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Ruth is gonna read - that's a given!

2017 Books

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Jan 3, 2017, 2:52pm Top

Thank you lesmel, for setting up the group. I like a nice quiet corner with controllable traffic.

I've only got a few minutes left on the library computer, so I' do the housekeeping tomorrow or the next day. I had to "use or loose" annual leave, so I'm nestled in at home taming the piles and eating comfort foods.

Last year's reading was listed HERE.

I may have a bit of clean up there as well. Tallying at least.

Watched The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. I enjoyed it, but I swear that film nowadays is sacrificing story for action. It was hard to follow, but Depp was fun.

Jan 3, 2017, 3:00pm Top

>1 2wonderY: Amen to a quiet, controllable corner. Heh

>1 2wonderY: I loved The Lone Ranger for the sheer audacity of the stunts. I think there was about two minutes of plot in the entire movie. Maybe five.

Jan 5, 2017, 5:50pm Top

>1 2wonderY: My ears prick up when I hear that a movie is boring. I assume there is a chance that it has a story.
I'll be lurking.

Edited: Jan 9, 2017, 10:24am Top

Glad to have you both checking in.

January 5

I've started several more serious books, but I've finished a bit of fluff. J.K. Rowling's wizarding world : movie magic : extraordinary people and fascinating places - 1.

I also spent some time enjoying The steampunk user's manual : an illustrated practical and whimsical guide to creating retro-futurist dreams - 2, though I did skip the illustrations section. I like the mechanicals, the literature and especially the costuming. The literature chapter has an exceptionally good page of advice for any author. One of the items listed is "Make it personal." Now, I'm not a writer, but I think that defines precisely what attracts me to certain stories.

Also watched and enjoyed Finding Dory and an oldy We're Not Married.

Jan 5, 2017, 8:16pm Top


Edited: Jan 9, 2017, 1:36pm Top

>5 fuzzi: Hi! Pull up a chair.

I almost forgot to list the film The Good Dinosaur. VERY cute, especially the opening scene.

Jan 5, 2017, 9:33pm Top

Gonna keep track of books sampled, but not finished as well.

I was looking for Mort on audio and found Mort(e) instead.

Most of the reviews here are positive, but I tossed it quickly. Purportedly from the perspective of a cat, the first simile/metaphor is most definitely from a human's perspective, unless cats are bothered by splinters under their nails. Perhaps this was meant to be funny, as the cat soon after realizes that it's toes are shorter than another cat's, and I think it is supposed to signify that it has been de-clawed, and the cat thinks it would have had to have remembered such an event, but doesn't. And then we're supposed to welcome the giant man-killing ants. Yeah, right. You'd run too, nose pinching all the way.

Edited: Jan 9, 2017, 10:44am Top

Two books involving Monty Don, celebrity gardener:

Extraordinary Gardens of the World - 3 represents still shots from garden visits filmed for a BBC series. It’s a coffee table sized book and the photos star. Looking at the credits, there are 8 photographers, and Monty does have the bulk of the credits. So, he chose the gardens, hosted the TV series and wrote the copy as well. The chapters break out the types of gardens – personal, spiritual, natural, botanical, historical, edible and communal. It’s an abbreviated print version of the TV shows; there is no learning, just enjoyment.

In Garden Mania - 4, Monty merely contributes the Preface. There are a couple of pages of text at the beginning of each section that don’t really inform, and then the book is given over entirely to illustrations from antique and rare garden pattern books. Garden architecture, statuary and other specialty features alternate with engravings of the grand gardens of several centuries ago. The book itself is textbook sized and soft covered and with heavy paper stock. It’s not comfortable to browse, as one is constantly in fear of breaking the binding while holding the pages open. However, visual treasures abound. This would be a good reference book for persons doing visual art work.

Since I finished up last year with Snow Treasure, I was curious just how accurate the fiction was. I was pleased to locate a new book on the subject, Gold Run - 5, but sad to discover that McSwigan's tale is not even close. Turns out the gold never left the control of the bank, and traveled by train and lorries to the battleships that carried them to Scotland. Pearson is not a good story teller. I found the book repetitive and pedantic. There was plenty of real tension and drama in the story, but the effort fails to draw it out winningly.

And the movie that stood out this weekend was a B-style Icetastrophe. Implausible science, wooden acting, but interesting special effects.

Also watched the mini-series The Sons of Liberty, written and directed by Kari Skogland. (title touchstone not working) I really enjoyed bad-boy Samuel Adams, but I thought all of the characterizations were way too trite and possibly inaccurate. I know for a fact that Ben Franklin came to separation from England by a long and torturous personal route; he didn't just chirp up and say "What a good idea!" Pushes me to further reading though, so that's a good thing.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:40am Top

>8 2wonderY: Oh man! McSwigan's book makes it sound like the kids were national heroes. I kinda hate when authors -- particularly children's/young adult authors -- twist a historical event so completely out of shape it doesn't resemble the real event at all.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:47am Top

>9 lesmel: But I forgive her for telling a much more compelling story. Snow Treasure is one of my favorite childhood books.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:59am Top

Oh, and I watched The Desolation of Smaug. I wasn't certain I had already. Several favorite characters to follow.

Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 9:06am Top

After picking it up a second time, fairly raced through A Murder of Mages - 6. It has interesting characters, lots of them. The secondary characters all seem to have valid lives that could be explored. Adequate complexities and a tense plot. I'll probably read more from this author.

I'm in the midst of several more books, but haven't been able to finish much yet. But I have another long weekend ahead.

Found all but one of the library books in my house. Still one not yet accounted for.

Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 9:06am Top

The Queen of Katwe - 7 is a look into the most abject poverty and insecurity in one of the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Crothers beefs up Phiona Mutesi's story by giving us backgrounds of some of the supporting cast. It doesn't detract in any way; it helps to enrich this affirming story of a missionary who connects with the slum children with soccer and then chess. Phiona moves quickly to international chess competition at half the age of her teammates. Published in 2012, I want to know how they are all faring now. Ah, Wikipedia says Phiona is still competing, but not internationally. There is a film version of the book coming out soon.

You've Been Trumped makes me angry at how the businessman mischaracterizes people who oppose him and runs roughshod over others' rights. This is the same landscape and people from the 1983 film Local Hero, but with the opposite ending.

Mousehunt starring a young Nathan Lane. Not impressed. More like Caddyshack than Babe, the film they tried to compare it to.

Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 4:09pm Top

It’s been a reading weekend!

Enjoyed one, so I thought another would be good. Harry Potter: The Character Vault – 8 was disappointing. It covered much of the same territory of costume, wands and makeup as the other book.

The Economics of Inequality – 9 was briefer and less descriptive or definitive than what I expected. It is strictly an economist’s discussion and poses all in questions. Lots of graphs and statistics which don’t interest me. Learned just a couple of things. Piketty is dialoging about income re-distribution (natural or engineered) and the notion of ‘effiecient’ wage inequalities. He also seems to be challenging the capital/labor equation. I think he is trying to re-define labor as a type of capital.

Very much enjoyed The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist – 10 by Michael Phillips. Published in 1998, some of the information may be outdated. But there is an excellent description, accompanied with drawings, of pruning goals spread out over the life of a tree. The section on pests and control measures was interesting, and will be referred to again later. I at least know what to observe. I’d be interested in reading his updated thoughts, particularly on mowing and mulching vs. interplantings. His descriptions of cider varieties especially made my mouth water.

And then I perused Wild Fermentation – 11 and enjoyed even more talk about exciting foods and beverages. Katz makes the interesting observation that these life-processed foods are on a continuum of decomposition, and it is taste, informed by culture, which determines at what point food becomes “rotten.”

In audio, I’ve been listening to Our Man in Charleston – 12, a Britain’s view of the start of the US Civil War. I found it extremely informative, being derived from primary source documents of the time period. It conveys how nuts the slave holding society was, and how they self-justified. It made me curious about Britain’s abolition history and the history of cotton production, and you may see further titles here along those lines.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler – 13 was only available as an ebook. Thankfully, it was short, as the only way I could download it was my iphone. For some reason, I can’t get the files to open on my laptop. Grrr. The Churchill Club was a gang of middle school boys who were disgusted by the lack of resistance to the Nazi invasion of their country, Denmark. They began stealing Nazi weapons and gradually moved up to sabotage, destroying vehicles and factories. After spending time in prison, they had difficulty finding entrance into newer resistance groups that formed in response to their heroism. There is a good bibliography, here’s hoping I can access some of it. This book is also from a primary source, interviews with the leader, Knud Pedersen.

The politics of this past year have made me so uneasy. We seem to be repeating a lot of the path Germany forged to the Third Reich. So I am reading a few books, not on the war, but on the internal conditions of the 1930s.

Republic to Reich: The Making of the Nazi Revolution consists of ten essays by German historians, and proved too dense for me. I stepped back and read a Time-Life summary, The New Order -14. I find that with that background, I can possibly go back to the first book and read with more success. The parallels are creepy.


Stan Lee’s Lightspeed is really bad. The best part is when the hero is outfitting himself with costume at a sporting goods store, with the help of the stoner clerk.

Little Boy is very odd. It mixes Christian values with a Rhonda Byrne mentality verging into the magical. The young boy is challenged by his priest to perform the corporal acts of mercy in order to bring his father home from the Pacific War. The parts where he befriends another societal outcast - a Japanese gentleman - are good, but then he gets the credit for “moving a mountain” when he stands by the beach drawing his father home with his will, and there is an earthquake. His nickname, given to him by the town bully, also plays into the Hiroshima bombing. We see people dancing in the US street while Hiroshima burns.

Magic in the Moonlight is worth watching, not for the story, which is banal, but for the screen filled with saturated color, and the scenery of southern Europe. Surprisingly, most of the clothing is rather boring (with just two exceptions) and makes the actors look washed out in comparison.

Jan 16, 2017, 11:17pm Top

>13 2wonderY: The Queen of Katwe was one of my favorite films this year. The life in an African slum was so different from anything else I have seen.

Jan 23, 2017, 3:19pm Top

I've been spending time rooting through my shelves, identifying books that I no longer need to own; which, of course, requires that I dip in somewhat. I've also overdone the winter library thing, with 52 items and 3 digital items on my card. So also sampling some of these to determine which I can pass back. My SIL has an Audible account that I finally am able to access on my phone.
Ahem...too many riches.

I've listened to most of Off to be the Wizard - 1/2 point, narrated by one of my favorite readers, Luke Daniels, and I keep hoping it will fulfill its promise, but I'm about to dump it.

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon - 15 is a comfort re-read and a good place to hang out when you're depressed. I've been listening to the audio for the first time.

The fiction book taking up my time in print is The Glass God. I'm about 3/5th of the way through. Sharon has just called on the Magicals Anonymous crew en masse, so the pace should be picking up.

Over the weekend, I curled up with film:

Top-Bar Beekeeping makes the system look doable.

Local Hero is a fiction about a rich tycoon who tries to buy up a whole rural coastal town in Scotland for industrial development. Unlike real life, the tycoon falls in love with the place and endows an environmental studies institute instead.

The Musketeers is a BBC series, and I gave it up. They take too long to tell the same story as better films. And the visuals do not appeal to me - too dark.

Good Neighbors, also a BBC series, is a re-visit. Mr. and Mrs. Good decide to quit the middle class lifestyle, but not their suburban home. They turn their entire lot into a mini-farm, much to the chagrin of the neighbors. I am so impressed by the accurate visual detail given to the set. The entire yard corresponds to the season and the storyline. Fun!

Jan 23, 2017, 5:43pm Top

I haven't read the Callahan books in years. I think I'm afraid the suck fairy might have got at them. I used to love them though. The earlier ones anyway. I didn't care much for the later novels.

Jan 23, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Oh, and I first read "Top-Bar Beekeeping" as "Bar-Top Beekeeping", and had a mental image of beehives in a drinking establishment.

Jan 23, 2017, 5:48pm Top

The bees wouldn't mind.

