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Susan(quondame) stays buried in books for 2020, Part 1

75 Books Challenge for 2020

Join LibraryThing to post.

1quondame
Jan 1, 8:49pm Top


Hi, I'm Susan, finishing up my 72nd year, I’m enjoying dachshunds, my family, my house, my fabric stash, and the rare times I venture outside.

2quondame
Jan 1, 8:50pm Top


3PaulCranswick
Jan 1, 8:54pm Top



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

4Berly
Edited: Jan 1, 9:13pm Top



Wishing you 12 months of reading
52 weeks of laughter
366 days of fun (leap year!)
8,784 hours of joy
527,040 minutes of good luck
and 31,622,400 seconds of happiness!!

Love >2 quondame: LOL

5figsfromthistle
Jan 1, 9:16pm Top

Happy New Year! May it be filled with excellent books

6quondame
Jan 1, 10:57pm Top

Thank you Paul, Kim, and Anita!

7LizzieD
Jan 1, 11:01pm Top

Happy 2020, Susan! Happy to be following you into the new year!!

8quondame
Jan 1, 11:05pm Top

I was obliged to spend New Year's Eve at a party my husband initiated at an old friend's house - sickness have kept our usual New Year's Eve and New Year's Day hosts from having guests this year, so something different was called for, but as my daughter had dibs on our place for NYE, we had to find somewhere else to be. My plan was to hole up with my kindle and get one more book finished. Instead, I, well, socialized. Sort of. A couple of old friends and I spent most of the evening talking about books and LibraryThing - I got one to locate her account and sent her a friend request and the other to open an account and send me a request. It's long odds, but maybe one or the other will join 75 Books Challenge for 2020.

Today I had only a little time for reading before we went to see The Rise of Skywalker. I found it fairly silly, especially when the Star Destroyer comes out wagging its phallic cannon and blasting the planet. But it was Star Wars. So, now that I've visited all the threads I can think of I'll see if I can finish that book I was trying to shoe-horn into 2019.

Let me know if I haven't starred your thread yet!

9quondame
Edited: Jan 3, 4:47pm Top

#1) The Persian Pickle Club



I did not know that Persian Pickle is a term for paisley patterned fabric. I was hoping for torshi.

The quilting club welcomes Rita, the new daughter-in-law of one of the members and the narrator, Queenie, a lonely young woman, tries to make a best friend of her. But Rita isn't a country woman and there is something Rita wants to find out that the Persian Pickle Club doesn't want her to know.

Started to add a pickle ornament to December TIOLI #14: Decorate a Christmas tree with words from title or author, it
Meets January TIOLI #4: Rolling Challenge: Solve murders with clues from Page 1

10calm
Jan 2, 6:01am Top

Happy New Year Susan, I hope you have a great year of reading.

11DianaNL
Jan 2, 6:16am Top

Best wishes for 2020!

12Narilka
Jan 2, 9:35am Top

Happy New Year and happy reading!

13karenmarie
Jan 2, 9:51am Top

Hi Susan! Happy New Year!

>8 quondame: We saw the new Star Wars movie. phallic cannon LOL. I disliked the 3-second flash of Ewoks, who I totally despise.

14paulstalder
Jan 2, 9:55am Top

15richardderus
Jan 2, 10:12am Top

>2 quondame: *baaawww* Such adorable dachsies!

>9 quondame: "Persian pickle" = paisley? Huh? Never knew this, and like you was picturing:

which, come to think on it, would be a lovely lunch accompaniment....

16SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Jan 2, 10:39pm Top

Hi Susan!
What an amusing book. I didn't know that term "Persian Pickle" either.

And NYE parties? My Man and I long ago agreed they're just so pointless and decided not to attend. Instead it is now a traditional dive into grazing leftovers and reading!

So glad to see your thread started off. Majorly cute canine pix!

17BLBera
Jan 2, 10:56am Top

Happy reading in 2020, Susan.

18jnwelch
Jan 2, 12:02pm Top

Happy New Year, Susan. I like your magical book up top.

19SandDune
Jan 2, 1:20pm Top

Happy New Year Susan!

20Storeetllr
Jan 2, 2:33pm Top

Hi, Susan! Happy New Year! Looking forward to following your reading adventures in 2020.

21drneutron
Jan 2, 3:02pm Top

Welcome back!

22quondame
Jan 2, 3:35pm Top

Thanks Peggy, calm, Diana, Gale, Karen, Richard, Sandy, Beth, Rhian, Mary and Jim!

>15 richardderus: >16 SandyAMcPherson: Apparently the author of PPC invented the term, at least as far as more diligent researchers than I have found. I didn't find the book anything but facile at best, not getting any real feel for the landscape or society.

>16 SandyAMcPherson: My SF club friends have been throwing the same two parties for decades now, and it is sad to lose them both. Besides, the NYE party was hosted by Larry Niven and I was able to reliably talk to Steven Barnes and Tim Powers there. I may have to go to LosCons if I want to meet them again. I admit we are rather a tired and aging lot and the parties felt a lot more festive in my thirties. In fact I took my future husband home from one in the early hours of 1986.

23PawsforThought
Jan 2, 3:41pm Top

Happy new year, and thank you for visiting my thread.

24FAMeulstee
Jan 2, 3:54pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Susan!

25quondame
Jan 2, 3:56pm Top

>23 PawsforThought: >24 FAMeulstee: Good to see you here Paws and Anita, thanks for dropping by!

26ronincats
Jan 2, 3:57pm Top



Happy New Year, Susan!

27quondame
Jan 2, 4:19pm Top

>26 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! Keep shining!

28quondame
Edited: Jan 3, 12:36am Top

#2) Why is Nothing Ever Simple



Funny, but a it fails to reach utter mayhem. It seems some set up is afoot.

Meets January TIOLI #9: Read a book which you obtained in November or December of 2019

29Familyhistorian
Jan 2, 11:54pm Top

Hi Susan, talking books and LT is a good way to usher in the New Year. I'm confused. Why do you have two reads marked number 1?

30quondame
Jan 3, 12:38am Top

>29 Familyhistorian: Don't copy and paste when drunk distracted.

31Berly
Jan 3, 12:57am Top

LMAO!!!

32thornton37814
Jan 3, 10:05am Top

Dropping in to follow along.

33richardderus
Jan 3, 10:29am Top

>28 quondame: It's a good way to introduce us to bounty hunters, no? But I agree that it feels a lot like a set-up for a future story. I still had a good long laugh, though.

34quondame
Edited: Jan 3, 9:39pm Top

#3) Red, White & Royal Blue



Wildly romantic story which quotes some fabulous love letters and has the benefit of having some real issues separate those whom true love has joined. For me it dragged a bit in the final third, but the rest of the flow was sprightly and the characters were fun to spend time with.🏳️‍🌈

Meets January TIOLI #7: Read a book by a woman author you've not read before

35quondame
Jan 4, 1:46am Top

#4) Maggy Garrisson



Living on the edge in London, Maggy's latest job has her assisting a private detective and using her resourcefulness to get herself out of what her impulses get her into. She tends to make unwise choices, but is clever enough to survive them. The art is idiosyncratic and interesting, though Maggy depiction is less individual, prettier, in the later episodes.

Meets January TIOLI #14: Read a book with a LT rating of 3.8* or more

36quondame
Jan 5, 2:25pm Top

Our tree is down, but the ornaments are piled on the table all glintomg and pretty - very plain, solid color ornaments for the most part. My special flame glass animal collection, including the octopus, got displayed, but not on the tree - around the menorah, as it happened. I have put a cable across the window to display them, but wasn't so ambitions this year.
I did get a view of how the trash collectors deal with discarded trees! After donning gloves he placed it upright in or green bin and then then used the big claw to dump it up and over. Since I couldn't see the green bin until it was on its way up it was more interesting than it sounds.

37quondame
Edited: Jan 5, 3:04pm Top

#5) Stay down and take it



A marriage under a microscope as a retired couple drive inland in a forced evacuation before a tropical storm. Painfully true most of the way through and an exhausted, not quite satisfyingly close resolution.

A BB (as in BB-gun, cause it's a short story) from richardderus.

Meets January TIOLI #3: Read a book in which travel is a significant aspect of the narrative

38weird_O
Jan 5, 3:15pm Top

Booking toting and stacking * smile * have diminished my reading time. But I'm pretty well into Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt. Grim. But grim is what's to be read this month: Cold Mountain, The Great Shame.

Our tree is still up, but we're going to undecorate it and toss it on the burn pile this week. Applying the match isn't at all urgent; the 2018 tree is at the bottom of the pile.

39quondame
Jan 5, 3:24pm Top

>38 weird_O: Burning trees is pretty much a no-go in So. Cal.

I think my reading is going to stay much lighter than yours - lots of deaths, but almost all imaginary.

40HanGerg
Jan 5, 7:18pm Top

Hi Susan. Thanks for dropping by. Happy New Year to you! I see you are off to a flying start with your 2020 reads.

41SandyAMcPherson
Jan 6, 10:05am Top

>36 quondame: Tree-undecorating ~ my most-hated chore.

When there are no kids visiting at Christmas, we buy a large potted poinsettia and use that as our main decorative item. I was the one always stuck with the clean up. The Man never cared about even decorating the tree unless we could prevail him to string the lights. It is so much easier to cope now.

I'm taking an idea that a gardening column suggested awhile back, since nowadays, the poinsettia involves a plastic pot that needs cleaning for recycling... pot up a year-round dwarf conifer. Apparently some conifers are suited to being potted all their life (kind of like a large bonsai). If you have a trolley-cart, you can wheel it backk outside in the spring to spend all the rest of the year on a patio.

My main concern is that I always have the worst luck with some kind of insect pest infesting plants that come inside in the autumn... so this concept may have to be moderated. Maybe a conifer that can stand being put back outside the moment Christmas celebrations are done.

42figsfromthistle
Jan 6, 10:26am Top

Happy Monday!

>36 quondame: I just took down my christmas tree as well. Always a sad chore. Much more fun to put it up!

43quondame
Jan 6, 10:55am Top

>41 SandyAMcPherson: All I do is the tinsel. Mike & Becky are the ones who get and decorate the tree, and Mike takes it down and carries it to the trash. I pick up tinsel off the rugs for the next month. Mike was bummed about not having a tree as a kid and I think he likes clearing all my stuff from the living room to make room for it.

44richardderus
Jan 6, 2:12pm Top

>37 quondame: I'm glad it rated as highly as it did!

45brenzi
Jan 6, 7:10pm Top

Found you Susan. And starred you..

Four years ago I got my first artificial tree and haven't looked back since. Five minutes to put it up. Five minutes to take it down. A few minutes got the decorations. So easy lol.

46quondame
Jan 6, 7:27pm Top

>45 brenzi: Good to see you here!

Before my husband demanded a tree I used to just buy garland for the smell and hang it with a few decorations. I don't really object to the tree, just that I have to give up work area and am bullied into every year. Also, while I continue to complain about tinsel, I'm the one who needs it if we have a tree. It just makes it so much more visually interesting to me.

47quondame
Jan 6, 8:56pm Top

#6) The Dragon Republic



You'd think the author would get tired of having Rin endlessly make the same mistakes. But don't expect it. I positively don't look forward to spending anymore time watching the messes Rin is involved with after watching her be a pinball whacked all over the Empire.

Meets January TIOLI #5: Read a book you didn't get to in 2019

48Crazymamie
Jan 6, 9:09pm Top

Dropping a star, Susan. Hoping your next read is much better. But six books already!! Go you!

49Dejah_Thoris
Jan 6, 10:51pm Top

Happy 2020, Susan!

>47 quondame: I bailed on The Poppy War last year. I heard such great things about it and enjoyed the first third or so, but it became so very dark - well, it didn't look to me as though things were ever going to go well. This leaves me with mixed feelings upon reading your review - I'm sorry it was such a disappointment, but I delighted that it's a bullet I'll doge.

I hope the next book it better!

50LizzieD
Jan 6, 11:18pm Top

>22 quondame: You talk/have talked to Tim Powers???!!!!!!!?????? More! More!! I'm a fan since I read The Stress of Her Regard when it came out.
Christmas is a past thing at my mother's where I have control. We had a little tree here with nothing but lights and an angel on top. DH is in charge. He will take off the angel and lights eventually but is likely to leave it up for awhile since it smells so good. Suits me.

51quondame
Jan 6, 11:35pm Top

>50 LizzieD: I talked to him last on NYE 2018, mostly curious about his latest book Alternate Routes because I wondered whether it was as historically embedded as most of his other novels, but other than the presidents visit to LA he said it wasn't. I do hope I will see him again at one of those parties. BTW, Barbara Hambly was seated across the table from us when we had this discussion. I know a number of authors through Regency Dancing - I used to put on balls and regular monthly dances - and the LASFS and people who did one, or attended the other or both.

52SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Jan 7, 8:27am Top

>47 quondame: great review Susan. I love your pithy synopses.

I'm reading The Codfish Dream: Chronicles of a West Coast Fishing Guide at the moment. It's a quintessentially west-coast Canadian chronicle of the amusing aspects being a fishing guide.

Hmmm, have had to fiddle with getting the touchstone to link, but resorted to the "a href" code instead...

53drneutron
Jan 7, 9:55am Top

>51 quondame: Tim Powers *and* Barbara Hambly??? Wow, I'm so jealous!

54Dejah_Thoris
Jan 7, 11:38am Top

>51 quondame: I think I'm actually more envious of you're having met Barbara Hambly.....

55foggidawn
Jan 7, 11:47am Top

Happy new-ish year and thread (I'm being sluggish in getting around to everyone this year). I also just took down the Christmas decor last night.

56quondame
Jan 7, 10:20pm Top

#7) The Queen of Nothing



Generally swift paced adventure which reunites Jude and Cardan and exposes misunderstanding on all sides, and which comes to a satisfying if somewhat incredable conclusion. This may well be a future comfort read.

It was going to be used to meet December TIOLI #14: Decorate a Christmas tree with words from title or author submitted by paulstalder so it's great that it
Meets January TIOLI #13: Read a book, with something in the first sentence which was created according to Genesis on the different days

57SandyAMcPherson
Jan 8, 8:05am Top

>56 quondame: I wanted to read this author after I heard how great The Darkest Part of the Forest was, both in theme and writing style. I just never got around to fitting it into my TBR pile (needing to request it at the local PL).

I'm a comparatively slow reader. But at least I have Holly Black firmly asterisked on my WL now.

58quondame
Jan 8, 11:46pm Top

#8) The Beadworkers



A slender book of short but dense stories in which the complications of life are rendered more complex by their context in Native American families and individuals existing among tribal traditions and an alien, controlling government. Antigone has always infuriated me, and Antikoni upholds that most excellently. Can bodies, once falling, change course?

Meets January TIOLI #6: Read a book where the author’s first initial preceeds the author’s last initial in alphabetical order

59quondame
Jan 8, 11:54pm Top

>55 foggidawn: Welcome, foggi!

>50 LizzieD: >54 Dejah_Thoris: My name dropping for the year is done. >53 drneutron: Though I expected Larry Niven to catch your attention, Jim, before the other two!

