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Bonnie (brenzi) Takes Another Stab at this Reading Thing - Part 3

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Aug 13, 2019, 5:42pm Top

Edited: Aug 13, 2019, 5:46pm Top

Edited: Aug 13, 2019, 5:47pm Top

Take a look at the energy emanating from this picture will you. Cole is on the left, Mia is next to him the others are friends who live in the country and have horses and all kinds of animals. The little girl at the top took off her shorts and has only a diaper on. My daughter Sara is in the back tying her shoe and I give her all the credit in the world for going along with this. No photo of the bathtub later bwahahaha.

Edited: Aug 13, 2019, 5:52pm Top

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 5:14pm Top

Books Read in 2019


1. Darktown - Thomas Mullen - audio - 4.2 stars
2. The Overstory - Richard Powers - eBook - 5 stars
3. Evening in Paradise - Lucia Berlin - audio - ????
4. The Chosen - Chaim Potok - OTS - 4 stars
5. Friday on My Mind - Nicci French - Audio - 4 stars
6. The Pursuit Of Love - Nancy Mitford - OTS - 4.2 stars
7. Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson - audio/OTS - 4.5 stars


8. The Bolter - Frances Osborne - OTS - 4.5 stars
9. Lightning Men - Thomas Mullen - audio - 4.4 stars
10. Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love - Dani Shapiro - eBook - 4.3 stars
11. How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran - audio - 4 stars
12. The Word is Murder - Anthony Horowitz - audio - 4 stars
13. The Paragon Hotel - Lyndsay Faye - eBook - 4.2 stars


14. Bibliophile - Jane Mount - L - 4 stars
15. Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford - OTS - 4.3 stars
16. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owen - audio - 4.2 stars
17. White Mischief - James Fox - eBook - 3.6 stars
18. Transit - Anna Seghers - OTS - translation -5 stars
19. Becoming - Michelle Obama - audio - 4.3 stars
20. Finn - Jon Clinch - eBook - 4.5 stars
21. Dark Saturday - Nicci French - audio - 4 stars
22. The Nun and the Priest: Love, Celibacy and Passion - Evelyn McLean Brady - OTS - 4.2 stars


23. Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford - eBook - 4.3 stars
24. The Unknown Ajax - Georgette Heyer - eBook - 4 stars
25. Milkman - Anna Burns - audio - ????
26. These Truths: A History Of the United States - Jill Lepore - eBook - 4.5 stars
27. Travels in Siberia - Ian Frazier - audio - 3.8 stars
28. My Sister the Serial Killer - eBook - 4 stars
29. Second Person Singular - Sayed Kashua - eBook - translation - 4.5 stars
30. Force Of Nature - Jane Harper - audio - 3.6 stars


31. Say Nothing - Patrick Radden Keefe - eBook - 4.2 stars
32. I'll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara - audio - 3.6 stars
33. Something Like Breathing - Angela Readman - eBook - 4.2 stars
34. Sunday Silence - Nicci French - audio - 4 stars
35. West - Carys Davies - audio - 4.5 stars
36. English Passengers - Matthew Kneale - OTS - 5 stars
37. Good Evening Mrs. Craven - Mollie Panter-Downes- OTS - 4.3 stars
38. November Road - Lou Berney- audio - 4.4 stars
39. River Of Darkness - Rennie Airth - eBook - 4.2 stars
40. The Day Of The Dead - Nicci French - audio - 4 stars


41. The Blackhouse - Peter May - audio - 4.5 stars
42. The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne - eBook - 5 stars
43. Vacationland - John Hodgman - audio - 3 stars
44. The Gentlewomen - Laura Talbot - OTS - 4.5 stars
45. The Lewis Man - Peter May - audio - 4.5 stars
46. Disappearing Earth - Julia Phillips - eBook - 4 stars
47. Faro's Daughter - Georgette Heyer - eBook - 4 stars


48. Fall and Rise: the Story Of 9/11 - Mitchell Zuckoff - eBook - 5 stars
49. The Wolf and the Watchman - Niklas Natt och Dag - audio - translation - 4.3 stars
50. Big Sky - Kate Atkinson - L - 4.3 stars
51. There, There - Tommy Orange - L - 4.5 stars
52. Beartown - Fredrik Backman - audio - translation - 3 stars
53. Women Talking - Miriam Toews - eBook - 4.1 stars
54. The Long And Faraway Gone - Lou Berney - audio - 4.2 stars
55. A Tale Of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz - OTS - translation -4.7 stars
56. The Long Take - Robin Robertson - audio - 4.5 stars
57. Good Talk - Mira Jacob - L - 4.5 stars
58. The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead - L - 4.5 stars
59. The Lost Man Jane Harper - audio - 4 stars


60. The Chessmen - Peter May - audio - 4 stars
61. A Good Man - Guy Vanderhaeghe - OTS - 4.2 stars
62. The Body Lies - Jo Baker - eBook - 4 stars
63. Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial Of Harper Lee - Casey Cep- audio - 4.2 stars
64. Lost Children Archive - Valeria Luiselli - eBook - 4.3 stars
65. The Siege Of Krishnapur - J.G. Farrell - OTS - 5 stars
66. City Of Girls - Elizabeth Gilbert - audio - 3 stars
67. The Sentence is Death - Anthony Horowitz - audio - 4.1 stars
68. The Sisters: The Saga Of the Mitford Family - MARY S. Lovell - eBook - 4.3 stars


69. Dear Mrs. Bird - AJ Pearce - audio - 3.9 stars
70. The Women Of The Copper Country - Mary Doria Russell - eBook- 4.5 stars
71. Garden Of Beasts - Erik Larson - OTS/audio - 4.0 stars
72. A Better Man - Louise Penny - L - 4.2 stars
73. Only Killers and Thieves - Paul Howarth - audio - 5 stars
74. Burmese Days - George Orwell - eBook - 4.2 stars
75. Mrs. Tim Of the Regiment - D.E. Stevenson - eBook - 3.8 stars
76. A Woman of No Importance - Sonia Purnell - audio - 4.5 stars
77. Ghost Wall - Sarah Moss - eBook - 3.5 stars
78. A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway - L - 3.8 stars
79. Our House - Louise Candlish - audio - 4 stars
80. The Paris Wife - Paula McLain - OTS - 3.7 stars


81. The Dutch House - Ann Patchett - eBook - 4.2 stars
82. The Turn Of The Key - Ruth Ware - audio - 4.3 stars
83. The Horseman - Tim Pears - eBook - 4.3 stars
84. The Secrets We Kept - Lara Prescott - eBook - 3.8 stars
85. The Reluctant Widow - Georgette Heyer - eBook - 3.7 stars
86. Star of the North - D.B. John - audio - 3.5 stars
87. The Slaves of Solitude - Patrick Hamilton - OTS - 4.3 stars
88. They Called Us Enemy - George Takei - L - 4 stars
89. Conviction - Denise Mina - audio - 3.8 stars
90. The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar - eBook - 4 stars
91. Heartburn - Nora Ephron - audio - 2 stars


92. The Secrets Between Us - Thrity Umrigar - eBook - 4.5 stars
93. Ghost Soldiers - Hampton Sides - OTS/audio - 4.7 stars
94. The Wanderers - Tim Pears - L - 4.5 stars
95. A Train in Winter - Caroline Moorhead - audio - 4.3 stars


Total Books: 95

Author Gender
Male: 39
Female: 52
Joint: 4

Author Status
Living: 76
Dead: 19

Publication Medium
Hardback: 12
Trade: 12
eBook: 31
Audiobook: 40

Fiction: 71
Nonfiction: 24

Library: 76
Mine: 19

Translation: 5


Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 8:21pm Top


Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

This was partially a biography of Harper Lee’s life in the years after the publication of her only novel, not counting one that was published after her death and without her approval or even knowledge. The first part of this book was the story of the Rev. Willie Maxwell, a man who was in the habit of purchasing insurance policies for his wives (two), his brother, his daughter, well just about any relation, who then mysteriously would be found dead and the Reverend would proceed to collect on the insurance policies that he purchased and was the beneficiary of. He was never convicted of any of the murders.

After assisting Truman Capote with the investigation that led to his publication of In Cold Blood, Lee decided that she wanted to write a true crime book and since the Reverend Willie Smith’s alleged crimes occurred in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, Lee decided this was the book she wanted to write. For years she worked on a manuscript but never produced a book.
Lee’s life at this time is fairly well documented. She was living in New York City for much of this time and agonized over the fact that years and years had passed and she didn’t have another book to show for it. Publishers rejected her earlier book, Go Tell the Watchman and she was convinced that it wasn’t very good at all so it remained in a safe, hidden away. In the meantime, she was drinking heavily and maintaining a very private life while she tried to come up with a book about the Rev. Maxwell.

This book was excellent as an audio book and I was fascinated by the details about Lee’s life (3,000 books on the shelves of her small NY apartment!). Very highly recommended.

Edited: Aug 13, 2019, 5:59pm Top


Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

On Audio:

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Aug 13, 2019, 6:37pm Top

Happy New Thread, Bonnie. I love all the toppers! Good review of Furious Hours. That one deserves all the accolades it can get. I will be watching closely, for your thoughts on City of Girls. I can get it on audio. Sadly, I never did read her previous novel. Bad Mark.

Aug 13, 2019, 7:08pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie! Love all the artwork! I'm currently reading Lost Children Archive, too. I look forward to your thoughts.

Aug 13, 2019, 7:29pm Top

Happy new thread!

Looks like the kids had a lot of fun!

Aug 13, 2019, 8:36pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie. I love the topper and the photos of the kids!

The Harper Lee bio sounds really interesting. I had no idea she ever worked on a true crime book, except, of course, In Cold Blood.

Aug 13, 2019, 9:06pm Top

>8 msf59: Hi Mark, I really enjoyed the audio of Furious Hours. Really well done. I'm only 18% into City Of Girls but so far it's nothing like The Signature Of All Things which was historical fiction at its best. I really loved that one. This one is kind of light and fluffy in comparison. But it's early yet.

>9 Carmenere: Hi there Lynda, Lost Children Archive is probably the most timely novel on the Booker longlist. I'm just about done with it and I think I've let a lot of the symbolism go right over my head but it's been a good read.

>10 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, Horses+Sand piles+kids=tons of fun hahaha.

>11 BLBera:. Hi Beth, I really enjoyed Furious Hours. I learned a lot about Harper Lee that I didn't know.

Aug 13, 2019, 9:08pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie, and a colourfully pretty one it is indeed.

Aug 14, 2019, 8:27am Top

Happy New Thread, Bonnie. I like them toppers, especially that Edward Hopper one.

Aug 14, 2019, 9:38am Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie.

Aug 14, 2019, 10:33am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 14, 2019, 2:28pm Top

Happy new thread Bonnie! See you soon :)

Aug 14, 2019, 5:15pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie!

Lovely painting in msg 2.

Aug 14, 2019, 8:02pm Top

>13 PaulCranswick:. Why thank you Paul.

>14 jnwelch: Thanks Joe, and who would know better than you lol.

>15 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.

>16 drneutron: Thank you Jim.

>17 RebaRelishesReading: I'm looking forward to it Reba🤗

>18 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

Edited: Aug 14, 2019, 9:24pm Top

I finished Lost Children Archive and will offer a few comments tomorrow or Friday but in short I did enjoy it but I think much of it went over my head.

I'm now reading from my shelf....The Siege Of Krishnapur by J. G.Farrell.

Aug 17, 2019, 11:49am Top

Hi Bonnie! Cole and Mia look like they are having the time of their lives in that picture. I would be tempted to preempt the bathtub with the garden hose!

I must get back to Farrell. The Siege and The Grip have been taunting me all summer.

Aug 17, 2019, 5:07pm Top

Hiya Bonnie, happy new thread and much more good reading ahead.

Aug 17, 2019, 5:22pm Top

Hi Bonnie, just saying hello (at last) and I loved the picture of Cole and Mia!

Aug 17, 2019, 11:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie! I really enjoyed Furious Hours, too. Catching up the end of your last thread, it sounds like you've been on a roll with some excellent books. I fear I may have been hit by a book bullet or two.

Aug 18, 2019, 6:24pm Top

>21 Donna828: Hi Donna, we used to stick the kids in the sanitary tub for a bath when they were that dirty haha. I am loving The Siege of Krishnapur and will probably read The Singapore Grip in September or October.

>22 richardderus: Thanks so much Richard.

>23 cushlareads: Oh my, a rare Cushla sighting. How are you?

>24 tymfos: I'm glad to hear you also enjoyed Furious Hours Terri. And you're right, I have read some great books recently and thats just how I like it lol.

Edited: Aug 18, 2019, 6:29pm Top

L to R: Reba, Benita, me, Sharon (Benita's friend)

I was happy to go to Chautauqua today and have an LT meet up. Reba hosted us at her place at the Chautauqua Institute where we enjoyed a great lunch and LT and book talk. Benita was in town for a choir performance. Such a great time with LT friends.

Edited: Aug 19, 2019, 8:17pm Top


Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

There is probably not a more timely novel than this road trip novel centered on the mother's desire to document the conditions at the border for children, especially those traveling alone. The father wants to also document the history of the Apache, especially the legacy of Geronimo. The family is making this their last trip together as the parents are splitting up at the end of the trip so the tragedy of their lives as they explore other tragedies in this country becomes more and more apparent to the young children. Beautiful images throughout as Luiselli has produced a most poetic novel. I'm afraid some of the symbolism went right over my head but I really enjoyed this novel. This is the first time I've ever downloaded music that was mentioned in the narrative as I read the book. I never heard this song before but wow:


4.3 stars

Aug 18, 2019, 7:05pm Top

>26 brenzi: Happy smiling ladies! *smooch* for all y'all

>27 brenzi: That one awaits forty-one people either to drop dead or finish reading it before it comes to me. One way or the other, I'm not fussed.

Aug 18, 2019, 7:43pm Top

Hooray, for a Meet Up, Bonnie. Lovely photo! Benita sure gets around. Glad you enjoyed Lost Children Archive. I am a fan of it too.

Aug 18, 2019, 8:32pm Top

>28 richardderus: Thanks for the smooch Richard. I'm pretty sure you have other books to fill the time until that one comes through lol.

>29 msf59: She certainly does Mark. Did you feel that you understood all the symbolism in Lost Children Archive ?

Aug 18, 2019, 8:50pm Top

>30 brenzi: There was a whole lot going on, in that novel, Bonnie, so I am sure I missed some things. A rich, ambitious read.

Aug 18, 2019, 10:56pm Top

Hooray for meet ups. Thanks for the photo - you all look happy.

Great comments on Lost Children Archive - I think it's an amazing book.

Aug 19, 2019, 7:19am Top

Love the meetup pic! Sounds like a good time was had by all.

Aug 19, 2019, 8:41am Top

>3 brenzi: I love the picture of the kids, Bonnie. I can’t imagine the bath afterwards, although I think the dirtier they are, the more fun they’ve had.

I’ve added Lost Children Archive to my wishlist. Thank you, I think. ;-)

Aug 19, 2019, 3:20pm Top

Hi, Bonnie.

My grandmother used to play banjo and sing spirituals on the Chautauqua circuit wayback when. I wonder whether there’s any connection to the Chautauqua Institute.

Great photo of you four - obviously a fine time was being had by all.

Edited: Aug 20, 2019, 4:21pm Top

>35 jnwelch: The "Chautauqua circuit" was part of the Chautauqua movement. The Chautauqua Institution in western New York was the beginning of that movement which aimed to provide lifelong learning opportunities for those who otherwise would not have access to them. At it's peak there were a few hundred "Chautauqua's" around the country, some with their own grounds and many more which met once a year to provides lectures and entertainment. Some of the lecturers and entertainers travelled a "circuit" appearing at "Chautauqua's" throughout a region or the country. It began here on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in Chautauqua County, New York where the grounds are still active and where a nine-week "season" of lectures, classes, entertainment, etc. are provided each summer (along with a thriving program for young people training for careers in the arts). As you can tell, I could go on ad nauseam but if you want to know more go to CHQ.org.

Edited: Aug 19, 2019, 4:59pm Top

AH HAH! Found you! And starred you.

Sharon and I are in La Grange, Kentucky spending the night with the last leg of the trip back to Tuscaloosa tomorrow. We made it through downtown Cincinnati with no problems. I worried about that because I am the driver and have only driven through there 3 times now. It is much hotter and humid here in Kentucky than it was in New York.

