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Bonnie (brenzi) reads to 75 and beyond - 2

This is a continuation of the topic Bonnie (brenzi) reads to 75 and beyond.

75 Books Challenge for 2020

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Feb 9, 4:05pm Top

Edited: Feb 9, 4:06pm Top

Hi, I’m Bonnie, LT member since 2009 and retired since 2011 and really enjoying retirement living. I love reading and listening to audiobooks, drawing, and journaling. I’m a pretty active retiree in that I walk nearly every day and play pickle ball three times a week which has opened up an entirely new group of social friends. So dinner with friends and movies are often on the schedule too. Oh and I babysit three days a week for my two grandchildren Mia, 5 and Cole 2 ½, the loves of my life. I’m pretty darn busy, much busier than when I worked somehow, but seem to always have time for reading.

Edited: Feb 9, 4:09pm Top

I took Cole for a haircut last week. He had a ball.

Mia, ready to work out lol.

Edited: Feb 9, 4:11pm Top

Best of 2019

Outstanding Non-fiction

Guest House for Young Widows by Azadeh Moaveni
Fall and Rise: the Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Exceptional Fiction:

Transit by Anna Seghers
Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Edited: Apr 2, 8:47pm Top



1. The Spy and the Traitor - Ben MacIntyre - audio - 4 stars
2. The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett - Kindle - 4.6 stars
3. A Start in Life - Anita Brookner - OTS - 4 stars
4. Tin Man - Sarah Winman - audio - 5 stars
5. Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - audio/OTS - 5 stars
6. Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You - Alice Munro - Kindle - 4 stars
7. The Man Who Saw Everything - Deborah Levy - Kindle - 4.2 stars
8. Curious Toys - Elizabeth Hand - Kindle - 4.1 stars
9. The Cold Dish - Craig Johnson - audio - 4 stars
10. Last Orders - Graham Swift - Kindle - 3.8 stars
11. Sabrina & Corina - Kali Fajardo-Anstine - Kindle - 4.3 stars


12. The Patient Assassin - Anita Anand - audio - 3.8 stars
13. American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins - trade - 4.2 stars
14. A Very Stable Genius - Phillip Rucker/Carol Leonnig- audio - 4 stars
15. Queen's Play - Dorothy Dunnett - Kindle - 4 stars
16. The Yellow House - Sarah Broom - Kindle - 4.3 stars
17. Providence - Anita Brookner - OTS - 3.8 stars
18. American War - Omar El Akaad- audio - 4 stars
19. News of the World - Paulette Jiles - L - 4.7 stars
20. Running Against the Devil - Rick Wilson - audio - 4 stars
21. Im a Stranger Here Myself - Bill Bryson - Kindle - 3.7 stars


22. Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel - audio/OTS - 5 stars
23. Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell - Kindle - 3.8 stars
24. Disco for the Departed - Colin Cotterill - audio - 3.5 stars
25. The Last Man in Europe - Dennis Glover - L - 4.2 stars
26. The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel - 5 stars
27. Look at Me - Anita Brookner - OTS - 4 stars
28. Born a Crime - Trevor Noah - audio - 4 stars
29. Dear Edward - Ann Napolitano - audio - 3.8 stars



Total Books: 29

Author Gender
Male: 11
Female: 19

Author Status
Living: 24
Dead: 6

Publication Medium
Hardback: 2
Trade: 6
eBook: 11
Audiobook: 13

Fiction: 21
Nonfiction: 8

Library: 21
Mine: 10


Edited: Feb 9, 8:16pm Top


Queen's Play by Dorothy Dunnett


A Very Stable Genius by Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

Feb 9, 4:39pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie! Love the pics of Mia and Cole.

Feb 9, 4:40pm Top

>7 katiekrug: What she said.

Feb 9, 5:04pm Top

>5 brenzi: The touchstone for Tin Man isn't what you want.

Feb 9, 5:17pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie. Love the photos of the grandkids :)

Feb 9, 6:53pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie!

>3 brenzi: What an adventurous way to have a boy's hair cut!

Feb 9, 8:05pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie.

Feb 9, 8:11pm Top

Happy new one!

Feb 9, 9:12pm Top

>7 katiekrug: thanks Katie😊

>8 Crazymamie: ok well thanks Mamie😊

>9 quondame: I corrected that Susan. Thanks.

>10 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks so much Reba.

>11 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. Isn't that fun? He loves getting his hair cut.

>12 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul.

>13 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita.

Feb 9, 9:37pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie. Happy New Thread. I love the cute topper. I hope you are enjoying those current reads.

Feb 9, 9:40pm Top

>1 brenzi: Wonderful image!

>3 brenzi: Such delightful grandchildren

Feb 10, 12:04pm Top

Happy new thread!

Feb 10, 3:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie. Mia and Cole are cuties -- and growing up!

I always love new threads with the list of books read at the top -- you are starting off the year with a bunch of good ones.

Feb 10, 4:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie! I'm just about to begin American Dirt but saw your review is in the top spot. Didn't want to read it at this time but I did see your rating and that was good enough for me to plant a thumb on your review.

Feb 10, 6:20pm Top

>15 msf59: Thanks Mark. I'm very much enjoying my current reads.

>16 quondame: Thank you Susan.

>17 drneutron: Thanks Jim.

>18 BLBera: Thanks Beth. Why do they have to grow up so fast? I'm sure you must wonder that as you watch Scout grow. Wahh?

>19 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda. I hope you enjoy it whenever you decide to read it.

Feb 10, 6:48pm Top


A Very Stable Genius by Phillip Rucker/Carol Leonnig (narrated by Hillary Huber)

I can't say I learned an awful lot of new information from this read. I guess I'm too much of a political junkie for that to happen. But it was interesting to see how things unfolded in this disaster of an administration and walk through all the outrageous events we've lived through.

I never thought I could feel sorry for the former Homeland Security Secretary Kristen Nielsen but the authors brought up the tough row she had to hoe. She was getting death threats as she attempted to do what Trump made her do and yet she had no security provided because well, Trump. Such a jackass. And a dangerous man. *Bonus question: Can you name the present Secretary of Homeland Security? No of course not. Nielsen was absolutely hated but her successor just does everything, legal or illegal, that Trump demands so not a word about him.

The book covered everything about the administration from the beginning up to Trump's phone call with the President of Ukraine, the day after he was cleared by the Mueller Report.

This is only the second book I've read about this President/Administration and will probably be the last. Even though the outrages continue on a daily basis I just have to step away and hope that we vote him out of office.

4 stars

Feb 10, 6:51pm Top

Next audio:

Those People by Louise Candlish

Feb 10, 6:54pm Top

>21 brenzi: I am overloaded on the outrage front. Despicable people are still despicable? Stop the presses. No. Really.

Feb 10, 6:58pm Top

Happy new thread, Bonnie!

Feb 10, 7:41pm Top

Happy New Thread, Bonnie!

Sweet photos of Mia and Cole.

Feb 10, 8:33pm Top

>23 richardderus: Yep you got that right Richard..I was kind of hoping for some revelations that I hadn't heard about. I guess I'm too well informed. 🤷‍♀️

>24 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia.

>25 jnwelch: Thanks Joe.

Feb 11, 8:16pm Top

>21 brenzi: I really do hope that the Democrats get there act together and take the Chump down.

Feb 11, 11:16pm Top

I had actually forgotten that conversation about the Laurie Anderson song! Ha. What fun.

>21 brenzi: and >27 PaulCranswick: I hope so too! I was interested in the exit polls from NH; two thirds of voters said that the most important thing is to nominate someone who can beat the incumbent. I don't know for certain who that is, but I am hopeful that #VoteBlueNoMatterWho overrides the #BlowUpTheSystem advocates. It's not that I don't understand their perspective but this man is seriously dangerous.

>3 brenzi: Pretty adorable loves of your life!

Feb 12, 6:48pm Top

>27 PaulCranswick: oh god, I hope so Paul. I'm in the 'anyone but Trump' camp but I'm a little worried about Bernie. I'm not sure he can carry enough voters along with him. Maybe but I just don't know.

>28 EBT1002: I just played the song again Ellen because that's just what I do when it comes up hahaha.

The adorable are both sick with the flu. They had their flu shots but you know how that goes.

Feb 12, 6:51pm Top

Love the pictures of your little cuties, Bonnie.

Feb 12, 7:05pm Top

Happy Wednesday, Bonnie. I am with you on the 'anyone but Trump' position. We really NEED the Dems to team together on thisfight and show a unprecedented, united front. What happened to Liz Warren? She has sure faded fast. Maybe, she doesn't have the "fire" required. Of course, Sleepy Joe lacks it too.

Feb 12, 7:41pm Top

Iowa was such a clusterf*ck it shouldn't be included in any calculus except "how deep is Little Vladdy Pu-Pu's game anyway?"; it was a given that Bernie would win NH; and Warren's organizations in SC, NV, and CA are bigger than anyone else's except Biden and Bern.

She still gets my discretionary $10 every month.

Feb 13, 12:26pm Top

You mentioned geocaching on another thread, so I thought I would jump in here on your thread. You can find more information about it here on the URL to the Wikipedia cite. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

My cousin and her grandchildren are deep into geocaching. They love doing it. They really like the ones that have some kind of thing that they can trade for in the box.

Feb 14, 6:30pm Top

>30 NanaCC: Thanks Colleen. They keep me pretty busy.

>31 msf59: I'm not sure what happened to Elizabeth Warren Mark. She seemed to fade pretty fast but I don't know if I'd count her out just yet. I suppose some people think her policies are unsustainable but so are Bernies. I think Amy Klobuchar has a shot but it starting to look like Bernies to lose and I'm not sure he can beat Trump but God,I hope so.

>32 richardderus: Hi Richard, Iowa should not be allowed to have another caucus period. It makes no sense at all anyway but after this disaster they should definitely be omitted from the process.

>33 benitastrnad: Thanks for the link Benita. I will check it out.. it's something entirely new to me.

Feb 14, 8:24pm Top


Queen's Play by Dorothy Dunnett

Book Two of The Lymond Chronicles

Set two years after the end of the last novel, this one is set in France. The seven year old Queen of Scotland, who is living in France for her own safety, has had her life threatened. Our hero, Lymond, has been asked to come to her aid, figure out who is endangering her life, and solve the case. Naturally, this will involve lots of adventure which is really the hallmark of the series. And it's always so well done, heart stopping adventure and of course always more than one. Lymond comes out on top as usual after One dazzling escape after another.

I've decided I don't know enough about this time in history to do this series justice so I'm going to Rey to read Antonia Fraser's biography, Mary, Queen of Scots.

4 stars

Feb 14, 8:29pm Top

The Yellow House by Sarah Broom

And on audio:

American War by Omar El Akkad

Feb 14, 8:33pm Top

Happy Friday, Bonnie. Do you listen to many podcasts? If so, have you ever listened to "Intercepted"? It may be my favorite political podcast out there. incredibly hard-hitting and they are just as tough on the Dems, as the GOP, which I think is just as important. The Dems are royally screwed up too.

I am loving Solitary, my current audio. This is a great prison memoir. It reminds me of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It is that good.

Feb 14, 8:33pm Top

>36 brenzi: WOW! Those are two fine current reads!!

Feb 14, 9:02pm Top

Look forward to your thoughts on American War, Bonnie. I read it last year and was impressed.

Feb 14, 9:34pm Top

>37 msf59: I actually don't listen to any podcasts anymore Mark. The time I used to use for listening to podcasts I now use for listening to audio books. Apparently you have time for both lol. But I agree that the dems have their own problems but it's still the better option. By a very wide margin. Lol

Yes I've got reading Nirvana going on right now don't I. Haha.

>38 msf59: Uh, yes Katie. I know you did. That's where I got the idea hahaha

Feb 14, 9:36pm Top

Oh, well, then.

I'm honored :)

Feb 14, 10:02pm Top

>35 brenzi: Dunnett doesn't dumb down the history, does she? I have a good working knowledge of English history, but these books are written from a Scottish perspective which is quite a different point of view. I'm familiar with Mary Queen of Scots as an adult, so it's interesting to read a book set during her childhood.

I'm a little bit behind your reading, Bonnie. I just started Part Four of Queens' Play.

Feb 15, 8:11am Top

Happy Saturday, Bonnie. Just stopping by with a little anecdote about the educational value of the Lymond Chronicles. I just sat down to do the Saturday NYTimes Crossword. The clue for 45 Across is "Young hares," and because of a certain episode in Queens' Play, I knew the answer (leverets)! Also, that was a gruesome scene.

Feb 15, 6:51pm Top

>41 katiekrug: well I'm glad to hear that Katie. I'm honored to be honoring you🤪

>42 lauralkeet: >43 lauralkeet: OMG I was sweating through that scene Laura. Literally.

Feb 16, 8:30pm Top

Well Paul did this on his thread and I thought it was interesting so I did it here showing the highlighted books that I've read. I've also included the ones I now have on my shelf. I've read 36 but there are a couple I'm not sure about so I've left them as unread. The Color Purple is one that I am getting the book and movie mixed up in my mind. Also, Gone With the Wind. I know I saw the movie. I think I read the book.???

