Sandy's Autumn 🍁 2019 thread #3

This is a continuation of the topic Sandy Mc's Summer 2019 75-er thread.

This topic was continued by Sandy's Books: December ⛄️🎄⛄️ 2019 (thread #4).

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Sandy's Autumn 🍁 2019 thread #3

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Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 8:47am

November: the days are sunny and pretty chilly, the book list extending
Time to do a recap of my first 11 months taking part in the 75-challenge group...

Progress to date: into November and back to a snowy counter!

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 8:43am

My favourite reading this year, by an author new to me:

Non-Fiction, biographical
Becoming (Michelle Obama)

Non-Fiction, general
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (David Bayles)

Ruth Galloway series (Elly Griffiths)

Fantasy-Fiction a difficult choice, so ...
Naomi Novik (Spinning Silver)
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Curse of Chalion)

Edited: Sep 9, 2019, 8:10am

My most ambitious* reading so far,
Surprisingly (for me), all non-fiction books:

The Private World of Georgette Heyer (Hodge, Jane Aiken)
Two Dianas in Somaliland: the record of a shooting trip (Herbert, Agnes)
Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over (Nell Painter)

*ambitious as in genre I rarely chose to read until I joined LibraryThing and saw what a Rut I had gotten into!

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 8:44am

My most surprising (and enjoyable!) author discoveries this year and their nationality:

Bujold, Lois McMaster (American)
Griffiths, Elly (British)
Novik, Naomi (American)
Skeet, Michael (Canadian)

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 8:59am

Remarkable YA and children's books in my 2019 reading list:

Rae Carson: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Susin Nielsen: No Fixed Address
Lemony Snicket: The Bad Mood and the Stick
Zilpha Keatley Snyder: The Headless Cupid and Blair's Nightmare

Edited: Sep 1, 2019, 9:50am

And just for fun, because so many toppers in the 75er-group post interesting snippets, here are some of my fibre artwork hangings ~

(1) (2) (3) (4)

(1) Vignette of a Japanese fabric collage
(2) Tlingit motif (lap quilt)
(3) Snowy cabin in the foothills
(4) Wildfire (inspired by a summer of forest fires)

Sep 1, 2019, 9:48am

I'm hoping that seeing my artwork every time I visit my thread will resolve some drag-ass behaviour on my part...

I've been moaning about not knuckling down to do the activities I really want to pursue (aside from reading). I recalled what Neil Gaiman said, about shutting yourself in the studio and not doing anything except writing (or in my case, something besides reading, faffing on the computer, housework or outside garden stuff). I think it was Neil... maybe it was a different author who wrote that, but the philosophy holds, yeah?

Anyway, I was amazed at how much I had to tell myself that, No, you do not need to put on a laundry, tidy something or clean. What a shock to note how easily I let myself be derailed. I've now set in stone (as much as other committments allow) that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my holy time for creativity.

Sep 1, 2019, 11:09am

>6 SandyAMcPherson: so you made those pieces yourself? Are they quilted? Say more!! I love your idea of designated creative time.

Sep 1, 2019, 4:07pm

Happy new thread!

>6 SandyAMcPherson: Fabulous!

Sep 1, 2019, 5:09pm

Happy new thread!

>6 SandyAMcPherson: Very neat. Looks beautiful

Edited: Sep 14, 2019, 8:46am

>8 lauralkeet: Indeed, I sew artwork pieces from assorted textiles. The ones pictured above have all sold (I'm into minimalism... except don't look in my stash cupboards!)

Weird thing for a retired research scientist... except curiosity-driven research (my fave thing) is driven by creative thinking. And I always loved textiles. So here I am, pursuing my bliss!
I also create mixed media artwork, mainly plant-based, meaning with natural fibres, wood, found plant material.
I've occasionally incorporated sea shells and tiny rocks like rose quartz and jade.

Factoid: in B.C., a lower grade of jade can be found in streams and creeks, which is sometimes washed all the way to the sea, where it is rounded and polished by the ocean waves and sand. I would post some pix, except this is my book thread and I don't want to discourage the bibliophiles!

My ambition is to incorporate miniaturized robotics in a textile design... but I have to geek up on that.

Edited ~ I explored the Arduino and robotics ideas and the learning curve would be so steep that I'd take way too much time away from actual art work. So a less Tech-driven approach to kinetic art is being contemplated.

Sep 1, 2019, 6:32pm

Thank you >9 quondame: Susan, and >10 figsfromthistle: Anita.

I started off with conventional quilting but that was a poor fit. I so wasn't fastidious enough to achieve a good (never mind exact) fit with all those corners and seams. Then I discovered the fun of painting with textiles and machine, free-motion quilting. Yeah! Great collaboration with my skill set.

Sep 2, 2019, 12:24am

Happy new thread Sandy!

>6 SandyAMcPherson: Beautiful!

Edited: Sep 2, 2019, 3:27am

>11 SandyAMcPherson: There's a high correlation between math/science and music, so why not fiber arts? I think those of us who spend our careers doing analytical things (my background is computer science), benefit tremendously from a creative outlet.

Having seen your amazing textile work, can I lure you over to LT's Needlearts Group? We are all fiber/textile enthusiasts in various ways, including a couple of quilters. Your work is unique. The group is far less active than this one -- therefore easy to keep up with -- and I know others there would enjoy seeing your work.

Sep 2, 2019, 6:06am

Happy new thread, Sandy!

>6 SandyAMcPherson: Lovely works, I wouldn't mind if you posted more of them.

Sep 2, 2019, 9:48am

Hi Sandy, and happy new thread.

And >6 SandyAMcPherson: threads. Your work is beautiful. I, too, would love to see more.

>11 SandyAMcPherson: My ambition is to incorporate miniaturized robotics in a textile design... but I have to geek up on that. Fascinating.

Sep 2, 2019, 8:59pm

Happy new thread!

I might know a bit about robotics and can help... 😀

Sep 2, 2019, 10:17pm

I know nothing about robotics, I'm afraid!

Happy new thread, Sandy.

Sep 3, 2019, 8:06am

>13 humouress: >15 FAMeulstee: Thanks for dropping by; Glad you liked my fibrearts work.

Sep 3, 2019, 8:10am

>14 lauralkeet: I looked at the Needlearts Group. Thanks for the suggestion, very interesting people and creative work over there.

I agreed (of course) with the comment There's a high correlation between math/science and music, and that such correlation applies equally to other design-based activities.

Edited: Sep 3, 2019, 8:16am

>15 FAMeulstee: >16 karenmarie: I will occasionally post more of my creations.

I seem to be bogged down lately with more regular sewing that doesn't lend itself to photographs in the artwork sense.
Right now, I'm sewing some Hallowe'en costumes for my grandchildren. I should probably start a thread over on that LT "Needlearts Group" which >14 lauralkeet: suggested.

I'll let you know on the "Book talk threads" if/when I get to that point.

Sep 3, 2019, 8:20am

>17 drneutron: I might know a bit about robotics and can help...

Thanks for offering! How about suggesting a beginner's book so I can see what I might be getting into?
I'm not very handy when it comes to machinery and instrumentation, except how to operate them. Construction/building is a realm I've been intimidated by since "forever".

Sep 3, 2019, 8:22am

Hi Paul, nice to see you here.
Hope all is well these days. I've been skimping on checking out the talk threads these last few weeks of summer.

Sep 3, 2019, 9:10am

>21 SandyAMcPherson: ooh I hope you decide to start a thread!

Sep 3, 2019, 9:13am

>24 lauralkeet: Thanks for the encouragement.

Posting on this 75-group prompted me to get on with my TBRs so I'm reasoning that my fibre artwork might enjoy a similar resurgence!

Sep 3, 2019, 3:04pm

>6 SandyAMcPherson: Lovely, lovely artwork.

>7 SandyAMcPherson: Your stone-setting is admirable indeed. No house needs cleaning that much that often.

Happy creative days!

Sep 3, 2019, 3:26pm

>22 SandyAMcPherson: There are a number of robot kits and parts available for reasonable amounts, mostly based on Raspberry Pi or Arduino processors, some of them for kids. I supported several as Kickstarters, but tend not to play with them. They also control lights and I've seen them used to animate leds on costumes.

Sep 3, 2019, 7:55pm

>27 quondame: Yup, I was going to suggest the same thing! There are a ton of YouTube videos too - just google “simple robotics”. These could be fun projects with grandkids too!

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 9:21am

>28 drneutron: Thanks, Jim and >27 quondame: Susan for these ideas. I'd like to read up first, since I know diddly-squat about stringing together devices in the animatronics sense.

I'm not so jazzed about the programming so much as creating animated fibrearts constructions. Yeah - this will need some kind of program in the controls, it's the "wiring the parts together" I want to learn first.

