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I'm attempting to be more organized this year and have started with a list of books on my shelves. We'll see how long that lasts!
Good luck with that! I'm trying to create a list of things I want to read too.
Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.
Happy 2018, Jan. I look forward to seeing how successful you are are reading off your shelves.
Happy 2018, Jan!
I look forward to reading about your reading. Hope you find some wonderful things!
What a wonderful way to start the new year with so many greetings! Thank you all, dear friends, and I hope to share a lot of books and reviews with you this year.
>2 thornton37814: Lori, I can make the list but my problem is sticking to it. I read about an interesting book on LT and in a flash my list is gone.
>3 drneutron: Jim, thanks for the welcome.
>9 SuziQoregon:, >10 Berly:, >13 banjo123: Kim, Julie, and Rhonda, My fellow Oregonians, I know this is going to be a great winter for reading. It's too cold to do anything else!
>7 The_Hibernator: Rachel, he looks like a fun little guy to ring in the New Year with. And he appears to have one of my favorite drinks in hand.
>6 FAMeulstee: >8 PaulCranswick:>11 Anita, Paul, Beth Thank you for the greetings and I'm wishing you all the best this year.
>14 Oregonreader: My lists go out the window when those Book Bullets hit me too.
Juli and Lori, I'm glad I'm not alone in my weakness!
I've read on a few threads of people celebrating their anniversary time on LT. I had never really looked at my beginning date. When I checked I found that I joined in 2008 so this is my 10th anniversary year!
You know the old saying that as you age times goes by faster? So true!
>17 Oregonreader: Yes. Most of us celebrate our Thingaversary by purchasing that number of books plus one to grow on.
>1 Oregonreader: I've tried to compile books to read in the current year. I have approximately 3,000 books throughout the house. To my credit, at the end of 2017, I was very successful in reading many of my own books. Then, last week, I returned some books to the library, and took home 13. I hope to find a balance in 2018.
>18 thornton37814: Lori, thanks so much for the clarification. There seem to be so many little traditions going on that it's sometimes hard to figure them all out. So now I have my marching orders to go buy 11 books. Thanks!
>19 Whisper1: Linda, I can't imagine having 3000 books through out the house. You must have a big house. I keep running out of space and trying to create more where this isn't any. One reason I never reread books, or almost never, is because there are always so many more to read. Happy reading.
>20 Oregonreader: We expect you to report back on your Thingaversary haul!
Lori, I've set a shopping date for this weekend and I'm heading for Powells! I'll definitely give a report.
Here is some of my reading so far this year.
Consequences by Penelope Lively I've read a few of Lively's novels and so far they have never disappointed. Set in England, this one covers three generations of women from WW II to present day. As the title suggests, the consequences in their lives result from choices they make, although a few seem to come by chance, such as the grandfather's death during the war. The three women are deftly drawn. Even when their choices seem erratic, the reader comes to see how they logically arise out of their characters personality and life experiences. In the end, Lively ties together the lives of the three women in a poignant and subtle way.
Lady Pamela by Clare Darcy I was looking for something to read after exhausting Georgette Heyer and I turned to Darcy as a prolific Regency author. Here is the first sentence of Lady Pamela: Lady Pamela Frayne, descending the elegant Adam staircase of her grandfather's Berkeley Square town house on a February morning in a light puce walking dress of French merino, admirably becoming to her dark curls, wore a somewhat preoccupied expression upon her face. That was too much for me. I may try another of her novels as some point.
I am also a Lively fan, Jan. You remind me I have a few of hers that I haven't read, including Consequences. I'll have to move that to my "read soon" pile.
Here it is, Kim. I keep hoping to be a more regular presence here on LT but life seems to have other ideas!
Garden of Lamentations Deborah Crombie
The Little Red Chairs Edna O'Brien
The People's History of the United States Howard Zinn
Swing Time Zadie Smith
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman
Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami
A Broken Vessel Kate Ross
Bird by Bird Ann Lamott
Secrets of a Charmed Life Susan Meissner
I also bought Detective Inspector Huss but realized when I got home that it is a duplicate.
Now my reading so far this year.
First, an ARC, The Middle Ground by Zoe Whittal
This is part of a series called Rapid Reads. I read it in about an hour. It reminded me of the kind of stories that women's magazines used to publish. At 137 pages, there is no time for any real character development or plot subtleties. The main character goes through several life changing events in a day and she reacts in exaggerated and unbelievable ways. The author seems to have good writing skills but the format makes it impossible for her to show them.
bird by bird by Anne Lamott
Lamott's name was familiar to me but I had never read anything of hers. This is subtitled "Some Instructions on Writing and Life". The material comes from writing classes she has given and the chapters are laid out in that way. She covers a lot of topics from getting started to getting published. She makes an interesting comment that most of her students seem interested in getting published but not especially interested in writing. She write with good humor and anecdotes from her experiences. Even though I have no writing ambition, I enjoyed this.
A Broken Vessel by Kate Ross
This is the second book in the Julian Kestrel series but the first one for me. The novel is set in an unspecified time, probably early 19th century. Kestrel is a very familiar type, an aristocratic young man bored with the idleness of his life who gets involved in solving mysteries set among the poorer classes. He is likeable and the book is well written. My only complaint is that so many clues and red herrings are presented that it took two chapters at the end to explain it all to the reader. But I will definitely read more of the series.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami I am so awed by Murakami's writing and imagination that it's hard to know where to begin. In this novel, there are several plots running along side and through each other, each complete in themselves. I was continually asking myself how they were related. He brings each story to a conclusion although I was still left with questions. I also have to give kudos to the translator, Phillip Gabriel. I had to remind myself that this was not written in English.
