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BLBera's Reading in 2019 - Chapter 5

This is a continuation of the topic BLBera's Reading in 2019 - Chapter 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Jul 10, 4:47pm Top

My name is Beth. I love books – talking about them, writing about them, reading about them. I also love to read with my granddaughter Scout.

I teach English at my local community college, so I am always looking for books I can use in my classes. I like to discover new writers.

I tend not to plan my reading, other than for my book club, which meets once a month. We meet in January to plan our year’s reading.

I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction and more women authors than men.

Welcome to my thread. Lurk or stop and say hello.

Edited: Aug 17, 10:40am Top

Reading possibilities for 2019
My public library's "Open Books Reading Challenge"

✅ A book adapted into a movie - The Wife
✅ A book with more than 500 pages - The Flight Portfolio
✅ A book with fewer than 100 pages - Mouse House
A book about the Women's Suffrage/Women's Rights movement
✅ A book with a color in the title - Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel
✅ A book with multiple authors - Well-Read Black Girl
✅ A book by or about a person from Africa - Praise Song for the Butterflies
✅ A book originally published in a language other than English - In Search of Lost Books
✅ A book published n 2019 - The Dreamers
✅ A book about religion - If the Oceans Were Ink
✅ A book of poetry - Felicity
A book about sports or athletes
✅ A book on the Great American Read list - Little Women
A book about art or an artist

My Book Club's selection for 2019
Mothering Sunday
Maisie Dobbs
The Sympathizer
The Dark Circle
The Quiet Girl
My Own Words
Little Women
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
In the Woods
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The President's Hat

Edited: Aug 2, 3:23pm Top

More reading possibilities for 2019
Shared reads:
✅ The Sympathizer Twin, Ellen
Irma Voth- Twin - Oops
✅ Pachinko
✅ The Luminaries - Ellen
Frankenstein in Baghdad - Ellen, Darryl

Women's Fiction Prize Longlist
📘 The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker - SL
Remembered - Yvonne Battle-Felton
📘 My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite - SL
The Pisces - Melissa Broder
Milkman - Anna Burns - SL
Freshwater - Akwaeke Emezi
📘 Ordinary People - Diana Evans - SL
Swan Song - Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
📘 An American Marriage - Tayari Jones - SL - WINNER!
📘 Number One Chinese Restaurant - Lillian Li
Bottled Goods - Sophie van Llewyn
📘 Lost Children Archive - Valeria Luiselli
📘 Praise Song for the Butterflies - Bernice L. McFadden
📘 Circe - Madeline Miller - SL
📘 Ghost Wall - Sarah Moss
📘 Normal People - Sally Rooney

Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize
Little by Edward Carey
📘 A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey
After The Party by Cressida Connolly
📘 Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
Dark Water by Elizabeth Lowry
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
📘 Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
The Wanderers by Tim Pears
The Long Take by Robin Robertson
All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
Tombland by C J Sansom

Other recommendations

Booker Prize Longlist
Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier
📘 Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer Read
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything
📘 Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities
Max Porter (UK), Lanny
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein

Edited: Today, 10:37pm Top

Currently Reading

Edited: Aug 19, 10:28am Top

Read in 2019
72. Toys Go Out*
73. A Bend in the Stars
74. Big Sky 💜
75. Cotillion*
76. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel
77. Bibliophile*
78. The Flight Portfolio
79. My Own Words* 💜
80. Say Nothing 💜
81. Young Jane Young*
82. The Chai Factor

*From my shelves

July Reading Report
Books read: 11
By women: 10
By men: 1
Novels: 6
Graphic novel: 1
Memoir: 1
Nonfiction: 2
Kids: 1

Library: 6
From my shelves: 5
- Ebooks: 1
- Physical copies: 10
- Gave away: 3

83. The Luminaries*
84. Silent Auction*
85. The Ice Princess*
86. The Source of Self-Regard
87. The Heavens
88. Death in Brittany*
89. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel*
90. Little Women* REREAD
91. Weird Little Robots*
92. Top Secret Twenty-One
93. The Bookshop of Yesterdays*
94. Disappearing Earth

Jul 10, 4:54pm Top

Read in 2019
1. A Killer in King's Cove*
2. Well-Read Black Girl*
3. The Bus on Thursday
4. Winter* 💜
5. West
6. A Fatal Winter*
7. The Golden State
8. If the Oceans Were Ink*
9. Mothering Sunday* 💜
10. The Dreamers
11. Henrietta Who?*
12. In Search of Lost Books
13. Felicity*
14. Zuleikha*

January Reading Report
Books read: 14
By Women: 12
By Men: 2
Novels: 10
Poetry: 1
Nonfiction: 2
Essays: 1
In translation: 2

Library: 5
From my shelves: 9
- Ebooks: 2
- Physical copies: 7
- Gave away: 3

15. The Clockmaker's Daughter 💜
16. Maisie Dobbs* REREAD
17. Where the Crawdads Sing 💜
18. So Horrible a Place*
19. Corregidora*
20. Ghost Wall
21. The Fire This Time*
22. The Last Romantics 💜
23. The Auschwitz Violin*
24. Desire Lines*
25. Jordan Point*
26. The Talisman Ring*
27. Sing, Unburied, Sing* REREAD 💜
28. Weight of Light*

February Reading Report
Books read: 14
By women: 14
By men: 0
Novels: 12
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1
In translation: 1

Library: 4
From my shelves: 10
- Ebooks: 2
- Physical copies: 8
- Gave away: 3

29. The Round House* REREAD
30. The Great Believers 💜
31. The Sympathizer*
32. Lost Children Archive 💜
33. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
34. Praise Song for the Butterflies
35. I'd Rather Be Reading
36. The Wife*
37. Things that Fall from the Sky*
38. A Deadly Divide

March Reading Report
Books read: 10
By women: 9
By men: 1
Novels: 9
Essays: 1
In translation: 1

Library: 6
From my shelves: 4
- Ebooks: 1
- Physical copies: 9
- Gave away: 3

* From my shelves

Jul 10, 4:56pm Top

Read in 2019
39. Number One Chinese Restaurant
40. Onigamiising
41. The Unit*
42. The Dark Circle*
43. If, Then
44. My Sister, the Serial Killer
45. How to Love a Country* 💜
46. The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel
47. Girl in Translation*
48. Men We Reaped
49. The Other Americans
50. A Woman Is No Man 💜
51. The Stranger Diaries

April Reading Report
Books read: 13
By women: 12
By men: 1
Novels: 10
Essays: 1
Memoir: 1
Poetry: 1
In translation: 1

Library: 9
From my shelves: 4
- Ebooks: 2
- Physical copies: 11
- Gave away: 1

52. Good Talk 💜
53. Normal People 💜
54. By Its Cover*
55. Loose Woman*
56. The Quiet Girl*
57. Falling in Love
58. The Legacy
59. In this Grave Hour*

Reading Report - May
Books read: 8
By men: 1
By women: 7
Novels: 6
Poetry: 1
Memoir (graphic): 1
In translation: 2

Library: 4
From my shelves: 4
- Ebooks: 2
- Physical copies: 6
- Gave away: 1

60. The Door*
61. The Murder Room* REREAD
62. Neon Prey
63. After the Flood*
64. The Poet X
65. Pachinko*
66. The Stone Circle
67. Ordinary People
68. A Woman of No Importance
69. When All Is Said 💜
70. Circe 💜
71. Good Omens*

Reading Report - June
Books read: 12
By men: 2
By women: 10
Novels: 10
Poetry: 1
Biography: 1
In translation: 1

Library: 7
From my shelves: 4
- Ebooks: 2
- Physical copies: 10
- Gave away: 4

*From my shelves

Jul 10, 5:03pm Top

You Must Read This!

My comments when I first read this in 2015, lightly edited:

Make Your Home Among Strangers - What a great novel.
Lizet Ramirez leaves her home and family in Miami to attend an exclusive, small liberal arts college in New York. She left her sister Leidy, a single mom with a new baby and her recently divorced mother. No one has spoken to her father in a while. The general consensus in the family is that Lizet's leaving is a betrayal. She graduated top in her class in her neighborhood public school, though, and is thirsty for all that education will give her.

Lizet is a great character; and her struggles at this college point to the poor jobs that our colleges do to help underprepared students. Her orientation included a meeting with the few other students of color. She was given handouts and "tips." One of the young women from her dorm, told her earnestly that she understood where Liz was coming from because she had read The House on Mango Street. Yet Liz didn't protest: "Still I was happy to have something to add to those late nights in the dorm's common room when I was otherwise quiet, to be included in conversations even if I didn't totally understand the part I was playing. When everyone around you thinks they already know what your life is like, it's easier to play into that idea..." At least she felt seen for a few minutes. Her academic struggles are worsened by the fact that she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and the school has no mechanism for students who don't even know what questions to ask.

