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bell7 (Mary) reads through the library in 2018 - the third page

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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1bell7
Jul 1, 7:41pm Top

Welcome to my third thread of the year! Since we’re perfectly halfway through the year, I figured it was a good time for a new one

If you haven’t met me yet, I’m Mary and a librarian in western Massachusetts. I love fantasy with great characters and world-building, but I’ll read almost anything, fiction or nonfiction, that catches my interest. Aside from reading, I also knit and enjoy sports (football, hockey and baseball primarily). I dogsit on the side and this year I’ve been going through the Marvel universe on DVD.

Though I’m well on pace for 75 books and four threads this year, I’m a little behind in the typical amount of reading I do at this point in the year. Since keeping track in 2006, I’ve never read less than 100 books in a calendar year with more than half of that through June. I’m right at 50 now, so it’s going to be a close call.

I did take a new position as Assistant Director at the library where I’ve been working since high school, so probably the stress from that and my attempt to walk/exercise more is cutting into reading time. I’m single, no kids, the oldest of five siblings all in our 20s and 30s now. My middle sister has two kids, and I’m doting “Auntie Mimi” to Mia (3 the end of this month) and Matthew (age 1). They live outside of DC, so I get to see them in person a couple of times a year, and they are my photo toppers:


Mia’s wearing a sweater I knit her and a frog hat that was really for Matthew on the right, but I couldn’t resist including both and showing off her beautiful curly hair


These are all from about March/April. The one on the right shows Matthews fascination with Skyping - he loves seeing us on the phone and tries to grab it!

They’re both getting so big, so fast! I’m hoping to get down in September right around the time of the National Book Festival.

2bell7
Edited: Sep 14, 6:47pm Top

One of my responsibilities at work is a book club I've been facilitating since 2012. Here are this year's selections:

January - Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
February - The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
March - One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
April - The Finest Hours by Michael Tougias
May - In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
June - The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
July - Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
August - Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
September - The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
October - The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
November - After This by Alice McDermott
December - Blessings by Anna Quindlen

3bell7
Jul 1, 7:41pm Top

2018 Reads so far:

January -
1. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
2. The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
4. Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
5. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
6. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
7. Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
8. Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
9. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

February -
10. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
11. The Great Commission to Worship by David Wheeler and Vernon Whaley
12. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
13. The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn
14. The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins
15. No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin
16. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
17. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
18. The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

March -
19. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
20. One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
21. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
22. Ask a Manager by Alison Green (ARC - out May 2018)
23. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

4bell7
Edited: Jul 1, 7:43pm Top

April -
24. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
25. Bellocq's Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey
26. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
27. Inside Job by Connie Willis
28. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
29. The Finest Hours by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman
30. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
31. I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan
32. Cringeworthy by Melissa Dahl
33. Beartown by Fredrik Backman
34. A Masque of Mercy by Robert Frost
35. Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi

May -
36. Better by Atul Gawande
37. Lost Crow Conspiracy by Rosalyn Eves
38. In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
39. Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
40. Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
41. Great at Work by Morten Hansen
42. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

June -
43. How to Read Poetry Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
44. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
45. The Gospel of Isaiah by Allan MacRae
46. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
47. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
48. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Scwab
49. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
50. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

5bell7
Edited: Yesterday, 9:21pm Top

July
51. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
52. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
53. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
54. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
55. Linchpin by Seth Godin
56. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
57. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
58. The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey
59. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
60. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

August
61. The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
62. The Destiny Thief by Richard Russo
63. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
64. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
65. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
66. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
67. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfeld (ARC - due out Jan. 2019)
68. Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland
69. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
70. Simple Wisdom: Shaker Sayings, Poems and Songs collected by Kathleen Mahoney
71. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

September
72. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
73. The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher
74. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
75. Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner
76. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
77. Goldenhand by Garth Nix
78. Across the Wall by Garth Nix
79. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Currently reading
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novij

6bell7
Jul 1, 7:42pm Top

Next one's yours!

7thornton37814
Jul 1, 8:03pm Top

Happy new thread!

8ronincats
Jul 1, 9:49pm Top

Happy New Thread, Mary! Wow, those kids ARE growing very quickly!

9streamsong
Jul 2, 1:42am Top

Happy New Thread! The photos are adorable - I love the sweater and hat.

10rosylibrarian
Jul 2, 4:13am Top

Happy new thread, Mary! Wow, your niece and nephew are shooting right up.

11PaulCranswick
Jul 2, 5:40am Top

Happy new thread, Mary.

12drneutron
Jul 2, 9:16am Top

Happy new thread!

13The_Hibernator
Jul 2, 2:59pm Top

Happy new thread

14thornton37814
Jul 3, 10:40am Top

Happy new thread!

15jnwelch
Jul 3, 5:49pm Top

Happy New Thread, Mary!

16MickyFine
Jul 4, 1:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Mary! Your niece and nephew are so adorable!

Envious of your trip to the DC Book Fest. Although I've got pretty awesome stuff going on in September that I wouldn't miss, even for that. :D

17bell7
Jul 4, 2:09pm Top

Thanks Lori, Roni, Janet, Marie, Paul, Jim, Rachel, Lori (x2!), Joe and Micky!

>8 ronincats: They really are. I'm in awe of how fast time flies

>9 streamsong: Thanks, Janet! I had a lot of fun making both

>10 rosylibrarian: Aren't they? I can't believe Mia is nearly 3!

>16 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I'm looking forward to the trip though I haven't nailed down all the details yet, I'm almost ready to go ahead and buy the plane tickets down. And I suppose you have a good excuse for missing this year! :)

18bell7
Edited: Aug 23, 7:45am Top

June in review -
43. How to Read Poetry Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
44. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
45. The Gospel of Isaiah by Allan MacRae
46. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
47. Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
48. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Scwab
49. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
50. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Books read: 8
Children's/Teen/Adult: 0/1/7
Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry/Plays: 5/3/0/0
Library/Mine/Borrowed: 6/1/1
Rereads: 1

Standouts: A Conjuring of Light as an excellent wrapup of a fantastic trilogy

Thoughts: Usually the first half of the year accounts for just over half of my reading, so if I stay on pace like that I may read less than 100 books for the first time since I started keeping track in 2006. I've had greater responsibilities at work and have been making a real effort to exercise with long walks lately, so I suppose it's only to be expected and I really shouldn't be disappointed with the shift. I've also been reading more and more adult books, and I definitely move faster through children's and teen books, so that has an impact as well. As for this month, June was a solid month of reading good books, a good mix of fiction and nonfiction, books to challenge and to entertain. Even those I didn't rate as highly are going to stay with me for awhile (The Heart of the Matter). There wasn't a true clunker in the bunch.

19bell7
Jul 4, 2:25pm Top

Today is an American holiday, so I have the day off from work right smack in the middle of the week that feels like a lazy Saturday. I won't know what to do with myself on Saturday itself - though I think it's supposed to be cooler out than it is today, so maybe I'll fit in a walk outside!

Last night I stayed up late watching Avengers: Age of Ultron which was good fun (though not one of my absolute favorites) and, I think, set up some rather important things for the future. I have to wait to get the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back out of the library to polish that off (3 more episodes) and then go on to Ant-Man. For now I've decided to skip the Netflix originals so I'm foregoing Daredevil and Jessica Jones. I might revisit that plan later, we'll see. My brother (who hasn't watched all of the Marvel movies, but a fair number) wants me to hurry up and get to Thor Ragnarok because he saw it recently and *loved* it. So I'll probably text him when I'm ready and watch it with him.

I slept in a little and took my time with stuff this morning, doing small but satisfying organizational tasks like balancing my check book and reading through BookPage to add to my TBR list. I'm reading Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman and have to get moving because it's due tomorrow and I have about 200 pages left. Lastly, I'm hoping to get to a little bit of knitting. I've reached turning the heel on the second sock in a pair I'm making for myself, and know that I won't be able to concentrate on a movie or TV while I'm counting stitches.

20Familyhistorian
Jul 4, 5:52pm Top

Happy new thread, Mary. A day off in the middle of the week sounds good. Enjoy your Fourth of July!

21bell7
Jul 4, 6:20pm Top

>20 Familyhistorian: thanks, Meg! It's been a pleasant, relaxing day.

22bell7
Edited: Jul 4, 7:13pm Top

51. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Why now? I'd intended to read the sequel to Scythe but was leaving some space between books - I decided to pick it up now because the first book in a series in one of five that high school students in my library's town are choosing to read over the summer

Since the Conclave in which Citra was chosen as a Scythe - one of the people chosen to "glean" humans in a world that otherwise has conquered immortality - and Rowan was not, their paths have diverged even more. Citra is Scythe Anastasia and has become good friends with her mentor, Scythe Curie. Rowan has stolen a ring and taken the name Scythe Lucifer, going so far as to glean other scythes who are from the "new order" and take pleasure in killing rather than seeing the great responsibility they have been given and measuring the cost. Meanwhile, the Thunderhead, the artificial intelligence that governs humanity but according to its own laws cannot violate the separation of Scythe and State, sees the possibility of humanity's imploding and is doing its best to intervene without getting directly involved.

Revisiting old characters was fun and I also enjoyed the introduction of Greyson Tolliver. And, as the title suggests, we learn more about the Thunderhead the benevolent AI program who actually loves humanity and is trying to find a way to save us from ourselves. Shusterman creates a plausible, intricate world imagining what life would be like if there were no disease and only a small, controlled amount of death. What price is immortality? What makes us essentially human, and what new mistakes would we make in a such a world? It's a fascinating premise, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. 4.5 stars.

23MickyFine
Jul 5, 2:28pm Top

>19 bell7: Excellent progress on all things, Marvel. I do quite like the first season of Jessica Jones (although I'm not sure I could rewatch it) and think it's worth a watch regardless of whether you do it within your timeline or later. :)

24jnwelch
Jul 5, 5:28pm Top

Hi, Mary.

We love the Jessica Jones series, and agree with your brother about Thor Ragnarok. It's actually very funny - the more they feature humor in the Marvel movies, the better we like it.

25bell7
Jul 6, 3:51pm Top

>23 MickyFine: Jessica Jones is still on the back burner as a possibility. My decision is mostly based on two things: first, I've noticed it's sometimes difficult for me to get a non-blu-ray version of the shows, particularly Daredevil (and Agent Carter season 2...) through the library system so it gives me a way out of watching the harder-to-get stuff. And second, I'm liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and not sure I want to introduce full seasons of *other* TV shows into the mix and get too confused about everything.

>24 jnwelch: Yeah, he told me it was funny and made some of the choices in Infinity War (he's watched it, I'm actively avoiding spoilers) make more sense. He's watching what he wants in no particular order while I'm trying to be systematic about it :D

26bell7
Jul 6, 3:53pm Top

I started reading The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz at the recommendation of one of the library trustees... and I read over half of it yesterday. And yes, I worked a full day yesterday. That's 200+ pages read mostly after work. It's really clever and a quick read. I expect I'll finish it tonight.

27norabelle414
Jul 6, 3:57pm Top

Thor Ragnarok is so very enjoyable. I just rewatched it recently because it's on Netflix now.

28bell7
Jul 6, 8:14pm Top

>27 norabelle414: I'm looking forward to getting to it!

29tymfos
Jul 6, 9:44pm Top

Happy new-ish thread, Mary! The photos are sweet!

30bell7
Jul 7, 11:24am Top

>29 tymfos: thanks, Terri!

31FAMeulstee
Jul 7, 3:26pm Top

Happy new thread, Mary!

32bell7
Jul 7, 4:28pm Top

>31 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

33bell7
Jul 7, 4:38pm Top

52. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
Why now? One of the library trustees recommended it to me, and I knew I'd better get to it because he'd ask me what I thought

A woman walks into a funeral parlor and arranges her funeral. A few hours later she's murdered. The police call in a consultant, Hawthorne, who is secretive and unlikable but brilliant at picking apart impossible cases. Hawthorne asks Anthony Horowitz to come along for the ride and write about the case.

Horowitz cleverly entertains in this send up of classic detective novels while writing a modern-day mystery of his own. This is an incredibly compelling and quick read - I read it in two work days. Some readers may find it a little too clever by half, but I enjoyed that aspect of it and laughed out loud at a couple of scenes. It was all I could do not to look up articles on what Horowitz took from real life (for example, he mentions his own books and screenwriting) and which were entirely fictitious, but I wanted to avoid spoilers. While the ending was a little eye-roll-inducing with its Agatha Christie addition of a new bit of information at the very end that the reader had no hope of putting together to the end it was still a fun ride and I may have to seek out Horowitz's other adult books now. 4.5 stars.

34bell7
Jul 7, 4:45pm Top

53. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
Why now? My next audiobook after book #3, continuing my reread of the first five books and quest to finish the series

Temeraire and Laurence return to England to find disturbing news: the entire aerial corps has been affected with a disease. Dragons are sick and some have died - for the rest, it's only a matter of time. The feral dragons, Izkierka, and Temeraire are set to patrol duty until they realize that they know the cure, and set out to Africa to find it.

The alternate world in which Napoleonic wars occur with dragons expands even further and now we get a sense of the slave trade. The story takes a few twists and turns that I don't want to give away. Seeing the intricacies of this world and its players unfold is the fun in this book. There isn't as much banter - things are getting much more serious - and Temeraire's questioning and black-and-white view of the world tests Laurence's logic and his understanding of duty. 4.5 stars.

