Benita's Big Bad Book Pile 2023

Keskustelu2023 ROOT CHALLENGE

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Benita's Big Bad Book Pile 2023

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 11:43 am

Once again I will attempt to rid my shelves of books that have been sitting around for a very long time. 2022 wasn't the best year for ROOTing, but I had a good year of ROOTing clearing 80 ROOT's off my shelves. My goal for 2022 was 62 and I exceeded that. Since I will be retiring in 2023 I am going to up my goal for 2023 and read 72 ROOT's off my shelf. I hope to exceed that number, but I am going to set the bar a little low to allow for reading some chunksters from my shelves. Those will take a bit more time so I will set the number lower.

The books I will be reading will be anything purchased or added to my list before December 31, 2022. The eligible books can also be recorded books. I will add titles to this posting when I finish them and a short review below as I get time to write it. I will be leading the mystery read along challenge again this year. It is titled "Investigators: Ancient and Modern and I will fill you in on that with a later post. I will also continue to participate in the Non-fiction category challenge led by Suzanne. I am going to add a LT Group to my roster this year - "Reading Through Time." I enjoy reading historical fiction and hope to clear some of those titles from my shelves using the prompts from this group throughout the year.

I will try to review each title as I get them read and those posts will follow this one.

I will use this first spot to index my ROOTS for the year.

1. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo - Alex Stern paranormal fantasy series - sound recording - January 3, 2023
2. Memory of Souls by Leigh Bardugo - Chorus of Dragons - January 8, 2023
3. Countdown City by Ben H. Winters - Last Policeman - sound recording - January 12, 2023
4. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes - January 15, 2023
5. Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer - sound recording - January 21, 2023
6. Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten - Inspector Huss - January 22, 2023
7. Beginning Or the End: How Hollywood - and America - Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb by Greg Mitchell - January 31, 2023
8. Volcanoes, Palm Trees, & Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i by Liz Prato - February 5, 2023
9. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells - Murderbot Diaries - February 7, 2023
10. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells - Murderbot Diaries - February 9, 2023
11. Winners by Fredrik Bachman - Beartown - sound recording - February 12, 2023 -
12. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells - Murderbot Diaries - February 12, 2023
13. Down From the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear by Bryce Andrews - February 16, 2023
14. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid - February 18, 2023 - sound recording
15. Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis - Marcus Didius Falco - February 20, 2023
16. Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear - February 26, 2023
17. Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby - sound recording - February 28, 2023
18. Galatea by Madeline Miller - March 1, 2023
19. Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales by Marta McDowell - March 2, 2023
20. She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh - sound recording - March 4, 2023
21. Coldest Case by Martin Walker - Bruno Courreges murder mystery series - March 8, 2023
22. German Wife by Kelly Rimmer - sound recording - March 11, 2023
23. All The President's Gardens: Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses, How the White House Grounds Have Grown With America by Marta McDowell - March 12, 2023
24. Lady In Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O'Connor - sound recording - March 12, 2023
25. Dance With the Devil by Kit Rocha - Mercenary Librarians - March 15, 2023
26. Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow - March 20, 2023
27. Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World by Roger Crowley - March 27, 2023
28. Broken Throne: A Red Queen Collection by Victoria Aveyard - Red Queen Dystopian Fantasy series - sound recording - March 30, 2023
29. Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey - April 3, 2023
30. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz - Susan Ryeland murder mystery series - sound recording - April 5, 2023
31. Dark Flood by Deon Meyer - Benny Griessell thriller series - April 7,2023
32. Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz - Susan Ryeland murder mystery series - sound recording - April 8, 2023
33. Night Rounds by Helene Tursten - Inspector Huss murder mystery series - April 13, 2023
34. Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz - Hawthorne & Horowitz murder mystery series - sound recording - April 18, 2023
35. Hell and Back by Craig Johnson - Longmire western murder mystery series - sound recording - April 19, 2023
36. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams - April 22, 2023
37. Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi - Jaipur Trilogy - April 23, 2023
38. Quiet American by Graham Greene - sound recording - April 29, 2023
39. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester - May 3, 2023
40. Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden by Diane Ackerman - May 10, 2023
41. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel - sound recording - May 13, 2023
42. Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester - May 14, 2023
43. Churchill & Chartwell: The Untold Story of Churchill's Houses and Gardens by Stefan Buczacki - May 23, 2023
44. Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis - Marcus Didius Falco murder mystery series - May 30, 2023
45. Eventide by Kent Haruf - Holt Cycle - literary series - June 4, 2023
46. Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo - Alex Stern paranormal thriller series - sound recording - June 7, 2023
47. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene - June 11, 2023
48. Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt - June 18, 2023
49. Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz - Hawthorne & Horowitz murder mystery series - sound recording - June 19, 2023
50. Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz - Hawthorne & Horowitz murder mystery series - sound recording - June 23, 2023
51. Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz - Hawthorne & Horowitz murder mystery series - sound recording - June 24, 2023
52. Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago - June 26, 2023
53. Network Effect by Martha Wells - Murderbot Diaries series book 5 - July 1, 2023
54. To Kill A Troubadour by Martin Walker - Bruno Courreges series book 15 - July 4, 2023
55. Mushroom Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu - Crown Colony mystery series book 6 - July 7, 2023
56. Mission: A True Story by David W. Brown - July 16, 2023
57. Torso by Helene Tursten - July 18, 2023
58. East of Eden by John Steinbeck - sound recording - July 19, 2023
59. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson - sound recording - July 20, 2023
60. Cannonball Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu - Crown Colony mystery series book 5 - July 27, 2023
61. Great Santini by Pat Conroy - August 1, 2023
62. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot - sound recording - August 10, 2023
63. Annette Vallon by James Tipton - August 14, 2023
63. Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland - August 23, 2023
64. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot - book 2 in All Creatures Great and Small series - sound recording - August 23, 2023
65. Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries From a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben - August 27, 2023
66. Bruno's Challenge: Stories of the French Countryside by Martin Walker - August 31, 2023
67. Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis - September 4, 2023
68. All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot - book 3 in All Creatures Great and Small series - sound recording - September 5, 2023
69. Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them and What Comes After by Corey Mintz - September 11, 2023
70. Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah - September 14, 2023
71. Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves - book 1 in Blood Rose Rebellion series - sound recording - September 17, 2023
72. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - September 19, 2023

tammikuu 4, 2:31 pm

I will be retiring March 1, 2023 and have plans for the remainder of the year. I plan on spending the first 6 months of my retirement doing nothing. I will go to bed when I want and get up when I want. Cook what I want and plant what I want in my patio garden. I will stay in Tuscaloosa at least until October 2023 as I have a lease on my house that will keep me paying for it at least until then. I am going to spend money on good coffee and will sit in my house reading and drinking coffee, with a few foray's out on short trips to destinations here in the Southeast. Along with clearing my To-Be-Read shelves I plan on reducing my "stuff" in preparation to moving back to the Great American West. When I started out on my professional life I said that I would go anywhere within the confines of the Louisiana Purchase. Instead I spent 30 years in Alabama. I am a Plains child, so sometime in the next year I will return. Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, or Montana will be my destination, but who knows? I may decide to just move to Winnipeg. (That's in Manitoba. Canada.)

tammikuu 4, 2:32 pm

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This is book 1 in the Alex Stern paranormal fantasy series by Bardugo. I have learned over the years, that it is best to read series books in order, as close together as possible, that way I can continue some continuity and keeps plot lines straight. When I got this book as an ARC at the ALA summer conference in 2019 I did not realize that it would be a series. (I should have, as Bardugo is the author of the Shadow and Bone series.) Since, book two is going to be published in March 2023 so I thought I had best get this book done and out of the way before the second one comes out.

I confess, I almost ditched this book. I had to listen to two hours of the recorded version of the book before it caught fire and interested me. I think that Bardugo spent too much time world building and not enough time getting into the story. This is a common fault with series, especially when the author plans the plot line to be a series. The first section of the first book is often boring, and that is true with this novel. Once the book got going, it was alright, however, even with good plot twists there were times that I tuned out passages. I listened to the book, and the narrators did a credible job of reading the story, but there was nothing outstanding about their narration and that didn't help keep my interest in the novel at a high level. All-in-all, this novel just never quite caught fire for me. It wasn't bad enough that I quit, but it wasn't her best effort. This was an average book, but not an outstanding book.

tammikuu 4, 2:40 pm

I am enjoying listening to the BBC radio dramatization of The Dark Is Rising. This adaptation is really good, but I have only listened to the first episode. There are now 13 and there is to be 24 episodes in total. The special effects are outstanding. I am going to be sending the link to this to all of my school teacher friends!

tammikuu 4, 2:56 pm

Welcome back! Enjoy your retirement - love your 6 month plan!

tammikuu 4, 3:02 pm

Good to see you back, Benita. Your retirement plans sound amazing!

tammikuu 4, 6:11 pm

Those sound like great plans, especially the doing nothing!

tammikuu 5, 5:33 am

Happy New Year and good luck with your retirement plans!

tammikuu 5, 7:46 am

Happy New Year, Benita and welcome to a new year of ROOTing.

