labfs39's Literary Peregrinations: Chapter 3

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KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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labfs39's Literary Peregrinations: Chapter 3

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 3, 11:52 am

Currently Reading

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah


A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf


Middlemarch by George Eliot, narrated by Maureen O'Brady

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 2, 10:01 pm

Books Read in 2023

1. The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai, translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud (TF, ebook, 4*)
2. Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky, translated from the Russian by various poets (TF, 3*)
3. No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel (NF, 4*)
4. So Vast the Prison by Assia Djebar, translated from the French by Betsy Wing (TF, 3*)
5. A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa, translated from the Japanese by Risa Kobayashi and Martin Brown (TNF, 4*)
6. The Double Helix by James D. Watson (NF, audiobook, 3.5*)
7. Love's Shadow by Ada Leverson (F, 3.5*)
8. Hiroshima Diary by Michihiko Hachiya, translated from the Japanese by Warner Wells (TNF, 4.5*)
9. Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld (GF, 3.5*)
10. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf, translated from the Swedish by Velma Swanston Howard (TF, ebook, 4*)


11. The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salustio, translated from the Portuguese by Jethro Soutar (TF, 4*)
12. The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila, translated from the Portuguese by Jethro Soutar (TF, 4*)
13. The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto, translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw (TF, 4*)
14. Memories Look at Me: A Memoir by Tomas Tranströmer, translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton (TNF, 3.5*)
15. Native Dance: An African Story by Gervasio Kaiser (F, ebook, 2.5*)
16. The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy by Paulina Chiziane, translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw (TF, 4*)
17. Five Tuesdays in Winter: Stories by Lily King (F, 3*)
18. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (F, 4*)

19. An Altered Light by Jens Christian Grøndahl, translated from the Danish by Anne Born (TF, 3*)
20. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (F, 4.5*)
21. Cherry Ames, Student Nurse by Helen Wells (F, 3.5*)
22. Cherry Ames, Senior Nurse by Helen Wells (F, 3*)
23. Cherry Ames, Army Nurse by Helen Wells (F, 3*)
24. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (F, 3.5*)
25. Cherry Ames, Chief Nurse by Helen Wells (F, 3.5*)
26. Moon in Full by Marpheen Chan (NF, 4*)
27. Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse by Helen Wells (F, 3.5*)
28. Cherry Ames, Veterans' Nurse by Helen Wells (F, ebook, 3*)
29. Taken Captive: A Japanese POW's Story by Ooka Shohei, translated from the Japanese and edited by Wayne P. Lammers (TNF, 4*)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 8:19 am

Books Read in 2023


30. Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (F, 5*)
31. Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran (NF, 4*)
32. Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (F, 3.5*)
33. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (F, 3.5*)
34. The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason (F, 4*)
35. Wherever You Need Me by Anna Urda Busby (NF, 3*)
36. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (F, 4.5*)
37. Ru by Kim Thúy, translated from the French by Sheila Fischman (TF, 4*)
38. Paws of Courage by Nancy Furstinger (NF, 4*)


39. The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated from the Persian (TF, 4*)
40. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (F, 3.5*)
41. Persuasion by Jane Austen (F, 4*)
42. Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel (TF, 3.5*)
43. Foster by Claire Keegan (F, 3.5*)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 9:54 pm


January - North Africa: Saharan Sands (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco)
1. The Ardent Swarm by Yamen Manai* (Tunisia)
2. So Vast the Prison by Assia Djebar* (Algeria)
3. Women Writing Africa: The Northern Region* (Tunisia and Algeria)

February - Lusophone Africa (Mozambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé & Príncipe, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola)
1. The Madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salustio* (Cabo Verde)
2. The Ultimate Tragedy by Abdulai Sila* (Guinea Bissau)
3. The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto* (Mozambique)
4. Native Dance: An African Story by Gervasio Kaiser (São Tomé and Príncipe)
5. The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy by Paulina Chiziane* (Mozambique)

March - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Buchi Emecheta
1. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
2. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria)

April - The Horn of Africa
1. Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia)
2. Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia)

May - African Nobel Winners

June - East Africa

July - Chinua Achebe or Ben Okri

August - Francophone Africa

September - Southern Africa

October - Scholastique Mukasonga or Ngugi Wa Thiong'o

November - African Thrillers / Crime Writers

December - West Africa

* means translated

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 8:21 am

The Baltic Sea theme read
1. Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky
2. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf
3. Memories Look at Me: A Memoir by Tomas Tranströmer
4. An Altered Light by Jens Christian Grøndahl

Graphic Stories
1. Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld

Holocaust Literature
1. No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel

Nobel Laureates
1. Nativity Poems by Joseph Brodsky
2. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf
3. Memories Look at Me: A Memoir by Tomas Tranströmer

Book Club
January: The Double Helix by James Watson
February: Five Tuesdays in Winter: Stories by Lily King
March: Moon in Full by Marpheen Chan
April: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
May: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
June: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 8:27 am

TIOLI Challenges


Challenge #2: Read a book with trees or flowers on the cover (Black Mamba Boy)
Challenge #3: Read a book with a one word title (Ru)
Challenge #7: Read a book that shares at least one word with the first listed title (Beneath the Lion's Gaze, House in Cerulean Sea)
Challenge #8: Read a book that involves sports (Swallows and Amazons)
Challenge #10: Read a book by a female author with a female protagonist (Wherever You Need Me)
Challenge #12: APRIL SHOWERS rolling challenge (Sigh, Gone; The Winter Soldier, Paws of Courage)


Challenge #1: Read a book with a ten-letter (or more) word in the title, sub-title or author's name (Enlightenment of Greengage Tree)
Challenge #6: Read a book whose author has at least 2 of the letters that spell May in their name (Personal Librarian)
Challenge #10: Read a book that would have fit into a Jan to April TIOLI challenge that you participated in (Persuasion)
Challenge #13: Read a book by a foreign author (Time Shelter, Foster)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 8:21 am

Reading Globally

Books I've read in 2022 by nationality of author (a tricky business):

Algerian: 1
American: 13 (6 in a series)
Bissau Guinean: 1
Bulgarian: 1
Cambodian American: 1
Canadian: 1
Cape Verdean: 1
Danish: 1
English: 3
Ethiopian: 1
Iranian: 1
Irish: 1
Japanese: 2
Korean Japanese: 1
Mozambican: 2
Nigerian: 2
Polish: 1
Russian: 1
São Tomé and Príncipe: 1
Scottish: 1
Somali: 1
Swedish: 2
Tunisian: 1
Vietnamese American: 1
Vietnamese Canadian: 1

Check out my Global Challenge thread, labfs39 reads around the world, for a look at a cumulative list since around 2010. And I've broken out the US by state in my labfs39 tackles the states thread.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 8:22 am

Book stats for 2023:

I am trying to promote diversity in my reading and, for the lack of a more refined method, am tracking the following:

books total: 43

23 countries
16 (38%) translations

33 (76%) fiction
10 (24%) nonfiction

25 (57%) by women
18 (43%) by men
both (anthology)

19 (45%) nonwhite and/or non-European/US/British Commonwealth

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 21, 8:24 pm

My April Reading Plans (subject to abrupt change)

Book Club:
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Group Read:
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

African Novel Challenge:
Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia)
Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia)

huhtikuu 1, 10:38 am

Welcome! I hope you are having a pleasant April Fool's Day. An inch of snow fell here in Maine overnight, and although it's raining now, the ground is still white. Just when I had gotten used to patches of lawn being visible! I am eager to start gardening. First chore: removing all the fallen limbs. I'll need to borrow a chainsaw and a pickup from family members, but first I need this rib to heal. I saw some shoots from my lilies poking through the snow. Unfortunately, all the spring bulbs are buried under snowbanks at least three feet high. I may need to rethink where I plant bulbs in future.

For those of you who celebrate it, Passover is only days away. Can you believe it?

huhtikuu 1, 4:03 pm

I imagine that by April snow gets very wearying. We're still cool in NI but warming up a little. I'm eager to get my seeds sown, but I think I'll leave it another week or two as I'm not convinced it's warm enough in my sun room for them to germinate just yet.

I hope you get to see your spring bulbs soon. They lift the spirits.

huhtikuu 1, 4:06 pm

>10 labfs39: Spring is certainly taking its time!

huhtikuu 1, 4:06 pm

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

huhtikuu 1, 7:42 pm

>10 labfs39: We had a coating of snow, but still have good-sized white spot in the back yard. If it's not gone when I get up tomorrow I'm taking a rake to it! I do see an inch or so of green from some of the bulbs, and the blue periwinkle is showing through the leaves.

huhtikuu 1, 7:43 pm

Happy new thread, Lisa. We got snow overnight as well; I guess Mother Nature is playing an April Fool's joke on us.

huhtikuu 1, 9:48 pm

>11 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison. The day warmed up so the new snow melted, and my banks are slowly shrinking. I see a lot of raking in my future.

>12 RidgewayGirl: Snow in April is not uncommon here, but between the equinox and turning the clocks ahead, I feel like winter should be over and gone.

>14 avaland: LOL, good luck with that, Lois! The bank in front of my front steps is still four feet high—right on top of my front bed. I wish there were somewhere else I could put the snow. It takes so long to melt there. There's bare ground under the Norway maple, but the beds along the driveway are still buried. I can't even see the rocks in the rock garden wall. I wonder how many the plow trucks struck this year?

>15 BLBera: Hopefully she got it out of her system, and sunny weather is in store for us all!

huhtikuu 2, 10:16 am

This morning I started reading Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste for the African Reading Challenge. Wow, impressive writing. The kind of writing that makes you reread passages just to savor the language. Set during the 1974 Ethiopian revolution, I doubt this will be an easy book to read plot-wise, but so far I'm loving it.

huhtikuu 2, 10:18 am

Speaking of great writing, I am also reading A Room of One's Own for the Group Read here on CR. I love this image:

I had been drawing a face, a figure. It was the face and the figure of Professor von X. engaged in writing his monumental work entitled The Mental, Moral, and Physical Inferiority of the Female Sex. He was not in my picture a man attractive to women. He was heavily built; he had a great jowl; to balance that he had very small eyes; he was very red in the face. His expression suggested that he was labouring under some emotion that made him jab his pen on the paper as if he were killing some noxious insect as he wrote, but even when he had killed it that did not satisfy him; he must go on killing it; and even so, some cause for anger and irritation remained.

huhtikuu 2, 12:04 pm

>10 labfs39: no, but my mind is back in January, these months are just speeding fast

"but first I need this rib to heal. "

what? you have a broken rib and are going out trying to do yard clean up? Cant you get someone to do that? Yikes

huhtikuu 2, 10:11 pm

I had to stop reading Beneath the Lion's Gaze for a while this afternoon, it was so intense, but then I picked it up and finished it tonight. My first five star read of the year. In some ways it reminds me of The Colonel which I read last year, but with even better writing. Devastatingly superb. Review hopefully tomorrow.

huhtikuu 3, 7:08 am

>19 cindydavid4: Yeah, ribs take forever to heal.

huhtikuu 3, 8:29 am

More snow coming this week? I’m interested in Beneath the Lion’s Gaze (But I didn’t take to The Shadow King).

>18 labfs39: fun quote

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 9:32 am

This was a book I had bought in anticipation of the African Novel Challenge. It was only my second book by an Ethiopian writer, the first being Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, another great book.

Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
Published 2010, 308 p.

This is the story of a family on the eve of the Ethiopian revolution that would topple the centuries old monarchy. Hailu is a famous doctor, who is helpless before his wife's congenital heart failure. His older son, Yonas, is in his thirties and a professor of history, religious, with a wife and young daughter. The younger son, Dawit, is a college student, idealistic and intent on being part of the change happening around him, rebelling against his father's attempts to protect him. What happens to them during the years 1974-77 is heartbreaking and absorbing and a beautiful look at family relationships during a tumultuous period of political upheaval.

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa and now lives in the United States. She writes with a maturity that belies this is her first novel. The language is such that I reread passages just to enjoy the language. It is a difficult novel to read, however, because of the atrocities that happened in those years. Although the setting is historical, and I know nothing about Ethiopian history, I had no trouble following the plot because this is not a novel about the macro, but the micro, a family. That said, I think the novel is well-researched, given the bibliography at the end. I very much look forward to reading her later novel, The Shadow King.

Edited to fix touchstone.

huhtikuu 3, 9:33 am

>22 dchaikin: Gosh, I hope not, Dan. I'm ready for spring. I'm disappointed to hear that you didn't care for The Shadow King. I was hoping it would be as great as this one.

Have you read much Woolf? This is my first exposure.

huhtikuu 3, 10:27 am

Happy new thread, Lisa! You're doing exceptionally well in the Africa Literature Challenge so far.

Nice review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze; I read (and enjoyed) it in 2010, and reviewed it in Belletrista that year.

I liked The Shadow King, and based on their reviews so did Annie and Jennifer.

huhtikuu 3, 1:48 pm

>23 labfs39: great review. I think i might really enjoy this one.

>24 labfs39: well, let’s see what you think of The Shadow King if you get there. I was listening and never bonded and it became a chore for me.

>25 kidzdoc: 3 to 1 isn’t bad.

>24 labfs39: oh, Woolf. I’ve listened to the one you’re reading, and none other. I am anxious to fill that gap and read more Woolf (I checked interest in the Listy Wharton group, and got a firm no.)

huhtikuu 3, 3:37 pm

>23 labfs39: Cutting for Stone is one of my favorite books ever.

huhtikuu 3, 4:15 pm

>25 kidzdoc: I read your eloquent and thoughtful review on Belletrista, Darryl. I'm surprised you only gave it four stars on LT, as it seems like a book that would hit your sweet spot.

>26 dchaikin: I thought it was excellent, Dan, both the writing and the story. Do you remember what the turn off was with The Shadow King? I'm glad you stopped listening when it became a chore. Life's too short, right?

Huh, I wonder why the Wharton lovers were so anti-Woolf? I haven't read enough to have an opinion.

>27 dianeham: I was so impressed with Cutting for Stone that I picked up his later book, My Own Country: A Doctor's Story, but haven't read it yet. Have you?

Next Up:

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 4:36 pm

>27 dianeham: I completely agree, Diane. Cutting for Stone needs a new category, a 5* or 6 star rating.

>28 labfs39: Thanks, Lisa. I agree with you; my 4 star rating is far too low!

