archerygirl's 75 for 2010

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2010

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archerygirl's 75 for 2010

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Edited: Dec 31, 2010, 2:07pm

I've only just found this group (been on LT ages but not been in the talk area much for the last year) but I've been tracking my reading this year and this thing looks like fun! It's a bit shocking to count and realise how many I've read already...

I'm taking a leaf out of everyone's book and not putting the touchstones into this top post. I'll add them as I paste in the reviews that I've been writing for my blog.

1. Quite Ugly One Morning - Christopher Brookmyre
2. One Degree of Seperation - Karin Kallmaker
3. Swordspoint - Ellen Kushner
4. Silver on the Tree - Susan Cooper
5. Fortune's Fool - Mercedes Lackey
6. Probe - Margeret Wander Bonanno
7. Firebird - Mercedesl Lackey
8. The Chalet School in Exile - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
9. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
10. The School at the Chalet - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
11. Old Man's War - John Scalzi
12. Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder
13. The Affinity Bridge - George Mann
14. Dragonheart - Todd McCaffrey
15. Black Sails, Fast Ships - various
16. Accidental Sorcerer - K.E. Mills
17. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
18. Fifth Years at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton
19. All the Windwracked Stars - Elizabeth Bear
20. Pawn of Prophecy - David Eddings
21. Spirit - Gwyneth Jones
22. Queen of Sorcery - David Eddings
23. The City and the City - China Mieville
24. Magician's Gambit - David Eddings
25. Death Due Jour - Kathy Reichs
26. Castle of Wizardry - David Eddings
27. Monday Mourning - Kathy Reichs
28. Enchanters End Game - David Eddings
29. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
30. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher
31. Death Masks - Jim Butcher
32. Wizards at War - Diane Duane
33. A Wizard of Mars - Diane Duane
34. Guardians of the West - David Eddings
35. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
36. King of the Murgos - David Eddings
37. Demon Lord of Karanda - David Eddings
38. Turn of the Screw - Henry James
39. Last Term at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton
40. The Wizards of Caprona - Diana Wynne Jones
41. The Vesuvius Club - Mark Gatiss
42. La's Orchestra Saves the World - Alistair McCall Smith
43. Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
44. The Island of Adventure - Enid Blyton
45. The White Road - Lynn Flewelling
46. Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs
47. Goodnight Mister Tom - Michelle Magorian
48. Bare Bones - Kathy Reichs
49. Back Home - Michelle Magorian
50. Dead Beat - Jim Butcher
51. Galileo's Dream - Kim Stanley Robinson
52. A Study in Scarlet - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
53. The Naughtiest Girl Again - Enid Blyton
54. The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
55. They Found Him Dead - Georgette Heyer
56. Rise of the Iron Moon - Stephen Hunt
57. 84 Charring Cross Road - Helene Hanff
58. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - Helene Hanff
59. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
60. A Great Deliverance - Elizabeth George
61. Vet in a Spin - James Herriot
62. A Murder is Announced - Agatha Christie
63. Payment in Blood - Elizabeth George
64. His Lady Mistress - Elizabeth Rolls
65. Enchanting the Lady - Kathryn Kennedy
66. Duplicate Death - Georgette Heyer
67. The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
68. Well-Schooled in Murder - Elizabeth George
69. The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side - Agatha Christie
71. Joust - Mercedes Lackey
72. Glimpses - Lynn Flewelling
73. Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey
74. Proven Guilty - Jim Butcher
75. The Moving Finger - Agatha Christie
76. The Marvelous Land of Oz - Frank L. Baum
77. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
78. Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday - Garth Nix
79. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Jul 15, 2010, 2:04pm

I didn't actually review what I read in January, but I did write some brief thoughts on the February reading:

8. The Chalet School in Exile - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer: I've read the Armada paperback, but this was the Girls Gone By re-print using the full manuscript. It's the Chalet School, so of course I enjoyed it. The material that was restored definitely makes this a smoother read, despite there still being an annoying gap where EDB doesn't give me Joey's wedding, and I'm glad that I've finally been able to read it.

9. Storm Front - Jim Butcher: Everyone has been recommending the Dresden books to me recently so I finally picked up the first. Lots of fun, quite light and I'd quite like to read some more.

10. The School at the Chalet - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer: I'm on a bit of a Chalet School kick. It's great to go back and read where it all began. I'm just trying to ignore EBD's inconsistent character aging...

11. Old Man's War - John Scalzi: I've been hearing about this one for years so I thought it was time to give it a try. Loved it! Great characters and an interesting idea that was explored well. Best of all, it kept me diving back for more every time I had a spare moment. It's nice to see a book that has one basic idea done well and pays attention to things like characterisation and invention. Too many books seem to try to skim several ideas, never really giving anything the depth it needs, and sacrifice character to the demands of the ideas. I'm definitely going to be looking for more Scalzi.

12. Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder: This is the first in a promised series of books featuring Opal Cowan. Opal appeared in her first series of books and she was an interesting character, so it's nice to see her return. Snyder gave some good hints about the world she created and we got to explore it a bit in her first books, but here she's got lots of scope to explore and takes every bit of it. I love Opal, I love that Snyder lets her admit that she causes some of her own problems and I love the unsual magic she's exploring. It's a book that was hard to put down.

Jul 15, 2010, 2:08pm

I like what you're reading. I've been neglecting fantasy and science fiction a lot lately. :(

Jul 15, 2010, 3:11pm

I love the fact that sci-fi and fantasy is such a broad area - within that basic idea of "books with some speculative or fantastical element" you end up with so many different styles and ideas.

It's hard to pull myself away and read from other areas, but I'm determined that I'll consume at least a couple of classics this year and the threads in this group are populating my wishlist very quickly...

Jul 15, 2010, 3:12pm

Hi Kathy! Welcome to the 75 Books challenge. You've made a good start. I've never heard of the Chalet School books. Are they a boarding school series?
Happy Reading!

Jul 15, 2010, 3:36pm

Welcome to the 75 books challenge. I own and have read all the Eddings books and am familiar with other authors in your list so far. What this means, of course, is that I will start looking into the authors on your list that I don't know and my TBR pile will grow. What fun!!!

I've spent the past year or so reading non-sf and fantasy genres, but I see you inspiring me to go back to spending more time in those sections.

BTW - I loved your description of the Reading Prevention Team. I have a member of that team in my house - I haven't convinced him that I could read a book and pet him at the same time, he demands complete attention.

Jul 15, 2010, 3:44pm

the threads in this group are populating my wishlist very quickly...

I tried to warn you in the introduction thread! :P

This group does help vary ones reading taste. Heck, just the site helps. I actually have quite a good time looking at my collection, and sorting it by date read. It's VERY easy to see it shift over the past 3 years, it's remarkable.

I love the fact that sci-fi and fantasy is such a broad area - within that basic idea of "books with some speculative or fantastical element" you end up with so many different styles and ideas.

Oh, I agree! It's just so open. There is really only so many things you can do with, say, a mystery. You can set it in the past and call it a historical mystery, or make add some gun fights and call it a thriller/mystery, but fantasy is an infinite realm of possibilities. :)

Jul 15, 2010, 4:16pm

>5 VioletBramble:: The Chalet School books are a girls boarding series, written from the 20s through to the 60s. They were set initially in Austria, then in England during the War and settled finally in Switzerland after the War. I love them :-)

>6 lauranav:: With two cats, they do a double-pronged attack. One sits on the book, the other tries to purr me to sleep. Or they both purr. Or sometimes, they knock the book down and try to steal my snacks while I'm picking up the book!

I've been trying to get myself reading outside my usual comfort zone with the fantasy - I'm usually prone to lots of YA stuff and high fantasy. This year I've been taking recs from friends (which is how I ended up reading Dresden books) and working my way through some of the awards nominations lists.

>7 Ape:: I actually have quite a good time looking at my collection, and sorting it by date read.

I sort mine by date acquired - it's interesting to see how it shifts and how I go through phases with certain things.

I tried to warn you in the introduction thread! :P

You did! I'm thinking that at least I'll have lots of ideas for my birthday and Christmas lists this year :-)

fantasy is an infinite realm of possibilities

There is pretty much nothing you can't do and you can explore much bigger ideas than most other genres. The whole 'what if'-ness of it can result in some deep, thinky books that look at things other areas can't, but it can also produce comfort pop-corn sort of books as well.

Jul 15, 2010, 8:03pm

Always nice to see another group member on this side of the Atlantic. I loved the Chalet school books as a child but only ever had the Armada paperbacks - all very abridged from the originals I believe - though I might have had some hardbacks from the library. I've recently bought a few again including the first two, but I think they're abridged.

Jul 16, 2010, 3:39am

Welcome to the group, Kathy!

Jul 16, 2010, 8:02am

>9 elkiedee:: I have a lot of the Armada paperbacks, but a couple of years ago scored a box of the hardbacks from a secondhand bookshop in Canada. It's been interesting reading the hardbacks of ones that knew well and finding out what got chopped out. It seems like a lot of the bits that were more about the teachers than the girls got the severest of the chopping. I'm now always on the look out to find more hardbacks but they're pretty hard to source (and get fairly expensive on Ebay!).

>10 alcottacre:: Thank you!

Jul 16, 2010, 8:06am

March started out with a book that didn't impress me much, but did improve with some fun re-reads, something new from an old favourite and the discovery of some new-to-me authors:

13. The Affinity Bridge - George Mann: It had all the elements of a good book, so why wasn't it? This is the first time my "wow, great cover art" technique of choosing new authors has seriously failed me. The book had some great ideas (steampunk Victoriana, gothic mysteries etc.) but the writing was just flat. The characters were a bit cardboardy. The writer did the same thing that I'm trying to train myself out of: over-explaining every tiny thing and chucking info-dumps around left, right and centre. In short, a book that I don't feel the need to return to and had to work hard to finish.