After awhile, Lizet wonders who she really is: Is she El from Miami or Liz from school. Where does Lizet fit in? Her roommate introduces her as Cuban, yet her father is adamant that she is not Cuban. Complicating this is the fact that it's set during the Elián González case, fictionalized here.

Wonderful novel that deals honestly with issues of identity, and the role that culture plays in it. It also shows how much work we educators have to do to level the playing field.

I look forward to Capó Crucet's future work. She has a new nonfiction book coming out soon: My Time Among the Whites, which I look forward to.

Jul 10, 5:15pm Top

Happy new one Beth!

Jul 10, 5:33pm Top

>1 BLBera: I'm pulling up a chair at that lovely view Beth.

>4 BLBera: The Toni Morrison is called Mouth Full of Blood here.

I stalled a bit with the RBG, it is a little dry, but there are certainly some gems.

>8 BLBera: Adding to the wish list.

Jul 10, 5:34pm Top

Happy new thread Beth. It is great to look at all your wonderful reading! Love the ❤️s!

Jul 10, 6:04pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 10, 6:18pm Top

Happy new one, Beth!

Your pick for Must Read This! sounds good. I'll have to look for it.

Jul 10, 6:25pm Top

>10 charl08: Thanks Charlotte

>11 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. I don't know why we need to change titles for the British edition... I've been reading My Own Words an essay or two at a time, which means I probably won't finish before my book club meets, but oh well.

>12 mdoris: Thanks Mary. I have read some good ones so far this year.

>13 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita. Thanks.

>14 katiekrug: Hi Katie. I really liked it. I still think about it. And thank you for the idea.

Lithub has a list of anticipated books coming out the second half of the year -- I've just spent some time realizing I'm never going to have time to read everything I'd like to!


Jul 10, 7:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Beth, and congratulations on reaching 75!

Jul 10, 9:01pm Top

>15 BLBera: Oh, goodness...that Lithub list...so many Must Reads on there.

Jul 10, 10:30pm Top

Happy New Thread, Beth! Congrats on hitting #75! I have less than a 100 pages left in The Great Believers. Loving it!

Jul 11, 8:35am Top

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

>17 laytonwoman3rd: I know, Linda. I filled two pages in my little WL book! And I kind of skimmed through November and December!

>18 msf59: Thanks Mark. The Great Believers is one of my favorites so far this year.

Jul 11, 8:42am Top

76. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel is a charming retelling of the story. I liked the art more than the dialog. It doesn't replace for me, the novel. Still, this is a way to introduce readers to the story.

It was a quick read - now back to The Flight Portfolio, which is very good. It's reminding me of A Woman of No Importance and A Country Road, A Tree.

Jul 11, 8:57am Top

Happy new thread Beth. Love the beach/book photo!

Jul 11, 9:35am Top

Thanks Reba. Since this thread will probably last into the fall, it will be nice to look at...

Jul 11, 10:35am Top

Happy New Thread!

Thanks (I think!) for the LitHub list. Oh, my, that thing is deadly.

Jul 11, 12:57pm Top

Hi Beth, I just spent the last 20 minutes going over the Lit Hub's book list - so many that I want to read - and I bet there will be a few more that I collect as BB when you read and review them!

Jul 11, 1:23pm Top

>23 streamsong: Hi Janet! It is quite the list.

>24 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy. Only 20 minutes? I added quite a few to my WL -- I stopped myself from requesting library books -- my reserve list is finally going down.

Go Serena! Go Rafa!

Jul 11, 1:32pm Top

I can't even let myself look at the LitHub list....

Go Serena! Go Roger!

Jul 11, 1:37pm Top

Happy new thread Beth!

Jul 11, 3:14pm Top

>26 katiekrug: We'll agree to disagree on the Roger-Rafa match, Katie. May the best man win! :)

>27 swynn: Hi Steve. Julia and I are going to meet in Iowa City on July 27. Interested?

Jul 11, 4:17pm Top

I'm chiming in for Roger, despite my significant predilection for his opponent's name! :)

Edited: Jul 11, 4:30pm Top

Vivian! You must cheer for Rafa! Have you recovered from your vacation yet?

Jul 11, 5:38pm Top

>20 BLBera: This sounds lovely. One for Scout's shelf?

Jul 11, 6:25pm Top

>31 charl08: Definitely.

Jul 11, 6:26pm Top

I must come down on the side of team Roger although I will always choose Rafa over everyone else. Does that count as some support?

Happy new thread!

Jul 11, 8:16pm Top

Happy new thread, Beth. I liked Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel too.

Jul 11, 8:16pm Top

Good job on reading past the 75 mark, Beth. I am trying to decide what to read for my 50th book. Do you look for something special for the significant numbers like 50 and 75 or just read what’s up next in the queue? I have never read anything by Georgette Heyer! The romance label kind of scares me.

Jul 12, 12:33am Top

Congrats on reading 75 books, Beth!

I only recently read Anne of Green Gables for the first time. The gn sounds cute.

I’m off to take a look at the LitHub list...never enough to read. Lol.

Jul 12, 8:12am Top

>33 witchyrichy: That's OK, Karen. Thanks.

>34 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. It is very visually appealing although I still prefer the novel.

>35 Donna828: I didn't really realize I was that close to 75, Donna, so no, I don't choose books for landmark numbers.

Heyer is SO amusing; you might give her a try. Her writing is excellent. I've liked the audio books that I've read, so that might appeal to you. I am not a romance reader, either so you might like her.

>36 Copperskye: Thanks Joanne. Anne of Green Gables was one of my daughter's favorites. Enjoy your time with the list. Lots of good stuff there.

Jul 12, 8:16am Top

77. Bibliophile is an illustrated book of book-related lists. It is a good one to dip into; I had it on the table next to my bed and read a few pages each night over the past couple of months. It is a beautiful book. My one quibble is the colored pages with white print -- very hard to read and a design no no, which is surprising in a book like this. Still, I know I will keep this and look back at the lists for ideas. I'd like to visit some of the bookstores and libraries that she mentions.

Go Rafa and Serena!

Tennis is eating into my reading time, but I am halfway with The Flight Portfolio, which is very good.

Jul 12, 10:48am Top

Happy new thread, Beth! And congratulations on reaching 75. Well, 77 now :-)

I don't dare look at the LitHub list - my July is out of control with the library books even though I'm pretty much getting them one at a time.

Jul 12, 10:55am Top

I think Cotillion is one of Heyer's flat-out funniest Regencies, Beth. Freddy is such a vivid character.

Jul 12, 11:10am Top

Happy new thread, and congrats on hitting the goal!

Jul 12, 12:06pm Top

>39 susanj67: Hi Susan. Thanks. Well, you could look at the list. Some of the books aren't published yet...

>40 rosalita: I think it must have been your comments that prompted me to read this one, Julia. Dolph was hilarious as well: "I like Freddy better than Hugh and better then..."

>41 drneutron: Thanks Jim.

Jul 12, 11:59pm Top

Happy newish thread, Beth and my congrats on passing 75.

Trusting that you'll have a wonderful weekend. xx

Jul 13, 4:45am Top

>38 BLBera: I must pull this out again, you've reminded me how much I loved it. I've been tempted by the various goodies with her art on too: a tote caught my eye in particular.

Jul 13, 7:27am Top

Happy Saturday, Beth. Wasn't Bibliophile a fun read? I added a few books to my list too. No surprise, I loved The Great Believers. Now, onto If You Want to Make God Laugh which also looks really good.

Jul 13, 10:00am Top

>43 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. I hope your weekend is wonderful as well.

>44 charl08: It's a great one to browse in, Charlotte.

>45 msf59: I can't imagine anyone on LT not loving Bibliophile, Mark. Have a great weekend.

Jul 13, 5:18pm Top

Beth, Jane Mount illustrated an earlier one My Ideal Bookshelf that is very interesting too as it interviews many authors and others and asks about their fav. books. It is somewhat the same format as Bibliophile. Also good!

Jul 13, 9:08pm Top

>29 vivians: Definitely. See you in a couple of weeks!

Jul 14, 11:14pm Top

78.The Flight Portfolio is a fictionalized portrait of Varian Fry, an American journalist who helped writers and artists escape from the Nazis at the beginning of WWII.

I have mixed feelings about the novel. Things I liked: Orringer writes beautifully, descriptively. I felt as if I were in Marseille as I was reading. I knew little about Varian Fry, but was interested in the fact that he helped people like Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, and André Breton escape from France. After recently reading A Woman of No Importance, I was interested in the topic.

But I think Orringer loses focus somewhere. There is the question of who deserves to be saved. Is an artist's life of more value than that of a school teacher, for example? She touches on that, but much of the novel is really a love story. While in France, Varian meets again the man he's been in love with in college. At one point he thinks that the fact that he feels like an outsider makes him more sympathetic to the refugees he's trying to help, but his relationship really takes over the novel, leaving his work in the background.