ETA: Abraham Verghese's memoir, My Own Country, was also a 5 star read for me. I can hardly wait to read his new novel, The Covenant of Water.

huhtikuu 3, 5:47 pm

>29 kidzdoc: Ooh, I didn't know he had a new novel out. I'll be watching for The covenant of water. I did read his memoir My own country, long before I read Cutting for stone. I was impressed by the content and his compassion.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 4, 7:13 am

>28 labfs39: i did finish The Shadow King on audio. Just never took to it. It’s a bit difficult, or was on audio. I didn’t recall/realize you had already read it.

Edited - i meant difficult, not different

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 3, 10:06 pm

>28 labfs39: >29 kidzdoc: I have not read My Own Country but sounds like a good idea. His upcoming book The Covenant of Water is over 700 pages!

huhtikuu 4, 7:00 am

>29 kidzdoc: I see that Verghese has another book as well, The Tennis Partner, about addiction. Has anyone read that one?

>30 markon: I'll need to move My Own Country up the TBR pile.

>31 dchaikin: I have not read The Shadow King, I was referring to Beneath the Lion's Gaze. Sorry for the confusion with pronouns!

>32 dianeham: Yikes! That's a doorstop for sure. Makes me a tad less enthusiastic. :-)

Sigh, Gone is good so far. Each chapter is titled after a Great Book, and he ties it in somehow. So far he's used Picture of Dorian Gray, The Plague, Crime and Punishment, and The Scarlet Letter.

huhtikuu 4, 9:10 am

>33 labfs39: I have a copy of The Tennis Partner, somewhere, but I haven't read it yet.

huhtikuu 6, 9:48 pm

Just catching up and going all the way back to your previous thread, the Cherry Ames books were all on my shelf (not my mother's) and I read many of them in the late 50's, early 60's. The one that stayed with me was Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse. For me as a pre-teen, I was really affected by the portrayal of the war (and having been born in 1950, WW II was really not that distant), which frightened me, and led to many discussions with my parents, especially my dad about war.
I read The Joys of Motherhood several years ago, and I think I liked it more than you.
Your review of Beneath the Lion's Gaze makes me want to read it right away--it's on my Kindle.

huhtikuu 9, 1:48 pm

>34 kidzdoc: The Tennis Partner sounds interesting too. Similarly partially autobiographical.

>35 arubabookwoman: Hi Deborah, Chief Nurse, set on a Pacific Island in 1944, and the next one, Flight Nurse, set in England, were my favorites too. An interesting look at the war, written during the war.

I liked The Joys of Motherhood well enough, and the plot was interesting. It was the writing style, I think, that brought it down a bit in my estimation.

I hope you like Beneath the Lion's Gaze when you get to it. I'll look forward to your impressions.

huhtikuu 9, 1:52 pm

Sorry I've been AWOL from LT this week. We hosted our Seder last night, however, so now I'm more relaxed and back on the threads. It was tons of fun, and the girls' reenactment of the exodus was a hit. Little Wren was especially cute, first as God's voice from the burning bush they had made, and later when belting out Dayenu from the staircase. :-)

Happy Easter to those who celebrate that holiday. It's a beautiful sunny day here today. Is spring finally here?

huhtikuu 9, 2:41 pm

Chag Someach!!! And Happy Easter and do say happy Ramadan? On Yom Kipppur we say 'may you have an easy fast' wonder if its something similar wishing you all great celebrations

huhtikuu 11, 6:20 am

Just catching up on your reading :-)

huhtikuu 11, 8:23 am

Happy Passover Lisa. Sounds like a fun seder. (At this point I’m quite ready for something bread-like, myself.)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 11, 4:32 pm

>38 cindydavid4: Thanks, Cindy, you too. The kids and I have been reading books about Ramadan, and my six-year-old niece was horrified at the idea of not eating for 12+ hours. She did say she might manage to skip breakfast, but that was IT (emphasis hers).

>39 avaland: Not much to see, I'm afraid...

>40 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan. I hear you! Personally I've been very happy that rice, corn, and beans are now kosher for Passover.

Edited to fix numbering

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 11, 4:40 pm

When did you manage to get to thread 3? I am pretty sure I got stuck somewhere in mid-thread 1 :)

>23 labfs39: I should pick this one up. I liked The Shadow King when I read it although I found it a bit over-wordy - not enough to turn me off the author but enough to hope that the style smooths out as she evolves as an author and learns to self-edit better.

huhtikuu 11, 7:10 pm

>41 labfs39: I haven’t adapted to the overturning of that restriction yet. 🙂 So mostly avoiding rice and beans and corn.

huhtikuu 11, 7:19 pm

>41 labfs39: >43 dchaikin:
Wait... rice and beans and corn were/are not considered kosher for Passover? I knew about bread and all kinds of seeds but did not realize these 3 are also out. I am very confused now. (And I will go read more about that).

huhtikuu 11, 9:25 pm

My book club had read Sigh, Gone early in 2021, before I joined them, but it was mentioned several times in our discussion of Moon in Full, so I picked it up from the library. It was the Read ME book for last summer (this year will be Night of the Living Rez).

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran
Published 2020, 301 p.

Phuc was only a toddler when his family was evacuated from Saigon in the final days before the city fell. Families in Carlisle, Pennsylvania sponsored his family, providing enough to get them started. Phuc's father had been a lawyer in Viet Nam, and both of his mother's parents had worked at the US Embassy. In America, however, his father is relegated to the tire factory, and his mother assembles electronics. Like many immigrant families they buy into the American dream, and eventually purchase a house and send their two children to college.

But small-town America in the 1970s is a tough place for Vietnamese. They are a constant reminder of the war that was lost and lurid images of napalm and naked babies. Phuc isn't sure what a "gook" is, but he knows it's nothing good. Eventually he finds acceptance and friends in the punk skateboarding crowd. It's better to be part of an outcast group than be outcast on your own. But Phuc also discovers the Great Books, a list of titles that "All Americans" should read. At first it's a way to impress his teachers and earn a place amongst the academic crowd, but he then falls in love with literature for it's own sake, and that was to provide his ticket out of Carlisle.

Sigh, Gone is irreverent, funny, and also heart-rending. As Phuc grows into himself, a chasm opens between him and his parents that is difficult to bridge. Language, customs, expectations, and culture comes between them in sometimes violent ways. I enjoyed Phuc's story and the literary tie-ins, as each chapter has a theme based on a classic in literature. Phuc now lives in Portland, Maine, and, after many years teaching Latin, currently runs a tattoo parlor.

huhtikuu 11, 9:40 pm

>42 AnnieMod: Welcome Annie, don't worry, I have two months of book reviews on your thread to catch up on too. I hope you like Beneath the Lion's Gaze if you get to it, but it was her debut novel. The Shadow King was written nine years later.

>43 dchaikin: This was my first year going with the new flow. It makes sense to me that they used to be restricted because they were usually mixed with wheat, and now they are not. And Sephardic Jews have always eaten rice and hummus at Passover, so... That said, I kept a strict Seder menu.

>44 AnnieMod: Nope, Conservative (Ashkenazic) Jews used to not eat any grains at Passover, including rice, barley, corn, beans, lentils, and oils made from these. But about 8 years ago, Conservative (American) rabbis overturned the prohibition on kitniyot. For some Jews, it's a hard habit to break. I know I felt weird at first. But it makes sense to me intellectually, so I went with it this year.

huhtikuu 15, 7:50 pm

My sister was donating some books to the library today, and, like any bookish snoop, I pawed through before carrying them up to the library. I found one that she must have purchased on her trip in Hawaii in January: Wherever You Need Me: The Anna Urda Busby Story. It's the memoir of a member of the Army Nurse Corps who was stationed in Honolulu during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the opening chapter, she writes about the roles of ANC nurses during WWII. Guess what it sounded like? Cherry Ames! Funny how books have a way of clustering when least expected. She writes about the differences nurses made in evacuation hospitals and flight nurses on fixed wing aircraft that removed casualties from the field hospitals/aid stations. Reading déjà vu.

huhtikuu 15, 7:58 pm

great review of Sigh, Gone.

(I'm happy to be off the Passover restrictions. I'm enjoying grain much more than normal lately.)

huhtikuu 16, 12:04 am

It's always cool when a non-fiction reinforces fiction...

huhtikuu 16, 8:34 am

>48 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan. Me too! French toast for breakfast, anyone?

>49 jjmcgaffey: Yes, and makes me feel a little less "guilty" about my comfort reading if I know it's based somewhat on fact. Funny that, I even enjoy scifi more if I know the science is sound. Hmm, I wonder if this is a recent predilection of mine, as I used to read fantasy, but not so much anymore, and when I do, it tends to be historical.

huhtikuu 16, 11:21 am

>50 labfs39: mmmm french toast is my go to breakfast on Sundays but I have made matzoh brei instead. Dif texture and taste but just as yummy.

huhtikuu 17, 4:22 pm

Just checking in. >47 labfs39: Great connection there! (your sister's book)

huhtikuu 17, 8:29 pm

Hi Lisa,

Just bought Sigh, Gone on my Kindle. Sounds really good and a faster read than the books I've been wading through lately. I'm trying not to buy books, but Wellington Library has it only as an audio book and I have yet to be converted. I use my car time to listen to podcasts and never get through as many as I have on my Spotify list!

I had no idea about the Passover dietary restrictions. Interesting. And Happy Passover!

huhtikuu 18, 2:31 pm

>51 cindydavid4: That sounds good, Cindy.

>52 avaland: It's fun when books connect serendipitously.

>53 cushlareads: Hi Cushla! Sigh, Gone was a fast read, and I found it interesting. I'll look forward to your thoughts when you get to it.

And thanks for the Passover wishes.

huhtikuu 18, 8:08 pm

I read this book for the African Novel Challenge. The author is Somali, but the protagonist wanders throughout the horn of Africa to Egypt and beyond. It was good, but not as well-written as Beneath the Lion's Gaze, IMO. It's only my second book by a Somali author, the first being the excellent graphic novel, When Stars are Scattered.

Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
Published 2010, 288 p.

Jama and his mother left Somaliland after Jama's father deserted them, and they are now living as dependents with unfriendly relatives in Yemen. To stay out of everyone's hair, including his mercurial mother's, Jama spends his days roaming the markets with other semi-feral children. After his mother's death, Jama decides to search for the father he has never known. At the age of eleven, he travels first to his homeland, then on to Sudan through Italian-held Abyssinia. After a stint as an askaris (local soldier serving in a colonial army), Jama wanders further north searching for a better future in the British merchant marines.

Jama's 1000-mile journey is based on the the life of the author's father. The book opens in 1935 and ends in 1947, covering a very tumultuous period in African history. The Italians and the British are vying for territory and as World War II begins, Jama is caught up in causes he doesn't understand, including, at the end of the novel, the drama of the Jewish refugees on the Exodus. As with all fictionalized biographies, I wonder where the line is between fact and fiction, but if even the bones of the story are true, it's an incredible one. For a debut novel, it is well done, and it was long-listed for the Orange Prize.

huhtikuu 19, 9:21 am

Nice review of Black Mamba Boy, Lisa; I read it in 2010, and I enjoyed it. Her most recent novel, The Fortune Men, was considerably better, though.

huhtikuu 19, 10:51 am

>56 kidzdoc: Thanks, Darryl. I will look for the The Fortune Men, since you say it is better written. Black Mamba Boy was good, but mainly for the plot/history.

huhtikuu 19, 12:08 pm

>57 labfs39: I will add my thumbs up for The Fortune Men. I was quite impressed with that one. I haven't read anything else by her but plan to fix that in the near future.

huhtikuu 19, 2:41 pm

>57 labfs39: I wrote a review of The Fortune Men in 2021, after it was chosen for that year's Booker Prize shortlist:

huhtikuu 19, 3:48 pm

>58 Yells: Thanks, Danielle. I will look for it. If you and Darryl both recommend it, it must be good!

>59 kidzdoc: I remember your review, Darryl, it was excellent. I chose Black Mamba Boy because of the setting—it seemed more apropos for the African Novel Challenge. I will look for FM though.

huhtikuu 19, 3:55 pm

Here's a couple of quotes I liked from Black Mamba Boy:

After his mother telling him that he would have "beautiful luck" because he was born in the year of the worm, so called because the appearance of the big worms presaged a plentiful rain and camel fecundity.

Despite the beauty of her words, Jama felt his mother threading pearl after pearl of expectation around his neck, ready for her to hang him one day.

Idea was a teacher in the government schools, who "put down his chalk and became the only male wife in Djibouti."

Idea saw that the schools did not disseminate knowledge but propaganda, blinding the young to any beauty or good in themselves. On hard benches the children were taught everything French and nothing about themselves; they were only dark slates to be written over with white chalk.

huhtikuu 19, 6:09 pm

"Despite the beauty of her words, Jama felt his mother threading pearl after pearl of expectation around his neck, ready for her to hang him one day."

yikes that does speak volumes!

huhtikuu 21, 8:25 pm

>62 cindydavid4: It was a line that stuck with me.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 8:30 am

This is my book club's selection for Monday night. It's not a book that I would have happened upon by myself, although I do like the cover.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Published 2020, 398 p.

Linus Baker is a forty-year-old minor bureaucrat in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is a caseworker who investigates orphanages where children with unusual talents or characteristics are held. Despite knowing that he is a mere cog in a vast, uncaring machine, he tries to do his job conscientiously and by the book. At night he returns to his dismal little house and condescending cat. He thinks of himself as blending in with the wallpaper.

Then one day he is summoned to appear before the Extremely Upper Management. Convinced he is about to be sacked or worse, he reports to the meeting where he is told he has been chosen to investigate a very classified orphanage with very classified and dangerous children. He is to stay there for a month and report back anything remotely suspicious in his weekly reports.

At first Linus is terrified of everything and everyone he finds on the island where the orphanage is located. But slowly he discovers a lot of surprising things about both them and himself, including the meaning of home.

Because of the topic (an orphanage filled with magical children) and the writing style (uncomplicated and easily digested), I at first thought this was a middle school fantasy book, but the protagonist is a 40-year-old man, not exactly typical of YA literature. Although I remain unsure of the intended audience, I found the book to be more charming than I anticipated. It's a warm little story about belonging and found family and difference. Themes of prejudice and hatred of other are reduced to platitudes such as,

Just because you don't experience prejudice in your everyday doesn't stop it from existing for the rest of us.