We had a great meetup and Sharon had a great time talking with all of you. She is now very curious about Librarything and might make an appearance at some point. That desert sure was good and reminded me of a puff pastry desert I found in the King Arthur FLour recipe book. If you get time please post that recipe here and I can copy it off and add it to my collection.

Edited: Aug 19, 2019, 5:02pm Top

>6 brenzi:
Sharon and I had a discussion about Furious Hours while on the road yesterday. She is going to try to find the book at the public library and read it. I told her it may be a long wait because the book is quite popular. I also have it on my TBR list so will get to it someday.

Edited: Aug 19, 2019, 5:06pm Top

>27 brenzi:
Lost Children Archive is on my TBR list as well. I didn’t know it had a playlist. Interesting. Were the songs related to the text?

Another author has playlists that are downloadable is Haruki Murakami. He is a music lover and the songs mentioned in his books are important to the plot and the characters. In fact, sometimes the music is the part of the plot. Have you read any Murakami?

Edited: Aug 19, 2019, 8:14pm Top

>31 msf59: it was still a really good novel Mark but that last section had me scratching my head.

>32 BLBera: We had a great time Beth. I think Lost Children Archive will make the Booker shortlist. That's based on absolutely nothing lol.

>33 lauralkeet: I think a good time was had by all Laura.

>34 NanaCC: Oh I agree completely Colleen. Dirt=fun lol.

>35 jnwelch: Oh how interesting Joe. We had a great time.

>36 RebaRelishesReading: Nothing I can add even though I've lived in Western NY my entire very long life. Thanks for filling us in Reba.

>37 benitastrnad: Hi Benita. Oh I hope Sharon does join LT. Look at all the fun we're having. I'll PM you the recipe. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had a great time with you all and would love to repeat it.

>38 benitastrnad: I think you'll both enjoy Furious Hours when you get to it. That's a Mark recommendation, btw. Can't go wrong lol.

>39 benitastrnad: I've got four Murakami's on my shelf but so far I haven't picked one up. No idea why. I was enthused by all the glowing reviews by other 75ers but for whatever reason. But yes the music in Lost Children Archive was definitely connected to the narrative. It is brilliantly incorporated but O Superman really hit a chord with me haha. Sorry about the pun. More important probably was the David Bowie song Space Oddity (Ground Control to Major Tom). I like the book more every day.

Aug 19, 2019, 8:07pm Top

I was surprised it didn't make the Woman's Fiction Prize shortlist - I would have chosen it over My Sister, Serial Killer. But I am not good at predicting these things.

Aug 19, 2019, 9:15pm Top

>36 RebaRelishesReading:. Thanks, Reba. I knew some but not all of that from family history. I’m glad there are still activities and enthusiasm.

Aug 20, 2019, 8:59pm Top

>41 BLBera: What the heck is it about My Sister, the Serial Killer that makes it show up on Prize lists Beth? Smh

Edited: Aug 20, 2019, 9:24pm Top

I need to get to reading the J. G. Farrell books. I generally like the books I read about India so I should get Siege of Krishnapur read sometime soon.

Aug 21, 2019, 6:45pm Top

Obviously we are missing something, Bonnie.

Aug 21, 2019, 9:30pm Top

>44 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, I love reading books set in India, especially historical fiction. I finished The Siege Of Krishnapur last night and really enjoyed it. I'll put together a few comments at some point. Have you read A Fine Balance? Stunning.

>45 BLBera: Well, that's business as usual for me Beth, lol.

Aug 22, 2019, 7:49am Top

>46 brenzi: I should read The Siege of Krishnapur, Bonnie. I loved the first book in the trilogy, Troubles. Did you read that one?

Edited: Aug 22, 2019, 12:16pm Top

>46 brenzi:
I haven't read that one. I have read other books about India. I have Gunpowder Gardens: Travels Through India and China in Search of Tea by Jason Goodwin on my desk but haven't started it yet. It would be a good one to read for the August Nonfiction challenge. I like Goodwin's work. He is a specialist in Ottoman history and his mystery series (Investigator Yashim) set in Istanbul starting in the 1820's is really good. But Goodwin is also a tea lover, so that explains this book and the India and China connection.

I read Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey. This is her memoir about growing up in India and I enjoyed it. She is an actress who made her name as a cook. She is one of the early Indian and Vegetarian cookbook authors. I first saw her on a Martha Stewart show years ago.

This spring I read Empire Made: My Search for an Outlaw Uncle Who Vanished in British India by Kief Hillsbery and this one will make my best of the year list. It was really good.

Edited: Aug 22, 2019, 7:01pm Top

I forgot to mention that my book discussion group here in Tuscaloosa read Last Jews of Kerala about 5 years ago, and we all found that interesting. I guess I have read more nonfiction about India than I have fiction. Interesting.

Of course, you can't forget to read Far Pavilions my book group also read that one and loved it.

Aug 22, 2019, 6:17pm Top

>26 brenzi: Hi Bonnie! What a great meet-up group!

>36 RebaRelishesReading: We have a Chautauqua here in Boulder, CO. I’ve hiked on the grounds (which are beautiful) and I know they hold concerts but I never knew much about it.

Aug 22, 2019, 7:13pm Top

>47 NanaCC: I did read Troubles Colleen and liked it very much but it's been several years since I read it so it seems like I liked this second book even more.

>48 benitastrnad: Benita, I added Empire Made: My Search for an Outlaw Who Vanished in British India when you commented on it on the non-fiction thread earlier this year. I hope to get to it sometime soon.

>49 benitastrnad: And now Far Pavilions is on my Overdrive list too Benita. Thanks for that as it looks good.

>50 Copperskye: Hi Joanne, we had a great time.

Edited: Aug 27, 2019, 8:40pm Top


The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell

This is a novel of change. Set in 1857 and based on the Siege of Lucknow, at a far remote Indian outpost, many miles from Calcutta, it tells the story of the mutiny of the native sepoys but more importantly, solidifies the total ignorance of the British in thinking their superiority over all things, but especially over these Indians that they are determined to educate in one way or another, will always prevail. Farrell has written an incredibly nuanced satire that points out how wrong the British were, even a year before Queen Victoria signed a proclamation formally naming India a part of the British Empire. At the time of the siege, The East India Company was ruling India with a violent hand implemented by the British military.

There are few named Indian characters in a story where they are the main object and somehow this method is part of Farrell’s brilliance. The British treat them with so little respect that they are nearly invisible. Until they’re not and the British are forced to confront the reality of the state of their lives during the five months that the siege lasts. Besides the obvious bodies piling up as a result of the shelling of the Residency, where all the British are forced to retreat, they are fighting an outbreak of cholera, the intense heat common in the sub continent, intense insect infestations to the area and this:

”The smell, which was so atrocious that the butchers had to work with cloths tied over their noses, came from rejected offal which they were in the habit of throwing over the wall in the hope that the vultures would deal with it. But the truth was that the scavengers of the district, both birds and animals, were already thoroughly bloated from the results of the first attack…the birds were so heavy with meat that they could hardly launch themselves into the air, the jackals could hardly drag themselves back to their lairs.”

Loaded with complex characters whose interaction provide thought-provoking narrative conflict, they wait for the arrival of the saving military regiment but steadily lose hope that they will ever be rescued. This book won the Booker prize in 1973 and rightly so. Just absolutely brilliant.

5 stars

Aug 22, 2019, 7:16pm Top


City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

I almost gave up on this book several times because the first half was just too much fluff for me. I listened to it on audio, narrated beautifully by Blair Brown whom I recognized immediately from her role on Orange Is the New Black. She was the best thing about this book.

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and was hoping for another historical fiction of that caliber but it wasn’t to be. The first half was about a young girl, on her own in NYC for the first time who has an aunt who runs a second rate playhouse. She offers her niece a job as the costume person because of her sewing skills. They put on shows, the girl makes a fool of herself by painting the town indiscriminately and having A LOT of sex. Ho hum. I’m too old for that kind of nonsense.

By the second half of the book, when the main character, Vivian, has lost all and returned to her home in upstate NY to live with her parents, I was finally looking forward to finding out what would happen next in her life. That kind of saved this book for me. Much more interesting. Story of two books. Read if you dare.

3 stars

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 6:31pm Top


The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell


The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

Edited: Aug 22, 2019, 10:28pm Top

>54 brenzi:
I recently learned about the Mitford sisters from another book that I was reading. It was a biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I believe that one of the Mitford sisters is the current Duchess of Devonshire. It was a very readable biography and explained the beginnings of the Parliemenetary system used in the UK because Georgiana was heavily involved in the politics of the late 18th century in the UK.

I just realized that earlier this year I read Mary S. Lovell's biography of Beryl Markham Straight On Till Morning. That was another good book. I had listened to Beryl Markham's autobiography West With the Night and I wanted to know if she told the truth. Turns out the autobiography is mostly about her childhood and a little about her flying career, but both were good books. The recorded version of West With the Night was good listening. It might be one you could try - if you can find it. It was a really old recording, but it was on CD so I would think you could find it on Audible.

Aug 23, 2019, 6:47am Top

>53 brenzi: read if you dare
LOL! I think I'll pass. Thanks for taking one for the team, Bonnie!

Aug 23, 2019, 9:40am Top

>50 Copperskye: (Sorry Bonnie, I don't mean to keep hijacking your thread but can't stop myself from talking about Chautauqua). Yes, Joanne, I've visited there too (off-season). It's much smaller than the grounds here but still lovely. It's one of the "original" ones that has grounds and has had a "season" since the early 20th century. As far as I can tell, there are just five of those left.

The Siege of Krishnapur sounds interesting but maybe for a bit later. I need to read CLSC books right now PLUS I need to move on to a new country for a while :) Thanks for saving me from the Gilbert book.

I read Georgiana years ago and didn't know about the Mitfords then but read Take Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters a few years ago and have read several books by and about them since. Most interesting family.

Hope you're enjoying this glorious weather!

Aug 23, 2019, 9:27pm Top

>55 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, I've been on a Mitford tear this year reading Nancy Mitford's most well known novels as well as Decca's memoir. This bio is putting together what pieces I hadn't already known. Good so far.

I read West With the Night several years ago and have Lovell's Straight On Til Morning on my shelf. I'll get to it later this year. Probably.

Deborah (Debo) Mitford was the Duchess of Devonshire but she died in 2014. I'll look for that book too.

>56 lauralkeet: Wise decision Laura. But if you haven't read The Signature Of All Things it's really good.

>57 RebaRelishesReading: I actually put a sweatshirt on this morning Reba. Very refreshing. Sweater weather is my favorite time of the year. Fascinating is a good description of the Mitfords.

Aug 23, 2019, 10:35pm Top

Happy Friday, Bonnie. Excellent review of The Siege. I really need to get to this one. I thought I had a copy on shelf but I do not. I will have to track one down.

It looks like I will read The Signature of All Things before trying her latest.

Aug 24, 2019, 2:39am Top

Hi Bonnie. You are doing bad things to my Want to Read list. I'd forgotten about The Siege of Krishnapur and it sounds good.

I read The Mitford Girls (the title it had in the NZ edition) when Fletcher was a wee baby, and now he is downstairs loudly playing his electric guitar! I really enjoyed it at the time but have forgotten all the detail.

All well here, just been stupidly busy with school for the first two terms. But this is my second weekend where I'm making time for LT and a bit more reading. Hopefully it'll stick. And it is very much sweatshirt weather over here - netball this morning was played in freezing rain and Wellington wind!

Aug 24, 2019, 10:22am Top

>53 brenzi: City of Girls is just not reaching out to me after seeing so many meh reviews. It’s too bad, because I really liked The Signature of all Things.

Aug 24, 2019, 10:00pm Top

It is NOT sweatshirt weather here. It is HOT and HUMID. I am miserable. I won’t be sweatshirt weather until November down here.

Classes started on Wednesday and I am in the thick of planning all my instruction sessions for the semester and have already started pulling books for classes. I have been getting home late and have had little time for reading so my Banana book for the Nonfiction challenge is languishing.

Aug 24, 2019, 10:03pm Top

>59 msf59: I think you would love The Siege Of Krishnapur Mark. Did you read The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott? Different time period but another excellent exploration of the Indian subcontinent amid British imperialism. I have a real fondness for reading about life in India.

>60 cushlareads: I'm glad you're able to eke out some LT time Cushla. I'm also happy to be able to add to your Want to Read list lol. Fletcher is playing his electric guitar? Isn't it amazing how fast they grow? I know that's a cliche but really, what better way is there to put it? Must look for your thread.

>61 NanaCC: Wasn't The Signature Of All Things wonderful Colleen? That's what made this new one such a disappointment.

Aug 24, 2019, 10:05pm Top

>62 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, it's been getting into the fifties here at night so mornings are refreshingly cool. It'll be in the upper seventies all next week.. just about perfect weather. Sorry about the workload. Hopefully things will settle and you can get back to reading about bananas lol.

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 10:00pm Top

I noticed on another thread that you are having trouble with the new pop up feature. I am too. It works well on my PC but not on my iPad’s. I am not sure why. If I get around to it this week I will contact Loreanne and ask her about it.

Aug 25, 2019, 7:55am Top

>65 benitastrnad: new pop up feature

I've seen reference to this new feature mentioned, and also that Bonnie had to disable it on her iPad. I use an iPad as well, but don't see the new feature. I use Chrome as my browser.

Aug 25, 2019, 10:13am Top

>52 brenzi:, >53 brenzi: Great comments, Bonnie. I have looked at City of Girls but wasn't sure. I think I'll pass on it. I've had The Siege of Krishnapur on my shelf for a long time. I must get to it.

Aug 25, 2019, 10:15am Top

I took a BB for The Body Lies, Bonnie, and am reading it now. It's very good!

Aug 25, 2019, 6:08pm Top

>65 benitastrnad: That's a good idea Benita. I didn't think of notifying anyone.

>66 lauralkeet: Well I use Safari Laura. What happens is I click on the touchstone, go to the book page to look at the book as usual, but when I return to the previous page the pop up is there and I can't read what I want to read on the thread. I couldn't figure out how to get it to go away. Granted I'm not much of a techie but this wasn't working very well for me.

>67 BLBera: Thanks Beth. You must read The Siege Of Krishnapur. It's really quite wonderful. But I have a real soft spot for Indian historical fiction, especially when it's as good as this was or The Raj Quartet.

>68 katiekrug: Oh yeah, that's a good one Katie. I was really caught up in the climax.

Aug 25, 2019, 6:21pm Top

Another plug here for The Siege of Krishnapur. I don't what LTer(s) persuaded me to read it, but I'm glad they did.

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 7:28pm Top


The Sentence is Death by Antony Horowitz (audio)

A very successful divorce attorney has been found dead in his home, battered with an unbelievably expensive bottle of wine. There are plenty of possible suspects because, well, lawyer. Once again Private Detective Daniel Hawthorne is looking into the crime with his sidekick, the book's author, Anthony Horowitz. This was a terrific, very clever mystery and Horowitz is getting to be a favorite of mine, having read his last two also.

The crime is complicated by the fact that there is another, very unlikely crime in the past involving this lawyer and two other men, all of whom are now dead, two of them under suspicious circumstances within the last 24 hours.

I love the narrator of these mysteries although his Female voice for a British police woman is the most grating thing I've ever heard. That aside I can't wait for the next book in the series.

4.1 stars

Aug 25, 2019, 6:34pm Top

My next audio is a book that Beth just read and liked a lot and it just happened to be available at my library. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce.

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 6:37pm Top

>70 jnwelch: Hi there Joe. Glad for the back up on The Siege Of Krishnapur. So good.

Aug 25, 2019, 9:56pm Top

I think Dear Mrs. Bird might be an excellent audiobook, Bonnie. I'll watch for your comments.

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 10:02pm Top

I listened to Dear Mrs. Bird earlier this summer and liked it. The narrator does an excellent job and I think it really lets you in on what it was like to live in London during the Blitz with everyone doing their bit

Edited: Aug 26, 2019, 3:11pm Top

I found a whole thread devoted to the new popups. Look at the Groups page and find the group called “Talk about Librarything.” Inside that group is a thread called redesign. It should be the second one on the list of threads for the group. When I get to work tomorrow I will post the link here.

