Kerry (avatiakh) reads lots of books in 2018 #3
This is a continuation of the topic Kerry (avatiakh) reads lots of books in 2018 #2.
Join LibraryThing to post.
My 2018 Category Challenge: http://www.librarything.com/topic/274682
1: New to me writers
2: Young at Heart
3: Crossing Over - YA books & graphic novels
4: European writers
5: Short Stories
6: Folk and fairy
7: Essays & poetry
8: Thrillers - crime, spies, mystery
9: BIG BOOKS
10: Focus - Arthurian literature
11: Foodie things
12: Reading about the Middle East with focus on Israel
15: Science Fiction & Fantasy
17: General fiction
18: Keeping tabs: e-books and audiobooks
ANZAC challenge 2017/8
ANZAC Bingo 1x25
1: Read a book set around WW1 - Somme Mud by E.P.F. Lynch
3: Read a book published between 1950-1979 - Living in the Maniototoby Janet Frame (1979)
4: Read a book about convicts or forced migration - The Second Bridegroom by Rodney Hall
6: Read a book from a 'best of' list - The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
7: Read a book with a rural setting - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan
11: Read a journal/memoir (can be fiction) - Looking for Darwin by Lloyd Spencer Davis
12: Read a book about colonists/settlers - Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
14: Read a fantasy novel - The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan
15: Read a book about the goldrush - It's raining in Mango by Thea Astley
17: Read a book with a murder - Trust No One by Paul Cleave
18: Read a book by a young writer under 35yrs - While we run by Karen Healey
19: Read a book with a school/education setting - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
21: Read a book with a # or quantity in the title - Sixty Lights by Gail Jones
23:Read a young adult book - My sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
25: Read a book with an animal/bird on the cover - All the green year by Don Charlwood
75er & other Reading challenges
I participate in the monthly TIOLI challenge and occasionally get a book read for the BAC (British Author Challenge) hope to try the Irish Author Challenge here in the 75er group. In the category challenge group I've joined in a few already and I also try to read a book for the almost defunct Orange/Bailey's Jan/July group.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - READ
February/March/April: Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann - READ
August/September/October: Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann
Bookloving Kiwis BookPool Challenge - Jan2018
This is a Goodreads group I belong to and I enjoy this challenge that runs twice a year -
my three Jan books are -
Frankenstein - READ
Beck by Mal Peet - READ
The Godwits by Robin Hyde
I'm also going to try to read CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers series -
there's 11 books, plus I have a copy of his The Search, so that's one book each month. I picked up the first 9 at a book fair some years ago.
Time of Hope
The Conscience of the Rich
The Light and the Dark
The New Men
Corridors of Power
The Sleep of Reason
Saw this verse on twitter so putting it here:
In Köhln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fang'd with murderous stones
And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches ;
I counted two and seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks !
Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The river Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne ;
But tell me, Nymphs, what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine ?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Plans for September:
Very ambitious as image above shows especially with my track record so far this year, and I missed three books.
I won't read all these but hope to get through some of them.
Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann - spreading this over Sep & Oct.
The swish of the curtain by Pamela Brown - TIOLI, children's classic
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman - gets good reviews here in Aust/NZ
The Force by Don Winslow - TIOLI, long wanted to read one of his books
My sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier - YA, ANZAC challenge
Once, Then, Now, After, Soon, Maybe by Morris Gleitzman - TIOLI, childrens, wanted to read this series
The extremely inconvenient adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn moriarty - children's, like this writer
A dark inheritance by Chris D'Lacey (Unicorn Files) - YA, TIOLI, I like this author
Marlborough Man by Alan Carter - TIOLI, crime and due back at the library in a couple of days
Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi - started this a couple of months ago and was enjoying it
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend - TIOLI, children's, gets lots of great reviews
Let sleeping dogs lie by Miriam Pressler - YA, wanted to read this for a while
Green Darkness by Anya Seyton - I'm about halfway through and not really loving it
77) The Mapmakers' Race by Eirlys Hunter (2018)
children's fiction, NZ
I loved Hunter's YA Finn's Quest trilogy which she finished up in 2004 and as far as I'm aware she hasn't published anything since then and has been teaching writing children's literature. So this was a lovely surprise and turns out to be a great read, I hope it gets published and promoted outside of NZ as it well deserves a large readership.
A bunch of children and their parrot travelling with their mother on a train to a map-making expedition and race, it's their last hope to make money since their father went missing....and the mother gets left behind at a train stop. The children must try to win the race themselves, they have all the skills, learnt from working with their parents on previous expeditions. Classic enjoyable story.
Lovely to see you posting Kerry and via a new thread!
Hope you have had a wonderful weekend. xx
78) Once by Morris Gleitzman (2005)
Once #1. Felix has spent more than 3 years in a Polish orphanage, left there by his Jewish parents. He convinces himself that he has to seek them out and leaves only to encounter Nazis carrying out their Final Solution. Told from a naive child's perspective, Gleitzman does not shelter the reader from deaths and horror but does not dwell on this either.
There are 6 books in the series and I'm hoping to read them all by the end of the year.
Happy new thread, Kerry and good luck with your September reading. That is quite an ambitious list.
>11 ChelleBearss: >12 BLBera: >13 drneutron: >14 FAMeulstee: >15 banjo123: Thanks for visiting my thread.
I currently reading about 6 books, mainly Marlborough Man and finding that Nevermoor is seriously addictive and Morris Gleitzman is always a joy to read even with the difficult content. The others I'm just reading either a chapter or 20-50 pages each day.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Marlborough Man - due back at library in 2 days
Notes on a nervous planet - about our fast changing world and how to survive it
The book jumper
The dumpster saga
Do not lick this book by Idan Ben-Barak, illustrator Julian Frost (2017)
Very clever & fun look at the different microbes out and about in our everyday lives. It also includes electron microscope images of our skin and teeth (very scary) etc.
This won the 2018 CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia) NonFiction Award.
From the publisher: Idan Ben-Barak holds a BSc in medical science, an MSc in microbiology, and a PhD in the history and philosophy of science. His first book, Small Wonders: How Microbes Rule Our World has been published around the world and won the 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru SB&F (Science Books and Films) Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Young Adult category. An excerpt from his most recent book, Why Aren't We Dead Yet? The Survivor's Guide to the Immune System, was runner-up in the 2015 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing.
The uncorker of ocean bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrator Erin E. Stead (2016)
Blandish story that will appeal due to it having a 'letters in bottles' theme. Lonely guy with no name collects and delivers the letters that arrive in bottles to his village. He never receives a letter for himself, so one day there is an invitation to a party addressed to no-one....and everyone in the village ends up at the party. The illustrations are lovely.
Illustrator Erin Stead is married to writer/illustrator Philip Stead, they collaborated on A sick day for Amos McGee.
79) Marlborough Man by Alan Carter (2017)
Just realised as I was finishing reading this that it won the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for Crime Fiction a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to read this since it came out last year, mainly because of the setting in New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds. Carter does wonderful justice to the glorious landscape.
Alan Carter is from England and after living and publishing several award winning crime novels in Australia has moved to New Zealand and lives in the Marlborough Sounds.
Nick Chester is a police detective hiding in New Zealand with his family in a small provincial town after two years undercover in a northern UK city trying to bring down a notorious criminal. He's still a policeman and is helping on a local investigation into a child murder that has similarities to others when he realises that he's been identified and there are killers coming after him and his family. I enjoyed this.
81) Now by Morris Gleitzman (2010)
The third book in the Once series. Felix has just turned 80 and his granddaughter, Zelda, has come to stay for several months while her parents are in Africa. She has a bad run in with the school bullies in her first week of school, followed by a devastating bushfire that threatens the entire community just outside of Melbourne.
Felix has spent his entire adult life saving children in his work as a surgeon to make up for the fact that he couldn't save the original Zelda back during the war.
