Anita (figs) reads in 2018
This topic was continued by Anita (figs) reads in 2018 second part.
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Hello and welcome! This is the third year that I have participated in this group. I must admit that last year, I started out strong with posting and following threads. Somehow, I kept on reading but neglected to post my progress. This year, I will do better :)
About me: I live in Canada. I am a biochemist that used to be a professional pianist, who now works in the healthcare field.
My rating system is as follows:
1 = Very Very bad. Either I could not finish the novel, or the plot was ill-conceived
2= Still bad. I managed to finish the book. It was probably boring, unoriginal or poorly written
3= Solid. There was character development, the pace was probably slow or parts of the book were well thought out. Still had the ability to make me think or at the very least want to continue reading, however, something was missing or could have been further developed.
4= Excellent read. I probably couldn't put the book down till it was finished. Pace was spot on, complex characters, made me think in a different way and so on
5= Does this ever happen? When it does, I will revise this section
I'd tell you my boys (cats) say hi to your cat, but they are at least pretending to be asleep. Have a great year of reading!
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.
1. A man called Ove: Fredrick Backman
First read of the year. I was not confident about this novel when I bought it however, after two pages, I was already laughing. A wonderful story about a seemingly grumpy man who wants to commit suicide however, life and other people get in the way.
A lovely novel that's worth the hype that surrounds it.
2. Nostalgia: M. G. Vassanji
A novel set in the future where those who can afford it are able to re-invent themselves by purchasing a strong, fit, younger body and new memories. However, the system is not perfect. Previous memories leak into the new ones and the symptoms become deadly. Hence the need for a specialist ( Frank Sina). Dr. Sina receives a patient who is troubled with a fragmented memory. He is told by higher authorities to desist treating him immediately. Dr. Sina is drawn to Presley and investigates further leading him to dangerous places and uncovers sensitive secrets.
Lots of things happening in this novel ( only after the first 100 pages). Class systems, grotesque, propaganda, immortality, violence, and religious morality squeezed into 250 pages. The ideas/themes are interesting however, the characters are a little lackluster.
Not a bad read
3. In the Month of The Midnight Sun: Cecilia Ekback
Lapland, 1856, a triple murder has occurred in Blackasen mountain and the accused, is a native Lapp. At the request of the minister of justice Magnus, a geologist is sent to Blackasen to map out the area and to unofficially investigate the triple homicide. He is also instructed to take Lovisa ( his sister in law) with him. They encounter the Sami, a nomadic group that is seen as sorcerers and discovers the secrets the mountains and the villagers are trying to hide.
Novel touches upon the supernatural, greed, guilt, women's rights, and traditions. The pace was a little slow for me however, it was not a bad crime novel.
Oh my. I woke up this morning to 15cm of snow and -19 degrees and factor in the windchill it's minus 27!! Good thing I don't have to work this weekend. A great opportunity for me to sit by the fire and read :)
Dropping a star, Anita. That weather sounds daunting to say the least - an excellent plan to stay in. Too bad the characters weren't better in >2 drneutron:, as the premise sounds very intriguing.
>17 Crazymamie: Thanks! Please keep in mind I tend to be on the harsher side when I review and rate a novel. There are also a few movies that came out before this novel that deals with similar themes. So perhaps unfairly, I expected something better.
4. And Laughter Fell from the sky: Jyotsna Sreenivasan
A story about a young American- Indian woman ( Rasika) who moves back into her parent's house after graduating. Since she has completed her education and has a steady job, her family expects her to get married. Complications occur as potential suitors back out and Rasika unintentionally falls for a long time friend, Abhay. The only problem is that Abhay belongs to the wrong caste, has no job and seems to be lost in life. Of course, Rasika denies her feelings and desperately tries to please her parents. It is up to Rasika and Abhay to stand up for what they believe in.
A story of love, tradition and adulthood
5.Us Conductors: Sean Michaels
A story about an engineer, Lev Theremin who travels from Leningrad to America to show off his new invention, the Theremin ( an electronic musical instrument). He befriends various characters such as Schillinger and Shostakovich and of course, he becomes obsessed with a woman ( Clara Reisenberg). Unbeknownst to Lev, his travel companion that deals with the financial and advertising of the Theremin is also a spy. He goes missing and Lev must take over these duties. Things become tense, and Lev must flee back to Leningrad where he is later arrested and is forced into a labor camp. Later, he is transferred to a more pleasant jail where he must invent special listening devices that can go undetected.
6.The Luxury Of Exile: Louis Buss
Claude Wooldridge, a former antique dealer acquires an antiquarian bookshop and discovers old letters addressed to a young lady named Amelia. Excitement takes over logic and Claude goes on the hunt to find Byron's letters that hint at a massive secret. The second half of the book focuses on Claude severing all family connections and moving to Naples where he finds temporary solace. He concludes that he is nothing more than a shell of a human being, lifeless, hollow and fraudulent.
Some parts of the novel were a little odd and sad, however, It was not a bad read.
7. A Spool of Blue Thread: Anne Tyler
The story follows four generations of The Whitschank family. The reader is able to see how each generation comes to care for their house and how they make it into a home. Family secrets, disappointments, arguments, death, birth, and laughter all unravel in the Whitschank's home.
I enjoyed her writing, however, there were a lot of questions left unanswered. Perhaps Anne Tyler is waiting for the next book to further develop certain characters ( like Denny).
8. The Guilty: David Baldacci
Will Robie is an assassin working for the government. After failing his last mission, he is sent down to his hometown Cantrel, Mississippi to figure things out. His father is in jail accused of murder and so naturally he goes on a fact-finding mission to clear his fathers name. However, Will and his father have a strained relationship and they must face what they have long been running from.
This is book #4 in the Will Robie series.
