Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Page 2

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Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Page 2

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 5:45 pm

I am Beth, a recently retired English instructor. I read eclectically, mostly fiction, with essays and memoir and poetry also in the mix. I have certainly expanded my reading horizons here.

I generally don't plan my reading. I do belong to a real-life book club and have some shared reads with other LT members. I would like to read more from my shelves this year, but those shiny new library books are SO tempting.

I am planning a trip to Spain this year, so I want to read in Spanish to brush up on my language. The picture is from the gardens in the Alhambra in Granada, which we will visit again in June.

Please feel free to lurk or post. I hope we all have a great year of reading!

My favorite reads from 2022:

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 5:50 pm

Currently Reading
I usually have a fiction, nonfiction, and poetry book going at once.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 5:52 pm

I don't tend to plan my reading, but I do belong to a book club and do some shared reads on LT. General plans for 2023 include reading in Spanish, reading more in translation, and reading from my shelves. I also look forward to the Women's Prize nominations.

Book Club Selections
January: Wintering ✔️
February: The Word Is Murder ✔️
March: The Stone Angel ✔️
April: The Constant Rabbit ✔️
May: A Ladder to the Sky

Shared Reads
January: The Candy House✔️, Your Duck Is My Duck✔️
February: Horse ✔️
March: Demon Copperhead ✔️
April: Stone Blind ✔️
May: Trespasses
July: A Children's Bible
August: Cat's Eye
September: 11-22-63

Women's Prize Longlist
I’m a Fan
Pod ✔️ SL
The Dog of the North ✔️
Fire Rush SL - debut
Children of Paradise
The Bandit Queens ✔️ - debut
The Marriage Portrait SL
Cursed Bread
Black Butterflies SL - debut
Trespasses ✔️ SL - debut
Wandering Souls - debut
Memphis ✔️ - debut
Stone Blind ✔️
Demon Copperhead ✔️ SL

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 5:59 pm

Read in 2023
1. Portrait of an Unknown Lady
2. The Consequences of Fear*
3. Network Effect 🎧
4. Little Big Bully*
5. The Man Who Could Move Clouds
6. Wintering*
7. Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces*💜
8. A Dangerous Business
9. A World of Curiosities
10. Twenty and Ten
11. Super-Infinitive
12. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair*
13. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands 💜
14. Twisted Twenty-Six 🎧
15. Your Duck Is My Duck*

January Report
Books read: 15
By women: 14
By men: 1

Novels: 8
Short stories: 1
Poetry: 1
Memoir: 3 (1 graphic)
Biography: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 9
From my shelves: 6

16. The Light Pirate 💜
17. The Word Is Murder*
18. The Sacrifice of Darkness
19. Burn This Book*
20. Horse
21. Cold Cold Bones
22. The Inquisitor's Tale*
23. The Bandit Queens
24. Midnight at Malabar House
25. Notes of a Native Son*
26. Dinosaurs 💜
27. A Lethal Lesson

February report
Books read: 12
By women: 8
By men: 4

Novels: 10
Essays: 2

Library: 8
My shelves: 4

28. The Lions of Fifth Avenue*
29. A Field Guide to Getting Lost*
30. Sharks in the Time of Saviors* 💜
31. H Is for Homicide* 🎧
32. A Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands
33. Ex Libris*
34. The Alice Network*

March report
Books read: 7
By women: 5
By men: 2

Novels: 4
Essays: 2
Nonfiction (history): 1

From my shelves: 6
From a friend: 1

35. Memphis
36. Who Owns the Clouds*
37. I Have Some Questions for You
38. Old Babes in the Wood 💜
39. A Killing of Innocents
40. The Constant Rabbit*
41. Just the Plague
42. The Great Enigma*
43. Quarrel & Quandary*
44. Stone Blind*
45. Trespasses 💜
46. The Dog of the North
47. The Faraway World 💜

April report
Books read: 13
By women: 11
By men: 2

Novels: 8
Short stories: 2
Young reader: 1
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

From my shelves: 5
Library: 8

*From my shelves

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 10:12 am

You Must Read This

Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces

I started my year with this collection of essays by Margaret Atwood. The pieces included are from 2004-2021 and include speeches and introductions to books as well as essays. All of the pieces reveal Atwood's curiosity, humor, and engagement with the world. We see, especially, her concern with the environment and women's rights. Her appreciation of Canadian writers gave me some ideas for future reading. I also enjoyed the essays discussing her writing. Her description of the writing of the poem "Dearly" was wonderful.

The tone is personal and as I sat and read an essay or two with my morning coffee, I felt as though I were having coffee with a friend.

Highly recommended.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 5:59 pm

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 9:42 am

And one I just finished from my previous thread, a pretty good debut novel.

The Bandit Queens is an excellent debut novel inspired by a real person, the original Bandit Queen, Phoolan Mallah. The author was inspired by Mallah's story because Mallah refused to give up after suffering abuse and injustice most of her life. In an interview, the author says she wanted to draw attention to the plight of women in rural India, yet she also wanted to add humor and warmth to the novel. She accomplishes this.

As the novel begins, Geeta has been living more or less as a pariah for five years, since her husband disappeared. Rumor has it that she "got rid" of him. Now, people generally avoid her and kids run away from her in the street. Her only social life is attending meetings of her micro loan group. When Farah, one of the women in the group, asks Geeta to help her get rid of her husband, Geeta becomes drawn into the lives of other women in her village with tragic and sometimes hilarious results.

Besides gender inequality, Shroff also brings in issues of caste and religious differences, but this novel doesn't feel didactic. It's a really original debut that I enjoyed.

Notes: Vivian listened to the audiobook and didn't like the novel as much as I did. Also another LT member mentioned some books about the real Phoolan Mallah/Devi: Phoolan Devi, Rebel Queen, inspired by Phoolan Devi's autobiography I, Phoolan Devi: The autobiography of India's Bandit Queen.

helmikuu 22, 10:31 am

Happy new one!

helmikuu 22, 10:43 am

Happy new thread, Beth!

helmikuu 22, 11:47 am

Happy new thread!

helmikuu 22, 12:58 pm

Happy new thread! The Bandit Queens looks interesting.

helmikuu 22, 1:30 pm

Happy Wednesday, Beth. Happy New Thread! How is retirement treating you? Dumb question, right? I can't believe I will be approaching my third-year mark, Sep 1st. Sorry, Horse wasn't more satisfying for you. It all worked for me.

helmikuu 22, 1:56 pm

Welcome Anita, Katie, Mary and Foggi.

I am loving retirement, Mark. Thanks for stopping by. I think I am in the minority regarding Horse.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 6:37 pm

Hi, Beth! I've been reading your thread but not posting. I thought I'd delurk to ask how you're doing weather-wise today? We are on the southern edge of the storm system so we've got mostly sleet and a bit of ice. It's hard to say since I don't have to leave the house anymore when the weather's bad. :-)

I hope you're not too snowed under up there. I bet it really makes you want to go to Spain like RIGHT NOW!

helmikuu 22, 5:43 pm

Happy new thread, dear Beth.

>7 BLBera: I must look for this one.

helmikuu 22, 5:55 pm

Hey Julia - Yes, we are snowed in. So far, we've gotten about a foot, I think, and it's snowing hard right now. Actually, I want to go to Hawai'i right now.

Hi Paul. Thanks for the visit.

helmikuu 22, 6:02 pm

Happy new thread Beth!

helmikuu 22, 6:52 pm

Thanks Susan.

helmikuu 22, 7:09 pm

Hi Beth, happy new thread to you. I'm very interested in Mecca as it is the one from your 2022 favs. I know nothing about. I will investigate but there are others I want to read too!

helmikuu 22, 7:09 pm

Happy New Thread, my friend!

helmikuu 22, 10:58 pm

>19 mdoris: Hi Mary. Mecca is wonderful.

>20 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen.

helmikuu 23, 1:23 am

Happy new thread, Beth. Good to know you enjoyed The Bandit Queens. I picked that up recently but haven't cracked the covers yet.

helmikuu 23, 3:31 am

Happy new thread, Beth!

helmikuu 23, 7:03 am

I'm a bit late to your new thread Beth, and I see you had a bit of snow yesterday, to put it mildly. I hope you're staying warm and snug indoors!

helmikuu 23, 9:00 am

>22 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg. I will watch for your comments on The Bandit Queens.