Jan 25, 2017, 1:42pm Top

>17 SylviaC: I've got almost the entire Spider Robinson shelf. My daughters read them early and frequently too. I finally had to explain to the older one that Callahan's Place is usually found in places other than drinking establishments. I found mine with a women's group at church.

The Princess Diarist - 16 is a short but sweet read. The audio is read by the author, and it was a good visit. Carrie Fisher is witty, and her journal entries from 1976 reminded me of my own crushes of the same general time period.

Jan 25, 2017, 2:08pm Top

>20 2wonderY: "...Callahan's Place is usually found in places other than drinking establishments."

That's the truth!

Jan 26, 2017, 12:09pm Top

I couldn't settle to sleep last night. So I read Witches of Lychford - 17 instead. I was surprised at the tiny size of the book, having only read one other Cornell, London Falling. It was certainly more accessible and each of the three main characters are interesting. So, as a matter of fact, are most of the subsidiary characters. I do believe I'll plan to revisit Lychford.

Jan 26, 2017, 4:53pm Top

I thought about you the other day! There was a book about gardening...can I remember the book? of course not...I spotted. I knew I should have taken a pic of the cover. Darn it! I can't even remember where I saw it now. Ah well. At least know there was a little spark of thought for you out here in Texas over the weekend. :)

Jan 28, 2017, 2:23pm Top

>23 lesmel: That must have been when my thumbs were tingling. ;^)

Edited: Jan 31, 2017, 10:39am Top

Tossing books left and right at my house, but not actually spending much time reading.

I'll probably just skim the rest of Balook - 18 but take the whole credit (see half credit at message 16). Turns out this is much less about the re-engineered extinct mammal than his human companion. I think Balook has appeared perhaps 4 times so far, with no significant interaction. I'll be discarding my copy.

Abandoned Places: A Photographic Exploration of More Than 100 Worlds We Have Left Behind - 19 is a stunning collection. Wow!

I misplaced the novel I'm reading before sleep, so I reached into my convenient Vorkosigan pile and read Borders of Infinity, but only the short story. I thought I had the complete novel in Miles, Errant. I've decided to replace these collections with the original books, in hardback when possible. Consequently, I ordered three titles today and will eventually discard M, M & M.

I've been ordering children's books illustrated by Maggie Downer wondering if her magic with The Wind in the Willow translates to other materials. It really doesn't. There are sparks, but not any consistency.

in film:

Having just read The Princess Diarist, I turned to Star Wars: A New Hope and realized I don't like it that Lucas added a scene with Jabba the Hut.

Elsewhere on LT, Firefly has been under discussion, complete with photos of Mal. Mmm- mmm. Spent yesterday watching most of the series, while also doing book sorting.

Jan 31, 2017, 10:42am Top

I like round numbers, so I'm going to count as done The Glass God - 20. I found it again and will maybe finish it this evening. It is so cute, presenting typical horror and fantasy tropes and then dousing them with normality. I love Sharon Li.

Jan 31, 2017, 12:37pm Top

>26 2wonderY: That might be a book bullet. I'm reading a totally campy sci-fi romance (Touched by an Alien, Koch) right now that makes me want to go back and read Accidental Goddess, Sinclair

Jan 31, 2017, 1:04pm Top

Trade you bullets.

But start with Stray Souls, where you quickly meet the whole delightful cast. A possible weakness of The Glass God is it's reduced call for the Magical Misfits. So far, Kevin, the germophobic vampire, has only appeared once.

We get to hear a bit about the business end (accounting and supply) of the Scylla Sisters, and we've been to the Sunrise Spa and Tanning salon, where we see "a desk on which sat a single orchid, designed perhaps to reassure the visitor that their feng has been truly shuied."

Feb 1, 2017, 9:07pm Top

You're doing great! I'm off to a slow start this year.

Feb 2, 2017, 7:02am Top

>29 fuzzi: 'Tis the season for me. Little else to do.

I finished a re-read (actually a listen) of Grave Peril - 21; a project trying to determine what elements are present here that make Dresden such an appealing character.

Feb 2, 2017, 2:42pm Top

I'm probably not going to pick up much speed if I read as I've planned: I am determined to start reading my large collection of Sharon Kay Penman books!

Maybe I should make a thread...

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 9:53am Top

Feb. 2

>31 fuzzi: What do you mean? You have a thread going, eh?

I must not have been very much awake this morning, as I forgot that I finally finished The Glass God.

Parts were a bit tough going, but most of it was an inability to stay awake for many pages once I'm settled in bed.

housekeeping notes at a Magicals Anonymous meeting:

"If you're wearing a chameleon spell on arrival, can you please be careful about recharging the sigils before you leave. I get he need to be discreet, but we've had a couple of you putting your sigils in the microwave to recharge and I gotta remind you its' six hundred watts for your average chameleon recharge, and our microwave is seven hundred watss so if you could just keep an eye on that, that'd be great."

(edited to remove the double counting - ack! That changes all the subsequent numbering!)

Feb 2, 2017, 6:12pm Top

>32 2wonderY: lol, I have any number of threads going, ha!

Feb 4, 2017, 1:36pm Top

Another audio book read - Born Standing Up - 23. It was good to visit with Steve Martin for a short while. The book was brief and yet covered some interesting times. Martin read it himself.

Feb 4, 2017, 3:25pm Top

>34 2wonderY: I have seen online several references to Steve Martin this week, and now yours. Hmm.

Edited: Feb 7, 2017, 9:18am Top

Grabbed a mystery/romance book I saw mentioned somewhere on LT and enjoyed it this weekend. Murder with Peacocks - 24. I think part of my enjoyment was the fact that it was a large print version, and I could read it without eye fatigue. This is the first of a series, and the heroine is billed as an artisan ironworker; but she has taken the summer off, so we see no work references. Too bad. It was also billed as very funny, which I found over-rated. The family was over-the-top quirky, but not particularly humorous, and the romance was predictable. I doubt I'll read more.

I've got half a dozen other books started, but not making much progress.

film: I watched Groundhog Day (of course).

Feb 7, 2017, 12:18pm Top

>36 2wonderY: I was never able to get into that series, even though several people who share my tastes love it. And I'm with you on print size influencing my enjoyment of a book—that matters more all the time!

Feb 7, 2017, 12:23pm Top

>37 SylviaC: If other volumes spend time with Meg at the forge, I'd be willing to read another. My daughter is a welder, and I was an ironworker myself for a couple of years.

Feb 10, 2017, 2:42pm Top

Bought (sort of) The Illustrators of The Wind in the Willows, 1908-2008 - 25, and it arrived Wednesday. As the subject is one of my favorite topics, I scarfed it up in just a couple of sittings. The book lists 90 illustrators; offers a bit of biography, some personal anecdotes and just a smidge of opinion, along with mostly B&W examples of each person's work. There are 12 glossy color plates as well. I'm thrilled to have it in hand. Oddly, after I ordered it, I had second thoughts and cancelled the order almost right away. The seller acknowledged the cancellation and refunded my charge card payment. But they shipped it anyway. When I tried to make the payment, half.com had no mechanism for it, so I contacted the seller, TusconGoodwill directly. They said, Hey! You cancelled, you owe us nothing. I told them I'd pass their good deed on.

Feb 10, 2017, 6:29pm Top

>28 2wonderY: Picked up Stray Souls, Griffin from the library. This may interfere with my getting my first wall hanging completed this weekend! Heh.

Feb 10, 2017, 6:50pm Top

I know. Picked it up again myself, read the first two pages and decided I need to own my copy. It is solid great all the way through.

Feb 17, 2017, 10:49am Top

Rounded up as many library books as I could to return, as it is just too many, and I'll never get them done. I'll make a list of them later just for reference.

This week I went to Pittsburgh for another brother's funeral. It was a good death, and gave him relief, so I'm not mourning. Though the news was still a punch to the solar plexus. But spent time on the drive visiting one on one with a daughter and then got to spend time with extended family again. No reading accomplished. Fascination with the ongoing DC political story is taking away from my reading time too.

The Battle of the Five Armies came up on my holds list, so I did watch parts of it for several evenings till I couldn't keep eyes open. Five discs with all the extra materials. Loved the last Appendix - Here at Journey's End.

Feb 17, 2017, 12:15pm Top

Sorry for your loss. Even if it was a relief, it is still a loss. Hugs.

Feb 17, 2017, 3:43pm Top

Like >43 SylviaC: said. A loss is a loss. Glad to hear you could spend time with family during this stressful time!

Feb 17, 2017, 8:48pm Top

>42 2wonderY: I'm sorry for your loss, but am glad you spent precious time with family.

Feb 18, 2017, 11:49am Top

>42 2wonderY: Sorry for your loss.

Feb 20, 2017, 8:35am Top

Thank you, friends.

Edited: Feb 27, 2017, 9:17am Top

Ha! My library list is down to 28 items and I'm returning a pile today.

Several are news magazines, which have been taking up some of my reading time.

On audio, I've been listening to Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted - 26, which got me interested in watching the show again, and The Callahan Chronicals - 27 (an old favorite) where the author makes a cameo appearance at the end as Jake's "double" from a neighboring ficton.

Harry Potter Magical Places from the Films - 28 is one of the more interesting books in the series, because I do love set design and props, especially when the classrooms are borrowed from real institutions and castles.

I've been slowly reading Ultimate Price; Testimonies of Christians Who Resisted the Third Reich - 29, a slim book, but hard to get through; but I'm nearly there.

On film this weekend, I watched Quartet and Bend it Like Beckham.

returning The Complete Gardener unread except in excerpts.

Other titles I've returned but would like to read fully are

World's Best Ciders
River of Dark Dreams
A Catechism for Business, which is not a discussion, but is a collection of Church writings meant to actually guide on specific issues. Very good!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
A World on Fire: Britain's Role in the Civil War, which was too large and too encompassing.
Garden Revolution, which I carried around, but wasn't able to extract what I needed from it.
and Global Girlfriends, a feel good book written by a micro-business supporter.

Feb 27, 2017, 11:42am Top

How did you like Bend It Like Beckham? A friend insisted I watch it b/c I'd love it...and I did. Unlike her insistence that I'd love Moulin Rouge. I nearly threw up while watching that movie b/c of the fast motion cinematography.

Edited: Feb 27, 2017, 11:56am Top

>49 lesmel: I thought it was only middling. But that's because I've seen (and love!) the director's Bride and Prejudice and Bend It seems like only a preliminary work. Her need to swirl the camera around the characters has been tamed and matured. If you haven't seen B & P - DO! It is a Bollywood feast.

Edited: Mar 6, 2017, 4:40pm Top

From Ultimate Price, I searched a bit and found a film documentary that I watched this weekend - The Restless Conscience, which describes the German political resistance and attempts to assassinate Hitler.

I sat and read the whole of the new The Hanging Tree - 30. It was an ebook, read on my iphone - ugh! I will listen to it again when the audio comes out.

I believe I'm done reading The Half Has Never Been Told -31 and counting a whole point for my effort, but not willing to spend the next several weeks on one book. It is looong and repetitive. I get the point - and it is a very good point, but hey!

Mar 9, 2017, 11:15am Top

Interim Errantry contains three works, and I've read the short story Not on My Patch, a Halloween tale, and the novella How Lovely Are Thy Branches - 32. The third, Lifeboats, a full novel, I'll save for another time. HLATB has a killer exposition that goes on for several pages. Wow!

Mar 10, 2017, 10:24am Top

MrsLee got a new book about Beatrix Potter that sounds pretty wonderful. So while I was ordering it from my library, I saw and ordered the also recently published A Celebration of Beatrix Potter Art and Letters - 33.

It presents nine of Potter's tales, including her artwork, but small, two or three illustrations and their accompanying text per page. And then other illustrators get two pages each; one to talk about Potter's influence on them, and the other to feature one of their illustrations. Mostly, the artwork corresponds to the previous Potter story.

So, for instance, Tomie de Paola drew Mrs. Tiggie-winkle having tea with Mrs. Heelis (Potter's married name.)

