Laurel's "Keeping It Light" Choices for 2023

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Laurel's "Keeping It Light" Choices for 2023

joulukuu 26, 2022, 5:05 pm

2022 was a very difficult year for reading. After a whole host of issues at “the farm” I found and bought a house, packed, and moved! I had ambitious plans to finish four mega-chunky reads that kept getting postponed. Not only did I not accomplish much reading, but what I did read was a lot of very “heavy” topics for my book clubs (social justice, immigration, racism, etc.). So, my desire for 2023 is to lighten my goals significantly. The mini-theme I chose for my Daytimers Book Club for 2023 is “vacation” for example. Reading should be a pleasure, and I’m going to be focused more on comfort and coziness this year. Also community: I would like to be more involved in my online groups, especially Club Read on LibraryThing.

I still love to make lists. My TBR category on Goodreads contains over 3,000 titles. The lists aim to focus my choices on something more manageable – under 300 say – from which I aim to read about 50 books. I like to have a theme to work on (or several themes.) I randomly pick reads from my TBR ocean in several different categories: I have lists for non-fiction, Welsh and Arthurian fiction, historical fiction (pre-20th century), other fiction (20th/21st centuries, sci fi, fantasy), old themes from previous years, and series (divided into new series started and old series continued). There are always leftovers from the previous year (or years), and new online group reads and challenges that spark my interest.

Every list has a dozen choices. No, my goal is NOT to read every book in these lists. One from each list would be ambitious enough! I always want to read far more than I will ever accomplish.

Finally, I don't like the limitations of Goodreads 1-5 star rating system, so I add colors to my ratings to give it a little more nuance. Here is my rating scale:
Gold = 5+ stars (Gold medal, my highest rating)
Purple = about 5 stars (Grand Champion ribbon)
Blue = between 4.5 and 5 stars (Blue ribbon, 1st prize)
Red = about 4 stars (2nd prize ribbon)
Pink = between 3.5 and 4 stars (tickled pink, in the pink, ...but not quite red?)
Green = about 3 stars (Green for Go, not outstanding, but I'd read more by this author - or not)
Yellow = between 2.5 and 3 stars (Caution)
Orange = about 2 stars (Hazard Warning, LOL!)
Black = about 1 star (Black-balled and also probably not finished)
Gray = DNF (not rated)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 2, 5:56 pm

Themes are kind of the heart and soul of my reading choices throughout the year. I like to pick at least one new annual theme every year. And sometimes a theme gets carried over for another year (or two). Some years I have had quarterly themes. I never seem to be able to let go of a theme. I keep adding titles for old themes to my TBR, so that has become a whole category in itself.

Keeping It Light 2023 NEW – making it a double list!
1. The Brighter the Light
2. A Vision of Light
READ 3. Key of Light
4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
5. Ghost Light
6. Claire of the Sea Light
7. Hild (The Light of the World trilogy #1)
8. The Light Through the Leaves
9. Light to the Hills
10. Light in August
11. A Flickering Light
12. Pillars of Light
13. The Edge of Light #3 of a series, but they look to be stand-alones. #1 is The Road to Avalon
14. The Fall of Light
15. Woman of Light
16. The Light in the Ruins
17. A Marvellous Light
18. The Light Years
19. Pillar of Light
20. Light of the Moon
21. Heat & Light (follows Baker Towers)
22. The Mirror & the Light (follows Wolf Hall, and Bring Up the Bodies)
23. Painting the Light
24. Light Changes Everything

"Book of" titles" (Continued from 2021)
I’m continuing this theme another year, because one of my personal challenges (see below) is to focus on reading titles that start with the letter B this year.
1. The Book of Joby
2. The Book of Lost Things
3. Book of a Thousand Days
4. The Book of Speculation
5. The Book of Fires
6. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin
7. The Book of Uriel: A Novel of WWII
8. The Book of Cold Cases
9. The Book of Air and Shadows
10. The Book of Dreams
11. The Book of Strange New Things
12. The Book of Lost and Found

The Odyssey I keep listing this one, and never starting it! Maybe this is the year? Obviously, I have to start with
The Odyssey and The Iliad so those aren't part of this list...
1. The World of Odysseus
2. An Orchestra of Minorities
3. Ulysses and
Ulysses: Complete Text with Integrated Study Guide from Shmoop
4. An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic
5. Omeros
6. Olympus, Texas
7. The Penelopiad
READ 8. Homer's Odyssey
9. Ilium
10. Ransom
11. Over the Wine-Dark Sea
12. The Siege of Troy

Old Themes: Revisiting Moby Dick, a 10-year anniversary of my first annual theme (continued from 2022)
1. The Whaler
2. The Widow's War
3. Railsea
4. The Movement of Stars (also stars)
5. Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer (also stars)
6. Ahab's Return: or, The Last Voyage
7. Hannah Rose (Ahab's Legacy #2)
8. The Rathbones
9. The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld: A Memoir
10. The Art of Fielding
11. We, the Drowned
12. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Old Themes: (formerly Random Reads) - carried over 2 leftovers, 10 new
READ 1. Bel Canto (music)
2. The Plover (birds)
3. The Cuckoo's Cry (birds)
4. The Traitor's Wife: A Novel of the Reign of Edward II (wife titles)
5. Scherzo: Murder and Mystery in 18th Century Venice (music)
6. Yellow Wife (wife titles)
7. The Secret of Nightingale Wood (birds)
8. Crow Hollow (birds)
9. Elegy on Kinderklavier (music)
10. Unequal Affections: A Pride and Prejudice Retelling (Pride & Prejudice/Austen)
11. When the Stars Go Dark (stars)
12. The Winter King (winter)

Muokkaaja: Eilen, 6:11 pm


Daytimers Book Club
My face to face group, Daytimers, is a guaranteed 12 read books. We read a different genre or category each month. My mini-themes this year are “vacation” and “travel/modes of transportation.”
READ Jan: Murder on the Orient Express (Classic – and Mystery)
DNF Feb: The Road Trip (Romance)
READ Mar: The Lincoln Highway (Adventure fiction)
Apr: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (Biography)
READ May: A Northern Light (Teen fiction)
READ Jun: Salt to the Sea (Prize winner)
READ Jul: Vacationland (Minnesota fiction)
READ Aug: The Island of Missing Trees (Foreign fiction)
Sep: Horse (Historical fiction)
READ Oct: Matrix (Literary fiction)
Nov: The Lake House(Suspense fiction)
Dec: Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners (Domestic fiction)

Perspectives Book Club
Last year I joined my church book club, Perspectives. They read about 9 books a year, monthly except for a bigger book during the summer. These reads were pretty heavy on depressing topics last year, so I may not be joining them depending on the book. I’ll list their choices here though anyway….
READ 2022 Jan: The Four Winds
READ 2022 Feb: American Dirt
READ Mar: The Nutmeg's Curse
Apr: Lessons in Chemistry
May: The Forest Unseen
Summer (Sept.): The Gates of Europe
Oct: The Bad Muslim Discount
READ Nov: The Lincoln Highway
READ Dec: Unraveling

I pick the books for this library group, but am not a "member" of the book club. However, I like the list I created for 2023 so much, that I think I would like to actually read these! I'm not dropping out of Perspectives just yet, but neither am I committing to reading their choices. I may substitute this group instead! They also read 9 books during the year.
READ Jan: Arsenic and Adobo (Prize Winner)
Feb: The Maid (Mystery fiction)
READ Mar: The Wife Upstairs (Classic tie-in)
Apr: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot (Women - fiction)
May: The Seed Keeper (Minnesota fiction)
Jun: no meeting
Jul: no meeting
Aug: The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear (Biography)
Sep: The Woman in the Library (Thriller)
Oct: Remarkably Bright Creatures (Debut novel)
Nov: West with Giraffes (Historical fiction)
Dec: no meeting

A Good Yarn
This is another face to face book group that I am in, but we pick monthly themes rather than titles. I’m listing this group under Location, Location this year because we are working through the alphabet geographically.

Online group reads:
These are random, and includes various online groups on Goodreads, Io, and LibraryThing.
READ 1. The Book Woman's Daughter (On the Same Page - Jan 2023)
READ 2. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (On the Same Page - Jan. buddy read)
3. The Books of Jacob (Reading the Chunksters - Feb/Mar, and potential Pespectives book club choice)
4. The Diamond Eye (Historical Fictionistas - Feb 2023)
5. Death at La Fenice (On the Porch Swing - Apr 2023)
6. The Marriage Portrait (Historical Fictionistas - Mar 2023)
READ 7. The Cat Who Saved Books (The Reading Loft - Mar. 2023)
8. Once Upon a Wardrobe (On the Porch Swing, April)
READ 9. Bel Canto (The Reading Loft, August)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2022, 10:26 pm


Muokkaaja: elokuu 13, 9:08 pm


Macbeth/Thorfinn/Vikings: (continued from 2022)
1. King Hereafter
2. Lady Macbeth
3. Macbeth: A Novel
4. Macbeth
5. A Sacred Storm
6. Tomb for an Eagle
7. Flight of the Wren
8. The Golden Horn
9. The Half-Drowned King
10. The Whale Road
11. Viking Warlord: A Saga of Thorkell the Great
12. The Swan's Road

The Plantagenets/Wars of the Roses (continued from 2022)
1. The Summer Queen
2. Queen By Right
3. Bloodline
4. Eleanor de Montfort: A Rebel Countess in Medieval England
5. The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
6. Blood & Roses: the Paston Family and the Wars of the Roses
7. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind The Wars Of The Roses
8. Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses
9. Cecily Neville: Mother of Richard III
10. The Queen’s Rival
READ 11. The Game's Afoot
12. The Adventures of Alianore Audley

Historical Fiction: (Random Reads) – 12 new
1. Russka: The Novel of Russia (reread)
2. Hrolf Kraki's Saga
3. Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army
4. Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady
5. Alba is Mine by Jen Black
6. The Importance of Pawns
7. Shadowplay
8. The Almanack
9. Harvest
10. The Last Romanov
11. The Loyalist's Wife
12. Burial Rites

Other Fiction: (Random Reads) - keeping 3, 9 new
1. The Cornish Coast Murder
2. Baker Towers
3. The Crown Jewels Conspiracy by John Paul Davis
4. The Silence in the Garden
5. The Small Rain
6. The Bone Clocks
7. Time's Daughter
8. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
9. When God Was a Rabbit
10. Holiday
11. Tales of Johan
12. The Queens of Innis Lear

Non-fiction: (Random Reads) - keeping 4, 8 new
1. Decoding the Celts: Revealing the legacy of the Celtic tradition
2. Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle that Made England
3. Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life
4. Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph
5. Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides
6. Conquest
7. Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe
READ 8. As Kingfishers Catch Fire
9. Cecily Neville: Mother of Richard III
10. The King's Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria
11. Chaucer's Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury
12. The Summer Isles: A Voyage of the Imagination

Muokkaaja: elokuu 2, 7:20 pm

LOCATION, location, location!

Wales/Arthurian: keeping 3, 9 new
1. Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel
2. Crimson Shore
3. The Chinese Sailor by Allan Jones
4. The Snowdonia Killings
5. The Spoils of Avalon
6. Rebecca's Children by Kate Dunn
7. Ambrosius Aureliani
8. Islands in the Mist
9. Llewellyn and the Powys Princess by Kate Everson
10. The Return of Sir Percival: Guinevere's Prayer
11. All The Places We Lived
READ 12. Sparrow Tree

A Good Yarn:
Reading the alphabet geographically. Every two months is a new letter, with the choice of reading a specific location, or a generic place, or both...
Dec 2022/Jan 2023: Locations beginning with I (Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Iowa, Idaho, island, isthmus, inn, igloo, etc
READ The Month of Borrowed Dreams (Ireland)
A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice - Stars theme, A Good Yarn I location (an iceberg)
Independent People (Iceland)

Feb/Mar: Locations beginning with J (Japan, Jamestown, Jerusalem, jail, jungle, etc.)
READ Heart of a Samurai (Japan)
READ The Cat Who Saved Books (Japan)
Into the Jungle (a jungle)

Apr/May/Jun: Locations beginning with K (Kent, Kentucky, Kansas, Kalamazoo, kitchen, etc.)
READ The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek - Kentucky
READ The Book Woman's Daughter - Kentucky

Jun/Jul/Aug: Locations beginning with L (London, Louisiana, Leningrad, lake, lagoon, etc.)
READ Vacationland (a lake, and a lodge)
Laurentian Divide

Sep/Oct: Locations beginning with M (Minnesota, Massachusetts, Memphis, mine, marina, market, etc.)

Nov/Dec: Locations beginning with N (North Dakota, Nepal, New Zealand, national park, nature preserve, etc.)

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 16, 4:42 pm


Next-in-Series: keeping 2, 10 new
Starred titles are within 1 or 2 of finishing the series.
1. Somershill Manor - S.D. Sykes
*City of Masks #3 of 5

2. Hermann Preiss - Morley Torgov
Key Witness: A Hermann Preiss Mystery #2 of 6 (chronologically)

3. Rivers of London – Aaronovich
Moon Over Soho #2 of 9

4. Jackson Brodie – Kate Atkinson
*Big Sky #5 of 5

5. Finfarran – Hayes-McCoy
READ The Month of Borrowed Dreams #5 of 7
*The Heart of Summer #6 of 7
The Year of Lost and Found #7 of 7

6. Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
Library of Souls #3 of 6

7. Penny Spring and Sir Toby Glendower – Margot Arnold
Zadok's Treasure #3 of 12

8. Father Christmas – C.C. Benison
*The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford #4 of 4

9. Mac McKenzie – David Housewright
Pretty Girl Gone #3 of 20

10. Red Sparrow trilogy – Jason Matthews
*The Kremlin's Candidate #3 of 3

11. Merrily Watkins – Phil Rickman
Midwinter of the Spirit #2 of 15

12. Languedoc – Kate Mosse
*Sepulchre #2 of 3

New Series: keeping 2, 10 new

1. Crispin Guest - Jeri Westerson
Cup of Blood #7 (but comes before #1) of 15

2. Vorkosigan Saga - Lois Bujold
Shards of Honor #1 of 16

3. William Constable - Paul Walker
State of Treason #1 of 5

4. Jem Flockhart - E.S. Thomson
Beloved Poison #1 of 5

5. Lady C Investigates - Issy Brooke
An Unmourned Man #1 of 5

6. Dunne Family - Sebastian Barry
The Steward of Christendom #1 of 4

7. Chet & Bernie - Spencer Quinn
Dog on It #1 of 13

8. William Marshal - Elizabeth Chadwick
A Place Beyond Courage #1 of 5

9. Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen
Her Royal Spyness #1 of 16

10. Druid's Glen - Donna Grant
READ Highland Mist #1 of 6
Highland Nights #2 of 6

11. Sister Joan mysteries - Veronica Black
A Vow of Silence #1 of 11

12. Chivalry - Christian Cameron
The Ill-Made Knight #1 of 6

Read more of these authors…
1. Alexander McCall Smith – 44 Scotland Street series
The Revolving Door of Life #10 of 16

2. Rita Mae Brown – Mrs. Murphy series (rereading, #18 will be new)
READ Cat's Eyewitness #13 of 31
Sour Puss #14 of 31 - I have possibly not read this one. It doesn't sound familiar at all.