60Berly
Jan 9, 3:06am Top

>58 quondame: That one peaks my interest. And i can't believe you have read 8 books already! Maybe I should stop checking the threads.... ; )

61SandyAMcPherson
Jan 9, 1:24pm Top

>60 Berly: what ^^^ said! :D

62quondame
Edited: Jan 9, 7:27pm Top

>60 Berly: >61 SandyAMcPherson: It's easy when you have no RL to get in the way.

Book Bub has come out with it's best F&SF Books for the decade

On LT all but The Martian () rate between and .

My rating follows the average LT rating below, if I have read the book. It looks like I should read The Martian

The Goblin Emperor ★★★★ ★★★★★
All the Birds in the Sky ★★★½ ★★★★★
The Bear and the Nightingale ★★★★ ★★★★★
Red Rising ★★★★
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet ★★★★ ★★★½
Ready Player One ★★★★
Leviathan Wakes ★★★★ ★★★
Black Leopard, Red Wolf ★★★½ ★★★
The Calculating Stars ★★★★ ★★★½
Station Eleven ★★★★
The Fifth Season ★★★★ ★★★★★
The Changeling ★★★★ ★★★★★
Ancillary Justice ★★★★ ★★★★★
The Three-Body Problem ★★★★ ★★★★
Binti ★★★★ ★★★★
A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★ ★★½
Annihilation ★★★½
The Black Prism ★★★★
The Martian ★★★★½

It seems I have a tendency to like fantasy a bit more than average and SF a bit less. Except for A Darker Shade of Magic which I have now forgotten everything about except London, which I knew going in.

63brenzi
Jan 9, 10:12pm Top

Hi Susan, I'm not a big fantasy reader but I did read two of Guy Gavriel Key's booksTigana and The Lions of Al Rassan and loved them both. That was back in 2012-2013. I meant to continue with him but haven't so far. Maybe I'll get back to him this year.

64quondame
Edited: Jan 10, 12:04am Top

#9) Olive, Again



There is a quiet paradox in that the narrative delivers clear comprehensible looks at the completely perplexing ways in which people, mostly, fail to comprehend themselves and others. Live becomes interlocked patterns, an emotional Chinese finger trap. Olive is of course wonderful.

Meets January TIOLI #2: Read a book from a best of 2019 list

65quondame
Jan 10, 12:11am Top

>63 brenzi: I don't think I've read any Guy Gavriel Kay. Something to look forward to. I have read a much smaller %total fantasy since starting LT - so many other vetted temptations! Still, I think I made a clean sweep of the F side of F&SF on that list.

66quondame
Jan 11, 12:45am Top

#10) The Case of the Spellbound Child



Nan, Sara, Suki and the Watsons venture out to find lost children whose situation is known to the reader. There has been at least one book in the Elemental Masters series that is duller than this, for which the only excuse is to beat the reader over the head with Dartmouth dialect.

Meets January TIOLI #3: Read a book in which travel is a significant aspect of the narrative

67Berly
Jan 11, 6:37am Top

>62 quondame: Well, I have read 6 of them and have 2 waiting on the shelves and 1 on my WL. And my ratings are pretty close.

>64 quondame: And I really have to get my hands on Olive, Again.

After I finish up a few books in my queue!!

Happy Saturday.

68quondame
Jan 11, 3:37pm Top

>67 Berly: Thanks, Kim.

I just realized that 'use your words' is pretty real here on LT, the forth time I tried to click a Like button on someone's post. Oh, I could just drop a smiley face, or even a 👍, but words are easier, even if having to go to the bottom of the thread and then finding my place when I'm done is a bit of effort. Really, hitting Reply should do more of the work, shouldn't it?

69figsfromthistle
Jan 11, 5:02pm Top

Wow! Look at you go! Ten books already :)

The Martian was a great read for me

70quondame
Jan 12, 12:01am Top

Just home from an early evening at Moonlight Forest lantern festival at the LA Arboretum. It was lovely to be out in the cool air with lots of pretty lights. The quality of the installations varied quite a bit, but in the night the lights were all great.

71brodiew2
Jan 12, 2:14am Top

Hello Susan. I hope it's not to late to wish you a Happy New Year! I'm dropping a star and hoping you have a great day!

72drneutron
Jan 12, 3:53pm Top

>70 quondame: Those are really cool!

73richardderus
Jan 12, 4:38pm Top

>70 quondame: Oooo

Aaaahhhh

Gorgeous!

74johnsimpson
Jan 12, 4:53pm Top

Hi Susan my dear, just starred you dear friend.

75SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Jan 12, 6:36pm Top

>70 quondame: Gorgeous! I love the jellyfish as lanterns. Were there cephalopods??

And I'm completely envious of your photography.
Many years ago, I tried to photograph the displays at the Lantern Festival, annually held in the Montréal Botanical Gardens. My night time photos did not even nearly do the scenery justice.

76quondame
Jan 12, 7:04pm Top

>75 SandyAMcPherson: Psst, not my picture, just a download. Jellyfish, but the closest I could find to cephalopods. A group of friends throws a 'science' party every year, and they invited a large group to this event so we were always encountering friends - including Larry Niven (>59 quondame:, I lied).

77msf59
Jan 12, 9:07pm Top

Happy New Thread, Susan. I thought I had you starred but I was WRONG! Found you now. I am so glad you enjoyed both The Beadworkers & Olive, Again. I loved both books too.

BTW- I just picked up Maggy Garrisson from the library.

78quondame
Jan 13, 4:07pm Top

>77 msf59: Hi Mark! Great that you could stop by!

79quondame
Edited: Jan 13, 8:21pm Top

#11) 1636: The China Venture



More of the same only in China where the places and names have less resonance for those raised in Western culture, which also diminishes the discomfort of historical figures used as play toys. Pretty light weight entry with most of the body count kept fairly remote.

Meets January TIOLI #6: Read a book where the author’s first initial preceeds the author’s last initial in alphabetical order

80quondame
Jan 13, 8:22pm Top

#12) The Breadwinner



A gets over rough ground as lightly as possible telling of a young girl's masquerade as a boy to support her mother and siblings after her father is arrested.

Read for January TIOLI #16: Read a book set in, about, or written by an author residing in a country ending in "stan"

81Familyhistorian
Jan 14, 1:07am Top

>70 quondame: Lovely lights and welcome at this gloomy time of year. I notice that lots of people around here still have their Christmas lights on, nice to see when it gets dark way too early.

82quondame
Jan 14, 1:16am Top

>81 Familyhistorian: The lantern festivals have much the same feeling as touring for Christmas lights displays, but more concentrated and with different themes - the one I just went to was wildlife, and the previous one was famous places with a mix of other things, and was at the end of summer, so there wasn't any crispness in the air.

83PaulCranswick
Jan 14, 1:53am Top

>80 quondame: 12 books already is well in keeping with your prodigious reading , Susan.

84karenmarie
Jan 15, 5:17am Top

Hi Susan.

>36 quondame: Our tree got dragged out to rest in front of the little fence blocking the HVAC unit, presenting a lovely remembrance of Christmas to anybody driving down our driveway. It’s good cover for the birds, though, and will probably stay there much longer than I’d like it to.

>37 quondame: I read and enjoyed this short story BB from Richard, too.

>62 quondame: I really liked The Martian, although I’m not usually an SF/fantasy reader.

>64 quondame: Once again you have succinctly reduced/elevated a book perfectly.

>70 quondame: Way cool. Thanks for sharing.

85quondame
Jan 15, 4:28pm Top

86quondame
Jan 16, 1:28pm Top

#13) Children of Ruin



Given that we get octopuses in space, I should have loved this. But why do octopodes in space need to have a water-filled environment? They seem the perfect shape for zero-G. I enjoyed the sections with the descendants of the Children of Time characters a good deal more than the - overly long since we know what's being set up - sections about the old Empire terraforming mission. The human characters are the weakest part of the narrative.

Read for January TIOLI #1: Read a book whose number of title words equals the number of names you find in the title

DNF Children of Virtue and Vengeance This starts out flipping between two angst ridden and apparently incompetent young women, and I just couldn't.

87SandDune
Jan 16, 5:10pm Top

>86 quondame: My husband and son have both recommended Children of Time strongly. But I don't think I could cope with the spider element ...

88quondame
Jan 16, 9:09pm Top

>87 SandDune: They are very nice spiders. They make an effort not to be cannibals. OK, some of them are nice some of the time. Since there is very little human-spider contact for almost all the book, the the spiders are mostly just people since we have a more interior view.

89alcottacre
Jan 16, 10:01pm Top

>58 quondame: Adding that one to the BlackHole.

>64 quondame: I already have that one in the BlackHole, so I get to dodge that particular BB.

>70 quondame: Those are so cool looking!

90quondame
Edited: Jan 17, 2:08am Top

#14) The Rest of Us Just Live Here



The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead take on YA, high body count, high school fantasy, except that the characters do have lives, problems, and yes, abilities, of their own. Unfortunately the backgrounded foreground story was just a hash of tropes, that while clever in a one note way, rather flattened the whole effect. R&GrD worked because Hamlet isn't negligible.

Read for January TIOLI #12: Read a book recommended to you by a friend

91brodiew2
Jan 17, 1:38am Top

>62 quondame: I think you should, too. It is a wonderful story with an fascinating narrator. The diary aspect makes it an easier read.

92SandyAMcPherson
Jan 17, 9:23am Top

>87 SandDune: Me neither.

I couldn't cope at all with the spider chapter in The Hobbit. Ever, not as a kid when I first read it (ca. 10 y.o.) and not as an adult, when my granddaughter wanted me to read the book out loud!

93quondame
Edited: Jan 26, 1:25pm Top

#15) My Side of the Mountain



A boy's fantasy of living directly off the land starting with no more than a pocket knife, a flint and steel, and some library knowledge. All the best parts of wilderness living are laid out like jewels, with very little time devoted to hazards, and those mostly indirectly. Fun and completely within the American myth of self sufficiency - except for companionship, just a bit.

Meets January TIOLI #7: Read a book by a woman author you've not read before

Today my house is infested with workmen replacing the heating and air-conditioning units and bringing the support structure up to current code, or as close as they can get. We don't really have an acceptable place to put the condensers so they need waivers to be a bit closer to the property line. So far, the power had been glitched and the wee dachshunds are not so happy. It's time to give them a bit of outdoors again so I carry them downstairs and out back, and make sure all gates are closed before releasing them. My husband stayed home to work and is minding the third, blind dachshund. We don't need to worry about her running off, though she has been known to nip, which isn't a problem with the other two.

94ronincats
Jan 17, 8:00pm Top

>93 quondame: I adored this book as a child, around 10 or 11, and reread it multiple time, finding it fascinating and being so envious!

95msf59
Jan 17, 8:48pm Top

Happy Friday, Susan. Good luck with all the work being done at your place. Wow! I remember loving the film version of My Side of the Mountain when I was a kid. I finally read the book a few years ago and also enjoyed it, despite it being a bit slight.

96alcottacre
Jan 17, 8:57pm Top

>90 quondame: Sounds like I can give that one a pass.

>93 quondame: I loved My Side of the Mountain when I was a kid. Brings back great memories!

97richardderus
Jan 17, 9:07pm Top

>93 quondame: I remember reading it and thinking, "if it was this easy everyone would do it," and dismissing it from my memory.

98figsfromthistle
Edited: Jan 17, 9:10pm Top

>93 quondame: Wishing you luck with getting everything up to code!

Have a great weekend :)

99humouress
Jan 17, 9:50pm Top

Hi Susan! Belated happy new year!

>53 drneutron: Jealous? Who’s jealous? *sigh*

Although if you run into Barbara Hambly again, I would’ mind knowing if she’s planning to write fantasy again.

>88 quondame: That’s very ... er, comforting. :0)

100brenzi
Jan 17, 9:51pm Top

>93 quondame: oh my I used to teach My Side of the Mountain when I taught fifth grade eons ago Susan. Usually the students loved it even the girls. And I pretty much loved it in that context.

101quondame
Jan 18, 12:11am Top

Whew! They are just doing the final cleanup now and I am still sort of vibrating with the tension of not having my space to myself and spending 8 hours trying to keep two dogs from fighting off the invaders. One eventually did calm a bit but my wee bitch kept on full alert from 7:30AM to 5:30PM when my husband took over, after which she ate and went to sleep while I hid in my daughter's lair room.

>94 ronincats: >95 msf59: >96 alcottacre: >100 brenzi: I would have enjoyed it a lot as a kid, but since the doctrine of self-sufficiency has shown us what it covers, not so much.

>97 richardderus: I kind of agree with that.

>99 humouress: I think she has fantasy stories up for sale as singles occasionally. I really liked the Benjamin January stories, but after the Mexican trip I kind of gave up on them. She is an interesting lady, and I may well see her over the course of the year, though it's much less likely than formerly.

102humouress
Edited: Jan 18, 2:31am Top

>101 quondame: To be honest, I haven’t got to grips with her more recent stuff. The Benjamin January series seemed to be urban fantasy, which isn’t my preferred genre, and I do have her Dragonsbane series on my shelves though I’ve only read part of it but I did like her Silent Mage and Witches of Wenshar series and a couple of others of that era. One of my favourite books is Sorcerer’s Ward, but that admittedly is part romance.

103quondame
Jan 18, 2:32am Top

>102 humouress: Benjamin January is straight historical mystery. Early 19th century New Orleans with the old French culture and the new US authority.

104SandyAMcPherson
Jan 18, 10:11am Top

>93 quondame:, >94 ronincats: One of my kids loved this book, too. She and her friends had a ravine to play at being in the wilderness. We drew the line at staying out there by themselves for the night!

It was hard to explain why the story was a bit unrealistic but such an interesting tale to enchant kids. So many urban children, where do they get a chance to play an imaginary wilderness life?

105jnwelch
Jan 18, 2:03pm Top

I read My Side of the Mountain for the first time maybe 3-4 years ago, and had a great time with it. You're right, it's a bit light on realistic hazards, but it's an engaging read, nonetheless. I'm a big fan of her Julie of the Wolves books, too.

106quondame
Jan 18, 7:16pm Top

#16) Aurora Blazing



A non-stop action space opera, with a troubled and doughty heroine who has to do it herself, with a super-hunky superior warrior security chief trying to keep her safe in spite of herself. The inevitable sex scenes are far from the best I've read, mechanical and predictable and not over the edge at all.

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

107quondame
Jan 18, 7:23pm Top

>104 SandyAMcPherson: My family did tent camping when I was under 10 and I grew up a few blocks away from open desert, though on a military base. As a Girl Scout I knew how to build and light a fire, though not with a flint, but a cold afternoon or two caught on a mountain side in a rain storm probably washed any idea of living away from the comforts of dry clothing and shelter out of my brain. Also we were given numerous talks of how to remain as safe as possible until found. It never seemed pleasant.

108alcottacre
Jan 18, 7:24pm Top

>106 quondame: Sounds like I can safely give that one a pass. I hope your next read is better for you, Susan!

109quondame
Jan 18, 8:40pm Top

>108 alcottacre: It's a popcorn book that would have been fine if I weren't trying to read it while my house was invaded by workmen driving my dogs crazy. It would have been finished in half the time and left no impression at all.