Have I already mentioned that the audiobooks are read by Simon Vance? These are fabulous stories in any format, and Vance's narration brings these characters to life.

35MickyFine
Jul 9, 2:22pm Top

>25 bell7: That's fair. The Netflix Marvel shows don't interact as much with the full MCU so you're fine skipping them and going back. Or just not watching them at all.

>33 bell7: I can't decide if I'd find that level of metafiction fun or irritating. I'll hold off as I want to read Magpie Murders first anyway.

36jnwelch
Jul 9, 4:13pm Top

I may have missed it, Mary, but have you read his Magpie Murders yet? It sure sounds like you'll enjoy it (I did!) based on that tantalizing review of The Word is Murder. I'm adding TWIM to my WL now.

37bell7
Jul 10, 9:10am Top

>35 MickyFine: Unfortunately I didn't look at putting a hold on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 on hold until yesterday and there is only one copy in the system...I'm the 27th hold. So I'll have to put all the TV series on hold for now and just continue with the movies. Season 4 isn't even available in my library system. Ah well... I watched Ant-Man last night which was fun but not stellar, and Captain America: Civil War is next on the docket.

And I hear you about metafiction, it can be hit or miss for me too. I think since I knew going in I was more predisposed to like it, if that makes sense.

>36 jnwelch: I haven't, Joe, so I'm definitely going to have to add it to the list. Hope you enjoy The Word is Murder!

38MickyFine
Jul 10, 1:30pm Top

>37 bell7: I'd keep your expectations of Civil War pretty low. I just read the trade compilation of those comics though which was actually quite enjoyable. And with significant differences from the film obviously.

39bell7
Jul 12, 7:26am Top

>38 MickyFine: Oh that's too bad about Civil War. So far the Captain America ones and Guardians of the Galaxy were my favorites so I had kinda high hopes for that one. I'm not sure I'd even know where to get started on some of the comics. The movies were confusing enough and I basically just picked an order that I found on the Internet just so I'd have a road map.

40bell7
Jul 12, 7:36am Top

Well my boss is off this week which means I'm in charge. Life is much more stressful when that's the case, so I find myself very tired earlier in the evenings and not getting a ton of reading done. I'm exactly halfway through the week, though, and just counting down - not because I don't enjoy the work I do, but because I won't be the one making all the decisions.

When I do have time, a little of what I'm reading:

Linchpin by Seth Godin - different from what I expected because it's no scientific proof of "do these seven things and you'll be more productive and beloved." No, it's much more about attitude. Do you come to your job and want to follow rules or do you make the rules? Godin argues that the current work force is moving away from a "factory" mindset of do your work and we'll take care of you and becoming more about people making human connections and making art. If I come into work every day with a mindset of helping people and performing great customer service and librarianship, if I perform to my passion and make art, I'll be a linchpin. It's a little repetitive and I had some trouble with the unique language he'd use to describe something, like talking about "the rebellion" and "the lizard brain" as what keeps you from doing these things, but I'm getting into the swing of it and almost feel like I should reread it to fully get what he's saying.

Prodigal Summer I just barely, barely started this on my lunch break two days ago. It's my book club book for Wednesday, so I'm probably gonna read a lot of it on my day off Monday...

Victory of Eagles just became available to me on Overdrive. I listened last night before I fell asleep but I couldn't tell you a think that happened in the first 30 minutes.

And I did listen to A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond and read by Stephen Fry. Nothing to complain about from the narrator, but I was a little disappointed in the book. It's very episodic and most of the humor is Paddington sort of innocently getting into trouble. I probably would've found it charming when I was younger and reading books such has Hitty: Her First Hundred Years (and actually, the beginning seemed so familiar I wondered if I had read it once). Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me as an adult.

41norabelle414
Jul 12, 9:32am Top

The upside of Captain America: Civil War is that once you get through it you are that much closer to the holy trinity of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.
There are some good parts of Civil War like, um, Spider-Man and Black Panther.

42MickyFine
Jul 12, 12:49pm Top

>39 bell7: Internet order is great. The Fiancé and I are doing that right now for all the DC TV shows. At the moment we're on season 3 of Arrow and the first season of Flash. Although that viewing has largely been put on hold as we watch Jeeves & Wooster, which we borrowed from the library.

>40 bell7: Good luck making it through the rest of your work week as the adultiest adult in the building. ;)

43The_Hibernator
Jul 14, 11:44am Top

Good luck with being in charge!

44bell7
Jul 14, 12:19pm Top

>41 norabelle414: I have Doctor Strange home from the library and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on hold. I'm hoping to make serious progress over the next couple of weeks.

>42 MickyFine: Oh fun! Both Arrow and Flash look potentially fun. Another project for another year, perhaps. And thanks! It's been a fast week and only a couple of *very* stressful days.

>43 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel. It's been a long week, I'm looking forward to my day off Monday!

45bell7
Jul 14, 12:25pm Top

54. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Why now? It was available when I was looking for an audiobook and felt like trying something narrated by Stephen Fry

Repeating what I wrote above so I can keep my count straight:

Nothing to complain about from the narrator, but I was a little disappointed in the book. It's very episodic and most of the humor is Paddington sort of innocently getting into trouble. I probably would've found it charming when I was younger and reading books such has Hitty: Her First Hundred Years (and actually, the beginning seemed so familiar I wondered if I had read it once). Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me as an adult.

46bell7
Edited: Jul 14, 4:21pm Top

55. Linchpin by Seth Godin
Why now? Podcast I listen to recommended it

Bestselling author and blogger Seth Godin argues that in this economy, you can't just follow rules and expect that your employer will take care of you. The real linchpins who become indispensable aren't just cogs in a machine, they take initiative and think for themselves, take chances, try new things, give their work as a gift, and make human connections.

I was initially put off by the fact that there's no roadmap for how to do this: Godin's focus is primarily on what's making you tick as a worker internally, not on how you do it. And really, it's part of his point. There's no one way to do it, and as soon as you try to bottle it up in a list of how-tos, you've made it part of the "factory" mentality, as he called it, rather than truly becoming a linchpin. The book is a little repetitive and in my head it read with a *lot* of enthusiasm, which I tend to find off-putting. He also has as way of giving things names - the resistance, lizard brain, and more - that I didn't follow what he was talking about at first. But there are some good ideas in here and plenty of food for thought if you're willing to put the work in. 3.5 stars.

I almost felt like I should go back and reread it, because I spent so much of my time in the beginning almost fighting against his style. He does include a wide range of books at his bibliography in the end, and I photocopied it before returning the book to the library to see if there are any other titles I want to pursue.

47bell7
Edited: Jul 16, 12:14pm Top

I Skyped my sister's family today - Mia was napping, but Matthew was up and energetic. We started a game where he would start to climb up the stairs and wait for his mom to pick him up. Then she'd hold him upside down and move his face toward the iPad while I went close in to the phone a couple of times. We'd laugh, he'd get down, blow me a kiss and head back for the stairs. I think when I get down there in September he'll be old enough I can take him for a day out just like I do with Mia. It'll probably be pretty similar, too, heading to the playground and the library. My sister tells me he loves the library, so we'll have a good time together :D

48bell7
Jul 14, 6:18pm Top

Forgot to mention that I watched Captain America: Civil War on Thursday. It was...okay. Yeah, you guys kinda warned me about that one. The plot seemed rather thin to me and I'm really confused as to how Captain America could've possibly known that Bucky killed Iron Man's dad? Did I miss something there? Okay if you like action movies, but basically I just wanted them to stop fighting and actually have a conversation...Good grief, there was so much macho posturing.

Anyway. I have Doctor Strange ready to go over the weekend at some point. I worked today, read my book club book in front of the Red Sox this afternoon, and took a nice long walk. Now I'm about ready to cut up some vegetables to make pita bread pizza for supper and have some chopped veggies leftover for an omelet tomorrow. I have Monday off and am planning some reading time (gotta finish that book club book for Wednesday!) and a grocery shopping.

49MickyFine
Jul 14, 11:24pm Top

Yes, there was insufficient conversing in Civil War. So much could have been solved by actually talking.

I look forward to your thoughts on Doctor Strange. :)

50bell7
Jul 15, 9:11am Top

>49 MickyFine: That's pretty much my least favorite convention, too, when the main conflict could be resolved by, um, talking.

Okay, so I watched Doctor Strange last night. I didn't really go in with much for expectations, having no idea what the plot was about and hearing mixed things ("This was amazing!" "It was weird.") from a couple of people whose opinions I trust. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, maybe not making my absolute favorites list, but solidly up there with Thor (which I also had limited expectations on). I have liked every role I've seen Benedict Cumberbatch in anyway, and Tilda Swinton was extremely convincing. Also, the after-credit clip where Dr. Strange is talking to Thor, who has this giant mug of beer that magically refills was hysterical.

Next one is Guardians of the Galaxy 2! I've heard that it's just as good as the first and that it isn't as good as the first, so once again I have no idea what to expect.

51souloftherose
Jul 15, 10:56am Top

>33 bell7: The Word is Murder has gone on my list. I really enjoyed Magpie Murders by the same author earlier this year which sounds similar in the way it references classic detective novels. I'd recommend MM if you haven't already read it.

>37 bell7: And just seen that Joe recommended the same book! Great minds.....

>50 bell7: I found GoG" more enjoyable than the first film - but I also didn't like the first film that much the first time I watched it (enjoyed it much more after rewatching).

52bell7
Jul 16, 12:11pm Top

>51 souloftherose: Well, I guess I have double the reason to put Magpie Murders on the TBR list, eh, Heather? The first Guardians of the Galaxy very quickly made it to one of my favorites even on a first watch, so I find it heard to think the second will top it. Just like reading though, I find myself reacting not just to whether I like something or not but also what my expectations were going in. I try to not have any strong ideas to start with and just enjoy it for what it is, which I guess is why I also try to avoid any kind of spoilers (or really knowing much of anything about) a story I know I want to read/see.

53bell7
Jul 16, 12:36pm Top

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. but fortunately it's my day off. I spent the morning finishing Prodigal Summer for Wednesday's book group, and have basically given in to the fact that I'm up and I may as well get a few things done today. So I'm off to do a quick grocery shopping and make myself some lunch and maybe some banana bread. I'm planning on taking my youngest sister out to supper at this restaurant I recently came across that gives a free book from their collection to anyone who eats there, so it should be a fun trip :) And after that, I'm most likely calling it an early night and heading to bed.

54MickyFine
Jul 18, 2:20pm Top

Hope your day off was as enjoyable as you planned, Mary!

55bell7
Jul 18, 9:33pm Top

>54 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I was tired, but I managed. I got the grocery shopping done, finished my book club book, and took a nap. Then we did indeed go out to eat and had a fun time hanging out. The restaurant has an old-time diner feel with options like sandwiches, salad, and burgers. On the first floor, you can choose three books each for free along with your meal, and they have a bookstore in the basement. It's a fun sort of place and I could see making a day trip out of it sometime and maybe seeing some of the other shops nearby.

I'm trying to get back into the walking habit, so yesterday and today I set aside some time in the morning before work (they were 12-8 shifts) and tomorrow I'm hoping to go for a walk outside after work if it's not too humid. I still owe a review on Prodigal Summer and I'm making my way through a couple of other books, too, that I may have updates on over the weekend depending on how fast I go. I finally used up a couple of overripe bananas in making bread this morning too, so I felt properly accomplished for the day.

Tonight was book club and we had a great discussion about Prodigal Summer. The ladies there had some insightful thoughts on the story, the characters, and the themes of love, environment, and interconnectivity. We had one new person walk in about 20 minutes late, so we really quickly introduced ourselves and went on. She listened carefully and made a few insightful comments, so I think she'd be a good addition to the group. I won't stop us the next time if she continues to be late, though, I'll just let the conversation go and hope she jumps in (or starts showing up on time).

Oh oh, and yesterday I watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which was very enjoyable. The next is Spider-Man Homecoming which I'm planning on watching tomorrow night, and then over the weekend I'll watch Thor Ragnarok with my brother. I have Black Panther home and ready to go, probably sometime next week.

At this rate, I may be caught up before Ant-Man and the Wasp is out of theaters, which I did not expect when I started this. Not watching the TV shows has definitely picked up the pace, but I am going to go back and watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the DVDs become available, and maybe some of the other shows as well.

56MickyFine
Jul 19, 12:45pm Top

I think you're going to have fun with the next trio of Marvel films in your line up, Mary.

Congrats on being such a productive grown-up! Hopefully you get some lazy downtime this coming weekend. :)

57norabelle414
Jul 19, 1:47pm Top

Spider-Man: Homecoming is so good and I'm so jealous you get to watch it for the first time

58bell7
Jul 20, 8:37am Top

>56 MickyFine: Haha, I find adulting is like cleaning my apartment. There's always "something more" to do but if I chip away at it enough I keep things mostly under control lol. I should have some lazy time coming this weekend. Tonight after work, I'm going out to watch my brother play at a local bar and tomorrow I have off. Other than a little cooking and a nice long walk, I'm thinking I'll have plenty of time for reading.

