LauraBrook Pulls ROOTS Once Again - Pt 1
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I'm keeping my goal the same as last year, at 75. I managed to read 98 in 2016, and I'm hoping I'll read at least that many this year - but 75 is enough of a stretch that I have to work for it, but will probably be able to reach it by the end of the year.
Good luck, everyone!
Book 1: Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
Jen gets nostalgic about the clothing and events in her youth that helped to make her what she is today. An easy read, though I didn't enjoy it as much as some of her others. 3 stars, keeper dependent on the rest of her memoir series.
Book 2: The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond
The first casualty of my own Alpha challenge. A wonderful fellow LTer passed this on to me a few years ago, and since I started on A authors and knew nothing about this book other than his recommendation, I decided to give it a try. After 20 pages without pulling me in, I skipped ahead a chapter and skimmed, and realized it didn't do much for me, so I'm letting it go. Adios, and the first one out of my house this year!
Here's to you meeting your goal!
Book 3: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen What a treat! Ms. Allen is now one of my favorite authors. Each book is like a wonderful sort of fever dream that I don't want to leave - everything is so real and so deeply felt and possible. I didn't know anything about this one before I started, so I won't post anything here, other than to say that I loved it. 5 stars, keeper
Book 4: Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara? by Jenny Bond. Eh. Short chapters of 3-6 pages, each chapter about a classic book (any genre) and the unknown or little-known stories involved in either the writing of the book or the authors life. I found that I wasn't overly thrilled by anything here, skipping the books I hadn't read yet, so while it was enjoyable and great for a purse book and sitting in doctor's offices, I didn't love it. 3 stars, and already gone!
Book 5: The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. When I was small I purchased this at a book fair and never read it - I just loved the cover and the idea of the book, but wouldn't let myself read it. Then, in a weird cleaning-out fit in my late teens I got rid of it. Finding the same edition in a thrift store a few years ago, I bought it in a swell of nostalgia and have just gotten around to reading it. It's a good book for middle grade, and feels very fairy-tale-esque, with a young boy being sent off on an errand from the King to interview all peoples in the small kingdom about what they define as delicious. Along the way, there's danger, a hermit, a mermaid, a lost key, bird messengers, a dastardly knight and the like. It was a breeze to read, and totally enjoyable. 3.75 stars, and I let this copy go back out into the world to delight another person.
Book 6: When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff by Julie Morgenstern. I'm working on a cleaning-out project for my whole house and decided to revisit my small section of home organization books. This was a gift from a friend 10 years ago and while I'd thumbed through it before I'd never really read it. After sitting down and doing just that, I found that it's not the book for me. Nothing bad about it, just not what I was looking for. So 3 stars, and it's already out the door.
Book 7: The Accompanist by Nina Berberova. Thinking it wouldn't quite be my cuppa, I picked up this little novella thinking I'd discard it in a few minutes. Not so! I inhaled this book and was totally transported to distant Russia and this tale of an accompanist and the woman (and her husband) she accompanies and lives with over the years. Oddly fascinating. 4.25 stars, keeper
Book 8: Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost. I'd wanted to read this since its publication date and after calling in a home organizer decided to check it out from the library. I read the first half and immediately went out to buy my own copy. There's a lot here, and it's not sensationalist towards any hoarder, but rather a nice blend of each person's experience, psychological analysis as to why they could be thinking that way, and it covers a wide range of types of hoarding, including what the difference is between a collection and a hoard. Very very interesting, and a keeper! 4.5 stars. (Oh, and while I'm not a hoarder, I do tend to collect books - my mother insists I'm a hoarder in that regard, and I and this book disagree - and food. Coming from a very poor background and still being extremely poor myself I have a hard time using the food that I have in case I need it later and can't afford to buy any more. I'm working on it. And that home organizer? A waste. Didn't want to do anything aside from go through two already-sorted bins in my attic and my small file cabinet. She called me a hoarder to my face, was unwilling to lift anything potentially oversized (including a rubbermaid tote literally only filled with seasonal throw pillows), was insulting to my life and what had been going on in the last few years, and was very clear about her boundaries of what she would do. No thank you!)