14. Dragonheart - Todd McCaffrey: Going back to Pern is always fun, particularly when I'm meeting some new characters or getting to know characters that have only been referenced lightly before. This one takes place at the same time as another of the recent Pern stories, but it focuses on a new Impressed rider and her gold dragon with only hints at the actions of the charcters in the other book. The new characters are interesting and I love seeing Pern in the intermediary stage between the Landing and the period centuries later when Pern rediscovers that history. It's not the strongest book in the series, but Todd McCaffrey is settling in well and I think he's made the right choice to set his stories in a different period in Pern's history from what his mother wrote. It was a book that pulled me in and kept me turning the pages, perfect for a lazy weekend of reading with a big mug of tea.

15. Black Sails, Fast Ships - various: I've only read half the stories because I find that I can only read about pirates for so long, but so far I've really enjoyed this. It's a collection of short stories about pirates. Not just the kind in 18th century sailing ships - the authors are from so many different genres and likewise they've interpreted the pirate idea in dozens of way. As with any anthology there are a couple of clunkers, but there are also some total gems. Elizabeth Bear's contribution stands out as one of the best so far (unsurprising, I love her stuff) and the one that I read before putting it down about high-tech pirates haunted by the souls of ancient pirates was just brilliant. I'll be returning to this when I'm a little less pirated-out.

16. Accidental Sorcerer - K.E. Mills: One that I picked up in England because the cover looked good and the back jacket blurb sounded fun. Overall, I enjoyed this one a lot and will be picking up the sequels. It's not perfect, but it is compelling and fun. The story starts out very light and humorous, but becomes much darker in places so it's a more meaty book than it first appears. The only imperfection is that the transition between light and dark could have been handled more smoothly. There are a few places that are a bit jarring. The ideas, characters and settings were great and for the most part well executed so this definitely an author that I'd like to return to.

17. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher: The second Dresden novel and I really enjoyed it. This one is definitely 'the werewolf one', with lots of variety in the monsters and lots of people who aren't quite what they seem to be. Dresden is a great character and one of the rare ones that I can cope with in first person. It's not deep reading, but it is a lot of fun.

18. Fifth Years at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton: This was an unintentional re-read because I forgot that I had read this one. It was a fun re-read, though. Blyton's weak point is that her characters never really age. They are in the fifth year, around 16 years old, but would not have known this if it had not been stated. Darrell and co. certainly do not show any more maturity than they had in their first year. Elinor M Brent-Dyer has her faults, but her characters do grow and change so that the Joey we meet in the first Chalet School book has grown and matured when she finally becomes Head Girl. Blyton's books probably work well for younger girls (I have friends who's daughters will be six or seven next year and I think Malory Towers will be perfect for them) but they would be quickly outgrown by most girls.

Edited: Jul 17, 2010, 8:21am

These were the books I consumed in April:

19. All the Windwracked Stars - Elizabeth Bear
This was an excellent book and a good start to the month's reading. Bear is one of those writers who gets better with each book and never re-hashes ideas, so each book is quite different from the last. In this book I discovered that she writes bleak brilliantly. It's about the end of the world, with Norse mythology mixed in, and unlike many end of the world books this isn't about big, epic ends. This is the slow death of a world so it's bleak and quite disturbing in places. Definitely worth reading, but perhaps not good as bedtime reading.

20. Pawn of Prophecy - David Eddings
I needed something lighter as my bedtime reading after giving myself some disturbed nights with the Bear book. When you need that then the best thing is to re-vist an old favourite. I still love these books and opening the covers is like having a great holiday with old dear friends. These books are popular for a reason: they're not Shakespear, but they're fun, absorbing and filled with great characters. His later books have been essentially re-telling the same stories, but he did it best in the Belgariad and Mallorean series.

21. Spirit: The Princess of Bois Dormant - Gwyneth Jones
The first in my stack of award-nominated books to read through. This one was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke and I can immediately see why. It's not the easiest book at the start - she plunges you right into the world she's created without stopping for much explanation along the way - but it rolls along and draws you in very quickly. At heart, this book is a retelling of the Count of Monte Cristo in a sci-fi setting. I'm not familar with Dumas' original so I suspect there are parallels that I missed, but this was still an excllent read. It's also another one that isn't good pre-bed reading!

22. Queen of Sorcery - David Eddings
The second Belgadiad book and perfect pick-me-up from reading more difficult fare during the day.

23. The City and the City - China Mieville
Another nominee, for both the Arthur C. Clarke and the Hugo, and an author I've been meaning to try for years. Incidentally, this one has won the ACC and I can see why. As with Spirit, the author throws you straight into the world and explains as little as he can, expecting the reader to gradually work things out from context. I found the first couple of chapters hard work and then I was right there in the book, unable to put it down. This is one that I think will benefit from a re-read now that I understand things better. The basic concept is that there are two cities sharing the same physical space, bleeding over in places, and the inhabitants of each city must try to ignore the other city at all times. In the midst of this, there is a murder that may or may not have crossed the borders. It's a crime novel at heart, with the two cities idea adding an extra dimension that occasionally made my brain hurt (in a good way). Trying to explain it is really difficult because nothing is ever what you think it is, but it's definitely worth reading.

24. Magician's Gambit - David Eddings
OK, I'm on an Eddings kick. So sue me :-D

Jul 17, 2010, 8:22am

I like the David Eddings books too, which were among the first fantasy books I ever read. I probably like them more for sentimental reasons than anything else, so you can sue me too :)

Jul 17, 2010, 8:24am

>14 alcottacre:: I'm the same way about Eddings :-) I know that they're not great literature, I know that they're not good for me, but I love them anyway. They're like comfy old friends.

Edited: Jul 17, 2010, 8:25am

And the May consumables (argh, touchstones refusing to load!):

25. Death Due Jour - Kathy Reichs
The second Temperance Brennan novel, but the first for me. I picked it up because I know that it inspired the TV show Bones (which I love) although it's not a book-of-the-show thing. I enjoyed it far more than I thought that I would. It's completely different from Bones and I really need to dig into how on earth they came up with Bones from it! This Tempe is older, a bit wiser and a fascinating character. Importantly, the mystery really works and Kathy Reichs puts in lots of lovely forensic science details without being overly-graphic or dry in her descriptions. Going to be looking out for some more!

26. Castle of Wizardry - David Eddings
It's impossible to start a re-read and not finish a series.

27. Monday Mourning - Kathy Reichs
Another Temperance Brennan story, this one much further through the series. I think that I'll be collecting these and reading in order, because the characters grow and develop through the books and I felt like I'd missed some crucial things. This one had lots of lovely forensics, a good mystery, and Reichs made both locations come alive as I read.

28. Enchanters End Game - David Eddings
I had to read the last one in the series. I'd forgotten how much I love these books. It's odd how much more vividly I remember the final couple of books where the first couple were more vague in my memory until I re-read, but perhaps that's because the final ones are always the last that I read? Anyway, I've loved doing this re-read and getting to visit old friends again.

29. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
The 'vampire' Dresden book, but it's one that is setting up a lot of things that carry through into the next few books. I'm not really a vampire girl, but this one was great and added lots of interesting ideas about the different Vampire Courts and the relationship of the fairy realm to everything else, which is good because the next book...

Jul 17, 2010, 8:25am

I like the Kathy Reichs book series too :)

Jul 17, 2010, 8:32am

I'm getting the feeling that you'll like a lot of the things that I read! Kathy Reichs is a new discovery for me this year and I've been really happy to find her.

Jul 17, 2010, 8:39am

#18: I consider myself a sponge when it comes to reading: I just go through everyone's lists and soak them all in. I will try just about everything but horror.

Edited: Jul 17, 2010, 8:42am

We have a decent overlap of libraries, about a quarter of your books. I'm a big Jim Butcher fan...both of his series. I liked Eddings' Belgariad but not so much his other books (I felt like he was telling the same story over and over). Scalzi, yes. Snyder, no. And so we should have plenty to talk about! :-)

The Kathy Reichs books look interesting. I've never encountered any of them.

Jul 17, 2010, 9:00am

>19 alcottacre:: Horror is my big no-no. And chick lit. Although I can be persuaded to try a chick lit if someone writes a good review for it :-) I'm going through the lists and populating my wishlist, which is both good and bad!

>20 TadAD:: I stuck with Eddings for a long time, but his last series just felt like he was re-writing everything else and it annoyed me too much. I don't think I even finished the first book in that one. Kathy Reichs is very good. I love mysteries, but not ones written for gross-out factor so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about a series based on a forensic anthropologist. She manages to be interesting, compelling and good with the forensics without lingering too much on the ick factor.

Jul 17, 2010, 9:05am

#21: I know I did not finish the first book in Eddings last series. A shame really, that he did not finish out his career better.

As far as chick lit goes, I give them an occasional try when I am in a ditzy kind of mood. I like Sophie Kinsella in small doses - I think her Shopaholic books are a hoot, but that is pretty much it.

Jul 17, 2010, 10:11am

What I surprise, I have All the Windwracked Stars checked out from the library right now, and will be reading it after I finish a couple other books! My library has By the Mountain Bound and I'll be reading sometime soon as well. I look forward to them. :)

Jul 17, 2010, 12:20pm

I agree with the comments about Eddings. I enjoyed The Belgariad and The Mallorian. I even enjoyed the next two trilogies because the characters were a lot of fun, even if the story was a little repetitive. But the last series and even The Redemption of Althalus did not impress me and didn't even have any characters I wanted to spend time with.

I agree, once you start to reread the series you have to keep going :-)

Jul 17, 2010, 7:27pm

#22: Hmm, I may need to put the Kinsella books onto my list for when I need something a bit silly and mindless :-) I found it very sad to see a writer that I enjoyed as much as Eddings end the way he did because he managed to create some of the most memorable characters in high fantasy. It felt like he just ran out of ideas.

#23: All the Windwracked Stars was brilliant. The atmosphere was so vivid that it was hard to read in places (psychologically rather than language-wise) but I loved it. I don't think I've found a Bear book that I didn't like, so far. Make sure you read it before it has to go back!

