interesting titles on your list!

15detailmuse
Jan 9, 2016, 5:10pm Top

>12 Jackie_K:, >13 avanders:, >14 MissWatson: Welcome! and >13 avanders: yes here it is, my first (and hopefully nowhere near my highest rated!):



1. What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund, ©2014, acquired 2015

A renowned book-cover artist explores how our senses (mostly sight) are evoked while reading. I was underwhelmed. With its composition of 90% images/white space and 10% text, I was expecting originality and aha moments, but really there’s not much here. It seems like a book from the ‘70s or ‘80s (©2014), and the examples mostly come from a few classic works of literature (old classics).

If I summarize my takeaways, they’re that: 1) what we see when we read is that which we’ve experienced ourselves and the writer tapped it (thus writer and reader are co-creators); and 2) what we remember is not necessarily that which was well-described but that which has significance either to the story or to our own lives.

16detailmuse
Jan 14, 2016, 10:51am Top



2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, ©2014, acquired 2015

A memoir of childhood -- family; civil rights in 1960s Ohio, South Carolina and New York; the dream to be a writer -- written in free-verse vignettes. Presented through a child’s observant eye, it’s sweet and poignant.

17detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 2:34pm Top



3. The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean, ©2012, acquired 2012

Paraphrasing Tolstoy:
Perhaps all healthy bodies resemble each other, while each unhealthy body is unhealthy in its own way.
Another terrific collection of stories by Sam Kean about science and scientists, this one on genetics and DNA and inspired by his own genes -- haha! his parents, Gene and Jean.

It gives the fundamentals of DNA (its discovery, structure (including sequencing) and function) and touches on so many topics that have become known (or better understood) in the decades since my coursework -- of most interest to me are the incorporation of bacteria and viruses into our cells and DNA, and the environmental activation and suppression of genes that is the field of epigenetics. It’s awe-inspiring.

18detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 2:37pm Top



4. I Must Say by Martin Short, audio read by the author, ©2014, acquired 2015

A recap of Short's comedy career (including stage troupes in Canada and then SCTV, SNL, Broadway, film and TV), plus childhood and marriage/family too, much of it tragic. His performance of so many of his characters and impersonations makes the audio version very entertaining.

19Jackie_K
Jan 24, 2016, 2:39pm Top

>18 detailmuse: And there's yet another one to add to my burgeoning wishlist! That sounds great.

20detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 2:40pm Top



5. The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian, ©2009, acquired 2013

An older woman with cancer and her husband with dementia take a road trip from Detroit to Disneyland, along Route 66, in their RV named the Leisure Seeker. It was okay -- the workmanlike writing and cranky narrator got a little more interesting as it went along. I’m interested in aging and have read quite a bit in fiction and nonfiction, but this was a darker novel throughout than I’d expected.

21detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 2:47pm Top



6. The Trauma Myth by Susan Clancy, ©2009, acquired 2010
Why is the experience of {child} sexual abuse, as described by victims, so different from how professionals portray and communicate it to the larger population?
This is a psychologist’s book-length defense of her journal article that enraged some stakeholders in the child sexual abuse community. I’m interested in PTSD in general and acquired this for research in a project but didn’t get to it until now. Summary of it is in my review.

22detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 2:53pm Top

>19 Jackie_K: on audio! Very fun.

23Jackie_K
Jan 24, 2016, 4:46pm Top

>22 detailmuse: Oops, I actually meant the previous book but got the wrong number! (I was referring to The Violinist's Thumb!) Although now you mention it, I do really like Martin Short.

24detailmuse
Jan 24, 2016, 5:23pm Top

>23 Jackie_K: if I recall you said you liked nerdy. I hope to keep 'em coming!

25rabbitprincess
Jan 24, 2016, 9:31pm Top

>17 detailmuse: Aw, his parents were named Gene and Jean? That is adorable. I have this book on my to-read list and would love to get to it this year. I really enjoyed his The Disappearing Spoon.

26Nickelini
Jan 26, 2016, 12:03pm Top

>18 detailmuse: Good idea to find the Martin Short book on audio. Thanks for the tip.

27Caramellunacy
Jan 26, 2016, 12:40pm Top

>25 rabbitprincess:, Oh, I just picked up The Disappearing Spoon on a trip to the Natural History Museum! Glad to hear that you've enjoyed it.

