SqueakyChu Soars to New Reading Heights - 4th Quarter
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Continued from here
Anticipating a little more reading for the fourth quarter, but admitting that this was a slow reading year for me...
1. Political turmoil in my country and obsessive checking the news
2. Continuing to play Pokemon GO though not with the enthusiasm I once had for that game
3. Addiction to smart phone scrolling - Ugh! That has got to slow down!
4. Babysitting with a no-nap preschooler - Ha!
My Book Counter:
My Page Counter:
My 2017 Calendar:
GOAL: To have less than 506 books in my "To read" collection at the end of 2017.
UPDATE: My current number of "To read" books as of 12/27/17 is 492.
CONFESSION: The lower number is not because I've read more books. It's because I've culled my book collection a bit. :D
Photo by Kain Kalju, Flickr, CC-A
1. BookCrossing meetup - Took place at Potbelly in Alexandria, Virginia, on October 15, 2017. It was great fun!
29. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley - TIOLI: Read a book with an animal named or embedded in the third word on any page (p. 140 - eye of feeling) - 209 pages
* TIOLI shared read
Photo by Riley Kaminer, Flickr, CC-A
1. BookCrossing meetup at Birdie's in Westminster, Maryland, USA on Satirday, November 4, 2017. Meeting is held in memory of BookCrosser MaryZee.
30. What's Inside? Insects - Dorling Kindersley. Inc. (publishers) - TIOLI: Read a book with a butterfly on the cover - 16 Pages
31. Cat Tales: Snippets on Life from Our Favorite Felines - Charles Wysocki - TIOLI: Read a book whose author has an A,B, or C in the first name word and an X, Y, or Z in the last name word - 48 pages
32. Literary Murder - Batya Gur - TIOLI: Read a mystery - 357 pages
33. Alien Rice - Ichiro Kawasaki - TIOLI: Read a book whose title can be scrambled to form a different title (using all the letters) (niece liar) - 152 pages
* TIOLI s hared read
Photo by Nick - Flickr, CC-A
1. BookCrossing annual holiday party - 12/10/17 at 1pm at the home of petrini1
34. Outside the Dog Museum - Jonathan Carroll - TIOLI: Read a book where the author's name contains at least two consecutive alphabetical letters (n, o) - 267 pages
35. In the Country of the Young - Lisa Carey - TIOLI: Read a book with the word "the" at least twice in the title - 290 pages
* TIOLI shared read
I just gave up reading Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss. After reading 156 of 290 pages, I still have no idea what this book is about. I no longer care.
I am truly disappointed because I have read other books by this author which I did enjoy. As a matter of fact, I ordered this book from my library in order to read it right away. Oh, well. Some books are better than others. Now...back to some I like better...
Yeah, it's strange when you see a new book by someone you enjoyed, then find out this new one doesn't work. Makes me wonder what the heck happened! 😀
It just took me longer to stop reading this book because I thought it would get better somewhere. I didn't want to read all 290 pages without that happening!
No problem, though. I just found a really fun book to read which turns out to have been an Early Reviewer. I probably should get some of my backlog of those read and reviewed. I noticed that I'm no longer winning any of the books I choose there. Guess I know why! :)
I think I should have named this page of my challenge: SqueakyChu Declines to New Reading Lows. I just finished my first book for this month. :/
29. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
October 2017 TIOLI Challenge: TIOLI: Read a book with an animal named or embedded in the third word on any page (p. 140 - eye of feeling)
It's taken me 70 years to read this classic. Ironically enough, I started reading it because I was reading a children's version of this book to my four-year-old grandson, and I did not want his book to put spoilers into my own classic story which I started reading simultaneously.
Wow! What a novel! I never knew the "real" story of Frankenstein, nor did I know that Frankenstein was the name of the doctor who created the monster rather than the monster himself.
This novel was written in 1818 by a nineteen-year-old. Another "Wow!" needs to be inserted here. The story is magnificently written. I never much in the past liked to read nineteenth-century novels, but I did learn to appreciate them more with tutored reads of selected older novels provided so kindly to me by a fellow member of LibraryThing. What I learned to do with those novels was to take notes on the story, the characters, and keep a running vocabulary. This bailed me out quite a few times during the reading of this novel as I simply cannot keep all this information in my head.