3. Donna Andrews – Meg Langslow series
READ Owls Well That Ends Well #6 of 30
READ No Nest for the Wicket #7 of 33 (will be 34 in October 2023)
The Penguin Who Knew Too Much #8 of 33

4. Diana Gabaldon – reread in chronological order

5. Madeleine L’Engle
The Other Side of the Sun
The Small Rain

6. Alan Bradley – Flavia De Luce series (rereading) (#5 will be new)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (reread)

7. Alexander McCall Smith - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (rereading on audio this time) (#4 will be new)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe

8. Elizabeth Chadwick - all series in chronological order...
First Knight
The Conquest
The Winter Mantle

9. Mick Herron - The Slough House series
The List #2.5 of 8
Nobody Walks listed as standalone but should be #3
Real Tigers #3 of 8
Spook Street #4 of 8

10. Richard Osman - new series started this year...
*The Man Who Died Twice #2 of 3 (so far)
*The Bullet That Missed

11. Fiona Leitch - The Nosey Parker series
READ A Sprinkle of Sabotage #3 of 7
A Cornish Christmas Murder #4 of 7
A Cornish Recipe for Murder #5 of 7

Bella Tyson mysteries:
*Dead in Venice #1 of 2
*Murder At The Grotto #1.5 short story
*Murder Ahoy! #2 of 2

Falling in Louvre

Muokkaaja: Eilen, 4:42 pm

A combination of old and new. Sort of a catch-all for anything that doesn't fit above. I have leftovers from 2021, mostly from A Good Yarn, and finishing up my previous alphabet challenge. Books that are the oldest in my TBR ocean. Books that have been started but abandoned, and then of course there is new stuff that catches my eye and gets checked out from the library....

2022 Leftovers not finished:
1. Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
2. Moby-Dick or, the Whale - reread
3. Wolf Hall #1 of 3
4. ...And Ladies of the Club
5. The Evening Chorus
6. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
7. Queen By Right
8. The Summer Queen
9. The Fall of Atlantis
10. From Hand to Hand
11. One for Sorrow (2021 Leftover)
12. The Chocolatier's Wife (2021 Leftover)

2022 Leftovers not started:
READ 1. Homer's Odyssey
READ 2. The Month of Borrowed Dreams
3. The Wild Inside (A Good Yarn, G is for Glacier National Park)
READ 4. Murder at Honeychurch Hall (A Good Yarn, H is for hall)
5. The Lost Wife (Location: Prague)
6. Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague (Location: Prague and Terezin)
7. Knit One, Kill Two (A Good Yarn, F is for Fort Connor)
READ 8. The Apothecary Rose
READ 9. A Sprinkle of Sabotage
READ 10. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (reread)
11. All About Us
READ 12. The Dinner Lady Detectives

The 12 Oldest in My TBR Ocean:
1. The Long Walk Home (owned)
2. Within the Fetterlock
3. Thirteenth Night
4. Kilt Dead (owned)
5. The Tale of Hill Top Farm
6. Her Royal Spyness (owned)
7. The Last Troubadour
8. The Book of Joby (owned)
9. The Fall of Atlantis (owned)
10. Mozart's Sister
11. Vivaldi's Virgins
12. The Expected One (owned)

Shiny New Things:
1. Hester – have ARC
2. The Last Party – have ARC
READ 3. Pucky, Prince of Bacon
4. Ahab's Rolling Sea (Moby Dick theme, and an "A" title)
5. I Will Die in a Foreign Land - (browsing new library books for a pink or gray cover..., music theme)
READ 6. Revenge of the Librarians
READ 7. Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater
READ 8. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
READ 9. Everything's Coming Up Beatrix
READ 10. A Cat's Guide to Bonding With Dragons
READ 11. The Sea Glass Sisters - prequel short story to:
12. The Prayer Box

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:10 pm


Alphabet (A-Z titles) challenge.
This is a long term personal challenge. The only rule here, is that I have to read the alphabet in order. And no rule on how long to spend on each letter. The focus is on the letter B this year, but there are still A titles I am finishing/adding, and I may begin C later in the year….

Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle that Made England
Ahab's Return: or, The Last Voyage
Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
READ The Alice Network
All My Fortunes (reread)
...And Ladies of the Club
READ The Apothecary Rose
READ Arsenic and Adobo
The Art of Fielding
READ As Kingfishers Catch Fire


READ Bel Canto
Big Sky
The Book of Joby
READ The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek - reread
READ The Book Woman's Daughter


READ Cat's Eyewitness
The Chinese Sailor
The Chocolatier's Ghost
City of Masks
A Conspiracy of Friends
Courting Mr. Lincoln
Crimson Shore
The Crystal Cave
The Cuckoo's Cry
Cup of Blood

Laurel's One From Each List Challenge (On the Same Page 2nd Annual Reading Challenge - 12 + 4):
Since I have roughly 16 lists going, I thought I would pick one book from each list. I think there's a few more than 16, but there are some titles that are on more than one list, so this works. I'm hoping to make at least a Baker's Dozen here, 12 + 1. Not including unfinished leftovers....

1. The Book of Joby - this one is on at least 3 of my lists...
2. The World of Odysseus
3. The Movement of Stars
READ 4. Bel Canto
5. The Golden Horn
6. The Adventures of Alianore Audley
7. Alba is Mine
8. Baker Towers
9. Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life
10. Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel
READ 11. The Month of Borrowed Dreams
12. Cup of Blood
13. Knit One, Kill Two
14. The Road to Avalon
15. The Fall of Atlantis
16. Her Royal Spyness

Rebecca's List:
This is a group challenge on LibraryThing's Club Read 2023 (continued from 2022) to collectively read all the books on a late member's reading list. This is not a promise to read all of these, but potentially to read...These are some that are of interest to me, that no one else has read yet.
1. The World of Odysseus - a likely candidate because of my Odyssey theme!
2. The Bear: History of a Fallen King
3. The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia - someone else has read this one...
4. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
5. The Power of Music mannes
6. Genes, Peoples, and Languages
7. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
8. The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong
9. The Fairies Return, or New Tales for Old
10. Stars of the Long Night
11. The Romance of Tristan
12. The Romance of the Rose
13. The Book of Lamentations
14. The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars
15. Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot
16. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas

On the Same Page cover color challenge:
Jan: white or blue Cat's Eyewitness, The Month of Borrowed Dreams, Homer's Odyssey
Feb: pink or light gray Arsenic and Adobo, Highland Mist
Mar: navy or rose gold Heart of a Samurai
Apr: teal or bronze Key of Valor
May: tan or hot pink Miss Eliza's English Kitchen
Jun: yellow or grape Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
Jul: brown or light blue The Wife Upstairs
Aug: silver or lavender The Game's Afoot
Sep: dark gray or mustard yellow The Island of Missing Trees
Oct: orange or black or red
Nov: rust or gold
Dec: emerald green or purple

Yet another challenge, prompted by a Club Read question...
Name a Book You Have That

a - describes a trip you'd like to take or a place you'd like to go (all countries are safe for the purposes of this question)
The Summer Isles: A Voyage of the Imagination

b - has a colour in the title
The Crimson Shore

c - is the history that goes the furthest back in time (not in your library's time, in real time)
Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot

d - is the funniest one you have
READ Revenge of the Librarians

e - is a novel whose ending really surprised you
READ The Lincoln Highway

f - is your favourite cookbook
READ Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant - I haven't read this cover to cover, but I've used it a lot, and how about if I promise to make a recipe a month for 2023...

g - is a book someone really important to you gave you
...And Ladies of the Club - My grandmother gave this to me. Started last year, but is now in a box from moving and not unpacked yet...

h - has the longest title
The Books of Jacob Full title: The Books of Jacob, or: A Fantastic Journey Across Seven Borders, Five Languages, and Three Major Religions, Not Counting the Minor Sects. Told by the Dead, Supplemented by the Author, Drawing from a Range of Books, and Aided by Imagination, the Which Being the Greatest Natural Gift of Any Person. That the Wise Might Have It for a Record, That My Compatriots Reflect, Laypersons Gain Some Understanding, and Melancholy Souls Obtain Some Slight Enjoyment.

i - is the last paper book you bought
READ Pucky, Prince of Bacon

j - is the reference book you use most often for non work related activities
READ The Welsh Academy English–Welsh Dictionary - For the purposes of this list, I'll mark it read...

k - you always meant to read but just haven't gotten around to yet
READ Jane Eyre - and I did just use a credit on Audible for this....

l - has something animal, vegetable, or mineral in the title (not Animal Farm - too easy!)
Wolf Hall - another one paused because of moving. I WILL get back to it.

m - has roses in the title
Blood and Roses: The Paston Family and the Wars of the Roses

n - is by an author whose name has the letter X in it
Independent People

o - has a title with alliteration in it
The Adventures of Alianore Audley

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 16, 4:49 pm

Miscellaneous statistics and other record keeping

Total books read: 41
DNF: 2
Cumulative pages read: 12,239

Genre breakdown:
Classics - 1
Comic strips/graphic novels - 2
Mystery - 10
Domestic fiction - 2
Fantasy fiction - 1
Historical fiction - 9
Literary fiction - 3
Poetry - 1
Romance - 4
Thriller - 1
Children's fiction - 3
Teen fiction - 3
Memoir - 2
Science, Nature - 1
History - 1

Print - 19
Audiobooks - 21

Owned - 6
Library (Libby ebook or eaudiobook) - 17
Library (print book) - 14
Kindle Unlimited - 2

Chunky books (More than 450 pages) read: 1

Chunkiest books (to be long-term projects):
...And Ladies of the Club - 1184 p. (started in 2022 and maybe even before that)
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph - 1077 p. (I was inspired to read this after reading The Prague Sonata last year.)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - 1006 p. (a group read last year, and I had started it once before several years ago)
Russka - 945 p. (I've read this before, but added it as a reread when I did a "Russia" theme a couple years ago)
Outlander - 850 p. (another reread - I haven't read the last several books in the series, but wanted to reread all the others first)
Vanished Kingdoms - 789 p. (random non-fiction draw)
The Mirror and the Light - 757 p. (I have to read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies first...)
Ulysses - 732 p. (I started this with a group read several years ago. Kept it to finish eventually as part of my Odysseus theme which so far hasn't gotten off the ground)
Ilium - 731 p. (another "Odyssey" themed book)
King Hereafter - 721 p. (one of the best books I've ever read, and high time for a reread - also spurred my "Macbeth" mini-theme)
Ahab's Wife - 704 p. (in progress, but currently still in a box somewhere....)

Shortest books (for when I am getting behind and need to read something short):
READ Sparrow Tree - 64 p. (poetry)
Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford - 106 p.
READ The Game's Afoot - 123 p. (owned)
Time's Magpie - 144 p.
All the Places We Lived - 150 p.
The Romance of Tristan - 176 p.
A Vow of Silence - 188 p.
Zadok's Treasure - 192 p.
Decoding the Celts - 192 p. (owned)
Edward IV and the War of the Roses - 192 p.
The Penelopiad - 198 p.

Books available on Kindle Unlimited should I choose to subscribe:
The Brighter the Light
The Book of Uriel
The Whaler
Yellow Wife
The Winter King
Flight of the Wren
The Adventures of Alianore Audley
Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army
The Loyalist's Wife
The Crown Jewels Conspiracy
Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
Rebecca's Children
Ambrosius Aureliani
Islands in the Mist
State of Treason
A Vow of Silence
Alba is Mine
READ The Game's Afoot

Magazines read:

1. Smithsonian, July/Aug 2017. 136 p.
Articles on circus trapeze artists, theories on the route taken by Hannibal and his elephants, and a photography essay "Portraits of Faith" highlighting Voudou, an ancient form of Christianity as practiced in Ethiopia, and a 19th century priest-physician who amassed more than 5,000 relics.

2. Mental Floss, July/Aug 2016. 66 p.
Librarian rescuing manuscripts from Timbuktu, manmade diamonds, the guy who transformed into a goat.

3. Mental Floss, Sept/Oct 2016. 66 p.
Want to support teachers? Steal this magazine. ROY G. BIV. Ren Faire knife throwing.

4. Mental Floss, Nov/Dec 2016. 66 p.
"The Farewell Issue." King Louis XIV and ballet, language detectives catch criminals, translating the Bible, the story of The Phoenix of Hiroshima.

5. Smithsonian, Sep 2017. 92 p.
Flappers, Fonzie, an astronaut (Scott Kelly) describes his return to earth, a Quaker abolitionist, Unionville MD founded by Aftrican-Americans, Benjamin Franklin's son and smallpox

6. Smithsonian, Oct 2017. 92 p.
Stereographs, rescuing cultural treasures in Iraq, a lengthy article on Russia since the Russian revolution

7. Wine Spectator, Oct 2019. 128 p.

8. Smithsonian, Nov 2017
Vaquita porpoise, 1918 influenza pandemic, avian flu in China, developing vaccines, history of Maralago, Theater of War (Greek tragedy as therapy/catharsis)

9. Smithsonian, Dec 2017. 104 p.
Ingenuity Awards: Ava DuVernay, John Legend; Sesame Street and Julia (autistic), the Euphrates water crisis, Robert Scott's doomed South Pole expedition

joulukuu 26, 2022, 7:26 pm

>4 jjmcgaffey: No worries, Jennifer! I appreciate your (early) comments and your good wishes!

joulukuu 26, 2022, 10:26 pm

Congrats on the new house! A new garden too - lots of work (especially since you had a lot of permaculture in the old one, bah on your landlord), but it'll be fun to set up just the way you want. I'd love to hear about.

ETA Oops, I interrupted your setup! Sorry - when you're done, I'll delete this and put it after your own posts.