So, while I appreciate much about the novel, I feel it lacks a clear focus.

I've started The Luminaries, another tome, and have to catch up with Ellen!

Jul 14, 11:14pm Top

>47 mdoris: Thanks Mary - I'll look for that one.

>48 swynn: Yes, Steve. See you soon.

Jul 15, 12:30am Top

>37 BLBera: Strangely enough, I don't think I ever read the novel, Beth.

Jul 15, 2:44am Top

>49 BLBera: Sounds interesting, Beth. Not one I'd come across. The second world war seems a fertile landscape for writers of fiction.
I just finished Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum, available as a NYRB translation. I googled the author and her life sounds like a novel- boxing in the 1930s, moving to Hollywood from Nazi Germany...

Jul 15, 7:54am Top

>49 BLBera: Beth, have you read Orringer's The Invisible Bridge? It's also historical fiction, set during World War II. I enjoyed it but it was quite long and lost its focus as well. I've been less keen to read The Flight Portfolio for that reason.

Jul 15, 9:23am Top

>49 BLBera:, >53 lauralkeet: I felt the same way about The invisible Bridge, Laura. My memory is faulty but I do recall feeling it was too long and overly sentimental, and there were too many fortuitous coincidences. I later heard the author interviewing Michael Chabon and thought she plugged her own book a bit too much for comfort. I am still tempted by this new one as I would love to read about Varian Fry, but maybe a straight biography is what I need.

Jul 15, 10:11am Top

>51 Familyhistorian: Hmm, Meg. I thought this was a must-read in Canada. :)

>52 charl08: Grand Hotel does sound interesting, Charlotte. There is a lot written about WWII -- however, I'm not sure most of this book really focuses on that.

>53 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. I haven't read Invisible Bridge yet. I do have it on my shelf, but it is a long one.

>54 vivians: In her acknowledgments, Orringer does reference a biography of Fry that sounds good. In the end, I didn't feel I really got to know Fry -- except for his conflicted views about his sexuality, which is speculation on Orringer's part. And Grant, his love interest, was totally fictional.

Jul 15, 6:14pm Top

And just in case the LitHub list didn't catch your attention, here is The Millions list for upcoming books:


You're welcome! :)

Jul 15, 6:40pm Top

>49 BLBera: Sorry, to hear that The Flight Portfolio didn't come completely together for you. I had high hopes, although I may have had similar feelings about The invisible Bridge. Good, but never really took off the way I expected.

Jul 15, 6:59pm Top

I have to say I pretty much loved The Invisible Bridge and didn't mind the length much because I thought the narrative was really compelling. Whether or not it lost its focus I can't say I noticed that or remember that. There is a scene in the book that I remember vividly even though I read the book way back in 2011. I'll probably still read Flight Portfolio at some point Beth.

Jul 15, 7:31pm Top

>57 msf59: Hi Mark - The Flight Portfolio wasn't a terrible book -- maybe my hopes for it were too high.

>58 brenzi: Bonnie - I still would like to read The Invisible Bridge -- The Flight Portfolio wasn't awful. Orringer writes beautifully. It just wasn't the book I expected. I will be interested in your comments when you read it.

Scout: Donald Trump is a bad man. He puts kids in cages.

Jul 15, 7:47pm Top

>49 BLBera: I've read several lackluster reviews of Flight Portfolio recently, Beth. That explains why I saw it on the library shelf Saturday…and why I left it there. I think I'm going to try to read some of my own books for a change, at least until my library reserves start flooding in.

Scout tells it like it is. Love the little tidbits you share with us. When does her school start?

Jul 15, 9:03pm Top

>59 BLBera: Scout's right. As usual lol.

Jul 15, 11:00pm Top

Donna - I don't want to discourage people from The Flight Portfolio - Orringer writes beautifully. It just didn't work for me on many levels.

Yes, kids tend to say what they think. She will start school the end of August.

>61 brenzi: Yes, Bonnie. I was thinking that I don't even want her to listen to him; his rhetoric is not appropriate for kids. Which is sad.

Jul 16, 3:23pm Top

Belated congratulations on 75 books! I'm close but just not quite there. That Scout is a very smart young lady.

Jul 16, 8:54pm Top

Thanks Karen. Yes, Scout is great.

Edited: Jul 17, 3:23pm Top

Hi Beth! Ooh, you got me with your YOU MUST READ THIS!! up top! I suspect I will have written it down in my to be read journal from when you read it the first time.

I remember really liking Cotillion when I listened to it. I just finished Venetia and I must say it is not my favorite Heyer, though Venetia is a terrific character. Normally I would not read or listen to an abridged version, but this abridged version had Richard Armitage for a narrator...

adding: I haven't read the GN version of Anne of Green Gables but it is in my library collection and checks out a lot. So glad new generations of readers are getting to know Anne!

Jul 17, 4:39pm Top

In the past I have been a huge reader of books about World War II and in particular, women caught up in the turmoil of WW II. But I've noticed that last 3 or 4 books of this type that I have read, I haven't been all that taken with, so now I am wondering if it's the books or if it's me. I think I will not read The Flight Portfolio and maybe give these types of books a pass for the time being.

Jul 17, 5:22pm Top

Belated congratulations on reaching 75 books, Beth! As far as Anne of Green Gables goes, I loved the book and the Anne series. I've been enjoying the new TV series ( another short season starts sometime in the fall ). I was lucky enough to visit PEI and the Anne of Green Gables house in my teens. Really loved it! :-) I'm not sure if the house was the home of L.M Montgomery or if the people of PEI just made it up - but here is a link https://www.tourismpei.com/anne-of-green-gables

>56 BLBera: Thanks for the list of upcoming books .

Jul 17, 6:20pm Top

>66 DeltaQueen50: I definitely have a bit of WWII fiction fatigue. I've found myself avoiding all of them lately. And there are a lot . . .

Jul 18, 7:25am Top

Hi Beth, hope you've still got a bit of summer reading time left. I saw this link online and thought of your dystopian interests. (Seems to be saying lit could save the world :-)

Jul 18, 8:31am Top

Happy new thread, Beth! Good observation regarding Bibliophile . White print is not for every eye. None the less, I'm glad you enjoyed the book. It is a keeper - I need to get my own copy because *shrugs* the library wanted there's back. Imagine!

Jul 18, 8:53am Top

Hi visitors! I am working my way through The Luminaries, so not much new reading going on here. I am enjoying it, but it isn't a fast read.

>65 AMQS: I am often hit repeatedly with BBs, Anne. I did like Venetia, but read it in print. I am finding that Heyer audiobooks work really well, though. I'll have to look for more.

>66 DeltaQueen50: Judy, The Flight Portfolio may have suffered in comparison to the excellent A Woman of No Importance. Actually I would have preferred more WWII and less relationship woes.

>67 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. I would love to visit PEI. You are welcome for the list of upcoming books. There are some good ones coming.

>68 japaul22: There are a lot of WWII books, Jennifer. I think I'll give them a rest for a while as well.

>69 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! OF course reading can save the world. ;)

>70 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. Bibliophile is a keeper. I know I'll refer to the lists often.

Jul 18, 1:52pm Top

>71 BLBera: No, The Luminaries is not a book one can blaze through. I hope you're enjoying it!

Jul 18, 1:57pm Top

I am enjoying it, Kay. I kind of wish I had an e-book for this one; it is so heavy. I have to prop it open on my knees because my hands get tired holding it.

Jul 18, 2:04pm Top

Jul 18, 10:15pm Top

>71 BLBera: The structure of The Luminaries is interesting, Beth. The first chapter is a good chunk of the book. Each chapter gets shorter and shorter, so towards the end, I felt as if it was flying by.

Jul 19, 12:53pm Top

>74 weird_O: Hi Bill.

>75 NanaCC: Hi Colleen - 200 + pages in it is starting to move along. Still, not a fast read for me. There are so many characters! It is very Dickensian.

Jul 19, 9:59pm Top

>49 BLBera: I thought The Invisible Bridge was good, not great. Interestingly, I still remember it even though I read it a couple of years ago. That is not always the case for books I initially rate much higher.

>59 BLBera: Scout is spot on. I read a great essay in The New Yorker today, posted it on my not-very-active FB thread. '“I’m Winning”: Donald Trump’s Calculated Racism' By Susan B. Glasser. Truly, history will not judge us kindly on what is happening in the cages on our southern border.

I finished reading The Luminaries yesterday and I agree with >75 NanaCC: that the structure is very interesting. If it wasn't such a loooong book, I found myself at the end wanting to go back and reread the first third or so. I loved the complexity of the story and I'm pretty sure I'm missing pieces....

