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Lucy (Sibyx) Readingfrom Summer Solstice to Autumn Equinox 2018

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Sep 30, 3:02pm Top

I think Miss Po is happy with Fin. What do you think?

Currently Reading in September 2018

new About This Life Barry Lopez memoir/essays
new City of Stairs Robert Jackson Bennett fantasy
✔ROOT Owen Glendower John Cowper Powys hist fic
Small Gods Terry Pratchett fantasy

97. ✔ Stone of Farewell(2) Tad Williams fantasy ****
98. ✔ Green Angel Tower, Part 1 Tad Williams fantasy ****
99. ✔ A Collection of Essays George Orwell essays, literary and memoir ****
100. ✔ To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 Tad Williams fantasy ****1/2
101. ✔ The Gathering Edge Sharon Lee Steve Miller ****
102. ♬Snuff Terry Pratchett fantasy ****
103. new The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Steve Brusatte nat sci
104. ✔ Neogenesis Sharon Lee Steve Miller sp/op ****1/2

new Waking Dreams Mary Watkins psych

Put Down For Good
(Jan)new Engine City Ken MacLeod sf
(Feb)♬Roma Stephen Saylor hist fict
(March) The Baklava Club mys
(August) War With the Newts Karl Capek sf
(September ♬The Winter King Bernard Cornwell

✔=off shelf
E =e-book
new =acquired in 2018 (or end of 2017)

Edited: Aug 1, 6:17pm Top

Read in June 2018
67. ✔ROOT Healthy Aging Andrew Weil health *****
68. new Provenance Ann Leckie sp/op *****
69. new Women and Power: A Manifesto Mary Beard philosophy? politics?
70. ✔ROOT The Gypsy Megan LindholmSteven Brust fantasy ***
71. ♬ Roman Blood Steven Saylor mystery roman ***1/2
72. new My Immaculate Assassin David Huddle contemp fic ****
73. new My Struggle: Book 5 Karl Ove Knausgaard contemp fic *****
74. ✔ROOT The Beautiful Miscellaneous Dominic Smith contemp fic ***1/2
75. ♬ Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd Alan Bradley mys
76. new The Fifth Element N.K. Jemisin fantasy ****1/2

Total: 10
Men: 6
Women: 4
M/W writing together:
Non-fiction: 2
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 3
SF/F: 3
Mystery(inc hist mys): 2
YA or J:
New author: 3

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed:
Audio: 2
New (to my library): 5
e-book: 7 (unchanged)
Off Shelf/ROOT: 3
Did not finish: 1

TOTAL physical books (for year) IN=39
e-books= 7

Book Titles Acquired June 2018
36. The Boston Raphael Belinda Rathbone
37. Golden Age Jane Smiley bk 3 of a trilogy!
38. My Ex-Life Stephen McCauley
39. Artificial Condition Martha Wells

Reflections June 2018
This is the month when I expect to fall behind on the ROOT reading. It's a busy month and I chose a chunkster thinking I could get a good start on the book (Owen Glendower)in June. Well. That hasn't happened. Mainly I'm carrying it around everywhere.

So overall I would say there was no particular theme to June, my reading was cast around in a wide net, from outer space to ancient Rome, and aging sensibly to apocalyptic turmoil involving people who can manipulate energy. Oh, yeah, right--magicians. Mary Beard's book on Women & Power being talks converted to a book were a wee bit disappointing--felt more like the prelude to something than the thing itself. Observations and analysis of how women were portrayed in her beloved classical world. Frankly I'm a lot more steamed up that the American BBC dropped her segment from a new series of the Civilization show because she isn't "attractive enough". Bugger that. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.;

Edited: Sep 3, 10:52am Top

Read in July 2018
77.new The Obelisk Gate(2) N.K. Jemisin fantasy
78. ♬Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett fantasy *****
79. new The Stone Sky N.K. Jemisin fantasy ****
80. ♬Men At Arms Terry Pratchett fantasy *****
81. ✔ Fool's War Sarah Zettel sf ****
82. ✔Travels With Herodotus Ryszard Kapuscinski travel *****
83. new All Systems Red Martha Wells sf ****1/2
84. new Artificial Condition Martha Wells sf ****1/2
85. ♬ Feet of Clay Terry Pratchett fantasy *****
86. ✔ROOT Gods Behaving Badly Marie Phillips fantasy ***
87. new The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop Lewis Buzbee *****

Total: 11
Men: 5
Women: 6
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 2
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 0
SF/F: 9
Mystery(inc hist mys): 0
YA or J:
New author:

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
Audio: 3
New (to my library): 5
e-book: 0
Off Shelf/ROOT: 1
Did not finish: 0

physical books (for year) IN=43
e-books=7 (unchanged)

Book Titles Acquired July 2018
40. Sinai Tapestry Edward Whittemore
41. Jericho Mosaic Edward Whittemore
42. Nile Shadows Edward Whittemore
43. Cold Magic Kate Elliott

13. Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett
14. Men At Arms Terry Pratchett
15. Feet of Clay Terry Pratchett
16. The Fifth Elephant Terry Pratchett

Reflections July 2018
A month heavy in speculative fiction, so heavy that I didn't finish a single "regular" novel, classic or contemporary. The fantasy and sf were mostly excellent, N.K. Jemisin and Martha Wells and the non-fiction. The Sarah Zettel gets an originality prize with a woman ship captain wearing full chador. Ryszard Kapuscinski (travel), Lewis Buzbee (books) also was exceptional. Pratchett was a delight and a life-saver as he has been for me all year. I'm surprised by how much I did manage to read during a busy month--lots of driving and audio-time helped!

Edited: Oct 7, 3:25pm Top

Read in August 2018

finished in August
88.✔ROOT Hidden Lives Margaret Forster memoirm ****1/2
89. new Places to Stay the Night Ann Hood contemp fic **1/2
90. new Rogue Protocol Martha Wells sf *****
91. ♬ The Fifth Elephant Terry Pratchett fantasy ****1/2
92. new Living with the Laird Belinda Rathbone memoir ****
93. ♬ Night Watch Terry Pratchett fantasy ****1/2
94. new Seven Surrenders Ada Palmer sf ****
95. ♬ Thud! Terry Pratchett fantasy ****1/2
96. ✔ The Dragonbone Chair Tad Williams fantasy ***1/2

Total: 9
M/W writing together: 0
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 0
Mystery(inc hist mys): 0
YA or J:
New author:

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
New (to my library):
e-book: 0
Off Shelf/ROOT:
Did not finish: 0

Housekeeping: (needs August update)
physical books (for year) IN=49
e-books=7 (unchanged)

Book Titles Acquired August 2018
44. Some Luck Jane Smiley (bk 1 100 yrs trilogy)
45. La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl David Huddle
46. Henry and Cato Iris Murdoch
47. A Moveable Famine John Skoyles
48. The Bards of Bone Plain Patricia A. McKillip
49. Places to Stay the Night Ann Hood* discarded

17. Thud Terry Pratchett
18. Night Watch Terry Pratchett
19. Snuff Terry Pratchett

Reflections August 2018
The skew towards speculative remains strong, but there were, once again, two exceptional non-fiction reads, Margaret Forster's memoir/family history and Belinda Rathbone's memoir of being married to a laird and his house. The contrast between the two couldn't have been greater!

Edited: Jul 1, 7:48pm Top

76. fantasy 4 1/2
The Fifth Season N.K. Jemison

In this complex, many-layered world, cataclysmic geo-events are frequent and devastating. There are "stills" people with no connection to the earth, "orogenes" who have a physical connection to the earth itself and can manipulate it to a greater or lesser degree depending on their strength. And much more. Orogenes are regarded as useful "filth" -- and are under the careful and cruel control of the Guardians. There are mysterious "obelisks" made of precious stone that float in the sky, but no one knows what, if any, purpose they have and they are largely ignored. There are also "stone-eaters" terrifying beings who are made of, can move through, and live on rock. The "fifth season" is what the people call the catastrophic events that cause the regular progression of life to cease, earthquakes, eruptions, etc. for a year or a several thousand years . . . and these disruptions have made it hard to pass on much of any clear knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation, so history has become garbled. Into this come Essun, Damaya, and Syenite whose stories intertwine. The story unfolds slowly, over several timelines that Jemisin handles masterfully. I won't go into the story itself -- it's good, it's complicated, and if you don't care for in-clueing, you'll suffer. I got to the end of Book 1 feeling I was just barely getting a handle on one part of the story just as I realized that there are many many more layers to go. ****1/2

Jun 28, 11:00pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 28, 11:33pm Top

Ah! Lovely topper!
I have a copy of *Travels w/Herodotus* too - AND *5th Season*. When am I ever going to get my reading time and mojo in sync?

Edited: Jun 28, 11:49pm Top

I thought The Fifth Season was outstanding and that The Obelisk Gate was good. I still have to get to The Stone Sky. And Guards! Guards! is a favorite Pratchett.

ETA No Posey or cats pics?

Jun 29, 8:00am Top

Happy New Thread, Lucy.

