This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Vivienne's Year of the Cat - 2nd Quarter

This is a continuation of the topic Vivienne's Year of the Cat.

This topic was continued by Vivienne's Year of the Cat - Part 3.

2017 Category Challenge

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Apr 18, 2017, 2:22pm Top

The Year of the Cat will be my 4th Category Challenge. As usual, I can also be found at the Club Read group: Vivienne's Club Read 2017

My goal is to read at least one book per month in each category. 12 categories, 12 months. With 25 in BingoDOG, that makes for a total 157

Some of my categories are from CATs that were suggested but didn't make the cut. They inspired the theme. And I decided to limit AlphaKIT to mysteries only.

My aim is to reduce the number of unread books that fill my shelves. To encourage that, I'm awarding a letter grade that I have changed a little, still with the aim of reducing the tbr collection, especially the dust collectors.

A for books acquired before 2015
B for books acquired since 2015
C for books borrowed from the library or friends

I will aim for at least 80% As & Bs

1. Dust collectors - TBR owned for more than two years
2. Recommendations
3. Series
4. Translations
5. Biography
6. History / historical fiction
7. Calendar memos - Books related to commemorative days on the calendar
8. Alpha-Mystery-KIT - AlphaKIT limited to mysteries
9. CATwoman
10. AwardsCAT
11. RandomCAT
12. BingoDOG

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 2:00pm Top

Dust collectors
Chosen from books that have been on the TBR shelves for more than two years

January: Quite honestly by John Mortimer
February: Mortal Coils by Aldous Huxley
March: The lark in the clear air by Dennis T. Patrick Sears
April: The book of Stanley by Todd Babiak
May: Call the dead again by Ann Granger
June: Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding
July: The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies

Edited: Jul 9, 2017, 1:55pm Top

From LTers and other friends and family

January: My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - recommended by ridgewaygirl
February: Dead ground in between by Maureen Jennings - from an author bullet from rabbitprincess
March: On Canaan's side by Sebastian Barry from bookbullets
April: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden recommended by my friend, John
         Autumn by Ali Smith Elizabeth Strout - another recommendation from ridgewaygirl
May: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet a bookbullet from sassylassy
June: Freeze Frame by Peter May
July: The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Katty Maurey

Edited: Jul 1, 2017, 7:01pm Top

I'd like to limit this to series I'm already reading, but I'm not excluding new series

January: Ruling Passion by Reginald Hill (Dalziel & Pascoe)
February: The curious case of the copper corpse by C. Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce)
            Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey (Peter Diamond series)
            Smiley's People by John le Carré
March: A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin
April: Desert heat by J.A. Jance
May: Career of evil by Robert Galbraith
June: Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
           Dry Bones that Dream by Peter Robinson

Edited: Jul 7, 2017, 2:26am Top


January: The terracotta dog by Andrea Camilleri, translated from Italian by Stephen Sartarelli
February: A man called Ove by Fredrick Backman, translated from Swedish by Henning Koch
March: The Dinner by Herman Koch, translated from Dutch by Sam Garrett
April: Dimanche and other stories by Iréne Nèmirovsky, translated from French
May: August Heat by Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli
June: The white lioness by Henning Mankell, translated by Laurie Thompson
July: Sanaaq: an Inuit novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk translated from Inuktitut to French to English

Edited: Jul 11, 2017, 12:13am Top

Calendar memos
Books related to commemorative days on the calendar

January 25 - Robert Burns Night: The naming of the dead by Ian Rankin
February 14 - Valentine's Day: The pursuit of love by Nancy Mitford
March 8 - International Women's Day: Roast Beef, Medium: the business adventures of Emma Chesney by Edna Ferber
March 1 - St. David's Day: Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs
April 1 - April Fool's Day: April Fool by William Deverell
April 2 - International Children's Book Day: Millhouse by Natale Ghent
May 8: VE Day - Peace by Richard Bausch
May 24 - Commonwealth Day - West with the night by Beryl Markham
June 6 - D-Day: Double cross: the true story of the D-Day spies by Ben Macintyre
June 17: Icelandic Day: Burial rites by Hannah Kent
July 1: Canada Day: Running in the family by Michael Ondaatje
             Vegetarian celebrations by Nava Atlas
July 4: My birthday: Birthday Party by C.H.B. Kitchin

August 1 Yorkshire Day:
August 12: International Youth Day
September: Labour Day
September 10: Suicide Prevention Day
October 1: World Vegetarian Day
October 4: World Animal Day
October 10: World Mental Health Day
October 31: Hallowe'en
November 5: Guy Fawkes Day
November 11: Remembrance Day
November 30: St Andrew's Day
December 10: Human Rights Day
December 25: Christmas Day

Edited: Jun 23, 2017, 11:29am Top

Alpha-Mystery-KIT - AlphaKIT limited to mysteries

Jan: M & S: The locked room by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö
Feb: W & H: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Mar: E & K: End of Watch by Stephen King
Apr: I & D: Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes
May: C & T: Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
Jun: Y & N: You who know by Nicholas Freeling
Jul: B & G
Aug: O & F
Sep: U & P
Oct: A & V
Nov: L & Q
Dec: J & R

Edited: Jun 28, 2017, 8:10pm Top


January - Classics: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
February - Debut books: Harry Potter and the sorceror's stone by J.K. Rowling
March - Genre, Mystery from ALA Reading List: The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
April - Biography/memoir: Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
May - Women in the arts: Heart of a stranger by Margaret Laurence
June - Professional women: Angela Merkel: Europe's most influential leader by Matthew Qvortrup

Edited: Jun 13, 2017, 12:56pm Top


January: Family Album by Penelope Lively - Costa shortlist 2009
February: Unless by Carol Shields - Canada Reads nominee 2011
March: Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear - Macavity Award 2006
April: An available man by Hilma Wolitzer - IMPAC long list 2014
May: Faithful Place by Tana French - Edgar nominee 2011
        The Vegetarian by Han Kang - Man Booker International prize 2016
June: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - PEN longlist 2017
        Another Brooklyn: a novel by Jacqueline Woodson - National Book award (finalist 2016)

Edited: Jul 14, 2017, 10:28pm Top


January - Search and Rescue:
        The art detective: fakes, frauds, and finds and the search for lost treasures by Philip Mould
February - Mine, Yours, Ours:
        Three weeks with my brother by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks
        For your eyes only: Ian Fleming and James Bond by Ben Macintyre
March - The Luck o' the Irish
        An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor
April - Love in the Stacks
        The Ides of June: a mystery set in Roman Britain by Rosemary Rowe
May - All About Mom
        Death of a dreamer by M.C. Beaton
June - Step into the Unknown:
        No signposts in the sea by Vita Sackville-West
July - Let's Celebrate!
        The view from Castle Rock by Alice Munro


Apr 2, 2017, 9:22am Top

Happy new thread, Vivienne! You're very close to a bingo!

In your last thread I noticed you'd read Last Bus to Woodstock. The mention of Morse's tangents on grammar made me chuckle as I recently watched the Morse episode "Death is Now My Neighbour" and at one point Morse compliments a suspect on using "to whom" properly in a sentence. And Lewis looks so young! :)

Apr 2, 2017, 11:15am Top

Happy new thread! I was watching a couple of Morse episodes recently with a friend and we both noticed how young Lewis looked. Not to mention the guest star Sean Bean. My, oh my.

Apr 2, 2017, 1:33pm Top

>14 rabbitprincess: Thank you. I am not exactly trying for a bingo, but my odd stabs haven't worked this year.

One of the picky managers where I worked criticized my use of a comma before "and" in a sentence such as this: "First item, second item, and third item." I always used it, but a few days earlier Morse had just confirmed the Oxford comma as correct.