Great plans for that year. I love it!

tammikuu 6, 2:08 am

Good luck with retirement and ROOTing. Doing nothing and drinking good coffee sounds like a great plan for both.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 12:42 pm

Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons
This is book 3 in the Chorus of Dragons series by this author. This series is epic fantasy and it is very involving reading. Lyons does a good job of creating the world and creating characters the reader cares about, as well as a plot line that gets fairly twisty. I already have book 4 checked out and hope to get it read ASAP.

tammikuu 9, 1:56 pm

Good to see you back, Benita. Enjoy your retirement.

tammikuu 9, 9:29 pm

I have certainly enjoyed being retired and I hope you do too. I didn't move but I did gut my house and start over. It was quite an experience. Wherever you land, good luck, although I do support the lands of the Louisiana Purchase since I live in one of those states (Arkansas)!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 12:41 pm

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters
This is book 2 in the Last Policeman series. I have made finishing up series that I have started one of my reading goals for 2023. I know! That makes me a completist, but many of these series are really good books and I do want to read them and find out how the author ends the books.

I listened/read the first book in this series back in 2015 and like it. This one was equally as good. It is a mystery and is set in New Hampshire in the three months just before the world-as-we-know-it ends. It is death by asteroid. Henry Palace is a former police detective and is asked to find the missing husband by Palace's former babysitter. Palace makes many mistakes in this book - not the least of which is to trust the wrong people. Even so, I never lost patience with him and wondered what he would do next to solve this crime. These novels are wonderful exercises into what would you do if faced with overwhelming odds of survival and how to maintain a civil society in the face of those odds. This is dystopian science fiction at its best. I encourage people to read this series as they are fun but serious.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 16, 12:09 pm

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
This book is very popular with the public. Probably due to the fact that the author is the host of well-received program on BBC Radio 4 titled "Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics." Here is the link to that program's web site.

I have read several books that are a chronological overview of the Trojan War and so am familiar with the rudiments of the timeline and the characters. This book also serves to clarify some of that for the reader. For those unaccustomed to Greek mythology and Greek tragedy this novel provides a great introduction to ancient Greek history and myths. One part of the book that I didn't think worked well was the epistolary style the author chose to use for Penelope. Penelope comes across as snarky, abrupt, angry, sarcastic, and imperious - all at the same time. This is totally unlike the traditional version of Penelope as dutiful, longsuffering, and loving. Haynes version is probably more true, but the epistolary style didn't serve well in this case. I liked this book but thought it didn't achieve the literary level I thought it would. Pat Barker's book "Silence of the Girls" was better written.

Another thing about the English version of this book was that the publisher did a great job with the printing style used. The font is large with plenty of white space between the lines. This makes the book a pleasure to read. Stylizing a book is not usually something that is noticed, but in this case, I noticed and liked it. This is probably because I have become so much more aware of paratext in the last few years.

tammikuu 16, 3:13 am

>15 benitastrnad: Hi Benita, letter in progress!!

tammikuu 22, 12:27 am

Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer.

I finished listening to Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer. This book was not meant to be a historical look at wildlife smuggling. It was meant to be a "true crime" kind of book. However, there was tons of history in it. There was a short history of egg collecting in the British Isles, a short history of falconry in the Middle East, paying particular attention to the current history of Falcon racing as practiced in the United Arab Emirates, and other rich Middle Eastern countries, and the history of the formation of anti-wildlife smuggling law enforcement agencies in the UK, Canada, and Brazil. There was even a short history of the formation of bird conservation groups in former British colonies such as Canada, Rhodesia, and South Africa. This book packed lots of historical information in its pages as well as contemporary conservation and law enforcement practices. It was a really swashbuckling story about stealing rare bird eggs and the smuggling of eggs and live baby birds with the bulk of the story being concentrated on the capture of rare raptors that could be used in the sport of falconry. Almost all of the birds are destined to end up in the Middle East, with a few going to shady breeders in England, Scotland, and Wales.

I was interested in this book because it seems to me that falconry has become quite popular as a sport and I wondered why. I get it that there is appeal in many archaic practices but driving species to the brink of extinction just to satisfy the lust of people with more money than cents really angers me. I learned much from this book about what is driving the black market for these birds, but I really didn't get a sense of why the "sport," if it can be called that, is so popular in the Middle East. The only explanation the author offered is that the farther away from the desert Bedouin lifestyle that oil rich Middle Eastern countries get, the more money they spend on pretending that they are still Bedouin tribesman. That part of the book reminded me of watching American car commercials that show people driving SUV's though mud and snow, when the truth is that these vehicles never get off of paved roads. It is all about selling a lifestyle image, rather than being a real lifestyle. Few residents of the oil rich Middle Eastern countries life the Bedouin lifestyle, but they want to think that they do, and are willing to pay big money to maintain the appearance of that lifestyle. That includes smuggling rare raptors from all over the world to race and hunt in environments for which those birds are not suited.

I listened to this nonfiction work, and found the narrator to be hard to understand at times. Oftentimes, he would drop his voice so much that I had to turn up the volume and replay parts of the reading just to be able to hear and therefore, understand what was going on in the book. This was not Simon & Schuster's best produced audio book.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 23, 4:13 pm

Detective Inspector Huss by Helene Tursten

I have had this book on my shelves since I got it at an ALA Mid-Winter in 2012. I read it because the Mystery Series Read-Along Group is reading the Inspector Huss series and this is the first book in the series. What is funny about this is that when I went to get the book off of my shelves, I couldn't find it. I ended up checking it out of the local library.

I enjoyed reading this book. I found it to be a fairly common police procedural type of mystery, but I liked all of the stuff that allows the reader to get to know the character. In this case, Irene Huss is a mid-career woman with a husband and two daughters. She is trying to live a normal life and doesn't have drinking problems, or marriage problems, etc. etc. This makes her a normal woman with a family trying to find that magic balance between work that she likes to do and her family obligations. In many ways this series is starting out like the Guido Brunetti series with family and intellectual life intertwined with the police procedural. The murder mystery is intriguing enough to keep the readers attention and I am sure that I will like the next book as much.

helmikuu 1, 11:31 am

Beginning or the End: How Hollywood - and America - Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb by Greg Mitchell

I read the review of this book somewhere and put it on my TBR list. Then last November one of the historical fiction threads had a monthly challenge topic titled "Beginning and Endings." A search of my TBR list using the word Beginning led me to this title. Our library did not have it, so I requested it through ILL and got it right after my Christmas break. I had to read it quickly and I found myself enjoying this look at historical myth making. The movie started out to be a truthful look at the making of the atomic bomb and the results of that bomb. The scientist who proposed the movie wanted it to be a grand warning statement about the ethics of using this bomb. Instead, it turned into a propaganda device that hoodwinked people of all ilk's into believing a false history. This book is the story of the making of the movie and who influenced the final picture, who made the decisions to falsify history, and who wanted history to view them as historic. It is basically a book about propaganda and the failure to tell the truth about the bomb and why it was even used. It is a fascinating look at how mythical history starts and gets embedded into the minds of the vast majority of people.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 2:42 pm

Volcanoes, Palm Trees, & Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i by Liz Prato

The author takes a dim view of all of the development in Hawai'i and believes that it has done very little to help out the people who actually live in Hawai'i. She delves into the past colonialistic history of the take-over of Hawai'i and how that attitude of white privilege manifests itself today in low wages for the people who actually work in paradise. She is an advocate for higher wages and curbing tourism for many of the same reasons why Yosemite has had to curb visits to that park. Tourists are doing severe damage to the environment, wildlife, and to the native peoples who live there and restrictions should be put in place.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 11:03 pm

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

I have had copies of some of these books for some time and decided that it was time to get them read and off of my TBR list. This novella is book two in the Murderbot series and it is great fun space opera. You have to love Murderbot as he learns how to be human. Now it is on to book 3 in the series.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 11:04 pm

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Book 3 in the Murderbot series. Murderbot learns more about being human and learns about grief and the cost of loyalty. I thought the passages where he acted as peacemaker on the shuttle was great fun to read. Next up is book 4 in the series.

helmikuu 11, 10:14 am

>2 benitastrnad: Hi, Benita. I'm returning your visit.

My mother's family is from Alabama, and I've got lots of cousins in Alabama, though not in Tuscaloosa. But my aunt was a huge Crimson Tide fan.

I too like historical fiction, and I hope I can catch up on reading some of the ones I've collected this year.

Thanks for welcoming me to the group!

helmikuu 11, 10:18 am

>19 benitastrnad: This sounds fascinating! Now I've got another one to add to my TBR list.

helmikuu 12, 12:52 am

>23 atozgrl:
I tend to be a thread hopper, so which thread was I in when you tagged me?

