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JayneCM Has Books To The Ceiling, Books To The Sky

2020 Category Challenge

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Edited: Today, 1:28am Top

I am Jayne, a book lover for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I would get in trouble for reading under the bedcovers with a torch - and I haven't stopped reading way past my bedtime!

This is my second challenge, but my first one with properly organised categories. In fact, I had more than 30 possible categories on my list, so in narrowing it down I will be all set for 2021 and 2022 as well.

Being too ambitious again this year, but it is always worth striving for!
If I read 5 for each of my categories, 25 for BingoDOG, 26 for AlphaKIT and 12 each for the various CATs and KITs, that all adds up to 209 books.

Let the reading commence!

49/209 = 23.4%

Books About Books 4/5 = 80%
Tell It Again 0/5 = %
Bollywood 0/5 = %
Classics 0/5 = %
Dystopia 1/5 = 20%
Colours 0/7 = %
Reality In Fiction 0/5 = %
Japanese Books 2/5 = 40%
Pulitzer Prize 0/5 = %
Cosy Christmas 0/5 = %
A Good Wife 1/5 = 20%
Middle Grade 2/5 = 40%
BingoDOG 13/25 = 52%
RandomCAT 3/12 = 25%
GeoCAT 3/12 = 25%
NonfictionCAT 2/12 = 16.7%
ScaredyKIT 2/12 = 16.7%
AlphaKIT 6/26 = 23.1%
SFFKIT 2/12 = 16.7 %
TravelKIT 3/12 = 25%
MysteryKIT 3/12 = 25%
KITastrophe 2/12 = 16.7%

Edited: Mar 29, 3:55am Top

'Books About Books'

"I read a book one day and my whole life was changed." Orhan Pamuk

1. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger
2. How To Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis
3. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux
4. Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell

4 /5 = 80%

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:57am Top

'Tell It Again' - fairytale, myth and legend re-tellings

"The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in." W.H. Auden


/5 = %

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:57am Top

'Bollywood' - books about India

"India is a place where colour is doubly bright. Pinks that scald your eyes, blues you could drown in." Kiran Millwood Hargrave


/5 = %

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:58am Top

'Classics Never Go Out Of Style'

"Classic - a book which people praise and don't read." Mark Twain


/5 = %

Edited: Mar 29, 7:01am Top

'Could It Really Be Like That?' - dystopian, post apocalyptic and cli-fi

"The beauty of dystopia is that it lets us vicariously experience future worlds - but we still have the power to change our own." Ally Condie

1. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

1/5 = 20%

Edited: Today, 1:28am Top

'All The Colours Of The Rainbow' - books with a colour in the title

"Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life." Lord Byron


/7 = %

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 6:59am Top

'Reality In Fiction' - fiction based on real people

"For truth is always strange; stranger than fiction." Lord Byron


/5 = %

Edited: Mar 30, 5:05am Top

'Books In Translation - Japan'

"It is the same life, whether we spend it laughing or crying." Japanese proverb

1. The Emissary by Yoko Tawada
2. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

2/5 = 40%

Edited: Nov 30, 2019, 7:00am Top

'We Have A Winner' - reading the Pulitzer Prize winners from 1918 to present

"You rarely win - but sometimes you do." Harper Lee


/5 = %

Edited: Feb 19, 6:16am Top

'It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas' - I like to read cosy Christmas books at any time of year.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." Charles Dickens


/5 = %

Edited: Mar 4, 7:47am Top

'A Good Wife' - books with 'wife' in the title

"All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife." Daniel Boone

1. The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt - finished 25th January 2020

1/5 = 20%

Edited: Mar 30, 7:42pm Top

'Not Just For Kids' - middle grade fiction

"If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books." Roald Dahl

1. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson
2. The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan

2/5 = 40%

Edited: Mar 31, 9:09am Top


"Bingo is my game-o!"

1. Title contains a pun Adventures on the High Teas by Stuart Maconie
* 2. Book with "library" or "thing" in the title or subtitle Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
3. Book published under a pen name or anonymously Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels
4. Book about books, bookstores, or libraries The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
* 5. Book by a woman from a country other than the US/UK Local Is Our Future by Helena Norberg-Hodge - finished 9th February 2020
* 6. Epistolary novel or collection of letters 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - finished 12th March 2020
7. Book with a periodic table element in the title A Is For Arsenic by Kathryn Harkup
* 8. Book that's in a Legacy Library Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (Anthony Burgess) - finished 28th March 2020
* 9. Mystery or true crime Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - finished 21st January 2020
* 10. Book with at least three letters of BINGO consecutively in order in the title (BIN, ING, NGO, GOB, OBI...the letters can cross words but must be in order and be consecutive) Travelling In A Strange Land by David Park (ING) - finished 7th February 2020
11. Mythology or folklore The Way Home by Julian Barr
* 12. Book set in Asia Empress Orchid by Anchee Min - finished 2nd January 2020
* 13. Read a CAT This Is Not A Drill by Extinction Rebellion - January KITastrophe Fires - finished 6th January 2020
14. Book published in the year of your birth The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
* 15. Red cover, or red is prominent on the cover The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - finished 5th January 2020
16. Book published in 1820 or 1920 The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
17. Book not set on Earth Planetfall by Emma Newman
18. Book published in 2020 Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire or In The Clearing by J.P. Pomare
19. Book about birth or death Outback Midwife by Beth McRae
* 20. Book with a proper name in the title For Emily by Katherine Slee - finished 12th January 2020
* 21. Weird book title The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by Steven Sherill - finished 8th March 2020
* 22. Book published by a small press or self-published Australian Gypsies by Mandy Sayer - finished 8th January 2020
23. Book involving a real historical event (fiction or nonfiction) The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
* 24. Book written by an LT author The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - finished 9th February 2020
25. Book by a journalist or about journalism Behind The Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

13/25 = 52%

Edited: Today, 1:12am Top


"Life cannot be calculated. That's the big mistake our civilisation made. We never accepted that randomness is not a mistake in the equation - it is part of the equation." Jeanette Winterson

January - A New Year's Resolution One-Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich (resolution to build my farm) - finished 6th February 2020

February - Still LEAPing into the New Year The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (published 1944) - finished 12th February 2020

March - Seasons of Love If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino - finished 3rd April 2020

April - Showers and Flowers









3/12 = 25%

Edited: Mar 31, 9:06am Top


"Without geography, you're nowhere." Author unknown

January-Geo Area Asia I Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan Don't Let The Goats Eat The Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale (Nepal) - finished 10th January 2020

February--Geo Area: Europe (Excluding Great Britain) The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford (Poland) - finished 19th March 2020

March Northern Africa & The Mideast: Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey (others) Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji (Iran) - finished 31st March 2020

April Australia, New Zealand, Oceania The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

May: Any place you would like to visit!

June: Space: The Final Frontier

July: Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean

August: Asia II: Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan Southeast Asia The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh (South Korea)

September: Polar & Tundra Regions

October: Great Britain, Canada, US

November: Africa II All countries excluding those from March. Possibilities: Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia and others An Elephant In My Kitchen by Francoise Malby-Anthony (South Africa) An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini

December: Catch up month or read another one from your favorite CATegory!

3 /12 = 25%

Edited: Mar 11, 4:50am Top


"The challenge of nonfiction is to marry art and truth." Phyllis Rose

January - Journalism and News What The Chinese Don't Eat by Xinran

February - Travel Deep South by Paul Theroux

March - Biography Victoria by Julia Baird

April - Law and Order

May - Science

June - Society

July - Human Science

August - History

September - Religion and Philosophy

October - The Arts

November - Food, Home and Recreation Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis (recreation)

December - Adventures by Land, Sea or Air

2 /12 = 16.7%

Edited: Mar 18, 5:23am Top


"If you're scared, just be scarier than whatever is scaring you!" Thumper

January - 1970s-1980s Horror The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike - finished 11th January 2020

February - Psychological Thrillers Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - finished 23rd February 2020

March - Haunted Places The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons or The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

April - Paranormal

May - Occult Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

June - Cryptids and Legendary Creatures At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

July - Femmes Fatales Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon Nana by Emile Zola

August - Serial Killers The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

September - International The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

October - Halloween

November - Stephen King and family Horns by Joe Hill

December - Classics

2 /12 = 16.7%

Edited: Apr 1, 8:40pm Top


"Once you can write an alphabet, you can write a book of 100 million pages." Israelmore Ayivar

January A & U
For A - Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore
For U - Down Under by Bill Bryson

February F & B
For F - A Cotswold Family Life by Clare Mackintosh
For B - Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

March G & C
For G -
For C - Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

April S & T
For S -
For T - The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

May L & P
For L -
For P -

June K & Y
For K -
For Y -

July J & R
For J -
For R -

August O & H
For O -
For H -

September M & E
For M -
For E -

October D & V
For D -
For V -

November I & Q
For I -
For Q -

December W & N
For W -
For N -

Yearlong letters: X and Z
For X -
For Z -

6/26 = 23.1%

Edited: Today, 1:12am Top


"I define science fiction as the art of the possible. Fantasy is the art of the impossible." Ray Bradbury

January: "Read an SFF you meant to read last year, but never started/completed" The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal - I had this down for November's award winners category - finished 17th January 2020

February: "Transformation" The Neverending Story by Michael Ende - finished 1st February 2020

March: "Series" The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

April: "Time Travel"

May: "Sentient Things"

June: "Aliens" The Humans by Matt Haig

July: "Space Opera"

August: "Female Authors" Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

September: "International SFF" (non US/non UK)

October: "Classics"

November: "Dystopia"

December: "Short Fiction"

2/12 = 16.7%

Edited: Mar 30, 5:05am Top


"I read; I travel; I become." Derek Walcott

January: City vs. countryside Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden - finished 4th January 2020

February: In translation The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara - finished 25th February 2020

March: Tourist meccas Big Things: Australia's Amazing Roadside Attractions by David Clark

April: Related to a place where you do not live Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

May: Modes of transportation (sea, air, rail, driving, etc) Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson

June: Legendary places, such as Camelot, Atlantis, Avalon

July: Myths or legends from a specific region/country/location

August: Travel Narratives

September: Festival or event

October: Related to food or drink from a specific location/country/region Infused Adventures In Tea by Henrietta Lovell

November: Living in a New Country

December: Related to a Place You Would Like to Visit In Bed With Douglas Mawson by Craig Cormick

3/12 = 25%

Edited: Mar 26, 6:41am Top


"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once." Stephen King

January--Historical mysteries This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber - finished 14th January 2020

February--Furry Sleuths Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly - finished 13th February 2020

March--Golden Age Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers - finished 25th March 2020

April--Espionage The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre

May--Novel to screen

June--Police Procedurals/Private Investigator

July--Cross genre/mashup

August--International authors

September--Series A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden

October--New to You The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


December--Cozies The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert

3/12 = 25%

Edited: Mar 23, 7:17pm Top


"Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible." Edward Teller

January: Fires The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper - finished 16th January 2020 This Is Not A Drill by Extinction Rebellion - finished 6th January 2020

February: Invasions The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - finished 23rd March 2020

March: Epidemics and Famine Blindness by Jose Saramago

April: Riots/Uprisings/Sieges

May: Geologic Events (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, avalanches, meteor strikes)

June: Man-Made

July: Weather Events (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, droughts, heatwaves) Falling To Earth by Kate Southwood

August: Transportation and Maritime

September: Transportation and Maritime

October: Pre-1900

November: Outside Your Home Country

December: Technology/Industrial

2 /12 = 16.7%

Nov 17, 2019, 10:06am Top

I love your pictures; you certainly have a variety of styles. Good luck on your reading in all your categories.

Nov 17, 2019, 10:13am Top

Some great categories! Good luck with 2020 reading.

Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 8:34pm Top

We have so many categories in common! I'm looking forward to following along in 2020.

Nov 17, 2019, 12:02pm Top

Your pictures are terrific! Good luck and have fun. We have some categories in common too.

Nov 17, 2019, 1:56pm Top

Awwww the RandomCAT photo is too cute!!! Have a great reading year :D

Nov 17, 2019, 2:02pm Top

Love the opening photo! Definitely looking forward to seeing how your challenge plays out.

Nov 17, 2019, 2:33pm Top

Great categories and pictures. I'm looking forward to following along and seeing them filled.

Nov 17, 2019, 2:36pm Top

Love the pictures! You've got some interesting categories, I hope the books are interesting, too!

Nov 17, 2019, 4:12pm Top

Good luck for 2020!

Nov 17, 2019, 7:07pm Top

Great quotes! Good luck with your challenge.

Nov 17, 2019, 8:37pm Top

Your quotations should inspire you to wonderful reading—I know I feel inspired!

Nov 17, 2019, 10:57pm Top

Thanks so much, everyone! I know I should really be spending my time reading to finish this year's challenges, but it was too tempting to start setting up for 2020! Especially once I saw a few people had already started!

I look forward to seeing everyone else's choices. I had some great reading in 2019 from other people's categories (and many have been added to 2020's list too).

Edited: Nov 18, 2019, 9:47pm Top

Some great pictures for your categories.

Nov 19, 2019, 9:48am Top

Your category pics are so cute, Jayne! (I also read Christmas books during other times of the year.) Wishing you a lot of good reading during your second challenge.

Nov 19, 2019, 10:36am Top

I love that ScaredyKIT picture!

Nov 19, 2019, 11:31am Top

Love the illustrations with your categories, my favorite being the "wife" painting. The cat...I've felt exactly like that although my wine glass is usually empty by that point!

Nov 19, 2019, 7:19pm Top

>2 JayneCM:, >17 JayneCM: I really like those shelves of books. Happy reading!

Nov 19, 2019, 8:41pm Top

Thanks again, everyone!

>37 This-n-That: Sometimes I just feel like a cosy Christmas read, no matter what the time of year.

>38 Jackie_K: That kitten says he is scary - but I just think he is cute!

>39 clue: I find I cannot drink wine and read - or I will just fall asleep!

>40 pamelad: I aspire to having proper shelves one day. At the moment, just making do with random shelving and piles on the floor.

Nov 20, 2019, 10:35am Top

>40 pamelad: >41 JayneCM: Lots of boxes and crates too! Even with the too full proper shelving.

Nov 20, 2019, 8:25pm Top

>42 LadyoftheLodge: That's probably what would happen with me too, as you will always keep filling up more shelves. I am terrible at culling!

Nov 21, 2019, 12:05pm Top

>43 JayneCM: I did some weeding of the shelves when I was widowed in 2015, just to keep busy. I donated boxes of books to the library sale. I also found that when I try to cull the books, I end up getting rid of some that I wish I had kept, and I have to buy them again. . . .

Nov 22, 2019, 6:30am Top

>44 LadyoftheLodge: I have definitely done that before. A few years ago, I had a crazy notion that I had too many books and got rid of some that I then 'missed' having on my shelves and had to buy again. I have cured myself of that notion now and if I love them, I keep them.

Dec 8, 2019, 4:12pm Top

Nice setup here. Not sure that I will participate in the CAT and KIT challenges monthly, but I may dip into a few on occasion. You have almost as many cats peering at us as I do!

