Quondame's fourth quarter continuation....

This is a continuation of the topic Susan's sanity is a lost cause…Round 3.

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Quondame's fourth quarter continuation....

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1quondame
Oct 1, 2019, 7:11pm



Hi, I'm Susan, finishing up my 71st year, cleaning up after 3 dachshunds and reading rather more than is good for health and sanity. Yes, I know the gif is paging backwards.

2johnsimpson
Oct 1, 2019, 7:55pm

Hi Susan my dear, happy new thread and love the gif.

3richardderus
Oct 1, 2019, 8:21pm

Hi Susan, I'm with John.

4FAMeulstee
Oct 1, 2019, 8:37pm

Happy new thread, Susan!

I am with John and Richard.

5quondame
Edited: Oct 1, 2019, 10:15pm

#271) Fledgling



Theo learns about herself and the wider worlds, and that even a safe world like her Delgado birthplace can present hazards.

I've read this several times since I found it online though somehow I didn't know about it soon enough to be among the original patrons. It has all the charms and weaknesses of the series, though aficionados of Liaden™️ bows are left to imagine the details for themselves.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book whose cover pictures at least one person in a position other than standing

6figsfromthistle
Oct 1, 2019, 10:56pm

Happy new thread!

7quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 1:35am

#272) The Wildered Quest



This is not the sort of book I expect from Kate Elliott who has always before brought the characters with their flaws into joyous balance with the narrative. I spent 4/5th of this one impatient with the players and the play, until the flow of the narrative just took over and did what it required with those idiots. Unless The Gathering, Magic is your thing, there is no need to read this.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book from your favorite genre

8richardderus
Oct 2, 2019, 7:29pm

>7 quondame: Umm...I think you wanted The Wildered Quest as the title and touchstone...

9quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 7:49pm

>8 richardderus: Of course you are correct and it has been corrected. Cut and Paste has much for which to answer. Psst, the was a non-gratuitous w* worked in.

10quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 2019, 1:35am

#273) Dead Voices



A ghost story, a three friends against evil forces, an entry into what to read now that you've finished Harry Potter. This is the second in a series of which I have readn't the first, and the connections among Coco, Ollie, and Brian didn't quite work for me. But the story itself and the telling were solid.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a word related to Halloween in the title

11LizzieD
Oct 2, 2019, 3:16am

I can't keep up with what you've been doing, Susan, but I appreciate your visits to my thread, and I'm wishing you a happy one here with lots of good reading and good commentary!
Do you know the Percy Jackson YA Olympian series? I was reading the first one but have put it on hold for some even more basic comfort rereading. I think Percy is also the one you read when you've finished Harry Potter.

12quondame
Oct 2, 2019, 3:54am

>11 LizzieD: I've read the original Percy Jackson series and some of later books. I actually find most YA F&SF very violent with gratuitously high body counts. But a lot of mainstream urban fantasy, the vampires and werewolves defer to the heroine type, are equally bloody. Dead Voices was a cut above all that.

13karenmarie
Oct 3, 2019, 1:31pm

Hi Susan, and happy new thread.

I, too, love the gif.

14drneutron
Oct 3, 2019, 10:41pm

Happy new thread!

15quondame
Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 7:44pm

#274) My Name is Red



More than you probably ever wanted to know about Ottoman miniaturists, their lives, loves, rivalries, angst. Being a maker of images in a culture that forbids images is a matter of arrogance and anguish and from the conflict arise the murder of the master gilder Elegant, whose shade narrates the first chapter. Subsequent chapters rotate through other characters and drawings, including the murderer who also has entries as one of the group of miniaturists working on a secret book for the Sultan.
Very much individuals the men, women, children, and figures who narrate have concerns to which we can relate and values that are alien.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #4: Read a book in translation

16LizzieD
Oct 4, 2019, 3:27am

I'm in complete agreement with your assessment of My Name is Red, Susan. This is not my favorite Pamuk so far. Incidentally, I had an Turkish acquaintance who hasn't come back here for years, who deprecated my admiration of Pamuk. She gave me other names to read, but I didn't and have probably lost them.

17PaulCranswick
Oct 4, 2019, 3:29am

Happy new thread, Susan. You have made quite the posting impression this year!

18quondame
Oct 5, 2019, 4:32am

>17 PaulCranswick: Ah no, Paul, you are the (pardon me Mark) the postmaster on this list.

19thornton37814
Oct 5, 2019, 8:18pm

Happy new thread!

21quondame
Oct 5, 2019, 1:38am

#275) The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb



Melanie Benjamin's Lavinia Warren is more driven than likeable, seeking to grow beyond the limits her original small town imposes on a person only 32" tall. This book creates a conflict of the costs of her drive to be more within a framework that primarily values her for her smallness and to protect herself while making a life. The author's choices all seem valid, but not highly imaginative or all that interesting.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book in which a major character has some relationship to a circus

22quondame
Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 4:03am

In preparation for next week's 4 day camping at GWW I've loaded my Kindle with lots of Challenge books. I may have to make some adjustments before Thursday's departure, but I have some spares in line too.

23quondame
Oct 6, 2019, 7:45pm

#276) Sapphire Flames



The world of the Hidden Legacy gets even darker and nastier when Catalina as head of the Baylor house must struggle to survive the end of 3 years of grace period while Nevada and Rogan are in Italy. Bad timing, and absurdly improbable, but necessary for this story not to be shared with that power couple. This one just isn't as fun as earlier volumes.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #6: Read the last (available) book of a series

24SandyAMcPherson
Oct 7, 2019, 12:59pm

Delurking to say hi and to make sure I'm on the new thread.

I went to Vancouver (BC) for a week and came back to LT 75-talk having the most daunting backlog of messages! I'm afraid to look at all the new reviews, since I really don't want to find beguiling new titles when I've requested several holds that will probably cascade.

Oh yes, I started an "October-November TBR" list.

25quondame
Oct 7, 2019, 6:36pm

#277) The Twisted Ones



Reworking the stolen by the fair ones with a vengeance, this tale of a young woman attempting to empty the house of her hoarder grandmother in North Carolina, has inverse resonances with the outsider in a small southern town fables, but mostly gets where it's going. It isn't ultimately disturbing, but I held onto my dachshund for the last chapters.

Yet another riff on early 20th century horror with a Lovecraft connection.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where there is an embedded word of 4 letters or more in the Author’s last name.

26quondame
Oct 7, 2019, 6:38pm

>24 SandyAMcPherson: I've found myself wandering far out of my comfort zone from either picking up titles that have been tossed around and getting felled by BBs.

27richardderus
Oct 7, 2019, 6:58pm

>25 quondame: *ow*ow*ow*

BB

Library has it too. Drat you!

28quondame
Oct 7, 2019, 7:00pm

>27 richardderus: You have to look for the LC in the note in the back.

29jjmcgaffey
Oct 7, 2019, 9:19pm

>25 quondame: Oh, that's a T. Kingfisher book! OK, getting it from the library. She generally manages not to make her horror too horrific for me - and her writing is fantastic. I was on the knife-edge after reading your review until I noticed the author.

30quondame
Edited: Oct 8, 2019, 4:01am

#278) Haunting of Tram Car 015



This mage-punk roar through the wire ways of 1912 Cairo as newly partnered agents of the Ministry of Alchemy try to de-spell the presence attacking passengers on the titular tram car. They find that it isn't the low-level djinn they were expecting, and keep encountering the cresting of the women's suffrage movement as they attempt to identify and control it. Lively and interesting, seeped in the spices of the orient.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book with either an image of leaves on the cover or the word leaf/leaves in the title

31quondame
Oct 9, 2019, 5:52am

#279) Zombie



I don't know about Tiggers, but I don't like this stuff. Spending a summer inside the head of a serial killer is about as pleasant as being hung up in Alien's larder with a larva feeding in your guts.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book for the October CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge

32richardderus
Oct 9, 2019, 6:35pm

>30 quondame: I can't wait to get to that one! I **LOVED** A Dead Djinn in Cairo, the precursor story I read three or so years ago and is set in the same magepunk universe.

33quondame
Oct 9, 2019, 11:11pm

Today was an adventure in being slightly less privileged than my way more lucky than I deserve self is used to. I joined my husband on his commute train - the first time I've been on MetroLink - and then caught a bus to just north of Dodger Stadium to pick up the van we are renting to pack our home away from home into for GWW. It took me about 1/2 an hour to find where to catch the 96 bus downtown since I exited on the street to the north of the station and the stop was on the parallel street to the south. Lovely weather though, just cool enough for what I was wearing and I made my pickup in good time. The 96 is great to know about because it wanders through Chinatown which is currently collecting interesting business and restaurants.

34quondame
Oct 10, 2019, 5:37am

#280) The Invisible Ring



I found this too full of sexual violence and way high on the body count scale to really enjoy, although it is a dramatic and flowing story. There are males and women, and neither are quite human, but balanced between caricatures of gender roles and strange reverses. Maybe more realistic about the unappealing effects magic might have on thinking beings over evolutionary spans.

I have read other books in this series, both before and after, but don't remember a thing about them.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #10: Read a book where the author's first name and surname are consecutive and in alphabetical order

35SandyAMcPherson
Oct 11, 2019, 3:40pm

I'm passing on The Twisted Ones but, yes a BB for Haunting of Tram Car 015. Great review, >30 quondame: thanks!

36SandyAMcPherson
Oct 11, 2019, 3:56pm

>33 quondame: Would love to hear more about these businesses. Are there Second-hand book shops?
And what is GWW?

37jjmcgaffey
Edited: Oct 11, 2019, 7:31pm

>36 SandyAMcPherson: I believe it's Great Western War - an SCA event that I've never made it to. Wars are amazing - literally thousands of people come together, for a week or more, in garb (costume/medieval clothes). They fight, of course (it's a sport, but a full-contact one), but also make and teach and display crafts and skills and cooking and and and...

I went to Pennsic (it's in Western Pennsylvania) once, many years ago. That's the only war I've made it to - lots of tournaments (which last 1-3 days and draw 50 to hundreds of people), but not the big events.

And the problem with bookstores in Chinatowns and equivalent (Japantown, etc...) is that, unsurprisingly, they mostly have books in languages I don't read. I find them frustrating, so tend to avoid them.

38quondame
Oct 14, 2019, 12:20am

>36 SandyAMcPherson: I haven't ever seen a book store in LA China Town, but I never looked. There is a New Orleans restaurant that has opened there and I think a couple of others - it is accessible or lunch from the main part of DT LA, but probably the rents are a bit lower.

>37 jjmcgaffey: Yes, Great Western War. I spent the first full day convinced I had an abscessed tooth, but it got no worse and on Sunday was down to mild discomfort. I still have a dentist appointment for tomorrow!. I just sat in my longer and read most of the time, but outdoors, with company, and meals made by someone else.

39quondame
Oct 15, 2019, 4:20am

#281) Ascension



There are good pieces to be found here, and the story is decent, but the character interactions aren't well set up or believable and the contradictions are a bother.🌈

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a book set in space

#282) Beyond the Wild River



A good fishing trip ruined by vengeance, romance, and death. Move along, this is not the book you're looking for.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #12: Read a historical novel or work of history in which a character or characters travel between different countries

#283) August Heat



Salvo has found new ways to get himself in trouble without having to do more than age a bit and continue as he is.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #13: Read a book in which someone dies

#284) Making a Living in the Middle Ages



The subtitle: The People of Britain 850-1520 is somewhat more accurate, but the real title is Economic changes in England, Wales, and Scotland 850-1520 and why it was never just one thing. It wasn't completely deadly, but it felt very repetitive as it went on.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

40Berly
Oct 15, 2019, 7:31am

Love your topper, even if we are standing on the wrong side of it. (The pages moving "backwards"...)

>21 quondame: And I have Mrs Tom Thumb on Kindle I think. Someday....

>34 quondame: I like Anne Bishop, but then you only gave it 2.5 stars so maybe not.

>39 quondame: " Move along, this is not the book you're looking for." LOL. Thanks for saving us all from that one.

Happy reading!

41quondame
Oct 15, 2019, 3:49am

#285) Things We Lost in the Fire



The horror may just be what people do to themselves, what they do to others, what insanity does to them, or maybe there is really something horrific.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #15: Read a book whose cover gives you an autumn vibe

42quondame
Edited: Oct 17, 2019, 4:35am

#286) Death and the Joyful Woman



Mysteries that involve the detective's family are tricky, and even though this starts off from the son's viewpoint and and involvement with a suspect, it doesn't break free of the tricky thorny aspect. Also the sweetly managing women gag me and all the young tender manhood garbage.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #16: Read a book which mentions footwear in the first sentence

43karenmarie
Oct 17, 2019, 11:54am

I love your pithy reviews, Susan.

44SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Oct 17, 2019, 2:04pm

>43 karenmarie: Me too.
That Ellis Peters even sounds like a less than 3 ☆'s book for me, though I haven't read that author for years now.

45richardderus
Oct 17, 2019, 6:34pm

>41 quondame: Hm. I wasn't anything like as impressed as you sound like you were. Checking...looks like I got it from NetGalley and never reviewed it. Bad boy. Now I have to unearth it and see what I missed, and let this be a lesson to all: Reviewing is the only way for the biblioholic to track reads!

46jjmcgaffey
Oct 17, 2019, 6:48pm

>42 quondame: I like the Felse mysteries - there are some really good stories there. I gave Joyful Woman 4.5 stars, on the second (at least) reading. Oddly, the one I remember as my favorite I only gave 4 stars - A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs. That may just have been my mood at reading (the problem with star ratings!).

47quondame
Oct 17, 2019, 7:35pm

>43 karenmarie: >44 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks.

>45 richardderus: Since I really dislike horror, I tend to rate it a bit higher than other forms if it has coherent focus and depth and doesn't rely on oozing, tentacles, etc.

>46 jjmcgaffey: After I powered through the Cadfael books I read everything I could find by EP. The Wales books were too painful to think about for long, I liked the Felse books at the time, but the Bunty and Dominic treatment in this one just rubbed me wrong. And who done it is obvious because the potential motive is laid in early and never comes up again until the detectives are clued in

48richardderus
Oct 17, 2019, 8:04pm

>47 quondame: Oh! As I'm all about the tentacles, my standards are radically different.

49quondame
Oct 17, 2019, 8:11pm

>48 richardderus: But if you like them, can they be horrific? Slice thin for sushi!

50jjmcgaffey
Oct 18, 2019, 5:39am

>47 quondame: Honestly, I remember bits of it but not really how the story went (given I apparently last read it in 2009, even that's really impressive). My review says I was impressed by the dignified handling of adolescent angst...or something like that.

The discussion made me go look at my Felse books, and I found I was missing three (including The Grass Widow's Tale, which is the one that's jumping up and down in my back-brain saying Read me, read me!, for some reason), so I got the ebooks for those three. Does that count as a book bullet?

51quondame
Edited: Oct 18, 2019, 5:49am

#287) Akata Witch



Not quite a Nigerian Harry Potter, in this story four young teens must master themselves and their abilities to stop a killer bad enough in himself but worse in what he seeks to enable. The final bit isn't really much supported by the preceding development.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a work of witchlit

52jnwelch
Oct 18, 2019, 12:51pm

I'm a Nnedi Okorafor fan, Susan. My wife, son and I all liked Akata Witch a lot, and its sequel, Akata Warrior. Her Binti books are excellent sci-fi.

53quondame
Oct 18, 2019, 7:23pm

>52 jnwelch: She is a good writer, but this book and the Binti series seem to me to be Africanizations of stories I've enjoyed many times before. And she seriously cheats in Binti, wiping out consequences for feel goods.

54quondame
Edited: Oct 19, 2019, 6:56pm

#288) Wild Magic



Even strong magic users get messed up by the gods, and men are major pains too. If the book had any other non-binary gendered characters than the breasted men called Salagaum, all of whom seem to be ostracized by their families, this might qualify for a rainbow, but while a man-Salagaum relationship is portrayed sympathetically, it's forbidden quality is a story lever.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book with a multicoloured cover for the October birthstone challenge

55quondame
Oct 19, 2019, 3:06am

#289) A Night in Lonesome October



I am so not the audience for this book. I don't find monsters fun for their own sake and it would have taken amazing characters and wizard pacing to have overcome my complete boredom with the we will all contest on the night of the full moon to determine if the elder gods will return plot, and 31 daily updates from a pooch made it a tedious drag. Zelazny wrote many books I love, but not this one.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book whose cover pictures at least one person in a position other than standing

56quondame
Oct 21, 2019, 4:13am

#290) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine



There's fine and then there's fine. Eleanor has survived from 10 to 30 by not remembering, by isolation, and vodka. But a need for connection manifests when she encounters an attractive singer and a new co-worker makes friendly overtures. The meta-stable existence she has maintained seems to suit her but she does get knocked over the edge....
I'm not quite sure I can totally believe in Eleanor as she is presented, but this story of not too extraordinary people did interest and touch me throughout.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #10: Read a book where the author's first name and surname are consecutive and in alphabetical order

57jnwelch
Oct 21, 2019, 1:20pm

>53 quondame: Wow, what a perspective on the Binti books and Nnedi Okorafor's books, Susan. I appreciate the strength of your views, but thoroughly disagree. From my POV, it's a shame you missed the wonder of those books, and the idea that they're an "Africanization" of old tropes seems just wrong. I'm loving the emergence of stories based on African folklore, rather than European. Jung would say they all derive from the same archetypes, I suppose, but that's not the same as what you're thinking. Too bad. You're the first person I know to have that reaction, and it just seems a shame, like someone who dislikes a wonderful dish at a restaurant. We're not all the same, and that's a good thing, but oh my, those are such cool books.

I'm glad Eleanor Oliphant interested and touched you! Me, too.

58quondame
Oct 21, 2019, 2:20pm

>57 jnwelch: I'm sorry you think I missed what is special about those books, but I don't believe I did. The special girl who leaves her family behind, Binti, has got to be as familiar to you as it is to me and I had just reread a stellar version before encountering Binti. Binti's family being alive after her actions had brought destruction on them is an authorial indulgence Yes, Binti, aside from my major issue, is a good rif on a story and though Akata Witch also has something intriguing to offer, that doesn't in and of itself win them a higher place in my opinion.

59quondame
Oct 21, 2019, 5:04pm

Arrgh! My house has a noisy infestation of roofers, expected to last the week. The dogs are happy to add to the noise.

60SandyAMcPherson
Oct 21, 2019, 8:38pm

A whole week of roofing?! OMG.
Sending sympathy.

Will you retreat to a library reading room to find some P&Q?

61quondame
Oct 21, 2019, 9:33pm

>60 SandyAMcPherson: I don't know for sure how much of the week it will take, but P&Q are not really available except during breaks, and the dogs are being quite unpleasant to clean up after. With my hearing issues and the thick accents of the workers, I can only hope that the right on-the-spot decisions are being made. I don't think we were using the TV antenna....

62quondame
Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 9:47pm

#291) The Optimist's Daughter



A rather grim little slice of life as Laurel has traveled from her home in Chicago and put her work on hold to be with her father when he goes south to New Orleans to consult about an eye problem with a surgeon who unsuccessfully treated his first wife. The second wife, Fay, has got to be one of the all time achievements in shallow, selfish, ill will ever to take from on the page. Most of the book is Laurel dealing with her father's funeral and revealing its effects on her, complicating the effects of her mother's slow death.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book with either an image of leaves on the cover or the word leaf/leaves in the title

63jnwelch
Edited: Oct 21, 2019, 11:36pm

I guess the problem I’m having re your thoughts on Binti is we could say the same about virtually any book. The hero going on a journey is one we know, too, and it gets told over and over. Just about every book could be reduced that way. 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry is a funny book that capitalizes on just that.

64quondame
Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 6:29pm

🎃🎃🎃First time ever I completed the treasure hunt without resorting to any clues! 🎃🎃🎃

65quondame
Edited: Oct 22, 2019, 11:45pm

#292) Fall Back Down When I Die



Author Joe Wilkins does not cut eastern Montana any slack: "The land where the failures of the nation, the failures of myth, met the failures of men." The men and women he conjures for us do fail in entirely human ways. The steady pace of most of the book is deceptive as it all seems to have gone by too quickly once the final action starts.

Mentioned by richardderus, it's not a BB if the poster didn't specifically recommend it, is it?

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a word related to Halloween in the title

66quondame
Oct 24, 2019, 6:20am

#293) The Library of the Unwritten



Everything in this book almost works. The Library of the Unwritten as an annex of Hell, the Librarian and her failed muse helper, the search for the lost bits of the Devil's Bible all have interesting facets and developments, but the pacing is too drawn out and the some of the character interactions just don't jell.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book for the October CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge - Read a book that has a scary or creepy setting

67richardderus
Oct 24, 2019, 3:51pm

>65 quondame: *snort* TOTALLY a BB. Not so much as a shred of doubt. None. BB. Ab(b)solutely.

68ronincats
Oct 24, 2019, 8:40pm

>66 quondame: I'm hopeful that those elements will improve in the second book, though.

69SandyAMcPherson
Oct 25, 2019, 4:28am

>64 quondame: Good going!

I thought I would manage also, but was (and still am) *totally* stumped on #13.
I like these treasure hunt quizzes, except when the description is so vague about hinting the alternative meaning of the clues, then not so much fun. For example, the rhyme says 'book' but one hint on Talk said it is a movie. Meh!

70quondame
Oct 25, 2019, 5:41am

>69 SandyAMcPherson: I had never heard of the answer to #13, but googled 9 & blood and the answer was on the first page. I don't count doing my own googles as using hints.

71quondame
Oct 25, 2019, 5:49am

#294) Dirty Magic



I was debating whether to rate this as a 3 or 3.5 then when I looked it up on LT I had already read it. And forgotten it 100%. It is a perfectly fine take on the heroine with something extra in a dark urban fantasy world, a bit different than the usual werewolfs, vampires, and other strange critters, with Adepts being both the monsters and among those fighting the monsters, and the take on magic is not the most common, and the pacing and plotting are better than average, just, well I totally forgot it. Totally.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where there is an embedded word of 4 letters or more in the Author’s last name

72SandyAMcPherson
Oct 25, 2019, 1:46pm

Anita also answered me on the hunt clue/talk page. Thanks for your keywords, though. For some reason, those words weren't bringing up the correct book at the time. Or, yes, I was up too late at night!

I don't mind googling for the titles, and mostly try to figure out the clues myself before resorting to the 'Talk' page. I like the talk pages, though, because some genres are so unfamiliar to me that I would earn an icon only by accidentally tripping over a title in an unrelated search!

I belonged to LT for over a year before I ever even noticed there were treasure hunts! I particularly value them for pushing me into learning more about the LT world and how to navigate the website (probably changing with the new design). A day late and a dollar short, eh? And I also have discovered a lot about other genres, which has gotten me out of a rut.

73quondame
Oct 26, 2019, 6:23am

#295) Lost and Found



Lost things catch Ezekiel's attention and he knows who has lost them and where the owner is. Every significant character in this book has suffered some grievous loss of the sort that cannot be helped by simply returning an item, until Ezekiel is asked to find a lost child. Much of the meaning of this book is in living after loss and using your abilities to their fullest, and the characters are vivid and touching and if the plot were less dependent on a couple of major co-incidences it might actually deserve it's current average rating of 4.33.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

74karenmarie
Oct 26, 2019, 1:31pm

Hi Susan!

>61 quondame: Ha. I looked at part of our roof last Monday that I normally don’t look at and saw the antenna. I don’t think we’re using it either. It probably needs to come down.

75richardderus
Oct 26, 2019, 3:32pm

Happy weekend, Susan, and more 3-plus-star reads ahead.

76quondame
Oct 27, 2019, 8:02pm

#296) Liaden Universe Constellation IV



Well enough, but no particular delights, and the volume eating tale of Degrees of Separation was for me half saccharine and half re-tread pain resulting from a bad Delm. Only two of the stories were familiar to me from Baen.com, so at least most of the material wasn't a re-read, though re-reads of Liaden™️ books is pretty standard for me.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book from your favorite genre

77quondame
Edited: Oct 28, 2019, 5:09am

#297) The Waters and the Wild



A YA summer on the lake with strangeness yarn. I didn't find much in it that connected it with other Bedlam's Bard books, though I haven't read the most recent ones, and my memory is not great. That is not in any case a problem with this book, which is decently paced with acceptable level of characterization, though the lead's woozy headedness is a pain.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #6: Read the last (available) book of a series

78SandyAMcPherson
Oct 28, 2019, 2:32pm

Hey Susan, Impressive that you're at #297 in your reading. I'm thinking that 3-★s is a "mediocre-to-okay" book for you? I tend to default to 3 or 3½ ★s when the book is "meh" to "read again in case I like it better".
I like to get a sense of how others rate books relative to me so I can spot a BB. Some 4 to 4½ ★s have rated much lower.

Over here in my bookish behaviour, I am at #92 which seems an unusually high amount of reading to me. I've never tracked my year's reading before. So maybe that mere record-keeping pushed me to read more. I do know I've persisted with books to the end that I didn't like very much. Maybe that's a good thing.

Don't mind me, I'm just chattering away.

