Happy Holidays! The 12 Days of LT scavenger hunt is going on. Can you solve the clues?
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

SqueakyChu 2018 - The sky's the limit! - 3rd quarter

75 Books Challenge for 2018

Join LibraryThing to post.

Edited: Sep 25, 8:03pm Top

So now my reading is slowing down a bit. I seem to be starting many books which I stop reading before completing them. There are simply so many interesting books out there!

Here's how I'm doing so far...

My Book Counter:

My Page Counter: My count on this is purposely low because I did so poorly in 2017.

My 2018 Calendar:

GOAL: To have less than 490 books in my "To read" collection at the end of 2018.

A look at my numbers:
02/26/18 = 472 books
04/01/18 = 476 books - Um, I'm moving in the wrong direction!
05/16/18 = 477 books - Er...still in the wrong direction!
05/26/18 = 472 books - At least I'm now going in the right direction!
06/16/18 = 480 books - Uh...What's happening?!
07/12/18 = 479 books - Well...Okay.
08/11/18 = 478 books
09/05/18 = 477 books
09/25/18 = 474 books

Edited: Jul 30, 5:06pm Top


Photo by Benjamin Watson - Flickr, CC-A

1. BookCrossing Meetup - Wheaton Plaza - Sat. 4/21/18 - bring books with "ING" in the title or subtitle

34. Listen With the Heart - Michael A. Harvey - TIOLI: Read White and Blue Rolling Challenge (A) - 198 pages
35. Loving Every Child - Janusz Korczak - TIOLI: Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (E) - 84 pages
36. The Mountain, the Desert and the Pomegranate: Stories from Morocco and Beyond - Vanessa Paloma - TIOLI: Read a book you find on the top shelf - 87 pages
37. A Personal Matter - Kenzaburo Oe - TIOLI: Read a book whose title’s opening letters names an animal (ape) - 165 pages
38. Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America - Garrison Keillor - TIOLI: Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (D - 238 pages
39. Unlikely Friendships - Jennifer S. Holland - TIOLI: Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (U) - 210 pages

Edited: Aug 27, 7:49pm Top


Photo by Squeezyboy - Flickr, CC-A

1, BookCrossing meetup somewhere in Virginia on 8/19/18. Venue TBA.

40. For Every Sin - Aharon Appelfeld - TIOLI: Read a book whose ISBN contains a sequence of a three-in-a-row number (ISBN 1-555843-18-2) - 168 pages
41. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino - TIOLI: Read a book whose title suggests a journey - 84/60 pages
42. Soccer Star Lionel Messi - John Albert Torres - TIOLI: Read a book about a sports star - 48 pages
43. Phone Call with a Fish - Silvia Vecchini - 48 pages
44. The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa - TIOLI: Read a book where the author’s last name starts with a vowel – A, E, I, O, or U and for this challenge Y - 184 pages

Edited: Oct 2, 9:07pm Top


Photo by Graham Richardson - Flickr, CC-A

1. BookCrossing book release at the zoo? I skipped it.
2. Installed a new Little Free Library built by my husband in front of the home of melydia. Congrats!

45. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type - Doreen Cronin - TIOLI: none - 32 pages
46. One Tiny Turtle - Nicola Davies - TIOLI: Read a book that has a name in the title which also was/is a name in the title of any TV series (Tiny House Nation) - 29 pages
*47. Less - Andrew Sean Greer - TIOLI: Read a book with a one-word title which contains a double letter (SS) - 261 pages
*48. The Loser - Thomas Bernhard - TIOLI: Read a work by or about a deceased playwright (novel/died 1989) - 190 pages
49. Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep - Teri Sloat - TIOLI: Read a book which starts with an animal product which lets the animal alive (sheep, wool) - 32 pages
50. Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide - TIOLI: Read a book that has a name in the title which also was/is a name in the title of any t.v series (Life) - 95 pages
*51. The Museum Guard - Howard Norman - TIOLI: Read a book with a 3 word title and there must be at least one person on the cover - 301 pages
*52. The Body of Jonah Boyd - David Leavitt - TIOLI: Read a book with the name of a railway station in the title (Boyd Railway Station, Boyd, Manitoba, Canada) - 215 pages
*53. Ask the Dust - John Fante - TIOLI: Read a book with a definite article in the title, but not at the beginning - 165 pages
*54. Heartsongs - Mattie J.T. Stepanek - TIOLI: Read a book you MUST read (I promised to read this book and pass it along to a group of friends) - 35 pages
55. Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces - Michael Chabon - TIOLI: Read a book containing a common noun representing a person, but no pronouns or proper nouns - 127 pages

*9/21/18: COMPLETED one TIOLI sweeplette!

Edited: Jun 25, 11:04am Top

Happy new thread Madeline!

The weather ahead looks ominous.

Jun 25, 11:35am Top

>5 humouress:

Thanks! Our weather has been weird this past May and June. We have had overcast skies or rain almost every single day. I attribute this to climate change and the atmosphere holding more water since global temperatures are so much higher now. One day in early June our temperature here (near Washington, DC) was 97 degrees Fahrenheit! :O

Jun 25, 11:54am Top

Happy new thread, Madeline. I love the cloud pics. I really love different cloud formations and how fast they can change. I should show you a photo I once took right after a rainstorm. We had rain here all weekend and deliciously cool air this morning. But right now, the sky is a brilliant blue with not a cloud to be seen. And by the weekend, it will be downright tropical here. Yuck

Jun 25, 1:26pm Top

>7 jessibud2: Thanks. Shelley. It's gotten here so that I can never go out without having an umbrella nearby. I was just remembering our rainstorm last year on Canada Day in Toronto. That was so much fun!! :)

Jun 25, 7:30pm Top

Happy new thread, Madeline!

>6 SqueakyChu: Our weather has been unusual too: way too warm in April and May, very dry June. We already had more warm weather days than we normally get in a whole year!

Jun 25, 8:21pm Top

>9 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I’m really worried about how our adverse weather conditions are affecting our local farmers. Our CSA farmer said the corn crop for this summer is pretty much ruined. The strawberries had very little taste because of too much rain. Every evening we’re having heavy clouds or rain. So strange!!!

Jun 28, 2:00am Top

Happy new thread. Here we have great weather. Great for photographing.

Jun 28, 2:06am Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 28, 8:28am Top

>11 paulstalder: Thanks, Paul, Your photographs are wonderful. I love that you are posting the best photos of the day on your thread. I love them all.

Here in Maryland, USA, we have weird weather, brought on without a doubt by climate change. Spring and early summer are usually beautiful with sunny days and warm weather. n May and June of this year we have only had overcast skies and rain almost daily,. When we do have a sunny day, it is unbearably hot. One day in early June it was 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

video of flooding in Ellicott City:

Jun 28, 8:29am Top

>12 figsfromthistle: Hi figsfromthistle! I love when Canadians visit my thread. Alternatively, I love to visit Canada! :D

Edited: Jun 28, 9:09am Top

(deleted duplicate message)

Jun 28, 3:39pm Top

That's how the weather looks like here: cloudy but dry and warm

Jun 28, 5:47pm Top

>16 paulstalder: That's what our weather looks like today!

Jun 29, 4:47am Top

Us, too! It rained heavily all morning and it’s dry but still overcast now (nearly 5pm). Unusual for the tropics - usually it dumps it down in a big bucketful and then clears up, leaving everything steaming hot and sticky.

Jul 2, 3:16pm Top

Happy new thread!!

Jul 2, 4:29pm Top

>19 Berly: Thanks, Kim!

Edited: Jul 6, 4:50pm Top

34. Listen with the Heart: Relationships and Hearing Loss - Michael A. Harvey

June 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read White and Blue Rolling Challenge (A)

I was really under the wrong impression when I acquired this book to read. I was thinking that it would be about how a person with a hearing disability can learn to adapt with this dysfunction to relationships in that person's life. This book was really not about that for me. It was more about how a psychotherapist uses psychotherapy to deal with issues in a person's life who may have issues stemming from a hearing dysfunction in the patient or in someone with whom the patient has a relationship.

I found it tedious to read through all of the chapters because ultimately I only found one chapter to which I could relate. It was a chapter called "Overcoming Isolation and Despair". That particular chapter did strike a chord with me, and I found the therapy session described in that chapter quite moving.

I was also a bit offended by the last chapter in which a 71-year-old woman was the patient. In that chapter, the patient was referred for psychotherapy because she seemed withdrawn and depressed around her family. The psychiatrist made the woman (his patient) sound as if she already had one foot in the grave. I am close to that age and could not at all identify with how the "old grandmother" was described. A person my age is very much alive...unless he or she is suffering from a severe disability or a terminal illness.