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 20, 3:05 pm

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
Book 4 in the Murderbot Diaries series. Another fun space opera novella in the series.

helmikuu 12, 6:53 pm

>25 benitastrnad: It was my new ROOTs thread at I'm glad to have met you!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 3:02 pm

Down From the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear by Bryce Andrews

This book is party essay and part natural history. It is also part current events. The author writes with a bone deep understanding and love of rural areas and the people who live in them. He is not condescending and manages to explain and understand the hard economic life of those involved in agriculture, while at the same time writing with a deep compassion for the wild creatures caught in the expanding urban areas of what was wild country. This depth of empathy was totally unexpected. This is a deeply engrossing book, that examines our encounters with wildlife from a different perspective. Add to this the fact that Andrews is a good writer and it makes for thought provoking reading.

Down From the Mountain turned out to be my first five star read of the year! I really liked this book. It deals with so many aspects of the problem, or is it a problem?, of wildlife encroachment. It was a deeply engrossing book, that examines our encounters with wildlife from a different perspective, that caught my attention from the get go and didn't let up for the entire 268 pages. I highly recommend this book.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 3:09 pm

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This novel came highly recommended by several respected fellow readers, but I was disappointed in it. For some reason it didn't quite click with me and I just couldn't connect with the characters or the message. I listened to the novel and the recorded version was done with a full cast read by some well known actors and actresses that included Jennifer Beals and Benjamin Bratt. Even with their help it ended up being an OK novel, but not a wonderful novel. Part of the problem was that I kept wondering what band the story was based on, and I never did figure it out. At the end of the novel, the author hints that it is Fleetwood Mac. That may be true, but if the reader is expecting to be able to know that they will be disappointed. This is not a fictionalized account of the life and death of that band. The facts just don't match up. If I can do so, I will watch the streamed video of it at some point in the future, but that won't be right now.

this book is also a selection for my real life book discussion group, so it will be interesting to see what the other readers of the book have to say.

helmikuu 20, 4:21 am

Hi Benita, just popping in to see what you have been reading. A lot and some nice ones too.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 3:15 pm

Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
This is the first in the Marcus Didius Falco series and it is a bit rough around the edges. It is a new series for me as well. I am reading it for the Mystery group read challenge. That group is starting two new series this year and this is the second of the new series. (the other is the Irene Huss series by Helene Tursten.) The introduction to the series was very interesting and described the author's problem in finding a publisher for a historical mystery series set in ancient Rome. It made me do some thinking about what publishers think the public will purchase and then then a series like this one comes along and the public likes it and turns it into a little money maker for the publisher. It is a very interesting, but fickle process. Sort of like a huge guessing game.

The book itself is in the process of introducing the reader to the life of Marcus Didius Falco and the times in which he lives. Toward that end we get some background history into the Flavian Dynasty of Roman Emperors as well as the background needed for the Roman neighborhood in which Falco lives and operates. We are also learning about how the political system of Rome works as well. That means that the reader is being set up for subsequent novels as well as reading about the current mystery to be solved. That is a tall order for an author. Davis manages it, but just barely. I think that the next novels in the series will be more interesting because this one shows lots of promise.

helmikuu 20, 6:16 pm

>31 benitastrnad: Oooh, the first Falco. Have you read any of the others or are you going to read them in order?

helmikuu 21, 7:01 pm

>32 Robertgreaves:
I am going to read them in order. Our mystery read-along group is reading the Falco books, Inspector Huss series, and Bruno Courreges series this year. I am having trouble finding cheap copies of the Falco books, so will probably end up doing Inter-Library Loan for them.

helmikuu 22, 3:14 pm

If you are interested in audio versions of books not available locally, you can get access from various national libraries. I have used Brooklyn library for a membership of $50. They have a very comprehensive library. The Denver Public Library has 25 Lyndsey Davis audio books. I imagine it is possible to pay for a membership there.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 2:55 pm

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear
This was a biography of the famous children's author that clocked in at 608 pages. Of course, there were 50 pages of notes and index, but it was a hefty book that consumed hefty amounts of reading time. It was very enlightening and a very well done biography. It made Beatrix Potter into a very interesting person. Which I suspect she would have been even without the biography. She was an independent minded woman who did her duty by her parents, but also managed to live her own life. She was able to do so because she made a huge amount of money from her children's books due to astute business acumen. She invented and created toys, games, wallpaper, etc. using the likeness of her creations that made her a tremendous amount of money. What is astounding is that she used that money to purchase land in the Lake District. She vacationed there for many years and loved the landscape, the people, the farms, and the way of life and wanted to preserve it. Towards that end, she donated over 4,000 acres to the National Trust upon her death. It is an amazing life that she lived. This biography concentrates on her life as a naturalist, so most of the book is devoted to her mycology studies done in the 1890's and then her life on her farms from 1910 to her death. It is not about how or why she wrote the children's books that made her famous. I gave this biography 4.5 stars because it is just short of perfect.

helmikuu 28, 4:18 pm

>35 benitastrnad: That does sound like a good one!

maaliskuu 1, 6:44 pm

Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby
This novel is about the women who made the famous pink boucle suit that Jacqueline Kennedy was wearing on that fateful day in November 1963 when John Kennedy was assisanated. The book starts out well and as an amateur seamstress I was engrossed in the descriptions of designing and constructing aa couture outfit. I was also intrigued with the ins and outs of licensing and designing as it was in the early 1960's. The problem with the book was that it tried to do too much. I totally don't understand why the section about Freedomland was in the book at all. Or the destruction of the telephone building. I think the novel would have stood up using just the suit and events that surrounded it as the pillar of the novel. There was just too much that didn't attach easily to the main part of the story. I listened to the recorded version of this book and enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 7, 4:19 pm

Galatea by Madeline Miller
This novella/short story is a very interesting take on the Pygmalion story. This one is set in the modern world instead of the typical ancient Greek setting.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 1:11 pm

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales by Marta McDowell
I am in the midst of reading a biography of Beatrix Potter and had run across this title some time ago. I decided that this month was the perfect time to read it since I was reading the behemoth biography mentioned up thread. This book is about the gardens that Potter observed and that are the settings for her books. It is also about the gardens she created at Hill Top Farm and at Castle Cottage in the Lake District of England, as well as about her efforts at reforestation at the farms that she purchased.

The book is an easy book to read and it is beautiful. It is heavy. It is made up of those heavy glossy pages and there is a reproduction of Potter's drawings or photographs of the gardens on every page. There is an extensive index and notes at the end. But best of all, there is an index of all the plants mentioned in every one of her books and short stories. The index even tells the page numbers where that particular plant can be found. It also has a further reading section that starts out with telling the reader about the Beatrix Potter Society. This is just a lovely book that is designed for readers and gardeners. It was a very nice pastime book. So much so that I am tempted to purchase a copy for myself. I had to place an Inter-Library Loan request for this one.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 12:18 pm

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh
I just finished up a work of nonfiction about a notorious woman. Dolly Parton. The book I read was She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh. This was a look at the career of the famous, or infamous, entertainer, Dolly Parton. This book was written by a feminist scholar and for that reason the book is written using a feminist lens. It is a short book, but it is academic in tone. It is enjoyable, but if you are not into dissecting song lyrics and sussing-out hidden meanings in popular culture this is not the book for you. Dolly Parton is a very good songwriter, singer, and entertainer. However, she is best known for her famous bust line and her unabashed sexuality. This book is about how she has taken this image and has owned it. I found it well researched and well documented, peppered with anecdotes and excerpts from actual interviews it is approachable and clearly intended for a popular audience. There were so many parts of this book that made me downright mad because sexism is rampant in the culture of today and we should be so past that.

I read this book as part of my ongoing reading about the Country Music industry and its continued anti-female bias. And because of Dolly's famous bust and all the ribald jokes, innuendos, and denigration about her. This book shed some light on all of that. Now, I await a good biography of the woman.

maaliskuu 5, 12:05 pm

Three days into Retirement and I haven't done any of the things I said I would do. I spent two days running around campus completing the check-out requirements that nobody told me I should do. Tomorrow I have to go get my e-mail account straightened out and then Tuesday I will begin packing for the trip to Kansas to find out what is going on with my mother.

maaliskuu 5, 3:59 pm

>41 benitastrnad: I hope your trip to Kansas goes well.

maaliskuu 6, 5:39 pm

>41 benitastrnad: Congratulations on your retirement, and good luck getting all the paperwork handled!

My retirement was almost a year ago, and there were things I wasn't told either. HR sent a list of things to take care of to both me and my supervisor, but there was nothing on there about telling the folks in administration who were in charge of parking. So my last paycheck, a month after retirement (which included pay for sick leave not used, etc.), also included my monthly parking fee, which shouldn't have been there since I was no longer working. I don't know if the problem was caused by staff turnover, where someone on library staff used to take care of that and the person in that job at that time was new, but the parking folks refused to refund the parking fee I was charged for parking after my retirement date. Seems like it never runs completely smoothly with the paperwork.