>23 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita.

>24 lauralkeet: Hi Laura. Yes, it looks like winter here again. I will be happy to leave for Hawai'i next week. It was a good day for reading. Today everything is closed as well. I made a pot of chili and will do some shoveling and reading. Even the public library is closed today.

helmikuu 23, 9:22 am

>25 BLBera: The joys of retirement (and working from home): Never having to go out into the weather if you don't want to! Enjoy your extra snow day.

helmikuu 23, 10:02 am

>26 rosalita: Yes, although a snow day would be even more enjoyable if I got off work. :)

helmikuu 23, 10:02 am

One week until your trip to Hawaii!? Yay!

It's 9F here this morning. Brrr.

helmikuu 23, 10:09 am

24. Midnight at Malabar House is a good historical mystery set in 1950 Bombay.

I enjoyed staying in India after reading The Bandit Queens. Midnight at Malabar House also focuses on a woman, Persis Wadia, the only woman on the Bombay police force.

The novel begins on New Year's Eve. Persis is on duty when she receives a call that a prominent British man has been murdered. She faces all kinds of obstacles in her investigation, and although I did have to suspend disbelief a bit, I enjoyed the mystery. Khan also gives us some context by adding in historical tidbits that portray the complexities of the times. Maybe he is a bit heavy handed with this at times, but I enjoyed spending time in India as it decides the direction the new state will take.

Thanks to Charlotte for bringing this one to my attention.

helmikuu 23, 10:10 am

>28 EBT1002: Yes, I am really enthused about Hawai'i now!

helmikuu 23, 11:32 pm

Off to Hawaii next? Looks like you're getting into the swing of being retired, Beth.

helmikuu 24, 10:36 am

I have missed traveling, Meg, and am looking forward to going places again.

helmikuu 24, 10:44 am

25. Notes of a Native Son
Collection of essays by James Baldwin that range from discussion of the "protest novel" to personal experience with his father and his life in Paris. As with any collection, some essays stand out. I especially liked the titular essay in which he talks about his difficult relationship with his father and the essays about "protest" novels.

helmikuu 24, 11:19 am

I have this one on my shelf but haven't read it yet. Some day I will read everything Baldwin had written but I don't think I am even half way there yet! I own quite a few of his works, not all read yet.

helmikuu 24, 12:00 pm

Hi Beth! So many wonderful suggestions on your thread. The Bandit Queens sounds wonderful. Great review!

When is the Demon Copperhead read? I just received my long awaited copy from the library so I may join in.

helmikuu 24, 2:51 pm

Happy new thread! Hawai'i is one my to visit list. Enjoy!

helmikuu 24, 11:38 pm

Happy new thread Beth!

helmikuu 24, 11:55 pm

>33 BLBera: Your right, Beth, as with any collection - poems or essays or stories - some will take our fancy or hold our attention more than others.
What a writer he was though! The world misses his erudition and empathetic insight in these polarized times.

helmikuu 25, 12:40 am

Beth, Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors. Like you, I very much enjoyed her book These Precious Days.

helmikuu 25, 10:31 am

>34 jessibud2: I have a few of Baldwin's works I haven't read as well, Shelley. Every February, I plan to try to get to some, but I never quite get there. Still, I'm glad to have read these essays.

>35 streamsong: Thanks Janet. We will discuss Demon Copperhead at the end of March. I think Ellen is reading it now. I thought The Bandit Queens was a good debut novel, very original.

>36 witchyrichy: It will be my first visit to Hawai'i as well, Karen.

>37 WhiteRaven.17: Thanks!

>38 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul.

>39 Whisper1: I still think about some of the essays, Linda. It is one I might revisit, at least some of the essays.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 6:03 pm

26. Dinosaurs
This is wonderful. I love that each of Millet's novels is so different from the previous ones.

In Dinosaurs she's written a novel that is hard to put down although if you ask me why, I have a hard time articulating what is so compelling about Gil's story. He is a man who lives alone, who volunteers to pass the time, and becomes involved in the lives of his neighbors. Yet, I think that is Millet's point -- all lives are connected. In Gil's life, we can see our own.

At the beginning of the novel, Gil leaves Manhattan for Arizona and decides to walk because "he wanted to feel the distance in his bones and skin, the ground beneath his feet." He moves into a house that is next to a house with a glass wall, and when a family moves into the "glass" house, he becomes first an observer, then a participant in their lives.

I love Gil and this quiet novel. If you're looking for a plot with lots of action, this isn't for you. It is a wonderful character study and I will think about it for a long time.

There's a lot about birds here. I need to think about how they fit. I will revisit this novel for sure.

helmikuu 25, 11:51 am

Hi Beth. I came here to wish you a lovely trip to Hawaii and I got winged by a book bullet. I haven’t read anything by Lydia Millet and now Dinosaurs is waiting for me at the library. Thanks, I guess….

I’m also slowly working through the wonderful essays in Burning Questions. Margaret Atwood is trying to nail me with book bullets, too. ;-)

Enjoy the warmth of Hawaii after your latest blast from Mother Nature.

helmikuu 25, 12:45 pm

Thanks Donna. I am looking forward to Hawai'i. Aren't Atwood's essays great? I love hearing about her writing process, and yes, I did get a lot of ideas for reading, especially Canadian writers I know nothing about.

I hope you enjoy Dinosaurs. It is a lovely book.

helmikuu 26, 8:46 pm

>32 BLBera: I know what you mean about missing travel, Beth. I started to make up for it last year and this year is shaping up to be similar. Have a great trip!

helmikuu 27, 12:25 am

Okay, I am a wee bit late, but happy new thread! At least I am not a Dinosaur, even if you did like the book. : )

helmikuu 27, 10:05 am

>41 BLBera: Hi Beth - I have a library hold for Dinosaurs so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. I just started I Have Some Questions For You and so far so good. Hope you have a terrific trip!

helmikuu 27, 10:25 am

>44 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg.

>45 Berly: You are never late, TwinK!

>46 vivians: I have become a huge Millet fan, Vivian. I'll watch for your comments. I am anxious to get to the Makkai -- all these comments make it obvious why I don't seem to do more reading from my shelves.

helmikuu 27, 11:55 am

Hi Beth! Happy travels to you! Hawaii is my happy place - enjoy! Which island(s) are you going to?

>29 BLBera: I have Midnight at Malabar House on my kindle. I should move it up.

helmikuu 27, 12:03 pm

Happy new thread, Beth!

helmikuu 28, 4:59 am

Happy new one, Beth!

helmikuu 28, 7:38 am

You had me at "There's a lot about birds here." 😁🐦

I love Millet and plan on reading her latest. Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

helmikuu 28, 8:17 am

>29 BLBera: I have enjoyed Khan's elephant books. Perhaps I can read this one some time.

helmikuu 28, 12:33 pm

Sweet! *rubs hands and waits for pics of Hawaii* Looking forward to hearing about your trip!

helmikuu 28, 12:47 pm

Hello, Beth!

>29 BLBera: Nice review. I have this in the stacks, also thanks to Charlotte.

>33 BLBera: Adding this one to The List.

>41 BLBera: And this one!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 6:37 am

Hi Beth, I thought I'd commented when you started this 2nd thread, but apparently not.
I'm in a queue for Midnight at Malabar House, thanks to enjoying your review.

maaliskuu 4, 2:35 pm

>41 BLBera:. Nice review! Happy travels.

maaliskuu 9, 4:19 pm

Hope you've had a wonderful trip, Beth.

maaliskuu 9, 9:21 pm

Happy travels, TwinB!!

maaliskuu 18, 12:35 pm

Hope you had a good holiday Beth.

maaliskuu 18, 12:44 pm

I am imagining lovely sand, beautiful sun and you, having fun.

maaliskuu 19, 3:25 pm

Hi Beth. I'm not sure when you return from Hawaii but I know you've had a wonderful time!
I am having a hard time getting into The Bandit Queens so I'm thinking about skipping over to Midnight at Malabar House instead. Or maybe I'll persist and read MaMH next like you did. I'm kind of in the mood for an engrossing mystery.