9.The Nest: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
What would you do if you knew that in your middle age, you would be receiving a substantial amount of money? This is exactly the case with the Plumb family. Four siblings are counting on this mid-life financial windfall to dig them out of the financial messes they have created. However, when the time comes, the family receives news that their inheritance is not as big as they had expected. Their mother withdrew a substantial amount to help the eldest brother ( Leo). The Plumb family is anxious to get the money back and believe that Leo will in time, reimburse them. While waiting for Leo to sort things out, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice open up to each other about their hardships and begin to bond again.
Your review reminds me that I have that one on the shelf. Sorry it was just a middling read for you.
>25 mstrust: Which novel are you referring to? For me when I rate a novel at three it means that is was a solid read and it was enjoyable. :)
I was referring to The Nest, but I see now that your 3 stars is a bit more enthusiastic than my 3 stars, which means "not sorry I spent time with it, but not one I'd recommend with enthusiasm". ;- )
>22 figsfromthistle: I thought I would like that one much more than I did. Your rating is slightly higher than mine was. I rated mine 2.5 stars which is "meh." It's definitely not one I'd recommend to folks.
>24 figsfromthistle: I've looked at that one from time to time (usually when I see someone else mention it here on LT) wondering if I might like it, but I really think it's probably not for me.
>28 thornton37814: I absolutely agree with you. I did not enjoy a Spool of blue thread as much. I found the beginning to be great and the middle to be as you said just "meh". It was the first Anne Tyler novel I've read so I wonder how her other novels compare to this one. Although many seemed to enjoy it. However, I did prefer The nest
11. The Loop: Edmund Burry
Fred Bartlett returns from WW1 as a shell of a man. Having suffered critical physical injuries, the death of friends and the loss of the love of his life he moves in with his brother's family. He becomes a blacksmith and remains recluse. He only speaks to his nephews and nieces when absolutely necessary and is happy to remain a passive member of the family. However, his nephew Will is different from the other kids. He constantly challenges Fred to engage with his limitless curiosities and questions. Soon his young nephew enlists as a pilot in WW2 and discovers a secret about Uncle Fred that will closely bond them and wake Fred out of his PTSD state.
12. A Pale View Of Hills: Kazuo Ishiguro
Etsuko is Japanese woman living in England who is trying to work through her guilt by remembering a particular summer in Nagasaki, Japan after WW2. However, memory can be a tricky thing. It can be distorted to cover up repressed feelings or embellished.
I don't want to spoil anyone's reading by providing a detailed synopsis. I did, however, enjoy Ishiguro's writing style. Not a bad little novel.
13.The Orphan's Tale: Pam Jenoff
Noa is a young teen who is cast out by her family after becoming pregnant by a German soldier. She ends up working as a cleaner at a railway station where she discovers a railcar full of babies. In a moment of panic, she takes one of the babies and flees into a wintry storm. A traveling circus takes her in and she must learn to become a trapeze artist. Many challenges lie ahead and she is constantly putting her new family at risk.
Interesting read. I never knew that there were traveling circuses in WW2.
>33 figsfromthistle: I was interested in that one for awhile, but the reviews on it haven't held up as well. I keep seeing it available in my Overdrive wish list and always pass it up for something else. I don't know if I'll ever get to it or if it will eventually just be "deleted".
14. The Cottingley Secret: Hazel Gaynor
Olivia inherits her grandfather's antique bookstore and a manuscript written by Francis Griffiths that tells the story surrounding pictures taken in 1917 of fairies. These pictures even garnered the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Olivia reads the manuscripts she learns to believe in herself and finds out that there is a little magic in each person waiting to be realized.
Well written and for the most part, held my interest.
15. The Martian: Andy Weir
Mark Watney and his crew are on Mars. A giant dust storm forces an early departure. Mark believed to be dead, is left behind. When he regains consciousness, he realizes that he is alone and finds ways to survive untill the next crew arrives to study the planet.
16. The Sisters Brothers: Patrick deWitt
Eli and Charlie are contacted killers. Their next mission takes them all the way to California where they must find Hermann Kermit Warm and end his life. However, their journey on horseback takes a little longer than expected. The brothers travel through each town like cowboys in the wild wild west. Fighting, drinking, and gambling. However, what happens when they reach San Francisco changes their thinking. They are left to question their bosses instructions and their career choice.
Hi and thanks for the vote, Just so you know the Vote was tied, so please go vote again. Thanks.
>34 thornton37814: It seems that there are a lot of mixed reviews about it. However, I enjoyed the novel even if it wasn't perfect :)
17. Leave Me: Gayle Forman
Maribeth is 40 years old, has two twins and a busy work schedule. She finds herself in the hospital after having a serious heart attack that is followed by surgery. When she is released from the hospital, she finds that her family is not quite as supportive and understanding and relies on her to take over her former duties. She leaves her family and husband behind to escape and recover. There, she makes new connections and is able to relax a little.
18. Mozart's Last Aria: Matt Rees
Mozart's sister, Nannerl receives a letter stating that her brother has passed away. Suspicious of the sudden passing of her brother, she travels to Vienna to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.There she discovers secrets that put her life in danger.
>43 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie! Indeed those two novels were great :)
19. Nothing Less: Anna Todd
Landon meets a woman( Nora) whom he finds irresistible. Just so happens that Nora is best friends with his ex Dakota. Nora's emotionally closed and mysterious and sensual. Landon is calm, open and trusting. There is one secret that could ruin everything Nora has been working toward. Will Landon forgive? Or will he get back together with his ex? All is revealed in the end.
Apparently, this is the second book in the Landon series. I did not read the first one. Not the typical book that I normally read so it wasn't my cup of tea. However, if you like romances then you will like this novel.
20. Exiles: Philip Caputo
1. Standing In
3. In The Forest Of The Laughing Elephant
21. A Game For All The Family: Sophie Hannah
Justine and her family move out of the city and into the far countryside. She enrolls her daughter, Ellen in a private school. There, Ellen meets a boy named George who suddenly gets expelled from school and all the teachers and students pretend that George never existed. In the meantime, Justine receives threatening phone calls. The local police do very little to help and so Justine tries to figure things out on her own.
