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rosalita jumps a little higher in 2017: verse 7

This is a continuation of the topic rosalita jumps a little higher in 2017: verse 6.

This topic was continued by rosalita jumps a little higher in 2017: verse 8.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Jul 17, 10:30am Top

The Iowa City Jazz Fest was held over the 4th of July weekend, and it wrapped up on Sunday night with the traditional blockbuster fireworks show, perfectly framing the Old Capitol dome. As visitors to my most recent thread know, I enjoy professional fireworks but not the amateur disasters perpetrated by my neighbors. These are beautiful, though, aren't they?

The book-reading slump I fell into in the last two months of 2016 may be the way of the future, which is OK. I’m going to continue reading books of all sorts (fiction, nonfiction, mystery, history, science fiction/fantasy), maybe fewer but hopefully better. (Better does not mean Serious, or Literary, or any such thing. It just means, you know, Better.)

And because I do a lot of reading outside of books, I’m going to also “review” some of that as well, which just means I’m going to be dropping some links and comments to articles I come across that I find interesting, amusing, or thought-provoking. Perhaps you will, too! None of the non-book reading will count toward my 75-book total, of course.

About those stars:
My system for assigning star ratings to books has evolved over the years, but this chart comes the closest to describing what I consider when I rate a book.
Breathtaking. This book may not be perfect, but it was perfect for me.
Not quite perfect, but I will actively recommend this book to friends.
A really great book with minor flaws, still highly recommended.
Better than average but some flaws. Recommended.
Entertaining but probably forgettable, not worth re-reading. Recommended only for fans of the genre or author.
Readable but something about the story, characters or writing was not up to standards. Not recommended.
Finished but did not like, and would not recommend.
Some redeeming qualities made me finish it, but nothing to recommend.
Nearly no redeeming qualities. Really rather bad.
Could not finish, possibly destroyed by fire (unless it's a library book)

Edited: Jul 17, 7:42pm Top

Currently Reading


As usual, I've neglected to jot down whose thread targeted me with the book bullet for Uprooted, but thank you!Edited to add: I think it was Judy, so thank you, Judy!

As for The Merrivale Mystery, I know exactly who to blame for that one, LIZ. It is ... not going well.

Jul 17, 11:59am Top

Happy new one, Julia!

Jul 17, 12:16pm Top


Jul 17, 12:19pm Top

Monday Clickbait

The Boston Public Library Has a 'Car Wash' For Books — And it's just about what you'd expect. There's a video embedded in the article that shows the contraption in action. (via Atlas Obscura)

Jul 17, 12:33pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 17, 12:47pm Top

Happy new thread, Julia!

Jul 17, 1:17pm Top

Julia, please accept my commendations on your new accommodations.

>5 rosalita: My daughter does a lot of borrowing from the BPL; lives a 10-minute walk from a newly constructed branch, which is next to a stop on T she uses to get under the harbor and into the city center where she works.

Jul 17, 1:25pm Top

Happy new thread, Julia. I started The Good Girls Revolt, and it caught me from the first page. Thanks!

Jul 17, 1:26pm Top

Julia--Happy new thread! Love the fireworks topper.

Jul 17, 2:35pm Top

Happy new thread!

>5 rosalita: Love it! Maybe I should get a home installation to handle all those volumes from the used bookstores and garage sales.

As odd but (perhaps) even more necessary, we're looking into puchasing a book oven. Some of our partners have had trouble with infestations of bed bugs. We haven't had any confirmed cases yet in our collection, but it may be just a matter of time. Those things are everywhere.


Jul 17, 3:00pm Top

>8 weird_O: Well, Bill, now you can tell your daughter her books have been through the car wash!

>9 BLBera: I'm so glad to hear it, Beth! I thought you would like it.

>10 Berly: Thanks, Kim!

>11 swynn: What would really be impressive would be if they could dust the pages inside, too. That's where all the musty smell lives in my experience. And yikes to bedbugs in books, but I'm not surprised. I would have thought baking books would wreak havoc on glued bits, but maybe not?

Jul 17, 3:53pm Top

Happy new thread Julia my dear, hope you are having a good Monday.

Edited: Jul 17, 5:21pm Top

>12 rosalita: I just gave my daughter five or six used books that were dupes. Bought them at sales thinking I wanted them and didn't have them, then finding that, golly, I do have them. Bought one of 'em just three days ago. So when she gets them home, maybe can get them laundered at the library.

Hey! Maybe the BPL can clean up some of those porn books. Or dirty old money! Sure, that's it: the library could launder money.

Jul 17, 5:39pm Top

>14 weird_O: Maybe the BPL can clean up some of those porn books. Or dirty old money! Sure, that's it: the library could launder money.

I think you might be on to something, Bill! And in Boston, I'm thinking there's some money to be laundered, even if Whitey Bulger is no longer on the loose.

Edited: Jul 17, 5:56pm Top

>12 rosalita: " I would have thought baking books would wreak havoc on glued bits, but maybe not?"

Surely it's not the best thing from a preservation standpoint, but for general collection books it's probably not unusually damaging. We are told that raising an environment to just 120 degrees suffices to kill bedbugs at all stages: from egg to adult. A book left in a car seat on a sunny day gets hotter than that. The ovens we're looking at have a target of around 140 degrees.

Of course, jokes about "cooking the books" are both easy and irresistible.

Jul 17, 6:00pm Top

>16 swynn: That makes sense, and that's really not that hot when you think about it. And it bests having buggy books!

Jul 17, 6:14pm Top

Happy New Thread, Julia.

That's a beautiful fireworks photo up top.

Jul 17, 6:31pm Top

>2 rosalita:

All care taken, no responsibility accepted! :D

Jul 17, 7:58pm Top

I think I'm going to start leaving my library books in my car for a day!

Jul 17, 8:12pm Top

>18 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! I wish I could take credit for the photo, but I snagged it from the UI Twitter feed.

>19 lyzard: I don't think so, missy! I'll be over to your thread to express my feelings more fully!

>20 BLBera: That is smart thinking, Beth! I can't think much could survive the heat that builds up every day in my car this summer.

Jul 18, 6:39am Top

Oh, Uprooted! I've had that one on my Read Soon shelf for too long. Soon, hopefully...

Jul 18, 9:29am Top

>22 scaifea: I'm enjoying it so far, Amber.

Jul 18, 10:11am Top

Happy new thread, Julia, I chuckled about the book (and money) laundry :-)

Edited: Jul 18, 11:12am Top

Trivial Pursuits

Are you good at trivia? Do you enjoy pub quizzes? Maybe you'd like to join me in playing in an online trivia competition called Learned League! There are four "seasons" a year, each of them lasting about a month.

Players answer six questions a day in a wide variety of categories, and you are scored both by the questions you get right but also how well you "defend" by assigning points values to the questions for your opponent. Rather than try to describe the format in my own words, here's the primer for potential LLamas (that's what a player in Learned League is called): http://www.learnedleague.com/thorsten/primer.php.

The rest of the rules and important information can be found here: http://www.learnedleague.com/thorsten/. There's also a place where you can look at questions from previous seasons to get an idea of what it's like: https://learnedleague.com/samples.php.

Your rookie season is free, and you are under no obligation to keep playing after that. If you choose to continue it's $30 a year (four seasons). There are no prizes to be won except the warm glow of victory. One of the things I like most about LL is that players are assigned to competition tiers based on their previous record (rookies are all grouped together since they have no history), so you are always playing against people who are more or less at your same level.

A season is 25 days of 6 questions each. If you join, you have to commit to playing for a whole season of 25 match days — no forfeiting! LL74 (the next season) runs Aug 21-Sep 25) with matches on most Mondays through Fridays (The Commissioner usually schedules around holidays and times when he's on vacation).

I can refer two players each season. If you're interested, or if you'd like more information or have questions about how it works, just send me a PM or ask here. I'd love to have some company!

Jul 18, 11:00am Top

Happy new thread, Julia.

>25 rosalita: I love my trivia so I would be up for the challenge.

Jul 18, 12:03pm Top

>25 rosalita: - The Wayne and I got engaged at our regular Wednesday bar trivia night in Dallas. Love me some trivia...

Jul 18, 12:36pm Top

>26 PaulCranswick: That would be great, Paul! Do you have any questions about how it works?

>27 katiekrug: Awww, that's so sweet! So you're saying you'd love to sign up, then?

Jul 18, 12:37pm Top


Jul 18, 12:42pm Top

Excellent! I just need you and Paul to PM me your email addresses so Thorsten can send the official invitation.

Jul 18, 2:35pm Top

Hi, Julia! Happy latest thread! GREAT thread topper!

I've got Uprooted on my reserved list at the library, thanks to Judy and Roni. Both have raved about it.

Bedbugs in library books? Ugh! Makes me feel better about mostly borrowing eBooks and eAudios these days. Last thing I need or want is an infestation of the little pests.

Jul 18, 2:40pm Top

Howdy Julia!

>5 rosalita: Yikes! and I'm with Kim >20 BLBera: about leaving library books in the car for a day.

>25 rosalita: sounds like fun, but no time :(

Jul 18, 2:56pm Top

>25 rosalita:

Wow - the sample questions are all tough - not being timed and multiple choice would be welcomed!

Jul 18, 3:51pm Top

>31 Storeetllr: I'm enjoying Uprooted so far, Mary, though I haven't gotten very far into it.