Maybe I'm mistaken in this sequence of learning, though...

Edited: Sep 4, 2019, 12:19pm

>26 richardderus:, Ummm, I beg to differ...
We live in a windy, dusty desert. It's either spring seeding, rainless summer or harvest.

Added info ~ average annual precipitation in Central Saskatchewan = 15 inches!

Sep 4, 2019, 8:12pm

>30 SandyAMcPherson: Good gracious! That's a thirsty place indeed. Maybe just start up a static-electricity bubble to ward off the fluff?

Sep 5, 2019, 12:41pm

Book #76 ~ 3 ★s

The Wailing Wind ~ ~ by Tony Hillerman

My thoughts
This Tony Hillerman story was written with a thin plot that wandered from the theme of The Wailing Wind, not what I expect from Hillerman’s Navajo detective series. The backstory was skilfully interwoven with the present developments in a cold case, but Hillerman’s descriptions of the landscape and traditional Navajo ways appeared as if by rote, which lacked its usual liveliness. My major disappointment was Leaphorn’s unthinking behaviour in revealing too much to the bad guy, Wiley Denton. This was out of character for a well-established personality in these tales.

Bernie’s budding romance with Chee takes off in this narrative. This is a pleasant development after the ill-suited attraction to Mary Landon and the incompatible Janet Pete. The scenes where Bernie is sleuthing for the right habitat and hence finding the scene of the original murder was an especially excellent part of the story. Overall, the book, for me, was only OK because I like a tight plot to match the theme and I want the protagonist to stay level-headed, even if retired.

Sep 5, 2019, 8:59pm

>27 quondame: >28 drneutron: Following up on your suggestions, I decided I better start at the library... (duuh)

So requested, since my two closest branches don't carry many books on these topics:
Arduino for beginners ~ and, a life-jacket: Arduino for Dummies

This programming reading will be overkill, since all I really want to do is learn how to animate a textile piece. For that I need a mentor in miniaturized robotics... and come to think of it, I should have submitted a grant application to some cultural arts foundation thingy.

Oh dear.
I think this is what I call being sucked into a sequential vortex.

Sep 5, 2019, 9:23pm

being sucked into a sequential vortex.

😂 I get that.

Sep 5, 2019, 9:47pm

>33 SandyAMcPherson: Have you looked for maker groups near you? My local one, Crashspace held a class on Arduino set up. Doing LED programming is sort of the "Hello World" for it.

Sep 7, 2019, 4:36am

No idea what Arduino is (though I can guess). I am intrigued; what are you thinking of making when you combine robotics with your art?

I can't remember if I already said so, but your pieces are stunning. They have a somewhat Asian flavour, to me.

Sep 8, 2019, 9:40am

>36 humouress: Arduino is a software programming language.

According to Wikipedia: "Arduino is an open-source hardware and software company, project and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices."

I want to make kinetic art! This seems like a fun exploration except... I discovered I have exactly zero background in microprocessors and how to program them. Simple robotics are a mystery to me.

So... a long learning curve and possibly for naught because the components are very pricey (in Canada, anyway).

Sep 8, 2019, 9:45am

>37 SandyAMcPherson: I guessed wrong.

So ... it'll be a 3D object clothed in your art that you can program to move? I'm trying to visualise it - I'm not very artistic, I'm afraid, and I also tend to be a traditionalist so I'm out of my depth here. It sounds fascinating and exciting, though.

Edited: Sep 9, 2019, 8:12am

It's Sunday morning here and I am ready to use the DNF graveyard for Lanny.

There were sections I enjoyed, like art lessons for Lanny by his uncle (or whomever Mad Pete is) but the other characters, je ne sais pas, just not engaging. And that Dead Papa character? What in blazes is that about (rhetorical question)? I rather detested Lanny's parents.

I'm not even a 1/4 of the way into the story. Does it improve? I guess that's a matter of taste.
The swirly text sections are distracting and disruptive. Fancy fonts (imho) belong in art pieces, not novels.

Yes, I am grumpy. I knew there were mixed reviews; however, I considered some were very encouraging.

I'm editing this post ~ definitely a DNF graveyard candidate. I don't like reading about missing children; besides, the author makes heavy 'magical' weather of the malevolent forces swirling around the village. I guess my psyche and this novel did not mesh in the least.

Edited: Sep 8, 2019, 3:39pm

>36 humouress: >37 SandyAMcPherson: Arduino and Raspberry PI are embeddable microprocessors that have convenient developer support systems and lots of open source software libraries. There are lots of available kits and parts. For prototyping there are easily used, stackable, breadboard arrangements, called shields (I think), with different functionalities like lighting, motor control, camera sensing, temperature monitoring. The idea is that once the prototype is satisfactory, the whole combination can be collapsed to its logic for production. But for one-offs the functionality is all there.

Sep 8, 2019, 3:37pm

OK. Not grumpy now!
>40 quondame: What Susan said...


Happy message from the library ~
I expect it will be ready for pick up by next Wednesday.

Edited: Sep 11, 2019, 8:35am

>33 SandyAMcPherson: Library Cascade!!

Along with the Arduino books, I also had 2 others arrive:

Book #80 (4★s) and Book # 81 (not yet rated)

The innovative recipes in Eat More Plants by Desiree Nielsen are really great. We're expanding our cooking repertoire with more vegetarian options. Not that we plan to abandon our omnivore diet, but rather focus on variety. The author has made tese recipes simple to follow and the ones that I like best feel so do-able.

Scientifically, I don't agree with some of Nielsen's interpretation of how beneficial polyphenolics and flavonoids are to humans but I do know that as whole foods, adding the edible pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils, etc.) to our diet is certainly a wise move to maintain a healthy the gut microbiome.

And I am saving the Elly Griffiths for a reading binge this coming weekend!

Sep 11, 2019, 2:59pm

The Testaments: A Novel came in for me today!! The Long Beach librarians saw my name on the county system's holds list for it, the only one from our town, and our library bought one instead of relying on the system's multiple copies. That way I got my hold immediately instead of being wherever I was in the triple digits.

They like me. They really like me.

It **HAS** to be better than Lanny was. It just HAS to be.

Sep 12, 2019, 12:07pm

>43 richardderus: Yes, I can see that you would want The Testaments to be better than Lanny.

In my personal world, I wouldn't hope this at all. I detested The Handmaid's Tale mostly because it felt scary, unpleasant and had such a sad ending (to me).

And in a further nark, I am so done with Atwood as an acclaimed Canadian author. I know many LTers will be shocked and surprised at my saying this. But I've long felt that she was an obscure writer with a very weird narrative who rose to fame through being the darling of McClelland & Stewart. At the expense of so many more worthy Canadian authors.

I know this may all be a matter of personal taste and I have nothing against Margaret personally. Just saying, since this thread is my place to be {respectfully} honest, no?

Sep 14, 2019, 9:04am

>33 SandyAMcPherson: I had a good skim of these two books.
I found John Baichtal's the most readable book. The Dummies title was probably a good reference, but I had burnt out by then.

As a result of these skims and chatting with a CS person who teaches basic programming, I'm abandoning this approach to kinetic art (see >11 SandyAMcPherson:, an idea that had its day).

New approaches to mixed media art are incubating in my busy little mind however. Rain and cool to rather cold here. I'm actually very happy for the drizzle and the fall garden. It's nice to feel that I can be inside without that guilty sense of wasting a sunny day!

Sep 14, 2019, 10:15am

Hi Sandy!

>39 SandyAMcPherson: I love that cartoon of Lucy. I may borrow it sometime on an appropriate day. I the meantime, because my memory occasionally plays tricks on me, I've posted it on my thread so I can always find it. *smile*

>44 SandyAMcPherson: I have an irrational dislike of even starting The Handmaid’s Tale. I didn’t read it when our book club chose it in June of 2002. In fact, I just got the stepladder out, pulled it off the shelf, and have culled it.

Edited: Sep 14, 2019, 11:04pm

>46 karenmarie: As mentioned on your thread, I'm happy to be the provider of such marvellous visuals for expressing exactly what one is feeling. Schultz was a genius!

>44 SandyAMcPherson: gratified that I was not flamed over my honesty. I certainly understand why you culled the book.

Edited: Sep 14, 2019, 11:06pm

Book #82 A Poisoned Prayer by Michael Skeet

My snippett, (complete review is on the book's work page) ---

4 ★s
Skeet writes a wonderfully swashbuckling narrative, featuring Lise de Trouvaille, a strong female protagonist set against the background of Paris (France) in the 17th-Century. The story completely engaged me from the gripping scene in the opening with an attack by a loup-garou, support from Rafael, duc de Bellevasse, through to intrigue, treachery, and high adventure in a corrupt medieval city.

