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DeltaQueen's 2020 Reading Room of Follies and Quirks

2020 Category Challenge

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Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:39pm Top


My name is Judy and I have been doing the Category Challenge for more years that I can remember. I live in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia with my husband. My two daughters live not too far away and I have two wonderful grandchildren, a boy and a girl. As we are getting on in our years, we live a pretty quiet life but I am always up for a joke or a shenanigan! I read vociferously and from many different genres. I am always ready to put the kettle on for visitors so please feel free to comment on this thread, whether it’s about books or life in general, the welcome mat is always out.

This year I am building my challenge around an LT feature as well as some of the various challenges that I like to participate in. A folly has been defined as (1) a whimsical or extravagant structure built to serve as a conversation piece; (2) an elaborate theatrical revue production; or (3) a foolishly senseless action. I guess it’s pretty obvious which version I am going for. As for quirk, it’s defined as a peculiarity of action, behaviour or personality.

There is a feature on Library Thing called the Folly and this in turn leads to a Librarything Roulette which I am going to use to help me read from my shelves this year. With a push of a button one can find various books in various ways – from following a random tag to finding an unread book on your own shelves. This works for me as I have catalogued all my TBR, Kindle books, and library wishlists on LibraryThing. I have identified 6 captions from the Librarything Roulette that I will use every month to pick 6 separate books. I am giving myself the opportunity to hit the folly button more than once so I can find books of mine that will fit.

When it comes to quirks, one of mine is that I can’t resist a reading challenge, so the rest of my categories will be to help me feed the fever of the Cat and Kit Challenges, the Reading Through Time Challenge, 1,001 Books List Challenge and the TIOLI Challenges. This will give me the option of reading 15 plus books a month and I will allow books for the Bingo to also be used elsewhere. I may not use all categories every month, but hopefully by year’s end I will have 8 to 10 books in each category.

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:07pm Top


A. Random Member - using the folly button to bring up a random LT member and then choose a book that we have in common. I will only use members that have at least 25 plus books in common with me.

B. Random Tag – Again using the folly button to bring up a random tag and then find a book of mine to match that tag.

C. Random Awards or Lists – I will chose a book to read that has been in contention for winning the Award or being on the List that comes up.

D. Random Character – Clicking on this brings up a random character from fictional names to real people. I will read a book that either has a connection to the real character, or has a part of the fictional name in one of characters in my book. Example: I clicked and got a fictional character called Max, checking my books for the name Max, I find I have a number of choices that I could read that have a character named Max.

E. Random Place – While it doesn’t have to be the main setting, this random place must come into the book somehow, either in setting or in discussions.

F. Random Book of Mine: A book from my own library comes up and if I haven’t read it, it will be the choice for that month. If the book is part of a series, I will read the next book in the series that I haven’t yet read.

G. RandomCat: A surprise every month as the theme is chosen by that month’s host.

H. GeoCat – A different location every month!

I. The Alpha Kit

J. The Scaredy Kit

K. The SFFFKit

L. The 2020 Bingo Challenge

M. Reading Through Time Challenge: A new theme every month as chosen by the host

N. 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die List: My ongoing project and competition with my brother

O. Take It Or Leave It Challenges: This will be a place to add books that I want to read for these monthly challenges that don’t fit elsewhere. Hopefully I won’t need to use this option every month.

P. Others: For challenges that I won’t be doing every month such as the Non-Fiction Cat & MysteryKit and also Group Reads and other books that don’t fit elsewhere.

Edited: Jan 2, 9:46pm Top


1. Books Read

2. Pages Read

3. Books Read From My Shelves

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 1:41pm Top

How I Rate Books:

I am not a professional book critic nor do I consider myself to be an expert on literary standards, my reviews are based on my reaction to the book and the opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings.

2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!

2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another.

3.0 ★: Average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember

3.5 ★: Above Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.

4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story

4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book I will remember and recommend

5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me

I use decimal points to further clarify my thoughts about the book, therefore you will see books rated 3.8 to show it was better than a 3.5 but not quite a 4.0; etc. These small adjustments help me to remember how a book resonated with me.

Edited: Jan 10, 4:18pm Top

A. Random Member

Books Read

1. Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake - 4.0 ★

Edited: Jan 1, 1:47pm Top

B. Random Tag

Books Read

1. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor - 4.0 ★

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 1:59pm Top

C. Random Awards & Lists

Books Read


Edited: Jan 13, 1:04pm Top

D. Random Characters

Books Read

1. The Trespass by Barbara Ewing - 5.0 ★

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:04pm Top

E. Random Place

Books Read


Edited: Jan 16, 12:46pm Top

F. Random Book of Mine

Books Read

1. Fast One by Paul Cain - 3.0 ★

Edited: Jan 2, 7:47pm Top

G. 2020 RandonCat Challenge

Books Read

1. January - Challenge Yourself: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner - 3.3 ★

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:10pm Top

H. 2020 GeoCat Challenge

Books Read


Edited: Jan 15, 6:29pm Top

I. 2020 AlphaKit

Books Read

1. A - The Fever by Megan Abbott - 4.0 ★
2. B
3. C
4. D
5. E
6. F
7. G
8. H
9. I
10. J
11. K
12. L
13. M
14. N
15. O
16. P
17. Q
18. R
19. S
20. T
21. U - Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea - 4.0 ★
22. V
23. W
24. X
25. Y
26. Z

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:14pm Top

J. 2020 ScaredyKit

Books Read


Edited: Jan 4, 9:49pm Top

K. 2020 SFFFKit

Books Read

1. A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall - 4.2 ★

Edited: Jan 15, 6:36pm Top

L. 2020 Bingo

Books Read

1. Title contains a pun:
2. "Library or "Thing" in title:
3. Published under a pen name or anon.:
4. A Book about books, bookstores or libraries:
5. A non-U.S/U.K. Author:
6. Epistolary or Letters:
7. An element from the Periodic Table is in Title:
8. Book is from a Legacy Library: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (Virginia Wolff's Library)
9. A Mystery or True Crime:
10. 3 Letters from bingo, consecutively:
11. A story based on mythology or folklore:
12. Set in Asia:
13. Read A Cat:
14. Published in your birth year:
15. Book cover is predominantly red:
16. Published in 1820 or 1920:
17. Book not set on earth:
18. Published in 2020:
19. About birth or death:
20. Proper Name in Title:
21. Weird book title:
22. Small press or self-published:
23. Involves a real historical event:
24. LT Author: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
25. About journalism or written by a journalist: Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper

Edited: Jan 17, 12:21pm Top

M. 2020 Reading Through Time Challenge

Books Read

1. The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke - 2.8 ★

Edited: Jan 9, 12:57pm Top

N. 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die Challenge

Books Read

1. Passing by Nella Larsen - 4.0 ★

Edited: Yesterday, 2:23pm Top

O. 2020 Take It or Leave It Challenges

Books Read

1. January TIOLI #8: Hobby/Skill/Sport - Read a Cozy Mystery: Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinley - 3.8 ★
2. January TIOLI #13: Rolling Challenge Based on Genesis - The Stalking Moon by T. V. Olsen - 3. ★

Edited: Jan 7, 12:19pm Top

P. All Others - Extra Cats & Kits, Group Reads etc.

Books Read

1. January Non-FictionCat: Journalism & News - Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper - 3.6 ★

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 11:23pm Top

2020 Hosting Plans & Group Reads

February: Non-Fiction Cat – Travel
& ScaredyKit - Psychological Thrillers
March: Reading Thru Time – Mothers and Daughters
April: GeoCat – Australia, New Zealand & Oceania
May: RandomCat
May & June: Group Read - Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas
June: SFFFKit: Aliens and Mythical Creatures
September: Group Read - Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
October: MysteryKit: New-To-You Authors

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 2:35pm Top

Nov 20, 2019, 6:31pm Top

I can't believe I'm the first to post! Love your theme this year, Judy, and I hope your random reading leads you to a lot of wonderful books!

Nov 20, 2019, 7:43pm Top

I like your theme, Judy. I used the Folly for one of my categories a few years ago. I like to see what comes up. Although I was surprised sometimes that the same thing would come up that I had seen before.

Nov 20, 2019, 8:21pm Top

I love it! I've used the Random Book of Yours for a challenge category before, but I never thought to use the others as well.

