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Anne (AMQS) Reads in 2018 - Chapter 2

This is a continuation of the topic Anne (AMQS) Reads in 2018 .

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Jun 14, 9:11pm Top


My name is Anne. I am an elementary school teacher librarian in a little Colorado mountain school. My husband Stelios and I have two daughters: 16 and 19. All of us have tottering piles of books in nearly every room of the house. We love to hike, play games together, and travel. I read a lot of children's literature, and love audiobooks.

This is my 9th year in this wonderful group, and while there's no place I'd rather be, I found it very hard to keep up in 2017. I have many dear friends here who keep my thread warm, and I appreciate all of you so very much!

These thread topper photos were taken by my husband Stelios on bike rides in early June. These places are practically in our backyard, and I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place.

Happy reading, everyone!

Edited: Jun 25, 7:54pm Top

January, 2018
1. Restart by Gordon Korman
2. Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
3. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
4. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
6. Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee

February, 2018
7. The Gigantic Goof-Up by Sarah Courtauld
8. Exposure by Helen Dunmore
9. Longbow Girl by Linda Davies
10. Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
11. The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
12. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
13. Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

March, 2018
14. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
15. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
16. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
17. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewelyn

April, 2018
18. The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
19. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
20. Passages from the Diary of Samuel Pepys
21. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

May, 2018
22. Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman
23. Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love, edited by Anne Fadiman
24. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
25. Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
26. Horizon by Scott Westerfield
27. Beatrice Zinker, Upside-Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

June, 2018
28. Ghost Boys by Jewel Parker Rhodes
29. Wish by Barbara O'Connor
30. Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey by Dion Leonard
31. The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
32. The Captain's Wife by Eiluned Lewis
33. The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
34. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

Edited: Dec 8, 12:12pm Top

July, 2018
35. Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai
36. Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
37. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
38. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly
39. The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta
40. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
41. Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

August, 2018
42. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
43. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
44. Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance

September, 2018
45. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
46. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
47. Island of the Lost by Joan Druett

October, 2018
48. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
49. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
50. Aldo Zelnick's Artsy Fartsy by Karla Oceanak
51. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
52. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
53. Classroom Management in the Digital Age: Effective Practices for Technology-Rich Learning Spaces by Heather Dowd and Patrick Green

November, 2018
54. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
55. Ghost by Jason Reynolds
56. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
57. The Phantom Coach (Part 1), edited by Michael Sims
58. The Arabian Nights: Their Best-Known Tales, compiled and edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith

December, 2018
59. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
60. Persuasion by Jane Austen

Edited: Jun 14, 4:05pm Top

31. The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, audiobook narrated by Mike Chamberlain

This was an interesting and disturbing account of what sugar does to our bodies, the brutal history of sugar production, and the insidious influence the sugar industry exerts over academia, nutrition science, and public health policy. Taubes makes a compelling case that it is sugar (and not fat or salt) that has led to the epidemic rise of "western diseases" - obesity, diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, hypertension - all over the world. Early on in the book I had decided to watch and limit my sugar consumption in an effort to manage my health more carefully and hopefully battle my expanding waistline. I am still committed to this. I was looking forward to positive news and/or action steps after he built his case against sugar, but he concludes by providing evidence that the damage is perpetuated in our DNA and is passed along to offspring, and that in effect, we're all screwed. So, ahem, I WILL still be enjoying that glass of wine when I cook dinner, and won't deprive myself in Wales or during any other travel, but will try to cut back added sugar and sugary products when I can, and especially stay away from sugar that I don't even particularly like - the store-bought doughnuts, cookies and cupcakes that appear on the staff room table like Satan himself to tempt me. Worth a read, in my opinion, but can be pretty clunky in writing and narration. Apple, anyone?

Jun 14, 3:56pm Top

Happy New Thread, Anne!

Edited: Jun 14, 5:13pm Top

32. The Captain's Wife by Eiluned Lewis

Spring was back at St. Idris.

Down in the cathedral close the rooks were clamourously nesting, and the lanes were suddenly hot with sunshine and the scent of gorse. Speedwells opened eyes of brilliant blue under the sheltered banks; along the fields cowslips shook in the wind, and blue squills flung starry carpets to the very margin of the cliffs.

Here, on the last stronghold of the land, the gorse made shining ramparts. Matty, running between the bushes, skipping and jumping to avoid the fierce prickles, thought they were like the golden chain armour of Welsh princes. There were several princes buried in the grass-grown side chapels of the Cathedral, their faces battered by time but their limbs still shapely and the pattern of their jewelled belts cut deep into the stone. Yet no princely gold or jewels could have shone more clearly than the colors of the sea, sky, and flowers on these May mornings, when thrift and campions and white moon daisies cascaded down the rocky slopes, showing their loveliness to the wasteful ocean, and to adventurous boys who climbed, unheeding, down the steep cliffs in search of eggs.

This book is really, really lovely. Written during WWII and set in Pembrokeshire, Wales in the 1880s, the book is evocative and beautiful. The story is of Lettice Peters, who at one time used to travel all over the world with her handsome husband Captain John Peters, but now remains in St. Idris (said to be St. Davids) with her four children. In some sections the book follows Lettice's young daughter Matty, and here the author has a wonderful way of capturing a young child's thoughts and experiences. I am having a hard time describing the book - it is a "small" book chronicling the family's daily life. Mending the curtains, playing hide-and-seek in the ruins of the bishop's palace, the weekly baking, the mesmerizing, visceral pull of the sea, the tide pools, the old fashioned kitchens with warm nooks perfect for children to read in, and most of all, the landscape (the flowers!!), the community, and the family. It is a lovely picture of traditional Welsh life, even as most families have exotic foods and knick knacks from their seafaring men's voyages. The book beautifully captures the family's small joys and deep sorrows.

This was a gift from my mom from a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, which sadly, Marina and I will not be visiting on this trip. I absolutely loved the book, and recommend it highly.

Jun 14, 4:04pm Top

>5 ronincats: Hi Roni! Thanks for visiting!

Jun 14, 5:01pm Top

Happy new thread, Anne! And then, two (2!) bb's already. The Captain's Wife sounds delightful and The Case Against Sugar sounds like something I SHOULD read. I'm putting them both on my wish list...correction, I went over to Amazon to put them on my list and ended up buying the Kindle version of The Case Against Sugar so now I need to just get it read and pay attention to it.

Jun 14, 5:36pm Top

Hi Anne - Happy new thread. I can't wait to hear all about Wales.

Your comments on The Case Against Sugar are good enough for me; now I don't have to read it. :)

However, The Captain's Wife goes on the WL. It sounds lovely.

Jun 14, 6:06pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 14, 6:32pm Top

Happy New thread!

Jun 14, 8:48pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 14, 9:38pm Top

>8 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba - glad to get you twice! The Case Against Sugar is good information to know and consider, but The Captain's Wife is just lovely. I hope you enjoy them!

>9 BLBera: Probably a good call, Beth:). I think you would love The Captain's Wife

>10 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi!

>11 figsfromthistle: Hello Anita! Thanks for visiting.

>12 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! Any visits to CO planned?

Jun 15, 11:47am Top

>13 AMQS: Unfortunately, these days I'm bouncing between Maryland and Florida. We'll have to see what my next project brings. But if so, I'll certainly try to get a meet up planned!

Jun 15, 1:39pm Top

Happy new thread, Anne! Exciting that your countdown to your Wales trip is almost done. How long do you go for?

Jun 15, 4:13pm Top

I love your pictures at the top! The Captain’s Wife sounds a good read. It would have been a great one to read over our holiday in Pembrokeshire at Easter

Jun 15, 5:45pm Top

Happy new thread, Anne. Given the infrequency of my visits over here in the group this year, wishing you a lovely weekend and a lovely summer - just in case I don't re-visit before September. ;-)

Jun 15, 6:05pm Top

>14 drneutron: Well, I'll look forward to a visit whenever it may be, Jim. Less muggy here if that helps:)

>15 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! Marina and I are gone for about 10 days, and we're very excited.

>16 SandDune: Thanks, Rhian! You might still want to read it - I read Willa Cather's Shadows on the Rock a few months after visiting Quebec City, and even though centuries had elapsed between the setting in the book and our visit, it was fun to picture where I had visited in the context of the book I was reading.

>17 lkernagh: Hi Lori! Oh, I miss you around here! Thanks for your visit. I hope you have a wonderful summer in beautiful Victoria!

Jun 17, 1:18am Top

The Captain’s Wife sounds charming, Anne!

I thought I had listened to The Case Against Sugar but when I checked my library, I found it was actually Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. It’s nice to read these type of books. For a short time, at least, they keep me hyper aware of what I’m eating and more apt to say, nope, not worth the calories. I think I’m due.