ETA2 And here it is in the right spot.

joulukuu 26, 2022, 11:20 pm

Great news on the house! I look forward to hearing about how you plan the new garden... I'm always trying to be more intentional and think long-term about mine, with mixed results.

joulukuu 27, 2022, 7:38 am

I love all your book lists, Laurel. Welcome to Club Read 2023!

joulukuu 28, 2022, 10:37 am

I'll be interested if you get to the Odyssey list! A couple of years ago, my husband and I read The Odyssey and then started reading Ulysses together. Unfortunately, then we had to manage an across-the-world move and it got pushed aside. But maybe we'll get back to it in 2023; I'd actually like to finish it!

joulukuu 28, 2022, 11:42 am

>15 ursula: Ursula, I'm thinking maybe a fall/winter project for The Odyssey. But you never know. Something might bump it up. Right now I'm kind of doing ultra light - all cozy mysteries and favorite authors right now. At some point I'm going to have to actually unpack, and find those books I was reading! But I refuse to pressure myself to do anything in the moment that I don't want to do. My evenings right now are spent on Facebook and LibraryThing and Goodreads, and binging episodes of All Creatures Great and Small or The Orville!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 27, 3:17 pm

A Brand New Year!

I don't really want to get into January plans just yet - there are still 4 days left in 2022 after all - but the big question, of course, is what will be my first book of the new year? A new year demands a new book! Not a leftover that didn't get finished before the stroke of midnight...

What better to kick off a year of "lighter" reading than a children's comic book:
READ Pucky, Prince of Bacon - I recently purchased this, because it was just released, and I am a huge Georgia Dunn fan. The publisher has aimed it at "middle grade" children, but this middle-aged woman (and owner of 6 cats) finds the Breaking Cat News comic strip just delightful. I was going to boost my end of year tally with this book, but I think I am so far behind that I will just wait a few more days to read it and make it the first of 2023. It won't take more than a hour to read it.

So then what? I know I will have leftovers. I'm currently reading
READ The Thursday Murder Club but I keep falling asleep when I set out to read a bit before bed. And then in the car I am listening to
READ Cat's Eyewitness - unfortunately the bluetooth went into one of those loops a few days ago where it keeps disconnecting, and reconnecting, and disconnecting. So unless I listen to it on my phone in the house, that one isn't going to be finished either. Yes, I've turned the phone on and off. I've removed the phone and tried to resync several times. I've checked for updates. I've cleared the cache... I will get it eventually. This has happened before...

As for something new to start (after Pucky), I've got
READ A Sprinkle of Sabotage checked out on Libby. So even if I'm not finished with the Thursday Murder Club I will probably start that one on New Year's Day.

Update: Got the bluetooth working for the drive home from work. Crossing my fingers that it stays connected for awhile!

joulukuu 31, 2022, 9:33 am

Happy new 2023 thread! I lost touch in the second half of last year so I was very pleased to read your Introduction and see you'd bought a house. Congratulations! I'm looking forward to following along with your reading this year.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 12:02 pm

>18 rhian_of_oz: Thanks, Rhian! Nice to see you back! Homeownership - it's kind of a big learning curve for a lifelong renter, but I'm excited and very happy to be here. Now I just hope I can afford it! At least my reading seems to have gotten back on track, now that all the stress is gone. Happy 2023 to you!

tammikuu 1, 12:50 pm

Happy New Year, Laurel. I love your themes! Good luck with them. I would also like to finish Ulysses. Maybe this year.

tammikuu 1, 1:15 pm

Moving really is the great destructor of reading plans! Glad you're in your new place - while packing is a terrible chore, unpacking is fun and refreshingly without a hard deadline.

I love your lists! I've found that the minute I put a book on a list, I lose all desire to read it, but I do like seeing other people cross books off of a list. Good luck with your reading, your own house and your own garden.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 27, 10:54 pm

Happy New Year! Here's to 2023!

I truly haven't felt this kind of bliss in a very long time. I am in my very own house! The sun is shining. It isn't 20 below. I'm drinking the wonderful tea Red Dawn 2021. I'm watching three kittens wrestling and playing in the living room. There's a new year full of promise ahead of me. I got a lot accomplished yesterday organizing and putting away kitchen stuff. I'll do more of that today, but knowing I don't have to. I can start a new book, or get out a puzzle, or bake something. Life is Good!

I read 41 books in 2022, far short of my goal, but kind of amazing for the year I had! My last book of the year was We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace and that kind of sums up how the year ended. I am carrying that gratitude and grace into the new year. I saved
READ Pucky, Prince of Bacon: A Breaking Cat News Adventure to be my first book of 2023.

Still reading:
READ The Thursday Murder Club and
READ Cat's Eyewitness
I should be able to finish those this week.

But a new year calls for something brand new. There are two books I own on kindle that fit my January cover challenge (blue), so I shall start one or both today...
Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel (also on my "one from each list" challenge)
A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice
That second one also works for A Good Yarn this month (I is for Iceberg) - maybe not exactly a location, but I'm using it!

Next book club book for Daytimers is
READ Murder on the Orient Express
I'll start that (on audio) after I finish my current audiobook.

And that's enough to start the month with!

tammikuu 1, 3:51 pm

I love reading posts like this! Congrats on the move and all the good stuff that came with it :)

tammikuu 1, 4:14 pm

Thanks, Danielle! Happy reading to you in 2023!

tammikuu 1, 6:58 pm

>22 WelshBookworm: I love the image you evoke with your post. I'm so happy for you as you revel in your new digs. Congrats!

tammikuu 2, 10:11 am

Well, happy new year, happy new house. The kittens sound like they’re enjoying the house too. Wish you some great reading.

tammikuu 7, 9:29 pm

#1 Pucky, Prince of Bacon: A Breaking Cat News Adventure

What better first book of the year to epitomize my "Keeping it Light" theme!

This is described as book 5 in the series, but there are actually 6 books and I have them all. I've been following this strip online for several years now, and it is an absolute joy. This collection is from 2018 or so when "the boy" was a baby. ("OMG it's like 'Tarzan' with housecats!") No one who is owned by cats can fail to recognize their own darlings here. ("mommy's little pirate ballerina!") Who hasn't saved a found cat whisker? (Guilty.) I have to say the planned demise of the vacuum cleaner was one of my favorite series. And the mailman siting. And Fluffapurrus Rex. Pucky's ode to the 4th of July picnic (This ham is my ham...sung to the tune of, yeah, you know.) And my new favorite phrase with my 6 cats is now going to be "Cuteness has reached THREAT LEVEL CUPCAKE!"

Description: The cats of BCN are back and have they got news for you! When Elvis goes missing it’s Tommy to the rescue—but just who is rescuing whom? Stayed tuned for relaxing light baths, an intruder on the couch, adventures in laundry, Operation: Second Breakfast, an invisible cat, a new wrestler entering the ring, baby pictures of Elvis, dangerous spiders, packing peanuts galore and more! ...And what about that rumored battle with the vacuum cleaner?

Cumulative pages (annual goal is 15,000): 208 p.

tammikuu 8, 2:35 pm

#2 Cat's Eyewitness
ongoing series/authors
4 red stars

Not a review - these notes are for my own recollection and may contain spoilers.
This book seems to be more about relationships than about the mystery of the weeping Virgin Mary and the two murders. Fair has given Harry an ultimatum - answer his proposal of marriage by Christmas or he will never ask again. Susan is second-guessing her relationship with her husband who is now a state senator and often away in Richmond. Boom Boom falls in love with an older woman which is an interesting twist on this character. And Blair and Little Mim? Really? We don't have much interaction with other animals this time, no horses, no possum, no snake, no owl, no mice, etc. So perhaps 4 stars is a bit generous, but I did like the mystery of the Virgin Mary and the introduction of the monastery into the cast. Oh, and we finally learn the identity of the mystery woman who had a child with Charlie Ashcroft...

Description: With the holidays approaching, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen and her best friend, Susan Tucker, take a much-needed time-out at the mountain monastery of Mount Carmel. There, under the benevolent gaze of the statue of the Virgin Mary, their worldly worries are soon overshadowed. For in front of their very eyes the statue begins to cry tears of blood. Legend has it that Mary’s crimson tears are harbingers of crises. And though skeptical, the ever-practical Harry can already see one on the horizon. If leaked, news of the so-called miracle could turn the monastery and the town of Crozet into a circus. What Harry doesn’t foresee is murder.… When Susan’s great-uncle Thomas, a resident monk, is found frozen to death at the base of the statue, foul play is ruled out–at first. But at Harry’s urging, the body is exhumed for an autopsy. There’s just one problem: the coffin is empty. That’s when Mrs. Murphy, Pewter, and Tucker get involved. With Christmas around the corner and the monastery overrun by the faithful, all Harry’s meddling menagerie can do is stay on her trail as she jumps knee-deep into an unofficial investigation–one that becomes more dangerous when another Crozet citizen meets an untimely demise. In this case it will be a miracle if Harry stays alive....

Cumulative pages: 527

tammikuu 8, 3:23 pm

Look forward to following your reviews this year again, Laurel.

tammikuu 21, 11:49 am

I’ll be checking in periodically to see how you are doing. It’s so nice to “see” you enjoying your new home.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:06 pm

Thank you Alison and Colleen! Thanks for visiting!

I usually do a mid-month update, but better late than never... Today is my birthday. Oops, it's after midnight - I guess it WAS my birthday. Still reading
READ The Thursday Murder Club and I'm liking it enough that I checked out the next book in the series ready to go.
Ygerna kind of got pushed aside by a "buddy read" in another group that caught my ear, so I've started
READ The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, a middle-grade novel that shouldn't take long to read.

All my other reading plans have likewise been upended as I keep changing my mind about what I want to read. In the car I am listening to
READ The Month of Borrowed Dreams which fits the January cover challenge that I am doing (blue or white) and it fits A Good Yarn group's theme for January - a location beginning with I (set in Ireland). I have one more hour to go, and then I must listen to
READ Murder on the Orient Express for next week's Daytimers book club.

Oh, and I started
DNF Clarissa because I like to have a chunky book going (and I still haven't unpacked the ones I was reading last year) and I was intrigued by the idea of reading each letter on the right day starting January 10, and that 2023 also matches the correct days of the week. However, after yesterday (or the 20th) there is now a gap until Feb. 20 for the next installment.

As for what to read after the first two above, I'm not sure. I should get back to Ygerna but I have 4 items currently checked out on Libby that I haven't started yet and several more on hold, so I guess we'll wait and see what my mood is. It might be
READ The Apothecary Rose or it could be
READ A Sprinkle of Sabotage but that one has a hold waiting and it might have to go back before I get to it.

tammikuu 22, 9:01 am

Happy belated birthday, Laurel!

tammikuu 22, 4:22 pm

>31 WelshBookworm: you know you are allowed a whole week to celebrate your birthday (thats what my sister says anyway) so no problem being late. Hope you had a great day and got many many books

tammikuu 23, 5:06 pm

#3 The Thursday Murder Club
4 red stars
Daytmers Book Club

Four red stars which is high praise for a first-of-series cozy mystery. It's humorous in that subtle British way, and convoluted enough to keep you guessing. Perhaps a bit too many threads, but I didn't care - it was a fun ride. It got off to a slow start, and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. I had to go back and reread from the beginning after a certain point. But by about a third of the way through the book (the second time) I was thoroughly enjoying getting to know the four seniors and the two cops who are the main characters. There is wit and even some quotable wisdom. It gives me hope that life can be fun after 80. I have already checked out the next book in the series, and I can't wait for the movie!

Description: In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?

Cumulative pages: 909

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 8:25 pm

#4 The Month of Borrowed Dreams
3.5 pink stars.
Next to read in series, Leftovers, One from each list challenge, Jan. cover challenge

Nothing great here. Just a revisit to a comfortable place and familiar characters to catch up on their lives. If the author keeps writing them, I'll keep visiting.

Description: On the Finfarran Peninsula on Ireland's west coast, the blue skies and warmer days of summer are almost here. At the Lissbeg Library, Hanna Casey has big plans for the long days ahead. Beginning with the film adaptation of Brooklyn, she’s starting a cinema club, showing movies based on popular novels her friends and neighbors love. Just when Lissbeg begins to feel like home, an unexpected twist leaves Hanna’s daughter, Jazz, reeling and may send her back to London. Aideen worries that her relationship with Conor won't survive the pressures of their planned double wedding with overbearing Eileen and manipulative Joe. Saira Khan throws herself into helping a troubled new arrival to Finfarran. Hanna enjoys getting closer to Brian until her ex-husband Malcolm returns, threatening her newfound contentment. As the club prepares for the first meeting of the summer, they’ll all face difficult choices. But will they get the happy endings they deserve?

Cumulative pages: 1,293

tammikuu 27, 7:59 am

>31 WelshBookworm: Coincidentally I picked up Clarissa with the same idea--read the letters day by day. When I came to the gap, I decided to just keep going, and I'm now into March, and really enjoying it. I read an abridged one-volume version of this in college, and want to get through the whole thing.

tammikuu 27, 8:57 am

>31 WelshBookworm: >34 WelshBookworm: Yes, the Listy group realized later on that not all of the letters are on chronological order and there are days that have 9 letters! So we're reading about 50 pages a week.

tammikuu 27, 10:51 pm

>37 ELiz_M: I had suspected that might turn out to be the case. Nevertheless, I'm going to wait until Feb. 20 and see how it goes.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 27, 10:52 pm

#5 Murder on the Orient Express
4.5 blue stars
Book clubs: Daytimers

A classic for a reason. Poirot almost single-handedly carries the plot. He is thorough and methodical, and goes over his evidence point by point so that the reader has every opportunity to solve the mystery along side him. I may have read this before - and I have seen at least two of the movie versions - so I knew "who done it" beforehand. Whether I would have guessed correctly or not, I don't know, but I enjoyed seeing the clues and the red-herrings laid out by the author. it used to be a sort of bucket-list desire of mine to ride the Orient Express, and according to this article the original train is being restored and will resume its route in 2024.

Description: Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

Cumulative pages: 1,567

tammikuu 28, 1:30 am

>37 ELiz_M: When I read Clarissa, I ran into the same problem. Some days there were something like 2 pages to read, some days there were considerably more! So I also just read a steady amount of pages.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:05 pm

February plans:

Currently reading:
READ The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
READ Arsenic and Adobo (audiobook)
READ Homer's Odyssey (audiobook)
READ Revenge of the Librarians

For Daytimers:
DNF The Road Trip

For A Good Yarn: a J setting
READ Heart of a Samurai (Japan) - also fits cover challenge below...