Nov 20, 2019, 8:27pm Top

Love it! I did not know about that feature - what a fantastic way to choose your reading. I will have to go and play with it now!
Happy reading for 2020 - looking forward to following along.

Nov 20, 2019, 9:12pm Top

That's a fun feature to use! I hope it leads you to many great books!

Nov 20, 2019, 9:53pm Top

>23 christina_reads: Hi Christina, I am looking forward to kicking of 2020.

>24 dudes22: I've been doing a few run throughs to see how it's going to work and I have had to hit the button a number of times to get something that will fit my library, the category that gives me the most trouble is the Random Awards - I often end up with French Awards.

>25 casvelyn: This will either be a lot of fun - - or drive me crazy! It remains to be seen. :)

>26 JayneCM: I can be very indecisive and I have a difficult time choosing what to read. So hopefully this will help me with that.

>27 NinieB: Thanks, Ninie!

Nov 20, 2019, 11:54pm Top

Interested to see where this random button leads you. Best of luck with the Prix Goncourt!

Nov 21, 2019, 4:54am Top

What a wonderful idea! I'm curious to see what books turn up. And I love the ScaredyKIT picture, it's hilarious. Now I need to try this folly myself...

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 9:57am Top

>28 DeltaQueen50: This will either be a lot of fun - - or drive me crazy!

Or both! :) When I've used Folly for book selection in the past, I would usually generate 3-5 books and then choose from those. Otherwise I would inevitably hit something I really didn't want to read at right at that moment.

Nov 21, 2019, 10:36am Top

Hi Judy! Good luck with your 2020 challenges - I like the randomizing ideas :)

Nov 21, 2019, 11:06am Top

Wishing you are fun year of reading, Judy. I really like your unique categories and they do sound challenging, to me anyway. :-)

Nov 21, 2019, 11:32am Top

I love your idea for random picks, Judy! I've often used the Random Book of yours to help me pick my next read.

Nov 21, 2019, 3:30pm Top

What an unusual idea for a thread! Hoping the gods of randomisation serve you well. >;-)

Nov 21, 2019, 4:20pm Top

Excellent, I love the randomness! I hope it comes up with books that you love!

Nov 21, 2019, 5:04pm Top

>29 pamelad: Thanks, Pam. I am looking forward to getting started.

>30 MissWatson: I've used the Random Book selector a few times but other than experimenting to see if it would work, I haven't used the other folly buttons. It seems you can find a picture of a cat doing just about anything on the internet!

>31 casvelyn: My thinking is that whatever book comes up it will already be one that I have on my shelf, my kindle or my library list, so I must have wanted to read it at some point. I may find that I am discarding more books than reading, but as long as it helps to clear the backlog ...

>32 leslie.98: Hi Leslie. I am rubbish at making up my mind at what to read next so this should help speed the process along. :)

>33 This-n-That: Thanks, every year, I vow to make my Challenges easier but then I start listing the various categories and coming up with themes and before I know it, my challenge is long and complicated!

Nov 21, 2019, 5:08pm Top

>34 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I sure hope this works out well. I don't know if it's because I am a Libra and we are notorious for not making up our minds easily, but I need help in choosing my next reads - I used to get my grandchildren to pick books for me from my shelves but they are little old for that now.

>35 Helenliz: Helen, my fingers are crossed that the gods of randomisation are feeling generous towards me.

>36 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie.

Nov 21, 2019, 5:27pm Top

Best of luck with your folly! Sometimes you just need a little randomness to point you in the right direction.

Nov 21, 2019, 5:43pm Top

>39 LittleTaiko: Thanks, Stacy. :)

Nov 21, 2019, 8:16pm Top

Have fun with the folly! :D Wishing you lots of great reading.

Edited: Nov 21, 2019, 9:07pm Top

A good use of a somewhat obscure LT feature. Good luck with your challenge.

Nov 22, 2019, 6:43am Top

I've had a play with the Folly feature - what fun! I may have to borrow/steal this idea for 2021!

Nov 22, 2019, 7:09am Top

What a great idea. I'm using a random number for choosing a couple of books a month, but you've gone way beyond me!

Nov 22, 2019, 11:03am Top

You've set up a fun challenge for 2020 and I hope it leads to some great reading adventures!

Nov 22, 2019, 11:49am Top

I think really this is just another version of my Jar of Fate (where I pull out titles randomly from a literal jar). I've had some great reads through it!

Nov 22, 2019, 1:42pm Top

>41 rabbitprincess: Thanks, RP - now I just have to learn to be patient and wait for 2020!

>42 hailelib: Thanks :)

>43 JayneCM: Borrowing/Stealing is definitely part of the fun. I based one of my earlier challenges all around stealing ideas from other Lters.

>44 majkia: I am looking forward to seeing how this is going to play out, I like the idea of chance playing a part - but really since all the books involved have already been chosen by me previously, it should work.

>45 mstrust: My life is pretty tame these days so this is about as adventurous as I get!

>46 Jackie_K: Exactly - I am hoping that some of my long overlooked books come to light through this.

Nov 22, 2019, 8:17pm Top

Oh, this is going to be fun to follow! I think I need to add a category "BBs from Judy" when I set my thread up.

I'm slowly working on a cross-stitch pattern of the painting the detail in post 10 comes from. You may know it's by Aimee Stewart and many of her designs have a fantasy style and almost always include old books. I love them all!

Nov 22, 2019, 10:08pm Top

>48 clue: Wow! I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to see a photo of your cross-stitch!

Nov 22, 2019, 11:33pm Top

What a terrific idea to use folly to find your next read! I couldn't help but give it a try but I kept getting books in other languages. Good luck!

I adore that little space cat picture!

Nov 23, 2019, 5:08am Top

>49 JayneCM: no, not just you! >48 clue: I do cross stitch as well, gives my hands something to do while watching TV, but I tend to stick to smaller pieces. Partly because I don't know what to do with the finished items! There are only so many pictures one can put on the walls!!

Nov 23, 2019, 11:27pm Top

Happy reading in 2020!

Nov 24, 2019, 2:16pm Top

>48 clue: I love that picture, it captures that feeling of magic and excitement that I get when I go to my bookshelves to pick a read. It will make a beautiful cross-stitch picture and I, too, sure hope you post a picture of the finished product. I had a 'Book Bullet" category in 2019, which was fun, but I also realized that most of my books are book bullets that I have taken from other LTers.

>50 VivienneR: I've been practicing using the folly buttons just to be sure that they will work and other than the Awards category, I mostly get English. I think it helps that I have over 3,500 books to chose from - TBR shelves, Kindles, Library List.

>52 tess_schoolmarm: Thanks, Tess.

Edited: Nov 24, 2019, 3:11pm Top

>53 DeltaQueen50: Maybe I'm not using it right. I'll try again.

ETA: Yes, I was not using it right. Blame it on my illness. I was just choosing a 'random work" that picked some pretty obscure books such as: Cable Television and the Performing Arts (The proceedings of a Conference on Cable Television and the Performing Arts, sponsored by New York University School of the Arts, June 5-7, 1981

Nov 25, 2019, 4:01am Top

>54 VivienneR: Sounds like an exciting read! LT really does have everything!

Nov 25, 2019, 1:20pm Top

>55 JayneCM: The best part - it was the first one I found in English.

Nov 26, 2019, 1:56am Top

>56 VivienneR: Look forward to hearing your review!!

Nov 26, 2019, 2:42am Top

These are all really interesting categories. I love the idea of using the LT Roulette to pick reads. I might have to steal that one 😉. Looking forward to following along in 2020.

Nov 26, 2019, 3:07am Top

I think I am another person who might make use of the folly button in for my categories in 2021. I had no idea it existed until I read about it in this thread,

Nov 26, 2019, 12:30pm Top

>58 klarusu: Welcome. That LT Roulette is perfect for me as I have a hard time deciding on my next read.

>59 Zozette: It's a fun way to pick your next read.

Dec 7, 2019, 7:02pm Top

Dropping my star here! Good set-up. I'm still trying to decide mine. I'd settled on one, but I'm not happy with it now so I'm looking at another theme option.

Dec 8, 2019, 2:45pm Top

>61 thornton37814: I was just over at your newly posted challenge, Lori. Cats are the perfect theme for you - and I am sure your "Boys" approve!