Dec 8, 2019, 7:43pm Top

>46 thornton37814: I cannot help it - I love my kitty cats!

I'm sure I will not complete all of them every month either, but I do like to plan anyway. I probably spend just as much time planning as reading which doesn't help me complete the challenges!

Dec 9, 2019, 9:42am Top

>47 JayneCM: I get that! I spend a lot of time making my lists and selecting books. Then sometimes I change my mind by the time the month rolls around.

Dec 10, 2019, 4:19pm Top

>14 JayneCM: Just stopping by to check out your BingoDOG planning. I hope you enjoy Finding Gobi and 84, Charing Cross Road.

Dec 10, 2019, 8:45pm Top

>49 This-n-That: I read 84, Charing Cross Road many, many years ago when it first came out. My grandfather worked for OUP and was an avid book collecter. He knew Frank Doel through this. I have never read The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street though and am looking forward to reading both. I love reading old letters - definitely a dying, if not dead, art form.
And I do love a dog story!

Dec 11, 2019, 3:33pm Top

>49 This-n-That: I read those books too, and have reread them. They are definite faves.

Dec 11, 2019, 6:16pm Top

Don't stop with 84 Charing Cross Road, she has written others to be read after it.

Dec 12, 2019, 6:21am Top

>52 clue: Yes, I am also looking forward to Q's Legacy as well as The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.

Dec 21, 2019, 11:21am Top

Still slowly making my way around the threads. You've got a very ambitious reading year planned. I love some of the pictures you've chosen. Looking forward to seeing what you read.

Dec 29, 2019, 9:50pm Top

Oryx and Crake is really interesting; I hope you like it! Happy reading!

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 8:23pm Top

>55 lavaturtle: Still waiting for my library hold. But not surprisingly, I already have a large pile of January reads here so I am all good to start 2020!
Only twelve hours to go in Australia!

Edited: Jan 2, 12:12am Top

Happy New Year all!

It is 2020 in Australia - we have watched the fireworks and Kate Miller-Heidke singing Wuthering Heights at the Sydney NYE concert was a highlight.

So let the reading begin!

Edited: Jan 31, 1:42am Top

January 2020

1. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min - BingoDOG set in Asia - finished 2nd January 2019
2. Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden - January TravelKIT city vs. countryside - finished 4th January 2020
3. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - BingoDOG red prominent on cover - finished 5th January 2020
4. This Is Not A Drill by Extinction Rebellion - BingoDOG Read A Cat - finished 6th January 2020
5. Australian Gypsies by Mandy Sayers - BingoDOG published by small press - finished 8th January 2020
6. Don't Let The Goats Eat The Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale - January GeoCAT Asia I (Nepal) - finished 10th January 2020
7. The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike - January ScaredyKIT 1970s 1980s horror - finished 11th January 2020
8. For Emily by Katherine Slee - BingoDOG proper name in title - finished 12th January 2020
9. This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber - MysteryKIT Historical mystery - finished 14th January 2020
10. The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire by Chloe Hooper - January KITastrophe Fires - finished 16th January 2020
11. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal - January SFFKIT meant to read in 2019 - finished 17th January 2020
12. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger - Books About Books - finished 19th January 2020
13. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - BingoDOG mystery or true crime, group read - finished 21st January 2020
14. How To Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis - Books About Books - finished 23rd January 2020
15. The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt - Books with Wife in the Title - finished 25th January 2020
16. Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore - January AlphaKIT A - finished 28th January 2020
17. Down Under by Bill Bryson - January AlphaKIT U - finished 30th January 2020

17/207 = 8.2%

Books About Books 2/5 = 40% Monster, She Wrote How To Be A Heroine
Tell It Again 0/5 = %
Bollywood 0/5 = %
Classics 0/5 = %
Dystopia 0/5 = %
Colours 0/5 = %
Reality In Fiction 0/5 = %
Japanese Books 0/5 = %
Pulitzer Prize 0/5 = %
Cosy Christmas 0/5 = %
A Good Wife 1/5 = 20% The Shanghai Wife
Middle Grade 0/5 = %
BingoDOG 6/25 = 24% Empress Orchid, The Things They Carried, This Is Not A Drill, Australian Gypsies, For Emily, Whose Body?
RandomCAT 0/12 = %
GeoCAT 1/12 = 8.3% Don't Let The Goats Eat The Loquat Trees
NonfictionCAT 0/12 = %
ScaredyKIT 1/12 = 8.3% The Graveyard Apartment
AlphaKIT 2/26 =7.7% Gracelin O'Malley Down Under
SFFKIT 1/12 = 8.3% The Calculating Stars
TravelKIT 1/12 = 8.3% Wearing Paper Dresses
MysteryKIT 1/12 = 8.3% This Side of Murder
KITastrophe 1/12 = 8.3% The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire

Dec 31, 2019, 10:10am Top

Happy New Year to you! We have to wait for another 8 hours (Germany)...

I love your opening picture and your quotes. Enjoy your reading!

Jan 1, 7:42pm Top

Wow, quite the set up over here! We have some crossover in categories so I'll be interested to see what you're reading.

Edited: Jan 26, 6:13am Top

Book 1. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

Read for BingoDog - set in Asia

I have decided not to double up with my books, but this could also be used for quite a few other categories in my challenge!

Empress Orchid is based on the early years of the life of the last Empress of China, Ci Xi. The book starts when she first becomes a royal wife and ends with the burial of her husband. There is a second book, The Last Empress, which follows the rest of her life.

It is definitely a slow moving book. Much of the narrative is wrapped up in detailed descriptions of the court, clothing, gardens, rituals, etc. I really loved this as the author painted a beautiful picture of the Forbidden City during this time. But if you like a fast paced book, this is not for you. The writing was in keeping with the pace of life at court, where Orchid spent months simply waiting for her husband to summon her with nothing to keep her occupied but her clothing and hair. It really evoked the languidness and often pointlessness of her life.
There were political intrigues, particularly with the death of the Emperor when his son was only five years old. But even these all happened slowly.

Very interesting as a picture of life for the royal family of China at this time.

Jan 2, 3:08am Top

>61 JayneCM: I loved Empress Orchid. It reminded me of a soap opera, slow moving, but still quite enjoyable!

Jan 2, 3:47am Top

>62 Tess_W: I really enjoyed it too as I loved the clear visual pictures formed by the writing. But I can see why some people found it too slow. I am hoping to get to the second book as well.

Jan 2, 6:24am Top

Empress Orchid sounds intriguing.

Jan 2, 6:49am Top

>63 JayneCM: Hmmm, I didn't know there was a 2nd book. But after reading it on Amazon, I realize that I had read that content before, but not that particular book. I have read clear through to her death.

Jan 2, 5:11pm Top

I am slowly making my way through the various threads. I love your categories and the quotes!

Jan 3, 5:06am Top

>65 Tess_W: Maybe Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck? I love Buck's novels.

Jan 3, 6:35am Top

>67 JayneCM: I'm an extreme Buck fan! And yes, I have read Imperial Woman by Buck--loved it--5 star read for me!

Jan 3, 6:44am Top

I was so lucky a few months ago to find a first edition copy of The Living Reed at an op shop for $1. I snapped that up so fast!

Edited: Jan 3, 8:17am Top

>69 JayneCM: I have read The Living Reed and it was not as enjoyable to me as her other works because it was more war based than the others. I hope to get to The Goddess Abides and Portrait of a Marriage this year, although I've never read anything not oriental from Buck. I've often thought of having a "Buck" CATegory.

Jan 3, 11:03pm Top

>70 Tess_W: That would be a great category. I think she is sadly neglected now.

Edited: Feb 27, 6:16pm Top

Book 2. Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden

Read for January TravelKIT - city vs. countryside

"You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.
But Elise wasn't from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways."

This book is about Elise, a woman living in the 1950s in the city, who marries a farmer and has to live in the Mallee in country Victoria. Her clothes, her cooking, her ways are all alien to this country town and the Mallee is unforgiving to those who do not fit in, who do not just make a go of it and get on with things. The book spirals down into darkness before reaching as happy an ending as the Mallee will allow.

Coming from a small country town like this one (although I am in south-west Victoria, not the Mallee), I can say that the author nailed it! Even though this book is set in the 1950s, this book reads to those of us who live there as being how these towns still are. The petty judgements and the gossip still exist as do the attitude towards mental illness as being something you can just 'snap out of' (although this is improving). But also there is the absolute loyalty, tenacity and undying spirit of the country people. Nothing will defeat them and no one will be left behind.

If you are after a book that absolutely defines the Australian farmer's sense of place, this is it. The Mallee is most definitely a character in this book, and the author has written it as such, with the Mallee being given human attributes. As are other inanimate objects. I love how this was written, with these objects providing their own commentary.

"The peppercorn tree had been holding its breath all this while, listening to Marjorie, wondering if she had the courage. Now it breathed out. It soothed and sighed around them."

It also provides interesting contrast between city and country folk, such as the different outlook on rain. If I watch the city weather report, they, without fail, specify a day without rain as being perfect weather. Not so for us!

This book is beautifully written. The language just swirls around you as you read. It is the author's debut novel, so am looking forward to anything else Anne Brinsden may write.

Jan 4, 11:43am Top

Good luck with your reading.

Jan 4, 12:09pm Top

I'm impressed by all your categories and the pictures you added. It's wonderful and very inspirational;

Jan 4, 3:51pm Top

>72 JayneCM: - Wonderful review!

Jan 4, 5:35pm Top

>72 JayneCM: - sounds interesting. I just added it to my Wishlist.

Edited: Feb 23, 6:33pm Top

Book 3. They Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Read for BingoDOG - red prominent on the cover

The only word I can think of when I read books like this is futility. Futility and waste. It makes me heartsick to read experiences such as these and to think that we will never learn our lesson about war.

These young men, many of them teenagers, had been sent to participate in a war that many of them could not have explained - even their political leaders had trouble explaining why they were there. And then to read that their platoon leader had been told to treat them as 'interchangeable units of command' , I just found that heartbreaking. A simple sentence in a book of harrowing experiences, but it really summed up the pointlessness of the whole war and their participation in it.

I think it is vitally important that we read books such as this - Wilfred Owen's poetry, All Quiet on the Western Front, Testament of Youth, so many books on the Holocaust - we must not forget.

Jan 4, 9:14pm Top

>77 JayneCM: Glad you like this book. I use 2 chapters (On the Rainy River and The Lives of the Dead) when I teach on Vietnam. I love Owen's poetry and use it as well as those written by John McCrae (In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow) and my favorite, Laurence Binyon (For the Fallen). "They shall grow not grow old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England's foam." There are many more stanzas but this one is my favorite and I tear up everytime reading it.

Jan 4, 9:44pm Top

>77 JayneCM: For The Fallen was used to write The Ode of Remembrance which is read here for ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services. I can never hear it without tearing up. Or The Last Post being played.

On The Rainy River would really get them thinking about the arbitrary nature of the draft. I don't know about the US but here in Australia they actually commissioned the use of the lottery ball system that were used to draw the lottery on TV and assigned a birthdate to each number. A bizarre parody of winning - if your number was the winning lotto number drawn, you won a trip to Vietnam. I cannot believe that the politicians could not see how dreadful this system would appear.

Jan 4, 10:15pm Top

Congratulations on your fast BingoDOG progress. You are off to a great start!

Edited: Jan 5, 1:18am Top

>79 JayneCM: That is also how the U.S. draft went, lottery ball style. In fact, when I teach Vietnam, I have a "mini" draft simulation. I give everybody a card with a birthday and a few facts on it, such as "farmer", "football player", etc. They get "drafted" in the order that their birthday comes up and some are exempt due to their status. (oldest son of a farming couple, med student, etc.)

Jan 5, 7:18am Top

>81 Tess_W: Not for the first time, I want to be one of your students!

Jan 5, 12:34pm Top

>79 JayneCM: And yet the blokes whose birthdays went into the barrel generally seem to have had no issues with doing it that way. The fact of the draft, yes, but that’s a separate issue. I was one of them, but fortunately my number didn’t come up. And when Whitlam won the election in 1971 I dropped my registration card into the bin.

Jan 5, 8:23pm Top

>83 haydninvienna: Very fortunate for you! I guess at the time it is just the way it is but looking back it seems bizarre. My uncle's birthday was drawn but he was rejected for active service.

Edited: Jan 10, 5:02am Top

Book 4. This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook by Extinction Rebellion (various authors)

BingoDOG - Read A CAT - January KITastrophe Fires

I read this as an extra book for the January KITastrophe category of Fires. This is particular relevant to me with the current fire situation across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

You may wonder how this book fits in to this category but with the terrible fire situation has come much anger against our government's stand (or lack thereof) on climate change. Scott Morrison may have felt that his embarassing, arrogant and patronising performance at the Pacific Islands Forum last August had been swept under the carpet but we have not forgotten. And it has come back to bite him in people's reaction to him in regard to these fires, with many people refusing to speak to him or shake his hand or downright screaming at him for his lack of action on climate change.

And now for him to come out with a political advertisement showing how much his government is doing for the bushfires and using it as political leverage - can the man stoop any lower?!

Even if direct non-violent action is not your thing, it is well worth reading the first section of the book which is about the climate change situation. The second half of the book is about what XR do.

This cartoon pretty sums up how we should look at it - could it really make anything worse if we act on climate change? We will end up with a better world regardless!

Jan 6, 1:07am Top

How's the air quality in Hamilton today? Lots of smoke in Melbourne. Just an indication of how huge these fires are. Dan Andrews seems to be doing a good job, but ScoMo!

Edited: Jan 6, 2:24am Top

>86 pamelad: We have been so lucky, only smallish fires in our area, although still towns on watch and act. Hubby has spent the day out at the fireground here, just mopping up and making sure it as secure as can be before it gets hot again later in the week. It has been clear for the last two days but I have seen the images of Melbourne, very hazy. My brother lives in Beechworth so he is on a watch and act. My daughter lives in Shepparton so very smoky but far enough away from the fires to be ok.

I think the difference is that Andrews is just getting on with it regardless of media presence, whereas ScoMo is all about how it looks for his public relations. Not sure why he thinks we can't see through his insincerity!

Hopefully the smoke will clear soon. Have you been able to stay inside most of the time?

Jan 6, 5:02am Top

Hoping your luck continues and that Hamilton stays safe. And all the other country towns. We are lucky here that all we have to put up with is a bit of smoke. No fear and danger.

Jan 6, 3:39pm Top

>81 Tess_W: My husband is a Vietnam veteran. He joined the US Navy before getting drafted. Exposure to Agent Orange has him classified as 60% disabled, and physicians still do not know all the extent or symptoms of the exposure. I am glad you are teaching your students that the war and its effects are real and still being felt. (PS--He is proud to have served, never complains.)

Jan 6, 10:09pm Top

>85 JayneCM: Love the final cartoon Jayne. I hope the fire situation is brought under control soon, I can't imagine what it would be like to have this on your doorstep. We've had a couple of sunsets/moon rises here in New Zealand which have been pretty striking due to the smoke haze, but it's a scary reminder of the scale of these fires.