Hope your summer is starting off good. I know you’re looking forward to Wales! How exciting!

Jun 17, 9:28am Top

Happy new thread, Anne!
Lovely view at the top, that is a beautiful place to live near.

Jun 18, 11:23am Top

Your upcoming trip to Wales with Marina sounds like great fun. You are so good at making memories with your family.

From the last thread... Yes, our favorite mailman Mark is going to be in CO in early August. I don’t know the dates for his Denver stop, though. We are renting a lodge for a family getaway in Breckenridge July 28-Aug 3 so i hope our visits coincide.

Jun 21, 11:35am Top

Happy New Thread, Anne. Love the photos up top.

Jun 23, 1:09am Top

>19 Copperskye: Hi Joanne! I really loved The Captain's Wife - it is really lovely, and charming is a perfect word! I will be in that part of Wales, perhaps even in the same town it is set in, so I look forward to comparing the vision of it I have in my head, even though it was set in the 1880s. I'm sure the sugar books are similar in message. I have been quite good about watching sugar and cutting back. I am hoping this habit stays. The real test will be when I go back to school - there are always treats around. Hope you're having a great summer too. Are you traveling this summer?

>20 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! Yes, Evergreen is beautiful. I grew up there and miss it, but truly it is very close, and I go to the mountains every day to teach. You should come visit!

>21 Donna828: Thank you, Donna - Marina and I are very excited! Oh, you will have a wonderful time in Breckenridge - such a fun place with lots to do. I hope the visits coincide, and that I can see you both!

>22 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Thanks for visiting, and happy summer to you!

Jun 23, 1:12am Top

A week of milestones! I just returned from my 30-year high school reunion, held at a mountain brewery just down the road from where my thread topper photos were taken. Fun to see everyone, though it sure doesn't seem like 30 years since high school. It was night one - there's a dinner tomorrow, which I will attend, and a mountain picnic Sunday, which I will not. I came home to a notification from LT that I have earned my 2010-year badge, and indeed, tomorrow is my 10 year Thingaversary! Love LT, and am very grateful for all of my friends here. Thank you!

Jun 23, 1:29am Top

33. The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

I am triply blessed when it comes to children's literature. I read a lot as a child (and was lucky enough to be read to), I have always read to the girls, and I read children's literature as part of my job. I have lots and lots of favorites, but the Penderwicks are special. So special they are the only books we ever bought/(still buy) in hardcover. They are delightfully old fashioned present day stories full of characters we absolutely love. I often laugh and often cry while reading them (The Penderwicks in Spring had all of us desperately sobbing by page 8). This is the fifth and last of the series, and though the girls are well beyond the target age of the book, I still bought it in hardcover. And it was worth it. While not my favorite of the Penderwick books, it is still charming, funny, sad, and full of the characters I adore. I will miss them.

Jun 24, 2:19pm Top

>25 AMQS: Hooray! I felt much the same, I think — I liked it, but it was not my favorite. I think that honor, for me, goes to The Penderwicks in Spring, in spite of the sobbing!

Jun 24, 11:56pm Top

>26 foggidawn: Hi foggi! I guess I don't know which is my favorite - they're all wonderful. I have never gone back and reread them - with the exception of the chapter where Batty meets the bull in The Penderwicks because we all thought it was so funny. There was quite a space in between the reading of each book, too. I guess if I had to pick I'd pick the first. There isn't anything quite like stepping into a world you love for the first time.

Jul 5, 12:55pm Top

Happy new thread! Hope you enjoy your summer vacation!

Jul 6, 4:41pm Top

>28 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Thank you - enjoy yours as well, with those precious girls!

Jul 6, 5:01pm Top

Wales! OMG. Marina and I returned late last night, and oh, how we loved it! We were told the weather was very unusual, as it was warm and sunny the whole time. We'll take it. The country is just beautiful, the people are friendly and lovely, the food is terrific - we definitely want to go back! Thanks to Rhian for some tips - we appreciated your thoughts, and visited many of your recommendations, particularly on the Gower and for dining in Little Haven. A few favorite photos:

Caerphilly Castle

Three Cliffs Bay

Rhossili overlooking Worms Head

Pembroke Castle

Jul 6, 5:04pm Top

Little Haven

On the Pembrokeshire Coast Path outside Little Haven

Carreg Cennen Castle

The view from Carreg Cennen Castle

The view from our bedroom window of Llangorse Lake. Our AirBnb was this amazing 17th century farmhouse on a working farm!

Jul 6, 5:18pm Top

And books to share:) .

34. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

This book was published in 1919 just after the end of World War I. The characters reflect quite a bit on the war and the world that remains after it. Tensions of the time and the anti-German sentiment that comes with it make it a bit hard to read approaching it's 100th anniversary. Still, it is a fun read and follow-up to Parnassus on Wheels. Roger Mifflin has settled down in a second-hand bookshop in Brooklyn with his wife Helen. It is called The Haunted Bookshop because it is haunted by the ghosts of all of the great authors whose books reside within and their ideas beckoning to the reader. A few things happen in quick succession: he meets a young advertising man who comes calling attempting to enlist Roger as a client; Roger and Helen take on a young apprentice - the young and beautiful Titania, whose father is afraid finishing school has ruined her for the real world and real work; and there is some drama and mystery surrounding a disappearing and reappearing copy of Carlyle's book of Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. Danger, intrigue, and amateur-detective bumbling ensue. I finished this one literally minutes before Marina and I left for the airport. Our washing machine had been acting up and would make a break for the door if someone wasn't there to sit on it, which guaranteed me some reading time even though I was rushing to pack and get ready:)

Edited: Jul 6, 6:16pm Top

35. Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai

I loved this one. Set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1928 as the country and its British colonizers are grappling the island's political future, the two principal characters grapple with personal happiness versus family expectations and societal constraints. Annalukshmi is a young woman who has recently earned her teaching certification, much to the horror of her family - working is "common" and will diminish her chances of finding a husband. Her chances are already damaged, as her fathers reversion to Hinduism forced her parents to separate and her mother return with the girls to Ceylon from Malaysia. When Annalukshmi's father writes that he is arranging a marriage for her to her Hindu cousin, her mother and aunt attempt to find a suitable alliance with a Christian instead. Annalukshmi, meanwhile, is not sure she wants to marry, as she loves teaching, though she discovers that her ambitions might be checked by racial considerations and preference.

Annalukshmi's beloved uncle Balendran grapples with his own happiness. As a young student in England, he fell in love with his soulmate Richard, but his father, anonymously tipped off about the nature of their relationship, shows up unexpectedly and ends it in a terrible way. Balendran marries a cousin and is miserable, until over time and with their shared love for their son, he and his wife develop a comfortable love and affection. Balendran does his father's bidding in all things, particularly since his elder brother's expulsion from the family. His father forces a reunion with Richard, who is now working on the commission that will make decisions about the future of British rule in Ceylon. Meeting Richard again forces Balendran to confront his feelings and his acquiescence to the wishes of his father and the strictures of society. The novel gently explores the characters' emotions and decisions against a vivid and evocative backdrop of the Sri Lankan setting. I recommend it highly.

I bought this book used the last time Donna was in town, and Joanne, Kris and I all took light rail downtown to meet her at the Tattered Cover. My brother poked gentle fun at me after I told him why it caught my eye: because the book looked really good, because I had never been to Sri Lanka before either in real life or in literature, and because the book had the word "Cinnamon" in its title. Seems a good enough reason to me:)

Edited: Jul 6, 6:47pm Top

From Wales to Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia:

36. Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris

This is a fascinating exploration of the very restrictive Saudi culture told accessibly through a conventional murder-mystery. Nayir ash-Sharqi is a desert guide, a devout Palestinian often mistaken for a Bedouin. At the book's beginning, Nayir has been hired by a wealthy and prominent Jeddah family to track their runaway daughter Nouf in the desert. When Nouf's body is found, and there is some evidence of a cover-up at the coroner's office, Nayir tries to get to the bottom of what happened to Nouf. Because laws and customs enforce the strict separation of men and women, Nayir cannot get very far in his inquiries about Nouf. He is helped when he meets Katya Hijazi, a technician in the medical examiners lab, who helps Nayir investigate the case, and helps him to understand the world of Saudi women - the mechanics of their everyday lives, and the emotional complexity of being and growing and hoping and dreaming in such a restrictive environment. The mystery turned the pages, though it stretched credulity at times, but the glimpse into Saudi life and the thoughts and perceptions of characters living that life was completely fascinating. Recommended.