>32 luvamystery65: Boo to bedbugs!

>33 m.belljackson: No time limit really helps, Marianne! Lots of times questions have multiple entry points, which helps me sometimes but usually I'm too impatient and just submit an answer to get it over with. And then kick myself when I see what the actual answer is, of course! But the interesting thing about assigning defensive points is that you can win a match despite not getting very many questions right. I have won with only 1 out of 6 correct answers quite a few times. So it's not as unforgiving as you either know it or you don't.

Jul 19, 3:12pm Top

Wednesday Clickbait

The Most Iconic Book Set In 150 Countries Around the World — Well, this is comprehensive and almost sure to be controversial for people who think their country's book selection is bananas. (You'll need to click through to the story to see the graphic full size.) The US book is Huckleberry Finn which seems like a fairly obvious if dated choice. The USA of Huck Finn is not the USA of Donald Trump, let's just say.

I'd love it if you'd chime in and tell us whether you think the book chosen for your country is a good choice, or what book you'd recommend instead. Ready, set, GO! (via Global English Editing)

Edited: Jul 19, 3:24pm Top

The criteria seem to be based on evocation and ability to transport the reader to a specific place. I'm not Cypriot, but I wouldn't think Othello really transports one to that particular setting...

I'm actually okay with Huck Finn because if I'm interpreting the criteria correctly, I think it definitely evokes a specific location and one central to the national identity.

Regardless, I adore articles and lists like this :)

ETA: The US pick is actually Tom Sawyer which I don't think really works.

Jul 19, 3:35pm Top

>36 katiekrug: You did a better job than I did of trying to figure out the criteria, Katie! I read the introduction several times and couldn't find any info that told me it was anything more than just a random list made by one person.

And my bad for mixing up Huck with Tom. Perhaps I was subconsciously coming to the conclusion you did, which is that Tom Sawyer doesn't really work. The problem with a country like the US is that there is not specific location that speaks to the national identity that doesn't leave somebody/something out. We are too disparate, both geographically and demographically, in my opinion, for one book to sum up The American Experience. That may well be true of other countries as well; I'll defer to others to say.

I do think this would be a good basis for a reading challenge, though I can imagine some of these books would be hard to find.

Jul 19, 3:47pm Top

>35 rosalita: No complaints about the choise for my country, but a bit sad that there is no book from Estonia mentioned...

Jul 19, 4:29pm Top

>37 rosalita:

To Kill a Mockingbird seems a better representation than Tom Sawyer...

Jul 19, 4:50pm Top

Interesting list, which could provoke a lot of discussion. I wonder about books about places that are written by outsiders: The Poisonwood Bible and The Orphan Master's Son, for example. I wonder if people from the Congo and North Korea would agree with those choices?

Jul 19, 5:06pm Top

>38 FAMeulstee: Oh, I didn't notice there was no Estonia book, Anita! That does seem like an oversight.

>39 m.belljackson: That's the one I was thinking of, Marianne! Although it also suffers from being very much of a particular place and time. Maybe I just liked that book better than Tom Sawyer. :-)

>40 BLBera: That's an excellent point, Beth. I can imagine it could be a very sensitive subject, especially in Africa or any other place with a long history of colonization. On the other hand, I don't know what sort of literary tradition either of those countries has to be able to suggest alternatives, especially North Korea.

Jul 19, 5:18pm Top

There is also no Malta book. But to be fair, it does only claim to cover 150 countries :)

I had similar thoughts to Beth's about non-native writers, but if the criteria is about evoking place/setting, I don't think one has to be from a place to do that well.

Jul 19, 11:23pm Top

Julia, I'm glad you got your trivia volunteers. I don't need to add anything to my life right now no matter how fun it sounds. I am hooked on a word game called Word Chums which I've been playing for several years now. Sooo much better than Words With Friends.

I never put books and bed bugs together, but then we all like to curl up with a good book, don't we? Summer has officially arrived in The Ozarks. Maybe I should just open the windows in my little library and close the door just in case I have anyone nesting in my books. Yuk!

Hope all is well with you. Try to stay cool.

Jul 19, 11:42pm Top

Hi Julia, I hope you are enjoying Uprooted. Oh, and I'm a little late with this: pel-ar-GO-nee-um. :)

Jul 20, 6:25am Top

>43 Donna828: I've never played either of those games, Donna, so I'll have to take your word for it. But if you enjoy it, that's all that matters! Enjoy the rest of your busy summer.

>44 DeltaQueen50: I am enjoying it very much, Judy. Thanks for firing that particular book bullet. :-)

Jul 20, 6:36am Top

Happy New Thread, Julia!

>35 rosalita: LIKE!!

Jul 20, 6:48am Top

>35 rosalita: I LOVE this as a reading challenge! Especially since I've already read the Twain and wouldn't have to read it again (blech!)!

Jul 20, 9:16am Top

>46 msf59: Hi, Mark!

>47 scaifea: I admit I thought of you when I saw the U.S. book, Amber! I do not share your distaste for Twain but that's not the book I would have picked.

Jul 20, 12:11pm Top

Hi, Julia.

>35 rosalita:, >47 scaifea:, >48 rosalita:

I like Twain better than Amber, too, but dated is a good word for that choice for an iconic USA book. One problem is there are so many different USAs. To Kill a Mockingbird? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? Lonesome Dove? The Grapes of Wrath? My pick probably doesn't have a wide enough fan base, but to me Plainsong would be a great choice.

Edited: Jul 20, 2:35pm Top

I'm with Joe. Though I enjoyed reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn when I was a kid, I doubt I'd have the patience today and think all of Joe's alternate choices would be good. As others have noted, the U.S. is so large and (supposed-to-be) all-encompassing, it would be difficult to come up with only one book to evoke it all. Those five cover four relatively discrete geographical and socioeconomic areas really well, though they leave out the Midwest and Northwestern parts of the country, but they are about life in the past, except Plainsong. It would be interesting to know what other books that are about the U.S. today might work. (Not sure why every novel I think of that would fit is either horror or dystopian or post-apocalyptic. *tongue-in-cheek*)

Jul 20, 2:49pm Top

>49 jnwelch: >50 Storeetllr: I like all of Joe's suggestions as well. Maybe what we need is an iconic "road" novel (NOT Cormac McCarthy, Mary!) that covers a wide swath of the U.S. Of course, now that I've said that I'm having trouble coming up with a good suggestion. But there must be one, right?

Jul 20, 3:29pm Top

Travels with Charley? Tho it's not fiction, so I guess wouldn't work.

Jul 20, 3:48pm Top

Bed Bugs - are they visible? do they hang onto edges like ticks on tall grass? or?

We'd need to heat all our library books, books from used bookstores & garage sales,
and the lovely old three dollar ones from online sellers...might be easier to take plants
and pets to a motel for a few nights and turn the heat way up in the house...?!?

Jul 20, 3:55pm Top

>53 m.belljackson: might be easier to take plants and pets to a motel for a few nights and turn the heat way up in the house

Only if you choose a motel that doesn't have bedbugs! Otherwise you'll be caught in an endless feedback loop of infestation. :-)

Jul 20, 4:03pm Top

On the Road? Fictonalized, but not really fiction, plus it's dated.

I don't think Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is dated (although it's been a long time since I read it), and it involves a cross-country trip, but it's not fiction either.

No Cormac McCarthy means no The Road (which I actually thought was quite good), but its postapocalypticness doesn't really fit this either.

Plainsong is regional but has the virtue of being relatively current, and it's hard to think of others that aren't regional. Maybe it needs to be a half dozen or so iconic books?

Jul 20, 4:30pm Top

>55 jnwelch: I loved The Road, Joe! When I said not Cormac McCarthy I was referring to Mary's comment that the only iconic books she could think of to describe present-day America was dystopian or apocalyptic fiction. :-)

I also loved Plainsong and I think it would be a terrific choice. But yes, perhaps the list should be X number of books per capita population or something.

Edited: Jul 21, 10:12am Top

If the goal is evoking a sense of place then I think Faust is an odd choice for Germany. It's certainly an iconic piece of German literature but evocative of the place ... erm, no. To the extent that Faust is even interested in place, it describes a half-magical early modern setting, for which a better choice is the Brothers' Grimm Kinder- und Hausmärchen. For evoking a real place, though, how about something by Theodor Fontane, probably Effi Briest?

Jul 21, 9:38am Top

>57 swynn: Hi, Steve! I went back to the original article and saw this sort-of description of what the list is meant to be: The best books are set in locations that are so vivid they feel like another character in the story. So I guess the locations don't have to BE real, just SEEM real? I dunno, seems like a squishy basis for a list to me. And you have outpaced my knowledge of German literature so I can't comment on your specific suggestions, but I'm sure someone will be along who can!

Jul 21, 9:44am Top

All caught up here, Julia, and I had so much fun. Lively conversation and interesting dialogue going on here. And like Amber, I am not a huge fan of Twain, so no to Tom Sawyer, but I don't know what the best fit would be - love the suggestions of To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tree grows in Brooklyn.

Hoping that your Friday is full of fabulous!

Jul 21, 10:36am Top

>59 Crazymamie: You can't go wrong with either of those books, Mamie! Enjoy your weekend — we are sharing your weather these days, highs in the 90s and heat indexes above 100, with nightly thunderstorms. It's been ... gross.