The thread is full of information about the popups. I posted to that thread that I was having trouble when using my iPad. I starred the thread and will see what they say about how to fix it.

here is the link to that thread. https://www.librarything.com/topic/310208

Aug 26, 2019, 8:24am Top

>71 brenzi: You’ve added this to my Audible wishlist. I loved the other two books of his that I’ve read. I haven’t done them in audio, but I might go that way for this one.

Aug 26, 2019, 11:47am Top

>71 brenzi: I didn't know this was a series! Thanks for the BB - I really liked The Word is Murder so I'll add this one to the list! He is so prolific, I don't know how he does it. And Dear Mrs. Bird sounds good. I think I'll pass on the Elizabeth Gilbert.

Aug 26, 2019, 5:53pm Top

I found the following on the working page. I think this might work for both of us to get that popup off our iPad's.

OHHH! I think I forgot to mention that I also added the ability to make the popup go away immediately by hitting the ESC key.

This doesn't turn it off, just makes it go away for that popup, like if you're trying to get to something and the popup keeps getting in the way. Or you just want it to go away quickly.

Also, there is timing to make it go away. I have to give people enough time to move their mouse from the point of popup to the white box without it going away in that time. We found that people were much slower mousers than I originally thought so we've had to extend that time slightly. I think it's at around 1/3 of a second right now (300ms now, originally 150ms). We can play with that but not much, I suspect.

Aug 26, 2019, 6:50pm Top

Hi, Bonnie. I will be watching for your final thoughts on Dear Mrs. Bird. Of course, the title is enticing. Smiles...

Edited: Aug 26, 2019, 7:21pm Top

I'm sure at least some of you have seen something about the Notorious RBG in the news today. If not, here's an example of the news I'm talking about:


What you don't know is that my lovely, very smart, daughter, Sara, is the assistant dean of the University at Buffalo Law School where Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared today and had a hand in setting everything up and was involved from the beginning. No cell phones allowed so my desire to get a picture of the two of them together was pretty much out of the question. So proud of her. It was a banner day for the law school and I'm so happy Sara was a part of it. I couldnt find any good pictures of her alone so here is my little girl with her family. Proud mother done bragging. Carry on.

Aug 26, 2019, 7:30pm Top

>74 BLBera: Thanks for the recommendation Beth.

>75 benitastrnad: It's off to a good start Benita.

>76 benitastrnad: Thanks for the link Benita. I'll have to check it out.

>77 NanaCC: I did the last one in audio too Colleen. I liked this one even more (except for the narrator's take on the policewoman).

>78 vivians: Of course you'll pass on the Gilbert, Vivian. Why wouldn't you? Lol. There will be at least one more by Horowitz judging by the hint her threw out in the narrative. I hope they go on forever.

>79 benitastrnad: Wow you did a lot of research Benita. Thanks for that. I'll play around with it.

>80 msf59:. I'm afraid there are no birds involved Mark haha. At least not so far.

Aug 26, 2019, 7:40pm Top

>81 brenzi: - Very cool!

Aug 26, 2019, 9:07pm Top

>81 brenzi: how lucky for Sara! What a day for her. Very cool indeed.

Aug 26, 2019, 10:57pm Top

>81 brenzi: Very cool indeed. You have every reason to be proud.

Aug 27, 2019, 10:02am Top

What a great day for your daughter Sara! Congrats on raising such a good ‘un.

I had a good time with The Sentence is Death, too. Our daughter is reading it now.

Aug 27, 2019, 2:49pm Top

Wow what an exciting day for Sara. RBG is such a heroic figure! My daughter Jo chose her roommate after they discovered online that both idolized RBG. The roommate appeared at move-in with a miniature RBG statue to display and Jo felt like she'd found a kindred spirit!

Aug 27, 2019, 2:50pm Top

P.S. The kids are just adorable!

Aug 27, 2019, 8:26pm Top

>83 katiekrug: >84 lauralkeet: >85 NanaCC: Hi Katie,Laura and Colleen. Yes very cool indeed.

>86 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I really love Horowitz's work. And that includes Foyles War which I loved.

>87 vivians: >88 vivians: Thanks Vivian. I wouldn't be too surprised to see Mia in an RBG costume this Halloween. Lol.

Aug 27, 2019, 8:33pm Top

>81 brenzi: Go Sara! Go Sara! You have every right to be proud of your wonderful daughter. And those lovely grandchildren, as well. I am still biding my time here, in Chicagoland.

Aug 28, 2019, 9:02am Top

>81 brenzi: Wow! I'm impressed and what a lovely family!

Aug 28, 2019, 7:20pm Top

>90 msf59: Your day will come Mark. You're getting closer to retirement every day and then the excitement really begins haha.

>91 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you Reba. Much appreciated.

Aug 28, 2019, 8:49pm Top

Gah!!! Louise Penny's new one A Better Man is waiting for me at the library. Mary Doria Russell's new one The Women Of Copper Country is ready for me on my Overdrive list! This never happens to me. I always use the suspend feature to manage my holds like the genius I am hahaha. But I didn't realize I was #1 on the library reserve list. And I'm still not done with The Sisters: the Saga Of the Mitford Family which has heated up to the point that I'm reading it compulsively but it's a long one. First world problems that most of the population never experiences. Lol

Aug 28, 2019, 9:34pm Top

>71 brenzi: BB for me! Thank you :)

>81 brenzi: What a wonderful family picture.

Aug 29, 2019, 7:56am Top

>93 brenzi: I’m afraid the same thing will happen to me, Bonnie. I was Number 8 a couple of days ago, 6 yesterday, and now 5 today. The book isn’t overly long at 448 pages, so I’m guessing it is a fairly quick read, if it is as page turning as the others. I’m probably not going to get any knitting done during the next few days, which is when I listen to books. I’ll have to concentrate on getting my current book finished. First world problems for sure. ;-)

Aug 29, 2019, 12:03pm Top

I got my copy of The Women of Copper Country and few days ago and A Better Man arrived today. Only thing is I'm trying to read as many CLSC books as I can while I have access to the collection at the library here...so I'm trying to ignore those two even though I really want to dive right in. Good for my character to wait though ;>

Aug 29, 2019, 11:24pm Top

I completely agree with your assessment of The Siege of Krishnapur, Bonnie, as I also gave it 5 stars. As good as it is I liked Troubles a bit better.

Aug 30, 2019, 9:52am Top

I have got to get the three J. G. Farrell books up on my reading list. I did move Troubles to my bedside table last year, but that is as far as it got.

I am listening to one of the historical fiction works of Ruta Sepetys in my car. Salt to the Sea is about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff in the Baltic Sea towards the end of WWII. I like the book - but don't. I have trouble reading fiction about WWII because it bothers me so much emotionally. However, Sepetys work is perfect for use in classrooms and I can't seem to get the Secondary people in the Teacher Ed program interested in her work. I think I would be a better salesman if I read the books myself. So that is what I am going to do. Next up to listen to will be Between Shades of Grey (another emotion ride) and the Out of the Easy set in Jim Crow New Orleans in the 1930's.

My Banana book for Suzanne's nonfiction thread is making me angry. How could the U. S. interfere like that in these countries? I used to console myself that the incident in Iran was sort of isolated. It wasn't. I am appalled.

Aug 30, 2019, 7:51pm Top

>94 figsfromthistle: Thank you figs. I hope you enjoy the Horowitz. He's a favorite of mine. Where are you in Canada? There's just a bridge between me and Fort Erie, ONT.

>95 NanaCC: Well now I'm 25% into the Mary Doria Russell book Colleen. I have until Thursday to pick up the Penny book so I should be fine.

>96 RebaRelishesReading: Good for your character Reba?? Bwahahaha. OK. I prefer to just indulge myself whenever possible lol.

>97 kidzdoc: It's been a number of years since I read Troubles Darryl but I also gave it five stars. I hope to read the last book in the trilogy next month.

>98 benitastrnad: I'm afraid this country has a long history of doing things we later end up being ashamed of Benita. It's unfortunate and with the current president I don't see any end to the anger. I haven't read anything by Sepetys because I think she writes mostly YA novelsand I just don't read those.

I read two non-fiction books this month but neither one fit the challenge. I have a few picked out for September though.

Edited: Aug 31, 2019, 12:39pm Top


The Sisters: the Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell

A Nazi, A Fascist, A Communist, A Novelist, A Countrywoman, A Duchess---All Mitford Sisters. That was the headline of a NY Times review of a book about the Mitford sisters released in 2016. It caught my eye and I knew I had to read about them. After reading Nancy’s most well-known novels and Decca’s (Jessica) memoir I finally chose this 2002 bio about the Mitford family because it was fairly highly rated here on LT. I’m glad I did.

Is there a more fascinating family living in the 1930s-2000? I don’t think so. The first part of the book dealt with the early years of the sisters, their childhood experiences, their development, their aristocratic, yet somehow not really very wealthy, lives. The author smoothly glided from one of the sisters to another, moving the story of their lives along through the years. Most of the info about their early years I already knew from Decca’s memoir, Hons and Rebels. But once she moved past their “coming out” and the sisters moved into adulthood, their lives got to be really intriguing.

Lovell did a masterful job exposing their lives and some of their questionable decisions, through letters the sisters wrote to each other and outsiders. That seemed to put the reader right in the thick of it. And Lovell answered all my questions. What in the world was Unity’s attraction to Hitler? How did Diana end up married to the head of the British Fascist Party? And then how did she end up in a British prison for three years during WWII? How did Debo know from the time she was a young child that she would be a Duchess? How did Decca, an avowed Communist, become a U.S citizen in mid-century? And what about the one brother, Tom? Why is so little known about him? And what exactly is a countrywoman, as Pam is described?

Fascinating stuff. And I loved every bit of it. I don’t think I’m done with the Mitford’s yet. I’m not sure when I will be. Of course they’re all dead now but the're just so…..fascinating. Very highly recommended for those who enjoy family dynamics.

4.3 stars

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 5:46pm Top


The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell


Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

Aug 30, 2019, 9:18pm Top

>93 brenzi: You've got some reading to do, Bonnie. :)

Go Sara! Too bad you couldn't get a picture of her with RBG.

Aug 31, 2019, 10:09am Top

Thrilled with you about Sara's coup, a little disappointed about the selfie, and BRAVA re: >100 brenzi:! I am always delighted by things Mitford.

Happy long weekend! Long Island's expecting rain on Monday. Haw. The annual tradition of lovely weekend, rainy Monday continues.

Aug 31, 2019, 11:40am Top

>100 brenzi: I totally agree -- most fascinating family in the 1930's or maybe ever.

Aug 31, 2019, 6:54pm Top

>102 BLBera: Yes Beth, I have some reading to do but that's ok. That's how I like it lol. And it would've been great to get a picture with RBG but when she began one of her speeches she mentioned that she couldn't believe that she was 86 years old and people want to have their picture taken with her! It's all beyond her I guess lol.

>103 richardderus: You have to wonder what the draw is about that family Richard. I love reading about them but really, what's the deal lol.

>104 RebaRelishesReading: That seems to be the most appropriate word for it Reba..

Aug 31, 2019, 10:14pm Top

I am use outside of Atlanta in a cheap hotel room. Tomorrow I will attend the Decatur Book Festival after I have had brunch with Daryl (Kizdoc) and Kay (Ridgewaygirl). I hope to spend the day at the YA venue and see a couple of YA author panels.

YA novels are quite popular right now. Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist believe that 30% of YA book sales are to people over the age of 35. That said, I often find the plots and language simplicist. That is why I say that they are perfect for use in the classroom - because generally they are. There are a few series that I read for fun. They are mostly fantasy or SciFi. I find it interesting that many of the blockbuster dystopian series that rescued books are YA books. Titles like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent and some others. In most of those cases I don’t think they are YA novels. They are adult novels masquerading as YA. But that is just my old lady school teacher talking.

Aug 31, 2019, 10:16pm Top

>99 brenzi:
I have several lined up for next month as well. Even though I only actually finished 1 title for this month. I am about to finish the book on Banana’s.

Sep 1, 2019, 7:45am Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie! I am hoping you are having a good time with the MDR. It sure seems like your cuppa. Yes, Deep River is a Big Boy, but it is excellent so far.

Sep 1, 2019, 6:19pm Top

>106 benitastrnad: Hi there Benita, you're so lucky to be enjoying another LT meet-up. Very jealous. I'm one of the few people here on LT who doesn't read YA novels but I see the value for young readers. I'm glad they're available for them. Maybe, as I age and can't remember anything, I'll give them another try haha. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was a principal and several parents wanted it banned from the school library because of the witchcraft, etc. so I read it and nixed the whole banning idea and pointed out to them that it wasn't any worse than fairy tales we've all read as children. I never felt the urge to go any further with the HP books.

>107 benitastrnad: This month's topic is bound to have more takers, don't you think Benita? I mean I have several on my shelf and on my Kindle that I can read to say nothing of the audio options. I was planning to read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast this month anyway.

>108 msf59: I am absolutely loving The Women of the Copper Country Mark. it's just excellent and I don't have that much more to go in it. I'll get to the Marlantes at some point. I hope you've had a good weekend. We're going to get some fall weather this week.

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 6:20pm Top


Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

If you’re looking for a book that will tear out your heart this may be the one for you. Heartbreaking doesn’t begin to cover it.

London. The Blitz. 1941. Emmy is a young woman who thinks she lands a job at a prestigious London newspaper only to discover that it’s actually a lowly weekly women’s publication. She puts her dreams aside and tries to make the best of it. She’s assigned to work for the haranguing Mrs. Bird who has an advice column in the publication. Unfortunately, she will only give advice to those letters that interest her and do not touch on love, sex, loss or any of the hundreds of topics that actually interest the young women who read the magazine. Emmy seems to come up with a solution. Her best friend Bunty is engaged to a young air raid warden when Emmy and he have a bit of an argument. The book turns on these two events.

I enjoyed this rather light, but still heartbreaking short novel and the audio was very well done. Some of the events could’ve been predicted (and actually were, by moi) but it was still an enjoyable read and left me with a very hopeful feeling at the end. Highly recommended, thanks Beth.

3.9 stars

Sep 1, 2019, 8:53pm Top

Hi Bonnie. Nice comments about Dear Mrs. Bird. Between you and Beth, I am persuaded to add it to my wish list.

>81 brenzi: That is a wonderful story. I have nothing but admiration and respect for RBG and it must have been special for your daughter to be involved in bringing her to campus. I have a couple of dear friends who work in the counseling center at SUNY Buffalo. I wonder if they were able to go hear her speak.

I love the photo of your meet up, too!

Sep 2, 2019, 11:19am Top

>110 brenzi: You and Beth have put Dear Mrs Bird on my wishlist. :)

Sep 2, 2019, 12:15pm Top

I'm with you on The Women of the Copper Country - currently listening on audio and really enjoying. Russell seems to hit the right notes no matter the genre. I've added Dear Mrs. Bird after hearing what you and Beth have to say. And I just finished Ask Again, Yes - not sure who recommended it (I have to keep better track of that. It was very good.

Sep 2, 2019, 9:17pm Top

>111 EBT1002: Hi there Ellen, actually the only people who got to hear RBG were the ones who work for the School of Law or are present students, alumni, or certain Buffalo attorneys. Select group apparently. Hope you enjoy Dear Mrs. Bird.

>112 NanaCC: We aim to please Colleen 🤭

>113 vivians: I finished it this morning Vivian and really think Russell is a master of historical fiction. Have you read A Thread Of Grace? Even though I loved her new one, AToG is still my favorite.

Sep 3, 2019, 10:57am Top

I agree with you regarding Dear Mrs. Bird. It is the perfect length and for a work of historical fiction it is well done. I listened to it and can also vouch for the recorded version. It was well done. The reader did a good job on that one.

Sep 3, 2019, 11:12am Top

>110 brenzi: I've got The Alice Network to fill that particular slot, but I'm glad you enjoyed the read. In spite of its predictability.

Sep 3, 2019, 5:54pm Top

>115 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, yes I'd never heard of Anna Popplewell but she is apparently a British actress and i thought she did an excellent job on the narration.

>116 richardderus: Hi Richard, yes im sure this kind of thing is covered by many books but I did enjoy this one.

Sep 3, 2019, 5:56pm Top


The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell has, once again, managed to mine (oops, pun) history and produce a spectacular story based on real historical incidents, this time in the northern Michigan peninsular where copper mining is the main way of life in the early 1900s. Anna Klobuchar Clemenc, a real historical figure, is a giant of a woman in more ways than one. Ridiculed as a child because of her size, she married the first man taller than her who came along. In Calamut, Michigan, if you’re a man, you work in the dark, dank, dangerous copper mines. Annie takes in the number of deaths and terrible injuries from working in the mine and, as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners, plays a large part in leading the miners to the strike in 1913.