Edited: when posting the review I discovered this is the first of a series - I had no idea! I'll definitely be looking for the second.

Jul 7, 11:54am Top

>30 AMQS: & >31 AMQS: Looks like you both enjoyed your stay in Wales, Anne.
I would love to go there one day to see all those old castles and marvelous views.

Jul 7, 12:11pm Top

Ah, the world travelers are back. Welcome home, Anne! I followed your amazing adventures on FB. Thanks for letting me tag along. ;-) Your pictures are fantastic. Marina is a lucky girl and will have the trip of a lifetime to share with her friends.

Jul 7, 11:23pm Top

>35 FAMeulstee: Hello Anita! Yes, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and hope to go back very soon. If you want old castles, then Wales is definitely the place!

>36 Donna828: Hi Donna! Marina and I had such a wonderful time together. She is a terrific traveling companion. We do love to travel as a family, but there is something special about a mother-daughter trip. Callia and I had a wonderful time in Paris three years ago, and Wales with Marina was very special.

Jul 7, 11:40pm Top

I love that you took your girls on their own, separate adventures! What wonderful memories for you all! Thanks for sharing your photos.

I remember you showing me Cinnamon Gardens when you bought it and I’m so happy you loved it! Both it and Finding Nouf sounds good.

I liked Parnassas on Wheels a lot more than The Haunted Bookshop. Maybe I like the idea of traveling around in a cart, selling books!

Jul 8, 4:47pm Top

Wow, looks like an amazing trip! I’ll admit to being a little bit jealous. ;-)

Jul 8, 8:17pm Top

Thank you for sharing your Wales trip with us, Anne! The pictures are gorgeous and it sounds like the weather was perfect. It's good to have you back, though. I am bracing for more book bullets ...

Jul 9, 11:38am Top

Thanks for sharing photos! Wales is somewhere I've always wanted to go.

Finding Nouf is on the TBR pile.

Jul 9, 3:42pm Top

Wales! I hope to get there some day. What beautiful photos, Anne - and what a great view from your bedroom window. It sounds like a great trip.

Jul 9, 4:44pm Top

Glad you had such a wonderful trip! I may have to look for Cinnamon Gardens. It sounds wonderful (and I love your reasoning too). I adore Cinnamon in any form so that just adds it :)

Jul 10, 12:18pm Top

Welcome back, Anne. Glad to hear you had a fabulous time and wonderful (atypical) weather.

Jul 11, 12:15pm Top

Welcome back, Anne. Thanks for sharing the photos. Wales is on my bucket list!

I recently read the last Penderwick as well. I think the first one is my favorite; there is something special about being introduced into a magical world.

And what a lot of other great reading; I'm adding all three to my WL.

Edited: Jul 11, 3:37pm Top

>38 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. That was the idea - special memories, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Cinnamon Gardens was a lucky find on a fun LT/Tattered Cover day! I bought it with summer travel in mind, and it was perfect. I left it behind in the little library of our B&B in Little Haven, and I hope it goes on to have other adventures. I'm with you on Parnassus and Haunted. The first one was better, and more fun, too.

>39 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi! I get jealous looking at other people's travel photos, too. They give me inspiration, though, and I know how fortunate I am to be able to travel. It was a great trip.

>40 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! I didn't get you already? ;) . We had wonderful weather! We kept watching our weather apps as we got closer, and couldn't believe our luck! We sill brought rain gear, of course, but the warm and sunny weather allowed us to pack very light, and enjoy our time outside as much as possible.

>41 nittnut: Oh Jenn, I hope you get there! It's someplace I've always wanted to go as well, and it took Marina to make it happen. So grateful. I hope you enjoy Finding Nouf. The glimpse into that culture was fascinating, and very sympathetic. I enjoyed it a lot.

>42 jnwelch: Oh Joe, I hope you do, too! It was wonderful, and we only explored a tiny slice. People were pleased that we had come for Wales. Many assumed we were on a grand UK tour, and were very happy to hear that we were only there to see Wales.

>43 RebaRelishesReading: Yay, Reba, I'm glad we think alike! "Cinnamon" was the reason I even picked up the book, and it turned out to be a terrific read! I will look for more by this author. I read terrific things about his first book Funny Boy.

>44 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! We lucked out in all respects!

>45 BLBera: Thank you, Beth, and I hope you get to Wales, too!

I completely agree about The Penderwicks, and I think the first is my favorites for the same reason. Entering that world for the first time was magical, especially with the girls.

And I got you three times! Don't I get some sort of sticker for that? Are you back yet from Oregon?

Jul 11, 4:20pm Top

I just got home yesterday afternoon, Anne. I am exhausted and making lists of what needs to be done yet this summer. I've been gone so much that I'm behind on my DIY projects.

Here's your sticker. :)

Edited: Jul 13, 1:20am Top

Awesome, Beth!! I feel spoiled. Thank you. It's only fair, really, since you're a huge book source for me:)

Edited: Jul 13, 1:18am Top


So more family news... we're hosting an exchange student from Germany this fall. She will turn 15 a few days after she gets here, and will attend school with Marina, but one year behind. She is the niece of one of my brother's closest friends from his grad school days at the University of St. Andrews. I had the pleasure of meeting him (the uncle) when my brother got married last summer - he actually performed the ceremony. He approached our family about the possibility of hosting his niece for a term shortly after. Hosting an exchange student is quite a bit of work - medical forms, transcripts, TOEFL exams, letters of recommendation, personal statements, visas, proof that we make enough money that she will not require public assistance... it was a several months process that fortunately ended well because she is coming! So her arrival nudged us to get started on a basement project that was years overdue. We're re-arranging rooms to create a real bedroom for her, cleaning out our living space, re-working Stelios's home office, etc. We're excited, but even more: WE'RE GETTING A LIBRARY!!! I can't show you true "before" photos - it was such a colossal mess that you'd probably all unfriend me, but here are some early photos of our project in process:
(the whole wall will be filled with shelves and a few cabiinets)

detail of the bookcases themselves - beadboard backing. So excited!!

Jul 13, 7:07am Top

>49 AMQS: Ooh, nice shelves! And how cool, that you get to host an exchange student!

Jul 13, 7:24am Top

Wow!! I love that you're getting a library!! And yay for hosting an exchange student! How fun.

Jul 13, 8:59am Top

We all love the bookshelf porn!

Jul 13, 12:19pm Top

A library! I love the shelves. My dad has made me some with beadboard backing, and I love them.

Jul 14, 1:12am Top

>50 foggidawn: It is cool! We hosted a few when I was growing up, and then I was an exchange student myself. We've just never had the opportunity to host before, so we're very excited!

>51 scaifea: I hope so Amber! We're equal parts excited and nervous. All excitement for the library, though!

>52 thornton37814: I know, right? Not much more progress today. An electrician come tomorrow, and when he's done the rest of the bookcases will g o up. Painting starts next weekend, and carpet after that. We're excited!

>53 BLBera: Glad to hear it, Beth! The beadboard will be painted a contrasting color ("Half Sea Fog") while the walls will be painted a creamy white ("Swiss Coffee") and the shelves a true white. Can't wait!

Edited: Jul 14, 1:18am Top

I received a message yesterday from my grandmother, who passed away in 1999. She wanted me to have a 1917 edition of The Victrola Book of the Opera, given to her by her aunt and uncle, and inscribed to them by the author. My stepmother found the book while going through some things. I've had goosebumps all day. Many things can be passed down, but is there anything quite like a book? Especially an inscribed one? Thank you, Tutu.

Jul 14, 7:40am Top

What a treasure, Anne.

Jul 14, 8:09am Top

Welcome home! Your travel photos look awesome!
Lots of great things going on here! Good luck with your library project. I dream of having a house with a library one day, but I imagine that's a common LT dream!

That's so great that you are hosting an exchange student. I was an exchange student when I was 17 and went to Australia for two months. It was amazing! Hope your student loves staying with you!

Jul 14, 1:21pm Top

Stopping by to say hello and happy weekend. I loved Wales...glad you did, too.

And a library is a wonderful thing. Can't wait to see the finished pictures.

Jul 14, 8:21pm Top

>55 AMQS: Oh Wow. That’s so sweet!

Congrats on the new library and getting to host an exchange student! Never a dull moment at your house!

Jul 14, 10:28pm Top

>56 BLBera: Yes, Beth - I can't describe what it felt like to see my name in her message in her handwriting.

>57 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! I wish everyone could be an exchange student - there's nothing like it. I hope she likes staying with us as well! I hope she and Marina hit it off - Marina is so excited.

>58 witchyrichy: Hi Karen! A little bit of progress every day. I can't wait!