#24: The Elenium and the other one (name escapes me) had great characters so I thoroughly enjoyed it despite its similarities to what went before. Eddings created some fantastic characters. That seemed to be what was missing from his last few books: the characters were pale reflections of what he'd done before, with none of the charm or fun.

It's impossible to just stop part way through a reread of a series! It nearly drove me crazy when I temporarily misplaced Silver on the Tree last year.

Jul 17, 2010, 7:32pm

Make sure you read it before it has to go back!

I'm lucky enough to have a library that allows books to be checked out for a full month! It's very nice and I rarely have to return a book unfinished. My books aren't due untill Aug 8th, and I'll be reading All the Windwracked Stars after I finish what I'm reading now, so I'll be getting to it soon. :)

Jul 18, 2010, 12:20am

#25: I think the other Eddings series you are looking for is The Tamuli. I agree with you - Eddings did create some fantastic characters, which is why I stuck with him through The Belgariad, The Mallorean, The Elenium and The Tamuli. I just could not do it with his last series.

Jul 18, 2010, 1:05am

I was trying to figure out how the heck I missed your thread, and then saw you've only been here a couple of days!! I'm one of the other heavy SF & F readers in the group, so come on over and visit my threads at

We share 175 books in our libraries, so should have a lot in common. I'm a big fan of the first Eddings series, and Diane Duane too.

Jul 18, 2010, 4:46pm

#28: I had no idea about this group until a few days ago (I've not been in the groups section for a long time). It's a great idea! I'm loving seeing what other people are reading and getting ideas. After someone reported incredulously that they knew 'someone who had read 60 books in a year!' I had to start keeping track this year so finding this group halfway through is rather fortuitous.

Why are people always so surprised at the idea that we can read more than five books a year?

Jul 18, 2010, 4:51pm

It's a wonderful group, isn't it? Not only for keeping track of your books, but for all the great conversation and wonderful people. Everyone here is so nice and accepting of other people's reading choices. You can read everything from romance, science fiction, and westerns to philosophy, neuroscience, and economics and there are always people with overlapping taste and no judgement for what you choose to read. It's truly an amazing place, and I'm also glad I finally made the move here.

(This is my first year too, I was in the 50 book challenge group last year.)

Jul 18, 2010, 5:00pm

>29 archerygirl:: Why are people always so surprised at the idea that we can read more than five books a year?

According to the Washington Post, the median nationwide is 4 books a year. If they limit the study to just people who say they read (1 in 4 say they read zero), then the median is 9 for women, 5 for men. Given those numbers, reading 50-75 books must seem overwhelmingly daunting to many.

Jul 18, 2010, 10:31pm

Belated welcome from me! We were away this weekend so I missed the start of your thread. Looks like a great list!

Jul 19, 2010, 8:14am

#30: I'm thoroughly enjoying the conversations! So much book love, but so much fun stuff as well :-) It's reminding me of why I love books and reading so much. I suspect that I'd go well past the 50 book challenge: 75 seems like something within my reach, but with the potential to push me a bit as well.

#31: Given those numbers, reading 50-75 books must seem overwhelmingly daunting to many.

Oh, wow, that's way less than I'd even thought it could be! I have led a very sheltered life with far more bookish friends and family than normal, obviously. Thank goodness :-)

#32: Looks like a great list! Thank you!

Jul 19, 2010, 8:15am

Last batch for now, June was mostly comfort reading due to the trauma of a massive kitchen renovation:

30. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher
It's the fairy story for Dresden. And these ones, thankfully, are rather more like the old fairies from tales rather than the pretty Disney kind of fairies. Lots of fun things in this one with a great bit of mystery and some interesting exploration of the way that Dresden's wizard society functions in the modern world.

31. Death Masks - Jim Butcher
This one is an interesting mix of religion, magic and scary demons that was quite compelling. Butcher is gradually expanding and exploring the societies he's created and it was great to get a better idea of what the Knights of the Cross (Sword? er, can't quite remember) do and what their function is in this world. I get the feeling that some of the bad guys introduced here will be cropping up again and I'm looking forward to the next couple of books.

32. Wizards at War - Diane Duane
With a new Young Wizards book out, I needed to do a re-read of the last one so that I didn't spend half the book trying to remember what had happened. I'm going to need a full Young Wizrds read soon, I suspect. This one gets pretty dark in places and it reminds me of why I think Duane is a fantastic kids author. She doesn't shy away from difficult ideas, presenting them instead in a fictional setting that gets you thinking a bit. Her magic is brilliant because the wizards need to know about science in detail in order to work, it's not just waving hands around and saying magic words. I kind of love the idea of magic that requires a study of the world around you to work correctly.

33. A Wizard of Mars - Diane Duane
Kit has had an obsession with Mars for the last few books, so this one was always going to come and I'm loving it. There's adventure and, for once, Kit and Nita aren't entirely in tune which reflects the ages they're reaching. Anyone with any curiosity about space has probably got a soft spot for Mars - I've certainly aways wanted to know whether there was life there and what it was like - so we can understand Kit's fascination. At the same time, we can understand Nita's caution as events unfold. My only slight disappoint is that, apart from a few cameos, Dairine is largely absent and I'm hoping that the next book gives us a bit more about Dairine's work both magically and in her search for Roshaune.

34. Guardians of the West - David Eddings
I thought that I was done with Eddings, but I ended up needing to start the Mallorean. Oops. This one always frustrates me a bit because the first few chapters are from Errand's point of view and, frankly, he's not a particularly interesting character. He's also a child and misses a lot of the interesting bits. Thankfully Edding eventually switches back to a focus on the more interesting characters, although this one is a bit fragmentary and largely a set-up for the other books in this series. It's one of those books that would have sunk like a rock if it hadn't been published on the back of the success of the Belgariad, which would have been a shame because the rest of the series is great. You just have to get past this one to get to the good stuff.

Jul 19, 2010, 8:20am

I am obviously going to have to look for some Diane Duane books.

Jul 19, 2010, 8:59am

#35: You should! So You Want To Be A Wizard is still one of my favourite books and she just gets better :-)

Jul 19, 2010, 9:24am

#36: I checked the local library and they appear to have several titles in the Wizard series, so I will give them a try.

Jul 19, 2010, 9:29am

Maybe that's why I never made it through the Mallorean! I keep getting tripped up on Guardians of the West... I can't even count how many times I started it and didn't make it through out of boredom. One of these days I'll press on, the promise of better material in mind!

Edited: Jul 19, 2010, 11:03am

#37: Hooray! With the Wizards books, it's best to start with the first because each one builds on the events of the previous to a degree and Duane lets the characters grow and develop with time.

#38: Guardians of the West is hard work, definitely. It's fragmentary, has some odd POV choices and feels like a bit of a slog. The rest of the series is much better and that makes Guardians even more frustrating!

Jul 19, 2010, 11:22am

I bought A Wizard of Mars as soon as it came out, and it is still sitting on the TBR pile for that reason--I really need to do a re-read of the whole series to regain context and continuity. Have you read Duane's Door into Sunset series? Still my favorite of hers, although I like the cats too.

The Mallorean starts out with a reprise of the Belgariad--the whole first book, as I recall, is a revisit to the countries of each of the books of the Belgariad, before heading into new territory south and east. I love the surprise for Silk in the second book! I think the last three books, especially the last two, actually last too long in the mandate to mirror the first series.

Jul 19, 2010, 12:08pm

I haven't read Door into Sunset - I think that's the only Duane I haven't got around to. Must put the books onto my wishlist...

I think it's the second and third books in The Mallorean that are my favourites, although I might revise my opinion when I get started on the fourth! It's possible that my love for the second and third are because Silk finally gets to grow a little, between the surprise in the second book and the lovely little romance he gets. I wonder whether Eddings wrote himself into a bit of a corner with the mirroring thing and that's why it gets a little long-winded towards the end?

Jul 19, 2010, 2:04pm

Sorry, I'm going back a few messages but this is the first time I've read the thread and I've just read it from the beginning.

>Blyton's books probably work well for younger girls (I have friends who's daughters will be six or seven next year and I think Malory Towers will be perfect for them) but they would be quickly outgrown by most girls.

My daughter has just turned 6. I'm currently reading the Malory Towers books out loud to her and she's reading the St Clares ones to herself. As it happens, we're reading pretty much everything Blyton right now. I was a little concerned about how they would go down but they've been an absolute hit. I didn't read any Chalet School books myself as a kid but I've heard enough good things about them that I might try and get my hands on a couple and see if they are a hit too.

Jul 19, 2010, 2:32pm

#42 I'm so glad Blyton is a hit with your daughter! I can remember reading all the Famous Five and Adventure books that I could get my hands on when I was 6 or 7 and desperately wishing that I could go off for adventures like that. One of my friend's daughters (she's 6) just finished The Adventures of The Wishing-Chair and wants the next Wishing Chair book. She's a born and bred Canadian, so it's quite different from what she's usually been reading but she loved it (despite my friend having to look up some of the more unusual fairy creatures!). I'm thinking she'll enjoy the The Enchanted Wood as well and I may push some of the Malory Towers and St. Clare's books her way next year.

I loved the Chalet School books, first discovering them when I was around 9. They have a bit more depth than the Malory Towers books, which may be why I still love them so much as an adult. There are often copies of The Chalet School and Jo lurking in second hand bookshops: I think it got more print runs than any of the others so it's pretty easy to find.