110ronincats
Jan 18, 8:55pm Top

>106 quondame: Yeah, I've read two by Mihalik and definitely agree they are popcorn books. Not an author I am seeking out.

111quondame
Jan 19, 1:17am Top

My brother and his wife, who is a member of SAG, brought over Jojo Rabbit for us to watch. Now that's something completely different. My daughter and I were hoping she'd be able to bring Little Women, but she said it wasn't one that was sent out.

112brodiew2
Edited: Jan 19, 1:26am Top

>111 quondame: Speaking of SAG and other potential awards, I was blown away by '1917'. The film certainly lives up to the buzz.

To confess, I've read or seen a filmed adaptation of Little Women. This latest one is the only one in the last few years. Must be a hot topic in Hollywood. I've seen many more Jane Austen films.

113quondame
Jan 19, 1:30am Top

>112 brodiew2: Yes, Jane Austen and Vanity Fair have been hogging 19th century movies - maybe there will be more hoop skirters made in the next few years. I know I've seen at least 1 LW movie, probably the one with June Allyson, but long, long ago though some years after it came out.

114foggidawn
Jan 19, 6:41pm Top

>93 quondame: I went through a phase of wanting to live in the woods like Sam in My Side of the Mountain, but a few hours of it was usually enough for me!

>111 quondame: For a wonder (considering I don’t go to a lot of movies), I’ve seen both Jojo Rabbit and the new Little Women adaptation. I liked both, though LW was by far my favorite. JR gave us plenty to talk about on the drive home, though!

115quondame
Edited: Jan 19, 8:31pm Top

>114 foggidawn: About Jojo Rabbit the 5 of us decided WTF was a perfectly appropriate reaction. Not the only one, but that we all understood immediately. Mike, Becky and I are off to see Little Women tonight, though we'll have to buy our own tickets.

116foggidawn
Jan 20, 10:48am Top

>115 quondame: Yes, that about sums it up!

117SandyAMcPherson
Jan 20, 3:00pm Top

Hmmm, guess I'll give LW a pass if WTF is the "review" of note!

Actually, I read the series in my early teens, cried buckets (Beth, you know), didn't understand the half of it... and have never revisted any of LM Alcott. I keep so many (new to me) books to read. But I do understand reading old faves. I love re-reading Blue Castle. And my Georgette Heyer collection.

118foggidawn
Jan 20, 3:05pm Top

>117 SandyAMcPherson: No, no, no! Little Women is great! No WTF-ery there. The other movie, Jojo Rabbit, is the one that elicits a variety of responses, including WTF.

119quondame
Edited: Jan 20, 4:11pm Top

>117 SandyAMcPherson: >118 foggidawn: My daughter, 27, did not really like Little Women. I felt it was beautiful, but way obvious, and could have done without the school party scene at the end. Mike liked it, barring that same scene. I felt overall that it was much more about Little Women than it was Little Women. Becky, admittedly, was in the mood for an over the top, thirties style, mad cap comedy. I directed her to The Wrong Box, though not 30s, is over the top.

I have a number of books, mostly series, that I re-read, though much less frequently than before LT which brings shiny new books to my attention. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen at one end and Jo Clayton and Carol Berg at the other with Terry Pratchett in the middle. Not to mention.....

120foggidawn
Jan 20, 4:39pm Top

>119 quondame: I'll grant you, I did roll my eyes just a bit at that end scene. And it was meta, and a little obvious, but I liked it for all of that. I tend to compare to the 1994 Wynona Rider version, and while I'm not sure that I like this one better over all, there were certainly several parts of this one that I liked better.

121quondame
Jan 20, 5:04pm Top

>120 foggidawn: I tend to overuse "meta," but somehow don't seem to have managed to avoid expressing it in my LW comments.😄

122quondame
Jan 20, 7:47pm Top

#17) Starsight



Spensa's story continues to rely on wild co-incidence and improbable character actions and Sanderson refuses for deliver the compactness which is one of the best features of YA fiction, without really adding more to the plot, just more elaborations.

Completed (if it weren't for the challenge it would be DNF) for January TIOLI #11: 2020 Vision - Read a book with a title word related to eyes or sight

123alcottacre
Jan 21, 3:52am Top

>122 quondame: Wow, too bad about that one! Generally speaking, I enjoy Brandon Sanderson. It sounds like I can give that one a pass.

I wish you better luck with your next read, Susan!

124quondame
Edited: Jan 21, 6:51pm Top

#18) The Danger



Review from October 9, 2018
The professional narrating this mystery is a kidnap councilor who helps the family of the victim negotiate with kidnappers, interact with police and deal with the aftermath. The characters are real, the action deliberate until it becomes frantic, and the subject matter inherently interesting. This is at least the 3rd time I have read this, and thanks to a poor memory, I still found it exciting.
Added January 21, 2020
Because the narrator is a bold young man in a profession where life and death choices are real, this book has one of the most credible of Francis' plots and a very strong flow. Almost all the men in the company he works for are ex-military and ex-police specialists, and it is shown how he models his choices on what they do, which does have something to do with putting him in danger. I do love how Dick Francis can deliver a story so compactly!

This is my first re-read of 2020

Read for January TIOLI #10: January Birthstone Challenge - Read a book with a dark red cover

125alcottacre
Jan 21, 10:13pm Top

>124 quondame: I have never read any Dick Francis books - horse racing is just not my thing, but that one looks really good. I am adding it to the BlackHole! Thanks for the recommendation, Susan!

126quondame
Jan 22, 4:20am Top

#19) The Mysterious Affair at Styles



Archetypal Brits in Big House* mystery with more lace on its plot ruffles than any Victorian frock. If a single cast member other than HP showed a bit of personality it was obscured by Hasting's putridly narrow point of view.
As I've enjoyed the BBC dramatizations of Christie's mysteries, she must have done better than this piece that only serves as a test run of her detective and ability to add lace to ruffles. The relentless joke of Hasting's dim wit was not even funny once.

*I despise BiBH dramas with characters having nothing to recommend them by way of accomplishments or interests.

This is my first Agatha Christie read.

Read for January TIOLI #15: Read a book written/published/set in any XX20s decade

127karenmarie
Jan 22, 8:31am Top

Hi Susan.

>126 quondame: You've got me wondering if I'd like this one if I re-read it. Agatha Christie is one of my favorite all-time authors, but I just read So Many Steps to Death for the first time ever, and it was a disappointment. For the record, I like all her series except Tuppence and Tommy.

128SandyAMcPherson
Jan 23, 5:51pm Top

Besides (to continue what we were saying), I'd love to hear what you think if you read Still Waters!

129richardderus
Jan 23, 6:14pm Top

>126 quondame: That's not her best book by any measure. If you're reluctant to wade further into the mire without a footpath, I'd say read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It's one of her real high-water marks. Lots of fun, unusually low Hastingsish BS.

130quondame
Jan 23, 6:28pm Top

>128 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks for the link. I would have gotten there fairly soon, but quick is good.

>129 richardderus: I was pretty sure it couldn't be high in her canon, but I doubt her social attitudes would ever seem appealing to me. I will probably read more, though from the dramas I preferred Miss Marple to Poirot.

131quondame
Edited: Jan 24, 11:51pm Top

#20) Waterland



An experience rather than a read. Actions in the Fen shortly before and during WWII are foreshadowed by a three century local history of striving, and have consequences four decades later in Greenwich. A dense layered wrapping around the core of a completely unexplored marriage of at least 35 years. Rich and evocative and I was left feeling I must hold my breath or drown.

It also left me curious about eels. We know more about their mating now, but since we've either eaten them all or destroyed their habitat there aren't nearly as many of them left as there were when the book was written.

Can I expect similar swimming if I dive into other Graham Swift books? I've read Mothering Sundays but managed to keep my feet in that slight rill.

Read for The British Author Challenge.

Meets January TIOLI #14: Read a book with a LT rating of 3.8* or more

132Berly
Edited: Jan 24, 11:39pm Top

>124 quondame: I do love me some Dick Francis and I haven't read that one yet! But first I am starting Still Waters andI am glad you are joining in, too. : )

For anyone else interested...

https://www.librarything.com/topic/315923#7045269

133quondame
Jan 25, 9:10pm Top

#21) The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross



Not that Jesperson and Lane is all that, but this is sad. The resolution to baby Annie and her mother made no sense, the reason for the presence of the poison in the case of the first encountered murder is way to off the probability curve, and Jesperson make some downright lame pronouncements which are just accepted as fact, and this when he's not attempting to mislead. Not too painful, but not worth the trouble.

Read because sometimes Lisa Tuttle's writing is delightful and I wanted something lite and amusing after >131 quondame:

Meets January TIOLI #3: Read a book in which travel is a significant aspect of the narrative

134HanGerg
Jan 26, 5:10am Top

Hi Susan, just dropping in and catching up! Thanks for posting the link to the Book Hub list. I have read 9 of the 20 and have several others on my radar, but some were completely new to me. On the TBR pile they shall go. I was one of the very few that wasn't an all out fan of The Martian. The story is very engaging, but to me the writing is clunky and unsophisticated. It also has an annoyingly upbeat take on human nature, I think, although it's possible I'm just becoming a curmudgeon as I get older. Definitely worth a read for the story though.

135SandyAMcPherson
Jan 26, 10:46pm Top

Delurking to see what you might think of Still waters. Or are you waiting until February to start reading?

136quondame
Edited: Jan 27, 1:02am Top

>135 SandyAMcPherson: That would be waiting until February.
My next up read is The Game of King hopefully followed by Wolf Hall though that order scrambles the 16th century, but I already know what happened, these being re-reads. Even if I can get through these two before the end of this month, I don't think I'll fit anything else in.

137quondame
Edited: Jan 27, 1:00am Top

#22) Nightwoods



Atmospheric and brooding, this Appalachian novel of people caught with few choices and maybe no good ones or no way of telling which are the good ones. I felt the isolation of Luce, no grandparents, cousins, friends, to be extreme and unusual in the setting, though her characterization supports it. Also, the ending was dubiously tidy.

A BB from thornton37814

Read for the CHARLES FRAZIER---American Authors Challenge January 2020 it

Meets January TIOLI #10: January Birthstone Challenge - Read a book with a dark red cover

138PaulCranswick
Jan 27, 10:27am Top

>137 quondame: I'm beginning to think that I should have chosen that one this month!

139thornton37814
Jan 27, 6:15pm Top

>137 quondame: I'm used to Appalachian literature being like this. The ending was a little problematic though.

140quondame
Jan 29, 1:47am Top

>138 PaulCranswick: >139 thornton37814: Thanks for visiting Paul and Lori!

I'm still following Lymond all over Scotland, so have had little to report.

141karenmarie
Jan 29, 8:25am Top

>137 quondame: I just put in a library request for this one. I should have requested it when I chose The Starless Sea instead - I returned that one quickly after a mere 5-10 pages.

142quondame
Jan 29, 1:13pm Top

>141 karenmarie: I understand your revulsion at the opening atrocity in The Starless Sea. It kind of put an edge on the rest of the story that, really, it didn't achieve from the actual narrative.

143figsfromthistle
Jan 29, 8:41pm Top

Just dropping by to say hi! Enjoy the rest of your week!

144quondame
Edited: Jan 30, 2:44pm Top

#23) The Game of Kings



It's been almost ten years since I last read this, but so much of it is, after at least 3 reading prior to that, still fresh. Re-reading is such a different experience than the original whiplash impact of the story and it characters, but no less satisfying as the richness and depth of a 16th century world is rolled out before us. It may not be the real 16th century world, but it has a real, immediate feel, with real stakes and unmistakable dangers. Most of the historical persons brought on as characters seem truly capable of the actions recorded and the invented ones worthy to move among them, and often vibrantly interesting. Dunnett was unparalleled in her presentation a believable Renaissance world in which adventure seems natural if not inevitably romantic.

I was sidling in on a read-along with LizzyD, lauralkeet, and brenzi

Meets January TIOLI #14: Read a book with a LT rating of 3.8 or more

145richardderus
Jan 30, 2:11pm Top

>144 quondame: So much Dunnett luuuv! Wonderful to re-experience something so positively.

146Storeetllr
Jan 31, 1:14pm Top

>141 karenmarie: >142 quondame: I just read The Starless Sea (back in December) and have already forgotten whatever atrocity is in the first few pages. I was not a huge fan, though I did enjoy parts of it. I did not, however, find any of the characters all that sympathetic. I also found the plot all-over-the-place and sometimes confusing Still, as many people have pointed out, beautiful writing!

147quondame
Feb 1, 3:11pm Top

#24) Sovietstan



With 5 countries visited, this travelog with historical backgrounds, both common and separate, and overviews of modern political realities, the author has limited space to present the people and terrain of these nations. There are occasion fascinating bits, the stars over Pamir and the stolen brides of Kyrgyzstan, but mostly this is hoofing it over rough ground on feathers. It gets an extra ½ star for reporting about these little known countries.

Read for January TIOLI #16: Read a book set in, about, or written by an author residing in a country ending in "stan"

148quondame
Feb 1, 3:17pm Top

#25) Malala's Magic Pencil



A stunningly straightforward presentation of the power of changing focus from what you want to what you can do.

Read for January TIOLI #16: Read a book set in, about, or written by an author residing in a country ending in "stan"

149quondame
Feb 1, 6:11pm Top

I learned a LT thing today! At the bottom of each comment there are two choices either:
Reply | More
or
Edit | More.

Selecting More you are presented with:

Add to favorites | Mark as read to here | Link | Delete

Selecting Link puts the Link to the the comment withing the thread in the URL window of the browser. Much easier than typing >comment# in a new comment/reply then selecting preview and selecting >comment#

Yay LT programmers!

150Narilka
Feb 1, 9:46pm Top

>149 quondame: Thanks for the tip. I learned something new :)

151SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Feb 2, 10:52am Top

>144 quondame: I loved this series but also recall that effect of the original whiplash impact of the story and its characters.
I should plan a re-read because of your sentiment, "Re-reading is such a different experience". That's so true.

>148 quondame: ---BB!!

152quondame
Feb 2, 9:22pm Top

Rather than my usual stay at home reading time, we went to a somewhat belated Chinese New Year's party which I've missed out on for a couple of decades because of other engagements. A quiet evening eating our hostesses delicious takes on classic dishes and chatting, guess what, about books. As well as my usual cronies, I exchanged BBs with two women who have shared my social circle for 30 or more years but with whom I never before exchanged more than greetings.

153PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 9:30pm Top

>152 quondame: I have a Russian colleague on my PNB118 project - a 30-something lady from St. Petersburg who is extremely well read. Imagine my surprise when we were talking about books and she declared her favourite author was Theodore Dreiser!

154quondame
Feb 2, 9:34pm Top

>153 PaulCranswick: Interesting choice, and suitably gloomy. I don't think I've read any Dreiser since before college, and remember thinking Sister Carrie would be about a nun, not!

155quondame
Feb 2, 9:50pm Top

Oh, and I've found a new way to waste time!

156PaulCranswick
Feb 2, 9:51pm Top

>154 quondame: Yes, well, she is Russian!