Again great storytelling and the buildup to the fire and its aftermath is very real. He based this on the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires which devastated parts of Victoria. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_bushfires
Must read Ash Road again. The next three books take us back to the young Felix again and there will be one final book not yet written. I own the next book, After and will start reading it.
Gleitzman recommends for those wanting to understand Australia's bushfires.
A Future in Flames by Danielle Clode
Black Saturday edited by John McGourty
Worst Of Days by Karen Kissane
Inferno by Roger Franklin
He also lists on his website the books he read for background on the Holocaust - https://www.morrisgleitzman.com/once.htm
>10 avatiakh: >22 avatiakh: I have added this series to my list (does that count as six book bullets?). I haven't read anything by this author before and am looking for to it. I read The Girl in the Blue Coat, another YA book on the Holocaust, and was not overly impressed. Have you read it?
>17 avatiakh: I have to read this with the 8 yr old boy in my life. It sounds great in a delightfully icky way. :-)
>25 labfs39: >26 labfs39: Hi Lisa - I haven't read The Girl in the Blue Coat, but find the more authentic stories of more interest. Last year I enjoyed The fighter by Jean-Jaques Greif.
I've also read six on Gleitzman's list though know about many of the others, several I should have read by now and have on my bookshelves.
Do not lick this book is excellent. I've requested his YA book on microbes to have a look.
82) After by Morris Gleitzman (2011)
Once #4. Continuing the series, this covers Felix's time with the partisans and the end of the war. Gleitzman covers a lot of territory in these books, managing to touch on most aspects of the Holocaust. I've already made a start on the next book, Soon.
>29 labfs39: Oh good. I'll sum up the series when I finish the last book, Maybe, which I picked up today. I have noticed a couple of details that are worth noting.
New arrivals to chez avatiakh from the Scholastic Factory Bookshop -
Midnight in Peking by Paul French - true crime
Viola Vincent reporting by Anna Kenna
His name is Walter by Emily Rodda
Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
state of sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow by Siobhan Curham
The surface breaks by Louise O'Neill
Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein
Foxcraft: The elders by Inbali Iserles
Maybe by Morris Gleitzman
A case for Buffy by Ulf Nilsson
The harmonica by Dawn McMillan - picturebook
84) A dark inheritance by Chris D'Lacey (2014)
Unicorne Files #1of 3. I loved D'Lacey's The Last Dragon Chronicles, though didn't finish the series and will have to look it out at some time. Anyway this is an action packed read that starts when Michael Malone saves a dog from falling down a cliff. His act catches the interest of a bunch of unusual characters and turns this into a mystery cum scifi cum ghost story.
I have the next book so will probably pick it up soon.
85) Notes on a nervous planet by Matt Haig (2018)
This is a great read about how to survive in our switched on busy busy world, especially if you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or depression. The 'chapters' are sometimes just a paragraph and the topics jump around quite a bit, but overall it does get you thinking about your own ability to switch off from social media for a time. I've followed Haig on social media for a long while and know that he suffered a bit from getting too political in his tweeting, he got trolled several times last year, so this book would have been good therapy for him. He no longer keeps his phone by his bedside and logs how long he spends on social media. He realises he was getting angry with people he didn't know who lived thousands of miles from himself and it was all affecting his own relationship with wife and children. He also now makes time for weekly catchups, face to face with friends, though this can be quite hard to arrange as everyone is so busy nowadays. The book also talks about living in a modern consumer society and the pressure to want more, be better, compare ourselves to impossible perfection etc.
The writer that Haig references most is Yuval Noah Harari and I've been wanting to read his Sapiens for a long while..
>33 avatiakh: Your comments on Notes on a Nervous Planet, especially the last line about comparing ourselves to impossible perfection, reminded me of a book excerpt that a friend of mine sent me a link to recently. It's long, and I haven't gotten through it all myself, but the first section of this particular chapter is called "Perfectibility."
>34 labfs39: This is a compact book and well worth a look. The 'impossible perfection' includes a reference to instagram and how false this can be for the people wanting the perfect life and those who seemingly have a perfect life according to their instagram. How much these photos are staged.
>30 avatiakh: Forgot to add that these are for my 11th LT thingaversary. Cost to me was similar to buying 1 book in retail bookstore.
>30 avatiakh: Belated happy 11th Thingaversary, Kerry!
You celebrated with the appropriate number of books :-D
I think I saw a copy of Notes on a Nervous Planet when I visited Daunt Books yesterday. I'll keep my eye out for it this week and next.
86) Maybe by Morris Gleitzman (2017)
Once #6. Last in the series though Gleitzman says he has one more to write. This was about Felix's journey to Australia and his first few days there.
I have to say this one is the weakest of the series and I'd only give it 2 stars. It also confirmed my impressions that started from about the third book and I felt more and more strongly as I read books 4 & 5. Each book has been a good read, though this last one is far too far fetched. I still think book 1 & 2 are probably a good introduction for children to the Holocaust, and book 3 is good too as it focuses more on Felix's granddaughter, bushfires and bullying.
I started to feel by book 3 that something was absent and then I realised that although these books are about Felix, a Jewish boy surviving the Holocaust, the books don't have anything much Jewish about them. All the people he meets and befriends are not Jewish. His protectors are Polish farmers & partisans, his first friend, Zelda, and then later Anna are both non-Jews. There is no talk at all about being Jewish, Felix is completely estranged from the religion. It's clear that his parents were assimilated Jews, but even so I felt that there should have been more Jewish content in the plot. The few Jews depicted are either victims or hoarders of valuables, there was not one Jew in any book who helps him.
Also Felix has too much say in what happens to him, by book 6 he is still only just 14 yrs old. I'm certain that any Jewish boy as well known as Felix by the end of book 5, would have been picked up either in Poland or Australia by a Jewish charity or Zionist organisation as they were very active after the war and it would have been far more realistic for this to have happened rather than where Felix ended up. This book, Maybe is very weak, the plot is very disappointing even though action packed, I did not like it.
So these last couple of books spoil the series for me, the adult reader, now I've come to the end. I've read too many Holocaust books written by survivors, and they are so so much more worth reading.
87) Blue Dog by Louis de Bernières (2016)
This is the prequel to Red Dog and in the author's note at the back of the book de Bernières says that the producer of the Red Dog film (which I loved) was so in love with the red cloud kelpie that he made a prequel film about where the dog's life started off. Before the film came out it was suggested to the publisher that de Bernières could write a tie-in novel. He was not interested at all but after reading the script, which was very good, he decided to take on the project though he did stray from the script.
This is a delightful story of a boy who ends up living on his grandfather's remote cattle station in northwest Australia while his mother recovers from a nervous breakdown after the death of his father.
Must read Red Dog
>36 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita - I really needed that retail therapy so was happy to realise that it coincided with my LT anniversary.
>37 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl - I've been following Matt Haig for several years and he used to be really funny when promoting his books but went quite politicised for a while after Brexit and Trump happened. I could see it not being healthy for him having read his Reasons to Stay Alive.
88) The Dumpster Saga by Craig Harrison (2007)
children's fiction, NZ
This was an entertaining read about two brothers. The family dynamics are great and Ben's new part-time job at the supermarket dressing up as a biscuit bear makes for hilarious reading. The plot revolves around a strange plastic helmet with propeller that Chesney, the younger brother, finds in a nearby dumpster. Add in Great Aunt Irene, the local tennis club committee, dwarves, a chicken costume wearing union official and an alien.
Harrison wrote the adult scifi, The quiet earth.
89) Nevermoor: The trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (2017)
Nevermoor #1. Good timing to read this as the next book is due out in a month or so. I enjoyed this quite a lot.
Morrigan Crow is a cursed child and about to meet her fate when she is rescued and taken to another magical world. I loved some of the imaginative features of the story.