>57 norabelle414: It was soooo good! I remember seeing that it was coming out and thinking it was just a remake of the Toby Maguire movies but it was so much better than that.

59bell7
Jul 20, 8:40am Top

I watched Spider-Man: Homecoming last night. It was incredibly well done, with just the right notes of the seriousness of a kid coming into his powers and humor, telling a story and also tying it into the larger Marvel universe. There were a few scenes that were just laugh out loud funny, and my jaw literally dropped when the villain opens the door because he's the dad of Peter's homecoming date.

Next is Thor: Ragnarok. I'm planning on watching it with my brother on Sunday.

60MickyFine
Edited: Jul 20, 2:07pm Top

>58 bell7: Sounds like an excellent plan for your weekend, Mary.

My personal favourite part of Homecoming are the Captain America videos in gym class.

Looking forward to your Ragnorak reaction. :)

61bell7
Jul 21, 8:36am Top

>60 MickyFine: Yeah well, good plans and all that. My brother invited me to a couple of things going on today, and I'm thinking I have no good excuse to turn him down so I may be out and about today after all. Haha, I especially liked the one at the very end when he asked "How many more of these do I have to do?"

And good news for post-Black-Panther - Infinity War comes out on DVD August 14! I'm almost caught up!

62MickyFine
Jul 21, 11:44am Top

>61 bell7: Hope the outing is excellent fun.

63norabelle414
Jul 23, 9:20am Top

>59 bell7: I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming in the theater and the entire audience gasped at that moment and several people screamed. What a reveal!

64bell7
Jul 23, 5:15pm Top

>62 MickyFine: It was! A friend of mine hosts a sports yoga class that's followed by going to a local bar for drinks and snacks and hanging out (one free drink with the class). So it's yoga moves but more of an aerobic workout. I'm still sore, but it was fun. A group of us hung out for a few hours afterward, and my brother R. and a friend of his brought out guitars and started singing on the outdoor chairs while we talked and ate and relaxed. Later he went on to another local festival, but I went home to get a little rest and cooking done.

>63 norabelle414: Wasn't it though? I can only imagine how fun it must've been to see in theaters! As it was I had to text my brother G. and talk through a few moments. I was wrong to say he's only watched some of the Marvel movies, btw. He's seen all but the Incredible Hulk, and somewhat out of order.

Thor: Ragnarok was an absolute blast. I watched it yesterday afternoon with G. on his Netflix account and I'm almost sorry I returned the DVD to the library today because I want to watch it again. Good story, good acting, hilarious to boot. Black Panther is next!

Today I worked 9-2 but I'm still kinda tired from the busy weekend so I've walked on the treadmill (too humid outside and basically a chance of storms all week) and puttered around the apartment this afternoon. I'm not really in a mood to cook, but I think in a few I'm gonna have to head out to the store to at least buy the fixings for a salad or something. I don't want to do a full grocery shopping because I'm leaving to dogsit on Wednesday and want to avoid leaving behind a full fridge.

65norabelle414
Jul 23, 5:25pm Top

>64 bell7: Chris Hemsworth is SO funny and I'm glad he got to be funny as Thor for once

66bell7
Jul 23, 5:33pm Top

>65 norabelle414: It was kind of entertaining to see a sort of epic film not take itself so seriously, much as I liked Kenneth Branagh's version. Also Jeff Goldblum was amazing. And I think I liked this because it was sort of understated, but when Bruce Banner has to wear Tony's clothes and he looks just slightly off and uncomfortable in them, I suddenly realized what a great job they've done of giving each of the characters a distinctive style.

67bell7
Jul 23, 5:50pm Top

>65 norabelle414: Um yeah, you weren't kidding, he's hilarious. (Starts searching all sorts of random YouTube videos for more interviews)

68norabelle414
Jul 23, 10:47pm Top

69bell7
Jul 24, 9:45am Top

>68 norabelle414: Oh my gosh, that's right! I'd um, totally forgotten that was the same person.

Then there's also this rendition of Thor: Ragnarok in 4D.

70MickyFine
Jul 24, 4:05pm Top

>69 bell7: That made my afternoon.

71bell7
Jul 24, 6:14pm Top

>70 MickyFine: I am so glad to hear it!

72bell7
Jul 24, 6:41pm Top

56. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Why now? July's book club selection

Deanna is a lone wolf living and working on a mountain in protected lands, ever since her ex-husband left her. Lusa is in a tempestuous but loving relationship with her farmer husband, Cole, though as a "city girl" with an interest in moths she doesn't quite fit in with his loud, rambunctious family. And Garnett just wants to be left alone to grow his chestnuts, but his annoying next door neighbor Nannie has all these newfangled ideas about organic gardening that are driving him crazy.

These three stories intertwine to tell the story of one prodigal summer in Egg Fork, a small Appalachian town. I almost read it as the author writing with love and exasperation about this place and these people. The women in the story especially are strong, opinionated, sexual beings. In fact, you'd hardly think this book came out 18 years ago, because other than a lack of cell phones you'd think it was talking about the present. I know I read the story closer to when it came out, but when my book club read it this month I found myself reading with absolutely no memory of what happened, and wondering if some of the subtext about sex and procreation and nature even made sense to me at the time. I enjoyed the three plotlines, especially Lusa as she comes to realize that there's more to her husband's family than she realized. This was an excellent book club read that provoked a lot of discussion. 4.5 stars.

73norabelle414
Jul 24, 11:19pm Top

>69 bell7: Omg that's too funny.

Hemsworth is definitely my second-favorite Chris, after Pine.

74bell7
Jul 25, 7:05pm Top

>73 norabelle414: There are far too many Chris's to keep track of haha. Glad you liked the video! All the actors seemed to be having a fun time with it.

75bell7
Jul 25, 7:28pm Top

More review catchup -

57. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Why now? Continuing a series reread (and finishing the ones I never got to)

Returning from France after providing the cure for a dragon sickness, Will Laurence is convicted of treason and his dragon Temeraire is sent to the breeding grounds. Meanwhile, Napoleon himself lands in England! The stakes are high and our intrepid heroes will have to use all their ingenuity to get back together and defeat the Corsican.

Perhaps a little less humorous than earlier books in the series, but still a lot of fun. I find myself getting just a little weary of the long, descriptive sentences and level of detail, but I think it's just because I read several close together. Simon Vance does a superb job on the audiobook as well. 4.5 stars.

58. The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey
Why now? I've been listening to the podcasts and dipping into his books ever since taking Financial Peace University at my church last year

While Dave Ramsey is perhaps best known for encouraging you to get out of debt and cut up those credit cards, in this book he focuses primarily on wealth building and generosity from a Christian perspective.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave to your children's children? Ramsey discusses not just wealth but character, and details what he understands to be a biblical approach to money and leaving an inheritance. Since I'm working on saving up for retirement and starting to put together my will and other things, I found it practical, useful information. 4.5 stars

59. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
Why now? Another series reread (this one is book 3)

Skye is reluctantly the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick) when she and sisters Jane and Batty head to Maine with their Aunt Claire. With her father, new stepmother Iantha and new brother Ben off to England for a honeymoon and Rosalind off to New Jersey with her best friend, Skye isn't sure she's up to the responsibility. But just like last year, adventure is sure to find the sisters - ready or not!

I love these funny, heartwarming stories that are modern day but have an old-fashioned feel to them. The audio is read by Susan Denaker and I like her narration, but I was too impatient with this one and ended up mostly reading the book. The story mostly stands on its own but I would start from the beginning with The Penderwicks to introduce the characters. 4.5 stars.

76bell7
Jul 25, 7:33pm Top

Currently reading -

I started Who Fears Death today and so far I think it's going to be fabulous.

77norabelle414
Jul 26, 9:09am Top

>74 bell7: The Best Chris has a song to help you out with that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGurtL83zhY

78MickyFine
Jul 26, 1:51pm Top

>77 norabelle414: Dangit! I can't watch it in Canada. Guess I'll never keep all those Chris-es straight.

79norabelle414
Jul 26, 2:05pm Top

>78 MickyFine: No Chrises allowed in the land of Ryans and Justins.
(try this one? I can't get it to load the videos on my computer but it has canada in the URL so maybe it will work for you: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/chris-pine-delivers-musical-apos-065900279.html)

80MickyFine
Jul 26, 2:26pm Top

>79 norabelle414: It's true. We do already have a glut of good looking men up here.

Still no luck with the alternate link.

81jnwelch
Jul 26, 4:58pm Top

>76 bell7: I really liked Who Fears Death, Mary. She's quickly become one of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy authors. Besides this one and the Binti books, I enjoyed her two Akata books. I've got another one of hers on the tbr waiting.

82bell7
Jul 26, 6:54pm Top

>77 norabelle414: Oh excellent! Added to that in Red Sox territory there's also Chris Sale, who kinda looks like a tall, lanky Chris Pratt which doesn't help matters. It's the blond hair and facial scruffiness, so while I will probably remember which actor plays which character in Marvel I'm going to be almost hopeless picking them out with no context...

>78 MickyFine:-80 Oh dang it! I did find that he hosted SNL on May 6, 2017, Micky, so maybe you can find a clip that way?

>81 jnwelch: I'm really enjoying it so far, Joe. I can't believe I've never managed to come across her books before.

83bell7
Jul 27, 8:07am Top

Welp, it's been an interesting week. I had been planning on going from one three-day dogsitting gig to another starting Wednesday, and was rather astonished to get a text while I was at work that the folks I was dogsitting for were home. So I went back to get all my packing and realized I'd goofed up the dates and I was supposed to have showed up the day before. Yep, I missed being there Tuesday at all. All the animals were fine but I felt awful. I took out a small purse to leave some of my pay (I didn't feel right being paid for three days instead of two), lost it in my packing and managed to leave it behind but since I couldn't find it when I went to leave a note, I thought I'd left it at work and went back to the library to search for it. No luck. So here I am thinking I have to replace my license and everything, and of course I would have $150 cash in my wallet and lose it. But rather than call the police then and there, I decide I'm going to go back home, look for it in my packing, look for it again on Friday at the library, etc. I can't deal with a lost license until Monday anyways, and in the meantime I could run to the bank for cash worst case scenario. While I'm watching Black Panther, I hear back from the folks I was sitting for and missed a day. Decided to ask her to look for the purse... and she found it. So I slept at home last night, repacked, and today after work before I go to a dogsitting job for the weekend I'm going to go a half hour in the opposite direction to get my purse. And in the meantime I pulled out some cash from a little emergency stash because I am almost out of gas and need to fill up on the way to work.

Black Panther last night means I'm totally caught up with everything I can get on DVD at the moment. It was a really strong film, and going back to another epic drama and origin story. Most of the actors other than a couple of side characters were totally unknown to me, but I was super impressed with them and with the sets to make Wakanda look totally believable. I started to have certain expectations and part of the story took an unexpected twist which made it more interesting to me. It's up there with the first two Captain America films for me, though I really do prefer the comedic ones overall. Just my movie-watching personality at work there.

And it's Friday! As I mentioned, I'll be heading to a weekend dogsitting gig. Tomorrow is a birthday party for my aunt in the afternoon and it's my niece's birthday so I'm going to try to get a Skype call in there somewhere. Otherwise, I'm planning on relaxing and reading. I'm bringing along the books I'm reading and a couple of other short titles just in case I have time for them all. Monday is back to work and an oil change.

84norabelle414
Jul 27, 9:10am Top

>83 bell7: Oof. That's a rough week but I'm glad everything turned out okay!

85MickyFine
Jul 27, 11:06am Top

>83 bell7: I echo Nora's oof. Definitely a case of TGIF.

86bell7
Jul 27, 4:30pm Top

>84 norabelle414: and >85 MickyFine: Yeah, TGIF is right! Today started out looking up when proctoring an exam that I expected to take 2 hours ended up being 20 minutes. I'll head to get my license/cash soon and this weekend should be a little more relaxed.

87Familyhistorian
Jul 29, 3:00am Top

>83 bell7: Good thing that everything was straightened out in the end! Have a great weekend, Mary.

88bell7
Jul 29, 8:14pm Top

>87 Familyhistorian: thanks, Meg! It's been busy but good. Hope you're having a good weekend as well.

89bell7
Edited: Aug 4, 9:45am Top

Reviews I will catch up on:

60. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Why now? It fit a couple of categories in my summer reading program BINGO sheet

Onyesonwu is the child of rape, an Ewu, the daughter of an Okeke woman and a Nuru man. The Okeke have always been subjected to the Nuru, and the history of violence between these people has taken its toll. As a young woman, Onye recounts her childhood and growth into the one who's going to change everything.

The first words drew me in immediately and though a couple of times my interest flagged it was more to do with my inability to sit down and read for long stretches than any real flaw in the storytelling. Onye and her friends are fantastic characters. Though the story is violent and difficult, it's powerful and compelling, defying easy categorization into a particular genre just as Onye herself doesn't fit in a simple box. I can't believe I've never read any of this author's work before; it certainly won't be the last. 4.5 stars.