>59 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne! Yes, I have so, so much to be thankful for. Having said that, I wouldn't say no to a dull moment. Or a dull month or semester...

Jul 15, 4:33am Top

>49 AMQS: That is awesome, Anne, can't wait for pictures when it is finished!

>55 AMQS: How sweet of your grandmother, and happy the book did eventually come to you :-)

Jul 16, 2:23am Top

I really love the book inscription - little bit of history. Hope the student has a wonderful time.

Jul 16, 10:54am Top

Hooray for the exchange student, and especially for the new library that her visit has jump-started into existence. I love the beadboard backing. And a book from your grandmother — complete with handwritten note! That's just wonderful.

Jul 17, 9:16am Top

Catching up and finding all kinds of exciting things here. The exchange student sounds like fun, especially now that all of the paperwork is done. I LOVE the idea of a library in the basement -- so much wall space to put shelves on and your shelves look beautiful. And then, the book!! You're right, there's nothing better to inherit than an inscribed book!

Jul 18, 1:12am Top

>61 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! It's coming along, and we're so excited! Yes, I was surprised and thrilled to receive the book. It was like a moment that I could be close to her again.

>62 charl08: Thank you, Charlotte! I am savoring that little bit of history. I hope she does, too. Her impending arrival is giving us a chance to consider our city and our state with new eyes while we think about what to do while she's here. Aside from go to school, that is. Marina's school is very rigorous, and there is not a lot of time to do too much.

>63 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! We are cautiously optimistic that all will be finished by the time Annaïg arrives!

>64 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I was surprised at how much paperwork there was for both families, both for the school district and for her to take to the American Embassy for the visa. We're glad it all got approved. Her family also had to pay tuition - I guess what they're not paying in property taxes here. Now I just hope it's a good fit!

We're so excited about our shelves - already dreaming about filling them!

Jul 18, 1:25am Top

37. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I read this one way back in high school, and have wanted to read it again since reading the National Book Award winning The Worst Hard Time. It is absolutely breathtaking and utterly heartbreaking. Steinbeck is just a master. This sweeping epic only lightly touches on the environmental disaster that was the Dust Bowl, focusing instead on the political and corporate conditions that led to the disenfranchisement, homelessness, and absolute desperation of tenant farmers turned out of their land and devastated by prejudices and naked greed in the hoped-for promised land of California. A not-to-be-missed American classic.

Jul 18, 11:11am Top

>66 AMQS: I've been thinking about a reread of this one as well, Anne. I also read it in high school, which was a while...

Jul 18, 12:53pm Top

>66 AMQS: That is a great one! A re-read sounds like a good idea.

Jul 18, 2:53pm Top

>67 BLBera: Hi Beth! The Grapes of Wrath has been calling my name for awhile. Callia read it for school about two years ago, and grumbled mightily until she discovered that she loved it, and when she finished it she immediately read it again. I do not remember loving it in high school, so I'm so glad Callia did! Marina will read it next summer.

>68 rosalita: Oh, it's wonderful, isn't it, Julia? Heartbreaking, but wonderful.

Edited: Jul 18, 3:32pm Top

38. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Middle school seemed like an endless aching game where everyone knew the rules but her.

I need to get back to the box of books I brought home from my library over the summer. I've picked up and put down a few of them, searching for *something*. Well, this one stuck. Stuck like read-it-in-one-sitting stuck. Loved it. The narrative goes back and forth between Charlotte, a 7th grader in Pennsylvania, and Ben, a 6th grader in Louisiana. They are friendly rivals in online Scrabble. They used to play each other in a protected, elementary-students-only environment, but when Charlotte went on to middle school she lost access and now they play privately. you call that a play? sorry/not sorry about your devastating loss, prepare to suffer my vernacular wrath. Though they don't know it, they have a lot in common. They are both GT kids (called TAG for Talented And Gifted in the book), they both are going through trauma at home (Charlotte's dad suffered a heart attack and is hospitalized; Ben's parents are divorcing unexpectedly), and they both are bewildered and friendless in the hostile environment known as middle school. But they have each other - in a weird, mostly anonymous online way - but they have *someone*. I've read a lot of lost-in-middle school books over the years, and I think this is one of the best. Ms. Entrada Kelly writes with remarkable restraint, and the result is a heartfelt story that is achingly realistic and believable. I think I liked this one more than her last - Hello Universe - and that book won the Newbery Medal. Highly recommended.

Jul 18, 8:18pm Top

>70 AMQS: This goes on my future Scout list, Anne.

Jul 19, 4:43am Top

>66 AMQS: A must-read! Can you believe I haven't read it yet?

Jul 19, 10:26am Top

>71 BLBera: Oh Beth, I think it's a good one for Scout, and for anyone who feels weird in middle school!

>72 LovingLit: Hi Megan! Still not used to the new name:) And yes, I can believe it! The list of must-reads and timeless classics that I have not read is embarrassingly long. That's one of the best things about being here - the nudge to read the books you have missed along the way, and the introductions to other books you'd never have heard of!

Jul 19, 8:51pm Top

One of these days should reread The Grapes of Wrath. I loved it when I first read it but it was ages ago.

I saw one of your dad’s photos yesterday during the local news - wildflowers up at Summit Lake. (Hey, I know that name!) Gorgeous!

Jul 20, 1:39am Top

>74 Copperskye: Joanne, thats so cool! I'll have to tell him. He gets a kick out of sharing his photos with news stations:)

Jul 20, 1:41am Top

Library update: shelves and cabinets are in! Painting starts tomorrow. Our builder still has to finish the desk that's going in just to the right of these shelves. Getting closer! Maya has been trying out all of the shelves.

Jul 20, 8:37am Top

>76 AMQS: They look amazing!

Jul 20, 9:41am Top

I have shelf envy, Anne. These are great.

Jul 20, 10:43am Top

Beautiful wall system!! Hope you post photos when all the books are in place.

Jul 20, 12:44pm Top

I have serious shelf envy, Anne!

Jul 20, 1:50pm Top

I loved The Grapes of Wrath, too, Anne. I need to read Erin Entrada Kelly. Good review of You Go First; I'll add it to the WL with Hello Universe.

Jul 20, 3:40pm Top

The shelves look awesome, Anne! And to have the joy of filling and organizing them... :D

Jul 20, 5:44pm Top

>55 AMQS: What a precious gift and a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing.

>76 AMQS: Gorgeous shelves!! I want to do something like that in our bonus room under the eaves. I love the beadboard backing!

Jul 20, 7:42pm Top

That's looking great, Anne, and it looks like Maya has been having fun trying them out.

Jul 20, 8:09pm Top

>77 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi! We're pretty excited.

>78 BLBera: Thanks, Beth! The more progress there is, the more excited we are!

>79 RebaRelishesReading: Oh, absolutely, Reba! Though I imagine I'll arrange and rearrange the shelves a few times:)

>80 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! This is something we've been wanting to do for years.

>81 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I was going through the box of books I brought home for the summer from my library and realized I have another of hers in it: The Land of Forgotten Girls. Seems to be the year I read her!

>82 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! Yes, the anticipation is sweet!

>83 nittnut: Yes, Jenn, it is a precious - and unexpected gift! A bonus room library sounds like a dream! Our contractor was able to find sheets of wood with beadboard design - it's not true beadboard, but it has the look we want and is a lot less expensive. Do you think you'll be staying in your home and in NC for awhile?

>84 ronincats: Thanks, Roni, and yes she has. She's tried them all out. Now that the desk is built she has easy access to the top that sits below the window. She's a pretty happy cat.

Jul 20, 8:14pm Top

39. The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

The day my parents got swallowed by a rakkhosh and whisked away to another galactic dimension was a pretty craptastic day.

This is a 2019 Colorado Children's Book Award nominee, and the promising beginning to a series that should be pretty popular with elementary students. Very similar to the Percy Jackson books, but with a feisty heroine, and steeped in Bengali folklore. Fun.

Jul 20, 8:44pm Top

>76 AMQS: I have shelf envy!

Jul 20, 11:48pm Top

Wow.... love the mother-daughter trip update and the library! Great reading, as always.... as I try to dodge BB. ;-)

Jul 21, 12:28pm Top

The shelves look wonderful! And having a desk will make this a really wonderful space.

Jul 21, 6:03pm Top

>76 AMQS: Looking good, Anne!

Jul 21, 8:55pm Top

Your thread’s a-hoppin’, Anne. Love the progress on the new library and very interested in hearing more about your exchange student. My best friend’s 16-yr-old granddaughter is going to Germany for a year as an exchange student. That seems like a long time but what an experience.

That book from your grandmother is a real treasure. What a lovely surprise...and now it can have a place of honor on your new shelves.