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction -- Winners


1918 HIS FAMILY - Ernest Poole
1921 THE AGE OF INNOCENCE - Edith Wharton
1922 ALICE ADAMS - Booth Tarkington
1923 ONE OF OURS - Willa Cather**
1924 THE ABLE MCLAUGHLINS - Margaret Wilson
1925 SO BIG - Edna Ferber
1926 ARROWSMITH - Sinclair Lewis (Declined)
1927 EARLY AUTUMN - Louis Bromfield
1928 THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY - Thornton Wilder
1929 SCARLET SISTER MARY - Julia Peterkin
1930 LAUGHING BOY - Oliver Lafarge
1931 YEARS OF GRACE - Margaret Ayer Barnes
1932 THE GOOD EARTH - Pearl Buck
1933 THE STORE - Thomas Sigismund Stribling
1934 LAMB IN HIS BOSOM - Caroline Miller
1935 NOW IN NOVEMBER - Josephine Winslow Johnson
1936 HONEY IN THE HORN - Harold L Davis
1937 GONE WITH THE WIND - Margaret Mitchell
1938 THE LATE GEORGE APLEY - John Phillips Marquand
1939 THE YEARLING - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1940 THE GRAPES OF WRATH - John Steinbeck
1942 IN THIS OUR LIFE - Ellen Glasgow
1943 DRAGON'S TEETH - Upton Sinclair
1944 JOURNEY IN THE DARK - Martin Flavin
1945 A BELL FOR ADANO - John Hersey
1947 ALL THE KING'S MEN - Robert Penn Warren
1948 TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC - James Michener
1949 GUARD OF HONOR - James Gould Cozzens
1950 THE WAY WEST - A.B. Guthrie
1951 THE TOWN - Conrad Richter
1952 THE CAINE MUTINY - Herman Wouk
1953 THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA - Ernest Hemingway
1955 A FABLE - William Faulkner
1956 ANDERSONVILLE - McKinlay Kantor
1958 A DEATH IN THE FAMILY - James Agee
1960 ADVISE AND CONSENT - Allen Drury
1962 THE EDGE OF SADNESS - Edwin O'Connor
1963 THE REIVERS - William Faulkner
1965 THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE - Shirley Ann Grau
1967 THE FIXER - Bernard Malamud
1969 HOUSE MADE OF DAWN - N Scott Momaday
1972 ANGLE OF REPOSE - Wallace Stegner
1975 THE KILLER ANGELS - Jeff Shaara
1976 HUMBOLDT'S GIFT - Saul Bellow
1978 ELBOW ROOM - James Alan McPherson
1980 THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG - Norman Mailer
1981 A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES - John Kennedy Toole
1982 RABBIT IS RICH - John Updike
1983 THE COLOR PURPLE - Alice Walker **
1984 IRONWEED - William Kennedy
1985 FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Alison Lurie
1986 LONESOME DOVE - Larry McMurtry
1987 A SUMMONS TO MEMPHIS - Peter Taylor
1988 BELOVED - Toni Morrison
1991 RABBIT AT REST - John Updike
1992 A THOUSAND ACRES - Jane Smiley
1994 THE SHIPPING NEWS - E Annie Proulx
1995 THE STONE DIARIES - Carol Shields
1996 INDEPENDENCE DAY - Richard Ford
1997 MARTIN DRESSLER - Steven Millhauser
1998 AMERICAN PASTORAL - Philip Roth
1999 THE HOURS - Michael Cunningham
2002 EMPIRE FALLS - Richard Russo
2003 MIDDLESEX - Jeffrey Eugenides
2004 THE KNOWN WORLD - Edward P. Jones
2005 GILEAD - Marilynne Robinson
2006 MARCH - Geraldine Brooks
2007 THE ROAD - Cormac McCarthy
2009 OLIVE KITTERIDGE - Elizabeth Strout
2010 TINKERS - Paul Harding
2011 A VISIT FROM THE GOOD SQUAD - Jennifer Egan
2013 ORPHAN MASTER'S SON - Adam Johnson
2014 THE GOLDFINCH - Donna Tartt **
2015 ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE - Anthony Doerr
2016 THE SYMPATHIZER - Viet Thanh Nguyen
2017 THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD - Colson Whitehead
2018 LESS - Andrew Sean Greer
2019 THE OVERSTORY - Richard Powers

** On My shelf now

Edited: Feb 18, 9:17pm Top

Every winner of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969

1969: P. H. Newby, Something to Answer For -
1970: Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970: J. G. Farrell, Troubles (awarded in 2010 as the Lost Man Booker Prize) -
1971: V. S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1972: John Berger, G.
1973: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1974: Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist ... and Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1975: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1976: David Storey, Saville
1977: Paul Scott, Staying On
1978: Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea
1979: Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1980: William Golding, Rites of Passage
1981: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1982: Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1983: J. M. Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1984: Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1985: Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1986: Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1987: Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1988: Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1989: Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1990: A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance
1991: Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1992: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient ... and Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1993: Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994: James Kelman, How late it was, how late
1995: Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1996: Graham Swift, Last Orders
1997: Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1998: Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1999: J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
2000: Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2001: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2002: Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2003: DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2004: Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2005: John Banville, The Sea
2006: Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering
2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2017: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
2018: Anna Burns, Milkman
2019: Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other


I'm planning to read The Testaments, Girl, Woman Other and The Narrow Road to the Deep North this year.

Feb 16, 9:22pm Top

>32 richardderus: I still think if I had a pig in the poke I would be voting for Warren but she needs to wake up quickly. I have been impressed by Amy Klobuchar recently too and hope that she continues well into the race as I do think that she is the best of the so-called moderates.

>45 brenzi: 36 is pretty impressive, Bonnie, as I am on a paltry 15.

>46 brenzi: We are tied at 28 each here but I hope to complete 2 Booker winners this month. I have read 12 that you haven't so if we pooled numbers we would be on a very impressive 40!

Feb 17, 11:52am Top

>46 brenzi: I've never looked at the whole Booker list before. Turns out I've read 10 of them plus I have The Testaments in Mt. TBR. I also have The Overstory in Mt. TBR and must get to it before April or I will be two behind on the Pulitzer list (I doubt I'll ever read all of the Bookers).

Feb 17, 6:56pm Top

>47 PaulCranswick: oh Paul, I didn't know we were allowed to pool our numbers lol.

>48 RebaRelishesReading: Slow down Reba. Approach it more like the tortoise than the hare. Hahaha.

Feb 17, 7:03pm Top

I have done surprisingly well, on the Pulitzer winners, reading every one down to 1999. Many excellent choices in there. On the Booker, I have read 9 out of the last eleven, which ain't shabby. How was The Finkler Question? That one seemed to be pretty divisive. I also did not read The Sellout, possibly for the same reason.

Feb 17, 7:08pm Top

Happy Monday, Bonnie!

Feb 17, 7:27pm Top

>50 msf59: Wait a minute Mark...you've read every Pulitzer from the beginning through 1999.? Or 1999 through the present? I hated The Sellout and I loathed The Finkler Question.

>51 alcottacre: Hi Stasia!

Feb 17, 7:56pm Top

Sorry- from 1999 to present. Maybe, this is why I have not read Finkler or the Beatty.

Edited: Feb 17, 10:43pm Top

I find that I generally don't like the big award winners and tend to favor one of the titles that was short listed instead. That is why I don't make a big deal out having read those big prize winners. There are a few that I read that I love. Like Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. Now that was a great book and it was a Booker winner.

Feb 18, 12:38pm Top

> 52 I wasn't a fan of The Sellout either but haven't read The Finkler Question (nor heard of it before to be honest).

>49 brenzi: I'm not fussed about reading the Bookers in a hurry or about reading them at all actually but I do want to keep the Pulitzers up to date since I did actually finish them and generally like them.

Hope all is well in Buffalo :)

Feb 18, 6:06pm Top

>53 msf59: I'm sure that's at least part of the reason Mark.

>54 benitastrnad: oh yes Benita, I loved Moon Tiger too. I don't live and die by the prizes but I do manage to read from the lists.

>55 RebaRelishesReading: Raining here all day today Reba. I thought The Sellout was absolutely dreadful.

Feb 18, 6:54pm Top


The Yellow House by Sarah Broom

The author's mother, Ivory May, raised her family with eight children in the eponymous Yellow House in New Orleans East, a down and out area, where the residents are barely getting by and if anything bad is going to happen, it does. Ivory May's second husband tries to keep up with home repairs but it all seems quite beyond him. And just days after the author is born, he dies, leaving Ivory May on her own.

This is the story of a family with a tenacious desire to succeed, hard working for the most part (except for one brother who succumbs to drugs) and very loving. Then along comes Hurricane Katrina and everything changes. But it really just comes together.

By that time the author is an adult and ready to produce the book she was meant to write. Through intense research into the annals of the history of the city, along with her family's history, Broom was able to trace the steps that lead to what was almost pre-destined: the destruction of the Yellow House and East New Orleans by the neglect of the city itself, the fore fathers who deemed this an acceptable place for people to reside and The history of Broom's family and neighbors.

I'm left with a feeling of sorrow and desolation. Broom did a stellar job relating how things just piled up until they finally could do nothing but collapse. The fact that she went back and rented an apartment in the French Quarter, where people like her are not supposed to be able to live, was astounding. The very saddest part was the fact that the city of New Orleans took eleven years to settle with Ivory May for her destroyed property. And for all that time, Brooms's brother, Carl maintains the property as if there is a house on it. Just incredibly sad and powerful. Probably one of the most powerful memoirs I've read. Highly recommended.

4.3 stars

Feb 18, 6:59pm Top

Currently reading:

Providence by Anita Brookner

Feb 18, 8:21pm Top

>53 msf59: That is impressive Mark. The last 21 winners completed.

>52 brenzi: I agree with Bonnie on The Sellout, I thought it was utter pastiche.

>54 benitastrnad: I also agree with that Benita. I very rarely agree with the winning choice in the Booker.

Feb 18, 9:00pm Top

Thanks for the Pulitzer and Booker lists. I've read some of them, not as many as you, and not because I wanted to read the winners, just because they were titles that came along. Some of the Pulitzers were titles I read a long, long time ago, in my teens or twenties: the Pearl Buck for instance. I'll be more aware of these lists in the future.

Feb 18, 10:07pm Top

Hi Bonnie -

Lists are such fun. >45 brenzi: Like you, I've read most of the recent Pulitzer Prize winners.

The Yellow House sounds wonderful. I'm waiting for my turn at the library. There's a long list. American War is on my list as well. I'll get to it sometime this year.

Feb 18, 10:10pm Top

I was pretty zealous about reading prize winners and shortlisted books for a while (I have a spreadsheet!). I know I managed to read all of the Booker winners up to about 2015. Somewhere around there, the winner was a book that absolutely did not appeal to me, and I gave myself permission to stop. I was doing pretty well with the Women's Prize for Fiction, and I've read a bunch of Pulitzer winners, but never reached 100%.

I still enjoy following the prizes but make my reading decisions on a case by case basis.

Feb 18, 10:20pm Top

Great review of The Yellow House, Bonnie. Big Thumb! We share very similar feelings about this terrific memoir.

Feb 19, 6:49pm Top

>59 PaulCranswick: I have to agree that the judges seldom pick the right book in my estimation Paul, especially the Booker.

>60 ffortsa: I don't know how important these lists are Judy I just find it kind of fun to see what I've read.

>61 BLBera: I think you'll like The Yellow House Beth. It's a book that will stay with me

>62 lauralkeet: Of course you have a spreadsheet Laura. I never doubted that lol. I'm not a hard core follower of the lists and pretty much pick and choose among the short lists and long lists. But I find it interesting to compile lists like this.

>63 msf59: Thanks Mark. It was very powerful.

Feb 19, 6:55pm Top

>64 brenzi: I think I will go back through the Booker Longlists and pick my alternative Booker, Bonnie!

Feb 19, 6:58pm Top

So Friday is my Thingaversary. I joined LT on February 21, 2009. In keeping with the book buying tradition first started by bonniebooks who is no longer active on the site, I managed to buy a few books.

These are the first twelve books Anita Brookner published. As I mentioned before, I will be reading them at the rate of one per month this year. Oh and there was one other book that I pre-ordered. Now what was that one........let me see......oh yeah. This book:

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Feb 19, 7:03pm Top

>57 brenzi: Adding that one to the BlackHole.

>66 brenzi: Happy Thingaversary! Nice haul. I am going to have to get the Mantel book at some point too.

Feb 19, 8:13pm Top

Happy Thingaversary!

I don't believe I have read any books by Brookner. I should try one soon.

Edited: Feb 19, 8:53pm Top

>65 PaulCranswick: Ahhh now there's a great idea Paul.

>67 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. I think you'd like The Yellow House.

>68 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita, if you like quiet, contemplative reads with a certain amount of wry humor then I think you'd like Brookner.

Feb 19, 9:07pm Top

>66 brenzi: what a great Thingaversary present to yourself, Bonnie. I absolutely LOVE the idea of buying all those Brookners. And wow, she was prolific! I've read a few of hers and yet I see only two familiar titles in that photo (Hotel du Lac and The Misalliance). I look forward to reading your comments as you work through the stack.

Edited: Feb 19, 9:12pm Top

>66 brenzi: Wow! That is impressive.