90) The Invasion by Peadar Ó Guilín (2018)
Greylands #2. The sequel to The Call. If you like your faerie dark and horrific then this is for you. This isn't as brilliant as the first book but is a fairly good sequel. A few threads left untied but overall our heroes manage to save Ireland from being taken over by the faerie folk out for revenge.
You've been busy since I last visited, Kerry. The germ book looks good; I'm going to see if I can find a copy. The Gleitzman series sounds good, at least the beginning. I'm going to try the first one.
>30 avatiakh: nice haul - Midnight in Peking is the only one I've read, and it was very good.
I'm hoping my library has a copy of Marlborough Man - that sounds like one I would like.
>42 avatiakh: Oh, I liked that one! I forgot that the next one is due out soon.
>44 BLBera: While Marlborough Man was a good read, the two books I read in July were probably even better; The Broken Shore and Gunshot Road.
The Gleitzman books were ok to start with, I just got a bit annoyed by the 5th book that the plot became too sensational.
Do not lick this book was very adorable even though it was about microbes.
>45 ChelleBearss: Yes, I'm in the library queue now for the next book, though I have a feeling that I'll have a long wait for it.
91) Saga Vol. 8 by Brian Vaughan (2017)
Ongoing read of this series. This one ended on a happier note than many of the others so maybe I should just leave it here.
92) The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson (1993)
Ibbotson's romantic novels were repackaged as YA about ten years ago and I bought a few at the time after enjoying her magical books for children.
This was a pleasant light read, the outcome is known from the first page, just have to arrive there. Young Ruth is left behind in Vienna, through a mishap when her parents and extended family leave due to the growing threat posed by Hitler. She's rescued a few weeks later by an English academic colleague of her father who she's known since childhood through a quickly arranged marriage to get her on his passport. Many complications later...true love blooms.
Ibbotson's wikipedia page is interesting reading - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Ibbotson
Two books to report as 'did not finish'.
Green Darkness by Anya Seton (1972)
fiction - I read about 40% of this before giving up. I just wasn't enjoying anything about the story. The reincarnation idea was ok, just found the story drawn out.
Carpentaria by Alexis Wright (2006)
fiction - I listened for about 3 hours worth but the story started injecting more and more mythological rambling till I just didn't feel the need to listen anymore. If it had been based on real aboriginal lore I probably could have stuck with it, but it was more of an invented modern mythology. I enjoyed Ben Okri's The Famished Road so I can do these books just not the 500-odd pages of this particular one.
Carpentaria is an award winning Australian novel by an indigenous author, just not appealing to me at this point in time.
'Alexis Wright employs mysticism, stark reality, and pointed imagination to re-create the land and the Aboriginal people of Carpentaria.'
93) Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi (2018)
Excellent read. Halevi writes to an imaginary Palestinian neighbour living on the fringes of Jerusalem, a series of open letters about what it means to be an Israeli Jew. He covers religion, race, politics, history, hopes and dreams. There is no perfect book on the Israel/Arab conflict but this one is a helping stepping stone in building a reader's understanding to the region.
The book has been translated to Arabic and that version is available free online.
A lengthy review, 'Return to Sender' at Tablet Magazine - https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/261166/return-to-sender
Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime by Gloria Spielman (2011)
I read an article about Marcel Marceau and then had a look at what books my library had about him. In the end I went with this picturebook as I wouldn't be able to fit in a biography at present. I was interested in Marceau's work with the French Resistance during WW2. He led many groups of Jewish children over the border to Switzerland. Truly an inspirational man.
Oooh! Look at you, closing in on 100...and you are reading quite the variety, too. Keep going!
94) The extremely inconvenient adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty (2017)
Kingdoms & Empires #1. I picked this up from the bookshop several months ago, I've read a couple of the author's YA books and just liked the look of this rather chunky hardback. The story runs to 500 pages and heads slowly but steadily to a great conclusion. I enjoyed reading it but wasn't totally immersed until the final 150 pages when the story threads finally started to come together.
Bronte has never known her parents who left to have adventures when she was a baby and so she has been brought up by her aunt and the Butler. After news arrives of their demise, their will stipulates that she must visit all her aunts to deliver gifts. She must travel across the kingdoms and empires all alone on this task and as the will has been stitched around with faerie thread, if she doesn't follow the precise instructions then her hometown will face dire consequences.
The next book comes out in November and is set in the same world.
>52 Berly: Hi Kim. I'm slowing down as my current reads aren't that compelling.
>51 avatiakh: Interesting about Marcel Marceau. I have another book languishing on my shelves that is similar in that it explores the lives of an artist and a scientist who fought in the French Resistance: Albert Camus and Jacques Monod. Both men went on to win Nobel prizes. The book is Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize.
>39 avatiakh: Hello Kerry! My kids and I watched the Red Dog: True Blue movie a couple of months ago and loved it.
>53 avatiakh: Drat! Would be a book bullet but no way to get it at this time from Ammy or the library, although I'll put in a request at the latter. After all, they have her YA books.
So much great reading! I am definitely hooked by Once, Then and Now, but I have noted your reservations about the rest of the series. I think Marlborough Man looks great too. I will have to see if I can find it here. I've really dropped off my ANZAC reading this year and I have a whole shelf of lovely books just waiting for me. Notes on a Nervous Planet might be a great read for my daughter as well. We have just got her a mobile phone, but she is not yet allowed on social media. She doesn't mind really, but we are having big discussions about how it's used and how it affects people.
I hadn't realised that there were 6 books in the Once series. I have read the first three and thoroughly enjoyed them so I will certainly look out for the rest.
Have a great Sunday, Kerry.
I have to admit that my first reaction to your comment that you might stop at Saga Vol. 8, because it had a fairly happy ending, was "Oh no!" I have an unreasonable affection for that series, and I'll continue with it all the way. But I know readers differ.
>55 labfs39: That sounds like a good read too.
>56 brodiew2: It's a lovely film.
>57 ronincats: Hope you can find a copy eventually.I'd offer my copy but it's too chunky to send internationally.
>58 nittnut: I've been terrible with my ANZAC reading this year. My daughter is currently doing a NZ literature paper at university and I was going to read the texts after her but as she described each read to me in great detail I became less able to pick those books up. She's currently writing an assignment comparing transgressions in Plumb and Bulibasha. At least I read Plumb some years ago.
I saw Matt Haig on twitter a couple of days ago arguing politics, so he doesn't always follow his own advice. Social media is a bit of a minefield. I'd leave FB except that that's how I share family photos.
>59 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. I hope you enjoy those last three books, I had my reservations on them, but possibly I was a bit harsh.
>60 jnwelch: Hi Joe. I do have Saga #9 on request from the library, it's still on order. I'll decide when it comes in if I keep reading.
>61 labfs39: Yes, I read straight through the whole series like one big book. Gleitzman is currently the Australian Children's Laureate.
The New Neighbours by Sarah McIntyre (2018)
A bouncy story that is set in a tower block and the diversity of people who can live there. It's addressing the fear of some have of immigration and refugees in a fun way. My daughter and I discussed the book at great length, we both agree that the book is fun though doesn't capture the message entirely, as the new neighbours admit that they aren't like others of their 'people'. So even the Rat couple admit that Rat people have a bad reputation, which sort of defeats the story. Using a variety of animals rather than people, softens the xenophobia that builds up as the lambs make their way from the top floor to the bottom to finally meet the new Rat family.
A good interview with McIntyre here which explains her motivation to do this book: https://jabberworks.livejournal.com/795024.html
'I'm keeping my fingers crossed that kids will like this book just because it's about a bumbling group of animals all living together in an apartment block. But perhaps they will also think about prejudice, jumping to conclusions about people before they've met them or tried to get to know them. It's a story ultimately about healthy community and getting along, and the last picture in the book is one of hope and repaired relations.'