Jul 22, 1:25am Top

>87 thornton37814: Ha! Thanks, Lori! Our contractor asked if it would be enough. Well... there are more levels in the house...

>88 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori! Does that mean I didn't get you?? Good to see you!

>89 witchyrichy: Thanks, Karen! My husband keeps an office here for when he works from home. Plus, our exchange student can use it for studying if she wants. Everything's coming together and we're so excited!

>90 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

>91 Donna828: I know, right, Donna? My thread is usually much quieter. We have a Skype call scheduled tomorrow with our student and her mother. She arrives three weeks from tomorrow! I hope your friend's granddaughter has a wonderful time - you know it will be an unforgettable experience for her.

Jul 22, 1:00pm Top

>30 AMQS: I’m so pleased you had a good time in Wales. You really were lucky with the weather. I have a picture of us standing in front of Pembroke Castle in April all wrapped up for an arctic expedition. I’m glad that some of my recommendations were useful - Carreg Cennan castle is one that ofte gets missed (not a huge castle, but very atmospheric in my opinion).

Jul 26, 12:53am Top

Oh Rhian, it was so wonderful! Good to hear about the weather. We had considered packing up and moving!

Jul 26, 1:04am Top

40. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Another book I brought home from my library. This one's a beautiful heartbreaker. Mason is a big, sweaty kid who struggles to tell his own story. Mason has significant learning disabilities, is grieving the death of his only friend, and is a daily target for the vicious neighborhood bullies. His family has shut down after tragedies, selling off portions of their orchard and leaving their home and property to fall into ruin. Mason is also visited regularly by a local police lieutenant, who thinks Mason is hiding something about his friend's death. Mason makes progress thanks to a lovely resource teacher and new friend Calvin. But when Calvin goes missing, the suspicions and "sad-to-see-you" return. Well worth a read, and ultimately redemptive, but so sad.

Jul 28, 6:18pm Top

>76 AMQS: Wow, that's looking great!

Jul 28, 8:50pm Top

>96 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! The shelves and desk are now done! We're waiting on carpet (Wednesday).

The only books I've added to the shelves are the Mercer Mayer books I inherited from my grandmother - most are first editions signed by Mercer to my grandparents (he's my father's stepbrother) and usually inscribed with a personal message and a silly drawing.

Jul 28, 9:29pm Top

Shelves look fantastic!!!

Jul 29, 7:37am Top

Looks wonderful Anne, thanks for sharing.

Jul 29, 12:00pm Top

Wow, the shelves look great!

Jul 29, 8:56pm Top

The shelves are gorgeous! I love the paint color.

>85 AMQS: Do you think you'll be staying in your home and in NC for awhile? Sigh. I have no idea. I am crossing my fingers we can get Miss M through high school. She has made such a nice group of friends here. It's just a very fluid time right now with my husband's job/skill set. Meaning, there is much opportunity and he should feel he can follow the best option. We only have 15-20 years of work left, so make the most of it we must.

Jul 30, 2:02pm Top

>97 AMQS: The shelves look great, Anne!
And how lovely those old books dedicated to your grandparents!

Jul 30, 2:14pm Top

>98 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! We're having fun arranging and rearranging the books:)

>99 charl08: Thank you, Charlotte!

>100 drneutron: Thanks, Jim - this is something we've wanted to do for years. Hosting an exchange student was the nudge we needed to finally do it.

>101 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn! Yes, but there isn't a whole lot of time with kids either - it's just astonishing how fast it goes. I'm so glad M has a nice group of friends - as you know, that can be a challenge in high school.

>102 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I grew up reading Mercer Mayer, and treasure them still.

Edited: Jul 30, 2:25pm Top

41. Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Ahimsa is nonviolence - a practice of peaceful resistance promoted by Gandhi and others. This is a compelling middle grade novel set in India in the early 1940s during the struggle for independence from the British. There is so much conflict in the book - which demonstrates how hard and how scary it is to attempt to change the status quo. In Anjali's village, people stay away from Untouchables, and distrust the British, but in general, Hindus and Muslims get along and live as neighbors. That all changes when locals - including Anjali's family join the Jai Hind movement. They burn their fine clothes, learn to spin and weave their own cloth, protest the British, and attempt to integrate the Untouchables. But the unrest this causes leads to religious and caste-based violence, hatred, and riots. The book was definitely fast-paced, and a little didactic, but it was a good examination of unintended consequences of well-intentioned acts. A good thing to consider when trying to cultivate in students a habit and appreciation for service, outreach, and humanitarian efforts.

Aug 3, 8:16am Top

Those shelves look great and those mercer mayer books are awesome! Love the drawings!

Aug 3, 7:08pm Top

>103 AMQS: So true - I feel like once kids turn 12, they pretty much grow up and graduate in about a day. It's awful, and great. Both kids are in a great place right now, doing well, so I hate to disrupt it. Hopefully we won't have to.

I just read Ahmisa. It was pretty good.

Aug 4, 12:15pm Top

>105 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!

>106 nittnut: I'll hope for you too, Jenn. Glad to hear that they're both doing so well. How is J?

I thought Ahimsa was pretty good, too. I LOVED the book I followed it up with - The Night Diary. It was just fantastic, and shows another (and slightly later) side of the Indian independence story.

Aug 4, 12:42pm Top

Hi Anne - I love the shelves and the Mayer books!

Are you back at school? I had an event yesterday and will have things off and on until school starts on the 27th. And, of course, I have to prepare my syllabi.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Aug 4, 10:31pm Top

42. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

I've never had a diary before. When Kazi gave it to me, he said it was time to start writing things down, and that I was the one to do it. He said someone needs to make a record of the things that will happen because the grown-ups will be too busy. I'm not sure what he thinks is going to happen, but I've decided I'm going to write in it every day if I can.

The Night Diary is a beautifully written, heartbreaking book, and one of the best I've read this summer. My last read was Ahimsa, a middle grade novel that shows one family's struggle during the Indian independence movement, and how religious and ethnic tensions and violence can flare up seemingly out of nowhere. The Night Diary is set in 1947 just as India is granted independence from Britain, but political leaders of the major stakeholders have decided to partition the country: Muslims are to live in the newly-created Pakistan, and Hindus, Sikhs, and other religions will live in India. 12 year-old Nisha and her family are caught between both sides. Her father and grandmother are Hindus, which makes Nisha and her twin brother Amil Hindus. Yet their mother, who died in childbirth, was Muslim, and their home is in Mirpur Khas, which has always been in India. But on August 14, 1947, when India gained independence from the British, and faraway leaders decided that Mirpur Khas was now Pakistan. Nisha and her family are now refugees in their own homeland, and are forced to leave everything behind to make the long, dangerous journey across the new border to India. They join 14 million people also forced to move, in what is the world's largest mass migration. Throughout, Nisha records their hardships, her confused feelings, and her innermost heart in her diary, in which she writes to her much missed mother.

So as of today, the ground I'm standing on is not India anymore. And Kazi is supposed to live in one place and we're supposed to leave and find a new home. Is there a Muslim girl sitting in her house right now who has to leave her home and go to a new country that's not even called India? Does she feel confused and scared, too?

There have been a lot of children's books published lately that are set in India, or have Indian or Pakistani elements or characters. In recent months I have read Ahimsa, set in early 1940s India; Book Uncle and Me, set in India and taking on community activism and social justice; Amina's Voice, about a Pakistani family in Wisconsin, cultural identity, and community response to racial injustice, Pashmina - a coming-of-age graphic novel about an Indian-American girl searching for her identity and elements of her secretive mother's story; Save me a Seat, in which a recent immigrant from India struggles to assimilate and make friends in school; and The Serpent's Secret, a Percy Jackson-like fantasy/adventure tale with a strong female character and Bengali folklore at its heart. Love seeing these fantastic stories thriving in children's literature! The Night Diary is one of the very best.

Aug 4, 12:54pm Top

>108 BLBera: Hi Beth! We're very excited about the bookshelves. I am back in school as of yesterday. Librarians go back first in my district. Teachers go back Wednesday, and student go back August 16. Summer is over already, and I'm mourning it! Good luck to you as you prepare to go back.

Aug 4, 3:35pm Top

You start so early, Anne! Good luck. I hope you have a fabulous year.

The Night Diary goes on my future Scout list. Thanks for the list of books; I'll check them out.

I'm rearranging books today as I put everything back after getting new flooring. I had to move all my bookshelves. It made me realize how many books I have. Time to read some and pass them on.