Feb. cover challenge (pink or gray):
READ Highland Mist maybe (mine has a different cover), or
The Secret of Nightingale Wood

Ongoing reads:
DNF Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady (all year)
The Books of Jacob (Reading the Chunksters group read begins Feb. 12 - June 10)

Next up?:
READ The Alice Network
READ The Apothecary Rose
Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World
The Man Who Died Twice

helmikuu 2, 12:33 am

As I've mentioned in the Introduction thread (or somewhere), I don't use LibraryThing for keeping track of what I've read and what I want to read. I use Goodreads for that. I did start cataloging some of my personal library though, way back when. Mostly books from my Welsh language collection, or books that were passed on to me (several boxes worth) from my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who were all ministers and collected old books relating to theology, etc. Anyway, I've always intended to do more with LT - I have a large collection of cookbooks, and also a lot of Arthurian stuff. So I've been thinking that as I unpack books, I have two goals - to downsize what I have and then to add what I keep to LT. I should add them to Goodreads, too, while I'm at it - then they might actually get read one of these years!

helmikuu 2, 7:31 am

>42 WelshBookworm: I've never used Goodreads, although I visit the site on occasion. I'm curious, why do you find it better for some things? Is it better for lists? Or do you just like keeping your TBR on a separate platform?

helmikuu 2, 1:57 pm

In my experience - Goodreads is about reading, and sharing reading. LT is about cataloging. For me, there's enough reading tracking/sharing here - I've tried Goodreads and a few others and felt that it was being too demanding (what are you reading? How many pages today? what did you think of it so far? Give us a picture/video/review...). But there are a lot of people (including here!) who want to do that kind of sharing/tracking, and Goodreads makes it a lot easier than LT does.

helmikuu 2, 3:39 pm

Funny being on the talk side of things, for me LT is a site to share, talk, discuss books. I never had an interest in catergoring but lately I can see why it might be useful for me. then again Id use all that time that Id rather use talking books!

I used to belong to Common Reader, which ended up being part of Goodreads. Was on there for a while but my interest dropped for no good reason. I prefer LT, but maybe thats coz Ive made friens here? Anyway to each their own

helmikuu 2, 8:35 pm

>43 labfs39: As others said, I think it is easier. When I joined LT it was aimed at cataloging, not reading, and I think the social groups came later. I used to use Calliope for ebooks that I bought, but I really needed something I could access anywhere, not just on my home computer, so those ended up on Goodreads. I wanted LT to be for physical books that I own, some of them antique, and some that no one else had. So I really was cataloging them, and photographing and adding covers, etc. It was a lot of work, which I why I kind of quit doing it.

helmikuu 4, 2:48 pm

#6 The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Easily five purple stars. Humor, wisdom, and all the feels. You'll root for Coyote and her mission, which maybe isn't so much about the memory box, as it is helping her dad to face his grief, and helping strangers along the way. The subject matter does cover some heavier issues, so I would recommend this for middle school age readers (5th-8th grade). I think I would have liked this very much at that age. Coyote kind of has an absent dad, so she is the one calling the shots, being independent, and learning how to assert herself. I enjoyed it as an adult, despite the improbable plot and picking up random strangers. The characters grow and change and ends with the promise of a happier ever after.

Description: Five years. That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished—the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box—she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days...without him realizing it. Along the way, they'll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there's Gladys...

Cumulative pages: 1,911

helmikuu 7, 3:13 pm

#7 Revenge of the Librarians
4 red stars

More about authors and publishing than librarians, and a nod to the Covid lockdown. I did think it got a tad repetitive after awhile. But on the whole, it was very enjoyable to browse through. Some highlights: Further installments of famous six-word story, the bookshop cat and the pandemic, summer reading for conspiracy theorists, waiting for Godot to join the Zoom meeting, how to tell if your cat is interested in the novel you are writing, Jo March gets some advice from her publisher, and January reading challenges.

Description: Tom Gauld returns with his wittiest and most trenchant collection of literary cartoons to date. Perfectly composed drawings are punctuated with the artist’s signature brand of humour, hitting high and low. After all, Gauld is just as comfortable taking jabs at Jane Eyre and Game of Thrones. Some particularly favoured targets include the pretentious procrastinating novelist, the commercial mercenary of the dispassionate editor, the willful obscurantism of the vainglorious poet. Quake in the presence of the stack of bedside books as it grows taller! Gnash your teeth at the ever-moving deadline that the writer never meets! Quail before the critic’s incisive dissection of the manuscript! And most importantly, seethe with envy at the paragon of creative productivity!

Cumulative pages: 2,091

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 9:05 pm

#8 Arsenic and Adobo
3 green stars
Book Clubs: Bookworms
Challenges: A-Z titles, Feb. cover challenge (pink)

I really waivered between yellow and green for my rating, but it's a debut novel, and a cozy mystery so I've bumped it up. To be fair, it did win a RUSA Award and the 2022 Anthony Award for "Best First Novel" so it's possible this just didn't quite work for me. On the plus side, the novel features ethnic protagonists. Lila is Filippino, and her best friend Adeena (and Adeena's lawyer brother Amir) are Pakistani Muslim. Lila's family runs a restaurant in a small town in Illinois. She has returned home from the big city after a bad break-up to figure out her life and help her family. Indeed, family and food are both culturally important here. I loved the set-up at the beginning. Lila promised to be an amusing character with an interesting family and background. And the food is really a centerpiece, with recipes at the end of the book. What didn't work for me was that the book really lost focus after the murder of the ex-boyfriend and food critic. I know that cozy mysteries are about amateur "detectives" but I couldn't figure out what Lila was trying to do. I felt she was kind of floundering around, and I just couldn't keep track of all the new characters. It picked up again at the end with a bit of action (finally), but it also was a bit of a deus ex machina ending. There also wasn't really any character development. And, from the description, I expected more of a role for the dog, who was only mentioned a few times.... So it's a promising beginning, but I don't think I'll be reading more of this series.

4 stars for the audiobook narration.

Description: When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case. With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Cumulative pages: 2,427

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 15, 10:07 pm

#9 Homer's Odyssey
5 purple stars
Themes: Odyssey

What's not to love? A plucky rescue cat who survives against the odds. Homer has lost his eyes, but he is all heart, and he is fearless. Gwen Cooper brings his story and his personality to life. I cheered. I cried. I had my heart in my throat a few times. There's even a love story. Each chapter is prefaced with a quotation from The Odyssey. I listened to this as an audiobook. I may have to seek out the print book - I hear there are pictures... And there are sequels.

Description: The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight. Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever.” But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that transformed Gwen’s life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized that Homer had taught her the most valuable lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Cumulative pages: 2,714

helmikuu 16, 5:42 pm

>50 WelshBookworm: Great review

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 18, 11:59 am

#10 Highland Mist
2.5 yellow stars rounded up.
Feb. cover challenge (pink and gray)
New series random pick.

This is the first book in her Druid's Glen series, and it probably was a freebie that I picked up because it mentioned Scotland and druids. I am not a romance reader generally, but I am attracted to Celtic countries and historical settings. It popped up this year as one of my random picks out of my TBR, and then it fit a February cover challenge to read a book with pink or gray on the cover. So....

The plot is mildly intriguing, though it is total fantasy, not historical in any way. It's sort of vaguely 16th century with lairds and clans, but with druids and the book has a background of standing stones like Stonehenge along with the hunky bare-chested kilt-wearing "warrior" on the cover. It revolves around a 300-year-old prophecy about 3 druid sisters that have been separated since childhood who will bring about the downfall of the powerful MacNeil clan. The youngest sister is the focus of this first book in the series. She was taken by the MacNeil clan leader who murdered her parents and left the other two girls for dead, and raised by him though there is no love there. Conall, our hero, is from a clan that has druid blood and that has sworn to protect the druids for centuries. However, his sister, a druid priestess has gone missing. The druids have refused to help (because of the prophecy to be fulfilled) and so he has sworn to refuse his powers and have nothing to do henceforth with druids (except he is still bound to protect them.) He kidnaps Glenna from the MacNeils to use as bait to get his sister back. Glenna has begun to realize that she has druid "powers" and seeks to be taught by the local druids. Conall, though, falls in love with her (or lust?) and wants her to renounce her druidness. This sets up the romantic conflict, because she is "his" and he doesn't know if he can go through with returning her to MacNeil as a pawn.

HOWEVER, the writing is absolutely eye-rolling. His cxxx is mentioned at least every other page and I was beginning to think it was a character in its own right. Don't get me started on his "silver orbs" burning which I thought was some kind of jewelry at first, but then realized it was his eyes. The publisher has marketed this as a "blush" level erotic romantic (kisses only, no graphic sex) - but this has plenty that IS graphic, so I hate to think what the next level up is.... Anyway, NOT my thing, but if you like that sort of writing you'll love this.

Despite that caveat, I ended up actually half liking the book. Once they gave in to their, um, passions, the rest of the book focused on other aspects of the plot, and I found myself at least a little intrigued by the fantasy world with druids and fae and the prophecy and of course Conall and Glenna got their HEA but with several threads unresolved. There are 6 more books in the series, and we have two more sisters to get their HEA, and wrap up the whole prophecy thread. So I wouldn't BUY the next book to read it, but if I were able to get a copy, I MIGHT read it.

Cumulative pages: 2,918

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 13, 10:38 pm

Mid-February update:

Wow! I can't believe I've read 5 books already this month!

Not likely to get to
DNF The Road Trip this month. My hold on Libby is still showing a two week wait. So, instead, I decided it was time to read at least one book in my Keeping it Light theme for this year:
READ Key of Light. I am liking it quite a lot, and will certainly be continuing with the trilogy.

Will start
The Books of Jacob this week, maybe today. It's a group read, so will be ongoing into June.

Currently reading
READ The Dinner Lady Detectives since my hold became available, and it had been a long wait for this.

Also starting today
READ Heart of a Samurai. Due back at the library in 3 days for another hold, but it's a children's book, so I think I can finish it in time. It fits the March cover challenge (rose gold) - I'll just have to read it early!

helmikuu 21, 3:49 pm

Just added "yet another challenge" to post #9 above.

helmikuu 28, 4:54 pm

#11 Heart of a Samurai
5 purple stars
Bookclubs: A Good Yarn (J location: Japan)

Based on the true story of Manjiro Nakahama. He is believed to be the first Japanese person to set foot in America. This novel for middle-grade readers is based on Manjiro's own accounts and illustrated with his own drawings. The author did a good job presenting a different time period and a different culture in a way that young people can understand. It does get into some of the violence and gruesomeness of whaling (so not for sensitive children...), and talks about anti-Asian and discriminatory behavior. 4th-8th grades.

Description: In 1841 a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way. Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives there for some time and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the emperor to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Cumulative pages: 3,223

maaliskuu 1, 11:02 am

>55 WelshBookworm: How fascinating. I read the Wikipedia entry on Nakahama and would be interested in reading an adult book about his life, but can only find Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways which is quite expensive.

maaliskuu 2, 12:07 am

>56 labfs39: Lisa, I have since returned the book to the library, but it did include a bibliography.

maaliskuu 4, 3:37 pm

#12 Key of Light
3.5 pink stars (rounded up).
Themes: Keeping It Light

Light and easy reading with a touch of the paranormal. This is definitely in the romance category, with just a hint of a mystery or suspense. I would have liked a little more suspense. This never really got to the level of anyone being in actual danger. Still, I was hooked from the beginning with Malory's drive up the mountain to the estate in a storm and the description of the gothic house. And while there wasn't much in the way of character development, we did have 3 different couples and all of their interactions. You feel like you are among friends reading this. The love scenes were nothing particularly memorable. If you don't like that sort of thing, at least they aren't cringe-worthy! It's just all nice and cozy, and you know there will be a happy ending, because that's the formula.... I'll be reading the rest of the trilogy.

Description: Malory Price’s life plan has hit a snag. She’s in danger of losing her job managing an art gallery in Pleasant Valley, Pennsylvania. A welcome distraction comes in the form of an invitation to a cocktail party at Warrior’s Peak, an infamous estate overlooking the town. But no one else she knows has been invited. There are only two other guests: Dana Steele, a librarian, and Zoe McCourt, a single mother. On the surface, it seems the women have nothing in common, until their mysterious hosts tell them a story—and offer them a challenge. Legend has it that the souls of three demigoddesses—one an artist, one a bard, and one a warrior—have been locked in a box that has three keys. Now it’s up to Malory and the others to find the keys. Their reward: a million dollars each. It all seems too bizarre to be true. But none of them can ignore the financial windfall they stand to gain. And now Malory—with her soul of an artist and eye for beauty—must find her key first. She soon discovers that whatever locked the souls away is dark, powerful, and greedy…and it doesn’t want the women to win.

Cumulative pages: 3,557

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:04 pm

March plans:

Just started last month's book club book
DNF The Road Trip The audiobook had a waiting list and I just got it this week. Book club was cancelled due to the weather, but I'll read it anyway. It should be a fairly light read.

This month's book is
READ The Lincoln Highway That hold is showing a 3 week wait, so we'll see... I hope it comes sooner.

Still reading
READ The Dinner Lady Detectives

Not started yet, and three weeks behind the group schedule...
The Books of Jacob

DNF Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady is ongoing and I am behind on that one too.

Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel has been paused for awhile. I want to get back to it, since it fits the March cover challenge (navy).

A Good Yarn is continuing J locations for March. I have another book set in Japan on hold...
READ The Cat Who Saved Books

Checked out, but not reading yet...
The Man Who Died Twice
Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World
I Will Die in a Foreign Land

Holds pending:
READ Key of Knowledge
READ The Alice Network
READ The Apothecary Rose

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 8, 3:09 pm

My hold on the 2nd book in Nora Robert's trilogy The Key of Knowledge came today, and that gave me the excuse to DNF The Road Trip. It was last month's book club book, which I hadn't read because there was a long wait for the audiobook, and then I cancelled book club because of the weather last week. It was a twenty-something romcom, which really didn't have any appeal for me. Okay, I picked the book last year, based on reviews at the time, we usually read a "romance" in February, it fit my mini-theme of "transportation" for the group (we're reading The Lincoln Highway for March), and in general I like books set in Scotland. But what little I had listened to this week, sounded like it was going to be similar to Normal People which I really didn't care for last year. I almost NEVER abandon book club books, feeling some obligation to read them, but then I reminded myself I chose "Keeping it Light" as my overall theme this year, and there's a certain freedom in being able to say "No, this really isn't for me, and I'm not going to keep reading it."

Now I'm going to think about not finishing Clarissa, in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to continue it either.