61. The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Why now? An ARC on my Kindle, and one I'd hoped to finish over a month ago - my fault, not the book's

The fourth in a series of interconnected stories that began with The Shadow of the Wind, The Labyrinth of the Spirits begins soon after Julian's birth to now-married Daniel and Bea in about 1959. When a high-ranking minister, Valls, goes missing a young woman Alicia Gris is partnered with policeman Vargas to find out what happened to him. But as they dig deeper into the story of Valls and his connection to ill-fated literary figures such as David Martin and Daniel's mother Isabella, they soon find out that someone doesn't want them to get to the bottom of Valls' disappearance.

Though the four books can be read in any order, this one really draws all the threads together and a thoroughly satisfying read that glories in the art of storytelling and the joy of reading. The connecting threads, the past of the Spanish Civil War, and teasing out relationships between characters made this really challenging and rewarding to read. Almost as good as the first book, and totally worth the wait. 4.5 stars.

I have to go back and read them all now. This book comes out in the U.S. in September.

62. The Destiny Thief by Richard Russo
Why now? A co-worker recommended it to me, and the hold came in

Richard Russo, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Nobody's Fool and That Old Cape Magic, reflects on the writing life in this collection of previously published essays.

From his discussion of how he managed to become a successful author when other more talented MFA students did not, to a look at humor and what we call funny (or not), to his musings on what authors may be missing by overlooking the omniscient narrative voice, Russo's essays are enlightening and entertaining reading. If you like Russo's writing - or even if you don't, since the only book I'd read before by him I'd completely panned - I recommend trying out this book. I may even go back and try more of his fiction. 4.5 stars.

90bell7
Aug 4, 8:49am Top

Life catch up:

I've been dogsitting two shih tzus this week, a four-year-old and a puppy. They're a handful, especially since the puppy is still teething and likes to bite, chew, play, and generally drive the other dog nuts. She is much more restrained, but has dry eyes and needs regular drops, which she is not a fan of. With them, I haven't had much time to do much else but work, eat and read a bit while watching the Red Sox or before bed. They're much calmer at bedtime.

I've got one more night there, a one-night dogsitting job on Sunday night and then on Monday I'm going to get an oil change. Fingers crossed that the tightened bolt comes out just fine and I don't need a new pan - which would make the process take quite a bit longer. Just in case, they ordered the part and we're going to hope they don't need it, because it would possibly be a few hundred dollar repair. I'm ready for that (I almost always try to keep money set aside for basic car repairs) but I would much rather not, obviously. And spending the day there while my car gets fixed isn't my idea of a fun way to spend my day off. So we'll see what happens. Anyway, Monday is a day off and will also be the day I go home for a couple of weeks.

91jnwelch
Aug 4, 1:35pm Top

>89 bell7: Oh good, Mary. I've become a Nnedi Okorafor fan, and I liked Who Fears Death a lot, too.

92tymfos
Edited: Aug 5, 10:41pm Top

I am really looking forward to The Labyrinth of the Spirits. I did so love Shadow of the Wind, and the others were so good, too. I'm glad to see you found it a worthy successor!

93lycomayflower
Aug 6, 1:37pm Top

>89 bell7: I just finished a Richard Russo book I didn't love, so I'm curious which of his you panned?

(>44 bell7: Just dropping a yaaasss to the idea of possibly watching Arrow at some point in the future.)

94bell7
Aug 7, 9:08am Top

>91 jnwelch: Joe, I really enjoyed her writing style and challenging themes in Who Fears Death. Any recommendations for a next book to try?

>92 tymfos: The Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites, Terri, and I find myself wanting to go back and reread the whole series now.

>93 lycomayflower: That Old Cape Magic - here's my review if you're curious about a more detailed response. After reading The Destiny Thief, though, I kinda want to try Nobody's Fool and see what I think of that one. We'll see. Also, re: Arrow. First I have to finish catching up on Marvel and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - I can only have so many movie/TV projects going at once ;)

95bell7
Aug 7, 9:09am Top

I am home! Well, for a little over a week anyways. I have to do a grocery shopping this morning before work, I'm only working two days this week, and then I'm going to a Leadership Summit at my church on Thursday and Friday (it was only $20 and I heard such great things from people who went last year I figured it was worth a try).

I also finished a couple more books and have some reviews to catch up on.

96MickyFine
Aug 8, 4:07pm Top

>95 bell7: Yay for being home! So nice to sleep in your own bed.

How did the car repair go on Monday?

97bell7
Aug 8, 5:27pm Top

>96 MickyFine: Oh I forgot to update, thanks for asking! The bolt came out without breaking the pan, though apparently it poured oil everywhere and was not the easiest, but after a 2 hour wait the actual oil change only took a half hour. I ended up spending the afternoon at a friend's and had lunch with her & her boys, so it was a fun but tiring day.

98bell7
Aug 8, 6:08pm Top

63. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
Why now? Continuing rereading and I will read/listen to the final book when it becomes available

Batty Penderwick is dealing with loss and growing up in this fourth book featuring the Penderwick family. Rosalind is off to college, and Skye and Jane have all sorts of teenager problems. Batty at ten (almost eleven) is in-between, the youngest of the original four sisters but the oldest of the "younger Penderwicks," which now includes Ben (Iantha's son) and Lydia.

All of the books in this series are heartwarming tales with a classic, homey feel to them. Some authors have a gift for portraying a child at a certain age, capturing the exact feelings and hardships of that age in such a way that both a child and adult can understand but not making fun or being sly about it. Beverly Cleary was that author for me when I was Ramona's age, and Jeanne Birdsall is much in the same vein. She captures Batty's ups and downs, sibling interactions, family life and misunderstandings in such a real way. I cheered and I cried and I enjoyed every minute of Susan Deneker's reading of the audio version. Highly recommended - but definitely start with the first in the series and go from there. 4.5 stars.

Edited version of the original review I posted on the book page.

99bell7
Aug 8, 6:19pm Top

64. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Why now? It filled a library summer reading BINGO category and was a book off my shelf

When her father dies, Alexandra takes over the running of the farm in Nebraska. Over the years and told in a series of vignettes, we get to see Alexandra's successes and challenges, and get to know the community of pioneer and immigrant folk who work hard and love the land.

My first impression of the book was that the land itself was the most interesting character, and that feeling never quite abandoned me though I was impressed with how much Cather was able to convey about the community in a series of short vignettes that cover a few decades. Did I enjoy the book? It's hard to say. I admired Cather's writing to some extent. I liked some characters and the fact that it was about a woman running a farm. I was disappointed by the side story of Marie and Alexandra's brother Emil. They love each other but of course their love is ill-fated and Marie's jealous husband, Frank, kills them in a fit of passion. It was presented as almost inevitable but it made me mad. The descriptions were sometimes quite lovely. Yet it didn't completely grip me, and I most likely would not read it again. 3.5 stars.

100bell7
Aug 8, 6:29pm Top

Now I'm caught up! The books I'm currently reading are:

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik - a reread and listen to the Simon Vance audio. When I read this last I had forgotten a lot about who different people were and what was going on, so it's been a good reread so far and I've forgotten a lot of the plot. Will Laurence and dragon Temeraire are in Australia, sent there in exile for their traitorous trip to the French to give them the cure for dragon sickness. Rather than be drawn in to the politics of the region and a deposed governor who wants their might to regain his post, Laurence and friends travel into the interior to see if they can build a road. I'm looking forward to moving on to the new-to-me books in the series and polishing it off.

Once Upon a River by Dianne Setterfield - another ARC on my Kindle. This one comes out in January 2019 and after I've finished it I'll have 12 left unread and unreviewed. A mysterious arrival at a pub on the Thames sets the whole town on edge: an injured man and a four-year-old girl who apparently drowned and came back to life. Is she the lost child of a well-to-do couple? The unacknowledged child of a man in town? Or something more sinister? Very atmospheric and slow to unfold, but if it's anything like The Thirteenth Tale I'll be a happy camper.

And after that I really have to pick up Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail for my book discussion and get some library books read!

101jnwelch
Edited: Aug 8, 6:33pm Top

>94 bell7: Binti, Mary. It's the start of a trilogy (all of them short, btw), and the winner of a lot of awards, including the Hugo and Nebula. I also really liked her two Akata Warrior books.

P.S. Even my non-sci-fi-reading wife liked Binti, and she plans to read the other two.

102bell7
Aug 8, 6:38pm Top

>101 jnwelch: Excellent! Thanks, Joe, I'll definitely look that up at some point.

103MickyFine
Aug 9, 11:02am Top

>97 bell7: Glad it was a decent day even with the wait. :)

Looks like there's some excellent reading going on with you right now, Mary!

104The_Hibernator
Aug 9, 2:28pm Top

I hope your Leadership Summit is fun. I should participate more in stuff at my church, as I think it would be enriching for me. They seem to have quite an interesting Bible Study program, which isn't so much reading the Bible as participating in seminars that teach about the Bible (which is more my style, since I'm reading the Bible on my own.

105bell7
Aug 10, 5:48pm Top

>103 MickyFine: Heh, yeah, and I'd brought a book so even that wasn't really so bad. I've got some good books going but nothing finished in a few days just because the week has been full. I'm going to have to focus on Wild for book club on Wednesday but hopefully will get a bit of just-for-me reading in over the weekend too.

>104 The_Hibernator: It was really good and I learned a lot - it's general principles meant to be applied to leadership in any situation, and if you're interested in seeing some of the highlights check out #gls18 on Twitter. I took a few notes that way myself, and I'm planning on looking up the books of several speakers.

106bell7
Aug 11, 8:29pm Top

I think I've mentioned that my niece absolutely loves imaginative play. One of the games Mia will often play is putting all her stuffed animals to sleep (laying them out on the floor with blankets or towels over them). Lately her brother Matthew will follow along and start taking the blankets off and she'll exclaim, "No Maffew! Bunny is sleeping!" Apparently he's decided it's a great game and does it with a grin now. One time in exasperation, she went over to her mother and said, "Will you get him?"

107MickyFine
Aug 13, 4:11pm Top

>106 bell7: *chortles* I was definitely like Mia when I was little.

108bell7
Aug 14, 9:25am Top

>107 MickyFine: My mother (who originally told me the story) says she thinks Matthew's not so much trying to tease her as trying to play along with her, and neither of them quite seem to understand the game the other is trying to play. Mia's got such an imagination (alternatively, acts out with her animals exactly what happened earlier in the day), it's so enjoyable to watch her play, but it's one of those things that often makes a terrible story after: "Remember the time she pretended to shop for bunnies out of the cupboard and handed them to Uncle G. through the phone? And then set up all the cans and containers of spices she found all over the kitchen?" Yeah... guess you had to be there...

I'm going down in a couple of weeks and I'm SO EXCITED!!!

109norabelle414
Aug 14, 9:27am Top

>108 bell7: Thanks for the reminder to direct you here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/294543

110bell7
Aug 14, 9:33am Top

>109 norabelle414: Oh excellent, thanks! I know the festival has lost its lure in some ways being indoors, but I enjoy making it out there.

111norabelle414
Aug 14, 10:28am Top

>110 bell7: It's not something worth coming from out of town for, anymore, but it's still something worth going to if you're here anyway.

112MickyFine
Aug 14, 4:19pm Top

>108 bell7: Yay! Visiting with family when you're far apart is always great.

113bell7
Aug 14, 8:42pm Top

>111 norabelle414: I don't mind purposely making visits coincide... It certainly helps to know I have free accommodations, however.

>112 MickyFine: Yes it is! I'm excited. Mia is too - she wants to get "It's not a book!" from the library (though I'm pretty sure she actually wants It's a Book).

114bell7
Aug 15, 11:35am Top

I owe a couple of reviews again, for Wild by Cheryl Strayed (finished on Monday, book discussion tonight) and Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik (last reread in the series - from here on out, they're new to me!).

This week has been busy because I decided to switch banks, going to a local one that has a branch down the street from me and not far from where I work either, that has a checking account with 2% interest if I meet certain qualifications. Monday I opened the account and today and yesterday have been the process of changing over all my autopay accounts over and setting up my check's direct deposit so that I can close the old accounts. I expect that to be finished by the end of next week, so things are moving along nicely. While I was at it, I found that if I switch my phone to a pre-paid account I save an additional $10-13 a month, so changed that over painlessly today as well.

Since I have book discussion tonight, I'm working a 12-8 shift then heading over to my parents to say goodbye to my youngest sister, who's headed back to college tomorrow. I can't believe she's a junior!

115MickyFine
Aug 15, 2:22pm Top

Mia has excellent taste. It's A Book is one of my favourites.

Sounds like your life has been a bit hectic lately but nice to have adulting improvements. :)

Going back to school in August seems so early. Up here it's very rare to go back before Labour Day.

116bell7
Aug 16, 1:34pm Top

>115 MickyFine: I think she's going to have my sense of humor in addition to love of the sound of language :D

Yeah, life has been pretty hectic but good. I still don't entirely feel like an adult when I have to do something for the first time without parental help, like buying a car or switching banks, so it feels rather satisfying when it turns out to be not quite as daunting as I'd anticipated. People are generally helpful.

College classes don't usually start 'til after Labor Day here in the northeast nor where my sister goes to school, but between an orientation for her semester abroad (she's going to Nova Scotia in the spring) and her job, which includes meeting international students at the airport and getting them acclimated, she has to be on campus a little early. Most of the towns around here for elementary to high school will start the week before Labor Day.