I hope you have a good trip and that everything is fine with your mother!

maaliskuu 8, 2:14 pm

Winners by Fredrik Backman
I loved this series and this book was the perfect way to end the trilogy. Backman knows how to wrap things up in a way that isn't cotton candy, but is totally realistic and fits within the parameters of the extended story he told throughout the three books. I can only say that for a satisfying series of books you need to read the Beartown series.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 13, 3:26 pm

Coldest Case by Martin Walker
This is book 14 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by this author. In this novel, Bruno helps his old boss solve a 30 year old crime using some modern forensic techniques such as DNA and facial reconstruction. There is adventure with firefighting as the Dordogne deals with climate change, and there is plenty of food and wine to share along the way.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 13, 3:32 pm

German Wife by Kelly Rimmer
This book is the March selection for the Travel Book Club. It is set in Huntsville, Alabama in 1950 and deals with the aftermath of WWII and Operation Paperclip. It roughly uses the life of Werner Von Braun as the pattern but it is a fictionalized account of his life. The major problem with this book is that it tries to do too much. There is lots in it about the American Dust Bowl and Depression that I thought did not need to be in the novel. The novel would have been just as interesting if it had only had the parts about the German rocket scientists and the German home front in WWII. Given that I thought the novel tried too hard to do too much, I was surprised how much I liked this book. I listened to it, and the narration was done by two people. It was a quality recording done with two readers. That worked very well, but I didn't need the back story of the American characters.

maaliskuu 13, 3:41 pm

All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses, How the White House Grounds Have Grown With America by Marta McDowell

I read this book for the LT Nonfiction Challenge for February Pastime's. It was somewhat disappointing. I thought there would be more personal anecdotes about the presidents, their wives and families, and about the gardeners and the plants used in their gardens. There was plenty in it about the plants, but not much about the gardeners, or the interests of the presidents or their wives. The book was filled with plenty of pictures and garden maps that were very helpful and interesting. These made the book easy to read. I had to get this book through our Inter-Library Loan program and it came from Texas Tech Library, which was surprising. I would have thought it would come from a Land Grant School, but ...

maaliskuu 13, 3:53 pm

Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O'Connor
This book is about the theft of art from rich Jewish families during WWII and about how they had to fight to get them back. It is about the ongoing whitewashing of history and the removal of collaborators and collaboration/complicity practiced by many of the countries and people's of Europe. A full half of the book was about the city of Vienna before WWII and it provides a great picture of the Vienna of the late Empire period when the city was a hotbed of science and culture. It is full of details about the art and salon scene in Vienna. The other half of the book deals with World War II and its aftermath and what happened to the Klimt paintings. I would have liked a more detailed explanation of the laws that allowed the return of the paintings and about the state of restitution in Europe as I found that just as interesting as the history of the Bloch-Bauer family and the fate of the Jews of Vienna. Overall, I found this book very very interesting. I have not hesitation in recommending it to the book group as one of their selections. I listened to it while I drove back to Kansas and it helped many many miles pass quickly. I listened to the recorded version of this book and it was very well done. I got it through the Inter-Library Loan program and it came from the Des Plains, IL Public Library.

maaliskuu 13, 6:01 pm

>48 benitastrnad: Lady in Gold sounds fascinating! I'll have to add it to my TBR list.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 16, 2:51 pm

Dance With the Devil by Kit Rocha
This is book 3 in the Mercenary Librarians series by this author. This is pure dystopian fun to read. If you like the idea of women doing sexy fighting, having sex, and doing that while being crusaders for right and light and having romantic interludes while doing all that, this is the series for you. Oh - and make room for the very sexy supportive men in the books. This is not great literature, but just fun to read.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 12:45 pm

Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
I read this book for a real life book discussion group. I liked this book but it is not without its problems. The book is set in Memphis Tennessee. It is about three generations of women in the North family. As a multigenerational novel it is very good. It holds the readers attention and the author has created characters that you can love and understand. However, it is also one of those novels that tries to do too much. It covers topics from economic insecurity, black on black violence, domestic violence, rape, incest, September 11th, and music, as well as art. I think that the book should have taken one or another of these topics and concentrated on it rather than scatter its attack on everything. In-other-words, the novel should have been more focused. For me the main thrust of the novel was the under-education of generations of Black Americans. However, that was clearly not what the author intended. I believe that her main idea was to present the lack of appreciation and support for art and artists. Frankly, I am getting tired of that trope. This is a minor quibble, and I do think that this is an author who is going to get better at writing and I hope to read more of her work in the coming years.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 12:37 pm

Empires of the Sea by Roger Crowley
This book is a blow by blow account of the 16th century told from the point of view of two empires - the Hapsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire. I read it for the LT Nonfiction Challenge for March. The topic was Empires.

This book concentrates on the struggle for the Mediterranean Sea in the 16th century and why this happened at that point in time and place. Up until the 1550's the Ottoman Empire had done nothing but expand in every direction, but the middle years of the 16th Century marked a turning point and the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire solidified at their present day borders due to the events described in this book. The author makes a point of noting that in the western Mediterranean this happened because the Spanish throne, which had become the Hapsburg Throne suddenly found itself with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of wealth coming from the new world's of the Western Hemisphere and were then able to pour that money into stopping the infidel and returning Europe to orthodox Catholicism.

The author spends a great deal of time setting the scene of the titanic clashes between Spain and Turkey and does so with telling the story of the Siege of Rhodes and the loss of western North Africa to Turkish naval superiority in the early part of the century. The next big clash was that of the Turks against the island of Malta in 1565, and this blow by blow account sets the stage for the next big battle - Lepanto in 1571.

The author makes a point of telling the modern reader how important all of this was in the development of the modern nation states of Europe and how effectively the Ottoman Empire controlled the commerce of the Mediterranean. It is easy for the modern reader to not understand how big of a player on the world stage the Ottoman's were in this era because of the tendency to think of that empire as it was in 1915 rather than what it was in 1515. Of course, we don't have the same problem with Spain or the Hapsburg's because they had long ago passed from the scene. It was a very different world in 1500.

At the end of the book the author tells the reader that another reason we don't know about these titanic battles was that in the end, they were fought too late and history had bypassed them and moved on while they were being fought. The world around these two mighty powers changed and they were so caught up in what they were doing that they failed to see the importance of these changes. One was that the center of the world shifted from the Mediterranean to the Western Hemisphere because of the shift from ore to sail, and with that the opening of the sea routes to Asia caused the world center to shift farther to the east and the Indian Ocean. The author addresses this failure on the parts of Spain and Turkey equally and explains why this happened to them.

This was an interesting work of military and political history that should be read and studied by many more western scholars than do so. It helps to explain so many things going on in the present world.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 12:48 pm

Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard
According to the author, this is going to be the final volume in the Red Queen series. That series is one of my favorite dystopian fantasy series. This book is made up of a couple of timeline short stories and three novellas. I listened to the recorded version of the book, and as a recorded book it was very well done with a full cast, who knew what they were doing in a recording studio. The stories and novella's fill in some of the gaps from the series that, as a reader, I appreciated.

huhtikuu 3, 12:33 pm

Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey
I just finished Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey. This was a work of historical fiction set in Vienna, Austria between the years 1880 and 1945. It is about the notorious woman, Emilie Floge. She was a member of Vienna's Second Society due to the successful position her father held. The Floge's were a Protestant middle class family, who lived and whose social life was part of the "Second Society" of Vienna. Emilie was also Gustav Klimt's life long companion and muse. She became a respected fashion designer and business woman in her own right. She was a member of the avant-garde art community of Vienna and as such was the advocate for radical "reform" dressing for women. She favored flowing loose garments and unstructured designs. However, she had to make a living so she also designed and sold conventional garments at her couturier salon as well.

Floge was a woman with a reputation in Vienna. She was a free thinker and was Klimt's life-long campion. It is not known exactly what their relationship was because Klimt had numerous lovers during the 40 years of their relationship, but when he died in 1918 she inherited half of his estate and was made executor for his children. It is thought by art historians that she and Klimt are the models for "The Kiss," but that is not known for sure. Klimt did paint several portraits of her. Floge's collection of Klimt works were confiscated during WWII but most of them were returned to her. She died in 1952 and most of her art collection was given to the state of Austria.

The Painted Kiss was the author's debut novel and it was good. The word I would use to describe it was atmospheric. It set the tone and the temper for turn-of-the-century Vienna giving the reader a real sense of the time and place that was. Historically it had some inaccuracies, but it is historical fiction, so it doesn't have to be 100% truthful. I thought it one of the more successful works of historical fiction I have read recently. I would encourage anybody who is interested in that art of the early Twentieth Century to read this book, as it really does set a tone.