What I found exceptional in this novel was the dense storyline which in some places was truly beautiful despite the grim nature of the story. This was a book about friendship (or the lack thereof) and of courage (in many different forms).
I especially liked this quote from late in the story:
Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.
Although people associate Frankenstein with horror, I will only now associate that word and the novel with sadness. It is a sad world in which we live where some of us judge others by appearance rather than by inner motive. This novel only serves to accentuate that kind of sadness (and wrongness) and puts the face of a monster we call "Frankenstein" to that kind of sentiment.
Rating - 5 stars
>11 SqueakyChu: I'm glad to hear you loved Frankenstein so much. It's one of my favourite novels, and I adore Mary Shelley because of it (and also because she lived an incredible life).
Found you! :-)
I will admit, I have never read Frankenstein and have pretty much the same association with the name that most do, I think. Most depictions of it that I have seen have been parodies. Think: Fred Munster...
>12 PawsforThought: My daughter recommended Frankenstein to me after she read it in high school. She has now been a practicing attorney for two years so that was a while ago. I kept her copy of the book (which is probably hidden in my house somewhere), but I was recently lucky enough to get the book donated to my own Little Free Library so I grabbed it!
>14 FAMeulstee: You must! It fits into Challenge #1 of the TIOLI challenges for November, too! :D
>17 SqueakyChu: I just started it for a shared read with you in the #1 October TIOLI :-)
>18 FAMeulstee: Well, if you don’t finish it in October, you can always finish it in November. However, you do some speedy reading!!!! Notice that was the only book I finished this month. I started and stopped three other books in the meantime. I should never browse through any second book if I’m in the middle of one!
>19 SqueakyChu: My reading speed is, even for me, unbelievable this year. I have had years that I could barely finish one or two books a month, like you are now. So I enjoy my fast reading as long as it lasts.
I did finish Frankenstein today. The "horror" label always kept me from reading it, but thanks to your review I dared to try.
So your TIOLI read is now a shared read :-)
>20 FAMeulstee: Hurray! That means I have 100% shared reads for this month because that was the only book I finished! Haha!
I hope you enjoyed the book as much as I did.
>21 SqueakyChu: I didn't like it as much as you did, but I am very glad I have read it.
Hooray for 100% shared reads!! :-D
30. What's Inside? Insects - Dorling Kindersley. Inc. (publishers)
November 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a book with a butterfly on the cover
This is an interesting introductory book for young children into the world of insects. It presents a few insects, inside and out! Kids often know what insects look like from the outside, but the insects pictured in this book have their outsides peeled back so we can take a look inside as well.
Some of the things I learned from this book are that the beetle's heart is along tube that extends all the way down its body, the fly and the butterfly can taste with their feet, and the fly and the caterpillar breathe through holes (called spiracles) on the sides of their body. Who knew?!
Rating - 4 stars
I'm looking back on my thread and have to laugh. There are barely any books read on this thread! Obviously, I am not going to meet my challenge or even get close to meeting my challenge of 75 books, but I am currently enjoying a genre I rarely venture into...murder mystery! I'm reading Batya Gur's book Literary Murder because(1) she's an Israeli author (though she is no longer alive) and (2) because this book had been on my bookshelf forever! I am now in the process of listing characters because I can never remember them and often get confused in twisted plots. This book has a straightforward plot, but I've already listed forty-seven characters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Haha! I'm halfway through the book, enjoying it a lot...and I'm determined to finish it.
*goes back to reading*
>25 SqueakyChu: - We are at opposite ends of the reading scale this year, Madeline. I am on track to reach 75 for the very first time!
I did a bit of a cull today. I had a hard look at my shelves and pulled 7 books out that I think I will never read. I know, 7 doesn't even come close to putting a dent in the stacks but it's a start.