Hate is loud, but I think you'll learn it's because it's only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as you remember you're not alone, you will overcome.

and are directly solely at the population's fear and anger about magical beings—everyone in the book is completely accepting of the fact that Linus is gay. But the characters are fun, and I closed the book wondering if the author will write a sequel.

Edited to amend next to last line.

huhtikuu 22, 1:33 am

>64 labfs39: That is a great cover, Lisa. Great comments; I had thought it was a YA book as well, but having a middle-aged man as a protagonist does make one think. Good discussion point.

huhtikuu 22, 8:25 am

>65 BLBera: The author has said that he wrote the book with a queer protagonist, because he believes in normalizing homosexual relationships. Perhaps it is intended for a juvenile audience, but isn't marketed that way because of the current vigilante movement against queer representation in books for young people? Or perhaps it's just his style, and it is intended as a rather prim romance for adults? It will be interesting to see what others think. I just realized that I forgot to mention that Linus was gay in my review.

huhtikuu 22, 11:10 am

really loved this book, all the characters were so well drawn. Even was moved by the platitides. Definitely not just YA

huhtikuu 22, 12:48 pm

I've heard such good things about The Fortune Men—it's in the pile, but I should bump it up.

>64 labfs39: I was put off by this one thinking it was YA, but your review has me interested now.

huhtikuu 22, 1:41 pm

>64 labfs39: I also have a 'condescending' cat

huhtikuu 22, 4:28 pm

>67 cindydavid4: I'm curious to see what others in my book club have to say about House in the Cerulean Sea. I thought it was light, so I'm wondering if we will find enough to discuss. Who was your favorite character?

>68 lisapeet: I need to look for a copy of The Fortune Men, as I do not have it yet. In a way it seems like a continuation of Black Mamba Boy. When that book ends, the protagonist is an adult living in England, but waiting for a ship to take him home, or to Canada (a voyage that is supposed to earn sailors a lot of cash). Her father became a merchant sailor, so I'm guessing that even if Jama went home, he would return with his wife and child.

>69 baswood: Aren't they all? At least to a certain extent? I'm a dog person myself.

huhtikuu 22, 4:36 pm

I started reading The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason this morning and, thanks to a wrenched ankle which is keeping me from yard work, I am 45% of the way through the book. As I read I keep getting déjà vu, as though I have read it before, but it wasn't in my LT account. Have I read something similar? Or have I read this but forgotten? It's very good, and I love the atmosphere of the cover, although it has little to do with the main setting of the book to date.

Thanks to Lois/avaland for the recommendation.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 4:47 pm

>71 labfs39: Just checked to see if it had been made into a film as sometimes that's where the familiar feeling originates. It doesn't appear to be the case though. I did discover that Mason is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford. I did like The Piano Tuner and with you and avaland recommending this one, I'll look for it.

huhtikuu 22, 4:51 pm

>72 SassyLassy: At some point I owned a copy of The Piano Tuner, but after years of carting it around I seem to have either lost it or discarded it unread. I wish I had it now.

For those who are curious, here is the bio from his homepage:

Daniel Mason is a physician and author of The Piano Tuner (2002), A Far Country (2007), The Winter Soldier (2018), and A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth (2020), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His work has been translated into 28 languages, awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joyce Carol Oates Prize, the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, and a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Piano Tuner was produced as an opera by Music Theatre Wales for the Royal Opera House in London, and adapted to the stage by Lifeline Theatre in Chicago. His short stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All Story, Zyzzyva, Narrative, and Lapham’s Quarterly, and have been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a National Magazine Award and an O. Henry Prize. An assistant professor in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry, his research and teaching interests include the subjective experience of mental illness and the influence of literature, history, and culture on the practice of medicine.

huhtikuu 22, 7:13 pm

>71 labfs39: That's a lovely cover, Lisa. I have a copy of The Fortune Men on my shelf. I should read it and pass it on to you.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 22, 8:22 pm

>73 labfs39: He is also very cute, although that is maybe inappropriate to say. I really enjoyed his short story collection, A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth (which also has a lovely cover).

huhtikuu 23, 8:19 am

>74 BLBera: I'll look forward to your impressions when you get to it, Beth. We often like the same books.

>75 lisapeet: Daniel Mason looks very young, but I read he's 44. I finished his book this morning, and liked it quite a bit although the end left me feeling...I'm not sure, vaguely unsatisfied? Seemed a bit neat after everything the protagonist had been through. Yet it makes sense. I need to sit with it a bit more before I write my review. Enjoyed it though and will definitely read more of his works.

huhtikuu 23, 11:32 am

>70 labfs39: Two out of our three cats are not condescending at all.

>73 labfs39: I read The Piano Tuner way back when - I don't remember much/anything about it but I did like it.

huhtikuu 23, 2:22 pm

>76 labfs39: At this point, 44 feels very young to me...

huhtikuu 23, 2:30 pm

>77 ursula: My experience with cats is limited, but I'm sure there is a a wide range of personalities. I was being a bit tongue in cheek in >70 labfs39:.

I do think I'll read more Mason. I wonder where my copy of The Piano Tuner disappeared to?

>78 lisapeet: LOL, yes, it's all relative.

huhtikuu 23, 3:14 pm

>79 labfs39: oh I did realize it was tongue in cheek at least a little! But it is the stereotype for reasons - I am often surprised by how different their personalities are. And even the condescending one sleeps on me at night. 😆

huhtikuu 23, 4:41 pm

>80 ursula: The animal that astonished me the most with their personalities is the chicken. My daughter raised hens of various breeds, 12 or 15 total, when she was a kid. From protective and loyal to flighty to calm and imperturbable, they each had a very distinct personality. Who knew?

huhtikuu 23, 5:15 pm

This book had been on my radar since Lois/avaland mentioned it a while back. When it came up as a Kindle deal this week, I snagged it. I love the atmospheric cover.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason
Published 2018, 337? pages

Lucius Krzelewski was the only child of wealthy, aristocratic Polish parents who lived in Vienna in the 1930s. His father had served in the Lancers and had romantic views of war. His mother ran the family's businesses and had strong opinions. He always felt awkward as a child and preferred studying to socializing. To his mother's disappointment, he enrolled in medical school. To his amazement, he was an excellent student and even made a couple of friends who liked to study as much as he did. Even as a third year medical student, however, there was very little interaction with patients, and, when World War I began, joining the military seemed like an excellent way to get some first-hand experience.

Lucius is deployed to a village in the Carpathian Mountains, where he expects to find a small hospital and some senior doctors to guide him. Instead he finds a church with a huge hole in the roof where a shell had fallen through, a single nurse, and many, many soldiers with horrible wounds he had never seen before, never mind treated. The sturdy, imperturbable nurse, Margarete, guides him through his first months and he finds himself falling in love. But when a severely shell-shocked patient is accused of malingering by a passing officer, their comradery is tested.

I loved the descriptions of socially awkward Lucius and his passion for medicine, the scenes of winter in the remote mountains, and the early impressions of shell-shock and how to treat it. Daniel Mason is a doctor and professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, and his expertise informs his writing, but he is also an excellent writer. The plot propelled my reading, but the descriptions slowed it down so I could savor them. Recommended for historical fiction buffs and those who enjoy doctor-authors.

huhtikuu 23, 8:05 pm

>72 SassyLassy: Book Deja vu. Three of the stories in the collection I have been reading have seemed soooooo familiar, and it is possible I may have read them pre-LT.

huhtikuu 23, 10:14 pm

>82 labfs39: Recommended for historical fiction buffs and those who enjoy doctor-authors.
Well that just bumped this one way up the pile!

huhtikuu 24, 12:34 pm

>83 avaland: By the time I finished the book, I thought that I probably hadn't read it previously, but who knows? The joys of getting older. I thoroughly enjoyed it which is what counts, right?

>84 lisapeet: Well that just bumped this one way up the pile!

I know, right? What is it about that particular combination of talents that works so well? Or at least appeals to me so much?

huhtikuu 24, 12:57 pm

My sister had bought this on her trip to Hawaii in January, and I liberated it from her donation pile bound for the library. It complemented my recent readings of Cherry Ames.

Wherever You Need Me by Anna Urda Busby
Published 2007, this printing by Pacific Historic Parks, 70 p., 3*

Anna Urda was a member of the Army Nursing Corps and stationed at a hospital in Honolulu in December 1941. I was expecting the majority of the book to be about her experiences during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but instead it's about her entire nursing career and beyond. That made it a little less interesting for me, but the introductory chapter on the history of the Army Nursing Corps alone was worth reading. Although it's not 100% clear, I think the chapter is a brochure written by Judith A. Bellafaire and published by the US Army Center of Military History.

Anna was actually a patient on the "Day of Infamy." She had been hospitalized with an infection on her face. When the bombing was heard, however, and Japanese Zeroes were flying over the hospital, she raced to change into her uniform. For the next few days, the hospital was overwhelmed with patients, many badly burned. When night fell, they were under a total blackout, and two babies were born the first night by blue filtered flashlight. Fear of spies was rampant, and everyone was escorted between buildings by military personnel. Fear of another attack remained high and security tight for the rest of the war.

After reading about Anna's marriage, career, and involvement with the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, there are four 2-3 page testimonies by other nurses who were serving in Hawaii that day. Also included are numerous photos. Although a slim volume with only a few pages dedicated to the events after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I did find it interesting.

huhtikuu 25, 7:50 pm

Next up:

Amazons and Swallows by Arthur Ransome

I have had four of the 12 books in this series but didn't have the first. As part of my Thingaversary splurge, I purchased it and started reading yesterday. What a delightful story. Written in 1930, it's about a family of four children who love to sail and who camp on an island in the Lake District for the summer. There they meet two girls who also have a sailboat and who call themselves pirates. I love it!

huhtikuu 25, 8:54 pm

Oh I read a few of those a while back I think for our childrens thread in Reading Globally. I really should read the rest of them thanks for the reminder

huhtikuu 26, 3:21 pm

I recently read Swallowdale, #2 in the series and certainly enjoyed it. The library has many of these, so I'm saving them for light reads when I need them.

huhtikuu 26, 4:14 pm

>89 cindydavid4: I didn't know there was a reading globally kids. Is it a separate group, or a thread within reading globally?

>90 markon: I'm looking forward to reading them over time too. Someone gave me a tip that Peter Duck and Missie Lee and stories told to the children, not adventures the kids take.

huhtikuu 26, 10:08 pm

>88 labfs39: My son loved that when he was 8ish, once he got over the fact that there was a character named Titty.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 26, 11:35 pm

>91 labfs39: Here it is A RG quarterly theme in 2021. Very interesting discussion. and my first venture of leading a group on LT Fortunately Mark was a wonderful guide!

ETA revisiting this makes me remember Spiral Sheep and wonder where and how they are....Miss the book suggestions!

huhtikuu 27, 8:49 am

At last, I am catching up with your thread! I can’t comment on everything, but enjoyed your great reviews and the variety of reads. I was particularly interested in your African challenge books. I have not participated this month because I did not own books from that part of the continent, but as usual, I find interesting titles in your thread...

>23 labfs39: Beneath the Lion’s Gaze sounds interesting. I have read very few Ethiopian books, but none recently. Unfortunately it is out of stock so I might have to wait for a paperback reprint or a lucky find in a second hand bookshop…
I’ll investigate Cutting for Stone as well. Again, it’s out of stock...

huhtikuu 27, 9:13 am

>92 lisapeet: I read on Wikipedia that when the book was made into a miniseries in 1963, they changed her name to Kitty, which Ransome hated. In the 2016 movie, they changed it to Tatty.

>93 cindydavid4: Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

huhtikuu 27, 9:16 am

>94 raton-liseur: Hi, Raton! I think you would enjoy both Beneath the Lion's Gaze and Cutting for Stone. I hope you are able to find them. I did not own many African novels that I hadn't read yet, so for the holidays, I stocked up in anticipation of the challenge.

huhtikuu 27, 9:23 am

In 2002, Columbia University's African Studies dept created a list of "Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century." How many books (or authors) have you read from this list?

huhtikuu 27, 10:12 am

>97 labfs39: That’s an interesting list !
I’ve looked quickly , and the result is not so good… Out of the 70 books in the creative writing list, it seems I have read only 4 of them and own 3 unread ones…
If I look at the authors, it’s a bit better but not great: I’ve read 14 authors from the list (including the 4 above), and I own books from another 8 authors (including the 3 above).

Books from the list that I read:
Achebe, Chinua (Nigeria) - Things fall apart, read last year!
Kourouma, Ahmadou (Côte d’Ivoire) - Les soleils des indépendances, highly recommended although I preferred Allah n’est pas obligé and En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages
Oyono, Ferdinand (Cameroon) - Le vieux nègre et la médaille, read before LT, did not really care for it
Sow Fall, Aminata (Senegal) - La grève des battu, read before LT, I remember an unusual and thought-provoking book

I’m happy to see that I’ve read some of these authors thanks to the current Africa challenge and that some are already in my planned reads of the following months! I might be able to report more positively in a few months!
What about you?

huhtikuu 27, 10:50 am

>97 labfs39: What a great resource! I am practically a virgin as far as African literature goes, but I did read two of those books, the first in the Naguib Mafouz trilogy, and Chaka, which I had forgotten but was reminded about while reading Désir d'Afrique. That book and your link will help me build an African TBR list.

huhtikuu 27, 5:01 pm

>97 labfs39: Interesting list and I know nothing about most of the books and authors on this list. I have some reading to do, having only read three. I do own one of the books on the list, A Dry White Season, and will try to read that later this year.

huhtikuu 28, 6:52 am

The Columbia list is interesting, but already dated as it was made in 2002. Can you believe we are already a quarter of the way through the next century? I have greatly expanded my reading of African literature this year, thanks to Paul's African Novel Challenge, but many are more recent. My perception is that more African literature is making it's way into translation these days, but maybe I'm being influenced by all the African-born authors who now live in the West and write in English?

>98 raton-liseur: My above train of thought was inspired by your post, raton-liseur, because I began wondering if there is more African literature available in French than English. I would assume so, but that's just an assumption. (Not to excuse my dismal reading record to date.)

I have read:
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (but back in 1986! due a reread)
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

and different books by these authors:
Mia Couto
Assia Djebar

Own books by these authors and hope to read this year:
J. M. Coetzee
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Ngugi wa Thiong'o

>99 FlorenceArt: Like you, Florence, I had not read much African literature either. The African Novel Challenge has inspired me to finally expand my horizons in this direction.