I loved that N.K. Jemison trilogy. She won Nebulas for the first two, and my guess is she'll win one for the third, too. I'm glad you enjoyed the first one - that should bode well for when you read the others.

Jun 29, 8:06am Top

Happy new thread, Lucy!
>1 sibyx: The mountain looks like a lovely place to live. How high is it?

Jun 29, 8:56am Top

>7 quondame: Thank you!

>8 LizzieD: You will!

>9 ronincats: Yep, I'm starting in on the Vimes saga. I do love the little dragons.

>10 jnwelch: I admit, I'm still figuring stuff out. By the end of The Fifth Season I realized that there are layers and layers to this tale.

>11 FAMeulstee: Thank you! It is a beautiful place to live indeed. Champlain gave the mountain a lovely name -- Le Lion Couchant, but then some anglo came along and gave it the graceless Camel's Hump. Typical.

It's only a bit over 4000 feet. We're about 750, not much is built above 1000 -- a few little camps here and there or a ski place -- there are two ski resorts built on the east side down south just a short way. (More snow falls on that side -- we get 8 inches, they get 12-14.

Yeah, yeah, I'll get some nice pet photos up! I promise!

Jun 30, 1:33pm Top

Lucy--Happy new thread and congrats on the review from your last one!! Beautiful place you live in. : )

Jun 30, 7:29pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy, and congrats on reading past 75. I am happy to report that Hounds of Spring is now available on Amazon Canada and I should receive my copy in 3 or 4 days!

Jun 30, 8:09pm Top

>12 sibyx: Have you read them before?

Edited: Jun 30, 9:16pm Top

>13 Berly: Yep - we were out on the lake today -- boy was it hot out! The spousal unit has a wee sailboat and we got it in and went out. First sail of the year.

>14 Familyhistorian: This is good news! I very much hope you enjoy it. LTers have been so wonderfully supportive.

>15 ronincats: The Jemisins? No, I haven't. I have read the other series, the hundred kingdoms, thought it was very good. I'm not madly in love with the story, but it is very rich and complicated and satisfying in many ways.

Jun 30, 10:33pm Top

No, actually I meant the Vimes books by Pratchett.

Jul 1, 12:10pm Top

Ohhhhh -- nope -- I never really got into Pratchett before this year. I have been LOVING the experience! What a big heart that man had.

Jul 1, 1:04pm Top

The City Watch books are by far my favorite strand, with the Tiffany Aching books immediately behind, and the Death books right behind them. And your comment is perfect. Yes, what a big heart! I was able to see and hear him once, when he was promoting Thud! and came to Mysterious Galaxy here. He was that kind of person.

Jul 1, 2:26pm Top

>19 ronincats: Those are my favorites too, with the Lancre books, then the Death books, then the Tiffany Aching... though Reaper Man was the first Pratchett I thought really well of. The Color of Magic etc seemed a bit mean spirited to me and mostly Rincewind is my least favorite of his central characters, though in general the cast in 'his' books is great.

Jul 1, 7:50pm Top

I adore Tiffany and Lancre too. And Death and and and . . . . I expect that Rincewind will also end up my "least" favourite, but all things are relative when essentially you love the books.

There are days I want to answer all questions with "Ooog."

Jul 1, 9:07pm Top


Jul 2, 7:31am Top

I've listened to all the Pratchetts, Roni! So I have no idea how many things are spelled!

Jul 2, 10:40am Top

Happy new one, Lucy! Lovely topper. And you are reading one of my favorite books - Travels With Herodotus! I really loved that one. It might be time for a reread.

Edited: Jul 3, 7:24am Top

77. fantasy ****
The Obelisk Gate N.K. Jemisin

As with the first book in the Broken Earth trilogy, I was awed by the sheer scope of the story--here you don't have good and bad duking it out, but factions, different kinds of people, each with their own agenda, (survival, revenge). Eons ago humans overreached in a multitude of ways and everyone since has suffered. Most of this second installment takes place in a comm that is underground inside a great crystal that responds to orogenes. It brought to mind the ....... of H.G. Wells Time Machine. Essun has more or less given up finding Nessun, her daughter, instead she tries to be part of the comm, to learn what she can from Alabaster who is turning to stone from using too much magic all at once. Things happen. I do understand a lot more about "what happened" to create this situation and am increasingly curious about the stone-eaters (they make me think of the angels in Doctor Who) and from the title of book 3 I am guessing my curiosity will be satisfied.!****1/2

Jul 3, 3:59pm Top

I really do have to get to The Stone Sky sometime soon...

Jul 5, 9:30am Top

Happy new thread!
Beautiful topper photo!

Jul 6, 9:00am Top

78. ♬ *****
Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett

Engaged in the story of Captain of the Night Watch, Sam Vimes, I'm more or less in the last lap of my Pratchett adventure, having followed, serially, Tiffany Aching, Rincewind, Death, and a couple of stand-alones. No need to go into detail, either you love Pratchett or you don't. In my case, I happened upon the audio books at a difficult moment in my life and the fact that Pratchett could make me laugh was a life saver. The fact that this lovely man is gone is an inspiration -- what a legacy, what a gift he left for us all. I keep repeating this in a state of complete awe. *****

Edited: Jul 6, 9:22am Top

So our heat wave is officially over. Steady downpour this morning and temps are to hold around low seventies all day (where they were most of the latter part of the night) and maybe dropping to 48F!!!!! tonight.

>19 ronincats: and >26 ronincats: City Watch are my brother's favourites so I was hoarding them for last. So far so good! I'm in agonies about whether Sam continues to think that he has to quit the guard if he marries! The great thing about audio is that you can't cheat and look ahead! (Yah, I'm a terrible cheater.)

Did you stop reading the Jemisin for any reason? I am plunging through because I am afraid if I stop I won't start again. It's a dark tale -- I'm not going to think about what I think of it until I'm all done.

>20 quondame: Rincewind is also my least favourite, however I did appreciate that he seemed capable of learning more about himself as the books progressed.

>24 Crazymamie: It is a wonderful book. I bet it would have made a great "listen" -- I'm getting pretty good and reading and knitting at the same time (only when it is straightforward stuff, of course).

>27 ChelleBearss: Thank you for stopping by -- it's been a long time.

Jul 6, 4:17pm Top

>29 sibyx: After Equal Rites or possibly Reaper Man I've pretty much read them as they came out.

The Jemisins are dark, but the grimness of the world rather than the behavior of the characters reduces any enjoyment I usually get from F&SF. I do love exploring fun, if dangerous, new worlds, but this ash covered one, like one in Mistborn seems to bleak to really support human life. I have to struggle constantly with disbelief to move forward though stories with such settings.

Edited: Jul 6, 6:19pm Top

>30 quondame: I agree with you 100%, was just talking about this exact point with the spousal unit.

I'm soon to head off for various Irish music/harp music stuff, filling up most of the rest of the month and I wanted to get the Jemisin series done! Success!

Edited: Jul 6, 9:36pm Top

79. fantasy? or? ****
The Stone Sky N.K. Jemisin

Mostly I felt relieved to get to the end. Also, I didn't dare stop between books, fearful I would not start up again if I did--and I thought the series deserved to be read through. The concepts were intriguing and the execution of the story was extremely well done, the characters, most of them, had depth and individuality, so why was I relieved? Why didn't I enjoy it more? that is the word I stumble over, "enjoy". When I began I assumed I was reading fantasy, but I don't think The Broken Earth as a series quite fits into fantasy. Nor does it fit into science fiction. You have a complex world with a terrible problem and constant catastrophic geologic events. By book 3 you know why this is so. Yet there is an energy that is called "magic" (which you could just as easily call "the force") but the people are real, all of them. In that blurring of boundaries (only) it reminded me of Justina Robson's recent series about the woman who gradually has become almost a complete cyborg. In fact, many sf and fantasy novels came to mind as I read, the hardships of Octavia Butler's ....... the long time frame of Brian Aldiss's Helliconia series. There is a grittiness (no coincidence that young orogene trainees are called grits) to the entire that became wearing over three books. I'm not sure what tired me out -- it could be that overall there was almost no humor, no relief. It could be that there was in some instances too much detail--the kind of detail that turns on the rational side of my mind and made it hard to suspend disbelief. From time to time I fell out of the story scratching my head and thinking, "hunh?" Say, the murkiness of just who and how the Guardians are, for example. The dislike of the orogenes seemed so suicidal that the premise of their enslavement never fully settled as plausible. Towards the end someone, Hoa, perhaps, says that this was a world where certain choices (mainly exploitation of many kinds) once made were never questioned again. It's a gloomy view indeed. Nonetheless a solid ****. A worthwhile read and eminently discussable book.

Jul 6, 9:40pm Top

>32 sibyx: Good point about the level of detail sometimes running counter to the level of believability.