I guess this book and I were simply not a good fit for each other.

Rating - 2 stars

Jul 6, 3:53am Top

>21 SqueakyChu: I’ll definitely give that one a miss, then ;0)

Jul 6, 12:18pm Top

>21 SqueakyChu: Ugh. That book sounds horrible.

Jul 6, 4:48pm Top

>23 kidzdoc: LOL! I wonder if I made it sound worse than it really is. Other reviewers on Amazon seemed to like it. But then...Amazon is not LT (...well, maybe part of LT is Amazon...but you know what I mean.).

Jul 7, 3:38am Top

I've to work in the library today. I wish you a quiet weekend, with a hot book and some ice coffee, maybe?

Edited: Jul 7, 9:46pm Top

>25 paulstalder: What kind of work are you doing in the library?

My weekend was quiet so far (except for the screaming I did watching the World Cup games). At least my chosen teams won today (England and Croatia). I haven't yet picked up a book. I had hot coffee this morning and a cold smoothie this afternoon made with blueberries, ice, vanilla yoghurt, more vanilla, sliced almonds, almond milk, and maple syrup. Yum! :D

Jul 7, 8:24pm Top

Go England!! And your smoothie sounds delish!

Edited: Jul 7, 9:37pm Top

>27 Berly: I was really disappointed that no country representing the Americas was in the quarter-finals. I liked Croatia and England today. I think I'd like to see either of those two teams go all the way,

By the way, when I make smoothies, I pour half of the smoothie into popsicles molds to eat later as a frozen treat!

Jul 7, 9:41pm Top

>28 SqueakyChu: - Just the other day, I bought a popsicle mold to do just that! I will be making my smoothie in the morning. I think I will do mango banana this time as the bananas are just about ready for that! I also use vanilla yogurt, and a small spoon of vanilla protein powder. I also use a base of almond milk and no ice. I like your idea of maple syrup. Not sure how that would taste with my mango banana but I will remember it for another time.

Edited: Jul 7, 10:51pm Top

>29 jessibud2: You reminded me! I also added almond milk to my smoothie. I slipped that into my message above. I love to do this with my grandson and let him put what he wants (mostly) into the mold.

I just dropped one of my frozen popsicle molds (with popsicle inside) on the floor and the plastic broke. Guess I'll get even more molds now. Ha!

Jose said that banana mango sounds good!

A good idea is to freeze ripe bananas to use for these popsicles. They won't get overripe if frozen and will be ice cold! Just break them into pieces before blending them.

Jul 7, 10:04pm Top

>30 SqueakyChu: - Was the one you dropped, at least frozen?

Jul 7, 10:50pm Top

It was frozen. That’s why it cracked. I ate the popsicle, though!

Edited: Jul 8, 1:46am Top

I've seen ideas where you freeze the bananas and eat them as popsicles - I think you cut them in half and put them on a stick before freezing. Less work for me, if I ever get around to it. (Also less danger of cracking the mold.)

Edited: Jul 8, 12:12pm Top

Your and Shelley's smoothies sound delightful! Thanks for the reminder; I had intended to try some fruit and green smoothie recipes, now that summer is here. Hmm...I'll definitely do so when I visit my parents in two weeks, as my parents and I are trying to think of ways to get more protein into her diet. Smoothies made with protein powder could be one way to do that.

I expected Croatia and England to win yesterday, although I thought that Croatia would have an easier time of it, and that England would struggle to beat Sweden. When the quarterfinal pairings were announced I predicted a Brasil-Croatia final, but the Belgians clearly outplayed the Brasileiros. I'm not confident which teams will win next week's semifinal matches, but I think that the Belgium-France winner will take home the Copa do Mundo.

Edited: Jul 8, 9:29am Top

I think that the Belgium-France winner will take home the Copa do Mundo.

No! Don’t say that!

Jul 8, 9:41am Top

Unfortunately, I agree with him - my prediction for the final is France-Croatia, with France winning. Though, I have to confess the thought of a France-England final has some appeal. 😀

Edited: Jul 8, 10:30am Top

>30 SqueakyChu:, >34 kidzdoc: - My other go-to smoothie that I make and love is a chocolate banana one. I use bananas, vanilla yogurt, vanilla, but use chocolate protein powder and a base of chocolate almond milk. It's delicious. Also, and this may just be me and my obsessions, I will add a nice heaping spoonful of whipped peanut butter to this one. Sometimes, for both the choc-banana and the mango banana, I will also add a spoonful of flax seeds (ground, so it's more like a powder), or oatmeal, just to give it a bit more texture. I have found that neither of those changes the taste at all. I also had an oatmeal-date-vanilla smoothie not long ago and want to try to make that one myself, too. It was pretty good

Jul 8, 10:40am Top

>36 drneutron: *shuts eyes, covers ears* lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalal

Jul 8, 10:52am Top

>33 humouress: Actually the mold that I dropped is still intact so I'm going to continue to use it. It shouldn't leak because the smoothie is soft rather than totally liquid. I'll let you know if it works!

Banana popsicles are good, but put-in-what-ever-you want popsicles are much more exciting! :D

>34 kidzdoc: Darryl, I am a total recipe follower. I can't cook a thing without a recipe. However, a smoothie is whatever you want. Be brave! Experiment! Share your own personal recipes with us.

Don't forget to bring popsicle molds to your parents house. Your mom will love eating frozen smoothies on these very hot days we're having!

I am rooting for Croatia. They worked so hard to beat the Russian team. My mom grew up in Yugoslavia so can that count toward which team I favor? I'm going to have to miss the England-Croatia game as I have an out-of-town appointment that day. I'll try to watch the France-Belgium game on Tuesday.

>36 drneutron: France-England would be quite the competition in my mind. My pick would be England.

>37 jessibud2: I love texture in my smoothies. I usually add nuts, but I think I'll try oats the next time. Great idea! Anything with chocolate would be terrific as well. I've already added peanut butter to some of mine. I wanted to add flax seeds, but didn't feel like looking for them in my freezer. I try harder to find them for upcoming smoothies. :D I also like to add colorful fruit. I recently added plums (which were bright red inside for some reason) to a smoothie. The smoothie/popsicles came out a beautiful pink color!

Jul 8, 11:12am Top

>39 SqueakyChu: As long as France-England didn't lead to another 30-Years War or 100-Years War... 😀

Jul 8, 11:26am Top

>39 SqueakyChu: - Re flax seeds, Madeline. I have been adding a sprinkle of them to my breakfast cereal for years and I only just very recently found out that it's the ground flax seeds that provide the most benefit, health-wise. If not ground, apparently, the seeds themselves don't break down easily. Who knew. Anyhow, I found a bag of ground flax seeds at my favourite health food store and I just keep them in the fridge, not the freezer.

Jul 8, 12:25pm Top

>35 humouress: 😂 I could be wrong! I will continue to root for England, now that all of the teams from the Americas and Iberia have been eliminated, but their past history in World Cup competition makes me anything but confident about their chances.

>36 drneutron: ...or not. A France-England final would be far more exciting, though!

>37 jessibud2: That chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie sounds amazing! I'll definitely give that a try.

>38 humouress: 😂

>39 SqueakyChu: I'm with you for the most part, Madeline. I prefer to have a written recipe as a base, although I may make modifications to it. Speaking of recipes, I'm about to make a Greek tortellini salad, based on a recipe I found online and should have made yesterday, which includes a freshly made dressing, but I'll leave out the sugar that is called for, as Tui, Deborah and others suggested. I'll post a photo and the recipe on my Facebook timeline and 75 Books thread shortly.

France (1998) and England (1966) are the only two teams still alive that have previously won the World Cup, and it would be nice to see another team win, although I'll still pull for England, if only to stay on good terms with Paul Harris and my other English friends.

>40 drneutron: 😂 Right!

>41 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. I'll look for ground flax seeds this weekend; hopefully my local Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's will have them.

Edited: Jul 8, 7:58pm Top

>39 SqueakyChu: Hopefully not!

>41 jessibud2: I always freeze nuts and seeds to keep them fresh as long as possible. There is limited space in my refrigerator, but I have a stand-up freezer (which is over 40 years old!) which does a great job of keeping things for a long time.

>42 kidzdoc: I always look forward to your recipes, Darryl!