I watch PBS Masterpiece Mystery and the series Vienna Blood has become one of my recent favorites to watch. There was an episode in that series about a woman fashion designer in Vienna and after reading this book and doing a bit of research on Floge that Emilie Floge is the inspiration for that character. I think that the series also gives a really good picture of the social life of the "Second Society" that was so much a part of Vienna in the early Twentieth Century and that was totally destroyed by the events of WWII.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 10:55 am

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This murder mystery is a very good example of a new literary style: metafiction. In metafiction the author and his writing becomes part of the novel itself. In this case, the author is an editor for a publishing house in London. She edits a series of best selling detective novels written by a detestable author. The author has just turned in the last book in the best selling series when he suddenly dies. The editor reads the book, but finds that the last chapter is missing, so there is no resolution to the crime. She sets out to find the missing chapter and in so doing becomes part of the larger mystery. Thus the metafiction style. I prefer to call this literary style book-within-a-book, or a story-within-a-story. There is nothing new about that plot device, but giving it a new name makes it a "new thing."

This is a big book. All together it is almost 600 pages in length. However, it is hard to tell because the pagination is mixed up. When the story is being told through the book that is the subject of the novel, the publisher has chosen to use those page numbers instead of the actual page numbers of the book being read. This makes quoting from the book hard to do because what page numbers do you use? The publisher signals the change in plot line from that of the author to the book-within-a-book by using different font types and sizes, and that is helpful to the reader, but adds to the bulk of the book. None of these things is really an impediment to understanding the novel but it makes for a longer and more complicated book.

All of that said - I enjoyed this book and will be reading its sequel next. Which is also written in the same style as this novel.

huhtikuu 22, 11:01 am

Dark Flood by Deon Meyer
This is book 8 in the Benny Griessel series by this author and it is a techno-thriller. It is clear that Meyer is diving into the world of computerized information and its uses to cheat and mislead. It is also clear that this is a murder mystery that is setting up the next book, as this one ends in a cliff hanger. This author writes books that keep you on the edge of your seat while reading. At the same time he creates a supporting cast of characters that are amazing and interesting companions for the hero and people that the reader cares deeply about. That leads me to my one complaint. I am getting tired of Benny's continual feelings of inadequacy and woe-is-me. Everybody has a tough life. Get over it, and move on. It would be nice if Benny showed as much character growth as his supporting cast.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 30, 12:15 pm

Quiet American by Graham Greene
This is one of those slow burn spy novels. Nothing happens and then suddenly everything happens. It is also a literary book. The kind that those high brow British authors were turning out after WWII. It is deceptive in its depth. If you like a story that develops slowly and then ends with a bang, this is the novel for you. Over the years it has become a classic novel about the Viet Nam War - both the French part and the American part. It is also considered to be a classic of the spy novel genre.

Basically it is a story of a jealous lover, but it is also a story of a young buck who doesn't understand the basic politics of a failed state. The Young Buck thinks he has fallen for the young woman who is the lover of the older man. The young woman spurns the older man and turns to the Young Buck as a way to get out of Viet Nam. What happens after that is the slow burn. Is it revenge? Is it spycraft gone wrong?

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 8, 1:05 am

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester

This was a long book (almost 500 pages) without counting the index. It was not one of Winchester's better books. Winchester is a trained geologist and a great story teller. However, the geology of the Atlantic Ocean is all in the shortest chapter in the book - the first one. This chapter should have had more information in it. For instance, there is very little about plate tectonics and the creation of the Atlantic, or why this ocean continues to get bigger.

I also found the book to be very Eurocentric - northern Europe in particular. There is lengthy discussions of the Vikings discovering the North American continent, and the possibility that the Irish did as well, but very little on the discoveries of the Spanish and Amerigo Vespucci. In fact, few of the great mappers and explorers of the Age of Exploration were discussed at all - and hardly any mention of those who mapped and explored the Southern Atlantic.

Then there are some things that he flat out got wrong. For instance, he states that the majority of African slaves came to the U.S. This is an error. The largest number of African slaves went to Brazil, with the Caribbean coming in second. Destination to Cuba was third. Winchester makes no mention of this.

Winchester has an impressive vocabulary and uses every word that he knows. I am not sure if he is deliberately trying to impress his readers, or just playing a game with himself trying to see how many obscure big words he can use. This give the book a pompous tone that just didn't sit well with me.

In short the book is too long and too Eurocentric. This is not Winchester's best book and certainly not the entertaining work of nonfiction that some of his other books are.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 12:42 pm

Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden by Diane Ackerman

I had this book on my TBR list since 2018 when I discovered the work of Diane Ackerman. I had to get the book through Inter-Library Loan, and found it was a delightful trip through the year with this gardener. I do like me a gardening book, and this one was a restful read. It was not the kind of gardening book that inspired me to go forth and plant, but I don't think that was the author's purpose. It did fill me with a quiet kind of wonder and appreciation for gardens and gardeners.

toukokuu 12, 8:14 am

>59 benitastrnad: I enjoyed this one when I read it a couple of years ago.

toukokuu 14, 12:18 pm

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I listened to this novel and can't praise it highly enough. This is the way to educate the public about transgender issues in the schools. I call it gentle teaching. This book was exceptional in how it educated the public about what it is like to be a transgender child in a loving caring family.

First, it is a tragic comedic family story. It was well written but I might have enjoyed it so much because it was also an exceptional narration. The reader, Gabra Zackman, managed to convey all of the emotions that happen in a family filled with loving parents and children, that was done purely on the talents of that one reader. Along the way, the book manages to do some gentle teaching about transgender issues and how it affects families. This is a very compassionate book, and I would highly recommend it to readers who like to listen to recorded books. And, of course, to readers. This book may be classed as women's literature, but that should not detour others from reading this book. It is full of typical family life incidents that most people can relate to and yet carries a pointed message that gently forces a person to confront their own ideas on the subject of transgender kids in school. I laughed myself silly over the plight of a mother who is told that she can't send her children to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because there might be other children who are allergic.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 1:40 pm

Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester
This is a biography of the controversial photograph of Alice Liddell, who was the young child for who Carroll wrote the entertaining stories that became Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll was a mathematics professor at Oxford and became fascinated with the new art of photography, in particular that of photographic portraiture. He started taking pictures in 1856 and stayed with it for the next 25 years. Eventually he took 3,000 pictures. All were meticulously cataloged and kept in photo albums. Only about 1,000 of his pictures survive. The majority of these are pictures of young children, and most of them are girls. This has led to some speculation and rumormongering's regarding the reasons.

This book is a small volume written by the prolific master of narrative nonfiction, Simon Winchester. Apparently it is part of a series of books, or short essays, about famous photographs. The series was commissioned by Oxford University Press. Winchester's entry for the series was on the portrait of Alice Liddell done by Charles Dodgeson whose pen name was Lewis Carroll. The portrait has Alice posed in a somewhat suggestive pose and this combined with the fact that most of the surviving portraits are of girls has combined to create speculation regarding the purpose of these photographs. Winchester puts these speculations to bed with a thorough investigation into the photograph itself, who Carroll photographed, when they were photographed, and where those photographs ended up. The majority of them are in the U.S. at the Special Collections Library at the University of Texas, Austin. Firestone Library at Princeton University also has a good collection of Carrolliana, including some photographs. Few of the photographs are actually in the U.K. anymore.

As usual, Winchester does a complete job of dissecting the problem, examining the evidence, and debunking the conclusions that many people have, in his view, come to erroneously. In his view, the photograph is artistic in nature and there is no corroborating evidence that there was any perverted motive other than the pursuit of art at work in the portraits that Dodgeson made.

There is a great deal of information about Dodgeson in this short volume. While it did give me the outline of Dodgeson's live, it was by no means a complete biography.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 6:49 pm

Churchill & Chartwell: The Untold Story of Churchill's Houses and Gardens by Stefan Buczacki

This book is not what the title claims it to be. It is what the subtitle claims it to be. It is a meticulous domestic catalog of every place (and I mean every place) Churchill lived. It is a biography done by following the moves that Churchill made in his lifetime. It details lease prices, length of lease, prices for furniture, who made the furniture, what condition the place was in when the Churchill's moved in and what it was like when they left. It goes on and on about their money woes and their many many legal battles with contractors, subcontractors, tradespeople, gardeners, farmers, neighbors, and family members.

I read about this book when I was reading the biography of Beatrix Potter (see above). I thought this was going to be mostly about the house Chartwell and the life of the Churchill's while living there. It wasn't. The Chartwell section comprises only about the last 4 chapters of the book. The most interesting chapters were the last two which were devoted to the last years of Churchill - from 1955 to his death in 1963. This was not a waste of time, but I wanted more about the house and gardens. I wanted some insight as to what was the inspiration for the house and gardens and why Churchill did what he did on the grounds. (It seems that money, or the lack of it dictated most of what was done.) What I got was a domestic economics catalog.