117bell7
Aug 16, 1:43pm Top

I should not have doubted Mia's ability to remember the title. This is not a book by Jean Jullien is one of the books we checked out when I was visiting in March, and she really loved it. Each double-page spread has imaginative, simple cartoons to transform the book into a laptop, a tent, a butterfly, a human butt and more.

118MickyFine
Aug 16, 4:15pm Top

>116 bell7: Oooh, Nova Scotia is lovely! I really loved it when I went on my trip there last year. Up here all levels of school go back after Labour Day (although some of the universities/colleges have orientation activities for new students on Labour Day).

>117 bell7: That sounds like a lot of fun.

119bell7
Aug 17, 3:07pm Top

>118 MickyFine: I think the earlier start date is a fairly new phenomenon. The folks I live with are a little older than my parents and they tell me they can remember not starting till after Labor Day.

Yeah, once I finally figured out what book she was taking about, I remembered it being awfully cute as well. It's wordless and fun to talk about the different pictures. She remembered if from my visit in March and was originally asking for "not a book". My sister told me they initially would say, "Okay, we won't get a book." And she'd say "NOoooo" and explain that it had a computer. They were able to figure out it was a book we'd gotten out from the library but then it took me a few days to figure it out too. Anyway, I put a few books on hold to pick up when I visit next, and I'm planning on bringing a notebook down so we can start keeping track of the books we read together.

120MickyFine
Aug 17, 3:12pm Top

>119 bell7: Super aunt!

121bell7
Aug 20, 4:29pm Top

>120 MickyFine: :D I haven't started packing any clothes, but I've put together a backpack (my personal item) with some gifts (books) that I'm bringing down with me, and I put the notebook in already so I wouldn't forget.

122bell7
Aug 21, 8:43am Top

65 Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Why now? My book club pick for this month

When Cheryl Strayed's mother died from cancer in the early nineties, Cheryl was left bereft and grieving, in a self-destructive life where it seemed like everything was falling apart. After her divorce and four years after her mom passed away, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo and join a friend in Portland. Ridiculously underprepared, Cheryl nevertheless perseveres, maturing and learning about herself along the way.

This book was a best seller when in came out in 2012 and I'd decided not to read it, so it was one of those that I approached with trepidation when it made this year's book discussion list. And sure enough, young Cheryl annoyed me. She was impulsive and reckless and self-destructive and I would have disliked her so much if we were in our twenties at the same time. Even so, her story of the hike and how she grew past that era of her life intrigued me. She gives you a very honest portrayal of her faults and, as good memoirs do, a window into her life at that time. I'm glad I read it. 4 stars.

Our book group had a really good discussion of this title. I told them that it took me awhile to warm up to Cheryl because we were so much the antithesis of each other (I was very methodical in my choices and have always been good at goals and seeing the natural outcome of choices made now). But I think at our ages now we might find a lot to learn from each other if we didn't always agree. I started the discussion with a clip of Cheryl reading "Power" by Adrienne Rich, the poem she refers to reading the first night on the trail. A lot of discussion centered around Cheryl herself and that this was a maturing process for her. One woman said Cheryl reminded her a lot of her daughter in the way she had to grow up. I don't think any of us would undertake a trip on the PCT solo, but some people talked some about hikes they did take, either in that area or elsewhere. So it was a pretty lively discussion overall and a book I'm glad I read after all.

123bell7
Aug 21, 8:51am Top

66. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
Why now? Next book in the series & the audiobook was available when I was looking for a new one

Here's my review from my original read in 2010:

Temeraire and Laurence have been convicted of treason and transported to New South Wales, Australia. Arriving, they find that the political situation at the penal colony is in disarray - the troops staged a coup and overthrew the governor, who wants to be in power. Both sides want Laurence's backing, and he's not sure how best to navigate through the political turmoil without giving up his own high standards. Temeraire also has dragon eggs brought along to attempt the creation of a colony, and he only hopes that one won't open for the wrong sort of person.

I have been looking forward to Temeraire and Laurence's continued adventures ever since I finished Victory of Eagles a couple of summers ago. To be entirely fair, my expectations for this story were extremely high, so when I say that the story did not live up to them, this is not as harsh a judgment as it might otherwise have been. I like the relationship between Temeraire and Laurence as it has developed, and I love Iskierka and her banter with Granby or Temeraire. These are characters I love to spend time with, even when I was less than enthralled with the plot. I wished there were more interactions between the dragons, because that was my favorite part. Even the weakest in this series is a worthwhile read, and I'm already looking forward to the next.


I'd forgotten a lot of the plot of this one, so it was a fun reread in that sense because I could just be carried along with what happened. I was a little disappointed that more was not done with the wildness that is Australia - other than one encounter with a snake and a reference to Aboriginal mythology, there were no encounters with weird, real creatures (and the snakebite recovered, if I remember correctly) of which Australia has many... and I can't really say much more without spoiling. But though it's not my favorite, it was still a fun ride and I'm looking forward to polishing off the series with the 3 books I had not read.

I can't believe it's been eight years since I read this when it came out.

124bell7
Aug 21, 9:05am Top

67. Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield (ARC - publication date January 2019)
Why now? Still attempting to catch up on ARCs on my Kindle, and I was in the mood for reading something that I hadn't already missed the publication date

A mysterious arrival at a pub on the Thames sets the whole town of Radcot talking: an injured man and a four-year-old girl who apparently drowned and came back to life. Is she Amelia Vaughan, kidnapped two years ago? The unacknowledged child of a man in town, Alice, whose mother killed herself? Or someone else? The Swan Inn is famous for its storytelling, and there are going to be several versions of this story in the year to come.

I absolutely loved Diane Setterfield's debut The Thirteenth Tale, so I was excited to see a new novel coming out soon. Once Upon a River is similarly very atmospheric and slow to unfold as the reader follows several different strands. Much of it follows the Vaughans and the Armstrongs, but other characters have their stories too, and eventually everything is brought together in an intriguing way. 4 stars.

I'm having trouble talking about this book in part because it took me so long to finish it that I think I'm forgetting some pieces, and also because it's so hard to talk about fully without spoilers. Suffice it to say, it's a completely different story but has a lot of the same feel as The Thirteenth Tale, and I will enjoy recommending it to my patrons.

125MickyFine
Aug 21, 2:10pm Top

>122 bell7: I'm glad the book discussion was interesting even if the book wasn't really your jam. :)

126charl08
Aug 22, 3:27am Top

>122 bell7: I just left that book with amazement she survived - she must be incredibly determined. The idea of going walking without the right kit for a day in the hills bugs me, never mind a long distance trip! Sounds like the usual engaging evening for you and the group.

127bell7
Aug 22, 7:07pm Top

>125 MickyFine: One of the fun things about book club is discovering books I wouldn't have read (or had written off) and end up enjoying more than I thought :)

>126 charl08: Yeah, it was pretty amazing, wasn't it? I enjoy walking and have even hiked some mountains, but I would have to do so much research and practically interview a friend of mine who has done parts of the Appalachian Trail before I would feel anywhere near ready. And it did make for a very good discussion - it was one of those nights where "What were your impressions of the book?" took a good 20 minutes to talk about.

128bell7
Aug 22, 7:28pm Top

I'm counting down the days 'til vacation, the rest of this week and Tuesday & Wednesday of next. I'll have at least one full day to pack for my DC trip, and a day to recover before heading off to a football game afterwards. It'll be a lot of fun, though, and I'm looking forward to a fairly relaxed week at my sister's. I may try to watch a bunch of the U.S. Open and read rather than fit a lot of sightseeing in, though I'm thinking I'll try to see the Frederick Douglass house and maybe the Capitol this time around.

I've got a few books going but probably won't finish any till the weekend:

Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland - a reporter spent a year interviewing six individuals in New York age 85+ and writes about what he learned from talking to them.

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson - a debut by an older author and interesting to read in tandem with the above, because it's about an older Englishwoman and Danish man (not 85+, I'd estimate 60s-70s) who strike up a correspondence in this novel in letters.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - my own book, and I'm listening to the audiobook before bed. Correspondence is what began a friendship between Amy Harris of Broken Wheel, Iowa, and Sara Lindqvist who comes from Sweden to visit her only to find that she has arrived the day of Amy's funeral. Though the story is in prose, Amy's letters to Sara are interspersed throughout. I haven't gotten far enough in either this or Meet Me at the Museum to get a sense of my reaction to them so far, but it is kind of funny that age connects the first two and letters the last two.

129bell7
Aug 23, 7:59am Top

I'm very late with this and almost waited until September so I could do two months at once, but decided I felt like it now:

July in review
51. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
52. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
53. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
54. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
55. Linchpin by Seth Godin
56. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
57. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
58. The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey
59. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
60. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Books read: 10
Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry/Plays: 8/2/0/0
Children's/Teen/Adult: 2/1/7
Library/Mine/Borrowed: 8/2/0
Rereads: 4

Standouts: Thunderhead was excellent and this series is shaping up to be up there with his Unwind "dystology." The Word is Murder is less thought provoking but very fun, especially if you enjoy the references to mystery classics like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. And Who Fears Death was also a solid read by a new-to-me author.

Thoughts: Well that is an eclectic bunch of reading isn't it? Two of the rereads were also my own books, supplemented by audio, while I attempt to finish that series. The children's books were both audio, though I finally just got the book for the Penderwicks and read about half of it in one sitting. That was also a reread to finish the series. The nonfiction reads are more in that particular genre of not quite self-help but more "improve yourself" especially related to business and finance that I've been exploring lately (nothing has held up to When by Daniel Pink, though). And right smack in the middle was my book club read, Prodigal Summer, which was technically a reread but I didn't remember a thing. No theme or rhyme or reason to this month's reading at all, just a few threads of things that interest me.

130MickyFine
Aug 23, 11:49am Top

>128 bell7: I hope your countdown flies by. I alternate between wanting my countdowns to fly by and slow down with all the stuff I've got coming up soon. :)

131bell7
Aug 23, 7:43pm Top

>130 MickyFine: Yeah, the thing with time moving faster is it doesn't take for-ev-er to get to those things that I'm looking forward too, but that also means that the things I'm enjoying fly by too.

132bell7
Aug 24, 8:19am Top

Happy Friday, all!

I'm actually working tomorrow, so it's not quite the "weekend" for me, but I have Monday off and am only working Tuesday and Wednesday next week before I'm officially on vacation. I have two volunteer trainings scheduled in that time (Saturday and Wednesday), but I'm in pretty good shape for finishing up projects before I leave. So all is well!

And of course one of the things I'm trying to do before I leave is finish up the books I'm reading and have from the library. I'm still reading the 3 in >128 bell7: though I'm hoping to finish Happiness is a Choice You Make over the weekend. The other two books I have on deck are The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher, the newest book from the author of Dear Committee Members (which was hilarious and poignant all at the same time), and The Darkest Minds because I decided I wanted to reread it with the movie and a new book in the series coming out. We'll see if I can actually finish all five before I fly down to my sister's a week from today. I'm planning on bringing *one* book with me for the plane ride, plus the Kindle, and walking to the library for any books I need in between flights.

Oh and speaking of vacation planning - because, yes, most of it is wrapped up in books - I put some holds on for picture books to read to Mia and Matthew that should be coming in at the library near them. I'm looking forward to sharing them, and I am bringing a notebook down to start keeping track of books with Mia. Considering the hoops we went through to figure out what she wanted when she was asking for "not a book" (a wordless picture book entitled This is Not a Book that we read in March), I thought she and her parents might appreciate this.

133MickyFine
Aug 24, 11:48am Top

Good luck with getting all the work things done before your vacation. I'll be in that boat twice over the next two weeks.

Yay for starting Mia early on maintaining a list of books read. :P

134bell7
Aug 25, 9:32am Top

>133 MickyFine: Oof, good luck doing it twice in a short time frame! And re: Mia's list of books read, I should probably tell the whole story about This is Not a Book. Ahem...

135bell7
Edited: Aug 25, 9:57am Top

So my niece Mia is an active toddler, but the last few times I've gone down, we've set up a routine of going to a park and then to the library (where, yes, I do have an out-of-state library card, thank-you-very-much). Last March, we got a few books out a couple of times that week, and we'd spend much of the evening reading those books over and over and over again. Frankly, I'm shocked she sits still for it, but this is one of the special things we do.

A couple weeks ago I was Skyping my sister's family and planning for my upcoming trip and I asked Mia what we should do when I came to visit next. "Should we go to the library?" Her response? "THIS IS NOT A BOOK!"

I was really confused, and my sister explained it was a book we got out of the library when I came to visit and it had a computer... Huh. I don't remember this book. "I gave her The Book with No Pictures for her birthday last year." No, it was one we got out of the library last time I visited. And she started to describe some of the things in the story, which sounded vaguely to me like It's a Book by Lane Smith, but I'm certain we've never read that one together.

So the next couple of days, I'm looking for books and put some holds to activate when I'm visiting next week. I put a hold on It's a Book. My other sister mentions that she remembers a book called This is Not a Book. I didn't find it at first, but okay, I'll look again. This time, it pops right up. So I text my sister and let her know I found it, and absolutely we can get it from the library when I come down. She texts back "Great! Mia will be thrilled!"

Me: Just out of curiosity, have you guys gotten it out of the library since, or did she remember it from March.