28avanders
Jan 26, 2016, 4:14pm Top

Wow you are really chugging along w/ your ROOTs! Looks like you've pulled some good ones :)

29detailmuse
Jan 30, 2016, 11:26am Top

>25 rabbitprincess:, >27 Caramellunacy: Happy to see the love for Sam Kean. His enthusiasm about the topics really shows in his books.

>26 Nickelini: Audio added so much that I'm nearly motivated to see how the book dealt with the material, e.g. his "Intermissions."

>28 avanders: haha I enjoy how they add up in January, hard NOT to be reading Roots!

30detailmuse
Edited: Jan 30, 2016, 4:31pm Top



7. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, ©1987, acquired 1990s

I finally got to this long-time TBR because I came across it via library audio. It was possibly revelatory when published almost 30 years ago, and the author was possibly influential because what she writes is mainstream now. But that means I found few takeaways ... and grew annoyed with the Pollyanna narration (the author’s voice more so than her content).

31detailmuse
Jan 30, 2016, 4:17pm Top



8. Long Story Short by Margot Leitman, ARC ©2015, acquired 2015

This is a fast and fun beginner's guide to (primarily) out-loud storytelling, written with positivity and such high energy that it practically reads itself. And it’s informative: how to find the stories in your life that you’re passionate about (including prompts); how to develop the aspects of those stories that will be interesting to other people; and how to construct and tell the stories aloud in a way that moves your audience.

32detailmuse
Jan 30, 2016, 4:30pm Top

January recap
Beginning total TBRs: 302
TBRs* read: 8
Other books read: 0
Books acquired: 0!** (first time for that!) (**but to make the math work, I do have to call it “1” because of a book I’d acquired in 2010 but hadn’t entered into LT until now)
Ending total TBRs: 295
YTD TBRs* read: 8 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

33Jackie_K
Jan 30, 2016, 4:52pm Top

>32 detailmuse: I'm very impressed with your books acquired in January number! How did you manage that?!

34detailmuse
Jan 30, 2016, 5:03pm Top

I HAVE NO IDEA! I did defer several purchases but it didn't take much effort. I just realized January still has 32 hours so I better be careful :)

35connie53
Jan 31, 2016, 3:05am Top

>32 detailmuse: Very good, MJ! You did better that I did! Love the maths!

36detailmuse
Jan 31, 2016, 2:20pm Top

>35 connie53: now to keep it up! And I'm a couple months behind on my magazine reading...

37connie53
Jan 31, 2016, 2:58pm Top

With our help you can do it!

38bragan
Feb 1, 2016, 12:00pm Top

High five from one person who somehow miraculously had no books bought in January to another! :)

39detailmuse
Feb 1, 2016, 2:26pm Top

>37 connie53: that was sure the case last year!

>38 bragan: Bragan you?! Huge w00t back to you!

40bragan
Feb 1, 2016, 4:36pm Top

>39 detailmuse: I know, I'm the last person I would have expected to manage that! W00t!

41avanders
Feb 2, 2016, 4:41pm Top

>29 detailmuse: I know, it's so nice ;)

>32 detailmuse: woo hoo! 0 books acquired in January! I hate it when I realize I have a book that I somehow forgot to enter :P Makes me all sad that my numbers are getting skewed ;P

>38 bragan: >39 detailmuse: >40 bragan: lol! I hope to someday join your ranks... ;)

42detailmuse
Feb 11, 2016, 1:58pm Top

My no-new-books spree is over, I downloaded an audiobook from the library a week ago without even thinking. It's Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which I've avoided due to the hype but which I'm enjoying quite a lot.

Yesterday, I also bought three books I've really been looking forward to. Since they won't be ROOTs to list here this year (and I can't imagine them staying long in my TBRs ... haha soooo many books I've thought that about!), I might as well just mention them now :)

A Visual Guide to Drink by Ben Gibson (coffee-table book of infographics on topics related to beer/wine/liquor)
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (neurosurgeon's memoir of his terminal cancer)
You Should Pity Us Instead by Amy Gustine (short-story collection)

43avanders
Feb 11, 2016, 5:34pm Top

>42 detailmuse: glad you're enjoying Wild! I also really enjoyed that book, but did not expect to...

Well, it's okay, it was bound to happen (buying new books)... ;)
Oh When Breath Becomes Air is cropping up everywhere! It was my BOTM selection for this month too :)

44connie53
Feb 12, 2016, 3:08am Top

45avanders
Feb 12, 2016, 4:59pm Top

>44 connie53: Book of the month club :)

46connie53
Feb 13, 2016, 3:13am Top

>45 avanders: Okay, Thanks.