95) Let sleeping dogs lie by Mirjam Pressler (2003 German) (2007 English)
A very thoughtful read. Johanna is almost 18 when she finds out that her family's department store was once owned by two Jewish families and that her much loved grandfather had been an enthusiastic Nazi Party member from the early 1930s. As Johanna grapples with her feelings about her family history she risks losing her relationship with her father. She finds out on a school trip to Israel where students meet up with Holocaust survivors who were former pupils of their school.
Pressler introduces the guilt factor that later generations of Germans must face when confronted with their family history. What do the Jewish survivors want or need? What can or should she do now that she knows?
The scandalous life of the Lawless sisters: criminally illustrated with what was to hand by Philip Ardagh (2008)
This has been sitting around for an age and I finally picked it up to read and discard. Ardagh has woven a nonsensical story around illustrations from various 1880 issues of Punch Magazine. The result is silly, ridiculous and quite fun.
"Every part of this expansive story is a devise set upon the reader by a gifted craftswoman; from its slow pacing to the slight pivots of the narrator’s point of view, and all the way down to its melancholic and lonely tone." - a quote I saw online for winner of the 2018 Miles Franklin Award, The Life to Come. I read the book last year and while well written I found it so unbearably dull and a bore.
96) The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser (2015 German) (2017 Eng)
This book came home with me mainly because I fell in love with the cover art. I've been admiring the cover for quite some time and finally started reading it. The story is not bad but I never really engaged, possibly because I love Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series so much that an earnest YA fantasy set in and out of books is just not going to make the bar set by Mr Fforde.
Amy has lived with her mother in Germany all her life and now at 17 they are finally going home to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. Here she finds that her family is one of two that for many generations have had the ability to travel into books in some form of guardian role. This gift of book jumping only lasts for a few years and now there is a threat a thief is stealing story ideas and many books are coming under attack - Alice in Wonderland without the white rabbit, The Wizard of Oz without the cyclone, The Picture of Dorian Gray without the painting etc.
I liked that Amy's first friend in the book world is the melancholy Werther from The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Most books mentioned are classics like Peter Pan. The characters all socialise on the margins.
I've been following Anna James on twitter (https://twitter.com/acaseforbooks) for a couple of years now as she expresses her love for books in her job as a book person. Now her debut children's book, Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1) is out, I'm eager to read it as this seems to be a new trend - characters wandering in and out of books.
Swan Lake: A Retelling of the Classic Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky by Anne Spudvilas (2016)
Illustrator Anne Spudvilas does a dreamy dark Swan Lake, introducing each Act with a short text and then allowing the artwork centre stage. The characters are featured in ballet pose. Stunning.
>69 FAMeulstee: Yes, I've been a fan of her work for many years and got this from the library after seeing it talked about online.
97) The End of Summer by Tillie Walden (2015)
I found this story rather vague and some of the characters were hard to discern from one another, but the illustration style and the world of the story were both compelling. Oh and there's a giant pet cat, I want one. Walden was offered a publishing deal when she was still in high school, she turned it down and waited a couple more years before accepting.
I love this part by Tillie Walden (2015)
A couple of school girls build a strong friendship over shared interests. The friendship tentatively takes a couple of steps further into attraction. The book is too short for a full exploration of the narrative or character development.
98) Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2011)
Like The Invention of Hugo Cabret this work is divided between illustrated pages and short blocks of text. At the start the text follows the 1977 story of Ben whose mother has recently died while the other story, told through illustrations only, is set many years earlier and follows a girl, Rose, and her adventures in 1927 New York.
The story itself is very good and how it all unravels is fascinating. Can't believe I took so long to read this.
99) Grace by Morris Gleitzman (2009)
Like Felix in the Once series, Grace is also a very naive character. She's been brought up in a strict almost cultish church environment. Her world is rocked when her father is expelled from the church and all contact with him is forbidden. I found parts of this fairly unrealistic but it is still a good read for all that.
I prefer Fleur Beale's series, I am not Esther, though her books are YA level.
100) The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman (2018)
This Australian novel tells us three stories, first is Tom, a young farmer who fails at marriage but is bringing up the result of his wife's infidelity, a baby named Peter. Then comes Hannah, older than Tom and a Holocaust survivor. She opens a bookshop and marries Tom, we get glimpses of her European back story. And then there's Peter, taken away from Tom when he's only 5 or 6 by his mother, Tom's ex. He's forced to live with her in a repressive religious cult, and tries to run away several times, resulting in punishment.
The book was a slow read and I had to push myself to get to the end. I was not interested in any of the characters.
101) Vox by Christina Dalcher (2018)
I didn't like this one much at all. I wanted to read it after seeing some good reviews for it and then, the fact that the author was a linguist caught my interest. Anyway the book was more of a thriller than the intriguing read that I'd expected.
A new President has been voted in, mainly thanks to a fundamental religious leader supplying the necessary votes with his growing Pure movement. Now all females have lost their rights and must wear bracelets that restrict their vocal output to only 100 words per day, anymore and they receive an electric shock. No access to computers, paper or pens and cameras surveil for communication by sign language.
102) Teacher: one woman's struggle to keep the heart in teaching by Gabbie Stroud (2018)
This book is getting a lot of buzz here and in Australia. Stroud wrote an award winning essay in the Griffin Review in 2016 that got a lot of attention:
'I was burnt out because successive Australian governments – both left and right – have locked Australian education into the original model of schooling first established during the industrial revolution. Each decision made keeps us stuck in an archaic learn-to-work model, now complete with ongoing mandatory assessment of our student’s likely productivity and economic potential.
Fundamental to this model is the idea of standardising.
Standards, standardising and standardisation.
Making every kid the same.
Making every teacher the same.
If I was successful in my job, that’s what would happen.
Based on that, I don’t want the job any more.'
She was offered a book deal and this is the result. Teacher is a memoir of her years teaching, at once inspiring and also illuminating the plight of the teacher who wants to teach children but finds their life wound up in assessment and paperwork.
103) The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth by Ken Krimstein (2018)
An interesting read. Having discussed the Frankfurt School with my daughter earlier this year when she was doing a sociology paper on culture, I felt fairly informed when the many intellectuals that Arendt hung out with in Germany and Paris were mentioned. I loved the illustrations and feel that this is a really good introduction into the world of Hannah Arendt.
I took note of two books out of many that Krimstein mentions -
Between Past and Future by Hannah Arendt
Unlearning with Hannah Arendt by Mary Luise Knott
104) Berlin: City of stones by Jason Lutes (2000)
Berlin #1. This graphic novel covers the end of the Weimar years in Germany, following the paths of several characters in Berlin. I have two more volumes out from the library to get read and like what I've read so far. The illustrations are very good.
105) Dog by Daniel Pennac (1982)
This was Pennac's first book for children and I think it was only translated and published in English after he won some fame for other books. A story about an abandoned puppy finally managing to find his rightful home with a young girl, Plum, after learning to survive on the streets. Pennac keeps away from the saccharine and has Plum being fairly selfish long before she realises that she loves Dog.
106) In a house of lies by Ian Rankin (2018)
Rebus #22. Another satisfying read though poor Rebus is not in good shape. A missing person case from 12 years earlier becomes a murder investigation when the body turns up. Rebus now retired is on the sidelines, he was part of the original investigation.
107) The anger of angels by Sherryl Jordan (2018)
I loved this alternate history story, set in medieval Italy, Jordan says she wanted to write about freedom of speech. Her main character is Giovanna, the daughter of a jester. They live in one of Italy's city states and her father holds a respected position at court.
The nearby city state is ruled by an oppressive usurper, a ruler who has a secret. Her father knows the truth about this duke and has written a play, The Anger of Angels exposing the secret in a riddle.
There's adventure, bravery and a dash of romance.
William's Waitangi Day by David Ling (2018)
Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson. Another from David Ling's Duck Creek Press, this one looks at how a variety of New Zealand children and their families celebrate our national holiday, Waitangi Day. William is new to NZ, from China and doesn't understand the significance of the holiday. The story ends with William's family invited to a Waitangi Day hangi by a mother of one of William's classmates.