Jan 7, 3:40am Top

>88 pamelad: >90 SouthernKiwi: Thank you. It has stayed much the same today. They have kept it contained but we are heading into hot windy weather again tomorrow.

Jan 7, 11:24am Top

Jayne - I've been lurking on your thread a bit, and I just wanted to speak up and let you know that Australia has been in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe.

Jan 8, 6:05am Top

>92 Dejah_Thoris: Thank you so much. The fires in my state of Victoria are holding at the moment, but the ones in New South Wales are still growing, with more hot weather on the way. It is very much touch and go.

Edited: Feb 25, 7:29am Top

Book 5. Australian Gypsies: Their Secret History by Mandy Sayers

BingoDOG published by a small press

I found this book quite interesting as it covered a part of Australia's history that I had never before considered. It was interesting but not compelling.

The first section of the book covered the treatment of Romani people in Europe, which helped to explain both their willingness to come to Australia and their reluctance to reveal their true heritage. After such persecution in Europe, the Romani were amazed to discover that there were, and never were, any laws against their people, such as compulsory sterilisation or the taking away of their children. We all know those laws were enacted against the Aboriginal people though.

There were three Gypsies or Romani on the First Fleet, two as convicts and one as a shipman. One of these convicts was James Squire who was the become famous as Australia's first beer brewer. You can still purchase James Squire beer today and the names of the beers relate to his convict past. James Squire befriended the local Aboriginal people and became great friends with Baneelon (Bennelong).

It was also interesting to discover that Henry Lawson's mother came an English gypsy family. He followed his family's tradition of oral storytelling and so forged Australia's first literary form - the bush yarn or tall tale.

The first state Premier of New South Wales was also a Romani.

Many of the Australian Romani were still travelling in the 1980s, when it seemed that all but a very few settled down in permanent homes. Many of the older Romani interviewed for the book miss the lifestyle and still feel stifled in a house.

In an interview conducted in 2016, a Romani man stated that Australia is the only country where a Gypsy would admit to an outsider that they were a Gypsy. They credit this with the fact that Australia is the only country never to have passed laws against them.

Jan 8, 6:52pm Top

>85 JayneCM: That second cartoon is spot on!

Jan 9, 11:49pm Top

The Romani people have always fascinated me. That books is going straight onto my Wishlist.

Edited: Feb 15, 7:20pm Top

Book 6. Don't Let The Goats Eat The Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale

January GeoCAT Asia I (Nepal)

This book is about a missionary surgeon and his paediatrician wife who move to Nepal to establish a small hospital in the remote hills. Thus there is talk of God and their Christian motivations for following this lifestyle. This is not at all 'preachy' though. I liked the author's humble attitude to their work and his honesty in admitting to and learning from mistakes. He also states that they are not there to convert the Nepali people - "They can take Christ or leave Him; we shall serve them regardless."

There are the usual stories to be expecting in a book about a remote hospital. One patient had to be carried in a hammock for three days to reach the hospital - she arrived on her sixth day of being in labour. Reading stories such as these make you realise how extremely fortunate we are. These people are often suffering and dying from conditions that in our countries are easily and quickly treated.

I enjoyed this book but one that I would definitely recommend along these lines is The Hospital By The River by Catherine Hamlin. Catherine Hamlin would have to be the Australian who makes me proudest to be an Australian yet so many have never heard of her.

Jan 10, 8:42pm Top

>72 JayneCM: Wearing Paper Dresses sounds really interesting, and I really like that cover.

My thoughts are with you in Australia. I hope you all stay safe!

Jan 10, 11:06pm Top

>98 mathgirl40: Thank you. They were worried that two of the fires would merge overnight to make one huge firefront but luckily they held it.

Edited: Feb 7, 3:26am Top

Book 7. The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

January ScaredyKIT 1970s/1980s horror

Now before I begin, let me say that I am not an aficionado of the horror genre. I was a teenager in the 80s so it was compulsory to devour Stephen King books and watch movies like The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist but that is the extent of my exposure to horror. Now I don't really read it at all, other than for challenges like this.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. I found it reminiscent of Poltergeist, although it was obvious from the beginning that the ghosts were from the graveyard the apartment building was right next to. No points for working that one out!
If you like your horror fast paced and gruesome, this is not the book for you. It was a slow burn and fairly tame in the horror department. I would call it more a thriller as it is definitely not violent at all.

Enough for me but probably not the book for true horror readers.

Edited: Jan 26, 6:28am Top

Book 8. For Emily by Katherine Slee

BingoDOG proper name in title

(Not sure why, but this book is not in LT! But it is on Goodreads)

This book had so many aspects I love. It was about an author and her granddaughter illustrator who created a childrens book series together. On her death, the grandmother left a series of clues for the granddaughter to solve the puzzle of her life. The clues were in the book dedications of the books they had created.
Do you read the dedications in books? I always love to read them and wonder about them, especially the more cryptic ones.
Also of interest was that each chapter was named after a bird. At the end of the book, the meanings of each bird were explained so you could see how this linked to the chapter. My favourite bird is the pelican which symbolises a need to let go of judgment and speak one's mind with confidence (something I definitely have trouble with!)

This is a lovely read about a young woman finding her way in the world after losing so much. It was slow to start but then I found myself racing through to find where the next clue would lead.

Jan 12, 6:58am Top

>101 JayneCM: a BB for me!

Jan 12, 8:52am Top

>101 JayneCM: Amazon doesn't have this title so it probably hasn't been published in the US. They do show a "debut" novel by her called The Book of Second Chances due for release in May and I think it's the same book under a different title (I hate it when that happens!). There are a few copies available from ABE, a site for independent booksellers. I prefer buying from them anyway and didn't look to see if there were copies available anywhere else.

Jan 12, 2:52pm Top

Just stopping by to catch up on reading your posts. Glad to see you are starting off the new year with loads of reading. :-) I am glad you (and others in this group) are okay, as we have been watching horrifying news coverage of the fires. Not that it helps anyone in a tangible way but I feel for the people and especially the wildlife whose habitats have basically been destroyed. Do take care of yourself and your family.

Jan 12, 10:20pm Top

>103 clue: Just had a look and The Book of Second Chances does appear to be the same book (also not on LT!) I guess UK publication was under the title For Emily and then it was changed for US publication. Being in Australia, we tend to get the UK versions (depending on your librarian's preferences!)

Might be better to look for it under this title, >102 Tess_W:.

>104 This-n-That: Thank you for your thoughts and kind words. It is still ongoing and many houses lost. Another fire fighter lost his life on the weekend. We were hoping to visit my brother over the summer holidays but it does not look likely. He is OK but lives near the edge of the current fire so has been on watch and act for two weeks now.

Jan 13, 10:46am Top

Quite the challenge! Good luck and happy reading. How much time did it take you to prepare the challenge and post the discussion?

Jan 14, 12:20am Top

>106 MM_Jones: Hmmm, not sure. Probably two hours or so to set it up, including searching the internet for cute pictures!

Edited: Mar 15, 9:46pm Top

Book 9. This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

January MysteryKIT - Historical Mysteries

This is the first book in the Verity Kent Mystery series. The time is 1919, the setting is a very typical murder mystery setting of an upper class English weekend house party. Which guest is murdering the others and why?
I enjoyed the story and did not guess who the murderer was before they were revealed. But I am not an 'expert' mystery reader so maybe I just missed the clues!

Worth a read and I did notice on Goodreads that the next two books in the series received higher ratings. I liked that Verity was a clever young lady who could fend for herself. She didn't need a man to protect her, thank you very much!

Edited: Jan 23, 7:26am Top

Book 10. The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire by Chloe Hooper

January KITastrophe Fires

This book is about Brendan Sokaluk, the man convicted of deliberately lighting two fires at Churchill on Black Saturday in February 2009. These fires caused the deaths of eleven people.

This book is definitely not clear cut. Brendan Sokaluk still maintains his innocence. There is no definite conclusion reached as to whether he did indeed light the fires or if he did, his motivation or even understanding of doing so. Brendan is autistic. He had grown up in the Valley, a rough area which became even rougher as the power stations in the area were decommissioned and approx. 50% of the adult population were on welfare. He had grown up as the 'retard', the 'spastic', in a time where intellectual disability was little understood, and amongst a people who had no time or inclination for compassion. As the author says, when you are the downtrodden, sometimes it makes you feel better to tread on someone else. In fact, Brendan's autism was only diagnosed when his defence lawyers arranged for an assessment.
We will probably never know how or why Brendan lit the fires. Could he have an understanding of the consequences of his actions?
The author ultimately settles on uncertainty.

"I don't feel like anyone, let alone Brendan, will ever really know the reasons this fire occurred, but I think that we can narrow down on a series of impulses and possibilities, and start to understand how a human mind suddenly is on fire itself and could start an inferno."

He was sentenced to 17 years and 9 months imprisonment in 2012, which was backdated to include his three years spent in custody before the trial. With a non-parole period of 14 years, he could become eligible for parole in 2023.

Very interesting book and it certainly shows that, more often than not, there is never an absolute villain. Often in life, lots of little setbacks lead up to a catastrophic event, but how do we apportion blame? I think most of life is lived in the grey areas.

Jan 15, 9:40pm Top

>100 JayneCM: I don't know if I'm a true horror reader, but I do often enjoy the genre and this sounds like a good one. Thanks for the BB. :)

Jan 15, 9:56pm Top

>108 JayneCM: That series is on my radar, but I haven't dipped into it yet.

Jan 16, 7:28am Top

I am only just now making my way around to everyone's 2020 challenges (and will have lots to do given there are many threads with more than 100 posts already!). Great set-up - I love the Orhan Pamuk quote - and will be actively following along, especially your classics and dystopian, post apocalyptic and cli-fi categories.

And great going on your books so far!

Jan 16, 10:03pm Top

>112 LisaMorr: Thanks for stopping by! There certainly has been a lot of activity to follow already - and we are only halfway through the first month!

Edited: Jan 26, 6:09am Top

Book 11. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Read for January SFFKIT - meant to read in 2019

After reading Hidden Figures and watching the movie, I knew I had to read this alternate history version of the contribution of women to the space program.
And it was compelling. And I did read it in one day. Just a smidge off 5 stars for me as I would have liked a little more science/maths (nerd alert!) but I did love it and look forward to reading the next book.
The author certainly attempted to deal with all the issues in this book - sexism, racism, discrimination against those with a mental illness. There was a lot of mental anguish with the main character as she felt she always had to be a 'good girl' and do all the right things. It certainly showed how often women seem to feel naturally inferior to men, even these women who were often smarter than the men, but lacked the confidence to show it. I hope she loses that in the second book and can see just how amazing she is.
P.S. I want her husband - imagine having someone who believed in you that much!

Jan 17, 9:33am Top

>114 JayneCM: Great review! I had not heard of this novel before, as I don't read much sci-fi.

Jan 17, 5:55pm Top

>114 JayneCM: I have a friend who loves Mary Robinette Kowal. Looks like you enjoyed that one.

Jan 17, 6:32pm Top

>114 JayneCM: I loved the unexpected airplane bits (aviation nerd alert)! :)

Edited: Jan 17, 8:14pm Top

>>117 rabbitprincess: Did you read the author's acknowledgments at the back? Very funny. She admits to having no knowledge of the science/maths/aviation/space aspects and had lots of help.
She talked about the pilot who helped her and said it was like a game of Mad Libs (which I love!). She would leave square brackets in the text with "More pilot jargon here", and he would insert what they would really be saying to the tower, etc.
I am looking forward to reading the second one now!

Jan 17, 9:30pm Top

>114 JayneCM: It's such a lovely book! The second book is going to be one of my first selections after I go off my current self-imposed no new book purchases or hold requests rule.

Jan 17, 10:57pm Top

>119 susanna.fraser: I am doing new new book purchases this year (I'm not counting my op shop that sells all books for 20c!) but I don't think I could make myself do no new library holds as well! You are disciplined!

Edited: Jan 18, 7:00pm Top

>118 JayneCM: Haha yes I liked that bit!

Edited: Jan 26, 6:10am Top

Book 12. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroger

Read for Books About Books

Sometimes you just want to dip in and out of a book like this; just read the bits that interest you. Nope, I read this book cover to cover, every chapter about every author.

It started with Margaret Cavendish in the 1600s and went right up to 2019, discussing women authors in all the different genres.
I particularly loved the chapter on 1970s and 1980s horror, which included some great descriptions of the iconic cover art from some of these books. This chapter was particularly relevant to me as being a teenager in this boom time for horror books. I did read all the Stephen King and V.C. Andrews I could find in the library. Oh my, my friends and I were totally addicted to Flowers In The Attic!

I also found out that one of my favourite movies, The Last Mimzy, was based on a short story, Mimsy Were The Borogoves, by C.L. Moore and published in 1943.

Often, the assumption is made that it is mainly men who can write horror, but there is a huge representation of women writers throughout time and that women may actually be better placed to write more complex horror with a more empathetic, multi-layered viewpoint.

In conclusion, the author says: "It's no surprise that women's fiction focuses on voice and visibility. Women might be told to be quiet, but they still speak up. They might be made invisible, but they still are present. They might be hunted, but they can also be the hunter. Horror fiction shows us that sometimes the things that break us can make us stronger."

The only problem I have to note with this book as I have now had to add 75 million more books to my TBR!! If you need some more book inspiration, dive right in!

Jan 19, 9:35am Top

>122 JayneCM: Looks like a great book (Wishlisted!) I wonder if your Margaret Cavendish is the same Margaret Cavendish as I teach about in Western Civ in relation to the scientific revolution--same time period! Off to check it out!

Jan 19, 9:45am Top

>122 JayneCM: I borrowed this twice and both times I have been too swamped to give it the attention it deserves! I'll have to try again once I get out from under this stream of library holds (and life).

Jan 19, 11:40am Top

It's such a dilemma, so many books, so little time! (although I think I'll give the horror books a miss, as I'm a grade A1 wimp!)

Jan 19, 2:14pm Top

You've read quite a few interesting books already, Jayne! Wearing Paper Dresses made its way to my wishlist.

Jan 19, 2:39pm Top

>114 JayneCM: You've gotten me hyped up to get hold of The Calculating Stars, I've heard only good stuff about this book!

Jan 19, 10:04pm Top

>122 JayneCM:

Now my wishlist is longer!

Jan 19, 10:56pm Top

>123 Tess_W: I wonder! She was apparently called "Mad Madge" as she was not a woman to sit demurely and keep in the background and I guess in those days that made her mad! She was very outspoken on politics and wrote lots of philosophical essays. 1623-1673.

>124 rabbitprincess: I hope you get to it. It was very readable even though it was essentially a laundry list of authors and their works. Lots of interesting little details popped up.

>125 Jackie_K: Me too! I cannot read anything with gore. I like my horror more subtle. I could never watch slasher movies, even when I was a teenager. I was that girl at that sleepovers that hid out in the kitchen!

>126 Chrischi_HH: Hope you enjoy it!

>127 DeltaQueen50: I had too, so I am glad I finally got to it. Very readable, so it will be a quick one.