I'm on the outs with Whole Foods. I became pretty upset that, in order to have a discount there now, one needs to have Amazon Prime. I don't think Jeff Bezos needs more of my money. I am planning to food shop more at Trader Joe's, MOMs (My Organic Market, a locally owned organic food store), and Moti's (a locally owned Middle Eastern market which sells kosher foods and Israeli imports). I can't change the shopping behavior of others, but I can change how I spend my money and to whom I give it (while it still lasts).

Jul 8, 4:07pm Top

>26 SqueakyChu: Saturday is just information desk work, giving out and taking books back. On other days I do more looking for economically relevant (for Switzerland) e-papers in the internet and download them unto our servers. Otherwise I do ILL (Interlibrary Loan).

Smoothies sound nice. Suki liked them as well, and we tried all different ingredients, like red beans (often used in Korea for popsicles).

Belgium might beat France - it's a Francophone battle, so the Belgians will do everything to win against this rival. Croatia will have a chance only when the English have a bad day. Russia was making too many mistakes. Croatia is good in penalty shooting. England can win during the regular time - not afterwards.

Jul 8, 4:41pm Top

>44 paulstalder: Are you picking Belgium? I'm going with Croatia because I think it would be fun for them to win. Polaris- would certainly not like for England to have a bad day. :)

Jul 8, 6:20pm Top

>43 SqueakyChu: - Madeline, good for you! I was having a conversation over on Joe's thread but I copied part of it onto my thread just now. It's about shopping selectively and purposefully. Sadly, for me, that means trying my best to boycott products (and not only food) from the States. As I mentioned, I don't have a vote in the States but my money will be my vote of protest against trump and his evil. Money is the only thing that matters to him and while I know my little boycott won't hurt his economy, I can only hope that maybe others will follow my example. Believe me, this isn't as easy as it sounds. As you said so well: I can't change the shopping behavior of others, but I can change how I spend my money and to whom I give it (while it still lasts).

Jul 8, 7:57pm Top

>46 jessibud2: Shelley, I believe you are doing the absolutely right thing. Everything that 45 has done will hurt the US economy. It really needs to nosedive before Americans will wake up and see what a shambles he has made of it. He has no shame.

I also buy food from a CSA (community-supported agriculture), a local Maryland organic farm. I get a box of produce once a month as I share this with two other people. I know the farmer personally. I also know the couple who owns the middle eastern market. They have a son who went to school with my daughter in elementary school.

I don't believe that the lowest price is the always the best bargain. I can't affect how others shop, but I'm glad that you and I are watching to whom we give our money. Now there are already two of us!

Jul 12, 11:23pm Top

35. Loving Every Child - Janusz Korczak

July 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (E)

This is a very moving little book. I picked it up at a local Little Free Library because I saw it was a book put out by PJ Library, an organization which provides free books of Jewish interest to Jewish families with small children. Although my grandchildren receive these books, I haven't read most of them. This book was directed to parents and not to children.

It contains excerpts of writing by Janusz Korczak who was a Polish doctor, writer, and head of an orphanage in the years before the rise of the Nazis in Europe. The writing reflects Korczak's thoughts and philosophy about children. In this volume, he shares these thoughts with parents. Sadly, neither the children in his orphanage nor Korczak survived the Nazi invasion of Poland. Korczak's story is told at the end of this book. It is also illustrated with a few pen-and-ink drawings made by an individual who had been in his orphanage and who miraculously survived the war.

I knew about Korczak before reading this book, but this volume greatly added to my knowledge and respect for a man who, in turn, showed great respect to the children in his charge.

Rating - 5 stars

Jul 13, 4:47am Top

>34 kidzdoc: >36 drneutron: I hope you boys realise I'm not talking to you. For another four years.

It would be nice to see another country get the right to wear a star on their shirts. But then, France is the last African team in the Cup. Dilemmas, dilemmas...

Jul 13, 5:54am Top

Shabat shalom. Have a nice quiet weekend.

Jul 13, 3:53pm Top

>50 paulstalder: Thank you, Paul. Have a great weekend, too!

Jul 14, 3:17pm Top

Happy weekend! You've motivated me to try and make smoothies today. : )

Jul 14, 4:46pm Top

>52 Berly: Have a nice weekend. I just drank one. It had strawberries, banana, coconut flakes, vanilla yoghurt, vanilla, maple syrup, milk and even a few slices of cucumber in it. I froze two popsicles of the same mixture. :D

Jul 14, 7:16pm Top

Madeline, I find that when I freeze my smoothies, when I go to eat them, they have an *icy* texture rather than a smooth one. Do you find that, too? They are still tasty but I don't like that texture in an ice cream-like treat. This week is the first time I have tried freezing smoothies.

Jul 14, 10:34pm Top

>54 jessibud2: They are icy rather than smooth because they don't have cream in them like ice cream does. Ever since my cholesterol had been high, I'd been pretty much cutting out saturated fats (like cream). I miss real ice cream, but then I get some every now and then for a treat. I pretty much stopped making it at home although I really do miss it. I also think that the smooth feel also comes from when cream, whole milk, etc. is churned (like it does in my ice cream machine). So it's either we get creamy delicious taste...or...a healthy-for-us frozen confection.

Jul 15, 5:40am Top

Even ice cream freezes with large ice crystals if it's not churned while it's freezing (hence ice cream makers) - as we found when my husband kept leaving the ice cream out to melt before serving and subsequent servings were horrible.

Maybe if you stir it once or twice when it's semi-frozen?

Edited: Jul 15, 10:15am Top

>56 humouress: You're right! Well, the smoothie gets "churned" just a bit when it's being blended. I'm not stirring it for twenty minutes! It's an idea, though. I'll let Shelley try it. Haha! I could try putting it in my ice cream maker, but I don't have the volume (or enough popsicle molds) for that.

Edited: Jul 15, 9:47pm Top

Madeline, I thought I'd post this here for you. I have been cleaning up my inbox and forgot that I had saved this, from the blog of one of our supermarkets:

ice pop ideas

I haven't tried any of them yet but they look tempting, don't they?

Edited: Jul 17, 8:44pm Top

36. The Mountain, the Desert and the Pomegranate: Stories from Morocco and Beyond - Vanessa Paloma

July 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book you find on the top shelf

This is a small volume, but it is a beautiful and touching book of short stories, many of which were inspired by true events. The stories draw on the rich traditions of Moroccan Jews. Each story is accompanied by a grainy but interesting photograph. The back of the book has a useful glossary.

There were two stories that stood out for me. The first was "La Mantilla" in which a strand of silk, which started out in a bolt of cloth, ended up as part of a mantilla passed from generation to generation. The second story I found very appealing was "Zohra's Song" in which a green gecko living inside a house in Casablanca learned how to communicate with a baby. The epilogue was lovely as well.

Rating 4.5 stars

Jul 19, 10:12pm Top

37. A Personal Matter - Kenzaburo Oe

July 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book whose title’s opening letters names an animal (ape)

This was the weirdest book! It took me the longest time to read it, but now I am thankfully done. The story was about a man with a failing marriage, dreams of visiting Africa, and a wife who gave birth to a son with a birth defect called "brain hernia."

You could say this story was about the negative reaction of the new dad to his newborn child. I didn't like this book for several reasons although there was no fault in the writing itself. I hated the idea of a baby being malformed or maltreated. I hated the protagonist going outside of his own family to deal with his emotional issues. I disliked the fact that the mother of the child was an afterthought, and we never heard much about her in this story. I'm so glad I will never have to meet Bird, the new dad, in real life.

The ending totally surprised me. It didn't seem to fit with the story although the author tried hard to make it fit.

What a dark piece of writing! I have read another work which I liked much more by this same author so I will give him another chance in the future.

Rating - 2 stars

Edited: Jul 20, 2:55am Top

>60 SqueakyChu: That's almost the same set of reactions I had to A Personal Matter. The ending didn't really flow from everything else, and yes the wife being an afterthought was repugnant.

Edited: Jul 20, 12:36am Top

>61 quondame: I feel bad disliking this book so much. There were others who read this book and called it “brilliant” for its writing. I have to like the experience of reading a book in order to rate it highly. I really didn’t want to finish this book but did so because the author is a Nobel prize winner.

I also wanted to like this book because it was given to me by a friend of my son’s who was moving to Japan and now lives in Tokyo. I felt so happy when he gave me some books of contemporary Japanese fiction prior to his move. It doesn’t seem right that I should dislike a book he so generously gave me. :)

Jul 20, 3:02am Top

>62 SqueakyChu: It is sad that you can't share liking the book with your son's friend, though you can still ask what he found to like in it. What the book meant to contemporary Japanese men and what it means to today's women can't be the same thing. As it is a translation we can only get hints of the quality of Ōe's language. But the book describes really bad behavior and the end doesn't fit, so it falls short of any kind of brilliant for me.