Aug 4, 8:42pm Top

>107 AMQS: J is good, thanks for asking! He's living in Littleton, working and getting ready to start his second semester at ACC. His high maintenance gf leaves this month for Loyola Marymount, where she has a big fat scholarship. I suspect she will meet a trust-fund baby and that will be the end of J, but I could be wrong.

The Night Diary looks like a good one. I need to read more about the history of partition. It's mystifying, like a lot of things that were done by the British Empire during that century.

Aug 4, 10:26pm Top

>111 BLBera: I know, Beth - I hate it. I do admit to liking school winding up in May though. I hope you have a great year, too. I have actually been pretty good in recent years about going through my books and donating a lot of them, and moving them on when I'm done. I always imagine I'll pass along a good book to the girls, but in the past year they've bought books I've formerly owned. Ah, well. Enjoy your new flooring!

>112 nittnut: LOL, Jenn, it sounds like if she meets a trust fund baby that would be just as well. No one needs high maintenance! Is he enjoying ACC? I vaguely knew about the partition. I was asking Stelios today about the population exchange in Cyprus. When the war ended and Turkey took the northern half of the island they also exchanged populations, supervised (Stelios thinks) by the UN. Stelios and his family had fled when the bombing started and then never went back, but even after it was over people could only take what they could carry, and no one knew it would be such a permanent partition. Another country that came unglued when the British left.

Aug 4, 10:27pm Top

43. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure, audiobook narrated by Mark Bramhall

I can't remember who recommended this book, but I know it was here in the 75ers, and I would like to thank whoever it was very much! Set in Paris in 1942 during the Nazi occupation. Lucien Bernard is an architect desperate for work, and as hungry and defeated as any other Parisian during this terrible time. He is approached by a wealthy businessman to design a hiding place for a Jew that will be undetectable by the Nazis. Lucien is outraged and scared, and intends to refuse, but is lured in by the considerable pay involved, and the promise of a big commission that could gain him the architectural renown he desperately craves. Lucien builds a few more hiding places, tempted by the considerable payoff and the satisfaction he gains by his own ingenuity and by outwitting the Germans. When one of his hiding places fails, however, the horrible, human costs of the war and the German efforts are driven home, changing Lucien in a profound way. As with many WWII reads, this is a heart-pounding book, and a fascinating character study of why people behave the way they do. Why people take unimaginable risks, work with the enemy, inform on neighbors. As with real life and with difficult times, the answers and the decisions are as complex as the people who make them.

Aug 5, 7:30am Top

Happy Sunday, Anne. Good review of The Paris Architect. I have had that one on my list forever. I will see if I can track down the audio version.

Hope to see you in a week. I have been in touch with Joanne and it looks like we will start at the bookstore. Smiles...

Aug 5, 4:53pm Top

>97 AMQS: what a lovely collection of special books! Priceless :)

And the shelves look great too.

Aug 6, 9:24am Top

Wow, Anne, The Paris Architect sounds really good.

I am enjoying the flooring. I'm finding though, that it takes longer to put things back than it did to move things out of the way. Also, I need to read more books off the shelves and move them to new homes...

Aug 6, 3:13pm Top

>109 AMQS: I need to read The Night Diary -- sounds like a good one!

Aug 6, 3:16pm Top

>43 RebaRelishesReading: Nice review of the Paris Architect. It sounds most interesting.

Aug 8, 1:04pm Top

Excellent reviews, Anne.

Sorry to hear you're back at school already but hopefully the prep time leaves you feeling prepared for when the kids descend. :)

Aug 18, 11:30am Top

I've been involved in back-to-school events all week as Virginia mostly still honors the Labor Day law that forbids schools to start with the students until the Tuesday after Labor Day. Some of our more western and mountainous divisions have gotten waivers to start earlier as the snow days have been piling up over the past several bad winters.

Mostly stopping by to say hello but have also added Ahimsa to my TBR. Trying to be a bit more international in my selections.

Sep 2, 3:52am Top

Finally getting caught up a little to wish you a lovely Sunday, Anne.

Edited: Sep 4, 1:59pm Top

>115 msf59: Mark, it was so lovely to finally meet you and your lovely wife! I think that you, Joanne, and I have been LT friends for 10 years or so, so a RL meeting was overdue! Hopefully next time we'll have more time. Hope the rest of your Colorado vacation was wonderful! I'm sure you and Joanne have already posted a photo, but here's mine:

Sep 4, 1:04pm Top

>116 LovingLit: Hi Megan! Yes, it is priceless - so glad to have them! We're really enjoying our library area too!

>117 BLBera: Beth, isn't that always the case? Putting things back takes a long time. Perhaps because there's more weeding, cleaning out, and organizing that has to take place. The Paris Architect was a great read!

>118 foggidawn: foggi, The Night Diary was one of my top reads this summer - really, really good! I have you to thank for Spinning Silver - just finished that one and could NOT put it down! Thank you!

>119 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! I recommend The Paris Architect - it was a really good read.

>120 MickyFine: Hi Micky! Oh, I am so far behind... are you a married person now? So need to get around to the threads. If so, congratulations!! Sadly, the extra prep time isn't really that, so I wasn't at all prepared for students. This has been the hardest back to school I ever remember because of technology. Nothing is working the way it should, including teacher iPads and laptops, student chromebooks, teacher Smartboards, and worst of all our new library catalog and circulation system. Nothing but headaches. Fortunately the students are awesome, which helps everything else feel less frustrating!

>121 witchyrichy: Hi Karen! That must mean that schools in your area are starting today! It is still hard to accept that the beginning of August marks the end of summer. It is particularly hard on my husband. He's from Cyprus, and August is THE summer holiday month in Europe, so we can never be on vacation at the same time as our overseas relatives. So frustrating. On the other hand, I really enjoy getting out of school at the end of May...

Ahimsa was a good read, but The Night Diary was even better if you're looking for an international read. Glad I was able to read both!

>122 PaulCranswick: Dear Paul, thank you for visiting! I wonder when I ever may catch up. I understand you just had a birthday? Best wishes to you!

Edited: Sep 4, 1:06pm Top

Love the meetup photo!

I am adding The Paris Architect to the pile.

Happy new school year!!

ETA: We cross posted - Ugh to technology issues!

Sep 4, 1:11pm Top

I promise to come visit my many sweet visitors, but it has just been a whirlwind for me with school starting, our exchange student arriving, our exchange student celebrating her birthday (with a party at our house), Callia going back to school (road trip with Stelios), Marina tackling junior year and its craziness, including stage managing the theater department productions, my mom coming home from Germany... Pretty much no time to read other than audiobooks in the car (thank goodness for those!).

Sep 4, 1:12pm Top

>125 nittnut: Thanks, Jenn! Are your kiddos back in school yet? The Paris Architect is a good one - I enjoyed it on audio. Hope you're having a great week!

Sep 4, 1:15pm Top

That is a lot of crazy! Is your Mom living near you?

Kids are in their second week of school. Both seem to be navigating new schools fairly well. Miss M did fall asleep playing Mario on Friday night though. LOL.

Edited: Sep 5, 11:17am Top

I can't remember who I have to thank for

44. Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance, audiobook narrated by Suzy Jackson

Fun and frothy mystery about an unhappily married society matron whose husband dies suddenly. As she's considering how to spend her considerable fortune, she discovers that she is actually destitute, and must make her way in the world with only her loyal Swedish cook (to whom she owes several months of back wages) to help her. They soon become embroiled in a mystery, and then a murder. This is the start of a series. I enjoyed this one - the audiobook narrator was excellent - but I don't know that I'll read any others unless I'm in the mood for more froth:)

Edited: Sep 4, 1:31pm Top

>128 nittnut: a LOT of crazy! Yes, my mom has a house in Evergreen. For the past few years she has been spending the fall semester here and the winter/spring/summer terms in Munich. She has some surgeries scheduled this fall, so I am lining up subs to be able to help her.

ETA: there's no tired quite like start of school tired, is there?

Edited: Sep 4, 5:28pm Top

I do know I have foggi to thank for:

45. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, audiobook narrated by Lisa Flanagan

Wow - definitely one of my top 5 books of the year! This is a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale that is so, so much more. One reviewer called it "gorgeous, complex, and magical." It is all of those. Three ordinary women are slowly brought together and find they are capable of extraordinary things.

Miryem is the daughter of a small village's moneylender. Her father is too tenderhearted to insist on repayment of the loans he has made, but when the family faces starvation, Miryem goes out to collect herself, accepting goods when cash is not available, and gradually building the family's fortunes back up while villagers seethe with resentment. One borrower truly has nothing to give, so Miryem asks for his daughter Wanda to work in her house to repay the debt, which changes Wanda's life forever. In Miryem's house, Wanda gets a meal, and the opportunity to escape a violently abusive homelife. She gets the chance to learn "magic" as Miryem teachers her to read and to do the math required to keep the books. When Miryem boasts of the ability to turn silver into gold, she is overheard and swept up into the world of the mysterious Staryk and their frozen kingdom, and set an impossible task with desperate consequences for either success or failure. Miryem's efforts bring her into contact with Irina, a plain, unloved duke's daughter who catches the eye of the Tsar Mirnautius, who has made his own deadly bargain.

