rosalita jumps a little higher in 2014: Verse 12
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2014 Category Challenge:
To help me with my planning, I am also attempting for the first time this year a Category Challenge. That link will take you to my thread over in that group, but for the record here are my categories (based on the titles of Bruce Springsteen songs):
1. Brilliant Disguise — books by pseudonymous authors
1. The Innocents Abroad
2. The Cuckoo's Calling
3. A Duty to the Dead
2. Growin’ Up — young adult fiction
3. Be True — nonfiction
1. Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
2. Beyond the Body Farm
3. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
4. Country Music Broke My Brain
4. Book of Dreams — fantasy fiction
1. His Majesty's Dragon
2. Wolves of the Calla
6. A Symphony of Echoes
8. Written in My Own Heart's Blood
10. The Stand
5. Highway Patrolman — police procedurals
1. Broken Homes
2. The Greek Coffin Mystery
4. Countdown City
5. Broken Harbor
6. Wings of Fire
7. Search the Dark
8. Legacy of the Dead
9. Watchers of Time
10. A Fearsome Doubt
11. A Cold Treachery
12. A False Mirror
13. World of Trouble
6. Dead Man Walkin’ — books about the death penalty
7. It’s Hard To Be a Saint in the City — books set in New York City
1. Burglar on the Prowl
2. Three-Day Town
3. The Golden Spiders
4. The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons
5. The Final Deduction
8. Reason to Believe — books with a religious theme
1. No god but God
2. My Name Is Asher Lev
9. Spirit in the Night — ghost stories
1. Shutter Island
2. The Shining
3. A Test of Wills
4. A Long Shadow
10. She’s the One — female authors new to me
1. Willa Cather (Death Comes For the Archbishop)
2. Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
3. Jo Baker (Longbourn)
4. Jodi Taylor (Just One Damned Thing After Another)
5. Kathy Reichs (Déjà Dead)
6. Ursula K. LeGuin (A Wizard of Earthsea)
7. Sarah Castille (Against the Ropes)
8. Alena Graedon (The Word Exchange)
9. Mary Balogh (First Comes Marriage)
11. A Good Man Is Hard to Find — male authors new to me
1. John Godey (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three)
2. Patrick O'Brien (Master and Commander)
3. Kevin Hearne (Hounded)
4. Andy Weir (The Martian)
12. The Ghost of Tom Joad — books by John Steinbeck
13. Local Hero — authors with a connection to the Iowa Writers Workshop
1. The Barkeep
14. Worlds Apart — books set outside the U.S.
1. A Week in Winter (Ireland)
2. The Panther (Yemen)
3. Frederica (England)
4. The Murder at the Vicarage (England)
5. An Infamous Army (Belgium)
6. Trapped (Greece)
7. Hunted (Europe)
8. A Second Chance (England)
9. The Body In the Library (England)
10. The Penelopiad (Greece)
11. Deadly Decisions (Canada)
12. Cotillion (England)
13. Black Sheep (England)
14. These Old Shades (France, England)
15. The Corinthian (England)
16. Venetia (England)
17. The Foundling (England)
18. The Devil's Cub (England, France)
19. A Civil Contract (England)
20. Faro's Daughter (England)
21. April Lady (England)
22. Bath Tangle (England)
23. Arabella (England)
24. Then Comes Seduction (England)
25. At Last Comes Love (England)
26. Grave Secrets (Guatemala, Canada)
27. The Nonesuch (England)
28. Regency Buck (England)
29. Pistols for Two (England)
30. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (England)
31. The Unknown Ajax (England)
32. Sylvester (England)
Let’s see, what else?
My rating scale:
★★★★★ - completely enthralling. It enlightened or educated me in some way. I can definitely see myself reading it again. In short, a "keeper" worth buying.
★★★★½ - not quite perfect, but I will actively recommend this book to friends.
★★★★ - really great book with minor flaws, still highly recommended.
★★★½ - better than average but some flaws. Recommended.
★★★ - entertaining but probably forgettable, not worth re-reading. Recommended only for fans of the genre or author.
★★½ - readable but something about the story, characters or writing was not up to standards. Not recommended.
★★ - finished but did not like, and would not recommend.
★½ - some redeeming qualities made me finish it, but nothing to recommend.
★ - finished but disliked enough to actively attempt to dissuade others from reading.