>24 SqueakyChu: - I used to love those books that had the peel back pages and I used them with my students. It was really just an excuse for me to read more of them, lol! Fun stuff
>26 jessibud2: I do that kind of culling from time to time. My culling is a bit different, though. I'm trying to keep my TBR list under 500 books! The bad thing is that donations are coming into my house daily for my Little Free Library so I have to be very careful what I toss onto my TBR pile.
There is no way I will live long enough to read all of my TBR books...and I do plan to live a long life. :D
>24 SqueakyChu: The pages don't actually peel back. It's the illustrations of the insects' outsides that appear to be peeled back.
I was reading your cat book tonight and read this which made me sigh and share it with my husband:
...the playful kitten.
with its pretty little
is infinitely more
amusing than half
the people one is
obliged to live with
in the world.
Everyone here is antsy because there is a very close gubernatorial election for the state of Virginia tomorrow.
*nerves remain on edge*
By the way, we were up in Westminster yesterday for our BookCrossing meetup and completely cleaned out and refilled the OBCZ (official Bookcrossing Zone) that MaryZee used to manage at Birdie's Café. They have a very good menu...and when I went to pay for my sandwich, I was told it was free because a previous customer had prepaid for future customers. What a neat treat that was. Even more to love about that place!
>27 SqueakyChu: - Good luck with that election! Did you hear the news? Montreal elected their first-ever female mayor yesterday! She is young, progressive and I know my mum is thrilled! :-)
>28 jessibud2: That is great!
I'm not listening to election news today. It only make me anxious. My friend Barbara doesn't even get to hear who wins in Virginia as she is now en route to an African safari. Her first stop is Johannesburg, South Africa. :)
Fabulous news from my Maryland county, Montgomery County. Rose Krasnow will be running for county executive. She's a friend of mine from back in the days when our sons were both in play group together. They're still Facebook friends, thirty years later. Rose is now in her sixties! She'd be the first female county executive, and she'd be a great one. She was former three-time mayor of my city of Rockville. I am so glad she decided to run!! I hope she wins.
31. Cat Tales: Snippets on Life from Our Favorite Felines - Charles Wysocki
November 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a book whose author has an A,B, or C in the first name word and an X, Y, or Z in the last name word (A, Y)
This book about cats is special to me because I and so many of my friends find cats to be rather delightful. It was fun to read the quotations about cats, but absolutely amazing to see the detailed art work by Charles Wysocki as he draws cats in some rather complicated places and poses!
Rating - 4 stars
*Another note about this book: It was a gift to me from jessibud2 because she received it from a late BookCrossing friend of mine, MaryZee. I plan to share this book with other friends of MaryZee before it comes back to me to be part of my permanent collection in honor of friendship. So nice! Thank you, Shelley! :)
32. Literary Murder - Batya Gur
November 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a mystery
I'm really glad I finally read this book. I originally got it because it was by an Israeli author. I've had this book so long that the author is no longer alive. As I'm not that good at deciphering mysteries, I kept a list of characters (there were so many!), plot sequences, vocabulary words, and my guesses at who committed the two murders. I guessed one of the two people but I didn't guess why. The plot was so involved that I thought for sure I'd never figure out what happens in the end. During this mystery, the plot takes goes off onto a tangent about poetry. Ooops! I almost got lost there. Fortunately, the story gripped me enough that I wanted to read quickly to find out the end. I was not disappointed. It all made sense when I got to the end of the story.
The plot was based on employees of the Department of Literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but more specifically those who are involved with teaching poetry. There is no way I could have guessed the end of this book because the key to what happened really lies almost at the end of the book in a subplot. I generally don't like mysteries that go on and on and only reveal the entire twisty plot in the end, but this was an interesting story throughout.
I have other books by Batya Gur. Now I look forward to reading those as well.
Rating - 4.5 stars
>30 SqueakyChu: - You are most welcome. I love when things like this work out this way. Full circle, you know
Hi Shelley! Thank you so much!
I shared MaryZee's/your cat book with my daughter when she came to visit, but she ended up not taking it home. I will next pass it along to those who knew MaryZee.
This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.
I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.