Edited: Jul 6, 9:51pm Top

>33 quondame: I think it is one of the trickiest bits in both fantasy and sf. Often it is best to steer clear -- small details, ones we get, yes, but big ones, no. It just becomes a tangle. The 'crystals' in Star Trek. We don't want to know more! Ditto being 'energized'. Ditto 'the force' -- the weird thing is that in this book when Jemisin calls the energic stuff "magic" that doesn't really ring true. It's kind of too much -- the two different energies as well, the orogene abilities vs. the magic -- I never really 'got' at all what was what, not really, plus those huge "batteries" in the sky . . . If I'd worked harder perhaps? I didn't want to do that work.

I did really like Hoa -- he was about the best character for me. And maybe Tonka or whatever her name was, already losing my grip!

Jul 6, 10:44pm Top

Hi, Lu. I'll confess that I'm not particularly wanting to read Jimison after that review. I wasn't particularly wanting to read her anyway. I find myself out of step with the newest fantasy. I may be happily stuck in the 80s.

Jul 13, 8:27am Top

Enjoy the "harp music stuff"! :D
Leaving some Happy July wishes

Jul 15, 8:39am Top

>29 sibyx: Yes, it has been a long time. I finally got caught up on visiting today! I've been so bad at visiting people lately as the girls have stopped letting me have a sit down coffee time in the morning. I'm fighting back and trying to get my coffee time back! :-)

Edited: Jul 15, 8:40pm Top

>37 ChelleBearss: Oh yes, I remember those days!

I'm home now as of last night.

Here's a photo from the Catskills and the Irish Arts Week -- in the only "action" photos I could find I (or my sister Emily, sitting beside me here) were playing with my mouth open (yick).

This is a group of friends I played with a couple of afternoons--some of the best music of a week of great music. The woman beside my sister with a harp is an AMAZING harper!

Confession: I read only a few pages at night before bedtime!

To friends of Tad -- he was there and I saw him many times. He's playing concertina now, but I think we've convinced him to try the uillean pipes.

Jul 15, 10:37am Top

80. ♬ fantasy *****
Men At Arms Terry Pratchett

More of Captain Vimes of the Night Watch. Dragons and romance, does it get better than that?

Edited: Jul 17, 8:18pm Top

81. sf ****
Fool's War Sarah Zettel

Admittedly, the premise is a little off-putting, I mean, fools capering about in space? Entertaining crews on long trips? But my bemusement didn't last long because the fool herself, Evelyn Dobbs, is instantly engaging (and convincing) and the setting/premise beguiling: a spaceship run by a devout muslim woman. There is an eerie prescience in the book, in the near future an islamic terrorist group unleashes an ecological disaster (called 'the slow burn') from which the earth, five hundred years later is still recovering. Al Shei, the engineer, ship-captain is striving to make enough money on her mail packet runs (some communications cannot travel any other way) to commission a spaceship in which she and her entire family can be together, in the meantime, she shares a ship (time-share style) with her brother-in-law who is a smuggler. This time he leaves a virus on board and all hell breaks loose. Suffice it to say, AI's come into being in certain stressful cyber-situations, the Fool's Guild is not quite what it appears to be, the brother-in-law got into mischief way over his head and yeah, the earth's very existence ends up in jeopardy. The characters are strong and the book does not flinch from some hard things, not a perfect happy ending, but a sensible one. Of course, I waded patiently through a lot of AI-inside-network imaginings and activities, but Zettel did pretty well with that too. ****

Jul 17, 7:37pm Top

>40 sibyx: That sounds interesting - it came out when I had no time for reading so it's likely a never read rather than read&forgot.

Jul 20, 9:38pm Top

>16 sibyx: Ha, well I finally received my copy of The Hounds of Spring today. I was starting to think it wasn't coming. I ordered it from Amazon.ca but the book actually came from Wordery in the UK. So only about 3 weeks late. Strange that a shipment to Vancouver was routed through the UK and not good because all of our UK mail takes extra long to get here, sometimes months.

Jul 20, 9:53pm Top

I liked Fool's War when I read it a couple of years ago. Welcome home--I missed you!

Jul 20, 11:06pm Top

O.K. Fool's War is definitely on my read-as-soon-as-I-can list. And maybe I'll read it sooner.
Love the pic from the Irish week! I wonder how often people confused you and Emily at an event like this where people sort of know one of you.....

Jul 21, 10:32am Top

>42 Familyhistorian: My sister lives in Quebec and she explained this problem! When I saw her a couple of weeks ago I gave her a pile of books to sell to people she knows! I’m glad it finally came! And I hope you enjoy it!

>43 ronincats: I’m away again! Working at the Somerset Harp Festival in New Jersey. Going home tomorrow!

>44 LizzieD: enjoy!

Edited: Jul 23, 11:44am Top

82. b memoir/travel *****

July is a busy month for me, but this was the perfect book for traveling. Kapuskcinski came across Herodotus' Histories early in his career as a journalist and over time the book and the writer influenced (even transformed) Kapuscinski's view of what journalist/historian can do. Primarily -- OBSERVE, and observe as openly and unjudgmentally as possible. As Kapuscinski travels outside of Poland to more places, he struggles to find his own way as a journalist and again and again it is Herodotus who guides him. I won't attempt to describe the book more closely other than to say that it is thoughtful, insightful, wise, and a pleasure throughout. AND I am considering reading the Histories for myself, as I never have. *****

Edited: Jul 25, 10:23am Top

All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries) Martha Wells ****1/2

A cyber-being, mostly robot but with some human "'parts" as they* like to call them (like skin etc.) manages to disable the program that forces him to obey; he goes 'rogue', only, not really as he has a soft spot for humans who treat him like a person, even if, at the same time, it terrifies him when they do. Something terrible happened to him yonks ago but he is now assigned to a surprisingly kindly outfit, from a non-corporate entity who are doing research on a new planet. Of course, things go awry and our hero (who knows about heroes because they adore human entertainment feeds) has to decide: is he out for himself or to help these folks?

*As this being has no, um, "parts" they really are a they, indeterminate.

Edited: Jul 25, 10:27am Top

84. sf ****1/2
Artificial Condition Martha Wells

On their own now, having been "adopted" by the folks they helped in the previous novel, they run away -- or rather --toward the planet where the terrible thing (mentioned above) happened. They want to know if they somehow became truly murderous and killed 57 people in a mining facility. On the way they become friendly(ish) with a sentient ship and then, in order to get access to the mining site, accept a job as an augmented human security person. I am loving this series, and as one reader wrote recently (a propos of sf in general): The more preposterous the better! The next one comes out in about two weeks, and you bet, I've pre-ordered it! ****1/2

Jul 25, 5:27pm Top

I love those Murderbot books, Lucy. I'm looking forward to the new one coming out.

Jul 25, 9:23pm Top

Me too. And I know I will gobble it up and then have to wait impatiently for the next one.

Jul 25, 10:34pm Top

I do SO not need another series. I guess I'll be more than checking out the Murderbots.

Jul 26, 1:50pm Top

85. ♬ fantasy *****
Feet of Clay Terry Pratchett

Just. Plain. Old. Fun. Vimes, now the Commander, and Vetinari, mysteriously being poisoned, and a rogue golem. What could be better?

Jul 28, 9:22am Top

Hi Lucy!

A very belated happy new thread and congrats on 75.

Edited: Jul 29, 12:14pm Top

86. urban fantasy ***
Gods Behaving Badly Marie Phillips

No one believes in them any more and for the last few hundred years the Olympians are living in a moldering row house in London as their powers decay. In desperation Artemis hires a mortal housecleaner. By rotten chance, this cleaner attends a tv pilot for a show Apollo was promoting himself in . . . but Aphrodite has plans for revenge on him and the cleaner and her boyfriend get swept up (sorry about the pun) in the ensuing mess. I read it quickly and was occasionally amused. It's competent and in every writerly way solid, but it simply wasn't quite original or surprising enough to grab me. I did finish it, so that says something. ***

Jul 29, 1:32pm Top

>54 sibyx: There has to be a blah one every now and then to make us appreciate the good ones more :)

Jul 29, 1:37pm Top

>55 RebaRelishesReading: Indeed! I can't believe how long I kept it around. Makes me very glad I am doing this ROOT project.

Jul 29, 4:05pm Top

>54 sibyx: Lots of LTers have loved this one (which is why I got it from the library and read it) but my reaction was the same as yours, Lucy.

Jul 29, 8:56pm Top

>57 ronincats: My latest ROOT is War with the Newts -- which may end up being kind of a painful read in our current political atmo. I'm assuming you have read it? I have a first edition from G.P. Putnam's that came from my mil's house and I can't imagine that she ever read it, not in a million years would she have read it, but maybe maybe she would have kept it if it came from her father's library. He, Knox McIlwain of The Electrical Engineer's Handbook fame. He also invented something to do with color tv, but I couldn't tell you what.

Jul 30, 12:54am Top

>45 sibyx: Do they have the same problem with getting books from the UK in Quebec? Shelley (Jessibud2) said that she receives her UK books in good time but I ordered my SantaThing books through Book Depository and received them in February and March. I have your book now, Lucy, and am looking forward to reading it soon.

Edited: Jul 30, 9:37am Top

>59 Familyhistorian: Good question. I will ask my sister.

I am so glad you have the book! I very much hope you enjoy it.

