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Donna Reads Through A New Decade (1)

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Edited: Jan 2, 2:18pm Top

Welcome to my wonderful world of books! My reading life changed for the better in March of 2007 when I read about Library Thing in the Wall Street Journal. I promptly joined and began tracking my reading online. I have kept lists of the books I’ve read since the mid-70s and started adding reviews in 1997. LT makes the process much easier, plus I’ve made many friends around the world and have received untold gentle book bullets. I am so grateful to this community of readers. Thank You! 😍 📚

On the personal side, my family gives me great joy. My husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage in July of 2018. Our three children and six grands had fun in our (rented) mountain home outside of Breckenridge, CO. This Christmas is the first time we’ve all been together since then. As you can see by the picture, we had so much fun! Our house is quiet once again, but I have a few books to keep me company. Thank goodness for my home library and a neighborhood library a brisk 20-minute walk from my house.

Edited: Jan 2, 3:24pm Top

I have been doing this end-of-year reading meme for the past eight or so years. I notice several people have added some bonus lines this year. More fun!

Fill in the prompts using titles of books you've read in 2019...

Describe yourself: The Good Neighbor

Describe how you feel: Wish You Were Here

Describe where you currently live: Disappearing Earth

Your favorite time of day is: The Gilded Hour

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Secret Garden

Your favorite form of transportation: The River

Your best friend is: The Chosen

You and your friends are: The Great Believers

What’s the weather like: A Cold Day in Paradise

You fear: Leaving Everything Most Loved

What is the best advice you have to give: Play Dead

Thought for the day: Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It

How you would like to die: Crazy Brave

Your soul’s present condition: Quiet Girl In A Noisy World

What is life for you: This is Happiness

Your favorite food is: Olive, Again

What I would like for my birthday next year: Journey to Munich

Edited: Jan 16, 1:49pm Top

Edited: Jan 16, 1:46pm Top

I’ve considered not giving ratings to the books I read. They seem so arbitrary and dependent upon mood and on what is going on in my life. However, I think I will continue the practice because it is in my nature as an ex-teacher to give grades. ;-)
Rating System
One Star......Not worth my time
Two Stars....Finished grudgingly
2.5 Stars......Fair, but not for me
Three Stars..Liked it pretty well but had reservations
3.5 Stars.....Good but not great
Four Stars...Great book; I recommend anything with a 4-star and beyond rating
4.5 Stars.....Excellent; a keeper
Five Stars....Superb - Timeless; a real treasure.
I have very few 5-star ratings. I want this designation to be saved for those few life-changing books out there.

January Reading:

1. The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld. 4* Comments
2. Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller. 4.3* Comments
3. Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane. 3.2* Comments
4. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. 4.2* Comments

Edited: Jan 4, 10:18pm Top

Top Ten Fiction Books of 2019 listed in the order I read them...

History of the Rain by Niall Williams
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkah
A Catalog of Birds by Laura Harrington
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
Deep River by Karl Marlantes
The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
This is Happiness by Niall Williams

It’s interesting (to me) that my first and last notable books are by the same author. I definitely want to read more by Irish author Niall Williams this year.

Another new-to-me author whom I enjoyed this year was Stewart O’Nan. I had heard of him but didn’t think his books would appeal to me. Wrong! I look forward to exploring his other works.

Some of the Non-fiction books I enjoyed were:
These Truths by Jill Lepore
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston
Bibliophile by Jane Mount
A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy.

I read exactly 100 books in 2019. That is my goal, but I don’t always make it. I read primarily literary fiction, although I’m making a real effort to read more NF.
I read 17 NF books which might be a record for me.
I also listened to 17 audio books, mostly on road trips to Colorado and Northern Michigan.
I read two graphic books, my favorite being Quiet Girl In A Noisy World.
I read only one book on my Kindle.

Total Page Count for the year was 35,366.

2019 was a great reading year, and I’m looking forward to more of the same in 2020.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Jan 1, 9:19pm Top

: )

Jan 1, 9:20pm Top

Hope 2020 is kind to you!

Edited: Jan 3, 9:29pm Top

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

Jan 2, 6:11am Top

Best wishes for 2020!

Jan 2, 7:44am Top

Happy reading 2020, Donna.

Jan 2, 10:47am Top

Great to see you back, Donna. Happy New Year.

Jan 2, 10:49am Top

Happy 2020, Donna! Wish you all the best in the new year!

Jan 2, 10:51am Top

Happy New Year of reading, spending time with your grandchildren, and finding time to enjoy what makes you happy!
I wasn't as active in 2019 as I would have liked to be. But, I am back, and will check your thread regularly.

Jan 2, 1:02pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 2, 1:45pm Top

Happy new year, Donna!