Believe it or not I have not read Brookner. Where do you think I should start, Bonnie, if you had to pick one?

Hooray for the new Mantel!

Feb 19, 9:27pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Bonnie. That's a lot of Brookner love!

Feb 19, 9:28pm Top

>70 lauralkeet: she wrote 24 novels Laura so this will be a two year project. I don't celebrate my Thingaversary every year (most of the time I totally forget about it until sometime in April or May when the lightbulb goes off) but this year the timing was right so.....

>71 msf59: Thanks Mark, I've only read three of her books so far. I started in December with her Booker Prize winning Hotel du Lac and really enjoyed it. I also liked her first novel A Start in Life. She writes quiet, contemplative novels with wry humor that really appeal to me.

Feb 19, 9:28pm Top

>72 BLBera: Thanks Beth. And yes it is a lot of love.

Feb 20, 11:49am Top

Yep, you got me hooked with Brookner too. I've got a Thingaversary coming up and may add a few of her books to my celebration.

Feb 20, 1:12pm Top

Happy Almost-Thingaversary, Bonnie. Great book haul. I’m not sure I have an author’s complete oeuvre on any of my shelves. I have most of Willa Cather, Halldor Laxness, John Steinbeck and Edith Wharton. Maybe I should fill in those gaps for my 13th (!) Thingaversary next month.

No book bullets this visit as I already have The Yellow House on The List. Thanks for another excellent review from you. Oh, maybe you did get me with a book bullet after all. It’s about time I read my old copy of Hotel du Lac.

Feb 20, 6:24pm Top

I am working my way through the Guido Brunetti mysteries of Donna Leon. There are 25 in the series and I am now on book 14. I started reading them for a mystery book challenge here on Librarything and got interested. I am also reading my way through the National Geographic Directions series. There are 22 in that series and I have two left to read. It is fun to start this kind of project. Or at least, I think so.

Feb 20, 6:44pm Top

>66 brenzi: Well and truly Brookner'd, Bonnie!

My first sighting of The Mirror and the Light and I am quite sure that it will not be my last.

Feb 20, 7:27pm Top

>75 RebaRelishesReading: I hope you enjoy whichever ones you end up reading Reba.

>76 Donna828: I have all of Barbara Pym's books on my shelf Donna because in 2013 I read all of her books in order of publication. In many ways, Brookner is a similar writer which is what gave me the idea when I read Hotel du Lac in December. I plan to reread my Pym books in 2023.

>77 benitastrnad: it is fun isn't it Benita. I first discovered how much fun it was when I read the Anthony Powell series A Dance to the Music of Time a few years ago (12 novels) at the rate of one per month. Then I did the Pym read for her centenary and loved that too. Now I'm reading the Dunnett series in the same way. I don't know why this device appeals to me but it really does.

>78 PaulCranswick: Oh I can guarantee it won't be your last sighting Paul. You can take that to the bank haha.

Feb 20, 7:33pm Top

>77 benitastrnad: Oh, I didn't know about this series. The authors make it sound very interesting.

I've only just discovered Bruckner myself, with Fraud. Hoping to make more time for her in between reading group obligations.

Feb 21, 6:15pm Top

>80 ffortsa: well I don't know what took us so long to discover Anita Brookner Judy but for me anyway, I'm happy to have done so.

Feb 21, 6:39pm Top


Providence by Anita Brookner

"She felt an urgent need to put her own life into some sort of order, to ensure that she did not turn out like Caroline or like Pauline, the one so stupid, the other so intelligent, and both so bereft. She saw her two friends, who would have nothing to say to each other if they should ever meet, as casualties of the same conflict, as losers in the war in which Providence was deemed to play so large a part, and to determine the outcome, for some, not for others." (Page 81)

Kitty Maule is a smart, beautiful woman, a lecturer at a university but she's missing the one thing she desires more than anything: a relationship with a man she cares about. It doesn't seem to be meant to be. It's just not in the cards for her. At least it doesn't seem to be. Kitty is convinced that Maurice, a professor of French architecture, is the man for her and even though he does very little to encourage these thoughts, she persists.

Brookner really is a master at slicing and dicing relationships. What's obvious to the reader is just not evident to her characters. They seem to plow ahead, nursing their own grievances, blind to what's actually happening. Then Brookner surrounds them with well, all kinds of unusual characters. And once again, there's no necessarily happy ending, no satisfaction for the reader, no happiness all around. Sort of like life itself.

3.9 stars

Feb 21, 6:53pm Top


American War by Omar El Akaad (narrated by Dion Graham)

I'm not usually a big fan of dystopian/apocalyptic fiction but this one was very well done. It's set at the end of this century when the world has been completely devastated by climate change and the US has suffered through another Civil War. The narrative follows one particular young female, Sarat, for twenty years as she deals with unbearable loss and figures out how to survive, no matter what. It's a tough story because it's all too possible if we don't do something about the warming of the planet and now.

Thanks Katie for the recommendation.

4 stars

Feb 21, 6:58pm Top

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

And on audio:

Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson

Because somebody's got to figure out how to get us out of this mess.

Feb 21, 7:15pm Top

Soooo......I'm off to Florida tomorrow for a week of R and R and I had to leave a sobbing Mia who made me promise to FaceTime with her and to be sitting right next to my sister when I do. Haha so sweet.

Feb 21, 7:21pm Top

>66 brenzi: How perfect! And happy Thingaversary today...eleven years is astonishing, isn't it!

>82 brenzi: Sounds like a delectable read.

>84 brenzi: Assassination? Just a thought.

Feb 21, 7:45pm Top

You got me with the Brookner, I'm glad you liked American War, I hope you love News of the World as much as I did, and, most importantly, have fun in Florida!

Feb 21, 9:00pm Top

Have a great warm getaway in Florida, Bonnie. I am sure you will LOVE News of the World.

Feb 21, 9:42pm Top

>83 brenzi: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Bonnie!

I hope you have a wonderful time in Florida! Poor Mia, missing her grandma already.

Edited: Feb 21, 10:31pm Top

>83 brenzi:
American War was the title chosen by the UA Honors College for their group read two years ago. The students read the book and had weekly discussions about it. The author was invited to the campus for two days to meet with students and faculty in various classes. The author then had a breakfast in the Library and gave a talk that was open to the campus. I did not read the book, but the lecture was well done.

The author was a war correspondent for an English paper and is Egyptian by birth but grew up in Canada and is now a Canadian citizen. The students really liked the book, but I just couldn’t get into it and Pearl Ruled it. I tend to not like dystopian novels that are that bleak. I need some hope in a book.

Feb 22, 11:31am Top

Hope you have uneventful travels and a wonderful break in FL!

Feb 22, 2:53pm Top

Having lived in NO for 18 years before moving to Seattle, I’m always on the lookout for books about/set in NO, so I read The Yellow House almost as soon as it came out, and I loved it!
I just finished A Very Stable Genius. It’s stunning how many horrible and unprecedented things he has done since 2016, and since he’s continually upping the ante, we forget about or tacitly (for the moment) accept the past misdeeds, and they move into the realm of normalcy as we face each new misdeed. It was good to be reminded, and to see everything set out in one place chronologically. It’s hard to believe, but what is going on now is worse and worse. Very nervous about coming election.
Where in Florida are you visiting? We are headed there April 15, but in our case for good. We will be settling somewhere between Tampa and Sarasota.

Feb 22, 3:43pm Top

>83 brenzi: This one is on my list to read soon, Bonnie.

Safe travels.

Enjoy News of the World.

Feb 24, 6:37pm Top

>86 richardderus: I'm sure many people have thought of assassination Richard but I prefer legal means lol.

>87 katiekrug: I spent the day at the beach Katie and it was glorious. Just to feel the sun on me was great because in Buffalo many people are afflicted with Seasonal Affect Disorder because they don't get enough vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine in the winter. I'm not saying that I'm effected by this because I take Vitamin D I guess. Anyway, sunshine is not overrated.

>88 msf59: Thanks Mark. I finished News of The World and will put together a few comments.

>89 alcottacre: I FaceTimed with Mia yesterday Stasia so all is good lol.

>90 benitastrnad: I really enjoyed American War Benita even though I seldom read dystopian novels. I would like to see what he does next.

>91 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. I'm having a good time.

>92 arubabookwoman: I'm just outside Tampa in Largo Deborah. It's so much worse now since the impeachment. It's actually terrifying from a security standpoint and I'm really worried about the election. Because if Trump is re-elected I am really scared about the future of this country.

>93 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I hope you enjoy American War.

Edited: Feb 24, 7:21pm Top


News of the World by Paulette Jiles

"Captain Kidd read carefully and precisely. His eyeglasses were round and rimmed in gold over his deep eyes. He always laid his small gold hunting watch to one side of the podium to time his reading. He had the appearance of wisdom and age and authority, which was why his readings were popular and the reason the dimes rang into the coffee can. When they read his handbills men abandoned the saloon, they slipped out of various unnamed establishments, they ran through the rain from their fire lit homes, they left the cattle circled and bedded beside the flooding Red to come and hear the news of the distant world." (Page 60)

Witchita Falls, Texas 1870. Captain Jefferson Kidd travels through northern Texas reading the news of the world. He pores over far and distant newspapers selecting the stories he thinks will be of most interest to his varied and sundried listeners. He is approached by two free black men who offer him the documents and a fifty dollar fee if he will return a young orphan to her family in San Antonio, a long long ride away. She was taken captive by the Kiowa four years earlier.

The narrative follows the two of them on their long and arduous trip across Texas. The captain is the kindest, most caring man that ten year old Johanna could have hoped for. He has the patience and the attitude that provides a perfect guardian for her. Together they fight off gunslingers and other dangerous characters and create a bond that you know is seriously bonding them. He has his doubts about leaving her with relatives who are total strangers and may not be prepared to bring her along in the proper way.

This book really resonated with me. Beautiful prose carried me along through a totally new learning experience. I'd never heard of men traveling through the west, reading news stories for pay. Of course, it makes perfect sense and it's just another example of how much we can all learn from the reading of fiction. Wonderful story, wonderful complicated characters, unique setting at a time when Texas was still very wild and unsettled. Almost perfect. Very highly recommended.

4.7 stars

Feb 24, 7:15pm Top

Edited: Feb 24, 8:03pm Top

>95 brenzi: great review Bonnie! Off to apply my thumb.

ETA: Oh, it’s not posted (yet?)

Feb 24, 8:33pm Top

Ok I fixed it Laura. I often forget to post reviews until days later lol. But thank you.

Feb 24, 8:53pm Top

thumbed! thanks Bonnie.

Feb 25, 7:43pm Top

Feb 25, 7:56pm Top

I am so glad you loved News of the World, although I am really not surprised. Good review too! Big Thumb! I have her new one, Simon the Fiddler waiting in the wings and will probably get to it, later next month.

Feb 26, 4:15pm Top

Great comments on News of the World. Her new one, Simon the Fiddler, takes place in the same world. I loved it, and immediately wanted to reread News of the World.

Feb 28, 1:29am Top

Hi Bonnie! I hope you are enjoying some sunshine in Florida.

Feb 28, 2:35pm Top

>95 brenzi: I loved that one too, Bonnie. I am anxiously awaiting getting my hands on Simon the Fiddler at some point.

Feb 29, 6:50pm Top

>101 msf59: Thanks Mark. I should've known I would love News of the World just judging by the number of other LTers who loved it. I'll be reading her new book too at some point. It doesn't come out until April.

>102 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I'll be on the lookout for Simon the Fiddler.

>103 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah, I certainly did enjoy the sunshine in Florida.

>104 alcottacre: I guess we're all waiting for the new one Stasia.

Feb 29, 7:10pm Top


Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson

Wilson is a Republican strategist full of ideas of how to take down this president. I don't really care who comes up with ideas as long as they have a chance of working. This book is full of these ideas. The main thing I got out of it was that policy proposals will not matter to the average voter. There are few voters who care much about that. Probably just you and me. Wilson feels that whoever ends up running against Trump needs to point out all the horrible things that have happened during the a Trump years. Just pound it day after day. The other important thing is to spend gobs of money in the swing states only. Don't waste money in the blue states that will vote blue anyway. That seems kind of basic to me but then Hilary skipped the states that ended up swinging towards Trump by just a handful of votes. Anyway, any help we can get is welcome and this book was good at what it tried to do.

4 stars

Feb 29, 7:25pm Top

>106 brenzi: I'm still convinced that the states she lost were down to election interference, but it was plausible to do the interfering there because the fools running the campaign made zero effort and so it could always be argued....

I think it's a hellscape out there and I wanna go back to the good timeline now, please.

Edited: Feb 29, 7:54pm Top

>95 brenzi: Another fan of News of the World chiming in. You review makes me want to reread it, Bonnie!

Enjoy your FL sunshine!

>107 richardderus: I feel similarly, Richard. The numbers were so close.

Feb 29, 8:00pm Top


I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson

Classic Bryson. Very humorous take by An American who came back home after living in the UK for twenty years and had to deal with all that was involved in American life in the 90s. Laugh out loud funny in parts and quite enjoyable as are most Bryson books. He's a favorite of mine and this book has been languishing on my shelves forever.