The reviews here, and elsewhere have been nothing short of heartwarming, even exciting but things (sales) have gone rather quiet -- I've sold all the books I can locally and I have about a reading a month scheduled. In theory I should be traveling further afield and oftener but in reality I am kind of shy and retiring so I only seem to be able to set up one thing at a time, which I then feel anxious about etcetera. Some folks are amazing at promoting themselves. I suspect I will come in at the low end, despite the fact that, for me, I am practically shouting from the rooftops! Tupelo/Leapfolio do just about nothing--that much I've figured out. They have a liaison with a book person, who goes from store to store, but I have no idea if that person is even bothering with my book. They sent books out for review to many places, but as far as I know not one has bothered to review it. The reviews have been from places I sent the book. I haven't walked in and found the book in any shops, although it was checked out of one library I went into. Anyway, I have to arrange to have it for sale-- many will do that now, on spec. Again, it is promoting oneself, saying "Hey! I'm ok! Better than OK!" and it is hard beyond belief for me to do that!

I'm kind of ventilating. Mostly I'm fine with how it is. I've achieved my goal and I know it is a worthwhile book.

Jul 30, 9:33am Top

I would find the promotion aspect daunting as well, Lucy. I really dislike selling in all its forms, I even hated peddling Girl Scout cookies which are not exactly a hard sell, ha ha. I think you're right to remember what your personal goal was, and be happy that YOU DID IT (*tosses confetti*)

Jul 30, 9:38am Top

>60 sibyx: Thank you Laura!

Edited: Aug 1, 1:00pm Top

87. books! *****
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop Lewis Buzbee

Here's another marvelous book for all of us book maniacs to read about our obsession. This one gets you into the back room of a bookstore. Buzbee knows the business inside out, having worked at selling books pretty much his entire adult life (when not reading or writing). The book alternates between Buzbee's musing on his own experiences with books, to the history and origins of books, to speculation about what might happen in the future. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop was written ten years ago, before the e-book "caught on" but he is right that the medium has not been as popular as the purveyors had hoped. But he did predict the unpredictable and I would say the rise of the audiobook fulfills the surprise factor. Buzbee loves to speculate and he comes up with some great ideas: Books that get kids to read:"books of engagement"! There are many more gems of that kind. A great read! *****

Jul 31, 7:39am Top

Happy Birthday, Lucy! Celebrate at home, and we'll celebrate here. WHEEEE!

Jul 31, 7:51am Top

Happy Birthday to you, (((((Lucy))))! I know you're not for the hugs, but today is different. :D

I admire you for being able to do any promotion at all, that would be my personal nightmare. And of course I totally admire you for having written and published this wonderful story in the first place. Those who read it loved it, I absolutely did. *joins Laura in throwing confetti*

Jul 31, 12:04pm Top

Happy birthday, Lucy!!

I too admire your being out there promoting your book (almost as much as I admire your writing). *Here is another batch of confetti*

Jul 31, 12:10pm Top

>66 RebaRelishesReading: I so much appreciate all of your support -- the reviews here and on other social media are all helping!

Jul 31, 12:46pm Top

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday today, Lucy!!

Edited: Aug 1, 2:24pm Top

This is perhaps a bit of a nutty idea - but I keep finding marvelous bookmarks in secondhand books that I acquire -- I'm thinking of starting a cool bookmarks thread.

Here are two:

The first was in the Margaret Forster that I'm reading now. I know the book came from the Rochester NY area as "RG&E" is the old name of the electric company! (For all I know it still is).

This one is marvelous!
The front is a facsimile of the the gold bricks that Kublai Khan handed out to the favored (in this case Marco Polo) -- you can read about it in the small print on the verso.

Edited: Aug 1, 1:09pm Top

>70 sibyx:

Paul S. has MANY to share!

How great if the ones on your thread-to-be could be downloaded.

My daughter found "A WHALE OF A BOOK" one online and printed it for me,
very cool,
in honor of Melville's birthday today.

Have you designed one for your book?

Aug 1, 1:45pm Top

I love the idea of a bookmarks thread. It's always a treat to find one in a second-hand book.

Edited: Aug 1, 5:00pm Top

OK! I'll go for it!

Here's the link: cool bookmarks!

>72 laytonwoman3rd: No, I haven't designed a bookmark. I have considered it -- asking the woman who did the cover if she's interested. She did make some very fine postcards and gave me a few!

Aug 1, 6:03pm Top

Happy belated birthday!!

Aug 1, 6:15pm Top

>74 ChelleBearss: Many thanks! I was supposed to be born today, so you're not too late.

Aug 1, 7:52pm Top

Your bookmarks are fun. I used to buy the leather/faux leather ones when we traveled but they aren't nearly as neat as these.

Aug 2, 2:35pm Top

>60 sibyx:

BOOKISH FIRST offers many new free books in exchange for their "First Impressions" and regular Reviews.
I'm not sure how authors get listed, but they do earn A LOT of Reviews.

Aug 2, 9:48pm Top

>77 m.belljackson: I'll check it out!

Edited: Aug 3, 6:32pm Top

So, I feel I just came to my senses. I'm reading War With the Newts -- an sf classic that we inherited from the spousal unit's parental library, and the fact is, I get the idea, I find it amusing here and there, but mainly tedious and I'm not going to finish it. Life is too short. I got more than half-way and I don't regret it, it was a brave book for its time, coming out in Czechoslovakia in 1937 as the Nazis were spreading their baleful selves over Europe. For those of you not in the know -- the newts are discovered in the south pacific, they can talk and think but are (at first) very innocent -- and they are exploited by humans. You can guess what ensue. I did take a quick scan to the end. It's very single-minded and worthy, but I just can't continue.

Edited: Aug 3, 6:40pm Top

I feel I've suddenly come to my senses -- I have gotten over halfway but I just can't read anymore. This is an sf classic that has been knocking around forever . . . sentient newts (can talk and think) are discovered and badly exploited by humans. That's the idea. It was written by the Czech Karel Capek and published in 1937 and, in its own way, a clever and brave book. But, alas, also somehow tedious, at least for me to read now.

Edited: Aug 4, 8:53am Top

88. memoir****1/2
Hidden Lives Margaret Forster

Forster attempts to pull away the veils of secrecy that surrounded her grandmother -- in the hopes of understand her own mother and herself and, in a more ambitious way, to reveal what the lives of working class women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was really like. You can sum it up: Hard work. But not just the hard work. The rigidity also contributed to the misery. No need to overeducate a smart girl, all she'll do with it is marry and then it will go to waste as married women in Carlisle in that era did not work. Did. not. work. You stayed home and took care of the house and your children. Taking care of the house involved back-breaking work making fires, cleaning stoves, mangling the laundry, etcetera. For Forster's grandmother, the invention of laundry soap was a big help. Think about that! She can't, however, take her story beyond the name of the woman who was her great-grandmother. This woman was herself illegitimate and she had Forster's grandmother illegitimately. And Forster can never unearth where her grandmother was between the ages of 3 when her mother died and 23 when she surfaces working as a servant for a household in Carlisle. She unearths one other secret as well, but cannot pursue that anywhere either. The poor, and especially women, leave no trace of themselves behind.

Forster tells her own story as well -- of being different from the start -- she went to school early because she had already more or less taught herself to read, and blasted through school, determined to go to the good high school and from there to Oxford or Cambridge. But then she arrives and it is bewildering. She realizes that whatever she is, she is not a scholar. "The work bored me to death, though I did it conscientiously. How could women, or men for that matter (but women more so), spend their lives writing essays about medieval history> It was such an unreal task . . . and though it was the very unreality I had craved, now that I'd got it, it seemed unbearably cowardly and sterile, a form of gross self-indulgence."
She finishes, of course, but she meets a man, and they marry and she writes her first novel. What is interesting too about the latter part of this memoir is that Forster is very clear that for her family also came first, simply in a different way, and due to the changes in society, she was able to receive the education she wanted, able to have expectations so far beyond what her mother and grandmother had had that it did create a gulf -- the very gulf she attempted to bridge with the memoir. ****1/2

Aug 3, 8:41pm Top

Suddenly the reading landscape has shifted! Dropped one book, finished another and bob's your uncle. Of course, I am moving glacially through Owen Glendower but that's ok, I know that one of these days it will grab me and that will be that.

Aug 4, 8:24am Top

Dropping a book can be so liberating. Sounds like a good call, Lucy.