Jan 2, 2:44pm Top

Hi Donna. After a horrible 2019, I am back on LT and will try to be more active this year.
Amazing to see how your grandchildren have grown over the years. (they tend to do that). I remember Molly was born about the time our first grandchild, Boden, was born.

Jan 2, 3:42pm Top

Happy reading in 2020, Donna!

Jan 2, 3:50pm Top

Happy New Year, Donna!

Jan 2, 6:05pm Top

And now I can greet my visitors! I love having company.

>6 Berly: Thanks for that brilliant star, Kim.

>7 ChelleBearss: Wishing the same to you, Chelle.

>8 PaulCranswick: Those are words to live by, Paul. Thanks!

Jan 2, 6:08pm Top

>9 DianaNL: Thank you, Diana.

>10 Ameise1: I’m looking forward to getting started on my reading, Barbara.

>11 BLBera: It’s good to be back. Happy New Year to you, Beth.

Jan 2, 6:12pm Top

>13 Whisper1: it’s good to see you here, Linda. Thanks for all the good wishes. I wish you peace, comfort, and good books!

>14 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. And thanks for all the hard administrative work. We appreciate you!

>15 katiekrug: Hi Katie. Happy New Year to you and The Wayne!

Jan 2, 6:14pm Top

Hi Donna, Happy New Year. Your beautiful grandchildren are certainly growing up. It's a reality I don't like facing lol. When I ask Mia where is my little baby she puts me in my place. Grandma, I'm a big kid now! Happy reading my friend.

Jan 2, 6:21pm Top

>16 arubabookwoman: Deborah, I’m glad your husband is doing better. I’ve missed you on LT. Yes, the grands are growing too fast. I hope you get to see yours more frequently after your move to Florida.

>17 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I’d better get started!

>18 ronincats: Ooh, pretty star, Roni. Thank you.

Jan 2, 6:24pm Top

>22 brenzi: Hi Bonnie. It’s so much fun to see them learn new things. I had both Hope and Molly reading Christmas books to me this past week. Heaven! The teenagers, on the other hand, had their eyes fixed on their phones most of the time. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Jan 2, 6:27pm Top

>12 Carmenere: Lynda, you sneaked up on me! I’m wishing good things for you as well. Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family.

Edited: Jan 2, 6:36pm Top

My responses have disappeared! What is going on here?
Oh good, they’re back. We must be overloading the system, I’ll do my bit and go start reading!

Jan 2, 6:37pm Top

I am looking forward to your book reviews and family updates and wishing you a year of great reading in 2020. All the best!

Jan 2, 6:38pm Top

Happy 2020!

Edited: Jan 3, 10:55am Top

Found you and dropped my star :)

Jan 3, 11:05am Top

Happy New Year! Here's hoping I keep up with everyone a little better this year. :)

Edited: Jan 3, 8:54pm Top

Book No. 1: The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld. Library, 264 pp., 4 stars.

“Celia was in the library. It was her favorite place to be, besides her own imagination. The best part was becoming one with the butterflies...When they talked to Celia, it was like the sweetest notes of music. She could hear them coming from afar. She could see them now, covering the misty library windows..Celia’s eyes filled with tears as the butterflies gave voice to her own wonder.”
(43, 45)

Rene Denfeld's books won't be for everyone because of the magic realism yet I've liked all three of them. Her latest book is a sequel to The Child Finder. That title is a description of Naomi, one of the main characters in the book. She was the victim of an abduction as a child and lived several years in an underground bunker. When she was able to run away at age 9, her younger sister was left behind and she never forgave herself. Now she is a grown woman who makes her living as a private investigator trying to find missing children. The story goes back and forth between her search for her sister and the plight of an abused 12-year-old girl named Celia who lives on the streets of Portland, Oregon. Their paths cross repeatedly as they both seek to overcome their wrecked lives.

This psychological thriller is written from the perspective of a woman who knows what it's like to live on the streets as a homeless child. I need to research the author to find out her story. It is tough reading about these situations but there is always hope lurking in the background. I particularly liked that the fictional Celia had a friend in the librarian who stashed away her beloved book on butterflies. I usually don't enjoy these emotional roller coaster books but Denfeld has credibility and knows how to build suspense. I would suggest reading The Child Finder first.

Jan 3, 5:19pm Top

Welcome back, Donna! Lovely to see your family’s smiling faces!

Jan 3, 8:09pm Top

>27 mdoris: Thanks, Mary. I enjoy following your thread, too. All the way to Hawaii!

>28 banjo123: Thank you, Rhonda. I planted a star on your thread awhile ago.

>29 RebaRelishesReading: You are likewise found and starred, Reba. My, this is some LT party!