Jul 19, 10:06pm Top

Ellen! I'm only sorry I haven't read more of The Luminaries and that you finished already. I am enjoying it, but I remember you said something about there being a lot of characters. I have to refer back frequently.

Scout is a smart cookie.

Jul 19, 11:00pm Top

Scout's sampler - I'm making progress.

Edited: Jul 20, 12:35am Top

>78 BLBera: A lot of characters, all of them interesting but sometimes confusing. I was telling P about it and I thought it was interesting that there are only two notable women characters but they are very central and very compelling. The time and place (New Zealand, 1860s during the gold rush) made for an interesting setting.

>79 BLBera: Beautiful!!

Jul 20, 8:03am Top

>79 BLBera: That's beautiful work Beth! Seeing as you're handy with the needle, you might want to visit the NeedleArts group where we discuss and share all sorts of fiber arts.

Edited: Jul 20, 8:14am Top

Hi Beth! Very belated happy new thread AND very belated congrats on 75 books! And a Georgette Heyer, too, one of my favorite authors.

>79 BLBera: Beautiful. I admire people who do hand work, but I'm not one of them, alas.

I've got Circe staring at me. My RL book club will be discussing it in August. My problem is that I want to keep reading Ruth Galloway - I'm over halfway through #3, The House at Sea's End and have 4 and 5 on my shelves, but I'll try to be strong and tackle Circe next.

Jul 20, 8:28am Top

>79 BLBera: It's lovely! Is it a combination of appliqué and embroidery?

Jul 20, 10:19am Top

>79 BLBera: That is an absolutely gorgeous sampler, Beth! Scout will treasure it, I'm sure.

Jul 20, 10:32am Top

>67 vancouverdeb: Yes, to Anne of Green Gables. I have not made it to PEI yet but it is certainly on the bucket list.

>79 BLBera: The sampler is gorgeous! What a lovely gift.

Hope you are embarking on a wonderful weekend.

Jul 20, 10:40am Top

>80 EBT1002: I have been wondering about the few female characters, Ellen. Although, given the setting, I suppose it's not surprising.

>81 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. I wasn't aware of the needle arts group. Thanks for the link.

>82 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. I do enjoy needlework. I find it very relaxing. Do read Circe - you will love it.

>83 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. It is all embroidery, mostly counted cross stitch although there are also some other stitches.

>84 rosalita: Thanks Julia. Which reminds me, I need to book my hotel for Friday. See you soon!

>85 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. Thanks. It is pouring rain right now, but it's supposed to be cooler, so the weekend should be good. Have a good one as well.

Jul 20, 11:12am Top

I'm another one who loves the sampler. My efforts are as yet, uncompleted, however. I should get back to those. My gran made crochet patchwork blankets - my one is falling to bits but I hope it survives a bit longer.

Jul 20, 11:40am Top

>79 BLBera: I love the sampler, Beth :-) I stitched *so many* when my friends were having kids and they are lots of fun.

Jul 20, 2:29pm Top

>79 BLBera: Beautiful needlework, Beth.

Jul 20, 6:05pm Top

>87 charl08: I tend to take years to finish projects, Charlotte -- Note that Scout will be six in a few weeks and I started before she was born. :)

>88 susanj67: I need to do shorter projects, Susan.

>89 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy.

I have been trying to work on it every day, and I am seeing the end. I have a row of elephants on the bottom and the border, so maybe Scout will get it this year!

Jul 20, 10:25pm Top

Love the sampler, Beth! Callia just ordered a cross stitch pattern and is excited to try a new needlecraft.

Jul 21, 4:33am Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. I love the sampler. How beatiful.

Jul 21, 9:49am Top

I love your sampler Beth and it's something Scout will be able to appreciate for years and years. Lovely.

Jul 21, 10:07am Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. Hooray for the cool down. It is nice having the house open again. It was a rough few days. I would also like to recommend a book to you, (yep, I am shameless, at least when it comes to books)- If You Want to Make God Laugh. I just reviewed it too and I think it would be your cuppa.

Enjoy your day.

Jul 21, 5:35pm Top

>91 AMQS: Thanks Anne. Scout likes to sew, so I am looking for something simple for her to do.

>92 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara. I love doing it.

>93 brenzi: Thanks Bonnie. Now that she has seen it, Scout is putting the pressure on for me to finish it.

>94 msf59: Thanks for the rec, Mark. I'll add it to my list. Your review is great.

Well, I just had my first school anxiety dream, so I am going to be spending a lot of time from here on getting ready for fall. Classes start in a month!

It was nice while it lasted.

Jul 21, 7:32pm Top

A beautiful sampler, Beth! You and Scout will have a great memory to share together. It's great that she enjoys sewing. I'm sorry to read about your school anxiety dream.

Jul 22, 1:05am Top

Hi Twin!! I can't believe you are having school dreams already. Where has the summer gone? It's flying by. Times running out -- now you really have to hurry up and finish the sampler for Scout. ; )

And I just booked my tickets for MN!! I think a meet-up will work better in the beginning of the trip. 9/5-9/8? Let me know if you can swing something. Crossing my fingers!!

Jul 22, 8:33am Top

>96 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah

>97 Berly: Hooray for your Minn. trip, Twin! Sept. 6, 7, 8 would all work for me. Let me know what is best for you and where you'd like to meet. I am so excited! Note the exclamation marks!

Jul 22, 8:41am Top

>95 BLBera: Beth, sorry you're having the school anxiety dream already. I woke up in the middle of the night fretting about how I was going to manage making a court application for a drug cartel on top of everything else. I may need to dial down the Narcos watching on Netflix.

Jul 22, 10:06am Top

Susan, you make me laugh. I just dreamed that I was to teach a class I hadn't prepared for. Yes, maybe don't watch Narcos right before bed!

Jul 22, 9:54pm Top

Lovely sampler, Beth! It’s been years since I’ve done any cross stitch or needlepoint but I used to stitch quite a bit. I have some kits here that I’ve been meaning to do, maybe this winter.

I read with interest the comments regarding The Luminaries. It and The Goldfinch are two big books on my shelf that I keep meaning to read but their sheer size kind of turns me off.

Jul 23, 9:04am Top

Thanks Joanne. I enjoy stitching although I usually start these huge projects that take more years to complete.

I am enjoying The Luminaries; it is entertaining and would be a good vacation read, I think.

Jul 23, 9:09am Top

79. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg highlights what a remarkable woman she is. My book club read this and agreed that the format, unusual for a woman's memoir, serves well to showcase her accomplishments. It consists of writing and speeches, starting with an opinion piece in her middle school newspaper! It gives a clear picture of her concerns throughout her career.

She is amazing.

This isn't a fast read; I read a section or two each day. Her opinions are clearly written and very convincing, but one can only read a couple at a time.

Jul 23, 11:46am Top

>103 BLBera: I agree, what an amazing woman she is. I'm about half through this, but had to put it aside, despite it being interesting, it isn't really written to be a page turner. I will take up your method Beth.

Jul 23, 1:11pm Top

Caroline - I think if I would have tried to read it straight through, it would have been a drag. I read a few sections at a sitting and found I could digest the content and enjoy the format.

Jul 23, 1:21pm Top

Coincidence! I just acquired a copy of RBG's book a fortnight ago. I'll keep your reading routine in mind when I start it. Soon, I think.

Jul 24, 12:28am Top

Hi Beth! Love Scout's sampler.

Jul 24, 9:56am Top

Hi Bill! I'll watch for your comments.

Thanks Rhonda.

Jul 24, 10:35am Top

Hi Beth! I enjoyed both of the Ginsburg movies that were out this year: RBG and Ginsburg. The book sounds amazing. What a marvelous treasure she has been for our country.

Jul 25, 9:33am Top

I want to see the movies, Janet. Although I would love to see her speak in person.

Edited: Jul 25, 9:43am Top

80. Say Nothing

Although the book description specifically mentions the case of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of ten who disappeared in 1972 after being taken from her home by the IRA, this is really the story of the IRA during the Troubles. This is the best kind of narrative nonfiction and was fascinating. He chronicles some of the IRA leaders and follows them to the present day. He shows how fragile the peace is, and as Brexit approaches, we have already seen some unrest there, so I hope the peace holds. As Keefe points out, the past isn't really past.

The descriptions of the events and people were vivid; I could easily imagine the uncertainty and fear of the times.

The chronology doesn't work all that well. The opening short chapter describes the day McConville was taken from her home, and the next chapter jumps to the Price family without any transition. The people come together in the end, but as I read, I found it a little disjointed. Also, Keefe could have provided more background; I am familiar with the history, but the readers who know little about the Troubles might find the whole thing a little puzzling.

Still, very interesting read.

I've reached the halfway point in The Luminaries!!