I need to focus on finishing The Dinner Lady Detectives which expires in two days, and if I don't finish it, it will be a long wait to get it again from Libby....

maaliskuu 10, 9:36 pm

I didn't read my December RL book club book. After a couple of chapters, I just couldn't justify the time spent on it. I too usually feel obligated to read book club books, and I only joined this club in the fall, so I'm a newbie too, but life's too short.

maaliskuu 10, 9:43 pm

what was the book? And wait, youve been sick, doubly good reason not to finish it if its not grabbing you

maaliskuu 10, 9:50 pm

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 13, 10:48 pm

#13 The Dinner Lady Detectives
3.5 pink stars, not rounded up.

I enjoyed it, but a few things bordered on the absurd. The two main characters are in their 60s, but sometimes they act more like 85+ (who uses an ear horn anymore??) and then they are moving ceiling tiles and climbing into the ceiling to get into a room. They are like "an old married couple" having lived together for more than 30 years, but still working at the local school as cafeteria cooks. The author is a chef, so she knows her cooking stuff. Lots of humor and silly situations, but light-hearted fun. I got the second book as a freebie, so I'll keep reading. The setting is South Wales. There were a few cultural references to things like Welsh love spoons and a Welsh dresser, but otherwise nothing that couldn't be anywhere.

Description: Margery and Clementine are enjoying a peaceful middle-age together in the small, idyllic town of Dewstow, and eagerly awaiting retirement from their work on the front line serving meals to the students at Summerview secondary school. Their calm life is shattered when their kitchen manager is found dead in the school’s walk-in freezer. The police are adamant that it’s an open-and-shut case of accidental death. Margery and Clementine are convinced there’s something far more nefarious going on, and they take it upon themselves to investigate. As they inch closer to the truth, it becomes clear that someone will stop at nothing to keep the pair quiet. Will the perpetrator get their just-desserts before their time runs out?

Cumulative pages: 3,799

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 17, 10:39 pm

#14 Key of Knowledge
3.5 pink stars rounded up.

This is the 2nd in a trilogy that must be read as a whole, in order. Three couples (who don't start out as couples but have some connection) working together to free three sisters trapped in a glass box by a vengeful god. Each generation three women are chosen to try and find the keys to the box that will release the sisters. The individual love stories of each woman is integral to her finding the key. More "romance" than I prefer, but enough plot and action and interesting relationships among all six to make these a fun read. There's a bit of a mystery element - a problem to solve - but not enough to call it a mystery. I will finish the trilogy.

Description: What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help? That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak. To Dana Steele, books and the knowledge they hold are the key to contentment. But now that search for knowledge must include the second key needed to release three souls held captive by an evil god. She won't be alone, for she's formed fast friendships with two very different women. She can't allow herself to be distracted by the return of the man who broke her heart so long ago, for a danger beyond anyone's imagination is determined to keep her from completing her quest.

Cumulative pages: 4,137

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 1:08 pm

#15 The Cat Who Saved Books
2.5 yellow stars

I didn't dislike it, but I was rather underwhelmed by this little tale. Not sure if it was aimed at teens or not (my library has it cataloged as an adult book). The writing was flat and repetitive, and nothing was fleshed out very much. It seemed to be just a vehicle for a philosophical diatribe about books. It might have also served as a coming of age tale, except that I'd be hard-pressed to articulate just how the boy changed by the end of the story. The ebook had no illustrations, but this could make a charming graphic novel.... The cat was not very catlike, and didn't have much of a role in the plot, except to indicate that "we aren't in Kansas anymore" and to act as a sort of courier between the real world and the fantasy world. Each "mission" got a little darker, and the last one was much more interesting than the others. It's a quick read, but I didn't find it anything special.

Description: Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he has inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. However, one day, a talking cat named Tiger appears and asks Rintaro to save books with him. Of course, "ask" is putting it politely -- Tiger is demanding Rintaro's help. The world is full of lonely books, left unread and unloved, and only Tiger and Rintaro can liberate them from their neglectful owners. And so, the odd couple begin an amazing journey, entering different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to rot on his bookshelf, a book torturer who cuts books to clips to help people read as fast as they can, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. And then, the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest readers would dare enter... Books, cats, first love, fantasy -- THE CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS is a story for those who know books are so much more than words on paper.

Cumulative pages: 4,335

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 1:09 pm

#16 The Lincoln Highway
5 purple stars
Book Clubs: Daytimers
Themes: The Odyssey

A Homeric journey of a book, beautifully told. It invites comparisons with The Odyssey and Huckleberry Finn. I won't elaborate on the plot, since plenty of reviews have already done that. I loved it. My favorite characters were Billy and Ulysses. To all the critics who complained of the improbable plot, I will just say this is modern-day mythology -- a Hero's tale. The ending got dragged out a little unnecessarily perhaps - telling the same events from three different points of view. My book club loved this one, too, and we enjoyed the discussion questions from the author. So much symbolism to uncover, I'm sure I would see much more reading this a second or third time. Hard to let go of the characters - it's going to be a difficult task to choose my next book!

Description: In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett's intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden's car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction—to the City of New York. Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles's third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes. “Once again, I was wowed by Towles’s writing—especially because The Lincoln Highway is so different from A Gentleman in Moscow in terms of setting, plot, and themes. Towles is not a one-trick pony. Like all the best storytellers, he has range. He takes inspiration from famous hero’s journeys, including The Iliad, The Odyssey, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, and Of Mice and Men. He seems to be saying that our personal journeys are never as linear or predictable as an interstate highway. But, he suggests, when something (or someone) tries to steer us off course, it is possible to take the wheel.” – Bill Gates

Cumulative pages: 4,911

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:04 pm

April plans:

Haven't picked up Clarissa since January, so that is a DNF.

READ Key of Valor to finish up the trilogy.
READ Jane Eyre - to read along with
The Wife Upstairs

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Lessons in Chemistry

A Good Yarn:
Miss Eliza's English Kitchen (K location: a kitchen, and also Kent, England)

a group read I may or may not get to, but a series I have wanted to try:
Death at La Fenice

READ The Apothecary Rose - hold is available...
READ The Alice Network - hold is available

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 10:52 am

Nice review of The Lincoln Highway, Laurel. I've been interested in that novel since I first heard about it, as a section of that highway, known here as Old Lincoln Highway (Business US Route 1) in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia, is less than one mile from where I live. I'm sure that my local library has it, so I'll plan to read it soon.

huhtikuu 3, 12:03 pm

I was so disappointed by that book had great expectations after reading his others. This one was disjointed, confusing, overwritten with way too many description repetitions. but as usual, Im probably in the minority for everyoone else seems to love it. Thats fine, just wish I did!

huhtikuu 3, 1:02 pm

>69 kidzdoc: >70 cindydavid4: Sorry you didn't like it, Cindy. I really did. I did not find it disjointed, even though it switched POV quite frequently. And that accounts for a lot of the repetition too, as events were recounted by more than one person. I listened to the audiobook, which had 3 different narrators, and perhaps that helped. You aren't alone in not liking it. I read a lot of reviews that had the same reaction. Will be interested to hear your take on it, Darrel.

I guess I like sprawling stories, mythology, riffs on The Odyssey or the Hero's journey, and Americana. I liked it better than A Gentleman in Moscow or at least as well. Now I guess I should add Rules of Civility to my TBR ocean...

huhtikuu 3, 2:33 pm

>70 cindydavid4: Sadly, I agree with your assessment of The Lincoln Highway.

huhtikuu 11, 8:59 pm

#17 Key of Valor
4 red stars.

I think I liked this one the best of the three. Okay, the plot was getting repetitive, but Zoe had some depth to her that I didn't think the other two women had. I loved her backstory, her relationship with her mother, the relationship between Brad and the boy Simon, and of course the friendship of the three women. The love scenes got pretty repetitive as well, and didn't really do anything to advance the plot. The finding of the key was something of a let down. The first book was the best in that regard. And I never really saw what it was that convinced Zoe to let go of her reservations about Brad, especially with her determination up to that point that she had to find the key first. So this wasn't the strongest in terms of plot, but I did feel like I understood Zoe better as a character than the others, and that made this a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Description: This book concludes Roberts's Key Trilogy, in which mortal women quest to unlock the spellbound souls of ancient demigoddesses. The third and last woman to make the attempt is hairstylist Zoe McCourt. Like her friends Malory and Dana-heroines of the previous installments (Key of Light, Key of Knowledge)-Zoe has a single month and a cryptic set of clues with which to find her key. The angry sorcerer Kane fights her efforts as friends both mortal and immortal lend their support. As she searches, Zoe is courted by Bradley Vane IV, the sexy heir to a home improvement empire. She's not sure which is more difficult: accepting that she's magically linked with Brad or trying to quell her suspicions long enough to accept his love in the here and now. When she finds the courage to do both, the souls of all three goddesses are finally released. Smart but struggling single mom Zoe is an appealing heroine whose working-class grit finds a perfect foil in Brad's patrician confidence. Scenes involving her feisty son, Simon, temper the story's mysticism with humor, and the joining together of the trio as a family is genuinely moving.

Cumulative pages: 5,263

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 5, 4:14 pm

Mid-April update:

It seems I neglected to list my March Perspectives book, which I am still reading. (I have not yet started the April book, and we are meeting tomorrow!)
READ The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Added two books I had on hold that came in. The first one is an ILL, so I can't renew it. But I like it, and might buy it, in which case, I won't have to read it right away... The other book has other holds waiting, so I either read it right now, or put myself back on the waiting list...
READ As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds & Books
READ Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater

Checked out on Libby:
The Evening Chorus - this has been long paused. The book was available so I checked it out, but I'm not really ready to resume this yet... too much else to read right now!
READ Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse - looked fun and should be a quick read...

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 6:09 pm

>74 WelshBookworm: What did you think of The Nutmeg's Curse? I picked it up last year, but haven't read it yet.

Edited to fix touchstone

huhtikuu 19, 4:45 pm

>75 labfs39: I haven't finished it yet. Although the book club already met, it is interesting enough, or thought-provoking enough, that I want to finish it before I pass judgment. I would say it does have its flaws though....

huhtikuu 19, 4:46 pm

#18 Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World's Ugliest Sweater

5 blue stars. I think this is a gem of a book, and I can see myself rereading it again. It's not about knitting or the history of knitting, so if you're looking for that you will be disappointed. This is a memoir, about the first year of the COVID pandemic. I could picture myself doing exactly what she does, just for the sake of learning something new in a craft. She shares tidbits of history, and what she has learned about the whole textile industry, women's lives, its impact on the environment, and aspects of her life as it relates to aging, becoming an empty nester, and dealing with the decline and loss of parents. I was especially moved by the last chapter where she talks about her father's struggle with dementia complicated by the isolation of the pandemic. I went through exactly the same thing with my own father doing that time. It made me want to learn more about the topics she covered, and she provides footnotes and a bibliography. I will be recommending this to others, especially women of a certain age.

Description: The COVID pandemic propelled many people to change their lives in ways large and small. Some adopted puppies. Others stress-baked. Peggy Orenstein, a lifelong knitter, went just a little further. To keep herself engaged and cope with a series of seismic shifts in family life, she set out to make a garment from the ground up: learning to shear sheep, spin and dye yarn, then knitting herself a sweater. Orenstein hoped the project would help her process not just wool but her grief over the recent death of her mother and the decline of her dad, the impending departure of her college-bound daughter, and other thorny issues of aging as a woman in a culture that by turns ignores and disdains them. What she didn’t expect was a journey into some of the major issues of our time: climate anxiety, racial justice, women’s rights, the impact of technology, sustainability, and, ultimately, the meaning of home.

Cumulative pages: 5,487

huhtikuu 19, 9:20 pm

>77 WelshBookworm: Fantastic review

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 9:35 pm

#19 The Alice Network
3.5 pink stars rounded up.

Along the same lines as Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale: more chick lit/romance than historical fiction, but it was alright. I liked Finn - he was an interesting character, and who doesn't like a sexy Scotsman? The dual timeline worked okay, though as a plot device I think it weakens both stories. The Eve character was by far more compelling, and it would have made a much better book without the second timeline. The Alice Network was based on the true life of a WWI woman spy, Louise de Bettignies, who does play a role in this book. But this is historical fiction lite, and there could have been so much more about her and the other women spies. The audiobook should have had two different narrators. Eve and Charlie sounded identical (which they were...) and that made it hard to tell when the POV switched. So, a little on the melodramatic, cheesy side, but I would read more of this author. Parts of the book were very good. It just left me wanting.

Description: It's 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. It's 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades and launches them both on a mission to find the matter where it leads.

Cumulative pages: 5,990

huhtikuu 27, 3:09 pm

#20 A Sprinkle of Sabotage
4 red stars

Reissued as The Perfect Cornish Murder. I'm kind of hard to please when it comes to cozy mysteries, but I really like the character of Jodie. She is funny, down to earth, curious (nosey), but truly interested in people and has a kind heart. I'll keep reading these because I feel like I'm visiting old friends. That's the key for me. I want to get to know the whole community, and both Tony and Nathan, her two competing love interests get a lot of play here. I felt that kind of was a distraction in the last book, but this time we get a resolution, which I won't spoil. It's a good thing, because I really hate love triangles. And now it becomes apparent that there will be an arc to the series. As for the plot, there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, though I did feel the ending was a bit anti-climactic. There are now 7 books in the series, and I not only want to read them all, I want to check out what else Ms. Leitch has written.

Description: A film company is coming to the Cornish village of Penstowan, and the whole community turn up to be cast as extras, even Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker. Determined to join in with the fun and ignore any dramas, Jodie intends to make the most of this time with her mum and daughter and hopefully see their names in lights … or really small writing on the credits page. But right on cue, the company’s caterer is sabotaged and Jodie must step up. It soon becomes clear that someone is out to spoil the filming… With actors behaving out of character and the house literally being brought down, breaking a leg is the least of their worries.

Cumulative pages: 6,282

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:03 pm

It's May! It/s May! The Lusty Month of May...
and I am definitely feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the book choices I'm trying to manage at one time. I seem to suddenly have a staggering number of books in progress, an equally lengthy list of books I've postponed that I still want to read, and an even lengthier list of books to be read THIS MONTH.

Currently reading:
READ Sparrow Tree - very short poetry book that I purchased. No rush, but I could finish it in 30 minutes probably...

READ As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds & Books - essays about birds, Interlibrary loan due back in 4 days. I shall probably purchase it, as it is beautifully illustrated, and I'm an avid birdwatcher.

READ The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis - a March book club leftover, so no rush to finish, and I've been able to keep renewing it on Libby.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle - an April book club leftover, so no rush to finish, and I have the book.

READ Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse - borrowed on Libby. I've only read two chapters so far. Due in 4 days, but I should be able to renew it.