>28 Oregonreader: Nice book haul, Jan. And, you've read some already! You are setting a good example.
Thanks, Lori and Beth. The new purchases went right to the top of my TBR stack.
Here's my last for now:
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien I read this for the January Irish Challenge. This is the first book I've read of O'Brien's so I don't know how typical this is of her writing. The story is set post WWII in a small village in Ireland, which seems to have been suspended in time. The villagers have long established relationships and expectations of each other. Enter a stranger, a foreigner who claims to be a poet and a healer with great magnetism. Greeted with suspicion, he gradually attracts women to his clinic and begins to establish himself. I don't want to give away too many spoilers but the townspeople are shocked when he is arrested as a war criminal from Serbia. The book is a look at the power of evil even to those whose lives are brushed by it. Heavy reading but very well done.
I loved Kafka on the Shore. I can only deal with a Murakami book every once in a while - they are heavy psychologically for me - but whenever I read one I love it. He's a great author. He's always in the sights for a Nobel Prize, but never wins. I hear he's a jerk. Could that be why he doesn't win? lol
Rachel, I agree that Murakami has to be taken in measured doses. I think he's a brilliant writer so I'm sorry to hear he may be a jerk. I'm imagining the Nobel committee doing a background check on authors on the list. That could really be interesting!
Hi, Jan! You're striking many loved chords. *Kafka* is my 2nd favorite Murakami, and I'm also awed by the translator.
I read Kate Ross years ago; she died with only 4 or so Julian Kestrel books published. I mean to reread them at some point. I mean to read Garden of Lamentations very soon. I'm not sure why I haven't done it yet. I like Edna O'Brien, want to read more, don't have *Red Chairs*, should. Haven't read Anne Lamott and want to..........
Anyway, that looks like a wonderful haul, and you're making your way through it in record time.
Great book haul Jan! I LOVED Bird by Bird.
And I hope Murakami isn't really a jerk.
Jan--Awesome book haul! And great reading so far. I don't want to hear that Murakami is anything less than stellar because I love his work so!! Great job on the reviews. I am behind a few...oops!
>30 Oregonreader: I've had Bird by Bird on my shelves for a long time. As I recall, I at least read some of it, and will probably consider it for a reread sometime soon. I loved the story that the title comes from.
Judy, I loved that story as well and I think it could come in handy very often.
I have a terrible cold and will be down and out for awhile, I think.
>44 ffortsa: Judy, I've been gone much longer than expected but I am feeling better. In this age of super bugs, being ill for a long time seems to be the norm.
I have been reading though.
The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor I read this for the Irish Author Challenge. Set in a small town in Ireland, an Irish husband and English wife have to leave their home to protect themselves and their daughter from violence. The daughter, Lucy, doesn't want to leave and commits a childish act of defiance that has lifelong consequences. Trevor is an excellent writer and I felt caught up in the story. But there were certain actions of the parents that I found inexplicable. It was a very depressing book.
River Lodge and Journey's Eve both by Elizabeth Cadell Cadell is a British author who wrote dozens of books during the forties and fifties. They are romances set in rural England and most contain great characters. I read many of her books a number of years ago and enjoyed them. Many of her books are being re-released and I looked forward to reading some new ones. The worst thing about the new editions are the terrible covers. They are cartoon-like drawings and not very well done. These two novels are not up to the standards of the others of her books I have read. Disappointing
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler This is a story of three generations of the Whitshanks, from the oldest generation in the 1920's to the youngest in modern day. She creates all her unique characters and weaves them into a real family. It is also the story of their family home and their mixed feelings about living there. Tyler's writing is a pleasure to read and I enjoyed it all. My only complaint is that it skipped around in time and that could be somewhat confusing.
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner A young American graduate student, Kendra, asks to speak to an elderly woman, Isabel, about her life in England during the Blitz. She is a well-known artist and has refused to speak of her earlier life. Surprisingly, she agrees to talk with Kendra and Kendra gets the feeling that Isabel has been waiting for her to arrive. What follows is an amazing tale of her life with her mother and sister during and after the war. It is a real page turner with lots of unexpected turns. I really enjoyed it.
Hi Kim and thanks for stopping by. I have a number of people in my family with health issues including my 88 year old sister. So that's the reason I haven't been around. Hopefully in a few weeks all will be good.
Can you believe this crazy weather??
Just stopping in to say hello. It's too late in the winter for us to have this silly weather.
I hope you're feeling better. You did read a lot. I loved the Tyler as well. Secrets of a Charmed Life sounds good, as do the Cadells. Do you have a favorite of hers?
I am back and I hope to keep up my contacts. Thanks to all of you for stopping by.
Juli, it looks like some good weather ahead, into the 60's next week.
Beth, My favorite Cadell's are set in Portugal where she lived for some time. Come Be My Guest is one I enjoyed.
Rhonda, I hadn't read any Tyler for a long time, I don't know why. But she is such a good writer.
The Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie. This is the latest in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series. I have always loved these books but there is always a gap of several years before the next one comes along. They are sequential so I have to nudge my memory about where the last one ended. They are both still London Police Detectives but now in different precincts. They are leading very busy lives and both are caught up in their separate cases. Duncan is unusually secretive about his. I enjoyed the book but missed the close relationship of the previous ones. I'm still looking forward to the next one.
Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander. Knowing how much I love mysteries, Peggy recommended this series to me. The main character is Sir John Fielding (brother of Henry Fielding, by the way) who formed the Bow Street Runners, the first London constabulary. This is the first novel in the series and contains a lot of historical information about London and those who lived and worked in its streets. He takes on a very young
assistant, Jeremy Proctor, who I'm sure will be a constant companion. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
I was watching Jeopardy recently and was able to answer almost all the questions about England. I had to laugh at myself when I realized I had learned all these facts from reading British novels and mysteries!
>55 Oregonreader: The Fielding series os really good all the way through. I should re-read it at some point!
I'm all for English novels as a method for learning its history!
Read on, Jan! I love to hear what you think of books, and I'm happy that we've both found Sir John and Jeremy.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Smith is such an amazing storyteller. This is the story of two London girls, born into very different families but both poor and with one black parent and one white. Each girl sees the other as having something she wants and the friendship grows through dance lessons. It is in many ways a toxic relationship. Tracey becomes a chorus line dancer and the narrator works as the assistant to a big pop star (think Taylor Swift) who wants to go to Africa to do good works. The story progresses over 15 years or so. The two girls drift apart then reconnect in random ways. I had trouble with the way the story bounced around in time. But Smith is so good at describing relationships. The girl's relationship with each other and their parents is finely drawn with great compassion for all of them. I enjoyed this.
Hi, Jan. I am so ready for warm weather. Dry would be nice, too. I have Swing Time lined up for later in the year with my RL bookgroup. Glad you like it! Happy weekend.
Hi Jan - I am also a fan of Smith. She has a new book of essays out that I started, Feel Free; they are collected from several publications and cover a variety of topics. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library before I finished, so I'll have to pick it up when it's available again.
I'll look for Come Be My Guest
The Fielding series sounds good as well. I love the Crombie and am waiting for the next one.
61> Kim, I think Swing Time will lead to a good discussion. There is so much there.
62> Beth, I'll have to have a look at the essays. I've read two of her novels so I'm looking forward to trying something else by Smith.
The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner. A young woman, Meg, has been promised by her father to take her to Florence where her grandmother lived. She's been waiting for many years and finally he calls and tells her he has tickets. I don't want to give any spoilers but what follows is a strange mixture of fantasy and reality. Meg meets Sophia who has written a book Meg's employer is thinking of publishing. But he insists Meg must verify the author's claim to be a Medici. Meg must decide if Sophia really hears a long ago ancestor talking to her through art produced during the height of the Medici's rule or is she mentally ill. Romance also enters the picture. But this book is really a paean to Florence, with lots of art history. It's an interesting plot but rather slow going.
The Girl in the Glass sounds interesting, Jan. I'd love to read an homage to Florence, such a great city.
>65 LizzieD: Yep, whenever I need new books, I go to your thread! If you want to visit post-war Venice after Florence you can try
Alibi by Joseph Kanon In 1946, Adam Miller goes to Venice to visit his widowed English mother. He has left his position as an Army war crimes investigator in Germany. He is traumatized by what he has seen there. Although instructed to view the Italian collaborators as victims, he can't help but see them as criminals. The book is his journey to understand what war does to everyone. In the process he makes some terrible mistakes, causing harm to those he loves. I found this book very interesting, in part because the reader discovers the truth about people as Adam Miller does.
The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman I had heard so much from friends about what a good writer Gaiman is but I am not a big fan of fantasy so I avoided him. But I picked up a copy of this book and was immediately entranced. There is certainly fantasy but it is so grounded in the characters and their situation, in this case a young boy and girl, that I was swept along. I would strongly recommend this one.
Come Be My Guest by Elizabeth Cadell I read all of Cadell's books years ago. They are very British romances with independent young women. I reread this one because I remembered it so affectionately. She's written about 35 books and the quality varies. But at their best they are funny and very entertaining.
Murder in Grub Street by Bruce Alexander. This is the second book in the Sir John Fielding Mysteries. I'm ready for the third.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt I had read so much about this award winning book and read so much praise that was looking forward to reading it although it was on my TB stack for quite awhile. I'm embarrassed to say that I got about 180 pages in and realized I was having to push myself on. I can't name any one thing I disliked although it moved at a snails pace and I was unable to feel any connection with the characters. I know I'm in the minority here but life is short and there are so many books that I've moved on!
>69 Oregonreader: Welcome to the minority, Jan. I pushed myself through The Goldfinch when it was popular because I'm just that way I guess. I kept thinking there must be some reason everyone liked it so much. I didn't! In fact every time I see it on my shelf I wonder why I finished it and why I still own it. Good call on your part IMHO
>70 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, thanks for sharing with me. I'm glad to know there are at least two of us. I have struggled with the idea of not finishing a book I don't like. I thought it would be like breaking some sort of contract I signed when I started the book. I finally stopped in the middle of one book I hated and it has become easier each time!
>71 SuziQoregon: Juli, I imagine an audio of the book would be a great experience. I don't listen to any because I can't find a place in my life for them. Many years ago my husband and I traveled on business and I would always pack an book or two. Gaiman is an amazing author and I'll bet a really good reader of his novels.
>69 Oregonreader: I'm another. I bought the thing for my Kindle, so I thought I had to read it. I did, but I don't like her writing. All those sentence fragments. I'm not sure she knows what a sentence is. Then I read ½ of Edward St. Aubyn's Melrose novels that also deal with addiction. What a difference! His writing is elegant and devastating. I will certainly read the last two.
Like you, Jan, I can't find a place for audio books. That would always be 2nd best for me anyway since I love the experience of reading.
Jan - It's also hard for me not to finish, but life is short, and there are lots of good books waiting, so I'm trying to be better at that. It sounds like you made a good call with The Goldfinch. I liked it but not as much as many.