>30 nittnut: Jenn, just do the best you can. I am much more likely to be sitting in a corner of the gathering watching all the other kids visit while I quietly look up from my book. 😉

>32 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. We sure had a good time. It is sooo quiet at our house now.

Jan 3, 8:16pm Top

>31 Donna828: What book are the quotes from?

Jan 3, 8:27pm Top

>34 Berly: Kim, I was wondering if anyone had noticed a quote with no reference. I had to take The Butterfly Girl back to the library this afternoon then had to support the Missouri State Lady Bears basketball team in their Chicago game against Loyola. We won in overtime! I am just now thinking about what to say about my first book of the year. Stay tuned...

Jan 3, 8:47pm Top

Hi Donna and Happy New Year!

I have not read anything by Niall Williams but will give him a try based on your comments/summary of your 2019 reading.

Dropping off my star for another year, of course. :-)

Edited: Jan 3, 9:16pm Top

>36 EBT1002: Hi there Ellen. Thanks for stopping by my quiet little thread. That's quite an LT party going on out there. I do hope you like Niall Williams. His books have lots of rain and sprinklings of dark Irish humor in them. I don't understand why he is not more well known. I was particularly entranced with History of the Rain which was my only 5-star book of 2019.

Jan 3, 9:13pm Top

The Child Finder was a good read for me last year, Donna. I didn't realize the follow-up was out already. I will look for it. Thanks!

Jan 3, 9:20pm Top

>38 katiekrug: You're welcome, Katie. I "discovered" Denfeld when my book group read The Enchanted a few years ago. It was heavy on the magic realism but told quite a story about imprisonment. Have you read that one?

Jan 3, 9:45pm Top

I havent' read that one, Donna. I'll take a look for it at the library.

Jan 3, 9:48pm Top

>40 katiekrug: Good! My work here is done. I’m not quite the warbler Mark is, but if you’re familiar with Denfeld’s writing style, I’m pretty certain you will like her other books.

Jan 3, 9:52pm Top

History of the Rain is the one I put on hold at the library, so I'll try to remember to report back about how I like it. It sounds like my kind of read.

Have you read When All Is Said by Anne Griffin? I think you might like it....

Jan 3, 11:56pm Top

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2020, Donna! What a sweet picture of the grandkids (and boy, have they grown!)

Jan 4, 12:46am Top

Happy New Year, Donna. Looks like you have already started a great reading year in 2020!

Jan 4, 3:06am Top

>31 Donna828: Great review, Donna. The Child Finder was already on my radar. Now there is a second one to put on my list.

Jan 4, 8:37am Top

Hi Donna, just thought I'd stop in and see what's happening on your "quiet little thread," as you called it. Your grandchildren are sure growing up! Hope 2020 is a good one for you.

Jan 4, 8:57am Top

Happy Saturday, Donna! No, no, no...I'm not gonna look at starting a new series. Thanks, just the same. ;0) Oh, but wait, I do like Magical Realism. Sooooo, maybe.

Jan 4, 2:14pm Top

>42 EBT1002: Ellen, you are a temptress! When All Is Said is entered into my little black book with your name by it. How can I resist a dark Irish novel about an old Irish “codger”? I am determined to refer to my LBB frequently, and now I have a way of remembering who recommended what!

Jan 4, 2:17pm Top

>43 lkernagh: Thanks for the good wishes, Lori. I can’t believe Sadie will be in college next year! I must be old. Haha.

>44 Familyhistorian: One book down, 99 to go, Meg. I will go Star your thread right now if I haven’t done so already. It’s a jungle out there!

Jan 4, 2:24pm Top

>46 lauralkeet: I am off and running, Laura. Thanks for stopping by.

>47 Carmenere: Saturday...also known as Start Undecorating Day. So far nothing has been done.

Don’t think of the Denfeld books as a series. They are just two remarkable books about lost children. Plus, they’re on the short side. Due to their “unputdownability”, they are also quick reads. You won’t be sorry, Lynda!

Jan 4, 2:32pm Top

Now my local library is tempting me. There is a prize for completing this challenge in the next two months. Easy Peasy! I’m in. Maybe I’ll get another bookmark for my massive collection. 📚😍

So you think you're ready to master the Winter Reading Challenge? Pick up a form at your nearest branch library starting January 2. Get started by selecting books that meet at least five criteria from the following list of 15.

*Listen to a book
*Teaches you something new
*Graphic novel or comic book
*First in a series
*In another time or place
*Author new to you
*Outside your comfort zone
*Under 200 pages
*Made into a movie
*Always meant to read
*Retelling of a story
*Set in an imaginary world
*Author of color
*Winter setting

Jan 4, 5:47pm Top

Well, here you are! I was wondering why I wasn't seeing your thread and duh! I hadn't visited to drop a ⭐ yet. Now, first visit and I'm hit with a double BB (the Denfield books). My TBR list is already longer than the year has days. :)

Happy New Year!