Dec 8, 2019, 3:35pm Top

>62 DeltaQueen50: They are happily curled up beside me at the moment--"purrfectly" content.

Dec 9, 2019, 9:14am Top

Good luck with the random reading. I'm too moody to ever stick to something like that, which makes this category challenge difficult at times.

Dec 9, 2019, 12:07pm Top

>64 BookLizard: Thank you. Hopefully I will have enough choices that I can pick according to my mood for most of the categories. There are times though that I commit to a book at the beginning of the month but by the time I get to it, I don't want to read it anymore. Hopefully that doesn't happen too often!

Dec 10, 2019, 10:10am Top

>65 DeltaQueen50: So many books, so little time. I mostly borrow ebooks from the library so I can read in bed. Oftentimes something that I had on hold will become available and I drop everything else to read it. I'll probably end up starting some of the books the previous month and finish them in the correct month.

Dec 10, 2019, 7:32pm Top

>2 DeltaQueen50: I ADORE this idea. How clever.

Dec 11, 2019, 11:23pm Top

>66 BookLizard: That definitely could be our mantra!

>67 pammab: I am looking forward to starting this challenge. I have decided that I will play the library roulette on the 15th of the previous month which should give me enough time to order any library books that are chosen. So this Sunday I will be filling in the blanks on my "Random Reads".

Dec 12, 2019, 6:13am Top

>68 DeltaQueen50: Looking forward to seeing what you get!

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 1:26am Top

>1 DeltaQueen50: I love your design so much, and the way that you have organised all your categories for 2020. You are so good at it, and the photos, and pictures, are absolutely wonderful. Everything is so well placed, and right where it should be. I especially love the 'cat in the spacesuit'. He's cute:-) I might try to be more adventurous in 2021, when I figure out LibraryThing a bit more. Have a lovely Christmas🎅🎄

Dec 15, 2019, 3:43pm Top

>69 JayneCM: I am just about to start choosing books for "Random" categories and will describe the process so everyone knows how I arrive at my selections.

>70 seascape: Thank you so much. I've been doing the Category Challenge for about 10 years now so I have a pretty good idea of how I want it to look. My main goal is to help me choose books that I already have on my TBR, Kindles or Library wishlist. Good luck with your challenge as well.

Edited: Dec 17, 2019, 11:24am Top

January Random Category Choices

1. Random Member: I got a member called jr864 and we share 302 books. I have chosen to read a vintage crime novel called Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake

2. Random Tag: The tag that came up is an easy one! "Read in 2016". A book of mine that shares this tag, even though I haven't read it yet, is Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, a science fiction novella.

3. Random Award: White Raven Award - This is a list of books that the International Youth Library deems to be worthy of world wide attention. The book I am going to be reading was added in 1999 - I Am Not Esther by New Zealand author, Fleur Beale.

4. Random Character: The character that came up is the name "Harriet". Apparently the historical fiction novel, The Trepass by Barbara Ewing has a character with this name.

5. Random Place: New York, New York. I have chosen to read a Nero Wolfe mystery, The Red Box by Rex Stout.

6. Random Book of Mine: The Fast One by Paul Cain

These are the random selections for January. It worked pretty well, I had to re-do the Random Book of Mine a few times cause it kept bringing up books that I had already read. It's also a little heavy on the crime novels, which isn't a problem for me, but I will have to watch and see if it happens too often.

Now that I have these in place, I am off to go through my library to choose books for the other challenges that I want to take part in during January.

Dec 15, 2019, 4:40pm Top

How nice to have your month all planned already. I hope you find some really fantastic reads, especially Fast One, as I have that one on my shelf too ;-)

Dec 15, 2019, 4:55pm Top

>72 DeltaQueen50: I'm glad your random member shares some books with you. A book by Nicholas Blake should be good. You'd have another spin if your choice had only horror or engineering treatises, say?

Dec 15, 2019, 5:37pm Top

>73 mstrust: I am looking forward to Fast One I am always ready for a good noir!

>74 pamelad: I have given myself some leeway in my random selections. The random member must have at least 25 books in common with me cause the idea is to be able to choose books that I already have on my shelves.

Dec 15, 2019, 6:05pm Top

How fun!! Your approach will make the middle of the month quite exciting!

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 7:13pm Top

The year the I used the folly as one of my categories, I liked the random member the best. I liked seeing what I had in common with members I never knew about. In also loved the random awards category.

Dec 15, 2019, 11:51pm Top

>72 DeltaQueen50: I just LOVE this idea! Hope your random picks give you some good reads in January.

Dec 16, 2019, 12:58pm Top

>76 LittleTaiko: These six random selections plus all the Cats, Kits and other challenges that I want to participate in have pretty much completed my January reading list.

>77 dudes22: It is fun to bring up a random LT member and than find out how many books we have in common. In this case I had over 300 books to chose from.

>78 JayneCM: Thanks, Jayne.

Dec 16, 2019, 1:04pm Top

I've been hunting all over LT, and I can't see the folly/random feature. Where do you find it? :)

Dec 16, 2019, 3:06pm Top

>80 Jackie_K: Jackie, on your home page and to the left are location links in blue. Under the title Discover, 2nd from the bottom is the "Folly" link. It takes you to the page that has LibraryThing Roulette right at the top. Have fun with it :)

Dec 16, 2019, 3:09pm Top

Neat idea! I'm going to have to go play with the Folly feature now. Hope it turns up some great picks for you!

Dec 16, 2019, 9:58pm Top

Your roulette choices look interesting.

Dec 17, 2019, 11:28am Top

>82 antqueen: I am very indecisive so anything that narrows my choice yet still forces me to go to my own shelves is helpful.

>83 hailelib: I am pleased at how it worked out for January. I was a little concerned at how many crime stories are included but then, I do have a large amount of crime stories on my shelves.

Dec 28, 2019, 5:53pm Top

Took me a while to find your 2020 thread, Judy. You always come up with such interesting categories. I’m going to have to check out that folly feature.

Dec 28, 2019, 9:57pm Top

Looking forward to following your reading for another year!

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 6:35am Top

As always, a wonderful theme, Judy! And with the folly button it will certainly be fun to follow along. Enjoy the books you read!

Dec 29, 2019, 2:28pm Top

My plan for today is to buckle down and finish one of the two books that I am currently reading and want to count for 2019. I am so ready to get started on my 2020 Challenge!

>85 Familyhistorian: Glad you found me, Meg. The folly feature is a great way for indecisive people like me to chose our next reads!

>86 RidgewayGirl: Very happy to have you along for the ride, Kay!

>87 Chrischi_HH: Thanks, Christiane. It's great to have you back with here at the Category Challenge.

Dec 29, 2019, 5:26pm Top

>88 DeltaQueen50: Me too! I am halfway through a book and am hoping, fingers crossed, that I may be able to squeeze in one more tomorrow. (It is already the 30th for me in Australia!)

Dec 30, 2019, 1:23pm Top

>89 JayneCM: Finished one, now just have one more to go. 2020 better start soon as I keep adding more books to my January list!

Dec 30, 2019, 8:13pm Top

>90 DeltaQueen50: Yes! My January pile is looking slightly out of control, teetering precariously next to my bed!

Dec 31, 2019, 11:08am Top

Wishing you a Happy New Year, Judy!

Jan 1, 12:48pm Top

Happy 2020, Judy! Looks like you've got your reading year covered. Looking forward to following your reading adventures as the year unfolds.

Edited: Jan 1, 1:33pm Top

>92 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer :)

>93 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary :)

Jan 1, 1:50pm Top

1. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor - 4.0 ★
Category: Random Tag - "Read in 2016"
January TIOLI #6: Author's First and Last Initials are in Alphabetical Order

I was quite spellbound by the novella, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor which is the first story in this authors science fiction trilogy. This deceptively simple story explores a number of themes, from leaving the security of home, holding on to one’s traditions and how adaptation can become a welcome necessity.

Binti is a sixteen year old mathematical genius, born and raised in a small village in Namibia. She is of the reclusive Himba tribe. Her family are skilled at building astrolabes. She herself is extremely skilled and is considered a “harmonizer” but instead of settling for an assured future, she decides to give up her family in order to accept a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. On the trip to the university, her ship is attacked and overtaken by an alien race called the Meduse who seek revenge on the university for stealing something of value. In order for Binti and many, many others to survive, Binti will need all her skills to bring these warring factions to make peace.