22. Glass Houses: Louise Penny
A Cobrador has placed himself in the middle of Three Pines town square, putting everyone on edge. Whose conscience is it trying to appeal to? The Cobrador vanishes and a murder occurs. Now Gamache finds himself on the witness stand in a dilemma. A whole year's hard work is at stake if he tells the truth. What will he do?
Another three pines mystery. Although not the best in the series, it was still quite enjoyable
23. Half Blood Blues: Esi Edugyan
Review will come once I have enough time
24.The Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead
A story about a young slave working in the cotton fields who finds an opportunity to escape her circumstances through the underground railroad. However, things become complicated during her escape when she accidentally kills a man.
Very well written.
25. Storied Life Of A J Fikry: Gabrielle Zevin
AJ is the owner of a little bookstore who has quite particular reading tastes. He has almost given up hope after losing his wife and feels comfort in the fact that he can retire anytime he wishes, thanks to a very valuable book. However, after a night of drinking, he passes out and his most valued treasure is stolen. Since he no longer has anything of value in his store, he leaves it unlocked and upon returning, he discovers that someone left a three-year-old child in his store. Slowly, his demeanor changes. He becomes more social and learns to rely on others and opens himself up to new challenges and relationships.
Well written. I especially enjoyed that everything happens in the bookstore!
26. State Of Wonder: Ann Patchett
Dr. Marina Singh is a research scientist who is sent to the Amazon to find out more about her colleague's death and to inquire about the progress of a drug that has been in development for over ten years. She finds herself working alongside her previous medical professor, Dr. Swenson. Marina must learn to adapt to her surroundings and work through problems, including her lack of confidence. However, what she finds completely surprises her.
27. The Couple Next Door: Shari Lapena
Anne and Marco are invited to a dinner party at their neighbor's house. When their sitter cancels at the last minute, they decide to take the baby monitor with them and check in every half hour. Surely nothing can go wrong. Except when they arrive home, the baby is nowhere to be found. In gathering evidence, different truths come to light. Affairs, blackmail, and financial problems complicate and delay the potential return of their daughter.
28. Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry: Paul Goldberger
A wonderful biography of Paul Goldberg, the architect who designed buildings such as the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Berlin Philharmonic concert hall. The reader learns about his childhood, and what styles and people influenced him in his work. Well written. In the end, you will feel like you really understand, appreciate and know Paul.
>57 figsfromthistle: I love Frank Gehry. We have one of his buildings here in LA. The Disney Concert Hall. Its a fascinating building to photograph.
You've had some really good reads. I read The Martian this month and gave it around the same rating you did, and I also have The Sister Brothers waiting for me to get to soon. Good to see you liked it.
29.Blindness: Jose Saramago
A man driving his car suddenly goes blind. He visits an ophthalmologist who cannot figure out the cause. Soon others are afflicted with the same condition and the government realizes that quarantine measures are necessary. They are left in an old mental hospital, with no care or direction. Soon, things get out of hand and primal instincts take over.
This novel was on my TBR shelf for at least three years. I wish I had read it sooner! So much to think about and analyze. Very well written.
>63 figsfromthistle: This is a very good book. It gave me lots to think about.
>64 Ameise1: Indeed, a lot to think about! I am looking forward to reading the sequel, seeing. Hopefully, it's just as great as Blindness.
30. No laughing matter: Joseph Heller and Speed vogel
Joseph Heller, an author suddenly feels tingling in his feet and becomes completely paralyzed. He is diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome. The reader is brought into Heller's world and learns of the hardships that he had to endure while recovering.
I enjoyed the novel, although it was not the greatest writing. It made me think of how we take things for granted and how important it is to cultivate good friendships. It also made me think about how lucky I am to live in a country that has free medical care (for most things).
31. Book of Days: James L. Rubart
After the death of his father and then later, his wife, Cameron sets forth on a quest to find the Book of days, where the past, present and, future of every human being is written in. As Cameron hunts for clues to the whereabouts of this so-called book, he forges friendships, finds out about his past and learns that the future is not always written in stone.
A story of friendship, forgiveness, and faith.
>62 figsfromthistle: Thought I'd share my one success at photographing Gehry.
>68 mahsdad: Thank you for sharing your spectacular photo. Very nice :)
32. Stowaway: Karen Hesse
A young boy runs away from home and smuggles himself aboard Captain Cook's ship, The H.M.S Endeavor. He eventually becomes a paid member of the crew and stays onboard for the whole three-year journey.
Written in journal format.
Hi Anita! I'm ashamed it's taken me so long to visit your thread, but I've dropped a star so will come around more often now.
Hope you have a great weekend!
33. I Let You Go: Clare Mackintosh
A little boy is hit by a car and dies. The local police are frantically searching for the driver. In the meantime, Jenna tries to rebuild her life in a small town by the sea. However, the past is a tricky thing to shake and things become complicated.
I started reading and I thought I might have to abandon the book however, I continued and it got much better. Great twists and one that I did not see coming.
34. The Chemist: Stephenie Meyer
Alex used to work for the government at a secret lab. When her boss decides that she knows too much, he tries to kill her. Her lab partner warns her and she escapes. Three years on the run and an old colleague convinces her that she is needed for a particular job-one that only she can handle. Innocent lives are at stake. However, what she finds puts her in greater danger. She must rely on her instincts, her "bathtub chemistry" and the help of others and of course fall in love as well!
35. An Object Of Beauty: Steve Martin
Lacey Yeager is an attractive, smart and strong woman who works in the Sotheby's art department. While there she learns how to recognize good art and what makes a potential buyer interested in a particular style/ painter. She applies that knowledge and opens up her own gallery. However, things are not always so easy. She must tread a fine line between her personal life, her morals, and business.
On a personal note: I am moving next month. I haven't decided if I should hire movers or enlist the help of my friends and my parents. Somehow, I don't think they would appreciate moving all the boxes of books down a four story walk up (or the piano either!). I'm having custom shelving made for my new house ( which will hold 3000 books) however, they won't be ready for another two months. So my endless boxes of books will have to remain packed for a while. I'm wondering if I should cull some books, but I think I will wait for the new shelving and decide then.