The story is riveting and Russell gives us so much information on the condition in the mines at this time and forces us to face the incredible danger to the immigrants who did the bulk of the work. By juxtaposing that with the haughty, arrogant mine supervisor, my blood was ready to boil. But it also made me so proud of the hard working women who helped in so many ways, even in the midst of tragedy. And boy can Russell describe tragedy. Ghastly tragedy. Very highly recommended.

4.5 stars

Sep 3, 2019, 6:05pm Top

My little Mia is celebrating her fifth birthday today. On Thursday, she will start kindergarten. Those who knew me in 2014 when she was born may remember the difficult conditions surrounding her birth. Mia has been the light of my life and a beacon of hope since the early days of her life and continues to be a source of complete and total delight.

Sep 3, 2019, 6:13pm Top

Currently on audio and in a hardback book from my shelf:

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Yes even though I have Louise Penny's A Better Man waiting for me at the library, I'm really loving Larson's book, especially by mixing audio and reading. Coming on the heels of the Mitford book, it covers a time, 1930s Germany, that intersects with the time Unity and Diana were in Germany, whiling away their time with Hitler. They could actually pop up in this book too. That would be reading nirvana lol.I'll have to pick up the Penny on Thursday but in the meantime I'll keep enjoying this one.

Edited: Sep 3, 2019, 6:15pm Top

Great review of The Women of the Copper Country! Big Thumb! I am so glad we felt the same way about it, although I am really not surprised. B.A.G.

Mia is such a beauty! You must be one proud Grandma!

ETA- I was not crazy about In the Garden of Beasts, but a lesser book by Larson, is still worth your time.

Sep 3, 2019, 7:28pm Top

I love just about anything Mary Doria Russell writes Mark. So there's that lol.

And yes I'm a very proud grandma.

I think the Larson is resonating with me because I just finished the book about the Mitfords and there are connections to be made.

Sep 3, 2019, 8:00pm Top

>119 brenzi: It's a sweetly bitter day. Sending hugs.

Sep 3, 2019, 8:38pm Top

Thanks so much Richard.

Edited: Sep 3, 2019, 9:01pm Top

>118 brenzi: I looked at a copy of The Women of the Copper Country in Malaprop's bookshop (Asheville, NC) today and resisted. Traveling makes it easier to resist hardcover editions but I really want to read it!

Edited: Sep 3, 2019, 10:12pm Top

>119 brenzi: Hugs to you Bonnie.

Sep 4, 2019, 8:13am Top

Nice review of the new MDR, Bonnie. I’m looking forward to that one.

Sep 4, 2019, 9:01am Top

>119 brenzi: I do remember your terrible 2014 well (hard to believe it's been five years!) and I'm so glad things have moved on for you. Mia is lovely and matches her dolls. So sweet.

I also found In the Garden of Beasts interesting and worthwhile. I think I read the Mitford bio (and some of their works) after I read it though. I think you did it the right way because I can imagine you found a lot to draw from in their books as you read it.

I have The Women of Copper Country and the new Louise Penny staring at me from across the room and I really would love to dive into them but I'm trying hard to read as many old(er) CLSC books while I'm here where they are available in the library and (so far) I'm doing pretty well with that. I also want to get to Educated and a few others that are leering at me from the same pile.

Hugs to you and happy birthday to Mia.

Sep 4, 2019, 9:39am Top

I also recall Mia's bittersweet arrival, Bonnie. And I'm so glad she's made things more sweet than otherwise for you.

Sep 4, 2019, 2:44pm Top

Hi Bonnie, lots to catch up on here.

>26 brenzi: Loved the meetup picture…wish I could have been there! That comment and your visit reminds me that I recently read Wish You Were Here which had lots of details about Chautauqua.

>82 brenzi: Beautiful family picture. I'm not surprised to know that your daughter has such an important job. I wish you could have gotten a picture of both you and her with RGB.

>119 brenzi: I too remember the circumstances of Mia's birth. She is a beautiful little girl and I'm sure Grandpa is looking down on her with much love. I can't wait to hear the stories about Kindergarten. My Hope (in CO) started K this year and is loving it.

Sep 4, 2019, 6:42pm Top

>125 EBT1002: You really do want to read it Ellen. Really.

>126 NanaCC: Thanks Colleen.

>127 lauralkeet: I'm pretty sure you would enjoy it Laura.

>128 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks so much Reba. I admire your determination to read the CLSC books and your ability to resist those newer books that always seem to be calling. I'm just holding my breath hoping to hear Unity Mitford's name mentioned in the Larson book book so far nothing although lots of other familiar names and events.

>129 katiekrug: Thanks so much Katie. Her presence has been such a gift.

>130 Donna828: Hi Donna, you've done lots of meet ups I know but the question, is when are you and I going to meet? Hmmmm.

Wish You Were Here is sitting on my shelf so I hope to get to it sometime in the near future.

Mia is very excited for her first day in kindergarten tomorrow. I hope the excitement doesn't dies out too soon lol. I always tell her she has an angel watching over her every day😇

Sep 5, 2019, 1:41am Top

Somehow my eyes missed your post about Mia's birthday. Like others have said, I remember that time well and am reminded of it every time you post pictures of your grands. It's such a blessing, she came at just the right time.

Sep 5, 2019, 10:14am Top

Hoping Mia's first day is a big success (and looking forward to the photos :) ).

Sep 5, 2019, 7:30pm Top

>132 lauralkeet: Yep she was a tremendous gift for me Laura.

>133 RebaRelishesReading: She loved it Reba.

Cole lent a hand with her sign lol.

Edited: Sep 11, 2019, 7:13pm Top


A Better Man by Louise Penny


Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 8:05pm Top

Oh my, the photos of Mia heading off for her first day of school are so delightful! I also love Cole helping with the sign. :-) He's pretty cute his own self.

Okay, The Women of Copper Country is firmly on my wishlist.

Edited: Sep 7, 2019, 8:35pm Top


In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

This is a biography really of a man who just happened to fumble his way into the ambassadorship to Germany in 1933. He didn’t want to be there, nobody in the State Dept. thought he was doing a very good job, and, coincidentally, neither did Hitler nor his henchman. Rather, William E. Dodd wished to be home in North Carolina, working on his epic history of the South. But Roosevelt tapped him and he accepted the position and moved to Berlin with his wife and two grown children, Martha and Bill. Bill is a cypher but Martha, waiting for her divorce to finalize, utilizes her position to attract several men in the German hierarchy, as well as a Russian, and solidifies her reputation as a harlot with the Germans she comes in contact with.

Conditions in Germany deteriorate over the next four years as Hitler rises and the march toward war and the total elimination of the Jewish population continues. Hitler eventually decides certain men in the upper ranks are plotting against him and the purge is on. It became known as The Night of the Long Knives, where several hundred (no firm number known) people were slaughtered by Hitler’s men. Dodd, who had failed to actually speak up about “the Jewish problem” in all this time knows that he can no longer hold his tongue. The enemies he’s made in the State Department want him gone though and manage to oust him.

I really enjoyed the audio along with the book I had on my shelf. The combination worked really well. I was already in the right frame of mind for the Nazi tales as this book came on the heels of The Mitford Sisters. I kept waiting for Unity or Dianna to pop up at one of the many social events described in the book but sadly, they never did. Still, the book was very informative and detailed how the goings on in the 1930s led to war and the Holocaust. The German society, who could certainly see what was happening, didn’t seem to know how to react. And it’s unfortunate that we had such a weak ambassador, who did little to get the information out. Great stuff. Highly recommended.

Four stars

Sep 5, 2019, 8:33pm Top

>136 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, Cole's a sweetie pie. I'm so proud of them both. I hope you like The Women Of The Copper Country. You almost can't go wrong with MDR if you like historical fiction.

Sep 5, 2019, 8:34pm Top

I'm not a huge tennis fan but I do love my Serena time and she just dismantled her semi final opponent. What a match!

Sep 5, 2019, 9:54pm Top

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 10:06pm Top

I started reading Zookeeper's Wife for my real life book discussion group. We meet on Sunday and I doubt that I will be finished with the book by then. I am not sure that I want to read another WWII book right now, but I will make a gallant effort. The next book for this group is Daughters of Mars a WWI book. This is my first Ackerman book and I am not that impressed by the writing. It seems very awkward and ameturish, but I I'll keep reading and see what I end up thinking. The book was quite popular back in the day and so it has to improve. Doesn't it? (I keep saying that about The Goldfinch but so far that one hasn't gotten any better and I am 400 pages into it.)

I also started Travels With Herodotus and can easily see why this book is so popular. The writing is very good and English isn't the authors first language.

It is interesting that both of the books I am reading have a Polish guy named Ryszard in it.

Sep 6, 2019, 1:52pm Top

Great first day of school photo! I wonder if Cole will be missing his big sister all day.

I'm in the middle of both A Better Man and The Women of the Copper Country and enjoying both.

>71 brenzi: That era seems so far removed from us and yet my mother, who was born in '25 in Dusseldorf and whose father was an officer in the German army in WWI, talks about how her memories of that time seem much more vivid now given the situation we face in the US today. Such frightening silence by so many powerful people.

Sep 6, 2019, 3:37pm Top

OK, I'm going to have to take a break from CLSC before long and read some of the current things that are really beckoning to me -- like A Better Man, The Women of the Copper country. Educated, and Chances Are.... My self-control is pretty much used up and you all aren't helping a bit :)

Thanks for the photos Bonnie. Is she loving it?

Sep 6, 2019, 6:37pm Top

>140 EBT1002: Ellen I'm just hoping she manages to win the final but it's going to be tough. I know Billie Jean King said she'd rather see her break Margaret Court's record at the Australian Open but it would sweet to see her break it at here at home.

>141 benitastrnad: The Zookeeper's Wife was a DNF for me Benita. I can't remember why as it was quite a few years ago. But I really loved The Daughters Of Mars. That was a Suzanne recommendation at the time. The Goldfinch has been languishing on my Kindle since it came out whenever that was. Bad reviews turned me off. Plus it's really long. I don't mind long if the book is phenomenal but not for this one.

>142 vivians: He didn't seem to miss her much today Vivian. Way too busy running me ragged lol. It's mind boggling how so many people who could make a difference choose to ignore the outrageous stuff that's going on in this country. And it's chilling to read about Hitler in the 30s and draw connections.

>143 RebaRelishesReading: So far she seems to love kindergarten Reba. Self control is overrated. Read whatever makes you happy. I'm in a really good place lately reading a mix of old and new books.

Sep 6, 2019, 6:57pm Top

>135 brenzi: I LOVED Only Killers and Thieves! I do not think I warbled loud enough about that one. I hope you remedy that.

Happy Friday, Bonnie. Good review of In the Garden of Beasts. Thumb! I think The Goldfinch is worth diving into. The good, easily out-weighs the not-so-good, IMHO.

Edited: Sep 6, 2019, 7:03pm Top

>145 msf59: I know you loved Only Killers and Thieves Mark. How do you think it landed on my Overdrive list? Lol.

Oh boy now you have to start warbling about The Goldfinch which I had pretty much written off. Hmmmmm.

Oh and thanks for the thumb.

Sep 6, 2019, 7:07pm Top

Some of the writing in The Goldfinch is mesmerizing. It hits a few lulls, so not perfect, but I found it quite satisfying.

Edited: Sep 6, 2019, 7:52pm Top

Mia is a sweetie, Bonnie. And how fast they grow up!

Great comments on The Women of Copper Country. I haven't read anything by MDR yet but hope to soon.

I'm glad you liked Dear Mrs. Bird.

Sep 7, 2019, 7:16am Top

Love the Mia and Cole pics, Bonnie!

Sep 7, 2019, 9:14am Top

P.S. I hated Goldfinch from start to finish.

Sep 7, 2019, 4:08pm Top

I’ll try to give you a little push to try The Goldfinch, Bonnie. I enjoyed it. As Mark says, it isn’t perfect, but quite satisfying.

Edited: Sep 7, 2019, 8:23pm Top

I just couldn’t get past my apathy about the main character. He is lazy and blames everybody else for his bad choices. I thought that after a 3 year hiatus on reading the novel might improve my view of it. I managed to read about 20 pages on this second go, and now the book is buried under a different stack of books I wat to read.

The first football game of the season is now over and it was played in 97 degree heat! It is now evening and I am sitting on the patio at Starbucks with a cold coffee. There is now an evening breeze. They should have just been starting the game instead of ending it.

Sep 7, 2019, 8:55pm Top

>147 msf59: Grrrrrr more warbling. My determination is sinking Mark.

>148 BLBera: They sure do grow up fast Beth. It's a cliche, but it's so true. If you haven't read any MDR yet my favorite still remains A Thread Of Grace but they're all so good you could choose any of them and be very happy.

>149 jnwelch: Thanks Joe.

>150 RebaRelishesReading: Gah! Reba how did you keep going for 800+ pages?

>151 NanaCC: Omg how am I going to decide now Colleen. Is there a more divisive novel?

>152 benitastrnad: burying it sounds like a good idea Benita. At least for awhile. Or years.

97 degree heat? Good Lord. It didn't get out of the 60s here today. Now that's football weather!

Sep 7, 2019, 11:03pm Top

Bonnie, I am in your camp on The Goldfinch, I think. I want to read it but there are just enough mixed reviews to give me pause, especially for such a chunkster. People whose book recommendations I trust are standing firmly on opposite sides of the fence. Very unusual.

Sep 8, 2019, 1:16pm Top

>154 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, you're right of course. When I pick up a real chunkster it's because I'm pretty confident that it's going to be very good, even amazing. There are huge question marks for this one and it's very unusual to see so many readers disagreeing. And now the movie is about to come out......

Sep 10, 2019, 7:13pm Top


A Better Man by Louise Penny

Well, Louise Penny has done it again. She is just so consistently good that I keep waiting for the next entry in the series with great anticipation every year at this time. What’s not to like? Suspense, Three Pines, the Bistro, the characters that I’ve come to love, the homey feeling she seemingly creates with such ease, and the food. Oh the food always sounds so good.

A woman is missing. She has a friend in the Surete who pushes for an investigation even though there is an emergency situation caused by flooding in the area. Soon, Gamache (who has been demoted following the events in the previous book), Beauvoir (who will soon be leaving to live in Paris. But will he really??), and Isabel Lacoste are investigating the woman’s disappearance. Suspense builds just as you would expect. Several suspects but one stands out.

All good stuff. I still have my usual complaints about Penny’s horribly unsatisfactory sentence structure (read: sentence fragments, choppy construction, lousy punctuation, etc.) but I find I can just ignore it here where if I saw it in other boos I’d be appalled. Oh well, a very satisfying mystery at any rate.

4.2 stars

Sep 10, 2019, 7:26pm Top

I'll finish my current audio book tomorrow and it has been outstanding. So good that I got the Kindle edition so that I could read both and have been just gulping it down. Thanks Mark. That would be this book:

Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Once I finish that I will move on to this audio:

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

And on my Kindle is a book that's been languishing there for a long time:

Burmese Days by George Orwell

Sep 11, 2019, 7:23am Top

>156 brenzi: I’m still number 5 in line at the library for A Better Man, Bonnie. I’ve been there since just before the holiday weekend. Other than seeing that you liked it, I didn’t read any further in your review. Waiting...waiting...waiting...

Sep 11, 2019, 7:55am Top

>156 brenzi: Like Colleen, I skipped past your review although I read the first sentence to get your overall impression. I'm #1 at my library but this is the part of their process that I don't understand, because it always seems to take forever to go from #1 to book ready for pickup. Soon I hope!

Sep 11, 2019, 7:12pm Top

>158 NanaCC: Well I somehow ended up being #1 on the request list for A Better Man Colleen. No idea how that happened but.....I hope your copy comes in soon.

>159 lauralkeet: I got the notice that the book could be picked up on the day it was published so obviously they had it for sometime before that Laura. The processing usually takes awhile from my experience but books that are in great demand are usually processed very quickly at my library anyway. I hope it shows up soon.

Sep 11, 2019, 7:28pm Top

*delicate nudge towards The Goldfinch as a worthwhile read*

Happy Humpday, and a rousing YAY for Only Thieves and Killers! Or whatever. Glad it was so good.