READ Jane Eyre - owned on Audible. About 11? chapters to go.

Next up:
READ The Wife Upstairs - a follow on from Jane Eyre. Audiobook available on Libby.

READ A Northern Light - Daytimers book club book for May. So I need to read it by the end of the month.

The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature - Perspectives book club book for May. So ditto.

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship - for A Good Yarn (letter K - kitchen and Kent)

READ The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and
READ The Book Woman's Daughter - another letter K (Kentucky)

READ Murder at Honeychurch Hall - this was for A Good Yarn, the letter H, which was back in Oct/Nov of 2022 and that's how long I've waited for this to become available. Due back in 11 days, so I really need to read it NOW or forget it.

Two more books I'd like to recommend one of them as a summer read for Perspectives, so I need to read at least enough of them to be able to recommend one or the other by the end of the month:
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine

The Prophets

Books already mentioned this year, but have become postponed:
Lessons in Chemistry - Perspectives book club book for April, but I think I'll wait and read this when I can get it on audio.

Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel - started in January and paused

I Will Die in a Foreign Land - returned to library, but I'd still like to read it - perhaps over the summer in conjuction with The Gates of Europe.

Death at La Fenice - This was a group read in some online book group, and is one I've wanted to read forever. Purchased on Audible, but too much going on this month to get to it right now.

READ The Apothecary Rose - an old favorite and a series I want to reread, and this fits my alphabet challenge ("A" titles) - purchased on Audible (but I also found my old paperback copy, unpacking boxes of books)

The Evening Chorus - started last summer and postponed. I keep renewing it on Libby, and lo and behold I found an ARC of this in unpacking books... don't know if I'm going to get to it this month or not. Probably not.....

I could keep going, but I'll stop there...

toukokuu 2, 7:54 pm

>81 WelshBookworm: another Camelot fan? One of my fav musicals based on one of my fav books. Would love to see the new broadway production

toukokuu 11, 8:12 pm

#21 Jane Eyre
4 red stars, 5 purple stars for the audiobook narrated by Alison Larkin.

This is one of those books I would swear I read when I was younger, but since I couldn't say for sure, I decided I had better just read it. As the description below indicates, this is actually a pretty complex novel that isn't easily described. Is it gothic? A mystery? A romance? A coming-of-age story? It has elements of all of those. Certainly the author had a lot to say about the autonomy of women (or lack of it) in her day. But is it really feminist? What does it say about equality between the sexes, when the man is reduced to blindness and missing a hand before he is acceptable as a partner? Or the fact that Jane has to become wealthy before she considers herself his equal? Gentle reader, you are free to draw your own conclusions. Your interpretation is as good as mine.

Description: Determined to make her heroine "as poor and plain as myself," Charlotte Brontë made a daring choice for her 1847 novel. Jane Eyre possesses neither the great beauty nor entrancing charm that her fictional predecessors used to make their way in the world. Instead, Jane relies upon her powers of diligence and perception, conducting herself with dignity animated by passion. The instant and lasting success of Jane Eyre proved Brontë's instincts correct. Readers of her era and ever after have taken the impoverished orphan girl into their hearts, following her from the custody of cruel relatives to a dangerously oppressive boarding school and onward through a troubled career as a governess. Jane's first assignment at Thorn field, where the proud and cynical master of the house harbors a scandalous secret, draws readers ever deeper into a compelling exploration of the mysteries of the human heart. A banquet of food for thought, this many-faceted tale invites a splendid variety of interpretations. The heroine's insistence upon emotional equality with her lover suggests a feminist viewpoint, while her solitary status invokes a consideration of the problems of growing up as a social outsider. Some regard Jane's attempts to reconcile her need for love with her search for moral rectitude as the story's primary message, and lovers of gothic romance find the tale's social and religious aspects secondary to its gripping elements of mystery and horror. This classic of English literature truly features something for every reader.

Cumulative pages: 6,814

toukokuu 11, 8:30 pm

reread that book frequently as a kid, esp the beginning when she is in the orphanage. was a long time before I noticed the romance...Have liked it since

toukokuu 18, 11:14 pm

#23 A Northern Light
4.5 blue stars

I liked the structure of the book, and how it revolved around vocabulary words. This is a coming-of-age story of a 16-year-old young woman, passionate about writing and seeking a better life for herself, but torn by a promise to her dying mother. Her mother isn't the only influence on her life however. We see a variety of women, the choices they have made, and the circumstances that have dictated their fate - girls who married young and had babies, women struggling to raise families and keep a roof over their children's heads despite crushing poverty, a teacher ostracized for her writing in a time when women didn't push those boundaries, and at the heart of the story, a young woman drowned in the lake, whose letters ultimately reveal the truth about what happened to her. It isn't really a mystery to the reader, since it is based on a well-known murder case, but for Mattie the events of that summer provided the anchor that will determine the rest of her life. While the focus is on women, there is one significant male character (okay maybe two, if you count Royal, who represents the traditional "choice" of love and marriage) and that is Weaver, an African American teenager who also works at the hotel at the lake, and who represents the other "choice" - a chance to go to college against seemingly impossible odds.

Description: Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has a word for everything, and big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. She collects words, stores them up as a way of fending off the hard truths of her life, the truths that she can't write down in stories. The fresh pain of her mother's death. The burden of raising her sisters while her father struggles over his brokeback farm. The mad welter of feelings Mattie has for handsome but dull Royal Loomis, who says he wants to marry her. And the secret dreams that keep her going--visions of finishing high school, going to college in New York City, becoming a writer. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from Big Moose Lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder. Set in 1906 in the Adirondack Mountains, against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this Printz Honor-winning coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

Cumulative pages: 7,274

toukokuu 19, 7:41 pm

sounds reallly interesting!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 25, 12:30 am

#24 Murder at Honeychurch Hall
4 red stars
Book clubs: A Good Yarn (H is for Honeychurch Hall, and a hall); Leftovers

This was a lot of fun. I love eccentric characters, and that might be all of them in this cozy mystery. And they all have secrets. Including the house. I wasn't entirely sure whether it was Kat, or her mother, Iris, who was the main character. Nor was I sure whether or not Kat would be staying at Honeychurch Hall. The first half of the book was spent introducing all the characters, and all of the various subplot mysteries: why did Iris buy the carriage house of a dilapidated country estate?, the sacked nanny has gone missing, will Kat's boyfriend ever divorce his wife or is this a doomed relationship?, who is trying to drive Iris away? who is responsible for all the petty thefts? Is it just someone trying to make the countess seem dotty? Not until the middle of the book is the maid discovered dead, possibly murdered. I was certainly kept guessing, and the ending was a surprise. Now going into book 2 we can ask will Iris be able to maintain her secret identity? Will Kat return to her antique business in London? We learn that the government has plans to put a high-speed railway line right through the estate. And there will be a new nanny and a new maid... I can't wait.

Description: Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn't the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure―both upstairs and downstairs ―and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet. When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound. Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder.

Cumulative pages: 7,574

toukokuu 27, 4:24 pm

#25 The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

This was a reread, prior to reading The Book Woman's Daughter. I'm glad I did, because I had forgotten that Honey was not Cussy Mary's child, or that Honey was a "blue." I think I would rate this 4.5 blue stars now. The descriptions really are wonderful, and Cussy Mary is a wonderful character. Here is my review from 2020:

I was particularly interested in this book as a librarian wanting to know more about the Pack Horse Project, and as a descendent of the Fugate family from Kentucky. Well-researched, but I think the author tried to put in too many details, having everything that could have happened happen to one family, but also changing the historical timeline to put medical discoveries from the 1960s into the 1930s. I knew about the blue people - yes, they were real - and yes, they were treated as "colored" by their fellow whites. The author also does a good job of portraying the dangers of being a single woman at that time, and the poverty that was a tragic fact of daily life. I do wish there had been more depth to the plot, and the love-story aspect wasn't entirely convincing. But I loved Cussy Mary and her will to survive and overcome everything that life gave her.

Description: The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler. Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

Cumulative pages: 7,883

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 26, 2:47 pm

I should post my June plans, but I think June is mainly going to be a catch up month. We're already a week gone! I've been on a tear the last couple of weeks to make a start on organizing the yard - i.e. getting out fountains, putting yard furniture where it wants to go, sorting out solar lights with new batteries (so far NONE are working, so tomorrow I may be hitting Mills Fleet Farm and Lowes and/or ordering some online), and getting a few plants and planting. Also, when it got too hot last week, I started on the basement and garage - unpacking dozens of boxes (I found my dishes!! and my LPs, and my tea cozy!). I got a new storm door put on the back door, and some other little handyman projects. An electrician is coming next weekend to put a couple of outlets on the back deck.

I'm not going to relist books I've already listed. There's at least 5 books I still need to finish. Adding
The Maid as my next audiobook. I REALLY hope I can get the phone resynced in the car. Right now it is disconnecting as soon as I add the device - over and over. Very frustrating! Then it will be
READ Salt to the Sea for my Daytimer's Book Club.

Then I want to add some leftovers from last summer:
The Summer Queen and
Queen by Right

We are starting the letter L for A Good Yarn, so I'll need to find some L locations (London? a lake) and I need a yellow or purple cover for the cover challenge... maybe I'll be ready to add those for a mid-June update.

kesäkuu 7, 11:47 pm

#26 As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds & Books
5 blue stars.
Random reads: Non-fiction.

A bit of a hodgepodge of thoughts and memories inspired by British birds, interspersed with quotations showing how these birds have appeared in prose and poetry. This will invite dipping into again and again. Delightful for anyone who loves birds and books, and it makes me want to seek out some of these works to read in their entirety, and/or to start my own notebook of quotations about birds.

Description: When Alex Preston was 15, he stopped being a birdwatcher. Adolescence and the scorn of his peers made him put away his binoculars, leave behind the hides and the nature reserves and the quiet companionship of his fellow birders. His love of birds didn't disappear though. Rather, it went underground, and he began birdwatching in the books that he read, creating his own personal anthology of nature writing that brought the birds of his childhood back to brilliant life. Looking for moments 'when heart and bird are one', Preston weaves the very best writing about birds into a personal and eccentric narrative that is as much about the joy of reading and writing as it is about the thrill of wildlife. Moving from the 'high requiem' of Keats's nightingale to the crow-strewn sky at the end of Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, from Ted Hughes's brooding 'Hawk in the Rain' to the giddy anthropomorphism of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, this is a book that will make you look at birds, at the world, in a newer, richer light. Beautifully illustrated and illuminated by the celebrated graphic artist Neil Gower.

Cumulative pages: 8,091

kesäkuu 10, 1:39 pm

>89 WelshBookworm: Maybe you could have a mechanic check the computer codes on your car? Sometimes clearing an error code can reboot systems fixing problems. Our library even has a small code reader that patrons can borrow. My mechanic had a much better one and cleared the codes for free in ten minutes.

kesäkuu 10, 3:01 pm

>91 labfs39: I got it working finally. Just had to remove the whole SYNC app from my phone and re-pair everything.

kesäkuu 16, 3:37 pm

#27 Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
3 green stars

A very silly spoof of gothic literature, loaded with puns that will go right over the head of most children under the age of 12, but I'm sure they will still enjoy the story, the fantastical creatures, and of course, our dear little ghost mouse, Ishmael, who can't rest until his life story is found and published (included as a little booklet tucked into a pocket in the back cover). It turns out he is rather incidental to the story, which is more about Ada and her new friends working to try and warn her father about the indoor gamekeeper's mysterious plans when they find some rare creatures imprisoned in the "broken wing" of the manor. They are joined by Ada's new governess, Lucy Borgia, a vampire. Other memorable characters include the young novelist, Mary Shellfish, and her "monster", The Polar Explorer. The book itself is gorgeous with it's silver foil on black cover and shiny purple-decked pages. It is not a graphic novel, but it does contain a multitude of intricate drawings on every page.

Description: Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen, so Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming. This makes it hard for her to make friends and she's rather lonely. Then one day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the house, and together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael they and Ada work together to unravel a dastardly plot!

Cumulative pages: 8,319

kesäkuu 20, 8:02 am

>92 WelshBookworm: Oh, good! Glad it's working for you again.

kesäkuu 21, 5:11 pm

>94 labfs39: Me too. It happens often enough to be extremely annoying, and then I have to jump through hoops to get it working again. I don't know if this is a Ford Focus issue, or a Google Pixel issue, but it seems to happen for a lot of people.

kesäkuu 26, 2:45 pm

#28 Salt to the Sea
4 red stars
Book clubs: Daytimers

Based on a true story that is not well known, at least in the US. Given current events of the past week, I couldn't help seeing parallels between the Titanic and the Wilhelm Gustloff, with the submersible Titan and the ship full of migrants that was lost near the coast of Greece. This reads like a story for young adults - but I wouldn't recommend it for younger teens because of some of the graphic scenes. I did find the characters interesting, and the gradual way their stories unfolded, especially Alfred whom I disliked greatly, and it became more and more evident why as the story progressed. Florian remained a bit of a murky character, and I'm not sure the ending redeemed him. I didn't really find the ending very satisfying at all, but the author's ability to drive the story forward with the alternating POVs and short chapters, and her masterful use of language made it memorable.

Description: World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history.

Cumulative pages: 8,710

heinäkuu 5, 4:11 pm

#29 The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis
3 green stars.

I finished this book this morning to the news that yesterday was the hottest day ever recorded planet-wide, and we can expect the trend to continue. This is a book full of some very interesting ideas, but they are presented in a somewhat rambling and repetitive style. There are a lot of topics covered: climate change, colonialism, slavery, genocide, the exploitation of natural resources and the native cultures that are "in the way" of Western greed - it's a sad litany of how Western culture has exploited others. The main argument seems to be that we need to return to a more animistic view of nature, and consider the powerful connection of native peoples to a place of origin. This is kind of where he lost me. I would argue that it isn't just Western colonialism that has been guilty of genocide, deforestation, and hunting species to extinction. Humanity on the whole has been very bad for the planet. I do agree that the solution must involve empathy for Mother Earth as a whole, and that we need to regain a sense of connection to the land and "all our relations."

Description: A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh’s new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The Nutmeg’s Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.

Cumulative pages: 9,046

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 31, 8:37 pm

Well, here it is July already! The year is half gone, and I didn't catch up as much as I wanted to in June. In fact I am 1 book behind on my annual goal. On the other hand, I have worked hard in the garden, adding a water feature with a dragon fountain, set up the fairy garden and waterfall fountain, dug up an 18" wide strip on the outside of the backyard fence and put in some vegetables, planted three shrubs (viburnum) to start creating a privacy hedge, AND I spent a week emptying boxes in the garage, set up my bookshelves in the basement "family" room. So all the books are unpacked now (not necessarily organized yet, but unpacked and out of the garage. Also emptied most of the dish packs. Still unwrapping stuff and finding places to put it all. I have two more dish packs left in the garage, and then I will be genuinely "moved in." I now have dishes and mugs, and all my cookbooks and I've actually been using them. So hurrah!