This is the type of book that a teacher will use in the classroom rather than one that children would choose for themselves.
I had a look at David Ling's website and there is a Chinese-English bilingual version of the book available.
David Ling Publishing also has published some interesting adult nonfiction over the years.
108) Goth girl and the Fete worse than death by Chris Riddell (2014)
The second Goth Girl book. I thought I'd read through this series as the illustrations are quite delightful. Ada is the daughter of Lord Goth and while she seems fairly normal, nothing about her life is. Her governess is a vampire, her maid is a bear from Bolivia and now everyone at Ghastly Gorm Hall are too busy organising the Great Ghastly Gorm Bake-Off Fete to have time for Ada.
109) Berlin: city of smoke by Jason Lutes (2009)
110) Berlin: city of light by Jason Lutes (2018)
Books 2 & 3 of Lutes' Berlin trilogy continue the story of some intersecting characters in the last years of the Weimar Republic in Germany. A Jewish family, a young woman who seeks a Bohemian lifestyle, jazz musicians, communists and National Socialists, the poor and the rich. A worthwhile read.
There's an extensive reference list at the end of vol. 3.
An interview with Jason Lutes - http://www.tcj.com/its-going-to-be-600-pages-long-an-interview-with-jason-lutes/
111) Blue Monday by Nicci French (2011)
Frieda Klein #1. A new series for me to read. Set in London, Klein is a psychotherapist and in this book she becomes troubled by one of her patients who talks of troubled dreams which seem to tie him to the recent abduction of a child. I like the cast of characters surrounding Klein and the great twist in the story.
Looking forward to reading more of these.
Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife writers Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.
I found a copy of Belonging: a German and couldn't resist it in the bookshop.
I was really impressed by the author's honesty in terms of what could and couldn't be known about her family's past in Nazi Germany. On a lighter note I liked the bits about what she misses about Germany in the US - I didn't know Uhu was a German product.
Looks like >87 avatiakh: would be a good followup!
112) Evacuation by Raphaël Jérusalmy (2018)
A strange little read. On a roadtrip to Tel Aviv with his mother, Naor is recounting the recent days he spent with his girlfriend, Yael and his grandfather (saba in Hebrew) in an empty Tel Aviv after it was evacuated due to missile strikes in an imagined conflict.
I enjoyed the surreal plot and the spare descriptive writing. I read his novella Saving Mozart a couple of years ago and will look out for his other translated work, The Brotherhood of Book Hunters. I believe he writes in French and lives in Israel.
In the notes Jérusalmy mentions having written the book sitting outside Cafe Consolation and a Half, near Rothschild Blvd in Tel Aviv. So now my husband is talking with his friend in Tel Aviv to try and work out which cafe it would be.
113) Bullet Boys by Ally Kennen (2012)
Action packed adventure story for teen boys. Three boys have a run in with soldiers from a nearby training camp. Later they find a hidden stash of rifles and other military equipment. The final confrontation takes place on the moors and is highly dramatic. The story is told from the POV of two of the boys, one is Alex, sensible, with outdoor skills learnt over the years from his gamekeeper father and the other is Max, rebellious, already in trouble and liable to do anything.
114) The ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively (1973)
I really enjoyed this one. It's been lying around the house for an age, I even thought maybe I'd read it before but hadn't. A family move into an old cottage having renovated the closed up attic into a bedroom for the son, James. Unfortunately the renovation has unsettled the ghost / poltergeist of an alchemist, Thomas Kempe, who once lived there in the 17th century. James gets blamed for most of the trouble that Thomas Kempe causes.
115) The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson (2018)
Anderson works with Baba Yaga folktales to create an engaging story that didn't quite work for me but will still enchant the younger reader and introduce them to the rich world of Russian / East European folklore. Marinka wants a normal life but as she's lived with her grandmother, a Baba Yaga, since she was a baby, life is anything but normal.
116) The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (2016)
I got the sequel, The wild robot escapes, out from the library before realising it was book #2, so took it back and got the first book out. I enjoyed this though at times it felt a little drawn out, I think children will gobble this one up and ask for more.
Roz is a robot who is shipwrecked on an island. She works out how to survive and is eventually befriended by the island's animals. It's really lovely showing how Roz fosters a gosling, makes friends with the animals and helps them through a harsh winter.
Oops, I posted in your other thread by mistake. I guess I have both of them starred. You'll have to read it over there.
>95 ronincats: Yeah, I saw that, I have neglected that thread all year and finally updated it as I refer back to the category threads when looking for info on my past reading.
117) The Marvels by Brian Selznick (2015)
I really enjoyed this. The first half of the book is a wordless story, followed by about 200 pages of text. The illustrations tell the story of the Marvels, a family of famous actors. The text tells the story of a young boy who runs away from boarding school and eventually the two stories connect and reveal themselves. The artwork is wonderful.
Just requested his Baby Monkey, Private Eye from the library.
My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown (2014)
Fun. Child thinks his teacher is a monster until he meets her outside of school. The teacher starts out as a complete monster and slowly morphs into a pleasant young woman by the end of the story. Same author/illustrator as in above novel The Wild Robot, where I forgot to add that the book illustrations were very good.
118) Imposters by Scott Westerfeld (2018)
Set in the same world as the Uglies series but some years later. Frey is the hidden twin sister of Rafia and her father, the ruler of the city state, Shreve, uses her as the body double for Rafia, the First Daughter. Only a handful of people know of her existence. Full of action and excitement, a satisfying read set in a dystopian world.
>98 avatiakh: I love this one, really fun idea.
Just been reading a translated interview with Amos Oz in Granta magazine. I hadn't realised how late he and his family left the kibbutz.
>100 charl08: He joined the kibbutz around the time of his army service. His memoir is really good reading.
119) Child of an Ancient City by Tad Williams & Nina Kiriki Hoffman (1992)
Arabian Nights inspired story set in old Baghdad and Armenia. A caravan travelling from the Caliph to an Armenian prince is attacked by bandits and the survivors begin a hasty journey back to their own country. They are stalked by a vampyr who in the end offers them a storytelling challenge. Makes a change from the usual vampire fare and some of the stories are quite good as is the overall story. Took me an age to read the 80pgs, Tad Williams tends to do this to me.
Stopping by to say Hi Kerry! I have Selznick's The Marvels on loan from the library and am hoping to read it this month for a shared read.
>92 avatiakh: The Lively book sounds interesting. I might like that one better than some ghost stories.
>103 souloftherose: I hope you like it. I finally got both his Wonderstruck and The Marvels read this year so feel rather virtuous about that.
>104 thornton37814: Yes, Thomas Kempe is more annoying than scary.
My 3 kittens turn 1 year old today. They have been an adorable addition to our home.
(1) Max checking out a gap in the shelves while I'm cleaning my bookcase (2) Max again (3) sharing a garden chair
Gaius, Conrad & Max snoozing in a corner of our garden.
Dana in cosplay as 'Julia' from FireEmblem. She decided to have Diana Wynne Jones' 'Reflections' for her spell book. I managed to sew her cloak in time for the weekend event, it was a lot more work than I anticipated, I hadn't realised it was lined. My first bit of sewing in a lot of years and thoroughly enjoyable once the project started to come together.
She's now reading Lord of the Rings as she will be taking a summer paper on Tolkien. I have a photo of her somewhere dressed up as Gandalf when she's about 5 years old so I must find it.
120) The bed-making competition by Anna Jackson (2018)
More a series of interlinked stories about two sisters. This was entertaining and quite brilliant. Jackson is a well known poet here in New Zealand and she wrote some of these stories when she was meant to be writing poems on a residency at the Michael King Writer's Centre.
This novella was one of the winners of the 2018 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize, the award includes publication. I have another 2018 winner home from the library, it's by Avi Duckor-Jones who is the son of writer Lloyd Jones. I hadn't heard of this prize before, Lisa from ANZLitLovers blog says that all the novellas she's read so far from the award's list have been very good. https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/10/17/the-bed-making-competition-by-anna-jackson-bookreview/
>107 thornton37814: Thank you. We've had hail, thunder and lightning so has been more of an inside day for them.