Jul 25, 10:18am Top

Hi Beth - I understand your criticisms about Say Nothing regarding chronology. In a way, I think his focus on the specific McConville story was used as a lure for readers, when in fact the story was so much broader. I also thought it was a vivid chronicle of the events and it will be among the best nonfiction I've read so far this year.

I'm way behind on cataloguing my recent reads - just too much going on. But right now I'm enjoying listening to Golden State (Ben Winters)and reading Big Sky.

Jul 25, 11:36am Top

>111 BLBera: Taking a BB for Say Nothing, Beth. I've read a fair amount of fiction set in and around "The Troubles" so I really should read something factual.

Jul 25, 5:37pm Top

Hi Vivian - It was certainly a good hook; I just wish the blocks about the McConvilles had been bigger, instead of interspersed. At least in the beginning, I really wanted to know more about them. It sounds like you are doing some great reading. I'll watch for your comments when you have time.

Hi Judy - I think you'll like it.

Jul 25, 5:55pm Top

What a lovely sampler for Scout. I have done one for each of my grandchildren...except Hope. I was having eye trouble after her birth and let too much time go by. Maybe I’ll let her pick out a pattern. At the rate I do cross-stitch, perhaps something for her dorm room!?!

Jul 25, 9:06pm Top

>111 BLBera: Hi Beth, can't say I disagree with you about the disjointed characteristic of the Jean McConville Story Beth. I actually found the story about the two Price sisters much more compelling. Still a very good book I thought but I did have a pretty good background in that period.

Jul 25, 9:27pm Top

Thanks Donna. Wow, it's impressive that you managed to do one for all of your grandkids. I guess I'm lucky I just have the one!

Hi Bonnie - I agree that the Price sisters' story was really good. I did like the book a lot and found it hard to put down.

Jul 26, 2:07am Top

>111 BLBera: Great review: I really enjoyed reading this one. The stuff about the oral histories being turned over to the police I just found fascinating.

Jul 26, 8:40am Top

Hi Beth! I read your comment on Caroline's thread about including The Power on the booklist of your dystopian lit class, and I was curious: what other texts are on that list?

Jul 26, 11:43am Top

>119 Cait86: Hi Cait: We also read Brave New World, Station Eleven, Parable of the Sower and Cat's Cradle. We watched The Hunger Games. It was a great class, really engaged students. I can't wait to get the chance to teach it again.

>118 charl08: Yes, the author could have waited a bit, one would think. He kind of betrayed the confidences of the people who agreed to testify.

Jul 26, 2:24pm Top

The people who set up that project just beggared belief - that they didn't check the legal situation properly before getting people to talk about past crimes...

Jul 26, 8:46pm Top

>120 BLBera: What an awesome course! I love your mix of classic and contemporary books. I've never read Cat's Cradle, so on the TBR is goes!

Jul 26, 9:00pm Top

Happy Friday, Beth. Good review of Say Nothing. I can understand your complaints but the book really worked for me, despite those quibbles. Teamed up really well with The Milkman.

Jul 27, 10:46am Top

Love the sampler! I used to do cross stitch but now mostly just crochet as it is easier to pick up and put down for short amounts of time. Working on several table runners for Christmas gifts.

Here's to a wonderful weekend!

Jul 27, 6:07pm Top

>121 charl08: If they had done a little more work beforehand, Charlotte, they could have avoided a lot of the problems. Big mistake not to get the academics involved.

>122 Cait86: Hi Cait - I did want to mix old and new and have examples of different subgenres.

>123 msf59: Hi Mark - Great minds! I was thinking I should read Milkman soon. I did love Say Nothing; my objections were minor overall.

>124 witchyrichy: Thanks Karen. I need to choose smaller projects, but Scout's is nearing completion.

I am having a wonderful weekend. Just got back from Iowa City and a meetup with rosalina (Julia) and Steve (swynn) and Mrs. Swynn. I took home the most books from Prairie Lights, and we missed Amber.

Edited: Jul 27, 9:38pm Top

81. Young Jane Young is a surprising book. I listened to it as I drove to I drove to Iowa City, expecting it to be a light read. It is very entertaining, but there's a lot more to it than the description suggests. It tells the story of Aviva Grossman, an intern to a representative from Florida. She has an affair with him and when it becomes public, she is the one who is crucified (think Monica Lewinsky).

The novel is divided into five parts, each one narrated by a different woman involved in Aviva's life. At times, funny and lighthearted, this does say some interesting things about women's sexuality and bodies.

It did make the trip go faster.

Fewer than 400 pages left in The Luminaries.

Jul 28, 7:07am Top

Hi Beth! Hooray for an excellent meetup! Did I, um, miss the list of books you bought? :-)

Jul 28, 8:45am Top

Hi Beth!

>111 BLBera: I wanted to read The Luminaries last fall but never got around to it, and want to read it this year but so far it’s just staring disconsolately at me from my shelves. Congrats on your progress.

Sorry about the anxiety dream and yay for a meet up.

Jul 28, 9:06am Top

>79 BLBera: Beautiful work, Beth! I've really got to get back to this relaxing craft. I've put it off because the cats would want to play with the thread. Maybe I need to lock myself in a room but then again I fear they'll be banging on the door to see what I'm doing. Ugh
Funny you're currently reading The Luminaries cause I just enquired on my thread if that would be a good recommendation for a friend wanting to read a book taking place in New Zealand. What say you?

Jul 28, 10:41am Top

>79 BLBera: I forgot to say how lovely this is Beth. I'm sure Scout will be delighted to have it.

Jul 28, 10:42am Top

Hi Beth! I'm finally reading Parable of the Talents, the sequel to Parable of the Sower. OMG, this is so prescient, that it's scary: a fascist president with a core group of followers, whose campaign slogan was Make America Great Again. Camps with unspeakable conditions and no recourse for the incarcerated. Right wing 'Christians'. Vigilante groups sweeping up undesirables.

Scary stuff.

Jul 28, 11:00am Top

>127 susanj67: Hi Susan - I acquired the following: The Case of Lisandra P., Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, The Art of the Wasted Day, The Nickel Boys, Lit Up. Julia gave me Word by Word. I should note that there were many books I didn't buy, and that several were on sales tables.

>128 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. The Luminaries is an investment of time, but I am enjoying it.

>129 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I do find needlework relaxing. I've also started to listen to audiobooks as I work, which is fun. The Luminaries is certainly set in New Zealand, but it is 830 pages long...

>130 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline. She has been urging me on. I think she is thinking it's something she'll carry around with her. :)

>131 streamsong: I couldn't believe how prescient Butler was with her president, Janet. I wish she had written more in the series.

Jul 28, 11:06am Top

I've been reading Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard and the last essay I read was about the literary canon. Morrison states, "It may appear churlish to doubt the sincerity, or question the proclaimed well-intentioned selflessness of a nine-hundred-year-old academy struggling through decades of chaos to 'maintain standards.' Yet of what use is it to go on about 'quality' being the only criterion for greatness knowing that the definition of quality is itself the subject of much rage and is seldom universally agreed upon by everyone at all times?"

She argues that perhaps old white men academics are blind to qualities in African American literature, or in other literature by people of color. There's also a section in this essay in which she argues that early American literature contains the presence of slavery. Her reading of Moby Dick is fascinating; she argues that the whale is white dominance.

It is important, I think, to realize that discussion of "quality" in a work is very subjective.

Jul 28, 12:30pm Top

>125 BLBera: Somewhere in a trunk, I have an embroidery piece I designed for a friend's wedding. In 1985. I got the interesting stuff done in about 1997 and then stalled on the background.

>133 BLBera: Morrison's book sounds like a worthwhile read. Quality is in the mind of the reader and very subjective. As for that whale, it seems open to a wide variety of interpretations, and white dominance doesn't seem to far fetched. Ceci n'est pas un whale.

Jul 28, 2:55pm Top

That's a great sampler, Beth. What a good idea to show it to Scout so that she can give you incentive to get it finished!

In answer to >55 BLBera: I thought this was a must-read in Canada. :) Not in all of Canada. I grew up in Quebec. Not that it was being in a French province that stopped me from reading Anne as much as most of my reading was from the UK. I was even resistant to Anne the two summers that I lived in Charlottetown where the Anne industry was a big part of the tourist draw.

Jul 28, 4:14pm Top

>132 BLBera: Ooh, nice haul. Lots there that are new to me, look forward to hearing more. I got tempted by the stack of novels about NY at the gallery today: came home with two books.

Jul 28, 4:38pm Top

>134 witchyrichy: Some of my pieces are about the same age, Karen. I have a sampler for my daughter, who was born in 1983, that I still have not finished. Maybe that will be next. :)

One of the issues that Morrison addresses is the fact that so many of the books in the canon are by white men, and that their experience is considered the universal experience.