>128 hailelib: And it will get very long!

Edited: Jan 26, 6:15am Top

Book 13. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

BingoDOG - Mystery or True Crime, Lord Peter Wimsey group read

This is the second Wimsey book I have read, having read The Nine Tailors last year before I knew it was part of a series! I must say I can certainly see the progression of the series as Whose Body? didn't impress me nearly as much. It was a good setup book, introducing the dynamic between Wimsey and Peter, with subtle references to the war and Bunter's after-war role of supporting Lord Peter when he suffers from nightmares. I particularly liked the inclusion of the short biography at the end of the book by Lord Peter's uncle, which gave us an explanation of his life to date and thus more insight into his character.
Very interesting crime to solve. And interesting to see how Lord Peter initially views his 'hobby' of crime solving:

"It is a game to me to begin with, and I go on cheerfully, and then I suddenly see that somebody is going to be hurt, and I want to get out of it."

He is beginning to see that it is not a game that he can indulge in at whim as there are real people involved and he owes them respect and dignity.

Looking forward to continuing this group read throughout the year.

Edited: Jan 26, 2:44am Top

Book 14. How To Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis

Books About Books

I admit it; I love books about books. This read as a memoir based on the author's reading throughout her life. It felt so familiar and friendly and homelike to me, as most of these books were the ones I grew up reading. She also talks about so many reading experiences that I can relate to.

But this book is about her reading the books again as an adult. Does Cathy Earnshaw still rank as the ultimate romantic heroine? Does she still find Jane Eyre insipid and pathetic? Does she still aspire to Scarlett O'Hara's seventeen inch waist?!
This made it particularly interesting as it made me also question some of my longheld beliefs/thoughts on my favourites.

The author questions the classic dilemma of so many books about women - will they marry and live happily ever after or will they live as a spinster? The author looks for the books that show that happiness and marriage are not necessarily mutually exclusive or the only preferred outcome for a woman to live a full life.

Most of the books I had read, but there was one in there that I am now desperate to get my hands on as it justs sounds so darn amazing, Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Now she sounds like a heroine I want to get to know!

Interesting fact that I learnt from this book - the wonderful Ballet Shoes was actually based on a previous adult book of Streatfield's called The Whicharts. Same basic storyline and characters, just tamed down for a young audience. Another book that I must now read!

I don't think I will ever decide on my 'favourite' heroine - they are all my favourites! I love them all for different reasons and they speak to me at different times.

Edited: Jan 23, 4:46pm Top

I have The Calculating Stars and The Arsonist on my TBR list and I have just added Monster, She Wrote to my Wishlist, it sounds fantastic.

I also have Mad Madge a biography of Margaret Cavendish on my Wishlist.

Jan 24, 12:19am Top

>132 Zozette: Hope you enjoy them! I will have to look for that biography as well as she sounds like a fascinating woman.

Edited: Mar 4, 7:52am Top

Book 15. The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt

Books With 'Wife' In The Title

I wanted to give this book a higher rater - it was a debut novel, an Australian author, a time period and place I love, pretty cover, and I am, at heart, a people pleaser so it actually worries me to give a low review (silly, I know!)

But I just couldn't really care about the characters and it just all felt too stereotyped and one-dimensional. All the expected characters are there - the young Australian wife, new to colonial Shanghai and the way things are done; the condescending, racist wives; the sexy bur dangerous local she falls for. Sometimes these can be written well, but for me this was not one of those times.
A good read to while away a few hours, but ultimately forgettable.

Jan 24, 9:30pm Top

>134 JayneCM: Oh, that's too bad, that is exactly the type and cover of book that would appeal to me as well. I will now know to give it a pass.

Jan 25, 12:34am Top

I think I am just going crazy as I have googled how to do this but I cannot see the edit button!

I want to change my 2020 Reading Challenge on Goodreads and it says that you just click on the edit button that appears on your challenge screen. I cannot see it anywhere!

Can anyone help?

Jan 25, 9:17am Top

>136 JayneCM: When you "View Challenge" the little "edit" button is very tiny and in the upper right hand corner of the box.

Jan 25, 7:35pm Top

>137 thornton37814: Thank you! Obviously needed my glasses on!

Jan 25, 7:46pm Top

Any classic music lovers - I am currently listening to our Australian ABC Classic radio stations countdown of the top 100 music scores. It is happening over this whole Australia Day weekend, so we have not reached No. 1 yet.

You can listen online here, as they have divided what they have already played into sections. ie. 100-86 and 85-76 were on yesterday so are available to listen to - or listen to the countdown live!


Just scroll down the page to find the entries in the top 100.

Edited: Feb 9, 1:23am Top

Book 16. Gracelin O'Malley by Ann Moore

January AlphaKIT Letter A

Set in 19th century Ireland, during the Great Hunger, this book is stirring historical fiction. It follows the life of Gracelin, as she grows up during this turbulent time in Ireland's history. I always love historical fiction, especially those that follow the underdog or those who are oppressed fighting back. And it is often the British redcoats who do not feature favourably!
I found the writing beautiful, especially the conversation - as I was reading it, I could hear the lilting Irish accent in my head. So many heartwrenching death scenes, as you can imagine in this time period. I have read other books where the authors have shied away from having any of the characters die but that just made the book in question seem totally unrealistic as the fact is one million people died during the Great Hunger. Ann Moore does not fall into the trap of trying to offer every character a happy ending as the fact is one million people died during the Great Hunger.

My only problem now is that my library does not have the other two books in the series and they are VERY expensive to purchase. What to do, as I really want to follow Gracelin's future adventures.

Edited: Jan 28, 9:55am Top

I'm about half-way through the second book, Leaving Ireland. My library didn't have it either but happily they were able to get it through inter-library loan. So far my impression is that this one is as good as the first.

Jan 28, 4:41pm Top

>141 clue: Maybe I will have to save up for them! It is not available from any library in my state and they are expensive on eBay too. I will have to keep my eyes open in my secondhand searches.

Jan 28, 5:59pm Top

>142 JayneCM: Have you tried Booko? https://booko.com.au/

It searches for the cheapest copies, new and second-hand.

Edited: Jan 28, 8:41pm Top

Better World Books have a second hand copy for US $6.48 with free shipping. I have bought books from BWB. Their delivery might take three weeks but they are reliable.


Jan 28, 10:12pm Top

>143 pamelad: I had checked Booko but it was only finding expensive copies.

>144 Zozette: Now that is dangerous! I did not know that BWB had free international shipping. I just purchased all three books for cheaper than I had been able to find one. Thank you! And now to try not to keep looking on their website (look away from the books!!)

Edited: Jan 28, 10:21pm Top

>145 JayneCM: Check the used copies.


ETA Just noticed you'd already bought them.

Jan 29, 1:12am Top

>147 JayneCM: Booko also said that Better World Books was the cheapest used copy, so that's where I bought it. But no more book buying for a while!

Jan 30, 1:30pm Top

>140 JayneCM: That one looks good.

Edited: Feb 14, 6:16pm Top

Book 17. Down Under by Bill Bryson

January AlphaKIT Letter U

"Australia is mostly empty and a long way away.... But Australia is an interesting place. And that is really all I'm saying."

Last book for January and it was very enjoyable! I have never read any Bill Bryson, even though I own a few, but I will have to look for some more now. The book was informative (even for an Australian) and very funny. I think I may have found it funnier than others may, as it was like an inside joke. I could laugh at him making fun of the same politicians I make fun of and his cricket observations were spot on!
I marked so many pages and my hubby kept asking what I was laughing at so much. The overall impression was that Bryson thinks of Australians as a slightly odd, yet endearing and very friendly bunch. I am happy with that!
It was fun to read an 'outsider's' take on many things we take for granted in Australia, particularly the peculiarity of a Melbourne hook turn - this is a traffic rule in the city of Melbourne that makes no sense to most people and can be quite dangerous if executed incorrectly, which happens to most people as it makes no sense!
I could talk about this book for ages but I would certainly recommend reading it if you are either interested in Australia or you are an Australian who would like a laugh at how we are perceived by others. ie. Bryson's description of Wilson Tuckey and Pauline Hanson!

Jan 31, 4:15am Top

>149 JayneCM: He's been on my radar for ages, but your review convinces me to give him a try.

Jan 31, 4:31am Top

>150 MissWatson: I have read various reviews that some of his books are funny and some more serious, so you never quite know which you will get. I want to try A Walk In The Woods or Notes From A Small Island next.

Edited: Jan 31, 6:33am Top

>151 JayneCM: - I've read A Walk in the Woods and he has that same humorous take on what he writes. Almost like making fun of himself. I have a couple of his on my TBR and this has made me think I should try to fit him in this year.

Jan 31, 6:46am Top

>152 dudes22: Yes, I loved how he didn't take himself too seriously. His descriptions of himself boogie boarding and snorkelling were hilarious. He readily admits he is a land animal!

Edited: Mar 31, 4:49am Top

February 2020

18. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende - February SFFKIT Transformation - finished 1st February 2020
19. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton - Dystopian fiction - finished 3rd February 2020
20. One-Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich - January RandomCAT New Year's resolution - finished 6th February 2020
21. Travelling In A Strange Land by David Park - BingoDOG consecutive BINGO letters (ING) - finished 7th February 2020
22. Local Is Our Future by Helena Norberg-Hodge - BingoDOG non US/UK author (Sweden) - finished 9th February 2020
23. The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - BingoDOG LT author - finished 9th February 2020
24. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham - February RandomCAT leap year (1944) - finished 12th February 2020
25. Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly - February MysteryKIT furry sleuths - finished 13th February 2020
26. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - February AlphaKIT B - finished 14th February 2020
27. What The Chinese Don't Eat by Xinran - January NonfictionCAT Journalism - finished 16th February 2020
28. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson - Middle Grade - finished 17th February 2020
29. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux - Books About Books - finished 19th February 2020
30. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - February ScaredyKIT Psychological thrillers - finished 23rd February 2020
31. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara - February TravelKIT In Translation - finished 25th February 2020
32. A Cotswold Family Life by Clare Mackintosh - February AlphaKIT F - finished 27th February 2020

32/207 = 15.5%

Books About Books 3/5 = 60% Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
Tell It Again 0/5 = %
Bollywood 0/5 = %
Classics 0/5 = %
Dystopia 1/5 = 20% Hollow Kingdom
Colours 0/5 = %
Reality In Fiction 0/5 = %
Japanese Books 0/5 = %
Pulitzer Prize 0/5 = %
Cosy Christmas 0/5 = %
A Good Wife 1/5 = 20%
Middle Grade 1/5 =20% The Girl Who Speaks Bear
BingoDOG 9/25 = 36% Travelling In A Strange Land, Local Is Our Future, The Girl Who Chased The Moon
RandomCAT 2/12 = 16.7% One-Woman Farm The Razor's Edge
GeoCAT 1/12 = 8.3%
NonfictionCAT 1/12 =8.3% What The Chinese Don't Eat
ScaredyKIT 2/12 = 16.7% Rebecca
AlphaKIT 4/26 =15.4% Where'd You Go, Bernadette A Cotswold Family Life
SFFKIT 2/12 = 16.7% The Neverending Story
TravelKIT 2/12 = 16.7% The Motorcycle Diaries
MysteryKIT 2/12 = 16.7% Curiosity Thrilled The Cat
KITastrophe 1/12 = 8.3%

Edited: Feb 1, 3:13am Top

>149 JayneCM: I read A Walk In the Woods and meh.......however, your review makes me want to give good ole Bill another try! I see it is called In a Sunburned Country in the U.S.

Feb 1, 5:21am Top

Of his travel books, I think Down Under is one of my absolute favourites. I have enjoyed pretty much all of them though, apart from The Road to Little Dribbling, where he was just so grumpy I couldn't get into it at all.

Feb 1, 8:37pm Top

>155 Tess_W: Hope you enjoy it. I don't know they change the titles for some books - very frustrating sometimes!

>156 Jackie_K: Oh, maybe I have started too high and any others may be a disappointment! It certainly made the book more enjoyable for me as I had been to, or at least knew of, the places he was visiting and the people he was disparaging!

Edited: Feb 19, 7:00am Top

Book 18. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

February SFFKIT - Transformation

I have never read this book. True fact! Even though I LOVED the movie, I have never read the book, either myself or to any of the kids. But as it is on the 1001 Childrens Books list that we are reading through, I finally picked it up.

I wanted, desperately wanted, to give this book a higher rating. The movie was one of my favourites and books are always better than the movie, right? Not this time. And I found out why. The movie was based on only the first half of the book which is wonderful. We loved the first half of the book (I read this aloud to my two youngest). But then the book seemed to ramble off in a different direction. It seemed like it became a type of philosophical treatise for an older audience. I still enjoyed it somewhat as I could see what the author was attempting to point out. But the boys were not interested and it was a hard slog to keep reading aloud to the end of the book. They were definitely happy to move on by the end!

It may have been better if I had read it myself as I would read a lot more in one sitting than I would as a read aloud. Maybe it was the constant stopping and starting in the reading that lost it for me. I read it over about two and a half weeks whereas normally I would read it in two to three days.

Feb 2, 1:02am Top

>139 JayneCM: Thanks for posting that link. I often think the music is the best part of a movie (believe it or not, I make notes from the credits!).

>149 JayneCM: I've enjoyed all the Bill Bryson books I've read so far and I have In a Sunburned Country on the tbr shelf. I will definitely move it up. My husband lived in Australia for a few years so maybe I'll get some idea of what he's been talking about.

Feb 2, 1:14am Top

>159 VivienneR: I look at the credits too, for music and locations.

It will be interesting to see if your hubby thinks the Bryson book is spot on - I thought it was!

Feb 2, 5:38am Top

>149 JayneCM: Bit late to this party but: the hook turn doesn't make much sense to Australians from outside Melbourne either.

Feb 2, 5:46am Top

>158 JayneCM: Oh no! The song is now stuck in my head again! ;)

Feb 2, 2:23pm Top

The Neverending Story is one of those books I have been meaning to get to for years but never have, I am a little less inclined to read it after reading your review.

The example I tend to use when talking about a movie being better than the book is Big Fish and it seems that many reviewers agree with me.

Feb 3, 2:40am Top

>163 Zozette: It is still a good book - I wouldn't want to put you off! I agree about Big Fish - the movie was great. Having Ewan McGregor in it didn't hurt either!

Feb 3, 3:40pm Top

>158 JayneCM: I felt that way about The Neverending Story too. The part the movie followed was great, and while there were parts of the rest I enjoyed, it felt like it turned into a completely different book. Also, and I readily admit that this is hugely subjective and personal, the fact that Fantasia does its best to suck in and destroy its preysaviors didn't play well with my happy childhood memories of the movie. Which gets into that whole philosophical treatise for older audiences you mentioned, I think.

I read Down Under (though my copy was called In a Sunburned Country) a while ago and really enjoyed it. More than I did A Walk in the Woods, overall, though that had its moments too.