Her: She remembered it from March. She would say she wanted NOT A BOOK, so we'd say, Okay, we won't get you a book. And she's be like NOOO and say she wanted a computer.

Me: Yep, there's a computer on one page. I'm so proud of her for remembering the title exactly

Her: She forgot "this is" until I told her. She was saying how she wanted NOT a book. But still pretty good. I didn't get it until she described how it was from the library. I think she mentioned you taking her too before I filled in the story.

Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up. Here she had the title right all along and we couldn't figure out what she wanted. So that's why I decided we'd start keeping a notebook - more for the adults' sake than for hers!

136jnwelch
Aug 25, 9:53am Top

This is Not a Book looks like fun, Mary. (I think your touchstone goes to a more grownup book right now). I'm thinking we mayl get the board book for our new grandson.

137bell7
Aug 25, 9:58am Top

>136 jnwelch: Heh, yeah I fixed it now. It was a fun one, because it was completely wordless and basically made it fun to maneuver, like typing on the computer or making it chomp, or turning it upside down to be a tent (that image took me forever to figure out...). I hope your grandson enjoys it too :)

138bell7
Aug 25, 12:41pm Top

68. Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland
Why now? I honestly can't remember what first put this book on my radar, but I had it from the library and it was the next due

In 2015, reporter John Leland spent a year interviewing six seniors age 85 and older (the "oldest old") for a series of articles that appeared in the New York Times. Here, he expands on those articles and the lessons he, as a middle-aged man, hopes to take from each of them - including the greater contentment that comes with age.

The first half of the book is wide-ranging, dealing in broad strokes nad grand themes such as gratitude and love in old age. Leland includes quotes from "his" seniors as well as recent studies on the topics he's addressing. The second half is "Lessons from" Fred Jones, John Sorenson, Helen Moses, Ping Wong, Ruth Willig and Jonas Mekas. These seniors are a diverse group in background and ethnicity, and they had some insights on love of life and acceptance of death. The book didn't quite live up to my expectations. Perhaps it was the format - because of that division, I found it repetitive. But I think part of it was that Leland's bias was to think of how much you lose in old age. I've had the privilege of knowing my maternal grandparents well into adulthood, and both reached their 80s (my grandmother has since passed away). So I never had the negative associations with old age that Leland did: I saw them losing some abilities, but overall being quite happy, having purpose and reason to get up in the morning. And, after my grandmother passed away, I've seen my grandfather stay motivated by playing cards at the senior center and seeing a lady friend on a regular basis. Maybe I was just expecting too much from the book. It may be of interest to people who enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie or Being Mortal. And learning about Jonas Mekas alone was worth the read. 4 stars.

139bell7
Aug 27, 7:15pm Top

My weekend was a busy one (and not a lot of reading was done). I worked on Saturday and then met up with some friends, getting back home around suppertime and puttered around tidying a bit before curling up with a book. Yesterday after church, I went with my parents to the Berkshires to visit some visiting family, and had a really good chat with a second cousin of mine who's also a big reader (who knew?). I basically got home in time to go to bed, so the only reading was my audio-before-bed. Today was a day off and I went back to the Berkshires to see the Hancock Shaker Village. I've never been, so it was an interesting visit to learn about history and the Shaker beliefs. I went to an introductory talk (about a half hour), a demonstration of a turbine they used to wash clothes and power tools like a lathe and circular saw (in the 1850s! They were really into technology and were the first in the area to get electricity later, too), and a demonstration of Shaker singing, where we actually got to get up and participate in songs that would've been part of Shaker worship. So of course now I feel like I need to read up on them... I put a book on hold to get when I get back from vacation.

Tomorrow is work, but I get to pick up Infinity War! I'm thinking I will watch it Wednesday night to celebrate the official beginning of my vacation.

140MickyFine
Aug 28, 4:06pm Top

>139 bell7: Glad to hear you had such a great weekend, Mary. Good luck making it through the last minute things before you go on vacation!

Looking forward to your reaction to Infinity War.

141tymfos
Aug 28, 10:16pm Top

Hi, Mary!

That's a great story about how Mia remembered that book title, but the adults couldn't get what she meant. She knew what she was talking about! (The situation reminds me a little of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine.)

142bell7
Aug 29, 8:13am Top

>140 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I think I'm in pretty good shape for what I have to get done, and I'm giving myself permission not to finish the rest. I'm looking forward to Infinity War tonight.

>141 tymfos: Hahaha, it did feel a little like "Who's on first?" I'm glad we eventually figured it out, but how frustrating must that have been for her? I thought of telling her "It gets easier," but really how often do we think we're being perfectly clear and no one around understands what we're trying to say?

143norabelle414
Aug 29, 8:57am Top

>142 bell7: how often do we think we're being perfectly clear and no one around understands what we're trying to say?
I definitely know some LTers like that

144bell7
Aug 29, 5:45pm Top

>143 norabelle414: My mother and I tend to have crazy misunderstandings where we both think we're being clear but we've actually left out something we either meant to say or thought the other person knew.

I hope I haven't done anything like that lately - I do have a tendency to have more going on in my brain than I remember to express :)

145bell7
Aug 29, 5:55pm Top

Today was my official last day of work before vacation! I had a short list for my two-day week, and I managed to get everything on it done - including an inventory of the local history section, which I wasn't holding my breath over.

Tomorrow was going to be a trip to the U.S. Open, but unfortunately a friend of mine who was going to go with me had a conflict so we sold the tickets. Instead, I'll have a full day to prep for my trip to my sister's, clean the apartment and pack. Friday I'll also have a pretty relaxing day, because my flight isn't till the evening. So I'll have some reading time too, and probably watch a fair amount of the U.S. Open on TV.

Saturday is the National Book Festival! And I'll spend the rest of the week with my sister's family, leaving on Friday to come home before fitting in a couple of sports games - NY Giants home opener on Sunday, and a Red Sox game Tuesday night.

Not sure how much time I'll have to check on LT in the meantime, but keep my thread warm for me and I'll update with book reviews when I get back.

146thornton37814
Aug 30, 7:14am Top

>145 bell7: I hope your local history section was all present and accounted for. I remember hearing years and years ago the highest library theft rates were in genealogy and religion.

147bell7
Aug 30, 10:37am Top

>146 thornton37814: In a broad sense, yes. A few books had moved and had me perplexed for a bit but I found them in the end, so everything there is good. Most of what's gone are things we purposely deaccessioned. I didn't go over every single photograph (that would be beyond the scope of this sort of general finding aid/inventory at the collection level), but I know some of those have gone missing over the years. I have digital copies now of every photograph we have available to the public, so a little bit of a back up - though of course not the same - should more go walking.

148streamsong
Aug 30, 10:59am Top

Love the story about Mia and Not a Book.

Have a great vacation - sounds like a fun time with family and The National Book Festival - I would love to go to that one day!

149bell7
Aug 30, 8:00pm Top

>148 streamsong: Thanks, Janet! If you do make it out, I hope it's a year I go too so we can meet!

150bell7
Aug 30, 8:09pm Top

69. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
Why now? It was a library reads pick that sounded appealing, so I got it when our library purchase came in and finished it up today because it's due while I'll be away

When a farmer's wife with grown children writes an old professor about the Tollund Man, she gets an answer back from a worker at the Danish museum. Tina and Anders, both in unexpected places later in life, begin a correspondence that bring each of them solace and joy throughout the course of several months.

This short novel does not take much time to read, nor does a lot happen other than the ordinary lives of these individuals and their families, but for all that there's a sense of nostalgia and bittersweetness of getting to a certain point in life where you're not sure you're entirely happy with the choices you've made yet still have time to make some new discoveries. An enjoyable story that I could see recommending to library patrons who want "just a nice story", though it didn't quite rise to the level of something I couldn't put down (I often did), nor would I probably read it again. 4 stars.

151bell7
Aug 30, 9:07pm Top

70. Simple Wisdom: Shaker Sayings, Poems and Songs collected by Kathleen Mahoney
Why now? On a day this week that i was talking to my co-worker about Hancock Shaker Village, this book turned up in the interlibrary loan bins - it was probably mis-delivered, but he put it aside for me in case I wanted to read through it

This slight book is a collection of poems, songs and sayings from Shaker communities, primarily in New England. In them, the Shakers' emphasis on simplicity, humility, union and using time wisely is immediately apparent. The poems themselves are often in a simple rhyme. Included are photographs of buildings in the Shaker communities and artwork - I only wish that each were labeled with what it was! And finally, one of the poems was actually split, with one half of it on page 78 and the other on page 85, which was jarring and made me wonder if there were other mistakes in printing. As with most poetry books, I won't rate this one or properly review it, but I spent a few pleasant evenings paging through it.

My favorite inclusion gives you a sense of the style:

A face that cannot smile is like a bud
that cannot blossom, and dries up on the stalk.
Laughter is day and sobriety is night and the smile
to the twilight that hovers gently between both,
and more bewitching than either.

-Anne White,
Mt. Lebanon, New York
1808

152bell7
Aug 31, 3:25pm Top

71. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Why now? The audiobook was available when I wanted one, and I own(ed) the book

Sara Lindqvist comes to Broken Wheel, Iowa from Sweden to meet her penpal Amy Harris, only to find that her friend has died and she's just in time for the funeral. Still, the small town comes together and demands that Sara stay for her visit. While she is there, Sara opens a bookstore with Amy's books and shares her love of reading with the townsfolk.

I usually love charming books about books, and I enjoyed the first half of so, with Sara's comments about books I've read. But the quirky small-town characters were often cliched and annoying. I'm willing to suspend disbelief enough for "book lover comes to small depressed small town and starts changing things for the better," but on top of that one major plot point was completely unbelievable. I did like the way in which Amy's character was revealed through her letters to Sara in between chapters. Good premise, disappointing execution. 3 stars.

I decided I liked it slightly more than I didn't. The most eyerolling part had to do with the way the town decides Sara and Tom have to get married so Sara can get a new visa and stay. They go along with it, because though they won't actually talk about it, they love each other after knowing each other a month and a half and mostly sitting in silence from what I could tell, and then they get investigated but... it works anyways? The second half of the book was really disappointing.

153bell7
Aug 31, 3:46pm Top

August in review -

61. The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
62. The Destiny Thief by Richard Russo
63. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
64. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
65. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
66. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
67. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfeld (ARC - due out Jan. 2019)
68. Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland
69. Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
70. Simple Wisdom: Shaker Sayings, Poems and Songs collected by Kathleen Mahoney
71. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Books read: 11
Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry/Plays: 7/3/1/0
Children's/Teen/Adult: 1/0/10
Library/Mine/Borrowed: 8/3
Rereads: 2

Standouts: Hm, I think the first two were the best. The Labyrinth of the Spirits is coming out soon and lived up to my expectations. The Destiny Thief had some lovely essays and thoughts on writing and life.

Thoughts: Surprisingly, I didn't read any teen books this month! I only read the one children's book, a reread of The Penderwicks in Spring. I'm surprised I finished as many as I did, since the month felt so busy. I had a weird pattern, too, of finishing a bunch of books both at the beginning and end of the month and slowing it down a bit in the middle. I enjoyed much of what I read, but few reached the level of reread-worthy. Perhaps those first two books spoiled me. I finished ten books last month and 11 this one, so perhaps it's too early for me to say I'll read fewer books that usual. Maybe I'll start reversing my trend of reading more the first half of the year?

I'm heading out in mere hours for a visit to my sister's and the National Book Festival. I'm bringing my Kindle and The Shakespeare Requirement which I plan on reading on the plane. I made all my library returns so I only have 3 books out and won't have anything due while I'm gone, and I've got some books on hold at the library down there.

154PaulCranswick
Sep 2, 5:22am Top

You are going to beat me to 75 this year, Mary.

Have a lovely Sunday. xx

155katiekrug
Sep 8, 10:59am Top

Hi Mary! Safe travels tomorrow and enjoy the game - look forward to finally meeting you :)

156bell7
Sep 8, 9:20pm Top

>154 PaulCranswick: I'm well on my way, Paul, I have a couple of books to catch up on from my week in DC. Hope you have a great weekend!

>155 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! We're leaving bright and early and I'm very much looking forward to meeting you as well! Hopefully the game will be a good one...

157bell7
Sep 10, 4:11pm Top

I'm home!

This last week plus has been a blast. I flew down to DC and attended the National Book Festival, where I met up with Nora (Norabelle414), her friend Soraya (who is also on the cataloging side of LT, but I don't know her username) and Mac (omargosh) first for breakfast and then went with Nora and Soraya to the books for sale, the state tables, and the genre fiction room. It was a lot of fun, and I especially enjoyed Joseph Finder's talk - I've never read any of his books, but may have to try it out. I also continued a streak of getting books signed for a friend - The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken, which I'll be shipping out soon for a birthday gift.

Another friend of mine met up with me, and we headed back to my sister's where I stayed for the week. I had a lot of fun family time with Mia (3) and Matthew (1), my sister and her husband. Mia talks a mile a minute and every time I see her she'd added to her vocabulary and will say the most surprising things. I did bring down that notebook to start keeping track of books we read, and while I wrote down a few titles it didn't end up being much of a hit with her. She was much more interested in drawing on the paper, and would make some abstract swirls and lines and then ask me, "What's that?" She also drew what looked like some letters, and I'd tell her "j" or "u" or "c" or whatever it looked like. Once she had drawn a few and I kept telling her what it was she said, "Good job! You know your numbers" before we moved on to another game.