Jul 21, 12:31pm Top

I clicked on a link to what posed as the "most famous" book from each state. Maybe two months ago. Some of the picks were excellent. A few, including PA and Ohio, were really odd to me. The most famous novel set in Pennsylvania apparently is The Lovely Bones. Not any of Updike's Rabbit novels, not John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra. Bah. Ohio's top novel was a David Foster Wallace. Not Beloved by Toni Morrison? Bah!

These pick 'em lists are so silly. But we do get suckered by 'em, don't we? :-)

Jul 21, 1:09pm Top

>61 weird_O: They are excellent conversation starters, Bill! Either we talk about how we agree or we suggest other books that would be better. I'm just happy to have some visitors to keep the conversation going!

Jul 21, 1:11pm Top

>54 rosalita:

Email back from online THRIFT BOOKS advises that, to avoid bedbugs from online books,

order only "New, Like New, or Very Good."

Jul 21, 1:14pm Top

>63 m.belljackson: Oh, that's good information to have, Marianne! Thanks for digging it up. Whenever I order used books online I wonder exactly what those conditions mean and if it matters. But in this case, it sure does.

Jul 21, 3:34pm Top

Friday Clickbait

John McCain Isn't 'Fighting' Cancer — Sorry for ending the week on a bit of a down note, but this one hits close to home for me. If I could, I'd shout this paragraph from the rooftops:

"Framing cancer as an opportunity for individual effort and bravery is part of the larger American tendency to blame sick people for being ill, or for not trying hard enough to recover. Republican politicians, flailing about trying to justify throwing millions of people off health insurance, often circle around to the idea that people who lack care or are sick have done something wrong. Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio told a crowd that a man who lacked healthcare should get a better job, suggesting that the man’s lack of healthcare was his own fault. Politicians justifying Medicaid cuts claim that people who would be thrown off the rolls don’t really need the benefits—they’re just shirking. Virtuous people fight off illness without burdening taxpayers. The lazy, the depressed, and the uncourageous aren’t really sick. And if by chance they are, they probably deserve it."

Jul 21, 3:49pm Top

>65 rosalita: - I don't disagree, though I think it's painting with a broad brush.

What infuriates me is the idea that if one just fights hard enough, one can beat cancer. I guess my mother just didn't care enough to want to beat it... GRRRRRR.

Jul 21, 3:56pm Top

>66 katiekrug: That's the exact point the article is making, Katie, although the paragraph I quoted goes on to extrapolate that to the larger problem we have today of thinking people who get sick have done something wrong or don't deserve health insurance. People who survive cancer don't survive because they're tougher — heaven knows I'm the least tough person I know. And people who die of cancer don't die because they weren't tough enough.

Jul 21, 3:57pm Top

So what you're saying is, I should have read the article? ;-)

Jul 21, 4:15pm Top

Jul 21, 5:23pm Top

Pride and prejudice for the UK? So we're evoking a sense of place 200 years ago? Mind I suppose Twain is not exactly recent either!

Jul 21, 5:24pm Top

>65 rosalita:
>66 katiekrug:

As an almost 30 year survivor,


changes made to drink alcohol only once or twice a year,
eat a lot less sugar & pastries, no meat,
and exercise every possible day -
my two beloved dogs made that easy -
prayer circles, near and far...

Luck is what really saved the day.

Senator McCain's genes are good, given his previous history,
and so many people are sending him hope...

Jul 21, 5:48pm Top

>70 charl08: Yeah, apparently evocative situations stopped happening 200 years ago in both the US and the UK, Charlotte. I hate to say it, but it might have been that pesky American rebellion thingy. Sorry about that!

>71 m.belljackson: Congrats to you, Marianne, on nearly 30 years cancer-free! I am at 9 years as of the end of this month. And despite my differences with Senator McCain's politics, I do wish him well. But glioblastomas (ironically the same thing that killed Ted Kennedy) are very nasty business, and if he doesn't survive it's sure not because he's not tough enough.

Jul 21, 7:59pm Top

>72 rosalita:

Congratulations on your upcoming 9 Years !!! !!! !!!

(July must be a banner month for oncology surgeons.)

Senator McCain and I parted philosophies long before the Palin debacle,
and Barack always had my votes,

but I feel that McCain would have proven to be decent,
notably related to involvement in more wars
and would have responded to the upending wave
against Zero Health Care.

Jul 22, 3:48am Top

>35 rosalita: I hadn't even heard of NZs book choice- The Matriarch, but the author is certainly well known here, and well read. Witi Ihimaera is a legend, and such a lovely, humble, intelligent person (as seen interviewed, not in RL by me unfortunately!).
Lists rule, this was a good one, especially seeing as a few here seem to read around the world...

Cancer is a b!+*h. I hope no one I knows ever gets it ever. Which, the odds say, will not happen. But, you know. Congrats to all here who are survivors.

Jul 22, 9:11am Top

>65 rosalita: I had virtually the same conversation with my husband over lunch, as he had been out last night with an ex-colleague who apparently has the same type of cancer. If you could beat cancer by just thinking positive thoughts then it wouldn't be anything like the problem that it is. Of course statistically, it's better to eat healthily, not smoke, take regular exercise and stay a sensible weight, but some people will do all that and get ill anyway. And you'll always have the odd overweight smokers who eat a high fat diet and live to 95. There's just no guarantee.

Jul 22, 10:43am Top

>65 rosalita: Amen. A physician once told me that longevity is largely determined by genes.

Jul 22, 1:44pm Top

Jul 22, 2:36pm Top

>74 Ireadthereforeiam: I call shenanigans on naming a book the most evocative of a country when a well-read native of that country has never heard of it! It is fun to discuss and argue about lists like this, though.

>75 SandDune: >76 BLBera: >77 scaifea: So glad we are all on the same page!

Jul 25, 9:47am Top

43. The Merrivale Mystery by James Corbett.

Alas, I failed to ever achieve cruising altitude with this early 20th century mystery, as the truly dreadful, overblown, bombastic writing style defeated my attempts to glean any humor from its extremely dated style. I've let down the team (Liz and Harry). I am destined to go on living the life of a potato. *sob*

Jul 25, 10:00am Top

Ah, thanks for taking one for the team, Julia. No, not a potato.

Jul 25, 10:03am Top

>80 BLBera: I wanted it to be "so bad it's good" but unfortunately it was "so bad it's unreadable" for me, Beth. My advice is to stay far away!

Jul 25, 10:09am Top

Hi Julia--Congrats to you and all the other cancer survivors here. That is not an easy one to beat, even with health care.

Just following all the book discussion here, with joy. Happy Tuesday!

Edited: Jul 26, 10:55am Top

44. Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Ever since she was a small child, Agnieszka has known that one girl child from her birth year will be chosen by the Dragon, the valley's resident (human) wizard, to be his companion for 10 years. Every girl who has been chosen has ended up leaving the valley forever when her service is over, and the younger girls live in dread of leaving their famlies never to return. At least Agnieszka can take comfort in the fact that everyone expects the Dragon to choose her best friend Kasia, the most beautiful girl in the valley, when the day comes.

You see where this is going, right? The Dragon chooses Agnieszka to come live in his tower, to everyone's surprise and seemingly against his own will. Once there, she makes a mess of everything the Dragon tries to teach her, until she discovers (to her shock) that she herself is capable of performing magic, though she doesn't understand how it works or how to control it. She's soon called upon to use her newfound power in a series of adventures to save Kasia, the valley, and the kingdom's Queen, who has been trapped in the evil Wood for decades. But the powerful forces at work threaten to destroy not only Agnieszka and her beloved home valley but the kingdom itself if she and the Dragon aren't able to root out and destroy the source of the evil once and for all.

I loved this book, which has strong elements of classic Eastern European fairy tales (the author thanks her Polish grandmother for telling her the stories of Baba Jaga throughout her childhood). One of the most enjoyable aspects was that despite the familiarity of many elements of the story, the ways in which Novik employs them felt fresh and unpredictable. The action is episodic and yet builds elegantly on itself in a way that feels completely organic. The characters were suitably appealing or hateful as required, and the evil appropriately menacing and merciless. I was a bit concerned when the epic Battle to End All Battles ended with a chunk of book left to read, but Novik provided a suitable coda that didn't feel tacked on or anticlimactic as so many do.

Strongly recommended for fans of fairy tales and fantasy.

Jul 25, 10:25am Top

>82 Berly: Thanks, Kim!

Jul 25, 12:20pm Top

>83 rosalita: I read that one for the Hugo last year and loved it too. Yay for more love!

Jul 25, 1:05pm Top

>85 swynn: It was so good! I enjoyed Novik's Temeraire series (especially the first few) and this was right up there, maybe even better. More of a "pure" fantasy setting to me, rather than shoehorning a fantasy element (talking dragons) into the real world.

Jul 25, 3:09pm Top

>79 rosalita: I'm missing something - why a potato?

>83 rosalita: Sounds like a great read.

Jul 25, 3:24pm Top

>87 charl08: Hi, Charlotte! The "genius" detective in The Merrivale Mystery at one point tells the group of suspects, "You are all living the life of a potato!" Which makes no sense, of course, and after Liz pointed it out it became a sort of shorthand for how ridiculous the book is. And I think it gives a good sense of what the rest of the book was like, too — or at least the few chapters I actually read.