>15 MissWatson: Thank you. That father-son relationship was part of the magic of the tv Morse and Lewis. I was surprised to read in Last Bus to Woodstock that Lewis is older than Morse! I can't get my head around that!

Edited: Apr 3, 2017, 7:23am Top

Happy new thread!

>16 VivienneR: I recently read of a situation where the lack of the Oxford comma created a legal quagmire because it left an ambiguous meaning. Here's an article about it from NPR:


I am a big fan of the Oxford comma. To me, it is the logical way to punctuate a series of items.

Apr 3, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>17 tymfos: "Logical" is exactly right! That's an excellent article on the topic. I hope the milkman got his OT.

Edited: Apr 4, 2017, 9:39am Top

>16 VivienneR: - I read Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris last year and she spent quite a bit on the comma. I think it's logical too.

ETA: as an aside, my favorite use story of the comma is: "let's eat Gramma" or "let's eat, Gramma".

Apr 4, 2017, 4:27pm Top

Happy new thread! I'm a relatively recent convert to the Oxford comma, but now it makes absolute sense to me! I was always taught at school that you never put a comma before an 'and' or a 'but', so that took quite a lot of unlearning!

Apr 4, 2017, 7:50pm Top

>19 dudes22: Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss is another good one!

>20 Jackie_K: You and the manager I mentioned in #16 must have had the same teacher ;)

Apr 6, 2017, 3:33pm Top

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT:

Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes

This is a locked room mystery where the president of St Anthony's College is found shot. It is a straightforward murder story stretched out by describing intricate details of keys and timing. This is the first detective story by Innes, and although the golden age style is enjoyable and the writing intelligent, the story was just too drawn out for me.

Apr 6, 2017, 3:38pm Top

>22 VivienneR: I'd recommend giving at least the next book, Hamlet, Revenge!, a try...it also has pacing problems, but I think the story is pretty ingenious! I actually read that one first and then Death at the President's Lodging. But I'll admit, I'm not in a hurry to read more by Michael Innes!

Apr 6, 2017, 7:25pm Top

>23 christina_reads: Thanks for the recommendation Christina. I will certainly keep Hamlet, Revenge! in mind.

Apr 6, 2017, 11:20pm Top

>22 VivienneR: Someone at here at LT told me that Michael Innes is very hit or miss with his books. I read The New Sonia Wayward and really liked it, and then tried another (I don't remember which one) and I ended up abandoning it. I have at least one more of his on my shelves so fingers crossed....

Apr 7, 2017, 1:45am Top

>25 DeltaQueen50: Death at the President's Lodging was his first mystery and I don't think he'd hit his stride yet. Like Christina, I'm not in a hurry to read more, although I haven't given up on him - yet.

Apr 7, 2017, 10:28am Top

Innes is VERY hit or miss, in my opinion. And he draws everything out. He's better with coming up with the overarching plot than actually executing all the details, and when he's got a good plot, he's very good. Hamlet, Revenge! is probably one of his best. I also liked The Weight of the Evidence, although every suspect is a university professor whose surname starts with P, so keeping everyone straight is a nightmare. But once again, the plot is good.

Apr 7, 2017, 2:19pm Top

>27 casvelyn: every suspect is a university professor whose surname starts with P

That intrigues me, even though I know what Innes will do with it. He had my head spinning with the ownership of keys in Death at the President's Lodging that went on for pages! Thank you, I will add both titles to my "watch for" list.

Apr 7, 2017, 4:56pm Top

Funny comments about the Oxford comma. I always used it as well, but my company's writing style guide (yes, we have one!) says not to use it. So, I stopped using it 10 years ago. Kinda funny because my company is based in the UK.

Anyway - I wanted to share that I took BBs for The Dinner and Birds Without Wings from your previous thread.

Apr 7, 2017, 5:08pm Top

I guess the idea is to maintain consistency, but it is odd!

I'll look forward to reading your opinions, especially for The Dinner.

Edited: Apr 7, 2017, 9:22pm Top

Category: Recommendations:

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Xavier Bird and Elijah Weeageechak were two young Cree boys, removed from a residential school to live with Xavier's aunt, Niska, a medicine woman who lived in the bush following the old traditions. Boyden's story was inspired in part by real-life aboriginal WWI heroes Francis Pegahmagabow and John Shiwak. The title refers to those about to die having to walk the Three Day Road. Xavier is travelling his Three Day Road back to his home in Northern Ontario while Niska tells stories to heal him as she paddles the canoe. Xavier's memories of the war are interwoven with Niska's stories. In this way the reader gets to know their history, the Cree lifestyle, and the horrors Xavier and Elijah experienced at Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. Boyden has given this book a depth and passion not often seen in fiction as the reader becomes deeply immersed with the characters, their lives and the cultural differences. This is a powerful story that is worthy of the accolades it garnered. Its breathtaking prose is all the more impressive for a debut novel.

My friend John gave me his copy of the book and insisted I read it. I have since passed it on to another of John's friends with the same directive. Highly recommended.

Apr 9, 2017, 4:06pm Top

>22 VivienneR: I believe I read that one pre-LT.

Apr 9, 2017, 8:53pm Top

>32 thornton37814: Yes Lori, it's an old one, published in 1936. I like books from that time. They usually have very good English.

Apr 11, 2017, 6:32pm Top

Category: RandomCAT:

The Ides of June: a mystery set in Roman Britain by Rosemary Rowe

Libertus is a mosaic pavement maker in ancient Roman Britain. In this story (and the series) he solves mysteries for his patron, Marcus. There is a fair amount of detail about the times but a mystery novel is not an ideal source of historical information. Rowe's story may be plausible in some measure, but made a slow, dull read.

Earning only two stars, this was a disappointing choice for RandomCAT.

Edited: Apr 21, 2017, 6:09pm Top

duplicate posting

Apr 12, 2017, 1:38pm Top

It's a shame you had a disappointing read, but at least you know and won't be tempted by the rest of the series!

Apr 12, 2017, 1:46pm Top

Category: CATwoman April - Biography/memoir:

Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Beautifully written in free verse, this is a memoir of growing up in South Carolina and Brooklyn. Although her story is simple and short, she brings a wealth of images that allow the reader to empathize. Woodson dreamed of being an author in spite of having learning difficulties and not being able to come close to her sister’s scholastic achievements. Despite the conditions for African Americans in the sixties and seventies, Woodson was a happy child and relates her understanding of the growing civil rights movement, the strength of her family, and her dreams. If this had been written in prose it would simply have been an adult’s memoir. Free verse portrayed the candor of the child.

Apr 12, 2017, 3:54pm Top

>37 VivienneR: Vivienne, Brown Girl Dreaming is a special book. Another book of hers which is written in verse is Locomotion, it doesn't get as many raves as this one but I thought it was very well done.

Apr 12, 2017, 3:56pm Top

>37 VivienneR: I've added that to my wishlist.

Apr 12, 2017, 7:51pm Top

>38 DeltaQueen50: Yes, it is a special book, Judy. I enjoyed it a lot, even the free verse, which I didn't think I'd like as much as I did.

>39 Jackie_K: Good for you. You'll enjoy it, Jackie.

Apr 13, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Category: Series:

Desert heat by J.A. Jance

Not that I needed to start at new series, but this sounded like it might be fun. However, I don't know which was worse, the bad writing or the even worse audio narration by Ellen Travolta. This one was a dud.

Apr 16, 2017, 12:03pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: April 1, April Fool's Day

April Fool by William Deverell

Set on the fictitious island of Garibaldi in the gulf between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Being familiar with the area, I can attest that the eccentric characters ring true. There are two cases for retired lawyer Arthur Beauchamp here, the first is to try and stop clearcutting forest on the island, the second is to defend thief, Nick the Owl, of a murder charge. Beauchamp is a highly respected, clever lawyer, one of the elite, yet outside court he becomes a mass of self doubt and insecurity. Deverell's style of natural, unforced humour fits very well with the laid-back west coast flavour of his stories.