Binti is a vividly imagined, very well written story that combines space adventure with ancient tribal culture. A very different and interesting science fiction story that entertains while it makes you think. I am eager to continue on with Binti’s story.

Jan 1, 3:10pm Top

>95 DeltaQueen50:

And a book bullet that I’m not going to resist!

Jan 1, 11:10pm Top

>95 DeltaQueen50: I have Binti down for March SFFKIT. Looking forward to it as I have heard it is very original.

Jan 2, 1:05am Top

>95 DeltaQueen50: My first book bullet of the year.

And I had to leave and come back after checking out the Folly Button. I am gonna give that one a try to help with ROOTs.

Happy 2020!!

Edited: Jan 2, 3:25pm Top

>95 DeltaQueen50: I've been thinking of reading Binti but hadn't gotten around to it. Is 2020 the year for it? Could very well be. Good review!

Jan 2, 5:01pm Top

>95 DeltaQueen50: - That definitely sounds intriguing. I'll be on the lookout for that one.

Jan 2, 6:16pm Top

Happy New Year, Judy! Love your cat themes.

Jan 2, 7:42pm Top

>96 hailelib: I think you will enjoy Binti, Trisha.

>97 JayneCM: March SFFKit will be a great time to start the Binti stories, Jayne.

>98 Berly: Welcome, Kim! I love anything that helps me make up my very undecisve mind about what to read next and those folly buttons are great for that.

>95 DeltaQueen50: Wow, Mary, I thought that I was the last person to finally read Binti so I am surprised at all the book bullets I've managed to shoot out!

>100 LittleTaiko: Binti is a great story to pick up between our longer, heavier reads.

>101 ronincats: And I love your star, Roni!

Jan 2, 7:44pm Top

Hi Judy, happy New Year! I'm slowing making my way around thread, I'm sure I'll pick up a few book bullets from you this year.

Jan 2, 7:54pm Top

Jan 2, 8:00pm Top

2. The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner - 3.3 ★
Category: January RandomCat - Challenge Yourself
BingoDog: From a Legacy Library - Virginia Wolff
January TIOLI #9: A Book I Acquired in November or December, 2019

Although I can now proudly say that I have read William Faulkner, I don’t believe that I can quite brag that I totally comprehended him. I actually had to look up a character list of The Sound and The Fury to understand that the Queenie, who was tossing her head in chapter one was a horse, while Luster and Versh are human characters. What I gathered from my reading of this book is that all three brothers of the Compson family were obsessed by their sister, Caddy.

The first three chapters are narrated by the Compson brothers on three different days in the years 1910 and 1928. The brothers are, Benjy, a severely retarded thirty-three year old man whose narration consists mostly of sensations and random thoughts. The other two brothers are the suicidal Quentin and the horrible Jason but it wasn’t until the final chapter which focuses on Dilsey, the Compson’s pious and strong-willed black housekeeper that the story started to meld together for me. This novel describes the decline and deterioration of this once-prominent Southern family of Jefferson, Mississippi as their wealth, land and status slowly give way.

I read that one shouldn’t jump into this book with no prior knowledge of it and I heartily agree with this statement. I actually went back and re-read Benjy’s first chapter and I certainly understood a lot more of it and, indeed, appreciated Faulkner’s ability to deliver these fragmented snippets that in actuality do move the story forward. The Sound and Fury is a book that highlights stream-of-consciousness and non-linear story-telling and is quite an accomplishment. Personally, I still don’t like this book but I can now understand why Faulkner is so revered.

Jan 2, 9:05pm Top

What a fun theme and thank you for the reminder about the Folly feature on LT! I totally want to give that a try.

Jan 2, 9:57pm Top

>105 DeltaQueen50: I'm sorry The Sound and the Fury didn't work for you, Judy. I LOVE that book. I think my brain likes stream of consciousness and non-linear storytelling -- which I know doesn't work for everyone.

Jan 2, 11:05pm Top

>106 lkernagh: Happy New Year, Lori. The Folly is a fun way to pick books.

>107 BLBera: Beth, I think if I did re-read The Sound and The Fury I would probably both understand it and like it a little more. It wasn't a dense read but I was totally thrown off by that opening chapter. After finishing the book and going back to the first chapter, I found it not only made more sense but was quite touching in places as well.

Jan 3, 1:46am Top

>105 DeltaQueen50: Glad to see you claimed this one for RandomCAT. Faulkner would definitely fit this month for me!

Jan 3, 8:46am Top

I have thought a few times recently that I should give Faulkner’s short stories a try but then I read something else.

Jan 3, 1:35pm Top

>109 NinieB: I've avoided Faulkner for all of my reading life, it feels very good to finally have read something by him.

>110 hailelib: I think short stories would be a good introduction to Faulkner - not that I am in any hurry to read more of him!

Jan 3, 5:09pm Top

Happy new year, Judy!!! Glad I found your thread. It's so amusing! Maybe I need more amusement in my reading to keep me psyched. Good luck! I'll be back often to check your progress :0)

Jan 3, 7:13pm Top

Happy new year, Judy! Thanks for directing me here :)

Jan 3, 7:21pm Top

>112 Carmenere: Glad you found me, Lynda. I totally believe that amusement is very important!

>113 ChelleBearss: Glad to welcome you here, Chelle. :)

Jan 3, 7:29pm Top

3. Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinley - 3.8 ★
Category: January TIOLI Challenges
January TIOLI #8: Morphy's Challenge - Hobby/Skill/Sport - Read a Cozy Mystery

Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay is the first book in the Cupcake Bakery series, and, although I don’t usually read cozy mysteries, I quite enjoyed this one. I listened to the audio version about two friends, Mel and Angela, who run a cupcake bakery business and get involved in the murder of the fiancee of their mutual friend and business partner, Tate.

While Mel suffers through being the police’s number one suspect in the case, the friends also slowly work towards finding love, with Mel being very attracted to Angie’s brother, Joe and Angie finally admitting to having feelings for Tate. Although pretty much everyone in the book had a strong reason for hating the fiancee and wishing her dead, I thought it was pretty obvious who the murderer was.

This was a light, lively and fun read guaranteed to make your mouth water from all the descriptions of delicious cupcakes.

Jan 3, 8:38pm Top

>105 DeltaQueen50: I'm sorry that you didn't love The Sound and the Fury but I must admit that my love of stream-of-consciousness novels has dwindled as I have grown older so I probably would have had a similar reaction if I had first read it now rather than in high school. I do think that it is a book that has to be reread in parts as you go - as you commented about the first chapter, many things make more sense when you read them again in light of what has come later. In that sense, it was a great book for a student as that rereading is really necessary when working on a term paper!

Jan 4, 12:17pm Top

I like the folly-idea! I hope you'll come across some true gems.

Jan 4, 2:40pm Top

Good luck with your reading.

Jan 4, 2:41pm Top

>116 leslie.98: I usually have reservations about "stream-of-consciousness" books, but I keep trying!

>117 Trifolia: Thanks.

Edited: Jan 4, 2:46pm Top

I can never resist a good meme and when I saw this one on Lori's thread and then popping up on some others, I had to give it a go with the answers all being books I read in 2019:

House Guests

What would you call the event? Celebrations at Thrush Green

How did they find their way? A Map of Salt and Stars

How did they know they'd arrived? An Echo in the Bone

Any special activities? The Westing Game

Did your guests stay over? You Bet Your Life

Were there servants to help? The Country Girls & Pollyanna

Was there turn down service? After Dark, My Sweet

How were the guests greeted? Chocolate Wishes

Was dinner held for late comers? Closed Doors

And dinner was? The Heavenly Table

Afterward? Excursion to Tindari

Jan 4, 4:02pm Top

>120 DeltaQueen50: - Great answers!

Jan 4, 4:32pm Top

Fun answers, especially Was dinner held for late comers? Closed Doors

Jan 4, 5:00pm Top

>120 DeltaQueen50: - Good answers. I'm going to take a look later at how my books will look.

Jan 4, 9:45pm Top

>121 lkernagh: It was a fun one, Lori!

>122 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary.

>123 dudes22: It's always interesting to see how our own reads will fit these memes.