I am thankful that you are part of this group.
I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.
>35 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. I find that LT friends are very special people. I'm glad you're part of this group.
Oooh! It was a fun day today! I went to visit the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian on the mall in Washington, DC, after which my friends Barbara, Laurel and I had a quickie LT meet-up with LTers _Zoe_, radicarian, and norabelle414 (who is not pictured here because she met us later at the new Politics and Prose Bookstore at The Wharf). It was a teeny bookstore so I was a bit disappointed in it, but I was so happy to see my LT buddies if only for a short period of time.
We were thinking about another better meetup in the spring. Laurel is going to be running in a race in Philadelphia in May. I thought that might be fun time to get together with other LTers because the weather is beautiful in the spring, LTers tend to gather in Philly, and I'm hoping that my husband will be willing to drive us there. I think the race is the weekend of the 12th and the 13th. Is anyone interested in trying this? If so let, me know. We'll see if we can get a group together. I plan to look for a bed and breakfast in which to stay (maybe outside of the city).
Here's today's pic!
Left to right: Barbara, SqueakyChu, _Zoe_, radicarian, Laurel
Don't eat The Pearl Warehouse if you go to The Wharf. I ordered "The Greek" and it was the smallest lamburger (like a hamburger, but with lamb meat) I ever saw and ate. The glasses of water were so thin that a few sips cleared them out. I felt as if I were in Microscope Land.
The book store was teeny, too, but I found a book to buy...even though I normally don't buy books. LT meetups are probably the only occasion I buy a book just for the sake of doing it. The book I chose was The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami because I heard the author speak at a past book festival, and I was fascinated by her presentation about this book novel with a historical basis. The book is about a black slave of a Spanish conquistador exploring Florida.
>37 SqueakyChu: - Looks like you all had a great time. If only I were closer...
>41 SqueakyChu: Where have you been? Where have I been? I JUST found you. Hi. : )
Love the pic.
>42 Berly: Hi, Kim. I'm been here, but not much on any other threads, except for the TIOLI challenges.
Cool meetup! I’d be up for something in the Spring if the spacecraft schedule allows.
>44 drneutron: Jim! We were there talking about you. I seem to have gotten the smallest burger ever, but we were remembering that HUGE burger you got at one of our previous meetups. :D
34. Outside the Dog Museum - Jonathan Carroll
December 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a book where the author's name contains at least two consecutive alphabetical letters (n, o)
This was such a great book! It has been so long since I've read a book by Jonathan Carroll that it was sheer delight to return to his captivating story-telling.
This book is part of a series, but I don't remember much of the previous books in this series since I read them so long ago. However, the contents of the previous books were not necessary to fully enjoy this story.
Carroll has this mischievous way of introducing surreal elements into his stories at times when the reader would least expect it. He also has this penchant for inserting a bull terrior into each of his books, and this novel was no exception with the character of Big Top.
The story was of Harry Radcliffe, a womanizing, egotistaical, famous architect who was given a rather strange assignment of building a Dog Museum for the Sultan of Saru. Saru is a middle eastern country, one that neither you nor I have heard of until Jonathan Carroll created it for this story.
I f you like conflict, you'll find it in this book. There is plenty of conflict between the Sultan and his brother as well as conflict between Harry's two women, Fanny and Calire. Well, I'll let you read the story for yourself.
Be prepared to meet lots of colorful characters (I wrote notes on them to keep them straight) and vociabulary words (which I also wrote down) in more than one language. Since part of the action takes place in Austria, you'll find a sprinkling of German words in the text. Nothing earth-shattering, but I looked them up because I am fairly familiar with German and love learning new words.
Some quotes from this book seemed particularly noteworthy to me. Here are a few.
"Both of us hated to cook. As a result, meals at the Radcliffe home were either vile, bizarre, or not at all."
"Whenever I’m reading, I mark words I don’t know, copy them down, and look them up the next time I’m near a dictionary."
"I gave the Radcliffe theory on horror films, which was, Society is so jaded that nothing normal entertains people anymore so we’ve moved to the next level down, which is to choke, maim, and electrocute."