3.7 stars

Feb 29, 8:07pm Top

Currently reading and listening to:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Oh yeah, I'll be ready for the March 10 release of The Mirror and the Light

Feb 29, 8:14pm Top

>107 richardderus: Well Joe Biden just won the South Carolina primary so maybe were one step closer to normalcy Richard. Remember when Obama or Bush or Clinton or other Bush or Reagan or any of all the other presidents were in office and you could go days or weeks without hearing anything from or about them? I long for those days again. Yes Hilary ran an awful campaign and lots of my friends said they just couldn't vote for her but come on. Normalcy please.

>108 Copperskye: well Joanne, go ahead and reread it. I'm rereading a book right now myself.

Feb 29, 9:18pm Top

>95 brenzi: I loved News of the World and didn't know there was a sequel , or at least a book in the same world -- will have to get my hands on it. Happy weekend!

Feb 29, 10:29pm Top

I think Hilary had a good campaign. I think it was woman hatred that did her in. This country just isn’t going to vote for a woman for president. I don’t care who it is. I don’t think they would have voted for that harpy from Alaska either. The majority of the voters of this country probably don’t even think women should vote.

Mar 1, 4:28pm Top

>106 brenzi: Oh please, please let something help!! This sounds like good advice. If we ever get a candidate I hope the candidate and team take it too heart.

>109 brenzi: I read that one some years ago and loved it. I lived in Europe for about 10 years and could really relate.

Mar 1, 5:45pm Top

Running Against the Devil sounds really good, Bonnie. Books like this are important. Got to beat this devil!

Hooray for Bring up the Bodies. Those books are so great. Can't wait for the finale.

Mar 1, 8:24pm Top

>112 Berly: Hi Kim, apparently I'm very very late getting to News of the World but I know I'll be reading Simon the Fiddler in April once it's released🤗

>113 benitastrnad: I don't think she ran a very good campaign Benita. Like everyone else, she and her entire campaign didn't think Trump stood a chance. If you listen to the Obama election team they really panned how her campaign was run. Trump won with the help of Russia also. If Clinton had paid attention, I think she would've won. She lost it all in the last week of the campaign. I don't know if I can agree with you about a woman. Elizabeth Warren started to lose support when Alexandria Ocasio Cortez came out for Bernie. They're after the same voters. 🤷‍♀️

>114 RebaRelishesReading: oh I didn't realize you lived in Europe for ten years Reba. Well then I guess you really related to the Bryson. I really enjoy his books. I think the candidate will be Biden. We'll see.

>115 msf59: And it was really good on audio Mark. You'd probably enjoy it. He's a normal Republican, part of the Lincoln Project that's running a lot of ads against Trump so some of his ideas are shockingly scorched earth lol.

Mar 1, 8:34pm Top

<116 I think you may well be right about Biden -- hope there isn't too much baggage there.

Yes, in the '70's and '80's I lived for 7 years in the Netherlands with a year in London in the middle of that. Then was back in California for a couple of years before living in Dublin for two years. Great experiences!

Edited: Mar 1, 10:27pm Top

If Biden is the candidate, we will have Trump for 4 more years. Biden isn't a strong enough candidate to gather in those undecided voters and he is to establishment. It will take a real outsider to galvanize the young voters and the Hispanic voters who are the people who will vote in somebody different than Trump.

I recently read a book about a black civil rights leader from Selma, Alabama who died in 2007. He said that it was moderate blacks who held the Civil Rights movement back because when they had the momentum and the sympathy of white voters they opted to be cautious instead of pushing for more reforms. I have thought of that often, and I think it applies today. It was moderate blacks who voted for Biden in South Carolina. I would be willing to bet that they won't turn out in large enough numbers in November to carry the state for a democrat because they really aren't that enthused about Biden.

Mar 2, 12:40am Top

>113 benitastrnad: She let complacency do for her too, Benita. Not to have visited very close states like Wisconsin close to the election probably cost her. I think Biden then would have won but this older, somewhat found-out version of him would not do so, I fear.

>114 RebaRelishesReading: I don't like that Biden is too obviously milking his association with Barack Obama in an attempt at reflected glory. My own choices, if I had them would both be ladies Klobuchar or Warren but I do feel that Warren may need to fall in behind Bernie.

Mar 2, 1:50pm Top

Just got a text that Klobuchar has dropped out.

Mar 2, 6:25pm Top

>117 RebaRelishesReading: That sounds wonderful Reba. Biden's got plenty of baggage but what candidate doesn't.

>118 benitastrnad: well apparently the SC primary drew more voters than in 2008 when they came out in droves for Obama, so I think the enthusiasm is there. I guess we'll just have to see. I would love to see Elizabeth Warren get the nomination but I think she and Bernie are after the same voters and he seems to have that sewed up.

>119 PaulCranswick: and >120 RebaRelishesReading: Well now that Klobuchar is out that just leaves Elizabeth Warren but I think she'll be dropping out after a Super Tuesday unless a miracle occurs.

Mar 2, 6:29pm Top


Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

This is my review from 2012 when I first read the book.

Those Tudors are at it again! And Hilary Mantel’s follow-up to her Man Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall is just the vehicle to put them on display at their conniving, scheming, devious worst. But then again, this isn’t a story about the Tudors, per se, but rather a character study of Thomas Cromwell who is easily one of the most complicated characters in history. He’s Henry’s man, the cunning Master Secretary, and any kind of sordid activity the King wants done, Thomas can accommodate him..

This second volume of a planned trilogy concerning Cromwell’s life is incredibly well written and really, Mantel has outdone herself in this volume which tells the ins and outs of the downfall of the king’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. But it’s Cromwell, again and again that we come back to, and although he’s aged since WH, he is actually aging (and prospering) quite nicely:

”Thomas Cromwell is now about fifty years old. He has a labourer’s body, stocky, useful, running to fat. He has black hair, greying now, and because of his pale impermeable skin, which seems designed to resist rain as well as sun, people sneer that his father was an Irishman…(Thomas) never spares himself in the king’s service, he knows his worth and merits and makes sure of his reward: offices, perquisites and title deeds, manor houses and farms. He has a way of getting his way, he has a method; he will charm a man or bribe him, coax him or threaten him, he will explain to a man where his true interests lie, and he will introduce that same man to aspects of himself he never knew existed. Every day Master Secretary deals with grandees who, if they could, would destroy him with one vindictive swipe, as if he were a fly. Knowing this, he is distinguished by his courtesy, his calmness and his indefatigable attention to England’s business. He is not in the habit of explaining himself. He is not in the habit of discussing his successes. But whenever good fortune has called on him, he has been there, planted on the threshold, ready to fling open the door to her timid scratch on the wood.” (Page 6)

And as realistic as Mantel’s description is, Cromwell is a hard man to figure out. On the one hand he takes in orphans from the street and feeds and educates them. He is the picture of altruism and gains great sympathy when he ruminates about his family, lost to the plague a few years ago or when he lovingly considers his surviving son, Gregory. On the other hand he is capable of questioning certain subjects of the king in a way that is both chilling and understated in order to get the information he seeks. Whether or not that information is the truth is of no importance to him and won’t obstruct him from his goal.

That goal, in this case, is producing the evidence that will prove the queen’s adultery and thereby enable the king to move on to wife #3 who may succeed in producing a son for him. He needs an heir. Desperately evidently.

It may just be me, but I thought this book was, for lack of a better phrase, “dumbed down.” I know some people complained about WH and Mantel’s use of the pronoun “he” whenever she referred to Cromwell, without using an antecedent, and that’s pretty much gone in this volume. But beyond that, the narrative just seemed to flow so easily that I wondered what made that so. Being “dumbed down” was all I could come up with. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is spectacular but something made it different from WH.

I don’t know how to begin to describe Mantel’s uncanny ability to put you there in 1536 in the castle as well as in the courtroom. It’s quite daunting yet she does it with such skill that you come up from being immersed in the narrative in a fog and it takes some time to adjust to the phone ringing way, way in the background. Wait, the queen is about to testify, what’s going on here?............

5 Stars (again)

Mar 2, 6:33pm Top

>110 brenzi: I am going to be listening to that trilogy as soon as I finish the In Death series, which still has a bit to go yet. I only ever read Wolf Hall, which I loved, but I own Bring Up the Bodies too and have the third book on pre-order.

>122 brenzi: Glad to see you enjoyed it again!

Mar 2, 6:36pm Top

Currently reading:

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

And on audio:

Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill

Mar 2, 6:41pm Top

>123 alcottacre: it's just soooooogood Stasia. I think it's the one thing that I can read over and over and never get tired of. Can't wait for The Mirror and the Light one week from tomorrow 🤗

Mar 2, 6:43pm Top

>125 brenzi: That is wonderful! I love when I find books like that.

Edited: Mar 2, 6:57pm Top

Wow! You are on a great roll, my friend. Excellent review of Bring up the Bodies. I am sure I Thumbed you back in the day. I have been wanting to read Down and Out in Paris and London for years now. Maybe you will finally give me the nudge I need. And hooray for visiting Dr. Siri again!

Lastly- I added Running Against the Devil to my Audible wishlist.

Mar 2, 7:59pm Top

>126 alcottacre: I know. Another book I could read over and over is Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr, Stasia.

>127 msf59: am sure I Thumbed you back in the day You and eighteen other people Mark hahaha. Those were the heady days.

I started last year to make my way through Orwell's oeuvre so this is just a continuation. Then I'll read The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover about Orwell's time writing 1984.

Mar 3, 9:44am Top

Hi, Bonnie. All sorts of nice reviews! I'm another fan of News of the World, and I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. I've got her new one, Simon the Fiddler, and I hope to read it soonish.

That review of Yellow House hit the spot for me. I hope to get to that one soon, too.

Thumbs for both.

Mar 3, 6:58pm Top

>129 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. News of the World was really quite wonderful. I surprised me because I had read Enemy Women years before and was totally unimpressed. I think you'll enjoy The Yellow House.

Mar 3, 7:03pm Top

>128 brenzi: I have had Stones for Ibarra in the BlackHole for a while now. I will have to move it up the stack.

Mar 3, 8:06pm Top

>131 alcottacre: ohhhhhhh Stasia. That is my favorite book ever. And it's short so you could probably read it in an hour or so. I don't know if it'll hit you the way it hit me in the two times I read it but I just loved it.

Mar 4, 12:44pm Top

>130 brenzi: News of the World was one where I was glad I tend to just plug on through even when I'm not really enjoying a book. I thought the first half (or so) was a total slog but ended up really liking it.

Just ordered Stones for Ibarra. I need a quick read to off-set the good-but-oh-so-long bio of Frederick Douglass.

Mar 4, 8:36pm Top

>133 RebaRelishesReading: Oh Reba if you like it only half as much as I did you'll love it. The language is absolutely stunning.

Mar 5, 12:21pm Top

>133 RebaRelishesReading:, >134 brenzi: It's due here by 9 p.m. today and I plan to dive right in :)

Mar 5, 6:28pm Top

😳 Yikes, the pressure is on Reba.

Mar 5, 6:37pm Top

I put Stones for Ibarra on hold at the local library and hope to have a copy of it in hand soon.

Mar 5, 6:43pm Top

>137 alcottacre: 😳😳😳😳😳 oh boy. I'm getting nervous now.

Mar 6, 1:17am Top

Hi Bonnie. >57 brenzi: is a reminder for me that I want to obtain and read The Yellow House. Excellent comments you provided there.

>106 brenzi: Interesting. Whatever strategy the nominee (looks like it will be Biden) uses, I hope they work!!!!!!

And your review of Bring Up the Bodies is so good. I am also looking forward to The Mirror and the Light. I had thought I might reread the first two but life is not conspiring to give me that kind of time at present. So I'll read the new one when I can obtain it, and when I'm retired, I'll reread the trilogy. Isn't that something wonderful to look forward to!

Mar 6, 11:51am Top

>138 brenzi: It was here as promised when I got home from choir at 9:00 but I didn't dive right in. This afternoon I hope.

Mar 6, 12:29pm Top

I thought you might be interested in reading this article from Publisher's Weekly about the Oprah Winfrey Book Club show that was recently aired on Apple TV. It is the discussion about American Dirt and was 2 two hour segments. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/articl...

Oprah defended her selection of American Dirt with this statement "Winfrey set the tone for the ensuing discussion during the first episode taped in Tucson, Ariz. on Feb. 13 before a studio audience of approximately 100 people by doubling down on her decision to select American Dirt for her book club.

“I have heard and understand the concerns,” she said, “We’re going to hear from different sides—not all sides, because that’d be impossible. I fundamentally believe in the right of anyone to use their imagination and their skills to tell stories. If one author or artist is silenced, we’re all in danger of the same.”

She then conducted a 20-minute interview with Cummins, pulling out the emotional backstory to Cummins’ writing American Dirt, her responses to the controversy, and even got Cummins to admit missteps she made that fueled the indignation against her."

The second episode concentrated on the backlash and Winfrey talked to a group of Latinx authors about their concerns. "Winfey herself came under fire for the lack of diversity in her selections for her book club. Arce pointed out that there have been no selections by Mexican-American authors since Winfrey started her book club in 1996, and there have been only four books selected by Latinx authors – including Cummins.