47detailmuse
Feb 14, 2016, 2:28pm Top

>43 avanders: and everywhere I look I see enormous positive reaction to When Breath Becomes Air. Are you going to read it?

48detailmuse
Feb 14, 2016, 2:53pm Top

Good grief: eight books in January and now only one in the first half of February.



9. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, ©1998, acquired 2004

This short book is somewhere between a novel and a collection of short stories about the life and private-detective business of a thirtysomething-year-old woman in Botswana. While I liked it well enough, especially its glimpse of the culture and landscape of late-20th-century Africa, I probably won’t pursue more by this author. It’s charming and sometimes funny, but too contrived and coincidental for me. I liked it while reading but spent the better part of three weeks not reading it.

49avanders
Feb 15, 2016, 11:49am Top

>47 detailmuse: definitely.. even if I were not otherwise inclined, it is in the "jar of fate" for my RL book group, so it'll come up at some point eventually anyway :)

>48 detailmuse: I've had about the same pace.... super fast in January and way slowed in February. It happens :)
That's another book on my short list... I must get to it soon! But good to know that not everyone has read it or loves it...

50bragan
Feb 15, 2016, 9:51pm Top

>48 detailmuse: I'm on the third No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel right now, and I'm enjoying the series, but they're most definitely not books one reads for the plots.

51lilisin
Feb 15, 2016, 11:36pm Top

>48 detailmuse:, >49 avanders:

For me as well. A great January and then suddenly a slow February. It's what I get for switching the language of my books though. It totally disrupts my reading flow.

52detailmuse
Feb 18, 2016, 9:08am Top

>50 bragan: If only there weren't so many other books, so little time... But I'm glad to have read it for the sake of cultural literacy.

>49 avanders:, >51 lilisin: yikes I've picked up my pace now but it's three non-Roots in a row. It feels like Nutella -- I hadn't allowed myself to have it in the house for several years, then bought a jar to make some treats for Valentine's Day. Now I'm back to nibbling on it by the spoonful :(

53Jackie_K
Feb 18, 2016, 12:56pm Top

>52 detailmuse: haha, that's precisely why I don't allow myself Nutella either!

54connie53
Feb 18, 2016, 3:22pm Top

>52 detailmuse: Very well explained, MJ!

55avanders
Feb 18, 2016, 5:38pm Top

Lol "It feels like Nutella"
well, it happens, it's okay :)

56detailmuse
Mar 1, 2016, 2:50pm Top



10. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch, ©2012, acquired 2015
“Ove has a heart problem,” {the doctor} begins {...} “His heart is too big.”
HA! Who’d believe that of Ove, a 59-year-old Swedish uber-curmudgeon. Well, it turns out, just about everyone :)

The novel borders on being charming but it is also heartwarming and the quirky characters are fun. I recommend going into it cold; it’s best discovered as the author reveals it.

57detailmuse
Mar 1, 2016, 2:53pm Top



11. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman, ©2012, acquired 2015

I love to read lushly illustrated cookbooks -- the background about foods and techniques, the feeling of preparing (and nearly tasting!) it from my armchair. This is a terrific one of those books, created by a woman who blogged about cooking well in her tiny Manhattan kitchen. Of the 100+ recipes, I marked 14 that have a solid chance of getting prepared in my own tiny kitchen.

58detailmuse
Mar 1, 2016, 2:55pm Top



12. Images of America: Park Ridge by David Barnes, ©2010, acquired 2010s

This publisher has provided hundreds (thousands?) of volumes on the histories of small towns or the focused aspects of large cities. It’s not definitive, and it doesn’t include much after the 1960s, but it increased my appreciation of this town. I’ve even added a couple other volumes to my wishlist.

59detailmuse
Mar 1, 2016, 3:03pm Top

February
Beginning total TBRs: 295
TBRs* read: 4
Other books read: 4
Books acquired: 9
Ending total TBRs: 296
YTD TBRs* read: 12 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

60Jackie_K
Mar 1, 2016, 5:30pm Top

>56 detailmuse: I like the sound of that one! There are some really good not-Nordic-noir* books coming out of Sweden the last few years.

* nothing wrong with Nordic noir, just not my thing!

61detailmuse
Mar 2, 2016, 2:33pm Top

>60 Jackie_K: Any you recommend? I think the only one in my wishlist is The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared.