157quondame
Feb 3, 1:36am Top

#26) An Unkindness of Ghosts



This book is a hot mess, but within the mess there are interesting and novel fragments. It is basically obstinate will and inventiveness versus vicious oppression, but there are massive inconsistencies and improbabilities in this young woman and allies against the viscous regime plot. It needed some sever editing and with no sense of pacing it dragged in several sections.

Meets February TIOLI #1: Read a book whose first word of the first paragraph starts with a vowel

158richardderus
Feb 3, 7:53pm Top

>149 quondame: That doesn't add the link to reply, I see, which is what I've wanted since I first found the site.

159paulstalder
Feb 3, 8:05pm Top

>56 quondame: Good to see that there is some consistency with my challenges :)

Happy February

160brenzi
Feb 3, 9:31pm Top

>155 quondame: Um....ok...not sure what that is Susan. But can't complain about lots of book titles.

161quondame
Feb 3, 11:57pm Top

>160 brenzi: I try to keep track of what books are generating conversation on the threads I follow in this group, but the LT feature that helped me last year is broken for this group - and some others as well - so I put a thread in a group where Touchstones are recorded properly and, until a fix is made, tracking them for myself.

162Berly
Feb 4, 12:54am Top

>155 quondame: >161 quondame: How did you make these lists? And what does it mean when someone's name is repeated after a book?

163quondame
Feb 4, 2:00am Top

>162 Berly: I just cut and paste. Each name is a link to the entry in the thread where that person commented. It's all done by hand, so there isn't any program keeping track, or rather there is one that LT uses, but it's broken. I have just realized that I probably can't keep this up. The power at our house went out at 2AM yesterday and wasn't on again until 2PM today, so I'm already way behind, and people will post long lists of book, and sometimes even repeat them!

164PaulCranswick
Feb 4, 2:54am Top

>155 quondame: Interesting. I did try one year to see if I could determine which book had been read by the group more than any other but I just couldn't keep up!!

165quondame
Feb 4, 9:28pm Top

#27) The Secret Chapter



Irene and Kai agree to steal a rather large painting as a way of getting a book that will stabilize the world she went to school on. As a caper story it's mostly routine and dull, though watching what Irene does with The Language is amusing and the different abilities of members of the team is of some interest. It moves quickly and is a pretty painless read, with all the really "interesting" bits stuffed in the toe.

Meets February TIOLI #7: Read the next book in a series by a woman author

166quondame
Edited: Feb 5, 2:03pm Top

The Bug that I've complained about now seems fixed so I can give my tracking thread a rest. Maybe I'll even get more read and comment more, or at least actually read comments instead of just harvesting for touchstones.

167quondame
Edited: Feb 5, 2:17pm Top

#28) A Month in Siena



Yes, this explores an individual's experience of the masterworks of Sienese art, but it is also a very personal exploration of the experience of time and loss and dealing with the unknowable as the author had completed writing about his unresolved search in Libya for traces of his disappeared father and was in Siena where he knew no one and had no external agenda.

I think I meant this for a January travel challenge, but it
Meets February TIOLI #1: Read a book whose first word of the first paragraph starts with a vowel

168richardderus
Feb 5, 2:27pm Top

>165 quondame: Oh dear, the dreaded series sag may be starting to appear. I hope it's a one-off!

169johnsimpson
Feb 5, 3:52pm Top

Hi Susan my dear, I am starting to finally visit my LT friends after a busy few weeks one way or another. I cannot keep up with the amount of posts I have missed but am starting to catch up more now but everybody seems to have got off to a flier on the reading front.

I must say that you are racing ahead with your reading my dear, 28 books so far, my goodness. I am halfway through my third book but it is another 1,000 page behemoth and will be the second of the year when I have finished it but my reading is picking up.

I hope that apart from any illness , the year has been good to you so far as it has with us apart from minor illness blips. We are loving our new addition, Felix and he is settling in well with us, we have had him two weeks now and he goes to the Vets for neutering and micro-chipping tomorrow and has his final injections in a couple of weeks and then he will be able to go outside finally when that is done.

I hope the week has been good for you so far and send love and hugs from both of us dear friend.

170SandyAMcPherson
Feb 5, 4:12pm Top

Hi Susan. At >165 quondame:, I see an author (Genevieve Cogman) that I've long-wanted to read because her Invisible Library series seems right up my alley.
I wondered where to place Cogman's series in my TBR list?
As a reference point, I have Karen Charlton's Detective Lavender series and Kate Ellis' Wesley Peterson murder mysteries in this line up. I'm interested primarily in the aspect of good writing, sound plot.

171quondame
Edited: Feb 5, 4:21pm Top

>168 richardderus: Didn't it a bit in #2?

>169 johnsimpson: It's good to see you out and about and welcome back to my thread! I've been pretty well, only touched with hints of sniffles, and may it remain so! I am religious about getting my flu shots early and that has worked for me over the past few years.
A new pet is wonderful in so many ways. What I find lacking in most of my reading is the real place for dogs and cats in the lives of ordinary people, the kind that don't go solving mysteries or wander on epic journeys, but sit in our laps and radiate how wonderful it is to be with us.

172SandyAMcPherson
Feb 5, 8:14pm Top

>155 quondame: I finally got around to clicking this link!
O-M-G !
What an incredible data harvest....

I thought every book title had a 'conversations' link here, for example. Is that what wasn't working?

173quondame
Feb 5, 8:44pm Top

>172 SandyAMcPherson: Yes, touchstones in threads in this group weren't showing up in conversations. It turns out that if you ignore certain threads, they don't show up either, but that's a different sort of no-show.

174quondame
Edited: Feb 6, 5:14pm Top

#29) In the Frame



This novel differs from most of the others in that there is no actual romantic interest for the protagonist, and that the characters didn't come alive for me. Jix was too one note and Sarah's change of attitude seemed arbitrary. I liked Maisie, though.Though it starts of with a deliberate pace, it finishes in a flurry of action.

Read for Around the World With Horses: A Dick Francis SHARED READ it also
Meets February TIOLI #3: Read a book with a cover showing something you can wear on your face

175richardderus
Feb 6, 6:12pm Top

>171 quondame: The Masked City wasn't quite as exciting as The Invisible Library, but she righted the wagon right quick. I'll just hope this latest slight decline isn't the beginning of the series's slide onto the mouldering mound of ~meh~.

176quondame
Edited: Feb 24, 1:50am Top

#30) Queen of the Sea



This graphic novel just didn't work for me. The details of convent living were delightfully presented but interfered with the flow of the plot, which seemed to drag. The artwork is pleasant and works to convey the story and characters, but becomes familiar and repetitive halfway through.

Meets February TIOLI #16: Read a book where the authors name contains 4 or more different vowels

177quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:11pm Top

#31) Resurgence



We spend time with Bren interacting with Ilisidi, time with Cajeiri adjusting to his new aishid and a more adult household for himself. The steady idiosyncratic language of C.J. Cherryh moves us relentlessly through the landscape to a new local, from which Ilisidi plots for future safety while taking risks in the present. Interesting characters from Intruder and Emergence add intrigue.

I read all the books by C.J. Cherryh as they come out and it is lovely that it
Meets February TIOLI #13: Read a book that has at least three names of people mentioned on page one

178quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:11pm Top

#32) A Longer Fall



Charmingly dark characters maintain an increasing body count of associates and enemies as Gunny Rose works with a team to get a crate trough Texoma to it's proper recipient in town in Dixie.
Gunny meets Eli again after the train crashes, leaving her team dead or disabled, just outside the destination Sally, and trust, sex and the Holy Russian Empire are all involved. Fun and fast moving, with the delight of Gunny's distinct voice.

Again, I read all the books by Charlaine Harris as they come out and it is lovely that it
Meets February TIOLI #2: Read a book for the February CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge

179quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:11pm Top

#33) The Raven Boys



A version of girl with something extra that offers a real if obscure difference, something of a feel of Host Club or other less privileged girl among the scions of wealth that are fodder for manga. The relationships and twists of this compelling story fell fresh and sometimes unexpected.

This was an indirect BB from alcottacre via scaifea's thead and fortunately
Meets February TIOLI #4: Read a book which has one of the 32 NFL team names in the title

180jnwelch
Feb 11, 8:54am Top

Hi, Susan.

I'm sorry to see that the latest Invisible Library book wasn't better. Maybe it is series sag, as RD says.

I thought Queen of the Sea was just okay, too. I'm surprised it's on a number of "Best GN of the Year" lists.

181quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:10pm Top

#34) Mount Vernon Love Story



A lightweight sweet version of the George and Martha story in which it is made quite clear how much George loves Mount Vernon.

Read for February TIOLI #18: Read a Book written by Mary Higgins Clark

182richardderus
Feb 11, 2:19pm Top

>181 quondame: Sounds like it could either be saccharine or surprisingly frank. On the fence....

183thornton37814
Feb 11, 2:52pm Top

>181 quondame: I suspect I would have enjoyed that one more than the one I read.

184quondame
Edited: Feb 11, 6:19pm Top

>182 richardderus: I found it overly sweet but not quite saccharine, and I don't think the title was exactly naive.

185quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:10pm Top

#35) Brave Irene



Really really stupid Irene. But persistent. I hope the duchess pays her bill.

Read for February TIOLI #9: Read a book planning your date with an author

186quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:10pm Top

#36) The Track of Sand



Salvo is having troubles both with aging and keeping himself out of trouble. But, for the most part, he eats well and also discovers new fields from which trouble can arise.

Read for February TIOLI #6: Read a book by an author we lost in 2019

187LizzieD
Feb 12, 11:56pm Top

Oh, Susan, I can't do more than skim through your reading. I have the latest Powers on my wish list, but I don't think I'll order it yet. I liked An Unkindness of Ghosts much more than you; I think I have a greater tolerance for murkiness of thought. I've always loved Dick Frances; always LOVED Dorothy Dunnett. I also see that it's time for me to read a Cherryh, and it will be a *Foreigner* - #14. Thanks for the reminder.

188quondame
Feb 13, 9:53pm Top

I'm reading Gideon the Ninth and I have a strange problem. I don't like the book, that is the physical paper book. The paper has a rough texture, an unusual smell, not bad but not good either, and the black finish on the edges keeps me expecting smudgy fingers.

189drneutron
Feb 14, 3:08am Top

Hmmm. Guess I’m glad I put the ebook on hold at my library!

190quondame
Edited: Feb 14, 6:31pm Top

I got through the 2020 Valentine Treasure Hunt without resorting to the hints page, though I did have a bit of googling for 4 of the items and the Bulgarian bit was odd, to say the least. Finally, this time I recorded my answers.

191thornton37814
Feb 14, 9:36pm Top

>190 quondame: I made it through also. I don't think I've ever thought to record my answers. I should try to remember to do that, but I usually just get caught up in the thrill of the hunt.

192quondame
Feb 14, 10:32pm Top

>191 thornton37814: So far, every time I revisited a hunt, it was a what was that answer time. So. I now know a lot more about RWA politics than before.

193quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:10pm Top

#37) Gideon the Ninth



Something a bit different, made up of parts that are staples - the bad attitude viewpoint character, the series of tests, the all is not what it seems to the vp character. Charles Stross's blurb is sloppy and not particularly accurate as no important action happens in space and decay isn't the same as decadence. The characters are interesting and the setting too, though mostly unappealing and really all that bone, just not my thing. The story sprawled rather and didn't seem to move quite energetically but at least we were spared all eight trials.
I read a library copy of the hardback and don't recommend it. The paper is unpleasantly rough and the ink, probably, has a strange smell, and the black edges kept me inspecting my fingers for dirt.

Meets February TIOLI #12: Read a book that is divided internally by more than chapter headings

194VioletBramble
Feb 16, 8:57am Top

I listened to Gideon the Ninth on audiobook. Big mistake. So many characters, so many names, so many confusing action sequences, and so many bones. When Harrow was flinging knuckle bones all over the place I was wondering where she gets them from. Does she have them in her pockets or her bag?Does her necromancy allow her to pull bones out of thin air? No idea. Maybe I missed that information in all the confusion. That's probably it because I also missed a big death near the end - of a MAIN character. I had to rewind to figure out what happened. I'm planning to read the sequel in physical book form-- hopefully it won't smell-- to get a better grasp on the story. I'm new to audiobooks so this was a lesson on which type of book is good/ not good for me in this format.

195Crazymamie
Feb 16, 10:47am Top

>193 quondame:, >194 VioletBramble: Sounds like Kindle is the way for me to go with this one - thanks for that.

Hoping your Sunday is full of fabulous, Susan!

196richardderus
Feb 16, 11:41am Top

>193 quondame: Hi Susan, I was more of a fan than you were but in the end it has settled into the "too clever by half" slot in my mental Pendaflex, so our ratings converge.

Happy Sunday.

197paulstalder
Feb 16, 3:45pm Top


wish you a good new week

198quondame
Feb 16, 4:22pm Top

>194 VioletBramble: Way too many characters for comfort. That is a very difficult set up for any author, much less a fairly new one, although the way of getting around endless test scenarios was well done.

>196 richardderus: I see how it could get on the list, but it's tricks weren't particularly new for me, sorry to say.

>197 paulstalder: Thanks Paul, that's one of my favorite flowers!

199quondame
Feb 16, 11:40pm Top

I really shouldn't have chosen another first novel after completing #36 >198 quondame:.

200PaulCranswick
Feb 17, 12:22am Top

Your reading continues apace, Susan.

I'm quite happy with my own too but it is all relative isn't it?

201PaulCranswick
Feb 17, 12:23am Top

200 posts already done as well!

202quondame
Feb 17, 1:38am Top

>201 PaulCranswick: With a little help from my friends.

203SandyAMcPherson
Feb 17, 2:07pm Top

>180 jnwelch: I had great hopes for this Invisible Library series but, crashed and burned on Book 1!

It was such an interesting start but somehow the Library acquiring books from different worlds and eras was repugnant to me. Perhaps I missed the reasons behind this approach? To me is was just downright stealing. I just didn't get on with the concept.

204quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:10pm Top

#38) The City of Brass



Young woman with powerful companions goes into a political situation in which she is way over her head and her own powers may not be adequate to protect her and those about whom, for some illogical reasons, she really cares about. OK, that pretty much describes Gideon the Ninth as well or you probably can fill in your own titles.

The setting in a city constantly riven by Daeva/Djinn politics, though those differences are self chosen, and threatened by other, more or differently powered, marid, ifrit, peri is worth a visit, though I'm not sure of a 520 page visit, much less a trilogy. It's hard to know who, even the two viewpoint characters - the thief, con artist undeveloped healer, or the the warrior, prince, victim of his own kind intentions. Really, I felt for the king whose city and family were being torn apart by factionalism for the sake of factionalism. In this first novel, the author's pacing could use some work - but the final chapters show she can do it, though it is unlikely she will cut down on the length of coming volumes, however much that would improve them - that just isn't done these days.

A BB shot by foggidawn

Meets February TIOLI #8: Read a book with a metal in the title

205brodiew2
Feb 18, 11:37am Top

Good morning, Susan! Just stopping into say hi. I hope you have a great day.

I'm still enjoying The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe. I should finish it this week. Highly recommended as a light, fun, informative, read.