Jan 4, 9:55pm Top

4. A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall - 4.2 ★
Category: SFFFKit - January - A Book You Didn't Get To in 2019
January TIOLI #5: A Book You Meant to Read in 2019

A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall is the second book in his Crimson Empire Trilogy and once again we are pulled into the battles, treachery and betrayals that are woven throughout this story as the Cobalt Company Rebels battle the Crimson Empire and, more importantly the real evil enemy, the religious fanatics that call themselves the Burnished Chain.

All the characters from the first book (except for the ones who were given gruesome deaths) are back, so there are a number of story-lines to follow but all involve battles, horrendous monsters, old and new rivalries, revenge and friendship. The former Crimson Queen, Zosia challenges General Ji-hyeon for leadership, the mercenary Maroto finds himself on the newly raised island of Jex Toth where he connects with a group of ship-wrecked pirates, and a group comprises of his friends and his enemies are travelling, trying to find him. Also lurking in the background is the sorcerer Hoartrap The Touch ready to stir up trouble for everyone.

Another great read in this trilogy and Alex Marshall, which is the pen name for author Jessie Bullington, has set his characters up for a rousing finish to this epic adventure. This is as dark and grim a story as one could possibly want, but it’s also full of exciting exploits and lively humor that help to raise this military fantasy to a higher level.

Jan 5, 12:24pm Top

Interesting idea - the randomness.

Jan 5, 1:44pm Top

>120 DeltaQueen50: Great meme answers!

Jan 5, 1:53pm Top

>126 mysterymax: I have a lot of books to read each month that I have committed to for various challenges so I really like have a few random books as well.

>127 thornton37814: I had fun finding books to fit, Lori.

Jan 5, 9:22pm Top

I'm taking a hit on the The Crimson Empire Trilogy, on to the wish list the first one goes :-)

Jan 6, 12:01pm Top

>129 SouthernKiwi: I hope you like The Crimson Empire Trilogy, Alana. It's dark and full of violence, but very well written with plenty of humor. His writing reminds me of Joe Abercrombie, who is a favorite fantasy writer of mine.

Edited: Jan 6, 12:16pm Top

5. The Fever by Megan Abbott - 3.8 ★
Category: January AlphaKit: A
January TIOLI #12: A Book Recommended by a Friend

Megan Abbott is one of my favorite authors although I do prefer her noir stories set in the past rather than her contemporary books which are usually centred around teenage girls. In The Fever we have a strange story about an epidemic that seems to affect the teenage girls who attend one particular high school in a small town. This malaise causes seizures, hallucinations, and a community-wide panic. It’s the not knowing the cause of this disease that drives the narrative. Could the girls have received a bad batch of medicine when getting their HPV vaccination, could it be poison from the local polluted lake, could it possibly be group hysteria or stranger still, could it be something deliberately given to the girls.

In The Fever, Megan Abbott has delved into the mind set of a group of teenage girls and this, along with the mounting tension, and the dark subject made for a fascinating read. I could not put the book down even though I found the story rather icky, I needed to find out what was going on and why.

The story is told from three viewpoints, a teenage girl, her father and her brother and while nothing can be totally taken at face value, a vivid picture of a community under immense stress emerges. The Fever is a story of jealousy, panic, fear and mass hysteria and this dark story will be one that I remember for some time.

Jan 6, 12:18pm Top

I keep meaning to read something by Megan Abbott. Do you have a favorite?

Jan 6, 12:20pm Top

I have several of Abbott's novels on my Kindle but haven't read any yet. I might start with Dare Me, since there is a new TV series based on it...

Jan 6, 12:29pm Top

>132 japaul22: I have really liked everything that I have read of hers, she has an interesting way of shaping her stories. I particularly loved her noir novels that are set in the 1930s and 40s with Bury Me Deep and The Song Is You being favorites.

>133 katiekrug: Katie, I vividly remember Dare Me, it was one of those books that took me awhile to settle into but once it had grabbed me, it was quite the ride!

Jan 6, 12:46pm Top

Hi Judy, just stopping by, I agree with you, I prefer Megan Abbott's noir novels as well, but I have to admit she writes an excellent story no matter what.

Jan 6, 3:21pm Top

Yep, I much prefer Abbott's noir, with The Song is You and Queenpin being favorites, though I got to meet her at the signing for The Fever. It was a fresh take on the Salem witch trials, yet I started to focus on how often the characters were racing around town in their cars.

Jan 6, 10:19pm Top

>135 jonesli: Hi Lisa!

>136 mstrust: I wonder if she will ever go back to writing the noir books?

Jan 6, 11:27pm Top

I hope everyone in your family is feeling much better with the advent of 2020!

Jan 7, 9:35am Top

Morning, Judy! Dropping a star. I have only read one Abbott - Queenpin, which was very good. I'm making a note of your favorites for future reading.

Edited: Jan 7, 12:14pm Top

>138 Dejah_Thoris: We are doing much better, thanks Dejah. Yesterday I went out for the first time since just before Christmas when we brought my husband home from the hospital. We just went to Walmart and a drug store and had a quick lunch but it was wonderful being "out and about" again!

>139 Crazymamie: Welcome, Mamie. Megan Abbott is an author who is well worth exploring.

Jan 7, 12:31pm Top

6. Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper - 3.6 ★
Category: All Others - January Non-FictionCat: Journalism & News
BingoDog: By a Journalist
January TIOLI #1: The Number of Words in the Title Equal the Number of Names You Find

Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper is his memoir of his early days of reporting from the war zones and disaster areas of the world as he built his journalism career. He also writes of his feelings about both his father’s death and his brothers’ suicide. Being the son of Gloria Vanderbilt is acknowledged but not really delved into.

Cooper comes across very much as he does on TV, earnest, honest and quite guarded. His writing seemed to be careful not to reveal too much about himself which I suspect is something he has adhered to his whole life. Both growing up as the son of a very famous woman, and in the career that he has chosen, he seems more comfortable talking about events rather than himself. And while the book was interesting, I don’t feel as if he revealed much about the man behind the image. Two tragedies in particular, the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina helped to catapult Cooper’s career and eventually led to his becoming the anchor on his own CNN show.

I found Dispatches From the Edge to be an informative and intelligent book written by an empathetic complicated person who was able to build upon his ground-breaking coverage of world events to become the media star that he is today.

Jan 7, 1:02pm Top

>140 DeltaQueen50: It's good to hear that you were both well enough to get out! Cabin fever can be very real, lol.

You make Dispatches From the Edge sound quite appealing. I won't get to it this month, but it goes on the someday list.

Jan 9, 1:51am Top

>142 Dejah_Thoris: Yes, my goal now is to get out at least every other day.

Jan 9, 3:00am Top

>105 DeltaQueen50: What an excellent review of The Sound and the Fury. I recall liking it a good deal more than you, but each to his own and that's what makes LT so interesting.

>120 DeltaQueen50: I so loved your answers to the meme questions!! One that made me laugh: "Was dinner held for late comers? Closed Doors"

>140 DeltaQueen50: Hurray for out and about! Hope things continue well for the two of you.

Wow, six books already. You are my new idol.

Jan 9, 12:52pm Top

>144 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I am actually quite proud of myself for finally reading Faulkner, and I am not afraid to tackle more of his books that appear on the 1,001 List.

I really enjoyed doing that second meme, it was fun matching my book titles to the prompts.

Jan 9, 12:55pm Top

Megan Abbott is one of my favorite authors and I also prefer her earlier novels, but I still find her newer, contemporary ones well worth reading.

Jan 9, 1:00pm Top

>146 RidgewayGirl: One of the first book bullets I remember taking from you, Kay, was for Megan Abbott's Queenpin and I have enjoyed everything from this author that I have read so far.

Jan 9, 1:02pm Top

>147 DeltaQueen50: I'm thinking of rereading that this year. It's my favorite of hers.

Jan 9, 1:06pm Top

7. Passing by Nella Larsen - 4.0 ★
Category: 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List
January 1,001 List Challenge: Filling the Gap
January TIOLI #7: A New-To-Me Woman Author

One of the great things about reading from the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die List is that I have been introduced to many writers that I had not experienced before. Such is the case with Passing by Nella Larsen. This is the story of two American women in the 1920s with a similar background who chose very different ways to live.