Edited: Sep 11, 2019, 7:53pm Top


Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

"History is forgetting. Afterward we write the account, the account becomes truth, and we tell ourselves it has always been this way, that others were responsible, that there was nothing we could have done."

Central Queensland, Australia, 1885

Billy and Tommy McBride are teenagers, nearly men, who live in the unforgiving Australian bush with their parents. The drought has devastated their family farm and the worries about how they will survive is consuming them all. As the boys are out hunting any kind of animal that can provide their family with a meal, they witness a horrific murder of a native by the man who pretty much controls the entire district. Although they are sworn to secrecy in exchange for their lives, events turn ugly and brutal in no time at all.

I had never heard of Paul Howarth, but I will follow him to the ends of the earth. A tremendously skilled writer with the ability to take terrible events and the treatment of the native population in Australia and write one of the most moving narratives I've ever read. My heart went out to these boys who were forced to grow up overnight and end up taking very different paths. Make no mistake, this is absolutely brutal stuff and the ultimate revenge novel, but so incredibly well done that I was holding my breath as I listened to the wonderful audio rendition by David Linski. The evil characters are incredibly evil and the good characters are incredibly good. The ending makes perfect sense but tore my heart out. Fabulous read.

I have to really thank Mark for the recommendation for this book way back earlier this year.

5 stars

Sep 12, 2019, 7:23am Top

>162 brenzi: you got me with this one. It's hard to pass up a 5-star book. My library has it, hurray.

Sep 12, 2019, 8:12am Top

Hi Bonnie and happy new thread.

Bit of catch up here from your previous thread.

Pass on Beartown. I’ve said over the years that I’m glad I had a daughter instead of a son so I wouldn’t be the Bad Guy when I refused to let this hypothetical boy child play Pop Warner football. I really liked A Man Called Ove but haven’t felt the urge to read anything else written by Backman although I have two others on my shelves.

I loved Where the Crawdads Sing. That article is eye-opening and certainly not at all complimentary about Owens or WtCS. Thanks for sharing.

I’ve now read all three books published by Harper, and you’re right – the main character is the land. I think I liked The Lost Man best of all because like you I was shocked at the ending. It was totally unexpected. I can’t find any hint of a new book by her, but sure hope she’s writing like crazy.

I have The Body Lies requested from my library. Can’t wait to get it. And, I’ve also just requested Furious Hours.

>26 brenzi: Excellent meet up photo, thanks for sharing.

>71 brenzi: I loved Magpie Murders and really need to start this series.

>81 brenzi: Lovely photo of your daughter/family. And way cool about RBG. Congrats to your daughter and a high five to the proud Mom.

>93 brenzi: My friend Rhoda has loaned her copy of Louise Penny’s new one to me, with the caveat that I finish it before the Friends of the Library sale so she can donate it. The pressure’s on. >156 brenzi: Your usual complaints are mine too: - : sentence fragments, choppy construction, lousy punctuation, etc. which is why I’ve stopped buying her books even though I'll read them when the opportunity presents itself.

>119 brenzi: A belated happy birthday to Mia and >134 brenzi: Sweet pics. She looks so tiny next to the bus!

Sep 12, 2019, 10:42am Top

I am so far behind on my reading! I have way too many books in the queue and there are deadlines coming up. I liked your review of Only Killers and Thieves however, my threshold for tolerating violence has become less and less over the years. I have a copy of The Son by Philipp Meyer and I have hesitated on reading it, simply because I am not sure I can take the violence. I did manage to read Zookeeper's Wife this last week and I also listened to Salt to the Sea. I feel a sense of accomplishment as I have a hard time reading about the Holocaust and war stories. I simply can't take the violence in them. I know that limits my reading and fear that I am turning into a person who doesn't want to face the horrors of real life, either in my reading or my life. At one time, I confess, I thought little of people who read only Harlequin and Regency romances. As I get older, I think have a better understanding of why. I wonder if it is because the reading becomes too realistic for me and become emotionally involved in the stories and with the characters.

The weather down here has been just miserable. It has been almost 100 every day for a week now. We are not setting record highs, but we are approaching setting a record for number of days in September above 95. 96 was has been the lowest daytime temperature so far. I was at Sharon's house on Tuesday night and she said that she wished that she could have stayed in New York for the month of September because she is just miserable. So am I. I want it to be fall.

Oh well! I am glad that you enjoyed the book - I am enjoying reading Travels With Herodotus at the moment and trying to get through the first part of the semester. I have taught library instruction classes everyday this week and have one this afternoon. I can't complain about the professors not keeping me busy this semester!

Sep 12, 2019, 3:04pm Top

>153 brenzi:. I made myself because it got the Pulitzer and I was determined to read them all. Glad you liked the new Penny. I’ll probably give in and read it when I get home.

Sep 12, 2019, 5:20pm Top

Great review of Only Killers, Bonnie. Big Thumb! I am so glad you loved it as much as you did and loved the audio, as well. I read it in print.

Speaking of outstanding audios, I just finished Beloved narrated by Morrison and it might be one of the best I have ever heard. This could qualify as the Great American Novel. WOW!

Sep 12, 2019, 5:39pm Top

>150 RebaRelishesReading:
I haven't read a word in the Goldfinch in weeks and don't plan on ruining my free time with reading it anytime soon.

Edited: Sep 12, 2019, 6:43pm Top

>161 richardderus: oh boy another nudge towards The Goldfinch. Thanks Richard.

>163 lauralkeet: Well I'm not sure you'll like it as much as I did Laura. I hope you do but it's pretty dark. Of course that's my wheelhouse lol.

>164 karenmarie: haha we sound like we're on the same page Karen except I do have a son and I didn't let him play Pop Warner or high school football. Fortunately I had the full support of my hubby.
I probably won't read anything more by Backman.

Louise Penny is an interesting author. I would never tolerate the poor sentence structure, sentence fragments, etc. from another writer but somehow I give her a pass. I guess it's because I love the characters and Three Pines but you have to wonder where her editor is. Or if she even has one lol.

I love Anthony Horowitz's mysteries. He's become a real favorite. And I love how he brings up references to Foyles War which I absolutely loved and would be rewatching if it was still on Netflix.

Thanks for your sweet comments about my Mia and her family.

Sep 12, 2019, 7:00pm Top

>165 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, I read The Son a few years ago and it was extremely violent, I must admit. I usually can manage to read books that have violence as long as it's not gratuitous. Only Killers and Thieves was so well done and covered the genocide of the native population in Queensland. It happened. Its historically accurate and I seem to gravitate toward that type of book. Love love love historical fiction.

Your weather sounds absolutely awful. We're going to be in the upper 70s and low 80s for the next couple of weeks which is above normal but I think Sharon (and you) would be grateful for it. I love fall. Yay for sweater weather!

I'm listening to my second book for the non fiction thread, A Woman of No Importance and it's very good early on.

>166 RebaRelishesReading: You've got a lot more determination than I do Reba, I'll give you that. I think you'll love A Better Man.

>167 msf59:. Hi Mark and thanks again for your warbling and for the thumb. I read Beloved eons ago and loved it but I wouldn't be averse to giving the audio a go.

Sep 12, 2019, 9:43pm Top

I watched a movie years ago about the treatment of the Aborigines. I think it was called “Rabbit Fence.” A fence (or wall) was built across Western Australia to keep the rabbits from destroying pastureland. It also served as the boundary line between Aborigines and others. The story was about two sisters who in the 1920’s were forcibly patriated to schools to learn to be “white.” They escaped and tried to get back to their families on the other side of the fence. I remember it being hearatbreaking to watch. (It also sounds to familiar - does history repeat itself?)

Sep 12, 2019, 9:46pm Top

The title of that movie was “Rabbit Proof Fence.” There is a Wikipedia entry on it but I can’t get the link to move over here. I will try tomorrow when I am at my PC.

Sep 13, 2019, 10:07am Top

I have Only Killers and Thieves on my Kindle, thanks to Mark's warbling about it. I'll make a note to give it a try sooner rather than later. Great review!

Sep 13, 2019, 6:47pm Top

>171 benitastrnad: >172 benitastrnad: Oh I saw that movie too Benita. It was very well done but absolutely gut wrenching. And yes it all sounds horrifyingly familiar to what's going on today.

>173 katiekrug: oh I hope you like it as much as I did Katie. I can't stop thinking about it.

Sep 15, 2019, 11:23am Top

Bonnie - I just finished A Better Man and agree it was a good story. I also agree about the fragments. Her books would be so much better if she limited them. I wish her editor would help her.

I loved A Woman of No Importance.

Sep 15, 2019, 7:16pm Top

Hi Beth, yes Penny's sentence fragments and poor usage have long been a complaint of mine but so far I've tolerated it because I love her characters and the setting.

I'm enjoying A Woman of No Importance.....a lot.

Sep 15, 2019, 7:16pm Top


Burmese Days by George Orwell

”Time passed, and each year Flory found himself less at home in the world of the sahibs, more liable to get into trouble when he talked seriously on any subject whatever. So he had learned to live inwardly, secretly, in books and secret thoughts that could not be uttered. Even his talks with the doctor were kind of talking to himself; for the doctor, a good man, understood little of what was said to him. But it is a corrupting thing to live one’s real life in secret. One should live with the stream of life, not against it.” (Page 78)

This was Orwell’s first novel although that wasn’t apparent to me. While it didn’t have any of the otherworldly elements of his most well-known works, it was very well written and very enjoyable and at the same time maddening, as it contained all the elements usually found in works that attempt to describe life under British imperialism in India and, in this case, 1920s Burma where Orwell was stationed. He drew from his experiences to write this novel.

The bleakness that is evident in his dystopian novels is evident here as well. The blatant racism is shocking but apparently very common among those English stationed in the colonies at the time. There are no holds barred so be prepared for deplorable language in describing how the English spoke of and treated the natives.

John Flory is the exception. He’s never gone home in the fifteen or so years that he’s been stationed here, working for a lumber company. He enjoys the land and its people and his outspokenness, especially at the English club gets him in constant frays with the rest of the English. His closest friend is a native doctor. Flory is a vehicle for Orwell to express his disdain for the English Imperialism in its dying days. Flory’s loneliness and hopelessness seems about to be assuaged when a niece of one of the other Englishmen comes to live with him and Flory hopes for someone to talk to and share some of his life with. He makes feeble attempts to convince her of the wonderful qualities of Burmese life but she is a stalwart racist who can’t tolerate the native population. You know this relationship isn’t going to work and poor Flory is going to lose out in the end. And of course, he does.

I’ve read quite a few books about the British colonialism in the East but this book I have to say, is the most brutal depiction of life in the east. I still need to read A Passage to India which may offer a different perspective but I doubt it. This was quite brilliant. I’ll read more of Orwell’s early works.

4.2 stars

Sep 15, 2019, 7:25pm Top

Next up:

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson

This book, like Burmese Days has been languishing on my Kindle forever, so I'm happy to be reading it. Someone, whose name begins with Colleen, pushed me to add the other four books from the series, which are presently fairly cheap on Amazon.

Sep 15, 2019, 9:10pm Top

>178 brenzi: ;-) I hope you enjoy it.

Sep 16, 2019, 8:58pm Top

I certainly am Colleen😀

Sep 17, 2019, 12:34pm Top

>178 brenzi:
OK. So I was curious and looked this title up. It appears to me that this is an audio book? Correct? I can't seem to find a hardcopy of the book. I looked up the publisher. Every place I looked I find the following. Mrs Tim of the Regiment is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers. It does appear that there is a paperback of this book available, but now I am wondering what the heck is an "early twentieth-century library of books chosen by readers for readers?"

I did add the title to my wishlist.

Sep 17, 2019, 8:57pm Top

>181 benitastrnad: it's not an audio book Benita. It's an eBook that I downloaded onto my Kindle. The four book series is pretty cheap on Amazon right now. I'm not sure when it was last published as a hard copy. I'd describe it as a comfort read, kind of fluffy but really charming and I'm really enjoying it as a respite from my usual dark themes. I have a couple other of the Bloomsbury Group books including Miss Hargreaves and The Brontes Went to Woolworth's. The one I'm reading is set in the thirties in Great Britain/Scotland.

Sep 18, 2019, 7:39am Top

Hi Bonnie!

>71 brenzi: I found a perfect trade paperback copy of The Word is Murder yesterday at the thrift shop yesterday, so can finally start the series.

Sep 18, 2019, 6:34pm Top

Hi Karen, I hope you enjoy it. Anthony Horowitz is a real favorite of mine.

Sep 19, 2019, 6:43pm Top

>182 brenzi:
I looked both of the titles you listed in Amazon and found that they were paperbacks. Yeah! I also found the Bronte's Went to Woolworth's in our library. I added both of them to my growing list of titles to read.

I also like to read lighthearted fare from time-to-time. Sometimes they are just fun to read. I have the Miss Buncle's books on my shelves and have them just for that reason.

Sep 19, 2019, 8:27pm Top

>185 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, has your weather cooled off yet? Today was an absolutely beautiful day here. 75-80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and more importantly no wind. It's been so windy all summer but today was absolutely perfect. I rode my bike on the bike path along the Niagara River. Heavenly!

I like to have some light books available too. There's always a time when life gets to be too much (like every damn day with this president) and a fluffy read goes a long way. I have Miss Buncle's Book on my Kindle and one of these days it will undoubtedly be the perfect read.

Sep 19, 2019, 9:47pm Top

Oh, Mrs. Tim of the Regiment gets to be #75! How fun.


Sep 22, 2019, 12:18am Top

>162 brenzi: What a great review of Only Killers and Thieves. You definitely got me with that one!

Sep 22, 2019, 1:04pm Top

>187 richardderus: Yay Richard, absolutely right!

>188 EBT1002: Credit Mark too Ellen. Such a great book.

Edited: Sep 22, 2019, 7:06pm Top


Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson

Absolutely delightful! I laughed out loud several times at the antics that took place in this light-hearted novel of life as a military man’s wife between the wars in Great Britain. When Hester Christie receives a journal for her birthday from her husband Tim she keeps the daily missive up to date with detailed entries which serve as the novel’s basis and open her life to the reader’s scrutiny.

The characters are extremely well drawn but Hester is the star here and her wise and witty pronouncements are what is important. Here, where she describes the terribly annoying Mrs. McTurk, I laughed out loud:

”Her voice is admirably suited for conversation in a railway train, its strident note can be heard with ease. Bridges leap at us with a roar, mountains peer in at the window and vanish, but above all these earsplitting noises come the strident voice in futile discourse.” (Page 170)

But Hester is not above listening to the wise Mrs. Louden:

”It’s a queer thing to me that women are always craiking for sons---it’s the daughters who stay with you and remain your own, even if they marry. It’s the daughters who lighten the darkness when you’re left alone to sit by the fire, and the days draw in, and the night gets longer and sneller, and the light has gone out of your life.” (Page 127)

Couldn’t agree with you more Mrs. Louden.

3.9 stars

Edited: Dec 8, 2019, 9:49pm Top

#76. A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

”If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

Mrs. Thatcher may have had Virginia Hall in mind when she made this statement. It certainly applies, even if her male supervisors seldom wanted to give her the credit she deserved.

Born into a well-to-do American family she attended Radcliffe and Barnard colleges, then went to study in Paris and fell in love with France. She really wanted to be an ambassador which was nearly unheard of at the time, but accepted clerical positions at the U.S consulate in Turkey. It was in Turkey, while snipe hunting that she actually shot herself in the foot. Gangrene set in and the leg had to be amputated. She was fitted with a prosthesis which she fondly referred to as Cuthbert and didn’t let it get in the way of what she really wanted to do which was spy for the British government (SOE) for the benefit of her adored France. She was an incredible secret agent and the tale of her exploits on behalf of the Resistance offers up an inconceivable story. The high point for me was the segment where she led a group over the Pyrenees in the dead of winter, dragging her prosthetic leg, as they escaped from the Germans who were hot on her trail.

She was an amazing woman, who had no desire for recognition, just wanted to do her job. She eventually went on to work for the CIA but was dissatisfied with a desk job. She was meant for high adventure. She craved it. It’s unfortunate that women, regardless of their accomplishments, have to work so much harder than men to prove themselves. Virginia Hall is to be greatly admired.

4.5 stars

Edited: Sep 22, 2019, 1:22pm Top


Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Abusive father and husband drags wife and daughter on archeological expedition with a local professor. Three university students are along for the trip and the young woman among them guesses pretty quickly just how dreadful this father is. At the end, when he subjects his daughter to a ritual that is obviously harmful to her, the young college woman gets away and notifies the police who come and arrest him.