Edited: Jul 20, 12:17pm Top

>63 quondame: I'll have to ask him about it. He studied Japanese literature in college. He's American (of Korean parentage).

Here on LT, lilisin wrote a really good review of A Personal Matter on her thread. It's worth a read:

I totally did like another book I read by Kenzaburo Oe back in 2012. That book was Nip the buds, shoot the kids. It was also very dark, Dark doesn't bother me. I have to be able to get involved in a story. I didn't do a public review of that book because what I wrote contains spoilers, but in my private notes I noted all the cruelty in that book. I ended up rating it at 4.5 stars.

Here's part of what I wrote (to myself):

"There was so much cruelty in this book. It reminded me of a Japanese Lord of the Flies.
The townspeople were so mean to the teens of the reformatory. There were abandonment, meager food, imprisonment, exposure to a deadly disease, and beatings. After the villagers abandoned the teens, why were they surprised to find that the teens tried to survive by breaking into their houses? It seemed to me that, in extremely desperate circumstances, even a meager crumb of joy is cherished. I could see that in the friendship of the narrator and the soldier, the relationship between the narrator and his brother, and the relationship between the narrator and the girl. When finally the narrator ran away, he had nothing to run toward...only things to escape"

I very much liked the writing in that book and still want to read more books by Oe.

P.S. I love LT so much just for this reason...that I can go back and remember all the details of my past reading experiences. I used to keep such notes on my PC but LT is so much better!

Jul 20, 1:34pm Top

>64 SqueakyChu: Thanks, that does sound like a more worthwhile story. Before LT I had a 12 years of lists and a couple of years of short footnotes, but when I looked at my July 2018 finished list I couldn't remember enough of the despicable characters to have much of a choice - though I think it might be Bird. I can and have done dark, though I sure like my favorites prospering in my comfort reads, but the resolution for APM has so little integration. Bird is portrayed as having no foundation on which to build yet we are told his house stands.

Jul 20, 1:58pm Top

>65 quondame: What I couldn't understand was Bird's epiphany at the end of the book. He went from despicable to just a nervous new father in just a few pages. It was not a believable change for me. It happened too quickly.

What is APM?

Jul 20, 2:05pm Top

>66 SqueakyChu: Exactly. I felt that Ōe ran out of creativity and just finished it to finish it. What I did like is the narley man as reptile that I recall from the Vaughn Bodē cartoons of the 70s where men were horny lizards and women were fabulous concoctions of curves. I think part of the poisonous masculinity conversation has to acknowledge that many men do feel their sexually is gross and to idolize the objects of desire.

Edited: Jul 20, 4:42pm Top

>67 quondame: So was Bird’s overcoming his poisonous masculinity trait or feeling by his relationship with Hishimi a fairly significant part of A Personal Matter? I totally was not interested in reading about how Bird overcame that.

Edited: Jul 20, 4:44pm Top

>67 quondame: So was Bird’s overcoming his poisonous masculinity trait and/or feeling by his relationship with Himiko a fairly significant part of A Personal Matter? I totally was not interested in reading about how Bird overcame that.

Edited: Jul 20, 5:42pm Top

>69 SqueakyChu: As written the best I can say about Bird was that he balked at jumping off into the unknown over the body of his first born. I can't think of any evidence that he overcame anything at all. I was sort of confirmed sort of amused by his difficulties accepting his sexuality, as ever since my exposure to Vaughn Bodē I have been trying to explain that vision and the attraction that vision had to men who meant a great deal to me. It turned out they were the wrong men, which I would have known if I'd have understood better.

Jul 20, 7:09pm Top

>70 quondame: I'll have to check out the Vaughn Bodē cartoons. I'm not familiar with them.

Jul 28, 2:29pm Top

38. Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America - Garrison Keillor

June 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (D)

I have mixed feelings about this book which someone left in my own Little Free Library. I had always seen many books by this author but never felt compelled to read any of them. I noticed the word Democrat in the title so I started to browse through it. It seemed interesting enough so I started reading it. Then I got a creepy feeling when I learned that the author was one of those men who was recently accused of sexual harassment. I decided to finish reading the book anyway.

Basically the book glorifies Democrats and bashes Republicans. I was surprised at the hateful rhetoric used in this book against Republicans because this book was published in 2004. The venom is just the same as now (2018) regardless of which side of the fence one stands on. I did not know this partisan hatred had been so deep for so long. I felt depressed after reading this book, not relieved.

One thing that did surprise me, however, was that the author, who is from rural Minnesota, is such a staunch Democrat. So much for stereotypes (although I personally don't believe in them).

I probably would not recommend this book, more because it is dated than anything else. However, I'm glad I had the chance to read it.

Rating - 2.5 stars

Jul 28, 5:11pm Top

I had the same feeling about reading the new book by Al Franken. I had requested it (in audio) from the library and during the rather long wait until it arrived, his own *calling out* became public. Then the book arrived and I decided not to get it.

I feel the same way now about one of the Toronto Blue Jays (baseball) players. A young guy, newly married, new dad, was arrested and charged with domestic violence recently. The MLB made a statement that they take such charges seriously and put him on *administrative leave*. Now I am hearing rumblings that he may be back playing very soon. I am so disappointed in the Blue Jays organization and also in the MLB, for caving. Unless and until they follow through and make a bold statement that such behaviour is not acceptable AT ALL, the message they send is that it IS pardonable. All you have to do is hide out (with pay) for the term of the detention and then all is forgiven. And what about his victims (presumably his wife but it was never stated.) If he truly does come back to play on the team, I am sad, heartbroken really, that I may stop watching altogether.

Edited: Jul 28, 10:54pm Top

>73 jessibud2: I understand what you’re saying, but YOU not watching Blue Jay baseball?! That would be hard to believe.

I have new team to follow. Rather it’s an old team, but I just started following DC United mid season this year. It’s my local area’s professional soccer team. Right now they’re in last place so there’s nowhere to go but up. Sorry you don’t follow soccer as I love to chat with others here on LT about soccer.

When I was a kid, I used to listen to Orioles baseball on the radio with my dad. As a young adult, I seriously followed Redskins football on television until free agency tore my team apart. Now a senior citizen, I’ve settled on soccer and especially love watching games between nations.

Edited: Jul 29, 2:07am Top

I'll talk football with you! Though the only American team I've heard of is LA Galaxy because all the international stars seem to follow David Beckham there once they get tired of playing in Europe. Not that I know anything else about them - or, to be honest, any club except whatever I can understand of my kids hotly debating around me. But every four years, we can talk about the World Cup :0)

Jul 29, 10:05am Top

>75 humouress: Oh, the World Cup! For me it was so sad this year. First, the USA never even qualified, although they looked really bad. They were an embarrassment. I didn't like when they fired Klinnsman as couch and reinstated Bruce Arena. Next, all of the Americas (north and south) were eliminated from the last rounds. There was no team to root for in the finals...so I chose Croatia because of their valiant effort (and my mom grew up in Yugoslavia), but they, too, lost.

If you want to follow LA Galaxy, that's fine with me. We can both follow the game when my team, DC United, plays LA Galaxy. I do that with kidzdoc who follows Atlanta United (which is a terrific team!) when they play DC United.

I also like to follow individual players on some teams. Zack Steffen on the Columbus Crew is a goalkeeper who played for a college I attended (University of Maryland). I also like to watch Lionel Messi play (for Barcelona or for Argentina) and watch Neymar writhe around on the ground!

By the way, DC United just acquired Wayne Rooney, the well-known player from England who scored his first goal for DC United yesterday (and ended up with a facial injury). I'll still have to check out what exactly happened na dhow he's doing today.

I'll talk to you in 2022 about the World Cup then! :D

Jul 29, 10:29am Top

Thanks for taking one for the team by reading Homegrown Democrat, Madeline. I was an occasional listener of his program Prairie Home Companion, and was very disappointed to hear about the sexual harassment charges that were leveled against him.

ESPN is reporting that Wayne Rooney may have sustained a broken nose in yesterday's match, and he suffered a facial gash that required five stitches. He'll be evaluated next week to see if he can play in next weekend's match.

Jul 30, 5:26pm Top

39. Unlikely Friendships - Jennifer S. Holland

July 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue (U)

This was a very sweet book. It's about the friendships that developed between species of (mostly) animals who don't usually associate with each other. The stories are accompanied by beautiful photographs which highlight the warmth and affection each of the animal friends derives from and gives to the other.