This was not a total waste of time, and it was interesting, but it wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 5:33 pm

>61 benitastrnad: I just finished a book which really educated to me on real life issues addressed in your book. Please take a look at Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult. I don't want to reveal any details, but I can say that I was left in tears over the fate of one young girl.

kesäkuu 2, 11:01 pm

>64 JoeB1934:
I will do that this weekend. I am always on the lookout for a good book.

kesäkuu 5, 10:02 pm

Eventide by Kent Haruf

This is book 2 in the Holt Cycle by this author. I reread book 1 earlier this year.

As always Haruf's descriptions of the land and the people who live there are perfect. You can just feel the cold wind blowing across the Plains in this book. His description of the town is also right on target. I know hundreds of those towns here in Kansas. I have been through Brush, CO many times as well as St. Francis, KS. I am convinced that the Highway 34 that is the centerpiece of the book is really U. S. Highway 36 - the shortest route between Kansas City and Denver. All of the care given to the descriptive setting creates an atmosphere that permeates the entire book and in spite of the bleakness of the setting and all the stark realism there is an atmosphere of hope. Most of all the book just glows with love - familial love, romantic love, and environmental love. In turn I just love these books.

kesäkuu 5, 10:07 pm

Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis

This series has proven to be so much fun to read. I love the sarcastic attitude of Falco. Plus, the books are full of so much information about how the ancient Romans lived, what they ate, what they did for recreation, etc. etc. The books are filled with secondary characters that are great fun to read about as they all have distinctive personalities. I am glad that I started this series.

kesäkuu 5, 10:53 pm

>67 benitastrnad: They are great fun, although they do get quite dark especially towards the end of the series. The author also has another ongoing series starring Falco's daughter.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 7, 8:53 am

>66 benitastrnad: I too am enthralled with Kent Haruf. I just discovered him in 2021, even though the books are set in Colorado.

He writes so well about the environment I came from in Wyoming and the years that I grew up in. In some ways this book was hopeful while being sad.

I literally saw behavior very like my own in his earlier books. Laugh out loud with recognition from me.

Your review was spot-on. Thank you.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 18, 11:53 pm

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

This is the second book in this adult series by Bardugo and, well, it is a sequel. more of the same that was in the first book. Action, intrique, mystery, and it all turns out well. In the end, this is a literary mystery novel in the same vein as Da Vinci Code. There is lots of literary trivia dropped throughout the book.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 18, 11:56 pm

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

I have had this on my TBR pile since 2011 when it was suggested for my real life discussion group. It was our June selection for this year. I liked this book, it was great fun to read. It was full of humor, sarcasim, and just plain slap-stick comedy. It managed to poke fun of the entire Cold War. The one thing that struck all of us that had read the book, was that it had a timeless quality to it. Even though it was published in 1958 it could have taken place in the world of today in any one of a dozen countries around the globe. This one was a winner for our book group. And for me.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 19, 11:35 pm

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt

This is an academic look at the Indian Removal from the American Southeast in the 1830's. This is the removal of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Seminoles, Sauk, Potawatomie, Winnebago, and Onondaga Indian Tribes. These were primarily tribes indigenous to the Southeastern part of the U. S., but also to Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The author concentrates mostly on those tribes of the Southeast, because this effected the largest numbers of people and had the greatest economic impact on the U. S.

The author uses data and statistics to back up his assertations and conclusions. The data ranges from census records, to Congressional voting records. His conclusion is that the five major tribes of the Southeast were removed primarily because White people wanted those valuable lands. Once they got their hands on the land, slavery moved in. This in turn increased the power that the Southern states had in Congress. From this base they could bully the rest of the country into supporting the spread of slavery. The more slaves they had, the more economic power, and, because of the 3/5's rule the more slaves the more voting power they had in Congress.

Land speculators and big Eastern banks also come under scrutiny. The author delves into economic records for some of the early banks in the U.S. and uses this to tell the story of the destruction of the economic power of the Southeastern tribes as they were cheated out of the proper value of their lands. He also discusses that often the economic value of the slave estates were NOT in land but in number of slaves because slaves were worth $1,500 per person in the 1830's. Slaves were the economic asset - not necessarily the land.

The author also gets into the loss of generational wealth. Many of the Southeastern tribes cultivated their land and were quite prosperous small farmers and traders. Their removal, simply because of their race, resulted in the almost, total loss of the wealth they had accumulated and is one of the reasons why Native Americans are still poor. He makes a very good case for this argument.

I learned much from this book. My only complaint is the provocative language the author uses to describe the slave owning people who moved into Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi with the removal of the Native Americans who were living there. For instance, the word Plantation is never used in the book. Instead Plantations are called slave camps, or slave labor camps. This language is provocative, but it is truthful. I understand why the author used these terms, but I suspect it is going to be shocking to many and cause them to not read this book, or think it is too radical. It is my opinion, that the time for toning down the rhetoric is past. It is time to call things what they are. The use of these terms are going to make many residents of the American South turn away from this book, but they shouldn't. This shameful history needs to be confronted.

Highly recommended, even if it tends to be an academic tome. I will warn readers that this book starts out slow, but once the author gets the data laid out and starts putting it together to form his argument, the book becomes compelling reading.

kesäkuu 19, 5:48 pm

>71 benitastrnad: Glad that the long-standing TBR resident turned out to be a winner for you and for book group! I've read it twice and it's one of my favourite Greenes (the other being A Gun for Sale).

kesäkuu 19, 8:07 pm

I'm going to have to stop following your chat lest I overfill my TBR list!

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 19, 11:39 pm

Sentence Is Death by Anthony Horowitz

This is the second book in this murder mystery series. It is very good road listening. The narrator is good.

This novel is the second in the metafiction Hawthorne & Horowitz series and has just as complicated of a plot as the first novel. Because it is metafiction it is sometimes hard to keep the threads straight - but I suppose that is the point. Red herrings abound, and puzzling out the real killer keeps interest level high while listening.

kesäkuu 20, 3:38 am

>71 benitastrnad: I think I'll add that to my wishlist! I've only ever read The Heart of the Matter, a very long time ago. Great review!

kesäkuu 24, 2:23 pm

Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz
This is the third book in the Hawthorne & Horowitz metafiction murder mystery series. I listened to it while driving from Kansas to Alabama. I like this narrator - or perhaps I am getting accustomed to his voice and so think he is a good narrator. This is a basic murder mystery. The only thing different about it is that is is metafiction. After five of this type of murder mystery by Horowitz, I am still not sure if I like this format.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 25, 7:32 pm

Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz
This is book four in the Hawthorne & Horowitz series. I want to take time and make a note about the wonderful design of the dust jackets on this series. All of them are done in red, white, and black, with a few touches of silver. They are very graphic in style and all of them are done in the same style. They are easily recognizable as a series. They are simple and bold and stand out on a shelf. It is an amazing job of branding the series through the sameness, but distinctness, of each dust jacket. Very well done.

The novel itself is another murder mystery with literary overtones. This time is is set in the theater with the author being arrested and the main suspect. The author has written a play that is being produced and done in London when the theater critic is murder. Horowitz has already told Hawthorne that he is not going to write anymore books in the series, and then, because of his arrest he has to appeal to Hawthorne for help.

This series is good travel entertainment and I will listen to the next one in the series when it comes out. Murder mysteries make the miles go by faster.

kesäkuu 27, 6:30 pm

Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago

This is the second novel by this Nobel Laureate that I have read. It is very different from his novel "Blindness" so I am not sure that I have garnered any sense of this author's style or philosophical compass, but I did enjoy this novel. It is a short novel (my copy had 205 pages), and it took me much longer to read than I anticipated. It was the story of the journey of an elephant and his mahout from Lisbon, Portugal to Vienna, Austria in 1551-1552. This is the second book by this author that I have read. I found it harder reading than I thought it was going to be. My translation has no, or very little, punctuation, and no capitalizations of names, places, or people, no quotation marks, etc. The lack of grammatical markings made it hard to read, as I had to process it differently. However, Saramago tells a good story, and I loved all the digressions. Many of them were a hoot. They were also full of musings to puzzle over. This was an enjoyable work of historical fiction.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 17, 12:34 am

Network Effect by Martha Wells

This is book 5 in the Murderbot Diaries series and as always is great fun to read. This is the first one of the series to be classed as a novel rather than a novella. More of Murderbot's adventures in space.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 31, 11:59 pm

To Kill a Troubadour by Martin Walker
This is book 15 in the very popular food, wine, and murder mystery tour of the Dordogne region of France as seen through the eyes of Bruno Courreges, Chief of Police. These are fun books to read and they provide a great deal of insight into the country life of the Dordogne. These later entries in the series don't provide as much insight into the workings of the French legal system or the political, social, and cultural life as the first books in the series. They do, however, provide for great insight into the food and wine culture of that area. Even if they aren't heavy on social justice, they are fun to read.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 1, 12:02 am

Mushroom Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu
This is book 6 in the Crown Colony series by this author. These are a series of historical mysteries set in Singapore of the 1930's and 40's. This book takes us to the ending month of World War II when Hirioshima is bombed and the news about it is just leaking out to the people held captive inside the Japanese Empire. I didn't find this book to be as good of quality as the previous books in the series that I have read, but every author is allowed the occasional mid-series slump.

heinäkuu 17, 12:33 am

Mission: A True Story by David W. Brown

I finished reading my book for the July category of Expeditions and Explorations. I choose a book that was both an expedition and an exploration. Mission: A True Story by David W. Brown has self descriptive sub-title. The full title (what is on the title page) reads "The Mission: or How a Disciple of Carl Sagan, an Ex-Motocross Racer, a Texas Tea Party Congressman, the World's Worst Typewriter Saleswoman, California Mountain People, and an Anonymous NASA Functionary Went to War with Mars, Survived an Insurgency at Saturn, Traded Blows with Washington, and Stole a Ride on an Alabama Moon Rocket to Send a Space Robot to Jupiter in Search of the Second Garden of Eden at the Bottom of an Alien Ocean Inside of an Ice World Called Europa." That title pretty much describes the book.