Uprooted was really good. If you like fantasy, you might give it a try.

Jul 26, 10:49am Top

>83 rosalita: Wow, I've heard really good things about this one. I don't read a lot of fantasy, but this sounds like one I might enjoy. Onto the list it goes.

Jul 26, 10:56am Top

>83 rosalita: I think you will really like it, Beth!

Jul 26, 4:07pm Top

>83 rosalita: despite the familiarity of many elements of the story, the ways in which Novik employs them felt fresh and unpredictable That's very much what I thought about Uprooted too- a really good read.

Jul 26, 5:36pm Top

>91 SandDune: I'm so glad you felt the same way, Rhian! It was really a delightful book. I'm so happy I was able to snag it from the library.

Jul 26, 6:13pm Top

>88 rosalita:

Hey, at least The Merrivale Mystery enriched our vocabularies, right??

Jul 26, 6:52pm Top

Julia - How's this for some click bait. An incentive for never eating potato chips again!


Jul 26, 8:23pm Top

>94 BLBera: Oh great. Another invasive species to worry about. I wonder how many made it to Virginia.

Jul 26, 8:30pm Top

>93 lyzard: That's right! I still don't know what it means, exactly, but I used it in staff meeting last week anyway. You should have seen the expressions on people's faces ...

>94 BLBera: >95 ffortsa: Oh dear. Although, I'd rather face a venomous snake when I open the Pringles can than a harmless giant tarantula. It's completely irrational, I know, but spiders just wig me right out.

Jul 26, 8:51pm Top

I'm with you, Julia. Spiders creep me out more than snakes do. Although cobras....

Jul 26, 9:23pm Top

Hi, Julia. Good review of Uprooted. I have been trying to steer away from fantasy, (this is not working out very well for me. LOL), but I have wanted to read/listen to this one for awhile.

Edited: Jul 26, 9:52pm Top

>83 rosalita: I want to read that one RIGHT NOW!!

Do you know that Ellen DeGeneres is going to produce the movie!

And I bought the book on Kindle. : )

Jul 27, 6:29am Top

>97 BLBera: Yeah, cobras did give me pause, Beth!

>98 msf59: Why are you avoiding fantasy, Mark? Anyway, this is a good one for folks who aren't rationing themselves. :-)

>99 Berly: I did not know about the movie, Kim! That's exciting news. And yay for buying the book! I hope you love it.

Jul 27, 12:52pm Top

Currently Reading

The 13th entry in McBain's legendary 87th Precinct series.

Jul 27, 1:46pm Top

Just stopping by to wish you a wonderful summer day :0)

Jul 27, 3:37pm Top

Uprooted's going to be adapted to film? I better get right on reading it, huh.

Jul 27, 5:02pm Top

>103 Storeetllr: Yep, you need to read it pronto, Mary!

Jul 28, 4:04am Top

>88 rosalita: >93 lyzard: I admire your bravery in using this in a meeting. Thanks for the explainer!

I've just read Strange the Dreamer and loved it - gutted I have to wait whilst she writes the next one. Although I could just go back and read her others, I suppose.

Jul 28, 9:18am Top

>105 charl08: I saw your review of Strange the Dreamer on your thread, Charlotte, and it sounds intriguing. And you are not the last person to hear of Laini Taylor, as your review was my introduction to her. :-)

Edited: Jul 28, 2:40pm Top

I'm late to this conversation but I want to ring out my agreement with >65 rosalita: and >66 katiekrug:. Certainly there are ways to "fight" cancer but success/survival is not strictly or simply a matter of will power and determination. I appreciate the celebration when someone's treatment is successful. We should celebrate that. But I hate the sideways implication that our loved ones lost to cancer simply didn't fight hard enough. Bollocks, I say. And I'm sad to learn of John McCain's cancer (although I'm also mad at him for succumbing to pressure, I presume, and voting with the Republicans on the latest health care thing). Ultimately, I think he is a good man with firm principles and honest care for our country. I wish him only the best.

Books. Ed McBain!! A favorite from way back. :-)

Jul 28, 2:43pm Top

>107 EBT1002: Thanks for chiming in, Ellen — it's never too late to jump into a conversation on this thread! And I agree with your views of McCain. I used to admire him but over the past few years I think he's done a lot of damage to his reputation by becoming much more partisan than he used to be. Although he did come through in the end last night and voted against the dreadful Obamacare repeal bill, which was the difference between it passing and failing, so he's back in my good graces for now.

Jul 28, 3:03pm Top

I hadn't seen that he came through last night. Good for him. Thanks for letting me know that.

Jul 28, 3:06pm Top

>109 EBT1002: Yeah, the vote didn't happen until after midnight, so I found out this morning.

Jul 28, 3:12pm Top

>109 EBT1002:
>110 rosalita:

This is the first time since the November election that I've woken up to good news!

Our Vietnam Vet and two unusually strong Republican women (who knew?) saved the day for now.

Jul 28, 3:53pm Top

>111 m.belljackson: At least long enough to let us catch our breath before the next huge fight, whatever it ends up being.

Jul 28, 5:02pm Top

I'll see you tomorrow at 10:30 at River Lights, right? I'm excited!! WOOT!!

Jul 28, 5:28pm Top

>113 scaifea: Yes! So excited! And it sounds like the weather is going to be perfect. Double WOOT!

Jul 28, 5:38pm Top

>114 rosalita: *grins* Sorry to have posted on both your thread and mine; I responded on my thread first and then thought, "Oh, maybe she doesn't obsessively visit my thread and so the smart thing to do would be to post on *her* thread..." Yoicks.

Jul 28, 5:47pm Top

Ha! I will confess that I do keep a closer eye on my own thread during the day at work, so I can respond to people, but I check in with you at least in the morning before work and in the evening. Most other threads I only check once a day but yours has a tendency to ... explode ... if I don't keep a close eye on it. :-). I would have gotten to your thread tonight when I got home, but better safe than sorry, I always say!

And I got to be excited TWICE, which is never a bad thing!

Jul 28, 7:27pm Top

>116 rosalita: *snork!* TWICE!

Jul 29, 10:49am Top

Loving Uprooted! Thank you! Have fun at River Lights, whatever that is. : )

Jul 29, 5:33pm Top

>118 Berly: Beth: River Lights is a great little indie book shop in Dubuque. ( http://www.riverlights.com/ )

I was so great to see you today, Julia!! Thanks again so much for taking the time to drive up for a visit!

Jul 29, 6:58pm Top

>118 Berly: I'm delighted that you are loving Uprooted, Kim. Amber filled you in on River Lights but didn't mention the yarn shop (so much gorgeous fiber!) or the excellent Italian place where we ate lunch. All in all, a great day!

>119 scaifea: It was truly my pleasure, and thank you for hanging out with me. We need to do it again soon, now that I've found a much better/faster route between here and there. My drive home was about 30-40 minutes shorter!

Jul 29, 7:38pm Top

>120 rosalita: Oh, good! I know I really like the route I take to Iowa City, and it's not that long at all (or at least it doesn't feel that way). I want to come down, soon! And of course I'm ready to meet up with you in Dubuque again, anytime!

Wasn't the owner of the yarn shop so friendly and wonderful! I love her. I didn't realize that they have classes there - I'm tempted to sign up for some...

Jul 29, 9:49pm Top

>121 scaifea: The yarn shop lady was wonderful! It was almost shocking because the woman who owns the LYS in Iowa City is not at all friendly unless you've been friends with her since the 1970s, it seems. I can't stand going there if I can help it. You should for sure go to a class there! I'd be tempted myself if it was just a little closer and/or I didn't have that pesky work thing going on.

Jul 29, 9:54pm Top

>122 rosalita: That pesky work stuff, yeah. Don't miss it much, myself. I will definitely check out what they have to offer, class-wise.

Jul 30, 2:21am Top

>35 rosalita: Love that! Although Tom Sawyer seems a bit of a miss.

>65 rosalita: I have no personal experience to go by but the whole "fighting" thing has always bothered me. As if, "gee, if she'd only fought harder...".

You had a meetup with Amber!! What fun!!!!

Jul 30, 8:57am Top

Classes at the yarn shop update: It looks like that haven't updated their website in a long while, at least as far as classes go. I may call soon to see what they're offering in the fall...

Jul 30, 7:23pm Top

>124 coppers: The meet-up was fun, Joanne! One of these days I'll have to get back out there to the mountains to see you all.

>125 scaifea: Bummer about the out-of-date website, Amber. Perhaps they tend to have classes in cold weather? You'll have to keep me posted.

Jul 30, 7:39pm Top

>79 rosalita: yikes- ONE star? That is dire.

>107 EBT1002: But I hate the sideways implication that our loved ones lost to cancer simply didn't fight hard enough. Bollocks, I say.
Me too, completely. I hate how cancer is framed as an enemy that one must fight to overcome. As you say, Ellen, this implies that those who 'lose' the 'battle' have in some way failed.

Edited: Jul 30, 7:44pm Top

The booty I acquired in Dubuque with Amber. The books are all for me, and the yarn is to knit a cowl for one of my coworkers, who asked me if I could make her one like mine, but in her favorite color.