The one touristy thing I did was go to the Capitol building for a tour of the historic portion of the building. It was really fun and interesting. The rotunda was absolutely gorgeous. I apparently also dropped my keys on Pennsylvania Avenue (they were clipped to my purse and must have slipped off carabiner and all while I was walking from the Metro stop), and I didn't know it until I was in the Library of Congress later that day and I got a text from my boss that the capitol police had called. They'd gone through the tags on my keychain and managed to find my library card to the library where I work, and after my boss texted me I was able to get in touch with them, go back through the security line, and go down to retrieve my keys. Phew!

My youngest sister also got together with me during the week on one of the days before her classes. We hung out at the Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle neighborhoods, got breakfast, and did a little book shopping. I got Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany at Kramerbooks. It's a lot of fun, a book of bookish lists from sports books to quizzes like "book plots in five words" to lists of great book shops and libraries to visit. Not exactly the kind of thing that gets read cover to cover, but I am going to have fun dipping into it.

I flew back Friday night and arrived home after a much-delayed flight (there were storms and we got on the plane only to wait a few hours) and had a day to recover before my parents, brothers, youngest sister and her boyfriend all headed out to the New York Giants home opener. Though they lost a disappointing game and we got a bit damp, it was a fun time and a much better game than the one we saw last year when they had already lost the first four games of the season and we saw two wide receivers receive season-ending injuries. We headed back to a hotel to stay overnight, and I met up with Katie (katiekrug) for dinner and a really fun time chatting.

I'm unpacked and have laundry going, but I do have one more fun outing before going back to work - tomorrow, I'm going with my dad and brothers (the youngest sister is back to school in DC) to the Red Sox game, where we should see Chris Sale's first game since returning from an injury. There were thunderstorms in the forecast, but our seats are covered this time and hopefully we'll get the game squeezed in between rain drops!

158bell7
Sep 10, 4:22pm Top

72. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Why now? Reread since the movie and a new book in the series came out. I put this on hold at the library near my sister's and read it while I was on vacation

Here's what I wrote back in 2014 when I first read it:

In the future United States, kids get sick and die right around the time they turn 10. Ruby is one of the last living kids on her block, but after an incident where her parents lock her in the garage, she's taken to a camp for kids like her. They each have different abilities, and are controlled by agents dressed in black who clearly fear them: the Reds, Oranges and Yellows most of all. Convincing a worker she is actually a Green, Ruby slides by until she is threatened with exposure and must choose to either trust a doctor to help her escape or be killed.

This is the sort of book where you have a completely different perspective at the end than you do at the beginning, so my description is a little vague. Part of the fun of reading this book was seeing Ruby's world slowly unfold over the course of the story, piecing it together until you have the full picture. Ruby is a great character, and because she's narrating, we see her confusion and moral struggles as she comes to terms with who she is and what her powers are. It's always tough to keep information away from the reader in a believable way with first-person narrating, but Alexandra Bracken does an excellent job of revealing things naturally and in a way that keeps the reader guessing. The end simultaneously wraps up the first story in the series while leaving enough loose ends that I am dying to read the next book.


I rated this book highly (4.5 stars, meaning I would recommend and reread it) when I read it, and unusually for me read the sequel almost right afterwards instead of giving myself a little break. It didn't quite hold up as much on a reread: once I didn't have the urgency to discover plot elements (because I remembered much of the basic story and wasn't discovering as much as the characters), the thinness of the world-building and romance element were a little more apparent. I also think the ending of the third book left me thinking of the trilogy as a whole with a much brighter shine than I actually felt as I was reading - I completely forgot I'd rated the middle book only 3.5 stars, which makes me wonder how much I want to complete my reread of the series.

159bell7
Sep 10, 4:32pm Top

73. The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher
Why now? I really enjoyed Dear Committee Members and put this on hold to get the library book as soon as this sequel came out

Jay Fitger - hapless letter writer from Dear Committee Members and now chair of the beleaguered English department at Payne University - has to get the various professors of English to agree on their Statement of Vision or the Economics department may well and truly take over the university.

I really enjoyed the first book featuring Jay Fitger, which was in fact a novel in hilarious recommendation letters and more that made me laugh out loud but also had some bittersweet moments and I enjoyed getting to know the curmudgeonly English professor. This one, though longer and told in prose, actually felt a bit thinner. Schumacher both skewers and seems to enjoy academia, and works as a creative writing professor herself so she certainly knows what she writes. But I didn't find it as appealing or funny, personally, and didn't particularly care for some of the side plots she includes nor the rather abrupt ending. There were some funny moments, especially when it really got into the meat of the book and university politics, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. 3 stars.

160bell7
Sep 11, 1:16pm Top

Happy Tuesday!

I finished my laundry yesterday and did a grocery shopping today. Since we're headed to the Red Sox tonight, I wanted to be just about ready for work tomorrow before I left, and I think I'm on the right track. Tomorrow after a dermatologist appointment, I'm headed back to work for a 3-day week. Saturday is tag saling and a birthday party, and Sunday will be busy with church and getting ready for our small groups to start up again. So I'll be attempting to hit the ground running tomorrow.

The party on Saturday is for a young boy who's a phenomenal reader and I've been recommending books for him and his brother for awhile now. My brother and I are both friends with his mom, and I asked my brother the other day "Do you think he's old enough to enjoy The Phantom Tollbooth?" He responded, "Don't get that for him; I'm getting it." I laughed, thinking he was joking and pretending to steal my idea, but he was completely serious - we were that close to both getting him the book! I ended up finding a new book by Cressida Cowell who wrote the How to Train Your Dragon series that I know he read and loved recently. Hopefully he'll enjoy both our selections!

161bell7
Sep 13, 8:05am Top

Yesterday's back to work went fairly well. I hadn't put a lot on my plate for the return knowing that I had a short week, and my boss only scheduled me for a couple of hours on the reference/circulation desk this week so I should have plenty of time to work with new volunteers and catch up a little today. The big thing was going through my email (I had 314 to delete or read). Unfortunately, we also have a virus going around the library so our emails were blacklisted and while I can get email, I may not be able to send it in the next 24 hours. The IT guy who knows the library stuff best (he used to be on staff for us rather than general Town IT) is going away for the weekend so things are probably going to continue a little shaky for the next few days.

In reading, I'm working my way through Get a Financial Life as an ARC on my Kindle. I was going along swimmingly until I got to the chapter on taxes. It's a lot of information I'm already familiar with at this point, but it's really meant as a pretty basic intro (the subtitle is "personal finance in your twenties and thirties." Goldenhand is my audiobook before bed and I'm supplementing with the e-book from the library - it's a newer book in the Sabriel series that I hadn't even heard of, and it's making me want to go back and reread them all. Ordinary Grace is a book I picked off my own shelves to read, and I haven't gotten very far yet because yesterday I had to start my book club read, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. I'd read it once before, but I think I'm going to like it even better on this go around. I read the first 100 pages yesterday alone.

162katiekrug
Sep 13, 9:53am Top

I have both Ordinary Grace and The Girl Who Fell From the Sky on my shelves.... Look forward to your thoughts on them!

163bell7
Edited: Sep 13, 7:52pm Top

>162 katiekrug: Oh cool, it'll be neat to compare notes once you get to them! (No pressure, of course - I'm terribly slow about reading books I own in lieu of library books with due dates...)

By the way, I found lyrics to a Giants fight song:

Come on and fight you fightin’ Giants,
Roll along, to a score;
Come on and fight you fightin’ Giants,
Roll it up, more and more.
Go on and show your might, you Giants,
As you go, t’ward the foe;
Come on and go, go, go, go, go fightin’ Giants,
Giants Go!

Marching along the road to victory,
Fight Giants fight, you’re on the way.
Singing a song, another victory,
You’re gonna win again today.
So rack ‘em up, and stack ‘em up,
And go, go, go, go, go, go, go!

Come on and fight you fightin’ Giants,
Roll along, to a score;
Come on and fight you fightin’ Giants,
Roll it up, more and more.
Go on and show your might, you Giants,
As you go, t’ward the foe;
Come on and go, go, go, go, go fightin’ Giants,
Giants Go!

I found it on https://www.footballbabble.com/football/nfl/fight-songs/ and I have no way of knowing the accuracy of the lyrics or the tune. Here's another possibility from YouTube that has completely different lyrics but sounds a bit big band.

None of the lyrics really impress me to most NFL fight songs, though I have to say the Vikings' isn't too bad.

Edited to add - for those of you wondering what on earth I'm talking about, I very recently discovered that NFL teams even *have* fight songs and Katie and I were discussing it over dinner last weekend.

164katiekrug
Sep 14, 7:19am Top

My favorite line is "so rack 'em up and stack 'em up" - HIGH-larious!

165charl08
Sep 14, 7:26am Top

>161 bell7: Yikes, a whole chapter on taxes. Impressed you are wading on. Sounds like you've had a great break. I was really hoping >159 bell7: would be better, I did like the letters in the last one. The references especially!

166bell7
Sep 14, 6:12pm Top

>164 katiekrug: hehehe ;)

>165 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte, it was a really nice break! Someone more familiar with academia may like The Shakespeare Requirement better than I did. And I *will* finish Get a Financial Life soon. I'm hoping the one on taxes is short! I've done my own taxes for years (and am planning on getting an accountant soon) so I can probably gloss over some of it.

167bell7
Sep 14, 6:29pm Top

74. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
Why now? Book club selection for next week

I actually read this is 2012 and had to reread it for book club. I had remembered not liking parts of it, so I picked it up rather reluctantly but ended up being completely enthralled these last few days, checked my rating (I'd given it 4 stars) and actually upped it to 4.5 as a book worthy of rereading.

Here's my original review:

Rachel lives with her grandmother because of a family tragedy: her mother and siblings fell off the roof of a nine-storey apartment complex. Rachel survived.

This is the sort of book that I don't necessarily like while I'm reading, but as it lingers in my mind and I turn over elements of it in my thoughts, I realize how powerful and beautiful it was. The structure is a little difficult. Rachel's narrates her parts of the story, while the experiences of Laronne (her mother's boss), Jamie (the boy who witnessed her brother falling), and others are interspersed in a story that covers about five years in non-chronological order.

As if her mother's suicide and her siblings' deaths weren't enough to deal with, Rachel is of mixed race, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black father. But the book doesn't read like an "issues" book, it's just Rachel's story of adolescence, growing up, finding her identity and understanding her past. It's very internal, almost a collection of impressions rather than a straightforward plot. A few sentences made me stop in my tracks because I had to think about them, rather than rush on to the end. The story itself is how Rachel describes the blues: storing up all sorts of sadness, but making something beautiful out of it.


I will add that it's stylistically complex because of the multiple narrators and non-chronological telling, but it reveals the picture of Rachel's family so perfectly that way. The themes of race and family are prevalent throughout and have so much to do with Rachel's identity and coming to terms with who she is, that I think I missed some of that the first time around. Maybe I'm more sensitive to it now that I have a mixed-raced niece and nephew (white and Hispanic), and I know when I take my niece out alone people don't know we're related. I know she and her brother look very different from each other (he's lighter, with blond hair). But when I see her, I see my sister's features and my brother-in-law's coloring. I see my own oldest child traits, independence, and strong emotions. When other people see us, though, they think I'm the babysitter. I'm having these conversations with my sister now, and when I first read this book six years ago I wouldn't have had that frame of reference. So Rachel's thoughts on being black *and* Danish and not wanting to choose would've been easier to overlook. The multiple perspectives slowly reveal what happened that day in Chicago when Rachel's family was on the roof, telling and retelling the story until we can make a sort of sense out of it.

Heidi Durrow herself is the daughter of a Danish woman and a black American G.I., so she has the same curly hair and blue eyes she gives her character Rachel (she did not, however, have the family tragedy her character does - that came from a news story she'd saved). In a society that's becoming even more multicultural and multiracial, I think it's very important to have stories like this one and talk about biracial experiences. It'll be interesting to see what my book discussion group has to say about this on Wednesday.

168bell7
Sep 16, 6:53pm Top

75. Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner (2017 ed.)
Why now? Working through e-book ARCs on my Kindle - this one's a little overdue

Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties gets an all-new update for a new generation, with updated links and information on all sorts of financial information, from types of debt to investing to buying a home.

This comprehensive guide is short and easy to read, but I would recommend jumping to the chapters that are relevant rather than reading it from cover to cover. I enjoy personal finance stuff; this one is pretty dry. It's also ridiculously detailed in some ways, including a whole chapter on services available to military (great to have as a reference, but not for everyone) and a table showing you your tax percentage calculation (I've done my own taxes for years and couldn't tell you exactly what percent of my income I pay).