Jul 19, 2010, 6:51pm

FWIW, my daughter adored the Enchanted Wood and the other Faraway Tree books. I just looked up 'The Chalet School' on Wikipedia and cannot believe that there were 58 of these books written! It would also appear that the author was from South Shields which is about 15 miles from where I was born and brought up. How the heck did I miss these as a kid? Particularly as I was a great fan of Malory Towers, St Clares and Trebizon. I dreamed of going off to boarding school as a kid. OK, so this was never likely to happen, having been brought up in a working-class family in the north-east of England but a girl can always dream, can't she? ;-) I'm traveling to the UK next week and am hoping for a trip to Hay-on-Wye (a small town on the England/Wales border which is THE second-hand bookshop capital of the UK). There is a second-hand children's bookshop there and, at least according to their online catalog, they have over 100 Chalet School books in stock. OK, so some of them cost more than £25 but I'm hoping I can pick up a couple of the £3 ones.

Jul 20, 2010, 8:47am

The Chalet School is a long, involved series and you get to watch the girls grow, mature and eventually send their own children to the school. Unlike Enid Blyton, the girls actually age and mature. I'm just reading Last Term at Malory Towers and laughing at the fact that the girls still read like 12 year-olds, despite being eighteen and soon off to university.

Hopefully you can pick up a few of the cheaper paperbacks while you're over. The early books tend to be the easiest to find so they're usually also the cheapest, which makes things easier :-) I dream of a trip to Hay-on-Wye some day, in large part due to the children's bookshop there!

Jul 20, 2010, 10:19am

I am so looking forward to reading some of these now. I hope my daughter likes them as well! Although the series is long and involved, I'm guessing that we can probably just read whichever ones we happen to be able to pick up cheap and not miss out on too much. We can probably backfill later.

Every time I go to visit my in-laws in Wales I like to fit in a trip to Hay-on-Wye. When we lived in the UK it used to be my husband's way of persuading me to go visit them (my father-in-law used to joke that he thought the car knew the way so well it could drive itself!). Believe it or not though, I've never actually been to the children's bookshop. I guess because up until this visit I didn't have a kid who could read who I could use as an excuse to go in.

Jul 20, 2010, 11:02am

I've always read whatever I could get my hands on - EBD 'reminds' you of anything really pertinent if she's referring to backstory and I've had a lot of fun over the years finding out the origins and early years of characters that I met when they were older.

Jul 22, 2010, 7:56pm


I just wanted to let you know that, sadly, I tried All the Windwracked Stars and *gulp* didn't like it. I don't know why, there wasn't anything wrong with it...but I just couldn't go on with it for some reason.

Maybe it's just the wrong time. The only other book I ever quit was The Dark Lord of Derkholm, and when I tried it a 2nd time I wound up giving it a 5-star rating. Maybe I'll try the book again in a year or two, and see what I think of it then.


Jul 22, 2010, 9:38pm

I think it's a very subjective one and you have to be in the right mood and place to really get on with it. I found that I needed to have something lighter at hand for reading before bed otherwise I got really intense dreams: it manages the gloom and despair side of the end of the world really well.

I've been having a really rotten work week (as evidenced by the fact that it's 10.40pm and I'm just logging off to go to bed, having worked since I got home for work apart from a couple of hours for my knitting group) so I treated myself to La's Orchestra Saves the World at the bookshop where my knit group meets on a recommendation from another thread. Not your thing, I'd guess, but it seems like a good "weekend with cup of tea" sort of book.

Jul 23, 2010, 12:45am

#49: Sorry to hear your work week is so bad, Kathy. I hope you have a quick Friday!

Jul 23, 2010, 12:59am

Hello and welcome to our friendly, well-read, kind and chatty group.

Jul 23, 2010, 8:04am

#50: So far, Friday is sucking terribly and I'm trying to remember why I thought a career in IT was a good idea. I'm probably going to be working on and off tomorrow as well, so I'm really looking forward to hiding with a book all day on Sunday!

#51: Thank you! This group is lovely, although proving terrible for my self control on the book buying front :-)

Jul 23, 2010, 8:08am

#52: Self-control? Are we supposed to have that when it comes to books?

Jul 23, 2010, 8:12am

I've heard that sometimes people manage it. I'm just not sure how...

Perhaps it's those strange people who are proud of "not having read anything since school!". Ack.

Jul 23, 2010, 8:14am

#54: Perhaps it's those strange people who are proud of "not having read anything since school!".

I suspect that there are not too many of those people on LT!

I hope your work improves so that you can spend Sunday doing nothing but reading.

Jul 23, 2010, 8:19am

I suspect that there are not too many of those people on LT!

I suspect that they'd run away in for fear that LT would infect them with book cooties or something :-)

Jul 23, 2010, 8:21am

#56: True! And I would just as soon not get anti-book cooties from them.

Aug 5, 2010, 10:04am

It's August 5th, so I should probably post the summary of July's books...

35. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
I think this is the most interesting one of the series so far. It's certainly the one where we've discovered the most about Dresden and about some of the characters surrounding him, with a couple of different plot threads running through the book that don't really overlap, but do work well together in this book. One of the things that I'm enjoying with these books is the gradual world-building and the development of the different characters. The Dresden books are written first person from Dresden's point of view, so we know a lot about his personality and world-view, but Butcher has done a good job of gradually revealing his background. It would probably be easy to keep the secondary characters in the background, and Butcher did this for the first couple of books, but they're getting fleshed out into people we care about. This book has vampires galore, of several different types, but the central theme is actually families and what they are. I think it's my favourite so far and I'm looking forward to reading the next few.

36. King of the Murgos - David Eddings
The action finally gets going in this one so it's much more interesting than the first book in the series. Eddings spent most of the Belgariad painting the Angaraks as universally unpleasant with the Murgos as the evil, fairly stupid and thuggish tribe that everyone should hate. Here we're given a bit more of a flavour of Murgo society and its intricacies. It makes for a more interesting enemy and it's good to see that they aren't universally evil or a single, undeveloped character. The Murgos of the Belgariad were pretty much interchangable, these ones aren't. We also get a bit more insight into Silk's background and even Sadi starts to become a character rather than a stereotype. In all, much stronger than Guardians of the West.

37. Demon Lord of Karanda - David Eddings
Another Angarak nation gets a bit of redemption in this one, although we only really heard about the Malloreans in the Belgariad so they were not quite the monolithically evil nation that the Murgos were written to be. Still, Eddings' world-building in this one is great and there's lots of good plot stuff in here. My memories of a big slow section in the middle were totally wrong - we're only stuck at Zakath's palace for a few short chapters and then everyone is on the road again. A fun, light read that doesn't feel too 'middle book'-ish.

38. Turn of the Screw - Henry James
While I was back in England with the family, I asked my sister for some classics recs. She's much more up on proper literature than I am and she has a fair idea of what kinds of things interest me, so when she said that I'd enjoy Turn of the Screw I immediately went out and bought a copy. She's right, I did enjoy it, although it helped that I watched the BBC adaptation over Christmas and have some idea of the story. It's one that I think I will need to come back to for a re-read (possibly more than once) to really get everything out. The atmosphere is suitable spooky and we are never quite sure whether it's all real or something that the governess has imagined, even at the end, so it's one that makes you think long after finishing. James' prose style is very dense and hard work in a lot of places (hence the need for a re-read) so it's not a causal read the way that Austen is, but it is a good read.

39. Last Term at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton
Lots of fun, but Blyton's inability to allow her characters to grow up and mature is particularly apparent here. Darrell and co. are supposed eighteen year-olds in the sixth form, but most of the time they still read as being around twelve despite discussions about careers and Darrell's role as head girl. A fun bit of fluff when your brain needs a rest, but I'd still prefer a Chalet School book any time.

Edited: Aug 6, 2010, 12:36pm

And the rest of them (it was a good month, reading-wise)

40. The Wizards of Caprona - Diana Wynne Jones
This one was picked up a couple of years ago because I've enjoyed adaptations of a couple of her books on TV (Archer's Goon is still brilliant 20 years on) and I've heard good things about the Chrestomanci books. Not disappointed at all! The book is set in an alternate Italy, where magic is common and the great spell houses vie for commerce from the rich and notable. There's a bit of mystery, a bit of adventure, and a nice little Romeo and Juliet subplot at the edges. Chrestomanci himself is only here in cameo, so it's easy to pick up if you're not familiar with the other books in this universe (I'm not...yet!) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I just need to find the rest!

41. The Vesuvius Club - Mark Gatiss
This is another one that has been lingering in my to be read pile for two long. It was largely picked up because Gatiss' new adaptation of Sherlock Homes was on TV this week and it seemed like an appropriate thing to pick out. The central viewpoint character is Lucifer Box, an Edwardian gentleman spy who is definitely not what he first appears. It's a slightly odd book, with a dry wit throughout and a hero who initially seems quite simple but grows and develops into something else entirely by the end of the book. There's mad science (in the true spirit of an Edwardian James Bond), dastardly villains and a few unexpected plot twists. I loved it and, at the end, decided that it was exactly the kind of thing I would have expected from Gatiss, which is no bad thing at all.

42. La's Orchestra Saves the World - Alistair McCall Smith
One from a recommendaton on a thread in this group. It is, in many ways, quite a gentle story about a young widow forming an orchestra during WWII. It had a lovely tone and I could recognise some of the character-types from growing up in England. Not one if you're looking for rollicking adventure and the tone is both gentle and melancholy, fitting the character of La very well. Quite enjoyable with a cup of tea, this was a book that I'd characterise as 'nice' rather than 'brilliant'.

*pokes touchstones* Darn it.

Out of this lot, one was borrowed and two were re-reads from the bookshelves. The five were all from the to be read pile (go me!), although technically La's Orchestra was also a book in this month. So that's a net of four books off the TBR pile. At least it's going down.

Aug 5, 2010, 6:17pm

Congratulations on passing the halfway point of the challenge! It looks as though July was a good month for you, Kathy.

Aug 6, 2010, 12:37pm

Despite picking I-don't-know-how-many-hours of over time, July appears to have been an excellent month for reading.

It's possible that reading and working is all I did in July :-D

Edited: Sep 1, 2010, 12:31pm

I'm actually posting this on the first day of the month, what a miracle! Six books this time, only one a re-read for my shelves, and four of them were from Mount TBR. Very pleased with that.

43. Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
This one was another from my awards short-list reading list. It's a steam punk novel set in old Seattle with zombies, which was quite the disturbing combination. The Boneshaker of the title is a drilling machine that went a little crazy, dug under a large section of Seattle and released a gas that turns anyone who breathes it in into a zombie. Old Seattle was walled up to keep the gas in and the story takes place fifteen years later with a mother setting out to rescue her son who has decided to sneak into the Blight-filled city to find out about his father. There's a good dose of mystery in addition to the zombies and the constant threat of the Blight gas kept me tense even when the action slowed down. It's not one for pre-bed reading! I can see why it was nominated for awards because it's inventive and quite compelling. However, it is also a little uneven in pacing and there are long sections of 'running away' that added to the tension without really adding to the overall narrative. Much better than my last assault on steam punk and zombies (The Affinity Bridge) but not quite a five-star book.

44. The Island of Adventure - Enid Blyton
I loved these books as a kid so I was really happy to see them in a second hand bookshop. Of course, then I got a little worried that they might not be as good as I remembered, so I put off starting the first one. Thankfully I still love them just as much! Blyton's bad habits regarding not letting children grow up are much less noticable and, in some ways, the older boys 'read' older than Daryl and co. even in the last Malory Towers book. It's all quite silly, with four children (and Kiki the parrot!) stumbling across dastardly criminals during their summer holidays but tremendous fun and perfect as a mental break from tougher stuff.

45. The White Road - Lynn Flewelling
The latest Nightrunner book, a series that I've loved as reading candy since someone recommended the first one to me. It has the usual mix of adventure, intrigue and personal relationships and it's hard to say much without discussing the previous book in the series because this is a definite continuation of that one. Flewelling continues to do a lovely job with Alec and Seregil's relationship and manages to resolve one mystery while opening several others. Hopefully I won't have to wait long before the next book!

46. Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs
The first Temperance Brennan book, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's a little rougher than her later writing, more graphic in its descriptions of corpses, but still less sensationalist than the Kay Scarpetta books. It's good to see the introduction of many characters that we meet regularly in later books and the book fills in a bit of background that makes some of Death du Jour more understandable. There is still lots of interesting science mixed in with the crime thriller side of things and I loved this first look at Tempe. Not Reichs' best, but still a very good read.

47. Goodnight Mister Tom - Michelle Magorian
One of my all-time favourites and I really could not tell you how many times I've read this. It's by turns moving, funny, tragic and uplifting and the emotional 'oomph' from certain sections never seems to lessen. It's the story of a young evacuee sent to live in the country just before the start of WWII. Tom Oakley is initially pretty grumpy about having a young boy in the house disrupting his routine but is quickly won over by Will, whose background is both heartbreaking and probably not uncommon. It's a story about healing and learning, with the war never far away. I read this for the first time when I was 12 and it's been interesting to realise that what I love about the book now is quite different from what I loved all those years ago. I really can't recommend this one highly enough.

48. Bare Bones - Kathy Reichs
This one is fairly late in the series, but Reichs is pretty good at making sure that we don't get left behind when she mentions things that have happened in earlier books. It's probably more satisfying to read them in order but I'm dipping in and out (depending on what the library has) and having no problems. There's the trade-mark good science made interesting, Tempe is a great main protagonist and the mystery kept me well satisfied. Loving this series.

None of them were duds, although I think that Boneshaker was the one I enjoyed the least and Goodnight Mister Tom remains one of my all-time favourite books.

It, er, prompted me to pick Back Home out from the shelves for a quick re-read this morning...

Sep 2, 2010, 2:44am

I read Good Night Mr. Tom for the first time this year and I loved it too! I am glad to see it is one of your all-time favorites, Kathy.

Sep 2, 2010, 8:57am

The Island of Adventure was one of my favourites when I was about 12: I'm glad it holds up to adult re-reading.

Ooh, I think I still have my copy here somewhere...

Sep 2, 2010, 1:50pm

> 63. It's a great one and stands up to re-reading really well! Have you read any of her others?

> 64. Hee! I was pleasantly surprised by how well it holds up to adult re-reading, particularly after finding some Blytons that didn't fair as well.

Sep 2, 2010, 2:34pm

62: Welcome to the group! I see you read The Affinity Bridge and felt exactly how I did about it. The cover art was definitely the best part. But I'm glad to see you enjoyed Boneshaker. I may have to give that one a go.

Sep 2, 2010, 11:24pm

#65: No, I have not read any of her others. Unfortunately, my local library does not have any of her books other than Good Night, Mr. Tom.

Sep 3, 2010, 2:41pm

> 66. Although Boneshaker was a little uneven, it was definitely a huge step above The Affinity Bridge and I'd recommend it. I'm still trying to figure out how The Affinity Bridge even got published.

> 67. That's a real shame, because her other books are all very good :-(

Sep 3, 2010, 8:17pm

Hmm, hello Hurricane Earl. You like you're going to be fun (not).

My colleagues at work suddenly realised the joy of being a bookworm: when I lose power, I can still read. Their TVs, computers and game consoles won't work so well :-)

Sep 4, 2010, 1:29am

#69: I hope you and yours are out of the hurricane's path, Kathy!

Sep 7, 2010, 4:07pm

Well, I was outside the hurricane path until it took a bit of a right-hand diversion and ended up right on top of me.

That was a fun 29 hours without power. I'm so glad that I had a book light. It's an essential when the power goes. Internet is finally back, too, which is lovely.

Managed to finish a couple of books (Dead Beat and Back Home) and started Galileo's Dream so it wasn't a total loss.

Sep 7, 2010, 5:01pm

Glad to hear you are safe, although that sucks you were without power for so long. That is the good thing about books need to power them on!

Sep 7, 2010, 6:40pm

My colleague who got thoroughly bored when his computer, TV and Xbox no longer worked is now envious of me after months of mocking my bookishness :-)

Sep 7, 2010, 8:02pm

That reminds me. Must buy a generator for when our power next goes off for an extended period of time (our problem is huge oak trees all over town which reliably bring down power lines every time there's a strong wind). I would love to snuggle down under my duvet with just my book and book light for company - oh yes, and maybe my husband too.. just so long as he doesn't interrupt my reading! - when the power next goes and read, read, read. However, last time it went I spent more hours than I care to remember downstairs schlepping buckets of water from the sump pump hole at one end of the basement to the sink at the other end. Being a clueless Brit, I kind of knew there was a pump in the basement and was vaguely aware that it had something to do with keeping the basement dry but hadn't really given much thought to the fact that it ran off electricity or what would happen if the power went out for more than a couple of hours in the middle of a rain storm. Thankfully, a very kindly neighbor obviously had the thought "those dumb Brits up the road will have no clue whatsoever that their sump pump needs power to keep their basement dry" and decided to come round and educate us!

Sep 8, 2010, 7:49am

Glad to know that you are safe and sound (and well-read too!), Kathy.

Sep 8, 2010, 11:36am

> 74. Your neighbour sounds lovely! My first year here (Canada) was filled with kindly friends and neighbours educating me on things that I had no clue about because I was a clueless Brit. I still have to ask questions when new things come up even though I've been here for two years now. I think my crazy gaffs are now put down to my charmingly English eccentricities. I've only just realised that baseboards are skirting boards - I thought everyone was talking about their baseboard heaters and couldn't work out why they were obssessed with keeping them white and neatly painted.

Generators are very, very useful things. I keep thinking about one so that I can keep some heat going if I lose power in the winter: when it's -30C outside, a few hours without heating can be pretty nasty.

Sep 20, 2010, 11:59am

So, September looks like it's turning out to be a productive reading month - 6 down and it's only the 20th! At least that means I've still got a hope of getting to 75 before December 31st...

I thought I'd put up a few of the reads from early this month so that I'm not posting everything in one enourmous batch :-)

49. Back Home - Michelle Magorian
It's the story of a girl who was evacuated to America during WWII and her return to England after the end of the war. When I first read this as a teenager, I focused mainly on Rusty and it's only now, re-reading as an adult, that I see how much characterisation (and heartbreak) Magorian gave her mother as well. Much of the book focuses on the difficulties Rusty faces in trying to settle in the austerity of post-war England after the free and easy life in the USA, but it is also about her mother's struggles to settle back into her pre-war roles. It's one of those books that you just can't put down after you start it, as all of Magorian's are, and the characters jump off the page. Loved it.

50. Dead Beat - Jim Butcher
This one was read while I was without power for 29 hours and was a great distraction. I'm still really enjoying this series, particularly the way that the characters are growing and developing over time. With each book we learn a bit more about the supernatural side of the world created for the books (this one was 'the zombie book' complete with necromancy) and build on what has been established. Despite the raising of the dead, this one was a little lighter than the previous one and I continue to really enjoy Dresden and his growing band of friends, acquaintances and enemies.

51. Galileo's Dream - Kim Stanley Robinson
This one was the last of the batch that I picked up when trying to read through some of the Arthur C. Clarke and Hugo awards nominees. Robinson is one of the great sci-fi authors so I had high hopes for this. Unfortunately it's one where I kept using the adjective 'nice'. The writing is beautiful, don't get me wrong, and it might just be a perception thing. I spent the first half of the novel begging for it to be over, it picked up a bit in the second half and then went on for about four chapters too long. I could sense that there were some good ideas in here, but it lacked a defined point to everything that was happening and didn't have enough going on to be interesting without a goal or point. Definitely better than a couple of this year's books, but not going down as a favourite. The City and the City definitely deserved awards ahead of this one.

Sep 20, 2010, 5:29pm

#77: I really need to read more of Magorian's books. It is too bad my local library does not have that one.

Congratulations on hitting 50 books and having such a productive month, Kathy!

Oct 3, 2010, 3:52pm

Dear 75 Thing-ers,

Thank you very much for raving about 84, Charring Cross Road on so many lists. It may be my favourite book so far this year.

Shall post the rest of September's books at some stage this week.