On a more happy note, yesterday was really rainy day and the used bookstore had a 50% off sale. Good thing for me, they have a limit on the amount you are able to buy. Otherwise, I would have gone overboard. I managed to walk out with a respectable 9 books :)
I moved at the end of 2016 from Texas to New Jersey. Hire the movers. And if you can, splurge on the ones that will do all the packing for you!
>77 katiekrug: Very good advice. I will look into local movers. Hopefully, it will go smoothly! Thanks
Yeah, I'd agree, given the piano. While friends are great, the movers will have the gear needed to get it down the stairs without damage.
What Katie said - our move was from Indiana to Georgia, and I loved having the movers pack everything up and move it. Worth every penny.
I tried the Easter Egg hunt yesterday morning and I got them all too, with a little help from the spoilers. Happy Easter, Anita!
36. Testimony: Scott Turow
Bill ten Boom, a fifty-year-old lawyer, ends up quitting his job, gets divorced, and starts working for the Hague. His first case drags him through a political minefield. His goal is to establish what happened to 400 Roma in Bosnia. However, red tape, romantic interests, and unreliable evidence threaten to keep the truth hidden-no matter the cost.
The first quarter is a little slow. The storyline started to pick up thereafter.
37. The Best Laid Plans: Terry Fallis
Daniel Addison used to have the perfect job ( or so he thought) as a speechwriter for the prime minister of Canada. He decides to leave Parliament Hill and takes on a job teaching English at the University Of Ottawa. However, Daniel must fulfill one last obligation. He has to find a liberal candidate to run in the conservative stronghold of Cumberland. He finds a fellow professor( Angus) who is willing to put his name on the ballot on the condition that Daniel, takes on teaching mandatory English to first-year engineering students. With no chance of victory, Angus sees running for election as an easy way out of teaching these unmotivated students. However, things are never that easy and his plans turn out to be more complicated than he thought.
A Canadian political satire. Very very dry humor.
38.The Brother Gardeners: A Generation of Gentlemen Naturalists and the Birth of an Obsession: Andrea Wulf
A novel about the evolution of gardening and botany in the late 17th century onwards. Quite an interesting read. Serves well as an introduction to the history of gardening.
Great reading going on here. I see you've loaded up The Alice Network. I really enjoyed that book , I hope you do too!
39. The Shoe On The roof: Will Ferguson
Thomas Rosenoff is a Ph.D. student who is trying to step out of his very successful father's shadow. In a last-ditch attempt to come up with a great thesis, he switches his focus to neuropsychology. He takes medical custody of three men who all claim that they are the son of God. His hypothesis is that the brain is highly suggestible and therefore has the ability to deceive. Therefore, "madness" as Thomas calls it can be unlearned.
At times this novel has a lot of promise. Many ideas are touched upon such as the role that religion/spirituality plays in forming one's beliefs, morals, and identity, medical ethics, and stereotypes of the mentally ill.
I did not care for the main protagonist at the beginning, nor for his father. The main argument for Thomas's behavior is that he was the test subject for his father's ideas on childhood development and therefore he is an empty, confused and disoriented man. More details about his childhood would have helped create a better understanding/character depth. Also the sudden appearance of a Jekyll and Hide murderer added very little.
" Tin men. Small Gods. Our chests have been scooped out. They have been replaced with clockwork hearts and old rags"
Overall, I'm still glad that I read it.
A lot of interesting reading going on over here, Anita.
I hadn't heard of the Will Ferguson book and for some reason Canadian authors don't get much coverage here, but I will keep an eye out for it.
>94 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Nice to see you here. If there is a particular book that you would really like to read, and can't find I'd be more than happy to send some to you :)
Hi Anita - I found you! You've done a lot of great reading this year. Thanks for stopping by my thread.
>96 BLBera: Glad you found me :) So far my reading choices have been favorable. Fingers crossed it remains that way.
42.An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first century: James Orbinski
James Orbinski recounts his experiences as an MSF doctor in the Congo, North Corea, Somalia, South America and Russia. Not an easy read, however, the reader is left with a better understanding of the plight of the innocent and how injustice, politics, and corruption hinder the MSF's ability to help those who are suffering.
Update: I have finished moving. I didn't get a lot of reading done though. Sadly, my custom bookshelves in my library are not installed yet. So all the book boxes remain closed. Oh well, there's plenty of other things to unpack and organize. I can't wait to organize my bookshelves though!!!
Hooray for being moved. Organizing bookshelves is the most fun of any housework.
>100 BLBera: Yay indeed! I can hardly wait to organize :) Especially since I have a lot more space to arrange my books the way I always wanted to.
>101 mstrust: Yes the moving part was quite an ordeal. The movers complained equally about the number of book boxes I had and about my lovely piano :) Thank you, I hope to enjoy my new house for many years to come.
>95 figsfromthistle: Jolly kind of you, Anita, but don't get me started!!!
The cost of postage to Malaysia is not reasonable at all which is why I do like ordering books from Book Depo which somehow sends them to me for free.
Have a lovely Sunday. xx
>103 PaulCranswick: Our postage fees are quite high here as well. Although, I'm sure they are not as high as they are for you. Have a great week, Paul.
>105 paulstalder: Hi! Thanks for visiting. Hope you have a great week as well!
43. Duino Elegies, Bilingual edition: Rainer Maria Rilke
A few years back, I read, researched and analyzed these Elegies for a thesis paper ( in German). I came up with a great topic. Now I decided to read the Elegies again for pure enjoyment :) You can never go wrong with reading Rilke. Although this is the bilingual edition, I did not pay attention to the English part so I can't comment on the translation quality as I just read the German side ( sorry).
Stopping by to say hello! You have been doing some terrific reading this year and I added The Brother Gardeners and Stowaway to my TBR list.