I had a couple quibbles which I didn't mention on the review page:
There are some perverse scenes that even an immediate re-reading never made sense until I reached the final chapter. I like some clarity in earlier scenarios. There's a sense of irrelevancy by the time the importance of the previous events are fully explained. When I'm highly immersed in a book, such a confusing passage plops me back into real life and I lose that desirable feeling of being there in the narrative.

A nice aspect of reading A Poisoned Prayer: I couldn't get a copy through my public library and since I had 'won' Book 2 (A Tangled Weave) through Early Reviewers, I e-mailed Five Rivers to ask if I could review the prequel. They kindly sent me the title! (Both novels are available as e-books). Colour me impressed! I love this publishing company because their mandate is to bring forward Canadian authors, a worthy policy in the face of publishers and distributors like Random House, Harper-Collins, Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.

Sep 15, 2019, 7:01am

>47 SandyAMcPherson: gratified that I was not flamed over my honesty

There is an astonishing (in a good way) lack of flaming on LT; in my experience it's very rare. I don't know why or what makes it different, but I am grateful for it.

I appreciated your comments on Margaret Atwood. I have enjoyed or appreciated some but not all of her books, including The Handmaid's Tale, and I plan to read the new one whenever my library decides I should have it. But I wonder whether her acclaim, to some extent, has to do with how little most of us outside of Canada know about CanLit. I am aware that I *should* read more and yet, haven't done so. So in consequence, one or two "big names" get all the attention.

Sep 16, 2019, 8:27am

Review ~ Book #81 ~ The Ghost Fields (Elly Griffiths)

An excellent 4 ★ read!

I liked how this story came together. The mystery stayed a mystery until near the end and I had only the smallest of *eye-rolls*
Have posted a review on the book page. GF ranks 'up there' with my other favourites (at this time as Laura said @ #53 on her thread).

Sep 16, 2019, 9:06am

Sep 16, 2019, 10:28am

Thank you Laura!

I have a lot of 'waiting room' time this week, so expect to be well into The Woman in Blue by the end of the week.

Sep 18, 2019, 9:47am

In case y'all were wondering where "Chatty Cathy" went~
I'm suspended in a lot of waiting room ethos, reading another Elly Griffiths, so all is not lost time!
I'm also playing the LT Pirate Treasure chest game this week (when I have time).

I'll try to catch up on the Talk threads from time to time, so if you're lurking here, do delurk and say hi!

Sep 19, 2019, 10:28pm

Hi! Tried three times to upgethumb your review of the Skeet book...LT wasn't having it for some reason. ...??...

Edited: Sep 20, 2019, 8:47am

Hey, RD, too bad, because I do get a happy face feeling with those thumb's up. Knowing you liked my review is an accolade. Thanks for mentioning it.

I don't know why the LT website has these idiosyncrasies. I've had no end of trouble getting the touchstones to register lately. I up-thumbed one of Lauralkeet's reviews (A Dying Fall) a few days ago with no problem.

I panned the most recent RG book that I finished this week. You won't mind, IIUC. But some of the other members of the RGFC are likely to be annoyed if they read my review so I'm not mentioning anything (more) here...

It is book #83 for me. That number of books in 8½ months is definitely a reading record for me (not counting grad school days... daze?)

Edited to clarify: the 83 refers to total books read this year, not the book # in a series!

Edited: Sep 20, 2019, 7:32pm

I blew off too much time the other night looking for pirate treasure. It was fun. I struggled mightily trying not to use the hints. Who else played the hunt game??

I had the most challenges back in Pride week when it was such a specialized genre. I am poorly read in the LBGT etc. literature. I wish they'd give us our rainbows for playing. They're so pretty!

Edited after >61 Susan observed indeed we have our pride flags *and* our treasure chests from the hunt already!

Sep 19, 2019, 11:23pm

>55 SandyAMcPherson: Whee! I tried again and the site's agita or whatever has passed. You're fully upgethumbed now.

Sep 20, 2019, 6:46am

>55 SandyAMcPherson: panned it, eh? Well of course that's your prerogative. And as much as we all love the RG mysteries around here, I'm sure the series has its highs and lows.

I started the pirate treasure thing but didn't get very far. It might have been a problem of the moment, low concentration or something, so maybe I'll check it out again before it's over.

Sep 20, 2019, 8:56am

>58 lauralkeet: Hi Laura, yes, I'm sure the series has its highs and lows...

I think it must be a hard challenge to write a series. Readers are so idiosyncratic anyway, so to keep such an array of readers happy all the time has to be just about impossible. Overall, she writes well and just because I didn't like one or two side forays, I'm still firmly in the RGFC.

Another series I've liked despite one or two weaker stories are Tony Hillerman's Navajo Tribal Police novels. I'm re-reading his oeuvre this year as I decide what books to cull. So far I've culled all of one in his Leaphorn narrative. I have never read his non-fiction writing and if I can get hold of at least one of those, may add it in to my reading for 2019.

Sep 20, 2019, 8:57am

>57 richardderus: Thanks, RD. I hope you can get hold of Skeet's books. I would be interested in your review!

Sep 20, 2019, 4:59pm

>56 SandyAMcPherson: I enjoyed the pirate challenge. I had to mine for clues for one that I was working too hard on. I see that the Pride & Pirate icons are now pasted on our profiles!

Sep 21, 2019, 10:21am

Thanks for the heads up re the badges. I guess they've automated the awards now - the hunt isn't even finished!

I'm so busy with garden clean up here, I've slacked off my reading. Seems like I need to hit the sack early and then I fall asleep after reading just a couple pages. Enjoying a Tony-Hillerman at the moment.

Sep 22, 2019, 6:24am

>62 SandyAMcPherson: The badges are added manual, that is why it can take a long time. They were working on the rainbow badges and took the new Privateer's Plunder right along.

Sep 26, 2019, 10:57am

Slower reading this month...

Just finished Book #84
3½ ★s. Reviewed... briefly so as not to have spoiler tags all through out!

Just started The Chalk Pit. So far, excellent (I'm about ¼ into this Elly Griffiths novel).

Sep 26, 2019, 11:18am

I've been losing track of what's the next title in the Ruth Galloway books, so here's for my reference, at least!

1. The Crossing Places (2009)
2. The Janus Stone (2010)
3. The House at Sea's End (2011)
4. A Room Full of Bones (2011)
4.5. Ruth's First Christmas Tree (2012) (not accessed, b/c not buying it!)
5. A Dying Fall (2012)
6. The Outcast Dead (2014)
7. The Ghost Fields (2015)
8. The Woman in Blue (2016)
9. The Chalk Pit (2017) (currently reading)
10. The Dark Angel (2018) (requested hold)
11. The Stone Circle (2019)
12. The Lantern Men (2020)

Sep 26, 2019, 11:44am

You are really motoring through the RG series, Sandy! Whatever will you do when you finish?

Sep 26, 2019, 12:45pm

>66 lauralkeet: I know, it is all so true, what will I ever do?

Oh wait, I have about 60 books on my TBR reading list plus I dunno how many others on a WL!
And like everyone else addicted to the RG soap opera, I'll be waiting for the 2020 book!

Sep 27, 2019, 9:39pm

Fubar ~ This afternoon, I just wanted to snuggle up on the sofa with a warm quilt and read my latest mystery (see #64). Except after a week of golden autumn sunshine...

This is for tomorrow evening!

And the garden clean up needed finishing. Don't you hate those adulty priorities?

Tomorrow, lots of reading opportunity as I fly down to Vancouver (YVR) for family time all week. A substitute for trying to travel around Thanksgiving (in Canada, on the second Monday of October).

Sep 28, 2019, 7:48am

>65 SandyAMcPherson: There's a very easy way to keep track of what books are in a series. Click on a touchstoned title anywhere you come across it (thread, your books, etc.). It will bring up the works for that title. If it's part of a series, you will see the series name and in parentheses the number that book is within the series near the top. Click on the series and it will bring up the series page, with all books, short stories, and novellas for that series in numerical order. It's how I found out about the short story Ruth's First Christmas Tree. It also identifies which books for that series are in your catalog with a white check mark within a green circle to the left of the title, handy for those who collect a series physically or as a record of what they've read.

Have a safe and fun trip with your family!

Sep 28, 2019, 8:12am

Thanks Karen. I think you told me that (or someone else did awhile ago) and I forgot. It is a very handy feature ~ I shall now mark your instructions with that 'add to your favourites' so I can find the tip again!

Sep 28, 2019, 3:36pm

>68 SandyAMcPherson: Snow!! Oh no! I suppose it is that time of the year where everything goes dormant. We have been spoiled this year with milder temperatures. I have not even begun to think about cleaning out the garden yet as I am still havesting tomatoes, cucumbers and beans.