Oct 4, 2010, 12:12am

I am glad you loved 84, Charing Cross Road! It is one of my all-time favorites.

Oct 4, 2010, 12:24pm

On to my wishlist it goes!

Oct 4, 2010, 5:33pm

80> It may be on my all-time favourites list now :-)

81> Putting on wishlist = very good idea! It's a gorgeous book :-)

Oct 4, 2010, 5:56pm

Interestingly, when I look up '84 Charing Cross Road' in my library catalog, the first thing it brings back is 'Cha ling shi zi lu 84 hao'. I confess that my language skills in Chinese extend no further than a couple of phrases I've gleaned from the fortune cookies that have come with our monthly carry out but now it looks like I can at least add '84 Charing Cross Road' to my repertoire (assuming the Chinese title is a literal translation of course!) "Happiness is the number 17 and the colour yellow will be propitious... 84 Charing Cross Road!" Thankfully, it looks like they have an English copy too. I think I'll try that one (at least to begin with!)

Oct 5, 2010, 12:29pm

I suspect that it will make more sense in English, although tackling it in Chinese afterwards could be a interesting experience :-)

Oct 5, 2010, 1:01pm

Intriguing - Chinatown is of course just off Charing Cross Road and the branch library (part of Westminster Libraries) there has a big Chinese stock.

I will try and ask my mum or dad if that is a literal translation for you (they both studied and taught Chinese though they are retired now).

Oct 5, 2010, 1:18pm

That would be very interesting...

Oct 20, 2010, 9:11am

Er, yes, I know that it's October 20th and I'm only just putting up the rest of my September books...

I've been busy reading! Eight books so far this month! I'm not quite sure where I'm finding all that time from, though.

52. A Study in Scarlet - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Watching the new BBC update of Sherlock Holmes has inspired me to read the originals. The Complete Sherlock Holmes was the first thing that I loaded onto my new Kindle and Study in Scarlet is the first story. As it's novella-length and often published on its own, I'm claiming it to my bookcount! I thoroughly enjoyed this, both in finding all the parallels to the BBC adaptation and as a story in itself. It's the story that introduced readers to Holmes and Watson yet somehow the necessity of introducing the characters just adds to the story rather than slowing it down. In fact, the only part that slowed things was the long diversion in Utah but by the end it is a key part rather than a distraction. Great introductory story and left me wanting to read the next ones to see how everyone develops.

53. The Naughtiest Girl Again - Enid Blyton
I'm a bit conflicted about these ones. They're a fun read, but this one had rather a lot of moralizing and most of the children are rather too goody-two-shoes to be real. Elizabeth, the naughtiest girl of the title, has firmly moved from 'naughty' to 'trying to be a saint', although it's nice to see that she's a character who has to work at being better. The two had new children are both sorted out by learning the value of caring for pets, taking exercise and brushing your hair regularly. Er. I'm not sure that I could persuade a modern kid of the value of this series!

54. The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
Despite seeing the film many times (it's staple Christmas TV fare), I've never actually read this one. I think that I read one of the other Oz stories when I was a kid (I'll find out - I've got the entire collection on my Kindle to read through) but somehow missed this one. It's really quite charming and the lessons about friendship and finding one's talents are delivered much more subtly than Blyton managed. It's very much an American fairytale and the Dorothy of the book is obviously a child, making an interesting contrast to the late-teens Dorothy of the film. I'm looking forward to reading the next story, which I've seen the film of and will be interested to compare.

55. They Found Him Dead - Georgette Heyer
There was a discussion on a non-LT forum that I read about Regency romances and someone suggested Heyer, so I decided to take a look at her catalogue. Instead of plunking for a romance, though, I spotted a mystery and downloaded it. Typical. It's along the same lines as Agatha Christie - murder in an old English house, lots of suspects etc. - and it was lovely mindless fare for a couple of lazy evenings. I'd still pick Christie if I could only have one or the other, but I'd read another Heyer mystery and I am going to check out her romances.

Oct 20, 2010, 11:17am

87: I really like the Wizard of Oz books, but have yet to finish all of them. They really are very different from the movie version.

I've heard really good things about Heyer books, but haven't ever read anything by either her or Agatha Christie. Which Christie books would you recommend?

Oct 20, 2010, 12:12pm

88> I'm a huge fan of Christie's Miss Marple books - I have no idea why an elderly woman quietly solving murders that the detectives can appeals so much, but I love them to pieces. Murder at the Vicarage is the first one, but A Pocket Full of Rye and Sleeping Murder are probably my favourites (they're both fairly creepy at times) and At Bertram's Hotel is wonderful comfort food.

I think that I like how different the Oz books are from the movie versions, there's a little more to them. I'm looking forward to reading the rest :-)

Oct 20, 2010, 11:05pm

I am reading my way through the Oz books too. I found a collection for my Nook that has all the books and the short stories together. I had never read The Wizard of Oz until last year, despite it being my all-time favorite movie. I am currently reading book 3 in the series, Ozma of Oz.

Oct 21, 2010, 10:47am

I read an Oz book years ago but I can only remember a few odd things (I think Tick Tock was in it and an odd creature made from a sofa) so I'm looking forward to working out exactly what I read!

The "Complete Works of..." collections for ebook readers are rather awesome :-)

Oct 21, 2010, 12:04pm

91: Yes, I agree about the "complete works" on ebook readers! I love my Nook. I should find the Oz series that Stacia mentioned. It's just so nice to have a complete set.

Oct 21, 2010, 1:38pm

I love my Kindle and have been acquiring (or wishlisting for later) various "complete works" things because they're so convenient, particularly for all those times I've said to myself "I really should read...".

It's possible that my Kindle acquisition is the reason that I've torn through so many books this month.

Oct 22, 2010, 12:11am

#91: I think you are talking about the second book in the series, Kathy: The Marvelous Land of Oz.

Oct 22, 2010, 2:53pm

> 94. I think that I'll have to read that one this weekend. Just to check, of course :-D

Oct 22, 2010, 2:54pm

October is already threatening to get out of control, so here's the first four that have been eaten. Er, read.

56. Rise of the Iron Moon - Stephen Hunt
This one made me remember why I keep trying to read steam punk: it was inventive, compelling and filled with ideas that were brilliantly executed. I never knew quite where it would go next and Hunt is an author who is not afraid to tear down communities and places that he's carefully built. This is definitely not light reading and it left me rather unsettled at the end (which may explain some of my other book choices this month - comfort reading!) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be a good idea to read the previous books in the series because Hunt's writing assumes knowledge of a lot of the characters and areas of his world. I appreciated that, though, because he was able to get events moving without needing to stop for a chunk of exposition every few pages!

57. 84 Charring Cross Road - Helene Hanff
This one came from a 75 books recommendation and it may be competing with The City and The City for favourite book this year. It's a series of letters between a woman in New York and a bookshop in London, starting shortly after the war and carring on for twenty years. Watching the friendships grow between Helene and the staff was lovely as was the discussion of the books that she received. The hints at post-war life in Britain were fascinating, particularly compared to Helene's life in New York, and I can see why it's such a favourite for book lovers.

58. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street - Helene Hanff
Quite different from 84 Charring Cross Road, this is the tale (in the form of a diary) of Helene's trip to London. It was something that she had discussed in her letters for two decades but fate intervened every time. Seeing London through her eyes was lovely and she describes the people that she meets with such clarity that you can see them in front of you. I loved it every bit as much as the letters, although some people don't like this one as much, and it makes for great comfort reading.

59. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella
I can honestly say that I've never read chic-lit before and picked this one up on a reccomendation from 75 books (and because it was less than a dollar on Kindle). I feel vaguely ashamed by how much I enjoyed it! The writing is witty and smart, with a great cast of characters. Rebecca, the shopaholic of the title, goes from disaster to disaster and I could see exactly how she got there and why, so I could never get annoyed with her. In fact, it gave me an idea of how one of my friends years ago ended up with the debts and shopping problems she did because the Rebecca was so well-drawn. I've even gone and bought the second one...

Oct 22, 2010, 3:34pm

Wow! Lots of reading!

56: I love steam punk recommendations, so wish listed.

57: Just picked this one up from the library and very excited to read it! I don't think I've seen a bad review yet.

58: I imagine I'll want to read this one after loving 84 Charring Cross Road, plus I love London.

59: I read this one awhile ago and remember thinking it was cute. I don't think there's anything wrong with nice comforting chick-lit. One of my favorite chick-litter authors is Cecelia Ahern if you like the Shopoholic books.

Oct 23, 2010, 12:01am

#96: I also love steampunk recommendations, so I will be looking for Rise of the Iron Moon and others by Hunt. Thanks, Kathy.

Now that you have read the first two in the Hanff trilogy, I hope you plan on reading the third, Q's Legacy. To me, it is not as good as the first book, but better than the second.

I find the Shopaholic books are a hoot! I love them for times I just need a good laugh.

Oct 24, 2010, 5:18pm

>97 RosyLibrarian:. Stephen Hunt is definitely the best of the steampunk authors I've read and his stuff is worth reading from the first book, Court of the Air. I might have a look at Cecelia Ahern if she's along the lines of Shopaholic.

>98 alcottacre:. It seems like steampunk is a really hard genre to get right, but Stephen Hunt is one of the ones who does. I didn't know there was another Hanff book - wishlisted! Thank you :-)

I think that I'd need to be in the right mood for Shopaholic books, but they are perfect when you need something light, fluffy and fun :-)

Oct 25, 2010, 12:46am

#99: You are welcome. I hope you enjoy Q's Legacy.

Nov 23, 2010, 12:33pm

I am so behind in posting these...