My only complaint about this book is that, after a while, the stories seem to run into each other so that each individual story doesn't get the special attention it needs. I prefer to read a single nonfiction book about animal relationships for this reason. However, there often isn't enough to tell about just one animal's relationship with another animal.

I particularly liked the story that highlighted a dog's interaction with a school of dolphins. Now that was very unusual!

Rating - 4 stars

Edited: Jul 30, 5:32pm Top

>77 kidzdoc: It is so hard to decide what to do about reading such a book. I also felt disappointed in Al Franken, but it is so hard to know for sure what happened and if the charges against both men were deserved. I am a bit skeptical, but then I am not one of those who leveled charges.

Yeah. I'm so sad about Wayne Rooney. It was a horrifying sight! I missed the first half of the game and only got to see his goal in replay. I did get to see his injury in instant full, bloody glory. Wow! What an initiation to DC United (although he did play in three previous games! This was his first DC United goal, though. I also missed seeing Paul Arriola play in our last game. He had to sit that game out because he had accumulated two yellow cards. I'm not surprised. He's very fiery. So is Rooney, I'm afraid. Well, at least we have some energy in our DC United games. That's more than I can say about the USMNT. :(

Jul 30, 6:44pm Top

>78 SqueakyChu: - I have that book, too! Madeline, did you ever read the (children's) book about Owen and Mzee? It's a true story and your grandson might enjoy it. It is about the relationship that developed between a tortoise and a hippo. \it is wonderfully told, with photos throughout. I used it in my classroom many times.

Edited: Jul 30, 8:56pm Top

>80 jessibud2: You gave me that board book! I’m saving it for my granddaughter who is now just starting to be interested in books. My grandson refused to let me read it to him! He only likes chapter books and books about super heroes now. I recognized that chapter about Owen and Mzee from the board book! When my granddaughter gets a little older, I’ll look for the book you just described.

Edited: Jul 31, 9:35pm Top

I was once falsely accused of sexual harassment when I was in my early twenties by a disgruntled white female coworker who was in danger of losing her job due to her poor performance, and did so to save her own skin. Fortunately our boss, another white female who liked me but had no compunction about using the N word, even in my presence, found out about the accusation shortly after I did. Sue was absolutely livid, as she knew that I was an excellent worker and team player, unlike Ellen, and that Ellen had as much appeal to me as a dirty sock, so after she received confirmation from me that I was innocent she marched into the office of the president of the company and told him her side of the story. He called me into his office immediately afterward, and asked for my account. (It was a small company, so he knew me well, especially since I was the only black employee in a technical position in the lab.) After he heard from Sue and me Ellen was fired on the spot, and I never saw her again, even though she and I lived in the same neighborhood and used to drive together to work. That episode occurred over 35 years ago, and I recognize that it could have completely derailed my young career and eliminated the possibility of me becoming a physician if Ellen's fake story had been believed.

I mention this to say that my background makes me pause whenever a man is accused of sexual harassment or abuse. However, the woman must always be heard and given the benefit of the doubt IMO, and if multiple women accuse a man then I am far more likely to believe them. There have been many incidents in which a girlfriend of a professional athlete has admitted to a false accusation against their man, especially when they have been kicked off of the gravy train, but just as many if not more of these athletes have violently abused these women as well.

I saw a photo of the badly bloodied Wayne Rooney after he suffered that injury, but I didn't watch a video of it. Hopefully he'll have recovered in time to perform in the pitch this weekend.

Right about the USMNT. I'll continue to follow the very successful USWNT, of course, but I won't get my hopes up about the men until they start winning international matches against tiny but hungry island nations away from the familiar pitches on American soil.

Jul 31, 10:21pm Top

>82 kidzdoc: True justice is so hard. Truth is so elusive. It’s always one person’s word against another. Then there are always so many outside influences. I’m thankful that others knew you well enough to trust your side of the story. It’s not fair that innocent people are made to be victims...even by those whom we once befriended.

I feel kind of sorry for Mattocks on the DC UTD team. He has been playing so well and in the position of one striker that he must now share with Rooney. He must feel so disappointed. I think Olsen has been good so far about having these two men share that same position. Now, however, Rooney is captain. We’ll have to wait to see what happens.

I’m curious as to whom they are going to have as coach going forward for the USMNT. Many people disliked Klinnsman, but I liked him much more than Bruce Arena. I’m more for bringing in someone new than going back into yesteryears.

Who’s your favorite soccer player, Darryl?

Edited: Aug 1, 1:01am Top

>82 kidzdoc: Daryl, your non sequitur threw me :0)

... these athletes have violently abused these women as well.

I saw a photo of the badly bloodied Wayne Rooney

Aug 1, 10:41am Top

Hi - hope that one of you Old Time LTers checks in on
"if multiple women accuse a man than I am far more likely to believe them."

If not, here goes: Sad that this horrible racism was his experience,


IF that one single woman accuser that he doesn't want to believe was Michelle (or Malia or Sasha) Obama
OR Ruth Baden Ginsberg
OR somebody else's Mama
OR Sister
OR his Wife
OR Daughter,

would a man then believe the truth, that IT happened...or do we still wait for a crowd to verify it? while the perpetrator goes on...

Aug 1, 3:17pm Top

>85 m.belljackson: It's really heard to learn the truth. Innocent victims get caught up in such situations probably more than we know. Yet others who are perpetrators go free. How is one to know for sure? If it were me, I'd go by the person whom I trust the most to be telling the truth.

Aug 1, 3:59pm Top

>86 SqueakyChu:

Anita Hill wanted us to believe her! How difficult they made that truth.

Edited: Aug 5, 5:44pm Top

40. For Every Sin - Aharon Appelfeld

August 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book whose ISBN contains a sequence of a three-in-a-row number (ISBN 1555843182)

This turned out to be such a haunting, moving story. The last two paragraphs brought me to tears. It's a novel about Theo, a young man who was released from the camps in the Ukraine after World War II. He planned to walk by himself across Europe to his home town of Baden-bei-Wein in Austria. Along the way, he tried to avoid other survivors, but he did encounter them from time to time. His exchanges of conversation, hot coffee, and cigarettes, were fraught with a heaviness of spirit. On many occasions, he remembered or imagined conversations with his mother, a beloved free spirit but mentally ill, and with his dad, a serious but rather distant paternal figure.

This is a story of the Holocaust, but not a story of atrocities. It is a story of feelings and what it was like to be a survivor. It gives the sense of alienation and the uncertainty about hope for the future.

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Aug 5, 5:54pm Top

Haha! This is my newest hobby...painting rocks. The idea is to paint a rock and hide it in a park. Whens someone finds it, they take a picture of it, post it on Facebook (in "Rockville Rocks" - no pun intended) and rehide it for someone else to find. I found my first one that someone hid in my Little Free Library about a year ago. Today I made my own (a box elder beetle) to hide in my Little Free Library for someone else to find.

Today I was working on a firefly and a spotted cucumber beetle. The rock pictured here is an ilia underwing moth. My friend Barbara wanted it so I gave it to her to take home! :D

Edited: Aug 5, 6:34pm Top

>89 SqueakyChu: - Very cool! Reminds me of a gift we used to make for Father's Day in my class: the kids painted rocks in this same theme and the cards said *Dad, You Rock!*. :-)

>88 SqueakyChu: - Sounds good but too heavy for me at the moment.

Edited to add this. I just now found this article in the Toronto Star's online newspaper. Funny, because I had not heard of doing such a thing until right now, when I read your >89 SqueakyChu::


Edited: Aug 5, 7:39pm Top

>90 jessibud2: Nice article. Painting rocks has become very popular here now. I’m really happy about this because I’ve wanted to do something artistic for quite a while. Two years ago, I started drawing pictures of birds using colored pencils but that activity didn’t stick. I’m more liable to keep doing rock painting because it’s fun to do with others. I’ve done this now both with Barbara and a previous session with my grandson. We both painted ladybugs. :D

Aug 6, 1:27am Top

>89 SqueakyChu: I recently saw something on Pinterest about mosaicing (making mosaics - is that how you spell it?) rocks.

How do people know to photograph and post their pictures when they find the painted rocks?

Aug 6, 10:28pm Top

>88 SqueakyChu: Nice review of For Every Sin, Madeline. I own a copy of his novel Blooms of Darkness, but I haven't read it yet. Have you read it?

>89 SqueakyChu: Nice idea!

Aug 10, 8:29pm Top

I have not been anywhere near as active as I normally like, Madeline, but I do hope to get around to see most of my friends this weekend.