>100 RidgewayGirl: Africa has so many countries and such a rich history, that it's hard to know where to begin. Lists like this, as well as CR recommendations, have given me a place to start at least. So many books, not enough time!

huhtikuu 28, 7:25 am

>85 labfs39: and >97 labfs39: could go in the Beauty of Lists topic!

huhtikuu 28, 11:09 am

>87 labfs39: This does sound interesting, Lisa. I love your description of Swallows and Amazons as well; it sounds delightful.

>101 labfs39: You are doing great with reading authors from Africa. I have these authors on my shelves as well and should join you although with my upcoming trip to Spain, my gaze is going to Spanish authors.

One great thing about LT is that it has helped me to expand my reading.

huhtikuu 29, 5:18 am

>101 labfs39: Well it was interesting to hit a wall on some of the Ehtiopian books I found in your thread and that are not available in French. I feel that translation is sometimes there, but a book is quickly out of stock and not reprinted (and many times there is no paperback edition, which greatly limits the access to a given book).

The list is probably a bit heavy on lit writen in English, compared to other language on the continent. One book that might be missing for example is Sous l'orage by Seydou Badian, which is a classic in Mali.
And yes, things have probably changed a bit since this list has been established. In terms of African lit written in French, there are many authors that come to mind, including 21st century authors.

For the moment, the Africa challenge has mainly increased my wish-to-read list rather than helped me to read books from my shelves! I'll have to resume a more active participation (I have 3 books planned for next month, I hope I'll be able to follow the plan for once!).

huhtikuu 29, 7:52 am

>102 ELiz_M: True. Maybe I'll try to find a more recent list and post them both.

>103 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. I've read eclectically this month, zipping here and there, as opposed to some months when I read down the rabbit hole, with books connecting one to another.

I love reading about other's trips and the reading they do before, during, and after in response. I have not read much literature from Spain. I'll watch your thread for suggestions.

One great thing about LT is that it has helped me to expand my reading.

Yes! And not only to expand what I read, but to stretch and challenge myself thinking about my reading. I'm sure I would be a much less thoughtful reader if it weren't for LT and Club Read in particular.

>104 raton-liseur: Is any help in France? I often search on there first as a way to see where I might be able to get a certain title. Sometimes it's been cheaper to order from England, for instance, than buy locally. You can specify new, used, or both.

I'm also curious, do French libraries do much interlibrary loan? When I studied in France, I never had to ask about it because my reading needs were simple. I use ILL a ton these days, mainly for the kids schooling, but also for myself.

the Africa challenge has mainly increased my wish-to-read list rather than helped me to read books from my shelves

Ha! I avoided this pain by requesting a bunch of African books for Hanukkah. Now they are on my shelves and count towards decreasing, right? :-)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 8:18 am

I had picked up four Swallows and Amazons books somewhere along the line, but not the first. So for my Thingaversary, I purchased it. I had to search to make sure I got the cover matching the others. Anyone else do that?

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Originally published 1930, David R. Godine Publisher (out of New Hampshire), 351 p.

The four Walker children are staying on a farm in the Lake District of England with their mother and baby sister for the summer while their sailor father is away. After staring at an island in the lake for several days, they get permission from their parents to take the sailboat, The Swallow, out and camp on it. The kids, who range in age from 8 to probably 12 or 14, plan what they will need, load the boat, and sail off. Mom rows over the first night to check on them, but then the kids are on their own. Every morning they row to the nearest farm, where their mother has arranged for them to get milk and other staples (and also allows her to keep a secondhand eye on them), and spend the rest of the day exploring, charting the "high seas", and fishing for sharks (i.e. perch). One day two pirates (Nancy and Peggy) appear in another sailboat, the Amazon, and request a parlay. They agree to a war and whoever succeeds in capturing the other's sailboat will get to be the flagship, and the captain a commodore. The race is on!

I loved this book, with highly imaginative children allowed the responsibility and freedom of summer adventures free of adult hovering. They sail, swim, camp, fish, all the while problem-solving and working together. Although First Mate, Susan, does have to do all the cooking (apropos of the 30s), she is also a first-rate sailor, and Nancy and Peggy are incorrigible, getting into all sorts of scrapes (such as setting off a firecracker on the roof of their uncle's houseboat). If you like sailing or independent kids, I highly recommend this book.

huhtikuu 29, 8:18 am

When the Walker children write their father asking for permission to sail alone to the island, their father responds via telegram: BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN. lol

huhtikuu 29, 9:03 am

I was introduced to Kim Thúy by Danielle/Yells and read Em last year, shortly after the English translation was published. Reading Ru cemented Thúy as a favorite author.

Ru by Kim Thúy, translated from the French by Sheila Fischman
Originally published 2009, English translations 2012, Bloomsbury (publisher), 141 p.

Kim Thúy was ten when she fled Vietnam with her family in the wave of "boat people" fleeing the Communist reprisals after the fall of Saigon. After four months in a Malaysian refugee camp, her family was chosen for emigration to Canada based on her parent's French proficiency. They settled in Granby, Quebec (by chance the town my grandfather is from) and were warmly welcomed. Thúy attended the University of Montreal and then worked as an interpreter and translator for a Canadian firm based in Vietnam advising the Vietnamese government on their move toward capitalism. She later opened a restaurant in Montreal called Ru de Nam. Ru is her debut novel and highly autobiographical, referring to all the events above, as well as being the parent of an autistic child. The book won the Governor General’s Literary Award and the translation was a finalist for the Giller Prize.

In addition to a mesmerizing story, what draws me to Thúy's books is her writing. It's like reading poetry. Almost every page is a new "chapter", usually only a paragraph or two, and ends with an impactful sentence. Although a complete thought in themselves, they string together flawlessly, creating a beautiful stream of thought moving back and forth in time. I get swept along and usually finish her book in a sitting or two. Highly recommended.

Here is an example of a "chapter" from early in the book:

I didn't cry out and I didn't weep when I was told
that my son Henri was a prisoner in his own
world, when it was confirmed that he is one of those
children who don't hear us, don't speak to us, even
though they're neither deaf nor mute. He is also
one of those children we must love from a distance,
neither touching, nor kissing, nor smiling at them
because every one of their senses would be assaulted
by the odour of our skin, by the intensity of our
voices, the texture of our hair, the throbbing of
our hearts. Probably he'll never call me maman
lovingly, even if he can pronounce the word poire
with all the roundness and sensuality of the oi sound.
He will never understand why I cried when he
smiled for the first time. He won't know that,
thanks to him, every spark of joy has become a
blessing and that I will keep waging war against
autism, even if I know already that it's invincible.

Already, I am defeated, stripped bare, beaten down.

huhtikuu 29, 10:08 am

>108 labfs39: Wow. Wishlisted.

huhtikuu 29, 12:20 pm

>106 labfs39: This sounds charming, Lisa.

I've had Ru on my shelves for a long time. Time to dust it off!

huhtikuu 29, 12:36 pm

I’m loving the Thúy love over here! She really is a remarkable writer. Ru was my favourite but honestly, all of her stuff is just so beautifully written.

huhtikuu 29, 4:00 pm

>109 FlorenceArt: Isn't her writing beautiful? Most of the book deals with her relationship with Vietnam, past and present, but this particular page struck me.

>110 BLBera: Charming is a good word for Swallows and Amazons. Have you read anything by Thúy yet, or will Ru be the first?

>111 Yells: Both of the books I've read by Thúy have been so well-written and the short format works really well in her hands. I will read Man next.

huhtikuu 29, 4:03 pm

Next up:

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar

I'm fifty pages in and impressed so far. Magical realism works well vis-à-vis the Iranian Revolution.

huhtikuu 29, 4:51 pm

>108 labfs39: wow indeed. When was she told this? Nowadays there are much more positive experiences even rho incrediblu difficult to all involved

huhtikuu 29, 6:02 pm

Loved your review of Swallows and Amazons I don't often read books featuring children, but I could be tempted by this one.

huhtikuu 29, 6:20 pm

>114 cindydavid4: I think being told that your child is neurodivergent is never a happy moment for a parent, especially when your child is seriously impacted. The beauty lies in her love for her son and her willingness to fight for him regardless of the life-altering diagnosis and how that diagnosis tears at her heart. Perhaps it was not the best example, because the majority of the book is about her experiences in Vietnam, both as a child and later as an adult ex-pat, and her family's adjustment to Canada.

>115 baswood: You might actually enjoy this one, Barry, especially if you like sailing. Since it was written in 1930, perhaps you can find an e-version to sample?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 8:27 pm

>116 labfs39: I see that, and am interested in the book. Im having trouble putting thoughts on paper, I may know how once I read it

huhtikuu 30, 12:23 pm

Although I was scared of German Shepherds as a kid, I have come to love and admire their intelligence and loyalty since my daughter became the handler of an 80-lb red and black German Shepherd named Ace. He loves to work—when his vest comes out, he gets so excited. True service dogs are amazing.

Paws of Courage: True Tales of Heroic Dogs that Protect and Serve by Nancy Furstinger
Published 2016, 157 p.

I'm a sucker for dog heroes, so this little book with 3-4 page biographies of dogs who have served in various capacities with the military, search and rescue, and police hit the spot. Geared for tween readers, the book includes lots of photos and sidebars. From WWI battlefields to the World Trade Center and the Italian beaches (water rescue dogs), dogs of many breeds have worked with handlers from many countries. A feel good book about furry, heroic canines.

Note: Although some of the featured dogs were injured in the line of duty, none were killed.

huhtikuu 30, 1:11 pm

>118 labfs39: Noting this book for my students who are dog lovers, thanks!

huhtikuu 30, 4:04 pm

Shaka Zulu says hi!

huhtikuu 30, 4:36 pm

>113 labfs39: I read Greengage Tree a bit over a year ago and loved it.

huhtikuu 30, 6:41 pm

>118 labfs39: I love Susan Orlean and tried her book rin tin, Im not her target audience but her writing was goood, think you might try it!

huhtikuu 30, 6:43 pm

>120 dianeham: gorgeous!

huhtikuu 30, 8:56 pm

>120 dianeham: What a handsome dog! Our last dog was a German Shepherd mix and deeply devoted to us and to doing what we wanted.

huhtikuu 30, 9:25 pm

>124 RidgewayGirl: he was a rehome. We got him when he was 3. He’s very reactive in unfamiliar situations. But we love him.

huhtikuu 30, 10:13 pm

>119 karspeak: I hope they enjoy it too. What grade(s) do you teach?

>120 dianeham: Howdy, Shaka! Here's Ace:

>121 rocketjk: Greengage Tree might have appeared on my radar from your review, Jerry. I happened to see it at the library and remembered that I had wanted to read it.

>122 cindydavid4: Thanks for the rec, Cindy.

>124 RidgewayGirl: I had only had labs before (and my family always had springer spaniels). Labs are loyal and intelligent, but tend to be friendly to all. From what I've learned, German Shepherds tend to be fiercely loyal and protective of their "people" and could care less about wagging their tales for strangers. Such focus and drive. I'm a total fan now.

>125 dianeham: I love their big ears too. :-) Happy Dog!

huhtikuu 30, 10:21 pm

huhtikuu 30, 10:24 pm

>127 dianeham: We call Ace batdog

huhtikuu 30, 10:33 pm

>128 labfs39: we call ours spyboy because he’s always watching us. You can be doing the dishes in the kitchen and look up to see shaka peeking around the corner in the living room and staring at you. When we take his picture, instead of "cheese" we say "ears up!"

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 30, 10:41 pm

>129 dianeham: Right? Ace has even stuck his head in the shower to check on his person. I think that intense focus on their person is what makes them so well-suited to the types of work they do. He hates to have a closed door between himself and my daughter or me. He prefers it when he can watch both of us at once.

ETA: When training dogs in the past, I've always tried to keep commands to one or two words. With Ace, half the time I just talk and he seems to follow along. Once I tried to list the words he knows, but it's impossible to say.

huhtikuu 30, 10:56 pm

>130 labfs39: I know what you mean. I talk to Shaka in complete sentences and he seems to follow. Our dog before Shaka was a standard poodle . I wasn’t expecting a gsd to be that smart.

toukokuu 1, 9:40 am

>105 labfs39: I've never used bookfinder, so just checked it based on your question.
I tried a few books and most of the suggestions were Amazon-related, and I don't do Amazon...

In France, we a have law called "prix unique du livre" (book's single price): the book is sold the same price anywhere (small or big bookshops, supermarket, amazon or independent bookshops...). There is a 5% discount leeway, that amazon or other large chains apply systematically, but most of the small bookshops do have loyalty programs that allow you to get those 5% back. So you can always buy in an independent bookshop without paying more than on amazon or in large impersonal chains.
Regarding used books, it’s obviously a bit more complex, but as I live at a walking distance from a village that has more second hand bookshop than any other shops, I can go on a fairly regular basis and check first hand what they have on offer. The best is when I mix serendipitous finds and a list of books I am actively looking for (last time I went, I bought 13 books in a couple of hours, it was a sumptuous bookish afternoon!).
And then I have an online second hand books supplier who is not Amazon-related that I use from time to time. If they don’t have what I want, then I have to wait. Obviously it’s frustrating, but I have so many books to read and that I want to buy that I can wait till I come across that given title (and a bit of frustration is not that bad after all).

I have never heard about ILL in France, except for university-based libraries. I used it a lot as a student!
But for local library, I am not sure we have such a system. My local library (that, I think, has less books than we have at home…) is part of a network with the surrounding libraries, so we can get books from them, but it is still very limited. I do use it mainly for graphic books, but many times they do not have the titles I am looking for. (They are not so strong on obscure foreign literature unfortunately…).

Oh, and great that you got so many African books for Hanukkah. I’ve seen you are very active on this challenge and you seem to really enjoy your trip across African literature. Actually, reading from my shelves is the condition I gave myself to participate in the Asia challenge last year and the Africa one this year (although both have made me buy books based on reviews I’ve read here and there, I can’t help it!).

toukokuu 1, 12:40 pm

>132 raton-liseur: Interesting. When I search bookfinder I get books from many places, depending on whether I'm looking for new or used. For instance, when I search for House of Rust by Bajaber, these are the top vendors for new:

Red's Corner via AbeBooks
BookOutlet via AbeBooks Canada

and Amazon is #7. Of course AbeBooks is owned by Amazon now, so there is that.