Apr 17, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Category: Dust Collectors

The book of Stanley by Todd Babiak

This was a must-read for me because it is set in Edmonton's Old Strathcona district where I used to live, and in Banff, another favourite spot in Alberta. Imaginative and funny, this is a well-written satire on life and modern culture.

Apr 18, 2017, 2:08pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT: IMPAC long list 2014

An available man by Hilma Wolitzer

Edward Schuyler, recovering after the death of his wife, is lonely. His grown-up stepchildren write a letter to the personal ads on his behalf. Poor Edward, after suffering his wife's illness and death, he is expected to negotiate the dating scene once again. This is not a unique storyline, but what makes it a great book is how accurately Wolitzer depicts Edward experiences, emotions and even incidental happenings. Wolitzer's characters, even the minor ones, are so well-drawn. Very enjoyable, I can recommend it highly.

I have seen and enjoyed the movie starring Colin Firth, but remember little about it, apart from Edward ironing in the opening scene.

Apr 20, 2017, 1:21pm Top

Category: Translations

Dimanche and other stories by Iréne Nèmirovsky

Ten stories written between 1934 and 1942, each of them captivating and passionate. They capture the intricate undercurrents of relationships in families and between lovers, inhibited by the conventions and social graces of the times.

Apr 20, 2017, 2:09pm Top

I'm behind.... Happy new thread!!

Apr 21, 2017, 6:11pm Top

Thank you, Victoria. I don't think I will ever catch up on threads until about December!

Apr 21, 2017, 6:13pm Top

This was an Early Reviewer snag.

Category: Calendar Memos: April 2 International Children's Book Day

Millhouse by Natale Ghent

Millhouse, or Milly, as he prefers to be known, is a hairless guinea pig who was brought up in the theatre by the great Shakespearean actor, Sir Roderick Lord Kingswagger. Milly became just as knowledgeable and well-versed in Shakespeare and enjoyed squeaking along with every line and striking an appropriate pose. When Sir Roderick died Millhouse ended up in a pet shop where the other residents did not appreciate his talents. Milly persevered, his natural upbeat character shining through.

This is a captivating story that encourages acceptance of others no matter how different, while at the same time remaining positive in the face of bullying. Ghent's endearing pen and ink illustrations are just right. Recommended for middle grade children or any child who is beginning to enjoy chapter books. For the writing, story, illustrations, and the subtle message, this one earns a full five stars.

Edited: Apr 23, 2017, 7:32pm Top

Category: Biography:

Me, the mob and the music : one helluva ride with Tommy James and the Shondells by Tommy James

"Things had died down a little in New York, literally. There weren't that many people left to kill."

An interesting and worthwhile account of the music business in the sixties. It was made notoriously disreputable by mobsters like Morris Levy who used the business for money laundering. Like many of Levy's artists, Tommy James and the Shondells rarely shared any of the royalty proceeds. James had some big successes, but in my experience as someone who grew up in the sixties, they were a small part of the music scene. James' frequent references to The Beatles gave the impression that he was a little envious of their avant-garde status and success. Towards the end he relates his experience of finding God after a stay at the Betty Ford Clinic, which unfortunately came across as trite, laughable even. Obviously words about faith are unfamiliar. Still, this was an entertaining and very enjoyable story. Martin Fitzpatrick provided an excellent narration of the audiobook version.

Edited: Apr 27, 2017, 12:23am Top

Category: History/historical

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

The late Siobhan Dowd was a beautiful writer of stories for young adults and this coming of age story is excellent. It is set in the border region of Northern Ireland in the 1980s, when political prisoners were on hunger strike. Not everyone was on the same side and there was dissension even among family members. The added twist of a body found in the bog where turf was being cut, was oddly out of place. The body was of a young woman who appeared to have been killed 2000 years previously. Presumably Dowd intended the old politics and the new would somehow be viewed as corresponding, equally brutal, but it just seemed like an odd mixture.

Apr 27, 2017, 12:30am Top

In one of those odd coincidences, I just heard about Siobhan Dowd last night and was looking her up a little bit this morning! I was listening to Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls (narrated by Jason Isaacs) - which originated from Dowd's draft of an unrealized novel. She left the idea of it behind as she passed on; and the estate asked Ness to write the story in full. It's not quite "Gaimanesque"; but does have the same sort of other worldly atmosphere, though admittedly it's much darker. Now I'm interested in exploring both more of Dowd's work and Ness's! (And yeah, I'll take the BB on Bog Child!)

Apr 27, 2017, 1:35pm Top

I've read a couple by Siobhan Dowd and enjoyed them. This one was an instant draw because of the Northern Ireland setting, my original homeland. Thanks, I'll take a BB on A Monster Calls although it will be a print copy. I just checked and my library doesn't have the audio version. Too bad, Jason Isaacs is another favourite.

Apr 27, 2017, 2:17pm Top

>52 VivienneR: I heard the illustrations in the print copy are superb, so much so that I'm going to get a a print a copy for myself as well! ;-)

Apr 27, 2017, 2:43pm Top

>53 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Sounds great! I won't feel so bad at missing Isaacs :)

Apr 28, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>51 Tanya-dogearedcopy: You won't regret reading Ness. His Chaos Walking trilogy is one of my all-time faves.

Apr 29, 2017, 2:55pm Top

Category: Recommendations: BB from ridgewaygirl

Autumn by Ali Smith

With writing that is mesmerizing, Smith touches on topics from wartime, to the sixties, and into the present that illustrate similarities, perpetual issues. Recurring references to sixties pop artist Pauline Boty is indicative of how fleeting fame can be, of how time, or even appearance, can change perception. Characters are widely contrasted: from 101 year old Daniel to Christine Keeler to the bureaucratic post office worker, they provide a quirky look at who has influence, who matters. Fresh, innovative, whimsical: this is a book that will remain in the mind for a long time and definitely one that demands to be taken off the shelf for repeated readings.

Love to Jean Paul Belmondo by Pauline Boty

Apr 29, 2017, 8:26pm Top

Category BingoDOG:

19. Author born 1917: Anne's house of dreams by L.M. Montgomery

I haven't read any Anne of Green Gables books before, and I started here because I am familiar with the story until this point, and because it was on the shelf. It's a charming and old-fashioned story from Prince Edward Island that I would have adored when I was young.

Now I'm ready for some of Anne's cherry pie!

Edited: May 1, 2017, 3:53pm Top

This is my summary for April.
I managed to hit all categories at least once and I'm actually beginning to see some space on the shelves.

Category: Dust Collectors
The book of Stanley by Todd Babiak 4*

Category: Recommendations
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden 5* BOOK of the MONTH
Autumn by Ali Smith 4*

Category: Series
Desert heat by J.A. Jance 1*

Category: Translations
Dimanche and other stories by Iréne Nèmirovsky 3*

Category: Biography
Me, the mob and the music : one helluva ride with Tommy James and the Shondells by Tommy James 4*

Category: History/historical
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd 4*

Category: Calendar Memos
April Fool by William Deverell April Fool's Day 4*
Millhouse by Natale Ghent April 2 International Children's Book Day 5*

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: I & D
Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes 3*

Category: CATwoman: Memoir
Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson 4*

Category: AwardsCAT:
An available man by Hilma Wolitzer IMPAC long list 2014 4*

Category: RandomCAT:
The Ides of June: a mystery set in Roman Britain by Rosemary Rowe 2*

Category BingoDOG:
19. Author born 1917: Anne's house of dreams by L.M. Montgomery 3*

Read in April: 14

Year to date stats: 63 read
A - acquired before 2015: 11 (17%)
B - acquired since 2015: 45 (71%)
C - borrowed: 7 (11%)

May 1, 2017, 4:35pm Top

Congrats on hitting all your categories - that's quite impressive!