206Storeetllr
Feb 18, 2:22pm Top

>179 quondame: Though I loved Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, I haven't read The Raven Boys yet. May have to break down and get it.

>190 quondame: I got 4 or 5, then it was time for bed, and then I forgot about it. Now it's over. :( Oh, well, next year.

207richardderus
Feb 18, 2:50pm Top

>204 quondame: A whole trilogy of this doesn't sound much like a party to me. Still, in the proper mood it could be engrossing.

208SandyAMcPherson
Feb 18, 4:05pm Top

>204 quondame:, >207 richardderus: A whole trilogy is too much with such lengthy books. I bogged down with City of Brass even though a family member with similar reading tastes extolled the novel. The book came out the year I joined LT and I hadn't yet started recoding the DNFs that went to the graveyard.

I am in complete agreement with Susan that "... unlikely she will cut down on the length of coming volumes, however much that would improve them"... and yes! "that just isn't done these days". I liked what someone said a whole ago (Susan, I think) ~ a great 350 page novel lurks in this 500+ page book!

209quondame
Feb 18, 4:35pm Top

>208 SandyAMcPherson: I may not have written exactly that, but I sure have thought it!

210PaulCranswick
Feb 18, 9:33pm Top

Chunksters are increasingly not my thing as I just have too many books in the house and I need to start making a dent in them (note to self stop buying more than you are reading then!).

211quondame
Feb 18, 10:13pm Top

It usually takes me less than 15 minutes to pick my husband up from the train station. Tonight the orange disaster struck and the 3 extra miles took 2 hours.

212quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:09pm Top

#39) House Made of Dawn



This is a book that must be read deliberately, and seems as if over half the pages were ripped from a larger tome and only about a quarter of what was removed was returned in a collage of patches through the remainder. There is poetry and pain and dislocation. The war traumatized young man is by no means the only sandblasted soul to inhabit these patched pages.

Read for February TIOLI #17: Read a book about urban Indians or indigenous people living in cities

213quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:09pm Top

#40) Night Night, Sleep Tight



An essentially worthless, but easy read, without suspense or thrills that has you wading hip deep in dropped names. If you like your Hollywood fringes dirty, dip them here.

Read for February TIOLI #5: Read a book with the word 'night' or 'sleep' in the title, or a night-time image on the cover, or is set largely at night

214quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:09pm Top

#41) Caddie Woodlawn



Adventures of a young farm girl with her brothers in the west Wisconsin country at the time of the Civil War, the episodes that make of this novel are just a bit slick. This book came out after Little House in the Big Woods and the same year as Little House on the Prairie, and while as a Newbery winner it is still available, it just doesn't have the tread of those told from within accounts, although the American mythology is the same.

Read for February TIOLI #10: Read a book with a sorority or fraternity connection

215quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:09pm Top

#42) The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion



A good, pull you straight through read. Whether in a small coastal Alabama town this century or in WWII Wisconsin, or with the WASPs in Texas, this has strong women living their choices. The ending could have been wrapped up in a third the pages, but hey, there had be the reunion, a solution to the Bluejay problem, and the final wedding to close the parentheses.

Read for February TIOLI #11: Read a book with a curious, intriguing, provocative title

216quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:09pm Top

#43) The Gate that Locks the Tree



Of cats and cabs and why weather forecasts are a good idea but would get in the way of stories.
If you like your Liaden™️ cute at 11, it's here.

Meets February TIOLI #7: Read the next book in a series by a woman author

217PaulCranswick
Feb 22, 11:30am Top

>212 quondame: That is a fascinating review, Susan. Half the pages taken out and a quarter put back in different places doesn't bode well but the poetry, pain and dislocation appeal to me more in my reading.

Have a lovely weekend.

218quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:08pm Top

#44) The Suffragette Scandal



A straightforwardly easy romantic read when the prefect scoundrel makes common cause with a pretty suffragette. Set in Cambridge, London and Kent this story has no sense of place, and I was kept wondering about references to the Thames when the characters were in Cambridge. But they moved around, so well. Some steamy sex, but not before it was proper. A bit weird mixture of 19th century woman's woes and total full out lost man saved by true love.

Read for February TIOLI #14: Read a book that has something to do with elections or voting

219quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:08pm Top

DNF Amethyst I got fewer than 3 Kindle (font setting 3) pages into this before my reaction to the first sentence was so confirmed that I had to give up in spite of it being so suitable for February TIOLI #15.

#45) Tolstoy and the Purple Chair



Loss of a loved one is devastating, and when it shatters the illusion of control for a person who needed to believe she is in control of her life, something must be done. Doing more of everything didn't work, so a year of reading a book a day becomes the plan. It's seems to have helped. Nina Sankovitch is good at telling her story and getting her points across, but it felt like being repeatedly given different flavors of the same sherbet over and over. While not disdaining good sherbet, I prefer custard, crème brûlée, actually.

Note: I read this book in a single day.

Read for February TIOLI #15: Read a book with a (predominantly) purple cover for the February birthstone challenge

220quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:08pm Top

#46) The Governess Affair



Really, a tough unhappy man brought to right by love. Ah, well, it's what's expected, as I guess is the sanctioned sex. Not what I look for, but it suits if it's what seek.

When I finished The Suffragette Scandal I realized that the author's name was perfect for this challenge, and this was free at Amazon. I feel I don't need any more of these. I prefer potato chip books to marzipan books.

Read for February TIOLI #16: Read a book where the authors name contains 4 or more different vowels

221quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:07pm Top

#47) Penric's Fox



Re-read. Penric is on hand to be useful in the investigation of a murder of temple sorceress, and Desdemona has her own contributions to make. It certainly was well worth revisiting, especially since I had pretty much forgotten all the details. Which are important for Penric's development.

It was necessary to have a savory appetizer after the accumulated sweets, I chose one that

Meets February TIOLI #16: Read a book where the authors name contains 4 or more different vowels

222quondame
Feb 24, 8:17pm Top

My wee dachshund is now telling me how to wash her! The most recent round of treatments for a skin condition requires me to give her weekly baths - so I've been taking her into the shower, lathering her up and having her stand in the corner while I take care of myself. Today she decided to go where the water would fall on her, eat the soap and generally get under my feet. She does like it when I rub the shower head against the grain of her coat - leaning into the water something fierce. Talk about domesticated animals.

223quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:07pm Top

#48) Pantomime



Yet another young protagonist with something extra challenges the big world. And yet another overly long first novel, but that's not the worst, the worst is the doggerel that isn't even up to doggerel standards and the painfully bad Pantomime of the title. Seriously, Laura, since you can't do poetry or plays leave them out or speak of them indirectly. Otherwise not complete trash, but it really didn't need to happen.

I picked up this from calm's thread, but as it was only mentioned without description, I can't lay blame, and it

Meets February TIOLI #3: Read a book with a cover showing something you can wear on your face

224foggidawn
Feb 25, 8:42am Top

>222 quondame: The other day I gave Lottie a bath, then hopped into the shower myself, keeping her in the bathroom with me in hopes that she might dry off a little bit. A minute or two into my shower, I looked down, and there she was in the tub with me! My last dog would not have dreamed of doing this, but Lottie apparently doesn't mind getting wet!

225quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:07pm Top

#49) Penric's Demon



Young Lord Penric kin Jurald has agreed to his family's plans for him but has not entirely accepted them when, on his way to his betrothal, he acquires a very experienced demon. The combination of young aspirations, worldly experience and divine meddling is delightfully both frothy and thoughtful.

This is at least my second re-read of this title, and it really so rewarding and reveals how good the plot of a young person with something extra can be, also it

Meets February TIOLI #16: Read a book where the authors name contains 4 or more different vowels

226quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:07pm Top

#50) Every Heart a Doorway



It's good that there's some effort to help youths returned unwilling from the alternate worlds in which they found their true homes. Unfortunately it seems that they are not all harmless to others of their kind, which should have been a given. Nancy has just arrived when the harm begins and realizes she's seen as the most likely suspect. This is a book of 0th world problems, but some are the same through all the worlds.

Meets February TIOLI #12: Read a book that is divided internally by more than chapter headings

227SandyAMcPherson
Feb 26, 9:27am Top

>221 quondame: Oooh ~ a BB, if ever I saw!

228SandyAMcPherson
Feb 26, 9:30am Top

>222 quondame: Kind of sweet. Perhaps the dog was finding a lot of relief to her skin condition?

>224 foggidawn: That's a Springer for ya'!
Our SS used to run in the sprinkler with us kids in the summer and *always* came swimming. Didn't like the salty ocean, though, just lakes and streams.

229BLBera
Feb 26, 4:20pm Top

Hi Susan - somehow I lost track of you. Some great reading here.

230quondame
Feb 26, 6:04pm Top

>227 SandyAMcPherson: >229 BLBera: ood to see you again!

231quondame
Feb 26, 7:28pm Top

DNF Truly Devious This actually wasn't bad or anything, just that looking over my TBR/library due list, this just wasn't enough my thing to keep me from The Dream Thieves etc.

232alcottacre
Feb 26, 8:06pm Top

>147 quondame: Adding that one to the BlackHole. It looks interesting to me. Thanks for the mention, Susan.

>167 quondame: Another BB!

>178 quondame: I am currently waiting on my hold for that one to come in from my local library.

>179 quondame: I love that series. Glad to see you enjoyed the first book in the series.

>193 quondame: I already have that one in the BlackHole or I would be adding it again.

>204 quondame: Yeah, foggi got me with that one too.

>215 quondame: I have enjoyed a couple of Flagg's books, but have not yet read that one.

>225 quondame: I have only read one of McMaster Bujold's series, but I really enjoyed it, so I will have to give Penric a try.

233karenmarie
Feb 27, 8:53am Top

Hi Susan!

>174 quondame: I think I liked it a bit more than you did, but I agree with your comments about Jix and Sarah.

>175 richardderus: the mouldering mound of ~meh~ Sigh. I’ve given up on several series for that very reason.

>178 quondame: I’ve put in a library request for first-in-the-series An Easy Death and will get it next week.

>185 quondame: Daughter and I loved Doctor DeSoto, Amos & Boris, and The Amazing Bone. I hope they’re still in the stack of books I saved from when she was little.

>188 quondame: The qualities of the physical book are important, aren’t they?

>190 quondame: I got one but didn’t spend a lot of time on it, obviously – Paris. I did get my Rogue’s Rose, though.

>222 quondame: Sweet. Did she actually swallow the soap?

234quondame
Feb 27, 3:09pm Top

>233 karenmarie: Karen, Gertie will and would swallow anything. I prevented this one instance. She must constantly be kept from innocent suicide by ingestion or allergies to herself. She has a velvet soft coat and the body of ultimate squeezableness and would just as soon be left alone - as long as I'm in the room with her - thank you.

235quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:07pm Top

#51) The Dream Thieves



We get to know Ronin more, and Paul has his unfortunate moments, the magic is more apparent and less engaging. The new antagonists are interesting but the book itself is a definite sequel dip.

Meets February TIOLI #7: Read the next book in a series by a woman author

236FAMeulstee
Feb 28, 7:53am Top

237quondame
Feb 28, 5:33pm Top

>236 FAMeulstee: I can see not wanting to go over 30, but with 50 it seems futile. Ah, well, I fixed it, and if that's my only miss-number I'm 3/4 of the way to 75.

238FAMeulstee
Feb 28, 6:13pm Top

>237 quondame: Indeed, I missed the two times #30 ;-)

239Storeetllr
Feb 28, 7:45pm Top

I like the Penric series too, but somehow I seem to have missed reading the latest one (or two?). Thanks for reminding me, Susan!

240LizzieD
Feb 28, 11:58pm Top

>214 quondame: I LOVED Caddie Woodlawn when I was a child, Susan. I don't know that I could read it now, but seems to me that I had very few YA titles available when I was of an age to enjoy them.
Love the story of the dog in the shower. More power to both of you!!
I'm off to see whether the Penric stories are available for less $ than the Kindle version of each. I've read the first three and loved them all.
Do I have *Every Heart*??? Off to find out.
Thanks, Susan.

241quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 1:06pm Top

#52) Magic for Liars



The non-magic PI twin sister of one of the teachers investigates murder at a high school for mages. The plot and characters are pretty good as is the writing and pacing, but this story doesn't have the resonances of the more bizarre Hippo stories. It comes off a bit wanna be. 🌈

BB from ronincats.

Meets February TIOLI #16: Read a book where the authors name contains 4 or more different vowels

242karenmarie
Feb 29, 7:58am Top

Gertie sounds absolutely adorable, Susan.

243quondame
Edited: Feb 29, 2:51pm Top

#53) Penric and the Shaman



Now trained as a temple sorcerer and a divine and seconded to the Princess Archdevine's household Penric's calm life is wearing on Desdemona until a Legate of the Father comes requesting help tracking a murderous Shaman. One wonders at what point the Gods started meddling to harvest an endangered soul.

Read by request from Dejah_Thoris to boost shared read count for Feb, so it

Meets February TIOLI #7: Read the next book in a series by a woman author

244Familyhistorian
Feb 29, 6:29pm Top

Well on your way to 75, Susan! Have a wonderful weekend.

245Berly
Feb 29, 9:24pm Top

>243 quondame: #53!! I can barely keep up with half your pace!! LOL Happy weekend.

246quondame
Mar 1, 1:06am Top

#54) There There



Mesmerizing language pulls the reader through the devastated lives of Native Americans living in and connected to Oakland California and coming together at the Great Oakland Powwow. There is little but the hint of hope and weary persistence.

Meets February TIOLI #17: Read a book about urban Indians or indigenous people living in cities

247SandyAMcPherson
Mar 1, 7:38am Top

Book #54 looks really interesting.
Although I'm stacked up with a library cascade of who-dun-its, I'm adding this title to my alternative reads list. I'll eventually get out of the mystery genre and wonder "What now?" !!

248msf59
Mar 1, 8:59am Top

Happy Sunday, Susan. I am glad to see that you read and enjoyed, There, There. I think he is an important new voice in literature.

249quondame
Mar 3, 2:15am Top

#55) Penric's Mission
#56) Mira's Last Dance
#57) The Prisoner of Limnos
#58) The Orphans of Raspay



I do like these books. An accomplished author writing, one assumes, as much for her own pleasure as anything else, works out puzzles and challenges with which to confront Penric and his demon, Desdemona.

They all meet the religion R for March TIOLI #2: Read a book for the MARCH Semi-Rolling Challenge, though so far only Penric's Mission is so employed.
And I am using Mira's Last Dance to meet: March TIOLI #10: Tour de Suisse by adding the read pages to the Swiss postal code, not entirely unsuitable as Penric comes from an analog of Switzerland in the World of the Five Gods.

250quondame
Edited: Mar 3, 8:19pm Top

#59) Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore



Too little time is spent in the bookstore and possibly too much in the past, this is could use some tightening up, but is an improvement on all the other first novels I've been reading this year. The characters and plot are solid, although a lack of foreboding for what might be revealed is sadly lacking in the cast who all seem totally focused on the hobbles of the past. Not necessarily unrealistic, it's more like it's all the characters all the time.