62Jackie_K
Mar 2, 2016, 3:06pm Top

>61 detailmuse: That's the one I was mainly thinking of (I read it a couple of years back and loved it), I also have his next novel The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden on my TBR pile, I'm hoping it's as good. There is another one I came across recently but didn't buy, with a vaguely similar premise to The 100 Year Old Man, I'm pretty sure that was Swedish too, and it was getting some really good reviews.

The 100 Year Old Man made me laugh out loud several times. It is very silly, but also very clever, and the silliness isn't in an off-putting way (if that makes sense). I loved it.

63detailmuse
Mar 2, 2016, 3:15pm Top

>62 Jackie_K: That is all so good to hear! It also makes me think you'd really like A Man Called Ove.

64Jackie_K
Mar 2, 2016, 3:43pm Top

>63 detailmuse: thank you! I have added it to the wishlist :)

65connie53
Mar 3, 2016, 7:17am Top

>64 Jackie_K: I think your wishlist is forever growing, Jackie.

66Jackie_K
Mar 3, 2016, 11:25am Top

>65 connie53: That is very true, Connie! So far, since 1st January I have taken 22 BBs (and only bought one of them).

67avanders
Mar 3, 2016, 12:18pm Top

>56 detailmuse: I've heard good things about that - sounds sweet!

>59 detailmuse: your stats look great!

68detailmuse
Mar 29, 2016, 4:56pm Top



13. True Friends Always Remain in Each Other's Heart ed. by Susan Polis Schutz, ©1989, acquired 2000s

Not sure how/when I acquired this anthology of friendship free verse, but found it when I scanned my bookshelves for donations to the spring library sale. So I read it. The copyright says 1989 but it seems pure 1970s, and the 33 entries are very similar to one another.

69rabbitprincess
Mar 29, 2016, 6:38pm Top

>68 detailmuse: The cover looks pretty 1970s, too! Or maybe late 70s/early 80s.

70detailmuse
Mar 31, 2016, 2:13pm Top

>69 rabbitprincess: Yes and I remember so many greeting cards of the time with illustrations and verses like it -- Blue Mountain Arts :)

71detailmuse
Mar 31, 2016, 2:14pm Top

March
Beginning total TBRs: 296
TBRs* read: 1
Other books read: 3
Books purged from TBRs unread/unfinished: 5
Books acquired: 5
Ending total TBRs: 292
YTD TBRs* read: 13 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

72detailmuse
May 10, 2016, 11:12am Top



14. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, audiobook read by Zach Appelman, ©2014, acquired 2014

I don’t know what to say. I didn’t connect once with this novel that is loved and admired by readers and critics. It has wonderful descriptive sentences but otherwise so little content and so much repetition that if I had lost my place in the audio there’s not a chance I would have been able to find it again.

I didn’t hate it; I was bored and disinterested, no other emotion attached to it. Where emotion comes in, though, is that I just discovered I have another book by Doerr -- Memory Wall, a collection of short stories that I’ve been saving because I have such high expectations for it. Yikes.

73Nickelini
May 10, 2016, 12:09pm Top

Didn't hate, bored and disinterested . . . yep, that would be my description of All the Light We Cannot See too.

74tess_schoolmarm
Edited: May 10, 2016, 12:34pm Top

>72 detailmuse: Wow, I thought All the Light We Cannot See was the best book I've read thus far in 2016.

75detailmuse
May 10, 2016, 12:48pm Top

>73 Nickelini:, >74 tess_schoolmarm: It reminds me of when I LOVED The Book Thief and could not comprehend how other readers rated it one and two stars. Now I'm on that end :( I even looked at reviews of All the Light... to gain some insight but the reviews mostly had the same opening summary but then shed no light. Help!

76Jackie_K
May 10, 2016, 3:28pm Top

It's always so interesting to see the books which really polarise opinions! I know I've said this in ROOT thread discussions before (can't remember whose) but I couldn't get beyond the first few pages of The Shadow of the Wind, yet nearly every review is 5* and it's always on those lists of '100 books you really must read before you die'. Ah well - it would be very boring if we were all the same all the time :)

77Nickelini
May 10, 2016, 6:00pm Top

>76 Jackie_K: I did finish that one, hated it. Another book club choice.

78avanders
May 11, 2016, 11:47am Top

>72 detailmuse: bummer... that's frustrating!