Jan 4, 6:09pm Top

Darn, I keep missing visitors.

>45 Ameise1: Sorry, I overlooked your post, Barbara. I am glad you stopped by and I hope you get to the Denfeld books this year.

>52 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. I’m sure you remember how crazy busy the threads are for the first week or two in January. It’s fun but exhausting. I may sign off for the evening and go start another book. Happy New Year to you!

Jan 4, 7:49pm Top

>51 Donna828: My library also has a challenge, Donna. They are always fun.

I didn't like The Child Finder as much as you did, Donna. I found the premise very unrealistic. My sister was a foster parent for years, and kids like Naomi were very damaged.

Jan 4, 8:15pm Top

>51 Donna828: That's a nice collection for the Winter Challenge--best of luck!!

Jan 4, 8:24pm Top

Happy new year, Donna! Looking forward to following you & your reads again this year.

Jan 5, 8:01am Top

Happy New Year, Donna and Happy New Thread! Somehow, I did not have one of my longest running and favorite LT pals starred. Shame on, Mark! But I am here and wishing you a wonderful 2020, filled with good books and tons of quality family time.

Jan 5, 1:18pm Top

Dropping my star off Donna. Happy reading year.

Jan 5, 2:17pm Top

Finally getting around to your thread and dropping my star! Happy 2020 reading!

Jan 5, 7:49pm Top

>41 Donna828: I LOVE that I am now entered into your LBB. How cool is that. I know it's hard with all the book bullets we get hit with around here but I do hope you read When All Is Said. Beth got me with it and I was ever so glad that she did.

I recently read Unsheltered and gave it 4.5 stars. I saw on Anita's thread that it was one of your top reads back in 2018; I'm glad to find another fan. A lot of people are liking it but not loving it. I remain an un-ambivalent Kingsolver fan.

Have a great week, Donna!

Jan 6, 12:38pm Top

Happy New Year, Donna! Love the family photo up top. Hope we can meet in CO this year - any travel plans?

Edited: Jan 6, 8:37pm Top

History Of Rain sounds wonderful.

And now Ellen has gotten me with When All is Said!
>42 EBT1002: (Darn you, Ellen!) 🙂

ETA: What Anne said.

Jan 6, 8:51pm Top

Okey Dokey, I've reserved The Child Finder. Hope I can squeeeeeze it onto my dance card :0)

Edited: Jan 7, 11:41am Top

>54 BLBera: I agree with you, Beth. I had to pull out my “suspend belief” card when reading both The Child Finder and The Enchanted. However, despite the overdone butterflies in The Butterfly Girl, I found the homeless street child premise to be more realistic since it appears to be based on Denfeld’s life experience. I also believe that some people have the capacity to overcome devastating experiences either through therapy or the care and concern of people like your sister. I’ll bet she has some stories to tell!

>55 Berly: Hi Kim, I’m looking forward to the library challenge. They do a summer one every year but this is something new.

Jan 7, 11:45am Top

>57 msf59: There you are! I had faith you would find me amidst the flurry of new threads. We do go way back, Mark. I look forward to trading book bullets this year. I just finished a book that I think you would love. Stay tuned..,

Jan 7, 11:46am Top

>58 Caroline_McElwee: Thank you, Caroline.

>59 thornton37814: it’s been crazy this past week, Lori. Thanks for the Star.

Jan 7, 11:53am Top

>60 EBT1002: Those book bullets have a powerful ricochet effect, Ellen. I will read When All Is Said soon. I have to space out my books about old men. I seem to have developed a “thing” for them. Lol. Kingsolver is one of my most reliable writers. I’ve read and loved everything by her except Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. I must rectify that omission.

Jan 7, 12:06pm Top

>61 AMQS: It’s good to hear from you, Anne, and it would be better to meet up in person. My two trips to CO last year were rushed ones. I’ll try to do better this year. I’m thinking of making the trek to Denver sometime in June. I’ll keep you posted.

>62 Copperskye: Hi Joanne, I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets hit by stray book bullets. It is one of the many things I love about this group. I am going to make a book meetup a priority for my next trip out west. I think you will love History of the Rain.

>63 Carmenere: Yay for a full dance card, Lynda. There are no wallflowers in this group. ;-)

Edited: Jan 12, 10:15pm Top

Book No. 2: Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller. Mine, 292 pp., 4.3 stars.

"An eighty-two-year-old demented American sniper is allegedly pursued by Korean assassins across Norway after fleeing a murder scene."

That is a quick book summary but it in no way tells all. The Korean assassins are actually from Kosovo and it was more of a rescue than flight after a young Serbian boy's mother is murdered in the opening pages.