Both women are very light skinned black women and while Irene is a respected member of the Black community, married to a black doctor and allowing herself to “pass” for white only occasionally, Clare actually lives the life of a white woman, completely denying her black heritage and even hiding her race from her rich, white and bigoted husband. But Clare seemingly desires some contact with the black community and latches onto Irene in order to attend various black social functions. Irene has mixed feelings about Clare, she doesn’t approve of her life choices yet she does her best to protect her secret. Her feelings become even more challenged when she realizes that her husband and Clare are having an affair.

I found Passing to be a very interesting story. Nella Larsen herself was of mixed heritage, her mother was Danish and her father a black American. Racial segregation laws were in force until the 1960s and some light-skinned blacks used “passing” in order to obtain equal opportunities and rights, social standing and acceptance. It is unfortunate that Nella Larsen only wrote one other book, but I will be reading that in the near future.

Jan 9, 1:31pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: I am taking a book bullet from that review! Glad to hear that you & hubby are now getting out and about.

Jan 9, 1:46pm Top

I read Quicksand last year, Nella Larsen's other book on the list and I really liked it. I was also surprised I had never heard of her. I hope to get to Passing this year.

Jan 9, 3:35pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: - Although not intentionally doing the 1001 books, I am willing to take a BB for this as it sounds like a good book. And I like the cover. (Maybe good for a book club? I could see it prompting lots of discussion) And glad to hear you are getting about again.

Jan 9, 3:48pm Top

Always good to see good books on the 1001 list. There are any number that I'm not sure appeal to me, nice to know there are a few gems in there as well.

Jan 9, 4:39pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: That's a BB for me too. Good to see there are more not so well known gems on the 1001 list. :)

Jan 9, 8:44pm Top

Glad you and your husband are well enough to get out and about again even if it was just a short shopping trip. Keep it up!

Jan 9, 9:55pm Top

Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

Jan 9, 9:56pm Top

A great reading start, I see, Judy.

Jan 9, 11:35pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: I saw that you'd added Passing to one of the TIOLI Challenges, Judy, and requested it before I saw your review. Now, I'm doubly glad to be getting it!


Jan 10, 1:08am Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: I read both Passing and Quicksand last year and enjoyed them both.

It is interesting how things have changed in Australia. In 1936, the Western Australian parliament debated a bill to prohibit sex between white men and Aboriginal women. It was widely debated in the press in regard to the issue of 'half-caste' or mixed race people. There were many of Aboriginal descent who were 'passing' to avoid discrimination. Yet in 2009, Andrew Bolt, a conservative political commentator, raised the issue of people with minimal Aboriginal ancestry attempting to claim Aboriginal status in order to claim benefits, career advancement, etc. He has charged and found to have contravened the Racial Discrimination Act.

I am planning on reading Anita Heiss's book Am I Black Enough For You?, a memoir about a half Aboriginal woman and her experiences with race and identity in Australia. She has more recently written Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, which is also on my list.

Jan 10, 2:38am Top

Wow, I am very happy that so many are taking a BB for Passing. It's a short, quick, complex and interesting read.

>150 leslie.98: It's so good to be able to go out and do things after being cooped up for so long! My next goal is to go out by myself which I am going to try tomorrow.

>151 japaul22: It was your review of Quicksand that brought this author to my attention, Jennifer, I am looking forward to reading Quicksand, I know you really liked it.

>152 dudes22: I think Passing would make a great book club book. There is a lot to discuss with it. It is a story that is a good read while being informative.

>153 Helenliz: I'd say that reading from the 1,001 list has mostly be a positive experience for me, yes, there's been a couple of books that I hated. There also been some that I didn't love but am glad to have finally read. Then there are the rare gems - books that I have fallen in love with. Of course, everyone has different tastes and different genres that appeal but overall I am enjoying reading these books.

>154 Chrischi_HH: I gladly will suffer through the odd one like The Violent Bear it Away, if I also get to read books like Passing, Trainspotting and Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep!

>155 VivienneR: I am very happy that we are getting out again - of course, I keep hearing murmurs of snow but I am hoping it skips us!

>156 PaulCranswick: & >157 PaulCranswick: Hello, Paul, so glad you found me. One thing about being housebound is I am getting a lot of reading time!

>158 Dejah_Thoris: I am obsessed with the TIOLI Challenges and try to add every book I read to them every month - doesn't always work out but this I was able to find a challenge for every planned read.

>159 pamelad: I didn't know about the Harlem Renaissance novels. I Have read Their Eyes Were Watching God and loved it as well. I will have to see if I can track down some of them starting with Cane as it is also on the list.

>160 JayneCM: The sad thing is that discrimination and racial tensions exist in so many countries. Here in Canada we have not got the best track record for our treatment of first nations people. I guess the best thing we can do is to read and inform ourselves of the history and resolutions that have evolved

Jan 10, 4:23pm Top

8. Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake - 4.0 ★
Category: Random Member - jr864
January TIOLI #4: Rolling Challenge - Clues to a Murder

Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake is the second Nigel Strangeways mystery and in this outing the author relies on many of the conventions of the Golden Age of Mysteries including a Christmas House Party where all the guest are suspect and anonymous threatening letters that predict the host of the party will be killed on the day after Christmas. Strangeways has come to the party in order to oversee the safety of the owner, Fergus O’Brien, a famous World War I fighter pilot. Unfortunately, when the guests wake up on December 26, sure enough, their host is found dead.

Although an amateur detective, Strangeways is connected to the Assistant Commissioner of Police which appears to give him access to all aspects of the case and in fact, the local police treated him almost as a superior and included him in all their discussions. This was an interesting murder mystery with plenty of twists and red herrings along the way. The entire 18 page last chapter was given over to Nigel’s conclusions as to the who, what, when where and whys of the case.

Well written and intelligent even though it relied upon a certain amount of coincidences, I found myself quite involved. I look forward to reading more mysteries from Nicholas Blake, whose real name is Cecil Day Lewis, who at one time was the United Kingdom’s Poet Laureate.

Jan 10, 4:38pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: Passing sounds like a very interesting book. I like that it's written around the time it portrays -- it makes me think there's more truth to it there than someone today reading back into the past, even with all the historical accounts they could muster.

>160 JayneCM: I've never considered the shift between passing being a good thing and passing being a bad thing for one's status in the terms you lay it out. It's a useful insight into power structures; thank you.

Jan 10, 6:12pm Top

>162 DeltaQueen50: I have Thou Shell of Death on my shelves (along with the first Nigel Strangeways book, A Question of Proof), so I'm glad to see you liked it!

Edited: Jan 10, 8:06pm Top

>162 DeltaQueen50: Isn't that the one in which he meets Georgia? I have been slowly reading this series but out of order so now I don't remember that detail. I have an omnibus of 3 of the later books in the series in hardcover awaiting me: The Nicholas Blake Treasury, Volume 4 so I really should make time to read more of this series this year.

Jan 10, 8:12pm Top

>149 DeltaQueen50: I'm another taking a hit with Passing, for some reason I think this is the second time it's landed on my radar. Glad to gear you feeling better Judy.

Jan 10, 8:34pm Top

I'm finally catching up with your thread. Thanks for reminding me about the Folly feature! I need to use it more often myself. This is a really fun way to do your challenge.

Jan 10, 8:42pm Top

>162 DeltaQueen50: I'll have to keep my eyes open for the Nigel Strangeways series - it sounds interesting.

Jan 10, 10:30pm Top

>162 DeltaQueen50:

I read a number of Nicholas Blake mysteries years ago and mostly enjoyed them.

Jan 11, 2:04am Top

I was able to go out by myself today - only went as far as the drug store and the grovery store but to actually be driving again was womderful! We;ve had snow fall all around us but as we are so close to the ocean we only got rain.

>163 pammab: I thought Passing was very interesting, and the setting of Harlem in the 1920s was eye-opening. The main character being a doctor's wife definitely lived as a society matron and associated with people in the arts and other upwardly mobile characters.

>164 christina_reads: I do like this series, Christina. I would say I liked this second book at little more than the first but both are pretty good.

>165 leslie.98: It is the one where he meets Georgia, the African explorer who travels around with a parrot on her shoulder and a Great Dane on the leash! I expect there will be more of her in later books as Strangeways was quite smitten. :)

>166 SouthernKiwi: Thanks, Alana. I hope you enjoy Passing.

>167 mathgirl40: I am always looking for ways to chose what to read from my overloaded shelves and this is a fun way to do it. I will probably be picking my folly reads for February this weekend.