The book is the story of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's struggle to get NASA to send an expedition to Jupiter's moon Europa to find out if the ocean that is underneath the ice mantel on the surface supports life. Scientists have known since the 1980's that Europa has an ocean of water and that water is probably capable of supporting life. They wanted to find out for sure. However, the idea of manned flights to Mars has kept this kind of space exploration from being funded. Without money nothing flies into space. This book explains how a mission was finally funded by this unlikely group of allies. I should make it plain that this mission has not been sent into space - yet. It is scheduled for 2023, but it is possible that won't happen because funding for NASA projects are not set in stone. They can be terminated at any point until the actual launch date. This mission is no exception to that rule.

I learned a great deal from reading this book, especially about how Congress in the US appropriates money for agencies like NASA. I also learned about some interplanetary phenomena about which I knew little to nothing. This book was an eye-opener for that reason alone.

The book was written in a very readable style. It was by turn funny, quirky, snarky and scientifically specific. The author took a very scientific topic and wrote about it this one proposed exploratory mission to a moon of Jupiter in a very unacademic style. I chewed through this 467 page book in 2 weeks. The book had 400 pages of reading text and 67 pages of notes and index. The author interviewed most of the scientists named in the book and wrote extensive explanatory notes when needed. The author cited academic articles, government documents, interviews, and press releases.

What amazed me was the role that Dr. Carl Sagan has played in space exploration. Most of the scientists named in this book were attracted to the sciences by seeing, hearing, or reading things that Carl Sagan wrote. Severa of them mentioned that they had seen him lecture or watched him on the Tonight Show. I only hope that Neil DeGrasse Tyson, with his star themed shirts, sweaters, and ties, and numerous apperances on TV and other public events, has as big of an effect on the next generation of space scientists as did Sagan. Another big influence on space exploration that was cited time and again by many of the people involved in this space mission was Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry might be as influential as Carl Sagan in the long run.

Another point of interest was the role of the arts in the lives of these scientists. Many of them made references to works of music, literature, and philosophy as points of inspiration. References to science fiction and fantasy novels abounded. Works like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and books by Phillip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clark were also cited fairly often. Movies like Star Wars, 2001: a Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were all mentioned in this book.

This book was great fun to read, a learning experience, and provided insights into the inner workings of the US Congressional Appropriations Committee. It will probably be one of my top reads of the year.

heinäkuu 17, 10:46 am

Thanks for your review, I've just ordered it! After I read it I'll probably be buying more for a Christmas gift or two, I've got spacey family members and friends that will likely have a good reading time it.

elokuu 1, 12:08 am

Torso by Helene Tursten
This is book 3 in the Inspector Huss series by this author. It is the third one published in English in the U.S. but is the second one published in the series in Sweden. This novel is set in Gothenburg and in Copenhagen and plays back and forth between the two cities. Huss is one of the few police in Gothenburg who can speak and read Danish so she is assigned to work the case of a serial killer who likes to dismember bodies and leave them as torsos. Hence the title of the book.

This is a more typical Scandicrime novel than the previous two of her books that we have read. That means that it has more gruesome details in it, and the killer is a serial killer of great evil. There were some elements of this novel that didn't seem to fit the pattern of what I thought about Irene Huss. For instance, her willingness to keep information back from her colleagues in Sweden and in Denmark. That doesn't fit well. I read this one for my LT mystery series group and some of them did not like the idea of Irene Huss having an affair, when she is supposedly happily married. I didn't think that was a big deal - not in the same league as withholding information from her colleagues. It will be interesting to see what direction Tursten takes this series in the next novel.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 2, 4:23 pm

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

It's a funny thing about time and about movies made from famous novels. I had read this book about 40 years ago and remembering liking it very much. Since Mark was doing a group reread of the book, I decided to join in with the LT crew and join in the reread. It turns out that I didn't remember this novel accurately. In fact - this time around it seemed like a whole new novel. I think that the problem was the movie. I had confused the novel with the movie. The problem with that is that the movie concentrates on the last quarter of the book, and totally ignores the other three quarters of the book. I didn't remember the three quarters.

The novel is one of those epic family saga's that were so popular in the mid-twentieth century. This novel is Steinbeck's contribution to that genre. It starts during the American Civil War and ends in about 1918. It basically covers the lifetime of Adam Trask. The critics tout this novel as being a retelling of the Cain and Abel story. I don't see that at all. I think it is Steinbeck's way of pointing out the evils of unbridled capitalism when speculation is rampant. That speculation is how the Trask family made all of its money and Steinbeck clearly sees it as evil.

The novel seems to be more of a prodigal son story than it does a Cain and Abel story. In each example given in the novel, the son who wins out in the end is the prodigal who left the fold and ended up with all of Daddy's money.

I am not going to attempt to critique this novel because entire books have done that since its publication in 1952. There are parts of the novel that people today are going to find offensive, but those parts didn't bother me. It merely enunciates the attitudes of the times as they were. Steinbeck didn't sugar coat any of it. I found the most interesting character to be Lee, with Samuel Hamilton the next most interesting figure. Of course Abra was also interesting for 1952. Steinbeck was bold in using new understandings about sociopaths and I found that interesting as well.

I listened to this book, and the recording was well done. I am glad that I revisited this novel. I think I leave it with a better understanding than I had.

elokuu 2, 2:48 am

>86 benitastrnad: Great review.

elokuu 2, 4:56 pm

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
This was another book for a real life book discussion group. It is a work of narrative nonfiction. Larson has become a very successful author writing this type of book. In this book, as in others he has authored, he pits one person that history tells us was correct in his assessment, against another person from that same time period. In this case the person who was right was the United States Ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937, William Dodd. Dodd came to Berlin just after Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany. Dodd recognized Hitler and the Nazi's for what they were - thugs and, because he had been educated in Germany back in the 1880's he thought that the German people would turn away from Hitler and his gang when they realized that the Nazi's didn't know how to govern and their policies were ill thought out. They didn't and Dodd was wrong.

Alongside Dodd was his family, who he brought with him to Germany. His daughter was a dingbat and wild woman. The word decorum was not in her vocabulary or in her psyche. She ran with a wild crowd and carried on affairs with many people in the Nazi power structure.

Dodd's advisory in this book was the established civil servants of the U.S. State Department. These men were largely made up of old line Brahmin's who thought that Dodd was a fool. They had money. Dodd didn't. They were educated at Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League schools. Dodd wasn't. Dodd tried to make the embassy run on a tighter budget and they laughed at him and sabotaged him behind his back. They were friends with the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Dodd was friends with FDR. All of this meant that the embassy staff didn't work well with Dodd and that the State Department didn't work well with him either.

I thought this book was well done for what it was. It is a short history of the Dodd family and their experiences in Berlin in those 4 years. It had some good narrative strings in it about the Night of the Long Knives, but there was little assessment of the Germans in the story, or critical analysis of the Dodd family, or the ambassadorship of Dodd. I hope that this book will help to get people more interested in the beginnings of the Nazi regime and gain a better understanding of why it took so long for the rest of the world to figure out that the German people were not going to stop the amateur gang of thugs that was running the country. It can be a gateway to a better understanding of 1930's Germany and the leadup to 1939.