In response to Cepeda’s question, “What are you going to do?” Winfrey promised to “search personally for more Latinx writers,” but stopped short of promising to engage with #DignidadLiteraria, as the group of Latinx activists that emerged in the wake of the controversy demanded she do in an open letter in early February."

After the taping of the show, the group DignidadLiteraria said that Winfrey didn't do enough to mend the rift and they had hope for more support from her.

Mar 6, 12:40pm Top

And the saga continues.

Turns out Oprah's March pick for her book club was going to be My Dark Vanessa by Elizabeth Russell. This was a debut novel about a 15 year old and her high school English teacher and their affair. However, the Oprah Book Club canceled that selection after the American Dirt controversy. I couldn't find what title was selected for March 2020. Perhaps Oprah has discovered that people get really passionate about books and she is going to not have a March pick?


Mar 6, 6:46pm Top

>139 EBT1002: and when I'm retired, I'll reread the trilogy. Isn't that something wonderful to look forward to! . I'll say!

I've been doing my rereading while listening to the audio and that is definitely the way to go Ellen. But I doubt I will wait for the audio of The Mirror & the Light because I have the Kindle version of the book ordered and I intend to start reading it on Tuesday, when it arrives.

I hope you get to The Yellow House sometime because it was so very good.

>140 RebaRelishesReading: 😬😬😬

>141 benitastrnad: and >142 benitastrnad: I'm going to watch the program Benita since I have Apple TV+ and I may even watch it tonight. From the article I see that some of the other authors expected more from her so I question why she dug in her heels on this issue. She has no need for the book club since she has no show to promote it on anymore so when this first started I was surprised to hear that the book club still existed. Oh well.

Mar 6, 6:51pm Top

>138 brenzi: I understand that feeling. I feel the same way when I recommend books on my thread.

Mar 6, 7:48pm Top


Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

"You discover what it is like to be hungry. With bread and margarine in your belly, you go out and look into the shop windows. Everywhere there is food insulting you in huge, wasteful piles; whole dead pigs, baskets of hot loaves, great yellow blocks of butter, strings of sausages, mountains of potatoes, vast Gruyere cheeses like grindstones. A snivelling self-pity comes over you at the sight of so much food. You plan to grab a loaf and run, swallowing it before they catch you; and you refrain, from pure funk." (page 12)

Written in 1931, Orwell kept us guessing as to whether this was fiction based on his experiences or memoir. Although dated and riddled with racist epithets that were quite disturbing to my liberal intelligence, I found the descriptions of living in the throes of poverty, quite descriptive and heart wrenching.

While in Paris, Orwell worked as a plongeur, the very lowest job in a restaurant or hotel. Don't think dishwasher, although that was part of it, but think more about doing all the lowliest chores in the kitchen of a restaurant. The filth was incredible and made me gag. He was paid just enough to pay for a room and worked from seven in the morning until midnight almost every day of the week. He was one of the lucky ones in Paris because he had a job and he knew he would eat everyday. The descriptions of life in the restaurant were fascinating and I really liked this part of the book.

When he was finally able to leave Paris with the promise of a lowly job in England he jumped at the chance and arrived in London thinking he had a job. He did but couldn't start for two weeks and since he arrived with a very small amount of money in his pocket he was forced to live among the other "tramps" and move from day to day to various government provided housing that was quite inadequate and very antiquated in both function and appearance to the general population. This part of the book was not as compelling but was certainly important.

All in all I found this book, one of Orwell's earliest, an interesting look at what poverty looked like in 1931. Sadly, when you consider the homeless problem in this country today, I'm not sure how much progress we've made in the last ninety years.

3.8 stars

Mar 6, 7:52pm Top

>145 brenzi: I have that one somewhere around my house to read. I really need to get to it - if I can find it, that is.

Mar 6, 7:53pm Top

The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover

Edited: Mar 6, 7:54pm Top

Happy Friday, Bonnie. Good review of Down and Out in Paris and London. There are several Orwell books I want to get to and this is one of them. Have you read Rebecca Solnit? I am reading her collection, A Field Guide to Getting Lost and it is blowing me away. If you are itching for an essay collection, give this one a try.

Mar 6, 7:57pm Top

>144 alcottacre: and >146 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, yes it always gives me the jitters. I started reading a lot of/about Orwell last year and this is a continuation. And The Last Man in Europe is about Orwell as he writes 1984.

Mar 6, 8:03pm Top

>148 msf59: thanks Mark, I haven't even begun to make a dent in all the Orwell out there but I'm getting there. I haven't read anything by Rebecca Solnit except her long piece essays online and I do follow here on Twitter. I need to read this collection apparently.

Mar 6, 10:52pm Top

>144 alcottacre: Me too, but everyone has always been gracious when they had to say "well, thanks for the rec, Ellen, but that one just didn't work for me." Still.... 😀

Mar 7, 12:48pm Top

>151 EBT1002: ...where I, big lummox of a Y-haver that I am, just say, "what the actual F are you tryna do to me?!"

Hence the reason people don't recommend books to me twice.


Mar 9, 8:12pm Top

Well tomorrow is the day. I should have my hands on The Mirror and the Light and be able to start reading in the afternoon some time. I don't know when I'll come up for air lol. I expect to finish The Last Man in Europe tonight or tomorrow morning. It's been very good.

Mar 10, 7:34am Top

Hi Bonnie!

>95 brenzi: I loved this book when I read it in 2017. Excellent review.

>106 brenzi: I hope the DNC reads this book…

Have fun reading The Mirror and the Light. Your enthusiasm reminds me of the heyday of the Harry Potter books when I’d get the newest one on the day of publication and dig right in.

Mar 10, 11:15am Top

I really liked Last Man in Europe as well, and at the time promised myself I'd read more Orwell. Thanks for the reminder! I'm looking forward to The Mirror and the Light and will probably listen on audio. Kudos to you for revisiting the first two - what a treat!

Mar 10, 6:45pm Top

Well, I am obviously going to have to read Last Man in Europe! There is no question of my reading The Mirror and the Light.

Mar 10, 11:24pm Top

As always there is plenty of interesting book discussion here, Bonnie. I don't feel that I have anything else to add to the American Dirt controversy. I am glad Oprah had her show(s) and put her point of view. Cannot please everyone.

Mar 11, 7:41pm Top

>154 karenmarie: I may be the only LTer who had not read News of the World until last month Karen. I had read her earlier book, Enemy Women and didn't care for it much at all so I wasn't drawn to NotW until recently when I heard other LT pals raving about it. Oh well, late to the party but happy to have read it now.

I've been waiting for The Mirror and the Light since 2012 so I'm probably more excited about this book than any other I've waited for in the past.

>155 vivians: I loved Last Man in Europe and have been reading quite a bit of Orwell over the last year or so. I'll probably make Animal Farm my next one. I read it in high school but remember very little about it but as you know it was an important part of LMiE. Even though it was a novel it was almost like a bio and a perfect companion to a book I read late last year The Ministry of Truth. Obviously it's a miracle that Nineteen Eighty Four ever got published.

>156 alcottacre: You've got some great reading ahead of you Stasia.

>157 PaulCranswick: I have to say after watching the two Oprah programs, she didn't give an inch. It didn't seem to me that she offered the other Latinx authors any kind of real forum and packed her audience with readers who loved the book and offered no real opposition. So different from how she blindsided the author of A Million Little Pieces, James Frey, for passing off a piece of fiction as memoir. Strange.

Mar 11, 8:52pm Top

>158 brenzi: I've had a couple of non-white friends who had to deal with the not-black-enough from African Americans and not-really-Chinese from Chinese for being interested in books and F&FS, so maybe Oprah just wasn't sympathetic with the not-Latinx enough or not my type of Latinx pov.

Mar 12, 12:35pm Top

I loved The Last Man in Europe and always hesitate about recommending books as well because WHAT IF YOU DON"T LIKE IT?

Mar 12, 5:33pm Top

>158 brenzi:
Maybe Oprah liked the book and figured that an author has the right to write and if they come up with a good story does ethnicity matter? So what do you think of the fracas about Woody Allen and his memoir? I am of the opinion that a publisher can publish what they want - politically correct or not. The whole idea of books is that the reader can select what they want to read. Putting the kibosh on a book just because some think that the author is a pedophile doesn't mean that the book shouldn't be published. Does it?

Mar 12, 5:42pm Top

>160 BLBera: Then obviously the reader does not have good taste, while the referrer does :)

>161 benitastrnad: The whole idea of books is that the reader can select what they want to read. Putting the kibosh on a book just because some think that the author is a pedophile doesn't mean that the book shouldn't be published.

I am with you there, Benita. We vote with our dollars - and if we do not want to read it, we do not have to read the book, much less buy it. There are plenty of books published by purported murderers, but that does not mean I have to read them, although the subject of true crime interests me.

*Waving at Bonnie*

Mar 12, 7:24pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Bonnie. I am getting the impression that The Mirror and the Light is living up to it's hefty promise. Am I reading those signals correctly? I am enjoying Know My Name. Another strong memoir.

Mar 13, 6:16pm Top

>159 quondame: Yes I'm sure Oprah wasn't sympathetic Susan. I read the book and liked it a lot. I'm sure if it wasn't an accurate picture of the migrant experience it went right over my head. It didn't really matter to me that the author was an American.

>160 BLBera: I should've posted some remarks about The Last Man in Europe because I did like it a lot Beth and, although it was fiction so much accurate information was related that it could've been nonfiction..but I was so eager to get started on the Mantel so I let it go.

Mar 13, 6:25pm Top

>161 benitastrnad: Oh she definitely liked the book Benita, there's no question. So maybe she decided that trumped everything else. I don't care about the Woody Allen book. I'm not going to read a book by a pedophile but he has the same rights as anyone else as far as publication goes.

>162 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, yes of course it would indicate the reader didn't have good taste lol.

>163 msf59: Hi Mark, oh no question I am loving The Mirror and the Light. It's a chunkster, even more than her previous two, so I'll be on it for awhile. I think I'm at the 37% mark on my Kindle right now. I'll knock off a big chunk this weekend. I hope to get to Know My Name soonish.

Mar 13, 7:56pm Top

Happy weekend, Bonnie! I hope you have a good one.

Mar 14, 8:40pm Top

Thanks Stasia. It's been fairly uneventful although I've been enjoying The Mirror and the Light.

Mar 14, 9:05pm Top

I'm right now watching the mini documentary about Hillary Clinton on Hulu and it may be a mistake. It's making me realize once again what we lost when she wasn't elected. For the sake of about 70,000 votes over a few states we would've had a brilliant president right now doing about a million times better than the bozo we have in the White House who doesn't have a clue what he's doing. The most qualified candidate to run up to that point and yet people opted for a washed up reality tv host/failed and bankrupted real estate developer and all around con man and common criminal. Gah. I don't know if I can keep watching.

Mar 15, 8:15am Top

>167 brenzi: I'm enjoying The Mirror and the Light as well, Bonnie. I love Mantel's writing so much.

>168 brenzi: Although I'm sure it's interesting, I'm not watching the documentary for the same reasons. I just couldn't handle it right now with everything else going on.

Mar 15, 11:40am Top

>168 brenzi: indeed, Bonnie, indeed

Mar 15, 3:27pm Top

>168 brenzi:
That is why I watched “Say Yes to the Dress” last night. I think I will watch the debate tonight - even though I am not happy about the two old white guys who are running for the office. I don’t think either one of them will win and unseat the bozo.

Mar 15, 7:39pm Top

>169 lauralkeet: Well I gave up on it after an episode and a half. We'll see if I ever go back to it Laura. I honestly don't want this book to end. I know Cromwell's downfall is coming and there is a foreboding in the narrative now (Page 532) that indicates it.

>170 RebaRelishesReading: Sad. Isn't it Reba?

>171 benitastrnad: Well I'll probably watch at least part of the debates just to see how a real president would address the biggest issue of the day, Benita.

Edited: Mar 15, 8:16pm Top

>172 brenzi: I'm only on page 141 Bonnie, but I'm loving it even though I know it's not going to end well for our hero.

Mar 15, 8:39pm Top

I've watched the first two episodes of the Hulu doc on HRC, and will finish it up this week. It's really well done.

Mar 15, 10:00pm Top

>168 brenzi: Amen, Bonnie.

Mar 16, 8:08pm Top

>173 lauralkeet: I'm going to really hate seeing this book end Laura. It may end tomorrow because, let's face it, I don't have a lot to do. Everything is closed so no pickleball and Tuesday was one of my pb days 😩

>174 katiekrug: it is very well done Katie. I'm sure I'll go back to it at some point.

>175 BLBera: Hi Beth, it's just so frustrating.

Edited: Mar 16, 8:24pm Top

So......all the bars and restaurants are closed ( as well as all the gyms, libraries, schools, casinos...well anyplace you might want to go really) but you can still get take out orders as long as the restaurants will provide them and most seem to be getting on board with that. But you know what else you can gets besides dinner? A drink! Yes you can order a cocktail to go. Or a beer or a glass of wine. Whatever. This has raised the quality of take out exponentially. Tomorrow my favorite Mexican restaurant will be getting an order for honey chipotle chicken AND a Premium Margarita. Finally, something to feel good about. 🍸🍸

Mar 17, 12:59pm Top

I have somewhat mixed feelings about serving alcohol "to go" lol. We have plenty of food in the house for the next couple of weeks (I think/hope) but it's nice to have the option of take-away. We usually eat lunch out 2 or 3 times a week and then have left-overs from those meals a couple of nights for dinner so preparing 3 meals a day for 2 or more weeks will be a new experience!! Enjoy you Mexican and stay well!