>135 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. She is giving me incentive. Today, when I showed her the elephants I had finished, I said that after I finish the elephants, I just have the border and then I can take it to get it framed. She said, "Or we could use it as a towel." :)

>136 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. Some of these are new to me as well; they sounded interesting. We'll see when I get to them.

Scout in the grocery store today. She said, " Mom said unfair things to me. She said I wanted everything in the store. I didn't ask for EVERYTHING, just many things."

:) I love the literal mind.

Someone mentioned Phoebe and the Unicorn comics; I got a book from the library and Scout was looking at it today and absolutely loved it.

Jul 28, 4:46pm Top

Ha, love that literal thinking of Scout Beth.

Jul 28, 6:20pm Top

>137 BLBera: Yes great idea Beth. Use it as a towel. Scout is practical lol.

Jul 29, 6:20pm Top

>138 Caroline_McElwee: We have to be careful what we say, Caroline.

>139 brenzi: Right, Bonnie. I could see the thing in rags -- the dog and cat would be chewing on it. :)

Jul 29, 8:58pm Top

Beth, sorry I fell so far behind here! Caught up now. Congrats on reaching 75 books, and your 75th is one of my very favoritest Heyers of all.

Jul 30, 6:59am Top

Beth, I was thinking of you and Scout the other day when it was raining, because the words of a children's story I used to love came back to me: "Knife lightning, fork lightning and spoon lightning". It's from Badjelly the Witch by Spike Milligan, who was an English comedian, and I've found it on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mep9TlGDno4 (the picture is just the cover of the book - it's an audio). I'm sure Scout would love it. It's super-familiar to people who grew up in New Zealand, because it used to be on the children's request show on a national radio station most Sundays, and many of us can recite bits of it without thinking twice :-) So I thought I'd post the link in case you should run out of library books (because that could totally happen) and she'd like to try something different.

Jul 30, 10:51am Top

>141 ronincats: Thanks Roni - maybe I heard about it from you? It was very funny.

>142 susanj67: Thanks Susan - I will try this with Scout. When they were last here, her mom was reading a chapter book to Scout, but they needed to get groceries, so my daughter told her they would read two chapters. Well, after two chapters, Scout wanted to keep going, but my daughter stood firm. Scout muttered resentfully, "I wish I could read."

Some good motivation...

Aug 1, 11:22am Top

July Reading Report
Books read: 11
By women: 10
By men: 1
Novels: 6
Graphic novel: 1
Memoir: 1
Nonfiction: 2
Kids: 1

Library: 6
From my shelves: 5
- Ebooks: 1
- Physical copies: 10
- Gave away: 3

Best read: Big Sky - Atkinson's new book lived up to expectations.
Biggest disappointment: The Flight Portfolio

Overall, kind of a blah month in reading. I didn't finish The Luminaries, but will finish it today or tomorrow. Two chunksters dominated my reading for the month.

Edited: Aug 1, 8:19pm Top

83. The Luminaries - an epic achievement, very entertaining. Much has been said already. It is worth the time investment.

I have a copy to give away to the first person who requests it.

Next - something shorter. :)

Aug 1, 11:30pm Top

>145 BLBera: I had a go at it a couple of years ago and didn't finish it - mainly as I was rushing to hit 100 books and was too impatient to try to enjoy it.

I will revisit this one sometime soon.

Have a lovely weekend, Beth.

Aug 2, 3:49pm Top

I enjoyed it, Paul, but you're right, it's not one to rush through.

Aug 4, 8:47am Top

>145 BLBera: I really need to add that to the sooner-than-later pile! I have it sitting upstairs waiting to be read

Aug 4, 9:39am Top

84. Silent Auction is the fifth novel in the Josie Prescott series. Set in a fictional New Hampshire town, Jose owns an antique business, and each novel focuses on some aspect of the business. In this one, scrimshaw works are central to the plot. One of Josie's employees is brutally murdered. The question is why? Did he interrupt a theft? Is his past catching up with him?

This wasn't the strongest in the series. While usually I can suspend my disbelief while reading mysteries, it was a bit more difficult this time. The new police chief seemed to spend a lot of time asking for Josie's advice, something I found a bit hard to believe.

Still, a light, entertaining read. And I did learn something about scrimshaw.

Currently reading The Heavens, and I have to start my reread of Little Women for my book club meeting.

Aug 4, 9:40am Top

>145 BLBera: Hi Chelle. The Luminaries is very good -- just long.

Aug 4, 10:12am Top

Hi Beth - happy Sunday!

I have Say Nothing on my library WL, along with Young Jane Young. You've made the latter move a little higher in my mental prioritization :)

I snorted at your final comment about the Luminaries - "Next - something shorter. :)"

I'll get to that one... eventually...

Aug 4, 8:35pm Top

>151 katiekrug: Happy Sunday to you, Katie. It sounds like you had a wonderful break.

I think you would like Young Jane Young.

The Luminaries is worth the time, but it's not a fast read. Maybe a good one to take on a vacation>

Aug 4, 8:38pm Top

Hi Beth, hope all is well! Glad you felt The Luminaries is worth the time.

Edited: Aug 4, 8:40pm Top

85. The Ice Princess is the first in a series by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg. I started listening to it, but the reader drove me crazy. He had some of the characters sounding like Bert from "Mary Poppins." How is that Swedish? I would have been happy with a straightforward, unaccented read. So, since I had a hard copy, I finished reading it.

The novel is set in a small fishing town in Sweden. Erica Falck is back in her hometown, packing up her parents' belongings after they were killed in an accident. When Erica finds her childhood friend Alex dead, the investigation touches many of the people she grew up with.

Solid start to the series.

If anyone would like a copy of the book, PM me your address, and it's yours.

Aug 4, 9:09pm Top

Happy Sunday, Beth!

Aug 5, 8:34am Top

Thanks Rhonda - I hope your week is great.

Aug 5, 9:16am Top

Happy Monday, Beth! >145 BLBera: Sounds good, I'll add it to the books covering New Zealand which Paul recommended for my friend.

Aug 5, 8:17pm Top

Hi Twin!! Happy Monday. I've read the second in the Lackberg series and enjoyed that one, too. Someday I'll get to the third one....

Aug 5, 8:57pm Top

Hi, Beth. I am glad you enjoyed The Luminaries. I loved the book too. I hope she is working on or nearly done with something new.

Aug 6, 10:15am Top

>157 Carmenere: Do you need a copy, Lynda?

>158 Berly: Hi back, Twin! I don't know what I was thinking, starting another series. I did have it on my shelf... Still, it's one to be passed on.

>159 msf59: Have you read other work by Catton, Mark? I have an earlier work by her on my shelf that I will read -- eventually.

Aug 6, 10:19am Top

86. The Source of Self-Regard - Finally!

This is not a work to rush through, and it took me months to finish reading this collection of essays and speeches.

Final thoughts: As I expect from Morrison, the collection is thought-provoking. I especially liked the essays in which she discusses her writing and explains her goals and choices. In one of the essays, there was even a small attempt at humor.

Some of the speeches would have benefitted from editing, and there is some repetition of content, which, I guess is to be expected from a collection that spans a period of time.

Overall, very worthwhile -- and I can return it to the library, done!

Aug 6, 10:22am Top

>161 BLBera: I have been meaning to start this book, and I really need to do as you did, and read it verrrry slowly.

And did you see that Toni Morrison just passed away? How sad.

Edited: Aug 6, 10:36am Top

Hi Laura - I just saw that on another thread. It is sad. No more work from her. Still, there are a couple of hers that I haven't read.


Aug 7, 12:17pm Top

87. The Heavens

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked the concept, and Elizabethan England was described beautifully. But, while this reminded me of If, Then in many ways, I much preferred the latter. All of the elements in The Heavens didn't quite gel for me. The plot and characters seem fragmented; we never learn enough about anyone to feel invested in the story.

Kate dreams that she is a woman called Emilia who lives in Elizabethan England. In her dream, she feels that there's something she must do to save the world. The novel travels between Kate's life in the contemporary world and her dream world in England. Sometimes when she wakes up, the world around her has changed. Ben, who loves her, is concerned and thinks she's mentally ill.

Still, an entertaining read.

Now, to make progress on Little Women before my book club meets.

Edited: Aug 7, 1:24pm Top

Your completion of Toni Morrison's essays was timely, Beth. I think I've read just about everything fiction by Morrison. Perhaps I'll look into some of her memoirs and other nonfiction writing.

I have good memories of The Luminaries. I tend to love long books and just recently finished Deep River by Karl Marlantes. Now it looks like I need to read Matterhorn but as you said in your comments about the Catton, I'm looking for "something shorter"! Well said.

ETA: Had to fix the Deep River touchstone.

Aug 7, 1:32pm Top

One thing I really loved about The Luminaries was being able to live in the world of that novel for an extended period. There's something about following the same story over several weeks to really make the experience deeper.