This book is well documented, but I still dislike the lack of numbered citations intext. Doing that would make it so much easier to track in the endnotes. I listened to this book, and found the narrator to be excellent, but I also found myself following along in the hardcopy as well. Just so I could check the endnotes for citations.

elokuu 20, 4:34 am

Hi Benita, catching up on your thread is almost impossible, so I skimmed your posts. Lots of reading done, I notice. I hope your summer is good and you are doing fine.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 27, 7:55 pm

Cannonball Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu
My public library didn't have this book when I wanted to read it so I had to place and ILL request for it. It took a bit to get here, but once it did I can say that I am glad that, even though I read it out of order, I did read it. This was a very good entry in the Crown Colony series. It had a real mystery at the heart of it, and also a great deal of information about how the people who lived in Singapore actually lived during the Japanese Occupation of World War II. This novel, and all the novels in this series, are written by a Singaporean, and therefore, contain a unique perspective regarding WWII. This is not a book about the colonizers weathering the war in an internment camp. It is a novel about how the natives survived and how they fared during those 6 years. I would recommend this book for that reason alone, but it also turned out to be a good mystery. If you like historical mysteries I would recommend that you try this series.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 27, 8:00 pm

Great Santini by Pat Conroy
This is not a book that was on my TBR list. However, it was on my real life Book Club's TBR list and it was the selection for August. So I read it. Conroy is a much beloved southern author and this is the fourth book of his that I have read - three of them at least 30 years ago. It was NOT his best book. It is well liked in the South, but I do not think that it has weathered well. It is the story of a child abusing, wife beating father, who is a super testosterone laden macho man and his family. It is a coming of age story and even though I liked Ben, I didn't like any of the other characters in the story and thought that the plot was overwrought. The prose might not have been purple but it was certainly overdone as well.

I recall reading some of this other books and liking them at the time, but I fear that, like many popular authors, Conroy's work is not going to fare well with age.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 4:30 pm

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott

Watching the PBS series for the second time around finally inspired me to read/listen to this series. This is not great literature and it really isn't that good of a memoir, but it is easy listening. It is a book of short vignettes about the life of a country Veterinarian and the people and animals that he has met along his life's journey. It did pass the miles on the road, but this might be one of those books that makes a better movie than it does a book.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 4:39 pm

Annette Vallon by James Tipton

I read this novel for the Reading Through Time group. The category for July was Revolutions and I choose to read this one about the French Revolution. It is a good work of historical fiction about a real live woman. The real Annette Vallon was the mistress of the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. She was also his muse and the mother of his daughter. They met during the early days of the French Revolution and apparently stayed together throughout the duration of the Revolution and long into the Napoleonic years. The author has chosen to portray Vallon as a heroine and indeed she was given a citation and pension from the French Government for her deeds during the Revolution.

This book was good, but it simply went on for too long. Vallon may have done all those things, but enough is enough and unless you are a very good writer of fiction less would have been more in this case. Another strike against it was that the novel was written in the first person and I dislike that style. I did finish the book, but it was a slog.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 23, 10:09 am

Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland

I finally finished Fool's Tale by Nicole Galland. It took me over two months to finish this book and this morning I did it! Done. I read it for the LT Group Reading Through Time. This group is for reading works of historical fiction. This book was for the April category which was April Fool.

This work of historical fiction was set in Wales in one year - 1199. It is the story of the King's best friend and court fool and his affair with the King's wife. It is a retelling of the King Arthur/Lancelot/Guinevere triangle but set in 12th century Wales involving the King of this small Welsh kingdom, his wife, and his best friend and court jester. The tension in the novel comes from within and without. The inner pressure is that the King knows he is living on borrowed time as his kingdom is small and he must produce and heir. The outer pressure is that the kingdom is caught between the bigger power of Llewellyn the Great in north Wales and the Marcher barons of England in the person of Roger Mortimer. This was a good historical novel but I have to admit that it was a long slog of reading. It was a good story but it just never caught fire with me and so the reading drug out for several months. This was a surprise to me as I usually like novels set in Medieval times. This novel was also filled with details of Welsh law and customs. If you like this time period this is a good historical novel, and don't take my assessment of it as gospel on this novel.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 7, 7:48 pm

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

This is book 2 in the All Creatures Great and Small series and I think it is a better book than the first one. There are more stories about him and his life and I like that much better than all those feel good success stories about being an animal doctor. It is on to book 3 in the series.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 4:28 pm

Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

I finished reading Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben on Sunday night and really enjoyed it. This is one of those nonfiction books that is really more of a compellation of observation and gathering the research to back up the observation. The author is not an academic, but works closely with them. He is a forester in Central Germany and he takes great pains to remind readers that his book is about the forests of central Germany and so the species and the interconnectedness of the forest is going to be different in different parts of the world. But, the point he is making is that forests are an ecosystem and they need to be treated as such. Managed forests don't do this and so removing parts of the forest endangers the entire forest even if it is ecologically managed. This is not academic writing. The great strength of this book, and I suspect the reason why it has had a world wide impact is that it is written in a breezy folksy style that breaks down tons of academic research into very understandable information. The author skims the surface of all the academic research but that is good enough for most of us. He has managed to make a great many people think differently about forests and forest management and that is also a victory.

This book was totally worth reading.

elokuu 30, 4:40 pm

I think I am all caught up with my reviews and ready to start the fall reading season.

elokuu 31, 9:20 pm

Bruno's Challenge: Stories of the French Countryside by Martin Walker
I read this book for the mystery series challenge group. As always this was a fun book to read and I enjoyed it very much. There was a whole bunch in it about cooking and the food and wine of the Dordogne region, a little bit about policing in the area, and a whole lot of community activity. I think this series is the best advertisement the French have ever had for visiting that country. And it was all done by an Englishman. Even though the last Englishmen left that area at the end of the Hundred Years War in the 1550's. I can't wait for the new Bruno Courreges book. It was just published and released on August 29, 2023.

syyskuu 4, 4:12 pm

Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis
This is book 3 in the Marcus Didius Falco mystery series. These books are so much fun and I learn so much about the cultural and social history of ancient Rome from them. This one is about the fraud in the real estate market in Rome and other major cities in the Roman empire. It is also about how people moved through the ranks of this stratified society. Several of the major characters started out as slaves and were freed and moving up through the ranks of the society. I also learned what a turbot was and why it was an important status symbol in ancient Rome.

This is another well done mystery that is more than it seems.

syyskuu 6, 3:15 pm

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
This is book 3 in the All Creatures Great and Small series and it was the best one. The author puts more of his life story into this book and I found that more interesting than the previous books that were all animals all the time. In this book Jim is drafted into the RAF and the animal stories are told as a series of recollections as they relate to his current experiences in training to be a pilot in the RAF. Eventually he is mustered out of the RAF due to some medical condition and at the very end he returns to his practice in Yorkshire. It was a fitting ending to the series.

I listened to this book and the cover said that it was an unabridged version. However, I think that originally it might have been abridged because the recorded version was out of order from the book. Parts of the book were not in the recorded version until the last disc and the ending, as it was printed in the book I had, was at the ending of disc 10 instead of disc 12. I hate it when recording companies do things like that to readers. In spite of that I muddled through.

syyskuu 6, 11:19 pm

>100 benitastrnad:
I'm not positive; but may have been something from original publication? I think- don't know- that the books were compiled differently Across the Pond, and may have been reshuffled a time or two since.

I started to re-read these awhile back- and was stunned- at how much, I didn't love them anymore. It is as though they were perfect for their time, but dont translate into the now.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 18, 12:08 am

Next Supper: The End of Restaurants as We Knew Them and What Comes After by Corey Mintz
This is an important book dealing with the hospitality industry. The author covers labor issues in restaurants, as sexual discrimination and discrimination against people of color. He also deals with the trivialization of immigrant restaurants and the general disregard for the culinary talents displayed by immigrants who enliven the food and culture of the countries to which they move. They author also deals with the issue of high rents and low returns on meals, the glut of chain and quick service and fast food places, and the problems with the new delivery services that provide convivence for consumers but are designed to discriminate against smaller independent restaurants while providing cut rates to the large chains.

This book has much food for thought in its covers and is one that people interested in labor, immigration, and economic issues should read. It proves that food is not an isolated part of our economy, politics, social, or cultural lives, but rather is central to it. Until the problems in this industry are fixed there is going to be inequality up and down the food chain.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 18, 12:02 am

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah
This is a beautifully written novel by the Nobel laurate. It is set in German East Africa and covers the years 1910 - 1960 and two generations of people in that region. The history of that region is rarely used as the plot for books and this story covers the history of WWI in that region in great detail. My only complaint about this novel is that the end is abrupt. I think it could have had another fifty pages and still been very interesting. I would not have considered it to be too long even at that length. This is an author that I will read again.

syyskuu 17, 11:57 pm

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
This is book 1 in a trilogy. I won't be reading books 2 or 3. I appreciate what the author was trying to do in introducing Eastern European folklore to the YA fantasy genre, but this book was poorly written and just didn't work. Purple prose and contrived plot made it close to overwrought purple prose literature.

syyskuu 19, 11:48 am

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
I read this book for my real life book discussion group and enjoyed every minute. It is one of those laugh-out-loud books that is chocked full of humor. Literary humor, religious humor, political humor, cultural humor, etc. etc. It is just a great good laugh. It is also an apocalypse book. It is about the end of the world and involves two angels; one a demon and the other an angel who have become friends over the 6,000 years that they have been watching over mankind during their duty to their respective masters. Now, I shall have to watch the TV series so that I can see how the book compares to the series.