I have to say this is the first ScandiCrime book I've read by an American author. Miller does an excellent job depicting life in Oslo through the eyes of the recently transplanted Sheldon Horowitz. Donny, as he is called, is persuaded to leave NYC by the granddaughter he raised after his wife dies. She suspects he has dementia, but it looked to me more like an overactive imagination impacted by memories of his time in The Korean War and subsequent death of his only son in VietNam. There is a lot going on in this book!

As I mentioned to Ellen, I am developing a 'thing' for older crotchety men. Sheldon is right up there with Ove as lovable protagonists. He is brave, funny, and wise beyond his years. Highly recommended.

ETA: I have Janet to thank for this recommendation. I made a note back in 2016 that it sounded like it was my kind of book. Thank you, Janet.

Jan 7, 12:43pm Top

Good Afternoon! The Butterfly Girl is already on my tbr list. Your description encourages me to see if I can get this book from the library. I am trying very hard in 2020 to curb my book buying and either read those I already own, or go to the library.

Jan 7, 1:19pm Top

>70 Whisper1: Hi there, Linda. I depend on the library for much of my reading. I only read 20 of my own books last year. I hope to read at least two per month this year. Most of my books are from used bookstores or library book sales. I love that they have a history and don't even mind if they are annotated. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Jan 7, 3:03pm Top

Hello Donna and Happy New Year! I hope all is well with you.

>69 Donna828: Creepy cover that did not fit with the original description. Thank you for the clarity. Sounds very interesting. Excellent review.

Jan 7, 3:50pm Top

>69 Donna828: I have this in the tbr mountain, I can't remember whose review made me pick it up Donna.

Jan 9, 8:33am Top

Hi Donna!

I thought I’d wished you happy new year, but discover your thread has 73 messages already without single post from me!

Belated Happy New Year! Gorgeous pic of the grands.

>31 Donna828: I bought this book after reading and loving The Child Finder. I’m sure I’ll get to it this year, it’s just a matter of when. I've tagged it '2020 read' to help jog my memory. Glad to see you gave it 4 stars.

Jan 10, 1:11am Top

>69 Donna828: Great review, Donna. My libray has got a copy. I put it on my list.
Sweet Thursday.

Jan 11, 9:34pm Top

>72 brodiew2: Hey Brodie, it's good to see you here. That is a bit of a creepy cover, but it's a creepy story so it fits. I fixed the typo in the quote so it makes more sense. I need to go find your thread now. Happy Newish Year!

>73 Caroline_McElwee: Caroline, I hope more people read and talk about Norwegian By Night as it is such a good book.

>74 karenmarie: Karen, I am still "finding" people on this year's challenge. I made the mistake of starring threads without posting and have missed greeting people. I will catch up someday I'm sure. I'm sure you will like The Butterfly Girl. So handy to have it on your shelf, but I know sometimes we tend to ignore the 'handy' books.

>75 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. I hope you enjoy Norwegian By Night.

Jan 11, 10:03pm Top

Book No. 3: Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane. Borrowed from another library system, 468 pp., 3.2 stars.

"As we walked into the sunlight, Angie slipped an arm through mine and we sat on the lawn under a tree and faced the doors through which Jason would exit in a few minutes. It's an old trick of ours to play lovers when we're tailing someone; people who'd possibly see either one of us as incongruous in a given place rarely gives us a second glance as a couple. Lovers, for some reason, can often pass easily through doors the solitary person finds barred."

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have been best friends since Kindergarten. They are on a fairly routine case when it erupts into something that shakes these seasoned private detectives to their cores. This is the second in a series and is much darker than the first. It had a lot more violence than I cared to read about but Lehane's writing is so good and he can tell a great story so I read it to the horrifying end. It's probably not much worse than reading the daily newspaper because of all the crime that happens in a big city like Boston (or a small city like Springfield, MO for that matter), but he builds the suspense in a way that almost makes me feel like I am experiencing the events. Not a bad thing when reading crime fiction I suppose. I will continue with the series as I bought the next two books while at the Joplin meetup.

Jan 12, 1:43am Top

>69 Donna828: I have looked at that one a few times, Donna, and you might just have persuaded me to add it to the shelves.

Have a lovely weekend.

Jan 12, 11:04am Top

Dropping a star, Donna. Your grandkids are getting so big! What a beautiful group.

>69 Donna828: I have this one in the stacks!

>77 Donna828: Excellent review. I agree with you that the second book is much darker than the first. You are reminding me that I need to get back to that series - I had to take a break after that one.

Edited: Jan 14, 5:53pm Top

>78 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, I cant say enough good things about Norwegian By Night. The problem with reading an outstanding book is the the next few tend to be disappointing. My weekend was filled with College Basketball. Our local university has a women's team that is a force to be reckoned with. They won Friday night and again this afternoon. Go Lady Bears!