For used copies the top vendors are:

Discover Books via

Many independent booksellers are selling on meta-sites like AbeBooks, Amazon marketplace, and Alibris now, so sometimes when I see an independent seller listed on, I then go directly to their website and publish, rather than through the meta-site. One note: bookfinder includes the price of shipping in the listed price, so you are comparing apples to apples.

Interesting about the book business in France and the standardized pricing. It certainly lets independent booksellers stay competitive. I live in an area with only one bookstore closer than a 50 minute drive, so I do more of my book shopping online. I envy you your shops within walking distance!

Because our local library is so small, I rely on interlibrary loan a lot. Unfortunately I still can't get some things, like graphic novels in French. But as you say, I have so many unread books that I really don't need to keep looking for the shiny new-to-me titles, but I do. Unlike you I didn't have that many unread Asian and, in particular, African novels on my shelves, so I did a combo of buying and borrowing. I currently have 53 books on my read next shelf/pile, so I'm not lacking for things to read! CR recommendations are always so enticing though...

toukokuu 1, 1:56 pm

>133 labfs39: Like I said, "Amazon-related", sigh... And bookfinder does not seem to have many links to the French market (Except a website for second hand books, recyclivre, that I did not know. So obviously I had to check, but the books are outrageously expensive, including sometimes more expensive than a new copy??!!)

To a certain extent, for books I buy new, it's easy, Amazon will not have more choice than the online website of my independent bookshop: if they don’t have it in stock, they order it and either I request them to send it to me or I go and get them next time I pay them a visit.

For used books, your strategy seems really sound.

And the end of your post made me count how many books I have on my want-to-read next piles… I thought 53 was a lot, but well, I have 37, so I seem more reasonable than you are, but not by far!

toukokuu 1, 3:34 pm

>134 raton-liseur: I thought 53 was a lot, but well, I have 37

In defense of my numbers, there are

3 library books
5 borrowed-from-a-friend-books
17 pulled from my shelves for the African Novel challenge
28 that are newish or that I have pulled to read sooner rather than later

Unfortunately that number will probably grow rather than decrease because now that gardening season is here, my reading time has dwindled, but books still find their way into my house.

toukokuu 1, 9:08 pm

The problem with catching up here is that I want to start a conversation after each post. By the time i get to the end, I have a crowd of conversations running through my mind. Anyway, yay for Shepherds, loved your review of Ru, and the excerpt is terrific. Glad you posted that. The most intriguing part of that 2002 African list for me was all those tantalizing nonfiction titles.

toukokuu 2, 5:54 am

On the subject of buying books: here in Switzerland, book prices are exorbitant. Of course, I would also have access to various platforms, but most of them definitely do Swiss prices. I'm lucky that we have great libraries where I can borrow a lot of books, even if not all the ones I find in the various threads.
I always buy books for my family's Advent calendar. Each member receives a book every Sunday of Advent. As I now also have a grandson (soon to be two), the number of books bought in November grows to 20.

toukokuu 2, 8:26 am

>136 dchaikin: Hi Dan! That happens to me too. Paul's Africa Challenge has been great for me, but it is a Novel Challenge. Not that I can't read nonfiction, and I want to, but to be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed as to where to begin. One thing that has been made clear to me through my novel reading is that every country/region has a unique and complicated history. Where to begin?

>137 Ameise1: Thanks for chiming in, Barbara. And I think books in the US are expensive. Given the prices in Switzerland, is there a robust used book market? Do Swiss libraries do interlibrary loan? That has been a lifesaver for me in rural Maine, but even so, I too cannot always get the book I want through the library.

The Advent calendar of books is a great idea, but wow, that's a lot of books! I should start a similar tradition with my nieces. Hmm, maybe the number of books for the number of years in their age at their birthdays? Or a book for every night of Hanukkah?

toukokuu 2, 9:41 am

>138 labfs39: I have the option of having physical books ordered from any branch of my library, but I have a huge selection of e-books that I can borrow through the library.
I started the Advent calendar with my husband over 40 years ago. Then our daughters joined us, and they still receive their Advent books today (even though they no longer live at home). Last year, my grandson (now 16 months old) joined them and next Advent, the second grandson (due at the end of August) will also receive his first books. I love to give books as gifts.

toukokuu 2, 10:07 am

>138 labfs39: One thing that has been made clear to me through my novel reading is that every country/region has a unique and complicated history. Where to begin?

my question as well. would love a non fiction general history, or perhaps by regions (like that Paul has split his challenge between Lusaphone, French, west, east and south , helping me better with my geography of the continent) but its still hard to remember some small countries

toukokuu 2, 10:50 am

>138 labfs39:

I think I saw this posted in one of the Africa threads; it does look like a good beginning:
Africa is Not a Country "...In this funny and insightful book, Dipo Faloyin offers a much-needed corrective. He examines each country's colonial heritage, and explores a wide range of subjects, from chronicling urban life in Lagos and the lively West African rivalry over who makes the best Jollof rice, to the story of democracy in seven dictatorships and the dangers of stereotypes in popular culture...."

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 2, 11:34 am

>141 ELiz_M: Africa Is Not A Country is now on my wishlist, thanks!

toukokuu 2, 12:57 pm

>141 ELiz_M: yeah, like Florence, you caught me. And it’s available on audible

toukokuu 2, 4:04 pm

>142 FlorenceArt: mine too! maybe a group read later?

toukokuu 2, 6:56 pm

>134 raton-liseur: and >135 labfs39: I am making note to never share my own tbr numbers with either of you.

toukokuu 2, 7:26 pm

>145 RidgewayGirl: They are missing 0s, right? :) Either that or I am going to follow your lead and not share numbers...

toukokuu 2, 9:02 pm

>140 cindydavid4: It's a lovely tradition, Barbara. I've so enjoyed reading to my nieces and getting immersed in children's literature again. Is your grandson nearby so that you can read to him?

>141 ELiz_M: Great recommendation, thanks, Liz. I had seen that title, but I know it as a children's book (Africa is Not a Country) by a different author. I'll see if I can get a copy.

>142 FlorenceArt: Same!

>143 dchaikin: I am hoping the print book has lots of maps, so no Audible for me on this one. I'm still trying to get through Middlemarch on audio. Oofta, but it's a long one!

>144 cindydavid4: I'm not good at group reads, as proved by last months group read of A Room of One's Own, which I still haven't finished, but I'll look forward to your thoughts if/when you get to it.

>145 RidgewayGirl: Lol, but you see, those 53 are in my "read-next" pile. My TBR is ginormous, so I've had to break it down into subgroups!

>146 AnnieMod: I try not to even think about the numbers of books on my TBR and wishlist. Every once in a while, I get the urge to try and whittle it down, but they all look so good!

toukokuu 2, 9:16 pm

FYI: Africa is Not a Country has been published in paperback in the UK and is available from Blackwell. There is a book preview link that allows you to read a sample, which I did, and it sounds very fun and readable. More of a personal perspective than an academic history. Dare I order a copy and add it to my read-next shelf?

toukokuu 2, 10:37 pm

I started Africa is not a Country on audio. It’s read really nicely by the author.

Lisa - yeah, there’s a lot of Middlemarch. Worth it, I hope.

toukokuu 3, 2:44 am

>147 labfs39: Luckily he lives nearby. The first thing he does when he gets in the house is he goes to his box and gets at least one picture book to tell him before he's ready for anything else. 😀

toukokuu 3, 2:55 am

>145 RidgewayGirl: >146 AnnieMod: Chuckles...
Same as >147 labfs39: said, 30 we were talking about our "want-to-read-soon" list (basically, I have 30 books I really really want to read right after the one I am currently reading).
The full number of unread/to-be-read books on my shelves will not be disclosed...

toukokuu 3, 9:06 am

>149 dchaikin: That's encouraging to hear, Dan. Keep me posted. If it doesn't get too names-and-date-ish or where I would need a map, maybe I'll try it on audio too.

>150 Ameise1: I love that my three year old niece's first word was "book."

>151 raton-liseur: Let's see, I have my read-next pile (which is four categories), my to-read off the shelves, and my wishlist. I also usually have 2 or 3 books in a basket somewhere waiting for purchase.

toukokuu 3, 9:25 am

I'm starting to think about which literature books I want to make sure I cover next year with my soon-to-be second grader. One curriculum I am considering does a different genre every month:

Beethoven Lives Upstairs (historical fiction)
Pi in the Sky (modern fiction)
Who is Jane Goodall? (biography)
Macbeth (drama)
Rump (myth/fairy tale)
All the Wild Wonders: Poems of Our Earth (poetry)
Wild Robot (science fiction)
Stuart Little (classics)
and your choice of nonfiction.

The other curriculum I looked at has a "Fantastic Journeys and Perilous Quests" theme:

Fortunately, the Milk
The Tale of Despereaux
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
The Wind in the Willows
The Wizard of Oz
The Hobbit
American Tall Tales
Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories from Around the World

Fortunately since I homeschool, I can choose whichever books I want. Diversity is important to me and strong female characters. We will also be studying space and classical music next year, so tie-ins are good. There are a couple of books from each list that I might use. Which ones would you pick? Which others would you add? All suggestions welcome!

toukokuu 3, 10:55 am

>147 labfs39: discovered its on Kindle! Will be starting us soon (and np re group reads Lisa, just a thought since so many folks are looking at reading it. I can bring it up later if there looks like enough people are interested)

toukokuu 3, 11:55 am

My granddaughter loved The Beatryce Prophecy, which would fit into your perilous quest theme. It has a strong girl and also a demon goat. :)

toukokuu 3, 1:07 pm

>153 labfs39: kind of a tough question, because you want them engaged but you can’t control everything that engages any child. Second grade is like a pre-self-aware age of fascination and curiosity. I like the Jane Goodall and whatever talks about science and nature. The Hobbit has such terrific language… Those are on different lists. ☺️

toukokuu 3, 1:46 pm

ok a couple of hours later I am happily ensconed in this narrative, and am now on the chapter that talks about " Africa Scramble" I always did wonder how Europe did this (I know the why, and it wasn't or peace and livelihood for the populations) Also remember how England used their lines in the sand to divvie up the middle east. Guess they had some experience... I will get back to this later when I come back from some errands. More later

toukokuu 3, 2:04 pm

>152 labfs39: I have more or less the same organisation, although maybe with different labels (if any). And I won't share my read-off the shelves and wishlist numbers, they are outrageously high...

toukokuu 3, 2:59 pm

>151 raton-liseur: >152 labfs39:

Well... I have 29 paper books out from the library at the moment and a few more on the kindle (and these all are by definition "read really soon") and my "read next" tables of owned books was verging on triple numbers last time I counted them (and that does not count the ones downloaded on the kindle - these are downloaded there because I really really want to read them soon).

One of those days my TBR will become obvious when I get around to adding them to my library in LT. On the other hand the wishlist is probably going to break LT if I try to enter them here so I am not doing that.

PS: Yes... I do have a problem. I solve it by not counting. :)

toukokuu 3, 3:02 pm

>157 cindydavid4: we should start a thread. I think i’m on the same chapter 🙂 Fascinating/disturbing.

toukokuu 3, 3:35 pm

>159 AnnieMod: I do have a problem. I solve it by not counting. :)
Best (and only) medication I know for such a problem!

toukokuu 3, 4:17 pm

>160 dchaikin: sounds good!

toukokuu 3, 7:32 pm

>153 labfs39: Not the 2nd grade I remember. :-)

toukokuu 4, 1:45 pm

>126 labfs39: I'm a speech-language therapist at an elementary school and a middle school. Some of my students are very delayed readers, so I may incorporate reading into our sessions, as well. Those students may have never read something for the sake of enjoyment, so I try extra hard to find a book to match their reading level and interests (superheroes, animals, Pokemon, Big Nate, etc) and present it as something fun and exciting. School can really feel like drudgery, especially for students who have fallen behind in some way, so I try to counter that as much as possible by having fidgets and interesting activities and by being upbeat and encouraging while also acknowledging their negative feelings about testing, etc.

toukokuu 4, 5:11 pm

>154 cindydavid4: >160 dchaikin: Wow, you guys are on it. I look forward to following your comments as you read/listen, and if you do start a separate thread, I will bookmark it for when I read it.

>155 BLBera: Thanks, Beth, I will seek out The Beatryce Prophecy for a pre-read. It might be a good substitute for the other Kate DiCamillo I was considering, The Tale of Despereaux. How old is your granddaughter?

>156 dchaikin: The fact that they are on different lists, doesn't worry me as I can pick and choose and do what I want. She loves science, so I was thinking of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Are you familiar with that one? We touched on Darwin and evolution when we studied the Galapagos Islands, and although the protagonist is 12, I don't think there was anything too tweenish about it.

>158 raton-liseur: I think we all have ridiculously robust TBRs, raton-liseur. A sign of a healthy and curious reader, right?

>159 AnnieMod: Unfortunately, I'm not a fast reader, and I tend to read one or maybe two books at a time, so I try not to check out too many books from our local libraries at a time. Very often they have to ILL them, and then I know my time is limited, so I make sure I will have an opening in my reading before I request them. Plus I feel like I'm stretching their patience with all the children's books I request. Last week they called and had 17 ILL kids books for me to pick up. So far they haven't put any limits on me, but I fear they might.

BTW, my copy of Time Shelter by Gospodinov arrived today. Have you read it or any works by him? I have not read much Bulgarian lit, so I'm looking forward to it. I did sit in on some Bulgarian language classes once, but retreated back to Czech when I found myself confusing ends between Russian, Czech, and Bulgarian. I only became reading proficient in Czech, but sadly I've lost it all through disuse.

>163 qebo: Ha, not my experience with 2nd grade either, qebo, but that's a good thing in my case. Actually I spent the last half of 2nd grade/first half of 3rd grade in Connecticut in a much better school. Sadly, when I return to Maine, I was even further ahead of my peers. That's when the teacher told my mom I should learn to knit if I was bored in class. I am working hard to give my nieces a different start to their education. The lists above are from two homeschool curriculums that incorporate a lot of nature study and project-based learning. The first is called A Child's World, the second Blossom & Root. I use Singapore Math. But really the curriculum are just springboards, and I try to follow their interests when I can. And we read A LOT of books together.