There are several wonderfully rendered Mr. McGregors, all in the signature style of the artists.

I could go on, but I've gotta go.

Highly recommended.

Mar 10, 2017, 5:03pm Top

>53 2wonderY: That sounds lovely! When my internet is better, I'll have to check whether my library has it, or I can get it through ILL.

Mar 13, 2017, 3:20pm Top

You won't be sorry.

A correction to my post at 53 - The nine Potter stories are not presented complete, but are "excerpts." But that's okay, as they are just there as a jumping off point for the other illustrations.

If you google the title under images, a fair sampling of the artwork can be seen.

Mar 15, 2017, 12:57pm Top

I got two books connected to the English Lake District! The art of Beatrix Potter : sketches, paintings, and illustrations came; but at the same time I got The Shepherd's View - 34 and dove right in.

It's a compact hardback book that fits nicely in the hand. Just fanning the pages gives a glimpse of wondrous landscapes, wooly faces and delightful humans. The author is native to the area, and conducts an attractive tour with his photography and charming short essays.

On sheep shows, you learn how to clean the sheep, when to cuss (when the sheep goes directly to the tractor and wallows in the oil leakage) and what to drink after the show.

He presents his family and neighbors with frank affection and humor. He's got a shepherd's bucket list that encompasses the globe. I might want to own it so I can pass it around to friends.

On the telly, I've been watching season 1 of The Librarians, but I'm not particularly enchanted. The team takes turns looking bright and then just standing around stupid.

Also, first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Room 222.

Mar 15, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>56 2wonderY: I grew tired of The Librarians very quickly. I don't recall now whether we made it all the way through the first season.

Mar 15, 2017, 1:15pm Top

>57 harrygbutler: I do like John Larroquette in just about anything though.

Edited: Mar 15, 2017, 2:13pm Top

>56 2wonderY: I loved both Mary Tyler Moore Show and Room 222.

Now I have Room 222's theme music going through my head...


Mar 15, 2017, 6:52pm Top

Audio book famine drove me to borrow and listen to Charmed by His Love - 35. It got me through a couple of days and I have better stuff again. I've read all that's worth listening to in the local library collection and I have to order new stuff. Sometimes my timing is off.

Edited: Mar 21, 2017, 7:40am Top

It’s still too cold and rainy to go to the cabin. First job will be mowing the meadow. So it’s another media weekend.

Still reading about World War 2; examining the interior circumstances during the rise and reign of the Nazi Party. The True German: The Diary of a World War II Military Judge – 36 is a journal kept by a military judge during the last 18 months of the war. His duties impinge very little on the material, except to remark that overly harsh sentences for simple awol and theft charges are counterproductive.

Müller-Hill’s reason for keeping the journal is for a safe way to voice his disgust at the propaganda machine and the waste of lives that the continuing hopeless conflict exacts. Germany threw old men and women to the Siegfried Line to dig fortifications as well as Hitler Youth as young as 14, telling them to bring their own tools and food.

He shares a conclusion also found in the 1997 The Nazis; A Warning from History – 37, that burning the country down to nothing kept Germany from justifying itself. This book is nearly a word for word transcript of the BBC television series. It featured lots of interviews of a wide sample of participants in the war; many who were strangely unapologetic of their actions.

On audio, I picked up the science fiction anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination – 38, read mostly by the fabulous Stefan Rudnicki. Twenty-two authors, some big names, some classics, which hold up awesomely. L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s A More Perfect Union could have been written today; it is spot on. Other standouts are Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized list (girlfriend issues) and The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter rounds up a few classic characters, notably Beatrice Rappaccini and Catherine Moreau. “Science does not pay well; mad science pays even worse.” Diana Gabaldon’s is the only long-winded story (surprise!) and I abandoned it.

Another anthology, this time of essays, was lost for several months. I finally looked between bed and night table – ta da! Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life -1/2 doesn’t live up to expectations. Nope, not even the one by Scott Westerfeld. I’m glad I found it. I had nearly run out of renewals and would soon have had to pay for the book. One nugget of wisdom to remind my teen grands came from an essay on the Hulk – “The only way out is through.”

A particularly wonderful serendipitous find is Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25 cents at a Time – 39. Wow! Powerful messages in a modest package. Chapter 1 grabbed me; chapter 5 made me cry. Author was a reluctant volunteer at her local St. Vincent de Paul store. The “Rule” of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is:
1. Pray together
2. Help poor people face-to-face.
3. The poor are our teachers.

I’m done with Nature’s Temples: The Complex World of Old Growth Forests – 40. I read the first few chapters in full, and just skimmed the later chapters. I found most interesting the measurement of carbon sequestration. Contrary to original theory, it has now been established that the older, larger trees “sink” more carbon than younger faster growing trees.

In film, I watched Mistress of Spices, which is visually lush, but lacks a compelling story. Two stars from Bride and Prejudice co-star here too. Same producers, I believe.
Rather than read Crossing Hitler, I watched the documentary Hitler on Trial (no touchstone yet) by Justin Hardy, which covers the same ground of Hans Litten’s court challenge concerning the SA’s lawless violence.

Mar 22, 2017, 6:29pm Top

Picking up that half a credit, I'm quitting Every Heart a Doorway - 41 half way through. As other reviewers said, it's an interesting premise poorly executed.

I watched The Intouchables. It's a French film, so the subtitles were somewhat important, though the feel of the film would come through. Nicely executed, and since it was based on a true story, there was a brief glimpse and a biographic update of the real people at the very end.

Mar 22, 2017, 8:26pm Top

>62 2wonderY: I'm here, just lurking and reading. :)

Edited: Apr 11, 2017, 9:51am Top

I've been giving my full and respectful attention to The Art of Beatrix Potter - 42. There is just so much to admire. I didn't know she was a mycology scholar. And her theories on lichen were later confirmed. I'd like to imagine her unleashed from that Victorian rein that her parents placed on her.

Apr 4, 2017, 4:37pm Top

Not much reading getting done. This past weekend, I devoted my time to an old hobby - buttons. Went to the Ohio spring show and helped with the judging competition Friday, and spent the rest of the time buying buttons and visiting with the ladies. Very nice ladies collect buttons. I'll spend time in the next few weeks sorting what I bought and researching some of them. I do love livery buttons, so there is much to learn from them.

I skimmed Church of Spies - 43, but I thought it was a cheat. The author tried to make a suspense story out of very little material. The truth is, the Catholic Church failed in many directions during WW2.

I finished listening to Carry On - 44 and enjoyed it immensely.

I watched the first episode of Flash, and wasn't interested enough to go on.

Apr 5, 2017, 9:17am Top

I do like the Origami Yoda series, but I've always listened to the audio version. Trying to evaluate whether they'd be a good fit for a grandchild, I read the fourth in the series, Jabba the Puppett - 45. It was just okay. Not sure if it is the change in format or a drop in quality.

Edited: Apr 11, 2017, 9:46am Top

Again James Rebanks; this time his first book, The Shepherd’s Life – 46. This is more serious and Rebanks doesn’t find his stride till a third of the way into the narration. He goes into great detail about farm activities, which might repel some readers; but I was with him all the way. I’ve mucked a bit with sheep myself. I cried with him when the flocks were destroyed for hoof & mouth disease.

(edited to remove a duplicate)

Lots of films

I hoped Mist: Sheepdog Tales might harmonize with the sheep farming theme, but it was cloyingly precious and was abandoned.
Playing for Keeps was mediocre. Now is Good was excellent, about a young woman with leukemia. Also watched the old Cary Grant film, Gunga Din. The casting choices were excellent. Kipling himself appears in the last scene to memorialize Din.

touchstones fixed

Apr 9, 2017, 5:04pm Top

>67 2wonderY: I saw that old movie, years ago. I didn't realize Kipling was in it!

Edited: Apr 10, 2017, 8:14am Top

Well, since Kipling died in 1936 and the film came out in 1939, it was likely an actor playing him...

That Cary Grant film was boxed with three others, so I did watch all of them. (I have a list of all his films that I copied after reading a biography last year. I do so enjoy him.) I didn't like Sylvia Scarlett at all. It was a waste of CG and Katherine Hepburn. Destination Tokyo was a fine film. All male cast, spy tension and camaraderie. And an old favorite, Arsenic and Old Lace.

And now I see I've enjoyed several films directed by Oliver Parker, so I'll go off on that tangent as well.

Apr 11, 2017, 7:49am Top

I read and enjoyed the second book in the Maradaine universe, so I thought I'd better go back and read the first one. I tried and tried, but half-way through I'm quitting. I am not engaged by the protagonist, nor by any of the secondary characters. Veranix continues to act like a clueless putz and I have no time for him. He doesn't appear to be learning or growing, and I don't even like him or have much sympathy. The Thorn of Dentonhill - 1/2.

Recalling the main character in the second book, A Murder of Mages, Satrine Rainey immediately roused my sympathy and interest. Her back story was more apparent and her actions were much more focused.

Apr 11, 2017, 7:59pm Top

>69 2wonderY: shucks...Kipling was probably my favorite author when I was in grammar school.

Destination Tokyo is one of a number of recommended older movies that I've not yet watched...maybe soon.

Apr 12, 2017, 9:00am Top

>69 2wonderY: >71 fuzzi: The number of very good movies Cary Grant made, in multiple genres, is impressive. He's certainly one of my favorite stars. I concur with your judgments on Gunga Din, Destination Tokyo, and Arsenic and Old Lace, Ruth. So far I haven't gotten around to watching Sylvia Scarlett, though; it never quite rises to the top of the viewing list, perhaps because I'm not a keen fan of Katharine Hepburn.

Apr 12, 2017, 3:08pm Top

>72 harrygbutler: This film would only make you despise her. It truly is gag-worthy.

Apr 13, 2017, 5:52pm Top

A celebration of Beatrix Potter

Touchstoning it again, as it doesn't show on the main work page that I've talked about it here.

Apr 18, 2017, 7:49am Top

On audio, listened to Fangirl - 47. I'm so glad I read Carry On first. It was important to know the story's arc; and I wouldn't have been as attracted to the Simon & Baz story from the material in this book. Good characters here too, but a much narrower story.

I'll be finishing The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper - 48 today. I like it; it reminds me of A Man Called Ove, though it's not nearly as emotionally engaging.

Hidden Figures - 49 tried to defeat me. First I ordered the juvenile version, then the CD audio had a bad disc, but I finally got the full book and finished the last section.

The Art of Beatrix Potter - 50 was a natural to order, as I've already looked at the newer publication by Emily Zach. This, with an appreciation by Anne Carroll Moore, was first published in 1955. The book is heavy and even more dense with illustration. The quality of the prints is less, but the organization of the material is excellent, both chronologically and thematically. So, a chapter of just interiors, another of garden settings, etc.

Apr 18, 2017, 9:21am Top

>75 2wonderY: Curious Charms is the next book for my 1st Mondays book club.

Apr 23, 2017, 7:13pm Top

Coming in at 620 pages, I might not have stuck if these hadn't been old friends; and I always enjoy hanging out together. Kit and Nita are gingerly exploring more than friendship in Games Wizards Play - 51. Of course, that is only a minor plot thread. Earth wizards hold a competition every 11 years showcasing cutting-edge spells by young practitioners; and the half-generation slightly older wizards who missed competing, are asked to mentor the competitors. The last third of the book contains the best material, and the climax came as a big hurray surprise.

On audio, a randomly chosen fantasy mystery, If Walls Could Talk -52 is only mediocre. Will probably not continue the series. The female protagonist is really not convincing as a renovation contractor, and the architecture and the job itself are only minor to the story. Not nearly as good as the Inn Boonsboro trilogy.

Apr 23, 2017, 8:56pm Top

>77 2wonderY: Kit and Nita are such a great series, aren't they? I loved the third section best too.

Apr 23, 2017, 9:12pm Top

>78 ronincats: I've always said this series is better than Harry Potter. Duane has a talent for pinning essential right living.

I've been trying to listen to all, but the last few haven't been available as such. And I seem to be nearing the end of the series too.