79jjmcgaffey
Oct 28, 2019, 9:09pm

>78 SandyAMcPherson: I put my star system on my profile page - for me, mostly, so I can remember how I distinguish a 2.5-star (maybe for someone, not me) from a 2-star (not quite a story, errors), and so on. For me, 3 stars is "glad I read it" and 3.5 is "glad I read it, may reread". 4 is "will reread".

When I started tracking my books, I think it did accelerate my reading. But I found that it was necessary to review (at least a quick one) every book, so that I could remember a) the book and b) why I gave it that star rating. I've found several that I simply didn't remember ever having read before, and others that I either hated or loved the second time that I thought were meh the first - or vice versa, just very different star ratings. LT's tracking threads have made several major changes in my reading.

>77 quondame: Ah, I'd forgotten about that one! I may even have it, in my ebooks - if not, I need to get it. I don't think Lackey's done any that weren't at least 3-star, for me. Some are no higher (and some are 5-star), but all of them have been worth my reading time.

80quondame
Oct 28, 2019, 10:13pm

>78 SandyAMcPherson: >79 jjmcgaffey: Sometimes the rating is a matter of my expectations being snubbed. If I rate it less than 2.5 it is often because of some major flaw in the writing or something in the story/characters that struck me just wrong. I will rate things as high as 4.5 that I have no intention of reading again, just because they have content in spades, though, yes, high ratings often do go to books I enjoy or would enjoy re-reading. But sometimes I enjoy reading guilty pleasure ~3 books.

Sometimes the few lines I write on LT - or even a footnote from the year or two before I joined, are enough to bring the book back to mind, but not always.

81quondame
Oct 28, 2019, 12:31am

#298) The Fire's Stone



Three young people with sever parental issues are twisted together by the author and sent off on a quest to save a city on which they are tested, battered, and bonded and served up grown beyond those bounds. A fast moving narrative twists until the triad is on it's way then flows forward with the inevitability of lava. The characters are less novel now than they would have been nearly 30 years ago, but remain rather charming. 🌈

BB from Dejah_Thoris who

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book with a multicoloured cover for the October birthstone challenge

82quondame
Oct 29, 2019, 10:52pm

#299) The Long Call



Mathew Venn is unusual in my experience of characters who are police detectives. No tendency to violence and little to temper, his personal issues are less about specific traumatic events or bad habits and more the result of a thinking person growing up in a community of faith. The characters, setting, and communities which resulted in the murder and subsequent events are all excellently presented. I found the pace ever so slightly slower than I prefer, and the whiff Oriental Express communal effort to be the only real flaw. 🌈

It's lovely to become acquainted with a writer with such a promising bibliography. Thanks rretzler

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

83SandyAMcPherson
Oct 29, 2019, 3:28am

Thanks >79 jjmcgaffey: and >80 quondame: for the comments on your style of star ratings. I forget to look at members' profiles to see if they've clarified how the stars are awarded, so I've taken time to do that and noticed better ways of thinking about my allocations.

Not that we have to be all scholarly and apply stars even consistently. I'm also getting better at just going into writing the reviews a little more spontaneously. Schooling has a lot to answer for! I have a very noisy, bossy inner editor!

84jjmcgaffey
Oct 30, 2019, 5:51am

>83 SandyAMcPherson: Leaving aside whether I'm helping anyone else - I need the stars to be consistent for _me_, so I know how I felt about a book when I finished it (which is often not how I feel about the same book a week, month, year later). And I review for me, too. Nice if it's useful for others, but I can't write that way - I need to write down what I need to know about that book.

85quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:05am

#300) Blackout



The preponderance of characters carrying heavy immediate emotional loads, gives this book a calculated feel and diffuses the impact of any one angst. Whether accurate or not, it does give an heavy ominous mood to the well presented setting with volcanic ash in the south and a sort of frenzied summer scene in the northern fjords. I'm not a fan of the way the multiple viewpoints were done, making this more of a shallow ensemble piece.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #4: Read a book in translation

86quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:05am

#301) One Potion in the Grave



Magical cozy witch mystery. Yet another too many suspects for a small pool to fish in. Nothing terribly wrong, nothing much special.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a work of witchlit

87LizzieD
Oct 30, 2019, 3:11am

>82 quondame: Thank you for the suggestion that Ann Cleves will be worth my time when I get to her!
(Hi, Susan!)

88FAMeulstee
Oct 31, 2019, 9:00am

>85 quondame: Congratulations on reaching 4 x 75, Susan!

89quondame
Oct 31, 2019, 8:14pm

>88 FAMeulstee: Thank you!

90quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:05am

#302) Zero Sum Game



Dark urban conspiracy with telepathy and mindbending, over the top body count, rough cut moralizing. A young woman with something extra tangles with something(s) bigger and badder than she is, and she's pretty bad, in a competent way. Too over the top to be really scary.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #13: Read a book in which someone dies

91johnsimpson
Oct 31, 2019, 8:59pm

Hi Susan my dear, congrats on reaching 300 books, this is a figure I can only dream about dear friend. Hope you are having a good week and send love and hugs from both of us.

92quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:05am

#303) Chilling Effect



How can you add 20 psychic cats to a book and have them do nothing? Too lightweight for the immense body count with yet another 5 person crew of a space freighter, I cannot imagine anyone remaining around the train wreck of Captain Eva Innocente. She spends way to much of the novel moaning in her cabin, has no contingency plans and ignores all good advice. The author has raked through a 100 years of F&FS for juicy bits to thread together, and the tale is lively and fast moving, but jeez.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a book set in space

93quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:04am

#304) The King of Kazoo



A very silly GN, with the characters are not much above stick figures and strangely seem to have vestigial rabbit ears, dress like it's the 1950s in a fantasy reminiscent of those movies with a race through eastern Europe only the baddy is a disgruntled wizard and not the ruler's a identical twin.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book that has a musical instrument in the title

94ronincats
Nov 1, 2019, 1:09am

>92 quondame: That's disappointing. This is one coming into my library branch for me soon and I'll probably read it, but I wish it had been better for you.

95PaulCranswick
Nov 1, 2019, 1:12am

Since I last visited, Susan - and not long ago - you have waltzed beyond 300 books or 4x75.

I am impressed!

Have a lovely weekend.

96quondame
Nov 2, 2019, 11:01pm

My "Felix" book is proving thick and long, so I've no news for today except that I learned that Natasha Pulley is coming out with a new book in February. What are you looking forward to in 2020? Other than Return of the Thief, which is a given.

97SandyAMcPherson
Nov 2, 2019, 12:38am

>96 quondame: Yes, Return of the Thief is indeed a given!

I'm also looking forward to a number of others, not necessarily just 2019/2020 publications, though
The Lantern Men (the #12 book in the RG series); comes out in Feb.

earlier publications:
Paris by the book, a bb from Lauralkeet's thread
Frankly in Love, a bb from foggidawn's thread

98quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:04am

#305) The Revolutions



Late 19th century spiritual travel to Mars in doubtful company. Nobody has any fun. The Martians are kind of interesting, but they don't have much fun either and all of the landscapes tend toward dreary at best. I do wonder why he bothered with this and I can't recommend anyone else should.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book by an author whose first name is Felix or Lars or one of these names appear in the first sentence

99quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:04am

#306) Piglettes



Mireille, Astrid, and Hakima are voted the three ugliest girls in their high school, and find common ground in a trip to Paris to crash the July 14th party given by the President. This is about beauty, resilience, social media, bullying, served with a lot of snark and garnished with sentiment.

Meets November TIOLI Challenge #12: Read a book where a word in the title reminds you of a childhood toy

100SandyAMcPherson
Nov 3, 2019, 9:31pm

>99 quondame: I'm liking the sound of this one!

Especially since I'm in a snarky mood right now about an ER book with which I'm struggling (The Grey Sisters ). Maybe I should give up on ER reviewing. There's so many fabulous reading opportunities to explore.

101quondame
Nov 3, 2019, 10:26pm

>100 SandyAMcPherson: Between a couple of dull ER books and a couple that either weren't in a format I could easily use or were never sent, I've stopped applying for them.

102richardderus
Nov 3, 2019, 10:45pm

Well, shiver me timbers!

...what, it's NOT still Talk Like A Pirate Day? I was here just a minute...

...oh. Well done on 4x75! I'm sad to learn Felix Gilman's book was a bust. Happy reading week ahead!

103quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:04am

#307) Frankissstein



"Sanity is the thread through the labyrinth of the Minotaur." In this deconstructed Frankenstein, ground up with Fall; or, Dodge in Hell or any other cyber life after death tome, what is it to be human and is there artificial consciousness isn't what's going on here though, as the thread is broken when the reader slips between times via holes in the foundations of the maze. Too fanciful to inspire heavy thought, to fruited with heavy thoughts to please the fancy. The actions of the trans narrator of the modern sections leaves me feeling very ambiguous about marking this with a 🌈.

Meets November TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a book that features young person/s in peril

104quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 6:05am

#308) The Bottle Factory Outing



The author shovels dreary characters onto dreary jobs in a dreary setting without giving them the slightest awareness that might save them from any normal indignity, but what happens is not just normal and the black humor of the resulting scramble is at least more lively than the earlier narrative.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a title that mentions something you could recycle

105quondame
Nov 6, 2019, 8:16pm

#309) Turning Darkness Into Light



Lady Trent's granddaughter, Audrey Camherst, is invited by a notorious acquirer of antiquities to translate some extraordinary Daconean tablets. It is an uneasy alliance, especially once the Draconean scholar Audrey involves arrives, but what the real issues are are only revealed the scholar's attention is pulled from their absorption in the text to the people surrounding it. As a book about people passionate in their interests I might have been more drawn to this it any of them were much more than monomaniacal, though sometimes in a good way. Still, overcoming the journal/letter format, this is a lively read and and a compelling, if contained, adventure.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where the title completes the phrase "I am thankful for..."

106quondame
Nov 6, 2019, 8:29pm

Yesterday a hearse was parked across the street from mid morning at least - when I first noticed it - until around 4-5pm. A sedan with a light bar parked directly behind it shortly after I first noticed it, slightly blocking a driveway, which makes me think it was trying to prevent the contents from being removed, since there was other on street parking. Two individuals in work clothes, one from the hearse and one from the sedan, went to my next-door-to-the-north neighbor's. I have no idea what was going on - those neighbors are newcomers and rent from the owners, one of whom runs the French school behind our properties. My breakfast room window usually just shows an near endless parade of joggers, dog walkers, and other strollers, not to mention delivery vans.

107richardderus
Nov 6, 2019, 9:06pm

>104 quondame: Like my review of The Beggar Maid: "Lovely, lovely sentences telling deadly little quotidian stories about dreary, slatternly people." Yuck.

>106 quondame: That's very intriguing! I wonder what'll happen next.

108quondame
Nov 6, 2019, 9:14pm

>107 richardderus: Me too, or, um, I as well. I don't know if the neighbors are familiar with the local flier protocol for gatherings, should they host one. Like all the rest of the tenants, they are from France, or at least French speaking, and I haven't really had any interaction with them. The previous tenants had the most lovely huge white dog who jumped the fence once and after the minute it took Mike to return him, had my husband waxing poetic about real dogs and how he, who rarely gives our wee rat dachshunds much direct attention, wants a dog who will play with him.

109quondame
Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 8:05pm

#310) Warrior of the Altaii



Only worth reading to tick off bits that were upcycled into WoT, this tale of a rather dull nomadic warrior who becomes the spearhead of change in spite of himself is full of familiar names from our history mismatched together and folded in with Jordan's rather weird fancies.

Finished for November TIOLI Challenge #4: Finish an interrupted book

110quondame
Nov 8, 2019, 8:08pm

#311) Bolt



A good solid Dick Francis, just not one of my favorites, partly because of the romance subplot, and partly because of the how much the protagonist is able to control so completely, and partly because of the use of an unpleasant character required by the plot.

Read for SHARED READ: Saddle up for Dick Francis' horsy adventures!
Meets November TIOLI Challenge #19: Read a book with a title containing up to 9 characters

111quondame
Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 10:45pm

#312) Tokyo Babylon, Volume 1



16 year old fraternal twins Subaru & Hokuto Sumeragi hang out with 25 year old veterinarian Seishiro Sakurazuka. Subaru exorcises ghosts while Hokuto dresses herself and her twin in eccentric fashion and is obsessed with pushing Seishiro & Subaru together romantically. This volume mostly raises questions, like why any of the above and what is the Sakurazuka-Sumeragi connection. Since it uses the p word for m-m sex it doesn't qualify for a rainbow.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book with the name of a city in the title - started by lindapanzo

112quondame
Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 9:56pm

#313) Gmorning, Gnight!