I honestly don’t know what else to say about this novel. It was very well written, and, thankfully, short because the abuse is palpable as this man lives his dream life of existing during Britain’s Iron Age while caring little for the welfare of those around him. I’m left with an icky feeling.

Sep 22, 2019, 1:13pm Top


A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

And on audio:

Our House by Louise Candlish

Edited: Sep 22, 2019, 3:08pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie. Good review of Burmese Days. I NEED to read more Orwell. Also good review of A Woman of No Importance. Thumbs, and both are now on my list.

Hooray for A Moveable Feast. I loved that one.

Sep 22, 2019, 3:14pm Top

>190 brenzi: I’m really glad you enjoyed Mrs Tim, Bonnie. D. E. Stevenson is just what I need when I need something light and humorous.

>191 brenzi: A Woman of No Importance sounds very good. I’m adding to my wishlist.

I picked up A Moveable Feast when I was at my local bookstore the other day. I’ll look forward to your review. I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to it.

Sep 22, 2019, 5:52pm Top

Mrs. Tim sounds like a really fun read, I might have to get myself a copy. I understand your "icky" feelings about Ghost Wall. It was a good read but very creepy.

I read A Moveable Feast recently and was surprised how much I liked it. If you haven't read The Paris Wife, I strongly recommend it as a companion read, from the woman's (Hadley Richardson's) perspective.

Sep 22, 2019, 6:56pm Top

>194 msf59: Hi there Mark, I really loved Burmese Days. I wanted to read it now because I intend to read the new biography of George Orwell's 1984 which I reread in 2016 when the likelihood of a Trump presidency became likely. It's called The Ministry Of Truth. I think you'll enjoy A Woman of No Importance.

>195 NanaCC: Hi Colleen and thanks for getting me to pick up Mrs. Tim Of the Regiment. Just charming. I listened to A Woman of No Importance and it worked very well on audio.

>196 lauralkeet: I was seething with hatred for the father in Ghost Wall Laura so I guess Moss achieved her objective there, if that's what it was.

Uh....excuse me but where do you suppose I got the idea of reading A Moveable Feast followed by The Paris Wife? I wonder where that came from?? Hmmmmm......

Edited: Sep 22, 2019, 7:16pm Top

>190 brenzi:

Sep 22, 2019, 8:01pm Top

>197 brenzi: Okay then. I'm glad you were paying attention LOL.

Sep 22, 2019, 8:17pm Top

Congrats on reaching 75, Bonnie. Nice comments on Mrs. Tim. I'll have to move it up on my list. I also loved A Woman of No Importance - what a remarkable person.

Moss can write, can't she?

Sep 22, 2019, 10:08pm Top


Sep 23, 2019, 2:38am Top


Sep 23, 2019, 7:04am Top

Congrats on 75, Bonnie, and Mrs. Tim of the Regiment is now on my wish list.

Sep 23, 2019, 4:36pm Top

>190 brenzi: Congratulations on reaching 75, Bonnie!

Sep 23, 2019, 4:38pm Top


Sep 23, 2019, 5:35pm Top

Congratulations on 75 Bonnie! Moveable Feast coupled by The Paris Wife is perfect. I liked them both but still wonder how that group lived past thirty with the drinking, smoking, and other hard living they did constantly.

Sep 23, 2019, 7:36pm Top

>198 richardderus: Thanks Richard!

>199 lauralkeet: Of course I was paying attention Laura. I pay attention to all my LT friends especially the ones who seldom steer me wrong. 😉

>200 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Yes Moss is quite a writer but I don't think I could stomach another book in this vein. Enjoy Mrs. Tim when you get to it.

>201 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>202 SandDune: Thanks Rhian! Good to see you.

>203 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. Hope you enjoy the charming Mrs. Tim.

>204 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita.

>205 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita.

>206 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. That's the question isn't it? Hard living? Never pays off in the long run.

Sep 25, 2019, 8:55am Top

I loved the two Mrs. Tim books I read. I think they've made more available recently. There seems to be a bit of a D.E. Stevenson renaissance going on, with the fun Miss Buncle books and these.

Sep 27, 2019, 5:51pm Top

Congratulations, Bonnie!

Sep 29, 2019, 7:31pm Top

>208 jnwelch: All the Mrs. Tim books are available as eBooks Joe. I sure enjoyed the first one. Between these and my discovery of Georgette Heyer, my inner "light reads" happiness is being satisfied.

>209 Copperskye: Thanks Joanne!

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 8:12pm Top


A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

This is Hemingway’s memoir of his time in Paris in the 1920s with his first wife, Hadley. As Gertrude Stein says in the early pages of the book, “All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.” I couldn’t agree more. So much drinking and just lolling around and really not accomplishing much. Hemingway hopes to write a story that will give them enough money to subsist for the next few months in Paris, or skiing in Austria.
Very interesting to learn about the other well-known writers who were also living in Paris at the time including Ezra Pound, Scott (and Zelda) Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and others. Hemingway creates sketches of incidents that he remembers of that (he didn’t write the memoir until 1961). There was great emphasis on events involving the Fitzgeralds and it all made me think how hard it is to sit and crank out the written word, day in and day out. Being in this writer’s community allowed for lots of ideas to be exchanged but the level of alcoholism was just mind boggling. They would set aside money for alcohol and forgo food if necessary.

3.8 stars

I finished this book and immediately picked up one that has been on my shelf for a long time:


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This was a book of historical fiction set at the same time in Paris that Hemingway wrote about in his memoir, but told from his first wife Hadley’s point of view. I found this book very hard to get into for about the first half of the book but then I really enjoyed it. It mentioned the same literary characters as Hemingway did but also included the story of how Hadley lost her husband to a woman who basically pushed her way into their marriage and therefore destroyed it. She also pretty much described all the ways he was just an awful man and that had little to do with his faithfulness. He treated many of the people who helped him with sheer disdain once they no longer proved to be useful to him. Both books left me feeling like I was experiencing the Paris scene in the 1920s and that proved to be a real enjoyable experience.

Thanks to Laura for suggesting this pairing.

3.7 stars


Our House by Louise Candlish

Can you say suspense thriller extraordinaire??? I listened to this and it was just so compelling that I was gulping it down in huge, enormous swallows. Just so gripping.
It starts with a woman returning to her home after a few days away and finding someone else is moving in. All her furniture and belongings are gone. She can’t contact her husband because his phone has been turned off. There are so many twists and turns that I just couldn’t stop listening. I didn’t realize what this book was about before I started reading it so I was pretty much shocked as it all unfolded.

4 stars

Sep 29, 2019, 7:39pm Top

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

and on audio:

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Sep 29, 2019, 8:02pm Top

>211 brenzi: yay! I'm glad the pairing worked for you, Bonnie.

I'm picking up The Dutch House from the library tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it!

Sep 29, 2019, 8:21pm Top

Yes Laura it did work. I'm not sure why it took me awhile to get into The Paris Wife. I may have learned more about 1920s Paris from that book than the memoir.

I've had The Dutch House sitting on my Kindle since last Tuesday so I'm really ready for it. I hope it's as good as her last book Commonwealth which I absolutely loved.

Sep 30, 2019, 10:24am Top

My copy of The Dutch House arrived Saturday. I think I'll take it along on our trip next week. Louise Penny first, of course, since we'll be in her home town, but maybe The Dutch House next.

Sep 30, 2019, 10:27am Top

>214 brenzi: I really must read some Ann Patchett, Bonnie.

Sep 30, 2019, 6:18pm Top

>211 brenzi: I am glad you enjoyed the Hemingway pairing, Bonnie! I did the same thing and really enjoyed both.

I hope The Dutch House grabbed you as quickly as it did me! Not sure, it is as good as Commonwealth, but I still will give it 5 stars. She is really hitting her peak.

Sep 30, 2019, 7:21pm Top

>215 RebaRelishesReading: Sounds like you have your next two reads lined up Reba. Are you going to Montreal? I'm not sure where Penny's hometown is but I'm guessing that's it.

>216 PaulCranswick: Oh my yes Paul. You certainly do. She's one of my favorites although the less said about the ending of State Of Wonder the better.

>217 msf59: I'm already loving The Dutch House very much, Mark.

Oct 1, 2019, 7:48am Top

>218 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. Louise Penny was born in Toronto but lives in Knowlton now, which is where we plan to have lunch and look around a bit. We aren't going to Montreal. We've been there so decided to go to Ottawa instead.

Oct 2, 2019, 7:02pm Top

Oh ok I didn't realize she she was born in Toronto Reba. Have a good time.

Oct 3, 2019, 2:54pm Top

>220 brenzi: Thanks Bonnie. We'll try :)

Edited: Oct 3, 2019, 11:07pm Top

I saw on another thread that you are reading Out of Africa. Is there any connection to West With the Night and Straight on Till Morning in the selection of that book?

I didn’t have it on my reading list until after I read about Beryl Markham.

Oct 5, 2019, 4:52pm Top

>221 RebaRelishesReading: Im sure you will Reba.

>222 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, there is undoubtedly a connection to Beryl Markham because it was when I read West With the Night that I bought Out of Africa. But I was going to read it now because of the connection to Idina Sackville and the book The Bolter which I read earlier this year. Also it was mentioned by Hemingway in A Moveable Feast. However, as in the last time I tried to read it, I just could not get into it. So it's been shelved once again.

Oct 5, 2019, 4:53pm Top


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I love family sagas. This wasn’t that really. Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book. And it did tell the story of a family. But, how to say this, there wasn’t much of a plot so that made the character development the essence of the book. And the main character, Danny Conroy, tells the story of his life and that of his sister Maeve with ease. But it’s very hard to write as a person of another gender as Patchett does here and it’s a departure for her.

It’s really more of a story of a house, the eponymous Dutch House, located in the Pennsylvania countryside. Danny’s father, who was a real estate developer and builder, fell in love with the ornate house and bought it and presented it as a gift to his wife who, predictably, wanted no part of it. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t know too many wives who would be pleased to be presented with an expensive house for which they’ve had no input, a house that they were expected to hire servants for. I don’t want to get into too much detail but I will leave it at that because I’m starting to sound like I didn’t like the book and that’s not true. But I did like it more a few days ago when I finished it than I do now in retrospect. I certainly didn’t like it as well as her previous book, Commonwealth. But she certainly weaved together a lot of layers in this story and that made it very worthwhile. There was an episode towards the end where Danny committed the same fatal error as his father, which had me shaking my head and wondering if I was seeing things.>

4.2 stars


The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware and Narrated by Imogen Church

Holy freaking creepy suspense. Twists and turns galore. And I was kept guessing till almost the end. The narrative is a letter that Rowan Caine wrote to a prospective attorney as she sits in jail accused of being responsible for the death of a young child. She explains the situation whereby she obtained a position as a caregiver to the three children in a Scottish family. The exorbitant pay should’ve been a tip off, granted, but she decides to take the job, far from her native London. The children are a handful, to say the least, and on her first day on the job the parents inform her that they will be away on business for at least a week. They are architects and the house is a technological nightmare (or dream, depending on your point of view).

I can’t recommend the audio enough. Imogen Church was just excellent interpreting the different voices of the characters. Really outstanding. Perfect creepy read as we approach Halloween.

4.3 stars

Oct 5, 2019, 5:02pm Top


The Horseman by Tim Pears


The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

Edited: Oct 5, 2019, 5:26pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie. Good review of The Dutch House. Big Thumb! I thought the novel was nearly perfect, but I am glad you found plenty to admire.

Have a great time with The House of Broken Angels. The audio is excellent. Urrea is a joy to listen to.

Oct 5, 2019, 6:11pm Top

>226 msf59: Hmmmm did I miss a day here Mark? Isn't it still Saturday? Hahaha. I'm so happy I found audio books this year Mark. Why didn't you tell me what I was missing? Lol

Oct 5, 2019, 7:29pm Top

>224 brenzi: I just finished The Dutch House last night Bonnie! I love your review; I'm still pondering mine. I liked Commonwealth more also (it was a 5-star for me), but I enjoyed this one, just a little less. And I totally agree with your spoilery comment. I was like "what are you doing? have you learned nothing????"

Oct 5, 2019, 8:53pm Top

Ruth Ware has some seriously creepy, but good books. I haven’t read this one.

Oct 6, 2019, 1:46pm Top

>228 lauralkeet: Thanks Laura. Commonwealth was a five star read for me too. This one never approached that for me but I really did enjoy it. Have you read State Of Wonder? That one was really good until it wasn't. I had a real problem with a part of the ending that was absolutely preposterous. Patchett has a tendency to almost reach too far when she gets close to the ending.

>229 NanaCC: I highly recommend this one Colleen, especially the audio. I also like The Woman in Cabin 10.

Oct 6, 2019, 3:33pm Top

Well, when I finish here I'm going to start on The Dutch House -- hope I like it but I'm a bit doubtful now.

Oct 6, 2019, 3:47pm Top

B-b-but Reba. I gave it 4.2 stars so I did like it. I guess I expected a bit more. You'll like it I'm sure.

Oct 6, 2019, 3:59pm Top

Has anyone read The Book Of Ebenezer LePage by G.B. Edwards? I have to assume I purchased the pristine NYRB copy I own but I've never heard anything about it so I'm wondering if anyone here has read it. 4.27 average LT rating which is outstanding if you pay attention to that stuff and I do. It may be my next read when I finish what is shaping up to be a great read, The Horseman by Tim Pears, the first in his trilogy.

Oct 6, 2019, 4:13pm Top

>233 brenzi: Do not wait a single second more. Open the cover and begin your vertiginous voyage through the twentieth century with the memorably curmudgeonly Ebenezer who never met a slight he didn't cherish into a venomous, throbbing grudge.

Sounds like he's horrible, but somehow he's not. And Guernsey is a corking backdrop to any story!

Oct 6, 2019, 4:31pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie. I think I got it right this time. Yesterday, must have felt like a Sunday, since I took the day off. I am so glad you are enjoying audiobooks and finding time to listen to them. This will be one thing, I will worry about, once I retire.

Oct 6, 2019, 4:58pm Top

>234 richardderus: Well with a description like that Richard, I don't see how I could go wrong. Thanks so much. I was hoping someone would be familiar with it.

>235 msf59: I wouldn't worry Mark. I listen when I walk every day and when I drive just about anywhere. It all adds up. Oh and when I bike on the bike path, not in traffic.

Oct 6, 2019, 5:59pm Top

>230 brenzi: Patchett has a tendency to almost reach too far when she gets close to the ending.

That's a valid point, Bonnie. I liked State of Wonder but I also know what you're referring to there.

Oct 6, 2019, 7:29pm Top

>233 brenzi: I also have an unread copy of Ebenezer LePage, Bonnie, and know I heard about it on LT (probably Richard!). I’ll be interested in your thoughts when you get to it!

Oct 6, 2019, 9:20pm Top

>237 lauralkeet: I'll say one thing Laura. I've loved her essay collections The Story Of a Happy Marriage and Truth and Beauty and would love to see another collection published.

>238 Copperskye: Hi there Joanne, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes but I'm thinking I'll enjoy it although I do wish the print was bigger on my copy.

Oct 6, 2019, 10:43pm Top

>225 brenzi: Both your current reads look like they would appeal to me, Bonnie. I have books by both authors on the shelves and will look out for your comments.

Oct 7, 2019, 6:45am Top

>239 brenzi: I really liked both of those too, Bonnie.

Oct 7, 2019, 7:33pm Top

>240 PaulCranswick: I've already finished The Horseman and will be happy to go on to the second book in the trilogy because I found the soft sell that Pears employed really appealed to me Paul.

>241 lauralkeet: Of course you did Laura 😏

Oct 8, 2019, 1:17pm Top

>225 brenzi: So glad to see you're reading Tim Pears and hope you're enjoying! I just finished the last book in the trilogy and loved it (although I think the first is still my favorite).

I'm almost done with the audio of The Dutch House and remain firmly in the ranks of Ann Patchett admirers!

Oct 9, 2019, 9:02pm Top

>243 vivians: I ended up loving The Horseman Vivian but it took a while to get into. And I can't figure out why I ended up liking it so much. I mean it mostly told about the every day drudgery of farm life in 1911 Western England except for a few encounters between Leo and Charlotte. It should've been boring as hell. And it was....in the beginning. And then it wasn't. And then I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Needless to say I've got the second book in the trilogy coming from my library. For some reason only the first and the third are available as eBooks.🤷‍♀️

Oct 9, 2019, 10:12pm Top

I'm a Patchett fan as well, Bonnie, and am looking forward to her new one. I just started The Testaments, which has drawn me in from the first page.