>74 tess_schoolmarm: as that's one of the books on my short list, I am happy to see that others quite enjoyed it ;)

>76 Jackie_K: so true... it is sometimes baffling, though, when someone who has similar book tastes nevertheless hates something you loved, or vice versa. You never know where some is, mentally, when they read something, I guess... :) (& I was one of those who LOVED Shadow of the Wind.... ;))

79connie53
Edited: May 16, 2016, 2:38am Top

That's why we (The Dutch) say: Tastes differ.
I loved De schaduw van de wind and De boekendief. Haven't read Als je het licht niet kunt zien yet.

80detailmuse
Jun 8, 2016, 3:50pm Top

Well that's a 2-2 tie for/against Shadow of the Wind. I've had it since 2009 and have been saving it, thinking it'll be so good. I'm starting to question that "saving" strategy!

81detailmuse
Jun 8, 2016, 3:53pm Top



15. One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty, ©1983, acquired ~1985
It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.
This short, gentle memoir hints at how the writer-Welty was formed. Its three sections (“Listening,” “Learning to See,” and “Finding a Voice”) were adapted from three lectures she gave at Harvard University in 1983. They capture her sweet childhood; her extended family and life in the South; and her education, early writing and reflections on writing.
As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.

82detailmuse
Jun 8, 2016, 3:59pm Top



Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit, audio read by Allan Corduner, ©2016, ARC acquired 2015
{The thin man asked,} “You know about rivers?”

Anna nodded.

“A river goes wherever the riverbank does. It never has to ask which way, but only flows along. Yes?”

Anna nodded again.

“Just so,” said the thin man. “What I mean, then, is I’ll be the riverbank and you be the river. In all things. Can you promise me that?

Anna nodded a third time. “Yes,” she said.

“Very well,” said the tall man. “Then you will come with me.”

Anna’s heart flooded with happiness.

“And someday,” said the tall man, “when you are much, much older, you must ask me what erosion is.”
I love that passage: the man’s respect for the child and the acknowledgement that children will eventually forge paths different from their adults’. Sadly, it’s the only thing I loved in this book about a seven-year-old girl whose father disappears in the 1939 German roundup of Polish scholars, and who then finds protection by roaming the forests for years in the company of the tall stranger.

I’d had an ARC of the book for six months before I made my third attempt at it, this time on audio. Fairly boring and without the quality of writing to make up for it. Seems a fable with allegorical characters, which I’m not fond of, personally. Plus, the audio reader created a lilting narration, which may make the serious/thoughtful topic palatable to middle-grade/YA readers, but which seemed weirdly carefree to me.

83karenmarie
Jun 8, 2016, 4:50pm Top

>72 detailmuse: My two cents - I read All The Light We Cannot See for RL bookclub last year and gave it 4 stars, but for the life of me I can't tell you why or even much about it. Not memorable, alas.

And >80 detailmuse: I've started it once or twice and never gotten anywhere. Ah, well, to each her/his own!

84detailmuse
Jun 9, 2016, 12:04pm Top

>83 karenmarie: Not memorable, alas.
I know I'm finding it more and more helpful to post reviews so I can come back to "recall" specifics, but you're right -- there's usually some aspect that's memorable about a book.

85detailmuse
Jun 19, 2016, 4:29pm Top



17. Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe, ©2015, acquired 2015

I respect Munroe’s premise here: explore complicated things (from science to machines) using only drawings and a thousand (“ten hundred”) common words. But (via that premise), the labels are never the actual names, so with topics I wasn’t familiar with I mostly 1) wondered what he was talking about and 2) wished I knew the thing’s actual name so I could google it and learn about it on my own. I appreciated Munroe’s positivity and playfulness and tried to play along. But I didn't like it.

86detailmuse
Jun 30, 2016, 9:01am Top



18. Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-prep Edition by America’s Test Kitchen, ©2013, acquired 2013

A second volume of recipes for the slow-cooker, this collection focusing on easy/short prep times (max 15 minutes) to get all ingredients into the cooker.

The color photography is terrific, the ingredient lists and instructions are clear. I marked a couple dozen recipes to try this summer when I want to avoid the hot oven. And what I always like best about America’s Test Kitchen books are the technique tips, the product comparisons/recommendations and the science-y deconstructions of the recipes.

87detailmuse
Jun 30, 2016, 9:07am Top

April, May, June
Beginning total TBRs: 292
TBRs* read: 5
Other books read: 12
Books purged from TBRs unread/unfinished: 1
Books acquired: 25 (including 2 already in my TBRs but not in LT until now)
Ending total TBRs: 299
YTD TBRs* read: 18 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

88avanders
Jun 30, 2016, 11:36am Top

You are making great progress! Way to go!