Aug 7, 1:41pm Top

Hi Beth - just wondering if you know of a dystopian novel called Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. I just listened to a terrifically entertaining podcast about the book (published in 1980 and cited as one of the inspirations for David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, one of my favorites!). There were some very intense fans, including the author Max Porter, recent Booker nominee, who really revere the book. Hoban wrote some wonderful children's books like Bedtime for Frances but I hadn't heard of Riddley and am now intrigued!

Aug 7, 8:13pm Top

Hi Donna - I have a couple of Morrison's early works to read; I am anxious to read them after reading her comments about them in the essays.

I've heard great things about Matterhorn. One of these days...

>166 RidgewayGirl: Hi Kay - Yes, the gold rush atmosphere was very vivid in The Luminaries. I do love historical fiction.

>167 vivians: Hi Vivian! The Frances books are popular in our household. I haven't heard of Riddley Walker, but I will definitely look for it. I also loved Cloud Atlas. I've been meaning to read The Bone Clocks, but I think I'm tomed out right now. And school starts in two weeks!

Well, I took some things to be framed today and bought some lovely frames for my Scout pictures. I mowed the lawn and looked in on June kitty, who is very affectionate. So now a shower and Little Women.

Aug 10, 1:13pm Top

88. Death in Brittany is a well-plotted mystery, the first in a series, I guess. While the characters are not as well developed as I might like, it is a promising start.

Commissaire Dupin has been relocated from Paris to Brittany and has found that even after three years, he is still considered an outsider. When a prominent hotelier is murdered at the start of the tourist season, Dupin is under pressure to solve the case quickly. As Dupin investigates, he realizes the case is complicated, and the developments kept me turning the pages.

Brittany is a great setting; I'd certainly like to see the setting continue to play a role in this series.

Aug 10, 1:17pm Top

89. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel is a wonderful retelling of Little Women. The art is vivid, and the memorable episodes from the original are updated. Absolutely wonderful.

I picked it up, intending to glance at it because I am rereading the original, and a couple of hours later, I was fully immersed in it.

Aug 10, 5:19pm Top

Happy Birthday to Scout! Six years old today.

Aug 10, 5:27pm Top

Happy birthday, Scout!

The Brittany mystery sounds good — I don't think I've read a lot of books set there.

Aug 10, 6:33pm Top

Hi Julia! It wasn't bad. It sounds like a beautiful place. I have to check to see if there are more in the series.

Aug 10, 8:36pm Top

Happy Birthday, Scout!

The mystery is intriguing - I've wanted to visit Brittany ever since I saw an episode of Anthony Bourdain's show that featured the region... Perhaps a little arm chair traveling is in order?

Aug 10, 9:43pm Top

Happy Birthday, Scout! So when does school start there? Molly will be in First Grade this year. School starts on Tuesday. Way too soon if you ask me. I don't know why they can't wait until after Labor Day. Actually, I do, and it does kind of make sense. They want the high school students to finish the first semester before Christmas so there isn't a longish break in there before they take their final exams.

Aug 10, 10:08pm Top

Happy birthday to Scout! And I will have to look for the Little Women GN. I am not sure I would be a Little Women fan if I read it for the first time now, but it has lots of childhood memories for me.

Aug 10, 10:34pm Top

Happy Birthday, Scout!

Aug 11, 8:43am Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. To answer your earlier question, I have not read any other Catton, although I would like to. I am getting ready to start The Women of the Copper Country, which would seem to be your cuppa too. I LOVE MDR!

Aug 11, 9:44am Top

>174 katiekrug: Thanks Katie - You will probably get there before I do and can write a wonderful travelogue.

>175 Donna828: Hi Donna. School starts after Labor Day here, at least for the students. I think my daughter starts next week, as do I.

>176 banjo123: Thanks Rhonda. I think you would love the graphic novel -- the girls are vividly reimagined. I agree that the childhood memories of Little Women make up for the preaching that is so obvious now. Although Alcott did a wonderful job with the creation of the sisters, so I am able to overlook some of the moralizing.

>177 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita.

>178 msf59: Hi Mark. I am not familiar with The Women of the Copper Country, so I'll watch for your comments. Happy Sunday to you.

Edited: Aug 11, 12:59pm Top

Hi Beth and a belated Happy Birthday to Scout! I loved Little Women when I was young but a recent re-read really exposed all the morality preaching and I know now that it is a book that should have simply lived in my memories. However, the graphic novel certainly intrigues me - will have to check my library and see if they have it.

ETA: My libary does indeed have it so I have placed a hold. :)

Aug 11, 1:34pm Top

Hope she had a lovely day, Beth.

Aug 11, 3:50pm Top

>180 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy. I'll watch for your comments on the graphic novel.

>181 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. I talked to her on the phone, and it sounded like she was having a great time. They are traveling, so I don't get to see her until the end of the week. :(

Aug 11, 6:02pm Top

Hope Scout had fun yesterday!

I'll definitely look for the Little Women GN - thanks. My daughter's name is Jo so you can tell my devotion to the book!

Aug 11, 7:40pm Top

I think it goes without saying that Scout had a good birthday Beth and it'll be even better when her Grandma ( or whatever is with her.

Aug 12, 11:18am Top

>183 vivians: I think she had a great day, Vivian. I think you will love the GN of Little Women. I forgot that your daughter was Jo, great name and great namesake.

>184 brenzi: I can't wait to hear about her travels, Bonnie. I'm sure there will be some great stories.

Aug 12, 11:24am Top

90. Little Women was my book club selection for the month. All of the members had read it before, some not for many years. One thing that we all commented on was the fact that the "preachiness" is evident on rereading the novel as an adult. Still, we all admired the characters; they are well developed, and the situations are timeless. Parts are dated, but overall, it does deserve its place on the shelf of beloved American fiction.

Aug 13, 1:18pm Top

A belated happy birthday to, Scout. You must be looking forward to the end of the week to see how the travels and birthday went.

Aug 13, 7:11pm Top

91. Weird Little Robots is a wonderful novel for young readers. It is about girls who are interested in science and who don't fit in. The story and illustrations are charming, and will show young readers that sometimes it's OK to be different.

Penny Rose is an eleven-year-old who has just moved to a new town. As the novel begins, she is sitting in her workshop, working on her robots, made from bits and pieces of old calculators and cell phones. As she works, she wishes for a friend. When she meets a neighbor girl, Lark, who is interested in birds and who also has trouble fitting in, Penny Rose thinks she has found a friend. She soon learns, however, that she must learn how to be a friend as well.

Kids will love this, and parents will enjoy reading it with their young readers as well.

Aug 13, 7:30pm Top

Happy belated birthday, Scout! Whoo Hoo! Six!!

Aug 13, 8:28pm Top

>187 Familyhistorian: I can't wait to see her, Meg.

>189 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I can't believe it.

Aug 14, 1:04am Top

Hi Beth! I am glad Scout had a good birthday.

Aug 14, 3:54am Top

>188 BLBera: That sounds like fun, Beth. I'll have a look. One for Scout's shelf?

Aug 14, 11:28am Top

>191 banjo123: She still has a family celebration upcoming when she gets back. She's going to Bounce World, which she loves.

>192 charl08: Definitely, Charlotte - maybe in a couple of years. The girls are eleven in the story although the parts about having friends or being different could resonate with smaller kids.

Aug 14, 3:22pm Top

92. Top Secret Twenty-One is one of the Stephanie Plum series. I listened to it, and the reader was a good one. These are light reads and easy to listen to. I hope there are more audiobooks with the same reader in this series.

In this one, Stephanie is saddled with a little man whom someone is trying to blow up. Ranger's headquarters is attacked, and Stephanie has the usual problems trying to recover bail skippers. The usual cast is present, including Grandma and Lulu. Very entertaining.

I think I could get a lot of sewing done if I find good audiobooks. Recommendations are welcome!

Edited: Aug 14, 4:26pm Top

>194 BLBera: I haven't read a Janet Evanovitch for donkey's years Beth.

Aug 14, 4:44pm Top

>195 Caroline_McElwee: I was just going to say the same thing! I know I made it to double digits, title-wise, but petered out. I did enjoy them, though.

Aug 14, 5:53pm Top

>195 Caroline_McElwee: They used to be summer reading staples for me, Caroline, but at this point, they all seem very similar. This one was very fun to listen to, so I will probably go that route for future reads. I think she's up to 25 or 26.

>196 rosalita: Julia, they fall into the Jodi Taylor-type read for me. Entertaining and not challenging.

Aug 17, 10:39am Top

93. The Bookshop of Yesterdays is the story of a young woman, Miranda Brooks, trying to figure out the secrets in her mother's and uncle Billy's pasts. As a child, Miranda loved going to his bookstore, Prospero Books, and doing scavenger hunts. After her uncle's death, she receives a package with a clue. She starts to try to figure out the clues and finds out what her uncle and mother were hiding.