Jul 30, 7:47pm Top

>127 Ireadthereforeiam: Oh, hi there Megan! You snuck in while I was futzing about with my photo. About that 1-star review — yeah, definitely not recommended for any but the most intrepid readers of overwritten melodramatic mysteries.

And thanks for chiming in on the cancer-fighting question. It's lovely to have the understanding of so many people here!

Jul 31, 10:03am Top

Hooray for meet-ups. Good to know there is a cool bookstore in Dubuque.

Nice acquisitions.

Jul 31, 10:13am Top

>130 BLBera: It's a good bookstore, Beth — not as big as Prairie Lights but has that vibe to it. There was another room that was the children's area that I did not go into but looked pretty extensive. I'd be happy to have another meet-up there sometime.

Edited: Jul 31, 1:38pm Top


Second in the series.

Jul 31, 1:50pm Top

Currently Reading

I picked up Pat Conroy's memoir about teaching on a South Carolina island in a recent Kobo sale. I've heard good things about it, and I'm a fan of Conroy's writing.

Jul 31, 3:14pm Top

>132 rosalita: - Are you re-reading the whole series? Such a good one. I think I have #7 due up...

>133 rosalita: - I loved this one when I read it pre-LT.

And hooray! I got my Learned League email today, so I am off to go register :D

Jul 31, 3:40pm Top

>134 katiekrug: I am re-reading the whole series! It gives me something to do until the next one comes out, and I have such a lousy memory I knew I could re-read them and still not remember whodunit. :-) Although really I read them for the characters.

>135 rosalita: I'm glad to hear that; I know I've wanted to read it for a while.

Woo-hoo! I saw that the invitations had gone out today. It's all getting real!

Aug 1, 10:00am Top

Decisions, decisions! After months of not finding any of the Kindle First books appealing, this month there are two that look quite decent, and I'm having the dickens of a time deciding between them:

The first one is All the Little Children by Jo Furniss, described by Publisher's Weekly as "a slow-burning apocalyptic thriller". (The link on both books goes to Amazon since neither of these books has touchstones in LT yet)

The other possibility is When They Come For You by James W. Hall. Publisher's Weekly says "this intricately plotted novel delivers a protagonist to root for and villains worthy of the name". The downside is that it's the first in an intended series, and I'm not sure I'm up to taking on a series whose future entries may be hard to acquire through the library.

There are other choices this month, but none that appeal to me as much as these two. So tell me: Which one would you choose?

Aug 1, 10:08am Top

I vote for the first one. Think I'll pick it up myself! I usually ignore the Kindle First offerings because the couple I've read int he past have been disappointing. But hey, FREE!

I was super disappointed in the Kindle monthly deals. I usually find a least a few gems amidst the crap, but the pickings were few and all crap, it seemed...

Aug 1, 10:32am Top

>137 katiekrug: The Kindle First have been dreadful for months now. I was shocked to find two that didn't sound terrible, honestly.

Aug 1, 11:42am Top

>136 rosalita: You had me at "slow-burning apocalyptic thriller."

Aug 1, 11:48am Top

All the Little Children!! Gonna go get it....

Aug 1, 12:08pm Top

>139 scaifea: Yeah, that got my attention too, Amber!

>140 Berly: I think we are building a consensus here, Kim! I'm pretty sure that's the one I'm going to grab, but I'm waiting for someone to make a good case for the second one. I like to hear all points of view!

Aug 1, 1:19pm Top

A very belated catch-up on your thread Julia.

>5 rosalita: Love the book car-wash! I occasionally get books out of the local library that I think could do with a spin through that...

>35 rosalita: I'm not really surprised that Pride and Prejudice was chosen for the UK but I'm not sure how much it tells you about Britain now (as opposed to Britain in 1813). And Dracula for Romania - I think the book is great but not sure it really represents the real Romania....

>65 rosalita:, >66 katiekrug:, 107 The fighting cancer narrative really makes me angry too, for precisely the reasons Katie and Ellen set out and it seems as prevalent over here sadly. And I want to congratulate the cancer survivors who posted (yay!) without in any way implying those who didn't survive weren't strong enough/didn't fight hard enough/didn't positive think enough etc.

>83 rosalita: Great review of Uprooted - I really enjoyed that one too. Another recent fantasy novel based on Russian folklore and fairytales (if you wanted another taste) is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

Aug 1, 1:57pm Top

>142 souloftherose: Thanks for stopping by, Heather! And thanks for the tip about The Bear and the Nightingale — I will look for that at the library. Uprooted was just so darn good, wasn't it?

Aug 1, 2:59pm Top

So Julia. You have never seen the film Back to the Future? That's what I deduce from your failure to recognize the topper on my new thread. Oh oh, Julia.

It is a mesmerizing gif, ain't? Zzzzzzzzzz:POWtrickletrickletrickle. I luv it.

My wife is a trifecta survivor: lumpectomy with chemo and radiation in '96, mastectomy of the same breast in '01, and radiation for a brain tumor later in '01. She still sees her hematologist annually, and scheduling an appointment is always a trial. "Well, we don't have a calendar set up yet for next year. Why don't you call August 1st to set up an October appointment." So Judi called this morning; October's booked. I said, "You've been seeing this guy regularly for 20 years. Aren't you a Legacy? Shouldn't they clear a prime spot for you?"

An insurance related anecdote from late '01: Her team recommended a then new procedure they called stereotactic radiosurgery, a one-time high-powered jolt of radiation directed specifically on the tumor. We said, can you do it before the end of the year? All our deductibles have been met, and the insurance will pay for the whole thing if it's done by Dec. 31. Insurance paid $29,000 for it; uninsured, we would have paid more. And of course, now—16 years later—that would be far more expensive.

Aug 1, 3:09pm Top

>144 weird_O: It's true: I have never seen Back to the Future, Bill. I am hanging my head in shame.

Congratulations to your wife! And I hear you about the scheduling conundrum. The same thing happens to me, except I am only 9 years out. By 20 I would expect them to work around ME, not the other way around!

And thank heavens for insurance and fully paid deductibles. I had just started a new job on Dec. 4, 2007, and was diagnosed on Jan. 8, 2008. Those four extra days meant my health insurance had gone into effect (there was a 30-day waiting period). The first month of treatment alone, with a 3-week hospitalization including a week in ICU, open-chest surgery and everything that goes with those things, was almost $150,000. Of that, I had to pay $1,500, and I never paid anything else the rest of the year through six months of chemo and multiple hospitalizations and another surgery. I cannot even imagine how I would have coped without insurance, especially since I was only working half-time.

Aug 1, 4:01pm Top

45. See Them Die by Ed McBain.

The 13th in McBain's long-running (55 books!) series about the copy of the 87th Precinct in Isola, a fictional New York City. This entry takes place over the course of a long, hot July day as the police face off against a murderer who has taken refuge above a brothel in the Puerto Rican neighborhood of the precinct. There are some interesting (and for the 1960 time period fairly progressive) observations about the disconnect the Puerto Rican community feels with the larger city and the cops who patrol their neighborhood, as well as the self-imposed class divisions between the Puerto Ricans who were born in New York Isola and the "Marine Tigers" who are newly arrived immigrants from the island. Unfortunately, the gender issues are not handled with the same progressiveness as the ethnic, and the few women who appear in the book are almost cartoonish in their beauty and sexuality. One of the subplots involves a group of teenagers who dub themselves a gang, The Latin Purples, in an attempt to appear tough and the trouble their posturing gets them into. Not one of the series' best, but not terrible.

Aug 1, 4:04pm Top

>136 rosalita:, >141 rosalita: Sorry, if you want a case for the second one, it won't be from me. I can't even consider reading a book that starts out with the death of a baby in a fire. Nope. The husband, I'd be all "eh," but not a baby. I'll be checking out all the books as soon as I finish up here, but the first book looks interesting.

Out of last month's batch, I picked the interactive astronaut's memoir.

Aug 1, 4:50pm Top

>147 Storeetllr: I can understand that, Mary! Let me know if any of the others I didn't mention catch your eye. I know there was a sci-fi one that also looked to be the first in a series, and I'm drawing a blank on the others.

Aug 1, 5:11pm Top

Yeah, nothing grabbed me hard this month, though I might request All the Children. The scifi one is Song of Edmon, and it sounds like it might be YA.

Aug 2, 12:16am Top

Song of Edmon didn't sound that great IMHO.

Aug 2, 12:41am Top

This user has been removed as spam.

Edited: Aug 2, 1:17am Top

I got Song of Edmon, though I will read it probably never.

And hey! You're ahead of me on the McBains now!

Aug 2, 2:19am Top

>152 swynn: I hope you prove me wrong and await your verdict!!

Aug 2, 6:47am Top

>150 Berly: It didn't appeal to me, Kim, but I am not the SF expert that many others are, so I thought it might be one of those for hardcore fans only. Guess not!

>151 mdnabeel: Yes, that's the one I chose.

>152 swynn: it's good you've got such an optimistic attitude toward it, Steve! It sounds like it's time for you to revisit the 87th Precinct.

>153 Berly: That's the spirit, Kim! Although, it sounds like you may not want to hold your breath waiting for Steve to get to it. :-)

Aug 2, 7:47am Top

>128 rosalita: These are excellent titles, Julia. I loved News of the World and I LOVE Jiles. I have Giant of the Senate saved on audio and hope to make room for it later this month. The Chris Hayes book also sounds good.