I've looked at Dinosaurs several times. Based on your comments, and Vivian's endorsement, I'll add it to the list to actually acquire. I've never read anything by Lydia Millet.

maaliskuu 21, 9:09 pm

Hi Ellen. I get home on Thursday. More then.

maaliskuu 24, 4:53 am

Greetings to Joanne, Mary, Jim, Mark, Lori, Mary, Mamie, Sandy, Rhonda, Charlotte, TwinK, Karen. and apologies if I missed anyone. I had a wonderful time in Hawai'i. The Volcanoes National Park was a highlight and eventually I'll post a photo or two. I did do some reading and to catch up, here is a list with short comments.

A Lethal Lesson has Lane Winslow back in King's Cove. When the teacher of the local one-room school disappears, Lane steps in, and of course, helps her new husband solve the mystery. Solid entry in a good series.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue is a good historical mystery that looks at two women's lives in 1913 and again at the end of the century. An added bonus - Laura Lyons from the earlier timeline lived in an apartment in the New York Public Library. She struggles to find her place in a world that denies woman a place outside the home.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a wonderful collection of essays, my first by Solnit. She writes about artists, personal experience, and the environment. I love seeing how her mind works.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a beautifully written debut novel set in Hawai'i that looks at native Hawaiians in the present day and mixes in myths and legends from the culture. I loved this and can't wait to see what this author does next.

A Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands is exactly what the title claims and gives some good historical context as well as social and political context for today's Hawai'i. For such a little book, it gave me a lot to think about.

H Is for Homicide is another solid Kinsey Millhone mystery, a good audiobook. In this one Kinsey investigates insurance fraud.

Now, caught up!

maaliskuu 24, 4:54 am

The Women's Prize longlist was announced while I was gone. I've only read two so far, but several others are on my WL.

maaliskuu 24, 6:09 am

Welcome back, Beth! I'm glad you had a nice time but I'm equally glad you're back. We've missed you around here.

maaliskuu 24, 7:41 am

What Laura said - you were missed. I'm glad you had a good time, though, and got lots of reading in!

maaliskuu 24, 8:04 am

Glad you are back safe and sound and that your had a great trip!

maaliskuu 24, 8:11 am

Happy Friday, Beth. Welcome back. I am sure you had a wonderful time. Can't wait to see some pics. A Field Guide to Getting Lost was also my first Solnit and I was sold. Big fan of hers ever since.

maaliskuu 24, 8:13 am

Thanks Laura, Katie, and Anita. We had a scarily good trip. On the way, our flights were not only on time, but early, and the planes were not full, which is always nice. On the way back, our flights were also early, which meant we could catch an earlier shuttle and get home earlier than expected. The next few days will be devoted to unpacking, etc., and getting back into my routine.

Laura, one of the highlights of my trip was a hike in the botanical gardens near Hilo; it was so lovely. I especially loved the orchid garden. I'll see about posting some photos.

maaliskuu 24, 8:57 am

>63 BLBera: It's great to have you back, Beth! Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation, which is ... well, wonderful. Sorry, my powers of description seem to be. Bit lacking this morning. :-D

maaliskuu 24, 9:02 am

Happy Friday, Happy New Thread, Beth!
I started Dinosaurs A Novel and unfortunately had to return it to the library unfinished. I was really into it and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I will get back to it when it is available.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 9:19 am

>70 rosalita: Hi Julia. It was really fun. Now for the also fun part of unpacking and getting into some kind of routine again. :)

>71 Carmenere: Hi Lynda - I hope you can get your hands on Dinosaurs: A Novel again. I loved it!

Here's a photo from the botanical gardens near Hilo. I loved the orchids, which were everywhere. You can see how lush the foliage is.

maaliskuu 24, 10:59 am

>72 BLBera: ooh, those are very pretty Beth. I love botanical gardens.

maaliskuu 24, 11:04 am

These were amazing, Laura.

maaliskuu 24, 2:32 pm

Good to see that you had a wonderful trip, Beth, and great experience on the flights - you were very lucky!

maaliskuu 24, 3:00 pm

What a great trip, and reading too! Welcome back!

maaliskuu 24, 7:46 pm

>72 BLBera: Beautiful Beth! Glad you had a good time (but how could you not?) and read some good books!

maaliskuu 24, 10:32 pm

>63 BLBera: I need to return to the Lane Winslow series. Set in British Columbia, the landscape is special to me. Next up for me is the fourth in the series, It Begins in Betrayal.

maaliskuu 24, 10:34 pm

>72 BLBera: You downloaded one of your orchid photos. Yay!

You know, I am absolutely excited about our 3-week trip to Ireland, scheduled for late August and early September. All our accommodations are now booked and we have our flights. It will be wonderful. And ... the 3+ weeks on Kauai in January/February is the one I keep thinking about. For one thing, it will be post retirement. And just oh so relaxing. Yay!

maaliskuu 25, 10:41 am

Hi Beth, it is fabulous that your travels were so smooth and enjoyable. A nice paean to hear that the airlines actually managed to be efficient, and half empty is a plus for passengers.

>63 BLBera: I like Solnit's sassy and forthright books, so I think A Field Guide to Getting Lost really has to go on my TBR list. I think I had it on a WL at the library but their software changed and I lost all my reading history and wish lists :(

maaliskuu 25, 1:14 pm

>75 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg - yes, we were lucky with our travel.
>76 quondame: Thanks Susan.
>77 Copperskye: Thanks Joanne.
>78 EBT1002: I enjoy the series, Ellen. The setting is great. You have some great trips to look forward to; yes, your Kauai vacation should be wonderful.

>80 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy - It was the first collection by Solnit that I read, and I will definitely be reading more by her.

maaliskuu 25, 2:38 pm

Hi Beth! I am glad that you had a good trip. Solnit is pretty awesome, I think I have only read one book, and occasional essays. I should read more of her.

maaliskuu 25, 6:12 pm

Glad you had a such a wonderful trip to Hawaii , Beth! One of my two son's headed to Honolulu in late February and he and his wife and two young kids enjoyed getting away from winter. I think my next read is going to be The Bandit Queens . I'm trying to make some headway with the Women's Prize Longlist. I see you are doing well with it .

maaliskuu 26, 12:29 pm

>63 BLBera: Loved Sharks in the Time of Saviors. Too bad Kilauea wasn’t erupting for you.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 1:25 pm

>63 BLBera: I've read most of Solnit, so insightful, and buy all her work.

Lovely orchid. Hope you are refreshed from your holiday Beth.

maaliskuu 26, 2:04 pm

>82 banjo123: I will definitely be reading more Solnit, Rhonda.

>83 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah! I enjoyed The Bandit Queens and will be interested in your ideas about it.

>84 Oberon: Hi Erik! The first day we were there, they thought it might, but it was a false alarm. Darn it. Still, it is an amazing park. I remember that you loved Sharks in the Time of Saviors. I was glad I read it while in Hawai'i.

>85 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. I will be reading more by Solnit. There were so many beautiful orchids in the gardens. I will eventually try to post more.

maaliskuu 26, 3:11 pm

>72 BLBera: - Wow! Beautiful!
I have not yet read Solnit though I do own one, The Faraway Nearby. Hopefully, will get to it sooner rather than later.

maaliskuu 26, 8:16 pm

I have The Faraway Nearby on my shelves and would love to do a shared read of Solnit sometime. One of my former colleagues was a huge fan.

maaliskuu 26, 8:30 pm

>87 jessibud2: Hi Shelley. Thanks.