Fortunately countrylife has allowed Sullivan so that this
Meets March TIOLI #17: Read a book with a Founding Father or Another honored in DC (list the name)


251SandyAMcPherson
Mar 3, 9:31am Top

>250 quondame: it's all the characters all the time.

Good observation... resonates with me as I soldier through a Marty Wingate novel: I think her (his?) writing style doesn't suit my tastes.

252quondame
Edited: Mar 5, 1:15am Top

#60) The Flowers of Vashnoi



Re-read. May 18, 2019 Review:
I enjoyed this visit with Ekatrina as she encounters the untidy leftovers of the Cetagandan invasion and back country mores. It seemed to place Cordelia's administration in a bad light, making her an absentee landlord of the reprehensible sort, but well somebody has to screw up for there to be a story. Ekatrina does some admirable 'what would Miles do' bits and Miles shows some parenting issues, and nobody does much damage, though damage has been done.

As long as I was rifling my Kindle for Bujold novellas I don't mind that one
Meets March TIOLI #3: Read a book honoring "Plant a Seed" day

253quondame
Mar 3, 9:30pm Top

All though February I tried tracking touchstones used by members of this group whose threads I've starred. I'm not going to do that again! I spent way too much time for pretty much zilch usable information. So Sunday and Monday I just read. That put me behind on all the threads I've starred. OK, well, now back to reading!
>247 SandyAMcPherson: >248 msf59: >251 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks for dropping by!

254quondame
Edited: Mar 6, 2:30pm Top

#61) Dr. Joyce Brothers: the Founding Mother of TV Psychology



As a description of an incredible career in TV and other media this is rather dull. The reader is left to fill in the person from the facts and statements. I watched very little TV in the 50s and 60s and almost no talk or variety shows ever, so I am probably not the target audience for this, having only seen Dr. Joyce Brothers on the periphery of my world.

In when I saw February TIOLI #10: Read a book with a sorority or fraternity connection I checked out the sorority 𝝨𝝙𝝩 to which my daughter belonged. There at the top was Dr. Joyce Brothers. I downloaded this biography, but never got around to reading it as I was, per >253 quondame:, chasing my tail on touchstones. In any case, it

Meets March TIOLI #14: Read a book about women who broke a glass ceiling

255quondame
Edited: Mar 5, 2:15pm Top

#62) The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds



It's short, but we still spend too much time with the toxic mother of two daughters neither of whom are well portrayed. As a mid-20th century reveal of what can hide under the stone of dysfunctional family life, as opposed to the Ozzie & Harriet & Father Knows Best of the 50s, I guess it caught people's attention, but beyond pure poison there's not much here.

Read for March TIOLI #4: Read a book with a word in the title that is often misused or misspelled

256SandyAMcPherson
Mar 6, 8:08am Top

>255 quondame: I've never read that book... (there's a 'but' coming)

Back in about 1973, I saw the movie of the story, with my husband and a friend. Paul Newman directed it and his wife and one of the daughters played the lead roles. Joanne Woodward was stellar.

We all thought the movie was really amazing and I went back to see it with a different friend. It wasn't a comfortable drama, but it sure portrayed a situation that plays out in many homes, even today. All these years later, I can still 'see' some of the scenes. I wonder how the movie would be for me now?

I totally understand why the story was 'pure poison', though. I can't see it being a good read.

257karenmarie
Mar 6, 8:27am Top

>254 quondame: and >255 quondame: What’s the opposite of a BB? As in, ‘thanks for the warning and I’ll never read this one’?

258jnwelch
Mar 6, 12:43pm Top

>257 karenmarie: Good question! Those are as appreciated as BBs.

Hi, Susan. Now I understand your concern about mislabeled touchstones!

I"m glad you enjoyed The Flowers of Vashnoi; that was a nice addition to the series, and more Ekatarin is always fine by me. I always look forward to Lois McMaster Bujold coming out with a new Vorkosigan story, although the last one, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, wasn't one of my favorites.

259quondame
Edited: Mar 6, 3:10pm Top

>256 SandyAMcPherson: I think the play had an important part to play in its time of cute family TV dramas, but set against classics like The Glass Menagerie or today's miasma of incest and drug ravaged dramas it doesn't have the roots to hold on. Tillie in dialog only is a very thin, colorless, straw against Beatrice's tempest. Joan Woodward was always stellar.

>258 jnwelch: In my original review of The Flowers of Vashnoi I expressed disappointment that Cordelia would think raising 6 daughters at once a good idea. I like Cordelia and deeply sympathize with her desire for more offspring, though 1 was pretty close to too many for me, but even with Mark's fountain of middle age from the end of Cryoburn, taking on 6+ children after one is 70 just seems to be asking for a darker series of stories. And LMB doesn't, in her 70s, seem to have any inclination for such stories.

260quondame
Edited: Mar 7, 3:39pm Top

#63) Blue Lily, Lily Blue



We go deeper into Cabeswater to find Glendower, but since this is not the final volume what Blue and the Raven boys find is unexpected and dangerous. The new additions to the story Malory, Greenmantle, the opaque Piper, and the late on the scene Gwenllian are like indigestible lumps in the narrative unlike the much more ambiguous Grey.

I'm hoping that this
Meets March TIOLI #16: March birthstone challenge - read a book with an aquamarine cover

261quondame
Mar 7, 3:47pm Top

#64) A Field Guide to Getting Lost



Beautiful writing accompanies this set of meditations and anecdotes on getting and being lost, losing things and memories and maybe even minds. Of losing balance and yet, it is curiously luminously balanced and is really more about being alive in the midst of change, of even seeking change and its inevitable loses.
So I depend on getting lost in books, to disconnecting myself from the internal narrative of what or who and all the shoulds attached. But for that this book is the opposite of a field guide, rather its Bay Area and desert scenes knotted tightly with my own memories tying my histories, lost in the level almost horizonless metropolis I have made my home, back to my heart. On to nearly content free fantasy.....

Meets March TIOLI #11: Read a Non Fiction book by a woman about a woman, a group of women or a woman's issue

262paulstalder
Mar 7, 4:13pm Top

hej Susan, wish you a quiet weekend

263quondame
Mar 8, 1:27am Top

#65) Spin the Dawn



A talented tailor who isn't allowed to be a tailor because she's a girl, competes to become the Emperors tailor. She also dyes, spins and weaves, very very quickly. A sorcerer hundreds of years old, a difficult princess who demands magical gowns, all chopped into one story with demons and illusions and I'm probably forgetting a few elements, but none are new, few are credibly polished and they do not go well together. Decently written and moves as a good speed, but way to much YA romance kissie stuff, way too much.

Read for March TIOLI #7: Read a book focused around some sort of physical activity, eg sports, dance

264brodiew2
Mar 9, 12:32am Top

>263 quondame: Too bad the book was not so good. The cover is lovely.

265SandyAMcPherson
Mar 9, 11:18am Top

>261 quondame:, This was my favourite of the 3 Solnit's I have read. I am slotting it in for a re-read when I've motored through my current list. It resonated with me (in my memory, anyway) as a journey of how one finds their own true self.

266quondame
Mar 9, 1:58pm Top

Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady & Equal Rights Advocate so short I finished it in the same minute I started so not adding to my book total, but mentioning it because it

Meets March TIOLI #17: Read a book with a Founding Father or Another honored in DC (list the name)

267quondame
Edited: Mar 9, 4:32pm Top

#66) The Raven King



Better than the two middle books of the series, this adds a few curves but no major bends in the expected route to outcome and those are more how than what.🌈

Meets March TIOLI #6: Read a book where the final page count of the story portion of the book is an odd number.

#67) Nevertheless, She Persisted



There are a few real gems in this tiny chest, and nothing more painful than the knowledge that persistence doesn't always, in fact usually doesn't, guarantee a result or eliminate the need for others to persist. Some are just cute or facile.
I'm pretty much in line with humouress's review if a bit more moderate except I loved Jo Walton's rhyme.

Read for March TIOLI Challenge #12: Read an anthology of genre fiction

268msf59
Mar 9, 5:26pm Top

>261 quondame: I enjoyed your thoughts on A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Susan. I am so glad you liked it. She was interviewed on the NYT Books podcast this past weekend, where she discussed her new memoir, that also sounds great.

269weird_O
Mar 9, 5:46pm Top



Hello, hello, Susan. Weather's pretty lovely here, and I'm sitting on our deck and taking a cyberstroll around this here cyberLibraryThingie.

270quondame
Mar 11, 6:39pm Top

So I've spent the last three days mostly reading and not catching up on LT. But I will.

>264 brodiew2: >265 SandyAMcPherson: >268 msf59: >269 weird_O: Thanks for dropping by. I'll be around your threads real soon now!

271quondame
Edited: Mar 11, 8:56pm Top

#68) The Lost Future of Pepperharrow



Good characters in some interesting settings, but long grim sections with little action dragged the middle of the book out of wow territory and really, not enough Katsu. The title is an interesting choice.
I do hope that the there isn't a trend toward the binding of this book, which is more like a giant paperback with board cover with the 'cover' image printed directly onto the paper of the cover, and not a dust jacket.🌈

With all the different levels of culture and foreignness I'm pretty sure this
Meets March TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

272alcottacre
Mar 11, 7:48pm Top

>246 quondame: I just added that one to the BlackHole yesterday. Glad to see you liked it.

>250 quondame: >260 quondame: >267 quondame: Dodging those BBs as I have already read them. Whew!

>261 quondame: I have had that one in the BlackHole for a while now. I really need to track down a copy.

>271 quondame: I just brought the first book in the series home from the library the other day and am hoping to get to it soon.

273ronincats
Mar 11, 9:10pm Top

>271 quondame: Umm, last book Pulley couldn't stick the landing at the end. Your review makes me glad I have this one on hold at the library.

274quondame
Edited: Mar 11, 10:50pm Top

>272 alcottacre: Though I know what you mean, I'm unhappy to hear about books going into black holes - they should go onto stacks or shelves, buckets or bins, anywhere from which they can emerge, but never consigned to the final darkness. I hope you enjoy Katsu!

>273 ronincats: I think the ending is well accomplished in this one, though I'm not altogether reconciled to it.

I'm into Girl, Woman, Other now, which is not hard to read, but does require paying attention and not just speeding through for plot points.

275quondame
Edited: Mar 13, 12:43am Top

#69) Girl, Woman, Other



Vivid characters and their histories form this loosely connected assemblage of outsider women's portraits mostly from the late 20th century, but going all the way back to the end of the 19th in one case, starting and concluding at a play in the pretty much now. Love, self-definition and agency all get plenty of play time. 🌈

With all the different levels of immigrant/blackness/LGBTQ vs mainstream white England
Meets March TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

276Berly
Mar 13, 12:50am Top

>275 quondame: I have to find time to get to this one!!!

277quondame
Edited: Mar 13, 1:37am Top

>276 Berly: It's a very good read and in some ways a parallel to There There though a good deal more optimistic and less violent.

I now have 3"-4" less room between my stove and refrigerator, but more space in the new refrigerator, especially since I cleared out all the ancient jars of giardiniera, pickled peppers, and olives. Of course if I can't replace them in the next couple of weeks I'll have regrets. I have survived the horror of cleaning out 20yrs of what gets under old appliance!

278Berly
Mar 13, 1:53am Top

Hurray for the new appliance! I recently had to clean out underneath our washing machine, but I only had 13 years for old stuff under it, still very yucky. : P

Hoping to get to GWO in the next day or two...!

279quondame
Edited: Mar 13, 4:01pm Top

#70) The Bookshop of Yesterdays



A pretty easy read, if way too drawn out in the middle, more plot driven than character driven, a real weakness because it would take willful blindness not to know what the big reveal is given the restricted cast list. Aside from Miranda and Billy, the characters are more history than presence. Still, it was fun to hang out in an alternate LA, my dips into the Silverlake area, being few and mostly long ago, as I am WLA local.

280quondame
Mar 14, 1:01am Top

#71) Almost American Girl



A coming of age story complicated by being pulled at age 12 from Seoul South Korea to Alabama then Virginia in 1995. Family issues and racial hostility are problems but the loneliness of isolation because of language and interests bite more deeply. Robin's eventual adjustments and understanding of her mother's reasons are well presented. The artwork expressed the emotions and moods of the characters well and for many of the characters captures individual differences clearly. The male characters don't appear too often, and sometimes are more awkwardly presented.

This could fit March TIOLI #1, or since America is being used in place of USA it could fit March TIOLI #15, but since I have others to meet those challenges, it

Meets March TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a Non Fiction book by a woman about a woman, a group of women or a woman's issue

#72) Meet My Granmother: She's A United States Senator



Serviceable, but obvious photo shoot publicity moments blast any charm.

Found while looking for books to meet March TIOLI 17 but
Read for March TIOLI #15: Read a book with a country in the title

281quondame
Mar 14, 1:58am Top

No sooner than I got home from picking up books at my most local library, than library closure notices started popping up. I'm going to have to shuffle about a number of planned reads!
Manny, my daughter's dog had a seizure so we spent hours getting him checked out.He's OK now, but there was no obvious cause, it's not low blood sugar as all previous seizures have been, but they can't do an MRI until next week even if we wanted it. We'll just have to hope it doesn't happen again until we bring him in for regular blood work. The poor little guy is wearing out fast.

282humouress
Edited: Mar 14, 2:29pm Top

>149 quondame: I usually tap/ click on the post number, which puts its address in the browser window.

>222 quondame: >224 foggidawn: >228 SandyAMcPherson: Our dog is a golden retriever; supposedly a water dog and far too interested in making friends to be an effective guard dog. Try telling him that, though. If we can convince him to get into the swimming pool, he’ll get out as soon as possible though he swims well enough. And if we’re in the pool, he races around the edge barking at us worriedly to get out.

>277 quondame: Congratulations! Not something I look forward to.

>221 quondame: >225 quondame: >243 quondame: >249 quondame: I’m holding on and waiting for McMaster Bujold to release the Penric books in paperback. Apart from being a completist and having the first three Chalion books in paperback, she’s one of my favourite authors and I want to have the physical books of those on my shelves.

(ETA: now doesn’t that look like
I can't wait a moment more
Tell me quando quando quando
Say its me that you adore
And then darling tell me when…)

283SandyAMcPherson
Mar 14, 4:18pm Top

Hi Susan, I'm sure being slow with Pepperharrow. But I'm definitely enjoying the prose in Hotel du Lac

So, that's all - really just delurking to spread a cheery (virus-free) wave from over on my thread. I just felt like letting people on LT know we are okay. I'm interpreting silence as "oh my gosh, are they ill?"

Snagged a great quote:
Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate --- M. Leavitt

284quondame
Mar 14, 6:59pm Top

>282 humouress: It's not navigating within a thread that I was after, but getting the link to point to the comment within the thread from another thread or an external document. If no one has commented on that entry I was either looking at the source code to capture the entry or previewing a comment I made and selecting the link.
I got each of the Penric novellas as they came out and am quite happy to have them. Likewise Murderbot Diaries - I was already on the lookout for more Martha Wells when it showed up.

>283 SandyAMcPherson: We are all fine for now, but with both my husband and daughter working from home I can't guarantee there won't be slaughter in the near future. Also, between spending time at the vets and going to the funeral of a friend's mother today, I'm not quite as isolated as I planned.

