November AlphaKIT: S and Y

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November AlphaKIT: S and Y

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Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 12:20pm

Welcome to AlphaKIT for November (already!)

The rules are... none! Use the letters however you like to choose your reads for the month. Well, okay, there is one rule: Have Fun!

November AlphaKIT letters are : S and Y.


Please remember to update the wiki and enter books alphabetically:

Oct 14, 2019, 7:28pm

I was a bit worried about Y, but then I found "My Cat Yugoslavia" by Pajtim Statovci buried in the virtual TBR shelf.

Oct 14, 2019, 7:59pm

>2 Robertgreaves: I love those doubles!

Oct 14, 2019, 8:07pm

>3 majkia: My greatest triumph was a couple of years ago when the author's name and the title each contained a double.

Oct 14, 2019, 11:32pm

Lots of options for S...

For Y, I own one, and the others on my tbr, my library doesn't have, so that leaves the one I own:

- The 5th Wave / Rick Yancey

Edited: Oct 15, 2019, 6:14am

Maybe The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge with an introduction by Susan Sontag. But lately the brain is saying no to reading anything requiring intelligence, so I'll probably end up with an elderly republished mystery.

Misspelled Tulayev. Not a good start!

Oct 15, 2019, 7:24am

My plan is to read The Limpopo Academy of Detection by Alexander McCall Smith and Aunty Lee's Delights by Ovidia Yu.

Oct 15, 2019, 9:56am

I'm planning to knock out both letters with Tessa Dare's Do You Want to Start a Scandal.

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 11:11am

This list of possibles is a bit more manageable!

✔An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox
✔Bear in Love by Sam Loman
✔Beyond a Reasonable Stout
First Hit of the Season
✔Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder
✔Killer in the Carriage House by Sheila Connolly
Knot What You Think (A Quilting Mystery)
Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
Little Shop of Found Things: A Novel
Michelangelo : the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
Murder on the South of France
✔Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith
One Last Summer
Permanently Booked (The Ladies Smythe & Westin)
Spark of Light: A Novel
Street of the Five Moons
✔Unto Us a Son Is Given (Guido Brunetti)

Oct 15, 2019, 4:38pm

I've found my November double, My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

Oct 17, 2019, 11:21am

I will probably read A Year Down Yonder and Sarah Plain and Tall which are couple of my favorite kid books.

Oct 18, 2019, 2:49pm

I am planning on reading The Bastard of Instanbul by Elif Safak and Black Chalk by Christopher Yates.

Oct 25, 2019, 7:22am

I have chosen Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Oct 25, 2019, 9:25am

Oct 31, 2019, 10:11pm

Although I started it yesterday, it's continuing into November so I will put here "1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire" by Rebecca Rideal

Edited: Nov 1, 2019, 1:41am

Senior moment.

Nov 1, 2019, 11:50am

I started reading Sword of Shannara last month but decided it would work even better here for S.

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 3:46pm

Nov 3, 2019, 6:36pm

I finished They Shoot Horses Don't They by Horace McCoy, for S (Shoot)

Nov 4, 2019, 1:47pm

I'm about to start Don't You Forget about Me by Mhairi McFarlane for my "Y" book.

Edited: Nov 4, 2019, 3:43pm

Finished The Langoliers by Stephen King. Another S

Nov 5, 2019, 4:59pm

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 8:00pm

I'm currently reading Fast Food Nation (by Eric Schlosser) - This NF book about the fast food industry has been off and on my TBR stacks ever since it was published seventeen years ago! I decided to finally take the plunge with the caveat that if it came across as too dated, I would move on but so far it's still relevant...

Nov 5, 2019, 6:52pm

Starting "The Encircling Sea" by Adrian Goldworthy

Nov 5, 2019, 7:04pm

>20 VivienneR: that's a Kaminsky I have not read! Nice to see someone reading his books.

Nov 8, 2019, 11:00am

I re-read Sarah, Plain and Tall which is one of my fave books of all time.

Nov 8, 2019, 11:14am

>28 LadyoftheLodge: did you know there are several sequels to that story? I've read them and they're all good.