>88 EBT1002: Ooh, that sounds like a good one. Let's talk.

maaliskuu 26, 9:12 pm

>88 EBT1002:, >89 BLBera: - I'd be up for giving it a try. I don't have a great track record on shared reads but I am willing to surprise myself. Let me know when you were thinking of doing it.

maaliskuu 27, 8:53 am

>72 BLBera: Oh Wow! Absolutely beautiful.

maaliskuu 27, 10:49 am

Thanks Anita.

maaliskuu 27, 1:30 pm

I seem to have caught something on my trip and have been feeling like crap since Saturday. My COVID test was negative but I will test again tomorrow.

maaliskuu 27, 4:17 pm

Oh no! Get well soon.

maaliskuu 27, 4:25 pm

Thanks Charlotte. And I masked on all of my flights, too! It doesn't seem fair.

maaliskuu 27, 6:12 pm

>93 BLBera: Oh, no! Get well soon!

maaliskuu 28, 5:59 am

I'm sorry to see you're under the weather, Beth. I hope it passes quickly.

maaliskuu 28, 7:39 am

Boo! to being sick. Take care and recover well, Beth.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 11:33 am

33.Ex Libris is an enjoyable collection of essays about books and reading, ranging from the author's personal collection to William Gladstone's suggestions for optimizing space for books. The privileged tone grated on me at times but overall, I identified with her love of books and reading.

maaliskuu 28, 12:36 pm

Thanks Susan, Laura, and Katie.

maaliskuu 28, 1:21 pm

Feel better, Beth. I read >99 BLBera: several years ago and it remains on my permanent shelf. I have a few others by her as well. Loved her memoir/bio of her father, The Wine Lover's Daughter

maaliskuu 28, 7:56 pm

Ugh, I hope you feel better soon, Beth!

maaliskuu 28, 8:00 pm

Hope you feel better soon!

maaliskuu 30, 5:13 pm

>93 BLBera: Crap. Get better son Beth.

>99 BLBera: Love that little book. Time for a reread soon.

maaliskuu 30, 11:38 pm

Thanks Shelley, Ellen, Rhonda, and Caroline. I am feeling better. Still have a cough but I will live. :)

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 31, 12:42 pm

34. The Alice Network
This novel is based on a real spy ring run by Louise Bettignies during WWI. While some of the characters are based on the real women involved, the main characters are fictional. Well researched, the novel gives us a clear idea of how the women worked and of their bravery. I really appreciated this glimpse at some forgotten heroes.

What doesn't work quite as well is the post-WWII timeline in the novel. The Charlie St. Clair story isn't as compelling to me. I think Quinn could have placed the entire novel in WWI with the work of the Alice Network.

If anyone wants my copy, PM me your address and I will sent it to you.

maaliskuu 31, 11:46 pm

Hi Beth, I never visit your thread without picking up a book bullet or two and today the book bullet is for The Bandit Queens. I have a weakness for books set in India.

huhtikuu 1, 6:45 am

>106 BLBera: I read The Alice Network a few years ago, Beth and had similar feelings about it. A decent read, but parts of it didn't work as well as others.

huhtikuu 1, 5:27 pm

I finished Bandit Queens and posted my thoughts on my thread, if you are interested, Beth. I think I enjoyed The Alice Network more than you. I hope you are feeling better.

huhtikuu 1, 7:30 pm

>107 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy, I am always happy to add to others' TBR piles. :)

>108 lauralkeet: Hi Laura, I think I would almost rather read NF accounts.

>109 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah, I will look for your thread!

huhtikuu 2, 7:56 am

35. Memphis is an accomplished debut novel about the power of community. Set in Memphis, the city is a huge presence. The novel follows three generations of women from the North family -- all of whom are deprived of husbands, fathers, and sons for various reasons. I was engrossed in these women's stories, and I look forward to Stringfellow's next project.

huhtikuu 2, 8:10 am

36. Who Owns the Clouds
This book won the Governor General's Literary Award, and deservedly so. It is a beautiful book. The illustrations by Gérard DuBois with their muted colors enhance the mood of this story about refugees. Told in first person, from the point of view of a young girl, the story tells of lines, waiting, uncertainty, and violence. The setting is unspecific, lending universality to the story.

huhtikuu 2, 10:48 am

>112 BLBera: - Beth, is this book Canadian? I ask because you mentioned the GG Award. I just did a search for it in my library and it is not in the system at all which surprised me, if it is Canadian.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 2, 1:21 pm

>106 BLBera: I didn't find this book particularly compelling. Maybe I wasn't the right frame of mind. Now it sits on my discard shelf with a bookmark in it.

Beth, I probably had a very low-grade Covid infection (no respiratory symptoms) last month. It continues to linger in the form of fatigue so if I have some chores/errands, I can only pick one and then that's it for the day.

Here's something to think about: I never tested positive with the home antigen test kit. My family physician advised me that if I had one of the newest variants, the test kits won't detect the virus now because the change in the antigen is too great. So I'm told to get lots of rest and dial back the attempt to be as social or active so that I can recover properly.

I just do not understand why this information isn't out in the mainstream when one consults reputable websites. I rely on the government, Canada-health sources, but nary a peep.

I think Canada's test kits are quite different to American ones, or at least that was Mr. SM's opinion. He had the patience to wade through reams of info on the CDC website.

huhtikuu 2, 1:37 pm

>113 jessibud2: I think it is new, Shelley. I got it through the ER program.

>114 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks for the info, Sandy. I have started taking my allergy medication and am feeling a lot better, so I am thinking it was allergies.

huhtikuu 2, 3:12 pm

>114 SandyAMcPherson: I don't see much mention of a throat swab as well as nasal with the home tests. Apparently throat swabs picks up more positives.

>115 BLBera: My allergies seem to get worse every year. I've been pretty miserable for weeks now.

huhtikuu 2, 4:40 pm

>115 BLBera: - Oh, thanks, Beth. That's makes sense.

huhtikuu 2, 5:09 pm

Beth, I thought you would find this kind of a funny coincidence, like I did:

My friend, Megan, who visited this weekend has a 7/5 year old niece named Scout. And Scout's mother's name is Beth. They live outside Chicago. We were saying how fun it would be if her Scout and your Scout ever crossed paths :)

huhtikuu 2, 9:58 pm

Glad you are feeling better. I’m reading Memphis and I just have to say …. I love Wolf.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 2, 11:14 pm

I"ll have to check at my library for Memphis. Nice comments, Beth. I am glad that your are feeling better and it just took some allergy medication. Thanks for your kind comments re my grandchildren. I recall your special days with Scout - I think it was every Friday that you had Scout Day ? How old is Scout now ? I have a hard enough time believing that Melissa is five and starts Kindergarten in the fall.

huhtikuu 3, 1:54 am

Adding Who Owns the Clouds to my wish list.

huhtikuu 3, 6:53 am

>111 BLBera: I'm seeing this one being read about LT. Adding to my list.

huhtikuu 3, 6:54 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

huhtikuu 3, 11:39 am

>116 Copperskye: Hi Joanne - Maybe the pollen count is getting worse?

>117 jessibud2: You are welcome. I hope you can find it; it is wonderful.

>118 katiekrug: That is funny, Katie. We haven't met other Scouts. My daughter has had a Harper and an Atticus though.

>119 EBT1002: Yes, Wolf is great. I really enjoyed Memphis. I'm not sure it's longlist material, but I was happy to read it.

>120 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. Scout is nine already. Time flies.

>121 EBT1002: 😄

>122 Caroline_McElwee: I enjoyed it, Caroline.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 9:33 pm

>124 BLBera: I agree -- I'm not sure Memphis is longlist worthy but it's an enjoyable read!

huhtikuu 4, 12:22 am

I am enjoying I Have Some Questions for You, wondering where it is going...

huhtikuu 4, 8:31 am

Hi Beth! An extremely late happy first thread of 2023.

>1 BLBera: Ooh, congrats on being recently retired. Exciting about your trip to Spain, and it sounds like you read like I do – no planning. I also am a member of a RL book club but have given up shared reads with other LT members because I always let them down.

>2 BLBera: A BB, in my Amazon shopping cart. I Have Some Questions For You sounds wonderful.

>3 BLBera: I hope you love 11-22-63 as much as I did when I read it in November of 2011. It was a 4.5* read.

>4 BLBera: Sharks in the Time of Saviors was another 4.5* read for me.

>69 BLBera: I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip.

Sorry you were sick, with whatever it was.

huhtikuu 5, 10:30 am

Hi Karen. Thanks for stopping by. I feel as if I am still really far behind on the threads; I didn't look at LT while I was gone.