Feb 3, 10:21pm Top

Book 19. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Dystopian fiction

I have heard so much about this book - every Booktuber I watch has been raving about it. I was hoping not to be disappointed and I wasn't. Although up until the last two pages, I had it as a 4 star rating in my head. The last two pages are so beautifully written, it gained the extra half a star for me.

I love the ascerbic wit of S.T. and the loving goofiness of Dennis. Dennis is my new favourite book character! I am not giving anything away by saying that S.T. is a pet crow and Dennis is a bloodhound. They need to travel together after a super virus attacks the human population and find how to survive in this new world.

S.T. has information and an insight into the human world that he uses to help all the other animals, wild and domestics, to survive. At the end of the book, he tells the wilds all about the humans and it is hilarious. I especially liked this sentence (as I tell my daughter, a CrossFit addict, the same!)

"There were, sadly, some things that were just impossible to explain, like the plot of Inception and CrossFit."

Nope, I just don't get CrossFit! :)

Funny, insightful and original - loved it!

Edited: Feb 3, 11:44pm Top

I loved Hollow Kingdom. I listened to the audio version and then I just had to buy the hardback version for my shelves. I agree the last two pages are wonderful. Such I fabulous book for a first time author.

Edited: Feb 4, 7:07am Top

>166 JayneCM: - I've been reading a lot of good reviews about this book and although dystopian fiction isn't something I read a lot, I think I'll finally declare this a BB.

ETA: Looks like I've already taken a BB on this - twice. Must be appealing to me. Maybe I need to read it sooner.

Feb 4, 6:41pm Top

>166 JayneCM: Yaaaay! Great review! :D

Feb 5, 6:17am Top

>167 Zozette: Yes, I am hoping she is working on something else - I may have to buy it as well.

>168 dudes22: Hope you enjoy it. It is a fun as well as thought-provoking read.

>169 rabbitprincess: Thanks! I'm glad I got to it sooner rather than later.

Feb 5, 10:13am Top

Just catching up on reading your fun reviews here. I am sorry that your library does not have the rest of the Gracelin O'Malley series available but that's really cool you were able to find some inexpensive copies online. I also read Gracelin O'Malley in January but it didn't end up being a favorite of mine. Glad to know you liked it though. :)

Feb 6, 4:00am Top

Book 20. One-Woman Farm by Jenna Woginrich

January RandomCAT New Year's resolution

Rather than a reading resolution, I have chosen this book as a personal resolution for me. I live on eight acres which we have never really used to its full potential. This year I am determined that I will grow as much as possible. Hubby isn't really interested, so I have not pursued it to date. This is the year!
I have read other books written by Jenna Woginrich and she is an inspiration to me as she went after what she wanted alone. She didn't let anyone tell her that a woman on her own cannot run a farm (although plenty of people tried to!) and she is living her life on her own terms.

Plus I share many of her ideas on life.

"I strongly believe that loving this lifestyle is the only way to be successful. And by successful, I mean living a life that makes you happy, surrounds you with good meals, and builds community and a sense of place. If you are truly in love with the idea of producing your own food and caring for your own livestock, then it will happen because it simply must. You won't be content until then: you'll give up what you have to give up. You'll take the leaps and risks that you need to take, and you'll sweat and work until you can't see straight or feel your hands through the calluses.
You'll do it because it sustains you. You'll do it because the lack of it will eat you up."

Hopefully I can be that determined!

The book itself is lovely. It is set up as a diary of the first year at Jenna's farm. It has lovely sketches throughout. Jenna mentions that she has been accused on romanticising her life on the farm but she says that she isn't at all; she really loves it that much and this love makes up for any negative aspects. Her joy in her life definitely comes through.

Feb 6, 4:01am Top

>171 This-n-That: I am a sucker for historical fiction so I am probably not as picky on those books as others!

Feb 6, 5:56am Top

>172 JayneCM: - I think I will take a BB for this. I love books about farming - my brother has a small farm and I try to get there often to help out if I can. Of course, my old knees and back can be limiting some days. I've read a couple of other books you might like also: The Seasons on Henry's Farm by Terra Brockman and also Rural Free by Rachel Peden. You'll have to let us know how your garden grows.

Feb 6, 6:56am Top

>172 JayneCM: I'm adding that to my wishlist! One day we hope to have a bit more land, and are keen to grow our own (and maybe keep some bees, too).

Feb 7, 12:16am Top

>174 dudes22: I have added those to my list as well. I think I may have a whole category for these books next year.

>175 Jackie_K: Bees are definitely on my wishlist!

Feb 7, 3:16am Top

>172 JayneCM: A BB for me! Good luck with the garden. I also live on some acreage. However since the kids are gone , so are my weed pullers, I don't plant like I used to--these old knees and hips wont' comply! However, each year I grow enough tomatoes to make juice and freeze. I always have tomato juice for chili or tomato soup or whatever. I also grow green peppers that I saute and put in little baggies and freeze so I have them throughout the winter too, for casseroles or soups. Cucumbers grow crazy here as well as zucchini and I end up giving more away than I could possibly use. I have a cherry tree and apple tree and I preserve that fruit---love crockpot applesauce! Like yours, my husband is not interested in a garden. However, he is interested in eating from it! I affectionately call him The Little Red Hen.

Edited: Feb 7, 4:19am Top

Book 21. Travelling In A Strange Land by David Park

BingoDOG consecutive letters in BINGO (ING)

This book has received many 5 star reviews on Goodreads and while I loved it, I did find it slower than I wanted. I am sure it did not help that I was reading three books at the same time and swapping between them.
It is beautifully written and as a parent, it brought up feelings you try to keep in the back of your mind, about the terrible things that can happen to your children and how you cannot protect them from everything, no matter how much you want to and how hard you try.
The imagery was stunning but maybe a little too wordy, if that makes sense. It felt to me as though some of the descriptions could have been more sparse.
Definitely a haunting book as you can see just how easily a family, and the individuals within it, can disintegrate.

There was one line that made me laugh though. The father has asked his son to put down his phone which he doesn't often ask him to do as "I know it's the teenage equivalent of leaving the mother ship and floating away untethered into the emptiness of space." Why do they love their phones so much?!

Edited: Feb 7, 4:14am Top

>177 Tess_W: I may have to steal that nickname! I am trying to get the boys more interested - I need some helpers! I would love to have a cherry tree, but the parrots already eat half of the apples. My apple tree is enormous, too big to net. So I share with the parrots. But I definitely would have to be selfish when it came to cherries!

Feb 7, 6:11am Top

>179 JayneCM: I will have to say that I have to share my cherries with the crows and the ravens. I also have a blackberry and raspberry bush that I net, but so far, I've never gotten more than a soup bowl full of berries from either bush. Good for 1 batch of muffins or just to eat plain.

Feb 7, 10:02am Top

>179 JayneCM: I used to have a garden when I lived in town. Now that I live out in the woods, most of my land is protected forest. I tried to grow some veggies and annuals in raised beds, but the deer love them. Perennials seem to do the best here and the deer and chipmunks do not like them. That is the extent of my gardening right now. They do look beautiful in the summer when all the plants are in full bloom.

Another book for those interested in farms and gardens is The 3000 Mile Garden which is a correspondence between two gardeners. Another one is Creating Sanctuary which has all kinds of cool ideas for how to arrange an interesting garden.

Feb 7, 1:25pm Top

>172 JayneCM: and others...

I only have a yard of half an acre and the only food I grow now is tomatoes in containers. I've never been as interested in growing food as I have been having flowers, shrubs and trees. When I was working 10 hours a day I kept my yard looking like a park but when I retired I just let it go. Go figure. When I tried to start my mower one day it wouldn't start, it was old, and I had someone mow it that week thinking it would be a one week thing. Well, six years later he's still mowing it! Next I just started ignoring the beds as well... Last year I decided I wanted to get the yard back to where it had been and made progress but it will be another year before it's where I want it to be. I can't explain the behavior, I love working in the dirt! I also love reading books about nature in general and will definitely take these as BBs.

Feb 7, 1:53pm Top

I so love ABE. Just bought One Woman Farm and The 3000 Mile Garden, both hardbacks, both described as Very Good condition for $8.26 including postage! I'm excited to read them both.

Edited: Feb 8, 6:33am Top

>181 LadyoftheLodge: I will look for those books too - thank you. I am lucky here - the only real problems I have with wildlife is the parrots, and foxes taking my chickens. The crows used to get into the chook pen and steal the eggs but I have managed to outwit them. Actually my worst problem with getting into the garden beds is my own chickens! They are free range and I am still working on fencing.
Perennials are great. I am hoping to put in lots of food producing perennials. Keeps the work down!

>182 clue: It seems to go like that. I had given up for the last two years so now have lots of weeds to sort out. Luckily most of the perennials I had planted are still going strong so the garden's bones are still there. And the daffodils still come up every year and make it so cheery.
Hope you enjoy the books you found. Secondhand book sources are the best! I try not to buy new as everything seems to turn up secondhand somewhere if you wait long enough!

Feb 8, 6:12am Top

>181 LadyoftheLodge: - I'm going to make note of those two books also.

Edited: Feb 8, 10:37am Top

>184 JayneCM: >185 dudes22: A couple of others in the same vein as Creating Sanctuary are Everyday Sanctuary and Nature Play at Home. Everyday Sanctuary is a sort of workbook for planning your own garden. Nature Play at Home describes how to create gardens and outdoor spaces uniquely designed to get kids outdoors and involved with nature. The photography and drawings in all of these books are beautiful and inspiring.

Feb 8, 5:34pm Top

>186 LadyoftheLodge: More for my list - thank you!

Feb 8, 6:05pm Top

Book 22. Local Is Our Future by Helena Norberg-Hodge

BingoDOG - non US/UK female author

I had to give this five stars simply because it is the most readable concise explanation of the global economy and its ills that I have ever seen. It is simple to understand without dumbing down any of the issues.
Since the late 90s, early 2000s, with Australia entering into free trade agreements and the inception of the G20, I have been protesting globalisation as a flawed economic policy. This inevitably led to accusations of being a Luddite, anti-progress and wanting us all to live in the Dark Ages.
This book shows categorically that globalisation has failed, only benefiting a very few while leaving the majority of the world's population worse off.
I won't go into all the discussion as the failure of globalisation has many aspects to it. Suffice it to say that it is a disgrace that in 2016, of the 100 largest economies of the world, 69 were corporations. We have paid for these profits through unfair government subsidies, externalised environment and healthcare costs and lower standards of living for many people.

"Much of the global economy, in other words, is a giant Ponzi scheme that is (temporarily) viable only because markets fail to account for the value and use of the natural ecology - on which civilisation depends for its crops, water, air, its very livelihood."

The title of the book gives us the solution. It is the way we have lived for the majority of recorded human existence - the global economy is but a blip on the human timeline.

The author has provided a summarised PDF of the book for free at the Local Futures website. Well worth the read.


If you like watching interviews, this is a great (long, over an hour!) interview from Happen Films.


Or a shorter TED Talk.


Feb 9, 12:04am Top

>188 JayneCM: Love this idea. Small communities are healthy in many ways, economically most of all. Even so, it is hard to do things like buy locally made clothing and food -- the premium is huge because we are anchored on unsustainable prices. I am very interested in this book; it fits with one called Small is Beautiful that is also on my mind as a possibility for the year.

Love the garden design discussion and recommendations as well!

Feb 9, 1:17am Top

>189 pammab: Absolutely true - we do not pay the true cost of supermarket food or clothing from Kmart, so people tend to think they cannot afford local. But really we are paying for those cheap items in other ways. I also have Small Is Beautiful on my list.

Feb 9, 1:31am Top

Book 23. The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

BingoDOG LT author

Yes, I did read two books in one day! Well not technically - the one I finished this morning had only one chapter left to read. But this one I read in the afternoon.

4 stars for pure enjoyment. I had planned to read a chapter or two with a cup of tea before starting on some jobs. Needless to say, the jobs have not been completed.

I love a book with the small town girl or boy moving back home (although in this case it is the girl's daughter); I love a book about small town quirkiness; throw into a little magic and I'm there!

A good one to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Edited: Feb 9, 11:15am Top

>189 pammab: >190 JayneCM: I also have Small is Beautiful on my shelf somewhere. Another good one I have is The Farmer's Market Book: Growing Food, Cultivating Community by Jennifer Meta Robinson and J.A. Hartenfeld, which has color pictures of our local Farmer's Market, published by Quarry Books

Feb 10, 11:39am Top

>191 JayneCM: I really like Sarah Addison Allen! If you haven't read any of her others yet, I'm thinking you would love Garden Spells, and my own personal favorite is The Sugar Queen.

Feb 11, 1:50am Top

>193 christina_reads: My library has them all so I was thinking I would definitely read them at some point.

Feb 12, 8:11am Top

Book 24. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

February RandomCAT - published in a leap year (1944)

I really don't have a lot to say about this book - to me it was just meh. I could take it or leave it. I will say Maugham is wonderful with his character descriptions. He provides those little observational details that really build the characters in your mind.
But the actual story really didn't capture me. In its day I would say it was definitely groundbreaking. One of the main characters, Larry, decides to forgo the good life of society, success and money to travel the world to find his happiness and spirituality. Larry went to India to find his Guru before the Beatles did! At the time this was written, I assume it was virtually underheard of for a man to not buckle down to work and marriage but instead chose to give away all his worldly possessions in pursuit of a different ideal.
Despite the descriptive characters, I just found I couldn't really care what happened to them. Without doubt, well-written but it seemed too disjointed to me, particularly as it covered a long time span.

Edited: Feb 13, 12:25am Top

Book 25. Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by Sofie Kelly

February MysteryKIT Furry Sleuths

This book has cats, a library, small town life and magic - I so wanted to love it. But I found it very slow going for most of the book. It did pick up near the end as we were heading towards finding out who the killer was, but it didn't draw me in.
The cats, of course, are gorgeous and I loved the author's descriptions of them - I could just see their cute little mannerisms.
I would pick up the next book in the series if I needed a distraction read, but I am not rushing to look for it.

Feb 13, 1:25am Top

>195 JayneCM: Years ago I acquired all my Dad's Evelyn Waugh and Somerset Maugham novels and read all of them one after the other. I loved them (Maugham more than Waugh) but now find the stories are a bit muddled in my mind. I've always intended to read them all again.

>196 JayneCM: Glad you got three stars worth out of this one. I abandoned it quite early.

Feb 13, 10:36pm Top

>197 VivienneR: I inherited lots of my grandpa's books - I just love the older editions. They just seem more special. I haven't read Waugh in years - need to get on to some for the 1001 list. I am enjoying the list as it is getting me to reread books I haven't read for decades.

I am nothing if not persistent. A book has to be very, very terrible before I will abandon it! I cannot think of the last time I had a DNF. I guess I just like to give everyone a fair chance - my hubby says that's why I am always roped into all the volunteer jobs at school and sports!

Edited: Mar 26, 6:45am Top

Book 26. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

February AlphaKIT Letter B

Quick and satisfying read. I always love a bit of satire! The beginning reminded me a little of Big Little Lies, with the catty school mums and their unaccepting (but in such an oh so nice way!) manner of anyone different to them. Poor Bernadette was naive and way too trusting in some aspects, but then does that make you such a bad person?