Oct 10, 2019, 12:20am Top

Hi Bonnie. I'm really looking forward to reading The Dutch House even though Commonwealth left me cold. It was but a 2.5 star read for me. I loved Bel Canto and almost loved State of Wonder. So we'll see how I like this latest.

I hope you enjoy House of Broken Angels!

Oh, and a belated congratulations on reaching number 75 with lots of weeks to spare!

Oct 10, 2019, 1:40am Top

Hopelessly behind on the threads, but starting fresh from here. Hi! : )

Oct 10, 2019, 12:43pm Top

>244 brenzi:
Sounds like the way I felt about ... And Ladies of the Club and Tenants of Time. I loved both of those books and yet nothing much - except everything - happened in them.

Oct 10, 2019, 5:06pm Top

Hi, Bonnie. My books are treating me great. Both the audio, of Deep Creek and Winterson's latest Frankissstein have been excellent. I have the audio of the new Atwood waiting in the wings.

Oct 10, 2019, 8:12pm Top

>245 BLBera: Im sure you'll enjoy the Patchett when you get to it Beth. I'm not sure when my number will come up for The Testaments.

>246 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen, we're on different pages as far as Patchett goes. I loved Commonwealth and had many problems with State of Wonder but so what. She's written enough books for everyone to find one or two they like.

>247 Berly: Hi Kim! Good to see you.

>248 benitastrnad: That's a good way to put it Benita. I often like quiet books where not a lot happens.

>249 msf59: Hi Mark, I'm glad you've found books you like. There's alway another one lined up if you don't isn't there? LOL

Edited: Oct 14, 2019, 10:00pm Top


The Horseman by Tim Pears

This book got off to a slow start and was actually kind of boring with it's descriptions of the drudgery of farm life in western England in 1911. Until it wasn't. And then it was just so good.

The first in a trilogy it told the story of the coming of age of Leo Sercombe, who is bound and determined to be an expert on the care and training of horses, in the mold of his father. Quiet, thoughtful and determined as he is he falls for the estate owner's daughter and the resultant fiery ending of this first volume is totally out of whack with all the quiet preceding narrative. Therefore, I can't wait for volume two.

4.3 stars

Edited: Oct 13, 2019, 7:54pm Top

So I've had an up and down week of reading trying to settle into books I like. I've had to set aside The House of Broken Angels because the audio just wasn't working for me. At some point I'll try the print edition. After trying and dropping a couple of other audios I've settled into:

Star of the North by D.B. John

And on my Kindle:

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Oct 10, 2019, 10:32pm Top

>252 brenzi: I downloaded The Secrets We Kept on audio. I think it may have been an audible suggestion or special. I really don’t remember. I’ll be curious to see what you think.

As for putting aside audio books that just don’t seem to work for me in that format... all I can say is it happens. Sometimes a reader doesn’t pull me in, or they’ve tried too hard with the production itself. I tend to like mysteries in that format. But once in a while I hit on something that really works for me. I hope your next one is a winner.

Oct 11, 2019, 7:29am Top

>224 brenzi: I went back and read your spoiler now that I've finished the book and just wanted to say that I think part of the point of the book is generations repeating issues/choices. Also, I loved it -- for me it was better than I remember liking Commonwealth.

I'm on to Louise Penny now which makes three books in a row that I'm reading just because I want to and which have no CLSC connection LOL.

Oct 11, 2019, 9:11pm Top

>251 brenzi: You got me with The Horseman, Bonnie. And thanks for the warning about the slow start. It looks like something I’d really like.

Oct 12, 2019, 7:00am Top

Happy Saturday, Bonnie. I have not seen any LT activity on The Secrets We Kept, although I have seen some buzz about it, in other places. Look forward to your thoughts.

Oct 13, 2019, 8:45am Top

>253 NanaCC: Hi Colleen, yes I've had a few audio books that just haven't worked for me and I've just dropped them and picked something else up. I also really enjoy mysteries in this format and the one I'm listening to now is just that. It's about the disappearance of an American in North Korea.

>254 RebaRelishesReading: Well Reba that makes sense. The repeating of mistakes generation after generation I mean. I liked Commonwealth more but I still liked The Dutch House. And yay for reading whatever you want😀

>255 Copperskye: I hope you enjoy it too Joanne. Vivian originally suggested it.

>256 msf59: Thanks Mark. I hope you're having a good weekend. It's sunny but still in the 40s here right now but it should get warmer, well into the 50s so a pretty average day for this time of year. I love sweater weather so don't mind this at all.

Oct 14, 2019, 1:58pm Top

It finally cooled off down here and I love it. One weekend ago it was 101 degrees in Tuscaloosa. Today it will be in the upper 70's.

I finished reading Daughters of Mars by the Australian author Thomas Keneally and I really liked it. Stylistically it was a bit odd - there were no quotation marks, and lots of dashes instead of commas. However, the ending was awful. The author tried a twist and that ploy just didn't work. It left me confused. If it hadn't been for that one thing I would have put it as one of my top fiction reads of the year.

Oct 14, 2019, 6:51pm Top

>258 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, I read Daughters Of Mars in 2014 so my memory of the details are a little fuzzy. But I looked at the review I wrote at the time and see that I referred to a very cryptic ending that I thought some people wouldn't like but I thought overall the book was quite brilliant.

It's turned very cool here now. Today it barely got out of the 40s but thing look better for the rest of the week with temps in the upper 50s and 60s. Sweater weather, my favorite.

Oct 14, 2019, 9:05pm Top

>251 brenzi: Oh, you got me with that one, Bonnie!

Oct 14, 2019, 9:38pm Top

Hi Bonnie. Catching up with you is so much fun. I'm glad I've read some of your recent books as my wish list is getting way too long.

>252 brenzi: I had to take The Secrets We Kept back to the library unread because it was part of a flood of library holds that came in at the same time. I adored Dr. Zhivago (both book and movie) and wanted to read Prescott's book when I could give it my full attention. I'm looking forward to your comments very much.

Oct 15, 2019, 9:30am Top

>259 brenzi: I'm loving this weather too, Bonnie! Although I picked up a cold somewhere on our trip and I'm not enjoying that.

Oct 15, 2019, 10:06am Top

>252 brenzi: I've read a lot of good things about The Secrets We Kept so I'm eager to hear your thoughts. I have a library hold on the audio.

Oct 16, 2019, 7:39pm Top

>260 EBT1002: I hope you enjoy this contemplative novel Ellen.

>261 Donna828: Hmmm apparently I couldn't entice you with anything Donna or you and I are reading the same books lol.

>262 RebaRelishesReading: Great weather gone out the window now Reba. Rain all day today and rain, colder temperatures and wind tomorrow. It was good while it lasted. Wait...almost 70 on Sunday so all is not lost.

>263 vivians: Well here you go Vivian;-)

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 7:44pm Top

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

I knew I was meant to read this book when just a few pages in the author is talking about the women working at the CIA and she mentions Virginia Hall. It was just a few weeks ago that I read Hall’s biography, A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII. It was serendipity to see her referred to in this novel.

This book tells the story of the role played by the CIA in getting Boris Pasternak’s novel Dr. Zhivago, which had been smuggled out of Russia by an Italian publisher, translated into Russian and into the hands of the Russian people. The narrative moved back and forth between the female CIA agents (and typists) and Boris Pasternak and his lover in the Soviet Union. It was a bit hard to follow at first but eventually I could easily follow the threads and found the narrative very compelling. The sections about Pasternak’s lover, Olga, as she endured her time in the gulag were incredibly horrific. It’s incredible what she survived.

I believe this is a debut novel and so it does read like a first novel. She touches on homophobic behavior in the CIA in the 1950s when this story is set and also the misogyny in the agency which both reflect opinions in the country at that time. And she shows us once again that women make the best spies. I found this historical fiction to be quite gripping and well done and will be looking for whatever this author does next.

3.8 stars

Oh no....I just discovered there's a non fiction account of this story called The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn. Should I????

Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 7:22pm Top


The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

Oct 16, 2019, 8:45pm Top

>265 brenzi: Yay, I think that story is sadly underknown and deserves wide renown.

>266 brenzi: YAY!!

Edited: Oct 17, 2019, 7:32am Top

Hi, Bonnie. Good review of The Secrets We Kept. I am approaching the halfway point in The Testaments. The writing is not blowing me away, but it has been a solid listen so far. I am starting 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds today.

Oct 17, 2019, 8:17am Top

>265 brenzi: Now I’m really looking forward to listening to this one, Bonnie.

Oct 17, 2019, 11:21am Top

>265 brenzi: I'm waiting for my library copy of this one, Bonnie. It sounds like one I would like.

Oct 17, 2019, 6:53pm Top

>267 richardderus: I had never heard of this story Richard but it was all too real. And yes, Georgette Heyer has me smiling again🤗

>268 msf59: I'm glad you're enjoying The Testaments Mark. I'll be interested in you take on 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds. That's one I'd like to read.

>269 NanaCC: oh I think you'll like it Colleen.

>270 BLBera: Yes you probably will Beth.

Oct 21, 2019, 6:57pm Top


The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer

Another absolutely delightful visit to Heyer-land and I'm so happy to have found this author for some lighter reads. Yes some of the themes were absolutely preposterous (how likely is it that a woman would marry a young man she had never met before and who was on his deathbed?). Elinor was completely hoodwinked by the charming and knowing Lord Carlyon. She was completely unable to resist his requests. And of course even though I've only read a few Heyers I know by now that in the end these two will undoubtedly end up getting married.

There's some espionage involved in this one and there's the over abundance of the word odious but all in all a lovely little book that had me smiling from ear to ear.

3.6 stars

Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 7:18pm Top

#87. Star of the North by D.B. John

I've been listening to this book for what seems like forever but was actually ten days. A young American woman who is half Korean disappears from the shore of South Korea along with her American boyfriend. Ten years later, after no reasonable explanation her family assumes she is dead. But her twin sister, who now works for the CIA, is not so sure. So the hunt for her sister is on and she is convinced that her sister is being held in North Korea.

I've read other books about North Korea and the themes of that country's horrific treatment of their political prisoners, some only guilty of a crime committed by someone in their family several generations ago, are always the same. It's tough stuff. This author weaves together several themes about life in North Korea under Kim Jong Il in the early 2000s as well as the twin sister who is looking for her sibling. All the threads are neatly tied up at the end and I enjoyed this book. It's certainly not on the same level as Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy which is an excellent non- fiction book about the lives of everyday North Koreans. But this was a good book but just too long. It seems like it could've been done in a hundred fewer pages.

3.5 stars

Oct 21, 2019, 8:42pm Top

I agree with you about Star of the North being too long, Bonnie.

Oct 22, 2019, 6:33pm Top

Hi Katie, the longer I listened the more I wanted it to end.

Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 8:11pm Top

I'm currently reading from my shelf: The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton.

And Conviction by Denise Mina on Audio:

Oct 22, 2019, 7:00pm Top

I just finished reading my first 5 star book for the year. Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family by Jennifer Lin. This book was published by an academic publisher (Rowman & Littlefield) so I fully expected it to be a very academic kind of book. It was that, but it was very very readable as well. The author is a retired reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and lived in China for 5 years. The book is about her family and why and how they immigrated to the U. S. and other western countries. It was an amazing story and a very surprising read.

I picked it out to read because it was for Suzanne's Nonfiction challenge. The theme for October was Other Worlds/Alternate Worlds. I wanted to read about Christianity and this one fit into the category. That it was so good was a surprise.

Oct 22, 2019, 8:12pm Top

>277 benitastrnad: wow that sounds like a good one Benita. I'm going to have to look for it. Is it new? Not many LT members have it.

Oct 22, 2019, 8:15pm Top

>277 benitastrnad: Congrats on a five-star read!! I know you don't give them out easily, so this must be a good one.

Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 10:30pm Top

>278 brenzi: and >279 Berly:
It was published in 2017. It is on Amazon and listed for $34.00. It is published by an academic publisher so it is going to be expensive. Academic publishers are always pricey because they know they are not going to have many purchases. I had to get my copy through Inter-Library Loan and it came from Michigan State.

I am going to check tomorrow and see how many copies are out there in libraries. WorldCat will tell me that.

It is such an esoteric topic that I was not expecting it to be so interesting, exciting, well researched, and well written. It is sad that because it is a small publisher and advertised only to academic institutions that the wider world won’t get to read this one simply because it will be hard to get.

Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 10:39pm Top

>278 brenzi: and >279 Berly:

If you can’t find a copy of this book you might try reading Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It isn’t about the same subject but it does give the reader an idea of what life was like during the Cultural revolution. Personally, I liked the Lin book better even if the subject of Christianity was an odd way to get to a story about how the Cultural Revolution affected a cultured and educated middle class family with no political ties.

I also want to read the old Sterling Seagrave book on the Soong Sisters. But that one is a monster at almost 1,000 pages.

I’ll stop now - I know I am going on and on about this book.

Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 6:19pm Top

>277 benitastrnad: Hi Kim😀

>281 benitastrnad: well maybe I'll look for Wild Swans then. No point in chasing an unobtainable book when my TBR list is so unwieldy Benita.

Oct 24, 2019, 7:18pm Top


The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton

I've had this book on my shelf for eons but it wasn't until earlier this year when I read Laura Talbot's The Gentlewoman, that I felt the urge to pick it up. In the Introduction (which I always read AFTER I read the book: lesson learned) I learned that Talbot and Hamilton were married for a few tumultuous years but he was a raging alcoholic and it didn't work out even though she allowed him to live with her when they were both nearing the ends of their lives. At any rate, I enjoyed this tale of a spinster living in the London countryside after escaping the Blitz in the early years of WWII.

Miss Roach now resides in a boarding house, the Rosamund Tea Rooms in its former life, with other solitary souls. As the story opens, it is 1943 and Hamilton concentrates his story on the interactions among the boarding house residents but hones in on Miss Roach and the totally obnoxious Mr. Thwaites. His know it all attitude is insufferable and he decides Miss Roach is an easy target. Discussion of the war prevails and the town is filled with military men and soon Miss Roach takes up with an American lieutenant. Things seem to go along along smoothly although the lieutenant is a very heavy drinker, much like the author, until Miss Roach's German friend, Vicki Kugelmann, takes up residence and things go all amok.

The theme seems to be the the inconsequence of these solitary souls but it is also an indictment of life in Britain during the war: the shortages (of just about everything) and its impact on the populace. So well written and with brilliant humorous touches and an unlikely heroine, I highly recommend this book.

4.3 stars

Oct 24, 2019, 7:28pm Top


They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

I'm not terribly fond of graphic memoirs/novels but I take my cues from other LT friends who wade through others I would never consider and sometimes one sticks out that I think might interest me. This is my second one this year, the first being the excellent Good Talk by Mira Jacob.

Takei tells the story of the internment of his family during WWII and eventually draws a line between that and what's happening at our border today. The barbed wire is hard to miss. The illustrations are good and the story of three small children and their parents and the hardships they endured are well done. Very well done and recommended.

4 stars

Oct 24, 2019, 7:31pm Top

Currently reading:

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Oct 24, 2019, 7:45pm Top

Good graphic memoir choices!

Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 9:14pm Top

>285 brenzi:
I have The Space Between Us on my shelves. I just started Territory of Light and maybe I will get down the Umrigar and read it too! I also have the sequel to it Secrets Between Us. At least I think it is a sequel. I should check on that.

It is a sequel! And it is $1.99 on Kindle right now.

Edited: Oct 25, 2019, 7:27am Top

Happy Friday, Bonnie. Hooray for They Called Us Enemy. I also loved that one. I will also be watching for your thoughts on The Space Between Us. I have yet to read her. Enjoy your weekend.

Oct 25, 2019, 11:33am Top

>282 brenzi:
I checked WorldCat today and Shanghai Faithful is owned by 284 libraries worldwide. Cornell has a copy and the Finger Lakes Library System has a copy. I didn't see any copies in your immediate vicinity. Wild Swans would be a good choice as it is more widely available.

Oct 25, 2019, 6:43pm Top

>286 jnwelch: Hmmmmm, I wonder who might be responsible for those selections Joe? Two Chicago residents come to mind lol.