>133 rosalita: I always wanted to read The Water is Wide. Good?

Aug 2, 9:09am Top

>155 msf59: I'm looking forward to reading all of them, Mark! As for the Conroy book, I've only just started it so don't have an opinion yet. I haven't gotten much reading time the last few days, unfortunately.

Aug 2, 9:15am Top

Hooray for health insurance!

I also vote for the first Kindle title. I'll watch for your comments.

A meet-up in Dubuque sounds like an excellent idea.

Aug 2, 9:46am Top

>157 BLBera: Thanks for voting, Beth. I've pulled the trigger on All the Little Children, and hopefully will remember I have it and actually read it sometime soon!

Aug 4, 10:46am Top

Friday Clickbait

Giant Lion Carved from Single Tree Trunk Took 20 People 3 Years to Complete — Isn't that gorgeous? A redwood tree was turned into a massive sculpture of a lion. It was created in Myanmar and is on display in China. Click through to see more photos taken at different angles. (via My Modern Met)

Aug 4, 10:49am Top

That is amazing and beautiful!!

Aug 4, 10:59am Top

>159 rosalita: Gorgeous.

Happy Friday, Julia.

Aug 4, 12:10pm Top

>160 Berly: >161 BLBera: It makes me happy just to look at it, Twinnies!

Aug 4, 3:44pm Top

Hi Julia, my goodness that lion is gorgeous, that must have been one huge tree! I couldn't resist "All the Little Children" and have pre-ordered it for my Kindle. Like you, I hope I remember that I ordered it!

Aug 4, 3:56pm Top

>163 DeltaQueen50: I knew redwood trees were huge but seeing the person standing alongside it really drives the point home, Judy!

Aug 4, 5:39pm Top

Catching up a little Julia. I have been struggling with RL issues a fair bit recently so have tended to fall behind a little.

Have a lovely weekend.

Aug 5, 3:23pm Top

Hi Julia, hope you are having a nice weekend my dear. Hope you got my reply to your message dear friend.

Aug 5, 11:32pm Top

Hello Julia - I am so far behind, but I'm doing my best to get caught up! Love the book-wash up top -- I really want one! I have a beautiful new picture book that was slimed by a squished banana in a backpack. It is moldy and disgusting, and an excellent piece of show-and-tell at the beginning of the year when I am talking about caring for your library books :) It was probably a lost cause no matter what, but I still want the book-wash!

>35 rosalita:, >36 katiekrug: Interesting! No, Othello does not "evoke" Cyprus at all, but it is probably the best-known work to be set there. Without it Cyprus may not have an entry at all like poor Estonia.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Aug 6, 12:06am Top

>159 rosalita: Very impressive. Thanks for sharing Julia!

Aug 6, 10:11am Top

>166 johnsimpson: I did get your message, John — thanks! I'll reply soon, I promise.

>167 AMQS: Oh, what a shame about the lovely picture book, Anne! I'm thinking squished banana would NOT be easy to remove, even in a book wash. And thanks for chiming in on the country books — can you or Stelio's recommend one that would be a better fit, even if it's not as well known? I think we'd all love to expand our horizons a little.

>168 swynn: I'm glad you enjoyed the lion tree, Steve. I'm in awe of not only how much work it took to create, but whoever had the vision that THAT lion was lurking somewhere inside the uncut tree. I feel the same way about Michaelangelo's Pieta and David sculptures.

Aug 6, 2:47pm Top

>133 rosalita: I loved this Pat Conroy memoir about teaching on a remote island. Imagine paddling to work. He sure put his heart and soul into reaching those kids. I miss Pat Conroy but he left us a wonderful legacy in his books. I hope you like the book, Julia. I hear ya about not getting much reading time.

Aug 6, 7:14pm Top

>170 Donna828: I'm glad to have your endorsement for the Conroy book, Donna! I hope to have more time to read this week, but we'll see.

Aug 6, 8:00pm Top

>113 scaifea: and >114 rosalita: I have fond memories of River Lights. :-)

It would require a certain mindset but I do recommend seeing Back to the Future. It's a fun movie!

I have the first Deborah Crombie on my kindle and I need to read it before the library snatches it back from me. But I'm overwhelmed with books at the moment! (I know, this is hardly news)

I hope you've had a good weekend, Julia!

Edited: Aug 6, 10:42pm Top

>169 rosalita: The book is a student favorite, too, so when I show it as a cautionary tale they all gasp and wail. It's kind of funny (it's been replaced, but it still has an impact).

As for Cyprus books, the one that is probably best known is Lawrence Durrell's Bitter Lemons of Cyprus, though it's not fiction. Stelios recently finished one he really loved called Galateias kai Pygmalionos, but I don't think it has an English edition. Here's a pic of the cover:

It's a sweeping saga of a prominent Paphos family that spans the entire 20th century.

Aug 7, 6:27am Top

>172 EBT1002: I'll have to look for BttF on Netflix if both you and Bill think it worthwhile, Ellen. The Crombie series is really good, but you can always get it back from the library when you have time for it.

>173 AMQS: Thanks for the Cyprus book recommendations, Anne. I will see if I can find Bitter Lemons at the library. And the one Stelios just read sounds like my kind of family saga — I loved The Thorn Birds when I was a teen. Not to say this book is anything like that but just the same sort of multi-generational story.

Aug 7, 3:52pm Top

Iowa City Book Festival News

The author lineup and schedule for the Iowa City Book Festival has been announced. The festival is Oct. 8-15 in Iowa City, Iowa. The theme this year is International Connections, with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, which is a fall residency that brings writers from around the world to Iowa City.

Authors Who Will Be Appearing — Click through for full bios, but the list includes Chris Adrian, Donald Ray Pollock, Larry Baker, Will Bardenwerper, Rafael Campo, Alexander Chee (who is being given the Paul Engle Prize), Jennifer Colville, Joseph Dobrian, Nathan Englander, Lori Erickson, Julia Fierro, Ed Folsom (co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive), Melissa Fraterrigo, Alberto Fuguet, Ted Genoways, Erin Gitchell, Garth Greenwell, Justine Johnston Hemmestad, Jon Kerstetter, Mike Lankford, Pola Oloixarac, Tim Parks, Steve Paul, Jeffrey Ryan, Zachary Turpin, Manuel Vilas, and G. Willow Wilson.

I can't say a lot of those names are familiar to me, but my reading is always several years behind the times. If you know some of them, please share!

Iowa City Book Festival Schedule

There was talk about possibly having an LT Meet-Up at the Festival, so if you're interested in that let us know here. And if you're planning to come and would like some travel advice, I'll try to help with that, too!

Aug 7, 5:08pm Top

The authors are mostly unfamiliar to me too, Julia, except for G. Willow Wilson who writes the Ms. Marvel comic books for Marvel. Those are pretty awesome.

Aug 7, 5:49pm Top

What Steve said. Love the Ms. Marvel books, and G. Willow Wilson has authored some other fine ones.

Aug 7, 5:52pm Top

>176 swynn: Oh, I think I have one of those that I got in a Book Riot Quarterly box! I should pull it out and read it. I've never read a graphic novel, and suspect that my reading style is not conducive to them, but I ought to at least try it before I give up.

Aug 7, 9:51pm Top

>175 rosalita: Thanks Julia. It looks like a good lineup although there are quite a few names I'm not familiar with. I'll let you know if I think I'll be able to make it. One of these years...

Aug 7, 10:57pm Top

>179 BLBera: I know what you mean, Beth. I was hoping for one big Wow name, considering the talent pool from the Writers Workshop that they have to draw from. I suspect those big-name authors command equally big appearance fees, though.

Aug 8, 3:45am Top

>128 rosalita: funny story.
Loaded your thread, this post was where I was up to, and then I got distracted by helping W attach a toy train to a spring so that he could conduct an experiment involving running the sprung train along a taut string...etc. etc... and then when I came back to the image I was like, hey- they are my books but I *don't* recognise that wool...
Of course, this is not my thread, and that is not my wool. So.

Also, Back to the Future is a super fantastic film. I saw it at least twice at the movies when it first came out (once and then again with my dad), and I was pleased to see it come back for a retro screening and so was able to take W!!! He mainly liked when there was mild language...

Aug 8, 6:22am Top

>181 Ireadthereforeiam: Ha, Megan! I would gladly share my wool and my books with you should you ever venture this far north. I suspect an LT knitting-and-talking-books event would get a big turnout!

Clearly I need to remedy this hole in my cinematic education!

Aug 8, 6:39am Top

Is it weird that I'm a little relieved no one else seems to know many of those author names? I felt like a dunce reading through them... Ha!

But then there's the pull of really wanting to create a book list from it... *sigh*

Aug 8, 9:22am Top

>183 scaifea: I know what you mean, Amber. I was relieved when Steve chimed in that most of the names were unfamiliar to him as well. So maybe all three of us are weird? But that's company I'm happy to be in!

Aug 8, 9:25am Top

>184 rosalita: Ha! Me, too!

Aug 8, 10:49am Top

I've heard a few of the authors, namely Chris Adrian, Donald Ray Pollock, Alexander Chee, and Nathan Englander.