I have never been accused, falsely or otherwise, of anything as heinous as sexual harassment but I can well imagine the stigma if it were to happen to me. I have faced it from the other side - so to speak - when employees have brought complaints to me and I have to say that the sensitivity required to handle such issues is taxing. In the instant matter that I was involved in - it did appear to be something of a misunderstanding between the two and they went on to work reasonably happily together for several years more.

I did have occasion to dismiss one staff member who was caught masturbating in the office after hours by two of the female staff and, in wiping his PC, we found that he must have spent as much time downloading pornography as earning fees for the firm. I recently bumped into him working on another project and I do hope his hands were clean when I shook them!

Have a lovely weekend.

Aug 10, 9:39pm Top

Just catching up here. You've been reading some heavy books lately. Glad you get to lighten things up a little with the rocks! So cute!

Edited: Aug 13, 11:57pm Top

>92 humouress:

How do people know to photograph and post their pictures when they find the painted rocks?

On the back of my rocks, I write the following...in very small letters:

MTG - 2018
ILIA UNDERWING MOTH (or whatever kind of insect it is)

>93 kidzdoc: I have not read any of Aharon Appelfeld's other books except for Badenheim 1939, but I read that so long ago, it's probably worthwhile for me to reread it if I get the chance. I have some other of his books and will certainly try to read them. I probably didn't appreciate his writing nearly enough when I was younger and read Badenheim 1939.

My friend Barbara liked that moth and asked to keep it so I gave it to her. I also made a Japanese beetle which I gave to my older son on his birthday. My daughter has the ladybug I made for her, and it’s now sitting on her desk at her work.

I'm on a roll! My daughter showed me how to post pictures on Instagram so I'm probably going to log them all on there as I finish each one, I don't want to load down my phone with those pictures, I know they'll never get transferred to my PC, and I'd love to have a record of them as I won't be keeping most of them.

Edited: Aug 13, 11:54pm Top

>94 PaulCranswick: At least the first situation you described had a fairly satisfactory outcome. Yikes in that second case!

>95 Berly: I'm lightening things up a bit now with a biography of the USWNT soccer player, Carli Lloyd. It's not the greatest writing, but I’m enjoying learning about how she got into professional soccer, and I love to watch her and her teammates playing on the pitch.

Edited: Aug 13, 11:49pm Top

41. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino

Read a book whose title suggests a journey

What an experience this book was! It took me two tries to finish it, but I sailed through on my second try. I would warn anyone who wants to read this postmodern novel, to allot enough time to it as it is not an easy read. Within this novel itself are ten unfinished and unrelated novels. If that doesn't scare you away, prepare yourself for some intriguing reading. Know that this novel is about books and reading. The plot weaves around the inserted novels which are incorporated for a reason you, the Reader, will only find out at the end. I was totally absorbed in this book my second go round. The only thing I found disconcerting was that the writing was so good, I often wondered if some of what the author was trying to say was simply floating away over my head. It is too involved a novel for me to ever consider giving it a reread, but I would love to try another Calvino novel...after a short break to unwind!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Aug 13, 9:53pm Top

I had that book on my shelf for years, Madeline, but never managed to get into it. I can't remember if I put it into an LFL or brought it to a meetup but whatever, it's no longer on my shelf.

Aug 13, 11:51pm Top

>99 jessibud2: It’s truly not a novel for everyone. It takes some work as parts of it seem unrelated to other parts. It makes sense in the end, but it is very complicated. I even surprised myself by liking it! :)

Aug 14, 3:19am Top

>89 SqueakyChu: I first thought that that is a cookie, maybe a new version of a madeleine :)
And I like your slogan 'Rockville rocks rock'

Aug 14, 10:50am Top

>101 paulstalder: That would be a cute cookie, but cookies don't last too long at my house!

Say that last phrase three times quickly. Haha!

Edited: Aug 14, 3:16pm Top

Greetings from Switzerland, I can read that: Gefilte Fisch
I saw that today in a new shop, a Siberian shop :)

Aug 14, 4:30pm Top

>103 paulstalder: That is too cool! Did you sound that out from the Hebrew letters? That's how I read Yiddish. What's gefilte fish doing in a Siberian shop?!

Aug 14, 5:09pm Top

>104 SqueakyChu: I can read the Hebrew letters and since I know that Yiddish is written with these, it is not too difficult to get the meaning.
It is apparently a Russian shop. Friends who spent years in Lithuania took me along, because they also have Lithuanian, Latvian, Georgian, Armenian stuff - and a section with kosher food from Israel.

Edited: Aug 14, 9:31pm Top

42. Soccer Star Lionel Messi - John Albert Torres

August 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book about a sports star
When I first ordered this book from the library, I did not realize it was a children's book. After I discovered it was, I thought it would be fun to read anyway as I am a Lionel Messi fan.

I was right! Although the book was published in 2014 and doesn't have the current stats on Messi, I enjoyed the book nevertheless. There were some fun facts about Messi (His nickname was The Flea/La Pulga because he was so small) as well as some interesting personal information (He suffered from and was treated for growth hormone disorder). It described why he plays for Barca (the team of Barcelona, Spain) as well as for the Argentina national team. He is a dual citizen of both countries. He was born in Argentina, but he moved to Spain to play on Barcelona's soccer leagues so his medical expenses could be covered.

The end of the book was very sweet in that it described how Messi gives back to those institutions that helped him in his life. The Leo Messi Foundation helps needy children and also allows sick children in Argentina get medical help in Spain. Messi is also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the international organization promoting children's rights.

In addition, I very much enjoyed the color photos of Messi at different ages...and with different hairstyles. All in all, this was quite a fun book!

Rating - 4 stars

Aug 14, 11:57pm Top

I loved If On a Winter's Night a Traveler! I'm glad that you also enjoyed it, Madeline.

Nice review of the Messi biography.

I'll look for your photos on Instagram!

Aug 15, 12:05am Top

>96 SqueakyChu: I like the way you’re making all your rocks resemble specific insects. Very clever. I assume that’s your thing and not a requisite by Rockville Rocks?

>107 SqueakyChu: The guy is passionate about his football. I noticed that this World Cup. Sometimes a bit too much so though; he was not very gracious accepting silver at the last World Cup.

Aug 15, 3:36pm Top

>106 SqueakyChu: no, I didn't buy any Israeli products. I brought a bottle of Lithuanian beer for my son, that's all. Next time (if I'll remember, that is) I will check for hashahar products.

I don't know of any kosher bread spread. Camille Bloch produces kosher chocolate since 1953, there are other chocolate manufacturers producing kosher stuff. Last year I took some kosher chocolate bars over to Israel and gave them away there.

Aug 15, 11:58pm Top

>110 paulstalder: I still love to eat Elite bittersweet chocolate bars. I get them in the same store where I buy the chocolate spread. :D

Aug 16, 2:04am Top

Love the Messi book. Course I love soccer! Can't wait to see more of your rock pictures....

Aug 16, 8:38am Top

>112 Berly: It's easier for me to just post my rock pictures on Instagram. Follow me there at "squeakychusssssss". I was mad that someone else had my username there so I added seven "s"s to my usual screen name t make my point! That is so frustrating. :(

Edited: Aug 18, 12:28am Top

43. Phone Call with a Fish - Silvia Vecchini

When I picked up this book, I loved the cover art - gorgeous colors, deep, dark blue, light teal, sand, and white. I also happen to like the colors and designs of all things natural, including fish.

I found this story intriguing, although puzzling. When I finished reading it, I wasn't sure exactly what it was trying to say until I read the author's note on the back cover.

I was trying to figure out exactly what was wrong with the boy who wouldn't speak to his classmates. Was he shy? Was he mute? Was he autistic? Never mind that I wasn't sure. This confusion could be a good conversation starter with the child to whom you, the adult, are reading this book.

I loved that this book had a part about a science museum as I had recently visited a science museum with my own five-year-old grandson. I saw pictures in this book of things that we saw together and did together in that museum!

I love that this is a story about how one child learns to connect with another child, how all children are different, and how important it is that we reach out to others - even if they aren't part of the mainstream.

This book can be read on many levels. I think the story is lovely and has a heartwarming message.

Rating - 4.5 stars

Edited: Aug 27, 7:47pm Top

44. The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa

August 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book where the author’s last name starts with a vowel – A, E, I, O, or U and for this challenge Y

What a beautiful story! A housekeeper and her ten-year-old son care for and befriend a former mathematics professor whose memory was damaged in a car accident. Although the professor’s memory lasted no longer than eighty minutes, he pinned notes to his suit to remind him of things, especially who the housekeeper and her son Root were.