89detailmuse
Jul 1, 2016, 8:42am Top

>88 avanders: thanks! I'm relieved to have some cushion!

90detailmuse
Jul 7, 2016, 10:54am Top



19. M Train by Patti Smith, ©2015, acquired 2015

I liked Smith’s Just Kids and Woolgathering, and acquired this on its release day last year. Made a couple false starts on it, but its drifty-ness kept me from connecting. So I listened on audio now, lovingly read by Smith in her husky, even clumsy, always melancholy, voice. For now, I appreciated her essays on travel and writers and family; I think I’ll enjoy and understand them more when I return to my hardcover for a reread.

91detailmuse
Jul 7, 2016, 10:56am Top



20. Women & Money by Suze Orman, ©2007, acquired 2008

This was one of a couple of times that I’ve stumbled upon Suze Orman giving free PDF downloads of a new book. Although it’s almost ten years old now, it’s still relevant and practically timeless -- an enthusiastic, empowering and practical primer on saving, investing, insurance, retirement planning and estate planning.

92tess_schoolmarm
Jul 7, 2016, 4:42pm Top

>91 detailmuse: Love Suze Orman!

93detailmuse
Jul 8, 2016, 9:21am Top

>92 tess_schoolmarm: me too and I think she does a lot of good. Her new daytime weekday show is supposed to start this fall.

94detailmuse
Jul 9, 2016, 2:45pm Top



21. Day Trips from Chicago by Elisa Drake, ©2011, acquired 2012

A collection of 25 day trips (overnights even better) going spoke-like from Chicago into Wisconsin, Minnesota, downstate Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Being reminded of what’s nearby was inspiring, and there are good offerings here, but I found myself going to TripAdvisor for current information.

95detailmuse
Jul 9, 2016, 2:47pm Top



22. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, ©2013, acquired 2015

Wonderful coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old boy's encounters with death during a 1961 summer in small-town Minnesota. Recounted decades later by the grown man, it’s evocative of time and place and atmospheric with the patient reveal of mysteries and secrets.

96connie53
Jul 29, 2016, 3:13am Top

Just popping in to say hi!

97detailmuse
Aug 1, 2016, 3:42pm Top

>96 connie53: Hi Connie!

98detailmuse
Aug 1, 2016, 3:44pm Top



23. Encore Provence by Peter Mayle, audiobook read by David Case, ©1999, acquired 1999?

I loved A Year in Provence and liked two of Mayle’s follow-up collections of memoirish-essays. Since I was not getting to the hard copy of this one in my TBRs, I borrowed it on audio from the library. Ack! did not enjoy it, largely due to the reader’s haughty, slimy voice. I have one more of Mayle’s Provence collections and I want to love it ... to be determined whether I’ll read my hardcover or try audio again (it’s a different reader).

99detailmuse
Aug 1, 2016, 3:48pm Top



24. Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan by Suze Orman, ©2008, acquired 2009

This is a second book that Orman gave away free in PDF form. It’s focused on the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and uses Q&A format to highlight smart moves in personal finance -- the first of which was (still is) Orman’s mandate to build personal savings and prohibition against borrowing (because credit card companies were decreasing credit limits and banks were revoking home-equity loans, etc.). The tone is definitely 2009 but most of the advice is evergreen.

100detailmuse
Aug 1, 2016, 4:02pm Top

July
Beginning total TBRs: 299
TBRs* read: 6
Other books read: 1
Books purged from TBRs unread/unfinished: 1
Books acquired: 1 (huh! almost 0 again, except for a library checkout a couple days ago)
Ending total TBRs: 292
YTD TBRs* read: 24 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

101connie53
Aug 3, 2016, 1:53pm Top

>98 detailmuse: Maybe it's the narrator that made it a negative experience for you. I would try it again!

102detailmuse
Aug 16, 2016, 1:32pm Top

>101 connie53: agree, narrators make such a difference! Especially with earbuds, putting the voice nearly inside your head...

103connie53
Aug 28, 2016, 1:48am Top

Happy Sunday, MJ.

104avanders
Aug 29, 2016, 12:13pm Top

Hi! I couldn't possibly catch up on the threads after my crazy-long absence, but I just wanted to say hi :)

105detailmuse
Aug 30, 2016, 9:12am Top

Thanks Connie! and happy to see you back Aletheia!

106avanders
Aug 30, 2016, 2:03pm Top

>105 detailmuse: Thanks!
Also, only 5 more until you reach your ROOT goal -- way to go!