Emotional bookend twitters to pull you up and ease you down. Some are simple pep tweets, some are multum in parvo.

Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the word Grateful

113richardderus
Nov 8, 2019, 2:15am

>111 quondame: The um, how to put this, coercive nature of the yaoi element made me shudder.

At any rate. Excelsior! Gift wrap!

114BLBera
Nov 9, 2019, 6:24pm

Thanks for stopping by my thread, Susan. I am quite enjoying Frankissstein, but I understand that Winterson is not for everyone.

You are a reading machine -- well over 300 books! Is that a normal number for you?

115quondame
Nov 9, 2019, 7:18pm

>114 BLBera: I've upped the number in the last few years since I don't get out as much and the variety is wider both due to LT and it being easier to load books from libraries onto my kindle, which cuts down my re-read count. Just for giggles, I checked 2010 and I read 229 books including a complete re-read of Dick Francis but that was before I joined the SCA which kept me out of the house or sewing and weaving a lot for about 4 years, lowering the count somewhat.

116quondame
Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 9:57pm

#314) The Cement Garden



What do 3 teenagers with a younger brother do when their mother dies soon after their father. After setting up a complete isolate family in a house removed by urban decay from any close neighbors, the author takes them through a record hot summer on their own. It isn't quite the incestuous Lord of the Flies of the blurb, but it isn't pretty.

Read for November TIOLI #1: Read a book that measures approximately 1 cm in thickness

117quondame
Nov 10, 2019, 5:39pm

#315) Code of Conduct



Tougher than nails Jani Kilian is hardly herself, being cyborg and disguised and caught in a political/personal situation of utmost complexity even without the alien idomeni, and their ambassador/priest who sees her as his successor. The only standout here is the flavor of the alien connection, and really Jani isn't all that.

Read for November TIOLI #6: Read a book that has a haiku seasonal word/phrase on the cover

118quondame
Nov 11, 2019, 4:30pm

#316) Life with My Sister Madonna



Pretty much one continuous whine. A real object lesson in the pitfalls of having a massive celebrity in the family for both the celebrity and siblings who aren't able to create a strong identity independent of the star. Other than that, any truth is obscured by self-serving or fawning justification.

Read for November TIOLI #10: Read a book by an author who has a sibling who is in the creative arts

119SandyAMcPherson
Nov 11, 2019, 4:49pm

>118 quondame: I've said it before,
~ I love your pithy reviews ~ and it's still true!
It must be difficult being related to a sibling in the public eye. I imagine it would take great personal self-confidence to chill out and live your own life, no?

120quondame
Nov 11, 2019, 5:04pm

>119 SandyAMcPherson: I imagine it would, since Christopher spent years working for and touring with his sister and seems to value his connections with celebrities a great deal and she had the power to cut some of those.

121jnwelch
Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 7:01pm

Hi, Susan.

"Solid" is a good word for Bolt. I liked it, too, and I understand your reservations. I've been very happy getting reacquainted with Dick Francis's mysteries. I've re-read several of his outside the challenge, too, as I was having such a good time with them.

122quondame
Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 11:36pm

#317) Dairy Queen



This is a lively quirky YA novel. D.J. is a high school athlete who has had to leave the basketball team to work in the family's dairy while her father is sidelined with a hip injury. Her path from numb resentful acceptance to articulate choice is a good journey even if it does rely heavily on football. The weakness is that the problems that face her family really require more than one individual finding a voice. 🌈 a bit.

Read for November TIOLI #11: Read a book in which a profession of a drink is written

123quondame
Nov 12, 2019, 6:19pm

#318) Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell



Quick and easy read. Rather silly for dealing with cancer and psychopathy.

Read for November TIOLI #8: Read a book that has been adapted from / or into another form

124quondame
Nov 13, 2019, 2:07am

#319) The Secret Commonwealth



The further adventures of Lira Silvertongue as she reaches adulthood. This has a very different feel from the first volume of The Book of Dust, concerned as it is with adults running madly about and careening from one place to another. For all it's 633 pages, it reads quickly, though it doesn't always make complete sense to me. The adventures are quite a bit lower key than those of the first trilogy, though the Magisterium is ramping the badness up to 11.

Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book with a yellow and/or orange cover for the November birthstone challenge

125quondame
Edited: Nov 13, 2019, 2:42am

>121 jnwelch: This year is the first time in quite a while that I didn't just read through all the Dick Francis mysteries after I started one. I did pull For Kicks down when I went to the shelf for Bolt, but haven't started it since I had another choice for TIOLI #1.

126karenmarie
Nov 14, 2019, 2:30pm

Hi Susan!

Belated congratulations on 4x75! I continue to adore your laconic reviews.

>106 quondame: wee rat dachshunds. *smile*

>110 quondame: I hadn’t read Bolt before, simply because I was acquiring them more rapidly than I was reading them and then got distracted. Last one before this one that I read was before 2008. It was nice to read it and be able to tag another book ‘read’. I agree with you on all three points.

127quondame
Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 5:55am

#320) Scythe



Heavy handed and dreary, a Hunger Games wanna be but with a utopic twist. It isn't new and it isn't fun. And the body count is high by the very nature of the concept.

Read for November TIOLI #13: Read a book about a utopia that either does or doesn’t work out

128quondame
Nov 15, 2019, 9:06pm

#321) Mothering Sunday



A young man, the sole surviving child of an upper class family post WWI, and a young woman, a foundling, maid at a neighboring family meet on Mothering Sunday. She has nothing but herself and he has everything but himself, but this is really about how life is turned into art and how language both wonderfully expresses life and is inadequate to do so.

Meets November TIOLI #9: Read a book set in Western Europe

129SandyAMcPherson
Nov 16, 2019, 3:55pm

>128 quondame:, This sounds very appealing... I put it on my WL.

Finally got around to a BB you supplied ages ago (a Natasha Pulley novel). It's a nice antidote when my brain is full from reading Back to Blakeney: The Revitalization of the Democratic State.

Hope your Saturday is not full of wildfire smoke and no electricity. I'm a little uncertain how that's affecting your parts.

130quondame
Nov 16, 2019, 8:54pm

>129 SandyAMcPherson: I live, if not mid-city, west mid-city. While I'm on the ridge of a hill, it is entirely built up with no wild area and surrounded by residences, businesses and freeways. It's also one of the few islands where the chimneys survived the 1994 earthquake - in the flats all around every north-south street was a panorama of fallen chimneys. Also, our electricity company isn't the one responsible for the fires, and while there have been short outages we haven't lost any frozen food or had to deploy our SCA camping batteries.

I'm glad you got something from Natasha Pulley's book, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street I assume. I'm looking forward to her next book.

131quondame
Nov 16, 2019, 9:01pm

#322) The Wings of the Sphinx



Salvo is not enjoying being on the outs with Livia and the death and disappearance he is investigating and the arson he is not investigating all get the commissioner on his case, not to mention rain keeping the fishing fleet from sailing so there are days without fresh fish. But he manages to deal with at least some of his problems.

Meets November TIOLI #15: Read another book by an author you discovered in 2019

132richardderus
Nov 16, 2019, 9:45pm

>131 quondame: Salvo without mullets! AND Livia! The agonies he endures.

I'm glad you're not having regular power cuts. Or wildfires.

133LizzieD
Nov 16, 2019, 11:07pm

Susan, I sort of breezed through your thread the way you're breezing through books. Why am I not reading like you?????
You remind me that I like Graham Swift, but I can't quite remember why, so I'm off to find out. Stay warm and dry (at least that would be good advice for me).

134quondame
Nov 16, 2019, 11:13pm

>133 LizzieD: Some books are a breeze and some are slogs. I don't do much but read, so even the slogs only take a day or two, and I am reluctant to discard a book I have already spent a day on. Though I should. Scythe in particular had various over done YA tropes and, unless the power kick of vicarious killing is fun. really no fun stuff at all.

135SandyAMcPherson
Nov 16, 2019, 11:44pm

>130 quondame: That's correct, it is indeed The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

I see on the members page for The Bedlam Stacks that you rated it 3-stars. Was it as well-written as W-of-FS?? The synopsis on the work page looks intriguing. Natasha Pulley is a new author for me.

136quondame
Nov 16, 2019, 1:03am

>135 SandyAMcPherson: There is some neat stuff in The Bedlam Stacks but it suffers in comparison with W-of-FS primarily in the characters.

137quondame
Nov 17, 2019, 6:23am

DNF Shattered City



Teenagers lead a rebellion, I just can't. Not another high body count young adult.

138quondame
Nov 17, 2019, 10:18pm

Today is about what I can't do, or maybe couldn't. My mail app on the Mac wasn't finding a server, my Kindle was being a brick. My husband fixed them, which is good, then drove off with car 1 which isn't too bad, but then my daughter drove off with car 2, which leaves me stuck on top of this hill until after dark. I've got lots to read, but the first two I started Magic Casement (kindle) and The Children of Time have yet to really pull me in, and I don't feel like jumping into a third read after a DNF. Maybe some mac'n'cheese will help.....

139richardderus
Nov 17, 2019, 10:37pm

>138 quondame: Mac'n'cheese can never hurt, IMO. xoxo

140SandyAMcPherson
Nov 17, 2019, 11:36pm

>138 quondame: Sympathy from here...

My angst (actually yesterday) was discovering that I can't find an expert sharpening person to put the edge back on my favourite sewing shears. I've had them since 1971 and was told they are considered 'too vintage' and better ones are now out there ~ so the 'expert' guy doesn't want to bother.

This is a fellow who sharpens the hair stylists' scissors and the shears from the local sewing academy. My original fellow retired. Boo. Today, I have a reference for a sharpener in Victoria! I don't think my shears are worth shipping to Vancouver Island (a distance of nearly 1,700 km) and back.

Kind of a different couldn't do thing. At least my Natasha Pulley novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a great read, so far.

141quondame
Nov 17, 2019, 1:42am

>139 richardderus: It did help. Thanks. The Chlldren of Time is growing on me in fits and starts.

>140 SandyAMcPherson: I haven't formed any lasting attachment to a pair of scissors for a long time. I was gifted a Weiss set in my late teens much to the disgust of the cutlery shop owner who wanted me to pick a more expensive pair, maybe Henckel, but the Weiss fit my hand better. I don't know what became of them though, and have been mostly using Fiskars for decades - and finally trained my husband and daughter not to use orange handled or grey handled scissors. I do have a fancy pair from a Kickstarter, but they are huge and intimidating and besides, I haven't done anything like sewing since months before they came.

142karenmarie
Nov 18, 2019, 12:11pm

Hi Sandy!

I'm not sure it's appropriate for sewing shears, but I just read last week that you can sharpen scissors by cutting layered aluminum foil with them. You might want to check it out.

I hide the sewing shears inherited from Bill's mother and grandmother so he won't use them on paper. I've also got a lovely pair of pinking shears but since I don't sew they're just hanging out in the bottom of my sewing kit - which is an old cigar box.

143SandyAMcPherson
Nov 18, 2019, 2:07pm

>142 karenmarie: I hide the sewing shears ...
Yeah, me too. Actually, I keep them in my sewing box (which is an old tackle box) in the closet where my fabric stash is stored.

The best thing I did was to buy 3 sets of inexpensive scissors and put them in the kitchen, the desk drawer and the cupboard where we keep wrapping paper. Best thing ever, because they're so accessible and besides, *everyone* knows I'd have a hissy-fit if my shears were used on paper.

144jnwelch
Nov 18, 2019, 6:42pm

I liked Dairy Queen, too. There are more D.J. stories that follow it, which I also enjoyed. I understand that the author is the sister of the Eat, Pray, Love author.

Wasn't The Secret Commonwealth a surprisingly quick read? Can't wait for the next one.

145quondame
Nov 18, 2019, 8:26pm

>142 karenmarie: >143 SandyAMcPherson:


Every couple of years I buy a package of 3 pair of scissors at CostCo. It helps some.

>144 jnwelch: I'm not sure I up for so much middle America just now. The Secret Commonwealth was a fast trip, especially since I'm fighting through Children of Time now. I don't see the point of the humans, or at least reading about them, those aren't the fun sections.

146SandyAMcPherson
Nov 18, 2019, 1:38am

>145 quondame: ❤️💙💜💖 Great photo, Susan!!

147karenmarie
Nov 19, 2019, 12:20pm

>145 quondame: I agree with Sandy! It took me a minute to figure it out, but then I got a big smile on my face.

148SandyAMcPherson
Nov 19, 2019, 5:42pm

Hi Susan, I'm trying to find a really intriguing non-fiction book-gift for someone...
Have you read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana? I looked at "your Library" but on the off-chance you have an opinion... I thought I'd ask.

149richardderus
Nov 19, 2019, 5:49pm

>145 quondame: That is genius. More scissor-fetishists should do that.