October got away from me. In more ways that one, because it seems that I somehow read nine books. Here are the rest:

60. A Great Deliverance - Elizabeth George
Autumn always makes me want to read English murder mysteries and I've never tried the Lynley ones, despite watching most of them on TV over the years. This rolled along at a great pace with plenty of mystery and intrigue mixed in with good characters who were explored and developed slightly more than you get in some books of this genre. I was familiar with the basics of the characters from TV (Lynley is an Earl, Havers is completely working class) and was surprised by how well the TV characters matched with the book versions. Obviously there was more room to explore both of them in a book and that added depth was just what I wanted. I'm definitely picking up more of these, although with the character development George does, I think they'll benefit from being read in the right order!

61. Vet in a Spin - James Herriot
My Kindle battery was flat when I arrived at the B&B where I stayed for my vacation (grr, bad file draining it) so I had to borrow something while I found something to charge with, charged and removed the bad file. In the bookcase of airport paperbacks, this was the lone little book that caught my eye. It reminded me of why I devoured most of the James Herriot books when I was a teenager and the tales of life Dales life and farming in the 1930s, with the array of slightly nutty characters and equally odd animals, was perfect for my mood. Must hunt down the rest, my bookcase is sadly deprived!

62. A Murder is Announced - Agatha Christie
Good old Agatha Christie, who is always perfect autumn reading because her books are so comforting. I'm a particular fan of Miss Marple and this one was great, filled with possible suspects, cranky detectives, old English houses and Miss Marple outwitting them all as always.

63. Payment in Blood - Elizabeth George
Despite my occasional urge to hit Lynley, this one was terrific. I didn't guess the whodunnit, there was a brilliant plot twist in the middle, lots of red herrings and George's writing was great. Lynley was the main focus of this story with Havers a bit more in the background, but I found that I didn't mind because it was appropriate for the storyline. In fact, one of the great things about the book was the exploration of how the police were willing to use Lynley's aristocratic background and how easily he fell into the trap. Thankfully Havers was there to save the day and I'm looking forward to the repurcussions of some of the events in this book in the next one.

64. His Lady Mistress - Elizabeth Rolls
Pure, unadulterated fluff of the bad Regency romance variety. Completely ridiculous brain candy, yet surprisingly compelling. The only problem with it was that the author didn't know when to stop and drew everything out for about 50 pages to long.

65. Enchanting the Lady - Kathryn Kennedy
Another fluff romance, this one with a supernatural/magic element and an author who knew when to stop. Fluffy, light, and fun.

Nov 23, 2010, 1:13pm

Some fun autumn reading! I am also a new convert to Elizabeth George and I do find reading them in order is a great idea with all the character development she does. I haven't seen the series, but I'm glad to hear they stayed pretty close to the characters in the books.

I need to revisit Herriot, it's been too long.

Nov 23, 2010, 1:46pm

I'd forgotten how much I loved Herriot. It's perfect comfort food and I now want to hunt down the rest.

Nov 23, 2010, 3:18pm

Glad to see you back, Kathy!

Nov 29, 2010, 11:01am

> 104. I was just looking at my list for November and mourning my lack of reading. Except it seems that I've read seven books this month, so it's possible that I'm getting a skewed vision of what kind of month I've had.

I love LT because it reminds me of how much I love reading and that helps on the days where finding 5 minutes to read proves impossible.

Dec 1, 2010, 9:37am

It's the 1st of December so I'm putting up the first batch of November books. Look at me, being all prompt with book postings :-)

66. Duplicate Death - Georgette Heyer
It took a while to get going, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying this and was glued to the final few chapters. Characters from They Found Him Dead return, but it's nice to have a grown-up Timothy here and I loved Chief Inspector (formerly Sergent) Hemminyway to bits. As with the last one, it was hard to guess who was the murderer although when you look back, you can see the clues scattered throughout. It's very 40s upper/middle class and there's some nice details on post-War food and taxation that often get glossed over in other similar novels. Definitely a novel for a cup of tea and a rainy afternoon.

67. The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
This was one that got mentioned in a couple of threads on the 75 books thread and, as I am always trying to make myself read more classics (for that read, at least one a year), I thought that I would give it a go. I loved it! The mystery develops at just the right pace, the characters jump off the pages and the trick of having different sections written by different characters worked beautifully. Each time we shifted to a different character's 'contribution', we learned a bit more about all the other characters by learning both how they saw themselves and each other. The problems that I had with Turn of the Screw - the ornate, etherial writing that kept me from properly being absorbed - were completely absent here: it was easy to read and my biggest problem was usually pulling myself out of it to do things like laundry and going to work. Thoroughly recommended.

68. Well-Schooled in Murder - Elizabeth George
Another Inspector Lynley mystery, this time set in a mid-list public school. Obviously it's a perfect change for Havers to show her distain for the wealthy and Lynley to revisit his own school years, but thankfully George makes it a much more interesting novel than that. It was only towards the end that I suspected who did it and the story didn't go quite where I expected. I'm starting to really care about the characters - Deborah and St. James as well as Havers and Lynley - so it was lovely to have some good story-telling for all of them. I'm pretty sure that certain events here are going to have an impact on the next one and I'm looking forward to it.

69. The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side - Agatha Christie
A lovely Miss Marple that has the regulation dose of old English houses, suspicious characters, old grudges and little old ladies investigating murders. This one is also a little more down than some of them, with Miss Marple's age telling on her so that her nephew employs a live-in carer for her and St. Mary's Mead enduring the changes that the construction of a new housing estate bring. Miss Marple's doctor prescibes a nice murder to cheer her up, which has luckily just happened at the village fete, and the wonderful network of friends and old servants scattered through the village come to her aid bringing gossip and information. Gentle, uplifting and perfect for a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea.

Dec 2, 2010, 12:04pm

And the rest!

71. Joust - Mercedes Lackey
Somehow, I've never read this duology so when I friend offered to lend me the first, I jumped at the chance. For me, it wasn't my favourite Lackey book: the writing was a little heavy and the characters did not really engage me as much as her characters usually do. The setting in a psuedo-Ancient Egyptian world (with dragons!) was great, though, and it's not a terrible book. I'll be borrowing the other one to read shortly so that I can find out what happens to Vetch and his dragon, but I probably won't be buying these for the bookshelves.

72. Glimpses - Lynn Flewelling
This is a collection of Flewelling-authored short stories about Seregil and Alex. As they're characters that I adore, I knew that I would need to buy this as soon as I heard about it :-) They're filling in gaps stories, showing us how our heros became who they are. We see Seregil shortly after his exile, how he met Micum, get the full story of Alex's parents and get a peek at their first night together which I know will please just about everyone who loves their romance. It's a nice addition to the collection and one that I'll probably be dipping into every now and again.

Dec 3, 2010, 1:29am

Glad to see you loved The Moonstone. I do too!

Dec 7, 2010, 12:01pm

As we're getting towards the end of the year, I think that it's time for me to start posting as I read rather than saving everything up for the end of the month (or beyond!). Thus, the first completed read in December:

73. Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey
This was a re-read for a project that I've been working on. I've never read the Valdemar books in order (I've often done well to get the book in each series in order), so I first read this after reading a lot of the other books. Somehow, it got stuck in my head that the Arrows trillogy were not that good. Oops. While some of her later books are better and you can see the progress in her writing, the Arrows books are still great reads. This is the first, following Talia from the day that a white 'horse' absconds with her through most of her Heraldic training. There's lots of references to events that Lackey fleshes out in other books, but she gives enough information that the reader never feels lost and this is a great introduction to the people and politics of Valdemar. It's definitely much better than I remember!

I'm already a third of the way through my next one, a Dresden novel, and contemplating whether a Dark is Rising re-read is needed with Christmas coming up.

Dec 7, 2010, 3:50pm

I started one of Lackey's series this year but got off-track with it. I need to get back to it again. Thanks for the reminder!

Dec 7, 2010, 5:01pm

I'm a huge Lackey fan (my library is a little embarrassing) so I'll always encourage people to read her books! My favourites all tend to be set in her Valdemar universe, although her Elemental Masters series is a very close second for me :-)

Also, today I learned how to use my iPod Touch as a scanner. It's going to make adding things as I buy/read so much easier!

My to be read pile is suddenly going to look terrible as I add all the books that I've bought and not entered over the last few months *sigh*

Dec 7, 2010, 5:57pm

#111: That is cool about the iPod Touch. I did not realize it could be used as a scanner.

I have a ton of books to add too. Not sure when I will get them done though since I have to do them the old-fashioned way :)

Dec 7, 2010, 6:37pm

The iPod Touch is a new toy - present to myself for my birthday - and I'm having a lot of fun finding out all the ways that I can use it.

I can see this taking a lot of the strain off the post-Christmas cataloguing :-)

Dec 8, 2010, 12:11am

#113: I can see this taking a lot of the strain off the post-Christmas cataloguing :-)

I bet!

Dec 11, 2010, 3:14pm

Getting closer to the goal of 75 books...

74. Proven Guilty - Jim Butcher
This may be my favourite so far. The world of Dresen is getting so beautifully layered and every strand touches on another strand, which makes it all so fascinating. Seeing Dresen grow and develop over the course of the books is wonderful, but seeing the way that all the other characters are also developing is part of what keeps me back. This one touched on Sidhe politics and how the war between wizards and vampires is combing with that to be a massive tangle of strategy and loyalty. The central plot, of fetches and fear, was developed really well and it was great to get an insight into Charity Carpenter after all the hints that we have been given. In the final hundred pages there was set-up for several plot strands that I think are going to make the next few books even richer. Reading these books out of order would be almost impossible and this is definitely not a book to pick the series up with, but it's a very satisfying read for anyone following the series.

I've picked up two to read today because my poor, painkiller-addled brain needs regular breaks and doesn't want anything heavy-duty to read. Everyone thinks that a bad back means that I'll have lots of reading time. They never seem to appreciate that lots of time doesn't necessarily equal lots of reading when your back is bad!

Dec 11, 2010, 3:21pm

Pain and medications are two things that DON'T facilitate reading, and when you've got them both together...! I always think it's such a waste to actually be ILL when you've got time off. Hope you will be feeling better SOON.