Loved the Gaiman. The Goldfinch? NOT so much. So you are not alone. ; ) See you Sunday!
Rhonda, It was a good reunion for me as well. I love hearing what is going on in all your lives and talking books.
I gathered up a few new mysteries on a recent shopping trip with mixed results.
Murder at an Irish Wedding by Carlene O'Connor I picked this up because I have such fond memories of Ireland on my last travels with my husband. The book has an interesting plot, a murder on the eve of a wedding, but it does not contain enough characters to challenge the imagination on whodunnit. I figured it out early on and I think most readers would. It does give some interesting details on Irish weddings.
Deadly Scandal by Kate Parker Olivia is a contented housewife in 1930's London. Her husband, who works in the foreign office, dies a sudden death and the police rule it suicide. She insists it was not and is determined to find the murder. She gets involved with secret agents, German diplomats spies, and risks her own life. I enjoyed this one, interesting characters and a satisying plot.
What goodies did you get yesterday at Powell's? It was fun to see you again. : )
I really enjoyed getting to know you yesterday. What a fun time! We need to do this again.
Hi Kim and Reba, It was a fun time and I loved exploring the shelves together and talking about the books. Since I didn't have a list, I didn't buy much. But thanks to Reba's recommendation I picked up Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore which I'm currently reading. And was it you, Kim, who recommended Exit West ? That will be next. I also got a book for my 10 year old grandson, one of Nathan Hale's Treacherous Tales which deal with episodes in American History. I picked up the last one currently published and he loves it.
It was nice to have a reason to visit Powell's downtown store. I always go to their Cedar Hills store in Beaverton because parking is so easy and if, as rarely happens, they don't have what I need, they have it sent over from the main store. Yes, I have to admit it, I'm intimidated by Portland traffic!
>81 Oregonreader: How could you NOT be intimidated by Portland traffic? I hope you're enjoying Mr. Penumbra :)
Happy to hear that the meet-up was fun - apparently, they always are. I certainly enjoyed Mr. Punumbra and look forward to Exit West. Maybe when you've read it, you'll inspire me to open it.
Having access to Powell's all the time is just mind-blowing. I wouldn't have enough $ for food.
>83 LizzieD: Peggy, all of us here in Portland would agree with you. My TBR stacks are always growing much faster than those I've read.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan is an interesting book. When I first started reading it, I thought it was Borges' library from the story *Tower of Babel* transferred to a bookstore and I was expecting a dark mystery, full of magic. But the hunt for truth in this story brings books and computer data together in the modern world. I couldn't follow the computer references but it didn't seem to matter. I liked all the characters and was especially pleased that the search was ultimately completed.
The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer This was a reread of the very first Heyer I ever read and I was hooked for life. This one is so full of humor and wonderful characters that I enjoyed every minute of it.
Watery Grave by Bruce Alexander This is the third in the Fielding series and they keep getting better. This one involves the Royal Navy and a crime aboard ship. The military thinks it has the upper hand until they meet Fielding. My favorite so far.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett I discovered Patchett with Bel Canto and knew nothing about her writing for magazines which she did for many years. This is a collection of some of those articles. The subject matter is very broad, from her experiences in writing to her childhood in Tennessee to training for the LAPD. The title essay about a happy marriage seems to show how we can sometimes get what we want even as we fight against it.
Oh, yeah, the Fielding series. That was a good one. I should reread it sometime.
Yes - driving in downtown Portland is not fun. I work 4 blocks from the downtown Powell's but I usually shop at the Cedar Hills store which is closer to home. That's primarily because I take either the bus or train downtown and am limited by the size of my work tote bag on weekdays.
>86 drneutron: I can imagine rereading them at some point. The plots are complicated enough that I will forget them!
>87 RebaRelishesReading: Glad to hear you made it home safely from a fabulous trip. My husband and I made a similar trip a number of years ago and I still remember the sights.
>88 SuziQoregon: Thanks goodness for the Cedar Hills store. I keep hoping I see the day when light rail can take me down town.
Hi, Jan. I do envy you the free and easy parking at the Cedar Hills store, but I am just glad to have Powell's at all!
I regret I haven't been a regular visitor here recently but I have been reading. Here are some of my recent books.
Dinner in Camelot by Joseph A. Esposito This was an ERC. The author details the 1962 Nobel dinner given by the Kennedys in the White House. They invited every living American Nobel recipient and other prominent scientists and writers. JFK famously said of the event, "...this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." The author gives a brief background sketch of each participant and their accomplishments. What struck me was how much we Americans used to respect and value science, intellect and education. Those days seem long gone.
Esposito details all the preparations including the menu and table settings and seating chart. My only complaint is that there was a lot of repetition. He would describe an incident in a persons life and then repeat it in another context. This is an interesting and nostalgic book.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies and I must have seen it dozens of times with my children and grandchildren. I picked this book up at the airport and it turned out to be the perfect read for my trip. Elwes writes most of the narrative but the other actors chime in with various comments. He describes a lot about movie making in general and specific problems they had, like finding a horse for 500+ pound Andre the Giant. If you are a fan of the movie, you will enjoy the book.
My Dear Aunt Flora by Elizabeth Cadell Set in the postwar English countryside, the book tells a sweet tale of family life and love. All is defintely seen through rose colored glasses but I enjoyed the escape.
The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer This was a reread of one of my favorite Heyers. It never fails to entertain.
Hi Jan -- looks like you've been spending your time well but it's nice to see you just the same :)
Hi, Reba, thanks for stopping by. I wish I had time to visit your thread and others but things are a little hectic right now.