>168 Dejah_Thoris: Dejah, I have been discovering so many authors from the "Golden Age of British Mysteries" that I had never heard of before. Of course some are better than others and I personally think Nicholas Blake is one of the better ones.

>169 hailelib: I have a number more of his mysteries on my Kindle so I expect that I will be reading more of this author as I go along. This vintage mysteries are great to pick up as they are usually not very long and tend to be fairly quick reads.

Jan 11, 4:57am Top

>170 DeltaQueen50: Wonderful to hear you were able to get out! I hope your health keeps improving.

Edited: Jan 11, 11:06am Top

>170 DeltaQueen50: Yeah to going out!

Jan 11, 11:19am Top

Good to hear you're able to get out!

Jan 11, 1:10pm Top

>171 pammab: >172 tess_schoolmarm: >173 mstrust: I know it sounds like such a simple thing, but to have the freedom to come and go as I like is such a relief.

Jan 11, 3:02pm Top

Yay for going out alone! And for not having to deal with icy sidewalks (since you had rain rather than snow) - bonus :)

Jan 11, 4:19pm Top

I'm so pleased to hear you have started getting out and about again!

Jan 11, 5:52pm Top

Hmm. I'll have to suggest Passing to my book club.

Jan 12, 3:03pm Top

>175 leslie.98: We get very little snow here which is why we all dread it - when it comes the city almost comes to a standstill!

>176 Jackie_K: I really have learned to appreciate any independence that I can get.

>177 BLBera: Beth, I think Passing would make a great book club selection. :)

Jan 12, 9:44pm Top

I decided to do my Random Folly picks for next month today so these are some of the books that I will be reading next month:

Random Member: firedrake1942 - The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
Random Tag: Occasion - My Life on a Plate by India Knight
Random Award: The Locus Award - After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress
Random Character: Rachel - The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Random Place: Missouri, U.S.A. - The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell
Random Book of Mine - Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal

Jan 12, 9:49pm Top

>179 DeltaQueen50: Interesting selections, Judy! I almost read After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall last year - maybe I'll join you next month.

Jan 12, 9:51pm Top

> 180 Now I just have to chose books for the Cats & Kits etc. and then hope that I can fit them all on the TIOLI Challenges.

Jan 12, 9:52pm Top

Can you believe I am only just tracking you down, Judy?Happy New Year. Happy New Year. If you are not on the 75, it takes me awhile to catch up. I hope those books are treating you well.

Jan 12, 9:54pm Top

Hi Mark, I was just thinking that I need to get over to the 75s and see what everyone is reading. Thanks for tracking me down and yes, so far I am having a grand reading year!

Jan 12, 10:24pm Top

>179 DeltaQueen50: The Husband's Secret is a good quick read. Keeps you interested!

If you are into double dipping, you have the book with a periodic element in the title - I am reading A Is For Arsenic for that one, so another arsenic title is good!

Jan 13, 12:58pm Top

>184 JayneCM: I am looking forward to The Husband's Secret as I have really enjoyed the other two Liane Moriarty books that I have read.

I chose The Arsenic Labyrinth from the list of over 700 books I had in common with my random member pick as it does fit the BingoDog prompt for a periodic element in the title. ;)

Jan 13, 1:10pm Top

9. The Trespass by Barbara Ewing - 5.0 ★
Category: Random Character - Harriet
January TIOLI #7: A New-To-Me Woman Author

The Trespass by Barbara Ewing is a sweeping story of historical fiction about a young woman’s journey to find safety as she desperately seeks to escape the unwanted attentions of her powerful father who is obsessed with her. She runs away to the far side of the earth, from England to New Zealand, little knowing that her father will be following ever anxious to get her back under his control.

Set in 1849 this compelling story brings Victorian England to life as Harriet is sent to the country to live with relatives as cholera is claiming many lives in unsanitary London but when her father realizes that Harriet is becoming too independent she is immediately brought back to London. Realizing her health, her freedom and her sanity are being threatened, Harriet makes desperate plans to run away to join her cousin who has emigrated to New Zealand. Women had virtually no rights in Victorian times, so buying passage and travelling on her own was incredibly difficult.

The Trespass is both an original and enjoyable story, full of detailed descriptions and believable characters, just the kind of historical fiction that I love. Giving the reader a vivid sense of the era, this was a moving, exciting and gripping read. This was the first book that I have read by Barbara Ewing but I am very happy that I have another of her books on my shelf.

Jan 13, 6:02pm Top

Looks like you timed your jaunt out by yourself well, Judy. The snow on the trees looks nice outside my window but the going was rough this morning. I walked because Coquitlam doesn't plow our streets, at least not in the area where I am. I hope that you didn't get as much snow as we did.

Jan 13, 8:39pm Top

>186 DeltaQueen50: That one sounds interesting.

Jan 13, 10:33pm Top

>187 Familyhistorian: I doubt if we got as much snow as you did, Meg, you being up against the mountains the way you are. We got enough to make the ground white but it was really cold and windy today - a good day to stay inside, make beef stew and read!

>188 thornton37814: I loved The Trespass Lori. My first 5 star read of the year. :)

Jan 14, 12:31am Top

>186 DeltaQueen50: 5 stars! Putting this on my list for my New Zealand category for 2021 or 2022 - nothing like planning ahead! :)

Jan 14, 8:07am Top

>186 DeltaQueen50: >190 JayneCM: I'm always keeping an eye out for New Zealand too!

Jan 14, 1:26pm Top

>190 JayneCM: & >191 NinieB: I hope you are both able to find a copy of The Trespass, it was originally published in 2002, but it's well worth looking for. I found a copy of it and another of hers' in a second hand shop.

Edited: Jan 14, 7:04pm Top

>192 DeltaQueen50: My library has it but it's the only one of hers they have.

Jan 14, 7:21pm Top

>186 DeltaQueen50: Great review, Judy. I've put a hold on The Trespass, but it's coming from another part of the state. No telling how long it will take to get to me.

>193 clue: It's also the only on of Barbara Ewing's book in my library system, too.

Jan 14, 10:15pm Top

My library system has eight Barbara Ewing books and they all look interesting.

Jan 15, 1:23am Top

>193 clue: >194 Dejah_Thoris: >195 JayneCM: I suspect Barbara Ewing's book would be easier to find in a country connected to the U.K. According to Wikipedia:

"Barbara Ewing is a UK-based actress, playwright and novelist. Born in New Zealand, she graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a BA in English and Maori before moving to Britain in 1965 to train as an actress at RADA in London."

The other book of her that I have is Rosetta set in France and Egypt around the time of Napoleon. Another of her books, The Petticoat Men is about a pair of cross-dressers in Victorian times which I would like to read.

Jan 15, 1:42am Top

>196 DeltaQueen50: That makes sense as I am in Australia and we seem to have about an equal division of US and UK authors in my library. I thought The Petticoat Men looked interesting too.

Jan 15, 8:41am Top

>192 DeltaQueen50: It is available at my local public library. I'm really very fortunate to have both a good public library as well as easy access to world-class academic libraries; makes me wonder why I bother to acquire books!

Jan 15, 2:35pm Top

>197 JayneCM: I couldn't resist when I found The Petticoat Men available for the Kindle for $7.00 and I picked it up this morning. Don't know when I will get to it, but at least I now have it waiting for me.

>198 NinieB: I am the same, my library is outstanding and I can order books to be brought in from all over the Vancouver area yet I still can't help but stuff my shelves and load my Kindles!

Jan 15, 6:35pm Top

10. Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea - 4.0 ★
Category: January AlphaKit: U
BingoDog: An LT Author
January TIOLI #3: Travel is a Significant Part of the Narrative

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea is a tongue-in-cheek road novel about a group of young Mexican women and their gay friend who, inspired by the movie “the Magnificent Seven”, head into the United States on a quest to bring back seven Mexican men to help defend their small town against the bandidos who are planning to take over.

Since most of their men have gone to America to look for work and then never returned, their town has become a town of women and nineteen year old Nayeli and her three friends, Yolo, Vampi and Tacho see a very dismal future with no men in their lives. They set off full of hope and even the set-backs that they experience along the way does not dim Nayeli’s spirits or purpose.