150SandyAMcPherson
Nov 19, 2019, 6:18pm

Not a fetish, RD. It's like hiding one's shop tools so the inexperienced or the totally ignorant don't wreck fine equipment!

(Sore point around here, when guests think it's okay to put Solingen steel knives in the dishwasher or leave them soaking wet in a sink)

151quondame
Nov 19, 2019, 8:04pm

>148 SandyAMcPherson: I don't know anything about The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, but it looks interesting. My favorite NF book is Women's Work: the First 20,000 years.

152quondame
Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 10:17pm

#323) Children of Time



I found this book about 60% too long. Mostly in the human cryostorage turned generation ship sections which are pretty much pulling in lots of conflicts we've seen before to fill in between the spider sections, which are also repetitive, but a bit less claustrophobic. This is pretty much a kitchen sink collection of SF tropes, from the aforementioned generation ship to through nano-directed-evolution to dicey uploads of human consciousness, and not particularly painful, but not quite worth the effort either.

153SandyAMcPherson
Nov 19, 2019, 11:18pm

>151 quondame: Women's Work: the First 20,000 years shows how history overlooked so much of "her" story. I would think it may be too scholarly for my gift purposes, but thank you for the title.
I have read other texts on the ancient fibre industry in the Near East (for example) but none that wrote of such ancient history.

There were displays of very fragile, ancient materials (bark, fish skins, woven river reeds) at an exhibition in the Textile Museum of Canada (in Toronto) some 10 years ago. I wish there was a full online archive of past exhibitions, with the explanations/description details. Probably a funding thing, having no staff to create such a record. I'm unsure how old the pieces were, but kind of doubt anything was as old as even 5,000 years.

154quondame
Nov 19, 2019, 11:43pm

>153 SandyAMcPherson: I'm no scholar, and WW is very readable. An interest in fiber technology and history are necessary.

155jjmcgaffey
Nov 20, 2019, 6:54am

>148 SandyAMcPherson: I came across this list of the best non-fiction books in the past 25 years from Slate, and got hit by a barrage of book bullets - some I'd heard of but hadn't gotten around to doing anything, some I'd never heard of but they sound great. You might take a look and see if anything would suit your friend.

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/11/50-best-nonfiction-books.html

156quondame
Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 4:30am

#324) The Labyrinth Index



I rather like the balance of day-to-day life contrasted with the gibbering horrors of the other realms in the earlier books in this series, but that is pretty much gone and there are ever so few touchstones of normalcy in this version, which is a real loss. It's got the dark humor and the fast pace, but it's all mechanics now.

Meets November TIOLI #3: Read a book with a title that mentions something you could recycle

157SandyAMcPherson
Nov 20, 2019, 4:30am

>155 jjmcgaffey: Thanks, I checked it out. It's a handy overview.

158quondame
Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 10:09pm

#325) After the Coup



I don't quite feel the humor in this macho, set our enhanced military guy turned support against the aliens' fighter, but it's clearly meant to be there. Feels more like something written to order than an original spark sort of tale.

Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the word Grateful

#326) Crapkiller



New graduates of Space Corps Academy are given opportunities/challenges on Ganymede. What could possibly go wrong? Funny, lively, genXish if not millennial sensibility, but hey, I can adapt. 🌈

Read for November TIOLI #18: Read a book by an author whose first name is Felix or Lars or one of these names appear in the first sentence

159quondame
Nov 22, 2019, 9:38pm

#327) Under My Skin



High school sophomore Josh turns into a mountain lion in a confrontation with his mother's current boyfriend. He is one of a number of teens who have become Wildings in the small S. Calif. beach town of Santa Feliz. A YA which hits all the required buttons, though it keeps the body count low and significant and and gives the young people agency without putting them at the head of established hierarchies. Moves well with de Lint's sure style and believable characters.

Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the word Grateful

160quondame
Edited: Nov 23, 2019, 2:15am

#328) 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed



This provides a review of thinking and the archeological finds that support that thinking about the end of the large empires shortly before the end of the bronze age. The date 1177BC is when the Egyptians report having defeated the Sea People. Archeology hasn't yet told us who the Sea People were or how much actual damage they did. Earthquakes, famines, and wars all between 1250 BC and 1130 BC make it clear that the Sea People weren't the area's only problems. Plagues are even mentioned for their absence, which bugs me, because often when new people show up it's partly because the residents, hence defenders, are sparse.

This was a BB shot by richardderus.

Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book with a yellow and/or orange cover for the November birthstone challenge

161PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2019, 2:54am

>160 quondame: That look really interesting, Susan.

Have a lovely weekend.

162SandyAMcPherson
Nov 23, 2019, 3:02am

>160 quondame: So this comment: the Egyptians report having defeated the Sea People is confusing me...

Who are these Sea people? Because... on my TBR shelf is a title, "Sea people: the puzzle of Polynesia" by Christina Thompson. Would these not be a different population? So far away from the Mediterranean sea-going folk. I'm thinking the Egyptians must have been warring with the Phoenicians, no?

I used to know that Mediterranean history quite well. The grade-school I attended had a required class in the middle grades which emphasized this history. But the sieve that passes for my memories has drained away the facts.

Cline's book is looking like a BB for me but h'mmm 3½ ★s isn't a wild endorsement; however, I love those archeological mysteries provided the book is written knowledgeably.

163quondame
Nov 23, 2019, 4:01am

>162 SandyAMcPherson: The raiders from late 13th cent. BC to mid 12th cent. BC were blamed in the 19th century for the destruction of the eastern Mediterranean bronze age civilization. In the last 50 years, the situation is being described as more and more complex. When this book was written 6 years ago, the best knowledge was that the "Sea People" were a mix of people, including Aegeans, but possibly as much the victims of famine and earthquake as the coastal cities. Maybe more information is available now.

164LizzieD
Nov 23, 2019, 4:22am

I do love visiting your thread, Susan, and have taken a hit with *Women's Work* and a possible with *1177*. Thank you, I think!

165SandyAMcPherson
Nov 24, 2019, 1:56pm

Indeedy, very interesting books pop up here. I put 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed on my reading list at the library.

That list is such a handy facet of our library account. I can keep track of BB's in one place which I can request when I have a dearth of material at home. Not that there's ever a lack around here, just at times, I don't feel inspired to read what's on the shelves.

166quondame
Nov 24, 2019, 11:20pm

#329) Small Magics



Short stories of challenges faced by magic users, young and not so young, with yes, some youngsters in various perils.

Read for November TIOLI #17: Read a book that features young person/s in peril

167quondame
Nov 24, 2019, 11:38pm

>164 LizzieD: I'm always up for visitors! Good reading!

168richardderus
Nov 24, 2019, 12:50am

Everyone else gets to enjoy 1177 B.C. and I don't because it was a durned ol' audiobook! *pouts*

169quondame
Nov 25, 2019, 5:21am

For @SqueekyChu You

170quondame
Nov 26, 2019, 5:30am

#330) The Bastard of Istanbul



My favorite character is the food. In Istanbul 4 Turkish sisters raise the daughter of the youngest in a household including their mother and her step-mother. In America the daughter of an Armenian American man and a woman from Kentucky splits her year between her father's large family in San Francisco and her mother and her Turkish second husband, the brother of the 4 sisters in Istanbul, in Arizona. Men are more important than they are present in this collection of views into the lives of these women which were shaped by the obsessed about and denied Armenian genocide. The writing is spiky and the narration jerky, but that suits the lives it describes.

Read for November TIOLI #2: Read a book with the name of a city in the title

171SandyAMcPherson
Nov 26, 2019, 8:10pm

>170 quondame: I had trouble reading this one. Possibly the hisory confused me, but I don't have any 'notes to self' ~
It was DNF for me (back before I was keeping track of my reading books that I don't own).

172quondame
Nov 26, 2019, 9:40pm

>171 SandyAMcPherson: I empathize with DNF on this one. It doesn't grok the usual sense of conceal/reveal and the pacing & venue change don't help at all, and I wanted to handle Rose's pages with tweezers.

173quondame
Nov 26, 2019, 10:02pm

Well, since the death of my father, and even a bit before, Thanksgiving has never quite jelled in my nuclear family. For years we shared turkey day with an unrelated family, partly because neither had local extended family and partly because I avoid turkey leftovers and the other family love them. My friend would take care of the turkey, gravy, and yucky yammy things and I would do dry stuffing (bread, butter, sage, salt, pepper), mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney, gooey vegetable. They would leave with the carcass after the men did the cleaning. My dad did join us for a few of these, as did other family members and guests, but the Asperger's son and the conservative no-it-all father always made it a trial for my daughter, though she was friends with the daughter, or as much friends as a 5 year gap allowed. So the family moved away, and though my brother is again So. Calif. local, his third wife has nieces and nephews and large step-children set with which to spend Thanksgiving.

So what do family free, turkey averse people do to celebrate Thanksgiving? For the third year we have reservations at The Stinking Rose. I can get mashed potatoes & gravy with the meat of my choice, no one is stuck with clean up, and my daughter doesn't have to socialize involuntarily (she does have a toe or two if not an entire leg, on the spectrum herself.) Maybe next year my husband will remember in time to make reservations for Lawry's and I will have to do without my choice of protein, but I'm not going to remind him.

174PaulCranswick
Nov 26, 2019, 10:17pm

>173 quondame: Of course we Brits don't celebrate Thanksgiving but have all our celebrations rolled into one on Christmas Day. My mother's trial has been where to have her Christmas Day dinner - with her eldest son (my twin) and her daughter in law who always acts as if the old lady is there on sufferance or to my sister's place which resembles a bomb-site and has the most untidy and unruly kitchen I have ever seen. She normally finishes up at the latter.

175quondame
Nov 26, 2019, 10:32pm

>174 PaulCranswick: I would too. Unruly is preferable to unwelcome, but then I'm a bit toward 11 on unruly.

176PaulCranswick
Nov 26, 2019, 10:36pm

>175 quondame: Julie always makes everyone welcome even the German Shepherd licking from her plates.

177quondame
Nov 26, 2019, 11:46pm

>176 PaulCranswick: Much more valuable than tidiness. My tidy sister-in-law (younger brother's first wife) made the three of us feel we were unreasonably imposing on her when we hung out at their large house for an afternoon when the 1994 earthquake left us powerless with a rug encrusted with glass shards and a 1 yr. old.

178jjmcgaffey
Nov 26, 2019, 2:32am

>173 quondame: My parents and I go to a restaurant that does a fantastic Thanksgiving buffet. There's a "proper" Thanksgiving meal, which is not worth cooking for three, so we just don't (and go all out on Christmas, which is about the same but usually with beef as the centerpiece rather than turkey - that's when the family gets together). We stumbled on the buffet (at a restaurant that my parents went to regularly at other times) and tried it, and were deeply impressed. Roast beef and prime rib as well as turkey and ham (I can have a sliver of each) and a loooooong table full of every kind of vegetable you can think of, from roast yam (no marshmallows, thank goodness) to garlicky green beans and so much more. And cheese, and shrimp, and salmon, and smoked salmon, and...and for those who really don't like the Thanksgiving food, the restaurant also does a pizza buffet and home-made potato chips. The dessert table ranges from good to no thanks, but at the worst there's always melon and other fruits (as opposed to dry chocolate cake and over-spiced pumpkin bars). And I like baking pies, so I'm likely to make some anyway and we can have them later. The only drawback is a long drive to and from the restaurant (and it looks like it will be in the rain, this year), but it's worth it - as proper a Thanksgiving as we could want, with no cleanup. And not much in the way of leftovers, but that's fine.

179quondame
Nov 27, 2019, 5:03am

>178 jjmcgaffey: I do bake pumpkin pies (dough is resting overnight now) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. My brother and his wife and the occasional a Christmas orphan1 come over either Christmas eve or day for the traditional "Christmas Day not a Christmas dinner" orphan's meal. The dinner is breaded veal with prosciutto lemon sauce, fettuccine al pesto, and whatever vegetable people are eating that year. And mince tarts.

1A Christmas orphan is someone who can't be with their family for the day OR who doesn't celebrate it in the first place. This meal started in 1979 when my mother and father when to the east coast for Christmas with a new grandchild and I had to fend for myself. Mostly in the 80s the guests consisted of Jewish men married to Catholic women who either had no living parents or were too far away. Sometimes my dad would come to the orphan's dinner, which was weird.

180quondame
Nov 27, 2019, 7:59pm

#331) Olive Kitteridge



Powerful stories deep in the grotty corners of real life, not the deep ones, but the ones we do our best not to feature in the stories we make of our lives. So often it isn't that good stories tell you things you don't know, but they articulate the things you know but didn't have the language to express. I find the stories weighted toward despair and loss, so that the motive to go on is less clear than could be.