I'm leaving on another trip on Saturday. I'm going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Washington with my children and grandchildren. We went last year and it was great fun.
I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron A friend gave me this book and suggested I might enjoy it. I did and I think most women over 55 would too. Ephron focuses on those bodily changes we experience as we age, starting with sagging necks and failing eyesight and then she branches out into marriage, break-ups, parenting. She does all this with her light touch of humor.
The Case Is Closed by Patricia Wentworth I've always been a fan of the Miss Silver mysteries but this one was a dud. Miss Silver appears only as a plot device to explain everything to the reader. The main characters are a young man and woman, possibly engaged, who spend the entire story arguing and insulting each other.
I read I Feel Bad About My Neck a couple of years ago and loved it. Glad you did too.
Just speaking, Jan. I do feel bad about my neck, but I can't bring myself to read about it!
I love that you're rereading Heyers - so must I! I don't think I've ever read The Nonesuch, so I have that to look forward to if I can ever get some of my heavy ones shifted.
Enjoy your family vacation! It sounds wonderful!!
Enjoy your vacation, Jan.
I enjoyed your comments about your recent reading. The Patchett sounds especially good. I'm also reading The Nonesuch right now and really enjoying it. Heyer had such a grasp of the Regency speech and the details are amazing. And I love the humor.
Reba, Rhonda, Peggy and Beth, I'm glad we have some Heyer lovers here. When things get too hectic, I turn to one of her novels.
I've been doing some reading and fortunately, all have been really good.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney Lillian Boxfish, who is 90+ years old, is a long time resident of New York City and loves it. She began working in her 20's in Macy's advertising, soon becoming a celebrity with her witty poems. One New Year's Eve she decides to take a walk to the restaurant where she dines on this night every year. She then extends her walk. As she continues along, she remembers her life and the neighborhoods she lived in each decade. Along the way, she meets many interesting people. Her thoughts on the city's history and her life are fascinating. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a fictional character. A wonderful book.
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui This was an ERC that I was really glad to receive. Pival is an older Bengali widow who has lived a constrained life following the strict rules of her culture. Estranged from her son, she decides to go on a trip to America to find him. She books the trip with a Bangledeshi tour company and is provided with a Bangledeshi guide and a young American woman as a companion. As the three make their cross country journey, each relates to the others through the filter of their culture. Pival's opinion of American culture is funny and accurate. I really loved this book.
I'm glad to steal some time away to catch up here. When I moved to Portland 6 years ago, I had no idea my grandchildren would take up so much of my time. But I do love being with them. This summer I'll be hanging out with Emma, age 15, Andrew, age 10, Grace, age 5, and Kellen 7 months. I do find time to read but have trouble reviewing them. Here's one of my latest.
The Last Stand; Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of Little Big Horn by Nathaniel Philbrick Philbrick is probably my favorite historical writer. His facts are well documented and he makes the actions and personalities come alive. This book is no exception.
He goes into detail describing Custer and Major Reno, their competition and extreme dislike and how that affected the battle. What was much more interesting to me is his description of the history of the Sioux and Sitting Bull. This was all new information for me. He looks at all the Sioux tribes and their history with each other which helped me understand the alliances they made. This was a real page turner. Highly recommended.
The Gazebo by Patricia Wentworth This is another Miss Silver mystery. I thought it was fairly enjoyable but I have since started Christie's book of Miss Marple short stories and Miss Silver pales in comparison. I think I've read all the Poirot and Marple books so I have to wait until they fade in my memory to enjoy again.
Having grandchildren and books at hand sounds perfect to me, Jan. Enjoy!
I looked at the Philbrick Custer just the other day and thought it looked good. Maybe it will drop into my greedy hands some day. I'm once more feeling overwhelmed by my collection, but I'll get over that.
Enjoy the grandkids and don't worry about the reviews. I just wish you could make a Meet-up!! : ) Miss you.
Kim. I'm taking your advice. I'll get to the growing stack one of these days. Saturday I'm headed for the coast, Manzanita, for a few days with all my children and grandchildren. We've rented a house on the beach. Lot's of fun. I hope all is well with you, Kim.
My son was just down at Manzanita for the Fourth--he loved it! Hope you have great weather and lot of fun. : )
Kim, The weather was not great last weekend but it was still fun to walk on the beach and let the dogs run. The highlight was making a fire and eating smores on the beach.
Here is some reading I've been doing.
Miss Marple The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie I had read most of these before but still enjoyed them. Miss Marple is one of my favorites.
September Mourn by Mary Daheim This is part of a cozy series involving murders solved by a Bed and Breakfast owner. I found it substandard as a mystery with little character descriptions, unbelievable actions and motivations and a lot of silliness between the heroine and her best friend.
Another reread, Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer This is one of my favorites. I love the older heroines in her books. They are much more interesting than the "green young girls".
Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen This is a lighthearted series in which the author manages to create a plot that keeps you interested and lots of humor. Set in the 20's, Georgette is a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She is too exalted to work but without funds. She does some problem solving for Queen Mary and manages to stumble her way through the mysteries that arise. There is also the mysterious Darcy Omara. Does he work for the secret service, does he really plan to marry her? Questions abound!
I just counted my book entries and to date I've read 41 Books. I'm right on track and pleased about it!
>109 Oregonreader: You go girl!! I love Miss Marple and also Georgette Heyer. : ) Stay cool!!
>110 Berly: I hope you are staying cool as well. I spent yesterday afternoon with my daughter and daughter in law. They and their kids engaged in a long water gun fight until they were all cooled down and soaking wet. The next best thing to having a pool.