Apr 25, 2017, 11:14am Top

I've been dragging the film, Silver Linings Playbook, around for several weeks, wondering if it would be worth watching. It is. I can find faults, but it's depiction of family life as loud and rocky is spot on. Particularly liked the therapist cum football fan, Dr. Patel.

Edited: May 1, 2017, 11:34am Top

Abandoning Dark Mist Rising, The Changeover and The Everything Box - Dull!

Finished Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue -53, again on audio, and better than the print version.

Why We March - 54 is all photos, but I did enjoy every page.

Oh! New library policy - no fines! Four renewals of four weeks allowed and then if not returned within 30 days, charged for the book and a servicing fee. Not sure I like it.

May 1, 2017, 12:23pm Top

>81 2wonderY: new policy is probably cheaper and easier, instead of racking up and reminding about fines.

May 6, 2017, 9:16pm Top

I just discovered that there's a sequel to Rudder Grange, Ruth: Pomona's Travels. I picked it up at a bookstore sale today.

May 10, 2017, 1:17pm Top

>83 harrygbutler: Nice!

I'm trying to avoid book sales - did not attend the local library sale last weekend.

I'm re-reading some of the Tortall books, hoping to interest middle grand in them. First Test - 55, Page - 56 and Squire - 57.

May 13, 2017, 11:14am Top

Discarding a lot of tries. In print, The Changeover, The Iron King and Evangelical Catholicism.

Several more audios, but I don't have them in front of me.

An Iron Druid novella, from Oberon's perspective - The Purloined Poodle - 58. Read in print because the Luke Daniels audio was not available.

Watched two BBC first season TV series, not sure I liked either. Too much graphic sex and violence. 'being human' and 'The Street.'

Edited: May 15, 2017, 11:32am Top

Listened to another Iron Druid novella, Two Ravens and One Crow - 59, but not in the car, which means I might have to listen again to get the whole story.

In print, finished Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich - 60. I learned a few things, but the execution of the material was not impressive. Much of the book dwelt on the cryptic record of Hitler's drug regimen. His doctor, Theodor Morell, kept copious but messy and coded notes. The high staff use of opioids etc. was less interesting than the wholesale dosing of troops with methamphetamine during such actions as the invasion of France. Though this seems to be a truly important fact, this seems to be the first investigation of it? The author says so.

In video, watched the BBC three part series Crisis at the Castle. Enjoyed seeing the variety of owners and how they cope (or don't) with the responsibilities.

May 15, 2017, 12:50pm Top

You are doing so well with your reading, I'm still on book #1 for May. True, I did spend almost a week on a trip, and I've been working in my gardens every spare chance I have while the weather remains mild, but...

May 17, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Returning to the library:

Liturgy and Personality - not what I was looking for.

Gardenista - Very limited types of gardens portrayed. Not to my taste.

Essential Pruning Techniques - a large heavy book with lots of species, mostly ornamental. A few diagrams and photos of pruning, but mostly a photo of each species and a paragraph or two of description of habit, reason for pruning and a couple of sentences about pruning it. A major fail, in my estimation.

Epic Tomatoes - 61. I LOVE this book. It covers a great deal of material with just the right amount of detail. Yum!

Sylvia's Farm - 62. I read about half of this one, but I think I've still got half a credit to add to it. Sylvia raises sheep in the Catskill Mountains. Chapters are sometimes essay-like, but mostly autobiographic. I can sympathize with her passion and sensibilities, but a whole book was too much. Three chapters in particular were beautifully done. 'To Milk the Cow' is an essay about having to accomplish many other tasks before being able to do the one you've targeted. Moving materials from one pile to another - that's me. 'Watch and You Will Know' is about Elliot the duck. Charming. And 'Rose,' an old ewe that unexpectedly survives the catastrophe of a lost and infected horn.

May 19, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Returning to the library unread:

Hitler Ascent - not enough time in my life to read all I want to. Did read enough to feel creeped.

City Parks - essays by well-known writers, accompanied by lots of photos.

Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs - Way too big for my purposes. Huge!

The Layered Garden - Lots of luscious photos which I enjoyed, but I didn't read any of the text.

May 22, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Audio last week:

Lady Knight - 63 finishing off the Protector of the Small Quartet.

Listened to Two Ravens and One Crow - 64 but have little recollection of the plot. May listen again.

Frost Burned - 65. Again, listened to much of it in the house, which isn't a good practice. Found it just okay, perhaps for that reason.

Mostly finished A Blink of the Screen - 66 and Dangerous Women - 67 before the audio files expired.

I chatted with a young car salesman at the dealer's while the manager was researching things for me. We talked audio fantasy in great depth. Not many people I come across in this area have the names of favorite narrators at their command and can talk about their pros & cons. Quite enjoyed myself.

Jun 5, 2017, 11:48am Top

Thought I'd spend more time in the Tortall universe, so went back to the original Circle of Magic books. Listened to Sandry's Book - 68 and Tris's Book - 69 both with a full cast recording. The third book wasn't immediately available, so went on to Terrier - 70, a book I found difficult to read, and now am again finding it less appealing than the other subsets. Hmm. Possibly just a personality mismatch for me.

In print, finished Dreadnought - 71 a new series and a new author. April Daniels puts a human spin on a new superhero. It is very well done, I thought. Daniels is an LT author.

In film, watched a couple of episodes of 'the 100,' a TV series based on a novel of the same name, written by Kass Morgan.

Jun 5, 2017, 7:12pm Top

Returning to the library not sufficiently read:

What Makes a Hero? - the practical lessons here would nicely compliment a Jedi training course. (I taught Sunday school with that theme ages ago.)

Integrated Forest Gardening - I'll order this one again soon. It has sections that would inform my practices on the ridgetop.

Jun 5, 2017, 8:38pm Top

I wish I could listen to books...but my mind wanders and I lose my place.

Jun 6, 2017, 8:38am Top

>93 fuzzi: That's what happens to me as well, except in the car. Thanks be! It was always so awkward to balance a book on my lap.

Edited: Jun 7, 2017, 11:39am Top

Listened to Tongues of Serpents- 72. I enjoyed the growing diversity of dragon characters. Love some of the dragon names, especially Kulingile, which sounds a lot more melodious than it looks. The boring long trip through the Australian continent dragged.

Edited: Jun 13, 2017, 10:48am Top

Finished the longer novella Lifeboats -72 in Interim Errantry, by Diane Duane. I have to continue saying that this series has much more truth and substance than HP. It's also got great world building.

A children's picture book well worth an extended page gazing is Breaking News: Bear Alert - 73. Many bear references slid into the details.

I had put down The Mistress of Shenstone - 74 a long while ago, because I was unhappy with the plot twist and decisions of the main characters. I finally picked it up again and finished it, finding that Jane, from The Rosary enters the story at the end, as a newlywed. Hmm. Now I need to go back and explore how the stories intersect.

Touchstones not working at all?

Video, I watched On the Line - pretty bad.

Jun 13, 2017, 10:52am Top

Audio listen Brown Girl Dreaming - 75. It was just okay.

Abandoned Crossing Over, a fantasy, after giving it two chances, and both times finding it tepid.

Jun 13, 2017, 4:03pm Top

Read a couple of brand new non-fictions.

Climate of Hope - 76 was well done. It seems it was written quickly, in response to the assumption that President Trump would withdraw from the Paris Accord. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, recommends lots of valuable strategies for local and municipal governments to adopt to reduce carbon footprint. His testimony is timely and echoed in the headlines this last month. This book closely resembles Green Urbanism Down Under and in the context of local projects, Running out of Water.

I spent a lot more time with Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet - 77. I was surprised that Jenkins didn't toss his hat into one or the other camp. Although he noted that gene insertion and its consequences are not as simple and straightforward as Monsanto would like us to believe, he seemed to keep his mind open to benefits. Chapter 4, though, was a bloody indictment of biotech practices in Hawaii, where most of the herbicide resistant crops are developed and grown for seed. In order to prove their resistance, they are subjected to mountain of herbicides, which are not disclosed to the local public, not even for medical treatment of exposures. Hawaiians have been trying to reclaim their rights to clean air soil and water, and have been shut out all the way. Jenkins critiques the entire agro-chemical system, and offers many many alternative paradigms that are being developed. This was an excellent, thoughtful book.

Jun 13, 2017, 7:36pm Top

Still following you, just not chatty. :)

Jun 14, 2017, 9:10am Top

>98 2wonderY: I neither support nor condemn GMOs b/c I just don't know enough about them; but I 100% condemn the effect of any testing in the form of nuking crops to prove the resistance works. This is partly why I am highly annoyed by Bill Nye's sudden half-hearted support of GMOs. There's more than just EATING the GMO crops and no one seems to be discussing that.

Jun 14, 2017, 10:23am Top

>100 lesmel: I recommend Jeffrey M. Smith's book Genetic Roulette which does spell out some of the messiness of the insertion process and unintended consequences. Somewhere around here I've got a scientific paper that discusses the same.

Edited: Jun 16, 2017, 1:47pm Top

On audio, finished Witches Abroad - 78. Pratchett's female characters have lots more staying power, eh? It was great to be able to understand Nanny Og's nonchalance at Granny Weatherwax's actions.

Jun 17, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Audio Don't You Know There's a War On? - 79.
Grabbed it off the shelf just to keep my audio pile topped off.

Edited: Jun 21, 2017, 10:03am Top

Re-listening to the Peter Grant books while waiting for The Hanging Tree. Listened to Moon Over Soho - 80

Almost done listening to Daja's Book - 81 and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park - 82. Rowell's adolescent characters sound so true. And you ache to make things better for them.

Jun 21, 2017, 10:30am Top

>98 2wonderY:, >100 lesmel:, & >101 2wonderY: Marion Nestle posted about the food documentary "Food Evolution"


Nestle is one of the few people I know discusses GMO food/crops in a broader context. I think I'm going to have to watch the film to see what Bill Nye says. I'm also now disappointed in Neil deGrasse Tyson -- I'd forgotten he basically pooh-poohed the non-GMOers by saying we have used centuries of artificial selection. GMO and artificial selection (or cross-breeding) isn't the same thing!

>101 2wonderY: Have you read this post about Smith's Genetic Roulette?
It's a shame the site is two years out of date. There's some interesting posts that deserve some attention.

Edited: Jun 21, 2017, 11:29am Top

>105 lesmel: Thanks for that info!

I went looking in my local library for Food Evolution, not finding it, but did order Food Beware.

Nestle seems in accord with Jenkins. Did you see the two attack posts already recorded?

Jun 21, 2017, 11:43am Top

Ha! Googling one of the writers of the Academics Review discloses the organization is directly sponsored by Monsanto:


"In a November 2010 email, Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto has just sent a “gift of $10,000” to the university “so the funds should be there.” He then tells Chassy he is working on a plan for Monsanto and others in the agribusiness industry to support an “academics review” website that Chassy can use to counter concerns and allegations raised by critics of GMOs. “From my perspective the problem is one of expert engagement and that could be solved by paying experts to provide responses,” Sachs wrote. “The key will be keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information.”

Jun 21, 2017, 3:28pm Top

>107 2wonderY: Ouch!! That's hurts the credibility more! UI@Urbana-Champaign has a history of doing this though. Taking money and burying the connections. Not that other universities haven't done that over and over and over; but I have seen UIUC do this like it's SOP and a requirement.

>106 2wonderY: Food Evolution is brand new. Nestle: Food Evolution is opening in New York on Friday this week.

Jun 21, 2017, 4:25pm Top

Yes, my alma mater is heavily into oil & gas extraction research now that the mountains have been removed to get at the coal. The good thing is that the Agriculture College is working on strip mine reclamation.

I gave Zero Waste Home another try in audio, but abandoned it quickly. The author first tells of growing up in Provence, but the narrator they chose has a clipped British accent. Dumb. I might have listened longer to a sweet French voice.

I've returned Six Seasons. It's a pretty book, but I'm no cook.