May 2, 2017, 12:24am Top

Thanks Stacy. I had a real mixture of ratings, but felt like it was a good month.

May 2, 2017, 7:26am Top

>57 VivienneR: I'd reread that one recently myself. I like all of the Anne books but perhaps Anne of Avonlea the most, for nostalgic reasons and not because it's the best one.

May 3, 2017, 7:07pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT: Edgar nominee 2011

Faithful Place by Tana French

Teenage lovers Frank Mackey and Rosie Daly's thwarted attempt of escape from Dublin's poorest neighbourhood develops into a grim story, revealed over twenty years later. French's characters and setting are so authentic that it seems they are real people, dealing with issues that might happen to real people. French, a recent addition to the list of elite mystery authors, is a fantastic writer who can portray tenderness just as naturally as unsparing grimness. Highly recommended.

May 4, 2017, 7:46am Top

>62 VivienneR: - This is the next book in the series for me and (theoretically) on my list to read this year.

May 4, 2017, 2:44pm Top

It took a while before I decided to try a book by French but I'm so glad I did. I had lumped them in with books about Irish poverty that has overwhelmed bookshelves and I couldn't face one more, in fact I gave up on them a long time ago. But Tana French brings so much more and I'm delighted to find a new and talented mystery author.

May 5, 2017, 2:43pm Top

Category: Series

Career of evil by Robert Galbraith

As expected from Galbraith, an exciting suspenseful page-turner with excellent characters, especially Robin and Cormoran. This is dark - or maybe gruesome would be a better word, the darkest of the three novels by Galbraith. Blue Oyster Cult song titles were an interesting choice for chapter headings. Galbraith is clever at combining shocking personality attributes with a touch of humour that lightens the heavy topic. The interaction between Cormoran and Robin has developed well and for me, it is the main attraction. It seems Galbraith plans six books in the series, with the fourth expected in the fall of 2017. Looking forward to it because this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger.

May 8, 2017, 12:57pm Top

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: C & T

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

Child writes a great action story. Jack Reacher, always a winner, proves to have a facility for mathematics as well as all his other talents. In this story he is working with his old army Special Investigations team who are now the target of a conspiracy.

Edited: May 9, 2017, 12:09am Top

Category: Calendar Memos: May 8, VE Day

Peace by Richard Bausch

At the end of 1944 Italy is on the point of surrender, but the country is still filled with retreating Germans and advancing Allies. Bausch describes the thoughts and actions of a small group of American reconnaissance soldiers during two days of unrelenting freezing rain. Peace seems to be beyond imagination. This thought-provoking, mesmerizing story is the quintessence of war.

I even finished this book on May 8, the exact date for the category.

May 9, 2017, 8:06am Top

You've got me interested in the Tana French series too.

May 9, 2017, 1:55pm Top

Oh good! It usually works the other way with me searching for books you have read :)

May 11, 2017, 1:34am Top

Category: RandomCAT: All about Mom

Death of a dreamer by M.C. Beaton

Another entertaining yarn in the Hamish Macbeth series.

Perfect choice for the category because my mother not only was a fan of Hamish Macbeth but she shared the name of his main squeeze, Priscilla.

May 11, 2017, 2:39pm Top

Category: Recommendations

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Burnet begins with a preface explaining the story that follows as a true crime story from 1869 in the Scottish Highlands. However, it is a clever work of fiction and a deserving nominee shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. Descriptions of 19th century crofting were interesting but the unfair treatment of the crofter and the method of determining the murderer's mental state were infuriating. Still, this is a chilling psychological study that includes some genuine elements and is written in a style that gives it an intriguing authenticity.

May 12, 2017, 12:39am Top

Category: Biography

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

There is nothing I can add to what has already been written about this remarkable young woman.

May 12, 2017, 9:38am Top

>71 VivienneR:, another good review for this book... hmm. Your thread is getting a bit dangerous for my wishlist

May 13, 2017, 1:54pm Top

>73 Roro8: I know how you feel. My wishlist is threatening to become bigger than my library!

May 14, 2017, 11:35pm Top

My latest ER book fills BingoDOG: 22. Place Name in Title

The Big Book of Canada: Exploring the Provinces and Territories by Christopher Moore

What a fabulous book for young readers! It has details about each province right down to the most recent events and celebrities. Chapters are arranged by province with text that is inviting and easy on the eye, illustrations that are colourful and attractive. This is a keeper that will provide years of use for study or reference. I have given my copy to a young friend whose enthusiastic opinion clinched a rating of a full five stars. Thank you Tundra, this one is a winner!

Edited: May 15, 2017, 5:31pm Top

Category: History/historical

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee

A wonderful coming of age story set in Alabama in the 1930s. I first read it when I was a young teenager in the UK. It was a world new to me and I was shocked to discover the ethnic inequality and racism of which I knew nothing until that point. I enjoyed the re-read for its heartwarming qualities but the racism is just as shocking.

This time I listened to the audio version with excellent narration by Sissy Spacek.

May 16, 2017, 11:01pm Top

>71 VivienneR: I've been meaning to get to 'His Bloody Project' for months now! I really must bump it up on my TBR!

>76 VivienneR: I love the audio of Sissy Spacek narrating TKAM! In fact, it's one of my all-time favorite audiobooks! I read it in print in high school (of course!) but didn't really get it; but when I listened to it in audio, the whole book "opened" up to me! I could see how it was structurally balanced; how the scenes were paced; and I was so involved in the story as well! It was the first time I was able to experience any audiobook objectively and subjectively simultaneously; and it took my audiobook listening in general up to a whole new level! :-)

May 17, 2017, 1:11am Top

>77 Tanya-dogearedcopy: A good audio narration can make or break a book. In this case Sissy Spacek did a fabulous job.

I hope you enjoy His Bloody Project. The style and story is so 19th century that I had to keep checking what was fiction and what was true crime. Was there, in fact, any true crime? Parts were so frustrating, but probably historically accurate, that it made me appreciate how far we've come with psychology.

May 18, 2017, 3:42pm Top

Category: Translations

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli

It took a couple of tries before I warmed to Camilleri but I enjoyed this one and now I'm hooked. Inspector Montalbano doesn't always play by the rules, but he does have a heart. This was an intriguing mystery involving Italian building codes, and how to get around the rules. I just can't understand why he stays with his cold girlfriend, Livia. Translator Stephen Sartarelli added notes to explain some references that might be obscure to non-Italian readers.

Edited: May 19, 2017, 3:45pm Top

>70 VivienneR: I kind of wish Camilleri would write a little backstory that "explained"Montalbano and Livia. There's been more play given to ingrid than Livia!

May 18, 2017, 5:06pm Top

>80 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I agree! I don't understand why Livia's brief appearances are even mentioned.

May 18, 2017, 5:50pm Top

>75 VivienneR: I won that one too. It was waiting on me when I got home, but I need to finish the book from the previous month before digging into it. I also have another book that is getting rave reviews from genealogy friends I'm dying to dig into that is nearby.

Edited: May 18, 2017, 11:36pm Top

Nice going, Lori. My young friend was delighted to immediately find Sydney Crosby's name. Then we enjoyed a quick question and answer test using the information in the book.

Edited: May 20, 2017, 1:02am Top

BingoDOG: 12. Title refers to another book

The title is from a line in Macbeth

Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd by C. Alan Bradley

One of my favourite series! Like Flavia, this mystery is a bit more grown up although Flavia retains her endearing precocious attitude to murder. Father is in hospital and the sleuthing is keeping her mind occupied. Bradley captures 1950s England beautifully. He includes lots of little details that are so subtle, they are almost hidden in the story, many of which only someone who has been there will appreciate. After the cliffhanger ending, I'll be looking out for the next in the series.