>164 karspeak: You sound like a wonderful teacher, Karen. It's so sad when kids already have the impression that reading is drudgery and that they are not readers. I agree with you: any book that inspires interest in reading is a good book. At one point, National Geographics' Just Joking Animal Riddles got us through a "I-don't-want-to-read" phase.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 4, 5:35 pm

>165 labfs39: I read a lot (not that anyone will be surprised when I say that) - both because I read moderately fast (especially fiction) and because I read a lot during most days - the perks of living alone. So I often max out the library loans (and then juggle books around when they get requested). It is about time for me to get the numbers down again so I have a self-moratorium on getting more than 4 books from the library at a time.

My library has a limit it ILL (6 at a time - counting active requests and all the books already received) so that curtailed that part effectively when I was using ILL a lot (mainly for the Perry Mason novels).

Gospodinov: I had not read this one yet (I thought I grabbed it last time I was back home but apparently not so it is coming my way - I just refuse to read it in English). I've read most of his earlier work though and I like him a lot. And from what I am hearing, the translator had been working with him on the translation (and this is not the first of his books that she had translated - she won some awards for earlier translations of his works (and got even more nominations)). So no opinion on this one yet but if it is even close to his older work, I expect to enjoy it.

toukokuu 4, 5:41 pm

>164 karspeak: I love this! You're also helping open the door to reading-for-enjoyment for them. Sports books can work well, too. I used to volunteer with a literacy non-profit and books about wrestling guys were very popular.

toukokuu 6, 4:44 am

>165 labfs39: Ah, TBR lists/mountains/himalayas... We usually complain about them, but we actually love them.
It’s a nice feeling. As you said, we can consider them as a sign of a healthy and curious reader, and also, I think that to a certain extend, it makes me feel safe, both my virtual wishlist (books that I may buy/borrow/dowload one of those days) and my not-yet-read books from my physical shelves or ereader shelves. I know I can always find something that I will be willing to read. A bit like a safety net, but more cosy and comfortable…

I hope they won’t put any limit on your ILL, it seems such a great feature of your library system! And they should be happy to see that their books are borrowed and read! (although I understand the issue of time spent placing and managing those orders and maybe the cost of moving books around, but I prefer not to think about those trivial aspects).

toukokuu 6, 11:33 am

>153 labfs39: I've read 3 or 4 off those lists and liked them, not sure what id r recommend. Charlotte's web? Misty or Misty's foal Marguerite Henry? Breadcrumbs?

toukokuu 6, 11:34 am

>160 dchaikin: I would love to do a group read of this, but not in May. I'll look forward to everyone's comments.

toukokuu 6, 2:46 pm

>166 AnnieMod: You read a prodigious amount, Annie. How many books are you allowed to check out at one time? I have access to two different libraries, so I try to spread the love of ILL between them.

Good to know that Gospodinov is good. I'm looking forward to Time Shelter.

>169 markon: I was thinking Charlotte's Web too, maybe in place of Stuart Little. I was also considering Ginger Pye or one of the Moffats books. I hadn't heard of Breadcrumbs before. I will check it out.

>170 markon: Me too.

toukokuu 6, 3:28 pm

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated from the Persian
Published 2017, Europa Editions, 245 p.

This is a remarkable novel about a family during and after the Iranian Revolution, but told in a magical realism style that often makes it difficult to know exactly what is happening. One has to suspend logic, and instead ride the waves of myth, magic, and metaphor. The story is narrated by the ghost of thirteen-year-old Bahar, who has the ability to make herself visible to her family and intervene on their behalf.

When the Revolution begins, Bahar and her family were wealthy intellectuals who lived in a beautiful home. After a tragic attack, the family moves to a very remote village where the mullahs have little sway at first. But even here they cannot escape the effects of fundamentalism, war, and sorrow. Ghosts, mermaids, black snows, jinns, and wildly growing plants symbolize various emotional tolls that the Revolution has taken. Only at the very end of the book do we learn what really happened to the mother and sister, Beeta.

I found the author's ruminations on death to be interesting. At one point Bahar says,

...I'd made a mistake. I had been wrong to think that death only marked the end of some things. No! Death was the end of everything. The end of my body, my identity, my credibility. The end of everything that had meant something to me in life: family, love, trust, friendship. Yes...death was the end of all these things.

A fellow ghost comments, "Death hasn't made humans any happier."

I also enjoyed the passages about the importance of books. Although the Revolutionary Guards had burned most of their books, they slowly collect more, and later Bahar's father returns to his family home which still has a large collection.

Every book he touched was more than a book. It was a memory. His entire destiny. It was longing.

Another interesting metaphor is the River of Oblivion. An entire village falls into a deep sleep, because "sorrow brings oblivion." The being responsible for the stupor says, "I'm not the one who goes after people, it is always the people who come after me." When reality becomes too overwhelming, oblivion is the escape, but resolves nothing. When Bahar's father eventually returns to Tehran, he is forced to confront reality and to analyze his own role in allowing the mullahs to take over the country.

He bought the newspaper every day, and though he knew that much of it was devoid of truth, he wanted to know what had become of the rest of the population while he had been away—after the war, after the mass executions, after the flight of the educated and wealthy from the country. He still didn't have the courage to leave the house, to walk among people in the streets who, either through their silence of their ignorance, had practically killed others to take their places. He still couldn't forgive: not others, and not himself.

Although not always an easy book to read, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is an interesting way to look at the Iranian Revolution and its effects. When the world goes crazy, magic realism doesn't seem so farfetched.

toukokuu 6, 4:54 pm

>172 labfs39: Excellent review.

toukokuu 6, 7:01 pm

Thanks, Jerry. In your review you mention the author being a political refugee in Australia. It reminded me that I was moved by her acknowledgments at the end of the book:

I would like to thank my father for teaching me to fly in the sky of literature freely. I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother, without whose support I would not be living in the free country of Australia, able to write without censorship.

I am profoundly grateful to the Australian people for accepting me into this safe and democratic country where I have the freedom to write this book, a liberty denied me in my homeland.

toukokuu 7, 10:48 am

Hi, Lisa! I would add António Lobo Antunes to your list of outstanding physician fiction authors, along with Mia Couto.

I've read these books from the 100 Best African Books of the 20th Century list:

Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God, Things Fall Apart
Germano Almeida, The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo
J.M. Coetzee, The Life and Times of Michael K.
Bessie Head, A Question of Power
Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa, Ualalapi
Naguib Mahfouz, The Cairo Trilogy (that should count for three books, not one!)
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat, Devil on the Cross

I would guess that I own 8-12 other books from this list that I haven't read yet, including Maps by Nuruddin Farah, which I plan to get to in the next month or two for the African Reading Challenge.

I was very interested to see Ethiopia Unbound by J.E. Casely Hayford on this list, as I am friends on Facebook with Margaret Casely-Hayford, who is the chancellor of Coventry University and the chair of the board of trustees of Shakespeare's Globe, the recreation of the Globe Theatre in London. I'll have to look for a copy of that book.

Great review of The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree; I'll have to move my copy of it much higher on my TBR list.

It looks as though we're both enjoying Time Shelter!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 8, 7:38 pm

Can't resist adding The outdoor scientist by Temple Grandin to your thread for ideas of things to do outside with kids. I haven't read it, but have liked her writing in other books.

toukokuu 7, 1:05 pm

>175 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl, thank you for stopping by. I was glad your mom recovered quickly and was able to return home.

I almost read The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araújo for the African challenge, but chose The Madwoman of Serrano (also by an author from Cabo Verde, which I enjoyed very much. Someday I'll get back around to Last Will. I do want to finally read A Grain of Wheat. I remember you and Rebeccanyc discussing his works.

As Jerry/rocketj says in his review, there is a section about halfway through The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree that gets a little slow and out there, even for magical realism, but then comes back around to stick the landing.

I am really enjoying Time Shelter. I'm so glad I set aside Autumn Quail to read it. I'm going to post some quotes next.

toukokuu 7, 1:06 pm

>176 markon: Ooh, I'll look for The Outdoor Scientist. I've enjoyed some of Grandin's autobiographical works. Thanks for the suggestion.

toukokuu 7, 4:15 pm

The link to the author for Temple Grandin goes to a movie - with the same name? about the same person? The book touchstone is fine.

toukokuu 7, 8:40 pm

>179 jjmcgaffey: I think only single quotes were put around the name, rather than double, so the touchstone defaulted to a title rather than author. It should be Temple Grandin.

toukokuu 8, 2:53 am

Huh. And an author touchstone has no popup (I'll have to actually click and go, woe is me!). Yes, it's so easy to put single brackets around the author as well as the's often amusing what comes up for that, though.

toukokuu 8, 1:40 pm

>171 labfs39: The official rules say "30 library materials including ebooks" and the automatic system enforces that on the physical side so if you have 20 physical and 10 e-books, you cannot check out anything more on your own

However, the electronic ones are capped at 10 no matter what (different system) and the librarians (at least all of them in my branch) treat the official rule as "30 physical items we own" so the 6 ILL and the 10 e-book/e-audiobooks ones are counted separately - you just need to stop by the desk for them to checkout any over the 30 overall if you get there. I try very hard not to -- or I get buried in books but it did happen a few times. Plus you can check out as many e-magazines as you want (not counted anywhere).

Technically, I have access to a second library as well - a much bigger one (Phoenix) but I let my card there lapse at some point. I prefer the one I am using now (Scottsdale) and the other one's closest branch is a bit out of the way for me.

toukokuu 8, 1:46 pm

Hi, Lisa. I am excited that you have put up your feeders and are seeing your first visitors. You should share a photo of your set-up here. Sounds lovely. Of course, I am always interested in hearing about your sightings.

toukokuu 8, 3:45 pm

>172 labfs39: Great review, and the book sounds intriguing. Not sure if it's for me and I have too many pending books at the moment, but I'll add it to one of my ever-growing list of book titles...

toukokuu 8, 11:24 pm

I have cards to...10 or so libraries. I check physical books out of my city library, and very occasionally out of my county one (the nearest branches are rather out of my way, but possible). But I check out a _lot_ of ebooks, from places as far away as Los Angeles (I'm near San Francisco). I counted one time - theoretically I could check out over 200 ebooks. I've never come close to wanting that many at one time (especially with the three-week limit at most libraries), but I _could_...
City, county, nearest city, three nearby cities (plus three more I've let lapse because they don't have much in the way of ebooks), the next county up (we were on a trip), a city about 2 hours drive away (Sacramento), and LA. Sacramento was also on the way on a trip; LA I made a special trip. I'd have had to go again to renew in early 2021...but they kindly removed the physical appearance part of the renewal process, for obvious reasons. Not sure what will happen the next time it's up for renewal. I'll make the trip if necessary - their ebook catalog is _amazing_.

toukokuu 9, 2:23 am

Great reviews, much to ponder as I try to catch up with your thread. Always interesting conversations here.

toukokuu 9, 6:10 am

>182 AnnieMod: Our local libraries are so small, that neither has posted borrowing limits. Of course, their collections are small too, so there aren't that many things I'm interested in borrowing, but that puts a lot of pressure on ILL.

I don't know if I told you, but I travelled to Phoenix/Scottsdale several times in the 2006-8 time period. Were you living there then? My daughter was small, and it was a fun area to explore.

>183 msf59: Hi Mark, Yesterday was so fun. I had several families of blue jays at the feeder and the juveniles were a hoot to watch. I can't believe I went so long without feeding the birds. I enjoy really enjoy it. Unfortunately, I can't take decent photos through the screened windows, so I need to figure out a way to sneak out and snap some photos.

>184 raton-liseur: I would say it's a book you could safely skip, raton. It was interesting, but you have some great books in your read-soon pile that are better, IMO.

>185 jjmcgaffey: That's amazing, Jennifer. I have access to two local libraries, and the big library in Portland, but it's a bit of a jaunt, so I haven't been to it. Now that I have an e-reader, I should see what my alumni borrowing privileges are. That might be a good source for some of my more unusual requests.

>186 stretch: Thanks, Kevin. Welcome back.

toukokuu 9, 6:15 am

I've wanted to post some quotes from Time Shelter, I have post-its bristling from the pages, but I have tendonitis in my elbow which makes typing painful. But this morning I came across a paragraph I loved, so here goes:

Actually, our bodies turn out to be quite merciful by nature, a little amnesia rather than anesthesia at the end. Our memory, which is leaving us, lets us play a bit longer, one last time in the Elysian fields of childhood. A few well-begged-for, please-just-five-more minutes, like in the old days, playing outside in the street. Before we get called home for good. —Chapter21

toukokuu 9, 8:07 am

Sorry to hear about the tendonitis, Lisa, and a double thanks for typing up the quote. It’s a beautiful thought and makes me think of getting to Time Shelter sooner not later.

toukokuu 9, 8:27 am

>187 labfs39: wow, what brought you to the phx area? It is a fun place to explore, providing you are not here in the summer!

toukokuu 9, 10:59 am

>187 labfs39: Thanks, this make the decision making process much easier!

>188 labfs39: Hope you'll get better soon.
And this is a nice quote.

toukokuu 9, 4:14 pm

>189 dianelouise100: Thanks, Diane. Here's another. The narrator is thinking about how one resurrects the past. Is it like Lazarus, the past just slowly reawakens? Or is it like Frankenstein, put together piece by extraneous piece?

...Can the past be resurrected re-member-ed again? Should it be?

And how much past can a person bear?
—chapter 15

In another scene, an East European intellectual, Mr. N, seeks out the agent, Mr. A, would spied on him for years to learn what he has forgotten due to his Alzheimer's. After all, who would know him better than his government shadow?

If Mr. N remembers nothing or almost nothing of all that, then Mr. A is free of guilt, in a manner of speaking. Without being able to formulate it clearly, he senses that if no one remembers, then everything is permissible. If no one remembers becomes the equivalent of If there is no God. If there is no God, Dostoyevsky said, then everything is permitted. God will turn out to be nothing but a huge memory. A memory of sins. A cloud with infinite megabytes of memory. A forgetful God, a God with Alzheimer's, would free us from all obligations. No memory, no crime. —chapter 20

toukokuu 9, 4:30 pm

>190 cindydavid4: My time in Scottsdale is an interesting story actually. I was working for Lakeside School, and one of their alumni was Wilbur Huston. In 1929 sixteen-year-old Wilbur entered a nationwide contest to find the smartest boy in America. He ended up representing Washington State and went East with 48 other young men to be tested and grilled by Edison, Ford, Eastman, Firestone, and Lindbergh. Wilbur won and Edison paid for him to attend MIT. He then went on to become a NASA rocket scientist. My job was to go down and do a series of oral histories with him. Wilbur was very lucid and we had some great sessions together. He died soon after at the age of 93. You can see a couple of pictures here.

toukokuu 9, 4:33 pm

>191 raton-liseur: Thanks, raton-liseur. Remind me, when are you crossing the pond?