Baby Monkey, private eye by Brian Selznick & David Serlin (2018)
While this book is for emerging readers, the artwork is by Selznick and is more sophisticated than the text. The text is very big and bold, just a few words, while the illustrations are in Selznick style, soft pencil, considerable humour and lots of detail on the walls of the detective agency.
At the end of the book there is a Key to Baby Monkey's Office, describing the significance to the various items on display for each chapter/crime.
Also Serlin is Selznick's husband so it was a happy collaboration for them, based on a silly story they had often joked about.
>101 avatiakh: I enjoyed A Tale of Love and Darkness: the interview covers his regrets about the children's houses and the debate over the kibbutz claims to intellectual property, which again was fascinating. I must read more of his fiction I think.
>108 avatiakh: Looks beautifully illustrated, I'll hope that I can find a copy.
121) Reamde by Neal Stephenson (2011)
I listened to the audio of this huge tome switching to paper copy for the last 100 pages when my iPod needed recharging and the action had vamped up to the point that I couldn't wait.This is a big story described as a technothriller and involving a popular online game, Chinese hackers, a computer virus, Russian mafia, Christian isolationists, Islamic terrorists and many others.
>109 charl08: I'll have to read that article, thanks for the link. His 2013 book Between Friends was set in a kibbutz and one storyline involved an unhappy child from memory. I've also read his Elsewhere, Perhaps which is set on a kibbutz, it's older and possibly a bit dated but I found it a great read.
I came across We Were The Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz a few days ago and will eventually get it out from the library if they have copies.
That Selznick book is a 5 min read.
>111 avatiakh: - Kerry, do you know if there was a film (documentary) made from this book (We Were the Future)? It sounds very familiar and I could swear I saw a doc at the TJFF (Toronto Jewish Film Festival) a year or 2 ago, that was about this very thing. I can't remember the title but it could have been this. I guess I could do a little googling....
I have read a few by Oz. Not overly impressed but I still have a few other titles by him on my shelf to get to. They showed Elsewhere Perhaps at the TJFF and man, was that film dated! I think I had seen it when it first came out but now, it felt just cringe-worthy.
>112 jessibud2: Not sure. I don't get to see many Israeli documentaries down here in NZ. I'm wanting to see the one they made using all the home movies, it sounded fascinating.
I looked here and couldn't see anything too recent - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_about_the_kibbutz
If they made a film back when it first was published then I can imagine it not dating that well. I remember enjoying the book because he got kibbutz life with all its pros and cons down fairly well. I've read a few of his books, some are a bit dry but others I've enjoyed.
Oh, the kittens and I share a birthday!! Give them big hugs for me, please. And that is too funny that you have a picture of a 5-year-old Gandalf--please share when you find it.
We visited the LOTR exhibition in Wellington back in the day, here are my two daughters 13 year age gap and 3 brothers in the middle..
122) In the dark spaces by Cally Black (2017)
This won the Ampersand Prize in 2015 for a manuscript by an unpublished YA writer, an Australasian award. Since then it has been shortlisted for several awards and won the 2018 New Zealand YA Fiction Award. The cover won a design award as well.
It's a great scifi read about a young girl stowaway who is kidnapped by an aggressive alien troop who storm the freighter that Tamara has been hidden on, along with her toddler cousin. Hidden by her aunt who works in the kitchens, they are part of the blue collar workers who aren't allowed family on board and must survive in less gravity and cramped conditions, while the elite families in the outer ring of the freighter have full gravity and lots of food.
>118 avatiakh: Unfortunately this isn't available to me - even Amazon doesn't bring it up.
>119 quondame: That's a shame, I would have thought it was available on kindle at least. It's very good, the aliens are like half bird half human.
123) Saga Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan
Latest instalment. I don't love this as much as others but this one leaves us on a bit of a cliff hanger so I need to read the next one.
How I have missed not having time to get around the threads and I thoroughly enjoyed adding a few of your recent reads to my huge list of intended book acquisitions!
Have a splendid weekend, Kerry.
124) Wolf Children by Paul Dowswell (2017)
About a small group of children trying to survive in Berlin just after the war ends. One of two brothers is still harbouring the indoctrination from his Hitler Youth Group and this could put the group in jeopardy. Great read, I also liked his Auslander and will look out for his Sektion 20 which is set in East Berlin during the Cold War.
125) A chase in time by Sally Nicholls (2018)
The Time-Seekers #1. A fun timeslip junior novel. On holiday at their great aunt's Applecott House which has been in the Pilgrim family for several generations, Alex and Ruby Pilgrim find themselves falling back into 1912 through a family heirloom mirror in the hallway. Here they meet their 'young cousins' and have an adventure with their dazzling young uncle and his new bride to be, just on the cusp of WW1 breaking out. At the end of the story they learn the fates of these distant relatives.
This is a great read for 9+. The second book, 'The secret in time', is due out in early 2020.
126) The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston (2012)
First of two GNs, the other is a prequel, The Coldest Winter, which I've started but put aside while I deal with other library books with due dates hovering. This is set in the days before the Berlin Wall falls, when spies and intelligence officers are all hedging their double dealing bets. The British send in an agent to salvage a mission that has gone astray and led to the death of their #2 in Berlin. The story is told through her debrief when she gets back to London. Very good and great artwork by Sam Hart.
So now I'm racing through Tilly and the Bookwanderers which is very endearing so far and the YA survival story Flight of the fantail by Steph Maketu.
>121 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - not such a nice weekend here, lots of showers and wind instead of pre-summer sun. My garden is not able to get the attention it needs and the cats mostly sit inside looking out.
127) The Coldest Winter by Antony Johnston (2016)
The prequel to The Coldest City and illustrated by Steven Perkins. Trying to organise a defection during one of the coldest winters that Berlin has seen in 30 years. Perceval is on his last chance and has to make this succeed for any chance of taking over as station chief in Berlin.
>126 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - not the greatest GNs, I'd look for others before these.
128) Tilly and the bookwanderers by Anna James (2018)
Pages & Co. #1. This debut novel is utterly enchanting. 10 yr old Tilly lives with her grandparents above their London bookshop, her mother disappeared when she was a baby and her father died before she was born. Like her grandparents, Tilly is a bit of a bookworm. One day two of her favourite book characters turn up for a visit and Tilly discovers the world of book wandering. Sort of a junior version of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next.
James works in the world of book publishing and promotion and really gets across the love of books and reading in this chunky junior novel. Can't wait for the next adventure.
Dana and I took our books out for coffee the other day. I've owned that copy of LOTR since I was a teenager and now it has finally found another reader. I'm doing a re-read for the umpteenth time, but this time on audio. I'm finding If on a winter's night a traveller a quite interesting but slow read.
The Mediterranean by Armin Greder (2018)
Greder starts with the pulling of a drowned migrant from the Mediterranean and then follows the illicit arms trade - Europeans selling weapons to African warlords, causing war & conflict, fleeing of populations and hence the drownings in the Mediterranean. A wordless picturebook but the muted charcoal illustrations are story enough.
I read this at the library a couple of weeks ago but forgot to record it here.
I took these photos last night and he's just now arrived back to the same spot.
Max tends to curl up in unusual places, here he is crammed into a tiny space between books and my printer.
...and here he is doing the twirl before settling
And she blows by 100!!! Congratulations, Kerry.
Also a talented seamstress and blessed with cute kittens. : )
129) Flight of the Fantail by Steph Matuku (2018)
While this starts out as a survival story, it then rifts into scifi territory. I can't say that I enjoyed it that much but it did keep my attention.