Read for November TIOLI #8: Read a book that has been adapted from / or into another form

181richardderus
Nov 27, 2019, 10:55pm

>180 quondame: I am somehow defective...I disliked Olive a lot.

But...Happy Turkey Day! Rob's working, so I'll see him Friday. He's requested green goddess seafood rice for our dinner. Carrot cake with pineapple cream cheese frosting *drool* and whatever he brings to drink. And no effin' Old Stuff (gone to visit his son in Connecticut)!! Yay!!

182quondame
Nov 27, 2019, 12:52am

>181 richardderus: I can see disliking Olive. I can even see not much liking the stories, but the character, who is only referenced in several of the stories, isn't the same as the tales told around her.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and a happy Thanksgiving meal on Friday!

183drneutron
Nov 28, 2019, 2:47pm

>173 quondame: We’ve lived all our married life away from family, so have never done the traditional family gathering for Thanksgiving. Over the years, we mostly have either hosted fiends or been to friends’ houses as our built family. But yeah, those years when we’ve gone out? Great way to not have to worry about anything! 😀

184johnsimpson
Nov 28, 2019, 8:30pm

Hi Susan my dear, hope you have a really lovely Thanksgiving Day and send love and hugs from both of us dear friend.

185msf59
Nov 28, 2019, 1:31am

Happy Thanksgiving, Susan. I hope you had a great holiday.

Hooray for Olive Kitteridge! One of my favorites.

186quondame
Edited: Nov 28, 2019, 1:41am

Thanks Richard, Jim, John & Mark!

Not only is it Thanksgiving today, it's my Thingaversary! I am truly grateful for Library Thing!

187msf59
Nov 28, 2019, 1:45am

Happy Thingaversary, Susan. A double whammy! I hope you have Olive, Again on the radar.

188quondame
Nov 28, 2019, 1:51am

>187 msf59: Thanks! Yes, talk about Olive, Again reminded me try Olive Kitteridge.

189Dejah_Thoris
Nov 28, 2019, 1:52am

Happy Thanksgiving and Thingaversay, Susan!

190LizzieD
Nov 28, 2019, 3:35am

I did make it here, having wished you happy on my thread. I'm grateful for LT too and for your friendship.
I've been able to give Olive a pass so far, and you haven't reversed the trend. In fact, you make me feel less guilty for not being attracted to her.
I'll put in a word for traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year it was just husband, mother, and me. We will enjoy leftovers for a day or 2: turkey breast, cornbread dressing, rice and gravy, mustard greens, fruit salad, cranberry sauce (canned - DH's preference), sweet potato almost-suffle, and rolls. That's the smallest meal ever, and we still were at it for an hour ½ cleaning up. We'll likely do the same thing for Christmas. My back hurts.

191quondame
Nov 29, 2019, 5:53am

#332) Jack Absolute



The author, an actor, doesn't seem to realize that a character might be acceptably inconsistent when presented onstage by an actor but not when recreated in the reader's mind from an author's words. But a laughably inconsistent protagonist, historical facts described without historical feel, falling back on the native side-kick trope along with others, no really, I have wasted too many words on this -only if you are a boy who is into late pseudo 18th nonsense- book.

Read for November TIOLI #5: Read a book that has a musical instrument in the title

192karenmarie
Nov 29, 2019, 10:54am

Hi Susan!

Glad you got to celebrate Turkey day sans Turkey.

I somehow managed to emerge from catching up with you without acquiring any new BBs, but you've had a wonderful variety of reading recently.

I'm glad you liked Olive Kitteridge, although I'm not sure liked is the right word. I've read Olive, Again and was glad I did.

193quondame
Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 8:51pm

#333) Guilty Consciences



Short British mystery stories. I wouldn't have felt cheated at 3-4 fewer stories, and it's not a long book, it's just the sweepings of good authors piled up a bit too obviously.

Meets November TIOLI #9: Read a book set in Western Europe

194jnwelch
Nov 30, 2019, 2:58pm

Happy Holiday Weekend, Susan. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Lots of solid reading been going on, looks like.

195Berly
Nov 30, 2019, 5:20pm

Glad you found a great restaurant to attend for Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend with no turkey leftovers and congrats on your Thingaversary!!

196quondame
Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 8:51pm

#334) Second Hand Curses



Fairy tale & fantasy retreads with a gang of three. Somewhat amusing.

I'm clearing out my Kindle Unlimited books and this one
Meets November TIOLI #17: Read a book that features young person/s in peril

197quondame
Nov 30, 2019, 6:41pm

>194 jnwelch: >195 Berly: Thanks!

>195 Berly: But there is pumpkin pie, home made, left over, so yum.

198quondame
Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 8:51pm

#335) The Spirit in the Clay



An interesting episode in an interesting world of elemental magic. I can see reading more.

I'm clearing out my Kindle Unlimited books.

199FAMeulstee
Nov 30, 2019, 8:29pm

I think you misnumbered >193 quondame: and >196 quondame:, Susan, as >191 quondame: was book #332.

200quondame
Nov 30, 2019, 8:52pm

>199 FAMeulstee: I'm glad someone is paying attention! Thank you. Though a book or two more still leaves me behind your impressive count!

201quondame
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 6:10pm

#336) For Kicks



Fast moving action, interesting challenges and characters, set in the not too often explored unglamorous corners of horse training, this is pretty much a completely satisfying story, less of a mystery than a how to expose the villains plot.
At what must be at least my 4th re-read of this it remains a favorite. Some of the mechanics are more obvious than in later books and though Danny Roke remains my favorite of Dick Francis's protagonists some of the character details seem to wobble a bit.

I pulled this from my shelf for November TIOLI #1, considered it for November TIOLI #19, but tacked it onto the end of my own challenge:
Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the word Grateful

202figsfromthistle
Dec 1, 2019, 3:52pm

Dropping in to say hi!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

203ronincats
Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 2:35am

>198 quondame: Thanks for pointing me to this, Susan. I love Nina Kiriki Hoffman's works and was unaware of this one. I downloaded it and read it last night after seeing it here!

>92 quondame: Jeez, yes! How CAN you have 20 psychic cats and only give them one, after-the-fact scene? Total misuse of assets. Agree with you completely on this one.

204SandyAMcPherson
Dec 1, 2019, 3:42am

>173 quondame: Just dropping in to applaud your choice of being waited on with someone else doing the cooking and clean up. I think family dinners were massively fun when I was a kid but just a boatload of stressful work and too many people when I had a lot of family to feed. Christmas was the worst for that!

Anyway, after a hiatus as I sewed like crazy to assemble a quilt-gift item, I'm here again. I wanted to thank you for the Natasha Pulley BBs. I may have liked them better than some folks here, despite all the flaws. I posted on a new thread and will try to catch up on a few of the other novels I learned about here. I think I picked up The Mirror Visitor Quartet (by Christelle Dabos) for my TBR list from reading your reviews, no?

205quondame
Dec 1, 2019, 4:52am

>204 SandyAMcPherson: Our big gather meal is Christmas, and it sure can be overwhelming - the worst was one where my dad was recuperating in my guest room and my sister invited her in-laws, who really don't do Christmas, over and then took everyone for a walk while I was breading the veal. Oh, and an oxygen delivery had to be signed for. She never understood why I was so touchy.
Mostly though, it's just the the 3 of us, my brother and his wife and, about half the time one guest. This year there is no SO for my daughter and no stranded co-worker for my husband or brother, so far. But the men get the dishes, which means my husband has clean up for at least a day after. I still get stuck with the deep fry oil.
You may have first seen The Mirror Visitor on my thread - I got it from avatiakh.

206quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:22am

#337) Snowblind



Hardly a thriller, but a more complex tangle than seems anywhere likely for a small Icelandic town. Ari Thor bungles fairly believably for a young man on his first job, but puts pieces together eventually. And some problems aren't solved. Well paced and with a strong feeling of place and if the characters bear a good deal more angst than seems a fair share for getting on with, at least they aren't dull.

Originally checked out for October TIOLI #4, I held onto it for November TIOLI #19 but held off because it
Meets December TIOLI #5: Read a book with snow on the cover

207quondame
Dec 3, 2019, 6:02am

#337) The Memory Police



Loss and memory are the subjects of this book which uses the trope of organized enforcement - the memory police - to give drama to the story, but any sense of purpose other than gather people who don't forget the disappeared things is not communicated to the reader. It is probably deeply allegorical or symbolic or something along those lines, but I don't go there. The language is somewhat hypnotic and the images are sometimes stunning, but it can be difficult to read in that it is often the opposite of absorbing and sends you to play fetch with your dog or the equivalent.

Originally reserved October TIOLI #4, it didn't arrive or fit well in November when it did, but it
Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book with a (predominantly) blue cover for the December birthstone challenge

208SandyAMcPherson
Dec 3, 2019, 4:37pm

>207 quondame: !!



Sounds kind of Orwellian. Playing fetch with the dog an excellent alternative.

209quondame
Dec 3, 2019, 8:13pm

>208 SandyAMcPherson: Even the cover matter compares it to Orwell, but it isn't at all. The memory police are a looming presence, and are maybe the cause of the disappearances of things - ribbons, butterflies, birds - but not certainly, though they do take away people. But really they are irrelevant to the story, which is a claustrophobic musing on decreasing scope of the outside world causing a decrease in inner life.

210quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:23am

#338) Texas Two Step: The Prequel



Two super pretty white Texans fall in love and three years later break up because, without discussing it with Olivia, Mitch decides he doesn't want her uprooting her life to be with him on his ranch. Well, yes, well off white folk can have troubles, but this is pretty mechanical, even for a prequel.

Read for December TIOLI #2: Read a book where there is a dance in the title

211quondame
Dec 3, 2019, 4:17am

So I came home with food from Kogi and my daughter and I sat eating and bemoaning that there was no Popeye's chicken close enough. The brick and mortar Kogi is one of only three in the entire Los Angeles area, though there are 5 trucks. We also have a Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken within pick up range that totally blows Popeye's out of the water, but isn't always that you want what you can't have......

212quondame
Dec 4, 2019, 6:29pm

Last night, my husband comes up while I'm reading on the bed with Gertie tucked under one arm and I have to explain that I'm her emotional support human. This was shortly after I had picked her up for the 3rd time in as many hours as she made woeful noises.

213richardderus
Dec 4, 2019, 6:36pm

>211 quondame: I love Popeye's! The closest is in Lawrence, about five miles away. Close by car but I got none. My Rob stops there when he drives here so we can indulge.

214quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:23am

#339) Christmas Days



There are fantasy elements in some of these stories, and sentiment as well. Though aspects repeat, the collection is rather varied for a single author collection around a common holiday. I might be inclined to add another ½ star, but Jeanette Winterson makes a few statements as fact based more on fashionable rumor than meticulous research.

Read for December TIOLI #13: Read a book that is dedicated to husband or wife and is the same sex as the author

#340) They Called Us Enemy



A moving depiction of the internment of George Takei's family during WWII and the effect it had on him throughout his life. I found the first section of the very early bits of the internment a bit disjointed with his trying to tell both his story of a very young boy, his parent's story, and the politics that drove the internment. The later sections were more consistent in some ways, though he is telling more how this lead to his own political activism. I found the graphic depictions overly repetitive and was bored with them by the end.

Meets December TIOLI #11: Read a book set in the first half of the 20th century

215quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:18am

#341) Hexarchate Stories



Ranging over centuries and including the Heptachate, these fill in niches or turn over stones and culminate in the novella Glass Cannon which either reunites or divides Jedao and Cheris but certainly scrambles everything in a new way. 🌈

Meets December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

216quondame
Dec 6, 2019, 7:58pm

#341) Emergency Skin



Tricksy, cutesy, I've read other versions of this, and sure now, how better our world could be if we were rid of those poisonous billionaires (some of whom are Chinese and Middle eastern) is a delicious thought, but not profound.

BB from richardderus
Sorry Richard, but I knew where it was going from the word blond, and well, I've seen it done more to my taste.

Read for December TIOLI #8: Read a book for the December CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge - Kwanzaa: African diaspora

217richardderus
Dec 6, 2019, 8:05pm

>216 quondame: Different tastes, my dear Susan, no need to be apologetic...I've seen everything done before, and sometimes never to my taste. It's the curse of having read widely over a long (by world standards) life.

218Berly
Dec 8, 2019, 8:27am

>212 quondame: So glad Gertie has you as her human comforter. ; )

I see 350 in your future...!

219msf59
Dec 8, 2019, 12:50pm

Happy Sunday, Susan. I hope you are having a good weekend. The Memory Police sounds challenging but also a interesting premise. I also like the sound of the Winterson collection. I had not heard of this one. Sorry, They Called Us Enemy didn't completely satisfy. It will be one of my top GNs of the year.

220quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:18am

#342) The Starless Sea



This is a long book, not entirely because of its 494 pages, but because of the languorous language and the format of braiding stories together sometimes it feels like a interminable fall up the stairs. Zachary, as much the central character as the book has, doesn't seem in need of an escape from this world of academics and games, though really who doesn't need to find love? Time, fate, the moon, and various others do, so I shouldn't be hard on Zachary for not being quite deprived enough to find a door that opens out of his world into wonders. I want the Kitchen. 🌈

Meets December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

221quondame
Dec 8, 2019, 6:31pm

>218 Berly: Thanks! I do hope so.

>219 msf59: I hope your Sunday went well and that the rest of the week does too.

222quondame
Edited: Dec 9, 2019, 6:12am

#343) Spruce Goose



This is a bit of a vanity book as it is by the designer of the HK-1 Hercules. best known as the Spruce Goose. Mostly photographs, with a few pages of text and captions. Facts for those with a bit more interest than I had, but not enough for a real enthusiast.

Read for December TIOLI #14: Decorate a Christmas tree with words from title or author

223quondame
Edited: Dec 9, 2019, 6:19am

#344) The Raven and the Reindeer



A retelling of the Snow Queen in which, while staying true to her requirements, Gerta gets to go forward without that jerk Kay. This was a re-read, and apparently I was a bit more delighted my first time through, though I remembered very little detail. 🌈

Read for December TIOLI #1: Read a book which pictures on its cover a person, an animal, or a creature with horns.

224SandyAMcPherson
Dec 10, 2019, 10:34pm

Hi Susan, I read Book 1 of the Marianne trilogy (Sheri Tepper).

OMG! Two evenings of enthralment and I finished it. Posted a review on my thread, but just wanted to thank you so much for pushing me towards other Tepper books.

It was back when we were discussing Family Tree, I think. I had looked at other titles and read FT (skimmed really) and found them kind of preachy-religious which was possibly out of character for this author.

225quondame
Dec 10, 2019, 12:46am

>224 SandyAMcPherson: Tepper is often preachy in a kind of righteous indignation at the patriarchy way. But even then there is good storytelling between the rants, and in those books where it is backgrounded, the storytelling gets to shine.

226quondame
Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 12:26am

#345) Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight



Strong dish of stories with bones of anger and flesh of grief, rich with the fish sauce of compassion and tangy with the ginger garlic of persistence. These are tales of living past the unbearable losses of home and all but the last shards of family, in alien lands and holding fast to what can be held, even if it has come from the destroyers. 🌈

Meets December TIOLI #14: Decorate a Christmas tree with words from title or author

227quondame
Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 9:05pm

#346) The Bookish Life of Nina Hill



Nina Hill lives west of Western Ave, closer to mid-Wilshire and the Miracle Mile than to downtown LA and calls her neighborhood East LA. Sorry, but East LA is, well, east of downtown and not the quite the same as Larchmont Village, west of Korea town. If you can stand the tone of writing, archer than arch, there are funny bits, though character depiction is pretty hit or miss, most of the misses being among the group of friends Nina starts off with. The too-good to be boyfriend common to the romance genre makes exits and entrances as directed. Nor does Nina appear to read much. She actually spends good reading time filling up her planner, and at no point does an incoming phone call find her mid-read.

Disclaimer - I was a regular visitor to Los Angeles for 22 years and have lived here nearly 50 years, and Nina just doesn't come off as Angelino - the ones I know her age, my daughter is 26, get around a good deal, and are generous about offering rides to their friends without cars. Crossing the 405 on Olympic is a verified nightmare, but we all know, given a choice, a better route. Also Los Angeles proper is built on a coastal plain, not a valley.

Meets December TIOLI #3: Read a book you have acquired (by any means) in 2019

228SandyAMcPherson
Dec 11, 2019, 4:38pm

>227 quondame: Bookish Life is waiting for me on the hold shelf...

I just haven't wanted to venture out to the library in this deepest cold we're currently enduring. Now I'm not so sure that Waxman's book is a good choice for taking up my reading time and certainly not worth warming up the car for the trip. Although the week's temperature are improving, so I will at least go and sit in a quiet corner to have a "taste".

I don't know LA at all, having last been there (as a child) in the 1950's! But I also am not going to pass up entirely on the novel until I've had a skim through at least. I do appreciate the review and insights, though. And for such a new book in our PL system, I now understand why the hold came through so quickly. Possibly most of the queued holds had similar opinions!

229quondame
Dec 11, 2019, 4:51pm

>228 SandyAMcPherson: Sorry your weather is being discouraging. The book certainly has it's fans, as jnwelch's current thread and about 3 others I follow attests.

230SandyAMcPherson
Dec 11, 2019, 4:54pm

>229 quondame: Yes, indeed, that is where I snagged the BB.

BTW, I'm in awe that you are approaching #350 for your reading total!!
Wowzer-rooon-ees. Break out the bubbly!

231quondame
Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 7:36pm

I just spent 4+ hours in hell. Hell, lite, but still. I took the Prius V in for servicing and they had to do a bit more than the usual lub&oil so I was stuck in the waiting room with 3 TVs, Christmas carols, multiple conversations including some cell calls that had to be loud. The very brittle acoustics couldn't have been better calculated to conjure my anxiety disorder. Overstimulation isn't something I can tolerate well and I am exhausted.

232quondame
Dec 11, 2019, 12:07am

>230 SandyAMcPherson: Well, I do mostly follow FAMeulstee 4 step program. But I spend too much time on the internet. And have dogs, 3 stupid, messy, needy dogs.

233SandyAMcPherson
Dec 11, 2019, 1:40am

>232 quondame: FAMeulstee 4 step program?

And what is this program? Perhaps, back in Anita's thread, I missed seeing an explanatory post.

234ronincats
Dec 11, 2019, 1:47am

>224 SandyAMcPherson:, >225 quondame: I ordered the omnibus edition of all three for about $23--seemed the cheapest way. I haven't gotten to it yet because I have a bunch of library holds that all came in together, so will probably wait until after the first so they can be Books Off My Shelves. I think I conflated Marianne and Mavin-Manyshaped in my mind and so didn't realize I was missing the Marianne books. It will be interesting to see if I read any of them back when.

235quondame
Edited: Dec 12, 2019, 7:22am

>233 SandyAMcPherson: It's all described in Anita (FAMeulstee) goes where the books take her in 2019 (10):#27

>234 ronincats: Different, yes. But sometimes I have to untangle them too - both trilogies were printed as small thin colorful paperbacks and are stored quite near each other on my special++ shelf with KB&JF above my monitor. Dorothy Dunnett is there too.

236richardderus
Dec 12, 2019, 7:29pm

Hello Susan. Congratulations on not opening fire on the noisemakers.

That is all.

237quondame
Dec 12, 2019, 1:15am

>236 richardderus: Yes, I do deserve some recognition.

238quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:24am

#347) The Water Dancer



Slavery and the underground railway are handled with a distanced, non-sequential and party magical take in the tale of Hiram Walker as a young man growing as the tobacco plantation owned by his father falters and the other slaves are sold away and everything changes when the dissolute and unacceptably crude brother to whom he has been in service drowns in an accident for which he may be responsible. I'm not sure how to feel about Harriet Tubman's accomplishments being ascribed somewhat to supernatural abilities.

Read for December TIOLI #2: Read a book where there is a dance in the title

239SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 1:32pm

>238 quondame: This is #347 book read, no?

The Bookish Life, being #346 and at #345, Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight, a four-star read, which I thought I might add to my potential WL list (as opposed to my actual, look in the library, WL).

Hope you had a good night's sleep! I'm floundering around requiring masses of coffee. God bless my Rancilio Silvia!

240quondame
Dec 13, 2019, 9:08pm

#348) Solstice Wood



A slight story of returns and opening doors long barred. More mood than plot, more sinking than swimming.

It's takes place at the opposite pole of the year, but I
Read for November TIOLI #4: Read a book with something connected to winter in the title, highlight the word

241quondame
Dec 13, 2019, 9:14pm

>239 SandyAMcPherson: Numbering fixed, thanks. Not sure I got as much sleep as I needed, but some.

Last night, while my daughter was at her company party, I finished the edges of a bustier she will be wearing after the final game of the LARP narrative she has been playing this year. She transitions to being a star so she wanted a change of outfit. We found some starry sky quilting fabric and I had UFO bustier of mauve upholstery fabric that we turned into lining, trimmed the front to give a smidgen of lift and grommeted the hell out of. She stuck rhinestones on as a final touch.

242SandyAMcPherson
Dec 13, 2019, 12:47am

I liked Solstice Wood a huge amount and have re-read it several times. I think what attracts me is exactly the 'mood more than plot' which you mentioned.

The atmosphere is also what I think of when a story is built around an evocative setting and dominates the narrative. Yeah, I just re-read that last sentence and it sounds a bit too academic or something like. But I'm not sure how else to express what I like in a "mood-driven" scenario. Crossing Places hooked me in because of those passages describing the fenlands and marsh.

243SandyAMcPherson
Dec 13, 2019, 12:49am

>241 quondame: Would you be up to posting photos?
This costume piece sounds amazing. I would guess it must be very lovely.

244quondame
Dec 13, 2019, 1:33am

>243 SandyAMcPherson: As to pictures - well, it's only going to be worn once, at night, so I'd be surprised if I ever get to see what the whole outfit looks like.
I only saw the piece I worked on - I had sewn the sides and back pieces of a Ren-Faire bodice together years ago, but left all the edges unfinished so when my daughter mentioned making one I started by trying this on her and it was a decent fit for a one-shot garment. We cut the starry pieces and made them fit over the shell. I pretty much finish any troublesome edge with bias binding, so the second step of that process was what was left for me to do.

245quondame
Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 2:02am

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is giving me trouble. The combination of fairy tale/space opera isn't in itself an issue, but the tone is best paired with a certain manic energy that has, as of the first few chapters, not made an appearance.

Also, there is no online menu for the most promising looking local tamale place, and my friend is not offering them by the dozen this year.

246quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:24am

#349) The Legend of the Poinsettia



A sweet Christmas miracle story. I may very well have read this to Becky in the 90s, though it feels familiar from way further back, so maybe there is an older picture book of the same legend.

Read for December TIOLI #8: Read a book for the December CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge

247quondame
Dec 13, 2019, 4:25am

#350) Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me



Saving herself in or from an unequal relationship is Freddy's problem as her sometime girlfriend picks her up and drops her repeatedly. When she is directed to look not at her own pain but at the pain she has caused, her course of action clarifies. 🌈

Read for November TIOLI #8: Read a book for the December CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge

248jnwelch
Dec 14, 2019, 4:03pm

>247 quondame: Oh good, Susan. I'm glad Laura Dean went all right for you. I liked it so much I went out and bought a copy. My wife is going to read it next.

249quondame
Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 1:16am

#351) How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse



If you like the tone of the book from the start you may well enjoy this book. I did not. I finished it by the brute force method of reading one word after another, never at any point absorbed or convinced by the storytelling, never finding any value in the depiction of the characters and while I could detect that the author intended humor, it did not hit my funny bone. The ferns were cool.
Other F&SF authors have managed hilarious and heartbreaking in a single work - Poul Anderson, Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jodi Taylor. Others like Catherynne M. Valente have used a distancing narrator, but still left me caring about the characters. What K. Easton has left me with is a lot of nope!

Read for November TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

250quondame
Dec 14, 2019, 1:15am

>248 jnwelch: What touched me particularly was Freddy's trying to convince herself that she was OK with Laura Deans non-exclusivity, working to find a narrative in which she was a willing participant. I'm glad she found a better way to go.

251richardderus
Dec 14, 2019, 2:32am

>245 quondame: No online menu? In 2019? Bizarre.

>246 quondame: Reminds me of The Story of Holly and Ivy, a book I loved. Rescue stories made my childhood bearable.

>249 quondame: Drat. It sounded so promising to me, but I'd be annoyed by that lack of propulsion as well.

252SandyAMcPherson
Dec 15, 2019, 1:51pm

>247 quondame: Look that ! Book #350.

🎉 🎉 🎉 🎊🎊🎊 🥂

I'm in awe! Is this a usual total for you? Or maybe just, as usual? I'm completely amazed at myself (to be at 105). I never kept track before so maybe the mere fact of counting has made a difference ...

253quondame
Dec 15, 2019, 4:59am

>252 SandyAMcPherson: I think I was in the 200s before joining LT. I have lots of time and can only be active in limited bursts. Like today we were supposed to go out an look at refrigerators. But the 40min drive to the warehouse was wasted in that it was closed Sundays. We went to the Costco nearby and stopped at a small hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant I favor from a brief bit of work I did in that neighborhood, and when we came home, my back was not happy.