I'll take credit for reading The How-To Book of the Mass - 83. I got some good out of it. I'd heard that all the prayers and responses are biblically based, and Dubruiel lines this out adequately. He also has some particular language about the offertory that I'd been looking for. So it was a worthwhile time spent.

Jun 27, 2017, 6:09am Top

I've been on the road again, but this time with company, so not much reading got done. Instead I had several days to chat with my youngest sister non-stop.

A younger cousin died of a quick moving cancer. This was the second cousin who passed this year already, so we thought it important to go and give some hugs and re-connect. Four states have always stood between our family and the rest of the clan, so we only met occasionally while growing up, and didn't form friendships as we had with the other branch. But we've enjoyed our acquaintanceship and feel motivated to try and build something more. Only two aunts and two uncles still living. Lots of hugs exchanged along with email addresses and life notes compared.

In the next several weeks, I have several other projects:

-An internal audit at work. Here's hoping we can fake our way through it as successfully as we did last time.

-Moving daughter and family to their new home. Packing is well underway, but vehicles and help have not yet been lined out.

-Blackberry season is nearly upon us. Access to the berries is much improved this year. Passing around samples of my cordial, I heard lots of enthusiasm for a picking party, but no firm commitments.

Jun 29, 2017, 11:24am Top

This is the moving weekend.

Managed to listen to Whispers Under Ground -84, a repeat and Briar's Book - 85.

Just about finished with Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey - 86 and now want to hear more of his music. I've been in love with one album since the 70s - Of Rivers and Religion.

Jul 3, 2017, 7:15am Top

>110 2wonderY: it's a shame that so many of us just don't get together with our families unless there's a death.

My family is spread out too: one in Oregon, two in Illinois, some in Connecticut, and my father in the Southwestern US (he travels around in his RV). I've several first cousins in California that I've never met.

Edited: Jul 5, 2017, 3:34pm Top

I just went 7 days without a book in hand. Well, unless it was in the 2 million boxes that we moved.

Oh yeah! A whole room-full of boxes of books. The mover's teen nephew, who helped, argued for Kindle.

It was quite the odyssey. The packers were magicians/Tetris kings. Two big vans, filled to the gills, with stuff packed inside stuff and folded over into other dimensions and granny's rocker and the lawn mower strapped to the back bumper. The aquarium got dumped in the family van (SIL thought he could just plug the pump into the dash) and one fish got stepped on, the other was rescued into a cup. The gravel spilled into the door tracks and had to be cleaned out before the door would close again and the trip resume. The rescued fish was still alive 3 days later! The van stinks!!!

Packing took longer than hoped, so Terry the mover lost his crew to the holiday. I beat the grandkids and wheedled another SIL to travel to help, and unloading was basically accomplished by family. Terry crashed (his body, not the van) after driving all night after finishing packing.

New home is a big old four-square with lots of stairs and tight corners and beautiful old woodwork. My body aches everywhere. I focused on getting the kitchen and dining rooms set up. Mission mostly accomplished. Massive DR furniture, including an antique modular wardrobe that takes up an entire wall. Boy does it look good in that space.

Got to spend quality time with each of the grands. I relate best with them when we are actually accomplishing tasks, rather than recreating.

Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving there later this year.

Jul 5, 2017, 10:38am Top

Ooooo!!! A four-square! Congrats on the move. :)

Jul 5, 2017, 10:42am Top

>113 2wonderY: he's a silly child, books don't require batteries...

Fish can be extremely resilient, depending on the type. They don't respond well to human weight, though. :(

Beat the grandkids? Got a video? :D

You're so right about working together being so much more rewarding than doing "fun" stuff. The long distance moves I have experienced really helped strengthen my relationships...though one might not think so after seeing all the snappy comments brought out by fatigue.

I'd love to see what the house looks like, even if only an outside shot. I adore old houses, was raised in a circa 1811 colonial in Connecticut. It was a handyman special, and my parents fixed it up mostly by themselves.

Jul 5, 2017, 10:58am Top

Sadly, the Zillow pictures were taken down as soon as it closed. Anne has sent me a few photos on my phone, I just need to figure how to load them to the web.

The outside isn't particularly eye-catching. There is an unfortunate front porch enclosure that needs to be undone at some point.

The original fluted wood trim, impressive staircase and pocket doors have never been painted (Thank the Lord!) Three stained glass windows, 10 foot ceilings, large bay in the dining room and antique tile fireplace in the living room, original narrow plank wood floors throughout, in pretty good shape. Enlarged and modern kitchen with A WALK IN PANTRY!

Jul 5, 2017, 11:11am Top

I was going to say I was jealous of your pocket doors...then I read the walk in pantry bit. Totes jellie over the walk in pantry....yup.

Jul 5, 2017, 11:35am Top

>116 2wonderY: The new house sounds excellent! We had one room nearly completely filled with book boxes for a while after we moved in.

Jul 5, 2017, 11:44am Top

>118 harrygbutler: And remember, these are not my books, but oldest daughter and her family. I heard a comment that my children are arguing about who gets to move my belongings when I die. They are shifting it on to each other. I say just preserve my home as a living museum. Ha!

Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 7:20am Top

>116 2wonderY: too bad, but thank you for the descriptions! It sounds lovely, even if in need of updates/repairs.

Here is the house I was raised in, love it still:

I couldn't afford it if it ever came on the market. Last time it was sold the asking price was over 800K. I'm happy with my memories.

Jul 6, 2017, 8:40am Top

>120 fuzzi: I LOVE IT! And I've been in a few of the same vintage and can imagine the inside.

I messaged extended family that the move was accomplished, and my sister innocently emailed me with "Got your text about Anne's move - so you did not have to help?"

This was my reply:

Ha! I didn't say that. I rented the second truck, went for more boxes, ferried stuff to Goodwill, moved furniture and boxes out of the house, convinced Anne & Mike to leave the old couch and other junk, scrubbed the kitchen and appliances, swept out the house, packed random stuff in my own van, enlisted Nathan to come with Rose, beat the grands so they would help (not really, I just herded and praised them to keep them on task), made sure the main moving guy didn't expire from overwork, directed the unloading and distribution, repaired the 'new' refrigerator, unpacked and organized the kitchen, re-assembled furniture, repaired furniture, chatted with Ellie about wall colors, yelled at Ellie for daring to make slime in her new bedroom, took care of new trash day bins, researched and organized the recycling, toured the yard and immediate neighborhood, measured for new storage options, took Anne to IKEA, paid for new storage units and couch and sorted out the few tools they do own.
Then I drove home 200 miles to return to work today.

Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 6:22pm Top

>121 2wonderY: so you didn't help much, we can see that...


The house I lived in had five fireplaces, though we only used three (den, kitchen, living room), never the two in the bedrooms upstairs. It had a full walk up attic. The floors were original, wide wooden planks, and without sub-flooring, so I could put my eye up against the gaps between the boards in the living room and see the basement below. There was no insulation to speak of: the walls were old horsehair plaster and laths, with just the clapboards on the outside. The front door was original, a double door, and the glass over the door was also original: you could see rainbows and other imperfections in it.

I still have a soft spot for old houses.

Jul 10, 2017, 10:08am Top

Researching what to call the modular wardrobe and it's history, I found a photo of a similar unit:

The three cabinets are separate, only uniting properly if the base and crown are aligned correctly. Her oval mirror is what attracted me to the piece - it has mica embedded in the silvering and it shimmers and sparkles in low light.There are drawers inside the cabinets, and a hinged commode shelf in the left side.

We reinforced the base and installed missing blocks on the top so that the crown sits properly now. Not my household, they had no handy scraps of lumber; so we used old fashioned children's building blocks for the stops.

So knockdown Wardrobe/Armoire

I listened to The Hanging Tree - 87 finally! and Magic Steps - 88. I'm dithering a lot with other choices.

Watched Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next. His shabby appearance makes me cringe, as do his questions. But he illustrates a multitude of wonderful concepts that originated in the US, were adopted successfully in other countries, and have been abandoned by us for pure stupidity.

Also the French documentary Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution. Soft on data, it explores local communities that have committed to feeding their children good organic meals at school, and the ripple effects throughout the community. It also connects the dots on diseases and the use of highly toxic agricultural chemicals. Farmers children with genital malformations, cancers, etc. The mayor said something memorable: "Don't consult the accountant first, consult your conscience." And then discusses the hidden costs of continuing to subsidize conventional agriculture.

Jul 10, 2017, 6:28pm Top

Gave a partial listen to Heroes & Villains, stories for boys, and City of Stairs. Didn't catch.

Edited: Jul 12, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>123 2wonderY: gorgeous piece of furniture!

I'm blessed to own several older pieces of furniture, items that my parents found while bargain-hunting in the mid-late 1950s. My father would repair and/or refinish their purchases using some sort of oil, no polyurethane. I have two of the four dropleaf tables that he refinished, plus a couple Windsor chairs from his mother's kitchen, circa 1920, and two Essex chairs that he and my mother bought new from Ethan Allen in the 1960s. Our "coffee table" was made by my Dad for their first home, out of a solid block of pine. I wouldn't be surprised if it could hold a thousand pounds on top without collapsing, it's that sturdy.

And I have two wooden lamps that my great grandfather MADE. I wouldn't part with them for anything.

Edited: Jul 13, 2017, 8:38am Top

>125 fuzzi: Perhaps it was Formby's Furniture Refinisher. I used to love that stuff. It would liquify the old finish, but not completely remove it. If you got it right, the wet mess would re-solidify into a nice patina-ed protective coat, bringing back the original wood color.

Finished Cocaine Blues - 89. Wasn't terribly impressed with it, and won't bother reading more of the series. Miss Phryne Fisher just breezes her way through every difficulty, remaining in full control and impressing all she meets. She does have excellent taste in friends and cohorts, but she is viciously judgmental of others tastes if they don't conform to hers.

Abandoned Bruno, Chief of Police. If someone loved this book, encourage me and I'll give it another chance.

Jul 13, 2017, 8:50pm Top

>126 2wonderY: I did a search of oils for woodworking, and found it: linseed oil.

We always used coasters on the furniture, as my father never did use polyurethane.

Jul 13, 2017, 8:59pm Top

>127 fuzzi: My dad used to use a mixture of turpentine and raw linseed oil to protect outdoor wooden furniture. My brother has been experimenting for years, but has never found exactly the right mix.

Jul 14, 2017, 7:03pm Top

>128 SylviaC: like my grandmother's and mother's cooking, without recipes. I cannot duplicate my mother's soup, though mine is pretty good. I don't know what I'm missing, what ingredient would make the difference.

Jul 15, 2017, 12:06pm Top

A quiet weekend after having to spend $$$ on a car repair. Sorting library books.

Sending back abandoned:

Sowing Beauty: Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed. Too many tables; intimidating.
Xena: Warrior Princess, the Official Guide. Gosh what a beautiful face Lucy Lawless has. Weisbrot doesn't instill any joy into his guide. Lot's of photos without captions, sadly.
Goblin Moon; mentioned by someone here. Didn't catch me. Also very small print.
What the F: What Swearing Reveals About our Language, our Brains and Ourselves. Tries to spice up the chapters with falsely salacious stories. If he'd done a good job, wouldn't have needed that. I may be being too harsh.
Wanted to read The Coming of the Third Reich, but I'm giving up on the desire this year.
The One and Only Ivan. Tried on audio and the full-color collector's edition, and couldn't force myself.

Did read Volume 1 of graphic novel Saga - 90, as the heroine is nursing her newborn throughout the story. Kinda lame, though her cheekbones are as beautiful as Lucy's.

Also recommended by LT, read Venus Envy - 91 and sorry I spent the time. Ick.

Jul 17, 2017, 8:43am Top

Returning several more unread:

Captured : the corporate infiltration of American democracy
Owl and the Japanese Circus
Last straw for Harriet
The mirror : a history; ordered hoping it would describe the mica dust technique. It didn't, but did offer three pages specifically on the 'armoire mirrors' phenomenon.