Oct 7, 2019, 10:09am

I'm back and ready to enter the foray of 75-er talk threads...
I even read a bit while travelling. Airports and e-books, you know?

The Chalk Pit (Book #9 in Elly Griffiths' RG series). 3½+ ★s
I'm finding the series seguing into something of a soap opera trope. I liked this story anyway, because I'm interested in ancient civilizations as well as how forensic archaeology contributes to solving present-day mysteries. I admired the author's handling in writing of homeless folk and the tremendous difficulties they face. Chalk tunnels under Norfolk towns are very interesting, although I'm not sure how extensively these occur in reality. And I am entertained by the characters, especially Ruth and Cathbad. But the final twist was bizarre and really, was it credible?

The Dark Angel (Book #10 in Elly Griffiths' RG series). 3 ★s
This chapter in the "Life and Times of Ruth Galloway" was largely set in Italy. For me, I found the mystery quite contrived and Nelson's participation rather strange, even nonsensical. The side story of Mickey Webb invading the house while Nelson was in Italy was admirably suspenseful. However the events that arose from that situation raises the question, what the heck was the point of having Tim in the series? 'Nuff said. Onto The Stone Circle, when my library request is filled!

From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E. L. Konigsburg).
This children's book is not particularly well-written for kids under 10, yet the storyline is likely unappealing to older readers. Children will appreciate the wish to run away and would admire Claudia's fore planning. Hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum was brilliant fun. However, the lawyerly solicitor asides by Mrs. Frankweiler emphasized how disruptive those interludes were when reading out loud to a bright reader, aged 8. 2½ ★s.

I've started an e-book that's been 'waiting' ~ A Winter's Tale by Trisha Ashley. It's enjoyable but I'm only as far as chapter 3...

Oct 7, 2019, 2:13pm

Hi Sandy! Glad to see you out and about. Not bad for travel e-booking, two above-average reads and a kiddiebook.

Oct 7, 2019, 2:52pm

Welcome back!

Edited: Oct 8, 2019, 3:44pm

Hi RD and Susan.
I missed checking LT Talk ~ amazingly addictive. I don't have a FB or Twitter account, so I guess this is my "social media". :D

Today's weather compared to yesterday (for those that like this sort of thing) ...

2○C (34 ○F) with snow versus yesterday, 18○ (64 ○F)

Oct 12, 2019, 10:54am

Thanksgiving weekend here, .

I thought I was onto a big treat ~ Albatross by Terry Fallis. Definitely turned out to be a DNF, after just one evening's reading.

I have read most of Terry's oeuvre and while I certainly enjoyed his humour and loved some novels, Albatross was really a failure for me. Others might find it amusing but it was thoroughly humourless and 'life is too short' as the saying goes.

Fallis' novels on Canadian politics, Best Laid Plans and its sequel, The High Road, are deeply hilarious satires of an amateur politician who dares to do the unthinkable: tell the truth, and achieves the unimaginable: gets elected as a Liberal candidate in a traditional Tory stronghold.

Ho hum, onto the next book, which I expect to inspire me for renovating our front garden. As our snowfall pattern has changed so much, we've lost too many flowering vines and rose bushes to the dry winters.

Oct 13, 2019, 10:26am

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 13, 2019, 8:42pm

Very pretty, RD! Thanks. I think I will snag if for my Thanksgiving message to friends ...

Oct 13, 2019, 8:46pm

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope it is filled with good food, company and excellent books :)

Oct 13, 2019, 9:06pm

>78 SandyAMcPherson: Oh good! I liked it a lot, so I'm happy you do as well.

Edited: Oct 16, 2019, 10:17am

A very Canadian update ~
We did the advanced poll on Sunday, because I couldn't stand this election for one more day, let alone a week.
The worst bunch of lying imposters with no vision at the leader-level that I've ever had to choose amongst.

Adapted from a Non-Sequitur comic:

Oct 19, 2019, 10:41am

I'm seeking advice from children's librarians...
Maybe you saw my comment on foggidawn's thread (#200)?

To recap,
I'm wishing we (in Saskatoon) had qualified children's librarians back on the juvenile service desks. When the new director was hired, the decision was made to abolish specialists. It was a disgraceful decision that did not benefit the patrons. When I ask for help in finding books of a certain type, there isn't anyone who can knowledgeably help (they do not intuitively know what books are the best Newbery winners, for example). I really miss the specialists who are trained in specific areas.

Remember Zilpha Keatley Snyder? She wrote some outstanding novels for older children, such as The Egypt Game and The Headless Cupid.

What I want to find: novels of that quality, where the author has written a well-crafted story with a relatable theme for kids approaching their teen years. Snyder excelled in writing from children's and young teen's viewpoints, adroitly adding a little mystery that remains elusive and slightly unresolved, such as in the Stanley series.

I hope someone 'out there in LT land' can post some titles!

Oct 19, 2019, 1:08pm

I seem to have missed the jump to this thread, but I’m here now! I’m always glad to recommend children’s titles (since I am basically a professional children’s book buyer).

On my thread I recommended The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, and I think that will really fit the bill. Your young readers might also like Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, especially since you’re looking for cozy winter reads. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee also fits that bill, and Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. I adore the Clementine and Waylon books by Sara Pennypacker; they skew slightly younger than some of the titles I’ve mentioned, but you said somewhere that you were looking at the 8-9 age range, and they would be fine for those ages.

I could certainly come up with more selections, but take a look at those and tell me if I’m on the right track. Also, if your young readers have any particular interests or favorite genres, that could also guide my future suggestions.

Edited: Oct 26, 2019, 11:40pm

Wrong spot! Meant to write a post after my reply to Foggi's comment. :0

Oct 26, 2019, 11:35pm

Thanks for your suggestions, foggi (#83).

I have now read some Karina Yan Glaser and the Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. I think these selections are not quite hitting the aspect I was hunting for.

I just started Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy last night, so I'm not able to decide (yet) how this one is going to turn out. I've discovered how tricky it can be (selecting reading material for unknown readers) because some books I thought really fit the bill have been either pronounced 'boring' or they were just too advanced.

I really appreciate the suggestions though, because there were other authors that appeared quite likely: although a younger cohort, I looked at LT reviews and the library's précis of Pennypacker's stories with my younger grandkid in mind. Lots to ponder here. I did really well a few years ago with Mo Willems, so maybe these will be a good 'next stage' idea.

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 12:03am

I'm very confused about how the LT New Design is going to satisfactorily play out. At this time, there seems to be no point in contributing to the usability. The situation has progressed beyond the user-input stage, no?

Early on, when we were first asked about the aspects we'd like changed and so forth, I saw that there was a mind-boggling conniption from various quarters over changes and a very big push to cater to tablets and mobile phones. Perhaps I misunderstand what LT software devs are aiming for... but a trained usability specialist should be able to develop applications for all the devices.

And just so no one thinks I have a fossilized notion, I am glad that the mobile website has received attention. The mobile Apps platform was desperately in need of better code, especially. My LT catalogue (on an android phone) has *never* worked and doesn't display all my books, just a weirdly random selection (and yes, I do select the 'all books' option). I only use LT on my phone when I am away from home and want to consult my collection for some reason; and to scan the bar code to add to my library.

However, the appearance for laptops, and probably desktop computers, looks terribly naive and over-large. So, does anyone on the 75-er group have some insights as to how this is all going to be resolved? I am admittedly annoyed that the mobile app design appears to dominate the entire look because this is poor usability on non-mobile devices.

I guess if I don't like the laptop/desktop design, I can go back to living quietly in my own world and just use LT to list my reading history and write reviews for myself.

Edited: Oct 29, 2019, 11:44pm

Back to some book chatter!
Book #92
I thoroughly enjoyed Gail Harland's gardening book, Designing and Creating a Cottage Garden (cover is back at >76 SandyAMcPherson:. Sorry, I am a little disorganized.)

It was incredibly inspiring, just when I was becoming very discouraged with the selection I had from the library. Of the half dozen that I checked out, I actually read only this one and one other (which I forgot to upload it to LT, so it's not reviewed).

Harland's presentation is superb: the author writes in such an encouraging manner, that the ideas really feel achievable by amateurs. I particularly like her advice in each topic which focus on sensible ideas. I'm a fan of the garden books that present suitable in themes (like shade, fragrance, patios and so forth). This Cottage Garden approach is so relaxed with an informal atmosphere that works for me in an urban garden where i don't want to spend all my spare time (I need my reading time!).

I went all out and gave the book 5★s!