Edited: Aug 7, 8:38am Top

89. contemp fic **1/2
Places to Stay the Night Ann Hood

Where to start? I broke my own rule here, by the way, of keeping on with a book I knew I would rate below 3 stars. I couldn't put it down because I needed to see if the various transgressions, contradictions and omissions continued throughout.
Book is set in small town Massachusetts, out in the Berkshires, not far from Lee and Amherst etc. You have a stock local glam couple, the homecoming queen and football prince who married years ago. She was pregnant, wanted to leave small town, he convinced her to stay and marry him. At 36 she decides to go, to find out what she has missed before it is completely too late. For years she has either ignored her children or indulged them with perfect birthday parties, you choose because it is one of the endlessly contradictions presented by Hood. The novel opens with a sad sexual encounter -- you are supposed to think this couple never enjoyed each other, but later a slow and satisfying encounter is described . . . but then later the woman has her first "great" experience with the lover she takes on in L.A. . . . the contradictions abound. A woman with a daughter who has a brain tumor moves from NYC "back" to this town. But NOTHING is ever mentioned, not. one. thing. about her family -- where did she live back then? Who were they? Where are they now? In fact that is another of the weirdnesses in the book -- no grandma or grandma surviving for characters in a novel setting where people marry young and no one is older than mid-thirties . . . Unless properly explained, it is just not believable. The husband has a sister, but she's mostly an afterthought. Ah well, I'm going on and on as is often the case with a book that somehow outrages my sensibilities. Is it bad editing? Careless planning by Hood? Am I too picky? Why did I keep on reading? Hood can actually write, that's why, so it is doubly, triply irritating that the book has such sloppy details. (I barely scratched the surface.) **1/2 which is generous.

Edited: Aug 7, 11:57am Top

>84 sibyx: I have often felt similarly about lack of family in novels, particularly in small town settings. Any writer who can make a story flow, no matter what inconsistencies and absurdities are in the text is hard to put down. The great birthday parties for otherwise ignored children hits my guilt button a bit, as I worked 60-80 hrs a week when my daughter was under 9, and there were elaborate parties for her birthdays.

Aug 7, 11:55am Top

>80 sibyx: I've had that one on my shelves for a while. I think I might have suspected I would have a similar reaction to it, and that's why I haven't given it try yet.

Edited: Aug 7, 4:32pm Top

>85 quondame: Oh, and some Moms are just too shy to do the perfect birthday thing. I think most kids understand these things.

>86 laytonwoman3rd: I've had this response to Hood before -- she writes steadily along, ignoring anything inconvenient. It's especially annoying when someone is obviously competent.

Aug 7, 5:05pm Top

OK PEOPLE. Listen up! PUPPY. We have a puppy waiting for us in northern New Jersey. Pick up is next Monday.

I am seriously considering naming him Thady Boy Ballagh. Oh yes. That was in many ways my favorite of the Lymond books.

Will post pix when I have some I actually like. (There are no current photos that I like.) I am also not sure which of the two lads will be the right one for us. The lady wants us to have the more "spirited" one as we are "experienced" corgi people! That is what we want too, so all will be well. She says they are quite alike so she needs the time to get to know them and decide.

These pups were bred out in New Mexico -- her stud (or whatever they called him) and because of the heat they have been delaying sending the two pups that are hers as part of the deal. They waited for better weather and then, wouldn't you know, the whole plan went to pieces and the lads had a long awful trip -- many hours somewhere in the Houston airport (hopefully air conditioned). But they came through fine and are bouncing back. It's good that the one we bring home will have most of a week to recover and acclimate.

Aug 7, 5:13pm Top

Can't help myself, no restraint. The new Martha Wells in the Murderbot Diaries has arrived Rogue Protocol and to heck with Seven Surrenders (which is hard work!) for a day or so while I enjoy this fun series.

Aug 7, 8:34pm Top

I'm so excited, I can't wait to see pix of the dear sweet boy. How do you think Miss Po will react to having a little brother underfoot?

Aug 7, 9:22pm Top

I absolutely vote for Thady Boy!!!!! Can't wait for pix!

Aug 8, 2:47am Top

>88 sibyx: So is Thady Boy the fair one or the dark?

Aug 8, 8:35am Top

90. sf *****
Rogue Protocol Martha Wells

Our rogue AI with his unfortunately big heart is determined to get some serious dirt on the evil corporation, GrayCris, who've been (illegally) mining alien stuff while pretending to be terraforming a planet. Gobbled this one up and now I have to wait for the next one. Just jolly good fun! *****

The 5 stars are because I ripped the packet open and started reading and pretty much read until done.

Aug 8, 8:36am Top

>88 sibyx: I don't know, can't remember, did I ever know? I would wonder if (not to spoil, won't use name) wouldn't dye his hair for the role?

Aug 8, 2:33pm Top

>93 sibyx: Can't wait!

Aug 9, 10:32am Top

A PUPPY! Oh how I would love to have a puppy and can't wait to vicariously share yours. My son and his lady just got a poodle/I forget what mix. I saw photos yesterday and she is just adorable too. I'll get to share her from closer range when we get back to CA.

Aug 10, 1:41pm Top

>88 sibyx: Puppy!!! Congratulations, Lucy!
I sooo need puppy pictures :-)

Aug 10, 9:12pm Top

>94 sibyx: The name means fair and when asked to explain why a dark person would have it was told he was born blond, which was quite true.

Edited: Aug 10, 9:30pm Top

Let me see, Thady Boy Ballagh is the ollamh (bard/official poet/reciter of lore) for the . . . Irish prince (who really is a prince, right?) And the prince is fair haired (can't think of his name and don't have it handy) and Thady is dark . . . so yes, that is right.

I've been promised puppy pix over the weekend.

I am presently out in Western New York for a party for a sister (my youngest) turning 50.

Aug 10, 11:12pm Top

Ah, the prince --- O'LiamRoe of the Slieve Bloom, I think.
Have a great weekend, Lucy, and GET THAT PUPPY!!!!

Aug 10, 11:15pm Top

Have fun at the 50s party and post pics of the puppy!!!

Aug 11, 8:53am Top

Western NY, eh? I'm waving from the porch -- hope you can see me :)

Edited: Aug 11, 10:25am Top

>100 LizzieD: I liked O'Liam even though Thady boy was rather rude about him!

>101 Berly: No worries

>102 RebaRelishesReading: Almost!!! I wish I had more time and could come down.

Edited: Aug 11, 10:45am Top

91. ♬ fantasy ****1/2
The Fifth Elephant Terry Pratchett

Always fun -- I enjoyed the trip north to Ubervault (no idea how to spell this as I am listening) even though Vimes didn't much. Loved the dwarves and their sacred scone, didn't love poor Angua's dreadful fascist werewolf family so much, but was tickled in passing by two of the werewolves being named "Unity" and "Nancy". Also love the whole concept of the fat of the fifth elephant being mined. Naughty naughty Terry! ****1/2

Aug 13, 5:35am Top

I hope you had a great party weekend and big YAY for the PUPPY! :D

Aug 13, 8:54am Top

I will try to post pix of the two boys -- don't know which one will come home with me, so stay tuned!

Aug 13, 4:39pm Top

Staying tuned for the puppy pix ....

Aug 13, 6:47pm Top

Here he is! It's going to be this one and we will (probably) name him Finbar.

Aug 13, 6:48pm Top

I'll post more pix in my pictures area when I can -- probably not until late tomorrow though after we get home.

He'll grow into those ears! They look the funniest at the this stage where there heads and ears are way too big!

Aug 13, 6:52pm Top


He's absolutely adorable, Lucy. You know we're gonna want at least a photo a day, right? When will he come to live with you?

Aug 13, 8:03pm Top

> What a handsome serious little guy!

Edited: Aug 13, 8:58pm Top

We're picking him up at 9 a.m. tomorrow -- probably will set off with him by 9:30 or so if all goes smoothly.

We just spent an hour or so with him and he is perfect. Truly a little dear and I know it is going to be, uh, a howling success.

Aug 13, 10:38pm Top

I'm THRILLED!!!!! Safe travels for all of you!

Aug 14, 1:13am Top

Aaaaaaaaawwwwwww! Adorable, I'm in love! He grins at us. :)))

Aug 14, 11:24am Top

>103 sibyx: So do I!

Edited: Aug 14, 5:34pm Top

We're home and Fin and Miss Po are doing great. In fact, right now they are both lying down inches from one another quite happily.

He's a natural splotter -- the little legs sticking out the back -- Po does not ever do this.

Edited: Aug 14, 6:15pm Top

Oh, my...I'm in love! What an absolute cutie. Play your cards right, Fin, and she'll put you in a book one day.

Aug 14, 6:33pm Top

So cute, the little splotter!! (I have never hear that term before!) Wishing you tons of fun together, and my wishes always come true. LOL

Edited: Aug 16, 9:49am Top

92. memoir ****
Living With the Laird Belinda Rathbone
A wry and wistful second look at a real life "ever after." Belinda Rathbone (American, of Boston) meets and marries John Ochterlony, heir to the Guynd, an small but venerable estate in the Scottish lowlands that has been in his family for over four hundred years, the centerpiece of which is a (small for a mansion) elegant Georgian house, built in the early 1800's. The estate comes with several hundred acres, an ancient Dower House (the original manse), cottages, the official farmhouse and much more. As Belinda throws herself into restoration--taking on the task of sorting and chucking all the broken, useless items that the family has collected over the centuries, removing the brown lino that has covered all the floors since the house was requisitioned in the second world war, scraping, plastering, painting she comes up, again and again, against an immovable obstacle: her husband. There is great affection between the two and a lot of common sense and they have a child together that both adore. I won't spoil, it's neither a happy nor unhappy ending, not even an ending, but more the way life tends to be, nothing neatly tied up and good intentions everywhere. I loved it, loved the descriptions, loved Rathbone's honesty. Highly recommended. **** 1/2

Extensively rewritten!! My only excuse is fatigue and the PUPPY!