½ - could not finish, possibly destroyed by fire (unless it's a library book)
Books Read ticker:
1. The Burglar on the Prowl, Lawrence Block. ★★★½
2. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, John Godey. ★★★
3. A Tan and Sandy Silence, John D. MacDonald. ★★★½
4. A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy. ★★★½
5. Cut To the Bone, Jefferson Bass. ★★★½
6. The Panther, Nelson DeMille. ★★★½
7. The Scarlet Ruse, John D. MacDonald. ★★★★
8. The Racketeer, John Grisham. ★★★
9. Christmas Mourning, Margaret Maron. ★★★★
10. The Turquoise Lament, John D. MacDonald. ★★★★
11. W Is for Wasted, Sue Grafton. ★★★½
12. The Dreadful Lemon Sky, John D. MacDonald. ★★★★
13. Death Comes For the Archbishop, Willa Cather. ★★★★½
14. His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik. (re-read)
15. Three-Day Town, Margaret Maron. ★★★½
16. Frederica, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
17. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt. ★★★★½
18. Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian. ★★★★
19. Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch. ★★★★
20. The Buzzard Table, Margaret Maron. ★★★½
21. The Wolves of Calla, Stephen King. ★★★★½
22. The Golden Spiders, Rex Stout (re-read)
23. Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane. ★★★½
24. W Is for Wasted, Sue Grafton. ★★★★
25. The Empty Copper Sea, John D. MacDonald. ★★★★½
Abandoned Without Prejudice
The Hamlet, William Faulkner
26. Hounded, Kevin Hearne. ★★★★
27. The Murder at the Vicarage, Agatha Christie. ★★★½
28. Hexed, Kevin Hearne. ★★★★
29. The Green Ripper, John D. MacDonald. ★★★½
30. Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, Stephen Puleo ★★★★
31. The Whole Enchilada, Diane Mott Davidson. ★★★
32. V Is for Vengeance, Sue Grafton. ★★★½
33. Free Fall in Crimson, John D. MacDonald. ★★★½
34. The Road, Cormac McCarthy. ★★★★★
35. The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons, Lawrence Block. ★★★★★
36. Hammered, Kevin Hearne. ★★★
37. Tricked, Kevin Hearne. ★★★½
38. Trapped, Kevin Hearne. ★★★★
39. Hunted, Kevin Hearne. ★★★★
40. An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
41. Longbourn, Jo Baker. ★★★★
42. Cinnamon Skin, John D. MacDonald. ★★★½
43. Turning Angel, Greg Iles. ★★★★
44. The Lonely Silver Rain, John D. MacDonald. ★★★½
45. The Devil's Punchbowl, Greg Iles. ★★★★
46. The Death Factory, Greg Iles. ★★★½
47. The Greek Coffin Mystery, Ellery Queen. ★★★½
48. Just One Damned Thing After Another, Jodi Taylor. ★★★★
49. The Gods of Guilt, Michael Connelly. ★★★½
50. A Thread of Truth, Marie Bostwick. ★★★½
51. A Symphony of Echoes, Jodi Taylor. ★★★★
52. A Second Chance, Jodi Taylor. ★★★★
53. 11/22/63, Stephen King. ★★★★½
54. Hit Me, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
55. The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie. ★★★★
56. The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood. ★★★★
57. Hit Parade, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
58. Dèjá Dead, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
59. The Father Hunt, Rex Stout. (re-read)
60. Too Many Cooks, Rex Stout. (re-read)
61. The Barkeep, William Lashner. ★★★½
62. The Litigators, John Grisham. ★★★
63. Natchez Burning, Greg Iles. ★★★★½
64. Death du Jour, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
65. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin. ★★★★★
66. The Shining, Stephen King. ★★★★★
67. Deadly Decisions, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
68. Cotillion, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
69. Beyond the Body Farm, Jefferson Bass. ★★★½
70. The Final Deduction, Rex Stout. (re-read)
71. Whack-a-Mole, Chris Grabenstein. (re-read)
72. Black Sheep, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
73. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown. ★★★★½
74. Against the Ropes, Sarah Castille. ★★★½
75. The Martian, Andy Weir. ★★★★½
76. Chestnut Street, Maeve Binchy. ★★
77. These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
78. Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
79. The Corinthian, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
80. Venetia, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
81. Countdown City, Ben H. Winters. ★★★½
82. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin. ★★★½
83. No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Reza Aslan. ★★★★½
84. The Quiet Gentleman, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
85. Country Music Broke My Brain, Gerry House. ★★½
86. The Foundling, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
87. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut. ★★★★
88. The Devil's Cub, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
89. The Word Exchange, Alena Graedon. ★★★★
90. A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
91. Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
92. April Lady, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
93. Bath Tangle, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
94. First Comes Marriage, Mary Balogh. ★★★½
95. Arabella, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
96. Then Comes Seduction, Mary Balogh. ★★★½
97. The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain. ★★★½
98. At Last Comes Love, Mary Balogh. ★★★
99. Grave Secrets, Kathy Reichs. ★★★★
100. Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith. ★★★★
101. A Duty to the Dead, Charles Todd. ★★★★
102. Broken Harbor, Tana French. ★★★★½
103. A Test of Wills, Charles Todd. ★★★★½
104. An Echo in the Bone, Diana Gabaldon. (re-read)
105. Wings of Fire, Charles Todd. ★★★★
106. The Nonesuch, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
107. Written in My Own Heart's Blood, Diana Gabaldon. ★★★½
108. Shattered, Kevin Hearne. ★★★