The book blurb in Goodreads says:
But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown.

Totally relate to Bernadette on this one - it is totally exhausting living a life you didn't choose for yourself. So I guess I never saw her as a basket case, just misunderstood and fed up.

At first, I wasn't a total fan of the epistolary format. I love a book of old fashioned letters, but this included emails, reports, etc. But as I got into the story, it didn't seem to bother me so much.

The ending was a bit far-fetched; not sure you could really disappear as Bernadette did. But as I was totally on her side, I just thought good on her!

Feb 14, 9:12pm Top

>199 JayneCM: I have that as an ebook to read. Good review!

Feb 15, 7:37pm Top

Book 27. What The Chinese Don't Eat by Xinran

January NonfictionCAT Journalism and News

Understandably, as this is a book made up columns from a newspaper, this book didn't give me enough 'meat'. Just when you would get interested in the topic at hand, the article would end. The author was never able to give any depth to a particular topic.

There were many interesting little snippets. I laughed (but not really as it is sad this is true in so many cultures, including Western ones) at the radio program in which she asked her male listeners how many 'good' women were in their family and what the requirements were for such. Out of nearly 1000 replies, fewer than 20 said they had good women in their lives. I read the requirements - yep, I fail!!

1) should never go out and express her views to society
2) provide a son for her husband's family tree
3) never lose her temper and always be soft and smile at her men
4) never burn food when she cooks and never mix colours when she washes
5) be good in bed and have a good figure to show off

Hmmm, how many does anyone I know pass! I did manage number 2 as I have three boys so one tick for me!

Feb 15, 7:39pm Top

I am happy that with the above read I have finished all the January KITs and CATs. I do not think I will get through February quite so well!
Although overall I am on track with my totals as I have already read 9 BingoDOG books. I use Bingo to try and slot in books I have picked up that don't fit in anywhere else.
My statistical mind is happy for the moment!

Feb 16, 6:33am Top

Book 28. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson

Middle Grade Fiction

I really, really wanted to be able to give this more stars. I loved The House With Chicken Legs and this book had all the right elements. Russian based, storytelling woven throughout, magic, a journey to find oneself, a Yaga house, a gorgeous cover. But it just didn't grab me. The last few chapters were the best but before that it seemed too repetitive.

A good overall message though about finding yourself and those that will be your 'herd', as Yuri the elk says.

"Just as there's room on Earth for all kinds of people. If I believe I belong, I'll find my space."

I would certainly recommend it as an enjoyable read, just not one of the best of its type I have read.

Feb 16, 7:54pm Top

>203 JayneCM: At least the title was interesting!

Feb 17, 3:06pm Top

I found an epub of The Hummingbird's Daughter at Booktopia but it costs $18.99, a lot for an ebook. Could get a second-hand copy from OS, but I'm trying to avoid buying things that have to fly here. I will try asking the library to buy a copy.

Feb 19, 1:15am Top

>205 pamelad: I hope they do - then I can probably get it too!

Feb 19, 3:18am Top

I've tried, but the librarian I spoke to was not encouraging because they have a policy of buying books published within the last five years, unless they are classics. I mentioned the Guardian article, alternatives to American Dirt, how topical this is. Not easy, had to interrupt a stream of negative talk to say anything.

Feb 19, 6:12am Top

>207 pamelad: That is so frustrating! I cannot see how they can buy more recent drivel over 'older' books. In particular, the stocking of the childrens section drives me crazy as the same principle applies. Our library recently got rid of The Penderwicks to make room for new books, for example. Although it is great for book collectors like me who can grab them in the library sales, it means readers, particularly those who cannot afford to buy books, are missing out.

Edited: Mar 15, 6:19am Top

Book 29. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux

Books About Books

This book began with a biography as such of Louisa May Alcott and her writing of Little Women. I enjoyed this section of the book. It then became too bogged down for me in analysis of the feminist (or not) leanings of the book. I could take or leave this section.

The chapter on boys reading Little Women was interesting as the author discussed the fact that there is virtually no teaching of 'girls' books in our school curriculum. Girls are encouraged to read boy books but not vice versa. And most book choices in teaching are made to encourage boys to read as they are always viewed as the reluctant readers.

There were many snippets of information that I collected, such as the comparison of the different movie and TV adaptions and the descriptions of the various illustrators over time.

Overall I enjoyed the book as I love Little Women, but probably best for a commited fan of the book.

Feb 19, 9:31pm Top

>209 JayneCM: Interesting. I read one book about the sisters some years ago, but I don't remember the title or author. I've read Alcott's books several times.

Feb 19, 9:59pm Top

>149 JayneCM: I've enjoyed several of Bill Bryson's books but I've not read Down Under yet. I'll definitely have to add it to the wishlist, especially since it's been recommended by an Australian! :)

Edited: Mar 12, 4:59am Top

Book 30. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Read for February ScaredyKIT Psychological Thriller

I loved, loved this book as a teenager and was wondering whether I would feel the same many years later. You know how sometimes you don't want to spoil the magic?

I just had to read that first line to be hooked again.

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

Such a simple line but it sets the whole tone right from the start.
This book has all the Gothic undertones. You can absolutely see the influences of the Brontes - Jane Eyre with the characters and Wuthering Heights with the atmospheric settings.
A bit melodramatic in parts, but in a good way!

Feb 24, 4:13am Top

>212 JayneCM: And such a gorgeous cover, too!

Feb 24, 4:50am Top

>213 MissWatson: It is! I love the Virago Modern Classics. I want them all, even if I already own the book.

Feb 24, 4:55am Top

>214 JayneCM: Yes, covers are very important. I actually replaced some Trollopes because I loved the new OUP covers so much!

Feb 24, 6:12am Top

>215 MissWatson: They are lovely - the Vintage Publishing ones are nice too. Definitely need pretty covers! And I feel the need to have books in a series all from the same 'set'. I have some OOP series that I have had to just buy whatever I can get and it doesn't feel right!

Feb 24, 7:13am Top

>216 JayneCM: Exactly. It's difficult, though, if a series runs for decades. They change cover design several times over the years.

Feb 24, 11:04am Top

>212 JayneCM: I read that book as a teenager too. My friends and I were just crazy over gothic novels. Have you read the sequel?

Feb 24, 6:45pm Top

>218 LadyoftheLodge: I have seen that there are two sequels. I know that Rebecca's Tale was approved by du Maurier's estate. I am not sure abut Mrs de Winter. I have not read either as I am never sure about sequels written by other people. Have you read either of them?

Feb 25, 7:41am Top

Book 31. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

February TravelKIT - In Translation

This is an account of Guevara and his friend, travelling through Latin America in the early 1950s, before he 'became Che'.
The book was comprised of vignettes of various types, rather than a continuous travelogue.
There were passages of Che's thoughts on the poverty, racism towards the indigenous and lack of hope for the people he is observing. Possibly this trip cemented his desire to do something. Certainly by the end of the book, he is ready for revolution, no matter how bloody.

If you are reading this as a travel book, I think you would be disappointed as it reads more as a description of all the different methods they used to get meals and travel for free (the motrocycle broke down and was abandoned fairly early in the trip). There is little description of places, other than a wonderful passage on Cusco, Peru, which was the original centre of the Inca empire. It made me want to look up images to see if it was as spectacular as he described it - and it is.

I found it more interesting as an insight into how he became who he was later in life. I would have liked more of his thoughts on this and less talk of how they scrounged free food and accomodation. But then it wouldn't have been a travel book!

Interesting but not riveting.

Feb 25, 8:19pm Top

I only read Rebecca last year, but I, also loved it. Sometimes that first line comes to my mind, for no reason!

Feb 26, 3:03am Top

>221 Tess_W: Definitely! There are some first lines that are just memorable. Rebecca is the only du Maurier I have ever read, so I really should try some of her others. Particularly as I own about six!

Feb 26, 8:47am Top

>222 JayneCM: I think the only other du Maurier I've read is Frenchmen's Creek and it was a more swashbuckling, pirate type of read--not near as good as Rebecca, but I did give it 3 1/2 stars.

Feb 26, 10:18pm Top

>214 JayneCM: I agree! I love the look of VMC books, as well as the books themselves, of course. I especially like the covers they use for Angela Thirkell's books.

Feb 27, 5:53pm Top

>224 mathgirl40: Oh yes! They are lovely. I have never even read one but I want them all just for the covers!

Edited: Mar 23, 7:22pm Top

Book 32. A Cotswold Family Life by Clare Mackintosh

Read for February AlphaKIT F

Sometimes you just need a delightful read that you can laugh out loud with. As soon as I saw the words 'Cotswold' and 'family', I was there! And the author is a writer so loves books as well.

The Cotswolds are exactly the place I would love to live. The author talks about her longing for an Aga - oh yes please! Plus the place names are just so great. She lives in Chipping Norton; others include Great Rollright, Shipston-on-Stour, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Wotton-Under-Edge - I think I just want to live somewhere with a hyphenated name!

Her writing is hilarious. As someone who has been in the trenches of motherhood for a LONG time (my oldest is 24, my youngest is 8), I found her stories totally relatable. Her dry humour is just my style.
Each chapter is a little story, with the chapters based around the seasons so it becomes a 'year in the life' format.

Many times she could have been describing me. For example:

"I would no sooner leave the house without a book in my bag than I would walk down the high street in my pyjamas. I might have to stand in a queue for longer than a few seconds, and what would I do then?"

I am always that 'weird' person at the playground or waiting at footy/basketball training who is reading a book rather than scrolling their phone. I am not sure why it is rude to read a book while eating with someone but not rude to use your phone. Sorry, one of my pet peeves!!

A quick read that is lots of fun and laughs. One of those books my hubby would keep asking what I was laughing at.

Feb 27, 7:09pm Top

>226 JayneCM: Sounds delightful!

Feb 27, 7:29pm Top

>226 JayneCM: This one sounds right up my alley! Onto the wishlist it goes. :)

Feb 27, 8:59pm Top

>228 DeltaQueen50: Hope you enjoy it!

Feb 27, 9:02pm Top

I do love my 20c a book local op shop! I check in every two weeks or so to see what new books may have been donated.
Today's haul, for the princely sum of $1, is:

The World of Minack by Derek Tangye
The Fat of the Land by John Seymour
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Feb 28, 8:38am Top

Wow - even with converting to US$, that's impressive.

Feb 28, 8:49am Top

>230 JayneCM: Great haul for a good price. The converter tells me that today $1 (Australian) = $.65 (USD)

Feb 28, 10:36am Top

>226 JayneCM: I can identify with the idea of always having a book at hand. In the absence of a book, I have been known to read car owner manuals, cereal boxes, those little folded paper instructions that come with stuff, pamphlets, church bulletins, anything I can find in my bag to read.

Feb 28, 3:32pm Top

>233 LadyoftheLodge: - I can see all of those things in your bag, except for maybe the cereal box :)

Feb 28, 5:19pm Top

>231 dudes22: >232 thornton37814: I am trying out a book buying budget (crazy, I know!) so this lets me get my fix for next to nothing. They make them so cheap as they just get way too many books donated.

Feb 28, 5:20pm Top

>233 LadyoftheLodge: That is exactly what the author says! She mentions cereal boxes as well. I am the same; I will read anything at all. You can learn lots in waiting rooms from the posters, if you forget your book!

Edited: Mar 30, 7:45pm Top

March 2020

33. Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell - Books About Books - finished 1st March 2020
34. The Emissary by Yoko Tawanda - Japanese Books In Translation - finished 4th March 2020
35. The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill - BingoDog weird title - finished 8th March 2020
36. Deep South by Paul Theroux - February NonfictionCAT Travel - finished 11th March 2020
37. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - BingoDOG collection of letters - finished 12th March 2020
38. The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan - Middle grade fiction - finished 15th March 2020
39. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers - March AlphaKIT letter C - finished 16th March 2020
40. The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford - February GeoCat Europe - finished 19th March 2020
41. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - February KITastrophe Invasions - finished 23rd March 2020
42. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers - March MysteryKIT Golden Age - finished 25th March 2020
43. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - BingoDOG In a Legacy Library (Anthony Burgess) - finished 28th March 2020
44. Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein - BingoDOG Book with library in title - finished 29th March 2020
45. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - Japanese Books in Translation - finished 29th March 2020
46. Big Things: Australia's Amazing Roadside Attractions by David Clark - March TravelKIT Tourist Meccas - finished 30th March 2020
47. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji - March GeoCAT Middle East (Iran) - finished 31st March 2020

47/207 = 22.7%

Books About Books 4/5 = 80% Why You Should Read Children's Books
Tell It Again 0/5 = %
Bollywood 0/5 = %
Classics 0/5 = %
Dystopia 1/5 = 20%
Colours 0/5 = %
Reality In Fiction 0/5 = %
Japanese Books 2/5 = 40% The Emissary, Kitchen
Pulitzer Prize 0/5 = %
Cosy Christmas 0/5 = %
A Good Wife 1/5 = 20%
Middle Grade 2/5 =40% The Land of Roar
BingoDOG 13/25 = 52% The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break, 84, Charing Cross Road, Cold Comfort Farm, Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library
RandomCAT 2/12 = 16.7%
GeoCAT 3/12 = 25% The Good Doctor of Warsaw, Rooftops of Tehran
NonfictionCAT 2/12 =16.7% Deep South
ScaredyKIT 2/12 = 16.7%
AlphaKIT 5/26 =19.2% Clouds of Witness
SFFKIT 2/12 = 16.7%
TravelKIT 3/12 = 25% Big Things: Australia's Amazing Roadside Attractions
MysteryKIT 3/12 = 25% Unnatural Death
KITastrophe 2/12 = 16.7% The Day of the Triffids

Feb 29, 10:32pm Top

March already and I have three CATs and KITs that I didn't get to in February! Got some catching up to do - or maybe I should choose some shorter books!

Edited: Mar 30, 5:09am Top

Book 33. Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell

Books About Books

I needed a reading win as I am currently reading two 400+ page books that I don't expeect to finish in a hurry. Then a library notification came up that this little book was due back this week. Perfect!

Really, the title tells it all for me. I love reading children's books! One of my favourite quotes is C.S. Lewis:

"A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest."

And that is what the author is saying in this book. Children's books have a lot to offer us as adults. As the author suggests, if we only read in a linear direction, by the time we reached old age we would only have Finnegans Wake left to us! We need to read in a circular way, coming back to different genres and levels of books throughout our life.

The whole book is basically one big long quote for me, so I could go on incessantly. Suffice it to say that as adults we go to children's books to remember things we have forgotten.

"Read a children's book to remember what it was to long for impossible and perhaps-not-impossible things. Go to children's fiction to see the world with double eyes: your own, and those of your childhood self. Refuse unflinchingly to be embarassed: and in exchange you get the second star to the right, and straight on till morning."

I will never stop reading children's books and I will never be embarassed to be seen on a train reading a children's book with nary a child in sight!

Mar 1, 4:02am Top

>239 JayneCM: I also love to read children's books! I need to do it more often!