"If this old nutbag stood on a corner in New York saying the things he said in his interview, people would take one look and steer around him PDQ. But here was Cthulhu leading a successful revolution against the government of Saru."
I'm ready to read more works by this author, but I want some time in between to digest what I just read. If you are unfamiliar with this author, try this book if you like intelligent works of character development with a sprinkling of fantasy.
Rating - 4.5 stars
33. Alien Rice- Ichiro Kawasaki
November 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a book whose title can be scrambled to form a different title (using all the letters) (niece liar)
I really loved this novel. It was a very straightforward story of a Scottish woman and a Japanese man who met at a Japanese company for which they both worked in London. They eventually got married and went to live in Japan when the husband's company called him back from his position in London. The story dwells on the difficulty of a foreigner becoming part of the Japanese culture. It also concentrates on explaining the relationships, especially work relationships, in the life of a salary-man.
For those who are looking for drama in a novel, this is not the book for you. Rather, this book quietly follows the marriage of Saburo Tanaka and his wife Alice Burns, as they struggle to integrate as a couple back into Japanese society. I was totally interested in reading about Japanese customs and how they differ from those of the Western world. I enjoyed learning new vocabulary, both in English and in Japanese. I appreciated the translation of the Japanese terms.
I was horrified by what happened to Alice Burns (of which you shall read) as it reflected "fake news" that was reported about her. I am very leery of "fake news" in real life so such a thing as that in a novel mortified me. I was also taken aback to read a line of negativity about Jews in this novel that had nothing to do with anything Israeli or Jewish.
"It has been said that international Jewry and Chinese are exploiting the Japanese people and fleecing them white."
Why is that line in this novel? How do Jews get such a bad rap that they are spoken about negatively in a novel that is not about them?!
In addition, there was one line that threw me for a loop. The mom, Alice, was worried about her son Toshia's being bullied at school and being called an ainoko (half-breed). "At least she was glad that her son would not be subject to any such abuse or indignity in South America." What?! I don't think that would be accurate at all.
Despite my picking at these subjects, my overall impression of this book was a good one. I highly value it for its detailed peek into Japanese culture and would happily ready more works by this author.
Rating - 4.5 stars
I know I have those above two messages out of order. That's okay. I'm not going to correct them :)
Happy Holidays to you and your family, Madeline! I hope that I can attend the proposed spring meet up in Philadelphia next spring; please keep me in the loop.
>50 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. I wish you and your family a great holiday season and a wonderful New Year!
>51 kidzdoc: Hurray! I'm so happy to hear you want to join us for the spring meetup. I'll be sure to keep you I the loop. I'll work on our plans later in the new year. I hope you have enjoy a teriific Christmas, and I wish you the best for the New Year!
35. In the Country of the Young - Lisa Carey
December 2017 TIOLI Challenge: Read a book with the word "the" at least twice in the title
I really was enthralled by this story although it took me a while to sort out what was happening and who was who. It's the story, based on legends of Irish ghosts, of two sets of siblings. One set was twins, a boy Oisin and his sister Nieve, children of Irish immigrants living in Maine. The other was a seven-year-old girl Aisling and her older brother Darragh, who came to America on a boat during the great famine in Ireland. With each set of siblings, one died, bringing great pain to the survivor. The adventures and interaction of these sets of siblings begin when seven-year-old Aisling becomes a ghost but appears in real life to Oisin, an adult artist.
This is quite an involved novel, but I really enjoyed the process of trying to figure out what was happening. I became a bit squeamish with the stories of sexual attraction of individuals of vastly different ages. That wasn't really the point of this book, though, as you shall see as the story progresses.
The plotting for this book was amazing. I pretty much could keep up with it which was good as I needed to know what the relationships of all the characters were to each other.
I'm not usually interested in reading about Ireland or Irish immigrants, but this is already the second book I've read by Lisa Carey, and I'm seriously ready to try more.
Rating - 4.5 stars
>56 SqueakyChu: I haven't read anything by her, and I had no idea that she is married to Tim!
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