Mark is a fan of Pollock, I believe. The others I've heard of because I've somehow ended up with books by them, though they all remain unread :-/

Aug 8, 10:57am Top

>186 katiekrug: Well done, Katie! (Well, except for the not reading the books part.) The names of Adrian and Pollock were vaguely familiar to me, though I've not read anything by them. I've read Larry Baker, and interviewed him a few times because he lives here in Iowa City (in an absolutely gorgeous Craftsman bungalow that I coveted instantly when I met him there for the first time, but I digress), but I don't know how well-known he is outside of IC. I thought I knew who Nathan Englander was, but it turned out I was confusing him with Nathan Hill, who wrote The Nix. All in all, not an impressive showing by me!

Aug 9, 1:39pm Top

>159 rosalita: Wow! That's beautiful.

Aug 9, 3:11pm Top

>188 souloftherose: It really is, Heather!

Aug 9, 3:15pm Top

Wednesday Clickbait

ACLU Marks Banned Book Week With Interactive Graphic — This is pretty cool. If you click through to the ACLU website, they have a large graphic of a stack of books that have been banned. If you hover over a book title, a pop-up gives you information on all the times and places that title has been banned or challenged. I was surprised by some of the titles, to be honest. Give it a try, and then come back and tell me what your favorite banned book is. Mine is To Kill a Mockingbird but there are some great books on the stack. (via American Civil Liberties Union)

Aug 9, 6:12pm Top

>190 rosalita: - The hover feature isn't working for me, but my favorites on that list are James and the Giant Peach (whaaat?), Beloved, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Aug 9, 8:05pm Top

>191 katiekrug: I'm sorry the hover wasn't working for you, Katie. It worked for me on my Windows computer at work, but of course there's no such thing as hover on an iPad so I can't see it here at home. Those are all excellent choices, however!

Aug 9, 8:15pm Top

>190 rosalita: Love that graphic, Julia, thanks for sharing it!

It's always amazing to see what gets banned and why. (I just tapped on each book and got a pop up on my IPad.)

Edited: Aug 9, 8:18pm Top

>193 coppers: Aren't you the clever one, Joanne?! It never occurred to me to just click. Silly me. :-)

And you are so right about the oddity of what gets banned and why. I was shocked to see that people have banned Mockingbird because it promotes white supremacy! Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what it does.

Edited: Aug 9, 8:52pm Top

I liked The Light in the Attic, challenged in Wisconsin because it encourages kids to break dishes instead of washing them. :)

Some of the comments are priceless.

Aug 9, 8:53pm Top

Brave New World "makes promiscuous sex look like fun." I'm teaching that this semester. Perhaps I should put that in the description.

Aug 9, 9:03pm Top

>195 BLBera: >196 BLBera: I can't say I haven't been tempted to "accidentally" break the dishes instead of washing them, but I've never read that book — it must have been some other book that deserves to be banned!

And I really think you should use that description of Brave New World. Students would be beating a path to your classroom! I suppose the administration wouldn't think it was funny, though, those party-poopers.

Edited: Aug 9, 9:23pm Top

ER is currently offering a children's version titled BAN THIS BOOK by Alan Gratz (doesn't show up on Touchstones)
which I'd love to read because the banned book is The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweller,
a long time favorite for my 4th graders.

Aug 9, 11:09pm Top

>198 m.belljackson: That's very interesting, Marianne. I know The Mixed Up Files has been getting a lot of love here on LT lately, so the timing on that ER book is perfect!

Edited: Aug 10, 10:27am Top

>190 rosalita: Love the site! Thanks for posting.

>195 BLBera: : )

>195 BLBera: >196 BLBera: Yup. Exactly.

Aug 10, 5:33am Top

>200 Berly: Hi, Kim! That's quite a list of books, isn't it?

Aug 10, 8:45am Top

>190 rosalita: This is great. Adding As I Lay Dying to my list of books to read for the Bookriot challenge, as I don't fancy reading Joyce, which was the only one that even vaguely appealed in the list of UK books that have been banned.

>196 BLBera: Ha!

>198 m.belljackson: Added this one to the wishlist too. Looks like fun.

Aug 10, 9:10am Top

>202 charl08: I'm glad the banned books list helped, Charlotte! I'll look forward to seeing what you think of Faulkner.

Aug 10, 11:18am Top

More on BANNED BOOKS: outofprintclothing.com

offers a heat reactive mug, socks, pouch, and a tote!

Aug 10, 11:26am Top

Aug 13, 6:52am Top

>190 rosalita: James and the Giant Peach? What the heck?

Apparently the apricots and the plums ganged up and mounted a petition!

Have a great Sunday.

Aug 13, 2:13pm Top

The complaints lodged against challenged books are alternately funny and crazy-making. I've had a few complaints in my career, too, but no formal challenges.
>196 BLBera:, Beth, you should definitely put this in the course/book description! Could be a mad dash to enroll:)

Aug 13, 8:52pm Top

>206 PaulCranswick: Well, Paul, here's the info from the popover on the article's graphic (not the photo I posted), though it may not convince you:

James and the Giant Peach: Challenged in River County, Fla., because of the story's mystical elements involving the magic crocodile tongues, given to James to enchant the peach tree.
Banned by a town in Wisconsin because of a reference to a spider licking her lips that could be "taken in two ways, including sexual." Challenged separately in Altoona, Wis., in 1991 because of repeated use of the word "ass."
Challenged by a woman in Hernando County, Fla., in 1992 because of the grasshopper's statement, "I'd rather be fried alive and eaten by a Mexican."
Ranked 50th of the top 100 banned or challenged books in America between 1990 and 1999.
Currently ranked number 56 of 100 on the ALA's top 100 banned or challenged books in America.

Those are pretty silly reasons if you ask me, especially the spider licking her lips.

>207 AMQS: I'm glad you haven't had to deal with a serious challenge, Anne. I think I remember you commenting once that when you review books to add to the school library you are trying to think of possible objections so you can be ready with your reasons why the book should stay. That seems wise.

Aug 13, 10:28pm Top

>208 rosalita: Thanks for that, Julia. Hugely interesting and, yes, mind not changed! Spider's lips a sexual innuendo? I think the town in Wisconsin must have been close to one of their excellent breweries!

Aug 14, 5:28am Top

>190 rosalita: *drool*

>204 m.belljackson: I don't think I can go there, I fear my credit card might not make it out alive!

Aug 14, 4:17pm Top

Monday Clickbait

What Kind of Reader Are You? — I got this fun little quiz from Penguin Random House in my email and thought you all might like to know what kind of reader you are, too. (For the record, I'm a Fan Girl, apparently.) At the end you get a link to a sampler of books that fit your "type". And I have to say that's fairly accurate, as I've heard of all of the ones suggested for me and read at least half.

Edited: Aug 17, 8:48am Top

Couldn't find the quiz from your link, but found it another one with the same name here:


I am a Dedicated Reader. Well, duh!! Because I couldn't even answer one of the questions -- I could have checked ALL the boxes!

Which set of books have you read ALL of?

1. Bridges of Madison Country, The Da Vinci Code, The Name of the Rose, and at least two Harry Potter books
2. Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby
3. War and Peace, Silas Marner, Madame Bovary, The Age of Innocence, To the Lighthouse
4. Carrie, The Stand, and a couple other books in high school that I don't remember.

Aug 17, 6:19am Top

>212 Berly: I guess the Penguin quiz was just temporary, Kim. The one you took is a different source, but I am in no way surprised that it decided you are a dedicated reader!

Aug 17, 8:45am Top

>213 rosalita: LOL. I think everyone on LT qualifies for Dedicated Reader!

Aug 17, 2:58pm Top

>211 rosalita: I tried the link too, Julia, but it kept bringing me to the mainpage.
So I was happy Kim provided an alternate quiz that revealed I am an Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm :-)

Aug 17, 3:19pm Top

>214 Berly: Yep!

>215 FAMeulstee: Well, that sounds like a good thing to be, Anita!

Edited: Aug 17, 4:24pm Top

>212 Berly: I am a dedicated reader as well, no surprise, right Twin?

Hi Julia. When do your classes start?

Aug 17, 4:33pm Top

>217 BLBera: They start Monday, Beth! I am finalizing my student-worker schedule today, after sending out a draft and getting replies of "Oh, I forgot to tell you, but ..." which frankly drives me crazy because I sent an email last week asking for exactly those sorts of non-class conflicts and got back a bunch of "Nope, none for me!" Grrrr.

Aug 17, 6:14pm Top

>215 FAMeulstee:

I don't think I need to take a test to know I'm an Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm. :D

Aug 17, 7:40pm Top

>219 lyzard: So jealous. I'm only dedicated. Obsessive-compulsive sounds so much *more* dedicated.

Aug 17, 7:51pm Top

>219 lyzard: I coulda told ya that for free! :-)

>220 swynn: I think when you're talking about LTers, the differences between categories are vanishingly small, Steve!

Aug 17, 8:10pm Top

>218 rosalita: We start Monday, too. I already got a note from a student telling me she wouldn't be in class because she was going to watch the eclipse.

Aug 17, 8:18pm Top

I also pitched up as a Dedicated Reader with 86% whatever that score signifies.

Edited: Aug 17, 8:21pm Top

>222 BLBera: Well, that's irritating! Maybe if we were in the area of totality, but it's just a partial eclipse, which isn't really all that rare. You have to wonder at people's priorities.

>223 PaulCranswick: Well it can't be 86% Dedicated, that's for sure, Paul! You seem awfully close to 100% to me.