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 9, 5:59 pm

>188 labfs39: Gaustine has opened the first "clinic for the past," an institution that offers an inspired treatment for Alzheimer's sufferers: each floor reproduces a past decade in minute detail, allowing patients to transport themselves back in time to unlock what is left of their fading memories. Serving as Gaustine's assistant, the narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to nostalgic scents and even wisps of afternoon light. (from touchstone)

what a great concept! the quotes you have posted aare so interestin. cant wait to hear what your final revview will be.

this-If no one remembers becomes the equivalent of If there is no God. If there is no God, Dostoyevsky said, then everything is permitted. God will turn out to be nothing but a huge memory. A memory of sins. A cloud with infinite megabytes of memory. A forgetful God, a God with Alzheimer's, would free us from all obligations. No memory, no crime. —

the problem of course is the toll the illness takes on loved ones who see the patient disappearing with each visit. And does this help with fear, which is a major component of the illness. Very curious how this all happens

toukokuu 9, 6:43 pm

>193 labfs39: wow what an interesting job that mustve been. Are the transcripts online anywhere?

toukokuu 10, 10:47 am

>194 labfs39: You mean, reading Time Shelter?
I'm not sure it's the type of books I usually read, but I'm intrigued by your quotes and the enthusiasm of various readers here. Do you think I should give it a try?

toukokuu 10, 1:20 pm

>193 labfs39: That is a great story, Lisa.

>165 labfs39: My granddaughter is nine and in third grade.

Here's a great story about finding books that interest kids. My daughter teaches third grade and reads to the kids after lunch break every day. She recently read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. One of her students is a boy who is sports crazy and only reads books about sports loved this so much that he picked up the books in the series. I think he's currently on the third one. And he is convincing other boys in the class to pick them up as well. Go Judy Blume!

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree looks great -- great comments.

toukokuu 10, 1:25 pm

>187 labfs39: No, I moved in late 2010 and visited for the first time in April 2010 (while I was in California for a few weeks for meetings). It still is a fun area - even if there are a LOT more buildings and people all over the place.

On a separate note - that's almost 13 years ago. How... where did this time go?

Any chance for library cards elsewhere (a big city nearby maybe?). Although if ILL works, there is no real reason for it I guess.

toukokuu 10, 5:46 pm

>197 raton-liseur: No, I meant crossing the ocean to come to the US.

>198 BLBera: I love that story! I think Judy Blume "got" kids in a way few authors do. It's nice to know that she is still being read and is relevant. Unfortunately her name always seems to come up on the banned book lists.

>199 AnnieMod: Ah, a couple of years before you. It was fun. We also drove to Sedona to see the Red Rocks, and it snowed, and to the Grand Canyon. We also went down to Tucson once. The Desert Museum was fantastic.

toukokuu 10, 9:54 pm

Tucson and Sedona are my fav places in the state; the latter for its stunning beauty, the former where i lived for 10 years and it seems to welcome me back every time I visit (have lots of friends who live there too)

toukokuu 11, 2:06 am

>200 labfs39: That what I understood at the beginning, but I did not know where this was coming from... Did I imply somewhere I was planning to come to the US, or is it just you wanting me to come with a bunch of French books for your shelves? ;)

No plan to move from my rural village at the moment, and for the foreseeable future anyway. But we will actually cross the pond this summer for a few weeks holidays in Mexico. No stop in the US though...

toukokuu 11, 7:11 am

>201 cindydavid4: It's such a different landscape from either the Northeast or Northwest (where I've lived most of my life), that I was always fascinated. But too hot for this northern gal to live.

>202 raton-liseur: Wishful thinking, I guess! I thought you were coming to the US for a trip. Where in Mexico are you heading? I've only been to Puerto Vallarta, and it was an eventful trip to say the least.

toukokuu 11, 7:25 am

>203 labfs39: Well, we've been living in Mexico for a few years, so we will spend some time in Ciudad de Mexico and around to revisit lots of places where we used to hang around.
Then we plan to go to Yucatan and Chiapas, as we know very little from the Mayan area. There are so many other places I'd like to visit or revisit, but we won't have time to do everything...
I've never been to Puerto Vallarta. If we go on the West coast, we'd like to go in Michoacan a bit more South I think.
Eventful trip? It sounds intriguing!

toukokuu 12, 6:48 am

>204 raton-liseur: Wait, you are living in Mexico now? Or in the past? I did not know. So do you read in Spanish too?

toukokuu 12, 6:59 am

>205 labfs39: Sorry, my mistake... In the past! If I count well, we spent around 6 years in Mexico, living in Ciudad de Mexico all that time. We came back to settle in France some 7 years ago I think (time flies...).
I speak decent Spanish, read a few books in Spanish while in Mexico, but nothing since we came back to France: it's much more difficult than reading English... I have been playing with the idea of trying again this summer, but I'm not sure yet.

toukokuu 12, 7:06 am

>206 raton-liseur: Phew, I thought I was really losing my marbles! I so admire polyglots. Ciudad de Mexico, wow, that's a change from where you live now. How did the kids like it? Did they retain their Spanish? Kids are so flexible that way.

toukokuu 13, 1:32 pm

I received two books in the mail today. The first was a recent purchase by Ardene/markon that sounded interesting and which Annie/Anniemod had read and liked last year:

The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber

and the second was a recommendation from raton-liseur as a good choice to kickstart my attempt to read a book in French:

Capitaine Rosalie by Timothee de Fombelle

I can't wait to get started with them both. I want to finish Time Shelter first though. It's excellent, but I've haven't been reading much this week. Too many RL demands on my time.

toukokuu 14, 6:28 am

>207 labfs39: I do manage make myself understood in Spanish, and I speak and write a decent English, but I would not consider myself as a polyglot. I clearly do not master any of those two langages (and same as you, admire polyglots!).
I think it took a couple of years for the children to get used to the life in a small village, and they still like the big city (the closest one not being that big, though). But I think they now see some of the positive sides of living here: they can go around freely and meet friends on their own, what would not be possible in CDM.
Regarding langagues, we'll see this summer. In December, we went to the Mexican Embassy in Paris to renew their passports, and I had to do all the talk... M'ni Raton said it was because of the mask (required in the embassy, while not in France), but I think they are not that used to it anymore, and I struggle finding films or series in Spanish to keep practicing. But M'ni Raton has decided to do a curriculum with extra Spanish next year when she enters high school, and part of her final presentation this year will be in Spanish, so she still use it and I think she should be able to regain quickly her fluency over next summer.
P'tit Raton did not practice much Spanish since we came to France, he is not so interested in langages but I know he still understands it pretty well. So we'll see how he manages this summer!

>208 labfs39: Oh, I hope you'll like it! You make me thinking about re-reading it!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 11:34 am

>208 labfs39: Hope you enjoy The house of rust when you get to it Lisa. I have recently finished it, and am ruminating on what I want to say about it. I did enjoy it.

toukokuu 16, 10:10 am

Wow, I left home on April 23rd, and come back to discover 127 new posts here. So much to comment upon, but my major thought is

My grandmother would give me a book each birthday when I was a child. I reread Swallows and Amazons last summer and it was still wonderful. This summer I'll finish the series. I sailed a lot as a child, and always kept these adventures in mind, hoping. I wish more parents would let their children learn this way.

>153 labfs39: There is a wonderful audio series which includes Beethoven Lives Upstairs. It's part of a series that also includes Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach. Unlike a book, the music is incorporated into the story.

It's hard to go wrong with The Wind in the Willows. One perilous journey that came to mind right away was Alice in Wonderland. These are both books the adult in the room can enjoy as much as the child.

>108 labfs39: Great book

toukokuu 20, 11:38 am

Sorry I've been AWOL from my LT. Due to injuries and ailments, I've not read much lately and have been allocating what time I have to keeping my new plants in the garden alive.

>209 raton-liseur: It will be interesting to see if the kids are able to jump back into Spanish once they are re-immersed. When do you go?

>210 markon: Hi Ardene, I was unable to tell from your comment whether your impressions of House of Rust were positive. I'll pop over to your thread later and look for your review.

>211 SassyLassy: Thanks for sharing your experience with Swallows and Amazons. I'm only reading them now, but I can imagine loving them as a child as well. I have to get the next one in the series. It would probably suit my current reading mood well.

Thanks for the tip about the audiobook series. I will definitely look for it.

There are so many great children's books, aren't there? My niece's reading is coming along nicely, but I'll be sad when she gets to the point where she wants to read to herself and I spend less time reading aloud.

toukokuu 20, 11:47 am

Today was the day of the Cornish library book sale. I always find some treasures there, and this time was no exception. Right away I found three Easton Press classics and nine other books. I had less luck with the kids books, only getting three or four, but that's okay as I'm bursting at the seams with kid's books. Here's the haul:

A Tale of Two Cities (Easton Press)
The Talisman (Easton Press)
Doctor Zhivago (Easton Press)
Nabokov Novels 1969-74 (Library of America)
Foster by Claire Keegan
Best American Short Stories 2001
Wonderful Wonderful Times by Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize winner)
One Hundred Years of Solitude to replace my abused copy
Dune by Frank Herbert, time for a reread
The Bingo Palace and Antelope Wife because I want to read more Erdrich
Cloud Cuckoo Land, I didn't care for All the Light, but thought I might give Doerr another go
Parable of the Sower is a dup, it's Parable of the Talents that I don't own.

toukokuu 20, 12:05 pm

>213 labfs39: I enjoyed both Anthony Doerr books you mention, but they are very different! Hope you’ll enjoy Cloud Cuckoo Land.

toukokuu 20, 3:16 pm

Nice finds!

toukokuu 21, 10:19 am

What a great haul, Lisa! The Doerr books are very different. Did you ever read Cloud Atlas? CCL reminds me of that.

toukokuu 22, 7:22 am

>214 dianelouise100: Thanks, Diane. I know many people love Doerr, so I'll try another book.

>215 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan.

>216 BLBera: I did read and like Cloud Atlas, Beth. That makes me more keen to try Cloud Cuckoo Land.

toukokuu 23, 7:03 am

>212 labfs39: We leave on the second week of July. So time to start actively preparing!!!

>213 labfs39: You were away from LT but not far from books!
I bought Foster in a book sale a few weeks ago as well, read it and liked it much more than Small Things Like These. Hop you'll like it.

toukokuu 23, 8:50 am

>218 raton-liseur: Very exciting!

I haven't read anything by Keegan before, so a novella seems like a good place to start.

toukokuu 23, 9:09 am

Although I had noted this book previously, I read it now for my book club meeting last night. It was fun to read about the Morgan Library, in part because my mother-in-law lived next door to the library, and I often visited.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
Published 2021, 341 p.

Belle da Costa Greene was born Belle Marion Greener, a member of one of the most prominent Black families in Washington, DC., the Fleets, and the daughter of Richard Greener. He was the first Black graduate of Harvard University and was a prominent lawyer and activist for racial equity. Belle's mother was less hopeful and insisted that the Greener children be raised as white. Her father left, and Belle became da Costa Greene, granddaughter of a Portuguese grandmother, thus explaining her dark complexion. The challenge of "passing" was to define much of her life.

In 1905 she was hired by J.P. Morgan to be his personal librarian and spent the rest of her professional life curating the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library. She was incredibly successful and renowned as an expert on illuminated manuscripts and as a shrewd bargainer, making millions of dollars of acquisitions for the library. Her legacy includes making the Morgan Library's collections available to the public in her role as director.

This historical novel is written in the first person, a daring (in my mind) choice for a character whose real-life counterpoint destroyed all her personal papers before her death, thus leaving little of her voice behind her. I wish that the authors had included a bibliography of their sources. It is an engaging read, however, and the decision to co-author the book with both a white and a Black author allowed for perspectives on both sides of Belle's racial identity.

toukokuu 23, 1:11 pm

>213 labfs39: Nice haul. A library book sale is always a wonderful thing.

Hoping for a steady improvement in your health, Lisa.

toukokuu 24, 8:19 am

>220 labfs39: interesting nonfunctional background…and coauthorship.

toukokuu 24, 11:47 am

>221 RidgewayGirl: A library book sale is always a wonderful thing.


>222 dchaikin: It was an interesting book for me, because not only of the co-location of the library and my MIL's apartment, but because I too had been both a librarian and the curator for a VERY wealthy person's private collection. I, however, did not have Green's tenacity (or perhaps did not need the financial benefits as greatly as she) and quickly left for a job at a nonprofit. She was able to eventually see the collection become a public treasure, I'm not sure the same would have happened with the collection I was overseeing.

toukokuu 25, 4:00 pm

Thanks to Jennifer's thread (japaul22), I was inspired to reread Persuasion this week. I downloaded a nice, clean copy from Standard Ebooks and zipped through it. Although it's still not my favorite of Austen's books, I enjoyed it very much and may watch the film tonight to linger in the mood.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

toukokuu 25, 7:13 pm

I watched the 1997 BBC production starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds. Interesting but some odd departures from the book. Does anyone have a favorite film version?

toukokuu 25, 11:46 pm

Yay for Persuasion. I haven’t watched a film version yet.

toukokuu 26, 6:40 am

I'm glad you enjoyed your reread! What do you think it is about Persuasion that makes it one of your less favorite Austen novels?

I'm not a movie watcher, so I don't have a Persuasion film to recommend.

toukokuu 26, 7:46 am

>226 dchaikin: I didn't want to leave the atmosphere of the novel yet, so watching a film version was the next best thing to rereading it on the spot! It was my second film version that I'd watched. I have also seen the Netflix version, which had Anne directly addressing the camera which was different. This version was closer to the original, but still with some odd departures.