Beth, We definitely agree on the Daheim book. She is banished from my WL forever. I hope you are enjoying your summer.
The Ex by Alafair Burke No touchstone on this one.
I've read several of Burke's books and find them well written. She has several series going but this one is a stand alone.
Olivia is a top criminal defense lawyer in New York suffering from a distinct lack of a social life. She feels guilty about how she dumped her fiance several years before. She gets a call that his wife has been murdered and he is a suspect. She agrees to defend him. There are lots of surprises in the plot. BTW, Burke was a prosecutor in Portland's DA office for awhile.
Person or Persons Unknown by Bruce Alexander This is the next in my reading of the Fielding series. He does an amazing job of making 18th century London seem real. Fielding moves between arisocrats and the terribly poor handing out justice with compassion.
Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick This is an ERC.
This book is based on the life of Carrie Adell Strahorn, called at the time "Mother of the West" and "Queen of the Pioneers". Her husband worked for the Union Pacific Railroad, exploring towns and sites for destinations for the railroad as it moved into the west. The book includes a map of their travels and the narrative gives a good description of the hardships, especially for a woman, traveling to remote cities and encampments.
What really fascinated me was the relationship between Carrie and her husband. Carrie was very well educated for her time and had her own ideas about what she wanted from marriage, a loving relationship between them and, especially, children. They had a discussion early on about how they would be partners, making decisions together. It was interesting to see how this collapsed.
The problem was that Robert was so caught up in his work that he didn't really pay much attention to her and Carrie never told him the truth. When he would ask for her opinion, she told him what she thought he wanted to hear. The author highlights this by beginning each chapter with her private diary, then included her cleaned up opinions as she wrote to her family. At first I hated the way Robert treated her, until I realized he couldn't read her mind and she was from the culture that described wives as a helper to her husband and supportive to his desires. Of course, much has changed but I did wonder how many women still have that idea ingrained in the back of their mind.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a page turner for me.
Arabella by Georgette Heyer Everytime the political disaster our country is going through gets me stressed and depressed, which is happening daily, I tend to grab a Heyer. I think I am basically rereading her books. They are frivolous but so well-written and such a good escape!
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi My granddaughter recommended this book to me. This is the first graphic novel I have read and it was a good introduction. This is the story of a young girl growing up in Iran during the war with Iraq and the Islamic revolution. The drawings are simple and stark black and white. The graphics work because the pictures often show adults expressing the permitted actions and ideas while the young girl comments on the situation with an honesty that a child can bring to change. It gives a good short history of the events in Iran during that time. I enjoyed the book but I still have a preference for the well-written word.
>115 Oregonreader: Nice review! It's not one I think I will grab, but a very interesting perspective on marriage and the empowerment of women. I love Heyer, if not the reason you are choosing her.
Hi, Jan! Hope all is going well with you personally. I guess driving women to read Heyer is about the best that can be said for the current administration. I don't think I've read Sprig Muslin, so I'll put it in the queue. Like you, I prefer her older heroines. I think I reread Arabella sometime in the last decade....or maybe not. The reviews here ring no bells, nor do they prod me to pick her up.
Hi Kim and Peggy, I'm back from vacation and exhausted. But it was a great time. I just got Don't Hide the Madness as an ERC. I'm looking forward to the reading. Here are some I've finished.
Some Brief Folly by Patricia Veryan This one is totally escapist but I really enjoyed it. It is part of a series about an evil Frenchmen who plots to win where Napoleon lost. Romance and skullduggery.
Glass Houses by Louise Penny A masked figure on the green in Three Pines sets off fear and panic in the village. Gamache spends a lot of time pondering what this all means. I'll have to say this is the first one where that seems excessive to me. I had the urge to skip some paragraphs. But this is still a real treat.
Jack, Knave and Fool by Bruce Alexander A suspicious death is investigated by Fielding and his assistant, Jeremy. Another great mystery from Alexander.
I hope I can get around to visit you soon. Too much RL!
I'm finishing up my light summer reading and heading into heavier territory. I'm starting to read Don't Hide the Madness about Burroughs and Ginsberg and continuing with John Meacham's The Soul of America.
Here are a few more I've finished.
On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen is part of the Royal Spyness series which I really enjoy.
Married Past Redemption by Patricia Veryan is another historical romance series following Some Brief Folly.
Death of a Colonial by Bruce Alexander I can't get enough of the Fielding series. This one is a little different in that Sir John Fielding gives three files on what he calls "his failures" to Jeremy to see if he can find what Fielding missed. The old cases tie into a current one.
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer This is a reread and one I've always like for it's humor.
Hi Jan - I loved Persepolis - there's a film, too, which is good although not as good as the book. Of course.
I enjoy Heyer also, and The Corinthian is a good one.
Hi Jan! I've been listening to the Royal Spyness series while walking and am enjoying it a great deal too.
Beth, I'm glad my granddaughter recommended Persepolis as my first graphic novel. It gave me a chance to see the appeal of these books.
Reba, the Spyness books are a lot of fun, aren't they? I keep wondering if Darcy will ever explain all.
Don't Hide the Madness: William S Burroughs in Conversation with Allen Ginsberg edited by Steven Taylor This is an ERC. Taylor recorded a three day meeting between the writer and poet and then transcribed the tapes in their entirety.