Last night my daughter, Scout, and I saw "Hamilton" at the Orpheum in Minneapolis. It was fantastic, the music, acting, choreography all great. We got over our regret about not seeing the original cast. :) Scout stayed awake through the entire show. Her favorite bit was King George.

huhtikuu 5, 10:44 am

King George was also my favorite part of Hamilton :) Well, him, and the line, "Everything's legal in New Jersey!"

huhtikuu 5, 12:08 pm

Yes, that line did get a laugh, Katie.

huhtikuu 5, 1:14 pm

Glad to hear Hamilton is great on tour - hoping to see it in Manchester early next year (!)

huhtikuu 6, 12:33 pm

>128 BLBera: I've seen Hamilton live twice (once in Chicago in 2016 and the touring production in Canada last year) and it's been a delight every time. Glad to hear you and your family had a great time as well.

huhtikuu 6, 1:38 pm

Another extremely late happy first thread of 2023!

Your trip to Hawai’i sounds heavenly! I’ve never been to the Big Island, but I spent a wonderful week on Oahu back in ’05. Paradise! Love the orchid pic.

>128 BLBera: I’ve never seen Hamilton, but my daughter’s seen it 3 or 4 times, once with the original cast, I think. I keep saying I’ll get there one of these days, but so far it hasn’t happened.

Happy Easter weekend! (Yes, I’m getting a head start on that.)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 6, 7:13 pm

>112 BLBera: Who Owns the Clouds looks beautiful....I wonder if our library system has a copy...

Eta: looks like a no! Still, I am sure I will come across it one day.

>133 Storeetllr: no early start for the Easter weekend - here in NZ we are already there! Happy Easter all.

huhtikuu 8, 3:23 pm

>131 charl08: I hope you get to see it, Charlotte. It was wonderful.

>132 MickyFine: I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

>133 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. I really enjoyed the big island. You would love "Hamilton."

>134 LovingLit: Hi Megan - it is a beautiful book. Happy Easter to you.

huhtikuu 8, 9:57 pm

Your recent reading is sucking me in, Beth - especially your last two reads which I am on the look out for locally.

Have a lovely holiday weekend.

huhtikuu 9, 8:35 am

>136 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 9, 11:22 am

37. I Have Some Questions for You
Bodie Kane is a well-known podcaster who focuses on Hollywood women. The prevalence of violence toward women preoccupies Bodie: "It was the one where her body was never found. It was the one where her body was found in the snow. It was the one where he left her body for dead under the tarp. It was the one where she walked around in her skin and bones for the rest of her life but her body was never recovered." Bodie returns to Granby, a New Hampshire boarding school, to teach a class on podcasting. One student chooses to explore the murder of Thalia Keith, a classmate of Bodie's, triggering memories and raising questions about the murder investigation.

So, is this a whodunit? Or is it a novel of ideas, about bullying, the MeToo movement, cancel culture, influencers and social media? Pick one. For me, the novel suffers from too many ideas. And it's too bad because so many of Bodie's concerns are worth exploring: the sexual predation present in high school; the inequities of our criminal justice system; the commodification of women's bodies; responsibilities and ethics of social media, to name a few.

Part of my problem with this novel is the fact that I loved The Great Believers, so my expectations were really high. Is this novel as good? No, but it does explore many important, relevant ideas, albeit with a lack of focus.

huhtikuu 9, 9:01 am

>138 BLBera: - Bummer that one didn't hit the spot for you, Beth. I agree she included a lot, but I thought she handled it pretty deftly, and all the threads are so intertwined in society, it's hard to tease out just one to examine without the others (IMO!).

I subscribe to Makkai's Substack, and she recently did an interesting ask-me-anything sort of post, and her comments about the book were really interesting. One thing she mentions is how Bodie is most often described in reviews as a true-crime podcaster, when her podcast actually focuses on women in Hollywood ;-)

huhtikuu 9, 9:07 am

Hi Katie! You are right that it is hard to separate all of the issues -- I thought maybe she could have left out the whole Thalia Keith murder, and it would have been more focused on the treatment of women's bodies. I will have to listen to her interview. I feel sad because I wanted to love this novel. :(

huhtikuu 9, 9:29 am

>140 BLBera: - The AMA was in written form on her Substack. Here's the link!

huhtikuu 9, 11:21 am

Thanks Katie.

huhtikuu 9, 12:32 pm

>138 BLBera: Oh no. I will adjust my expectations I think. (I also remember The Great Believers fondly.)

huhtikuu 9, 12:56 pm

>138 BLBera: I agree - there was way too much going on in this one but I thought the rest of the story made up for it. Oddly, maybe, I wonder if I liked it more considering how much I loved The Great Believers.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 9:42 am

38, Old Babes in the Wood
I love the title of this wonderful collection of short stories. My favorites are the Tig and Nell stories that bookend the collection. Tig and Nell are partners who have been together for a long time; there's an elegiac tone to the stories, especially in the later ones after Tig is gone. There is warmth and humor here with a keen sense of the grief felt by Nell. Knowing that Atwood recently lost her long-time partner makes me think these are autobiographical, at least in the emotional sense.

But there are other stories as well; the interview of George Orwell conducted by Margaret Atwood through a medium is hilarious, and we also have a dystopian story and one narrated by a snail.

Great collection. Highly recommended.

huhtikuu 10, 9:41 am

>143 charl08: Charlotte, others have loved it, so don't take my word.

>144 Copperskye: Hi Joanne - I know that I am an outlier. Others have loved this.

huhtikuu 10, 9:42 am


huhtikuu 10, 1:10 pm

I’m glad your Hawaii trip was fabulous, Beth. But how could it not be, right? It’s a bummer that you came down with the crud right after. So when is your Spain adventure? My granddaughter Sadie is studying abroad this semester in Prague. She went to Barcelona for a long weekend and was disappointed that her high school Spanish didn’t make her fluent in the language. She still loved it, especially the warmth. ;-)

Hooray for another outlier on the newest Makkai book! I know I shouldn’t expect two WOW books in a row, but I did expect more than I got out of I Have Some Questions For You. I’m still all-in for her next book, no matter the topic.

huhtikuu 10, 9:34 pm

We're going to Spain in June. Usually taking a couple of years of high school language doesn't give you much fluency. You need practice and immersion.

Thanks for the Makkai support; sometimes I feel curmudgeonly when I don't love a book everyone is raving about. :)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 10, 9:51 pm

Waimea Canyon

huhtikuu 11, 12:48 am

Glad you had such a nice time in Hawaii. Are you feeling better yet?

huhtikuu 11, 12:49 am

>147 BLBera: I love it when there are book co-incidences - like when The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi introduced me to the Yemeni port of Aden, build on the edges of a dormant volcano crater, which then showed up in Cutting for Stone as an unsavory stop on the characters journeys.

huhtikuu 11, 10:13 am

>151 Berly: I am feeling better, thanks, TwinK. And yourself?

>152 quondame: Yes, it's amazing how one book leads to another to another...

huhtikuu 11, 10:21 am

39. A Killing of Innocents
One of the attractions of reading a series is getting to know the characters and observing them as they move through time. Deborah Crombie's latest installment in her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series gives us the latest news about the family as the children grow and Gemma and Duncan juggle parenting with two careers. Other characters are back as well: Melody and Doug, as well as the prickly Jasmine Sidana.

This is well-plotted and kept me guessing until the end. The team is investigating a stabbing death of a young doctor, Sasha Johnson. They are stymied when there is another stabbing, of a colleague of Sasha's. How are the murders connected? And where is Sasha's brother?

Fans of the series will be satisfied.

huhtikuu 11, 10:31 am

>154 BLBera: Nice review, Beth. This is one of my favorite series and as you say, this latest does not disappoint.

huhtikuu 11, 10:35 am

>154 BLBera: - I still have a few Kincaid/James novels to get to. I seem to be hoarding them!

huhtikuu 11, 11:05 am

>147 BLBera: I'm reading the Atwood too Beth.

huhtikuu 11, 2:36 pm

>154 BLBera: I've been eyeing this series for a while -- perhaps I will start it soon.

huhtikuu 11, 2:58 pm

>155 rosalita: Thanks Julia. I was wondering if you had read it. I hope she doesn't take so long before the next one is ready. I'd forgotten some of the relationship stuff.