Mar 1, 10:47am Top

>239 JayneCM: >240 Tess_W: I love children's books and I read them often. Sometimes I think it is cheating on the challenges, since the books are often so short, but I love them anyway. Away with the guilt feelings! (I earned a specialization for children's services when I got my library degree. Those were the best courses I ever took.) When I taught middle school, my students always told me what books to read.

Mar 2, 3:52am Top

>241 LadyoftheLodge:
>239 JayneCM:

I read what my grandchildren have or what I buy for them. I also take a look at what my 15-18 year olds are reading at school and may or may not try them. I've tried the first Harry Potter (blech) and the first Hunger Games due to students. I also read the first in the Rick Riordan series, both the Egypt and the Greek series.

Mar 2, 2:36pm Top

>242 Tess_W: I got through some of Harry Potter and then stopped because it was becoming too dark and scary for my nightmare-prone nature. I also read some of Rick Riordan and Wimpy Kid. Since I do not have contact with young adults as I used to when I worked full time, I usually rely on stuff I find on my own.

Mar 2, 2:37pm Top

>239 JayneCM: BTW, I took a BB on this one from you, and also found another book by the same author that sounded promising.

Mar 4, 4:02am Top

>244 LadyoftheLodge: All of her books have high ratings on Goodreads. I haven't read any other books so I will look forward to seeing what you think. Which one did you choose?

Edited: Mar 4, 8:00am Top

Book 34. The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

Japanese Books In Translation

This book sounded like it had an interesting premise. It is set in some sort of dystopian future where the elderly never die and the young grow weaker and weaker. I just don't have to much to say about it as it didn't make me feel anything much at all. I was never really interested in the story or the characters, nothing really captured me. The ending was very abrupt. Not for me.

Edited: Mar 10, 11:59am Top

Loved catching up on your thread. Taking BBs for Monster, She Wrote, Hollow Kingdom and Where'd You Go Bernadette?. I love listening to soundtracks as well.

And I would also fail the 'good woman test' - I think I only managed #4...

Just checked, and I already had Where'd You Go Bernadette on my wishlist - so, a good reminder!

Mar 10, 1:27pm Top

Back to your Little Women discussion - just wanted to chime in on "boys reading girls books". My sons are 10 and 7. I've tried to sneakily guide their reading, but overall I want them to read whatever they are drawn to and enjoy. I think that's more likely to lead to a lifetime of reading. I also have been surprisingly impressed with their school reading. For instance, my 7 year old came home asking me to get him some Junie B. Jones books because his teacher read part of one to the class and he liked it. Not that those are great literature, but they are definitely marketed to girls so I was glad he was willing to read them. And my 10 year old participated in the Virginia Choice Readers program this year where the state of Virginia chooses 10 books for 4th/5th graders to read. He read them all and it was a varied list - several women authors and books that would definitely be published with the idea of one gender or the other being the prime target. All that to say that I hope schools are moving in the right direction as far as exposing both/all genders of authors to all students.

Mar 10, 2:04pm Top

>245 JayneCM: I just got Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms and am anxious to read it.

Mar 11, 4:38am Top

Book 35. The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill

BingoDOG - book with a weird title

I wasn't sure what to expect when picking this up - is it about a metaphorical Minotaur? But no, this is a book about the actual Minotaur. What would the life of an immortal being be like thousands of years after their birth? The Minotaur has lived in many places by now and through many eras and he is a much diminished character. He is resigned to just getting through life with as little fuss as possible, as his life is never going to end.

"Day to day the Minotaur's existence is tiresome."

I really enjoyed this look into the Minotaur's mind. A unique book.

Edited: Mar 30, 7:46pm Top

Book 36. Deep South by Paul Theroux

February NonfictionCAT Travel

As a non-American, I tend to have a few conflicting visions of the South. The polite gentility of Steel Magnolias, the plantation life and Civil War of Gone With The Wind and the horrors of the race conflict. This book did a wonderful job of showing how the South is a juxtaposition of all these factors - the South seems to be many things.

One of the first ladies he meets says to him, "Ain't no strangers here, baby" and this seems to be a recurring theme throughout his travels.
Another recurring theme is the extreme poverty. He visits Little Rock and asks why it is that the Gates and Clinton Foundations seems to be focusing their donations on Africa and India when there is so much need here in their home country. Little seems to make its way to these people and the statistics are frightening.

This book was an interesting insight into the area. I particularly liked the way it was a circular journey rather than a linear one. As the author was travelling in his own country, he could take his time and revisit places rather than whizz through quickly. The book is divided into the four seasons of the year he spent travelling.

Mar 11, 2:54pm Top

>251 JayneCM: How grumpy is he? I gave up on Paul Theroux because he is such a misery - is he the same here?

Mar 11, 6:29pm Top

>252 pamelad: Not too bad but I can see what you mean. He certainly seems to seek out the miserable but that was his idea from the start with this book, to show the Third World conditions that so many people in the US live in. He seems to genuinely enjoy meeting the people.
At the beginning of this book, he talked at length about what he called the 'travel ordeal', where travel writers sometimes exaggerate or emphasise too much the terrible conditions they have had to endure. He said he was going to avoid that. I have not read any of his other books so I am not sure if this is something he has been accused of and so was now trying to avoid.
I also felt the book was longer than it needed to be - there was a lot of covering the same ground, both literally and in his thought processes.

Edited: Mar 12, 5:14am Top

Book 37. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

BingoDOG collection of letters

I have loved this book since I first read it when I was about 12 - yes, I was a weird kid! My grandfather was a publisher's representative and ended up Deputy Manager of OUP in Australia by his retirement. So he had a lot of books! He gave me this book to read and I loved it. I was always asking if he had the books mentioned - "Pa, do you have the Leigh Hunt essays?" And he always did. There was some eclectic reading I picked up from this book!
I so wanted to live Frank Doel's life - just rereading the descriptions of the books he found for Helene practically had me drooling!
Books aside, the letters show a lovely blossoming of their friendship. Even though I know the story, the last letter always takes me by surprise as it comes so abruptly. Lovely, lovely read.

And I totally agree with Helene on loving inscriptions in books. I love to wonder about the previous owners.

Edited: Mar 12, 2:42pm Top

>254 JayneCM: That is one of my fave reads! I have read and enjoyed the book several times. Have you seen the film version? I think I have a copy on DVD somewhere. The other Helene Hanff books are not as enjoyable as this one.

I also enjoy the inscriptions in books. Sometimes they make me sad though. "To Grandma from Timmy with love," for example. What happened to Grandma? Why is the book in my library now? You get the idea.

Mar 12, 10:26pm Top

>255 LadyoftheLodge: I rewatched the film as well - Anthony Hopkins is just so wonderful. You would think the movie would not be that interesting and I guess to some people it wouldn't be. But I love that slow gentle type of movie.

Definitely make me sad too. I am going through all the books my Pa left me and he also loved secondhand books so he has lots with inscriptions from the late 1800s onwards. One that made me think about it for ages was inscribed to a young man from his mother on his 18th birthday, dated 1943. I wondered how she must have felt writing that, knowing that he would probably be going off to war now.

Edited: Mar 13, 10:23am Top

I often wonder about the people behind inscriptions too and sometimes feel like I should buy the book to keep it safe.

Mar 13, 5:29pm Top

>254 JayneCM: What a lovely story about your grandfather, Jayne. 84 Charing Cross Road is a wonderful book, inspiring others to seek out used books. I love those inscriptions too and if I had a choice, they are the ones I'd pick. I even like notes in the margins (but not too many).

Mar 14, 12:00pm Top

>254 JayneCM: I loved that book and the movie! Supposedly there is a 2nd follow up book.

>251 JayneCM: I've read Theroux (Honolulu) and probably will not read anything else he wrote!

Mar 14, 2:27pm Top

>259 Tess_W: You might be thinking of The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. Another by Hanff is Q's Legacy.

Mar 15, 6:28am Top

Book 38. The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan

Middle grade fiction

I am beginning to think that classic childrens' literature has ruined me for modern middle grade. It often seems too simplistic, both plot and language. And I must admit to not liking references to 'modern' things!

This was a cute book - I loved Arthur as I was definitely that weird kid that didn't quite feel comfortable. His sister Rose was terrible though - so mean to her brother and there was no real resolution of this.

But it wasn't a page turner - we weren't sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see what would happen. I can always tell when the boys love a book - when I say it is sleep time they will beg for another chapter. This was definitely the case with The Hobbit, which is fine with me! And thinking about it, it is always the classics that they ask for more. The only modern one I can think of is the Percy Jackson series. Interesting!

Mar 15, 7:38am Top

Oh no, all the April threads are up and I haven't read a single March CAT or KIT book yet! Only six books read so far this month. I don't know where the time has gone. Looks like a better stick to reading in my free time for the rest of March.

Edited: Mar 15, 9:53pm Top

Book 39. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

March AlphaKIT - letter C

I enjoyed this book but mysteries are not really my thing so don't take my star rating as any expert opinion!
It was good to get to know Lord Peter's family more and I love the interaction between Lord Peter and Bunter. I also enjoy this era of writing, so if I was reading mysteries I would certainly choose from this era.

Mar 16, 11:04am Top

>263 JayneCM: I think a lot of folks enjoy the Wimsey mysteries more than I do. I'm hanging in there, but reading or listening to one monthly is beginning to be tiresome to me. I don't enjoy them that much.

Mar 17, 4:53am Top

>264 thornton37814: I will read Unnatural Death but there is no copy of the fourth book in any libraries I can access so I may have had enough by then. I am trying Agatha Christie next as I have never read any so it will good to see what her books are like.

Mar 17, 8:32am Top

>265 JayneCM: There are copies in Internet Public Library at Internet Archive that can be checked out if you do e-books.

Mar 18, 3:08am Top

>266 thornton37814: I just can't seem to do e-books. I have tried them and audio books but I just cannot get into them in the same way. I am not that fussed on the series - I think reading the first three is giving it a fair go!

Edited: Mar 19, 5:28am Top

Very eerie watching the opening game of the AFL (Australian Football League) season. First goal of the season and just silence as they are playing the games with no crowd, just being televised. The commentators are trying to build some excitement but it is weird with no crowd and cheering. I am surprised they haven't cancelled as they have cancelled all other footy until at least 31st May.

Also been enjoying the MSO (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) free live streaming on Youtube. They are still playing their planned concerts with no audience and streaming them live. Tonight's concert is Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. #KeepTheMusicGoing

Mar 19, 2:21pm Top

>267 JayneCM: I used to feel that way about ebooks but after I resorted to the format for something I couldn't get in print I was much more comfortable with them. And although there is nothing to compare with the feel of a "real" book, I don't mind going with the ebook version.

>268 JayneCM: That must be really weird for the players and orchestra to perform to silence. They deserve bouquets for their dedication.

Mar 19, 2:37pm Top

>267 JayneCM: I enjoy both print versions and ebooks, although I love my Kindle, especially for travel. However, I take a back up print version when traveling, since my Kindle has in the past decided not to work.

Mar 19, 7:55pm Top

>267 JayneCM: - Although I much prefer the physical book, I've found that ebooks are invaluable when traveling. Less heavy luggage ;)

Edited: Mar 19, 10:21pm Top

I may just have to get used to ebooks as my library is closing as of 5pm tonight. I am hoping some of my holds come in today as they usually get a Friday delivery. My son is also waiting for the next two books in his series.

Mar 20, 2:14am Top

One of my holds arrived at the library immediately before they closed the doors. I was checking every few minutes because I knew it would be close, but no luck. I hope it is still there when they reopen.

Mar 20, 5:57am Top

Our libraries closed at the end of last week (or was it the beginning of this week? It's all merging into one now!). I haven't signed up for digital library books to date, because I always end up taking ages reading books and needing to renew them at least once, which isn't an option with digital, but I might make a bit more of an effort once I finish (read: start) the current paper library book! I'd like to still support the library, and the authors for whom payments from library borrows are a welcome extra bit of income.

Edited: Mar 20, 6:27am Top

None of the holds came in before they shut the library doors so looks like I will have to be creative with what I have on my shelves.

First positive case in our small town today. Strangely it was someone from interstate travelling through who decided to access our drive through testing clinic. The worrying thing is where in town did they go before they went to the testing clinic? Looks like it won't be long before we might be in lockdown if there has been any spread as the PM has said he will place individual towns/areas on lockdown if necessary.

Mar 20, 7:26am Top

>272 JayneCM: sorry to hear of your library closing. Ours has been closed for a week, now. About 3-4 years ago I had to resign myself to ebooks due to eyesight (you can make the font the size you want) and downsizing, and I would now never go back to paper books. I do love the covers on paper books and love the smell of new paper books, but do not like reading them! Another plus: I have 200+ books on my ereader and another 100 on my audible, so I'm set for the apocalypse!

Mar 20, 9:04am Top

Our library is closed too. My sister is one of the librarians and she's still going in a few hours a day to unload the book return box and get people to pick up holds (although they stopped the delivery system a few days ago so no more holds).

Mar 20, 7:22pm Top

Book 40. The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford

February GeoCAT Europe

No matter how many books I read about the Holocaust, it still seems unbelievable to me that people could do such a thing to their fellow humans. And this book even more so as it is about the day 4000 children were sent from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka.

This is the story of Dr Janus Korczak, who was a pioneer in child welfare and psychology. He wrote several books on the subject in the 1920s, including How To Love a Child and The Child's Right to Respect.

He said: "The child is not a person tomorrow; he is a person today. A child has the right to love and respect. He has the right to grow and develop. A child has the right to be who he is and to be taken seriously. A child has the right to ask questions and resist injustice."

Interestingly, the author of this book is a teacher who was studying Korczak's methods and then found about his life in the Warsaw ghetto with the Jewish children he protected. So began this novel, fiction based in reality.

The book is also the story of Misha and Sophia, a young couple who worked for Dr. Korczak, and how they fared during their time in the Warsaw ghetto and the war.

Dr. Korczak, despite the Resistance offering him the chance, refused to leave the children. He said a beautiful life is a difficult life and he lived his to the end.

Edited: Mar 20, 9:45pm Top

My library closed the doors just this week but the staff is working behind them. Yesterday they instituted curb side pickup. I just have to put a book on hold and they contact me to see when I want to drop by and have it handed to me. I haven't tried it out yet but I have a list ready for early next week. I know most people that work at the library and I could really have some fun with this...might lose my library card over it though!

When Kindles first became available I wasn't sure I would ever want one but soon decided I had to try it out. A funny thing happened about that, I had broken my ankle and when I went in to have it checked I had my Kindle with me. When the Dr. realized what it was he pulled it out of my hand and looked it over really good...including the books I had on it! I was really glad I didn't have anything that would have embarrassed me. I only had 3 or so at that point and he impressed me when he sighed and said "Oh, Wally Lamb".

It seems odd, even to me, but my favorite style of book at this time is trade paperbacks.

Mar 21, 2:16am Top

>279 clue: What a great idea! I hope you will be able to get all the books you want (need!) using this service.

I love Wally Lamb too - your doctor is a keeper!