Glad you are done moving. When I moved a few years ago, I was fortunate to have an ready-to-go library and the first thing I did, despite my husband's disapproval, was unbox the books. I knew that once they were in place, the house would be a home and all the rest would just be easy.
I've just had a fun visit to your thread. H0pe the move went well and those book boxes get unpacked soon.
44. A Trick of the Light: Louise Penny
Another murder in three pines, in an artist's garden, brings up old wounds, memories and old friends. Gamache finds plenty of suspects with enough motive to kill however, he must tread carefully if he wishes to uncover the truth.
"Who is it, exactly, you have needed, all these years to forgive?"
I know I haven't been reading this series in order *sigh* sometimes I like to go against the grain :)
Whoa! You are not reading the Three Pines books in order - I would think that would be confusing with the Gamache backstory that runs trough those books. You are reminding me that I need to get back to those books - I am ready for book five, I think.
Happy Thursday, Anita!
>112 Crazymamie: I read the first few in order so I got the idea of the backstory and it hasn't caused an issue so far. I think you will enjoy book #5. Enjoy the rest of your week!
45. Every Note Played: Lisa Genova
A young, successful concert pianist finds out that he has ALS. He cancels his tour and ends up having to live with his ex-wife.
The author does a great job describing the physical, mental and emotional hardships of ALS.
Very well written
Great to know that Every Note Played is a good as Lisa Genova's other books. I really enjoyed Inside the O'Briens . I have a close friend who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 19, and told she would have 2 - 5 year to live. She is now confined to a power motor wheel chair, and requires assistance with breathing at night etc, but is now 52. I fear reading Every Note Played as it might hit too close to home for me. Maybe I'll try it soon.
>115 vancouverdeb: I'm sorry about your friend. Reading Every note played will definitely hit close to home for you. Lisa certainly doesn't sugar coat the tolls and effects of the disease and has very accurate descriptions.
Have a great weekend :)
Hi Anita! You have some great reads here. Congrats on the successful move--I wish you lots of happiness in your new abode. And the book unpacking can be a belated final celebration of all things good. Happy reading!
Hi Anita, found your thread. Congratulations with your new home. I've moved twice recently, so I know about the stashes of unpacked books. And the grumbling of movers;-)
46. I am Half-Sick Of Shadows: Alan Bradley
A movie is being filmed in the manor. Flavia instantly becomes friends with one of the star actresses. As you can imagine with actresses and film directors running about, a murder is bound to happen and who else but Flavia to be first at the crime scene! However, Flavia is not as concerned with solving the murder as she is busy trying to catch Father Christmas.
This is book # 4 in the series ( and yes I am reading this series in order). In this novel, the reader finds out a little more about Dogger. Also, for a change, the murder happens a little later on.
>121 thornton37814: I enjoyed book #4. A 3-star rating is a solid, enjoyable and a good read for me :)
>123 ChelleBearss: Yes I forgot about the series for a while as well. It's a good one though!
47. Women In the Castle: Jessica Shattuck
1944- Marianne Von Lingenfels husband and other resisters attempt to assasinate Hitler. They are executed, leaving their wives and children behind in danger. After the war, Marianne and the other wives are released from prison. They end up living in an old run-down castle and each of them try to come to terms with their roles in the war, their guilt and shame.
48. The Music Shop: Rachel Joyce
A man who owns a record shop has a unique gift- he finds the customer exactly the song he/she needs for their soul. When a stranger passes out in front of his shop, he becomes transfixed by her. He starts giving her music listening lessons and secretly allows himself to fall in love with her.
" Jazz was about the spaces between notes. It was what happened when you listened to the thing inside you. The gaps and the cracks. Because that was where life really happened; when you were brave enough to free fall"
A simple story about love, friendship, community and the influence and power music has to heal.
A quick read.
49. The One Man: Andrew Gross
Nathan Blum escapes from Poland during WW2 and ends up in America. Having thought his family to be dead he has nothing left to live for. Until he has an opportunity to put his guilt at ease. He must place himself in Auschwitz and try to extract a well-known physicist- Dr. Mendl. However, what he finds in the camp surprises him and his escape plan becomes even more complicated than he could have imagined.
I woke up this morning and turned on the news channel- Doug Ford has been elected premier of Ontario ( with a majority government) Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I'm not happy at all.
50. Speaking From Among The Bones: Alan Bradley
It's Easter and the tomb of Saint Tancred is scheduled to be opened up. Of course, Flavia has to be there to witness this rare event. However, when the lid is opened Flavia is the first to discover the church's organist dead in the tomb. Why would someone want to murder Mr. Collicutt? Flavia is on the case, with an unexpected partner.
I really enjoyed book # 5. Flavia is quite in her element here. Reader be warned, the novel ends with a major cliffhanger, so you may want to have book #6 ready to read.
Hi Anita! It's my first visit here and I feel right at home. What's your kitty's name?
>111 figsfromthistle: As I've gotten older I've been compelled to read a series in order. I'm all caught up on Three Pines. I loved this one.
> 130 Welcome! It's nice to see you here. My cat's name is Smokey.
I'm really enjoying the Three Pines series. It seems to be the only series that I'm not reading in order :)
Anita - I don't always read series in order, either. Sometimes, if one looks good, I read it to see if it's a series I would like to read. Then sometimes I go back to the beginning and sometimes I don't. That seems to work fairly well for me.
Smokey is beautiful.
I've had to stop watching the news in the morning...
>132 BLBera: Thank you. It's hard to believe that Smokey is already 10 years old- How the time flies!
Indeed, it is difficult to watch the news. I guess we can just cross our fingers and hope for the best :)
So I'm house sitting for my parent's while they are in Europe and my mom just phoned to tell me that her brother died. I had hoped to see him one more time when I go to Europe at the end of the month, but I guess he couldn't hold on any longer. At least my Mom and Dad will be able to be at the funeral. Not a great way to end their vacation.