109. Search the Dark, Charles Todd. ★★★★
110. Legacy of the Dead, Charles Todd. ★★★★½
111. The Stand, Stephen King. ★★★★
112. Regency Buck, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
113. Pistols for Two, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
114. Watchers of Time, Charles Todd. ★★★★
115. A Fearsome Doubt, Charles Todd. ★★★★
116. A Cold Treachery, Charles Todd. ★★★★
117. A Long Shadow, Charles Todd. ★★★★
118. A False Mirror, Charles Todd. ★★★★
119. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie. ★★★★½
120. Bare Bones, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
121. My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok. ★★★★★
122. World of Trouble, Ben H. Winters. ★★★★
123. The Unknown Ajax, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
124. Sylvester, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
125. Powder and Patch, Georgette Heyer. ★★★
126. The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith. ★★★★
127. The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín. ★★★★½
128. Personal, Lee Child. ★★★½
129. A Pale Horse, Charles Todd. ★★★★
130. Monday Mourning, Kathy Reichs. ★★★★
131. The Reluctant Widow, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
132. Burglars Can't Be Choosers, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
133. Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
134. The Burglar in the Closet, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
135. The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer. ★★★½
136. The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
137. A Matter of Justice, Charles Todd. ★★★★
138. The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
139. Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
140. The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
141. Cross Bones, Kathy Reichs. ★★★½
142. The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
143. False Colours, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
144. The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
145. The Toll-Gate, Georgette Heyer. ★★★★
146. The Red Door, Charles Todd. ★★★★
147. A Lonely Death, Charles Todd. ★★★★
148. The Burglar in the Library, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
149. The Burglar in the Rye, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
150. The Burglar on the Prowl, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
151. Break No Bones, Kathy Reichs. ★★★★
152. The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons, Lawrence Block. (re-read)
153. The Confession, Charles Todd. ★★★★½
154. Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King. ★★★★
155. American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett. ★★★
156. Proof of Guilt, Charles Todd. ★★★★
87. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut.
Thanks to Mark’s American Author Challenge, I finally tackled this classic novel that has been on my shelves forever. I didn’t know much about it beyond the fact that the main character was named Billy Pilgrim and the bombing of Dresden in World War II featured prominently, so it was a surprise and a delight to discover the way Vonnegut used farcical situations and humor to illuminate some deadly serious events.
The central conceit of the novel, if that’s the right term for it, is that Billy Pilgrim has the unsettling habit of becoming “unstuck in time”, wherein he travels backwards and forwards in the timeline of his own life, experiencing and re-experiencing the things that have happened or will happen to him. Pilgrim himself is convinced that the catalyst is a race of extraterrestrials who at one point kidnap him and put him on display in a sort of human zoo on their home planet. Vonnegut leaves it to the reader to decide the real cause of the time traveling episodes. Is Pilgrim mentally ill? Did his traumatic experiences as a prisoner of war during WWII unhinge his brain? Are the Tralfmadorians real, with their non-linear understanding of what time is?
It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.It’s easy to see how such a philosophy might comfort a man who has seen unquantifiable death and destruction, in the war and back home.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes.’.
I found myself marking many passages as I read Slaughterhouse-Five and I could fill a review with them. But I’ll end with just one more quote, which though written in 1969 could as easily have been penned in some non-linear tomorrow:
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue, the monograph went on. Their most destructive truth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.So it goes.
ETA: not boo to you but boo I'm here did I scare you?
I adore Vonnegut. I'm glad you enjoyed Slaughterhouse Five.
Glad to see someone mentioned Ann and Nancy Wilson (HEART kicks major A$$) on your previous thread! :)
I'm an eighty's lover, and I think all the best have been mentioned...so nothing more to add there.
>10 katiekrug: Howdy, KAK!
>11 Cynara: Well, I'm mighty glad to see you here, whatever you've been reading. I'll try to keep an eye out if you start a thread, but in the meantime please feel free to make this your home away from home on LT!
>12 Berly: You should read it, Kim. It was so good.
>13 TinaV95: Thanks, Tina. Yes, plenty of love for Heart. ;-)
Happy Sunday, my friend.
My best friend in high school made me read Slaughterhouse, but after reading your review I think that none of it sunk in. Nice review.
>16 Crazymamie: I don't usually post to the book page when there are already so many reviews, but thank you for the thumb-intent, Mamie!
>17 msf59: Same to you, Mark.
>18 johnsimpson: My best to you and Karen, John.
>19 lkernagh: Howdy, Lori!