Mar 17, 6:11pm Top

Yeah I know what you mean Reba. But for me it's a real treat and I won't be driving anywhere except the short hop skip and a jump to the nearby restaurant.

Mar 17, 6:37pm Top

Hooray for chipotle chicken and a margarita, Bonnie. I wonder if that perk, is available in the Chicago area. Hmmmmm...

Edited: Mar 18, 4:32pm Top


The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (audio narration by Ben Miles)

"Once the queen's head is severed, he walks away. A sharp pang of appetite reminds him that it is time for a second breakfast, or perhaps an early dinner. The morning's circumstances are new and there are no rules to guide us. The witnesses, who have knelt for the passing of the soul, stand up and put on their hats. Under the hats, their faces are stunned....But then he turns back, to say a word of thanks to the executioner. The man has performed his office with style; and though the king is paying him well, it is important to reward good service with encouragement, as well as purse. Having once been a poor man, he knows this from experience." (Page 2-3)

Thomas Cromwell may have once been a poor man, but that was many, many years ago. He's now very wealthy and the king's right hand man. And he doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and rewarding good service. That's his modus operandi and has kept him in good stead. But things seem to be gradually changing and Cromwell is beginning to wonder if his enemies, and there are several, may be aiming to undermine him. But how can that be? He has the confidence of Henry, the king......Doesn't he?

Hilary Mantel hit another homerun in this conclusion to her Wolf Hall Trilogy, the story of Thomas Cromwell told from his point of view and in a first person narrative that was compelling, educational and heart pounding with touches of laugh out loud moments. I was a little bit surprised in the author's note to see just how many of the characters were actual historical figures. I knew the king and his family and some of the major characters were factual but I was taken aback by the minor factual characters.

But the real star here is Mantel's luscious writing and her brilliant characterizations. The characters are all so well drawn and meaty. When Cromwell's downfall begins, the presentation of Anne of Cleeves places a special burden on him, because he is responsible for the match between Henry and his fourth wife (it's his second wife's head, that lies on the ground beneath the executioner's sword in the first paragraph above). Things are not working out very well and Cromwell seems to be losing his sway over the king.

If you're new to Mantel, don't start here. You need to get the full treatment from the beginning of the trilogy. It is magnificent, in my opinion. I really didn't want it to end. People who complain about the tedious details that Mantel includes in all three books simply don't appreciate excellent historical fiction. And that's what we have here. Remarkable. Brilliant. Magnificent. I've run out of superlatives. Oh there's another one....superlative.

5 stars

Mar 17, 7:23pm Top

Currently reading:

Look at Me by Anita Brookner

And on audio:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Mar 17, 7:25pm Top

>180 msf59: Well Mark we have to get our enjoyment wherever we can in this locked down world. I hope you find some happiness there in Chicago.

Mar 17, 9:32pm Top

>181 brenzi: Excellent review, Bonnie. This is such a great trilogy.

Edited: Mar 18, 1:50am Top

>178 RebaRelishesReading: I immediately stopped reading and went to see if I could get booze delivered from the local BevMo. I can. Now should I? Before more restrictions are in place.

>181 brenzi: Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour died after delivering Edward. The other executed wife was Catherine Howard, his fifth.

Edited: Mar 18, 5:22pm Top

>185 quondame: Here's a handy way to remember the fate of Henry's six wives:
"divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived"

What a lovely man, huh?

Mar 18, 12:43pm Top

>185 quondame: Good to know. I was just thinking the wine rack was getting a bit low but there's a Bevmo just down the hill so now I don't have to worry :)

>182 brenzi: I did Born A Crime via audio too and thought it worked really well. Hope you enjoy it and glad you enjoyed your Margarita.

Very nice review on the Mantel. I'm sure that's an excellent series but right now I have so many books in Mt. TBR than I really want to avoid starting a trilogy of huge books so I'm firmly closing my eyes and plugging my ears.

Mar 18, 1:51pm Top

>181 brenzi: Superlative review, Bonnie. The first star came from me. ;-) I have one more book to make some comments on over on my thread, then I will be socially isolating with The Mirror and the Light. I'm really looking forward to some uninterrupted reading time.

Mar 18, 6:29pm Top

>184 lauralkeet: isn't it Laura? I'd put it up there with, well, nothing comes to, mind right now but yes it's just wonderful.

>185 quondame: Ahh Susan, you caught my mistake and of course you're right. I corrected it. Of course it was Anne Boleyn's head on the ground. I hope you managed to imbibe.

>186 lauralkeet: somehow he doesn't seem quite as bad as you've pointed out Laura. Of course we're seeing him from Cromwell's point of view.

>187 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, open your eyes. Hahaha. This book is the longest of the three but they're all fairly dense. I have to say, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but they read fairly fast for me anyway.

>188 Donna828: Thanks Donna. Uninterrupted reading time will be good for getting through this dense read.

Mar 18, 7:00pm Top

Great review of The Mirror and the Light, Bonnie! Big Thumb! Funny, it is only getting 3.5 stars over on the title page. WTH? You know I am going with your opinion on that one, so no worries there. Have a wonderful time with Born a Crime. A terrific audio.

Mar 18, 7:22pm Top

What Mark said, Bonnie. Great review of The Mirror and the Light. Thumb from me, too. I stopped after Wolf Hall, but it looks like I need to read Bring Up the Bodies and this one.

I'm another fan of the Born a Crime audio. He's so good, telling his story.

Mar 18, 8:19pm Top

>190 msf59: Thanks Mark, I'm not sure what's up with the LT rating for The Mirror and the Light. I see Suzanne gave it 4.65 stars and there just aren't a lot of ratings yet. That said, I'm a real Mantel fan so it was almost a given I'd give it 5 stars just like the other two. Taken as a trilogy I think it's absolutely superb. And I'm already enjoying Born a Crime.

>191 jnwelch: Stopped after Wolf Hall??? How is that possible Joe? Lol. At any rate, I'm happy to see so many fans of Born a Crime.

Mar 19, 10:37am Top

Hi Bonnie!

>168 brenzi: I still mourn what we got instead of what we needed and deserved, too.

>182 brenzi: I listened to the audiobook of Born a Crime. It may be time to pull it back out and re-listen…

>186 lauralkeet: Technically, Henry VIII and Anne of Cleeves had an annulment of their marriage, but I do admit that "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived" is easier to remember than "divorced, beheaded, died, annulled, beheaded, survived". And Anne of Cleeves did outlive Henry by 10 years.

Mar 19, 11:41am Top

>181 brenzi: You've used up the superlatives! I needed some, too. Darn it!

Mar 19, 8:30pm Top

>193 karenmarie: it's being hammered home everyday now isn't it Karen? And yes, Anne of Cleeves marriage to Henry was annulled because it was never consummated. Oddly they remained friends for the rest of his short life.

>194 richardderus: sorry to have used up all the superlatives Richard. I couldn't help myself lol.

Mar 19, 8:57pm Top

>177 brenzi: :)

>181 brenzi: So, the question is, how do you follow something like that?

Mar 19, 9:29pm Top

>196 BLBera: Well I wanted something entirely different Beth so that's why I went with the Brookner. Of course it's not having the impact of the Mantel but I'm getting into it a little more now.

Mar 20, 9:53am Top

I can't wait to get to The Mirror and the Light and am debating about whether to listen on audio. Thanks for the great review! Right now I'm listening to Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead- so far so good.

Mar 20, 9:11pm Top

Hi Vivian, I didn't debate. My plan was to listen and read and that worked out very well for me. I'm finding that works very well with dense books, for me anyway.

Mar 21, 12:08am Top

One of my absolute favourite threads at the moment, Bonnie, I must say.

On Oprah - I think she was right to stand by her decision. She couldn't please everyone. Sandra Cisneros loved the book, you loved it and so did Oprah. Three pretty good judges IMHO. Was it perfect and an absolutely accurate of all migrant's experiences? Surely not, but I would hazard that no two migrant's tales were the same. Does she exploit the suffering? An author makes money but her book also enabled a debate intended or not.

On Woody Allen. I have no idea if he is a pedophile. There is something creepy about him and always has been but I recognise that he had talent both as a director and as a comic actor. Do I want to read his story? Not really. Should he be silenced without a trial? Not really, but publishers should make up their own minds.

On the Mirror and the Light. Your review means that I am awaiting it with bated breath here should the stores ever re-open.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mar 21, 5:46pm Top

Hi Bonnie! Hope all is well in western NY. We're still hoping to make it there this summer.

Mar 22, 6:56pm Top

>200 PaulCranswick: I hope you enjoy The Mirror and the Light as much as I did. But then I'm a huge Mantel fan so it's pretty hard for her to disappoint me. I think Oprah's decision was made before she had her show on Apple TV. I doubt anything she heard would've changed her mind. I wouldn't have read Woody Allen's book under any circumstances but I can see why Ronan Farrell wanted his publisher to drop the book. The fact that the publisher gave in to him is rather astounding.

>201 RebaRelishesReading: We're doing about the same as everyone else Reba. I'm wondering how I'll get my hair cut now. I told my daughter she'd better hone her skills so she could cut my hair.. uh she has no skills in that department. Lol.

Mar 22, 7:43pm Top


Look at Me by Anita Brookner

I continue with my Brookner reading (in order of publication) and I have to say she certainly knew how to nail human interaction. Every book is different but they all seem to contain the same theme: how women deal with the relationships with both men and other women and how those relationships effect their lives.

Frances Hinton works in the reference library of a medical research institute. There is no question that she is lonely. She has been left fairly well off by her parents and has a very quiet social life so she fills her excess hours by writing, stories that she plans to submit to publishers.

"When I feel swamped in my solitude and hidden by it, physically obscured by it, rendered invisible, in fact, writing is my way of piping up. Of reminding people that I am here. And when I have ordered my characters, plundered my store of images, removed from them all the sadness that I might feel in myself, then I can switch on that current that allows me to write so easily, once I get started, and to make people laugh. That, it seems, is what they like to do. And if I manage this well enough and beguile all the dons and the critics, they will fail to register my real message, which is a simple one. If my looks and my manner were of greater assistance to me I could deliver this message in person. 'Look at me,' I would say. 'Look at me.' But since I am on my own in this manner, I must use subterfuge and guile, and with a bit of luck and good management this particular message will never be deciphered, and my reasons for delivering it in this manner remain obscure." (Page 20)

But a big change occurs in her life when she starts socializing with over bearing Alix and her husband Nick, who frequents the library where Frances works. She is quickly drawn into a very different life and thinks she has finally found her salvation so she gives up on her writing. I've seen enough of Brookner at this point to know there will be no easy answers and Frances will struggle greatly to find what will work best for her. I can't call the ending satisfying, but it is what I've come to expect from this very talented author. It's just very real and not unexpected.

4 stars

Mar 22, 7:46pm Top

Currently reading:

The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett

Mar 23, 3:07pm Top

I talked to our neighbors at CHQ yesterday and they said there are no Covid-19 cases in Chautauqua County so far. It's rural and there are very few folks on the grounds at this time of year so they may get by pretty lightly. I sort of wish we were there right now but not enough to set of cross-country. I hear you about hair, etc. I had a pedicure appointment for tomorrow. I had missed the last one and really need to go but decided it wasn't wise. I can always wear sandals ... lol. I also have a hair cut due in a couple of weeks and probably will cancel that (I don't think the salon is open anyway). I'm in isolation anyway :)

Mar 23, 6:58pm Top

Hi, Bonnie. I have still not read Brookner. I will have to try her out one of these days. You mentioned not reading Russo for awhile. Did you read Nobody's Fool? If not, I recommend reading that one before Everybody's Fool, which I am really enjoying.

Mar 23, 7:30pm Top

>205 RebaRelishesReading: CHQ now has two cases of Covid-19 as of tonight's news Reba. We certainly have a lot more than that and a few deaths. Let's hope there's an end in sight when you're ready to return.

>206 msf59: Hi Mark, I've already read Nobody's Fool so I'm thinking Everybody's Fool should probably be my next Russo.

Mar 23, 8:39pm Top

>207 brenzi: I guess it was to be expected but still too bad. We had our first death in San Diego County yesterday and over 200 confirmed positive. And still there are those who gathered on the beaches this weekend but Mayor announced this afternoon that the police are now to move from "educate" to "enforce". I sure hope that helps.

Mar 24, 10:16am Top

>205 RebaRelishesReading: I hope Chautauqua has a season this summer. If the virus is still percolating the festival might shut down to avoid an influx of carriers. Hope not.

Mar 24, 10:26am Top

>207 brenzi: Half of all cases in the States have occurred in New York state, Bonnie, so please take good care of yourself. xx

Mar 24, 1:45pm Top

>209 ffortsa: Yes, we're holding our breath. We get almost daily emails from there and so far planning is going ahead but everyone realizes it's still quite iffy. It's on my daydream schedule though :)

>210 PaulCranswick: I would think most of those are in New York City, Paul and Bonnie is about 500 miles from there. Nevertheless, do take care Bonnie!!