>79 Crazymamie: Mamie! It’s lovely to see you here. I fully intend to read more of the Kenzie/Genarro series, but I will space them out so I can have some recovery time between books. 😉

Jan 12, 9:25pm Top

Happy Sunday, Donna. I hope you had a good weekend. Good review of Norwegian By Night. I have been meaning to read that one forever.

Jan 12, 10:03pm Top

Hi Donna, I too loved Norwegian by Night. He has a follow up novel called American by Day that I mean to get to.

Jan 14, 12:20pm Top

>1 Donna828: What a lovely family Donna! They're beautiful.

Jan 14, 5:43pm Top

>81 msf59: Happy Tuesday, Mark. My weekend went by way too fast with basketball and books the feature events. I must urge you to read Norwegian By Night at your first opportunity. It needs some warbling done for it. It was recommended to me by Janet, and now Bonnie is chiming in on its allure. You won't be disappointed.

>82 brenzi: Bonnie, I liked the small role of the female investigator in Norwegian By Night, so I'm pretty certain I will enjoy following her story in American By Day. The question is, when can I fit it in?

>83 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel. I think they're all pretty special myself. We're a little spread out so we don't get together every holiday. The two teenage granddaughters both work so it was a rushed trip for them which meant we didn't get many pictures. I hate to be the grandmother that sticks a camera in their faces all the time. The little ones don't mind but the older ones have to grin and bear it.

Jan 14, 5:53pm Top

This is Book Group night, one of my favorite evenings of the month. Here is the list of the books we'll be reading and discussing this year. It's a combination of group member picks and leader's choices:

January: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
February: The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, one of our facilitator's favorite books. I've never heard of it but it sounds interesting.
March: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, reread for me.
April: Calypso by David Sedaris. This will be the first book I've read by him.
May: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Another reread.
June: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, one of the few I havent read by Atwood.
July: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I listened to this one.
August: Killers of the Flower Moon. My choice!
September: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I've read it several times.
October: The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown.
November: Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. Isn't that the truth? Looking forward to it.
December: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Another one that got my vote.

Jan 14, 5:57pm Top

>85 Donna828: What an interesting mix of genres!! You should have lots of fun with this collection. I have read 6 of them and intrigued by Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Jan 14, 7:02pm Top

Book No. 4: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. Library, Book Group, 374 pp., 4.2 stars.

"No one picks a friend for us; we come together by choice. We are not tied together through ceremony or the responsibility to create a son, we tie ourselves together through moments. The spark when we first meet. Laughter and tears shared. Secrets packed away to be treasured, hoarded, and protected. The wonder that someone can be so different from you and yet still understand your heart in a way no one else ever will."

Two teenage Korean girls become friends in the late 1930s when they become part of the Haenyeo culture of Jeju Island where the sea women freedive for food to provide for their families while the men stay home and raise the children. They work both the wet and dry lands of this volcanic island always hoping to bear a son who could perform ancestor worship. Young-sook and Mi-ja become soul sisters as they learn the tradition of diving. It's a harsh but satisfying life for them even under the stern eyes of the Japanese soldiers who watched their every move. One would think that when Korea gained their independence from Japan in 1945 that life would improve, but it became complicated by having United States forces in the country, coupled with the dissidents that wanted complete control of the government. Through most of the time of conflict, the sea divers did what they did best and took care of their families. And then came the Uprising on April Third, 1949, when all hell broke loose.

That's all I'm going to say about the plot except that on that fateful day, the strong friendship between the two young women was broken and Young-sook holds the grudge into old age when she is approached by the family of Mi-ja and all the tragic memories are revived. This is not a spoiler as the contact is made at the beginning of the book. I learned much about living off the bounty of the ocean and primitive life in Korea. The book also raises the question about grudges and forgiveness while giving a rather confused history lesson about this period in Korean history.

Jan 14, 7:16pm Top

Hi Donna! I like your review! I just finished The Island of Sea Women for my library book discussion group. I gave it 4 stars more so for the historical information I gained regarding Korea than for the story itself. This was my third book by See and although I enjoy her writing her stories are somewhat similar in nature.

Jan 14, 8:03pm Top

>31 Donna828: I enjoyed The Child Finder, so I will definitely be on the lookout for The Butterfly Girl. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

>69 Donna828: I went to add that one to the BlackHole only to discover it was already there. Obviously I need to pull it out!

>87 Donna828: Adding that one to the BlackHole. I appreciate the recommendation, Donna!