107detailmuse
Aug 30, 2016, 2:39pm Top

>106 avanders: I needed that cushion this month -- house projects and catching up on magazines!

BUT I did start Outlander and am enjoying it!

108detailmuse
Aug 30, 2016, 3:04pm Top



25. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, ©2004, acquired 2015

Treatise on the harms of an affluent (meat-based, including dairy) diet vs. the benefits of a whole-food vegan diet, based on a landmark study of the association between diet/lifestyle and disease/death in China. I read a hundred pages and then skimmed it -- seemed less informative than I’d expected (published in 2004) and felt repetitive and defensive.

109detailmuse
Aug 30, 2016, 4:12pm Top

August
Beginning total TBRs: 292
TBRs* read: 1
Other books read: 2
Books acquired: 7
Ending total TBRs: 296
YTD TBRs* read: 25 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

110connie53
Aug 31, 2016, 2:46am Top

>107 detailmuse: Yeah for Outlander!

111tess_schoolmarm
Aug 31, 2016, 3:49pm Top

You will love the Outlander books. I''m on book #4 and should finish in September. I read it every chance I get, which in August isn't much what with school starting and I'm teaching online part-time this semester, also.

112Nickelini
Sep 1, 2016, 12:05am Top

>108 detailmuse: It's quite a far-reaching and esteemed study. You weren't convinced, or you already eat a plant based diet, or you love bacon so much, or......?

113avanders
Sep 2, 2016, 3:42pm Top

>107 detailmuse: I'm going to need to get on that Outlander train one of these days..... :)
House projects & catching up on magazines... sounds like my life too!

114detailmuse
Sep 17, 2016, 4:54pm Top

>112 Nickelini: The study seems good and the possible link between milk and autoimmune disease was informative to me. Otherwise it wasn't new information plus I'm a fan of moderation (haha I go weeks to months without bacon ... but a lifetime?!). All that can still add up to a good book except the author tired me out with repetition and defensiveness.

115detailmuse
Oct 1, 2016, 4:34pm Top



26. The Final Diagnosis by Arthur Hailey, ©1959, acquired decades ago

This novel about the inner workings of a Pennsylvania hospital (particularly the pathology department) and the dramas of its employees is classic Hailey (think “Airport”). It’s a hand-me-down from who-knows-whom and who-knows-when, and I’m shocked it’s almost 60 years old because, although much has changed since then in treatment and technology, much hasn’t changed in culture.

116detailmuse
Oct 1, 2016, 4:52pm Top

September
Beginning total TBRs: 296
TBRs* read: 1
Other books read: 3
Books acquired: 5
Ending total TBRs: 297
YTD TBRs* read: 26 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

117rabbitprincess
Oct 1, 2016, 7:10pm Top

>115 detailmuse: Arthur Hailey seems like an author I should read! I like the 1950s/1960s thrillers.

118tess_schoolmarm
Oct 2, 2016, 12:48am Top

>115 detailmuse: I like Haley's books, although dated I still enjoy them just as Robbins and Suzanne.

119detailmuse
Oct 2, 2016, 1:38pm Top

>117 rabbitprincess:, >118 tess_schoolmarm: I liked it well enough to be eager to get to the other Hailey in my TBRs, Strong Medicine. Reminded me of Valley of the Dolls once or twice (which I finally read a few years ago), maybe in writing style or mid-century cultural norms/expressions. I like that Hailey's books expose the inside workings of industries the reader knows from the outside. The details are dated now but it's still a good glimpse of the big picture.

120karenmarie
Oct 3, 2016, 7:40am Top

Hi MJ! Just a quick hello and congratulations on getting close to your 30 ROOT goal.

121Jackie_K
Oct 3, 2016, 9:42am Top

>108 detailmuse: (sorry better late than never!) I remember reading something mentioning the China Study and thinking I'd like to find out a bit more. It's a shame the book wasn't that gripping.

Good work on the ROOTs! The goal is in sight now!

122detailmuse
Oct 6, 2016, 4:27pm Top

>120 karenmarie:, >121 Jackie_K: Thanks!
>121 Jackie_K: Your mileage may vary :) The China Study gets good ratings

123detailmuse
Oct 6, 2016, 4:32pm Top



27. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, audiobook read by Dan O’Grady, ©2013, acquired 2014

A sweet (and sometimes laugh-out-loud-funny) novel about a genetics professor (likely with Asperger’s) who, while conducting a project to find a mate, helps a woman identify her biological father. I acquired it on Kindle but listened now on audio, which was very entertaining. I think it would also adapt well to film and am disappointed that it has run into casting and directing snags. I’ll probably read the author's follow-up.