I'm also finally returning the hardcopy of Carry On. I'm glad I kept and followed through reading the print version in order to re-visit these wonderful characters.

Not sure I will continue listening to The Eyre Affair, as it hasn't caught me yet.

Grabbed a couple of DVDs and watched Zoom: Academy for Superheroes, which was mediocre, and passed on The Brothers Grimsby, not realizing it was R rated, a pretty good indicator that it's garbage. Yep.

Jul 17, 2017, 8:46am Top

>131 2wonderY: Three words: Sacha Baron Cohen -- that should have been an indication it was garbage...

Jul 17, 2017, 12:27pm Top

>131 2wonderY: most R rated movies I've watched are garbage. If they can't keep it to a PG-13, I don't want to see it.

My son liked Logan, the latest X-Men movie, but couldn't recommend it as it is (his words) full of totally unnecessary F-bombs. Really, people?

Jul 17, 2017, 12:30pm Top

>133 fuzzi: It's Logan/Wolverine. Of course it's going to be f-bombs. lol

Jul 18, 2017, 10:42am Top

I've been listening to The Red Bandanna - 92, about a hero of 9/11. It's touching, but definitely padded to become book-length.

Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 10:55am Top

With granddaughter, listened to Alanna - 93.

An excellent documentary film about healthcare crisis, Escape Fire. Describes a patient-intense mode of assistance through crisis. Follows a young veteran with severe physical and mental issues post-Afghanistan tour, supported with alternative modes of pain and anxiety treatments. Wow!

Also listened to NPR's Driveway Moments More About Animals, but not counting it as a book.

Nearly done with Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny - 94. Short and to the point. It's an adequate summary of his very scholarly review of fascism in Black Earth.

Presently enjoying All Systems Red - 95, so I'll count it now. Main character, the murderbot, sucked me in.

Jul 28, 2017, 10:51am Top

Returning unread:
2 books by Gregory A. Boyd
Valor's Choice, begun, but did not 'take'
Sweet Silver Blues, ditto
The Authentic Garden, not to my taste, too modern and geometric.

Taking half-credits on Dirt is Good -1/2 and Drawdown - 96.

I've read in considerably more depth in both subjects, so these were both just overviews. I found a few nuggets of new material in both, which will go into my permanent notes.

Jul 30, 2017, 9:20am Top

>137 2wonderY: I'm returning more books to the library, unread. I wonder if that is partly due to the "I've read this before, but by a better author" aspect?

I get more like my mother every day, I swear! ;)

Edited: Jul 31, 2017, 7:00pm Top

On audio (while trying to restore order to the spare bedroom/junk room), finished A Duty to the Dead - 97 and almost done with Little Beach Street Bakery - 98. On the second title, the love interest's voice is very odd. It's extremely gravelly and sounds drunk all through the book. It's the only thing that puts me off about him, but it's a major flaw. I think the fault is with the native British female attempting to speak as a male US Southerner. You can actually hear her native pronunciations behind the poorly done drawl.

Also had a re-listen to Broken Homes - 99, waiting till the next title becomes available.

Watched The Spitfire Grill. Good movie!
Also re-visiting Black Books. Love it!

Edited: Aug 2, 2017, 11:01am Top

I'm dabbling in Xena X-posed -100 while also watching some of the best of episodes in the 10th anniversary CD collection. It's a trip of curiosity. My younger daughter was truly fixated on Xena in second grade. She got in serious trouble for play-acting with a girl friend, holding a pocket knife to her neck. Oops!

The book is basically fan-fiction, published after the second of six seasons.

a fun episode is Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire where the full cast competes musically.

Aug 2, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>140 2wonderY: I love Lyre, Lyre. A really good friend made me watch it and then hooked me on the soundtrack.

Aug 6, 2017, 11:20pm Top

Note: Little Beach Street Bakery turned out to be not even a decent romance. The love interest tried to wheedle (author's choice of word) the heroine to give up her life and bakery and move to Savannah, where he has resumed his former life. Eyuch! His alternative lifestyle is as shallow as he is.

Moved on to Anna Quindlen essays in Loud and Clear - 101. Published in 2004, they still seem relevant.

Aug 7, 2017, 8:49am Top

>142 2wonderY: Reading the description for Little Beach Street Bakery, I would never have thought that was a romance. It sounds more like straight chicklit -- woman falls out of relationship and finds herself.

Aug 7, 2017, 1:35pm Top

That's what I hoped as well. Nope. It devolved into a cringe-fest.

Edited: Aug 15, 2017, 8:00am Top

Sending Grain of Truth back to the library unfinished. It's about gluten intolerance, but oh boy! Way too much background material. I found it impossible to wade through. I think the author is contending that older wheat varieties contain more digestible proteins, and supporting artisan wheat and breads. He also faults the fast processing methods, suggesting that slow-rise sourdough makes the gluten more digestible. That makes sense. Also, sourdough is yummy.

I've started a second Jenny Colgan novel, mostly because it's already here and I'm curious. So far okay, but I don't expect much. The good thing is that the possible love interests so far all seem to be authentic and sturdy men.

I've signed onto my daughter's new library account in Cincinnati and downloaded Hoopla and a first audio book from that system. I'm shocked at how few audios on my list they do have. I was hoping to accomplish much more listening to Discworld books. I might have to actually pay for an Audible account. Hmmmph.

Aug 17, 2017, 7:39am Top

Only skimmed The Financial Diaries. Good material, but not a lot that was new to me. I've been there. Also, as part of my job, I review the income records of tenants who receive rent subsidies. Too depressingly familiar.

Aug 19, 2017, 10:42am Top

In honor of daughter's new/old house, I considered buying a book I saw at a store, but borrowed it instead. Old Home Love - 103 has beautiful rooms, but too edited for real living. On the same library catalog page, I saw and ordered For the Love of Old - 104. I've liked Mary Randolph Carter's photos for decades, but she really does tend to too much tattered. I may release my collection of her books soon. This book does have a nice chapter on books though, and the photos are such that you can read the titles. Other subjects featured are some other favorites - silver, statues, family photos, fabrics. Carter has a collection of Infant of Prague statues that rivals my mom's.

Curious bout other work by Dylan Moran, I watched The Decoy Bride. Crappy film, and Moran has only three short scenes.
I did enjoy the Canadian Letter from Wingfield Farm. Spot on characterizations.

Edited: Aug 21, 2017, 9:19am Top

Oh, I did finish The Bookshop on the Corner - 105 last week, but I'm done with Colgan. It too devolved into a cheap romance. The main character does describe several books so vividly that I went looking for two of them, only to discover she had made them up. (!)

Over the weekend, read two short books.

The Little Book of Hygge - 106 (pronounced "hue-gah") talks about why Danes are considered one of the happiest, most contented societies. It was all about getting cozy until the end of the book. And then it also admitted that the universal support system might have an effect as well. I do like the Danes, ever since I read Countrymen.

Praying Circles Around Your Children - 107, which I might end up buying to pass around to friends. It was a lovely book.

Aug 21, 2017, 9:59pm Top

>149 fuzzi: have you ever seen Victor Borge? He was a Danish entertainer, and without words could make me laugh.

Here's a sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvNkiAosyJ4

Aug 22, 2017, 7:00am Top

>150 2wonderY: That's wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Edited: Aug 22, 2017, 7:13am Top

Finished Street Magic - 107 this morning. I'm not enjoying this second set of Winding Circle stories as much as the first four, but I do intend to finish them. The character dynamics here are formulaic, and I miss the foursome being together.

Only, the next one, Cold Fire, doesn't seem to be available in audio at any of the three library systems I'm tied to.

Aug 22, 2017, 12:35pm Top

>151 2wonderY: you're so welcome. He was a gem.

My grandfather emigrated from Denmark, and his daughter, my mother, shared her love for Victor Borge's shows with us.

Aug 28, 2017, 2:00pm Top

Returning to the library unread:
The songs of trees : stories from nature's great connectors

A couple that promised laughs, but I'm not tuning in
Cooking with Fernet Branca
Home, and home again

Some random fantasy novel
The Scourge

Mostly read, (combining the point):
This is what you just put in your mouth?
Our Revolution - 108

Listening, and it's almost as much fun as the novels
The Folklore of Discworld - 109

Aug 30, 2017, 10:13am Top

Returning unread or unfinished:

The new shade garden : creating a lush oasis in the age of climate change - lent it to both daughters who do have significant shade, but I think they ignored it too. Pretty pictures.

Behind the beautiful forevers - Got a significant start, but never continued. Time ran out. Perhaps I'll try again another time.

The radium girls - Lost the book in my piles and never started it. Again, I may try it later.

Now, can anyone tell me where I've put A second look: encountering the true Jesus? The replacement cost will go on my card soon if I don't produce it. I swear I returned that one!

Sep 4, 2017, 10:16pm Top

>155 fuzzi: our library is pretty good about believing you if you insist you returned the book. I've had it happen to me.

Sep 5, 2017, 9:32am Top

Found it! I have too much stuff.

Sep 7, 2017, 10:40am Top

Tossed Heroes are my Weakness back.

Listened to and enjoyed Famous People Who Returned our Calls, a short collection of Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me. Not counting this, as it was a radio broadcast, not a book.

She's Not There - 110 is an transgender autobiography.

You Slay Me - 111 is a junk fantasy novel. Really, just junk. Will not pursue this series.

I had found Curse of the Spellmans audio on Hoopla, but it has disappeared after only listening to less than half.

Continuing brief reads about "hygge" I'm almost done with The Book of Hygge - 112.

Sep 11, 2017, 9:38am Top

I'm down to 17 physical items on my library card. But I just ordered up a pile more.

Finished listening to Tom Bodett read Williwaw! - 113. It was suggested on the survival thread. I enjoyed, but the tension was breaking point at the last.

Sep 13, 2017, 2:20pm Top

Nearly done with Bloody Good - 114, which I found disappointing. The history and the fantasy were just used as hangers for the love story, which I thought was thin as well.

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 4:12pm Top

Cozied up with micro shelters - 115 last evening. There are 59 examples, and some are just customized Tiny Houses. But there is a wide variety of styles and ideas available here. One was very close to what my grandson half-built several years ago. (No, he never came back and finished it! But it still stands.)

May share the book with the younger grands. There are a couple that look easy-peasy. Some good scrounge and salvage ideas - How about a glass pot cover for a round window?

SylviaC shared her delight with Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? - 116. Lovely lessons on why one shouldn't disfigure books.

Edited: Sep 16, 2017, 10:26am Top

>161 SylviaC: There's another book about Herb and his books, Beware of the Storybook Wolves, which is also good, though I slightly preferred Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?. The author's Charlie and Lola books are wonderful.

Sep 16, 2017, 12:15pm Top

>162 2wonderY: Ordering them as well!

This one might be your recommend as well.
Finished No One Noticed the Cat - 117. Reminds me I want to read more of McCaffrey.

Decided to give Bernie Sanders another go. The first half of Our Revolution - 118 dealt with the campaign, and I was not at all interested in his memoir. The second half was his policy proposals, which is what I'd been looking for. I will also go on to his newest book.

Returned without reading:
Home and Home Again
Rhapsody in Schmaltz

Sep 16, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>163 SylviaC: Yes, I'll take responsibility for noticing the cat.

Sep 17, 2017, 8:42pm Top

>163 SylviaC: that's one McCaffrey I'd not read.

My favorite books by McCaffrey are the Dragonsong series (#1 & 2 are best), Crystal Singer books (#1 is best, #2 is good), the Dragonflight series (#1 & 2 are best), and Nerilka's Story. I also like the first two books in The Rowan series.

Sep 18, 2017, 9:37am Top

Returning after reading the first chapter and not being caught - The Nakano Thrift Shop. I would however watch the movie. Characters didn't come alive for me.

Speaking of, I watched the film Hidden Figures. I'm glad I read the book! Both are very good, but I loved the detail of the book.

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 10:36am Top

Nearly finished with both, so I'll count them today.