Oct 30, 2019, 8:46am

Regarding the LT design change, Sandy, even if I don't like it initially (which I'm not saying will be the case), I'll get used to it like I did when they changed things up a bit 5 years ago. I need LT for cataloging, but have come to rely on LT for the majority of my on-line social activities, especially the 75ers. As long as I can find where to add books via ISBN and manually, update covers, and where to go to talk with my friends, I'll be content.

Oct 30, 2019, 9:45am

>88 karenmarie: That's a wise reflection which I will certainly keep in mind. Thanks for this excellent commentary.

I have said in the past that LT is my only online presence other than an online photo-hosting website for family pix. I like all the bookish chat and segues into events that touch people's lives.

Oct 30, 2019, 10:26am

2½ ★s after high hopes.

2½ ★ may seem harsh, but Laura Weymouth’s novel was too plodding and undeveloped for my tastes. Weymouth writes well enough, and the concept was brilliant, with having the 3 children whirled off to a different world, where they lived for a tumultuous period in that fantastic place. However, an excellent theme doesn’t make up for the prolonged misery that the reader has to wade through to the dénouement.

Towards the last half of the story, we hear Philippa’s story. I enjoyed this part of the narrative much more than the earlier developments with Evelyn. While Evie’s story was told with superb insights into such angst, it did not evolve into a meaningful resolution and ended rather lamely. And what of Jamie? His participation was rather poorly detailed, appearing at intervals driving around in his car, and propping up his sisters.

Edited: Oct 30, 2019, 10:41am

Amazingly, I will certainly reach at least #100 books before 2020 arrives...

Just a little fun, a seasonal salute to Samhain.

Nov 1, 2019, 8:07am

Your artwork is really lovely, you'd better keep on!

You have jade, we have jasper -- little seams of it must be around as it turns up in chunks from huge (the size of a cauliflower) to berry size. Mostly earthy red, but some are pinkish with shiny bits and some are a much darker color almost a purple red. So much fun to poke about in the brook and streamlets that run down our woods.

One thing you could do perhaps is encourage the library to have a prominent list of the good websites, Newberry et al. I'm sure there are several pretty good "best books" lists now. Say, for kids who don't like to read, or like only fantasy, or want to learn to make things etcetera. Of course, they could have a notebook and print up those lists . . the bigger question would be if the librarian would be put out or happy to have your input. . . You could say, "I did this list for my grandchildren and I'm wondering if you would find it useful too?" or something sneaky!

I've got Spinning Silver -- excited to read it.

We're experiencing the shift from dozy blowzy late autumn to pre-winter. It was about 70 yesterday, and windy and then torrential rain and now it is 40 and seriously windy.

Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 10:46am

>92 sibylline: Hi Lucy, thanks for your visit.

Yes, I do plan to post more textile pieces and other artwork, but so far my ability to photograph is pretty lame. I suppose I should haul out my proper camera rather than messing with the mobile phone's app.

I've had conversations with the branch library manager and the real block to deploying children's (and other specialists) librarians is the Director's policy of top-down management (at least as far as I can tell). I've noticed that there are specialized lists on the website but a list versus a real person who trained in, say fine arts or YA literature is so much more beneficial for patrons. I am done with writing to the unresponsive admins. All I received back were canned, form letters that do not point to resolutions, but stay entrenched in the present arrangement.

Spinning Silver !! I enjoyed the novel enough to award 4 stars, although I do acknowledge some of the criticisms from other readers were valid. I hope you can fully delve into the world that Novik weaves and then come up for air to tell us how it is going.

Nov 2, 2019, 10:51pm

>82 SandyAMcPherson: I'm not a librarian so I don't have reams of suggestions at my fingertips but would you consider classics? Swallows and Amazons holds up well; I think I might try and get more in the series. Black Beauty, Heidi, (trying to think back to my reading) The Count of Monte Cristo, Ballet Shoes and so on. There's a reason they are considered classics.

Nov 2, 2019, 11:46pm

>94 humouress: Hi, and thanks for the classics idea. It was thoughtful of you to suggest that.

However, those titles are too young for the level my 9 y.o. is at and to be candid, too dated.

I re-read some of my childhood favourites, ahead of trying to read them to my grandchildren. Even when they were younger, the stories don't fit at all well with today's reading standards. It might feel nostalgic to us, but the language is fairly unacceptable in our multi-cultural society nowadays, yes? The terms heathen, savages and natives type of dialogue is kind of appalling in Swallows and Amazons for example.

Of course not all the classics are like that; but it is pretty amazing to return to the books of our youth and see how much our standards have changed.

Have to add in that I'm disliking the currently popular trend towards vampire and goth literature in the younger YA novels. That may be a passing fad, but really?

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 12:24am

>95 SandyAMcPherson: True, but there was a lot of stuff I automatically glossed over when I read them as a child - I grew up in Africa. As much as I wished I could fly like Peter Pan, I knew that wasn't going to happen and I knew those kinds of words didn't really mean anything either.

(I will confess - shhh! - that I loved playing cowboys and indians with my cousins back in the days before it was un-pc. I spent one summer holiday with my three cousin brothers and their cousin brother - I only have one sister - and they had toy guns with triggers that clicked when you pulled them.)

I loved Robin Hood and King Arthur stories at that age too but even I couldn't sit through reading the Roger Lancelyn Green stories out loud to my kids when I tried it - so I didn't recommend those to you. The writing is too old fashioned.

Nov 3, 2019, 8:20am

>96 humouress: Hah! You and I share a lot of the same childhood books! And activities.

I totally played C & I as a kid. I grew up on a street full of boys and we all roared around with either pretend tomahawks or cap pistols. Remember caps? Those little paper tape mini-dots that made a snappy-bang? Yeah, people would be horrified to see that "these days".

I adored the Peter Pan, Robin Hood and Arthurian legends. When I was about 12 y.o., I was devastated to find out that King Arthur wasn't a real historical figure. I think a small, hidden part of me *almost* still believes in the Arthurian Britain of yore. Talk about fantasy! Ha.

Sheesh. My grandkids read very differently and would probably roll their eyes at tales of my youth.

Nov 3, 2019, 12:14pm

>97 SandyAMcPherson: No, we didn't have caps :0( I've read about them in stories but I'm not sure how they worked. For me, it was just that one holiday in the UK (before we moved there ourselves). The guns we got weren't very exciting; I don't think they had any moving parts.

I'm still hopeful about Arthur. And even about Robin.

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 4:14pm

Really pleased! As of today, I am up to 95 books read and reviewed. I also reverted to a winter counter design, since we are into snow season already ---

I've been exploring some new garden references after finding selections in a used-books charity sale.

I have 2 different publications of The Sunset Western Garden series (1986 and 2007). The books are uploaded with different ISBNs and different covers ~
8th edition, 2007 and 4th edition, 1986

A really frustrating development that I haven't been able to resolve*: the reviews of these two books differ wildly (2½ versus 4½ stars!) but the reviews both appear on the same review page.

*I deleted first one book and then added it back; when that didn't work, I resorted to deleting both books and manually added each book. The duplicated review occurred under both efforts.

Anyone with fix suggestions would be most welcome to advise whatever ideas might occur.

Nov 3, 2019, 6:53pm

>99 SandyAMcPherson: OIC

Yeah, that is *maddening* but it's a feature not a bug. When a book is updated, like "8th" vs "4th edition", even if the ISBN changes, it's still the same "work" so it's combined with previous editions.

I hate it but it's Library of Congress standard so there's no way around it.

Nov 3, 2019, 7:47pm

>100 richardderus:, I guess I don't know what Library of Congress standard really entails.

The maddening aspect is that the titles and editor names are different as well as the ISBNs.
I think if I left off the ISBns and made sure the titles were accurate, it should work.
After all, with touchstones, one regularly finds the same titles to books that are written by different authors.

YES! I think I'll give this idea a whirl!
(And not add any LC numbers, either.)

Nov 3, 2019, 9:01pm

>99 SandyAMcPherson: 95 books already is a good number, Sandy. I am struggling manfully to improve my numbers.

Nov 4, 2019, 12:12am

>99 SandyAMcPherson: >102 PaulCranswick: Hah! Well I've finally hit the halfway point in books read - with reviews trailing somewhere behind.

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 9:14am

Hi >102 PaulCranswick: and >103 humouress:! Thanks for stopping by.

Yeah, I never would have believed I was reading that much (95) had I not been tracking the number on LT.

Further to that maddening issue with the different garden books in a series (#99, I resolved it by deleting that copy)
and changing the review by combining my comments for the 1986 edition which I'm keeping.

My idea of taking out the ISBNs and LC numbers didn't work at all! I'd sure like to be able to over-ride that aspect in cataloguing non-fiction books in a series. After all, when we read a crime and mystery series, we're able to post these separately with individual reviews.