A busload of students out for a camping trip to a remote national park when the vehicle crashes down a bank and into a river. The few survivors find themselves not only battling nature, the elements and their injuries but also a strange psychosis that seems to affect most of them. The rescue operation is taken over by a shady corporation that owns the neighbouring land and is shrouded in secrecy, only when a few earth tremors reveal what's been hidden under earthworks for the past 50 years does the story begin to make sense.
There was a little too much gore and horror for me but I think the age group that the book is aimed at will probably love it.
This is one of two debut novels for Steph Matuku. The other is a magical book for children, Whetū Toa and the Magician.
130) If on a winter's night a traveller by Italo Calvino (1980 Italian) (1983 English)
Finally picked this one up and wow, what an interesting read. Basically you are twisted into knots plot wise while the main character chases his way through the book looking for a copy of a book that he's only read the first chapter of. So, of course, we end up reading the first chapter of several books, each one tantalising and then having to break away. Calvino taunts us and lectures us along the way. Brilliant but also frustrating at times.
131) Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (2018)
I didn't love this but can understand the positive reviews it's getting. Sabrina is a young woman who has gone missing. Her boyfriend is finding it hard to cope and goes to stay with an old school friend who works in the military somewhere very bland. They hardly communicate, life goes on but fake news & conspiracy theories surface when there are developments in the case. There are lots of reviews that explain the ideas behind the GN better than I even want to.
The Guardian - 'A clever and chilling analysis of the nature of trust and truth and the erosion of both in the age of the internet'
>132 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita - they have brought much happiness into the house with their antics. Last night my daughter and I watched Conrad playing in a pile of dirt that I had just dug up, he was like a puppy, digging and jumping and pouncing.
>133 banjo123: Hi Rhonda - thanks.
>134 thornton37814: Hi Lori - yes, Max in particular is attracted to books, especially piles of them that he can climb.
>30 avatiakh: What a great book haul. I'm trying to cut back on my accumulation of books, thus far I've purchased fewer this year than any of the other years since joining the 75 challenge group in 2008.
Now that I am retired, I hope to slowly go through books and if I've had them a long time and haven't read them, then I have to make a decision to keep and read, or give away. It will take awhile because there are over 3,500 books to go through.
I hope all is well with you Kerry. I have been MIA most of the 2018 year. Retirement means more time to read, and thus 2019 should be a lot better.
Hi Linda - I've seen you around the threads talking about your retirement. I've been a bit quiet this year and also haven't read as much. Like you I have an over accumulation of books and need to read more that I own or discard them. I gave away several boxes of books to a charity book fair back in October, mostly ones I've read and had been keeping hold of in case another family member wanted them.
132) Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton (2018)
Salvation Sequence #1. I listened to the audio of this book, the first of a planned trilogy. I'm a fan of Peter F. Hamilton's work and this first book is really setting the scene for the next two. There are two story threads, one is set in the nearer future of the 23rd century and the second is set in the 5500s. In the future humans have scattered out across the galaxy, connected to Earth and across Earth by portals which have made other modes of transportation obsolete.
Starkey the gentle pirate by Peter Bland (2010)
Delightful humorous poem that has been illustrated to perfection. Starkey, one of Captain Hook's pirates sets out on a quest to find treasure, but the adventure is the voyage itself.
'He only had one arm, one leg,
one ear and one good eye,
"But Starkey's more than half a man,"
you'd hear his shipmates cry."
Bland is a well known poet and actor here in New Zealand. I've just re-watched the film of Ronald Hugh Morrieson's book, Came a Hot Friday, which Bland stars in. I discovered he was a neighbour of ours where we previously lived when I was doorknocking up the street looking for our lost dog years ago. A bit disconcerting to have the door answered by a friendly face that you recognise but can't quite figure out why.
133) Quiet girl in a noisy world: an introvert's story by Debbie Tung (2017)
A brilliant little graphic memoir of Tung's angst as she navigates early adulthood and social/work life as an introvert. Includes all the awkward moments but also humour.
>145 charl08: Oh, I didn't realise that this was the Booker nominee. I could see the cleverness of the ideas but it was an unexciting, bland read and there are so many good GNs around plus Drnaso isn't even British. The artwork was unexceptional as well. I would have been a a tad more critical in my comments if I'd realised it was a Booker book.
I've very little time for the Booker Prize since they opened it to US authors, that decision just didn't make sense.
The Tung GN is just lovely. I read it straight through while having a coffee after I picked it up at the library, couldn't put it down. The illustrations are so cute.
134) A possibility of violence by D.A. Mishani (2013)
Avraham Avraham #2. A suitcase with a fake bomb is left outside a daycare centre and Avraham is in charge of the investigation. He has to get this one right after the shambles of his last case. I enjoyed reading this, Avraham is an interesting character, he's lost his confidence and needs to be right this time.
I'm going to go on and read the next book in the series, The man who wanted to know.
The author blurb says that Mishani is a literary scholar who specialises in the history of detective literature.
Oh, you got me with Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, Kerry. Looks really good. I added it to the WL.
>148 jnwelch: As I said to Charlotte, it's a little gem.
There's a tui in our teapot by Dawn McMillan (2018)
Introduces the reader to New Zealand's native birds in a comical manner plus the text is repeated in Maori, so a useful book in the classroom. It rhymes well on most pages though falls a little flat at the end. The illustrations by Nikki Slade Robinson are lively and humorous. Dawn's done some good picturebooks, several duds and a few wildly popular ones using toilet humour.
A useful feature is the illustrated glossary at the back about all the birds mentioned in the text.
Cook's cook: the cook who cooked for Captain Cook by Gavin Bishop (2018)
I love Bishop's work and this latest is also memorable. It's a nonfiction look at Captain Cook's first voyage to the Southern Oceans through the eyes of his one handed ships cook, John Thompson. So the story of the voyage is punctuated by the interesting meals, recipes are included for the adventurous cook. Anyone for 'Dog and breadfruit stew' - Tahiti or Stingray soup - Australia. Lots of interesting facts about life on board ship in those times, and Bishop's lovely lovely artwork.
135) The Trokeville Way by Russell Hoban (1996)
A quirky enjoyable read. During a fight with the school bully Nick hits his head on a wall and isn't feeling quite himself. On the way home he stops to talk to a busker, Moe Nagic, who says he used to be a rather good magician or illusionist until the love of his life, Zelda, his assistant left him. Nagic sells Nick a painting that has been made into a jigsaw and a gyroscope, saying it was possible to enter the painting by using the gyroscope. Once inside the painting Nick keeps running into people, Buncher the bully, the artist, Zelda and also Cynthia the girl he admires from afar as well as a younger version of his parents.
Hoban mentions the painting 'King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid' by Edward Burne-Jones and also quotes Tennyson's poem.
136) Past Tense by Lee Child (2018)
Jack Reacher #23. Still enjoying these. This time Reacher unexpectedly visits the town where his father was born and as always trouble is just around the corner.
>72 avatiakh: Wonderstruck was a wonderful read. There is a pretty good film made in 2017 - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5208216/
>76 avatiakh: I should think it would be a good read in the US as well. The list has many of the things that trouble me about our current system. It's extremely hard on the teachers, and on the students. I think NZ is still doing a better job than the US - as far as our elementary school experience went.
>149 avatiakh: I think I'd buy the Tui in a Teapot book just for the illustrations. :)
137) The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig (2018)
Rhyming story about The Truth Pixie, a character from Haig's 'Boy called Christmas' series. Sweet and getting much love from his fans, it's a tale of a pixie who, thanks to a spell by her aunt, can only tell the truth which drives away friends and family. Chris Mould's illustrations are once again perfect for this style of writing.
'Constantly reassuring children that everything is fine is short-sighted, Haig believes, because it doesn’t help them to develop coping strategies and mental resilience. “It’s a natural instinct for parents to want to shield young children from everything. But it’s just putting off the problem.” Instead, he recommends telling kids that the world might not be OK – but as individuals they will be, because they will find a way to adapt. “When I was in a state of depression, there was nothing more depressing than reading about perfect happiness and unicorns and rainbows. You want to take someone in an even worse situation than you and then watch them deal with it. Then there’s a comfort.”