R.I.P - I will greatly miss him, definitely won't be the same without him around.
>134 figsfromthistle: Sorry to read you lost your uncle, Anita, especially since you hoped to see him at the end of the month.
>137 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita. We knew that he was not doing well lately. His prostate cancer went into the bones and soft tissues a while ago. He is also diabetic and suffered after getting an infection at the spa (Therme) that never could heal. As a result, his toe was amputated. Because of the constant chemo and 15 pills a day, it took a toll on his kidneys and heart. The family decided to let him "sleep in" as there was nothing they could do for him anymore. It's never easy, however, at least he was able to go peacefully.
51. The Purchase: Linda Spalding
A widowed man and his family are cast out of the community. He marries a fifteen-year-old orphan and heads off to Virginia to buy cheap farmland. After buying his new property, he attends an auction and mistakingly bids on an 8-year old slave. What happens after, is a stream of bad luck and misfortune and a family leaving to grapple with their conscience and morals.
* This novel was the winner of the Governor General's Award*
52. And A Bird Sang: Diane Bestwick
Lei and her husband have a beautiful baby boy. When Lei becomes pregnant she must wrestle with whether she is going to keep the baby or go through another abortion. As per law, she can only have a second child if she can pay the fine. This time she is adamant about keeping the child. She and her family face grave repercussions and are bullied and harassed by Gang ( an employee of the family planning committee).
Lots of issues/themes touched upon here. Well written and by a Canadian author.
Anita, I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle. Letting him 'sleep in' and go peacefully takes a lot of love.
>145 karenmarie: Thank you. It was only a matter of a few days, however, it was not an easy decision.
Yay. I’m super excited. Tomorrow I start my vacation and fly to Vienna. Just have to get through this last day at work and pack :) One month of freedom!
Second day in Europe. I went grocery shopping and set up my internet :) Just going to have a relaxing day and settle in :)
54.Rettungsringe: Jan Schröter
A middle-aged man suddenly finds himself alone and divorced. He starts thinking about the past and how his decisions have led him to his present state. He thinks back to a Highschool graduation trip that never ended happening and decides to finally take the trip. Three men and three women end up at a Highschool reunion and embark on a nature trip where they form new bonds and come to accept their life.
I picked this novel up in a bargain bin. The cover looked interesting and the synopsis seemed like it would be a great read. It's apparently supposed to be funny however, the humor was lost on me. The storyline had great potential that unfortunately fell flat.
Stopping by to say hi...and dropping a star. Have a wonderful vacation in Europe, Anita!
>155 The_Hibernator: Thanks! Hopefully, I will still find some time to read :)
Sorry to hear about your uncle passing, but wishing you a wonderful month in Europe!! WOW.
I saw your post on my thread and then asked if you had a thread because I couldn't find you even through I have you starred. One of THOSE days. LOL Hope Europe is agreeing with you.
>159 Berly: No worries. Europe always agrees with me :) Yesterday, I saw a modern comedy play that was set outside of a castle. Luckily, the weather agreed with us so we didnt get wet.
Stopping by after a long absence to say hello. Sending love to you and your family at the loss of your brother but hoping you can enjoy your European adventure with your family.
>161 BLBera: I'm having a great vacation :) Last week I went to see a play by Oscar Wilde - The importance of being earnest. I also spent a whole day in Belvedere castle viewing art ( mostly Klimt).
All caught up here, Anita. Whew, lots had happenrd during the last few months. I'm glad to hear the the m8ve went well. I'm sorry for your loss.
Ah Vienna, such a beautiful city. I really love it. Once I spent several week in spring there when all theatres still had the plays. I saw every night another one.
You did some wonderful reading. It's always an inspiration to see it.
>169 Ameise1: Thanks! Nice to see you drop by :) There is always something to do in Vienna ( no matter how often you go!)
I am officially back from Europe and rested up. It's amazing how fast the time went. I will try my best to get around to the threads and catch up!
Welcome back :) It seems that you enjoyed your stay in Vienna and that you have experienced quite different things.
>172 paulstalder: Thanks, Paul. I only stayed in Vienna for a week with my Uncle. The rest of the time was split between other places ( Tirol, Murau, Graz, Retz, Jennersdorf) visiting relatives and staying at my parent's house.
>173 figsfromthistle: I was several times in Vienna, a lovely city. I also enjoyed some days in the Weinviertel, which was great.
Ok so here are a few photos of my trip. This was in Vienna at Belvedere Palace. I've been there twice however, they always have some new exhibit to view. This time it had to do with flowers. Paintings from Jan van Huysum, Rachel Ruysch, Josef Klieber, Joseph Nigg, Franz Xaver Petter, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Pauline von Koudelka-Schmerling, Rosalia Amon, Anton Romako, Hans Makart, Olga Wisinger-Florian, Tina Blau, Carl Schuch, Marie Egner, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Michael Powolny, Egon Schiele, and Willem de Rooij.
It was quite interesting. the lady at the desk said that people spend around 45 minutes to go through the exhibit, however, my aunt and I needed 2 hours. We then strolled through the gardens even though it was an exceptionally warm day.
My relatives from the mountain region ( my mom's hometown) decided to take me on an early morning hike up a mountain on the Italien border to see the sunrise. Near the top was a little wooden hut where hikers can sleep overnight. However, at the very top of the mountain, there was another smaller hut that can be rented out. There was an 85-year-old lady who vacations there every year. She was friendly and made us some tea:) We then got the grand tour of the place. No running water or bathroom facilities inside. A wood stove in the corner for heating and cooking, a table and wooden plank boards to sleep. Everything you need ( bed linens, food and so forth) are brought up by volunteers. A very relaxing way to spend your vacation- no distractions. Just you and nature.
>177 Berly: That's all the time I have for now. I will post some other pictures soon :)
>179 figsfromthistle: That sounds like a fantastic vacation. I don't think places like that are found very often in the US.
Your vacation was a unique blend of culture and roughing it. Glad you enjoyed yourself, and thanks for the pictures!