And this makes my first Bingo! this year!

Edited: May 21, 2017, 9:10pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: May 24 Commonwealth Day

West with the night by Beryl Markham

I'm sorry to say I haven't heard of Beryl Markham until I read this memoir written in 1936, first published in 1942 and reprinted in the 1980s. Markham was born in 1902 and went to what is now Kenya with her father in 1906. Like her father she was a racehorse trainer but she fell in love with flying and became a bush pilot eventually scouting for elephant from the air and working with people like Baron von Blixen. In 1936 she was the first woman to fly solo east-to-west across the Atlantic.

She was the most adventurous woman I can imagine, afraid of nothing. And to top it all produced this fantastic memoir using the most poetic, beautiful prose that even Hemingway envied. This mesmerizing book goes back on the shelf because it will definitely be read again. Now I plan to read Mary S. Lovell's biography West with the Night and Circling the Sun a fictional story of her life by Paula McLain. There has been some controversy about whether or not Markham wrote the book, but Lovell is said to have been in no doubt about the authorship after meeting Markham.

Best book of the month earning a full five stars!

May 22, 2017, 3:24pm Top

>85 VivienneR: I started West with the Night last month for the CATWoman Challenge that month (Biography); but am still lingering through it! I agree it's quite beautiful, with it own, unique internal rhythm. But, I wouldn't be in any rush to read Circling the Sun. Paula McLain's historical fiction doesn't quite hit the spot the way The Paris Wife does: While PMcL does very well in providing detail to a scene, the scenes themselves have an odd static quality to them - almost like she's describing a photograph or ghosts. And, despite the cover and opening scene, the novel treats Beryl's life as a child and as a horse trainer (not as an aviatrix.) So, overall, it's okay; but you kind of have to readjust your expectations a little bit.

May 22, 2017, 4:39pm Top

I have Circling the Sun on my TBR pile and will definitely be adding West With the Night to my wish list. The small portrayal of her in the movie Out of Africa peeked my interest. Now to get to reading the books.

May 23, 2017, 12:35am Top

>86 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Thank you for that advice. I'll remember it. I've ordered a copy of Lovell's book too. It will be good to compare them. I'm sure Lovell's will be the more accurate one.

>87 dudes22: Goodness, it's been so long since I've seen Out of Africa that I have forgotten all but the major stuff. I read the book too a very long time ago too, probably prompted by the movie. Maybe time for a re-read.

May 23, 2017, 1:24am Top

Yay! I just got my "tenner" badge! It sure doesn't seem like I've been on LT for ten years, time flies when you're having fun.

I've been buying a lot of books recently, and a booksale coming up in a couple of weeks, so I'll have no problem filling the "ten and one to grow on" haul of books. I'll post the list soon.

May 23, 2017, 3:11am Top

Congrats on your tenner badge, and have fun choosing your books!

May 23, 2017, 3:47pm Top

This is the list of eleven books purchased in the last two weeks to celebrate my 10th Thingaversary. Neville Stuart and Mary Lovell books have not arrived yet. In my zeal to buy books, I mistakenly bought two versions of Madeleine Thien's book, one print and one audio.

Agatha Christie's secret notebooks by John Curran
The golden child by Penelope Fitzgerald
The likeness by Tana French
Straight on till morning: the biography of Beryl Markham by Mary S. Lovell
I see you by Clare Mackintosh
I let you go by Clare Mackintosh
West with the night by Beryl Markham
Ratlines by Neville Stuart
Crossword mystery by E.R. Punshon
Information received by E.R. Punshon
Do not say we have nothing by Madeleine Thien

May 23, 2017, 4:42pm Top

Great haul! The secret notebooks are very interesting.

May 23, 2017, 5:02pm Top

I am very late with my happy new thread wishes. Lovely to see you found Three Day Road to be a worthy read!

>42 VivienneR: -I have to say, the location of the setting for the Deverell book (and the eccentric characters) has caught my eye. Will need to see if the local library has a copy of that one. ;-)

>56 VivienneR: - So, do I get to blame you or ridgeway girl for the Ali Smith BB? ;-)

>76 VivienneR: - I love To Kill A Mockingbird! It has been a number of years since I last read it... must be due for a re-read soon. Sissy Spacek would be a perfect narrator for the audiobook!

>79 VivienneR: - Happy to see another reader hooked on the Montalbano books. ;-)

Congrats on your first Bingo, your tenner badge and your recent book haul!

May 23, 2017, 6:20pm Top

>92 rabbitprincess: Thank you. On my first look through the book (which arrived through my letterbox with a tremendous thump) I noticed that Curran said he didn't correct Christie's spelling mistakes, but just marked them sic. Looking at her handwriting I wondered how on earth he identified spelling mistakes! It's unreadable.

>93 lkernagh: Lori, you would enjoy Deverell. I especially like the Arthur Beauchamp series. You'll recognize the locale! Deverell is the founder (and director?) of the BC Civil Liberties Foundation.

Oh, blame ridgewaygirl, I always do!

It took me a while to get hooked on Montalbano, but it was bound to happen.

Thanks. Good to see you dropping in.

May 24, 2017, 12:27am Top

>90 MissWatson: Sorry, I just noticed your post. Thanks for the good wishes. Like all of us here at LT I always have fun choosing books.

May 24, 2017, 4:12am Top

>95 VivienneR: You're welcome. There are so many interesting books on your list, happy reading!

May 25, 2017, 1:34am Top

Great book haul, Vivienne. I have West With the Night in audio form and it sounds like I have a treat waiting for me. My 9 year Thingaversary is coming up in June so I better get working on my list - I don't want to bring any new actual books into the house right now but I am sure I can easily find 10 books to add to my Kindle. :)

May 25, 2017, 2:22am Top

Thanks Judy. I hope you enjoy West with the night. And happy 9th Thingaversary next month. I add to my Kindle collection as well as the real thing that comes thumping through the letterbox at regular intervals - much faster than I can read them.

May 25, 2017, 3:44pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT: Man Booker International prize 2016

The Vegetarian by Kang Han, translated by Deborah Smith

Although all of the characters have an oppressive sense of despair, the story is memorable in a haunting way. And while I can appreciate the merit in this Kafkaesque story depicting the progression of mental illness, I can't say I enjoyed it

May 27, 2017, 3:20pm Top

Category: Biography

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

It was a bad idea to follow up Beryl Markham's excellent autobiography West with the Night with this fictionalized biography that was a disappointment by comparison. The characters were colourless, the book filled with details of illicit relationships. There is no denying that the affairs happened, but Beryl Markham deserves better than what amounts to a romance story with an exotic setting.

It has occasionally been thought that Markham's third husband wrote West With the Night, but in an afterword McLain confirms that it was written by Markham because a significant amount of the manuscript was presented to the publisher long before meeting the third husband.

May 30, 2017, 1:49am Top

Category: Dust Collectors

Call the dead again by Ann Granger

Another enjoyable mystery that had me guessing until the end. I just wish Markby would lose Meredith because she is such a meddlesome busybody. Sometimes he might solve the problem sooner without her help.

Edited: May 31, 2017, 3:47pm Top

Category: CATwoman: Women in the arts

Heart of a stranger by Margaret Laurence

"For a writer of fiction, part of the heart remains that of a stranger, for what we are trying to do is to understand those others who are our fictional characters, somehow to gain entrance to their minds and feelings, to respect them for themselves as human individuals, and to portray them as truly as we can."

This is a collection of essays written between 1964 and 1975 from one of my favourite authors. The essays, all previously published, are about her travels, and the places she has lived. They reveal an understanding and appreciation of her character. And although the essays about Somalia, Egypt and the Suez Canal are a bit dated, considering the changes that have taken place in the areas since, they also provide an interesting historic look at the locations. The parts I enjoyed most were those set in England, Scotland and Canada. Needless to say, the essays are beautifully written, full of humour: the quintessential Margaret Laurence.