I was very excited to get a copy of this book because Burroughs and especially Ginsberg were thought by many to define politics and poetry in the Beatnik age. I was disappointed . The editor needs to do a lot more editing. Because every word spoken over those three days is included, the reader gets long, rambling talks about inconsequential things such as Burrough's cats, what they like to eat, disagreements over who lived where in the past. But there are nuggets in there, such as a long discussion of Burroughs shamanistic experiences and exchanges of spiritual ideas. There was also much discussion about turning Naked Lunch into a movie. There are very rewarding parts but the reader has to work too hard to find them.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon I've had this in my TBR stack for some time. I don't remember where I picked it up but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. It is a mystery set in a nursing home. Florence is in her late 80's and has no family. Her mind is failing and she struggles to communicate clearly. She has two friends there, Jack, and a friend from her youth, Elsie, who both help her. Florence discovers long ago, hidden memories that involve arson and the murder of an old friend. She also believes that a new arrival is someone she knows from that time who is out to get her. Florence is an unreliable narrator so it is unclear to the reader how much of what she sees is true. But the book progresses to a surprising and satisfying end.
I say that the book has a surprise ending. But in looking at the reviews, I'm a slow-top. They all seemed to figure it out early on. It is still worth reading, even if you guess the ending.
I'm working through a stack of books I've read but haven't entered here.
Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer My reread of Heyer continues.
Anthem for a Doomed Youth by Carola Dunn This is the latest in the Daisy Dalrymple series. Daisy and her Scotland Yard detective husband are both involved in separate murder investigations which at first seem completely unconnected but are they? A nice twist at the end.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid Someone on LT recommended this but I can't remember who. But my thanks to whoever it was. In an unnamed country on the brink of civil war, a young man and woman meet and fall in love. Hamid uses their relationship and their experiences to show the effect that the fighting and the rebel terrorizing throws over all areas of their lives. Then the young man hears a rumor that there are doors which lead out of their country and into others. Thus begins their journey. As they visit country after country, Hamid describes how the immigrants are living in each area. He calls it the Age of Immigration and he does an amazing job of taking the reader along. I loved the ending which was much more optimistic than expected.
Thanks, Kim. I have been overwhelmed with RL events, some good and some bad, but I wanted to get back to entering my books at least!
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley I've read all the Flavia series and enjoyed them but this one left me a little disappointed. Flavia and her sisters are traveling after her father's death when she discovers a body. She and the family retainer, Dogger, set out to solve the mystery but so many characters are introduced without any real background that it is hard to get interested in any of them. I guess what I missed was Flavia's interactions with her sisters and other returning characters.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin I recently joined a book group and this was our first read. I was not excited about this as I thought it was a biography and I wasn't really interested. But the book is actually quite different. Martin recounts a life-long search for what comedy actually is. I was surprised to learn that he had studied philosophy at UCLA and I can see that type of reasoning in his book. I actually did enjoy it.
Here's another one.
Fame: the Hijacking of Reality by Justine Bateman This was an ERC. Bateman insists that this book is not a memoir. The word I would use to describe it is a rant. Her pain is very understandable. She clearly harbors a great deal of anger and resentment of how fame and it's decline caused her life and personality to change in a negative way. I am sure many other famous people feel the same. But this is not a thoughtful account of the process. She doesn't seem to have any real understanding of what fame is, only the results. She doesn't explain how the good and bad parts of fame unfold. She writes as though this transformation happened overnight. Part of the problem is with her writing style. It is conversational and reads like a young girl spilling all to her girlfriends with endless repetitions, swearing, and rambling. She needed a good editor.
Nice comments on the Cannon, Jan. I have that on a shelf somewhere. I think it may have been on the Women's Prize long list...
Hooray for Heyer. She is a great go-to when life is impossible.
Hi Beth, I think you'll enjoy the Elsie book when you get to it. I tend to keep my TBR books in stacks, usually on the floor, but books get lost there too. I just found The Rosie Project that I bought at least a year ago. It was a nice surprise.
I have been so busy. At last some time to post my reading.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion I must be the last person in America to read this book! Happily, I pulled it out of my stack and had a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Smuggler's Moon by Bruce Alexander This is the seventh (I think) in the Sir John Fielding series. I didn't enjoy this as much as the previous books but maybe I just wasn't in the mood.
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham Meacham's goal was to write about previous times in American history when all seemed to be lost. He picks certain extremist events in our history, the Revolution and forming the general consensus on what a President would be, the Civil War, the KKK, the Civil Rights movement and more. All of these events seemed like the end of the American experiment but our basic hope and a belief in our country pulled us through. It was a good message to hear during these times.
Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips This was a perfect escape for me. I would call it a bodice ripper except it was set in modern day and our heroine was ripping her own shirt off. Lots of humor.
An Experiment in Treason by Bruce Alexander The 7th novel led right in to this one and I enjoyed it very much. Alexander does such an amazing job of describing 18th Century England and the plots are always intricate and tied up well.
Now back to work. We have four family birthdays between mid-October and mid- November. Plus Halloween!
I watched the finale of the Great American Read on PBS this week. It was so interesting to see the types of books nominated and voted on. It was an amazing range of books from the classics to children's books to popular fiction. They said 4 million people voted. That's impressive. And the winner is To Kill a Mocking Bird! It was fun to see how many of the 100 books I had read (52) and I now have a list of books I want to read. I've just ordered A Separate Peace. I'm sure I read it when very young but I can't remember it very well.
Hi, Jan. I hope you weren't very young when you read A Separate Peace!
I just can't get back to Sir John/Jeremy although I like them very much. I got discouraged when I started about 3 out of order. I'm on the right one, #4, and I will get to it.
I didn't know that *TKaMB* won the Great American Read. They could have done much worse.