Most of the advice is solid and matches up with what I've read in other financial articles and books: get out of debt, save and invest, get insurance, live within your means. Author Kobliner, a personal finance journalist and author, gives some good details that I didn't know, for example, that you might be able to save on car insurance by taking a defensive driving class. The advice is math-laden with examples and tables that went a bit beyond what I could follow, but I know those kinds of details would be fascinating to other readers. And then there are a couple of head-scratchers, like her insistence that you should only invest in index funds and not have a financial professional at all. That one I disagree with but could overlook because I could kind of see her rationale. Her mortgage discussion, however, confused me greatly. She assumes a 30-year mortgage, which is standard, but spends a fair amount of space discussing adjustable rate mortgages where, though she cautions you to be careful, she suggests that you may be able to use one to your advantage to have a low rate if you're only planning on staying in a house for a couple of years. While that may be true mathematically, I know enough of human nature to wonder how many people get into an ARM thinking they'll only stay a couple of years and then get surprised when the interest rate skyrockets - much like that "free month" required a credit card to sign up and, oops, I forgot to cancel before the 30 days ran out. And I guess I wouldn't have been so surprised by the long discussion of ARM and using points to reduce your interest rate if it weren't for the fact that she barely mentions the possibility of a 15-year mortgage. Rather than discussing the huge decrease in interest over the payment of the loan, she says they're harder to qualify for (true) and says you may be better off investing the difference. Even if it weren't her personal favorite, wouldn't it make sense to give it equal time with ARMs and discuss the potential difference in interest with the same depth rather than writing it off? Or is it really that hard to qualify for in your 20s and 30s? Finally, as any type of finance book, the exact numbers are out of date as soon as it's printed and in this case, the U.S. federal tax standard deduction (and it's definitely U.S.-centric across the board) has changed since it's printing. As a starting point and guide to reference, this book definitely has some good advice, but my caveat would be to read a few others and make some decisions about your financial behavior, rather than purely the math. 3.5 stars.

169Donna828
Sep 16, 7:01pm Top

>167 bell7: Book Bullet! Thanks, Mary. I own that book and have been reluctant to read it thinking it would be too light. Silly me. I guess I was thinking it was fantasy.

I notice you often reread books for your book discussions. I know you're the moderator and have to be on top of things, but I also found out the hard way that my memory isn't that good for an in-depth discussion so I've been doing more rereads, too. Next month we'll discuss Lab Girl. I just read it last year, but it's short and I liked it so I am looking forward to the second time around.

Lucky you getting to go to The National Book Festival. And an LT meet-up as a bonus.

170bell7
Sep 16, 7:19pm Top

>169 Donna828: I hope you like it, Donna! I do reread books when they're for my book discussion. As you found, the memory isn't always best in having an in-depth discussion of a title, and I've discovered I've changed my rating on a book more than once - rather notably with Atonement, which made me so mad my first reading if it weren't a library book I might've thrown it. I reluctantly picked it up for book discussion and *liked* it on a reread. I actually try very hard to read and finish the book somewhere between the Saturday to Monday before the discussion. That way it's one of the last books I've finished, so it's fresh, and I've had a few days to mull it over on top of that. I was early with this one because I knew I had a busy weekend. I'll probably take Tuesday to reread over the question and answers I wrote down at work on Friday, and make any other notes or updates for the discussion on Wednesday. I have a really great group and often end up only having to talk enough to keep the conversation going, but having all that prep in my brain helps me lead confidently and hopefully ask some good in-depth questions to bring out different insights. I haven't read Lab Girl yet, but I hope it lives up to a reread! It might be a good suggestion to make for next year's book club - we have enjoyed some memoirs lately.

I did really enjoy my time at the National Book Festival and meeting up with LTers. Can't beat free! I pay for the plane ticket, bring a little spending money and have a ready-made vacation while visiting family.

171FAMeulstee
Sep 17, 4:57am Top

>168 bell7: Congratulations on reaching 75, Mary!

172bell7
Sep 17, 7:58am Top

>171 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!

173bell7
Sep 17, 8:24am Top

Happy Monday! It's a new week, and I'm back to a full week of work (last week still had some vacation time, so I only worked 3 days). It's okay, though, I'm working 9-2 and I don't think I'm scheduled on the desk at all, so I'm still easing in a bit.

Though I finished my book club book and an e-book ARC, I'm still working on a few different titles:

Goldenhand, which I mentioned earlier, though I'm almost finished and should be able to make some progress this afternoon.

Across the Wall also by Garth Nix - a collection of short stories that I started because I realized there was a novella in it that related to Goldenhand. It didn't turn out to be super important that I read it, but it helped me get back in that world a little bit. The other short stories are completely unrelated to the Old Kingdom, but really show Nix's variety and writing chops. I dipped into it a little more during football yesterday and am looking forward to reading more.

Ordinary Grace still, and only a little farther. There's a lot of death and grimness in the beginning, and I haven't decided at this point how far I want to go before giving this book to my youngest brother, who can stand a lot more sadness than I can.

On deck:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor came in from the library, and it's very short so I could probably read it in an afternoon - but I kind of want to finish one of the books I've been reading a long while first.

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall is the final book about the Penderwick family, and it too will be a fast read, but I have been reluctant to start it. I think it's both that I need that sense of accomplishment of finishing a title I've been working on and that I don't quite want the series to be over.

I have a couple more titles on hold from the library that I expect to come in today or tomorrow, one about the Shakers, so I'm kind of feeling motivated to clear out the pile on my nightstand and get some good reading in to make room for those titles. I'm also hoping to continue reading some of my own books alongside library books (Across the Wall and Ordinary Grace are both mine), but that means being disciplined about putting holds on pretty new titles I come across. We'll see how well I manage that in the coming months!

174katiekrug
Sep 17, 8:26am Top

Oops, I missed you hitting the magic number. Congrats!

175drneutron
Sep 17, 10:01am Top

Congrats on hitting the goal line!

176bell7
Sep 17, 3:01pm Top

>174 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Not a far miss - I didn't read over 75 yet or anything ;)

>175 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

177bell7
Sep 19, 3:21pm Top

76. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Why now? What I picked from my personal TBR shelves when I was caught up on library books (notice this is already past tense)

In the summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, Frank Drum's family is impacted by several deaths in the community, beginning with that of his young acquaintance, Bobby Cole. His father is a minister, but Frank isn't so sure he sees the hand of God in the midst of all this grief, which is soon to affect him even more personally.

Frank reflects on the events of that summer forty years later, so we get the mix of what a child (or teen in this case, as Frank was 13) would have picked up from eavesdropping or how he might have interpreted what adults were talking about around him. He sometimes deals with fear and misunderstandings, and he's never going to know exactly what happened in World War 2 that was such a pivotal moment in his father's life. The family is well-drawn, from his father the minister, his mother who signed up to be a lawyer's wife but still gamely leads music for multiple services, his sister Ariel just on the cusp of adulthood, and his little brother Jake who follows him everywhere. Some of the other characters felt a little flat to me, particularly the way a deaf woman, Lise, is portrayed. Her "signs and gestures" are never acknowledged to be language and when she speaks aloud he always points out the ways in which she can't vocalize or uses "that tone I hate." Because of that, I found myself in hyper-critical mode and was analyzing rather than enjoying the story throughout. Though since it's very much about death and loss, "enjoy" is the wrong word too. The first half was quite meditative and the second half picked up tremendously; I cared enough to find out what happened, but I'm still ambivalent and not sure I'd go out of my way to recommend it. 3 stars.

178bell7
Edited: Sep 19, 3:28pm Top

77. Goldenhand by Garth Nix
Why now? It was time for a new audiobook, and I found this available - it's a "new" (2016) book in the Sabriel series that I really enjoyed so I checked it out

Ferin is from the north and she's seeking help from Lirael and the Clayr because the Witch with No Name has been terrorizing the clans. Lirael, meanwhile, deals with Abhorsen business while Sabriel is away and finds Nick by the Wall with a Free Magic beast. Their two storylines weave together to the climax as they discover that evil forces are once again threatening the Old Kingdom.

My reading of this one suffered a bit because I hadn't read the series in so long that I'd forgotten who some characters were (notably Nick and the Disreputable Dog - clearly I'm in need of a reread). Then, some aspects of it were pretty easy to figure out, such as the identity of the Witch with No Name. Still, it brings some storylines from the previous books together in a satisfying way and it was an intense read. Having the two stories of Ferin and Lirael made sure the chapters ended at a tight spot and kept you reading and wanting to know what happened. Recommended for fans of the series. 3.5 stars.

It also probably didn't help my rating that it took me about two weeks to read it. I want to reread the series at some point and give it a fairer shake.

179Whisper1
Edited: Sep 19, 3:29pm Top

>157 bell7: The meet up sounds like a great one! I hope to one day see you again. After I retire, I plan to be more involved. Thank you so much for the lovely card you sent last month. I received it on a day when I was in a lot of pain. It cheered me so to hear from you.

And, by the way, your sister's children are incredibly beautiful.

I really like the "why now?" question at the beginning of the books you read. What a wonderfully creative way to pull the group members into what you are reading.

180bell7
Edited: Sep 19, 6:15pm Top

>179 Whisper1: it was a lot of fun, Linda! I certainly hope we can meet in person again in the future. This next year I'm planning on president budgeting for a bigger vacation than to my sister's so maybe we can make it happen :)

So glad you enjoyed the card, and thank you for your kind words about the munchkins! I think they're about the cutest kids ever. But of course auntie's biased. I'll have new photos topping my next threads.

I started "Why now?" In part to remind myself why I picked up a given book at a given time. I hope it occasionally gives some insight into the somewhat random reading selections I make, whether it's a topic of interest to me or an author I immediately pick up or anything else. My reading can seem so random at times. It's fun to remind myself hope one book often leads to another, and I'm glad you find it enjoyable as well.

181bell7
Sep 19, 11:05pm Top

Just had to share - I had a blast this evening going through the treasure hunt (still should be good for several days) and figured out all but two of the clues on my own. One of them I was really close but had the movie and not a book in mind, and the other I had no idea and managed to get it with a second hint.

So much fun!

182ronincats
Sep 19, 11:09pm Top

I needed help with a couple of movies, but ended up getting them all as well.

183bell7
Yesterday, 6:56pm Top

>182 ronincats: Nice! I always love seeing the games and trying to figure them out. I never quite get them all without help, though.

184bell7
Yesterday, 7:08pm Top

78. Across the Wall by Garth Nix
Why now? I started Goldenhand and realized I hadn't read the novella in this collection set in the same world, but I had the book at home so once I was back from vacation I read that and kept going with all the short stories as well

Fantasy author Garth Nix collects a novella set in the same world as Sabriel and previously published short stories published from the 1990s to early 2000s and talks that he's given at conferences, each with an introduction explaining the story's origins.

The novella that starts the collection was probably my least favorite, as I didn't think it added all that much to what I'd already read in the series. It focuses on a character from Ancelstierre and does give more details of that part of the world of the Abhorsens. The other short stories, however, really show Nix's writing chops and versatility. Some of my favorites included "My New Really Epic Fantasy Series," which was laugh-out-loud funny, and "Endings" which was deliciously creepy. "Charlie Rabbit" impressed me most, as it was an intense story about children affected by war and was very much outside what I've come to expect from Nix, but very well done. An excellent collection for anyone who enjoys them or wants to get a sense of Nix's writing without investing in a novel. I don't usually rate short story collections, but this one gets 4.5 stars as one I would read again.

185bell7
Today, 8:18am Top

79. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Why now? I really enjoyed Who Fears Death, and Joe (jnwelch) recommended this for the next book I read by the author

At 16, Binti has never been away from home. But as the first of her people to be admitted to Oozma Uni, the premier college in the galaxy, she knows she has to take this chance, and runs away in order to do it.

The setting is futuristic and involves space travel and alien species, but the central problem is very human - how do you communicate with people and cultures so very different from your own? This short novella can easily be read in a sitting, but it will stick with you longer than that. I immediately put the following two books featuring Binti on hold. 4.5 stars.

186bell7
Today, 8:30am Top

Happy Friday!

It's been a productive but tiring week and I'm ready for the weekend! The last couple of days have had deliciously fall-like weather, with highs in the 70s and lows getting low enough for open windows, cool breezes, and piling blankets on the bed to sleep. Love it!

Today I'm going to try to make progress on planning for our library birthday bash in December - we've been at this location for 50 years and as local history is part of my job, this celebration is too. I think it's been a source of stress even if I'm not always conscious about it. I've had a little trouble sleeping and dreamed of work a couple of nights ago. Anyway, I'm hoping that working on invitations and coming up with a "guest list" of people I'll invite besides a flyer and press release to let the public know about it will help me feel like I've made some headway.

My brother's band is playing a gig, so after work I'll head out for my soda and apps while listening to their music (mostly covers). I'll probably only stay for one set - I can't do late nights like he can! Tomorrow I have the morning off and plan on doing some prep work for my Bible study that starts up again on Monday, followed by "Namaste for drinks," a aerobic yoga class followed by hanging out at a local bar (if you go to yoga, you get one free drink). Sunday is it's usual, church and football. Somewhere in there, I'd like to fit in tidying my apartment up and some reading.

I've finished all the books I was working on simultaneously and started a few new ones yesterday:
The Penderwicks at Last - the final book in the series, this one focusing on Lydia who is now ten and
Crucible of Gold - the next (7th) book in the Temeraire series, and the first that I have not read

I'm not very far in either of them, but the Penderwicks is due next at the library and I downloaded the audio for the Temeraire book just a few days after starting Goldenhand and am only now getting to it (it's also due in two days). But I own that book, so I'm set if the audio goes away before I've finished.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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