Relatives of mine came to visit me ( at my parent's vacation home) and so I took them on a tour of the hot spring/wine and castle region in the area. This particular "Burg" is only 20 minutes away, so I've been there at least 8 times. It's worth it for the view alone and great to climb up for the exercise. Riegersburg castle sits on a volcanic rock at 485 meters height. There are three exhibits in the castle my favorite among them is the Witch Museum. Witch trials in the nearby town of Feldbach were held from 1673-1675.
The first picture is the view from the back. I don't have any recent pictures from the front of the castle ( older pictures are on another memory stick). The third picture is of older woven beehives.
Hi Anita. You seem to be having a nice vacation. Hot spring/ wine and castle region sounds good. And I loved your story of the 85 year old woman who vacations up the mountain each year!
Thanks for the lovely pictures, Anita. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time.
>181 The_Hibernator: Yes, Indeed. Such places are quite rare.
>182 mstrust: Thanks!
>184 EllaTim: My vacation was quite nice. The 85-year-old woman was quite a character- full of life and energy!
>185 BLBera: You're welcome :)
>186 drneutron: Yes it is a lovely place to visit. There's so much variety in what to do and see.
>187 kidzdoc: Thank you. Glad you like them!
55. An Unmarked Grave: Charles Todd
Bess is a nurse who is helping soldiers injured on the French front. If the injuries of WW1 battles were not enough, Bess has to deal with soldiers falling ill of the Spanish flu. However, in the midst of the dead men, there is one that appears to have been murdered. Not many have seen the body however, those who have any knowledge of it seem to die under suspicious circumstances. After falling ill, Bess is taken home to England and with a few people she trusts, tries to uncover the murderer.
At times this was a great read. The motive of the murderer fell a little flat for me though.
I felt the same way about the solution to this one, Anita. It seemed to come from nowhere.
56. Every Day: David Levithan
A teenage boy, "A" finds himself in a new body every morning. He tries to follow the hosts routine to minimize any damage, however, all that changes when he falls in love. Although he changes bodies, he is able to keep his memories.
A very interesting idea/ storyline.
57. Samaritans: Jonathan Lynn
Max Green is a man who loves a challenge. Better yet, he loves to make a lot of money. He ends up taking over a hospital that is knee deep in debt. He hires a star surgeon to lure wealthy patients to the hospital. All the while finding new ways diminish the services of those who are on the public healthcare system.
A very cruel, honest and at times absurd look at the troubles of a split healthcare system and those who manipulate it to create overinflated charges that are beyond most peoples reach. Lots of issues and questions here to think about. I'm just glad that I live in Canada where treatment is not a privilege but a right.
58. The Wrong Side of Goodbye: Michael Connelly
In this novel, Harry Bosh is a private investigator who also volunteers for the city of San Fernando police department. Privately, his services are acquired by a wealthy billionaire to hunt down a potential heir. For the police department, he is trying to catch a serial rapist. Both cases present him with challenges and put him in danger.
* Book #19 in the series* ( And yes, I've been reading this one in order! )
59.The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Laurie R King
15-year-old Mary Russell is a smart, opinionated, strong young lady who has great potential to become a detective. When she stumbles over Sherlock Holmes, they instantly connect. Mary becomes Holmes' pupil and soon he tests her knowledge by allowing her to assist in various cases.
* First book in the series*
>196 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I have to admit that I accidentally stumbled upon the Bess Crawford series. It's the first novel by Charles Todd that I've read so far. So I will try another one and see how it goes.
60. The Cellist Of Sarajevo: Steven Galloway
It's 1990, during the siege of Sarajevo a concert cellist decides to play Albinoni's Adagio for 22 days to honor the 22 victims killed while waiting in line for some bread. Danger surrounds him, and one sniper (Arrow) is given the task to protect him from a counter sniper. The reader is also introduced to Kenan who makes a dangerous trek across town to collect water for his family and his elderly neighbor.
>200 figsfromthistle: I enjoyed that one when I read it a few years back.
So today was my birthday. Unfortunately, I had to work however, my co-workers sang happy birthday to me and gave me a nice card with a gift card to a local bookstore. I have the best co-workers in the world :)
Thank you, Kim, Jim, Jennifer and Darryl for the birthday wishes :)
61. Frog Music: Emma Donoghue
San Francisco, 1876, in a city bursting with crime, rape, social and racial inequalities, Blanche tries to make a living supporting her partner and his best friend by dancing and singing at a local club. However, when her friend is shot in front of her, and she suspects her partner to be the murderer, things get complicated. Her son is stolen by her partner and Blanche is forced to either lie in court or suffer the consequences.
Happy belated birthday, Anita. Many happy returns. It sounds like your coworkers know you well.:)
>200 figsfromthistle: This one sounds really good.
Have a wonderful weekend.
63. Recruits: Thomas Locke
Twins, Dillon and Sean have always thought themselves to be inventive and imaginative. Drawing futuristic worlds with glass trains that have the ability to defy gravity. However, when a new neighbor moves in next door, they find out that they have a unique ability to travel between other worlds where humans are the dominant species. They must pass a series of tests and eventually face the task of defending these worlds from an alien invasion.
YA Sci-fi/fantasy novel. Book one out of three.
>211 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! Indeed the cellist of Sarajevo was a great read for me :)
>215 ChelleBearss: I really enjoyed Bride of New France. It is well researched and the main protagonist's experiences in France as an orphan residing in the Salpêtrière Hospital are well developed. On the other hand, the section where the protagonist stays and starts a new life in Canada seemed too short.
66. The family Gathering: Robyn Carr
Dakota Jones has been discharged from the army and decides to temporarily rent a cabin in a small town where his sister and brother live. However, he finds reasons to extend his stay ( among them a woman) and learns to deal with his past, forge new friendships and above all develop a stronger bond with his family.