Here's an update of my "two books in one" review:
4½ ★s ~

I really should give 5 stars for this 1986 edition of Sunset’s classic Western Garden book ... I have an old-pre-ISBN-era copy from the 1970's. This updated edition is delightful and very useful in additional layout designs for problem gardening situations. The ½-star off is due to the poor coverage of the Pacific Northwest. Why stop at the 49th parallel?!!

In comparison, I subsequently found a copy of the 8th (2007) edition, and decided not to keep it. It is not nearly as user-friendly. Sections in what were previously landscaping designs for specific situations are so embellished with glossy photographs and plant cultivar close-ups as to render this information less detailed. As well, opening spreads are glossy postcard layouts, reminiscent of coffee table books emphasizing pretty views. Rather than this edition being a solid reference, these additions have reduced the book to a more general overview. So I'm preferentially keeping the 1984 edition (and my earliest Western Garden edition from the 1970's).

Just for fun: my original 1976 edition which currently lives on my daughter's book shelf.

Nov 4, 2019, 10:11am

>98 humouress: Re I've read about them in stories but I'm not sure how they worked, I went looking for an image (just for a sentimental trip down memory lane)...

and found an article with photos on Wikipedia.
The roll was installed in a toy pistol (so not allowed in Canada anymore). The dot of percussion material lined up with the 'hammer' in the pistol so when the trigger was pulled, it set off the 'cap'.

Yeah so not a book topic, but whatever ☺

Nov 4, 2019, 12:32pm

Cap guns! Wow. I can smell the gunpowder now.

Who says books are the only topics we can discuss? If others find unbooked conversations not to their taste, the scroll bar awaits your pleasure; not visiting threads where people discuss thinks you personally dislike is also an option. Like I stop visiting cat-infested threads instead of making the fuss I once did to remind folks of how horrible and vile the toxic spit-having Limbs of Satan truly is. The viral overlords the creatures spread with their leavings have rendered the poor humans incapable of understanding how badly they're being abused. *sad sigh*

Nov 4, 2019, 1:28pm

>106 richardderus: Yup. Different strokes for different folks.

cats vs dogs
Mac operating system vs PC OS
Firefox vs IE vs Chrome
Robertson head screws vs Philips heads vs slots

All welcome here, though. , yes, Really. *giggle*

Nov 4, 2019, 2:11pm

>105 SandyAMcPherson: And on those loooong summer vacation one to play with? Take a roll of caps out on the back steps and bash each one with a small rock.
Weirdly satisfying to a quite young person.
>106 richardderus: Yep, me too, Richard, that slightly acrid smell.

Nov 4, 2019, 2:24pm

We had cap guns and caps, too, and also used the smash-by-rock method mentioned by Gail. And oh yes, the acrid smell.

We had a weird neighborhood thing - we'd tie up a smallish rock (smaller than a golf ball for sure)leaving a long tail of material then swing it a couple of times and let it go up into the air and watch it come down. Strange, but also satisfying. And no, I don't remember any windows getting broken.

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 3:36pm

>105 SandyAMcPherson: We used to pop the dots with our thumb nails. We had the cap guns, but getting the bang with our hands was somehow the thing to do. I still have cap guns, though not at all the same, part of my charm/miniature tools collection: About 2x actual size. This sort is called pinfire. I've never had a cartridge for them, but I don't think they actually fire, just make a bang.

Nov 4, 2019, 8:32pm

Oh this is just so amusing, all you 75-ers that know about those old cap guns and smashing the caps with a rock too, just like me and my brother did.

My grammar went to H---. Sorry.
Susan (>110 quondame:) I never knew those cap guns came in little derringer-ish models. How interesting is that?

It is so strange in today's world to compare how we played as children. I was definitely what they now call a free-range kid. Times move on though and so I don't bemoan the days gone by and "how it was back then".

In the past year or two, we've been clearing out the backlog of nostalgia and toys. A lot you can't even give away. Jigsaw puzzles from yesteryear, with no pieces missing? Pick-up-sticks? Dominoes? Do kids even play with those any more? Laughing as I found my old set of jacks with a rotten rubber ball. I kept the jacks...

In other interesting talk, there's a really intriguing thread over on Richard Derus' talk. Somehow we got talking about how we started in the 75 group. It's fascinating reading for me and reassuring too, because I think it is the *first* group like this that I really feel I belong. I wondered in at sibyx's suggestion just this January and here I am, feeling at home.

OK, onto posting a review of a very old fantasy book I've just re-read...
Byeeee :)

Nov 4, 2019, 8:49pm

>111 SandyAMcPherson: The one pictured is about 1" long, so very much smaller than a derringer - but I have seen cap guns that size too.

I jumped into the "how I met 75" discussion a couple of days ago in the same comment with the F&FS confusion.

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 8:51pm

Here's the review I promised ~ I just uploaded the book to "My Library", although it has been on my bookshelves since the 1970's! It is not badly yellowed or falling apart.

#98 ~ 5 ★s

Morgon, of Riddlemaster fame, is a very likeable character who admits his human foibles and wants to avoid the complicated fears as well as his destiny which seems written in stone. A hero who wants to have the simple joys of a quiet life, yet is thrust into coping with immense events is a very likable device ~ I am much more engaged with this personality than in any prior reading.

I first read McKillip’s trilogy as each book was published. It was a memorable fantasy but I didn’t read it again until twenty years later. Strangely, I didn’t enjoy the story at all and found the plot overly convoluted and the action obscure. Another 20 or so years have irretrievably disappeared as I now read my fantasy collection to decide whether the books are keep or cull. This is going on my keep shelf. Of course the sequels will join them!

My other insight, in this my third reading, is that McKillip is deliberate in writing a story having obscure twists and turns, unexplained scenarios and hidden aspects of people, places and situations. She leaves room for the reader to find enchanting realizations on their own, a device that I have only understood after reading most of Diana Wynne Jones’ narratives.
And of course, I the reader, have changed too. I’m more patient with promising plots and I’m reading this time at a less galloping pace. I can’t remember how the triology ends, but the trip is worth it.

I'm hesitant to recommend this trilogy as the initial exposure for someone new to McKillip. The author's style is to hide knowledge and arrange for the protagonist to stumble about a little as he/she finds the way through the unknown challenges. All the McKillip books I’ve kept in my library have a similar style and often a common theme of a personal journey to some form of enlightenment. So if this book (and its sequels) are unappealing, come back to them after some other McKillip chronicles.

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 9:03pm

>112 quondame:, yes! I did see your comment. The thread expanded so fast, I didn't mention your contribution. Just went and checked to be sure I didn't miss it. It's at #161. Often hard to keep up on the chattiest of the threads.

And I see now what you meant when you said the photo (at #110) was 2x. Almost dollhouse-sized, the pistol!

Nov 4, 2019, 11:43pm

>113 SandyAMcPherson: Also, this is one of her earliest works, and McKillip has developed her style in the intervening 40-some years. However, the Riddlemaster books and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld are still my favorite works of hers along with Od Magic. I'll talk about my initial reactions to the third book vs. my understanding of it these days after you get to that point.

Nov 5, 2019, 8:52am

>115 ronincats: Oh! Yes, please!
I would love that (initial reactions to the third book vs. my understanding of it these days). 'Riddle of the Stars' is a complex chronicle, isn't it?

I haven't ever re-read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld ~ have added it to my 're-read' list. My original copy is on one of my daughter's bookshelves, IIRC, so I'll look for it at the library.

Fave re-reads are my go-to comforts. I whipped through Frederica (again) a couple weeks ago when I was feeling sorry for myself having a bad cold. I didn't count it as a 2019 book because I'd already put it on that 75-er list!

Nov 8, 2019, 9:36pm

Talk about the original Game of Thrones!
Freydal. Medieval Games. The Book of Tournaments of Emperor Maximilian I
While I was waiting for a book launch to start on Wednesday, I saw this gi-normous tome

by Taschen

I was a little intimidated about picking it up, but it was worth a few minutes of paging through a few of the glorious photographs of 'Freydal's' commissioned miniatures. I knew so little about this undertaking.
I was hoping to see clothing details, but I guess it is, after all, a book about the "war games" what with all the jousting pictured.

perhaps a fabulous reference for the SCA groups. We have a very active one here.

Nov 8, 2019, 11:32pm

Nov 9, 2019, 1:32am

>105 SandyAMcPherson: Ah, I see. Thank you for looking that up for me.

>106 richardderus: Unfortunately we are dog people, so I have nothing to torture you with, Richard. I'm sure I can find something, though ... ;0)

>110 quondame: Gosh, that's tiny!

>111 SandyAMcPherson: My husband bought a set of pick-up-sticks a year or so ago and our youngest loves it. If kids can be persuaded to leave their electronic devices at a young enough age, the old attractions still hold. And we do jigsaws together from time to time. My older son is actually quite good at those, but it's harder to tempt him.