Books 9 & 10: The McCullagh Inn in Maine and A Wedding in Maine by Jen McLaughlin. I bought several of these Bookshots by James Patterson and friends recently and decided to start with these two romances that are part of a series. I'm new to the genre, especially to contemporary romances, and while I know the point of these is that they're short reads, I still thought there wasn't a whole lot to follow. Many thing could have been a little more fleshed out in a paragraph or two, only adding a few pages to the total, and these would have been very good reads instead of just good ones. Still, there's one more in the series that's coming out this summer, so I'll hang onto these two until then. I have a feeling they'll all be heading out of my house, though. 3 stars each.
Book 11: The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. A new hardcover I purchased when it was new and that sat here for years. Breezy, easy reading, these connected short stories loosely follows a group of friends (even if they're only attached to each main character in the story peripherally) and jumps around in time. Nothing earth-shattering in these pages, just nice and relaxed storytelling that pulled me on to each story. Not much happens over all, but I liked my time spent here. 3 stars, and out the door.
I'm hoping to keep on a roll with reading my own books. The system I came up with this year is working well so far, and considering it's been more than 2 weeks since I started it on January 1st, I have high hopes that I can keep it up for the rest of 2017.
I still haven't taken the time to hop around to everyone's threads yet, and I apologize! This is the first weekend this year that I haven't either felt awful or been working (and it's 60 degrees here in Wisconsin - what?!?), so I'm planning on getting in some good LT time today and tomorrow. Hope everyone is pulling out those ROOTs one by one!
I'm up to 34 ROOTs so far (62 total books read this year), and instead of taking an hour to update each individual one, I'll just make a quick list of the titles below. I liked all of them, and really liked Beyond Religion, Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Lick, A Quiet Life in the Country, Beach Babylon, and the 3 Hamish MacBeth books.
Massage Therapy Research by Tiffany Field, PhD
Essential Aromatherapy by Susan Worwood
Beyond Religion by H. H. Dalai Lama
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
The Treasure Code by Milton Dank
Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck
Kick Pain in the Kitchen by Barbara Searles
Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Lick by Kylie Scott
Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
Hospital Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Life in a Victorian Household by Pamela Horn
A Quiet Life in the Country by T E Kinsey
Let's Play Make Believe by James Patterson
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Beach Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Death of a Policeman by M. C. Beaton
Death of a Liar by M. C. Beaton
Knock, Knock, You're Dead by M. C. Beaton
Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren
The Gospel of Sheba by Lyndsay Faye
In Flora's Footsteps by Martin Greenwood
>18 rabbitprincess: I preferred her first book to "Lump", and felt a little like some of the stuff in it was geared more towards people in their 20s, but it was still fun!
36. Wayward, Volume 2 by Jim Zub. It introduces a new girl and some ancillary characters, barely touching on the original ones in the first volume. For me, this is a series that's both interesting with its magic and lore and totally unfollowable (that's totally a word) regarding some of the lore, and the action, where we are in time, jumping around all over the city... 2 stars, and it's gone, along with volume 1.
37. Scenes From My Life by Judi Dench. Dame Dench is a hit for me, and this mostly photographic trip down memory lane was interesting and fun. Keeper, and I've got her next memoir on my shelves. 3.5 stars
38. The Bee Cottage Story by Frances Schultz. Books about houses and memoirs are two of my wheelhouses, so a combination seemed perfect to me! I followed her column about redoing Bee Cottage in House Beautiful, and was excited to see that she published this book about the whole process. Parts were wonderful and captivating, and other parts were just okay, though the illustrations and photographs throughout were excellent. 3 stars, keeper for now.
39 & 40. The Phoenix Requiem volumes 1 and 2 by Sarah Ellerton. What I liked: the setting, the apparent magic/spirits, and the coloring. What I didn't so much: the plot, uneven pacing, and where in the world this was going. They're both 3 star reads, but I'm letting them go. I didn't love them, and they were expensive, so I doubt I'll be shelling out the $$ to buy the next volume when I'm so lukewarm about the first two.