I was surprised by this rather light-hearted look at the complex issues that surround the border between Mexico and the United States, expecting a much more serious story. But the author’s detailed descriptions, strong characters and vivid narrative made this an uplifting road-trip story that both touches the heart and the funny-bone.

Jan 15, 6:50pm Top

>200 DeltaQueen50: Is this a movie as well as I seem to recall watching a movie with a similar idea? It sounds like a good read.

Jan 15, 6:53pm Top

>201 JayneCM: I'm not sure if it has been made into a film, Jayne. It has been adapted into a play though. I enjoyed the book although it was very different than what I was expecting - much lighter in tone and lots of humour.

Jan 15, 6:57pm Top

>202 DeltaQueen50: Must be something else! It sounds like it would make a great play. I will have to move this one up to TBR!

Jan 16, 12:52pm Top

11. Fast One by Paul Cain - 3.0 ★
Category: A Random Book of Mine
January TIOLI #10: Birthstone Challege - Garnet - Dark Red Cover

Fast One by Paul Cain is a very dark and violent gangster story. It has become known as the “most hard-boiled novel of the 1930s and for the mystery surrounding the actual identity of the author. Paul Cain’s real name was allegedly George Carrol Sims, he worked in Hollywood as a screen writer under the name of Peter Ruric. He was notoriously closed mouth about his origins.

As for the book, I was not a fan. I found the story rather choppy and the writing was nowhere near the level of his contemporaries like Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. The main character in this story, Gerry Kells has apparently decided that he should be the kingpin of the gangster world in L. A. The plot is full of double-crosses, guns and fists, loose women and gambling money. This story moves quickly, but mostly from one scene of violence to another. There is very little character development, just one complication after another for Kells. In fact, it was often difficult to distinguish one character from another as they tended to all sound the same.

While Fast One has a place in history as a key work in the development of the hard-boiled crime novel, I personally require more finesse in the plotting, more development of the characters, and a little more subtlety in my action scenes.

Jan 16, 3:56pm Top

>200 DeltaQueen50: - I have started it and am enjoying it quite a bit. You're right, it's much lighter in tone then expected.

Jan 16, 6:29pm Top

>186 DeltaQueen50: Your thread is dangerous Judy, it looks like I'm adding Ewing to Mt TBR as well :-) I hadn't realised that she had a NZ connection, so that automatically bumps her up the list a bit.

Jan 16, 11:27pm Top

>205 LittleTaiko: I will be looking for more Luis Alberta Urrea to read, I thought Into the Beautiful North just kept getting better as it went along. I love books that can bring a smile to your face on one page and then put a tear in your eye on the next.

>206 SouthernKiwi: Hi Alana. I am curious to see if my love of The Trespass is going to extend to her other books as well.

Jan 17, 12:27pm Top

12. The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke - 2.8 ★
Category: January Reading Through Time - 19th Century Ireland
January TIOLI #6: Author's Initials Are in Exact Alphabetical Order

The Burning of Bridget Cleary is by Angela Bourke, a one-time senior lecturer in Irish History at the University College, Dublin. In 1895, Bridget Cleary of County Tipperary caught a bad cold which possibly developed into bronchitis but her husband Michael decided she’s been taken by faeries. After trying to treat this doppelganger with various home remedies such as herbs and milk, sprinkling her with urine, placing burning objects in her mouth she was beaten and burned to death. When her body was discovered in a shallow grave, the Royal Irish Constabulary saw this murder as evidence of the backwardness of the Irish and hence justification of British rule. A group of men and women were rounded up, arrested and charged with her murder. The accused Irish set forth a case that they had justifiably killed a fairy changeling.

The author chose to use this story as an example of the collision of cultures that were on-going in the Irish/British disputes. Unfortunately I felt the case was a weak one, the evidence showed that Bridget and her husband Michael were not getting along, she was barren, opinionated and perhaps overly flirtatious. Wanting to be master in his own house, Michael had both beaten and threatened her previously. I believe Michael played upon his neighbours jealousy and ignorance which induced mass hysteria that had them believing in the fairy story when in truth Bridget fell victim to Michael’s anger.

I didn’t love this book, finding that it read much like someone’s term paper analyzing culture, politics, religion and mythology. The case was horrific, but I think the author stretched out her information to the point of watering down the story. There was so much unrelated information that the narrative had no clear direction and was quite confusing at times.

Jan 17, 3:21pm Top

>207 DeltaQueen50: - I highly recommend The House of Broken Angels. It's the only other book of his that I've read, but it's a multi-generational story which I couldn't help but love.

Jan 17, 5:17pm Top

Hi Judy, I am so late at getting around to saying Happy New Year and wishing others a great year of reading. I am really interested in your random categories. I am going to have to check that out.

Jan 17, 5:24pm Top

>207 DeltaQueen50: I've read two books by Luis Alberto Urrea, The Devil's Highway, a non-fiction look at the dangers faced by migrants crossing in the US and crossing the AZ desert, and The House of Broken Angels, which is about a big Mexican-American family celebrating the patriarch's last birthday. Both are fantastic.

Edited: Jan 17, 8:23pm Top

>107 BLBera:, I agree with >209 LittleTaiko: Those are both great books.

Jan 17, 8:52pm Top

Happy Friday, Judy. It looks like you liked Into the Beautiful North much more than I did. I felt it was a rare misfire from Mr. Urrea. I much preferred The House of Broken Angels.

Jan 17, 10:31pm Top

WOW! With recommendations from >209 LittleTaiko: >211 RidgewayGirl: >212 Kristelh: >213 JayneCM: & >214 msf59: you can be sure that The House of Broken Angels is going on my list and being nudged close to the top!

>210 Kristelh: Happy New Year to you as well. It's always so busy on LT when the year changes. I am enjoying my random picks - of course I still have given myself plenty of wiggle room and everything I pick is already on my shelves or library wishlist so I am fairly certain to get some enjoyable reads.

Thanks everyone for the info on Urrea's books. The Devil's Highway is already on my wishlist and now I am adding The House of Broken Angels.

>214 msf59: Perhaps since this was my first Urrea, I was able to accept his almost light-hearted writing style. I am looking forward to reading more from him.

Yesterday, 7:16am Top

>200 DeltaQueen50: - I though the author seemed a familiar name. I took a BB from Kay back a couple of years ago for The House of Broken Angels. Which it appears from these other recommendations I should move up the list.

Yesterday, 10:52am Top

>208 DeltaQueen50: This sounds like it could have been a much more interesting book, Judy. Nice comments.

Yesterday, 2:17pm Top

<216 Yes, The House of Broken Angels seems to be a firm favorite with many.

>217 BLBera: Beth, The Burning of Bridget Cleary was first published in 1999 and since then the narrative non-fiction style has helped to created non-fiction books that are spell binding, this one was more dry and full of unrelated facts.

Yesterday, 2:26pm Top

13. The Stalking Moon by T. V. Olsen - 3.3 ★
Category: TIOLI Challenges
January TIOLI #13: Rolling Challenge Based on Genesis

The Stalking Moon by T. V. Olsen is probably best known as a 1968 western film starring Gregory Peck and Eva Marie Saint. The story is of a retiring army scout who, on his last mission, helps to rescue a white woman from the Apaches. She has two children and she wants to bring them with her into the white world and although everyone knows how difficult this will, she will not allow herself to be separated from her children. The scout, Sam Vetch, admires her strength and courage and when he leaves to go to his remote ranch, she and her children accompany him.

Marriage isn’t easy for the two of them, but they work through many issues and are starting to realize that they have a strong bond when her Apache mate shows up wanting his children and revenge. The men play a cat and mouse game with each other, but there is never any doubt how this story will end.

I enjoyed The Stalking Moon as I was in the mood for something light and Westerns are, for me, often comfort reads. This was a fairly standard western, a fun read but with no real staying power.

Yesterday, 8:31pm Top

>170 DeltaQueen50: Glad you are able to get out and about again. This has been one of our snowiest winters in the fourteen years I've lived here, so I haven't strayed beyond the snow shovel. It's better (and cheaper) than the gym. My husband had so little energy after his pneumonia that he wasn't able to do much. Fortunately I enjoy snow-clearing days when all the neighbours chat, gather round and help each other and generally have fun.

>200 DeltaQueen50: You reminded me to get another book by Urrea. I loved Into the Beautiful North.

It will take me until November to get caught up on everybody's threads.

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