I still have another shrub to plant, and a few more herbs and vegetables, and in the next two weeks I have not one, but two, 50th high school reunions to attend. Nevertheless, I plan to read four books and finish two audiobooks...

The Summer Queen - I started this last summer on the plane to Prague. Then moving happened. Now that I have all my books unpacked, I have found it and will start over. I never got very far before anyway.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle - leftover book club book from April. I'm also starting this month's book
READ Vacationland - happily I can also used this for A Good Yarn, since this month's theme is locations beginning with L, and the setting is both a lake and a lodge.

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen - this is for last month's K setting: a kitchen, and Kent, England (gotta love those twofers!)

On audio, I am halfway through
READ The Book Woman's Daughter - also a K setting:Kentucky
and then will start
READ The Wife Upstairs

heinäkuu 7, 8:14 am

>98 WelshBookworm: wow youve been busy indeed, in a good way, Gardens and books kinda go together: they both take us out of ourselves and the world for a bit, and are pleasurable to be around

Oh and I love elizabeth chadwick! Never made it through the Eleanor books but loved most, esp her Marshall books

heinäkuu 7, 8:35 am

Congratulations on accomplishing all the great gardening and unpacking. That's a lot!

heinäkuu 14, 2:49 pm

#30 The Book Woman's Daughter
4.5 blue stars

I liked the story enough to be somewhere between a red or blue rating, but it has the same flaws as the first book: even though the first book was 16 years earlier, the author had advanced the science to the 50s so no change there. It was another variation on the same theme, with too many info dumps. This book was decidedly darker than the first book with prejudice, domestic violence, poverty, etc. and I'm sure all of that was true. The ending was uplifting, but improbable, and too many threads were left hanging, so I'm guessing there might be a third book down the road?

Description: In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good. Picking up her mother's old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn't need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren't as keen to let a woman pave her own way. If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she's going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.

Cumulative pages: 9,380

heinäkuu 18, 1:20 am

#31 The Wife Upstairs

3.5 pink stars

This was a decent thriller. Not great, but decent. A twisted, contemporary version of Jane Eyre set in Alabama, it definitely kept me guessing as to whether or not there were any redeeming qualities to the characters, how closely it would follow the outline of the classic, and when the next twist was coming. It did all of that well. Nevertheless, I did not like the characters any better at the end than at the beginning. The ending left a lot of loose threads in the air, and frankly was a bit of a let-down. And must they use profanity in every conversation? I'm not a prude but it got really tiresome. What makes the book work is being a riff on Jane Eyre. I don't think it would have quite the same sense of twistedness if you are not familiar with the original.

Description: Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name. But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for. Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

Cumulative pages: 9,670

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:02 pm

Midyear goals update:

Over all goal of 60 books: 31 of 60. Only one book behind which is pretty good actually, considering how many books I have half-finished...

My main theme this year is "Light" and I've only read one. My goal is ~10 a year, so I'd like to read at least one a month for the rest of the year.
I'd like to read The Iliad and The Odyssey by the end of the year so I can do my "Odyssey" theme next year.

Book Clubs:
Daytimer's is a given. I'm one book behind, so 7 to go.
Perspectives is reading The Gates of Europe for September. I have two leftovers, plus whatever we pick for the rest of the year, so 6 books.
The Bookworms list is optional, but I still hope to get to those - another 7 books. Maybe I just commit to the first half of the list which would be 3 books.
And we're already up to 25 books... probably not going to happen...
As for A Good Yarn - I try to find books that I'm already going to read rather than something new... but let's say at least 3 books, since the themes run for two months.

I have at least 7 I'd like to finish by the end of the year.

Book Cover Colors - Hopefully will be something I'm reading anyway...
A titles - There are at least 5 more I'd like to finish. Some of these are also leftovers.

So here's my "Priority" list for the rest of the year:
A Vision of Light
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Light in August
A Marvellous Light
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
READ Vacationland
READ The Island of Missing Trees
The Lake House
Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners
Lessons in Chemistry
The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine
The Maid
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
The Seed Keeper
Wolf Hall
Miss Eliza's English Kitchen
The Summer Queen
Queen By Right
READ Bel Canto
Moby-Dick or, the Whale
Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer
...And Ladies of the Club
READ The Apothecary Rose

Optional or Alternates:
The Mirror & the Light (Need to read Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies first)
The Edge of Light (Need to read The Road to Avalon and Born of the Sun first)
The Iliad / The Odyssey - listing these as optional for now...
The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear
The Woman in the Library
Remarkably Bright Creatures
West with Giraffes
Ygerna: A Pendragon Chronicles Prequel Novel
The Evening Chorus
The Fall of Atlantis
The Adventures of Alianore Audley
Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle that Made England
Ambrosius Aureliani
The Art of Fielding
3 more books for Perspectives book club - TBD
3 more books for A Good Yarn - TBD

That looks manageable! 27 books on the priority list, with a few additions from the optional list or random shiny new things...

heinäkuu 31, 8:35 pm

#32 Vacationland
5 purple stars

15 exquisitely written short stories, that can stand alone, but taken as a whole is like one of Meg's paintings. At first glance you see the whole place, but look deeper and see a pastiche of time and place and people. Some are integral to the running of Naledi, others come and go. Quintessentially of northern Minnesota, but also of the whole USA with its melting pot of young and old, Native Americans, immigrants from Europe, Russia, and Asia, townspeople, vacationers, drug addiction, infidelity, infirmity, poor people, rich people, LGBTQ people, love and loss, humor and poignancy, regret and redemption. I don't want to let this place or the people go, so I will be reading the sequel immediately.

Description: On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge - only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. And there you might meet Meg, or the ghost of the girl she was, growing up under her grandfather’s care in a world apart and a lifetime ago. Now an artist, Meg paints images "reflected across the mirrors of memory and water", much as the linked stories of Vacationland cast shimmering spells across distance and time. Those whose paths have crossed at Naledi inhabit Vacationland: a man from nearby Hatchet Inlet who knew Meg back when, a Sarajevo refugee sponsored by two parishes who can’t afford "their own refugee", aged sisters traveling to fulfill a fateful pact once made at the resort, a philandering ad man, a lonely Ojibwe stonemason, and a haiku-spouting girl rescued from a bog. Sarah Stonich weaves these tales of love and loss, heartbreak and redemption into a rich novel of interconnected and disjointed lives. This is a moving portrait of a place - at once timeless and of the moment, composed of conflicting dreams and shared experience - and of the woman bound to it by legacy, and sometimes longing, but not necessarily by choice.

Cumulative pages: 9,958

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:00 pm

Onward to August:

Audiobooks: Almost finished with
READ Bel Canto (1 1/2 hours and due back in 3 days) - then I have
A Marvellous Light waiting, and it is due in 9 days, so might involve some marathon listening outside of the car... After that, hoping to start
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine since I am leading the book club discussion in September. My book club book for Daytimers (end of August) is
READ The Island of Missing Trees but Libby is telling me I still have a 5 week wait...

Print books: About to start
The Unbearable Lightness of Being which perhaps should wait because the library has one copy (which I have out) and suddenly there are 4 holds on it. Go figure. Just requested
Laurentian Divide which was not on my mid-year priority list, but I loved Vacationland and I need another L location book for A Good Yarn for August, so why not?

Still working on leftovers:
Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Victorian Cookery and Friendship
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature

I shall TRY to be good and not start anything else new, until those are finished! But the temptation is strong!!

elokuu 1, 9:24 am

>104 WelshBookworm: you've convinced me. Added to my tbr.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 4:29 pm

#33 Bel Canto
3.5 pink stars, changed to 4 red stars

We can guess that the unnamed South American country is akin to Peru, since this novel was inspired by an actual hostage situation at the Japanese Embassy there, and several of the terrorists are said to speak Quechua. This was an interesting character study, as the terrorists and their hostages spend several months together. All of the women had been released, except for the famous opera singer, and it is she and the beauty of her music that creates unlikely relationships and even love stories (two of the terrorists turn out to be girls, not boys...) Only one man, a negotiator, comes and goes. We are not privy to anything happening in the outside world, so our book is a bit like an opera playing out within the mansion. Nothing happens except for the "music" until suddenly it is over. I almost rounded this up to 4 stars, but the epilogue was just out of left field. I'm glad I read it finally, but I wanted to like it more than I did.

Update, after watching the movie with Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe:
This was beautifully done. The movie was perhaps a bit more romanticized than the book, but it changed the ending to a benefit concert rather than a wedding which seemed much more fitting. Ultimately, both the book and the movie did a great job humanizing the terrorists. You can call it Stockholm syndrome, but that doesn't take away from the beauty of what is created under the circumstances and what a tragedy it is in the end. I am raising my rating to 4 red stars.

Description: Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.

Cumulative pages: 10,276

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 8:00 pm

Three days into August, and I already have an update...

First, the audiobook situation. Having finished Bel Canto, the next book waiting only had 7 days left before it would disappear because of holds waiting and couldn't be renewed and I didn't want to spend two hours a day on it. My hold on the audiobook of The Gates of Europe became available so I checked that out and started it on the way home from work yesterday. But since it is non-fiction, and I have to prepare discussion questions for it for Perspectives Book Club for September, I decided it's going to need more of my attention, so I can take notes as I read. I do have the print book checked out from the library, so I will send the audiobook back. Everything else I have on hold is a 5 week (or more) waiting list, so I'm looking at what I have on Chirp or Audible....
READ The Apothecary Rose and/or
Death at La Fenice

As for the print books I listed in my August plans above, Trump's newest indictment had me glued to CNN on Tuesday, so no marathon reading of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It is going back to the library, since it is due today. Looking at my leftovers last night, I wasn't feeling the love for any of them, except for an older leftover, which I need to start over:
The Summer Queen
I've also got the Arthurian trilogy by Joan Wolf on my lists. I found my copies of the 2nd and 3rd books, but not the first. I collect Arthurian fiction, so I have ordered the first one from Amazon which will arrive maybe by Saturday...
The Road to Avalon

I still want something new to read, and don't want to start Laurentian Divide yet. Okay - the August cover color challenge is silver and lavender. What have I got? Ah...
READ The Game's Afoot has a nice silver knight on the cover, and oh look, it's on my list of the shortest books on my list (yes, I have lists of list....) and Goodreads shows that I own it on Kindle. Perfect! Except that it's not anywhere to be found... Kindle giveth and Kindle taketh apparently. But it's free on Kindle Unlimited. Here's my excuse to start a free trial (I opted for 2 months for $4.99). And there are two sequels
READ Harfleur and
Agincourt - all short...

Other books on my lists available on Kindle Unlimited:
How many can I read in two months?
The Brighter the Light
The Book of Uriel
The Whaler
Yellow Wife
The Winter King
Flight of the Wren
The Adventures of Alianore Audley
Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army
The Loyalist's Wife
The Crown Jewels Conspiracy
Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore
Rebecca's Children
Ambrosius Aureliani
Islands in the Mist
State of Treason
A Vow of Silence
Alba is Mine

So there you have it - pretty much a complete change in plans!

elokuu 7, 1:16 pm

Catching up on all the reading you've been doing. So many interesting choices!

elokuu 9, 12:48 am

>109 labfs39: Thanks, Lisa. Anything in particular?

elokuu 9, 7:14 am

It was an interesting juxtaposition from Bel Canto to Gates of Europe to Unbearable Lightness of Being to King Arthur. I feel like my reading is less varied.

elokuu 9, 9:31 pm

>111 labfs39: Ha ha! Yes, I do like variety. And I tend to read multiple things at once, so it helps if they are not too similar. Anyway, Unbearable Lightness went back unread. I may look for it later in the year. I might read Light in August instead. I've never read any Faulkner. Is that a good one to start with? Is there a reading order I should be aware of?

Gates of Europe is spread out over weeks. So then I fill in with lighter stuff. Really loving my reread of The Apothecary Rose. Every bit as good as I remembered. I'm listening to the audiobook - 2 hours to go - and I want to start rereading it AGAIN as the pieces fall into place to see what clues I missed. And then I have the 2 month Kindle Unlimited trial to make the most of. I really don't plan to continue paying monthly.... So those titles will take priority for awhile.

elokuu 11, 1:39 am

#34 The Apothecary Rose
5 purple stars.

I have loved this series for as long as I can remember, and this reread did not diminish that in any way. I found myself wanting to read this to the exclusion of everything else (and I usually have several books going at a time.) I am also going to start it over immediately to follow the clues now that I know the ending. It is not only a good mystery, but it is a good love story and that is probably a spoiler. But I've said it, and I'll also say that it is the relationship between Owen and Lucie that endeared me to this series years ago. It won't take me long to reread it again and then I look forward to reacquainting myself with the rest of the series.

Description: In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary's Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby's ne'er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer. Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton's apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.

Cumulative pages: 10,595

Muokkaaja: elokuu 13, 9:02 pm

#35 The Game's Afoot
This was an okay action/adventure tale based on quite good historical research. Definitely a "boys will be boys" kind of story with lots of gore, violence, and sexual innuendo. Any women that appeared (even the wives) only seemed to be there as bed partners. Given how short this is (it's really a novella) there isn't a lot of character development. The author does love to explain things, often through improbable dialogue. Everything is described minutely - I felt like I was reading a writing class exercise at times - look around you and describe everything you see, smell, hear, etc. - to the point that it felt like clutter. I probably put this on my want-to-read list originally because the main protagonist is Thomas Chaucer, the son of the famous writer Geoffrey Chaucer, but here we are reminded of this at every opportunity, with Thomas quoting lines from those writings. The author also tries WAY too hard to include clever turns of phrase, juxtapositions of opposites, phrases and cliches that probably weren't in common usage before Shakespeare... I'd give some examples, but you'll know what I mean if you read this. The character of Thomas is a bit too perfect, he knows all, being a step ahead of everyone else, and there's no real tension because you know he'll be fine being more clever than anyone else. Now if the author wasn't trying so hard to be clever, he could have put some of that energy into developing the plot and characters more. Still, I gave it 3 stars and have already started the next novella of the trilogy. I'd like to see more of what he does with Henry V as a character...