This is my last book for May.

Edited: May 31, 2017, 4:28pm Top

MAY Summary:

Category: Dust Collectors
Call the dead again by Ann Granger 4*

Category: Recommendations
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet 3.5*

Category: Series
Career of evil by Robert Galbraith 4.5*

Category: Translations
August Heat by Andrea Camilleri translated by Stephen Sartarelli 4*

Category: Biography
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai 4*
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain 2.5*

Category: History/historical
To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee 4*

Category: Calendar Memos
May 8: VE Day: Peace by Richard Bausch 4.5*
May 24: Commonwealth Day West with the Night by Beryl Markham 5*

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: C & T
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child 3.5*

Category: CATwoman: Women in the arts
Heart of a stranger by Margaret Laurence 4*

Category: AwardsCAT
Man Booker International: The Vegetarian by Han Kang 3.5*
Edgar: Faithful Place by Tana French 4.5*

Category: RandomCAT: All about Mom
Death of a dreamer by M.C. Beaton 3*

12. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd by C. Alan Bradley 4.5*
22. The Big Book of Canada: Exploring the Provinces and Territories by Christopher Moore 5*

Read in May: 16
Read year-to-date 79
A - acquired before 2015: 16 (20%)
B - acquired since 2015: 54 (68%)
C - borrowed: 9 (11%)

Jun 5, 2017, 1:52am Top

Category: Translations

The white lioness by Henning Mankell, translated by Laurie Thompson

Another great mystery from Mankell involving a plot to assassinate Nelson Mandela. There are a number of police mistakes, a nail-biting ploy Mankell seems to like using, but sure to create an enthralling read. Very enjoyable.

Edited: Jun 7, 2017, 1:16pm Top

Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding

This should have been titled Helen Fielding's overactive imagination. Even though it is full of fun and action I was tempted to abandon it soon after starting, but heroically kept going. Mistake!

Jun 7, 2017, 11:40pm Top

Category: Biography

The boys in the trees by Carly Simon

My copy is in audio format read by the author, whose voice can be slightly monotone, but still pleasant to hear. Simon's life was shaped by her own childhood insecurities, increased by having a stutter, an impediment that was treated by singing. The story was more than just a recitation of events, but revealed thoughts, dreams, loves, and was almost lyrical in places. My biggest quibble was that her narration was often accompanied by music that almost drowned out her voice, a tad annoying but no fault of of Simon's. Not bad, not great, some passages were quite uninteresting and could have been improved with editing.

Jun 9, 2017, 10:36pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi PEN longlist 2017

A brilliant epic story, demonstrating the vast length of time and number of individuals affected by the slave trade, the legacy following generation after generation after generation. Gyasi filled in a lot of the fuzzy areas of history for me with this history of the people now known as African American, even though it's only part of the story. Gyasi's details are the type that stay in the mind forever. Highly recommended.

Jun 12, 2017, 12:25pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: June 6 - D-Day

Double cross: the true story of the D-Day spies by Ben Macintyre

A thoroughly engrossing read! The stories are remarkable and Macintyre's writing captures the era and characters brilliantly. This is non-fiction that reads like a thrilling action story. I loved the clever idea of double-agent pigeons.

Jun 12, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>108 VivienneR: Double Cross might be my favourite Macintyre. I loved the story of Agent Garbo!

Jun 12, 2017, 6:32pm Top

Yes, what a character! Actually, they were all a hoot! I laughed out loud a few times. Macintyre reminded me of how much I enjoyed The Magic Army by Leslie Thomas about forces congregating on the south coast of England in preparation for D-Day. Thomas's book was fiction, but based on facts and the events as described by Macintyre. The entire south coast was evacuated, businesses and everything. Not something that would work nowadays with or without double-crossing spies.

I have Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag too, but Double cross: the true story of the D-Day spies filled the category perfectly.

Jun 13, 2017, 12:57pm Top

Category: AwardsCAT: National Book award (finalist 2016)

Another Brooklyn: a novel by Jacqueline Woodson

The story is about coming of age in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Woodson writes about teenagers with a rare astuteness. An exceptional book, beautifully written in delicately spare prose.

Jun 15, 2017, 1:16pm Top

Two for History/historical Category

A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence

A simple story, that of an ordinary woman, yet it imparts a poweful tale that shows an unerring perception of relationships, especially the one with her mother where the things not said have more importance than those spoken. I cannot praise this novel enough. Laurence's writing is simply superb.

Churchill remembered by BBC Archives, Mark Jones

This is a biographical sketch of Churchill, created from a collection of audio material held in the BBC Archives. Some of the recordings from early 1900s are anecdotes from people who knew him at that time and are naturally quite dated. The recording and story-telling quality improves as it progresses. This is an interesting audio collection that provides an excellent and entertaining portrait of Churchill that is a combination of personal, political and picturesque. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. The personal accounts and news announcements made the iconic Churchill, as well as the times, very real. Tim Piggott-Smith provides an excellent presentation.

Edited: Jun 17, 2017, 3:21pm Top

Category BingoDOG: 7. Appeals to the senses

This was a snag from Early Reviewers that I realized would fit this Bingo square.

The Fog by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Maclear has written a beautiful story about a young birdwatcher, the red-hooded spectacled female (juvenile), and a small avian human-watcher known as Warble, in Icyland. The pair meet and share ideas and interests. The story has a message of sorts about pollution that a child may not pick up right away, but the information will be stored away and at some time, understood. The endpapers are particularly entertaining with illustrations of humans with bird-like names such as "hairy orange-crowned male (juvenile)" or the "swift red-capped pitcher". Even the author and illustrator biographies are written in avian terms. This is a marvellous story accompanied by fabulous illustrations that is sure to become a treasured favourite.

Jun 17, 2017, 3:23pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: June 17: Icelandic Day

Burial rites by Hannah Kent

In 1829 the last execution took place in Iceland. A man and woman were beheaded for murder. Kent, an Australian, has created this novel from the real-life story, focusing on the condemned woman, Agnes, who is held at a farm while awaiting execution. Despite being counselled by a young, inexperienced priest, her story is eventually revealed to the farmer's wife who had been initially hostile to Agnes.

Kent has researched 19th century Icelandic culture thoroughly and recreates it believably. My main complaint is that the story is a bit too dreamy, too wordy, as if the author is trying too hard to conjure up the scene in poetic prose. This is probably a first novel mistake, and even though the novel is a good one, it served to slow down the suspense. I was curious about the word "agreeance" used in the text. Use of the word faded out in the mid-19th century, so it is correct here. It is ironic that Agnes, the accused's name, means pure, holy.

Jun 19, 2017, 2:50pm Top

>113 VivienneR: I've been working through some lists of children's books the last couple of days, and that one is one that came up I want to read. I'm glad to see it was a hit for you.

Jun 19, 2017, 7:12pm Top

>115 thornton37814: Lori, I hope you like it as much as I did. My husband is a birder so we had a few laughs over it. Looking forward to your opinion.

Jun 19, 2017, 10:09pm Top

>116 VivienneR: It isn't available locally yet. I'm hoping it will be soon.

Edited: Jun 22, 2017, 12:02pm Top

Two books finished yesterday.

Category: RandomCAT June: Step into the Unknown

No signposts in the sea by Vita Sackville-West

A heartbreaking story of undeclared love that takes place while on an ocean voyage. This was Sackville-West's last book, a novella really, and although the subtle story is beautifully written it doesn't rival her other works, such as my favourite, The Edwardians.