>156 katiekrug: It's nice to have some nice hoarded. :)

>157 Caroline_McElwee: Isn't it great, Caroline?

>158 foggidawn: It's a good series.

huhtikuu 11, 3:30 pm

>159 BLBera: Yes, there was a big gap between the last book and this one — I wondered if she had stopped writing it. It took me a minute to remember how all the kids fit into the family, to be honest. :-)

huhtikuu 11, 5:20 pm

>158 foggidawn: me too. I suspect resistance is futile. 😀

huhtikuu 11, 6:03 pm

>160 rosalita: Do you know if she is planning another?

>161 lauralkeet: You know you want to, Laura. 😃

huhtikuu 11, 7:41 pm

>161 lauralkeet: - It's such a great series, Laura. Do it!! You will not be disappointed, as long as you give it more than the first one or two books, which are the weakest.

huhtikuu 11, 8:27 pm

>162 BLBera: Her website says she's working on the 20th book, but no info on when it might come out.

huhtikuu 11, 8:54 pm

I`m glad you had a such a wonderful trip to Hawaii, Beth. Did you like The Bandit Queens ? I did but of the three books from the Women's Longlist Prize that I have read, it was my least favourite, but still a good read.

I think my next Atwood might be the Stone Mattress as I have been told it is good read.

huhtikuu 12, 6:14 am

>162 BLBera:, >163 katiekrug: Okay, okay, okay! I promise I'll get to it.

huhtikuu 12, 3:37 pm

huhtikuu 12, 9:49 pm

>166 lauralkeet: 😀

>167 Berly: You too, although not such a big deal since retirement.

huhtikuu 13, 4:49 pm

>150 BLBera: Gorgeous pics!

huhtikuu 14, 8:19 am

Thanks Mary.

huhtikuu 14, 8:32 am

Happy Friday, Beth. Glad you had a great time in Hawaii, although that is not surprising. How did Old Babes in the Woods get by me? I love Atwood and short stories. On my radar now.

huhtikuu 14, 9:41 am

It's great, Mark. If you are an Atwood fan, you'll love it. Happy Friday to you.

huhtikuu 14, 10:23 am

Morning, Beth! Happy Friday!

>145 BLBera: A direct hit! Onto The List it goes.

>150 BLBera: Beautiful!

>154 BLBera: I need to get back to this series! I'm not very far in, but I have loved the books I have read in it.

Hoping that your Friday is full of fabulous!

huhtikuu 14, 10:39 am

Thanks Mamie - I hope your Friday is wonderful as well. Book club today for me! The Crombie series is great; I like how the characters evolve.

huhtikuu 14, 12:15 pm

Hi Beth! I'm a fan of the Crombie series but can't remember a single thing about any of the mysteries! It's just the characters and their domestic lives that have stuck with me. I enjoyed them all. I've been waiting for the most recent one A Killing of Innocents, which was supposed to be out in 2022. Your post prompted me to check on the release date's out! So many thanks, it's now on my library hold list!

huhtikuu 14, 12:25 pm

Hi Vivian - I agree that the domestic lives are a big draw in this series. Enjoy the new one.

huhtikuu 14, 5:30 pm

>150 BLBera: Quite beautiful. I love the color or the soil against the greenery.

Happy weekend ahead!

huhtikuu 15, 10:11 am

>177 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita. It was very striking.

huhtikuu 15, 10:12 am

40. The Constant Rabbit
I'm generally not a big fan of satire, but Jasper Fforde's novel gave me lots to think about and made me laugh out loud in places.

About fifty years before the events in the novel, an anthropomorphizing Event took place. Eighteen rabbits (as well as a few other animals) were "elevated" to humanness. Since rabbits reproduce so quickly, this is the group that causes the most concern to people, especially governments. As the novel opens, the UK government is planning to relocate the rabbit/human population to a Megawarren.

Through people's leporiphobia, Fforde satirizes xenophobia and Brexit. As one of the rabbits points out, human culture and civilization has disadvantages: "But there are drawbacks, too: the knowledge of one's own demise is a bit of a downer, like a massive spoiler alert, and your spiteful sense of illogical hatred does take a little getting used to." Rabbits also point to human's abuse of the environment to suggest that the rabbit population is not such a big problem.

My book club discussed the book and most liked it although one person pointed out that there are lots of unanswered questions. Another member commented, it was "weird but interesting." One of the unanswered questions: will humans and rabbits learn to coexist?

For fans of satire and Animal Farm.

If someone would like my copy, PM me your address and I will send it on.

huhtikuu 15, 12:07 pm

>179 BLBera: Constant Rabbit is on my TBR already or I would add it in a flash. Looks great!

Karen O

huhtikuu 15, 2:21 pm

Would you like my copy, Karen?

huhtikuu 15, 2:30 pm

Dang. Karen beat me to it! That one sounds great. I love Jasper Fforde! : )

huhtikuu 15, 2:41 pm

>179 BLBera: I liked this one. I think it's a genius choice for a bookclub discussion - I might ask if my work one will try it.

huhtikuu 15, 2:48 pm

>182 Berly: It's yours, TwinK. You asked first. I actually was thinking of you as I was reading this.

>183 charl08: I think it would be an even better choice for a UK book club. Or one in Wales -- that's where the Megawarren was going to be...

huhtikuu 15, 2:49 pm

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 16, 2:29 pm

>184 BLBera: Yay!! : )

huhtikuu 15, 4:07 pm

Hi Beth! The Constant Rabbit sounds interesting. But I have found Fforde a bit too idea-heavy for my reading, usually.

huhtikuu 15, 4:11 pm

>187 banjo123: It's not a quick read, Rhonda, but overall, I enjoyed it. Maybe Kim will pass on the copy when she is finished with it. :)

huhtikuu 16, 7:27 am

>181 BLBera: Oh, thank you but, no, for the Fforde. And I see it worked out for the best.

Karen O

huhtikuu 16, 11:06 am

I'm glad it found a home although if not here on LT, it was going in my mini free library.

huhtikuu 16, 11:23 am

41. Just the Plague
It seems that recently I have mostly reserved books in the library; I don't do much as much browsing as I used to. But browsing does pay off, as seen in this book by Ludmila Ulitskaya.

It's a slim volume, originally written as a play in the 1980s. Now Ulitskaya revisits it, and it is a novel that, as the author states, "has acquired a new significance."

It's set in 1939 and based on true events. Stalin is in power and people are pretty fearful of the NKVD, the secret police. During this time, Dr. Rudolf Meier, of the Anti Plague Institute, is working on a vaccine for the Plague. He is called to Moscow to report on his progress but has unknowingly become exposed to the pneumonic plague and soon falls ill. His colleagues in the Commisariat of Public Health rush to contain it but have to ask for help from the NKVD, which certainly has the capacity to find and contain people who were exposed. However, the arrival of the infamous Black Marias causes terror in the unsuspecting with some unfortunate consequences.

Ulitskaya packs a lot in this short novel -- LOTS of characters -- and she gives us a rather ambiguous view of the situation. It turns out that a totalitarian state has an excellent mechanism for controlling the plague. We just have to question the cost of this efficiency. And, of course, once the NKVD, with its "High Personage" (Lavrentiy Beria) is brought into the picture, it may be difficult to rein it in. The first reaction of the High Personage is, "We'll help with the lists, and with the liquidation." The Commissar of Health had to explain that liquidation is not needed in this case. But if you are a hammer...

Really interesting and surprisingly relevant little novel. I'm glad I discovered it.

huhtikuu 16, 5:21 pm

>149 BLBera: "sometimes I feel curmudgeonly when I don't love a book everyone is raving about." Me too, Beth, but I have to follow my heart...and we all like or dislike things for various reasons. I'm just glad this group is understanding about my occasional grumpiness.