Description: 1415. England stands on the brink of war with France. Henry V receives intelligence, through his agent Thomas Chaucer that the French intend to re-forge their old alliance with Scotland. The king orders Chaucer and veteran archer Robert Cooper to travel across the border and intercept a French agent, Reynard of Troyes, before he can deliver the gold which will fund Scotland's war with England. Chaucer also learns of a plot to murder the man that England cannot afford to go to war without. He orders the man-at-arms, Edward Fordham, to remain in the capital, solve the mystery and stop the assassin. But all is not what it seems. Some wars are fought in the shadows as well as on the battlefield...

Cumulative pages: 10,718

syyskuu 6, 7:29 pm

#36 The Island of Missing Trees
4.5 blue stars
Book clubs: Daytimers

Not always a happy read, but satisfying in how the characters cope with current events, with cultural differences, and with grief. Ada is the late in life child of a Greek man and a Turkish woman from Cyprus. Her mother has died a few months prior, and her father has retreated into himself and poured his own grief into caring for a fig tree brought with the couple to England. He met Ada's mother, Defne, and fell in love with her when they were both teenagers on Cyprus. Greeks and Turks had coexisted on Cyprus for years, but in 1974, the Turkish Ottoman empire invaded Cyprus and effectively segregated the Greeks from the Turks. In the midst of this turmoil, Ada's father, who lives on the Greek side of the island is sent to school in London. 25 years later he returns to Cyprus as a botanist and reconnects with Defne. The story alternates between 1974, the early 2000s and the mid-2010s. Pulling most of all this together, is the narration of the fig tree. The fig tree is a fount of knowledge about Cyprus, the cultural conflict, the biology of trees, especially fig trees, and all of the various animals that are a part of the life of this tree. Although the tree can sometimes go a bit overboard with all of her information, I found this bit of magical realism/anthropomorphism to be delightful. When Ada's father's sister comes to London after years of being estranged because of the cultural conflict, Ada comes to learn more about the two sides of her heritage, to come to terms with her grief, and to gain an understanding of her father. Not quite a coming of age story, but beautifully and movingly told.

Description: Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he's searching for lost love. Years later a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited--- her only connection to her family's troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world.

syyskuu 6, 7:36 pm

#37 Band of Brothers: Harfleur
3 green stars
Kindle Unlimited trial and next in series

Better than the first book in the trilogy. Still a man's tale of battles, whoring, and drinking, but the author has paid a little more attention to his plot and relating the historical events with a great deal of research. The addition of a bit of a love-story didn't hurt, but don't expect a happy ever after. The author is not squeamish when it comes to death and dying. I will probably read the last novella, Agincourt, to see how he concludes the stories of his "Band of Brothers."

One caution: There were an awful lot of typos in this Kindle edition, especially using plural forms where the singular was intended. One of the pitfalls of spellcheck, where a real person would have caught these errors.

Description: 1415. Harfleur. The town stands defiant. Henry V and his army have been repulsed. If the English fail to break the siege then their campaign will be over. Men will die, from disease or starvation. The King instructs one of his agents, Thomas Chaucer, to negotiate a deal with a local French merchant to re-supply the army. But, instead of meeting an ally, Chaucer is about to come face to face with an old enemy. Henry, in a last throw of the dice, charges the archer Robert Cooper with ending the siege. The bowman forms a plan. The night attack will either save the English army - or damn it. Once more into the breach...

11,225 cumulative pages

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 10, 11:48 pm

Oh dear - I am slipping! 4 books behind in my Goodreads goal. And how did it get to be September already, anyway? I haven't had an overly busy summer. I haven't even been doing much gardening. Just doing things other than reading. I get sucked into the genealogy time/space continuum every now and then. And I just got back from Nebraska where I attended the North American Festival of Wales. I taught a Welsh folk dancing session, attended seminars, evening concerts, and ending with an entire afternoon singing Welsh hymns in 4-part harmony (Gymanfa Ganu). Then I got a cold so I got two more days off work this week, and I have a 4-day weekend ahead. So we'll see if I can catch up a bit!

Here's what's on tap:
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine - Perspectives book club meets on the 19th, and I am leading the discussion, so I have procrastinated on this long enough. Time to buckle down.

READ Owls Well That Ends Well - I've postponed this on Libby for months and finally borrowed it two weeks ago. Now I have 5 days left. It's an audiobook, and not too long. Just the thing to listen to while I get over this cold.

READ Everything's Coming Up Beatrix!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure - Just published and I had it on preorder, so it came this week. I'll read it today! (No touchstone yet, apparently...)

Band of Brothers: Agincourt - The third novella in the Band of Brothers trilogy. It's not great, but it's not bad either, and it's short...

Horse - Book club book for Daytimers. Doesn't have to be read until the end of September. The CD is sitting at the library right now, so I'll get it when I go back to work on Tuesday.

I also have a couple of holds waiting (print books) for A Good Yarn:
A Flickering Light (M is for Minnesota)
The Wild Inside (M is for Montana) - I have two months for these.

My other unfinished books seem to be on long-term pause right now.

syyskuu 7, 8:20 pm

>117 WelshBookworm: I am so jealous, that sounds like a wonderful event (I do not know much about Welsh folk dance; is it similar to Irish scottish or english,or a completely separate style) I do love the singing tho

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 8, 2:18 am

#38 Everything's Coming Up Beatrix!: A Breaking Cat News Adventure
5 blue stars

I adore everything about this comic strip. And I have my own Beatrix, so I can't give it less than 5 stars. But what the heck, Georgia? I expected this to be all about Beatrix. She doesn't show up until halfway through the book, and then you've condensed the story, leaving out several weeks of strips where Beatrix is found out in the snow, being rescued by the Man, how she got her name, etc. Am I going to have to go to the website, copy those strips, and paste them into my book?? This omission made no sense to me! She just appears out of nowhere....

Description: Join Elvis, Puck, Lupin, Tommy, Beatrix, and the whole team for spooky tales around the space heater, daring hairstyles, not-so-hilarious sweaters, an Easter egg hunt disaster, new cat foods, “Heck on the Deck!”, something called a papasan, and the first ever celebration of St. Catty’s Day! Tune into a ghostly broadcast when Puck makes a harrowing journey to the attic and gets in over his head. . . . Can Elvis and Tabitha work together to save him?

Cumulative pages: 11,417

syyskuu 8, 2:24 am

>118 cindydavid4: Yes, Welsh folk dancing has similarities to Scottish and English. Not Irish so much, which has become highly stylized. The dances I taught were not the more intricate set dances that a performing group would do, but the kind of social dances you would do at a barn dance. The same patterns as square dancing really, but not done in square sets! Right hand turn, left hand turn, back to back (do si do), swing your partner, promenade, etc.

syyskuu 8, 7:36 am

>117 WelshBookworm: What a fun way to end your summer, Laurel (the festival that is, not the cold).

syyskuu 8, 10:30 am

>120 WelshBookworm: gotcha, makes sense. When I watch the dancing on you tube the music sounds very english. Is the singing less so?

syyskuu 8, 8:05 pm

>122 cindydavid4: If you mean the hymn tunes, no. Many of them would be familiar to you. If you mean the language, it's very different from English.

syyskuu 8, 8:13 pm

>123 WelshBookworm: oh, to I well know how dif Welsh language is from English. Meant the hymns or folk music in general..

There is one Welsh dance we do at our folk dance group, I thin its Robins Way. Id like to introduce a few more Do youo have suggestions? Most of us are long time dancers so the dances dont need to be easy

syyskuu 10, 11:25 pm

#39 Owls Well That Ends Well
3.5 pink stars
Next in series

This really wasn't quite up to the standard of previous books. Still zany good fun though with all of Meg's crazy relatives. This one was mostly Meg with everyone else (except maybe Spike the dog) taking a back seat. The overboard yard-sale bargain hunter antics kind of left me feeling exhausted. The plot goes around in circles, and it all got a bit too much of the same thing over and over. I didn't guess the ending though, so there's that....

Description: Meg Langslow was actually looking forward to renovating the old Victorian mansion she and her boyfriend Michael bought. But she wasn't thrilled by the lifetime of junk accumulated by the house's eccentric previous owner, Edwina Sprocket. The easiest solution: hold the end-all and be-all of gigantic yard sales. But when the event attracts the late Miss Sprocket's money-hungry heirs, the over-enthusiastic supporters of some endangered barn owls, and customers willing to go to any lengths to uncover a hidden treasure, Meg suspects things have gotten a little out of hand. Then, an antiques dealer is found stuffed in a trunk with his head bashed in - and the yard sale turns into a days-long media circus.

Cumulative pages: 11,743

syyskuu 16, 4:40 pm

#40 A Cat's Guide to Bonding with Dragons
2 yellow stars
shiny new things (library books)

I really wanted to like this more - cats, dragons, Wales, fantasy... But the cat was whiny and narcissistic, and no one was at all kind to him. I could have used a little more world-building... the concepts were good with the "good" and the "bad" crystals, the magical bond between dragon and rider, the evil wizard, etc. but nothing was ever explained very well. Too much of the story was repetitive, and sometimes Ben seemed like a cat, and sometimes he could have been human. Any "catness" just seemed a bit forced (and repetitive...). I didn't warm up to any of the characters - I just wanted Ben to get back to his comfortable life in South Wales, and instead we have 7 more books. Maybe Ben will eventually become less self-absorbed, but I don't have any interest in finding out.

Description: Ben must be the hungriest cat ever. One moment, he was enjoying a breakfast of salmon trimmings in his home in South Wales. The next, he was teleported across time and space onto the cold stone floor of an evil warlock. Locked in through day and night, Ben may have to serve him for a while. Locked in the warlock’s tower through day and night, Ben will hate this, especially having to hunt those infernal demon rats when the warlock doesn’t feed him well at all. Meanwhile, in a distant academy, a dragon is bored out of her mind. Unable to wear a saddle, no human dares mount her. Is there anyone in this land who can ride her into battle against the forces of the evil warlocks? Somehow, she doubts she’ll ever find a suitable bond. Unless there is another creature with enough dexterity to fulfil that role. One, perhaps, who is currently sprinting right out of a warlock’s front door…

Cumulative pages: 11,967

syyskuu 16, 4:41 pm

#41 No Nest for the Wicket
4.5 blue stars
Next in series

And we're back in the groove. A little less crazy. Some reviewers have even suggested it is too "tame," but I liked that this one was dialed back a bit. We got to see a little more of Michael, and MAYBE, just maybe, their relationship is finally edging toward setting a date for the wedding. Plans to refurbish their newly purchased farmhouse might be on hold with speculation that someone plans to develop a giant mall on the farmland for sale next door. Meanwhile, they are hosting an extreme croquet tournament for the college students, with one of the teams being a troop of Morris dancers. The croquet field (boggy farmland with lots of poison ivy) might have been the site of a local Civil War battle, which the historical society hopes might forestall any mall plans. And Meg discovers that among the 23 boxes of papers and photos saved by the previous owner of the farm she might be able to prove the claim. Meanwhile, Meg's brother Rob is trying to teach Spike how to herd sheep... Okay, I said a LITTLE less crazy. And now I really want to play extreme croquet...

Description: The hilly terrain next to the old Sprocket house that Meg Langslow and her fiancé, Michael, are refurbishing is the perfect location for an "extreme" croquet field—even the legs of cows and sheep are convenient extra wickets. A sport traditionally reserved for genteel society, croquet has become all the rage in Caerphilly…until it appears someone in town has taken the "rage" a bit too literally. While stumbling down a steep bank after her ball, Meg encounters the body of a fresh female corpse with a mallet-sized dent in her head. If that isn't reason enough to call a time-out, it turns out that Michael knew the woman from years before. Ever curious, Meg decides that playing arm-chair sleuth is far more important than working on her game…and soon she finds herself in the perfect position to solve the murder mystery—or become the next victim.

Cumulative pages: 12,239

Eilen, 4:40 pm

#42 The Sea Glass Sisters
3 green stars

I've heard good things about The Prayer Box, but I like to read series in order, and that includes the online short story spin-offs. This is probably a typical prequel-type short story. Enough to give you a taste for the setting, some backstory on a character, or an idea of the writer's style. This leaned a bit heavily on the inspirational platitudes, but it was a nice, feel-good read dealing with family relationships. There was a lot left unresolved, to tempt you to read more of the series. I have loved Lisa Wingate's historical fiction, but this series won't be high on my reading priority list.

(P.S. this isn't really 101 pages - more like 80. The last 20 pages is an author bio, excerpts from the next book, and reviews.)

Description: Elizabeth Gallagher has been balancing on the ragged edge for a while now. Then a rough case on the boards of her 911 operator’s job collides with a family conflict at home, and Elizabeth finds herself finally coming apart at the seams. A four-state road trip—trapped in a car with her mother—is the last thing she needs. Their destination may be beautiful Hatteras Island, but the reason for going is anything by pleasant. After one disastrous hurricane, and with a second one working its way up the coast, it’s time to convince Aunt Sandy to abandon her little seaside store on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and return to the family fold in Michigan. But when the storm sweeps through, the three women will discover that sisterhood and the sea can change hearts, lives, and futures . . . often in the most unpredictable of ways.

Cumulative pages: 12,340

Muokkaaja: Eilen, 6:10 pm

#43 Matrix
4 red stars, (a compromise)
Book clubs - Daytimers (we switched the Sept. and Oct. titles)

This is a tough book to rate. The writing is superb, but it is difficult to say exactly what this is about. Is it historical fiction or is it a fantasy? It purports to be about Marie de France, who published some Lais in the 13th century, some fables, and a few other minor writings have tentatively been attributed to her. But other than that, nothing much is known about her, not even whether or not her name was Marie. One of the theories about her (and it IS just a theory) is that she was possibly the Marie who was a half-sister of Henry II of England (bastard daughter of Geoffrey Plantagenet) and who became the abbess of Shaftesbury Abbey. Matrix is really about the abbess. It mentions the Lais only in passing. This is about an unwanted bastard daughter of nobility with no prospects of marriage, sent to a nunnery where she rises to a position of power. In this book, she is also a mystic, having visions of the Virgin Mary, and rejecting the traditional patriarchy of both church and society. Is she a feminist or is she just a fierce matriarch protecting the women in her care? Is she a lesbian, or is she just a woman unashamed of her sexual needs and desires? The darkness of the middle ages, and the difficult lives of women make this an uncomfortable read at times. But I think it is also a celebration of strong women and especially this woman's ability to overcome whatever life throws at her.

Description: Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough?

Cumulative pages: 12,600

Eilen, 6:42 pm

there were some time issues, esp when Eleanot shows up, but thought it was a great read. Been liking slow reads lately/