I am sure I cannot give the book justice with any description. I was blown away by the complex themes of debt and repayment, of gratitude and compassion, of anti-Semitism and forgiveness, of honor and kindness. The tale is steeped in folklore, and completely atmospheric. It's all I could think about while listening to it, and for long after. I haven't been able to talk about it as I have decided to give it to Marina for either Christmas or her birthday. She will love it. So will you! Highly, highly recommended, and now I'm on a quest to read more of this author. Fantastic book.

Sep 4, 2:06pm Top

>131 AMQS: If you loved Spinning Silver, I think you'll enjoy Uprooted by the same author just as much. It also has that same East European folk-tale quality, but the story is completely different.

Sep 4, 3:23pm Top

>132 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! I have the audio on hold at the library!

Sep 4, 3:32pm Top

Ooh, fingers crossed that your tech gremlins get sorted sharpish.
>131 AMQS: sounds wonderful, added it to the wishlist, thank you!

Sep 4, 4:53pm Top

Hi Anne - You sound crazy busy. I loved The Paris Architect! Thanks.

Now I guess I will have to look for Spinning Silver.

Sep 4, 6:23pm Top

>134 charl08: Thank you, Charlotte! I am the tech person at the building level - there is plenty of central tech support, including a site tech who comes once a week or so. I am not alone - we're feeling the pain all over the district, but it's been rough!
I hope you love Spinning Silver as much as I did!

>135 BLBera: Oh Beth, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Paris Architect! One of these days I'll head over to your thread and read your comments:) It's been really busy, but I am hopeful that things will start to settle into a routine. I was out of the building on Friday afternoon and was actually able to clean my desk a little for my sub - progress!

I hope you enjoy Spinning Silver. It hit all the right notes for me.

Sep 4, 6:34pm Top

46. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I finally got around to this Newbery Medal winner from 2017. It was a treat, but I think suffered a bit from being read at the same time as the incomparable Spinning Silver.

In the Protectorate, one baby a year must be taken to the forest and abandoned to be sacrificed to the witch. Only the witch saves the babies, taking them to loving homes on the other side of the forest and feeding them starlight on the way. One year the witch accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, which infuses the baby with powerful magic, and the witch - Xan - decides to raise the baby herself, with the help of her oldest friend the Bog Monster, and a tiny dragon names Fryian. But back in the Protectorate, the baby's mother goes mad with grief, a young man refuses to accept the necessary sacrifice and decides to kill the witch, and a malevolent being feeds on sorrows of the residents and very much needs the sacrifices to continue. I enjoyed the fairy tale-like book very much, but think the book is perhaps more appealing to adults than to children.

Sep 5, 12:31am Top

I am reading Spinning Silver right now, Anne, and enjoying it. I had the same reaction to the Barnhill book as you.

Sep 5, 5:56pm Top

>131 AMQS: So glad you enjoyed Spinning Silver! I think you will like Uprooted, too. And I read The Night Diary on your recommendation, and enjoyed it very much!

Sep 6, 2:02pm Top

>124 AMQS: Sorry to hear life is so crazy, Anne. Hopefully the tech issues get resolved soon. And not quite a married person yet. 10 more days to go!

>129 AMQS: I'll take credit for that one. :)

>131 AMQS: And I'm hit.

Sep 6, 7:34pm Top

>137 AMQS: Great comments on this one, Anne. I think my colleague's daughter read it and loved it, and she is in middle school, so you're probably right away it not being for little ones.

My daughter sent me a video of Scout reading one of the Piggie and Elephant books to her. It was hilarious.

Edited: Sep 8, 3:48pm Top

You are so busy these days, Anne. I'm glad that you got to have even a short meetup with our friend Mark. Thanks for posting the picture. Is your exchange student there for a semester? I hope she speaks some English. I also hope your mother gets along well after her surgeries this fall. It will be comforting to have you there to help out.

Spinning Silver looks wonderful. It might make a good present for my Audrey who (sadly) used to be a voracious reader. She's the same age as Marina and very busy with schoolwork and her passion for dance. I am hopeful that a good book will get her back on the reading track.

ETA: Just remembered that it is Sadie who is Marina's age. Would the Novik books be suitable for a freshman as well? Sadie is also a lapsed reader due to her soccer obsession. Those girls!

Sep 12, 12:21pm Top

>138 ronincats: Hi Roni!I hope you are enjoying/enjoyed Spinning Silver as much as I did!

>139 foggidawn: Hi foggi! Thank you again - I still can't stop thinking about it! I ordered two copies to give as gifts. My hold arrived on the audio version of Uprooted, but I was about 1/3 of the way through another book. I tried to make the switch, but my brain wasn't quite ready. I'll go for Uprooted another time.

>140 MickyFine: Oh, Micky, you're so close! How exciting! I wish you love and joy for your special day and for a lifetime of happiness!

Thank YOU for Come Hell or Highball - it was a fun read to start the school year:) You will LOVE Spinning Silver!

>141 BLBera: Hi Beth! Oh, I LOVE the Piggie and Elephant books! I love anything by Mo Willems. I'll bet Scout loves those, and they are perfect for new readers!

>142 Donna828: Hi Donna! I think we are finally settling into a routine, and I know things will get easier once Marina hits that 6-month mark on her drivers license and can drive the two of them to school and back. Our exchange student is here for a semester, so she will stay through finals in December and then fly home just before Christmas. Her English is excellent, as is her French, and I am presuming that her German is as well:)

I remember getting out of the reading habit when I was so busy with schoolwork. It actually took me a few years after college to get back in:( As for Spinning Silver, I definitely think it is appropriate for a freshman, but it is very nuanced and complex. I just got my newest issue of School Library Journal, and was thrilled to see that Spinning Silver got a starred review in their "Adult Books 4 Teens" section, which is basically a green light for high school libraries to add it to their collection. Their "Verdict" says "Recommended for teens who love fairy tales and readers who appreciate complex, character-driven narratives that build slowly to a satisfying conclusion." So I would say it could be a great choice for Sadie, and perhaps Audrey also.

Sep 12, 5:02pm Top

>123 AMQS: wonderful photo! Yes, an overdue meetup for sure. I am looking forward to mine *next year*. With Mark, and hopefully Callia too?

Sep 12, 6:24pm Top

>144 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan! Did you change your name back? Or is my computer confused? I click on your name and it says you do not exist... Glad to see you in any case! Not sure what Callia's plans are for next year. She's double-majoring, and is now thinking that a summer research session abroad might be a better fit in her schedule. We'll see.

Currently listening to a book you recommended: Island of the Lost. Amazing story!!

Sep 13, 1:36pm Top

Last week Scout and her mom made a trip to the library and got more Piggie and Elephant books, which Scout is loving. Vanessa took a video of Scout reading one to her -- about slop.

Edited: Sep 13, 6:15pm Top

Awesome! I have I Really Like Slop in the library, too. I love them all, but I think a favorite is We are in a Book!

Edited: Sep 13, 11:23pm Top

Had to share from my library this week: the front of my circulation desk is a lego wall, and the side is a chalkboard wall. One of my students created this:

Sep 13, 11:53pm Top

>148 AMQS: Delightful!

Sep 15, 11:25am Top

>148 AMQS: I love it, Anne.

Scout and I went to the library yesterday, and we got more Piggie and Elephant! She LOVED We Are in a Book!. We also learned about different meanings of check out. Since we took the bus to the library, I told her we couldn't carry too many books, so we had to check them out to see which ones we wanted to take. She said that her mom said they had to check out all the books before they left...

I just finished a book that made me think of you, Only Child. In it, Zach, a six-year-old, tries to help his family after the death of his brother. He is a fan of the Magic Treehouse series, and thinks the four secrets to happiness will help...

Sep 16, 10:25am Top

>131 AMQS: Top five of the year! I've been thinking about that one and now I have to move it up the list!!

>137 AMQS: I started that one but my ebook loan expired before I could finish. I need to borrow it again!

>148 AMQS: I love that!

Sep 16, 7:25pm Top

Love the Book Nerd creation. I can relate. Also loved the Homecoming pictures of Marina and friends on FB. It looks like she and your exchange student have really bonded.