More beautiful pictures from your trip. Thank you.

huhtikuu 16, 6:28 pm

>179 BLBera: Great review, Beth. I confess I was not a fan of Animal Farm when I had to study in High school English, but you never know. With all the time that has passed highschool, I might be due a re - read or check out my library and give The Constant Rabbit a try. Just The Plague sounds interesting too. Another excellent review.

huhtikuu 16, 8:35 pm

>179 BLBera: I'm putting The Constant Rabbit on my list. Fforde is hit-or-miss for me, but this one sounds interesting!

huhtikuu 17, 10:42 am

42. The Great Enigma
I'm glad I read this collection of poems by the Nobel Prize winner; it only took me about three months of reading.

The poems range over a period of fifty years, from 1954 to 2004, and I can see the evolution in theme and style. Transtörmer's style is very visual, especially in the earlier poems. There is an impersonal feeling that changes as the years progress. He becomes more concerned with the spiritual. The collection ends with a group of haiku:

Birds in human shape.
The apple trees blossom.
The great enigma.

While I enjoyed some of the poems, I didn't love them. I don't feel drawn into Transtörmer's poetry as I do, for example, into Mary Oliver's. Her connection to nature and descriptions seem more personal. I will probably dip into the collection again; I usually find that poetry is rewarding on rereading.

huhtikuu 19, 1:34 am

Sorry to see that you ended up with crud after your Hawaii trip, Beth. I ended up with crud after two of my trips last year but not the cruise - go figure. I think that because I didn't travel for two years, I hadn't been exposed to enough germs. You reminded me that I should get to the next book in Deborah Crombie's series. I've only read two so far.

huhtikuu 19, 9:27 pm

>192 Donna828: Hi Donna. Thanks. I think some great conversations are generated when we don't agree on books.

>193 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah.

>194 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. The Constant Rabbit does offer lots of food for thought.

>196 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. What I don't understand is that I was the only one to catch anything. Oh well. It was nice to travel again.

huhtikuu 20, 12:38 am

Hi Beth, I hope you are feeling much better. I am another one who loves the Deborah Crombie series, and I have the next one for me lined up to read this month. I am at #10 In A Dark House and I am looking forward to it.

huhtikuu 20, 10:35 am

You are so lucky to have so many to look forward to, Judy. It is such a good series.

huhtikuu 20, 10:46 am

43. Quarrel & Quandary
I enjoyed this collection of essays from 2000. In her introduction, Ozick says, "The central question, perhaps, is this: is politics a distraction from art, or is it how we pay attention to the life that gives rise to art?" In her essays, she discusses current events as they relate to various artists. Her subjects are wide ranging; she connects the Unabomber to Dostoyevsky, discusses Henry James, looks at Holocaust literature, with timely discussions of appropriation and distortion, and ends with an homage to New York City.

While many of the essays have a definite academic approach and tone, she also includes some personal essays; I loved "A Drug Store Eden," which looks at growing up in Pelham Bay and the funny "How I Got Fired From My Summer Job."

I'm glad I finally got to this collection, which has been on my shelf for years, and I will certainly read more by Ozick, both fiction and nonfiction.

huhtikuu 20, 11:11 am

>1 BLBera: I'm looking forward to "The Book of Form and Emptiness"; it's next on my reading list!

huhtikuu 20, 1:17 pm

It is wonderful. I will reread it at some point.

huhtikuu 21, 4:06 pm

44, Stone Blind
Natalie Haynes know her myths. Her podcast is entertaining, and I loved Pandora's Jar, her nonfiction work that looks at the treatment of the various female characters in Greek mythology, one of whom is Medusa. In Pandora's Jar, Haynes points out that Medusa "is made up of dualities." We are accustomed to viewing her at the snake-headed monster. In this novel, we get the story of Medusa as a mortal sister to the immortal Gorgons, Sthenno and Euryale. Olympus is presented as a soap opera, full of petty quarrels and jealousies. None of the gods come off well. Nor do the human "heroes." The story of Perseus, who is on a quest to cut off a Gorgon's head, reveals him to be ineffectual and a bit of a whiner. He needs a lot of help from the gods to be successful. In fact, the parts where Athene and Hermes are helping Perseus are quite funny.

In the end, we have to ask ourselves what makes a monster.

There are lots of voices and characters, but Haynes manages to tie them together in the end. I think I may have liked A Thousand Ships more, but this is another good retelling of a myth.

I look forward to discussing this.

huhtikuu 21, 4:21 pm

>203 BLBera: This sounds right up my alley, as I’ve always been partial to Medusa.

huhtikuu 21, 5:00 pm

>204 Storeetllr: Then you would probably love it, Mary.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 21, 5:39 pm

>203 BLBera: I've had Pandora's Jar on my library wish list for ages, and you are most likely the person responsible for that. Your latest review is a great reminder to read it, already.

huhtikuu 21, 7:22 pm

I really liked it, Laura. I listened to parts of it, and Haynes' reading is very good as well.

huhtikuu 21, 7:51 pm

>203 BLBera: Nice review, Beth. I've got four books read from the Women's Fiction Prize list. I've not been partial to myth re -tellings, but your review makes me consider borrowing Stone Blind. Charlotte enjoyed it too, and I am sure many others.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 12:25 am

Nice review of Stone Blind! My goal is to write mine tomorrow. But short review is "Loved it!" ; )

huhtikuu 22, 1:30 am

>208 vancouverdeb: I have enjoyed the myth retellings I've read, Deborah. I've also read four books from the Women's Prize list. I'm reading Trespasses now.

>209 Berly: Short works. I can't wait to discuss.

huhtikuu 22, 7:58 am

I'm putting Stone Blind on my library list, Beth. Nice review.

huhtikuu 22, 9:41 am

Great review Beth.

I liked how the sisters cared for baby Medusa: the parenting emotions seemed well done to me (fwiw). And funny.
I'd add a plug for seeing her live: she was definitely worth the ticket price. I could have listened for longer.

huhtikuu 22, 10:12 am

>211 katiekrug: Thanks Katie.

>212 charl08: Lucky you, Charlotte, to see Haynes in person. I have enjoyed listening to her, which reminds me, it's been a while. She really did humanize the Gorgons, which made us see Perseus in a new light, for sure.

huhtikuu 22, 3:32 pm

Stone Blind sounds good! I put it on hold.

huhtikuu 22, 7:07 pm

I think if you enjoy the myth retellings from a feminist viewpoint, you'll enjoy this.

huhtikuu 23, 10:59 am

I am reading The Faraway World, a collection of stories by Patricia Engle, and LOVE them. I loved her Infinite Country, and these stories are just as good, if not better.

huhtikuu 23, 4:35 pm

>203 BLBera: I like NH, but I'm not big on myths, I read one of her non-myth novels a while ago and enjoyed. I love Pat Barkers war and earlier novels, but have not tried her myth ones Beth.

huhtikuu 24, 8:56 am

Hi Beth, delurking to let you know I visited. You've been reading up a storm!
April has been a 'dry' month for me. Thank goodness it isn't a case of "having" to keep up with reading books at a clip. I've learned to abandon more books in recent times, when I am just not in the right frame of mind.

huhtikuu 24, 1:12 pm

>217 Caroline_McElwee: I know not everyone is a fan of the retelling of myths, Caroline. I have quite enjoyed the ones I've read.

>218 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy. Lurk away!

huhtikuu 24, 1:12 pm

45. Trespasses
I will be thinking about Trespasses for a long time. With Cushla's story, Louise Kennedy shows us the sense of oppression that people feel living in a war zone. The novel is suffused with a sense of pending doom, as people try to live their lives the best they can.

Cushla is a twenty-four-year-old school teacher. She teaches seven-year-olds and each morning she is required to have news, so the kids "know what is going on in the world." Cushla hates it, thinking her students know very well what is happening in the world around them: "Booby trap. Incendiary device. Gelignite. Nitroglycerine. Petrol bomb. Rubber bullets. Saracen. Internment. The Special Powers Act. Vanguard. The vocabulary of a seven-year-old child now."

After school, Cushla often helps in her brother's bar. There she meets a married Protestant barrister and begins an affair, even knowing it won't end well.