Haig says he started to write a non-fiction self-help book about mental health for children, but ended up feeling he was patronising his readers. “I thought I would take the same messages and put them into fiction and it would be more entertaining that way – and maybe more empowering, too.”'
>152 nittnut: Oh thanks for letting me know about the film of Wonderstruck, I hadn't realised there was one. I think I liked The Marvels just as much if not more.
I've read a few teaching memoirs and one of the best is Daniel Pennac's School Blues.
I'm considering getting Starkey the gentle pirate by Peter Bland, same illustrator but I like the story poem a lot. I usually collect all of Gavin Bishop, but now at a stage where I've decided not to be a completist and just treasure what I already have. He did an amazing job on Aotearoa: the New Zealand story but it is huge and I'm still undecided over whether to get it.
138) My side of the diamond by Sally Gardner (2017)
There's been mixed reaction to this book, either you love it or hate it. It's an alien encounter book set in Suffock, England. The book is written as a series of interviews by a mysterious journalist, Mr Jones, taken about eleven years after the disappearance of a teen girl who jumped from a tall building in London but whose body was never recovered, similar to the disappearance years earlier of a young couple who either jumped or were pushed from the top of St Pauls Cathedral and whose bodies were never found. Gradually all the missing details and explanations make sense of the unusual circumstances.
Having just finished a scifi book about alien encounters I was receptive to the book and found it reminiscent of 50s pulp scifi and an entertaining read.
139) Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (2018)
Cormoran Strike #4. I loved reading this, so taken with the relationship between Strike and his partner, Robyn. No need to say more.
>154 avatiakh: Oooh. I found Aotearoa irresistible. It is now headed my way. I will make it one of my Thingaversary purchases. I forgot to celebrate in July, so I'm celebrating now. Anyway, it was less than $30 US at Book Depository.
I am considering continuing with the Cormoran Strike books. Only the second one was so over the top.
140) A song for summer by Eva Ibbotson (1997)
Another of Ibbotson's romance novels republished as YA. This one was fairly weak all said and done, still enjoyable enough. I don't have any of these romance novels left so at least I've cleared my shelves. I bought 2 or 3 when they were sold as YA about 10 years ago. Like the others, this one is set in Europe & London just on the cusp of WW2.
>157 nittnut: - Oh, I have just picked up Aotearoa from the library yesterday to have another look. I love Gavin's work and have been lucky to have seen some of his artwork up close when he ran a workshop. His brother, Russell Bishop, is an educationalist that I also esteem. He's a Professor of Maori education and I read his books when doing my BA Education.
Yes, that second Cormoran Strike book was a little off-putting. This one is better for all that it is a long read.
>158 ronincats: Hi Roni - I'm trying to read a variety of stuff, lots of favourite authors have released a book these past few weeks.
Made a start on several books including Henry, King of France which I'm so hoping to get behind me by the end of the year. Also listening to Daniel Deronda which so far is drawing me in.
141) The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
LOTR #1. This was a 'reread' of about the 4th or 5th time, though I listened to an audiobook this time which I rather liked. So finally I listened to all the songs etc. that I had previously jumped over. The cover of my audiobook is completely uninspiring so have used the cover of my paperback copy that daughter has been reading.
I haven't revisited LOTR since the films came out and it was surprising how many details I'd forgotten, the films hardly intruded. My daughter is taking a summer paper on Tolkien so is reading them for the first time, she doesn't remember the films at all, we'll watch them over the New Year just before she starts the course.
142) The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (2018)
Set in 19th century Paris. About a young prince who likes to cross-dress and the young dressmaker he hires to design his outfits. Sweet story about being true to yourself. Wang illustrated Cory Doctorow's In real life in a similar style.
143) The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes (1980)
Isis trilogy #1. This won the 2000 Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association as the best English-language children's book that did not win a major award when it was originally published twenty years earlier. I enjoyed this YA which I came across when reading about robots and AI in children's literature after reading The Wild Robot.
Olwen is just 16 Earth years old, she has been raised on a remote planet, Isis, by a robot charged with being her guardian after the death of her parents when she was just 4 years old. When a spaceship arrives it brings a new set of challenges for Olwen who is used to her solitary and happy existence as the planet's sole human inhabitant.
I've requested the next two books.
145) The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess (2018)
I'm a big fan of Burgess's work and I really enjoyed this book, an urban fantasy about witches being tracked down by The Hunt. Like Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels this book is being pummelled by critics as it doesn't steer the political correctness course. This time it's about a young girl being kept away from her family and then groomed by an older male witch. I didn't see it like that, there's too much magic involved, and anyway it's the darkness of the story that holds the reader.
Bea is only 13 when she discovers that she's a witch and could develop a great power. It's summer and all she really wants to do is skateboard, there's an older boy at the skateboard park who is coaching her to be a great rider, the last thing she can be bothered with is going off with this young gypsy girl to visit the other local witches who want to protect her from The Hunt.
146) A meal in winter by Hubert Mingarelli (2012)
While it's beautifully written, it is about three German soldiers out hunting for Jews in the Polish countryside in the bitter winter. They find one then stop to cook a meal in a deserted hovel before returning back to camp.
I think anyone reading this also needs to know about Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning.
147) Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (2018)
Really different and very good by brother and sister writing team. Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina are Aboriginal storytellers from the Palyku people of Western Australia. Together they have produced a great YA novel. Beth is a ghost, she died a while back in a car accident but hasn't moved on. Her Dad, a police detective, can see and talk to her, her mother died when Beth was a baby. Together they travel to a rural town to investigate a fire at a children's home and discover many truths and disturbing history.
>162 avatiakh: I've seen a lot of chat about this on Litsy: looks great. I'm hoping to see it on the library shelves.
>153 avatiakh: Oh, I love Matt Haig! I'll have to check that one out for my girls
>171 ChelleBearss: His Christmas books are very good reads for children
148) The Lessons by Naomi Alderman (2010)
This has been on my Mt tbr for simply ages so good that another one has bitten the dust. One of those books that is easy to read but you don't feel any connection whatsoever to any of the characters. I didn't like any of them. So overall an okay read that I wouldn't recommend to others.
About a group of six students at Oxford University and their lives after, narrated by James who can't believe his luck to be included with the privileged others. Their world is dominated by the aristocratic, super rich and unstable Mark who offers them a rundown stately house to live together while they're all at Oxford.
149) Kill Shot by Garry Disher (2018)
Wyatt #9. Wyatt is a criminal with a fair sense of justice. This time he is doing burglaries on demand for a long time acquaintance, Kramer, who is languishing in jail. Proceeds are split between Wyatt and Kramer's family who have no other income. The latest job is proving rather difficult as Wyatt is being targeted not just by a determined detective but also by other criminals and his own target is on the wrong side of the law and about to make a break for it.
Enjoyed revisiting Wyatt's world though this one took a while to get going. The fun with these books is reading how Wyatt operates.
150) Mr Godley's Phantom by Mal Peet (2018)
I loved this, the final novel by Mal Peet and published posthumously. And then to note that he wrote it in New Zealand while a guest at Wellington's Victoria University.
Martin Heath is suffering from PTSD from his experiences in WW2 and takes on a job as driver and general dogsbody for old Mr Godley who lives in a remote rural location in the south of England. Martin's eyes light up when he realises the car he'll be driving is a beautiful Rolls Royce Silver Phantom. This is part mystery and part ghost story, and is beautifully written.
From NZ Listener -
2018 Best 100 Books List: https://www.noted.co.nz/culture/books/100-best-books-of-2018-listener/
50 Children's Books List: https://www.noted.co.nz/culture/books/50-best-kids-books-2018-listener/
10 Best poetry books: https://www.noted.co.nz/culture/books/best-poetry-books-of-2018-listener/
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