41. Vivian Apple Needs A Miracle by Katie Coyle. While it took me months to get into the swing of this one (which was shocking, considering how much I loved the first in this duology), eventually I started reading it at the right time and I zipped through it. A nice story, and I liked where Ms. Coyle went with it, action-packed and unpredictable as ever, and I liked that it had a good ending that doesn't string you along into a third book. (Though if she ever decides to write one - and she has said several times that she has no intention of doing so - I'll be reading it for sure.) 4 stars, keeper
42. I Don't Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer. An easy breezy read about a Michigan girl who made it to Hollywood. It felt like your new best friend telling you their life story. I've always liked Judy, and now I really do. 3.5 stars, and I'm letting it go.
43. Codex by Lev Grossman. A first edition that I bought brand new at my old favorite bookstore (RIP, Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops) in 2004, this was both good and a disappointment. The two storylines were interesting and paced nicely (enough to make you keep turning pages but nothing heart-stopping about it), but that ending was a dud. All of that buildup to that? Booooo. 2 stars, and out the door.
Personally I wouldn't count them if I hadn't at least attempted to read them - I do count books I started but couldn't finish though. It slightly makes up for the fact that I wasted actual time on a stinker!
44. Big Bona Ogles, Boy! by Michael Gallagher. Just fantastic, as usual. In this third outing with Octopus and friends, they investigate a spiritualist medium. So much fun, and everything about these books are so vivid and absorbing. 5 stars, keeper.
45. The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill. Another spooky ghost story by the author, and I really liked this one as well. I love not only the physical size of her books, but their (shortish) length and the creepy atmosphere. It even distracted me in the DMV, which is saying something! 4 stars, keeper
46. News from Lake Boobbegone by Carolyn Redman. I have to say that the author is one of my closest friends, and we share a massage room together - but even if I didn't already know and love her, I would still heartily recommend this book about her trip through Cancer Land to any and everyone who is even a little interested. It's honest, funny, light-hearted, but still serious and informative at the same time. Just loved it. 5 stars, keeper
47. Peggy & Me by Miranda Hart. A charming audiobook about Miranda and her wonderful little dog, Peggy. Cute and sweet and funny, I loved every minute of it. 4 stars, keeper
48. My Depression by Elizabeth Swados. Eh, not a fan. While I appreciated her story and parts of her phrasing in telling her story about depression, her art style is just not for me, and it ended up tingeing the whole thing. 2 stars, and out the door!
49. The Joy of Hygge by Jonny Jackson. This photograph-heavy small book would make an Excellent Gift paired with either some candles or the makings for one of the crafts or recipes in its' pages. Seems like a basic guide, but it's very pretty. 3 stars, keeper.
50. The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri. A nice little book of essays about book covers, featuring both behind-the-scenes info about how books get the covers they do, but also more of what you might expect this to be about. 4 stars, keeper.
51. 15th Century Paintings by TASCHEN. Eh. It was okay, but due to the small size it had not quite-enough information and photographs for me. 3 stars, and out the door!
52. Virgins and Outlander novella by Diana Gabaldon. Not about what you think it is, I liked this short story featuring Jaime pre-Claire. 3 stars, keeper since it's an ebook.
53. Henry James by Harry Thornton Moore. The perfect length for a biography about a man who wrote giant chunkster books. Featuring lots of photographs and illustrations, and covering every aspect of his life, I can't imagine a better bio about one of my favorite authors. 4 stars, keeper
54. My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul. An LTER, I LOVED every page of this, her record of her life with, through, about, and featuring books, reading, and all of the ways they overlap. A perfect bookish book for any lit person in your life. 5 stars, keeper!
55. Savage by Jacques Jouet This slim partially fictional novella about the life of Gauguin was...eh. I liked the very very beginning, and then I don't know what the heck was going on for the rest of it. 2 generous stars, and adios!
56. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. A steampunk start to a YA series featuring Victorian teens Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes, this was so much fun, and such a captivating read, that I gobbled it up in less than 2 days! Even my 70-something Mom couldn't read it fast enough! Madcap adventure, a few mysteries, and a larger bad-guy plot equal me hardly being able to wait to read the next book! 4 stars, keeper
57. French Kiss by Susan Johnson. My first by her, and I can't say I was overly impressed. A fairly static main guy, with a cute daughter and a quirky-jobbed main lady... it just seemed like convenient things happened not only to throw them together, but just to write some "steamy" sex scenes. Not impressed, and I prefer some story with my romantic stuff. 2 stars, adios!
58. The 20-Minute Gardener by Marty Asher. This lots of words, hardly any illustrations 90s guide to easy gardening is cute, filled with lots of good, basic to complex gardening info. I recommend it with caution - no diagrams or plots here, and did I mention it was wordy? 3 stars, keeper just for reference.
59. You Have to F--king Eat by Adam Mansbach. Read by Bryan Cranston, this was a lot like his other book, only I found it slightly less funny. Granted, I don't have kids, so... 3 stars, keeper bc it's a short audio.
60. The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend. I'd been recommended this book/series for over a decade by all sorts of people, and this copy sat on my shelves for nearly that long. I got about 15 pages in before the animal abuse got too much for me. I ended up skimming the next 30 or so pages and didn't find anything redeeming at all, so I happily got rid of it. 1 star, and long out the door.
61. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I liked this better than the other hygge book I read recently. I think it's because the author is the director for the Institute of Happiness (or something like that). I read this on my paper white, and I'd recommend reading a print copy instead - the insets were nearly invisible. 3 stars, keeper
62. Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming. Wow. I read this book in two sittings, only with a break to have some lunch. So powerful, but so readable. He is a wonderful writer, and even though his childhood is heartbreakingly awful, it's handled so delicately and perfectly that nothing ever lingers too long in your mind before Alan calms your fears. Outstanding! 5 stars, keeper!
63 and 64. The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady and The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. Her personal diaries from 1905 and 1906 are wonderful little watercolor treats filled with her observations of the English countryside and poetry. Lovely! 4 stars each, and both keepers!
65. A Teacup Collection by Molly Hatch. Watercolor illustrated and filled with nerdy details about the teacup collection at a museum, it was soothing to flip through and admire the work of not only the original artists who made the actual cups, but also Molly's handiwork. 3.5 stars, keeper to admire.
66. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie. One of my favorite TV and movie adaptations, I enjoyed reading this book for the first time more than I thought I would, considering I already knew how and whodunnit. 4 stars, keeper!
67. Guide to Fontainebleau. Love the highlighted pages of maps near the front, and this guidebook was chockfull of photos and information about most of the highlights from this beautiful country house. 4 stars, keeper.
68. Golden Girls Forever by Jim Colucci. A must for every Golden Girls fan, the only quibbles I have with this book are that every episode could have been covered (instead of 80%), and I would have liked more information on the clothing and sets, and a little less on the community of fans and the events they hold. But still, it's fantastic and a book I'll treasure! 5 stars, keeper!
69. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare. The first in the Spindle Cove romance series, I liked this ( LOVED how feminist it is) but the MC's didn't really connect to me. I"ll read more in the series again, happily, but this was just good. 3 stars, and out the door!
Phew! Fingers crossed I can keep up the progress in July!
>47 Thank you! You should probably be relieved that you don't have to worry about floor joists like I do. ;) I have over 2,000 physical TBRs in the house. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but as soon as I try to find something, or start looking at the books, it soooo feels like it.
>48 Thanks! I wish I could get my TBR to a more manageable size like yours. If I stop buying books (hahahahahaha!!!) I could be there in about 6 or 7 years, assuming I also stop using the library. *sigh* Oh well... It's all I spend money on, and there are certainly worse things.
>49 Thank you! :)