124connie53
Oct 18, 2016, 10:36am Top

Only two more to go, MJ! You can do it!

125detailmuse
Oct 30, 2016, 1:39pm Top

>124 connie53: I think I can! Am in the middle of several right now, so could even go over!

126detailmuse
Oct 30, 2016, 1:50pm Top



28. Essential Landscaping by the editors of This Old House, ©2002, acquired 2000s

I embarked on the first of several phases of home landscape projects and this 175-page book was well illustrated and surprisingly substantive on topics of plant and hardscape design and installation. Despite being ~15 years old, it’s worth keeping for future inspiration and confidence-building.

127detailmuse
Oct 30, 2016, 1:52pm Top



29. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, ©1936, acquired decades ago

Finally listened to this classic now, on audio. It’s oriented to the businessperson who wants to create positive relationships, but its common sense is applicable to all interpersonal interactions. Holds up pretty well after 80 years, and is more positive and less manipulative than I’d expected it to be.

128detailmuse
Oct 30, 2016, 1:59pm Top

October
Beginning total TBRs: 297
TBRs* read: 3
Other books read: 5
Books acquired: 7
Ending total TBRs: 296
YTD TBRs* read: 29 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

129avanders
Nov 2, 2016, 10:50am Top

Ahhh so close!! Just 1 more ROOT to go! Congrats on your progress!

130detailmuse
Dec 15, 2016, 11:27am Top



30. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, ©1977, acquired 2000s

I count TBRs that I abandon (unfinished) as ROOTs and so it was with this one. Disappointing though, since it turned out to be the ROOT that brought me to goal!

Of genre fiction, it seems I only read thrillers (and not many of those), but I periodically think about trying a novel from each genre. When I asked sci-fi/fantasy-fan friends for recommendations, it was this. I read a third of it ten years ago and stopped for no real reason. Now, I didn’t get quite that far before I decided I just wasn’t interested, and I definitely wasn’t interested in a war-based story.

131detailmuse
Dec 15, 2016, 11:29am Top



31. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, ©2013, acquired 2013

A terrific (if tediously detailed) and inspiring history of the University of Washington rowing team -- the participants’ personal journeys through the Great Depression and the athletic accomplishments that won them the USA team spot at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. I read part and listened in part on audio, read by the fabulous, late Edward Herrmann. This ROOT makes me feel like I made goal!

132detailmuse
Dec 15, 2016, 11:31am Top

November
Beginning total TBRs: 296
TBRs* read: 1
Other books read: 3
Books purged from TBRs unread/unfinished: 1
Books acquired: 12
Ending total TBRs: 303
YTD TBRs* read: 31 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

133avanders
Dec 15, 2016, 1:57pm Top

>130 detailmuse: that's too bad that you didn't enjoy that! I quite liked it ;)

>131 detailmuse: I've heard it's so good! Glad you *did* enjoy that one!

& Congrats on reaching your goal!!

134detailmuse
Dec 15, 2016, 8:41pm Top

>133 avanders: thank you so much! I guess I could count Outlander as fantasy (although to me it seems historical fiction), and I am enjoying it!

135MissWatson
Dec 16, 2016, 9:52am Top

Congratulations on reaching your goal!

136tess_schoolmarm
Dec 17, 2016, 6:05pm Top

Congrats on reaching your goal! I also count the Outlander books as Historical Fiction.

137detailmuse
Edited: Dec 20, 2016, 4:26pm Top

Thanks Birgit and Tess!

138tess_schoolmarm
Dec 23, 2016, 10:33pm Top

139detailmuse
Dec 24, 2016, 8:20am Top

>138 tess_schoolmarm: Blessings to you!

I so look forward to catching up on LT next week and getting ready for next year!

140avanders
Dec 27, 2016, 12:33pm Top

A belated:

141detailmuse
Jan 1, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>140 avanders: thanks and happy 2017 to you!

142detailmuse
Jan 1, 2017, 1:26pm Top

December
Beginning total TBRs: 303
TBRs* read: 0
Other books read: 1
Books acquired: 7
Ending total TBRs: 309
YTD TBRs* read: 31 (year-end goal: 30)

*acquired before 2016

143rabbitprincess
Jan 1, 2017, 7:53pm Top

Hurray, you met your ROOT goal! :D

144avanders
Jan 2, 2017, 7:05pm Top

Happy New Year! See you in the new 2017 group... :)

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