Aug 14, 7:20pm Top

Welcome home Fin! I'm glad Miss Po is handling it well, too. He's soooo adorable.

Aug 14, 8:02pm Top

I've been informed that the correct word is "sploot" -- I rather like splot, (so close to splat) but so be it.

Aug 14, 9:24pm Top

Sploot/Splot, he's precious ... and of course Miss Po doesn't do anything so inelegant.
GLAD you're all home!

Aug 15, 9:32am Top

Oh! Puppy!! Lucy, he is SO adorable! Great photos - thanks for sharing. And I am with Peggy - "...of course Miss Po doesn't do anything so inelegant." I sense great times ahead for both of them. Congratulations on the newest addition to your family!

Aug 15, 11:49am Top

I had no idea there was a word for that doggie position - "sploot", I'll have to remember that (maybe I'll add it to my list of Roni's Wonderful Words). I was thinking about your adorable dogs last night and remembering that Fin is Po's nephew, right?

Aug 15, 12:14pm Top

>124 RebaRelishesReading: Alas no. Posey's sister's litter was very small and there were no 'extra' puppies. He is from an entirely separate line. But I think the breeders have similar ideas because they both have gentle dispositions and plenty of intelligence and curiosity.

Edited: Aug 15, 12:15pm Top

It's all too easy for a good book to get lost in the excitement of the puppy -- Belinda Rathbone's Living With the Laird really will please all the anglophiles here! Don't miss the review above!

Aug 15, 12:31pm Top

93. ♬ fantasy ****1/2
Night Watch Terry Pratchett

Commander Vimes is whisked back in time with a criminal he is most eager to catch, a deep psychopath-- but it's a very bad time for him and he is equally desperate to get back home. This one was a bit tougher and sadder than some; still funny, but with a different flavor. I loved the background development of some characters: Vetinari and Nobby in particular. ****1/2

Aug 15, 4:58pm Top

>116 sibyx: Adorable!! So very cute

Aug 15, 11:08pm Top

>126 sibyx: Not to worry on my account. I have a copy of *Laird* making its way to me from AMP even as I type ..... a lie. It's packaged and ready to ship according to the tracking system. Yay! Thanks for the rec.

Edited: Aug 21, 9:15am Top

94. fantasy ****
Seven Surrenders (Book 2 Terra Ignota) Ada Palmer

Being a long time fan of the 18th century -- although perhaps slightly more for the literature, rather than history and philosophy, I appreciate what Palmer is doing here. She's taken in the ideas of that time and giving them free rein in the best "what if" style. In that odd synchronicity (which happens all the time, really) here is what I read in the Orwell essays I happen to be reading, right after finishing the Palmer: "Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. . . two viewpoints are always tenable. The one, how can you improve human nature until you have improved the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? . . . The moralist and the revolutionary are constantly undermining one another." That, in essence, is what Palmer is so imaginatively investigating. This seesaw. This impossible fact of human development, so that outlawing gender reference across the board doesn't solve the problem. The differences are still there, lurking around, perhaps all the more dark and difficult for being outlawed. As with book 1 I was more engaged in the second half than the first which just seemed to consist of endless palaver and positioning of the characters. Interesting palaver, necessary positioning, but slow. This series is not for every reader, it's philosophical, exploratory, alternate future fantasy -- more like speculative fiction than fantasy, I suppose. Mary Doria Russell comes to mind as a parallel. I will read the third book, but I will take a break for some lighter reading first. ****

Aug 20, 7:11pm Top

Hi, Lucy! I'm back home at last. Loved the pictures of Fin (and Po) that you've posted. How are the cats adjusting?

Edited: Aug 21, 8:58am Top

95. ♬ fantasy ****1/2
Thud! Terry Pratchett

The penultimate book in the Sam Vimes story set in Diskworld. The anniversary of Coomb Valley, the worst battle between trolls and dwarves, is coming up and the dwarves and trolls are restless, especially the "dark" dwarves who disapprove of anything modern and have seized on this anniversary as a potential time to turn the clock back on progress. The great painting of the battle has gone missing from the museum and a dwarf leader has been murdered, not to mention that Ankh-Morpork has a large enough population of both trolls and dwarves to be feeling the darkening atmosphere. Sam, of course, is caught in the thick of it. Except that no matter what is going on he has signed up to be home, reading "Are You My Cow?" to Sam, Jr. every night at 6. Having a schedule to keep can be a life-saver! Some great dynamics too between newbie watchman, vampire Sally and werewolf Angua. ****1/2

Edited: Aug 21, 9:10am Top

>131 ronincats: It was getting a little intense, actually. Everyone seems fine with Fin, but our daughter, who is living at home again for six weeks until her new apartment is ready in Burlington (where she is now attending the University of Vermont--UVM), has been desperate for years to get a kitten and so we felt this was the right time -- the kitten can adjust to our house, where, inevitably it will sometimes live. The kitten, Lapsang, has a very bold and exploratory personality and Tenzing is not exactly pleased (I think he'll get over it) although Ernie, to our surprise, seems completely unbothered. Anyway, even though in theory Lapsang is sequestered on the third floor, he seems to escape easily and often. So with three humans and five pets things were a bit crowded . . .

Meanwhile, as planned anyway I've taken the dogs off to the house on the Cape. Already in less than a day I am making progress with Fin in the house-training department, just me and them and a house that, since we rent it out most of the summer, is very simply furnished. (The official shield of our VT house should be as my spousal unit put it, "Corgis Rampant on a Field of Clutter".)

We have a nice deck here that is dog-escape proofed so they can be inside or out. That helps too.

Edited: Aug 21, 9:33am Top

Lapsang is a great name for a cat! I think it's smart to take the dogs elsewhere for training & adjustment purposes. And you have a great location to escape to!

Aug 21, 3:43pm Top

>116 sibyx: I did not know that splooting (or even splotting) was a thing with a name. But Daisy does it all the time - we just called it “froggy legs”.

Aug 21, 11:41pm Top

>134 lauralkeet: I agree -- and we now have two cats with oriental(ish) names, Tenzing (Tibetan) and Lapsang (Chinese, I assume).
>135 SandDune: I like froggy legs!

Aug 24, 10:54am Top

I put this photo as the topper too!

Aug 24, 12:21pm Top

Oh, how darling!

Aug 24, 12:35pm Top

Yeah, it's pretty bad.

Aug 24, 12:39pm Top

Soooo sweet. Is Fin bringing out Miss Po's maternal instincts?

Aug 24, 12:40pm Top

It's so cool that they've bonded so quickly.

Aug 25, 9:47am Top

>140 lauralkeet: >141 RebaRelishesReading: Not sure if it's maternal exactly but she just seems very easy about him. She's always liked being with/playing with other dogs, so I expected it would be ok provided he's not too persistent or rough, and he isn't, thankfully.

Aug 25, 10:44am Top

Aug 25, 1:10pm Top

*sniff* I'm so moved there are happy tears in my eyes. :)))

Sep 2, 11:40am Top

96. fantasy ***1/2
The Dragon-Bone Chair Tad Williams

Young Simon, kitchen scullion, restless and full of daydreams, becomes the apprentice of Doctor Morgenes. Two brothers, princes, already at loggerheads and when their father dies and the older brother inherits, things start to go wrong almost immediately. He is under the counsel of a monk named Pryrates, as if hypnotized or bespelled by the man and no one can get close What separates this from other fantasies is that Simon is really a hapless young boy through the first half of the book and in the second half he is struggling to live up to the adventure he has found himself in and his younger self. There is a realism to this that has its annoying moments, but I also appreciate it as something Williams wanted to show, a character growing into himself. Much to like here, the troll Binabik and his companion wolf. A sturdy plot, three perilous swords which must be recovered in order to fight the fell Ineluki, Storm King, a Sithi (elf) gone seriously wicked eons ago bent for revenge on all humans for destroying their world. The rest of the Sithi, for they have split into three groups long ago, have to decide who they will ally themselves with in this battle. The last 1/4 in the mountains of the north convince me that Williams has himself done some climbing in ice or did his research very diligently, it's very good and the descriptions excellent and convincing. Looking forward to book 2. Not rating higher YET because I do feel it drags here and there, just too wordy. I have hopes Williams will hit his stride.

Edited: Sep 3, 9:57am Top

I've been posting very little -- am on the Cape and have had a steady flow of family and friends. Very little time for reading, too hot for knitting, but not too hot for talking and swimming at high tide which I have tried to do faithfully.

My main focus has been house-training Finbar -- for the last six days there have only been two "mistakes" in the house, just puddles, and last night, he "told" me he needed to go out. He is not a tiny puppy, remember, but well on to six months, and he has the fabulous Miss Po to show him what's what and he is learning fast. We've had him for three weeks, I'm quite proud of him. I've started on conditioning him to having his paws handled for nail clipping (mainly treats and more treats) and next will be working on a sit. I also have a command "Ho!" that has evolved with my dogs that just means, 'stop in your tracks' -- it works unless the dog is more than about twenty feet away. Anyway, I like to do one thing at a time.