Some of the actual math used in this story was a bit over my head, but I didn’t let that throw me. Instead, I sank myself into the warm friendship that ensued between the Professor, the housekeeper, and her son even though the Professor had to begin this process anew every eighty minutes. I found this story very calming except for those times in which I was afraid that something might change the status quo of these three people, each so important to the other two. I especially appreciated that their friendship was intergenerational

Rating 4.5 stars

Aug 29, 9:30am Top

I loved The Housekeeper and the Professor as well, Madeline.

Edited: Aug 29, 10:50am Top

>166 This is such a great book to recommend to everyone, Darryl. It has all warm fuzzies and nothing to offend. It's also heartwarming without being maudlin.

Edited: Sep 2, 10:30am Top

45. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type - Doreen Cronin

This book is hilarious. The cows have an electric typewriter so they make demands on Farmer Brown by typing a note to him. Then the hens do the same thing! Along comes a neutral party--the duck, The outcome is not what you might suspect.

I think it would be great fun to read this book to a preschooler because the ideas are silly, the illustrations are terrific, and the story introduces quite a few ideas to discuss. In addition, you can explain to a preschooler what a typewriter is before they all completely disappear! :D

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Sep 2, 10:36am Top

>118 SqueakyChu: I like the first words: 'Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type.' I'd like to watch these cows typing away - they must have a very robust typewriter :)

Edited: Sep 2, 12:37pm Top

>119 paulstalder: It was an electric typewriter. I'm not sure how they plugged it in though. The book is so funny. The cows and the hens wanted an electric blanket to keep warm in the cold barn. In the end, Farmer Brown gave the cows and the hens an electric blanket in exchange for the typewriter. However, the duck took the typewriter and typed a letter to Farmer Brown asking for a diving board because it was too boring otherwise at the pond. :D

Sadly, this was a book that my grandson refused to let me read to him. At age five, he considers himself too mature for picture books even if he can't read them alone yet. :D

P.S. My daughter is now in Germany. She arrived in Munich with her fiancé this morning. I told her to practice her German! :D

Edited: Sep 4, 12:08am Top

46. One Tiny Turtle - Nicola Davies

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book that has a name in the title which also was/is a name in the title of any TV series (Tiny House Nation)

What a beautiful book! I've always been fascinated by sea turtles and find this book to be a terrific celebration of them. It tells of the life cycle of a single loggerhead turtle in straight and wavy narrative lines (probably the same motions of a swimming turtle) and gorgeous illustrations. An extra added treat is an index in the back of the book which points readers to specific information on previous pages. This book would be excellent for any preschooler who loves hearing and learning about sea creatures or for a school age child who would like to try reading about this fascinating creature.

Rating - 5 stars

Sep 4, 2:33am Top

>120 SqueakyChu: a diving board why not?

My kids enjoyed looking at picture books with me and pointing out everything they see and not, for example they looked at the faces of the characters and checked if they look according to what I tell them they were feeling/doing/being ... Later they wanted me to read/tell them books - they were too lazy to read for themselves and felt it to be so cozy.

I think I met the wrong people in Munich: they liked beer very much and I don't. Hope your daughter and fiancé are having a good time there

Sep 4, 10:16am Top

47. Less - Andrew Sean Greer

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with a one-word title which contains a double letter (SS)

I have mixed feelings about this book. It's a complicated story that I didn't enjoy very much while I was reading it. I was encouraged by others not to bail on this book, nor did I want to since it was a Pulitzer prize winner. I was expecting it to be uproariously funny based on the blurbs which cover this book, front and back. I found the bulk of this book only mildly amusing.

I only came to appreciate this book after reading the last chapter. That was a long time to wait, but it did pull in the parts of the story that were its meat. The ending was very touching and made my time reading this book worthwhile. What I liked most about this book were its travel aspects as the protagonist visited several countries in an effort to lessen his discomfort about aging and being left single and alone. I also liked the realization of the things that are important to individuals.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you are a person who is not quick to bail on a book as this novel's merit is in reading this novel in its entirety.

Rating - 4 stars

Sep 4, 10:45am Top

>123 SqueakyChu: I think you are talking directly to me -- I got about 50 pages into this one and bailed. And you are not the first person to push for reading through to the end, so I guess I will have to give this one another go...

Sep 4, 3:33pm Top

>124 Berly: I would say that fully 90% of this book was rather tough going for me. The last chapter pulls it all together and makes the slog through the rest of the book worthwhile. Really. Trust me.

I usually bail with books like this, but I wanted to know why it won the Pulitzer Prize. In addition, I adored the book The Confessions of Max Tivoli by the same author and was thrilled to learn that he won the Pulitzer Prize for his newest novel. I still like “Max Tivoli” better, though. :)

Edited: Sep 10, 4:17pm Top

48. The Loser - Thomas Bernhard

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a work by or about a deceased playwright (novel/died 1989)

This was my first exposure to the writing of Thomas Bernhard, and I did approach it with some skepticism. I noticed from the beginning the absence of paragraphs and quotation marks. Since the book did not seem that long, I figured I could tackle it if the story was interesting as I had read an excellent book written in the same style recently.

I was not disappointed. I came away from this novel simply saying "Wow!" I was very much taken by Bernhard's story of three friends who studied piano together at the Mozarteum in Austria. The tale is told from the point of view of one friend, the narrator, who learns of the deaths of both of his classmates at approximately the same age. Glenn Gould was a piano virtuoso who died of a stroke while playing a particularly difficult piece on the piano. Wertheimer died of suicide after no longer playing the piano. The story examined what happened as pieced together by the narrator.

The story was easy to read, but very puzzling. Both the author and the narrator were Austrians. In this novel, there is nothing but disdain for Austria. Often in the narrative, the narrator would express two opposing thoughts and make both of those seem credible. Im not sure how he did this! The narrator was also able to keep repeating the same things over and over again in such a way that whatever he expressed was fascinating.

I can see why Thomas Bernhard as an author is held in such high regard. I look forward to reading more of his works.

My copy of the book by the University of Chicago Press had an exceptional Afterword which discussed both the author and this work. I found this very informative and satisfying.

Rating - 5 stars

Sep 6, 8:32pm Top

I am very bothered by an absence of quotation marks and only once attempted a book that had no paragraphs, either. I didn't last long before ditching it. You have far more patience than I do.

Sep 6, 9:23pm Top

>127 jessibud2: Apparently this author wrote all of his books that way. He was a very well-respected and prize-winning author in Austria. I read another such book by a different author recently (Leeches by David Albahair). In the case of both books, the story lines kept me in their grip so I felt no need to bail.

I have a special place for stopping in books like these. I stop at the end of the first sentence on the left hand page! :)

Sep 9, 11:02pm Top

>128 SqueakyChu: I like your bookmark trick!!

Sep 10, 8:02am Top

The Loser sounds great, Madeline, so I've added it to my wish list.

Edited: Sep 10, 4:25pm Top

>129 Berly: Be sure to try my trick, Kim!

>130 kidzdoc: I can't wait to hear what you think of it, Darryl. It is a challenging read..in a good way.

Sep 11, 11:29pm Top

49. Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep - Teri Sloat

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book which starts with an animal product which lets the animal alive (sheep, wool)

This is the funniest picture book for preschoolers. It's about a farmer who sheared hi s sheep, but the sheep were so cold that they wanted their wool back. The book talks about the process of making wool into yarn but does this in a hilarious poem. You'll discover the outcome of this story on the last page where you'll find lots of sheep wearing brightly colored sweaters! :)

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Sep 12, 8:35pm Top

50. Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide - Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book that has a name in the title which also was/is a name in the title of any t.v series (Life)

This is a totally fascinating book! It's about Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide who is known for her iconic cultural black-and-white photographs of specific people, natural objects, and things. In a most interesting graphic novel, we see drawings of her photographs along with actual photographic reprints. We learn about the life of Graciela Iturbide both through the story and through a biography which follows the graphic novel.

What I found most amazing were the obscure things she photographed, many of which I had never heard of before. Some examples are the muxes (men who take the role of women) of Juchitán and Zobeida, the iguana seller who carries those animals on her head. The bottom line is that the photos taken by Iturbide are artistic in a very unique sense. To fully appreciate Iturbide's work, I'll probably need to continue to read and learn more about her. This graphic novel was surely an inspirational beginning!