Aug 18, 4:59pm Top

Hi Julia, hope you have had a good week my dear and wish you a great weekend dear friend, sending love and hugs.

Aug 18, 9:45pm Top

>128 rosalita: Meetup swag! Love the color of the yarn. Is there a photo of this cowl? I liked News of the World. I hope you enjoy it! Note: when I put in the title of the book, the Queen album came up first. What? Lol

>133 rosalita: I read The Water is Wide several years ago and really enjoyed it. Great find!

>212 Berly: I got Dedicated Reader - which is no surprise. Problem is the questions don't quite work. I needed to check more than one answer a couple of times. Lol

Happy weekend and happy back to school!

Aug 18, 10:56pm Top

>226 nittnut: Hi, Jenn! I have pictures of my knitting projects over on my Needlearts thread, but here's the cowl pic:

Sorry the picture was taken from a scary angle but hopefully you get the idea. I don't usually wear it over my head like that at work, either. :-)

Aug 19, 6:32am Top

Oh that looks lovely!

This quiz question made me laugh
What would a visitor learn about you from looking at your bookshelves?
.... That your floor is sagging from the weight

Aug 19, 9:07am Top

>228 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte! And I bet a lot of us felt a little guilty recognition at that quiz answer. Though most of my bookcases are in my bedroom so not many people get to see them. :-)

Aug 19, 11:18am Top

The cowl is lovely, but I am laughing. I think you should wear it like that at work. I bet you'll get more work from your students. :)

Aug 19, 5:45pm Top

Ha! Maybe I should. I'd certainly get some odd looks.

Aug 19, 6:41pm Top

>227 rosalita: & >231 rosalita: I need to dig out my cowl and wear it in the office. It's super cold here on the weekends.

Aug 19, 7:00pm Top

>232 luvamystery65: My office is frigid all year round. I wear fingerless mitts and that cowl everyday, and drink copious amounts of hot tea to try to maintain a normal body temperature. It's terrible.

Aug 20, 3:53pm Top

How about a space heater?

Aug 20, 3:54pm Top

>234 RebaRelishesReading: Not allowed, because the wiring is so poorly done (in a building that was converted to offices in 2006, mind you) that they instantly blow circuits and wreak havoc with the electronics that rely on electricity.

Aug 20, 4:19pm Top

>233 rosalita: I feel for you, even though I am the one who is always hot. It's too bad you can't have a space heater. One of my colleagues, used to wrap herself in an afghan.

Aug 20, 6:57pm Top

In my last job the air-conditioning was erratic. One side of a large, open-plan office would overheat unless both circuits were on, and unfortunately for my supervisor and myself, we sat underneath the outlets for the second circuit and lived in a constant down-draft of cold air. We were always ridiculously rugged up when others were stripping off layers. :(

Aug 20, 7:33pm Top

>236 BLBera: There are people in our office who keep an afghan handy, but you can't really wrap yourself in a blanket when you're meeting with students!

>237 lyzard: It's a similar situation in our place, except most areas are too cold and a few offices are too warm. Unfortunately one of the too-warm offices is the male boss who wears a full suit to work everyday, so he's not inclined to adjust the thermostat to make the cold group more comfortable.

Aug 20, 10:55pm Top

>227 rosalita: Love it!

Our offices were always freezing in the summer. Then they gave us space heaters. And then they found out they were against fire code (or so they said) and took them away again. I used to go outside periodically just to sit in the sun and warm up.

Aug 21, 8:15am Top

Happy First Day of Classes, Julia! I hope things go smoothly in your office today!

Aug 21, 9:10am Top

>239 coppers: That all sounds very familiar, Joanne!

>240 scaifea: Thanks! I'm grateful for the stormy weather, as I hope it will dampen the hysteria some of my colleagues have been exhibiting about the eclipse and they will be able to concentrate on their work. I'm pretty sure that makes me a curmudgeon.

Aug 22, 6:51am Top

>241 rosalita: Julia: Ha! We went outside with our glasses and looked every 15 minutes or so until it was over, but I wouldn't say we got hysterical here. I think you would have approved.

Aug 22, 8:56am Top

Hey Julia! Great work on the cowl! looks warm and cozy! I'm thinking I would read with that on and it would be like blinders so nothing would interrupt me. You could have a market there!

Edited: Aug 22, 9:14am Top

>242 scaifea: That seems entirely appropriate, Amber. I hope Charlie had fun — I remember experiencing the 1979 eclipse and it was really cool. Also, you weren't actually being paid by your employer and ignoring students on the first day of fall semester while you were faffing about outside, so ...

See? Curmudgeon.

>243 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. Reading blinders? I like it!

Aug 22, 9:52am Top

>244 rosalita: Oh, I totally get being irritated at people faffing about when they should be working. I guess I'm a curmudgeon right along with you.

Aug 22, 9:56am Top

>245 scaifea: That's why we get along so well!

Aug 22, 10:36am Top

>246 rosalita: *grins* Oh, wait, um, I mean, *scowls*

Aug 22, 10:40am Top


Aug 28, 4:00pm Top



More re-reads. They Heyers are Heyers — one an all-time favorite (Venetia) and the other one I though deserved a second chance (still don't love it).

It's interesting to me how much more I am picking up from the Aaronovitch's books on this second read-through.

Aug 28, 4:05pm Top

Currently Reading


For my work book club. I read this Jane Smiley books when it first came out in the '90s, but I had forgotten just how long it is and just how many characters and plot threads there are to keep track of! I've had to renew the ebook twice from the library, which accounts for the (re)reading I did in between. And it's shoved poor Pat Conroy to the side for now, but I hope to get back to it sometime.

Aug 29, 2:21am Top

Just trying to keep up here! I am a Heyer fan, but I haven't read either of those. Or Moo. OR that Conroy. Yikes!! I better get off LT and open a book. ; )

Aug 29, 10:28am Top

>251 Berly: Kim, it sounds like you are suffering from a combination of "too many books, too little time" and "hanging out on LT is addicting." I'm afraid there's no cure for either, so best just to enjoy the ride!

Aug 29, 1:09pm Top

Aug 29, 6:53pm Top

Moo is a hoot! I loved it.

Aug 30, 11:08am Top

>253 BLBera: Right, Beth?

>254 weird_O: It's even funnier now that I work at a large public university. I recognize a lot of those characters ...

Aug 31, 5:07am Top

Hi Julia!

>249 rosalita: I've been reading Heyer romances since I was 13. I have re-read Venetia many times, but only read The Founding once. One of these days I really need to rank them all.....

Edited: Aug 31, 10:15am Top

>256 karenmarie: Howdy, Karen! I was a latecomer to Heyer, having been introduced to them by Liz (lyzard) but it didn't take me long to gobble them all up. You're not missing anything by not re-reading The Foundling — the title character is insufferably stupid.

A while back I did rank all of them, more or less, at the request of Joe. It starts here: The Complete Guide to Georgette Heyer Romances, According to Me. I'd be interested to know where we agree and disagree!

Aug 31, 5:27pm Top

Now, now - 'title character', yes; 'heroine', no. :)

Just wanted to let you know that it looks like Miss Silver Intervenes will be arriving this month. I still need to get through one intervening Wentworth (see what I did there?), but after that I'm good to go.

Aug 31, 8:54pm Top

>250 rosalita: Lol. Moo makes me think oink.

Edited: Aug 31, 10:48pm Top

>257 rosalita: Yes, that's why I very carefully referred to her that way! Nothing heroic about her. And yay for Miss Silver! Although I just went to the library website to make sure it was available, and once I found it under the U.S. title (M.S. Deals in Death) I find I am actually third in line! I've never had to wait for a Miss Silver before, so hopefully I will have it by the time your ILL comes in. Such a complicated dance!

>259 Ireadthereforeiam: Ah yes, the cover illustration! That's Earl Butz, who is carefully groomed throughout the book by the Dean of the Agriculture Department who wants to see just how big a hog can get if all they have to do is eat and sleep. As I recall, things don't end well for ole Earl. (Fun fact: Earl Butz the pig was named after the real-life Earl Butz, who was Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Nixon and Ford in the 1970s. He was forced to resign after making a series of racist, anti-religious and just plain stupid remarks. Overall, I think the pig in Moo is a better man than the pig in the Cabinet was.)

Sep 1, 11:27am Top

>260 rosalita:

It's one of the up-sides to my obscure tastes that I very rarely have to queue for anything! There's no rush for this, though, so whenever it shows up for both of us will be fine. :)

Sep 2, 10:39am Top

>257 rosalita: I haven't read all of the Heyer, but Frederica and Venetia are two of my favorites as well, Julia. I read a lot when I was in my teens, so I don't remember all of them. Recently I've been working my way through them, and I am amazed at how well they stand up. Heyer wrote so well and wittily. If I need a light read and a laugh, she is a surety. I'll have to read the others you mention as favorites. It looks like our tastes align on this.

Sep 3, 9:52am Top

>261 lyzard: I seldom read the latest bestseller, either, but I've been consistently amazed how often even backlist books have a waiting list when it comes to ebooks.

>262 BLBera: 'Light read and a laugh' is a great way to describe why I re-read Heyer, Beth. The good ones are very good indeed!

Sep 3, 1:33pm Top

Howdy Julia!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

407 members

141,005 messages


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