Edited: Jan 15, 3:16am Top

Oh Donna, I want to join your book group. What an interesting year of reading you will have with your book pals.
We are holidaying in Kona right now and head back to reality tomorrow but I thought of David Sedaris today. I have read all/most of his books and find him fun, quirky, edgy and often moving and insightful. He has lots to say about family. One of his stories is about his culottes, that he loves to wear and I think he started his collection from a pair he bought in Japan. I saw a man wearing culottes today (baggy pants, almost skirt, calf level) and it made me smile, a big smile thinking of the Sedaris story. Hope you like him too!

Jan 14, 9:18pm Top

>85 Donna828: What a varied selection. Sounds like a great book club.

>31 Donna828: I did not realize that the sequel is already out! I read Child Finder last year and really enjoyed it.

Jan 15, 1:13pm Top

>85 Donna828: Looks like a great list, Donna. I've liked the Lisa See's that I've read so I'll add this one to my (very long) "wish list" and look forward to what you have to say about the others. The only ones I'm familiar with are The Alice Network, which I liked very much, and Rebecca which I read many, many years ago when I binge read all of the du Maurier books.

Jan 15, 1:33pm Top

Hi Donna! And a very late Happy New Year!

Ouch - a BB straight to the heart The Butterfly Girl. I really enjoyed The Child Finder and hadn't realized a new one was out.

>69 Donna828: I'm glad you enjoyed Norwegian By Night which was a book club pick several years ago. I've added the sequel onto the never-ending list.

>85 Donna828: That looks like an interesting list of book club titles!

I've read several by Lisa See and The Island of Sea Women also goes onto the list! Great review!

Oh dear, how am I ever going to get more read off my shelves while reading your thread???!!!

Jan 15, 2:32pm Top

>84 Donna828: my MIL is a camera junkie. They get used to it! 😁

Jan 15, 8:18pm Top

>86 Berly: Kim, I was pleased with the year’s selection. I’m so glad we got the whole year lined up in advance. We used to get only 3 months at a time.

>88 Carmenere: Lynda, I was going to pass this one up, but am so glad I read it. After reading Pachinko last year, I knew how the Japanese mistreated Koreans. I had no idea how much animosity there was within the Korean nation.

>89 alcottacre: Hello Stasia! It’s been a long time since we’ve chatted on LT, or in person. I hope your posting means your arm surgery went well and you are feeling better.

I’m always glad to add to the ever expansive Black Hole, and, by all means, pull Norwegian By Night out of there and read it. It’s a good one!

Jan 15, 8:37pm Top

>90 mdoris: Hi Mary, lucky you starting off a new year in paradise! That culotte story made me smile. It’s about time I read me some Sedaris. I think he is coming to Springfield this spring. That’s probably why his book was chosen. Maybe I’ll get to see him.

>91 figsfromthistle: I was excited when I heard about the release of The Butterfly Girl, Anita. I sure like Denfeld’s books. My book club has been going strong since 2009. I have missed very few meetings.

>92 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, our book group meets the second Tuesday of every month. Stop by and get a book report on our current read. There is only one book I couldn’t finish in all these years. I was extremely turned off by Wicked. I had even bought a copy of the book because Maguire was so popular at the library. Go figure.

Jan 15, 8:44pm Top

>93 streamsong: Janet, I have the same problem on your thread. You have introduced me to quite a few books over the years. I am going to try more this year than the 20 I read off my shelves from last year. I hope you have a wonderful new year of reading.

>94 The_Hibernator: My family is pretty used to me and my handy iPhone camera, Rachel. They don’t complain too much because they know how happy the pictures make me. I do get lots a silly faces, though, and an occasional rolling eye or two. ;-)

Jan 16, 12:55pm Top

>1 Donna828:

What a Great Christmas photo - Thank you!

Has your Family seen The Breckenridge Troll?

Jan 16, 1:37pm Top

>98 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I'm not sure if your happy face is because you didn't like Wicked either or because you will check back for my book group reports. As far as Wicked goes, I was in the minority in my group; everyone else finished it and some even liked it. Haha. I probably should have given it more of a chance but it just wasn't my kind of book years ago. I'm a little more tolerant these days.

>99 m.belljackson: Om my! How could we have missed seeing The Breckenridge Troll? He wasn't on my radar, that's for sure. We will have to go back and check out this memorable sight! Thanks for the heads up, Marianne.

Jan 16, 6:37pm Top

>100 Donna828: Could. Not. Read. Wicked. Just awful.

Jan 16, 9:23pm Top

I am another Wicked non-fan.

I like your book list, Donna, you have some good reading ahead of you. And you got me with The Island of Sea Women.

Jan 17, 12:02pm Top

>100 Donna828: I haven't read Wicked and don't plan to. I was smiling at the idea of checking back for monthly reports.