Dec 11, 2010, 3:46pm

I shall be endeavouring to be back to normal soon. Christmas is about the worst time possible for this!

I've taken one day off work this week and dragged myself in the rest of the time, even though I'm not sure that my ability to think has been that amazing. It's off to the doctor's on Monday for me to be poked, prodded and looked at. I know what's wrong, but they like to confirm it and I need more drugs :-)

December is not the time for this stuff. Nu-uh.

Dec 12, 2010, 2:06am

I do not think there is any good time for 'this stuff,' but especially this time of the year! I hope your doctor's visit on Monday is a productive one, Kathy.

Dec 12, 2010, 11:07am

Found your thread again. Sorry to hear you're not feeling good, hope the doctor's visit tomorrow is helpful.

I've been enjoying your reading lists. I read the first Desden book this year and need to get back to the series.

Dec 12, 2010, 11:41am

Sorry to hear you've been dealing with pain. Good luck at the doctors tomorrow!

Dec 12, 2010, 4:05pm

#118. I pretty much know what's happened (the inflammation in my spine has flared up), so it will be productive if I can persuade the doctor of that and get him to co-operate with what I need him to do. Here's hoping :-)

#119. A friend has become my Dresden supplier and I've been enjoying each book more than the last one. It's the kind of series that really builds up and rewards you for reading each book in order. I'd not been too sure with the very first one, but my friend kept pimping the books out and now I'm hooked :-)

#120. Thanks! I can deal with it and live with it, I have done before, it's just the initial phases where you're not used to it yet that get me down.

My back being bad has given me the perfect excuse for a lazy supper: ribs in the slow-cooker, potato salad from my amazing speciality grocery store and some kind of veggie that I've not decided on yet. The fact that it's one of my favourite meals is entirely coincidental...

Dec 16, 2010, 9:50am

I managed to consume two books over the weekend and while waiting at doctor's appointments (fun! not), so here they are:

75. The Moving Finger - Agatha Christie
This one was billed as a Miss Marple mystery, but she's only there for the last few chapters and we don't really get to see her detective powers until the final chapter. I felt slightly cheated by this because, while the POV character was great, it wasn't the book that I wanted when I sat down with it. I'm sure that if you're not specifically looking for a Marple book then this is a fun, satisfying mystery. I didn't guess who did it (I was way off base) and the brother and sister team at the heart of the book were fun to spend time with. Not one of Christie's strongest, but still a good read.

76. The Marvelous Land of Oz - Frank L. Baum
This was Baum's first sequel to The Wizard of Oz and he quite sensibly gives us a new central figure, Tip, and his collection of odd friends rather than reviving Dorothy immediately. The Scarecrow and the Tin Man both get involved part way through, with the central plot being the invasion of the Emerald City by an army of girls armed with knitting needles and the overthrow of the Scarecrow. I did have a few issues with some of the ideas: the Army of Revolt and the firm belief that the girls should be defeated and returned to their places cooking and cleaning for the men is a little too obviously sexist. The only way to get past that is to remember that these books were written a century ago and reflect the attitudes of the time. Other than that, this is a fun romp through Oz with some great new characters, a few familiar characters, and one or two surprises.

Dec 16, 2010, 10:54am


Dec 16, 2010, 11:11am

I only wish that book 75 had been one that I loved to pieces rather than being a bit meh about it. Argh. Next year I shall plan the reading better :-D

Dec 16, 2010, 2:17pm

Hey, congratulations on reaching 75 with half a month left to go! No pressure now, right?

Dec 16, 2010, 2:20pm

Yup, no pressue!


Well, 80 could be within reach. That would be fairly cool. And I've got two on the go right now, so it could be do-able.

*slaps self*

Dec 16, 2010, 2:47pm

Congratulations on reaching 75! It's been ages since I read an Agatha Christie but I'm hoping to start rereading some next year.

Dec 16, 2010, 2:54pm

For some reason, autumn and early winter always trigger me with an Agatha Christie craving. And then I start exploring other mysteries, which explains the Elizabeth George consumption. When we get towards Christmas, I start going back to the fantasy and YA lit for a few months.

I swear, autumn and winter bring on the comfort reading even though I love autumn!

Dec 16, 2010, 3:47pm

Congratulations on reaching 75!

Dec 16, 2010, 11:13pm

Dec 16, 2010, 11:30pm

Congrats on 75! I need to try my hand at Agatha Christie next year...

Dec 17, 2010, 10:07am

Thank you, all! I'm feeling oddly proud of myself, even though all I did was have a lot of fun reading some rather good books...

Dec 17, 2010, 10:24am

132: You should feel proud! Not a lot of people make the effort to read so many books in one year. We just forget that because we all found each other through LT. :)

Dec 17, 2010, 11:13am

Too true! I can't imagine only managing five a year. It would be torture. What in heck do people do?

Dec 17, 2010, 11:28am know, I have no idea. lol

Dec 17, 2010, 11:33am

TV, I suspect.

Dec 22, 2010, 2:25pm

Two more, although I don't expect that these will be the last of the year!

77. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
This one is lovely to read a Christmas approaches. Although Christmas is the backdrop for this book rather than the central theme, somehow it's still a beautifully festive read and the themes of Dark versus Light fit beautifully. This is the second book in Susan Cooper's series, but it is readable without reading the first book and the only character carried through is Merriman Lyon. In my head, he's a taller version of Cole Hawlings from the BBC adaptation of Box of Delights with whiter hair. Will Stanton is the main focal character of the book, introducing the idea of Old Ones and Things of Power through the experiences of a young boy discovering his destiny. In some ways it's a common theme through this genre of books, but Cooper is one of the best.

78. Mister Monday - Garth Nix
Another young boy finding his destiny, although this one is much quirkier and the young boy is an asthmatic American boy rather than a young English boy. Arthur Penhaligon becomes caught up in events through a quite unusual scenario that I will not spoil by revealing. The ideas - of Keys and characters named for the days of the week - are creative and almost perfect for a series of books. The 'real' world of the books is slightly removed from ours, although the quarantines and the flu viruses that can sweep the globe and kill millions are topical references to what our world might be. There is a certain amount of setting up that slowed the action a little in places, but I enjoyed this thoroughly and will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Dec 24, 2010, 5:49pm

I loved The Dark is Rising as a child. Haven't managed to fit it in as a Christmas read this year but I did read The Box of Delights for the first time.

Hope you have a great Christmas.

Dec 25, 2010, 1:32am

Happy Christmas, Kathy!

Dec 25, 2010, 3:37pm


Dec 30, 2010, 1:46pm

#138. The BBC adaptation of Box of Delights is one of my ritual Christmas re-watches :-) I adore it to pieces. The book is lovely, but the adaptation does have a bit more of a story that makes sense to it *ducks*

I had a lovely Christmas, spending rather a lot of it cuddling with the cats and watching DVDs. There was a shocking lack of reading in my house that I still can't explain, except to say that my back is still dreadful and I often don't have the concentration or brain-power to concentrate. That would be why the DVDs that I've watched haven't exactly been high quality drama. More along the lines of trashy medical dramas and mysteries :-D

I did manage to grab the Doctor Who Christmas special (woo!) and I've seen some of the BBC update on Upstairs Downstairs, which I love.

I'm now in the difficult position of having two books on the go, neither of which are likely to be finished before New Year's Day, and I can't decide whether I can count either towards 2010 or 2011! Oh no! What to do?

Dec 30, 2010, 7:13pm

Sorry to hear about your back. :(

As far as your difficult position goes, I count them because they have to fit in somewhere, and if you count the books you start at the beginning of 2011 as 2012 books it all evens out any way, right? You are getting a headstart on 2011 now, but at the end of December 2011 you'll lose that head start when you are reading books that won't count towards because you won't finish them u ntil 2012. It all evens out eventually.

Dec 31, 2010, 1:11am

#141: I can't decide whether I can count either towards 2010 or 2011! Oh no! What to do?

To me it is when you finish the book that counts. I figure it all evens out in the end, just as Stephen said.

Dec 31, 2010, 10:35am

Yay! That solves my problems quite nicely :-) And as I'm going to have read over half of Outlander in 2011 (wow, that thing is enourmous!) my guilt will probably be satisfied.

So, I should probably thinking about what my stand-out reads of 2010 were...

Dec 31, 2010, 1:53pm

Pretty sure that this is the last one of the year and it's not one of the two that I was talking about above:

79. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
I've been reading this one on my iPod when I'm having to lie down to rest my back. It's charming and magical and I can see why it's loved by so many. A lovely book to end the year on.

I shall spend this evening cuddling with my darling cats, sipping hot honey and lemon (appear to have acquired a throat infection to make the bad back even more fun) and watching DVDs. Not quite what I'd originally planned, but very appealing right now.

Jan 1, 2011, 1:00am

Happy New Year, Kathy!

(I hope you get to feeling better very soon!)

Jan 1, 2011, 4:54pm

Happy New Year! Sorry to hear about the ongoing back problems and the throat infection :-( Hope things improve for the New Year

#141 I'm glad I'm not the only person who thought the book of The Box of Delights lacked a little something in the plot department! I enjoyed it but I had to turn the bit of my brain off that kept thinking, 'But why did that happen? That doesn't make any sense'

Jan 1, 2011, 7:13pm

The Box of Delights is beautiful and there are some amazing ideas and images in it. Unfortunately, we go from one beautiful idea to the next with no real plot to hang it all together and give us reasons for it all. The BBC adaptation does at least give reasons for all the action so I find it much more satisfying.

Jan 2, 2011, 12:43am

I love all of your last three reads, but The Dark is Rising is one of my outstanding all-time books--I cannot read it without a sign of repletion at the end thinking "Now THAT is a STORY!"

Jan 2, 2011, 4:25pm

I feel the same way at the end of The Dark is Rising. It's just so complete and perfect.

Jan 15, 2011, 1:00pm

I must try to fit in a reread of the Dark is Rising series some time this year.