I watched it too and was interested to find that most of those I had read ended up towards the top of the list. I guess I'm going to have to read Outlander which for some reason hasn't really appealed to me.
>135 LizzieD: It seems like such a long time ago!
The list of 100 books was a combination of classics, children's books, and fairly new popular fiction. So I agree they could have done worse.
>136 BLBera: I'm glad to hear there are more readers out there like me. Rosie is a charming book when you get to it.
>137 RebaRelishesReading: I had never heard of Outlander until it appeared on the list. I've read a few reviews and it sounds like a lot of violence and sex. Maybe that's why it's so popular!
Hi Jan--I should look at that list again and see if it is a good idea for next year's reads....!
Outlander and Rosie are both great reads. And so is Mockingbird. : )
Hope life is treating you well.
Hi, Kim, Thanks for stopping by. I've picked up a couple of books from the list, including Zadie Smith's White Teeth. She's one of my favorites.
I'm actually enjoying this wonderful Fall weather, cool temperatures but mostly sunny skies. Great for lighting the fire and reading!
I hope things are going well for you too, and you're enjoying all the activity I see on your thread.
Here's some more reading I've finished.
Word By Word by Kory Stamper This was recommended by a friend who found it humorous and interesting. I agree somewhat. Most of the humor comes at the beginning as she's describing her transition to lexicography. She uses an exaggerated form of self-deprecation which I associate with the very young. Not so funny to me. It becomes more interesting as she gets in to the meat of the story, relating problems lexicographers have with small words, such as is "the" an adjective or adverb. It's probably better as a book to dip into rather than read straight through.
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer Another escape into Heyer's world where everything works out perfectly.
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg Berg is very good at drawing characters and she does that well here. She describes four persons as they get ready for their thirtieth high school reunion. She does a wonderful job of presenting their history and dreams for the reunion. A quick read but I enjoyed it.
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell The image I had of Arthur was from Camelot, movie and play. This was a much more interesting story. What a brutal time period with king fighting king for power and conquest. The story is told by a young boy who works his way up to being one of Arthur's soldiers and all is told from his perspective. I really loved this book.
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer I read about this book on Dr. Neutron's thread and I'm glad I picked it up. The story begins with the history of Timbuktu in the 16th century, when it was a center of learning and thousands of manuscripts where left there for safekeeping. The hero, Abdel Kader Haidara, is born into a family that has long been involved with protecting these treasures from decay. When Al Quaida invaded the area, he organized an amazing plan to save the manuscripts from destruction. The story tells the amazing risking of life to get these manuscripts out of the terrorists grasp.
Death of a Rainmaker by Laurie Loewenstein I received this book by accident along with an ERC that I had won. I was happy to read it. It is the story of a sheriff and his wife in a small Oklahoma town in the mid-1930's. The dust bowl is slowly destroying the farms and town as farmers lost their farms, and stores in the town went under. A man comes to town promising he can bring rain. What follows is a murder and exposure of corruption. The characters are all well drawn but the real focus of the book is Oklahoma destroyed by drought and how that affected the people in this small town. I would recommend this one.
I have access to a copy of those librarians, Jan, and you're making me eager to get to them. Thanks!
How is "the" an adverb? I'm stumped.
>146 LizzieD: OK, Peggy, now you have really set me a puzzle! I remember that example so clearly because I didn't understand it either. I just checked the chapter where I thought it would be and, of course, it wasn't there. So now I feel driven to hunt through the entire book for the mention of "the"!
>147 drneutron: Thanks for the tip, Jim. This is one I don't think I would have heard of otherwise. That's why I love LT.
Uh oh. I'm sorry, Jan, but I'll be back to check whether you found the explanation. It's been nagging me from time to time.
Hi Jan - The librarian book looks good. I think my library has a copy. Heyer is great, isn't she?
>149 LizzieD: Oh, Peggy, the pressure, the pressure! I hope all your family is well and enjoying the extended holiday season. I took my two youngest grandchildren to see Santa and it brought back so many memories. My daughter is 47 so I have many years to remember.
>150 BLBera: Hi Beth, I always enjoy seeing you here. I read Heyer instead of taking tranquilizers. Seems to do the job!
>151 Berly: Hi Kim, I'm guessing you are as busy as ever so I'm glad you took the time to stop by. I hope you are staying healthy.
I've just finished Tied Up In Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh. This is a manor house mystery featuring her handsome detective, Roderick Alleyn. I think she is right up there with Christie.
I have just passed my 75 book goal! Here are my latest.
#74 Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay .This is part of the British Library Crime Classics. An elderly, unpleasant lady who lived in a boarding house was murdered in a nearby Underground station. This book was different in that the murderer was revealed through discussions by her fellow boarders and the police have a very small part in the investigation until the end. I thought the theorizing and withholding of information by her housemates got a little tedious.
#75 Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs. This is another mystery in the BLCC. This had a more complicated plot and I was left guessing until almost the end. Again, an elderly, unpleasant lady was murdered. The author peoples the village with lots of folks who would prefer her dead. This was written with humor and good plotting.
#76 The Eulogist by Terry Gamble This is an ERC. The Givenses, an Irish family immigrating to Cincinnatti in the early 19th century, suffer tragedies on the way. Both parents die or disappear, leaving two sons and a daughter on their own. The oldest boy takes on the responsibility of taking care of the others. A chandler, he starts his own business and is very successful. The story is filled with the ups and downs of their lives together. The novel takes a big turn when the daughter marries a man from a slave owning family in Kentucky, and their lives are touched by the slave trade. They all become involved in the underground railway in varying roles and degrees. I enjoyed this and would recommend it.
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