I liked the literary scavenger hunt, and the descriptions of the bookstore were great. I thought it was maybe a little long. Otherwise, it's a fun book for book lovers.

Edited: Aug 17, 10:20pm Top

Hi Beth. We're about to go down to the TV room to watch the next installment in the "Lewis" series, but I thought I would check in. I need to identify more easy reads as life has kept me in a low-concentration space. I just finished On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous and it was a painful read and it took me more time than it should have. But I'm glad I read it.

When does your fall semester start up? Our classes start this Monday so this past week was full of Week of Welcome activities. I'm hanging in there with my 2.5 jobs. A conversation with HR director has left me feeling more empowered and hopeful.

Aug 18, 12:26am Top

Hi Ellen. I have had mostly light reads lately and it is leaving me vaguely dissatisfied. I am loving Disappearing Earth.

School starts next week with convocation and faculty days, and classes start a week from Monday. So, we are both back in school mode. I hope your work goes better. Any relief in sight from being massively overworked?

Aug 18, 6:54am Top

>198 BLBera: I'll have a look for this, Beth. Sounds like a great bookish read.

Aug 18, 7:38am Top

>194 BLBera: I haven’t listened to a Janet Evanovich book in years. But I just checked on Audible, and Lorelei King is the reader from book seven on.

Aug 18, 8:23am Top

>201 charl08: It's a light, entertaining read, Charlotte.

>202 NanaCC: Thanks Colleen. It was really fun to listen to. And I am productive at the same time!

Aug 18, 1:38pm Top

Hi Beth, I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying Disappearing Earth. I haven't heard much talk about it after the initial publication hype, and I'm sorry more readers aren't finding it. TOO MANY BOOKS!

Aug 18, 3:39pm Top

>200 BLBera: I really want to read Disappearing Earth but right now I'm engrossed in The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs, a graphic novel recommended by Joe, and Lost Children Archive. Hardly light reading, that....

I have decided to post the executive director job sooner rather than later; it will likely take months to fill it regardless so I'll be doing the two jobs for a while. When my boss returns from medical leave (end of September or early October) I'll go "down" to just the two jobs rather than the 2.5 jobs I'm currently doing. I wrote some on my thread about my conversation with HR last Friday. No immediate remedies but I feel better for having let them know how awful it is. Most people at work are being very supportive so that helps. And in two weeks I fly to NC to visit my sister and possibly help them move into their new home. It will be good to get away for a week. And four months from today we fly to Kauai for 10 days! So I'm finding ways to manage the stress.... I'm just not getting nearly as much reading time as I would like.

I hope things go well with the start of your fall semester!

Aug 18, 6:28pm Top

Vivian - Yes I remember a couple of people being very enthusiastic about Disappearing Earth, but I haven't heard much about it recently. TOO MANY BOOKS is exactly right.

Ellen - I know how long it takes to fill high level jobs in higher ed. So it will be good to get it posted. You are amazing; I couldn't do what you are doing. At least it sounds like people are aware of what a nightmare your boss is. Mini-breaks are important. I know you always enjoy your time with your sister and Kauai! That is on my list.

Aug 18, 7:05pm Top

Well I for one loved Disappearing Earth Beth but I see how it could get overlooked by other readers. I look at all kinds of lists before deciding what book to read next. Then I grab a few from my shelves and sample the first few pages. Then I go back to the lists. Then I finally pick a book and sometimes I'm disappointed.

Aug 18, 7:40pm Top

Happy Sunday, Beth. I have been waiting for my audio turn, for Disappearing Earth. Glad you are enjoying it. It sounds like my cuppa.

Aug 19, 8:33am Top

>203 BLBera: Productivity is a big plus with audiobooks, Beth. They keep me moving on knitting projects, or give me a reason to live while I’m doing chores that I hate (cleaning closets). Long car rides while I’m alone go so much faster when I’m listening to a good book. In fact, I just downloaded The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths for my ride home to NJ from MA. Unfortunately, I only have two more in the Ruth Galloway series after this one.

Aug 19, 12:00pm Top

>207 brenzi: Bonnie - I finally finished Disappearing Earth, and it is wonderful in many ways. I usually have a stack of library books, so I do pick each one up and read the first few pages while deciding what to read next.

>208 msf59: Thanks Mark. I hope you had a great weekend.

>209 NanaCC: I think I am a convert, Colleen, as long as I can find books and readers that I like in that format.

Aug 19, 12:10pm Top

94. Disappearing Earth has received a lot of LT love, and I can see why. Phillips writes beautifully: "The sameness of each day, each year, acted like the endless reopening of a cut, scarring those summers into her memory." Her descriptions of Kamchatka Peninsula are vivid, making it a looming presence throughout the story. The story takes place over a year, beginning with the kidnapping of two young girls from the largest city in the southern part of the peninsula.

The setting very much influences the plot. The isolation of the peninsula influences the mindset of the population, with suspicions of strangers and any immigrants to the area. Differences are not tolerated. The lack of interaction between the indigenous people in the north and the Russians in the south leads to miscommunication and mistrust.

The structure is interesting; each month describes the lives of different residents of Kamchatka. While I think, overall, this works, there were sections that dragged for me. I didn't immediately see the connection of the characters to the girls.

I can't wait to see what Phillips does next.

Aug 19, 12:23pm Top

>211 BLBera: Your review is the second one that I have read that has intrigued me so I am adding Disappearing Earth to my library list, Beth.

Aug 19, 3:41pm Top

You'll like it, Judy. I'll watch for your comments.

Aug 19, 5:43pm Top

For the first half or so, I thought that Disappearing Earth was interesting, but over-praised, and then the pieces fell into place and my end conclusion is that it's very, very good. The chapter about the woman who loses her dog was just so perfectly written, and the final chapter was so eventful, but also so well-prepared for throughout the novel.

Aug 19, 6:49pm Top

I agree, Kay, the early part was the part that dragged a bit. I assumed that it would all come together, but at first it seemed like it was taking a long time for that to happen. And the writing! I loved the chapter where Ohksana lost her dog. My favorite part though was the description of Kamchatka. I loved the vivid sense of place.

Aug 19, 7:16pm Top

>215 BLBera: Absolutely. I've never read a book set there before. I'm hoping to attend her session at the Decatur Book Festival and hear about how this book came to be written.

Aug 19, 8:05pm Top

Lucky you! If you do see her speak, I hope you'll report back. When is the festival?

Aug 19, 8:09pm Top

Labor Day weekend, so less than two weeks. I've been looking forward to this ever since the end of last year's festival

Aug 19, 8:13pm Top

I need to retire, so I can attend these things.

Aug 19, 8:30pm Top

Those last two chapters in Disappearing Earth were just so brilliantly done, Beth, especially for a first novel. I can't wait for her next one.

Aug 19, 9:59pm Top

Stopping by Beth, to let you know that I really enjoyed the graphic novel about Little Women. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy was clever, colorful and well adapted to modern times. A fun read.

Yesterday, 12:08am Top

>219 BLBera: Me too!!!! How long do you have to go?

Yesterday, 2:40pm Top

With you and Kay both recommending it, I've put Disappearing Earth on my library request list.

Yesterday, 6:00pm Top

>223 japaul22: it's on my "request from the library someday" list!

Yesterday, 9:35pm Top

>220 brenzi: I did like the last third the best, Bonnie.

>221 DeltaQueen50: I'm so glad you liked it, Judy. I thought they did a wonderful job updating it.

>222 EBT1002: I'm playing it by ear, Ellen. Maybe five years? I really enjoy teaching, and as long as I have my summers free, I think I still have some energy left to go on. But having free time for book festivals, tennis, trips, etc., is very tempting.

>223 japaul22: I'll watch for your comments Jennifer.

>224 lauralkeet: :) How long is that list, Laura?

Today, 6:40am Top

>225 BLBera: long and getting longer!

I wanted someplace to keep track of recommendations from LTers and other sources without adding them to my library. I keep this list on the library website. I add both print and ebook editions to the list when the library has them, so I can choose which one to request (or request both if there's a waiting list).

Today, 6:43pm Top

That is a good way to track recommendations, Laura. I put mine on my Amazon WL. The thing is enormous. :)

Today was convocation. Enrollment is done, I had to pick up an additional class because one of my colleagues, who shall remain nameless is a pain and refused to take it. I didn't HAVE to pick it up, but I don't like to make my dean's and chair's lives impossible, so since I'm a nice person, I did. I will be busy this fall, but will be rewarded with a lighter load in the spring.

55% of our students have incomes of less than $30,000/year. So, there are challenges.

Today, 7:08pm Top

>227 BLBera: It was nice of you to take the extra class. I'm sure the students will be relieved :)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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