Category: Recommendations

Freeze Frame by Peter May

This was my first Peter May story and I'm left wondering how he has escaped my notice until now. It was the type of mystery that I enjoy most, a sleuth with pizzazz, an intriguing mystery set in foreign parts, in this case Ile de Groix, an island off the coast of Brittany.

Jun 21, 2017, 10:51pm Top

>118 VivienneR: - Stopping by and taking a BB for No Signposts in the Sea, and The Edwardians. (Darn a double BB!). Sounds like the kind of comfort read I like for dark, winter days, when I want to be somewhere else in place (and time). ;-)

Jun 22, 2017, 12:28pm Top

>119 lkernagh: Lori, I'm sure you would enjoy Vita Sackville-West's writing, especially The Edwardians, which was wonderful.

Jun 23, 2017, 11:31am Top

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: N & Y

You who know by Nicholas Freeling

When I spotted this book in the library I nabbed it because it hit both letters for this month's AlphaKIT. Freeling has a distinctive writing style. I remembered his name from a long ago read and wondered why I hadn't read more. Now I remember. It wasn't an easy read, and I often had to double back to re-read a section slowly in order to take it in. French detective Castang investigates the murder of his Irish friend, Eamonn Hickey, a probe that takes him on a journey through Europe, the most enjoyable part of the book.

Jun 23, 2017, 10:26pm Top

>112 VivienneR: I just finished rereading The Stone Angel and I agree that Laurence is an incredible writer. I've not read Jest of God yet but it sounds like one I should definitely pick up. I've got a couple others from the Manawaka Cycle, The Diviners (which I'd first read a long time ago) and Bird in the House, on my shelves.

Jun 24, 2017, 1:39am Top

>122 mathgirl40: Don't you love the first words of The Stone Angel? In Heart of a Stranger Laurence describes the trouble she had finding the perfect title. She and the publisher tried and rejected several. Then she re-read the opening lines, and found the perfect title right there.

I hope to read A Bird in the House in the near future, it's one of the few I haven't already read (I think).

Jun 24, 2017, 9:17am Top

>123 VivienneR: I've not read Heart of a Stranger, but my edition of The Stone Angel has an afterward by Adele Wiseman where she describes Laurence's discovery of her perfect title.

Jun 28, 2017, 8:11pm Top

Category: CATwoman: Professional Women

Angela Merkel: Europe's most influential leader by Matthew Qvortrup

Knowing little of Merkel to begin with, I found every detail to be interesting. She has a strong personality and thoughtful deliberation that conveys a reassuring confidence in her decisions. Among the abundant issues she has faced I was particularly struck by her courage in opening borders to refugees in 2015. Her compelling reasons were threefold: firstly, as she announced at an EU meeting "I lived a long time behind a fence, it is not something I wish do do again"; secondly, her well thought-out economic plan will try to increase a diminishing younger population to counter the expanding number of seniors; and thirdly, her humanitarian view "There is no tolerance for those who question the worth of other people, no tolerance for those who are not willing to help, when helping is right and humane". Clearly her decisions are not egotistical but made in true consideration of the country and the people. This is a world leader to be trusted and admired, little wonder she is the most influential leader.

Qvortrup's biography will help the reader broaden their understanding and knowledge of the modern world, particularly European politics. He left me wanting more about Angela Merkel, the person.

There was a lot to absorb from this book so I will probably go back to it again.

Jun 30, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Category: Series

Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope

Wonderful story! It's more of a social commentary and history of 19th century gentry and quite funny in places. The raucus election campaign was laugh-out-loud funny, reminding me of the (less funny) recent US election campaign. The lengthy story progresses like a page-turner in slow-motion. I enjoyed it a lot, but maybe not quite as much as Barchester Towers, still a lot.

I'm still reading Dry Bones that Dream by Peter Robinson the last book for June, which happens to be in the same category. I'll be finished later today and post then.

Jul 1, 2017, 1:57am Top


To all my friends, wherever you are, enjoy Canada's 150th birthday, July 1st.

Jul 1, 2017, 12:28pm Top

>125 VivienneR: I love the description of Merkel. I wouldn't have thought to pick up a biography on her, but you're right that there is a lot of content there, and just from your description I appreciate her more.

Jul 1, 2017, 2:14pm Top

>127 VivienneR: Thanks, and same to you! It's a humid but sunny day at my parents' place, and tonight we're having a barbecue at my cousins' house.

Jul 1, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>128 pammab: Thanks. She's impressive.

>129 rabbitprincess: Hot here in BC too (but not humid). I was watching the tv coverage of the party in Ottawa and wondering if you were one of the crowd. We're saving the family celebration for my own birthday on July 4th.

Jul 1, 2017, 3:19pm Top

Enjoy Canada's Birthday, Vivienne. We are staying home during the day but going out to watch the community fireworks later on.

Jul 1, 2017, 3:27pm Top

>130 VivienneR: Yeah, normally I would be in Major's Hill Park enjoying the festivities, but this year I figured the crowds would be too big. I heard people were waiting for several hours in security checkpoint lineups just to get onto the Hill! I don't have patience for that.

Jul 1, 2017, 3:44pm Top

>127 VivienneR: Happy Canada Day to you too!

Jul 1, 2017, 4:32pm Top

Happy Canada Day! I hope you get a lot of fireworks!

Jul 1, 2017, 7:06pm Top

>131 DeltaQueen50: Canada Day has something for everyone.

>132 rabbitprincess: I heard some of those lineups were because heavy rain flooded some areas and delayed entry. I don't have that kind of patience either.

>133 mathgirl40: Thanks.

>134 MissWatson: Thanks, usually the fireworks are quite spectacular, even for this small town.

Jul 1, 2017, 7:08pm Top

Category: Series

Dry Bones that Dream by Peter Robinson

Robinson never lets me down. This one is an older book and it's kind of funny to read about technology, and attitudes to it, in the nineties. I've been reading the series out of order and this was my first featuring constable Susan Gay. I'm hoping there will be more appearances from her. This was an engrossing mystery and I sort of figured out the solution about half-way. Still, I really enjoyed it.

Jul 1, 2017, 7:24pm Top

June Summary:

Category: Dust Collectors
Olivia Joules and the overactive imagination by Helen Fielding 2*

Category: Recommendations
Freeze Frame by Peter May 4*

Category: Series
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope 4.5*
Dry Bones that Dream by Peter Robinson 4*

Category: Translations
The white lioness by Henning Mankell 4*

Category: Biography
The boys in the trees by Carly Simon 3*

Category: History/historical
Churchill remembered by BBC Archives, Mark Jones 4*
A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence 5*

Category: Calendar Memos:
Double cross: the true story of the D-Day spies by Ben Macintyre 4*
Burial rites by Hannah Kent (Icelandic Day) 3.5*

Category: Mystery AlphaKIT: N & Y
You who know by Nicholas Freeling 3*

Category: CATwoman: Professional Women
Angela Merkel: Europe's most influential leader by Matthew Qvortrup 4*

Category: AwardsCAT:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi PEN longlist 2017 4*
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson National Book award (finalist 2016) 4*

Category: RandomCAT:
No signposts in the sea by Vita Sackville-West 4*

Category BingoDOG:
7. Appeals to the senses: The Fog by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Kenard Pak 5*

Read in June 15
Read year-to-date 94
A - acquired before 2015: 20 (21%)
B - acquired since 2015: 63 (67%)
C - borrowed: 11 (12%)

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:49pm Top

This is my reading plan for July that might be just a bit ambitious. All but three are Canadian.

Jul 2, 2017, 2:48pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: July 1: Canada's 150th Birthday

Running in the family by Michael Ondaatje

This is a poetic, lyrical book of memories and anecdotes about the author's aristocratic and eccentric Ceylonese-Dutch family. Like most family tales, some may have taken on a larger-than-life quality, with the basic story embellished in the retelling. My version is an audiobook with excellent narration by Ondaatje. His smooth, mellifluous voice conjures up the hot island of Sri Lanka, redolent with the scent of jasmine, and is perfect for this work. Fabulous!