254FAMeulstee
Dec 16, 2019, 1:15pm

>232 quondame: & >233 SandyAMcPherson: LOL!
Feel honored to be quoted :-)

255quondame
Dec 16, 2019, 6:25pm

>243 SandyAMcPherson: Well, there is a picture. My daughter on the left. She and her partner chase the constellation of despair across the sky, keeping it from interfering. (The faces are made-up as galaxies)

256quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:19am

#352) A Memory Called Empire



In this satisfying space empire intrigue, an ambassador, Mahit from a town sized space station to the vast empire Empire of Teixcalaan becomes involved in empire wide politics. The scale didn't quite work for me - I don't believe in space empires, or even planetary ones, but on an emotional and story level it worked well enough, reminding me of Foreigner. The internal concerns with personal and cultural identity and integrity harmonized well with the setting and plot, and the characters felt inhabited.

Actually a BB from majkia with reminders from ronincats and Dejah_Thoris

Meets December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

257SandyAMcPherson
Dec 16, 2019, 1:42am

>255 quondame: Fun and they look like having a great time in this theatrical adventure.

258quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:24am

#353) My Family and Other Animals



A boy's ideal life, for Gerry Durrell's instance of a boy. He has almost as much time as he would like to explore the fauna of Corfu and a lackadaisical and generous household. I enjoyed it, though the single note wasn't enough for me for the entire length of the book.

Read for December TIOLI #10: Read a book with a hot word in the title or set somewhere hot

259quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:19am

#354) Calypso



Short pieces, mostly centered around the house he bought on a North Carolina island to share with his father and siblings to spend time together. His his sister's suicide and his mother's alcoholism and the disruptions and avoidances that are standard in relationships that involve or end in them are background to his humorous take on the world. As always he manages to stay on the charmingly funny side of what could be a very annoying show of personality, and portrays people with more hairs on their warts than they can possibly be happy with. But real, it's all too real to be entirely fun and games. 🌈

Read for December TIOLI #15: Read a book from NPR's annual Book Concierge

260quondame
Dec 18, 2019, 4:12am

A new thing - it's been years since I read cards, they were just too disturbing. But this deck is interesting. I'll have a good look when I get back from dinner.

261quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:20am

#354) The Hidden World



Though not as painful as the second book of the Imperials series, this is really a sparse 2/3 of a book with a few vignettes to reach a specific end. It's seems more calculated than felt, and what I mostly felt was either like hitting the characters over the head or hoping the aliens would wipe them all out.

Meets December TIOLI #3: Read a book you have acquired (by any means) in 2019

262sibylline
Dec 19, 2019, 1:55pm

I've raced through for book bullets: Glad you liked the Oliphant, wl'ed the Clark Tram Car romp, LOVE everything by Eudora Welty! I've tagged ab bunch more, Stross, de Lint, even the Savage! Many are by writers I like, like Swift. You are so helpful!!

263quondame
Dec 19, 2019, 7:11pm

>262 sibylline: Glad to scout the territory.

264quondame
Dec 19, 2019, 4:10am

I had to let my kindle charge before I can complete The Night Circus. Maybe I'll get a couple of chapters of The Mushroom at the End of the World read if i can separate my self from my Mac.

265Berly
Dec 20, 2019, 7:30am

>260 quondame: I took a class this year that examined Tarot cards in literature and we examined the archetypes in the deck. It was fascinating!!! Have fun with the deck.

>264 quondame: Hope you are enjoying The Night Circus--it was quirky and I really liked it!

266SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 3:01pm

>260 quondame:, >265 Berly: I would love to learn about tarot cards in an academic setting.
They've always fascinated me.

Susan, I do hope you'll expand on your card-reading experiences. Are these (in the #260 post) a new acquisition?

267quondame
Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 4:16pm

>265 Berly: I am enjoying The Night Circus and it is certainly on the quirky side, but I am finding it has a very familiar feel, too.

>266 SandyAMcPherson: Quite new. I put the set on my Amazon wish list and forgot about it. I also was given Salt Fat Acid Heat. I have to remember my family picks gifts more based on price than priority and groom my lists by November. Not that I'm unhappy with these books, and I understand that some books have been on my list for 5 years and have become rare. Though one did come back into print, which I never expected.

268quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:20am

#355) The Night Circus



This was a very good read. On the slow side, and with a scrambled timeline, but it was never stagnant or confusing. It was familiar though not obvious in its derivations, and never shocked or really surprised except by the lack of dramatic flareups.

Meets December TIOLI #12: Read a book from one of the lists that rate the 10 best books of the last decade (2010 to 2019)

269quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:20am

#356) Astray



Fairly short stories, strongly written with biting insight and deep humanity. Only one, Vanitas, felt off, as it echoed some other story I'd recently read.

Meets December TIOLI #16: Read a book with a (predominantly) blue cover for the December birthstone challenge

270LizzieD
Dec 20, 2019, 4:18am

Hi, Susan! You're practically a reading machine, and I enjoy looking at what you've been about!
I will/must get to Erin Morgenstrern.

271quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:20am

#357) Good Talk



Born in the USA, her parents from an India, but an ancient minority of Syrian Christians, Mira Jacobs articulates and illustrates for her son, herself, her family and luckily for us, her experience of being non-white in two cultures that value light skin over dark. The artwork isn't quite of the quality of the writing, but is effective and subversive in that all the white people look somehow incomplete - or slightly demented or both. This is strong, but even so, I suspect it's still the prettied up version.

Meets December TIOLI #6: Read a book that was touchstoned in a group member's thread between 1/1/19 and 11/30/19 - not self!

272quondame
Dec 21, 2019, 6:43am

>270 LizzieD: I try to read like a human being. I admit that books are my drug of choice and I don't always read for more than the story/characters/mood.

273richardderus
Dec 21, 2019, 8:47pm

>260 quondame: How beautiful!

Soviet Santa says "Happy Yule!" Solstice Greetings to all. Read more here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/soviet-santa

274SandyAMcPherson
Dec 21, 2019, 11:21pm

Greetings to my fellow biblio-geeks! It has been a privilege to chatter here with you.

A winter solstice is the moment in time when the Earth's tilt away from the Sun is at its maximum and the Sun's maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest. Thus the ice crystals form magical lighting effects ~


Sundogs and a sunrise on the Winter Solstice

275quondame
Dec 21, 2019, 11:27pm

>274 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks Sandy!

276SandyAMcPherson
Dec 21, 2019, 11:44pm

We've had some amazing ice crystal effects several times this past month. My equipment for good photography is not up to coping with the deep cold that comes along with the ice crystal refractions.

There were "Ice pillars" out on the prairies last month, which we saw only because we were driving out just at sunrise. They were somewhat pink. I hope I'm not making you feel like you have to find a wool sweater now!

277quondame
Dec 21, 2019, 11:59pm

>276 SandyAMcPherson: I'm already 3 layers indoors. I keep it as cool as I can, which isn't unreasonable in So. Cal., but other family members have access to thermostats, so sometimes I don't need the extra blankets. I think cold is so pretty in pictures.

278quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:20am

#358) If You Want to Make God Laugh



South Africa in the mid 1990s was rapidly changing with the end of apartheid and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic creating a sort of a surface, subsurface chain of events that surrounds and buffets the three women in the story. They are well portrayed, though the men are either rapists, thugs, or too good to be true. The narrative is set up to be a bumpy, possibly fatal ride, and while the vehicles do go in the expected directions, the crashes are slightly different than the obvious.

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

279quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:21am

#359) The Second Sleep



Well written and smooth flowing, a young priest in and England several hundred years after the apocalypse encounters material he knows is forbidden and jumps in with both feet. This hasn't the richness or the feeling of two other priest in post apocalypse setting books I know of, and really there doesn't seem much point.

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

280antqueen
Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 2:27pm

>249 quondame: I keep looking at How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse myself because it seems like something I should like, but I've seen a few too many comments like yours.

>256 quondame: A Memory Called Empire looks interesting.
ETA that this is apparently not the first time I thought so... when I went to add it to my wishlist I discovered it was already there!

281jnwelch
Dec 23, 2019, 3:31pm

Have a great holiday, Susan.

282SandDune
Dec 24, 2019, 4:30pm



Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well.

283karenmarie
Dec 24, 2019, 6:46pm

Hi Susan!

284quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:21am

#360) Raven Black



The recent history, the culture, and the geography of the island are as much elements of this mystery as the characters. Still, there is some feeling of skipping over the top and just sketching the outlines for me in this book. A twisty mystery with several look over there misdirections.

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

285msf59
Edited: Dec 24, 2019, 8:33pm



Happy Holidays, Susan. You sure can churn through the books. I love it. I was quite impressed with If You Want to Make God Laugh and I have her first book lined up, for early next year. I am currently reading and enjoying Laura Dean. And hooray for Good Talk! One of my favorites of the year.

286johnsimpson
Dec 24, 2019, 9:26pm

Merry Christmas Susan my dear from both of us dear friend.

287Narilka
Dec 24, 2019, 9:29pm

Merry Christmas Susan!

288quondame
Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 8:07pm

Richard, Rhian, Karen, Mark, John, and Gale thank you for the holiday wishes!

And some wishes do get fulfilled - my holiday book haul:

Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4 by Robin Netherton
Winter Moon by Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, C.E. Murphy
Father Christmas's Fake Beard by Terry Pratchett
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels and Stories by Ursula K. Le Guin
Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion by Hilary Davidson
100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman



289ronincats
Dec 25, 2019, 11:41pm

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, some other tradition or none at all, this is what I wish for you!

290PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2019, 2:38am



Thank you for keeping me company in 2019.......onward to 2020.

291quondame
Dec 26, 2019, 8:57pm

Thank you Roni and Paul, I hope your last few days have been enjoyable!

292quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:07am

#361) The Colors of All the Cattle



Lightweight even for this series, the mystery wasn't for long and the council election was pure fantasy with all the annoying parts and not much fun.

Read for November TIOLI Read for November TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

293Berly
Dec 27, 2019, 5:16am

Best wishes this holiday season!! See you in 2020!


294quondame
Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 4:21am

#362) Accepting the Lance



The good part is that the DOI is done for. I took this up hoping for a fast moving, absorbing read in which the good guys survive the baddies and trounce them. It was fast, if a bunch of quick views of near critical events, one after the other, is fast. Absorbing it was not, rather the the quick switches, as the different groups one after the other make clever or lucky escapes from peril, were jarring, and the inevitable drastic wounds to cared for characters who nonetheless survive did not create tension, but felt same old, same old. Then there were the multiplicity of mannered language usages different with each group visited, Bedel, Surebleakers, Pathfinders, and of course Liadens™️. Some of that was cool when lightly used and wrapped around a coherent narrative. But maybe there's hope for fun stories in the future now that the DOI is out of the way.

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

295quondame
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 8:18pm

#363) Tracks



A short but dense and deliberate novel which tells the story of the dissolving Anishinabe community in the early 20th century. Through the eyes of an old man rooted in the past and a young woman uprooted from it we see the story centered around Fleur who, going her own way, creates danger for all who are close to her whether from the supernatural attributed to her or the natural consequences of non-conformity.

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where the first word of the title fits a rolling challenge based on the word Christmas

296quondame
Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 9:16pm

#364) The Mushroom at the End of the World



Intriguing and baffling, informative about the matsutake mushroom, it place in not so natural nature and human culture, and deeply revolutionary, this is a book that doesn't aim to satisfy but to politely incite. And she ends with my favorite anti-capitalist, Ursula K. LeGuin.

Read for December TIOLI #9: ROLLING CHALLENGE: Read a book that fits a Trivial Pursuit Genus I Category

297SandyAMcPherson
Dec 29, 2019, 9:12pm

>296 quondame: I hope the mushrooms were served in the teahouse...

298quondame
Dec 30, 2019, 7:21am

#365) The Stories You Tell



Like most mysteries these day, way more complicated than is in any way reasonable, but unlike most revolves around social media. Reasonably absorbing read with some interesting characters. 🌈

Read for December TIOLI #13: Read a book that is dedicated to husband or wife and is the same sex as the author

299quondame
Dec 31, 2019, 6:28am

#366) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks



Reconstructing both the life and background of Henrietta Lacks and her family, and way in which her cancer cells became the first immortal human tissue culture, Rebecca Skloot leaves us with some serious ethical questions.

Read for December TIOLI #9: ROLLING CHALLENGE: Read a book that fits a Trivial Pursuit Genus I Category

300johnsimpson
Dec 31, 2019, 11:18pm

Hi Susan my dear, wishing you a very Happy New Year from both of us dear friend.