Nov 8, 2019, 6:37pm

For "S" I read Printer's Devil (aka Author Unknown) by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. It's an enjoyable, literate, light novel with some mystery and romance.

Nov 8, 2019, 6:50pm

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 11:26am

>29 fuzzi: I have not read those, although I think I own Skylark. I will need to check out the others.

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 3:36pm

I have completed both my S and Y reads with The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak and Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates.

Nov 10, 2019, 4:05pm

I completed A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. I love this book and have read it several times. I want to be Grandma Dowdel when I am old!

Nov 11, 2019, 1:10pm

FYI: 2020 AlphaKIT is up, wiki is ready, and letters are selected. The 2020 Challenge group has also voted on the regular CATs.

The 2020 AlphaKIT main thread is here:

Nov 11, 2019, 10:15pm

>36 majkia: your efforts are greatly appreciated!!!

Nov 13, 2019, 4:35pm

Next up for me is one of many "S" options, Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater.

Nov 14, 2019, 12:26pm

Nov 15, 2019, 6:47pm

Starting "Not a Hazardous Sport" by Nigel Barley

Nov 16, 2019, 5:26pm

Completed one with both letters in the title: The Grub-and-Stakers Spin a Yarn by Charlotte MacLeod writing as Alisa Craig.

Nov 16, 2019, 8:07pm

The Persian Pickle Club / Sandra Dallas
3.25 stars

The story is told from Queenie’s point of view. It is the “dirty thirties”. When city-girl, Rita, moves to Harveyville, Kansas, she is quickly taken in and befriended by the local quilting women, the “Persian Pickle Club”. Rita has married Tom, a man from the town and they have moved back to live with Tom’s family. Queenie quickly befriends Rita, but Rita stays a bit distant. As a budding journalist, Rita is all over the story when a body is found in a field – the man had been gone for over a year.

The book was pretty slow, but did pick up about half-way through when the body was found, and as a few other more exciting/interesting things happened. Overall, it’s all about the women’s friendships. The first half, I was about to rate it 3 stars (ok), but upped it just a bit once it got more interesting in the second half.

Nov 17, 2019, 5:11am

Nov 17, 2019, 1:55pm

Finished a couple other S books - The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout.

Nov 17, 2019, 11:14pm

>44 LittleTaiko: I have both of these on hold at the library - waiting, waiting!!

Nov 17, 2019, 11:53pm

Edited: Nov 18, 2019, 8:07am

My "Y" book:

A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me by Jon Katz

This is a reflection of the author's life with a new "rescue" dog, over the course of a year. Devon is a neurotic Border collie that Jon is determined to help transition from obedience dropout to a loving family companion. The author lays out his thoughts and actions, whether seen as right or wrong, and so shares with his audience how the relationship between him and Devon progresses. I have read other books by this author, and rank this near the top of his works.

And my "S" book:

Sunday Silence: Racing's Hard Luck Hero by Ray Paulick

A well-written work about an overlooked and underappreciated race horse that not only won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but was also Horse of the Year in 1989. The author provides lots of information about the people involved, but not overwhelmingly so. I'm keeping this one.

Nov 18, 2019, 7:02pm

Nov 19, 2019, 7:28pm

I read Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella hitting both letters.

Nov 20, 2019, 10:10pm

Starting "The Sparsholt Affair" by Alan Hollinghurst

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 9:23pm

I am listening to The Epic Crush by my Y. Author F. C. Yee

Nov 23, 2019, 11:28am

I've finished The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith.

Nov 23, 2019, 11:36pm

Blaze / Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
3.75 stars

Blaze and George are best friends and (mostly) small time criminals. Blaze was abused as a child, and is now a bit “slow”. Unfortunately, after beginning to plan their biggest crime, George passed away, but Blaze wants to go it alone (with George in his head, egging him on). Blaze is about to kidnap a baby…

The book actually goes back and forth in time, so we also see how Blaze grew up, first abused by his father, then in a home for orphaned boys. I didn’t find the back story quite as interesting as the current-day kidnapping. Well, I found Blaze more interesting as he was younger and a teen, with his best friend (and his only other friend besides George, ever), Johnny, more interesting, but it was less so once Blaze met George (at least for me). The end of the story was really good, though, and had me eagerly turning pages to find out how things would end. Waffling between 3.5 and 4 stars (good and really good), I did not come to a decision and averaged it out.