285msf59
Mar 14, 7:15pm Top

Happy Saturday, Susan. Hooray for Girl, Woman, Other. I loved that collection. I also have Almost American Girl home from the library, so I am glad to see you liked it.

286quondame
Mar 14, 8:30pm Top

The strange noise from the far end of the hallway was Gertie trying to kill herself by tearing through cardboard boxes to reach my husband's hoard of chocolate chip energy bars. The door to his office is now closed, no chocolate was ingested by the dachshund.

287quondame
Mar 14, 9:05pm Top

And now, LA County library has closed through March 31. Well, I picked up the book today on my way home from the funeral.

288quondame
Mar 14, 9:12pm Top

#73) Inside Out and Back Again



The account the life of a 10 year old girl and the changes from living in Vietnam, to fleeing, to living in Alabama, in verse. Lai has an elegant touch for making the feelings real but not overwhelming.

Read for March TIOLI #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

289quondame
Mar 14, 11:33pm Top

#74) A Whole New Ball Game



A serviceable overview of the AAGPBL with a few anecdotes and background.

Read for March TIOLI #9: Read a book with a baseball connection

290Berly
Edited: Mar 15, 1:48pm Top

>275 quondame: Glad you liked this one--it's up next for me!!

291quondame
Mar 15, 5:13pm Top

#75) Tangled Up in Brew



The plot was the standard mix of massive indirection and I didn't find a single character of interest in this - for example, an older woman dressing entirely in Steelers gold and black does not qualify as developing a character just to use her as a data-source. Nothing gross or painful, I only found discussions of beer and ale taste and brewing interesting.

Read for March TIOLI #13: Read a book with a punny title

292FAMeulstee
Mar 15, 5:31pm Top

>291 quondame: Congratulations on reaching 75, Susan!

293quondame
Mar 15, 5:32pm Top

294johnsimpson
Mar 15, 5:36pm Top

Congratulations on hitting 75 books read my dear.

295weird_O
Mar 15, 5:48pm Top

Ho ho. Really quite marvelous to read 75 books in less than 3 months.

I won't get to 75 until at least October.

My hat is off to you.

296thornton37814
Mar 15, 5:48pm Top

>291 quondame: Too bad #75 was such a dud. Congrats on hitting the magic number.

297jnwelch
Mar 15, 8:30pm Top

Lots of good reading, Susan! I loved A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Girl, Woman, Other and Almost American Girl. Like you, I had fun with Bookshop of Yesterdays. Sometimes a fairly easy read is a nice change of pace.

Congrats on reaching 75!

298quondame
Mar 15, 9:32pm Top

Because people pay attention to cat pictures:


299figsfromthistle
Mar 15, 10:08pm Top

Congrats on reading 75 books!!!!

300humouress
Mar 16, 4:37am Top

Congratulations on 75!

301SandyAMcPherson
Mar 16, 7:52am Top

>298 quondame: What a great graphic! Of course RD will need it with dog faces... I hope you don't mind if I snag it to replace my flat curve image.

302SandyAMcPherson
Mar 16, 7:53am Top

Oh yes, Also! Wow, 75 books read... I hope you found most of them worth the reading.

303karenmarie
Mar 16, 8:44am Top

Hi Susan!

>286 quondame: I’m laughing and shaking my head at the same time. Poor Gertie – chocolate driven – balked of her suicidal actions by loving human parents.

>287 quondame: I have one request outstanding at our library. Our library hasn’t closed (yet). We’ll see if it becomes available before they do, inevitably, close, and if I choose to go into town to get it when it does.

>291 quondame: Yay for #75. Congratulations.

>295 weird_O: You’re right – I paid attention!

304drneutron
Mar 16, 9:36am Top

Congrats on hitting the goal!

305quondame
Edited: Mar 16, 4:03pm Top

>294 johnsimpson: >295 weird_O: >296 thornton37814: >297 jnwelch: >299 figsfromthistle: >300 humouress: >302 SandyAMcPherson: >303 karenmarie: >304 drneutron: Thanks John, Bill, Lori, Joe, Anita, Nina, Sandy, Karen, and Jim!

I returned all the e-books I finished so others could get to them. It would be great if the libraries would let people know that the increased demand means returning e-books that are have been read is an easy public service.

Has the meeting, shaking hands, and general contact in what you are reading seem a bit off putting to anyone else? I've had the same reaction to ubiquitous smoking in older books for a long time, but now everything is distancing.

306SandyAMcPherson
Mar 16, 4:28pm Top

>305 quondame: Can't say that the meeting, shaking hands, and general contact has struck me as off-putting or a 'say what' moment.
However, smoking really dates a story nowadays. It is so weird when people are lighting up in airplanes, restaurants and hotel rooms, for example. In fact, until I was somewhat recently in Montréal, I had not seen people walking around, smoking out on the street for years. OK - certain insalubrious parts of just about any town, yes, lots of hanging around and smoking, but not nearly like 10 years ago or more.

307quondame
Mar 16, 7:32pm Top

Gertie has become the home office emotional support animal. Both my husband and daughter have jobs supporting people getting used to new remote systems and in my daughter's case, only have partial answers for those using the new systems. Gertie is getting her coat rubbed thin and is in occasional danger of a broken rib from desperate hugs.

308quondame
Mar 16, 9:48pm Top

#76) Dancers in Mourning



I found this mostly plodding, and too many intelligent eyes with too little intelligent behavior. The ageism is appalling and the sexism is uncomfortable as this is written by a woman. Still, for a Brits in Big House mystery, the characters are unusual with appropriate quirks. I just didn't enjoy the house party.

I must have read some books by Margery Allingham back when I was reading Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, and Daphne du Maurier, but Campion, if I have ever encountered him, left no impression.

Read for March TIOLI #4: Read a book with a word in the title that is often misused or misspelled

309quondame
Mar 18, 2:21am Top

#77) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet



Not perfect, but a better read than most of what I’ve been working through lately! The plot was secondary to the characters and their relationships and did not derive from them, but gave them things to react to.
On second reading I liked the entire book somewhat more. Where I usually am not fond of more than two pov characters, I feel the divided focus jumping from one crew member to the next gives this book its rich texture.

Re-read for March TIOLI #8: Read a book with a title including a mathematical or astronomical term

310richardderus
Mar 18, 4:10pm Top

311quondame
Mar 19, 1:13am Top

#78) A Closed and Common Orbit



I wanted to get back to the set of characters in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and so had trouble committing to the story line, but eventually started enjoying the story in front of me which had some interesting discussion on the issues of existence as an AI in a non-target body.
Now that I've read this just after the first book I understand that it is the characters and the dilemmas the face rather than the adventure they complete that really are these books, and that going back to the crew of Wayfarer would not do at all.

Re-read for March TIOLI #8: Read a book with a title including a mathematical or astronomical term

312quondame
Mar 19, 1:21am Top

>310 richardderus: Thanks Richard!

313quondame
Mar 19, 1:28am Top

I am now resupplied with Cheetos, but am doubtful if it was worth Mike venturing out - not that he went just for them, but still. He seems incapable of sitting at home a full day, much less two weeks.

314quondame
Mar 19, 7:31pm Top

#79) Chocolat



A weighted contrast between pagan sensuality and Catholic self-denial, the single mother chocolatier vs the young troubled curé of a tiny French village. She wants to make people happy, he wants them on his narrow path to salvation and immediately sees her as a personal enemy.
We spend a bit too long with this pair who are a bit too obviously contrasted, but as both individuals with doubts and hopes.

I didn't know that this was posted by the author - I've visited every other realm mentioned so I routed myself to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes.



Meets March TIOLI #2: Read a book for the MARCH Semi-Rolling Challenge

315msf59
Mar 19, 7:51pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Susan. Congrats on hitting #75, our magic number! How do you do it? I haven't hit 40 yet, and I thought I was doing pretty good.

316karenmarie
Mar 20, 7:51am Top

Hi Susan!

I have two bags of Cheetos on the stairs leading to a room we rarely go into, semi-hidden behind a big package of paper towels. Husband hasn't seen them yet, and I'm mostly forgetting they are there. Mostly.

I hope Mike can settle into the two weeks.

My niece/wife live in Long Beach and had already pretty much stopped going out except for food/supplies and Heather's job. Her wife Amber has been furloughed for 5 weeks from Hornblower Cruises and Events, the daycare closed. My sister/husband live in Rialto and were finally getting serious about staying in and so I'm glad they're now required to. Let's hope this draconian measure helps.

317PaulCranswick
Mar 20, 8:51am Top

Slightly belatedly, Susan, congratulations on flying by 75!

Time for a new thread, surely?

318quondame
Mar 20, 3:12pm Top

>316 karenmarie: My husband and daughter are of course the closest family I have and while I like having her here, the idea that we would all get sick at once is horrific. New cases in LA have gone up by about 40/day for the last 4-5 days, which is not at all exponential, but may be an artifact of too few test kits available.

>317 PaulCranswick: Thanks. I'm sort of hoping to nurse it along until the new quarter.

319quondame
Mar 20, 6:38pm Top

So maybe I can't read all the time. After a few days of sitting in the corner, I opened the latest of my miniature purchases, the bench with attached, working!, vise and loaded it up with a selection of my other miniature tools and charms. Most of the tools shown have moving parts - that is if they are supposed to have moving parts! Back to Wolf Hall - LA public library has the brilliant new service 7 day e-books 5 at a time!
The Mirror and the Light is available via Overdrive, I'm not sure what formats others available this way come in.

320SandyAMcPherson
Mar 20, 11:11pm Top

>320 SandyAMcPherson: That workbench is totally the coolest miniature model I've ever seen.
I forgot that you have a collection. I think some items were posted back in early 2019. However do you find these?

About Book #79, I haven't read it, only saw the movie. I could never quite figure out what was happening in the plot. Sounds like the book isn't any better.

Funny how that works. Converting to film, the story is so dependent on the screenplay and if the book was good, it has often meant the film wasn't. But exceptions abound... I'm probably more of a reader and less inclined to see films.

Last comment, a question: I don't understand that 2-week time span in California. Surely to goodness the health departments are listening to the epidemiologists? This situation could persist for several weeks or even months, depending on how conscientious the quarantined population is behaving, no?

321quondame
Mar 21, 12:34am Top

>320 SandyAMcPherson: It's not 2 weeks anymore, it's 4. I think they want to keep as many old and compromised people away from reckless youngsters while the latter get sick and recover. Who knows how it will go. Meanwhile every sniffle and cough and seasonal allergy twinge has us wigging out.
As to the tools, everything comes from eBay - I pretty much started looking first thing eBay showed up, so it's like almost 25 years now. My grandfather put together a bracelet of charms from 1910-1925 which was stolen from my apartment in the mid-seventies. I have many many now, but there are about 3 of the items on the original bracelet that I've never seen show up in really good condition and 1 I've never seen at all.
Chocolat wasn't a bad read, but it was a bit muddled and overwrought.

322SandyAMcPherson
Mar 21, 10:22am Top

>321 quondame: "every ... twinge has us wigging out"

Yeah, me too. Both The Man and I have runny noses but I think it's not an illness. As the days warm and the snow melts, we usually have a reaction to all the snow mold that gets into the air. Of course I don't know for sure, so there's a low level anxiety all this while.

I'm having trouble reading much right now. So strange since all the activities are off the calendar...

323quondame
Edited: Mar 21, 6:11pm Top

#80) Wolf Hall



Absolutely excellent at bringing to life complex characters from a complex and pivotal time. The few years encompassing the downfalls of Cardinal Wolsey and Sir. Thomas More are full of pitfalls and opportunities, sometimes the same circumstance. Only the singular equanimity of Thomas Cromwell showing little anger and overt ambition is a bit hard to believe, though an easy and interesting point of view.

Meets March TIOLI #10: Tour de Suisse by adding the read pages to the Swiss postal code

324PaulCranswick
Mar 23, 8:28pm Top

How's it going to limping to the second quarter?

You may have 400 posts by then. :D

325quondame
Mar 23, 8:54pm Top

>324 PaulCranswick: People seem to be social distancing me. Besides, I'm 1/2 through Bring Up the Bodies and have The Mirror and the Light on short loan, so it's not like I'll have lots to post.

The three of us remain marginally sane and have not terminated any dachshunds, though some rearrangement of bedding locations have occurred. I now have to curve my legs around Gertie's protected dog bed. Left in a carrier she makes noise, left in the basket she finds her way onto the bed (she never does this when we can see her, only when alone or in the dark). She hasn't outraged the bed recently but she is such a vigorous cuddle-er that it's hard to sleep while she's at it.

326SandyAMcPherson
Mar 23, 9:44pm Top

I'm thinking lots of us are not posting as much about books as usual (assuming that's what you thought about not lots to post (@325).

I am very easily distracted or rather my concentration wanders and I keep popping out of whatever narrative to which I'm supposedly paying attention. I haven't even worked up much enthusiasm to post cover images... I did get out for a walk today, though. The sunshine was intermittently brilliant and should have been a mood boost.

327quondame
Edited: Mar 29, 12:59am Top

#81) Breaking Silence



The second of the SERRAted Edge books set in the village of Silence on the coast of Maine. Awkwardly arbitrary plotting, way to many nick-of-time rescues, and minimal character development, there were elements here that could have made for a significantly better book, but were just wrapped up in the usual plot and set on the shelf.

I really should have Pearl ruled this, but 1) I can't return it until the library re-opens 2) someone else has a hold on it, so I feel guilty having it without reading it. At least it

Meets March TIOLI #6: Read a book where the final page count of the story portion of the book is an odd number

#82) Bring Up the Bodies



Original Review, 2018:
A long few weeks/months while Anne Boleyn goes from receiving love letters from King Henry to losing her head, This telling shows Anne more as a political failure than an unfaithful, incestuous wife. We view Thomas Cromwell as he anticipates the King's desires and brings ruin to some of the men who have distressed him in matters of Wolsey or himself. But we are kept at a distance from Cromwell's feeling whether of distress or satisfaction. As much as the overwrought emotionalism of many 15th & 16th century set novels has lead me to avoid them, this one is so detached from the passions of the events it relates as to seem, as it is, from a different world, but not ours with our worship of feelings.
Re-read:
Following immediately after a re-read of Wolf Hall, this books impressed me as being much more clear about how Cromwell accomplishes what his king, and his own survival, require him to do. It leaves unclear why he required the backing of the old guard of Plantagenet descendants and supporters of Mary Tudor to bring down Anne Boleyn, though it's clear why they would want Anne dead. And as obscure as I found Cromwell's motivations in my first reading, though they are not described in emotional terms, they are quite clear.

Meets March TIOLI #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

328alcottacre
Mar 24, 6:24pm Top

>274 quondame: I have never considered the BlackHole a final darkness, lol. It started out as Mount TBR, pretty soon it got to be Planet TBR, and then Jim suggested it be a black hole because it was growing so much! It is infinitely expandable - and lots of books come out from it.

>275 quondame: I wish my local library had a copy of that one.

>279 quondame: Skipping that one!

>280 quondame: I added Almost American Girl to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Susan.