This morning out walking the dogs a coyote came trotting down the road we were on, slowed, cocked "her?" ears then veered to opposite side of road into open brushy area between two (empty now) houses and just stood there watching us as we three stood there watching her. Eventually she loped off. I admire the rabbits I see here and there (they all live next to thickets) for surviving! I wish I'd had my camera as this went on long enough to get a photograph. It's been so hot that none of the clothes I'm wearing have any pockets at all. I need a fanny pack, just a teeny one for car keys and phone.

Sep 3, 10:24am Top

I'm impressed with young Finbar's progress, or rather with your superb training skills! We are so bad at dog training, just can't seem to stick with it and be consistent for long enough. But once they are senior dogs, they're fine. 😂

I pretty much always have a knitting project on the go, just like I always have a book close at hand. But I was glad to finish a top I was working on so I could do something smaller. I'm almost finished with a winter hat for the hubs (yes, way too early but at least it will be there when the weather turns), and I'm knitting a pair of socks two-at-a-time, which I haven't done before so it's an adventure.

Enjoy the rest of your time at the Cape!

Sep 3, 2:16pm Top

>146 sibyx: I had no idea there were Coyotes on Cape Cod! I think of them as a western animal and Cape Cod as too occupied by humans. Most interesting. I'm glad you're having success training Finbar. I once adopted a 5 month old English Springer Spaniel and she was very easy to train.

Edited: Sep 4, 11:11am Top

>147 lauralkeet: Not that superb, believe me. I am pretty consistent and I try to always have treats in my pocket. Really you can train a dog to do just about anything for treats.

Winter hats! Ugh! I have been uncomfortably hot at times this summer, but I still am not looking forward to winter. Slightly cooler weather would be fine. Still not knitting! I love my new project too -- a kind of long jumper thing. The picture is awful but I'll post it when I get around to it!

>148 RebaRelishesReading: The Cape is more or less overrun with coyotes--not all bad as it is also also overrun with deer and rabbits and the coyotes help. (The CC canal is not all that wide, not a tough swim at all.) It is not a good place to let your cat run loose! As I understand it, the more settled and suburban an environment is the more bold coyotes are and they are rather bold indeed here. In Vermont they fear humans as more than a few folks, farmers, in particular, will shoot them.

While parts of the Cape are thickly settled, other areas have been in the National Seashore for over sixty years now. Wellfleet is about 1/3 Seashore and thus has huge tracts of forested land. Must drive developers crazy! :)

Sep 9, 3:53am Top

>146 sibyx: That all sounds lovely! The Finbar-Miss Po dynamics sound great and promising.
I loved knitting when I tried it again some years ago, but I got wrist problems, as I got when I started playing the piano again. I guess it's a combination of too much computer work, the yoga, and mainly a broken bone when I was 11 that wasn't set 100% right. Quite annoying, knitting is so calming.

Coyotes, can't really imagine having them around. I also thought they were found more in the south, but that's because of the old Western movies and the cartoons. (oh dear...)

Happy Sunday!

Sep 9, 2:06pm Top

>145 sibyx: That one is a blast from the past! I read it when it first came out but never followed up with any of the sequels.

Just finished Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Stevenson. I think the Chemin de Stevenson will be my "walk" next year...assuming the knees hold up since it's a lot of up and down. I've also got Downhill All the Way: Walking With Donkeys on the Stevenson Trail sitting here ready to go which, hopefully, won't dissuade me from that plan.

I thought about taking a sketch book with me and keeping a written/drawn journal, something I haven't done on other walks.

See you in about a month.

Edited: Sep 29, 2:26pm Top

removed a dupe post!

Edited: Sep 10, 3:30pm Top

Hello Tad! I am happy to see you here. Thank you so much for stopping by. I am looking forward to seeing you too.

The Chemin de Stevenson looks fascinating. One of the first audiobooks I fell in love with was his account of traveling around the US. Probably I never put it in my books here as it was a long time ago and a library audiobook ON TAPE!!!!!

Edited: Sep 16, 3:45pm Top

97. fantasy ****
Stone of Farewell Tad Williams

Book 2 of the Memory, Sorrow, Thorn trilogy. In this one, the maturing Simon stays with Prince Josua on the trek to find somewhere safe for those remaining attached to the Prince. Miriamele, ever headstrong ends up on her own in dire straits, Josua's brother Elias continues to disintegrate. Ineluki, in the far North the evil unbeing former Sithi schemes away with the help of his mother to destroy pretty much everything. In short, the plot thickens. The strengths of the saga are in the slow but steady development of the main characters, the young ones especially, but also Josua and those around him. Few characters on the side of the angels, as it were, are static--not even the Sithi. On the whole it is a balanced work, with plenty going on. I'm happy to continue. ****

Sep 10, 3:37pm Top

>151 TadAD: Happy to see you here, Tad. I'm looking forward to seeing you too!

Your Stevenson trip looks like another wonderful idea. Years ago I listened to some of his travel writing ON TAPE! Early audio, and was fascinated. Much of it was about traveling around the USA it seems to me. Probably not listed here as it was so so long ago and from the library, not something I ever owned. Haven't thought of it in a long time.

Sep 10, 8:18pm Top

Here's the latest Po and Fin:

Sep 10, 8:44pm Top


Sep 10, 9:01pm Top

Sep 11, 11:09am Top

>156 sibyx: Goodness, he's almost as big as she is already! Such sweetness.

Sep 11, 1:21pm Top

>159 laytonwoman3rd: He was almost five months when we got him. I can't believe it's been a month! He's grown quite a bit. I'll be interested to see what he weighs--we're going to the vet today for Lyme and just to check in.

Sep 16, 10:19am Top

>156 sibyx: Awww! how sweet!

Edited: Sep 16, 3:54pm Top

98. fantasy ****
To Green Angel Tower, Part 1 Tad Williams

Memory, Sorrow, Thorn was marketed as a trilogy, but this last 'book', comes in two physical books, Part One and Part Two, both close to 800 pages. Typical industry nonsense. These are big books because nothing happens in a big hurry in this series; battles are described carefully and fully, interactions between people, meetings, travel, as well as the descriptions of places in which the characters find themselves, from a Sithi encampment to out on the ocean, or the jungly marshes of the southern lands. We are reminded frequently how hard it is to feed a lot of people who are traveling together, for example. Within the confines of the genre, Williams strives to be "realistic".. At times it can be somewhat exhausting, frankly, and it was all I could do not to turn the pages to find out what happened next, but on the whole, Williams pulls it off. The young people continue to learn and grow (or find it all too difficult to endure) in various ways. He also doesn't shy away from difficult but realistic situations like Miriamele's relationship to Duke Aspitis. I love the development of Duke Isgrimnur in the one, sent off to find Miriamele. Guthwulf's story also intrigues. I would say this one was, in many ways, the strongest so far for me.
Looking forward to the final book. ****

Edited: Sep 16, 4:17pm Top

99. essays ****
A Collection of Essays George Orwell

Right up front I have to admit this book was mostly a slog. Except for a few of the essays, on Dickens, on Gandhi, on Politics and the English Language, and Why I write at the very end, my attention wobbled. Orwell was a political being from head to toe and his concerns in these essays are entirely focussed on issues of boys, men, men in power, literature by men and for men -- all with the assumption, yes, that nothing else matters much other than who wields the power and what form it takes. No mention at all of a single woman writer other than, in an essay on Henry Miller, Anais Nin of all people. It's a very inward (as in Britishly inward) turning book and the essays are mostly written in the period between 1935 and 1941. At the same time, Orwell is such a good writer that even when I was feeling gnawingly irritated or bored I was far too appreciative of his attempts to be clear and direct and as honest about himself and his limitations as he could be, to put it down. The final essay, short, about "Why I Write" did not disappoint. The best essay, still entirely relevant, which tells you something about humans, and which should be required reading in high schools, was the one about Politics and the English Language. ****

"All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness." It goes on in that vein, but those are the two best sentences.

Edited: Sep 16, 5:00pm Top

>163 sibyx: the hubs has been on an Orwell jag of late which, in turn, has led him to read even more of the white male canon of that era (Waugh, et al). I keep waving Edith Wharton at him and gesturing at all the green spines on the bookshelves, in hopes he will someday want to broaden his reading horizons. He's a wonderful enlightened man in so many ways, but I still sigh over this.

Edited: Sep 17, 5:35am Top

I am vaguely an Orwell admirer (in the sense that I don't know much, but what I know I approve of), so it's saddening that he had this enormous blind spot. So many otherwise thoughtful and considerate men do, in the field of literature at least. Or did. Is it changing? I hope so. I'm very proud of my husband, teaching film theory at university and trying his best, from the occasionally morally tricky position of a white, middle class male (I'm not sure is you'd call him middle class, what with being FOREIGN but that's another issue). But he does his best, that's the point. He tries to teach these young, often quite diffident students, that they can question the status quo. To see that the media they consume is full of bias, "the male gaze" and all that. Also, the patriarchal, the heteronormative, all those things. And his personal area of research, the "other-ing" of the foreign or ethnically different. I like to imagine him going to work with a metaphorical flaming sword on his back, but in truth there's only a little of that and a lot of bickering about whose turn it is to buy coffee for the office machine.