Rating - 5 stars

Edited: Sep 13, 6:28pm Top

51. The Museum Guard - Howard Norman

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with a 3 word title and there must be at least one person on the cover

Whoa! This was such an excellent story! I had no idea that I'd like it so much while I was reading it because nothing much seemed to happen for fully the first half of the book. I was also unhappy that the younger guard's love interest, Imogen Linny, seemed delusional, thinking that she was actually a person in a Dutch painting ("Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam'"). I never knew, at that point of the novel, how important that fact was to the very detailed plot to follow. The only thing I can say about the tempo of this book is to go along with it and wait to see what happens. You will not be disappointed.

Basically the story moves from the narrator, Defoe Russett, to Imogen as she goes deeper and deeper into her delusion while well-meaning folks try to help her. Those folks, though, are not sure, if by feeding her fantasy, they are helping her or harming her. It will be for you, the reader to decide at the end of the book. I actually liked the last part of the book the best, although it was a series of letters. They were so descriptive and astonishing! They described what happened to Imogen after she was escorted to Amsterdam to meet the artist who painted the woman she imagined herself to be.

I read this book because I liked The Bird Artist, another novel by the same author. Bring on more of his books! What a treat they've been so far!

Rating - 5 stars

Sep 13, 6:32pm Top

Sounds like a good one. I actually have The Bird Artist on my shelf but haven't read it yet.

Sep 17, 4:21pm Top

52. The Body of Jonah Boyd - David Leavitt

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with the name of a railway station in the title (Boyd Railway Station, Boyd, Manitoba, Canada)

I wasn't sure how I was going to get through this story of a secretary to a psychiatrist. As the story opens, we learn that Judy "Denny" Denham was having an affair with Dr. Earnest Wright, married and father of three children. Dr. Wright's wife Nancy has always had a close relationship to a woman named Anne from a precious city in which both lived. Nancy was always comparing Denny to her previous friend Anne, although there was no similarity except that both played four-handed piano with Nancy. So...that part of this novel had almost no interest for me although it was well written. Later on, we learn than Anne and her second husband, Jonah Boyd are coming to visit. It was that visit that turned the novel around for me and made it a bit more mysterious. Jonah was an author who banked his celebrity status on his ability to finish and publish a novel which he had started in four notebooks. Alas, the notebooks completely disappear (or do they?), and this novel takes a bizarre turn.

This was not the kind of story I usually enjoy reading because it's about a secretary who looks in on the life of the very rich. This is just not my cup of tea. I was, however, interested in the strange story of what became of Jonah's notebooks and how it affected those around him.

Rating -3 stars

Sep 20, 2:45am Top

>120 SqueakyChu: He may come back around, Madeline, as he gets older. My 9 year old is deep into the Percy Jacksons et al but he recently bought for me the Mr. Men Dr. Whos which we both devoured (admittedly, very easy to do) and was re-reading our Mr. Men collection over the last school holidays.

Sep 20, 7:23pm Top

>137 humouress: I sure do hope so!

Edited: Sep 21, 9:01pm Top

*53. Ask the Dust - John Fante

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book with a definite article in the title, but not at the beginning

I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading this book. It's the gritty story of Arturo Bandini, a young Italian aspiring writer living in Los Angeles who is infatuated with Camilla Lopez, a Mexican woman who works at a cafe he visits. She spurns his advances, yet he loves her more. Bandini is suspicious of Sammy the bartender, thinking that Sammy is the reason Camilla will pay him no attention. The story is written in a kind of rambling style, but it is very detailed and colorful with vibrant, assertive characters.

My copy of the novel had an Introduction by Charles Bukowski which I didn't read until I finished the book, but I can see why he identified this novel as "a wild an enormous miracle to me." It reflected the way Charles Bukowski wrote although Fante's novel was published in 1938.

I enjoyed that I couldn't guess what was going to happen next. I even got chills reading the ending. I understand that there are three more novels by the same author about Arturo Bandini. I'd love to read them all at a later date.

Rating - 4.5 stars

Edited: Sep 22, 3:04pm Top

*54. Heartsongs - Mattie J.T. Stepanek

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book you MUST read (I promised to read this book and pass it along to a group of friends)

This is a such a warm-hearted, cheerful book. What's not to like about it? The poetry by the author, a child, is lovely, and the accompanying paintings colorful and sweet. The story of the author's personal life is sad. but his book only reflects happiness and hope. Dead at age 13 of a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Mattie Stepanik began writing poetry at age 3. This is the first book of his that I've read. He is quite the hero in my hometown of Rockville, Maryland, because this is where he lived last. He lost three siblings of the same disease and now his mother has been stricken by it as well.

So what does Mattie write about? Seasons, happiness, windows, snowflakes, children, peace, leaves...inspiring things.

One poem called "Circle of Happiness" made me cry, It says that if you hug and kiss and tell a child how special he is, that child will feel the same way to you. It reminded me of bonding with my own grandson. It ended like this:

I will be a little kid
Who will do all of those things
And more.
And that is what
Is all about.

Rating - 5 stars

Sep 25, 9:05pm Top

55. Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces - Michael Chabon -

September 2018 TIOLI Challenge:
Read a book containing a common noun representing a person, but no pronouns or proper nouns

This is a quick book of reflections on fatherhood. It focuses on being a parent of a young teen, but the book actually starts with advice for aspiring authors not to have children! The book ends with an essay by the author about his relationship to his own father. In between are essays, several previously published elsewhere, that talk mainly about the author's relationship with his children. Having raised both sons and a daughter myself, I found some scenes surprisingly familiar, especially those about the author's younger son being quite picky about what he wore to school from a very early age.

Nothing offensive is contained herein so this is a nice read for an hour or two in which one might want to relax and reminisce a bit. It did remind me, however, to look for more of Chabon's longer works. I haven't read any for quite a while

Rating - 4 stars

Oct 1, 7:25am Top

>133 SqueakyChu: Because you mentioned Graciela Iturbide, I went along and took the catalog of an exhibition of her work our of the library: Graciela Iturbide : Ausstellung, Fundación Mapfre, June 16 - September 6, 2009 ; Fotomuseum Winterthur, 27.02.-24.05.2010. It has some really interesting fotografies

Edited: Oct 1, 3:57pm Top

>142 paulstalder: Cool! Which photographs of hers did you like the best? I'd never heard of her before. I just encountered that book in the new nonfiction book section of my library!

Oct 1, 4:08pm Top

I liked the ones with flowers and landscapes :) but they are few. There are some good ones with women in the market or in the desert. One was a woman with a tape recorder walking into the desert. Those with items from Frida Kahlo's bathroom were interesting, especially how she arranged the things, but they are not 'likable' in my view. Also the very first picture of the exhibition: a woman sitting at a table in the wax museum of Mexico City.

taken from http://sport.knokke-heist.be/node/43093

taken from https://mexicanartwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/03.jpg


Edited: Oct 1, 9:14pm Top

>144 paulstalder: From what I’ve read, the woman with the boom box is her most famous photograph. Apparently the woman with iguanas on her head simply carries them on her head to sell them in the market. The photographs are fascinating cultural statements!!

I’m glad we both just discovered Graciela Iturbide together. What fun! :)

Oct 2, 6:10am Top

>145 SqueakyChu: Well, thanks for discovering Graciela for me :) I wouldn't have looked up that book if you hadn't mentioned her.

Imagine: walking into the tube/subway with some iguanas on your head :-o

Edited: Oct 2, 10:12am Top

>146 paulstalder: I’ve come to discover a fabulous book place (where I discovered to book about Graciela Iturbide). It’s the nonfiction new book shelf at my public library. I often visit it to look for new cookbooks. Now I have a new reason to visit it. That is, to find a thin book to add to my list of books for a TIOLI sweeplette!

Wasn’t the sweeplette a brilliant idea?!

I am finding some very different but amazing books there. My latest find is the newest book by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner called Living A Life That Matters. I’ll write more about this book after I finish it, but it’s an inspirational book (a genre I usually hate) which I think you’d like.

I couldn’t get away with a live iguana “hat” on my subway as they don’t allow live animals on board.

Story about another animal that went for a ride on a human...

I had a young friend with a pet rat. She used to take it outside, and it would ride on her shoulder. Periodically it would peek out from the strands of her long hair. You should have seen the looks we got from people when they saw the rat’s face looking at them. Really!! It was quite funny. I’m actually fond of rodents so rats don’t bother me as I used to own and breed hamsters. My daughter-in-law also had pet rats at one time.

Oct 2, 9:24pm Top

Continued on this page...

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

414 members

133,218 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 130,921,918 books! | Top bar: Always visible