Side note: I think I will read Spinning Silver after those comments from the School Library Journal. Thanks!

Sep 16, 8:37pm Top

>131 AMQS: Margo and I absolutely loved Spinning Silver. I'm so happy to see it getting all the love around here.

>142 Donna828: I gave it to Margo (freshman) and she loved it. I will not give her Uprooted yet, way too intense, but I think Spinning Silver is fine. There are some mature themes alluding to "marriage rights," abusive parents and antisemitism, but it is done well. Nothing too graphic I don't think.

>148 AMQS: Love the desk art!

Sep 17, 5:13pm Top

Happy September, Anne! (where does the time go???)

>123 AMQS: - Love the meet-up photo!

>148 AMQS: - the front of my circulation desk is a lego wall, and the side is a chalkboard wall. You have the coolest desk! I want one - only I think I would be too distracted to do my work. ;-)

Sep 18, 4:10pm Top

>145 AMQS: oh great! About the book, it is fabulous, isn't it? Also about Callia's study prowess. I look forward to hearing how her plans develop.
My old name made a resurgence when I used my uni computer, which I hadn't logged out of then back into after the name change. Shows how dedicated I have been at uni lately for not having LT'd in so long!!!

Oct 9, 11:56pm Top

OMG I am so behind. Apologies and pleas for forgiveness for everyone who has visited and for everyone to whom I have not paid a visit. I miss you.

Busy fall. Will fill in later (maybe when I'm home recovering from surgery in a couple of weeks) but in the meantime I wanted to see if any Denver LTers wanted to go to the Markus Zusak event at Cherry Creek High School next week? I am going with a couple of school colleagues and would love to see you there!


Oct 10, 4:20pm Top

>156 AMQS: real life huh? It can keep us busy :)

Good luck for your surgery, I hope it is not too serious a procedure.

Oct 10, 9:27pm Top

Hi, Anne. Can't make it, but then I'm not really in the target area, right? ;-)

Oct 11, 12:18am Top

Surgery? I hope all is well, Anne. I hope you'll report back on the Zusak event.

Oct 15, 10:35pm Top

>156 AMQS: Well, I’m in the target area and wish I could make it but I can’t. Have fun! Don’t like hearing that surgery word, though... hope all is well and goes well.

Oct 17, 9:39am Top

Wishing you all the best with your surgery. Hope recovery will include lots of wonderful reading :)

Oct 18, 2:32am Top

Best wishes for a quick recovery from me too.

Oct 24, 10:28pm Top

>149 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I have some talented students:)

>150 BLBera:, >159 BLBera: Thank you, Beth! Love the Scout stories. I guess I can see Scout's point about checking out - that could be confusing! Only Child sounds like a good but sad read. Is it an adult book?
The Zusak event was really good - he is a charming and engaging speaker, and the new book looks really good. Someone in the audience asked him who inspired him to write and he said no one. He wasn't a very promising student, and his parents didn't encourage him. Kind of sad, but also empowering - he KNEW he needed to write and did it all on his own. Inspiring! Recovering from surgery now. I had an egg-sized hernia that was giving me quite a lot of pain. Recovery is not very fun, though. I had planned to return to school on Friday but my principal insisted I not return until Monday, and Im so glad she did!

>151 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Hope things are good at your house. I love your photos on FB!

>152 Donna828: Hi Donna! I'm glad you're going to give Spinning Silver a try - it was fantastic!

>153 nittnut: Hi Jenn, wasn't it fantastic? I'm sure I would not have "discovered" it if I hadn't read about it here. Aren't we lucky?

>154 lkernagh: Hi Lori! LOL, well fortunately for me, the fun part of my desk is NOT the part where I work!

>155 LovingLit:, >157 LovingLit: Hi Megan! Island of the Lost was fabulous - I really enjoyed it, so thank you! So surgery... blech. I had a hernia repaired yesterday. It had to be an open surgery, and I'm hurting a lot. Trying to rest as much as possible.

>158 ronincats: No, I guess not, Roni, though I hear he's headed to CA next. It was a great event - he is quite charming, and his new book looks really good.

>160 Copperskye: Hi Joanne, I'm sorry you could not come - Markus Zusak was terrific! As for surgery - not so terrific. Just had it yesterday and am recovering at home (hernia repair). Laying low is really hard, but my surgeon did not prescribe any narcotics for pain, which really forces me to rest. My brother posted this article awhile back, and it is really resonating now - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/opinion/sunday/surgery-germany-vicodin.html
I'm glad my principal is so supportive!

>161 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba! Reading is definitely on the agenda! I did a fair amount today. I think tomorrow I'll watch a Jane Austen adaptation while sewing Marina's Halloween costume.

>162 charl08: Thank you, Charlotte! Recovering now and not enjoying it much...

Oct 24, 10:38pm Top

I am so far behind in all ways. Sigh. Here's what I've been reading - going back to September!

47. Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druitt, audiobook narrated by David Colacci

Thank you Megan for the recommendation! Fascinating story of two separate shipwrecks on Auckland Island in the 1860s, one of which was survived by the entire crew, who endured unimaginable conditions with grace, ingenuity, and hard work (and terrific leadership) for an astounding 2 years. The other did not benefit from similar leadership, losing 16 of the original 19 aboard. The descriptions of sealing were hard to listen to for this 21st century suburban girl, but I came away from the book with an appreciation for know-how and perseverance. What a (true!) story!

Oct 24, 10:45pm Top

48. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Am I the last to read this book? It was definitely worth the wait. Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. There the decades slide by, and Rostov goes about his days - the regular haircuts, the visits to the seamstress, the gourmet dinners in the fabulous restaurant. As the years go by he befriends an unlikely assortment of characters from all walks of life, finds employment, takes pleasure in small things, fights for the important things, and does it all with indomitable wit and style. I loved this book.

Oct 24, 10:50pm Top

49. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Nadia May

A re-listen for me. So fun!

Oct 24, 10:58pm Top

50. Artsy-Fartsy: Aldo Zelnick book 1 by Karla Oceanak

Cute and promising graphic novel for middle-grade readers about Aldo Zelnick, a pudgy Colorado kid whose grandmother gives him a sketchbook at the start of summer break. Though he thinks the artsy-fartsy stuff is uncool, he faithfully writes and draws in the book, enriching his summer in unexpected ways. Read because my school is participating in a Battle of the Books, and this is one of the books we'll battle over!

Oct 24, 11:07pm Top

51. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

This was recommended to me here on LT years and years ago, and I finally got around to it. Poignant, lump-in-your-throat book narrated by a precocious 11 year-old girl. Ellen, writing from the "safe" vantage point of her new mama's house, looks back on her life with her sickly, depressed mother who overdoses, and her alcoholic, abusive father, whom Ellen escapes. Harrowing read in some places, but you cheer for Ellen.

Oct 24, 11:35pm Top

I'm glad you're on the mend, Anne. That hernia surgery does not sound like fun at all. Take care of yourself!

>165 AMQS: You're definitely not the last to read A Gentleman in Moscow! I'm still a holdout — so many books, so little time.

>168 AMQS: Oh, wow. I read that one ages ago — pre-LT for sure. Your review is just how i felt, too.

Oct 25, 8:49am Top

Great mini-review of A Gentleman in Moscow, Anne. I love that book, too.

I remember when I first read Northanger Abbey, and my dawning realization that it was really funny. I had come into it with different expectations.

Oct 25, 10:34am Top

So sorry about your post-surgery pain, Anne. I hope it’s better today. Thank goodness you’re able to read through it. Books are good medicine.

I loved your comments on Markus Zusak. I am having trouble getting into Bridge Of Clay but I will persist. I loved The Book Thief and have been waiting a long time for his next book.

Oct 25, 10:21pm Top

I hope your recovery goes smoothly, Anne. Keep reading.

Oct 29, 11:47am Top

Lovely string of reviews, Anne. Hopefully your recovery continues to go smoothly.

Oct 29, 10:47pm Top

Hope you’re feeling better, Anne!

I haven’t read A Gentleman in Moscow yet. I’ve been sort of waiting for it to be released in paperback and so far, I’m still waiting.

I did read Ellen Foster years ago - pre-LT - and remember liking it quite a bit. I read a few other of Gibbons’s books around the same time and liked those as well.

Nov 24, 11:05am Top

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend and I hope you are all together for the holiday.

Nov 29, 7:52pm Top

Popping over to say that I am doing my now annual trawl back over your threads to find book presents for my nieces and nephews for Christmas :) Thank you!

So far I have Restart, Vanderbeeks of 141st Street and The Penderwicks in Spring all ready to go at the checkout on book depo. Rest assured I have purchased 3 other books already from my local retailer.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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