Edited: Mar 21, 3:14am Top

>278 JayneCM: Goes on my wish list! I teach a course on The Holocaust and as such my students are always buying me Holocaust books to read. This is one I don't have!

Mar 21, 7:28am Top

>281 Tess_W: Hope you enjoy it (cannot think of another word to use). I felt it was a book with heart, you could tell the author really felt for her subject.

Mar 21, 7:34am Top

>279 clue: - I might suggest this to my sister who works at a library. One time I was waiting to see the dermatologist and reading the book Stiff about human cadavers. When he came in and saw it, we had an interesting discussion about the book. Me sitting in only a johnny.

Edited: Today, 1:13am Top

Book 41. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

February KITastrophe Invasions

I have always liked reading dystopian/end of the world books, but it is feeling very close to home at the moment. Aside from the fact that we are not having to scrounge for food and supplies and fight off others who might steal said supplies, this book seemed very real to me at this time.

I am surprised I have never read John Wyndham before last year as his writing is wonderful. The book is not just one disaster after another; rather there are many insights into the human condition and how we respond under pressure and extreme change.

In the beginning, Bill, the main character, is reluctant to take part in any looting.

"Nevertheless it was hard to persuade oneself to do that. I was not yet ready to admit, after nearly thrity years of a reasonably right-respecting existence and law-abiding life, that things had changed in any fundamental way. There was, too, a feeling that as long as I remained my normal self, things might even yet in some inconceivable way return to their normal."

"My head was still full of standards and conventions that had ceased to apply."

It only took a day or so, and a few run-ins with others, to convince him that it was every man for himself, although he still believed you did not go out of your way to do harm. I read somewhere a long time ago that it only takes 72 hours for the thin veneer of civilisation to be peeled away. And recently some have shown this, with the fighting over toilet paper. Let us hope that we can all act like Bill, scrounging for what he needs but not disintegrating into amorality.

He meets up with a young lady called Josella, who notices:

"You know, one of the most shocking things about it is to realise how easily we have lost a world that seemed so safe and certain."

These quotes are all things I would have noticed previously in my dystopian reading, but now they are standing out like they are surrounded by red lights and sirens.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Edited: Mar 23, 8:37pm Top

>284 JayneCM: I read this for the first time when I was twelve or so, and when I rediscovered it in 2009 was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I also re-read and enjoyed The Kraken Wakes, but it wasn't as memorable.

I don't think people here are taking social isolation seriously enough yet. Yesterday I went for a walk along the Yarra Trail and was passed by a group of 20 elderly cyclists. My walking group is also talking about meeting up next Friday. It hasn't sunk in. But I'm glad the schools have closed. Many teachers are in their sixties, and they're at risk. And what if the kids catch it, bring it home, and kill off their grand-parents?

Just checked. Didnt re-read The Kraken Wakes, which is a good explanation for it being less memorable.

Mar 24, 2:11am Top

>285 pamelad: Last comment made me laugh!

Agreed -I saw our over 50s cyclng group a few days ago. But at least they are in the open air. I am amazed by all the posts on Facebook saying come over to my house as we can't meet at the pub. Not really getting it at all. My daughter lives in Geelong and said the streets are pretty quiet there. I haven't been into town here since Sunday, which was really busy. I am heading to the post office tomorrow so I will see what it looks like in town.

Mar 25, 5:14pm Top

>250 JayneCM: The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break has been on my TBR list for a while. I might start it next month.

The Day of the Triffids is my favourite John Wyndham. I also enjoyed The Kraken Awakes. It has been many years since I read either book. I wonder if the 1981 mini-series of The Day of the Triffids is still available. I remember enjoying it when I watch it. I think it was the best adaption of the book.

Mar 26, 6:49am Top

Book 42. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

March MysteryKIT Golden Age

Definitely my favourite Lord Peter book so far. I enjoyed this mystery in this one and I particularly liked the introducton of Miss Climpson. I hope she will be a feature of further books.

Mar 26, 6:52am Top

>287 Zozette: I haven't read The Kraken Awakes but I read The Midwich Cuckoos last year and enjoyed it.

Mar 26, 6:00pm Top

>288 JayneCM: I'm listening to the last 8 minutes right now, and I agree it's my favorite so far.

Edited: Mar 29, 7:52am Top

Book 43. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

BingoDOG Book in a Legacy Library (Anthony Burgess)

I loved this book when I first read it and still love it. A hilarious parody of both 'serious literature' and the dark, broody portrayal of rural life in some novels.

Flora is a delight. She is introduced to Cold Comfort Farm and its pleasures in a letter from Aunt Judith - "Child, child, if you come to this doomed house, what is to save you? Perhaps you may be able to help us when our hour comes."
And Flora, being one of those confident young things who believes in herself and her ability to right all wrongs, takes this as the perfect challenge and determines to indeed help her relatives at Cold Comfort Farm.

Stella Gibbons' tongue-in-cheek approach to her novel is wonderful. I particularly like the Foreword which is a supposed letter to a fellow author. She apologises that her book is 'funny' as she knows proper books are not meant to be funny. She has had to learn that in order to write literature, "to write as though I were not quite sure about what I meant but was jolly well going to say something all the same in sentences as long as possible." She also, very helpfully, has marked such 'literary' passages in the book with three asteriks (***) so alll readers could learn what real literature looked like.

And in these times, I was particularly appreciative of a novel that ended with the sentence - "Tomorrow would be a beautiful day."

Mar 28, 10:07pm Top

>291 JayneCM: so glad to read your review of this one as it's on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

Edited: Mar 29, 7:18am Top

Book 44. Escape From Mr Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

BingoDOG Book with library in title

I read this aloud to my boys and we loved it! What's not to love? A book about libraries with puzzles to solve - yes please!
Tonight we read for an hour and a half as they really wanted me to finish the book.

One of the contestants (who, keep in mind, are in seventh grade) was given the following Extreme Challenge:

Name four books of each of the following authors in two minutes - Charles Dickens, Raymond Chandler, Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Mario Puzo, Frederick Forsyth, John Le Carre, Dashiell Hammett and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I couldn't do it! Patricia Highsmith got me - The Talented Mr Ripley and ummm, Mr Ripley book two? I can never remember the names of the other Ripley books!

Fun book for all ages.

Mar 29, 7:41am Top

So many books, so little time! I have about 1500 books on my wishlist. If I read 100 per year, that's enough books for 15 years, plus the 200+ I have on my bookshelf/e-reader. That will take me well into my 80's and that's if I don't add another book!

Mar 29, 8:05am Top

Book 45. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Japanese Books in Translation

Can a book about depression, loneliness, grief and death be beautiful? Yes it can. The lyrical quality of the writing in this book is beautiful and very astute, particularly when you consider the author was only twenty three at the time of writing. I am assuming that she was writing from personal experience. Passages such as this are so insightful for such a young author.

"When was it I realised that, on this truly dark and solitary path we all walk, the only way we can light is our own?"

The book is full of melancholy but there is also hope. The author plants just enough for us to see that the characters will emerge from their dark places.

"As I grow older, much older, I will experience many things, and I will hit rock bottom again and again. Again and again I will suffer; again and again I will get back on my feet. I will not be defeated. I won't let my spirit be destroyed."

Mar 29, 8:08am Top

>294 Tess_W: Oh my goodness, me too! I just looked at my Goodreads want-to-read and there are 1701 books in there. I don't add to Goodreads any books that are unread in my house as they are just automatically on my need to read list, so that must be another, (dare I say how many books I own?!), 2000+.
I will never read all the books I want to read - and they keep publishing more! It is a dilemma!

Edited: Mar 30, 5:27am Top

Book 46. Big Things: Australia's Amazing Roadside Attractions by David Clark

March TravelKIT Tourist Meccas

I had to give this one four stars just for sheer entertainment value! Any Australian will have visited at least one 'Big Thing', particularly if you are of a certain age. My childhood holidays were always road trips - we couldn't afford plane tickets! - and visting Big Things as you travelled the highways was a definite part of the trip.

This book was a lot of fun, with stories of some of the many Big Things all around Australia. Such as the six big bulls in Rockhampton, Queensland. Apparently it has become a local tradition amongst university students to 'castrate' the bulls and display the balls on the roof of the uni residences. The bulls have been castrated over 200 times. The local council staff carry spare bulls' balls in their work cars so they can be quickly replaced if needed. All I can say is, only in Australia!

This book and the Big Things in it represent the Australian larrikin spirit - we are always ready to have a laugh and don't take ourselves too seriously. And it was nice to take a road trip in this book as it will be a while before we can do that again.

Mar 30, 7:14am Top

>297 JayneCM: That sounds fun! Your story about the bull's balls reminded me of Glasgow's statue of the Duke of Wellington, which always has a traffic cone on his head. The council fought a losing battle removing it - in the end I think they gave up, as it was costing them so much money and as fast as they took the cone off someone would put one back on.

Mar 30, 9:37am Top

>293 JayneCM: - Yeah! I'm so glad you and the boys liked it. I'm giving that one for a birthday gift that I need to mail next week if I can work myself up to going to the PO.

I've decided that I'm going to go through the books I have here waiting to be read and seriously decided if I still want to read or if I can purge some to make room for all the BBs I take here.

Mar 30, 10:33am Top

>298 Jackie_K: I saw a picture recently of the Duke of Wellington wearing a face mask as well as the traffic cone! Glad to know he's keeping himself safe :D

Mar 30, 10:47am Top

>300 rabbitprincess: Yes, he's often got topical headgear. I took a picture of him a few years ago in the snow sporting
a scarf and woolly hat!

Edited: Mar 30, 2:32pm Top

>297 JayneCM: This book sounds delightful! Here in Indiana we have some of those Big Things too. There is a small town that sports a huge egg, and there are a couple of large lumberjack men around the state (I have spotted two of them so far). I also saw the Mr. Peanut wagon (large peanut in the shell) driving on the interstate last weekend, and of course the Wiener Wagon shows up every so often. I enjoyed your comments about the bulls too. You made me laugh today.

Mar 30, 2:34pm Top

>296 JayneCM: I have so many TBR books that I could live to be very old and not have time to read them all.

Edited: Apr 1, 8:44pm Top

Book 47. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

March GeoCAT Middle East (Iran)

This book was set up with alternating sections from the present of the story to the past until they intersect about halfway through the book. I like books using this technique as the both sections provide little clues to what has happened and helps to build the suspense until we find out. I also liked the ending - the last few pages were riveting and the love story was beautiful. Unfortunately the rest of the book fell flat as it was too drawn out. It would have held a reader's interest more without so many rambling passages about not much. Sometimes less is more.

Some of the events in the novel are true and the main character is based on the author.

Overall a good story and a sad insight into peoples' lives in 1970s Iran

Mar 30, 8:03pm Top

>298 Jackie_K: Statues just seem to be too tempting!

>299 dudes22: I hope you can get to the post office. I need to go to the post office today but it is just too eerie. I don't really want to but I have something to pick up for the boys. I will need to come home and read a fun book to decompress.

>302 LadyoftheLodge: The Big Things are just so fun and kitsch - I love them! New Zealand apparently has quite a few as well.

>303 LadyoftheLodge: I see so many people talking about their goals to whittle down their TBR. I have just accepted that it will never shrink and keep on adding to it!

Hope everyone is keeping safe and well, particularly all our friends in the US.

Edited: Mar 30, 10:48pm Top

Happy mail today - my Treloar Roses catalogue arrived today! This bare-root roses catalogue is an annual temptation for me. And I am very lucky that Australias biggest rose farm is just down the road from me.

Very much enjoying browsing through the roses with my cup of tea after having to go to town for groceries.

Now which ones should I order?! I do love this coffee coloured one.

Edited: Today, 1:29am Top

April 2020

48. The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barett - April AlphaKIT T - finished 2nd April 2020
49. If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino - March RandomCAT Seasons of Love - fnshed 3rd April 2020

49/209 = 23.4%

Books About Books 4/5 = 80%
Tell It Again 0/5 = %
Bollywood 0/5 = %
Classics 0/5 = %
Dystopia 1/5 = 20%
Colours 0/7 = %
Reality In Fiction 0/5 = %
Japanese Books 2/5 = 40%
Pulitzer Prize 0/5 = %
Cosy Christmas 0/5 = %
A Good Wife 1/5 = 20%
Middle Grade 2/5 =40%
BingoDOG 13/25 = 52%
RandomCAT 3/12 = 25% If On A Winter's Night A Traveller
GeoCAT 3/12 = 25%
NonfictionCAT 2/12 =16.7%
ScaredyKIT 2/12 = 16.7%
AlphaKIT 6/26 =22.1% The Bus on Thursday
SFFKIT 2/12 = 16.7%
TravelKIT 3/12 = 25%
MysteryKIT 3/12 = 25%
KITastrophe 2/12 = 16.7%

Mar 31, 1:19pm Top

>306 JayneCM: That is a beautiful rose! One thing I miss by living in an apartment is my garden. I grew roses in the 1980's and 90's but ended up pulling most of them out in the 2000s as they were so much work. I was never able to get rid of my Princess Elizabeth, Peace or Double Delight Roses and I see when I drive by my old house that they are still there by the front door.

Mar 31, 10:43pm Top

>297 JayneCM: Where is the Big Crayfish? I feel like I saw it when I visited Australia.

Apr 1, 1:03am Top

>308 DeltaQueen50: They are all gorgeous roses, especially Peace. I love all the fragrant ones and they have a new Parfuma collection, which is tempting me.

>309 NinieB: The Big Lobster is near me in Kingston, South Australia, the Big Yabby in Clayton, South Australia and the Big Marron in Denmark, Western Australia, near where I used to live! Could it be any of them?

Apr 1, 8:51pm Top

Book 48. The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

April AlphaKIT letter T

OK, this was a weird one! I am still considering my thoughts on it. The blurb compares it to Twin Peaks and it definitely had that vibe about it. The dark, self-deprecating humour of Eleanor at the start of the book was funny, although it felt wrong to laugh at such a topic. And then it just got weird! Is Eleanor crazy? Is she actually dead? Is everyone around her evil? And then it just ended - so like Twin Peaks. It was certainly a compelling read; I had to keep reading to find out where this was heading. Certainly one to think about.

Edited: Today, 1:55am Top

Book 49. If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino

March RandomCAT Seasons of Love

A wonderful book on reading and books. I love the discussion on the different types of books and readers, especially the beginning of the book where the reader goes to the bookshop and talks about the different categories books can fit into. I always have books that are slotted into different categories like this.
For example:
Books You Haven't Read
Books You Needn't Read
Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages
Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves
Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
and so on.

The other main theme of the book is the difference between reality and fake. How do we tell what in our lives is real? The author uses the story of fake manuscripts that have been presented to the world as written by certain authors but are not. In this way, the book is constructed like a number of short stories (which are the beginnings of all the different novels the reader finds), alternating with chapters about the reader and his journey to find the manuscripts. I really enjoyed this method - very clever.

Today, 7:23am Top

>312 JayneCM: - This book has been on my radar for a while. I have another of his books Italian Folktales already on my shelf patiently waiting. I love your categories - so appropriate.

Group: 2020 Category Challenge

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