God's Secretaries - 119 is a fascinating look at the court of King James. Politics, theology and everyday mores and customs are covered here. There is less about the actual process of creating the King James translation of the Bible than I would expect. Since I'm listening, I want to go back to the print book next and re-read the letter of directions to the Translators; particularly item #6, concerning the choice of words. Instead of choosing a word that has only one interpretation, the team was encouraged to choose the word that could encompass a multitude. Interesting. Also, much more about the phenomenon of the Puritans than I expected. Lots about Church of England realities (and what was retained from the RC Church) and WHY the Puritans objected to a whole list of practices. I must say, my sympathies are with the Puritans, though I disagree with their theological conclusions. (But I can see why they were offended.)

Randomly, it seems, I downloaded Along for the Ride - 120. I kept expecting the characters to begin acting rationally and lovingly. Very disappointed with the older adults; somewhat okay with the young adults. Still, not very interesting. Poor Thisbe!

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 8:11pm Top

>167 fuzzi: God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible has been on my TBR for a while, think I might go ahead and "get 'er done"!

Edited: Sep 18, 2017, 1:30pm Top

Touchstones and search both seem to be on the fritz at the moment. Will fix this post later.

The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time - 121 chooses to rate them in order, from 1 to 70, and then lists 60 more also-rans. I don't particularly like the format, nor do I agree with the list. Some of those rated highest are the mean funny shows. I don't appreciate that kind of humor at all. Lots of text, skinflinty on the photos. Published in 2014.

Sitcoms - the 101 greatest TV comedies of all time-122 lists their choices alphabetically. Lots more photos and just as much detail as the other. This is the book to go to. Made me want to order all sorts of videos for the winter months. Published in 2007.

Sep 18, 2017, 7:24pm Top

>166 2wonderY: I can see that The Nakano Thrift Shop wouldn't appeal to everyone. I suspect it might not be your thing even if you got farther into it. The tone is pretty much the same throughout. Also, if it matters to you, while there is no graphic sex, sex is a strong theme throughout the book.

Sep 20, 2017, 5:16pm Top

Have to return it to the library, so I'll record it. The Essential Oil Maker's Handbook - 123 is the best of the selection found in my library system. The search began when middle grand was so appreciative of a particular rose's scent in my garden. I wanted to research distillation. The first half of the book details this very well, and cautions that large quantities of material are necessary. Knowing that won't happen, I gave up the idea. Ah well, we have the live examples. Ellie is just like me in her enthusiasms.

Sep 25, 2017, 5:19pm Top

Returned unfinished:
Half Broke Horses
Her Royal Spyness

The March Against Fear - 124 James Meredith, an Air Force veteran, was the first black person to enter the University of Mississippi in 1962. Rioting ensued and Federal troops and the National Guard were called out to maintain order and guarantee Meredith's civil rights, affirmed by the Supreme Court.
In 1966, Meredith planned a modest stroll through Mississippi, but was buckshot on the second day. Major civil rights organizations took over the walk, naming it the March Against Fear. 15,000 marchers entered Jackson Mississippi at the end of the walk. This book details the actions and the personalities of the 20 days. Very good.

Watched a 2003 updated Pride & Prejudice. It was awful! Cringe!

Edited: Sep 26, 2017, 7:15am Top

I picked up a very nice copy of The Secret of the Old Clock - 125, and it was an easy read, but I will not be passing it on to the grands. First of all, I doubt they'd be interested. Secondly, Nancy engages in questionable and unsafe activities. I never did read much of the series as a child.

Does anyone want my copy?

Sep 27, 2017, 10:04pm Top

>172 2wonderY: no one can top Colin Firth...

Oct 2, 2017, 2:47pm Top

I had it, I read it. The Robber and Me - 126. It was mediocre.

Watched and enjoyed two films this weekend:
St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray.
The Big Year, which I see is based on a book of the same title by Mark Obmascik. Steve Martin and Jack Black carry it. Their third co-star, Owen Wilson, just kinda plods through it.

Oct 7, 2017, 10:39am Top

Returning unread:
Bees in America - very dense. might try again another time.
First Founders - was hoping to get more insight into doctrinal issues, and although they are here, they are embedded in lengthy biography and character study.

Gave up on these after heavy investment:
The Zookeeper's Wife - OMG what a waste of a story. No sense at all of dramatic flow, but plenty of odd details and lots and lots of little domestic scenes.
The Curse of the Spellmans - In the first book, the characters were quirky and charming. This go-round they are quirky and annoying.
Okay, going to take another point for enduring them as long as I did - 127

Returning the print book Idiot America, but I have the audio version. I doubt I'll actually listen, though. Pierce seems awfully mean in his assessments.

Oct 7, 2017, 6:55pm Top

>175 2wonderY: Isn't that Owen Wilson's SOP? He plods along in any movie I've seen of his.

Oct 7, 2017, 8:16pm Top

>177 2wonderY: I wouldn't call what he does acting.

I was on the afterward of Village of Secrets - 128 today when the checkout expired. Dang drat it! I ultimately decided it was a very good book, though I was initially impatient with all the detail. It gives a very wide view of the rescue of WW2 Jews, focusing on the French plateau region around Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, but spending some effort elsewhere too for comparison. Gives lots of credit to other players beyond André Trocmé.

Oct 9, 2017, 7:40pm Top

Finished The Hidden Life of Trees - 129. Wohlleben is a commercial arborist in Germany. His book is groundbreaking. He draws many parallels between plants and animals that I hadn't heard of before. He may go too far anthropomorphizing trees, but it was a pleasant trip and enlightening. He wrote several arguments for reforesting coastal lands that seem significant.

Oct 16, 2017, 4:51pm Top

I read Operation Arcana - 130 mostly to enjoy Stefan Rudnicki's voice. He made The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination a great listen.

In my quest for Vorkosigan hardcovers, I found Barrayar and A Civil Campaign last week, and re-read Barrayar - 131.

Oct 18, 2017, 6:00pm Top

Returning after just one disc -


American Eclipse

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 10:38am Top

Finished Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War - 132 (the book, not the film.)

Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 12:45pm Top

I was disappointed in The Lost Child of Lychford - 133. It failed to expose any of the good and appealing qualities of the witches found in the first book. I also think the problem explication and solution were very weak. I might visit Lychford again to see whether those issues resolve, and also see whether Luke stays around.

In film, watched the stinker In the Name of the King.
Not all is misery. I've begun watching The West Wing series, and finding it excellent. Yah, I'm terribly out of date.

Edited: Oct 26, 2017, 7:55am Top

Tore through Sovereign: Nemesis - 134 fairly quickly. It wasn't as good as Dreadnought: Nemesis, but still absorbing. I thought it odd the juxtaposition of the team's PG attitude towards their foes and the terrible death toll at the end of the book.

I'm also nearing completion of the very long-winded I Contain Multitudes - 135 and will list it now. Sheesh! Highly informative, detailed, and even the occasional great comedic line. Well worth reading; but I hadn't expected such a time investment.

Oct 25, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>184 fuzzi: still following your reads, that's a given! :D

Oct 26, 2017, 11:33pm Top

I want to read I Contain Multitudes, but I didn't realize it was that long. It will have to wait, I guess, because I'm not ready to invest that much time.

Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 3:38pm Top

>186 2wonderY: And I might be inaccurate in my observation...

Listened to two of the three discs of The Tao of Pooh. I liked when Pooh got inquisitive, but Hoff's characterization of Eeyore offends me. He is sad and slow, but never mean-hearted. Don't want to listen to anymore.

Oct 27, 2017, 5:51pm Top

>187 SylviaC: I did think that poor Eeyore deserved more respect than he got.

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 4:29pm Top

Listened to Melting Stones - 136, which got tiresome. I guess I don't like the second generation wizards nearly as much. I will continue to read them though.

Also finished Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History - 137, Katy Tur's recollections of the Trump campaign. I found it choppy, but mildly interesting.

Nov 4, 2017, 10:28am Top

Lab Girl - 138 started out very fine literature on science, but author, Hope Jahren, took multiple turns into weirdness in the middle of the book. She and her lab partner, Bill, verge on truly crazy until she meets and marries Clint. The last section of the book returns to beautifully crafted sentences about the wonders of the natural world.

Watched the first season of Blindspot. Intense, but not engaging enough to want to pursue further. I'd rather go back and watch Warehouse 13 over and over.

Nov 6, 2017, 9:13am Top

Abandoned A Discovery of Witches, as it seems less a fantasy than a slow and slightly boring romance with a vampire that practices yoga. Concept is okay, but execution lacks interest.

Loved The I Hate to Cook Book - 139, as it validates my philosophy entirely. Easy recipes and good advice. Brachen practiced what I came to call "modular cooking." Nice household tips too. Lacks any soup recipes, though. She does use a lot of mushrooms.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>191 fuzzi: I love Peg Bracken! Her I Hate to Housekeep Book is a hoot.

She and Irma Bombeck were marvelous story-tellers about domestic life.

Nov 7, 2017, 1:20pm Top

Yes, I thought I'd read some more of her books. Her attitude is so different from any other household writer in the genre. No snoot at all.

Watched the execrable film Surviving Eden. It doesn't pay to browse the local shelves.

Since I stayed in town, the annual book sale is calling to me. Siren song.

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 8:24am Top

>193 fuzzi: also I read Sixpence in Her Shoe, which is very dated but enjoyable.

Nov 8, 2017, 10:41am Top

>194 2wonderY: Will have to look for that one.

In paper, I finished The Day the World Came to Town - 140. This was Defede's first book; he did a very respectable job of it. He was able to introduce and follow a very large group of people who were involved in the Gander, Newfoundland week, either as townspeople or passengers and crew of the 36 flights that landed there. Quite heartening stories of humanity at its best.

My favorite person profiled was Werner Baldessarini, a prominent person in high fashion. He was offered a quick way out and very high end provisions; both of which he rejected, wanting to stay in solidarity with his fellow passengers.

Watched the pitifully bad Disney film, Oz, the Great and Powerful. A very poor rendering of an Oz story. The only bright spot was James Franco's face. Pretty.

Nov 8, 2017, 11:40am Top

PS: I just HAD TO stop in at the book sale. They wouldn't have been able to call it official unless I did. Came away with a couple of sacks, but several books are for Christmas gifts, and I also bought a handful of DVDs. Ended up with only 4 books for myself, which I'll catalog later. I've been weeding a little bit, and have deleted at least that many books in the last few weeks.


Nov 8, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>196 fuzzi: you get rid of books, more come sliding in...nature abhors a vacuum... ;)

Aside from the Star Wars movies, I can't think of the last Disney movie I actually enjoyed...maybe The Lion King?

Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 3:30pm Top

Gave Another Day in the Frontal Lobe my attention for 1/3 of the book, and then decided to move on. Not bad, just not gripping me.

Did I count Squire this year already?

Finished Born a Crime - 141. Enjoyable and shocking at the same time. Some stark facts about apartheid.

The Truth About Angels and Demons - 142 was a short book, and not particularly enlightening.

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 6:45am Top

Scatter read through Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It, but didn't find enough value to call it a real read. I'm not recommending it. Author is Joel Fuhrman, and he is scattershot and repeats only what others are writing in a much better fashion. I'd even call him fringe fanatic.

Checking out Timber Press's Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada It's brief, but technical in descriptions. The flyleaf drawings of fungi differences might be the most valuable piece for this novice. Lots of weird examples that I've not seen before in other field guides, such as the earth tongues and earthstars. I think I've seen Bladder Stalks (Physalacria inflata), but buried just below the surface in my gardens.

Bearing False Witness - 143 has to be called substantially done, as there are holds on it. I found several chapters very interesting, in particular 'Imposing the Dark Ages' and 'Blessed be Slavery.'

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 8:54am Top

>199 fuzzi: that mushroom book sounds interesting!

I'll have to check to see if they offer it for the southeastern states.

Nov 16, 2017, 8:59am Top

And now I'm wishing I hadn't returned it quite so fast. I haven't been able to find another photo of what he identified as Bladder stalks. Googling shows something much coarser, not the tissue thin example I want to identify.