>113 SandyAMcPherson: *happy sigh*

Nov 9, 2019, 11:47am

>113 SandyAMcPherson: I read that one lo these many years ago, and was not impressed. I spent much of my adulthood disliking fantasy and magic-tainted fiction in general. Magical realism snuck in under my defenses, but straight-up fantasy just wasn't on my list for a long time. I wonder, now that I'm less surly about the whole topic, if I could enjoy McKillip more. Her writing wasn't my issue, it was the damned majgickq that got up my nose.


>119 humouress: I'm sure I can find something, though I have faith in the pure evil of your "soul", La Overkill.

Nov 9, 2019, 1:56pm

>120 richardderus: Most of Patricia McKillip's books seemed more toward myth than contemporary fantasy works - she used all the forms and conventions of later 20th cent fantasy, but her results were her own.

Nov 9, 2019, 3:24pm

>121 quondame: Maybe I'd see that if I reread them now.

Nov 9, 2019, 4:47pm

>122 richardderus: I'd hope you'd like at least some of them. I think I've mentioned that FTL and General Product hulls are no different to me than spells and magic mirrors. What the people do with them and the thinking about using them is what's interesting. Oh, well I still like strange planets and marvelous reaches or baroquely decade citiscapes, snarky women and calculating men are always a plus.

Nov 9, 2019, 11:41pm

>120 richardderus:

Also: not like McKillip? *gasp of horror*. *Departs in search of irritable felines to set loose on Richard's thread*

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 11:56pm

>124 humouress: Hold your felines until after he has sampled and trashed our beloved. It doesn't do herd sheep from the fold!

Nov 10, 2019, 10:18am


Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 12:34pm

Woah, look at this thread! Herds of sheep! >124 humouress: Feline attacks?! and >121 quondame: enlightening >120 richardderus: about McKillip!
Love it. Thanks for livening things up in here.

I'm in the neutral camp for a lot of Patricia McKillip's novels. It has always struck me that this author has a creative style which I call The Two Solitudes. She either writes in a style I don't engage with at all (e.g. Winter Rose, The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Song for the Basilisk) or creates something (for my tastes) absolutely magnificent. I rate Od Magic, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Solstice Wood and Alphabet of Thorn amongst those.

I mention these stories as I read Harpist in the Wind. I rated The Riddlemaster of Hed a 5-star read; but I'm sulking and pouting my way through Harpist. I hope when I get to the third in this set, Heir of Sea and Fire, the narrative redeems the saga.

Be warned, oh ye of McKillip distaste: the choice you make of which novels to read and enjoy may reflect the apparent dichotomy of myths chosen to inspire the work.

Nov 11, 2019, 12:34am

>128 SandyAMcPherson: But the McKillip divide is entirely subjective. After The Forgotten Beasts of Eld I like The Book of Atrix Wolfe, Song for the Basilisk and Ombria in Shadow about the same and more than the Riddlemaster trilogy. It may be that sometimes I am more in sync with a style of hers than others. She doesn't usually go for the shocking, which has become so common in (not only) fantasy the last decades that the bar keeps floating unfortunately higher, or maybe sinking lower.

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 8:36am

>129 quondame: Agreed, the McKillip divide is entirely subjective.
And I also like that her style is more mystical than extreme and 'shocking' as you say. I peeked at your collection of McKillip's books very impressive ~ you've read waaaay more of her work than I have.

Nov 13, 2019, 8:58pm

I loved the second book of the trilogy best when I reread the Riddlemaster trilogy years after they first came out, as I loved a female viewpoint and the counterpoints of Raederle's adventures mirroring those of Morgon in the first, and also, and this was BIG at the time, a female with agency and the lead in a book! I still read everything she writes, though not all are favorites.

From Peggy's thread, I think you could seriously consider removing The Family Tree from your shelves. It's the big reveal that makes it stand out the first time you read it, but it's much more didactic than I like in how it does that, and I don't expect to ever reread it. Of course, I haven't removed it from my shelves yet, but I have a lot more shelf room than you do.

Nov 13, 2019, 9:22pm

>131 ronincats: A considered push for removing Family Tree is exactly what I needed.

I suspect I was hanging onto the novel because of that Deadly Sentiment, Nostalgia. A case of past memories dictating present choices. With so many unread BBs promising excellent reading, why hang onto something that is taking space from a potential keeper to be re-read many times? (And, as The Man says, "There's always the library if you change your mind and need to re-read a book".)

Nov 13, 2019, 9:29pm

>132 SandyAMcPherson: The library has been less than satisfactory with books by female fantasists only published in paperback. Try Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse

Nov 13, 2019, 9:48pm

From Roni's thread (#217), I mentioned a BB: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.
I placed a hold, having no idea how many are in the queue in our region (4 copies, all out), but I have 7 other requests, some showing 'shipped', so if Nina Hill takes 3 weeks or longer to show up in my hold stack, that is probably A Good Thing.

>133 quondame: Thanks so very much for this suggestion, Susan. Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse is Book 3 of a trilogy, is that correct? Do the series order matter? Usually I am very scrupulous about observing the order.

Nov 13, 2019, 10:02pm

>133 quondame: I just realized I haven't read ANY of that trilogy. And here I was congratulating myself that I had all 9 books of the True Games series, including the 3 once hard to find Mavinmanyshaped books. I think I need to order this.

Nov 13, 2019, 11:16pm

>134 SandyAMcPherson: Yes, the series order matters a great deal. The first two almost form a continuous story, with the last one being a sort of Busman's Honeymoon addition.

>135 ronincats: I think I filled out my Marianne and Mavin pb collections at about the same time from from either eBay or Amazon. I'd read them when I was librarian for our SF club rather than buying my own copies as they came out.

Nov 15, 2019, 6:56am

After a frustrating slog, I have relegated A Winter's Tale (Trisha Ashley) to my skimmed-DNF pile.

I did read enough to legitimately write a review ~ 1★

Ashley took a rather excellent theme and ploughed it into the ground, reminiscent of a badly written novel by a beginning writer. Too much trivia, too little character development, and no suspense for the final reveal.

The story isn't helped by a protagonist who doesn't engage the reader ~ Sophy’s blind naiveté in repeatedly succumbing to the smarmy villain of the piece reduced this narrative to an unexciting slog. The author’s writing is competent in the opening chapters, so it was surprising this scoundrel made such an obvious entry near the beginning. I skimmed most of the novel just to see if there was some semblance of comeuppance. The sum of the story was quite frustrating.

Nov 15, 2019, 8:31pm

Hmmm, I shouldn't write reviews so early in the morning! That was a redundant mess up there at #137.
Note to self - no more wasting space here on 1-star novels.

Edited: Nov 16, 2019, 10:31am

Snowing moderately this morning; good coffee and a hot breakfast here. We're glad we don't have to drive anywhere... the chickadees and nuthatches are laying waste the oil-sunflower seeds in the 'satellite' feeder.

I started a new (public) library book last night ~ ~ The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. Read too late into the evening!

An intriguing beginning that immediately drew me in. It was a BB from Susan (aka quondame) quite awhile ago. I agree, Susan, "It is adult and whimsical" (from your December 2017 review).

Nov 16, 2019, 2:01pm

Ahoy all Penelope Lively fans!

Over on laurelkeet's thread (at #56), there's some discussion and accolades for this author's literary fiction.
Love to see what others have read and enjoyed (or not...)


Nov 16, 2019, 7:54pm

Ah, the Lively lady...aptly named, that one, to my way of thinking.

Nov 17, 2019, 7:32am

>140 SandyAMcPherson: thanks for the shout out, Sandy. Here's a link to the starting point of this discussion over on my thread:

Nov 17, 2019, 9:01am

>142 lauralkeet:, Thanks for linking directly to the right place on your thread. I didn't figure that out, but it should be in the url if one clicks the post, huh?

Nov 17, 2019, 9:14am

Sandy, are you asking how to get the URL for an individual post? If so, right-click on the number to the left of the poster's name (e.g., "143" in the post above this one), and you should be able to copy the address specific to that post.

Nov 17, 2019, 9:57am

>144 lauralkeet: When I right-click, I guess I pick "copy link location" ... yeah, should have figured that out on my own!

I didn't realize I should pick the post-number for the "right-click". Thanks for the geeky tip!

Nov 18, 2019, 8:26am

I restarted my computer this morning - OS updates waiting - and when I signed back into LT, there was a "Santa's Coming" (for November 18) announcement under the Top news column.

... but there was nothing to explain nor any link to click.

The logo is cute!

Anyone know what's going on today? Maybe this is referring to a delicious hunt?

Nov 18, 2019, 10:42pm

>139 SandyAMcPherson: Loved that one!