Mar 24, 2:58pm Top

'Cause why not? : ) Be well!

Mar 24, 7:31pm Top

>208 RebaRelishesReading: yes Reba, that sounds like all the kids on Spring break in Florida who were just having a great drunken time last week because their governor refused to close the beaches.. they're finally closed now but the kids returned home and of course they're turning up with covid-19 all over the country.

>209 ffortsa: Hi Judy!

>210 PaulCranswick: well I'm pretty far away from NYC Paul but I know the infection rate is growing everyday. I'm practicing social distancing just like most people. Keep safe my friend.

>211 RebaRelishesReading: oh it would be a shame if all those programs were cancelled Reba. But not to worry....Trumps says it will be over by Easter Sunday and it'll be back to business! Moron.

>212 Berly: Well thanks Kim. I hadn't thought of celebrating Tuesday but in this age of nothing else to celebrate, why not. Take care.

Mar 24, 7:52pm Top

>213 brenzi: What worries me is that the Day-Glo Jackanapes in chief will somehow manage to make the country do the Easter thing and, well, gods all help us then.

Mar 25, 10:27am Top

>213 brenzi: Hi Bonnie! I guess I scooted right past you to reply to Reba.

I've only read one Brookner, I think. But she is mentioned more and more, so I will add her subliminally to my ever increasing list of authors to read. Can you see changes in her writing as you go through her ouevre chronologically?

Edited: Mar 28, 8:20am Top

Hi Bonnie!

>202 brenzi: I (edited to add) had my 'pandemic haircut' on March 17th and had more cut off than I normally would, but all hair salons are shut down now. My May 12th appointment may or may not occur. I’m resigned to having to whack at my hair myself if it comes to it. And nails. I just bought some acetone so I can soak off my gel nails and cut my nails short. Nail salons are closed, too.

Mar 25, 1:11pm Top

>213 brenzi: Did you see him yesterday "I can just see all of the churches full of people on Easter-it will be a beautiful day" (not exact quote but accurate as to meaning) -- honestly!! how can anyone be such a self-serving fool?!?

Mar 25, 1:23pm Top

>216 karenmarie:
I don't think that acetone works on gel nails. It only takes off the color but not the gel. At least that is what they nail guy I go to for pedicures said. Maybe he was just trying to drum up more business?

Mar 25, 1:25pm Top

>217 RebaRelishesReading:
Maybe he has been practicing self isolation for too long?

Mar 25, 8:33pm Top

>214 richardderus: Yes Richard because he just doesn't give a damn about any other human being. I don't know who these nutcases on Fox are who say they're willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren because I'm certainly not. Not when the advice of scientists is being disregarded.

>215 ffortsa: Hi Judy, well that's what I was looking for, to see changes and I'd say so far the first three books follow a very similar path. And since I read her fourth book last December, and it went on to win the Booker, I thought Hotel du Lac was a better book, so yes there are changes, but to me they're very subtle.

>216 karenmarie: yes Karen, everything here is closed too. I rarely get my nails done, cuz, pickleball but my hair is every five weeks like clockwork. We'll figure something out. Good luck with your nails.

>217 RebaRelishesReading: Yes I did Reba. I've gotten in the habit of putting that press conference on everyday and I text with my son in NC as we both comment and rip him up one side and down the other. It's the only way I can watch but I don't know how much longer I can watch the propaganda.

>218 benitastrnad: >219 benitastrnad: Hi Benita.

Mar 25, 9:58pm Top

Ok anybody else finding themselves reading less and enjoying it less? I admit my anxiety level is sky high and I'm binging on Andrew Cuomo press conferences but I am throwing in the towel (for the time being anyway) on The Disorderly Knights because 186 pages into a 618 page book I have little idea what's going on and even less interest in discovering what it is. So I'm going to try something a bit lighter and that is Mrs. Tim Gets a Job by D. E. Stevenson, which has been sitting on my Kindle.

And on audio I'm going to start listening to Dear Edward by Ann Neapolitano.

Two seemingly light easy reads. We'll see.

Mar 25, 10:27pm Top

Yep, lots of RL distractions. Hang in there, my friend. I'll be watching for your thoughts on Dear Edward.

Mar 26, 7:47am Top

>221 brenzi: I totally get it, Bonnie. I was doing okay with Lymond when I set it aside to read The Mirror and the Light, but I'm in a completely different place now. I'll get back to it soon and see how I feel after a few pages. The storyline is very complicated and I'm not sure I was really "getting" it even when I was in a better frame of mind.

Mar 26, 10:22am Top

>222 msf59: Hi Mark, I suppose your day is sort of continuing on as usual except of course when you get home and realize you couldn't stop for a beer before digging into the books but I'm totally going bonkers. Couldn't sleep last night so got out of bed at 1:30 and started doing a puzzle that my daughter gave me a couple of weeks ago when I decided I might want to try that for distraction after Katie said she was enjoying that kind of thing. It's not a puzzle I would've picked out for myself but I'm being drawn into it.

>223 lauralkeet: Hi Laura, I did have the Brookner book as a buffer after The Mirror and the Light and thought I would be good to go with The Disorderly Knights at this time but nope, not working. We'll see how things work out with these two books I'm reading now.

Mar 26, 11:23am Top

Sorry you're going bonkers. Have you tried video chats of any kind? It's not the real thing, but at least it's in real time and you can see faces, and whatever anyone else wants to show you! I had a violin lesson last week using Zoom, and it was fine. This week we will try Skype, just to compare.

Can you get out at all? I try to take one walk a day, just to get out of the apartment. So far I'm pleased to say Jim and I haven't killed each other. It's pretty nice to have him around.

Mar 26, 2:27pm Top

>221 brenzi: Glad I'm not alone in that, Bonnie. When this started I thought "more reading time at least" but I too am reading less and struggling with it more. The struggling is partly because I'm trying to read a collection of articles and speeches by Toni Morrison that are way over my head and a novel that is decidedly weird but I'm trying and promising myself something easier when I finish.

Mar 26, 4:19pm Top

>192 brenzi: I'm deep into The Mirror and the Light and am finding it very different than Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which I found different from each other as well. I can see rating them differently based on style, character, and plot differences, though the language is always mesmerizing. It will be interesting to see how the end ranks against my "favorite" man going down narrative in the final portion of King Hereafter.

Mar 26, 10:10pm Top

>225 ffortsa: Oh Judy, I shouldn't complain so much. I do get out every day. I walk for about forty minutes in my neighborhood but I really miss playing pickleball and getting together with friends for dinner and movies and just being together. And my grandchildren of course but that will end next week because my daughter, who has been sidelined, now has to be available on Mondays and Wednesday's for conferences so I'll have to have my grandchildren which I am really looking forward to. I don't really know why I'm having trouble concentrating. Today it was nice enough out to ride my bike but I need to get air in the tires first. I'm sure I'm just like everyone else just more vocal I guess.

>226 RebaRelishesReading: well I've got both an audiobook and a book on my kindle both of which are light compared to what I was reading Reba. I'll see how that goes. I wouldn't be able to forge my way through a dense Toni Morrison treatise right now so good luck to you.

>227 quondame: I agree with you about the differences between all three books Susan. When Wolf Hall was published I thought it was just so different from anything I'd ever read. Bring Up the Bodies was so clarifying that I thought it had been dumbed down a bit because of the criticism that its predecessor had gotten. The Mirror and the Light was astoundingly well done and provided the clear crisp culmination I thought warranted the extra length in comparison to the others. I'll be interested in what you think of how Mantel handled Cromwell's demise.

Mar 26, 10:15pm Top

Thanks to Katie's recommendation I'm doing a jigsaw puzzle that my daughter happened to have at her house, unopened. And I'm really enjoying it. It's not one I would have personally picked out but I'm hoping I'll get it done and by that time be able to find some online (they're completely sold out for the most part). That's helping me to while away the hours.

Anybody else watching Little Fires Everywhere? I didn't read the book but I'm really enjoying the show (on Hulu) with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Mar 27, 1:18am Top

>228 brenzi: I found the ready for anything Cromwell of Wolf Hall very appealing, and it was great watching him exercise his talents in Bring Up the Bodies. Alas I prefer reading about intelligent, effective competence, much more than haunted, overreaching, decline. I'm now about 5/6 of the through. I think I officially only have until 4PM tomorrow to finish. I like the Read Now 7 day e-loans, but do feel pressured to get through this ASAP.

Mar 27, 8:16am Top

>228 brenzi: provided the clear crisp culmination I thought warranted the extra length in comparison to the others.

That's a great description, Bonnie. I felt the same way.

Mar 27, 9:35am Top

I'm glad the puzzle is providing some good distraction for you, Bonnie!

Mar 27, 10:48am Top

I totally understand where you are vis-à-vis reading. Any Mrs. Tim book will glide amusingly before your eyes, hopefully making a soothing chuckle or ten possible.

Sending hugs!

Mar 27, 11:52am Top

>228 brenzi: I wasn't criticizing! We all get some form of heebie-jeebies stuck inside amidst a worrying event. Glad you can get out.

Mar 27, 12:20pm Top

>229 brenzi: I saw Little Fires Everywhere advertised on Hulu and wondered about it. I read the book and found it just so-so but perhaps we'll give it a look. That is, if we ever find time.
We're watching Last Tango in Halifax and Madam C.J.Walker right now and Hubby got us started rewatching Downton Abbey. We're both really enjoying all three and that's a lot of watching.

Edited: Mar 27, 2:31pm Top

I had a sleepless night last night as well. I kept worrying about having a job when this is all over, and how my mother and my aunt aregoing to cope with no money left in their retirement accounts. I think it is because I am not getting enough exercise during the day now that I am tied to a computer so I can work at home. I am going to join the hundreds of others who are at the city park in the afternoons. I hope that will help.

I am actually getting some reading done because I finally limited myself on my TV watching. Those horses ear ends aren't giving me any facts and starts just numbers and I have had it with them. So I quit. I am now spending about two hours in the morning with music on the CD player (remember them) and my book on organic farming. In four days I have just about finished it. Then I will be starting on American Way of Eating.

Mar 27, 3:41pm Top

Speaking of pandemic hair cuts, my salon called this morning to tell me that they are closed, in case I hadn't heard and they my next appointment will be May 15, if they are open by then. They are playing it by ear. I feel for them, with no jobs, but she told me that they are eligible for unemployment because the governor shut them down. So, I has happy to hear that.

I might take to wearing a hat. :)

Mar 27, 7:25pm Top

>228 brenzi: The demise was more internal than I would have liked, but fit well with the pervading tone of the book, which was almost stream of conscious.
In some ways the three books are almost about different versions of Cromwell, which certainly goes with the re-invention aspect of his life that Mantel presents. This latest Lord Cromwell is much more re-active and uncontrolled than Wolf Hall's imperturbable or Bring Up the Bodies' relentless Master Cromwell.
My review.

Mar 27, 8:32pm Top

>230 quondame: I absolutely hate seven day loans. Of course it's possible to complete a book in that amount of time but the pressure....Neither of the libraries I use have that policy for e Books.

>231 lauralkeet: Oh good Laura. But then of course we would agree on that lol.

>232 katiekrug: Thanks for the suggestion Katie. It's surprisingly calming.

>233 richardderus: Thanks Richard. I find Mrs Tim to be the balm for my soul. 😊

>234 ffortsa: Oh no Judy, I didn't think you were criticizing at all. I was just more or less thinking out loud.

>235 RebaRelishesReading: I loved Last Tango in Halifax Reba. I was actually thinking of rewatching it because I don't know when we're ever going to get the new season. But I've got too many tv shows going right now to start another one haha.

Mar 27, 8:54pm Top

>236 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, Interesting that you are considering going to a large gathering at a city park and every park and playground in New York is closed down. They tried leaving them open and telling people they could use them in ones and twos for walks but that only lasted a little bit and now you can't go there at all. Try explaining that to my five year old granddaughter who is used to us going to the playground just down the block from me. She looked at me like I had two heads when I tried explaining it to her.

>237 BLBera: A hat might work Beth. There's no point making an appointment here. They won't bother because honestly, it's going to be a long, long time. I might consider a ponytail 🤷‍♀️

>238 quondame: what a great review Susan. You must've been reading like a racehorse in the final stretch trying to get it done before it disappeared lol. I like to consider the three books as one but if I had to pick a favorite I'd probably say Wolf Hall because of the unexpected pleasure I felt reading it. Such a fresh and different narrative in my opinion. I have Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety sitting on my Kindle and I'll tackle that (another long one) when things are more nearly normal and I have better concentration skills in play.

Mar 27, 11:22pm Top

>240 brenzi: Thanks. I just read steadily for 3.5 days. I found the books so different that I think she took advantage of the different divisions of his involvement with Henry VIII to use very different narrative styles and even formats.

Mar 28, 8:27am Top

Hi Bonnie!

>218 benitastrnad: The 8 oz. bottle of acetone says that it works on gel nails. Haven’t gotten up the energy yet and I can still type.