Nov 23, 2019, 11:58pm

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin / Timothy Snyder
3 stars

This book looks at Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s political policies, mostly in the years leading up to and including the 2ndWorld War. Stalin took over many of the Baltic states, and – via policy – starved many of the peasants in the Ukraine: even as they were growing food for others, they were left to starve. I didn’t know any of this, so this part was particularly interesting to me. Both Stalin and Hitler wanted to take over Poland, and of course, we ended up with the Holocaust and World War II.

I feel like I would have liked this better if I hadn’t listened to the audio. I was afraid right from the start, though, when I heard the voice. Male voice (already a bad sign for me), and I’m sure I recognized it from another audio that didn’t hold my attention. There were parts that did, though, particularly about the starvation of the people in the Ukraine. Overall, I’m considering it ok.

Edited: Nov 24, 2019, 9:39pm

Nov 25, 2019, 1:47am

The 5th Wave / Rick Yancey
4 stars

Not long after the aliens invaded, Cassie’s mom got sick and died. Later on, she, her dad, and her brother were gathered with others when they were rounded up. The kids were taken to “safety” on a school bus and everyone else… well, Cassie escaped. She had promised Sammy she’d come for him, and she must do that. But, it’s hard to know whom to trust when she needs help. Meanwhile, kids are being trained for a war to fight the invasion.

I’ve given away a bit more than the blurb on the book, but I don’t think it’s too much information. There are the two separate storylines that we follow in the book, so I wanted to mention both. I really liked this. Even as we get to know characters, it’s hard to tell if they are trustworthy or not – the author does a good job of that, I think. It got better in the last little bit, and I just wanted to keep turning pages. Of course, it’s a series, so I will – at some point – be picking up the next one.

Nov 26, 2019, 5:21pm

Nov 29, 2019, 2:10pm

I had so many S reads planned for this month, but in the end only two of my books satisfied this challenge and I was unable to get to a Y. There's always next year!!
An American Sunrise
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Nov 29, 2019, 4:14pm

Especially considering that this was my year to read a lot "S" (books (titles or authors whose last names' begin with the letter, "S",) and that Ihad actually entered a decent number for the quarterly "S" challenge, I'm chagrined to find that I haven't finished any "S" books this month! I even had a "Y" title set aside for this month, a graphic novel Y: The Last Man Vol. 1: Unmanned #HangsHeadInShame

Nov 30, 2019, 9:06pm

I ended up reading one more S book this month, The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan. A very sweet book that I devoured in a day!

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 11:07pm

>60 christina_reads: I love Jenny Colgan's books - perfect cosy, happy reads. I just picked up Looking for Andrew McCarthy which sounds perfect for me, having grown up in the 80s watching all those brat pack movies.

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 11:12pm

Finished An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo which has an S.

Dec 1, 2019, 4:34pm

The Girls With No Names / Serena Burdick
3.75 stars

Effie and Luella are sisters. On Jan 1, 1900, Effie was born with a heart defect and they didn’t think she’d live long. She has, however, made it to 14 years old when the two sisters discover the gypsies living nearby. Luella, being a risk-taker, convinces Effie to come with her to visit regularly. When Luella disappears, Effie needs to find her! Effie is convinced her parents found out about the gypsies and have deposited Luella into the nearby “home” for wayward girls, the House of Mercy. Effie comes up with a plan to get in, herself, in order to be reunited with Luella.

The summary I’ve provided is actually the slower part of the book, in my opinion. It really picked up after Effie got into the House of Mercy. Right around that point in the book (maybe half-way through?), the perspective changes away from Effie, and we sometimes get her mother’s perspective, and sometimes the perspective of another girl at the House of Mercy, along with her background/story. I thought this is where the book really picked up, and I enjoyed the second half more. It was interesting to learn of the House of Mercy (which was real), and the kinds of things that went on in “homes” like this. Also interesting was a big event worked in to the storyline, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I could see it coming, with a few of the characters working there… As always, I appreciated the historical note at the end.