>287 benitastrnad: Thanks for that Benita. I actually just downloaded it from the library so I'm think I'm going to read them consecutively. I'm about 25% in the first volume and am really liking it.

>288 msf59: Hi Mark, I love novels set in India, as I think I've mentioned before. Usually I prefer a time more historical than this one which is set in the 90s I believe, before Bombay became Mumbai (1995), but I'm enjoying it so far. And I just downloaded it's sequel The Secrets Between Us and may read them one right after the other.

>289 benitastrnad: Thanks Benita. I will look for Wild Swans.

Oct 27, 2019, 2:14pm Top

My darlings ready for the ghouls and goblins. Batman and Ariel (the Little Mermaid). Halloween around here seems to last for weeks.

Oct 27, 2019, 3:31pm Top

>291 brenzi: So cute!

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 7:37pm Top

I just started listening to a newer work of historical fiction. I had to drive to Birmingham yesterday and started Mistress of the Ritz on the trip. I got this one on CD from my public library and it is good. Set in the Ritz hotel in Paris starting with the marriage of Blanche Ross - American to Claude Auzello - Frenchman and managing director of the Ritz from 1927 until in the 1960’s. This is not heavy literature but so far it is has been great listening.

Oct 27, 2019, 8:45pm Top

>81 brenzi: Hi bonnie, I haven't been as active in visiting threads as I would like. There is so much packed into this thread -- what a joy. You have every right to feel VERY proud of your daughter.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time top three reads. I did not know about
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I plan to get a copy asap. Thanks also for your wonderful review.

Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 8:25pm Top

>292 NanaCC: The little one's horns are hidden by his costume Colleen haha.

>293 benitastrnad: Apparently it has to do with the French Resistance Benita and after reading A Woman of No Importance I am really interested in that. And I'm always looking for good audios so I added it to my Overdrive list. Thanks.

Oct 27, 2019, 8:57pm Top

>294 Whisper1: Hi Linda, good to see you. You'll undoubtedly like Furious Hours. Lots of LTers have. Not much about To Kill a Mockingbird but lots of interesting stuff about Harper Lee.

Oct 28, 2019, 9:22am Top

Morning Bonnie! Hope you're enjoying this wonderful fall weather as much as I am :) The munchkins are adorable in their Halloween garb. Don't think we'll be seeing many again this year. We're in a limited-access mid-rise in the middle of the city in San Diego and pretty much on our own here at this time of year. At least it keeps me from having candy in the house that I'll end up eating myself.

Oct 28, 2019, 1:45pm Top

>291 brenzi: Great! Thanks for posting the photo of your darlings. Halloween seems to last a long time here, too. Lots of celebrating for little ones was happening on Saturday.

Oct 28, 2019, 6:34pm Top

Those trick-or-treaters are adorable, Bonnie. Halloween is so much fun with little kids. Scout also went with a mermaid this year.

Oct 28, 2019, 6:59pm Top

>297 RebaRelishesReading: Today was another glorious day Reba. This has been a terrific autumn but I think it may be coming to an end soon, although tomorrow should be another good one.

>298 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. They have something here called Trunk or Treat. A lot of the churches and schools do it. People park in the institution's parking lot at a specific time with a trunkful of candy and the kids come in their costumes and go trunk to trunk filling up their goody bag. Needless to say the amount of candy is ridiculous.

>299 BLBera: This mermaid costume has been planned since the spring Beth. For awhile it was a competing with a unicorn but the mermaid won out lol.

Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 8:16pm Top

I hope you’re enjoying The Space Between Us, Bonnie. The follow-up is excellent, too. I really enjoyed them both.

>291 brenzi: Aww! So cute!

Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 8:32pm Top

>301 Copperskye: I finished The Space Between Us this afternoon Joanne. And I'm going to start The Secrets Between Us this tonight and I'm really glad because although I loved the book I don't like how she left us hanging with that ending. I'll write up a few sentences about it soon. Trying to decide whether I'll start a new thread. I hate starting a new thread but if I let this one go for two more months....we'll idk what happens to threads that go to 500+ posts. Does something explode....somewhere....or something. I may find out hahaha

Oct 29, 2019, 6:56pm Top

I finished two books In the past few days:

Conviction by Denise Mina

Whew talk about twists and turns. I listened to this really complex mystery and It as very well done but I think I would've understood more of what was going on if I'd just read the book. At any rate, a mystery within a mystery, set in and around Glasgow. Bored housewife Anna is listening to a true crime podcast when she realizes that she knows personally one of the murder victims. Meanwhile her husband is having and affair with the wife of an aging rock star with an eating disorder, Fin Cohen. The two of them decide to investigate on their own and create their own podcast. We soon realize that Anna has a very secretive and mysterious past that seems to be playing into this. Lots of twists and turns and I definitely want to read more of Mina's books. (She has a series and some stand alone mysteries).

3.7 stars

Oct 29, 2019, 7:17pm Top

Hi, Bonnie. Glad to see you churning through the books. I am too. October is going to be a great reading month for me. I am loving Night Boat to Tangier. Boy, the Booker list this year has been very satisfying. Keep this one in mind. Olive, Again is coming up soon.

Oct 29, 2019, 7:17pm Top

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

I've wanted to read this book for almost as long as it's been around but I'm glad I finally picked it up after it's sequel was published. Because when I finished this book I immediately downloaded the next book. As much as I liked the first book, the ending left me with more questions than answers.

An indictment of India's caste system, the narrative centers on two women and their families: Bhima, a woman living in the slums of Bombay with her granddaughter, and working as a housekeeper for Sera, an upper middle class woman. Very well written and very compelling, they both live unsatisfactory lives in different ways. Although Sera says she loves Bhima like a family member, she can't get beyond the fact that her good "friend" lives in a slum and is just not of the same status. I'm just a few pages into the sequel, but the two books taken together should prove to be a memorable reading experience.

4 stars

Oct 29, 2019, 7:24pm Top

Currently reading:

The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

And Listening to:

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Oct 29, 2019, 7:26pm Top

>304 msf59: Hi Mark, I'm really looking for ward to Night Boat to Tangier but it'll be awhile before I get it. I've got too many other books I want to read before the new Strout which I have on a long hold for now. Of course that could go away at any time 🤭

Oct 30, 2019, 7:46am Top

>305 brenzi: You’ve added The Space Between Us to my wishlist, Bonnie. You’ve piqued my interest.

Oct 30, 2019, 9:54am Top

Hi Bonnie! I have a copy of The Space Between Us around here somewhere (or maybe on my Kindle). Anyway, you make me want to read it soon!

Oct 30, 2019, 10:01am Top

>305 brenzi:, >306 brenzi: My wish list just got longer by two :)

Oct 30, 2019, 6:20pm Top

>308 NanaCC: >309 katiekrug: >310 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Colleen, Katie and Reba, I have a real affinity for Indian novels so I'm not sure why it took me so long to read The Space Between Us but I'm really glad I've finally gotten to both of these novels

Oct 30, 2019, 6:24pm Top

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Uh....don't bother. Even Meryl Streep's narration couldn't save this one for me. Thankfully short, but it never piqued my interest one scintilla. Just....don't.

2 stars

Oct 30, 2019, 6:28pm Top

Currently listening to (and I have the book from my shelf too):

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

***Are you happy now Mark? Lol

Oct 30, 2019, 7:34pm Top

>313 brenzi: I am tickled pink, Bonnie! I can't believe you remembered. I LOVED this book and it was my introduction to Mr. Sides. One of my very favorite NF authors. Enjoy!

Oct 30, 2019, 10:12pm Top

>312 brenzi: - Oh, dear. I'm sorry that one didn't work for you, Bonnie. I thought it was funny and nicely bittersweet.

Oct 31, 2019, 8:20pm Top

>315 katiekrug: yeah it may have been a case of wrong time/ wrong book Katie. I'm not sure. I've liked Ephron's essays but this whole multiple divorce/cheating, etc. just didn't resonate with me.

Nov 1, 2019, 12:08pm Top

Bonnie - Conviction sounds interesting. Is it part of a series?

I have The Space Between Us on my shelves. I did not know there is a sequel. Good to know.

I read Heartburn years ago, and loved it. I am a big Nora Ephron fan. I don't know what I would think of it today.

Nov 1, 2019, 8:03pm Top

Conviction is a stand alone mystery Beth although she does have a short mystery series that I'm thinking about starting. Please knock me out for saying I'll start another series.

I fully expected to like Heartburn. (I don't think I ever saw the movie.) Not sure why it didn't work for me but oh well, on to the next book.

Nov 1, 2019, 9:05pm Top

Have a lovely weekend, Bonnie.

New thread time?

Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 2:04pm Top

>291 brenzi: Absolutely 'dorable. We don't get trick-or-treaters at the end of our rural cul-de-sac street. When our daughter was young we had to drive into town. Of course this year there was a tornado watch and some very nasty thunderstorm activity so I think there were a lot of disappointed trick-or-treaters here in central NC.

>312 brenzi: I love Ephron's essays too. I've read Heartburn but don't remember much about it.

Nov 2, 2019, 2:36pm Top

>302 brenzi: Bonnie, I share your aversion to starting new threads. I think my solution is to ignore my thread for a week or two at a time so it lasts longer. I'm also starting to drag my feet on commenting on books. I remember the "good ol' days" when I just read and read and only added books to a list with a star if I loved the book. I'm not going back to that because I love LT too much and also think writing about a book helps "cement" it in my memory.

Which reminds me…I really liked The Space Between Us and plan to read the sequel on Joanne's urging. I may just do what I did with Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again, which was reread the original before diving into the second one. I find the older I get, the more I enjoy rereading books and reveling in the memories of reading them for the first time.

Your trick-or-treaters are oh so cute. I may have to post a picture of Haley and Molly to reciprocate.

Nov 3, 2019, 3:56am Top

>302 brenzi: we'll idk what happens to threads that go to 500+ posts. Does something explode....somewhere....or something.

No nothing will explode ;-)
The longer a thread gets, the longer it takes for your computer to load the page. Especially threads with many pictures will slow down notable after ± 250 messages. It is also dependent on the speed of your computer. So to guaranty an easy access to the thread for everyone, most start a new thread before they get to 250 messages.
You might find making a new thread less undesirable when this thread goes over 400 messages and loading this thread takes forever. Or you have a very fast computer and never notice.

Nov 3, 2019, 12:20pm Top

This user has been removed as spam.

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 1:25pm Top

>319 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

>320 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I went trick or treating with Batman and Ariel and it poured. Horrible weather so we only went to a few houses in their development. We lived in the country when my children were small, well, actually I lived there until 2015 so I know about driving for trick and treating lol.

>321 Donna828: Hi Donna, I'm thinking about rereading Olive Kittridge too Donna. It certainly paid off with my two most recent reads. Olive is a little more set in my brain because of the mini series so I haven't decided yet if I will actually reread.

I just find now as I age that I have little interest in putting the effort that's required into coming up with a new thread. Or writing reviews. Just a couple of sentences will do for me usually. That said, I'm enjoying my reading more than ever and this year since I took up audio books I'm going to finish with over 100 books which I would've never thought possible.

A picture of Molly and Hope in costume would certainly be appreciated.

>322 FAMeulstee: Well Anita, I know that was a problem in 2009 when I first started here on LT because people some people still had dial up but does anybody still have dial up?

>323 CPDalam: yes really good!

Nov 4, 2019, 3:15pm Top

>324 brenzi: me too re Olive Kitteridge. I'm on the library waitlist for the audio version. I didn't love it the first time around (and was totally in the minority) but have since enjoyed her later works. So I want to give it another try before reading the sequel.

Nov 4, 2019, 7:25pm Top

>325 vivians: have you seen the mini series with Frances McDormand Vivian? In an unusual twist, I liked it even better than the book.

Nov 4, 2019, 7:47pm Top


The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Not surprisingly, I liked this book even better than the first one. I think the reason was that beyond the extreme poverty and the horrors of living in the slums of Mumbai, Umrigar allowed in the one thing that makes human beings go on living even when circumstances are dreadful:hope.

"In her own basti, there is a woman with no legs. There is a child who is blind. Another woman with burns all over her body. But in the basti, one thing sizzles from hovel to hovel, much like the illegal, overhead electric wires that some of the residents have connected to their homes. It is hope. Even in the depth of their despair, hope runs like electricity throughout the basti. It is what makes the woman with no legs weave wicker baskets that she sells to a fancy shop. What makes the blind boy's mother spend her days picking rags to pay his school fees. What makes the burn victim look for a good match for her daughter."

It was a wonderful book. The despair in the first book was resolved and not in an artificial way at all. Simply wonderful.

4.8 stars

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 8:52pm Top


Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides

I've had this book on my shelf ever since I read Sides' Hellhound on His Trail about the hunt for the assassin of Martin Luther King. Or maybe it was when I read In the Kingdom of Ice about the polar voyage of the USS Jeanette. Either way, I'm not sure what took me so long to get to this brilliant depiction of the rescue during WWII of the American POWs being held in the Phillipines, some of them survivors of the Bataan Death March.

Of course the conditions were deplorable and Sides' narrative had me furiously turning pages while listening as I had it on audio too. The strategy of the Army Rangers with the help of the Phillipine guerrilla force brought about the daring rescue in the midst of the Imperial Army of Japan. But it was Sides'brilliant narrative non-fiction that brought this story to life.

Very highly recommended.

Oh and thanks to Mark forgiving me a nudge to pick this up.

4.7 stars

Nov 4, 2019, 8:45pm Top

Currently reading:

The Wanderers by Tim Pears

And on audio:

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorhead

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 11:06pm Top

Hi Bonnie. I'm planning to read The Horseman for my new series (SeriesCAT) in December.

I notice that you seem to move through your reading and listening at a pretty even pace. Do you listen while walking? Doing chores? Or...?

Nov 5, 2019, 11:21am Top

>326 brenzi: I'll add it to my watch list, thanks. Right now I'm loving Foyle's War!

Nov 5, 2019, 8:18pm Top

>330 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, I hope you enjoy The Horseman as much as I did. The second volume is very good too.

As far as the audio books go, I listen every day because I generally walk for about 40 minutes every day. And I listen when I'm driving which isn't a heckuva a lot compared to other people but it adds up. Probably it totals about 120 minutes a week or maybe a little more if I have extra traveling to do. And once I get really into a story, I listen in the House when I'm doing housework or whatever. For Ghost Soldiers I also had the print edition and I loved following along with that which made for a really fast read. Probably more info than you bargained for lol.

>331 vivians: Hi Vivian, oh how I loved Foyle's War. If it was still on Netflix I'd rewatch all ten seasons.

Nov 5, 2019, 8:37pm Top

>331 vivians: >332 brenzi: I recently started watching Foyle’s War and love it! I’m only up to Series 4, but I may even like it more than Endeavour.

>327 brenzi: It was pretty great, I agree!

Nov 5, 2019, 9:23pm Top

>326 brenzi: I just picked up the DVD of Olive Kitteridge from the library today and plan on watching it tomorrow afternoon. I loved the book, love Frances McDormand, and am looking forward to it.

Nov 6, 2019, 6:40am Top

Hooray for Ghost Soldiers and the lovely high rating! My first Sides, and what a winner. A 40 minute walk a day? You go girl! That is excellent, plus you get that quality audio time in.

Nov 6, 2019, 8:02am Top

>331 vivians:, >332 brenzi:, >333 Copperskye: I could watch Foyle's War again and again too! It's sooo good.

>334 karenmarie: you're in for a real treat, Karen.

Nov 6, 2019, 11:18am Top

Hi Bonnie! Thrity Umrigar's books are constantly on my "get to it now" list. Somehow she doesn't make it to the top...and now I've got another rock lobbed at my dilatory backside. "Thanks" ol' pal. A real lot.

Nov 6, 2019, 6:26pm Top

>333 Copperskye: oh lucky you Joanne, watching Foyle's War for the first time. So good.

>334 karenmarie: Love the book AND love Frances McDormand? Well that's just magic Karen. I bet you'll enjoy it.

>335 msf59: I think Ghost Soldiers will end up being on my Best of 2019 list Mark. Soooo compelling. Really NNF at its best. I have Blood and Thunder on my shelf and will probably read it next year. Yes I usually get a walk in everyday even in the winter as long as it's not sub zero. The audio books really give me a reason to go out even if the weather is not the best.

>336 lauralkeet: Yessss!

>337 richardderus: Well I aim to please Richard 😉

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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