67. A Legacy Of Spies: John Le Carre
Peter Guillam is summoned to England to shed light on Operation Windfall. Although he tries to thwart off serious questions and tries to deflect attention elsewhere, he is unable to maintain the upper hand. He leads a team to the operation quarters where he must sort through pages upon pages of documents that will assist the secret services legal team in defending against a lawsuit launched by Alec Leamus and Elizabeth Gold's children.
>222 PaulCranswick: Thanks! Hopefully, you have a nice weekend as well
>221 figsfromthistle: A new Smiley novel! Hmm, just read or do a reread first?
>224 EllaTim: I would do a reread of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold if it's been a long time since you read it and can't remember. You'll get more out of this novel if you do.
I've been wanting to track down your thread. Since you were first to my new thread, it motivated me to finally stop by and say hi!
You've done some great reading. I see a few favorites of mine in the mix. Blindness, and The Cellist of Sarajevo both made me think. I see you're reading the Harry Bosch series in order. I am, too, though I'm not as far along.
>225 figsfromthistle: Ah, Thanks, Yes, I can remember it was good, and pretty complicated! But the details are gone from memory.
The shortlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize is out!
Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.
French Exit by Patrick deWitt.
Motherhood by Sheila Heti.
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim.
68. Dead in the Water: Ann Granger
A young woman's body ends up floating in a river and ends up stuck among branches behind a writer's home. Inspector Jess Campbell is in charge of finding the identity and motive of the killer.
Not a bad mystery, not a great one either. A lot of times the plot seemed to drag on. Many dialogues and backstory were unnecessary and contributed very little.
Book # 4 in the series.
69.Metis Beach: Claudine Bourbonnais
Roman Carr comes from a small village in Quebec, where the rich and the poor are quite divided. He falls for one of the wealthy family's daughter and ends up fleeing Quebec to study in New York where he starts writing a satirical TV series. He receives news that his old flame is dying and ends up travelling to see her one last time. The news he learns is shocking and his return leads him to evaluate his past and try to move on in the present.
A lot of great points in the story. Women's rights, forgiveness, love and war.
>233 The_Hibernator: I'm looking forward to reading that one as well. I'm waiting for my friend to finish reading so I can borrow her copy. Unfortunately, she dosen't read fast so I will have to wait a while *sigh*
>237 Ameise1: Thank you, Barbara. Hope you have a wonderful one as well.
>241 BLBera: Metis Beach surprised me. I didn't think that I would enjoy it however, it was good.
>183 figsfromthistle: When I first saw that photo I thought it might be the abbey at Melk. My husband traveled in Austria, Switzerland and Germany during the Beethoven bicentennial (1970), and he has a photo reminiscent of yours.
I should read more of Miriam Toews's work. I read A Complicated Kindness a couple years ago, and enjoyed it very much.
>244 laytonwoman3rd: The abbey at Melk is quite wonderful. They have a really nice library there.
I must admit that My Puny Sorrows is the first novel I read by Miriam Toews. I shall be on the lookout for her other novels.
72. Shelter: Jung Yun
Kyung Cho and his Wife Gillian are having financial troubles. They are close to the breaking point and consider moving in with Kyung's parents. However, a brutal home invasion of his parent's home causes them to change their plan. His parents end up staying with them and old feelings, family troubles and secrets end up coming out. Kyung's life unravels before him as one tragedy leads to another.
A solid read, however, there are potential triggers for some. Sexual violence, domestic abuse.
73.Revenge Wears Prada: Lauren Weisberger
Sequel to The Devil Wears Prada. The reader finds Andy owning a Glamor bridal magazine that she founded with Emily ( her former co-assistant to Miranda Priestly). She is about to marry into an important family and has many doubts about her future husband and of her feelings for her ex-boyfriend. Of course Miranda Priestly wants to buy her magazine and the two business partners fight over if they should sell or not.
Frankly, the only scenes that were amusing to read were the ones that involved Miranda Priestly. The reset * meh*. This novel does not show Andy to be strong and confident the way I would have expected from the ending of the first novel. Her strength comes much too late. I guess I just expected something different
74. The Jewels Of Paradise: Donna Leon
Caterina Pelligrini, a leading expert in Baroque Opera finds herself travelling back to Venice to take on a peculiar research job. She is instructed to sift through and translate pages and pages of manuscripts and letters by a 17th-century composer. However, her employers ( two money mongering cousins) want her to find evidence of a will and the location of certain treasures. Treasure, as it turns out, is in the eye of the beholder.
I thought I'd enjoy this novel more, given my classical music background. Fantastic twist at the end though.
75. Down a Dark Road: Linda Castillo
Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police of a small tourist town, Painters Mill. She receives a call that a murderer has escaped from the Mansfield correctional facility. This man ( Joseph) was a childhood friend of hers and was convicted of murdering his wife in their own home while their children were asleep. Kate ends up being ambushed and is taken, hostage. All Joseph wants is for Kate to look into his case and prove his innocence. As always, it's not as easy as it seems but quite predictable all the same.
>249 figsfromthistle: I enjoy the books of Linda Castllo. I've read many. She seems to know a lot about the amish culture.
>256 Whisper1: It does seem that she is knowledgeable of the Amish culture. I've only read three books of hers so far.
Hi Anita, congrats on hitting the 75 my dear, hope you had a good weekend.
76.If You Knew Her: Emily Elgar
Alice is a nurse in the comatose care ward. One of her patients, Frank has locked in syndrome and is aware of everything that is going on around him. Beside him, a young woman ( Cassie) has been admitted after being struck by a car. Cassie's family comes and goes and along with them, some confessions follow. Frank is trying desperately to communicate, and Alice goes on the hunt for clues about Cassie and the possible identity of the person who hit her.
77. Stanley Park: Timothy Taylor
Fresh out of culinary school, Jeremy Papier opens up a restaurant in Vancouver. His focus is on creating dishes from local produce. However, he runs into a lot of financial troubles. In the meantime, his father, an anthropologist, is living in Stanley Park among the homeless and both he and his son try to solve the murder of two children.
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