>281 quondame: Sorry to hear about Manny. I hope the seizures do not happen again any time soon, if ever!

>288 quondame: I will give that one a shot, although I am not a huge poetry fan.

>309 quondame: I read that one a couple of years ago. I need to re-read it before I read the next in the series though.

>323 quondame: A re-read of that one and Bring Up the Bodies are coming in the near future for me. I cannot wait to try The Mirror and the Light.

329Storeetllr
Mar 24, 6:38pm Top

>319 quondame: Wow. That is fantastic!

Now I want one.

330msf59
Mar 24, 6:46pm Top

>315 msf59: Did you miss me up there? Sad face.

> 323 Hooray for Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies. Such great books!

331quondame
Mar 24, 7:06pm Top

>330 msf59: It looks like I did. Thank you. 40 is doing good - you have the encumbrance of a job and all to keep you busy in prime reading hours, so really, per hour you are far ahead of me.

Yes, they are good books, though after Bring Up the Bodies I was reminded that it's very unclear to me exactly what actions of Cromwell's in Wolf Hall cleared the way for the marriage, other than that he convinced Henry VIII that he could do as he pleased. The Parliamentary Acts weren't nearly as in your face as the confrontations with snitches and suspects.

332Berly
Mar 24, 7:27pm Top

>319 quondame: That looks so real! Good thing the finger is there to get a size perspective. Congrats on already reaching the goal, and you've been reading some long ones, too! My current pace will reach 75 and maybe even 100, so I am pretty happy.

333richardderus
Mar 24, 8:01pm Top

Poor Sir T. What a terrible waste of a life, serving such a deeply unworthy, ungrateful master.

Onward! Montjoie! Dieu et mon droit!

334quondame
Mar 24, 8:18pm Top

>333 richardderus: Well, he was aware of the hazards of the job when he went for it, and his son and protegees were able to keep much of what he gained for them. Did he qualify for the honorific Sir? I know he had titles, but I thought Sir was specific to knighthood, rather than the Lord of a Baron.

335karenmarie
Mar 25, 9:40pm Top

>319 quondame: Totally excellent. I love the vise...

336richardderus
Mar 25, 10:07pm Top

>334 quondame: He was a Baron, then an Earl...I think Barons are addressed as "Sir", aren't they? Or are those baronets?

337quondame
Mar 25, 11:06pm Top

>336 richardderus: In The Mirror and the Light it specifically mentions him being knighted and now to be called Sir. But it never seems to happen. This third book is very different than the first two, and so far (40%) way way too many recalling of past times, which actually probably helps those who haven read Bring up the Bodies since it came out, but at 1200+ Overdrive pages (764 on Kindle) I rate them pernicious filler.

338quondame
Mar 26, 1:25am Top

I did the thing. But first I ordered $65 worth of candy.

1. Who(m) are you named after? A bakery truck. My mom was tired of in-law family names
2. Last time you cried? At a funeral on Mar. 14.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Occasionally - it’s never the same for two consecutive paragraphs
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Chipped beef. My dad ate the stuff so I guess it’s genetic
5. Longest relationship? I’ve been married 33 years. We’ll see if we make it to 34…..
6. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
7. Would you bungee jump? Not for love or money, unless it was an awful lot of money.
8. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Cornflakes. With heavy cream.
9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Only if I have to.
10. Do you think you're strong-willed? Absolutely.
11. Favorite ice cream? Drumsticks with nuts.
12. What is the first thing you notice about a person? Their bearing.
13. Football or baseball? Basketball.
14. What color pants are you wearing? Blue leggings. It’s too cold to go barelegged.
15. Last thing you ate? Indonesian take out.
16. What are you listening to? My husband has a piano concerto going downstairs. I prefer silence.
17. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Vermilion.
18. What is your favorite smell? My dog when she really wants to be with me.
19. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My friend Jennifer who I last saw at the funeral. She’s fine thank you.
20. Married? See #5.
21. Hair color? Brown with grey if you ask me, grey if you ask anyone else.
22. Eye color? Hazel. Well, blue on the edges of the iris, brown around the pupils.
23. Favorite food? Milk.
24. Scary movies or happy endings? Earned happy endings, not formula ones.
25. Last movie you watched in a theater? Little Women
26. What color shirt are you wearing? Inner layer is grey and black, outer layer is striped greys and blues
27. Favorite holiday? Christmas.
28. Beer or Wine? Yes, please. It depends what I’m eating
29. Night owl or morning person? Nope.
30. Favorite day of the week? Before Covid-19, Tuesday. All my favorite food places open, home alone.
31. Favorite animal? Dogs.
32. Do you have a pet? 3 dachshunds. You meant masters surely.
33. Where would you like travel to? England, again. Without catching athletes foot this time. Do they have (reliably) working air-conditioning yet?

339Berly
Mar 26, 3:11am Top

>338 quondame: Love your answers. : )

#5 "Longest relationship? I’ve been married 33 years. We’ll see if we make it to 34….." Gotta keep earning it, right?

#21 "Hair color? Brown with grey if you ask me, grey if you ask anyone else." There's honesty for you!

340PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 4:10am Top

>235 quondame: I won't socially distance you, Susan!

>338 quondame: Vermillion is such a poetic colour and, no, the airconditioning is still not widespread.

341SandyAMcPherson
Mar 26, 3:23pm Top

>338 quondame: Great answers! Do we know each other any better now?

342quondame
Mar 26, 4:28pm Top

>340 PaulCranswick: Back in 1991 I reserved an air-conditioned room in a hotel in Kensington to be close to the Victoria and Albert. The air-conditioning was out of service during a heat wave, the bathtub gave me athletes foot, Prince Charles chose to visit the V&A on the day we planned to, and The Woman in Black was the only decent drama we could get tickets to. That last might not seem like a problem, but I was expecting and when we returned home I miscarried.

>341 SandyAMcPherson: Probably very little. These aren't the important aspects, well except for the tone of the answers, and I suspect my tone is familiar to those who follow this thread.

343richardderus
Mar 26, 5:59pm Top

>338 quondame: #11 I haven't even seen a Drumstick in this century! Do they still make them?

344quondame
Mar 26, 6:37pm Top

>343 richardderus: In multiple flavors. TJ's sells mini ones in two flavors, no nuts.

345PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 7:45pm Top

>342 quondame: That's a train-wreck holiday story, Susan. You are a brave lady wanting to go back.

346SandyAMcPherson
Mar 27, 1:30pm Top

>342 quondame: OMG. What an astoundingly dreadful backstory.

I've visited London a couple times and that was enough. I liked Cambridge ever so much better. But goodness, for a Canadian, the cities, heck the whole Island, seem to be heaving with people.
And either no central heating or (not that I was there in the summer), no AC.

347quondame
Mar 27, 2:12pm Top

>346 SandyAMcPherson: I've been to England 4 times, though 2 were in the summer of 67 at either end of a student tour. I'm not sure why I chose to return when the tour, which had included a few of the usual highlights, ended, but I had barely enough money for a room until my scheduled flight left, and spent much time seeing where the Underground went, wandering through parks and reading unmemorable romances. When I joined a Heyer fan group in the 80s I claimed that's when I first read her books, but it can't have been. Even without remembering details, the impression is indelible.
I went to Brighton in 79 for the SF WorldCon, and was thoroughly chilled. I had, based on my earlier August in London, only brought summer clothing. I bought a sweatshirt the second day that I kept on most of the time until I was on the plane home. But I did get to dance at the Old Ship and tour the Pavilion with my group, all done up in Regency clothing, which drew remarks from those who saw us. Gadding about in garb wasn't done then.

348SandyAMcPherson
Mar 27, 6:24pm Top

>347 quondame: Thanks for some stories of the lighter side of your visits. Did you meet any SF authors of note? I always wondered which SF Con it was that inspired Deep Secret. It may be noted somewhere which were the ones Diana Wynne Jones attended, but I've not looked especially.

349quondame
Mar 27, 6:49pm Top

>348 SandyAMcPherson: The party at the Old Ship was hosted by Larry Niven. Jerry Pournelle wore his Hussar's uniform as it was a Regency themed event. There were other authors at that party, editors and such, though I was busy flirting with a fellow computer geek and dance buddy. For the next 30 years I hosted monthly dances and yearly balls to which Larry often came, and was invited a couple times a year to parties at his house where I've met a few other authors in a less public setting.

350quondame
Edited: Mar 29, 12:59am Top

#83) The Mirror & the Light



Thomas Cromwell has exercised every power available to him when this book starts, and while he collects more lands, offices, and honors, there are things he cannot control and those he no longer oversees. Cromwell, alert, hungry, proactive is little present here, the the continued accumulation of property and status seeming more momentum than exertion. The reader has a much more interior, almost stream of conscious window on Cromwell, almost every event described from 1536 1540 evokes imagery from his past and the reader floats through the multitudinous pages of this volume on the language of this imagery.

"The monuments of dead monarchs draw together, as if their bones were counseling each other; and the prophetic pavements beneath them, those stones of onyx, porphyry, green serpentine and glass, advise us through their inscriptions how many years the world will last."

All in all, I preferred the earlier two volumes, but should I survive until I can check a hardback from the library for more than a couple of weeks, this will merit a more leisurely read.

Meets March TIOLI #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

351jnwelch
Mar 28, 3:29pm Top

Hi, Susan. Way to go on reading all of Mantel's Cromwell trilogy in such a short amount of time!

I enjoyed your >338 quondame: answers, particularly #13. If I'd thought of it, I would've said the same.

352quondame
Edited: Mar 29, 8:00pm Top

#84) The Fortunes



The four sections present aspects of the lives of the Chinese who immigrated to the US and their descendants. While the opportunities available in each succeeding story, mid 19th century, early and late 20th, and 21st century are increased, the horrendous cost of being considered alien, even in your own birth country, is staggering. None of the characters is entirely comfortable in their own skin and the weight of the other-ing they have endured and will continue to endure is passed on to the reader. But the four narrators are startling different individuals, the first two active and angry, the second two more cautious observers, once again, not in the same ways. The writing went with the oppressive mood, more dreamy than brisk for sure, and the only humor were the resented ethnic jokes, and the brittle riffs of Anna May Wong.

1850s whites: "Hadn’t they come out West on the basis of it? These men were quintessential Americans, believers in the main chance, certain they deserved better than their lot, that the world, the earth, owed them its treasures."

A Chinese man who owned a business and financed it through gambling: "He bet on the cards he had, not the ones he wished for. That’s what the West had taught him."

Read for March TIOLI #1: Read a book of fiction about a clash of cultures

353quondame
Mar 29, 8:02pm Top

#85) A Dead Djinn in Cairo



This would have made a fine spine for a longer work, but as is, it is just a connect the dots - save the universe tale, not so much a mystery as a simple maze. The setting and characters remain the stars.

Read for March TIOLI #10: Tour de Suisse by adding the read pages to the Swiss postal code

354quondame
Edited: Mar 30, 2:58pm Top

#86) A Useful Woman



The characters and plot were fine, but are 2 hunky admirers are required if the audience isn't YA? I was never convinced that anything like the activities of Miss Thorne would be vaguely plausible in early 19th century London, and odd details kept jarring my involvement.

A BB from foggidawn.

Meets March TIOLI #6: Read a book where the final page count of the story portion of the book is an odd number

355quondame
Mar 31, 2:26am Top

My favorite coffee house, Peet's is no longer roasting the full range of beans, so I have to try alternates to Arabian Mocha Java - I picked up the last of the local shop's Arabian beans and will have to go to South American beans when this 0.5lb is gone. I don't think my mornings would be the same with tea instead of coffee. Somehow the ritual of emptying the small pot eases the transition to vertical for me.

356quondame
Mar 31, 11:50am Top

#87) Zodiac



A decent but not particularly thrilling eco-action narrative as GEE scientist agent, Sangamon Taylor, investigates and takes action against polluters, primarily in the Boston area and often out on Boston Harbor on the Zodiac owned by his organization. For a work set so decidedly in Boston, there is zero feeling of being in any particular city, and this is such a total nerd guy story it even has a woman in peril bit. Admittedly, the guys are in peril too, not quite the same way.

Read for March TIOLI #10: Tour de Suisse by adding the read pages to the Swiss postal code

357quondame
Mar 31, 2:22pm Top

#88) Father Christmas's Fake Beard



Terry Pratchett takes it over the top in these wryly funny, illustrated short stories. Somewhat, but not fantastically, funny, still they are amusing if spaced out over advent perhaps.

Read for March TIOLI #5: Read a book you've had in the house or on your e-device since before Jan 1, 2020

358quondame
Edited: Mar 31, 10:44pm Top

#89) Sweep in Peace



When two galactic super warrior races are locked in a war they cannot win but can't abandon without dishonoring their dead and between them a race of wily merchants with access to a resource uniquely plentiful, the challenge of peace talks requires setting in an Inn, but a flourishing Inn has nothing to gain. Dina's newly reawakened Gertrude Hunt is as in need guests as Dina is of funds, so Dina agrees to host the peace talks. However; it turns out that two implacable enemies and Merchant's super weapon were the only the start of the challenges these talks face.
I'd rate this a 3.25 if the granularity allowed. It keeps moving, keeps the interest going and throws in interesting curves, without resort to soppy romantic tics.

Meets March TIOLI #13: Read a book with a punny title

359SandyAMcPherson
Mar 31, 11:23pm Top

>354 quondame:, I'm reading book #3 in this set. I'm inclined to find it a bit too unsettling for what I need right now.

Whether Rosalinde Thorne's exploits would be tolerated in her era of London, I'm not sure. I agree, a little too free and easy, as if she was still entirely accepted by the haut ton, a situation which you aptly indicated as jarring.

The theme/characters that Wilde writes about bring to mind an old series I enjoyed a long time ago, featuring a policeman (Thomas Pitt) married to Charlotte, an upperclass woman. I liked those better --- Anne Perry seemed to more accurately represent the difficulties of women who've lost their social position.

360weird_O
Apr 1, 12:42am Top

Howdy. I bin here. Read what I liked, and liked that I read.

361quondame
Apr 1, 2:05am Top

>359 SandyAMcPherson: I think social connections were both weaker and stronger than those portrayed and that women of a certain social status just didn't go out much alone, and for multiple reasons.

>360 weird_O: Thank you sir. See you next thread!

362quondame
Apr 1, 1:28pm Top

Because I had a couple of hours free at the end of the day:

#90) All Systems Red



When I first read this I was delighted by the quirky take on being (in)human with a Murderbot who just wants to be left alone with endless media to peruse. The combination of media addiction and discomfort approaching the panic level at having to deal face to face with humans and human emotion is so identifiable and creates a strong resonance of irony for Murderbot's treasured inhumanity.
Now that I've read 3 sequels it is a delight to come back to this stunning miniature tour de force. (recycled from Jan. 2019)

Re-Reread for March TIOLI #2: Read a book for the MARCH Semi-Rolling Challenge

363Berly
Apr 1, 1:35pm Top

Okay, woman. You need a new thread. : ) Congrats on #90...already!!

364figsfromthistle
Apr 1, 9:53pm Top

>362 quondame: Too many on LT have enjoyed this one that I really need to buy it and read it now! Anyhow enjoy the rest of the week.

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