>220 brenzi: I don’t think I’ll mind keeping my nails short and polish-free for a bit, actually. I’ll just have to see if I can break the habits of a lifetime and not pick the cuticles and chew them to shreds. *smile*

>221 brenzi: I am reading less. I'm not enjoying it less but am only reading my favorite genre right now (mysteries) and continuing Pride and Prejudice. I look at news on the internet way too often during the day. I’m sorry your anxiety level is sky high. I can certainly understand and hope you and yours stay safe and sound.

Mar 28, 2:15pm Top

>239 brenzi: There's more? We saw three seasons of Halifax listed and assumed that was the whole show. Actually we were surprised that it went past season 2 since everything seemed so nicely wrapped up there. How many more twists and turns can one family produce?!

>240 brenzi: Even without the issue of people gathering in groups, parks are a problem because there's no way to keep the play equipment clean. Tough on little people that really like to go there though.

Take care of yourself --

Mar 28, 2:34pm Top

>181 brenzi: Thanks for the great review. I absolutely have to read this when my library is allowed to reopen.

I'm glad you're still able to get out for some fresh air and movement. It was sunny today so we went for a run in the woods and only saw 1 other person. So I'm lucky in that we have places we can go to for walks, runs and bike rides instead of being cooped up in the house all day.

Mar 28, 8:58pm Top

>241 quondame: Well Susan I really don't have a very broad understanding of either Henry VIII or Cromwell. It's the reason I want to read some of the nonfiction about them.

>242 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I'm pretty much addicted to watching Andrew Cuomo on a daily basis Karen because I know I'll get the facts. He's gruff yet compassionate about all the emotions we're all feeling. He's the perfect person to be handling this crisis. So unlike the narcissist in the WH who expects homage from governors or else he won't supply the needed equipment for the citizens he is supposedly serving. Jackass.

>243 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba well around here it's definitely the cleaning of the playground equipment which isn't even in summer mode yet so no swings at all. But in the parks they're just trying to keep crowds from gathering. It's no fun living in the Twilight Zone.

Yes there's a new season of Last Tango in Halifax but I don't know when we'll see it.

>244 cameling: Hi Caro, yes thankfully the weather is breaking so we're all able to get outside and thankfully that is still available to us in these plague times. Keep safe my friend.

Mar 28, 9:05pm Top

>245 brenzi: I remember reading about Cuomo when he was married to one of the Kennedys and I didn't really like what I read, but, boy, has he handled the crisis magnificently. I do wish the invisible Biden would step aside and let Andrew Cuomo kick Chump out of the White House.

Stay safe Bonnie.

Mar 29, 8:10am Top

>246 PaulCranswick: Don't think there isn't a movement afloat to get Cuomo to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee Paul. The latest I heard pushing it was Bill Maher. It's depressing that Trump's approval rating has gone up and Biden's lead over him in polls has all but disappeared but you're right. WTH is Biden?

Mar 29, 8:25am Top

Cuomo is showing his best side in this crisis. As Jim likes to say, he's a weasel, but he's our weasel.

Mar 29, 12:58pm Top

>240 brenzi:
The parks are gradually closing. We now have a 10 p.m. To 5 a.m. Curfew. Next week we will start our incarceration.

A friend of mine was really upset because they closed the Dog Park yesterday. She said that few people used it this last week so wondered why they closed it. The big test will be when they chase people out of the riverside park. I really don't think that people understand what quarantine means.

The students started coming back to town on Tuesday and Wednesday getting ready for their digital college. I suspect that they, and their parents, opted for occupying those $1,000 per month apartments rather than have their children staying at home. There are no refunds on broken leases.

Mar 29, 3:02pm Top

>245 brenzi: And he has a special hatred for CA and NY because both states went for Hillary by a big percentage.

We're well into season 3 of Tango -- boy all that was so nicely resolved at the end of season 2 has certainly come undone!

Mar 29, 5:50pm Top

>248 ffortsa: Yes Judy, totally agree. I've never been a huge Cuomo fan but he's just so much better in a crisis than anybody else. At least from what I've seen.

>249 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, my daughter works at the University of Buffalo and they asked students not to leave when they went to online instruction. They left the dorms open. The reasoning was there are many students from NYC and they didn't want them to home home and then come back as carriers.

>250 RebaRelishesReading: Of course he does Reba. Let's hope we get a President next year who is president for all of us, not just those who voted for him. It's ridiculous that I even have to say that but we're in unprecedented times in more ways than one.

You're making me want to rewatch Last Tango in Halifax.

Mar 29, 6:54pm Top

Happy Sunday, Bonnie! I have been enjoying a lazy day with the books. I am reading an excellent story collection called, Deceit and Other Possibilities. I am glad I stumbled on it. Keep this gem in mind.

I know New York has really been hit hard and now our numbers are beginning to climb dramatically in Illinois. Scary times, my friend.

Mar 30, 1:23pm Top

Interesting thoughts on the Hilary Mantel trilogy. I finally finished book #3 yesterday and have conflicting thoughts. My favorite of the three was Bring Up the Bodies because I am fascinated by Anne Boleyn. I have read six books by Hilary now and my all-time favorite is A Place of Greater Safety. I think you'll like it.

I'm sorry you can't play pickleball, Bonnie. But I'm very happy that you will get your grandchildren back next week. Having no physical contact with mine has definitely been the toughest part of social distancing for me. I don't really mind being shut up in my house with 1,000 plus books!

Mar 30, 1:27pm Top

>251 brenzi: We're almost through season 3 -- what will we do? what will we do? lol

Mar 30, 1:42pm Top

>253 Donna828:
I read Place of Greater Safety years ago and almost gave up on it several times. I found the writing style difficult and convoluted. I liked it, but it was hard reading. The history in it was great and she made people that have often been vilified in history much more sympathetic.

Mar 30, 7:04pm Top

>252 msf59: Scary times indeed Mark. I keep watching that NPR map of hot spots and the circle around NYC keeps growing and growing and is just about touching the Buffalo area which hasn't been hard hit....yet. It's not looking good. Keep safe.

>253 Donna828: I've become addicted to jigsaw puzzles Donna and found a couple on Barnes and Noble even though you can't find them in most online venues. They should be here next week. Meanwhile I have three from my daughter. Keep in mind I've been working on the first one she gave me for about a week and I'm not even close to finishing. But I'm really enjoying listening to audio books while I do the puzzles so win win.

I'm not much of a Boleyn fan and Mantel certainly didn't depict a very sympathetic character but that didn't make me dislike Bring Up the Bodies even a little bit.

>254 RebaRelishesReading: Haha well you can rewatch it I guess Reba. It's sort of the perfect series, isn't it?

Edited: Mar 31, 1:55am Top

Stopping by to say hi, Bonnie. It's great to see you posting your choices re the Women's Literature Prize long list. They are not too strict about social distancing so far here, though people seem to be obeying anyway. Many parks and stores etc closed quite a while back - 3 - 4 weeks ago. My husband told me while out walking the dog at the park today, the RCMP were out on their ATV's , making sure people were not congregating. I confess I think Hilary Mantel is likely beyond my ken.

ETA - I was talking to my mom today and she said that according to the news , jigsaw puzzles were one of the biggest online purchases happening.

Apr 2, 6:35pm Top

Hi Deborah, Hilary Mantel May well be an acquired taste but she really appeals to me. Love my historical fiction.

Jigsaw puzzles are pretty hard to find right now But that will probably change in time. I like to follow the Women's Prize but seldom read them all.

Apr 2, 6:44pm Top

So somehow even though I have more time on my hands my reading has slowed to a crawl. Time I normally would devote to reading and LT has now been taken up by puzzles. I did finish listening to Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano and that was a light kind of breezy read with a fairly happy ending so pretty good for this particular period of time. I'm still reading Mrs. Tim Gets a Job which is light and pretty perfect right now. I thought I'd finish it yesterday but I'm really crawling to the end. Right now I'm listening to this:

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

This was supposed to be for the March Non Fiction Challenge but I somehow missed the entire month. Oh well.

Off to try and catch up a little.

Apr 2, 6:54pm Top

>181 brenzi: Skipping that review as I hope to be reading the book myself in the near future. I am currently reading Wolf Hall.

>203 brenzi: Yet another Brookner book my local library does not have. *sigh*

I am finding that I do not have a lot of desire during the week to read a lot and have been reading lighter fare then. On the weekends though, I have been getting into the Readathons. I think it is the sense of camaraderie with so many joining in.

Stay safe and healthy, Bonnie!

Apr 2, 7:53pm Top

Besides all the obvious distractions, it's always difficult to follow a really great book like the Mantel. Even if you choose something really different (which you've done), it's hard to let go of one that was so good. I still think about Cromwell from time to time.

Apr 2, 8:59pm Top

>260 alcottacre: I didn't even know there were Readathons going on Stasia. I may have to give that a try this weekend.

I was able to find all the Brookner's at Abe books..pretty cheap.

Edited: Apr 2, 9:05pm Top

Well I'm sure you're right Laura about the distractions but I'm spending an awful lot of time on this jigsaw puzzle. And I've yet to finish the first one I tried even though I have four more to tackle. It's a big one and not anything I would've chosen myself but one my daughter had in an unopened box. It takes an awful lot of concentration....for me anyway lol.

Apr 2, 10:24pm Top

I love puzzles, but I recently got rid of mine! I need to start the Mrs. Tim books. I have the first one, and it sounds like one I would like. My sister told me she was reading Dear Edward. I am reading The Most Fun We Ever Had, one of my library books that I get to keep until April 30, and probably longer. I think you would like it, Bonnie.

Apr 2, 10:33pm Top

You have been so absent from the threads that I thought you had started a new one and somehow I couldn't find it!

I have been doing lots of reading. Since I don't have to get out of bed so early in the morning I have been clearing 1 hour of quiet time and devoting that to reading. I don't have the TV or the radio on, just my music CD's, a cup of coffee, and a book, and the pages are rolling by. The bonus is that I am much happier. My biggest worry is concentrating on learning what the commands are for this new laptop. Things aren't where I expect them to be and breaking old habits is hard.

Yesterday, 6:37am Top

Hi, Bonnie. I hope you are keeping distracted through these trying times. Are you still having a difficult time focusing on the books? I hope that improves. We may need that now, more than ever. I am having a good time with Simon the Fiddler.

Yesterday, 8:03am Top

Hi Bonnie!

I'm happy that puzzles are carrying you through this rough time.

Yesterday, 9:21am Top

Have a lovely, peaceful, safe and healthy weekend, Bonnie.

Yesterday, 2:30pm Top

I think we're all having trouble reading right now, Bonnie. I know I am anyway. I'm on a medium-light book right now and it's going pretty well though so there may be hope. It just seems there are so many other things to do and think about that I find it hard to sit still and hard to focus.

Be well!

Yesterday, 9:44pm Top

>264 BLBera: Hi Beth, oh too bad you got rid of your puzzles. I'm having such a great time with them. I'll be looking for your comments on The Most Fun We Ever Had.

>265 benitastrnad: Oh I don't envy you having to get used to a new laptop Benita. Mine is on its last leg but I use it so seldom I probably won't replace it. I love my iPad and use that and my phone and the laptop just sits. The only time I use it is when I start a new thread.

Isn't sleeping in wonderful. I don't get up much past 7:30-8:00 but that's so much better than 6:15 which is my wake up time on the three days of the week that I babysit.

>266 msf59: I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Simon the Fiddler Mark. If I don't finish both my audio and my present book over the weekend I will start to be really concerned about my reading.

>267 karenmarie: Thanks Karen, it's definitely something new for me. I've never had an interest in them.

>268 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul. Stay safe my friend.

>269 RebaRelishesReading: Exactly my thoughts Reba. I'm sure it will pass eventually when we get to the next phase of our lives. I won't say normal because I don't think we're likely to go back to the same place we were.

Yesterday, 9:48pm Top

So I did a thing:

Yesterday, 9:54pm Top

But WTH:

Do you have any idea how frustrating this is? Now I opened the sealed package that this puzzle came in so either it never included this missing piece OR it's somewhere in this house because I was forced to move the puzzle several times because Cole is around destroying things like two year olds have a wont to do. At any rate I'll be moving onto to another one tomorrow.

Today, 5:44am Top

Wow what a big puzzle!

Boo for the missing piece. Good luck with your new puzzle.

Today, 8:06am Top

Congratulations on solving what looks like a very complicated puzzle, Bonnie. Boo hiss about the missing piece. If you had a dog I'd hazard a guess as to its whereabouts. I wonder if it will turn up someday.

Today, 11:46am Top

Every year at Christmas time my family does a jigsaw puzzle. I have a mischievous Aunt who always manages to steal one piece. It is a game to watch her closely and keep her from doing it, but generally she manages to be sneaky enough to get it done. This last Christmas she didn't steal the piece and we were still short one piece. Turned out one of the babies had grabbed it and started chewing on it. Her mother found it - it was still recognizable - but not useable. You can bet there were plenty of posts on social media about how the younger generation thwarted the older generation.

Today, 12:10pm Top

>271 brenzi: Holy cow! That's some puzzle! Nicely done. I think you're quite right that we are unlikely to ever return to the old "normal" when this is over. I'm just going to be optimistic and hope mankind learns something here and that the new normal is better.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2020

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