Wonderful novel, one of the best I've read this year.

huhtikuu 24, 1:30 pm

>220 BLBera: This one better be shortlisted! Glad to you liked it. I was reminded of Milkman: completely different style, of course, but powerful evocation of a time and place which is (hopefully) in the past.

huhtikuu 24, 1:42 pm

>220 BLBera: - I'm really looking forward to getting to this one!

huhtikuu 24, 1:59 pm

>220 BLBera: Oooh! Another good one and nice writeup, too.

huhtikuu 24, 3:59 pm

>221 charl08: I agree, Charlotte, but I am awful at predicting prize winners, so I guess I shouldn't say anything and jinx it. It was so good. I haven't read Milkman yet; it's been on my pile for ages.

>222 katiekrug: I think you'll like it, Katie.

>223 Berly: Thanks TwinK! I think this is our May book! I am ahead this time.

huhtikuu 24, 4:04 pm

>220 BLBera: That sounds interesting, but rather too much in tone to what I've been reading and not feeling satisfied by.

huhtikuu 24, 6:09 pm

>220 BLBera: I'm so glad you liked Trespasses, Beth! I have it right here in front of me just waiting to be picked up and read. I only skimmed your thoughts on it but I know I'll be reading it sooner rather than later now.

huhtikuu 24, 10:00 pm

>224 BLBera: >226 Copperskye: Got my copy of Trespasses today! Not going to start it just yet. You're WAY ahead!!

huhtikuu 24, 10:32 pm

>225 quondame: It's pretty heartbreaking in parts, Susan.

>226 Copperskye: I'll watch for your comments, Joanne. I loved it.

>227 Berly: 😀

huhtikuu 25, 12:44 am

>220 BLBera: So pleased that you enjoyed Trespasses, Beth! Great review. It's my favourite of the four longlisted women's prize novels that I have read. Like Charlotte, I feel that Trespasses better be on the Shortlist! Not long now!

huhtikuu 25, 7:02 am

>220 BLBera: I can't wait to read Trespasses now, too! Luckily I'm on the library list. Excellent review, Beth.

huhtikuu 25, 9:26 am

>229 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah. Fingers crossed.

>230 lauralkeet: I think you'll like it, Laura.

huhtikuu 25, 9:31 am

I came straight here from your comment on my thread, Beth, but I don't see any listing of a newly acquired box of books — are you holding out on us?!


huhtikuu 25, 9:43 am

>233 BLBera: That's a good list, Beth! I have two on my own shelves — Black Sun and Stoner that I really should read at some point. I've heard good things about both of them.

I'm not as familiar with the others but the descriptions sound enticing.

huhtikuu 26, 8:49 am

>233 BLBera: Great mix of books, Beth. Any that are calling your name to read *right now*?

huhtikuu 26, 10:22 am

>234 rosalita: I hope they reward me and that I get to them soonish, Julia.

>235 charl08: I am going to try to read the books on the shortlist that are available here, Charlotte. I've only read two of the six. I am still waiting for my copy of Fire Rush from the library. The other three I have on my shelves.

huhtikuu 26, 11:14 am

>233 BLBera: Good morning, Beth, The only book I'm familiar with from your new box-o-books is Stoner, which I loved. Lucky you having it in front of you!

huhtikuu 26, 3:45 pm

I've been wanting to read it for a long time, Joanne. I thought I had a copy, but didn't. I'm hoping I can convince my book club to read it.

huhtikuu 27, 9:40 am

I’ve added Trespasses and Stoner to my TBR list! That’s pretty good for one visit to your thread!

Have a great day!

Karen O

huhtikuu 27, 10:12 am

Thanks Karen. I hope you enjoy any books you see recommended here.

huhtikuu 28, 10:42 am

46. The Dog of the North
Elizabeth McKenzie creates characters who are unusual, yet she manages not to turn them into caricatures. She makes us care about them. Her books are often described as quirky, which is a good description, and I know that this novel won't appeal to everyone. I quite enjoyed the journey of her protagonist, Penny Rush.

Penny Rush's life is a mess. She has just left her husband and quit a deadend job. She is on her way to an intervention with her grandmother, who seems to be suffering from dementia, waving a gun at anyone who attempts to enter her house, which is looking increasingly rundown. And her grandfather Arlo's second wife is sending Penny increasingly strident messages saying that Arlo needs to go to a home. As Penny tries to deal with these problems, she meets Burt and his van The Dog of the North.

Despite all of the obstacles facing Penny, the novel isn't depressing; Penny is a person who keeps going, despite all of the pressures and challenges: "Maybe only now was it hitting me how alone I was. But I didn't need to punish myself with existential thoughts at that moment, as I had things to do and appointments to keep." Penny responds to problems as they arise.

While I enjoyed it, I'm not sure how it got its place on the Women's Prize longlist.

huhtikuu 28, 10:52 am

47. The Faraway World
Great collection of stories by Engel. I loved her Infinite Country and was happy to see this new work by her. Most of her stories are about Colombians, in the US and in Colombia. The common thread that runs through the stories is the search for meaning and connection. Engel captures the loneliness of people -- both immigrants and people living in a country with no chances of rising out of poverty.

My favorites are "Aida," about a twin sister who disappears and "The Book of Saints," the story of a Colombian woman and an American man who marry after meeting online.


huhtikuu 28, 10:56 am

>179 BLBera: >203 BLBera: >220 BLBera: You got me with all these! Haven't read Jasper Fforde for a long time. And, Pandora's Jar has been on the shelf so would make a nice companion read to Stone Blind.

Hope you are doing better and your dreams are of sandy beaches in Hawaii.

huhtikuu 28, 11:03 am

Thanks Karen. I am fine, ready for spring!

huhtikuu 28, 11:19 am

>241 BLBera: Hi Beth - I also questioned The Dog of the North's place on the longlist, but I enjoyed it very much. Loved the characters, even if some of the circumstances seemed far-fetched. Wandering Souls is on it's way to you. Hope you love it!

huhtikuu 28, 12:24 pm

>241 BLBera:, >245 vivians: I appreciate your review of The Dog of the North, Beth, and Vivian's comments too. I have to admit the author's previous book, The Portable Veblen, didn't work for me because the quirky factor was just too much. I agree this one doesn't sound like prize-winning fare. We'll see what the judges think eh?

huhtikuu 28, 12:42 pm

>245 vivians: Thanks Vivian! I did enjoy it, maybe especially after the intensity of Trespasses. I am reading Pod right now; it's early, but I think I am going to like it. Have you read that one?

>246 lauralkeet: Hi Laura - it has been a while since I read The Portable Veblen, but I think her new one is less quirky? Still, it's one you can probably ignore if you didn't like the first one.

huhtikuu 28, 1:18 pm

>I'm on hold at the library for Pod. I wasn't a fan of her earlier The Bees (I think that might have been longlisted too) but I'm going to give it a try. I'll be waiting to hear what you think! I just finished (and loved) The Latecomer and started the newest Deborah Crombie.

huhtikuu 28, 1:22 pm

I really liked The Bees, so I was looking forward to Pod. Interesting that it made it to the shortlist.

I really liked the new Crombie, Vivian. That is such a good series. I wish there wasn't such a long wait between books. I forget some of the plot lines and people from the previous books.

I haven't read anything by Hanff Korelitz yet although I have one by her on my shelves.

huhtikuu 28, 9:46 pm

>249 BLBera: I must admit that, based on the noise surrounding the books, I was a bit surprised that it made the shortlist but not entirely displeased either. I bought it this month and will certainly try and read it soon.

Have a lovely weekend, dear lady.

huhtikuu 29, 1:13 am

>241 BLBera: I looked at a copy of The Dog of the North at bookstore over the weekend. It did not strike me as book I wanted to read , and I had also read that it was quite a quirky book. Nice review, Beth. I purchased a copy of Black Butterflies , but it will take 10 days or so to get to my place. I hope you enjoy Pod. I'll forward to your review.

huhtikuu 29, 12:01 pm

>250 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul - Yes, it is difficult to know what the judges are looking at.

>251 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah - I know that The Dog of the North won't be one for everyone. McKenzie has quite an original way of looking at things.

toukokuu 3, 2:28 pm

Good to know that the Crombie series is still holding up. I’m barely at the beginning of it. I hope your spring comes soon, Beth.

toukokuu 3, 5:22 pm

Thanks Meg.
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