In other thoughts - a puppy!!! How wonderful! Also, the cover for Fool's War looks awfully familiar. I either have it here in a pile somewhere or I've seen it around. Your review makes me wants to track it down now. I also, unfortunately, have War With the Newts as the husband got it in one of his Sci Fi Masterwork gift buying sprees. Also, loving the bookmark thread idea! I'll visit soon armed with pictures!

Edited: Sep 17, 5:57pm Top

>164 lauralkeet:, >165 HanGerg:
I admire Orwell deeply--and have little doubt that had he grown up in our time, he would be fine, in fact, Hannah, like your spousal unit, I am confident he would explore the gender issues in the creative fields with gusto. I wouldn't say that about everyone from his era. As well, I know that constantly grumping about the past is a waste of time, in part, and dismissing a person altogether because of those limitations foolish--particularly as many of those essays were no problem. When Orwell focusses on literature, however, the bias grates (as in the Miller essay--interesting as it was)--I've become so aware of the pernicious pervasiveness of gender bias, and how easy it is to be lazy and accepting. His view of who 'mattered" in the twenties and thirties is, frankly, pathetic when you get down to it. Blindered, by his own public school training and values he wasn't aware of what he was burdened with--yet he was so much more aware than most!

Laura -- has your spouse read Iris Murdoch? My admiration for her knows no bounds.

Lovely to see you both here. I have no good excuses that I haven't been visiting threads with much frequency, except that I can't seem to keep up with anything at all these days and I am writing, or trying to, when the opportunities offer. (If you go to my blog, you'll hear a very little about what I am working on.) I keep up this thread because I have to -- I record my books here so that I can refresh my memory, alas, that is necessary.

Sep 17, 9:13am Top

>166 sibyx: Chris hasn't read Murdoch, but that's an interesting idea. He enjoys challenging reads and she can certainly be challenging.

And don't you worry one bit about visiting threads and keeping up and all that!

Sep 17, 5:58pm Top

>167 lauralkeet: Thank you Laura. I am not even knitting! That's how it is.

Edited: Sep 22, 8:18pm Top

Note that Fin is "splooting"*. It looks like a yoga move, no?

*splooting is a technical corgi term for having your rear legs sticking out behind you while you lie on your belly.

This one is pretty cute too!

Sep 23, 6:11am Top


Sep 23, 6:58am Top

They are so sweet! thanks for keeping us posted with the photos.

Sep 23, 1:23pm Top

Yep, that's the upward facing dog! I've rarely seen a real dog doing it, I guess only the small short-legged ones can do it. :)))
Love the pics, thank you!

Trying to ignore the inner voice that's whispering "read more Orwell", I'm way to overbooked to take on any more serious readings.

Edited: Sep 26, 11:42am Top

100! fantasy ****1/2
To Green Angel Tower Part 2 Tad Williams

And so with this final volume, Williams closes out the "trilogy" (read, Quartet) about Osten Ard. I gather that there is a next gen sequel coming out soon and I will look forward to it, in the meantime I'll read some other Williams, of which there appears to be plenty!

I don't really have any serious quibbles -- although, as with some other styles of genre writing (I'm thinking not just of Game of Thrones but of Jim Chee in the Navaho detective series, etc etc ) the lad, Simon, gets beaten up, pounded, tortured etc. to a degree that starts to go beyond, well, the believable or even . . . readable really. The bad guy gets what he has coming and the plot, complex and twisty to the end, unfolds satisfactorily. I was sorry about a couple of the deaths -- that's tricky -- people do have to die, yes, or it gets too "unreal" but gee whiz, this is fantasy, now real does it have to be? Tolkien only killed off Boromir, after all, and Frodo has his wounds, just sayin'.

Besides the gift of showing the teenaged characters maturing, Williams is also very very good at describing action -- whether it is climbing, fighting, foraging, or just taking a walk he always connects the reader very physically and directly to what the protagonist is experiencing. (for the series) ****1/2

Sep 23, 2:40pm Top

"Splootting" is one of my favorite yoga moves!! Although I think it is called "frog pose." LOL. So cute! Not me when I do it -- your Corgi, Finbar. ; )

Sep 26, 11:35am Top

101. sp/op ****
The Gathering Edge Sharon Lee Steve Miller

Not everyone loves Theo Waitley in the Liaden saga 'verse, but I am very fond of her. Bechimo and motley crew first find themselves beset by rather interesting flotsam and jetsam coming into Bechimo's 'safe' space and then, when they leave, run into trouble on a troubled space station, naturally! Theo really really doesn't want to go to Surebleak where all her new Liaden family members are. And others are worrying about how the bonding with the AI spaceship Bechimo is going. Liaden Scouts are hot on the trail wanting to confiscate this piece of "old tech". ****

Sep 27, 10:52am Top

>169 sibyx: I'm glad you take the time to share your delightful doggies with us, Lucy. I also hope what you're writing goes well...I hope to be able to read it one day!

Sep 27, 2:23pm Top

Merely checking in.... I have so many Liadens yet to read. I haven't even scratched the surface. YAY!
And I'm pleased to the core that you came away from Osten Ard a fan.
Regards to Miss Po and Sir Fin!

Sep 27, 10:09pm Top

I'm getting a feeling I've missed some big piece of the Liaden story as I read this one . . . Have to go see the list of books. I thought I'd read them all, but either I've forgotten one thread or I've missed something.

Sep 29, 2:28pm Top

102. ♬ fantasy ****
Snuff Terry Pratchett

review forthcoming -- I kind of lost track of this one!

Edited: Sep 29, 2:32pm Top

Also to say that I tried listening to Bernard Cornwell's The Winter King hoping to find a new long story to listen to, but it isn't really what I look for in a listen, a bit too gritty. When I listen I think I concentrate harder to visualize and then gory gross bits are all the more vivid. And since I am usually driving around, somehow this doesn't work out. Lymond, for some reason, was no problemo. Better writing? So it's back to the ole drawing board. I'm even going to return this one. It might've been ok with a reader I liked better.

Sep 29, 8:22pm Top

103. paleontology *****!
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Steve Brusatte

What a superb writer, paleontologist, fossil hunter Brusatte is! What a delight to be taken on such a lucid tour of several hundred million years of earth's history. I am old enough to remember the final full acceptance of the extinction event that destroyed the dinosaur hegemony and that birds are descended directly from the dinosaurs, the only survivors of their kind. Brusatte's joy and enthusiasm for his career is infectious -- highly highly recommended!! *****

Sep 29, 9:13pm Top

Well done Lucy for passing 100 books whilst I have been MIA.

Have a lovely weekend.

Sep 30, 2:46pm Top

Ooh, not a subject I often feel the need to explore, but the paleontolgy book looks good! I guess having a little one who is predictably loopy about the beasts helps. I explained the fact that dinosaurs, although real, are no longer around the other day; oh the look of disappointment on his face!! He was already planning which dinosaurs were going in the rocket he's chartering for the moon, so it came as quite a blow!

Sep 30, 2:59pm Top

104. fantasy ****1/2
Neogenesis Sharon Lee Steve Miller

Definitely not a Liaden book to read without extensive review of MANY previous plot lines involving Clan Korval -- in this meaty novel many plot lines converge and constant references take it for granted that the reader knows the background of each character. While I was sometimes confused, I remembered just enough to squeak through in reasonable shape. I enjoyed learning a lot more than I had ever expected I would about Uncle. A further plot, the splintering of the Scouts and the reshaping (wanted to use rehabilitation, but there is no previous "re" in this equation!) of Surebleak into a civilized-enough place points toward more to come. I fully expect to reread most of the Liaden oeuvre ere long, so I am contented. ****1/2

Sep 30, 3:06pm Top

>182 PaulCranswick: Nice to see you here Paul!

>183 HanGerg: You can tell him the birds are here and they survived! You will want to read this book to be the awesome dino expert mom.

I've bogged down hopelessly in Owen Glendower my ROOT book, so before I can start in on the two "new" books I have listed here (the Lopez and the RJ Bennett) I have to read 100 pages. Maybe that will be enough to get my deep into it. I have already read about 250. As with all of Powys's fiction it is utterly compelling and memorable, but it is writing that asks a lot more of the reader than most.

Sep 30, 3:06pm Top

I think I am going to turn over a new leaf and start a new thread for the last quarter of the year -- so here goes!

Sep 30, 3:08pm Top

Hi, Lucy. I'm a Theo Waitley fan, too, and Bechimo continues to intrigue. Like you, I'd like to reread all the Liaden books at some point.

Sep 30, 5:28pm Top

>187 jnwelch: Just saying hi to you!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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