Jul 2, 2017, 6:28pm Top

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Michael Bond earlier this week. He was the creator of Paddington Bear but I loved him best for the Monsieur Pamplemousse series.

Jul 3, 2017, 8:44am Top

>139 VivienneR: You make that one sound enticing!

Jul 3, 2017, 1:38pm Top

>141 thornton37814: The only negative was that it is very short, but that just ensures that I will listen to it again.

Edited: Jul 3, 2017, 2:04pm Top

Category: Calendar Memos: July 1: Canada's 150th Birthday & July 4: my birthday

Vegetarian celebrations by Nava Atlas

I've had this for a while and thought it would be perfect for our July celebrations. For a family picnic I made some of the recipes from the Memorial Day and Beyond chapter, all of which turned out very well, my favourite being a beet and orange salad. The Small Celebrations chapter is a useful one in providing dishes to add to the menu or serve individually. The author provides advice about how to adjust recipes for vegans that is appreciated.

I also enjoyed the sidebar notes, one of which was "Things not to be forgotten at a picnic" by Isabella Beaton that included "a stick of horseradish, a bottle of mint sauce, teacups and saucers, and three or four teapots".

Jul 3, 2017, 6:36pm Top

>142 VivienneR: Short is good! I added it to a wish list. My local library (and Knox County, where I also have a card) didn't have it. I suspect I can pick up a used copy at McKays sometime.

Jul 4, 2017, 12:10am Top

>138 VivienneR: - Love your "Canada 150" book lineup for July!

I hope you had a wonderful Canada Day!

Jul 4, 2017, 1:03am Top

>145 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. Canada Day was great, I hope yours was wonderful too!

Jul 4, 2017, 3:03am Top

Happy birthday! I hope you have lots of cake and presents!

Jul 4, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>147 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit! So far it is excellent - and high calorie!

Jul 5, 2017, 8:40am Top

>148 VivienneR: Calories? What are calories?

Jul 6, 2017, 2:11am Top

>149 MissWatson: No need to worry anymore, the calories have been consumed :)

Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 3:05am Top

Category: RandomCAT: Let's Celebrate: Canada Day

The view from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

Munro has played with the truth, mixing in a little fiction here and there, and it succeeds admirably. This collection of short stories begins with some family history in Scotland followed with her Canadian experiences. The writing conveys stories that are sincere and painfully candid, stories of ordinary people who made an unforgettable impression on a young woman, who is recounting her history. If the reader is unfamiliar with Alice Munro, this might not be the best place to start. However, the writing has that unmistakable Munro excellence.

Note: This cover is so wrong for Munro's book.

Jul 6, 2017, 3:35pm Top

>148 VivienneR: >149 MissWatson: Everyone knows birthday calories don't count! ;)

Jul 7, 2017, 2:07am Top

>152 christina_reads: Whew! I'm glad of that!

Jul 7, 2017, 2:27am Top

Category: Translations and it fits my read Canadian month!

Sanaaq: an Inuit novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk trans. from Inuktitut to French to English

Wesleyan missionaries created syllabics to advance the conversion of Canadian Cree, who had no writing system of their own. Eventually this syllabic alphabet was adapted to the Inuit language of the territory now known as Nunavut. Nappaaluk was a well-respected, admired resident of the area who was asked to assist in creating an Inuit/French dictionary in the 1930s. Father Robert Lechat provided her with notebooks and asked her to write some sentences and terms from daily life when she had some free time. Obviously Nappaaluk found this boring, and instead she created a fictional community of Inuit families with Sanaaq, a young mother, as the main character, possibly a self-portrait. The translation to French was a lengthy process, and although it was published in Inuktitut syllabics in 1984, it was not until 2002 that the French translation was published. It was translated to English in 2014 by Peter Frost. For someone who had never read a novel, never read anything in fact, Nappaaluk's book is enthralling. Nappaaluk earned an honorary PhD from McGill University in 2000 for helping advance the teaching of the Inuit language and culture.

The day-to-day Inuit life that Nappaaluk portrays is unfeigned, and clearly describes the difficulties of living in the Arctic. The writing style is almost childlike in its simplicity, covering disastrous occurrences such as the death of a young person, or accidentally losing an eye, in the same style as mundane events like filling in holes in the igloo. It's frequently necessary to refer to the glossary at the end. This was a difficult book to rate. While the writing is unpolished, frank and plain-spoken, it's very existence is an amazing achievement, and Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk's creative talent is evident.

Jul 9, 2017, 2:02pm Top

Category: Recommendations

The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Katty Maurey

I was so impressed with Maclear's The Fog June's Early Reviewer win that I set out to find more by the author.

This is another beautiful children's book with a gentle message about a young girl who does not want to go on a beach vacation, would prefer to stay in the city with her friends. But although she resisted going outside for two boring days, as soon as she experiences the beach and water she is won over with the natural world. "Mama has a snowy mountain in Japan, Papa has the South Downs in England. I want this ocean to be mine."

"I used to call it the Specific Ocean until my brother corrected me," she confesses.

The subtle illustrations by Maurey are simple and beautiful. Suitable for ages 4-8.

I've also found a memoir and two books of Maclear's fiction that also look good.

Jul 10, 2017, 2:01pm Top

Category: Dust Collectors

The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies

Last read in 2008, this was one of the first reviews I posted on LT. Of course it all came back to me as I re-read it.

Clever, creative and entertaining, and if anything, I enjoyed it just a bit more this time. There is some connection in the story with Rabelais, the 15th century monk Maria Theotoky is studying, whose writing has been labelled satyrical, grotesque, or bawdy, and the faculty of the College of St. John and the Holy Ghost, affectionately known as Spook, who embrace the epithets gleefully. It would benefit the reader to know something of Rabelais to begin with but this is not absolutely necessary.

I haven't yet read the other two in the trilogy and will look forward to them in the near future.

Edited: Jul 11, 2017, 12:38am Top

Category: Calendar Memos: My birthday, July 4

Birthday Party by C.H.B. Kitchin

The story begins in 1922 with the suicide of Claude Carlice, leaving a young son and daughter, his second wife, and his sister, Isabel. Of course, the reader immediately suspects that the suicide will eventually be found to be murder. However, there is no hint of suspicion and most of the book is a leisurely account of the family in alternating chapters by four people: sister Isobel, Ronnie the son, second wife Dora, and her brother, a wildcard. Claude's daughter died in a car accident resulting in Ronnie, who stands to inherit on his imminent 21st birthday, being the only person standing in the way of Isabel inheriting.

The book reads more like a family saga where, as in all sagas, not a lot happens, but is an interesting portrayal of upper crust life and society at the beginning of the 20th century, and includes some interesting conversation on socialism, a prominent topic of the time. There was a nice twist at the end that I should have been aware of earlier, instead I had a couple of "Why did he...?" moments and let it pass. Kitchin writes well and this is an enjoyable story, with just a whiff of murder.

Jul 12, 2017, 3:46pm Top

Category: History/historical

Reading the bones by Gina McMurchy-Barber

Crescent Beach is a small community in British Columbia that in prehistoric times was a First Nations summer village and burial site. McMurchy-Barber is herself an archaeologist who has studied remains and grave goods from a disturbed site in the area and has created this story for young people that beautifully explains the value of preservation and respect for graves. Well written without any overdone clichés that often accompany YA stories. Includes a bibliography.

Jul 14, 2017, 10:33pm Top

I hope you'll come over to visit at Part 3 of my thread

This topic was continued by Vivienne's Year of the Cat - Part 3.

Group: 2017 Category Challenge

131 members

24,176 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,000,773 books! | Top bar: Always visible