Edited: Nov 22, 2017, 5:24pm Top

I've been on the road a lot, so mostly audio.

The Importance of Being Earnest - 144. Lovely, as always. I do need to acquire the film; which is accurate and delightful.

Life Happens Next - 145, a sequel to Stuck in Neutral. Good, but not satisfying. But it's deliberately so.

I've got several children's picture books by Allan Baillie. Will go into them later.

Oh, and finished The Botany of Desire - 146. Uneven. Four chapters. Chapter 1, Apple, was kind of a slog. Chapter 2, Tulip, was Pollan at his best descriptive self. Lovely language. Chapter 2, Marijuana, left Pollan far out of his depth. He tried writing philosophy and physiology, neither of which he is credible in. Chapter 4, Potato, is chock full of the kind of information he excels in. I had no idea how heavily commercial potatoes are treated with chemicals. Yuck!
When modern writers tackle evolution, they almost always personify species choosing which routes to move in. Drives me crazy.

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 1:32pm Top

I'm working on a sizable pile of library books, but not making enough progress. Partly can't settle on a focus; also trying to get my sleep schedule adjusted again.

Finished The Unexpected Waltz - 147. Not my usual, but it was good. A woman of a certain age finally matures and finds herself through ballroom dance classes.

I'm most of the way through Dragon Bones - 148, and hugely enjoying the vocal characterization of main character, Ward, by narrator Joe Manganiello. (Oooh! Now he is a pretty one. Check out his author page. I added a picture.) I reached for this book in response to tardis racing through The World of Marrok series recently. I thought it was time to check out more of Briggs worlds.

Nov 29, 2017, 4:21pm Top

>202 2wonderY: I have Stuck in Neutral on my Kindle, but haven't got around to reading it yet. I knew there was a book about Shawn's brother, but I didn't realize there was a second one about Shawn. I take it you must have liked Stuck in Neutral if you read the sequel?

Nov 29, 2017, 4:27pm Top

>204 2wonderY: Yes, I did. Check my review. It's a hard concept to realize well in fiction, and I think Trueman succeeds. I seem to be collecting a small body of similar tropes in YA.

Dec 4, 2017, 2:52pm Top

A re-read of The Uncommon Reader - 149 and it was just as good as the first time.

I'm about to dump Shiver 5/9ths of the way through. I had tried it in print once before and quit much earlier. The audio is getting quite tedious as well. The only reason I might plow on is to discover why Sam is able to stay human when around Grace. If some one of you already know whether it's worth hanging on, please let me know.

Confusingly, I really enjoyed Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle.

Dec 11, 2017, 4:25pm Top

Well, I did manage to get through Shiver - 150, but it really wasn't worth it.

Watched the disheartening and slightly weird film Beatriz at Dinner.

I went to visit daughter #1 and the grands this weekend; beginning the clearing out of my holiday stuff that they can now have. (heh-heh!) For example, I no longer wrap gifts, I put them in re-usable decorated boxes. So my collection of wrapping paper is just so much wasted space.

With their new stylish home, we're planning a cocktail/mocktail party for the holiday season. I've got some sparkly clothing that I passed on to the grands. We had a fun time fashion show.

Then we noticed water seeping up from under the floor tiles in the kitchen and finally tracked it to drain leakage at the kitchen sink. What a stupid install! Drain lines need vent stacks so the water flows down. This set-up has a vent line that turns back down and connects again with the drain line. I've never seen anything so preposterous!

We also finally got grand #3 to allow a bedframe in her bedroom. They had been infatuated with mattress on the floor when they first moved in. She has finally realized how messy and impractical it is. Sigh of relief. And there is a nice chunk of storage space now under the bed!

Dec 11, 2017, 7:06pm Top

>207 fuzzi: when we moved to NC, we left our beds behind. I bought a 10" cotton-filled futon mattress and loved sleeping on it, on the floor.

I'm older now, and appreciate being off the floor, but it was fun, and the futon experiment still was the best sleep I ever had.

Dec 12, 2017, 1:35pm Top

I see looking back that I've counted two books twice. I'll not change my numbering here. There are probably a few that I've forgotten to record.

Population: 485 - 151 is a wonderful book of essays. Michael Perry reminds me of Tom Bodett, but even nicer. Rural people are just doggone nice! Weird sometimes, but nice.

Dragon Blood - 152 was a good story, sequel to Dragon Bones. Briggs writes complex, real-feeling characters. I enjoy spending time with them.

A documentary I highly recommend is Bag It! It starts out discussing single-use plastic bags, but expands to talk about plastic pollution, including the hormonal consequences of it to our bodies. I've read the hard science, and there is not a mis-step in their explanations.

Dec 16, 2017, 12:22pm Top

Pete Souza's Obama: An Intimate Portrait - 153 is a luscious look at poignant and jolly moments of the Obama years.

Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution - 154 is disappointing. It's just a shortened re-run of his political views. It ends with the advice that if you don't like the current administration, throw the bums out. No strategy comments at all.

Gave up on Idiot America. Both the subject and the writing were unbearable.

In film, watched the painful The Identical. It teetered on the edge of decent and awful the entire time.

Dec 18, 2017, 6:48pm Top

Jane Austen at Home -155 was enjoyable. Worsley goes into great detail about the Austen family, the lore and myths, the locations and the cultural mores of the times. I've got a book full of photos and drawings that will compliment it perfectly - At Home with Jane Austen.

Nearly finished with Crucible of Gold - 156. I'm reminded of Ayla from The Clan of the Cave Bear and it's sequels for the astonishing amount of wild adventures that one set of characters can endure. OMG!

Gave up on Judge Dredd pretty damn quickly. Whew, what a stinker.
Enjoyed the subject matter of Hyde Park on Hudson, though not particularly the execution. I've got a book I'm set to enjoy covering the same story. Hot Dogs and Cocktails

Dec 20, 2017, 7:19am Top

Ha! I found podcasts on my phone. Listened this morning to Neil Gaiman read A Christmas Carol - 157 from Dickens own notated copy. Of course everyone knows the story, but the book itself holds some very nice word chestnuts to savor.

Dec 20, 2017, 12:59pm Top

>212 fuzzi: that's interesting. I'm new to smart phone ownership, and am unaware of podcasts.

Dec 21, 2017, 9:54pm Top

OMG. I am totally in love with Invisibilia from NPR. I binged the first three seasons including the bonus episodes. I am now listening to S-Town. I have a bunch of reading/book related shows I am sampling.

Dec 23, 2017, 7:52am Top

Oh oh... more temptations. And SIL downloaded Netflix to my phone.

One week to go. My numbers are very close to last year's total.

I'm having the best visit with my children and grands. Yesterday, daughters and I caught the Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute. Rose had been trying to plan this for months, and it goes away Dec. 31.
The Mucha work was impressive, but I was blown away by a Bouguereau, two Rubens, and several 16th century tapestries.

We did our now annual Aldi's run, for the Christmas ham and all the holiday trimmings. The bill came to over $200. Youngest grand came with us, and we had such a merry time.

My family doesn't drink much aside from my cordial, but I like a bottle of wine. I splurged on a mid-priced Zinfandel, but was shocked when I uncorked it that it was a red. I almost never like reds, but this was different. Not dry on the tongue. I liked it.

Oldest two grands hung out with me most of the evening and we got into some subjects that we are individually passionate about and discovered bonds that we'd been unaware of. For instance, Livy expressed progressive farming and ecology opinions. Very cool. She is also beginning to enjoy fiction. (She's severely dyslexic, and has struggled mightily to overcome the handicap and excel in school.) We've shared one or two titles already this year.

Remember, they moved into an elegant old Victorian home this year. We're not quite organized to do it up right this year, but we're getting the outlines of the holiday celebration of our fantasies.

We'd been discussing a dress-up cocktail party weeks ago. The youngest brought up the question of when our "cockroach" party was going to be.

I always bring the crèche and the younger ones set it up. It's a beautiful collection, and includes three wise women and various animals from all over the world. They have plans to expand it next year. Hee-hee! I've always wanted to add a running water feature.

Please accept my warmest holiday wishes, my good LT friends!

Dec 26, 2017, 11:02am Top

And no reading accomplished this past week. Well, I get through a few pages before falling to sleep, but that's been it. My drive home yesterday (4 hours) was enriched with conversation. I brought grandson and dropped him at his mother's house. Isaac turns 17 next week. I'm glad to say we have never had any barriers to frank discussion of what is going on his life. He is growing into such a fine young man!

Dec 27, 2017, 11:49am Top

>214 2wonderY: Er, sorry?

Listened to Assault and Pepper - 158, which I found acceptable, but just. The local Seattle color was the best part of the book.

Abandoning Storm in a Teacup. When the narrator announced "chapter 2" I realized that 8 more chapters of molecular physics was not my cup of tea. Interesting, but enough is enough.

Dec 27, 2017, 12:15pm Top

>217 lesmel: You mentioned podcasts. There's a whole world of 'em out there.

Invisibilia from NPR: https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia
I binged all currently released episodes.

S-Town: https://stownpodcast.org/
I'm not so sure about this one. It feels like this might turn out to be fiction.

Someone Knows Something: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/sks
I'm listening to Season 1 now.

I also have a ton of book related podcasts that I'm testing...some time soon...after I finish binging on SKS.

Dec 27, 2017, 12:47pm Top

Yikes! Too many riches!

Dec 29, 2017, 10:56am Top

>215 2wonderY: I love how you've been able to visit with your family. That makes me smile, thanks for sharing. My family is so spread out, we never all get together over the holidays.

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 11:38am Top

I'm very fortunate to have both children so close.

Well, I'm looking forward to this 4 day weekend. (I always have Fridays off) The library's holds policy has changed again, staying on the holds shelf only 7 days instead of 10. They had to retrieve 5 items that had been pulled this morning. With automatic renewals now, I hardly look at my full list of check-outs. I know I have too many, and plan to focus on that now.

Returned Running the Books after dipping in several places and finding it duller than reviews promised.

Oh, and I may abandon The Remains of the Day. I'm listening on audio, and that usually goes quicker, but it is seeming to drag for me. I'm still on the morning of Day 2, and getting bored and a tich vexed.

Dec 29, 2017, 12:22pm Top

>221 lesmel: RE: Remains...I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Dec 29, 2017, 11:17pm Top

I liked Remains of the Day but I wasn’t sure why. I don’t think it would grow on you. I’m afraid that I am probably more like Stevens than the average protagonist.

Jan 2, 2018, 12:32pm Top

Thankfully, there are many more books to choose out there, eh?

I tried to finish up many books half started over the weekend, but there were just too many of them!

I did manage two more, though.

A Closed and Common Orbit - 159 was not as easy a read as I expected, having flashed through The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Some major differences in pacing and characters. I knew there was a point to the change in POV in alternating chapters, but that got just a dot tiresome. Until, of course, the storylines came together towards the end. It was still an awkward mechanism, but understandable. The dearth of characters interacting was also a notable change. Both Sidra and Jane spent a lot of time solo. Yes, necessary, but the author's riches spill from interspecies interactions. Chambers' world building is excellent. And her reflections on sentience and purpose (meaning) are well worth meditating.

Closing the year with a fun picture book.
Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse - 160.
The author illustrator's specialty is detail. Very wonderful detail. House mouse and field mouse are portrayed with accuracy, as are the other animals on the pages - and the plants, and the upholsteries. (The snoozing dog is marvelous!) She lacks the genius of Jill Barklem or Helen Ward when it comes to designing the entire page spread. In fact, I'd call her compositional abilities lacking. But there is much to like here.

So. I'm sure I've missed a few, and I know for certain, I've counted two titles twice.

Grand total = 160.
a few not worth sticking around, several just okay, and a reasonable list of excellent books.
It's been an eventful year, some sadness, but mostly upbeat.
A good year all around.

I may post some further analysis here, but judging from last year on that front - not very likely.

Join me HERE for the coming year's adventures.

Group: 2017 Books

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