Jan 17, 1:53pm Top

>85 Donna828: That's a great list! Hope you love the Atwood and the Arden! I just finished the Arden and immediately put the next in the series on hold :)

Jan 17, 6:56pm Top

>85 Donna828: That is an interesting list, Donna.

>87 Donna828: This one sounds like one I would like; onto the list it goes!

Jan 17, 9:06pm Top

>85 Donna828: I like your Book Group choices, Donna. Some solid reads there. I have heard mixed things about The Island of Sea Women, so I am glad to hear that you liked it. Happy weekend, my friend.

Yesterday, 10:58am Top

Love your book group choices, Donna (there's even a couple I've read!), and I'll be looking forward to seeing what you think of them.

Yesterday, 11:14am Top

Many of the artist's Trolls were on Joe's thread awhile back.

The Breckenridge one was our favorite - it looks like he's creating a cairn or a rock sculpture.

Photos would be great when you visit!

(And, what a contrast with the Mountain Troll that barged into Hogwarts...)

Yesterday, 2:27pm Top

Happy Saturday, Donna! Just wanted to thank you for visiting my thread while I was out of commission and for your kind words of support and healing thoughts.

I just finished The Child Finder and wanted to thank you for the recommendation. I found it gripping and did not have to suspend belief as you did because I have never known anyone who fostered children. I can imagine a child like that would be deeply and perhaps irremediably scarred. I'm looking forward to more by Denfeld.

>99 m.belljackson: >100 Donna828: How in the world did I miss the Breckenridge Troll when I lived in Colorado? My nieces lived in Frisco, which is just next door to Breck, and I visited the area many times.

Yesterday, 10:02pm Top

>101 brenzi: Thanks for confirming my decision to stop reading Wicked, Bonnie. I just couldn't find anything redeeming in the 100 or so pages that I struggled through.

>102 AMQS: I guess we can't like all the books, Anne. I had low expectations for Sea Women and was pleasantly surprised. I hope you like it.

>103 RebaRelishesReading: That's kinda what I thought, Reba. I always look forward to the second Tuesday of the month so I can talk books in person with like-minded readers.

Yesterday, 10:13pm Top

>104 ChelleBearss: I've loved all the books by Atwood that I've read, but for some reason, skipped over The Penelopiad, Chelle. I'm not a big fan of mythology, although I did really like The Song of Achilles and Circe. I read the latter for book group last year. Hmmm, I didn't realize that The Bear and the Nightingale was part of a series. I'm sad I have to wait until December to read it as it has been on my wishlist for too long.

>105 BLBera: Beth, I hope you enjoy The Island of Sea Women when you get to it. It wasn't the "fluff" I was expecting. I think I did a short boycott of books with "Girl, Woman/Women, Wife" etc. last year for some reason. I know better than to judge a book by either its title or the cover.

>106 msf59: There were no mixed feelings in my book group, Mark. I had kind of given up on Lisa See as an author because of the repetition. Sea Women had the usual friendship gone bad theme, but the historic part of it more than made up for that…at least for me.

Yesterday, 10:33pm Top

>107 bell7: Hi Mary. I always like hearing about your book group sessions, too. I think being a book facilitator would be a tough job. My biased opinions would want to come out. I read about how you didn't like your last book while the rest of the group did. It's a real skill to keep the discussions on track and let everyone feel comfortable stating their opinions.

>108 m.belljackson: We noticed so many interesting rock structures while we were hiking in Colorado, Marianne. We see them occasionally in Missouri, but it's a passion in the mountains it seems.

>109 Storeetllr: I know, Mary. I feel cheated that none of the websites or local tour info included information about The Breckenridge Troll. Oh well, it gives us both an excuse to go back someday. I'm glad you're feeling well enough to be posting here after your surgery. I'm also glad you liked The Child Finder. Now you'll have to read The Butterfly Girl and perhaps The Enchanted.

Yesterday, 10:50pm Top

I was going to write some comments about my latest two books, but I think I will let that wait until tomorrow. I mentioned to Joanne on her thread something about my last year's boycott of books with references to women, girls, wives. etc. in the titles and how petty that was. Well, I do believe book titles (and covers) are important and have shared my views with DH. He recently brought home a page from his office daily calendar with these book titles on them. It made me laugh…

Funny Book Titles That Ought to Exist

How to Choose A Steak by Porter House
Stringed Musical Instruments by Amanda Lynne
Mountain Climbing Techniques by Andover Hand
A History of Nuclear Weapons by Adam Baum
Blowout! by Vlad Tire
Off to Market by Tobias A. Pigg
Battle Axes by Tommy Hawk
The Long Island Chain by Archie Pelago
Red Vegetables by Bea Troot
Housing Construction by Bill Jerome Holmes
Don't Come Near Me! by Vera Way

Yesterday, 11:11pm Top

>113 Donna828: Those are funny!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

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