>227 japaul22: It felt a bit less polished than her other novels, perfectly natural since Austen died before final edits. I also didn't understand Captain Wentworth's relationship with Louisa. It seemed as though he were pursuing her and then abruptly left her when she was ill. That said, Persuasion is still lovely, and it makes me want to eschew my other reading commitments and read more Austen!

toukokuu 26, 8:05 am

Happy Friday, Lisa. Just checking in. How is everything? How are the feeders doing? Getting some activity? My feeders have slowed down to a crawl- just a few regulars. I did have a couple of Baltimore Oriole sightings at my oriole feeder but have not seen them in a few days. The same with hummingbirds.

Have a great holiday weekend.

toukokuu 26, 8:42 am

( >228 labfs39: surely Captain Wentworth was never sincerely pursuing Louisa. Gasp! Sorry. Carry on.)

toukokuu 26, 2:01 pm

>229 msf59: Hi Mark, not much happening at my feeders either. Sporadic activity: hummingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, titmouse, woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, but nothing like the first flurry. It's fun though, and my nieces are learning to identify a few new-to-them ones. I have put up a poster of common varieties by the window.

I haven't been around to many threads lately, but I imagine you are off camping for the weekend. Enjoy!

>230 dchaikin: I said it seemed like he was pursuing her. Certainly Louisa, Anne, and all their acquaintances thought so. That may not have been his intention, but he never voiced opposition. Eventually Captain Harville says something about them being engaged, and Wentworth beats feet. Fortunately Captain Benwick steps in or I feel Wentworth may have found himself engaged will he or nil he. Or else Louisa would have been treated badly indeed.

What do others think of the Wentworth-Louisa relationship?

toukokuu 26, 8:10 pm

I think Wentworth was at a time when he wanted to marry, and before he met Anne again, Louisa seemed like a suitable candidate. Also, at one point, doesn't he say that he finds her decisiveness refreshing, unlike Anne being so persuadable?

toukokuu 26, 8:30 pm

>231 labfs39: I may have asked this before but are you familiar with the merlin app? You can record bird sounds in your area, then play them back and learn each one. it will also tell you the name of the bird that you see. Another birder turned me on to it and Ive learned alot. Might be a fun way for the girls to learn!

toukokuu 26, 9:41 pm

I think Wentworth accidentally gave the impression he was much more interested in Louisa than he really intended. I think he went too far without intending or realizing it. And that he was grateful for Benwick because it freed him of the guilt of improper and misleading attention.

toukokuu 27, 11:38 am

>234 dchaikin: I see it this way as well. I also think there is an added element that Wentworth, whether he realizes it yet or not, still has feelings for Anne and so he's even less aware of how his interactions with Louisa will be perceived by others. He's still preoccupied with noticing Anne without seeming to, and has some hard feelings towards her. He subconsciously masks both his feeling of love and anger towards Anne by interacting with Louisa instead. Everyone else not knowing about their previous engagement means that they don't pick up on that angle at all.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 27, 2:26 pm

>235 japaul22: I think I agree with all that. You’re getting into some of Austen’s subtext there. I only got that he still liked Anne and couldn’t find any way to communicate with her and check any of this out.

toukokuu 27, 7:07 pm

>232 BLBera: I believe Wentworth meets Louisa only hours or days before seeing Anne again, but he has not forgiven Anne and is quite cutting to her, perhaps intentionally goading Anne by flirting with both sisters (until Charles Hayter reappears and reclaims Henrietta). Anne overhears Wentworth and Louisa talking where he does compliment Louisa for being determined and not easily persuaded. I am unsure whether he knew that Anne could hear him.

>234 dchaikin: Wentworth may have gone further than he intended, but I find it hard to believe that in that time and place, where innuendo is all and women's reputations fragile, that he did not understand that to pay even a modicum of attention to the girls, and especially Louisa, that he was inviting the assumption that he was seriously interested. Everyone, including his friends and family, as well as hers, assumed that a match was in the making. His off-page realization seems a bit disingenuous to me. I do think that he was grateful to Benwick because he later tells Anne that he was afraid for a while that honor would require him to marry Louisa. He also tells Anne that he had tried to forget her and thought he had succeeded and that he was angry when he met her again. Was he using Louisa?

>235 japaul22: I also think there is an added element that Wentworth, whether he realizes it yet or not, still has feelings for Anne and so he's even less aware of how his interactions with Louisa will be perceived by others. He's still preoccupied with noticing Anne without seeming to, and has some hard feelings towards her. He subconsciously masks both his feeling of love and anger towards Anne by interacting with Louisa instead. Everyone else not knowing about their previous engagement means that they don't pick up on that angle at all.

Well put, Jennifer, and softens my feelings about Wentworth. Also, in his favor, he has been out of society for eight years and perhaps is less well-attuned to the nuances.

I think I read something about how Jane Austen had once influenced a niece, Fanny Knight?, against a match and how Persuasion reflects her struggles with that decision. I can't recall where I read it though.

I'm tempted to pick up another Austen novel!

toukokuu 27, 7:07 pm

>233 cindydavid4: I had heard of the Merlin app, but haven't used it. It's a great idea though. Thanks, Cindy.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 9:58 am

I chose this book because it is on the International Booker Prize shortlist, and because it deals with the theme of memory, which is of interest to me. The cover, designed by Holly Ovenden, is a collage of rooms decorated in the styles of various time periods, and fits the book perfectly.

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
Published 2022, 302 p.

Time Shelter is many things: an exploration of memory and memory loss, an imagined future where each European country chooses a different decade in which to live, and a meta-novel where the narrator/author is at once the creator and the created.

The protagonist Gospodinov is an author who is both the creator and friend of a man named Gaustine, an enigmatic figure who wants to create apartments styled in the manner of specific years for Alzheimer patients who remember only the past. Gospodinov helps him by researching the news, foods, sounds, and smells of past decades. The clinics are so popular that even those with intact memories wish to participate: to relive their childhoods or the best years of their lives. Eventually the European countries hold referendums and each chooses which year/decade they will recreate and live in. The campaigns are often ideologically opposed, such as in Bulgaria, where the Nationalists (wishing to return to the apex of the Bulgarian national identity and the uprising against the Ottomans in April 1876) are running against the Socialists (wanting to recreate the years of mature socialism, 1960s and 70s). After the referendums, chaos seems imminent with borders eroding between times, enclaves refusing to join the mainstream time period, and the breakdown of history itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book, when Gaustine is creating his clinics, and Gospodinov (the character) tells the stories of individuals. My favorite is the man who reconnects with the agent who had reported on him for decades, in order to learn the past he can no longer remember. The second part, dealing with the referendums, dragged. I liked the Bulgarian rallies with the Socialists recreating the mausoleum of Dimitrov and the Nationalists dressed in their costumes and sabers, and it was interesting to think about which decade Denmark or Spain would chose, but it went on too long. The final pages, in which Gospodinov himself starts to lose his memories and is confused if he is author or character was a nice way to wrap up the metafictional aspect.

Gospodinov (author) is a deft writer, and I marked many passages that were either well-written or had interesting ideas or both. Here is a passage from early in the book:

And so, Gaustine and I created our first clinic for the past. Actually, he created it, I was only his assistant, a collector of the past. It wasn't easy. You can't just tell somebody: Okay, here's your past from 1965. You have to know its stories, or if you have no way of getting them anymore, then you have to make them up. To know everything about that year. Which hairstyles were fashionable, how pointy the shoes were, how the soap smelled, a complete catalog of scents. Whether the spring was rainy, what the temperatures were in August. What the number one hit song was. The most important stories of the year, not just the news, but the rumors, the urban legends. Things got more complicated depending on which past you wanted delivered to you. Did you want your Eastern past, if you were from the eastern side of the wall? Or on the contrary, did you want to live out precisely that past which had been denied to you? To gorge yourself on the past as if on the bananas you had dreamed about your whole life?

The past is not just that which happened to you. Sometimes it is that which you just imagined.

Edited to fix typo

toukokuu 28, 9:50 am

And while I was busy reading, Time Shelter won the 2023 International Booker Prize.

toukokuu 28, 1:44 pm

I enjoyed reading your very timely review of Time Shelter. Will you read others that made the short list?

toukokuu 28, 4:15 pm

>239 labfs39: That sounds wonderful, and if it just won the International Booker, it will be easy to find.

toukokuu 28, 4:50 pm

>241 dianelouise100: Only if I happen upon them, Diane. This one caught my eye because of the memory theme.

>242 SassyLassy: It's funny, Sassy. I only rated it 3.5 stars, but when I wrote my review, I could only think of the good things about the book. Looking back, the parts that dragged didn't seem that important. What does that say about my memory?

toukokuu 29, 2:11 am

>243 labfs39: It's funny because after reading your review, I got the impression that you liked it, so the relatively low rating was a bit of a surprise. And in my memory I forgot the dissonant 3.5 and kept the good impression.

Looks like Time Shelter is not available in French yet, but there are two of his books available through the Kobo subscription. I will download Tous nos corps (All Our Bodies).

toukokuu 29, 3:49 pm

>244 FlorenceArt: I think it's a book that started off liking a lot, and then was carried by the writing, despite the plot getting bogged down. It's a book I'm enjoying in hindsight, if that makes sense.

toukokuu 29, 4:05 pm

I purchased this novella at a library book sale a couple of weeks ago, and thought it would be the perfect palate cleanser after the more intellectually challenging Time Shelter. I like the simple blocky look of the cover.

Foster by Claire Keegan
Published 2010, 2022, 92 p.

At 92 sparse pages, this might be more properly called a short story than a novel, or even novella, and reads like one as well. It is a domestic vignette with a tight focus, setting, and time frame. With only the clothes on her back, an unnamed girl is dropped off with some relations by an uncaring father. The childless couple who take her in give her an affection and tenderness that she has never before experienced. After a few weeks, she is recalled home. I liked the setting, an Irish farm, and could appreciate the sentiment the author was trying to instill, but the book didn't make much of an impression. I suspect I'm not the best reader for this book.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 2, 10:17 am

>239 labfs39: I really enjoyed your Time Shelter review. I just started it and think it’s broken my readers’ block which is no mean feat as I commented elsewhere. I have the audio version and am taking a while to get used to the narrator.
I. Really liked the quotes from different writers/ thinkers. Especially the one about the person forgetting Mister Alzheimer’s name.

toukokuu 29, 6:31 pm

>246 labfs39: my father grew up in Ireland on a sheep farm. He was the oldest boy and his father gave him to his grandparents. He was better off with the grandparents - more love and more food. The only disadvantage he felt was only seeing his mother at church on Sunday.

toukokuu 29, 9:46 pm

>247 kjuliff: I hope you like it, Kathleen! I really enjoyed the first half with it's individual stories. I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it.

>248 dianeham: Thank you for sharing that, Diane. I can imagine it would have been difficult. Have you read Foster? It was so sad when she had to go back to her parents. The ending was ambiguous, so I hope she didn't have to stay there. I think the girl's mother loved her, but the poverty and endless childbearing took its toll. I'm glad your father was able to grow up in a loving home.

toukokuu 29, 10:01 pm

>249 labfs39: yes, I read it and was very fond of it. The house where he grew up is still there and I’ve visited his cousins who were also raised there.

toukokuu 31, 6:39 am

>239 labfs39: Great review of Time Shelter. I don't think it's a book for me so I'll pass, but the book sounds interesting and your enthousiasm shows!

>246 labfs39: I think I liked Foster more than you did as I liked how Keegan describes the place and time through this simple story that describes a reality that was more common than we sometimes care remembering.

toukokuu 31, 10:52 am

Nice reviews of Time Shelter and Foster, Lisa; I like that we read both of those books this month! I'm of a same mind as you about Time Shelter but I liked Foster a bit more than you did.

kesäkuu 2, 9:03 am

Hi Lisa - Time Shelter sounds intriguing. Great comments.

I loved Foster as well as Small Things Like These. But I know the novella form doesn't work well for everyone.

kesäkuu 3, 12:02 pm

>250 dianeham: I have great respect for grandparents that raise their grandchildren. I get exhausted having my nieces part time.

>251 raton-liseur: Time Shelter is a book I seem to like more in the rearview mirror. I definitely got bogged down in the middle.

Foster seems to have touched many people's heartstrings. I'm not sure why I remained less moved. Perhaps because I am not as fond of the short form or of domestic fiction, perhaps it was a case of the wrong book at the wrong time. I can see why others responded to it.

>252 kidzdoc: I knew you were reading Time Shelter, Darryl, but I didn't realize you read Foster too. Serendipitous, yet not overly surprising since I get so many ideas from you.

>253 BLBera: Yes, not every book works for every reader at every reading. I'm glad I tried something by Keegan though.

kesäkuu 3, 12:09 pm

I have been AWOL on LT a lot lately. I hope everyone stateside had a nice Memorial Day weekend. We spent a lot of time at my mom's on the lake. It was hot, so swimming, kayaking, and canoeing were the order of the day. Now it's turned rainy (greatly needed) and cool (50F as opposed to 92 the day before). That's more than a 40 degree drop in 24 hours. And it's supposed to stay this way for a while. My poor garden plants don't know if they are coming or going.

I had started Afterlives by Gurnah for May's African Nobel Laureates and was enjoying it, but then Every Heart a Doorway arrived, and I jumped ship. I think it was Kevin/stretch who talked up this series, and I finally purchased the first book. It's not long and I'm halfway through, so I'll post a review this weekend.

kesäkuu 3, 10:17 pm

Reading afterlives; loving the writing and character development. learned about WWI in Africa, which I had no idea had happened . Horrific!

kesäkuu 4, 10:38 am

>255 labfs39: Yes the Wayward Children is something I hyped, I do love this fantasy series in a way that is hrdto define. I do hope you enjoy the first one enough to read at least one of the world books. Every Heart a Doorway is the weakest in the series but it is one of the books that drives the overall plot. It's a unique series that alternates between fantasy worlds and what Doorway begins to setup.

kesäkuu 4, 1:12 pm

>256 cindydavid4: Is it your first book by Gurnah, Cindy? I read and enjoyed Paradise at the end of 2021.

>257 stretch: I did enjoy Every Heart a Doorway, and I will begin looking for the others. Neither of my local libraries have the series. I'm curious to see what the world books are like. It's an interesting setup. I will write more on my new thread.

kesäkuu 4, 9:42 pm

>258 labfs39: No, I read By the sea and Paradise and enjoyed both.Im having to take breaks between the real difficult parts for me to read: child abuse, sexual abuse and horrific battles causing thousands of lives. But learning alot about that time which is probably the point
Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: labfs39's Literary Peregrinations: Chapter 4.