Nov 19, 2019, 9:23am

>146 SandyAMcPherson: SantaThing is LibraryThing's holiday gift exchange -- not to be confused with the one that takes place within the 75 Book Challenge group. I think they mean for sign-ups to begin some time today, so there should be more information then.

Nov 19, 2019, 9:34am

>147 drneutron: Me, too!

I stayed up "too late" last night and finished The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

It was heading to a 5★ novel, but in the last few chapters, the flow seemed to fall apart.
I was planning to re-read those chapters to try and dissect where the discontinuity began, because I thought maybe it was me and not the writing.

Changed my mind, about the re-reading, just as I wrote that last sentence. It was a great adventure, so well-developed, until about the time Thaniel and Grace (Carrow) start renovating the house and Mori is depicted differently, becoming more of a threatening figure.

I think what has happened, the author derailed her own plot. Grace is drawn into the plot perhaps as a foil for Mori (?), but it seems awkwardly executed. I could understand that Pulley wanted her character to demonstrate that if one wanted to avoid intervention by the clairvoyant Mori, they had to disguise their intentions. This device really needed refining.

The more official review on the book's work page is going to take some thought so it isn't full of blank areas where the spoilers are placed. I certainly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and steampunk mysteries. The author shows great creativity, wonderful character development and effectively scored a slight 🌈 angle to the narrative of which I was unaware until at least ¾'s the way through. I was impressed that this was a debut novel.

Nov 20, 2019, 3:40pm

>149 SandyAMcPherson: It sounds like a worthy-of-support debut novel. Flaws and all.

Nov 20, 2019, 6:10pm

>149 SandyAMcPherson: Ah, I am glad (in a way) to see that you arrived at the same conclusion as I did--great book until it fell apart at the end! Hope her next book can take care of that.

Nov 20, 2019, 9:26pm

>151 ronincats:, Hi Roni, not too sure what you meant ☛ glad (in a way) ...

I looked at the Watchmaker reviews tonight, now that I've thought some more about the novel. Well, not absolutely every review but most of them. Pulley's novel was originally a BB from quondame (but maybe you also mentioned it, so double BB!). Didn't see your review, so it must have been on one of your talk threads, no?

Anyway, I guess most of the reviews roughly arrived at the "our" conclusions, so I was satisfied that my reaction did reflect the writing rather than my foggy reading too late, when I should have been asleep.

I'm going to post on the book review page later, but have decided not to alter what I wrote here. Sometimes my first immersion in reviewing mode is an honest, gut-level response. I should learn this is valid and more sincere than any sober-second-thought prose.

My impression of Watchmaker's many reviews is that the book was very enticing and really drew in a lot of thoughtful reactions. I think that is an acclaim in itself.

Nov 20, 2019, 9:44pm

>146 SandyAMcPherson:, you can tell what a Newbie I still am!

I didn't absorb (notice!) the SantaThing in the 2 years+some months I've been cataloging books on LT.
My main excuse is that I used to have LT book marked for the Your Books page, so missed all that fun news on the home screen.

So now I'm glad I snagged the plum pudding icon, which is going to sneak into some of my Christmas letters as an icon topper. And maybe I'll start a new thread in December using puddings as book counters...

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 10:01pm

Oh yes, I was correct when I predicted a concern about the number of requests at the library...
Five novels and two non-fictions have cascaded onto my bedside reading shelf.

I may skim the nonfictions without mentioning them here. I'm into cozy reading and these 2 NFs are somewhat weighty.

Tonight, I'm going to start Natasha Pulley's 2nd novel, The Bedlam Stacks.

Nov 21, 2019, 7:01am

Hi Sandy!

>149 SandyAMcPherson: I can relate to your … puzzlement? … over The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I read it in April of 2018 and just went back and looked over my review. Here’s the link in case you want to read it: Karen’s review of TWoFS At the time I said I wouldn’t mind a sequel, but I’ve decided that steampunk really isn’t a genre I want to pursue so won’t bother.

Nov 21, 2019, 8:18pm

>155 karenmarie: Hi back Karen.
Your and my reviews of T-WMof-FS are pretty similar in that we hit a wall at some point and the story was derailed.

I think my favourite aspect of Pulley's writing is the gentle weave in the character development and an authentic scene-setting. But she doesn't maintain that atmosphere and the reader's sense of the personalities becomes warped without our quite knowing why or what's happening with the plot.

I didn't start The Bedlam Stacks yet. I was not in the mood to try her next book while I was fresh from the first one, so I picked up one of my other "currently reading" titles, Perfect Happiness and promptly fell asleep ~~ with the light still on! No reflection on Penelope Lively's oeuvre, just a long day.

Nov 21, 2019, 8:59pm

Successful second hand book shopping today: a Penelope Lively!

I was reluctant to drop by the shop because The Man has had my wish list of books in his pocket for several weeks. 'Tis the season to be vigilant! In recent months, there have been several sales of used-books for fundraising, so I have to tread carefully lest I sabotage Christmastime ideas and hidden surprises.

Passing On has been on my watch for this title list along with several other Lively titles. As it turned out, when I looked at my own copy of this infamous list, Passing On hadn't been included in the WL I gave my personal book scout.

I did the happy dance all the way to the cash desk. This is a 1990 reprint in pretty fine condition. I'm not adding it to my currently reading bedside stack because it is overwhelming me at this time. It's as if the stack pokes and twinkles at me, jostling my conscience. I'm metaphysically-certain that the pile rattles around if I bring a different, not-on-the-bedside pile, title to read at night.

Nov 23, 2019, 4:23pm

Hi, Sandy. I finally found your thread! Starred it.

I love your fabric art. I am not an artist but I adore fabric art. I had mentioned on my thread, and provided a link, to a local (well, in Ontario, though not Toronto) textile artist named Lorraine Roy. Her work is stunning and I am thrilled to own 2 smallish pieces of her original art. I have always had a thing for quilts, too but when I took a class once, I found it frustrating. I am not and never have been a sewer, so I'm afraid that textile art will likely remain something for me to just admire, not create.

I also got a good chuckle out of the nostalgic trip down memory lane. Guns and caps and smashing them with rocks, the smell, loved it. We were also free-range kids. Leave the house in the morning and be home for supper, or before it gets dark. No bike helmets, nothing. :-)

And thank you, for being another in the minority (I believe) who is not an Atwood fan. I have liked exactly one book of hers (Alias Grace) and that's it.

Nov 23, 2019, 4:40pm

>158 jessibud2: I didn't know my 75-er thread was hard to find. Dr. Neutron has a thread book list on the challenge home page, yes?

Glad you enjoyed my textile artwork. Purely for pleasure. I'm in awe of those who can execute complex cult patchwork patterns and have everything line up! So not me...

It's nice to know there are others who share our opinion about Margaret. She's probably a great writer and I love her feisty persona (not that I've ever seen her IRL), but yes, I don't like her novels...

Nov 23, 2019, 4:46pm

>158 jessibud2: I was trying to explain to my daughter that she would have had no choice about spending time outside - my parents pretty much kicked us out Saturday morning and except for dinner didn't want to see us until bedtime. Sundays too in my case. We were given money for the base theater, but that wasn't good until 1PM.

Nov 23, 2019, 5:29pm

>158 jessibud2:, >160 quondame:, Sounds like we were all free range kids, except --- so was the whole neighbourhood, so it wasn't a thing to point out.

My Dad told me to quit acting like a terror. He hated that I was such a tomboy. I had to be bribed with the threat of losing my weekly allowance if I didn't wear a dress on Sundays (Sunday school and then dinner {lunch} at my grandparents').

I thought I was so hard done by... little did I know !!

Nov 23, 2019, 7:58pm

>158 jessibud2: & >159 SandyAMcPherson: Shelley and Sandy, I am another member of that quaint little group that rates Atwood far less highly than she does herself.

Glad to see that the Giller Prize "only" longlisted her latest instead of falling over themselves to throw awards its way.

Have a great weekend.

Nov 25, 2019, 10:17am

Hi Sandy!

>158 jessibud2:, >159 SandyAMcPherson:, >162 PaulCranswick:, and me. I've only read Alias Grace, which I did like, refuse to read Handmaid's Tale and sequel, and am dreading 6 poems by her in an ER read I just won, Cutting Edge: New stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers edited by Joyce Carol Oates. They're coming up in 38 pages, but who's counting.

Nov 25, 2019, 1:55pm

Nov 25, 2019, 2:57pm

Happy new week, Sandy, may it bring the best reads of the year.

Dec 1, 2019, 9:15pm

>166 richardderus: Thanks RD. I just started a new thread for December...
looking forward to your cheerfully acerbic comments on my latest book reviews.