>20 Fourpawz2: Welcome to my little corner of the 75ers, pawz! I have that same feeling about many of the books I read in high school. Not much of any of them sank in, I'm afraid.
89. The Word Exchange, Alena Graedon.
In the not-so-distant future, nearly everyone owns a Meme, a sort of supercharged iPhone that can access information not only across the Internet but inside your brain. It knows to call a cab when you enter the elevator to head home at the end of the day. It can order for you at restaurants, anticipating what you will want to eat. And it can provide you with all the entertainment you could ever want, from videos to art to books.
In fact, so successful are Memes at running their owners’ lives, the need for the printed word is all but gone. Newspapers, magazines, and books have all gone online, and dictionaries have been superseded by The Word Exchange, an online database that instantly pops up definitions on the Meme’s screen when it hears a word spoken in your conversations that you do not know. It’s so quick and easy to look up what you don’t know — phone numbers, song titles, word definitions — that people stop bothering to remember … well, anything. So what happens when a virus spreads inside the Meme operating system that leaves people unable to speak coherently or use language at all?
That’s the premise of The Word Exchange, a book that has a big, exciting premise and lots of small successes but fails to completely pull together into a satisfying whole. The story is told almost entirely from the point of view of Anana, who works with her father, Doug, the editor of the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL). The edition that is about to be printed will be the last printed dictionary on earth, and when Doug disappears just prior to the big launch, Anana suspects something sinister might have happened to him. But who could be behind his disappearance? Who wants to suppress the NADEL’s publication? And why is she suddenly unable to remember even the simplest vocabulary as she searches for answers?
Along with the suspenseful aspects of the plot (“a thriller about the dictionary” is how I described it to my friend Liz), Graedon provides long swatches of ruminations by Anana and co-worker Bart on the meaning of language and words. A fair bit of it went over my head, since I was sick the day we covered philosophy in school, but I got enough of the gist to appreciate what might be at stake in a world where printed words no longer exist. If there’s no authoritative source to prove what a word means (given that online definitions can be altered in the blink of an eye), who gets to decide? And what if the people in charge of writing the definitions don’t have the most noble intentions?
I wanted to love this book more than I did, although I liked it plenty. It felt as though Graedon expended so much energy and space on both the background of how Memes became so ubiquitous and the philosophy of language that the actual day-to-day plot got shoved to the side at times. It felt as if The Word Exchange wanted to be two different books — a suspenseful mystery and a love letter to language and the written word — and in the end both suffered a bit for being crammed into the same suitcase. I still think it’s well worth reading, however, for the ways it will make you think about how much you’ve ceded your memory to your computer and smartphone, and how much you love the way language can communicate the human experience in all its glory and despair.
>28 DorsVenabili: Hmm, then yes probably not the one for you. Good thing there are a million other great books out there for you.
>29 jnwelch: Thank you, Joe! I think you'd like The Word Exchange if you decide to pick it up. It's flawed but still worth reading.
>32 AMQS: Well, thank you very much, Anne! I've had some good ones lately, that's for sure.
>35 michigantrumpet: Oh dear, was it my review that scared you off? I'm afraid I was too negative because overall I really did enjoy it. I should stop writing reviews!
I was looking at your book list at the top of your thread, and I know you haven't discussed books 90-100 yet, but I wanted to just quietly say congratulations for reading 100 books so far. You and Mark (and several others, I know) are stars!
>57 scaifea: I like having something to look forward to! I wish school didn't start here until after September 1. In fact, there's a law on the books in Iowa that says schools can't start more than a week before Sept. 1, but pretty much every single school district asks for and gets a waiver to start earlier. The summer tourism industry was pushing legislation this past year to have the rule more strictly enforced, but it was defeated. And thus endeth the riveting lesson on Iowa education laws!
>58 rosalita:: Missouri has a similar law on the books yet school is starting here next Tuesday. Go figure. I'm just glad I'm not teaching any longer. I probably wouldn't report until the Tuesday after Labor Day!
Have a good weekend Julia!
I agree with sentiments expressed here about school starting in August. My son's starts the Tuesday before Labor Day. I think starting before Labor Day is weird. We never did when I was a kid.
>68 tymfos: When we first moved to the Midwest when I was a kid, I remember being told that school started earlier in rural areas so that it would let our earlier in the spring so farm kids could help with planting and other chores. That reasoning seems to have been lost nowadays, if it was ever true to begin with. It's telling that in Iowa the biggest pushers of starting school after Labor Day were lobbyists from the tourism industry who don't want to lost August as a month for family vacations.
>73 SandDune: Our local schools start the school in the second half of August and let out in early to mid June, so the summer break is much longer here. But there are a growing number of schools that are experimenting with a year-round calendar, which offers shortish, 3-week breaks between terms. I think it ends up being the same number of teaching days, just spread across the year differently. Studies indicate some students lose quite a bit of ground over the long summer vacation, so the year-round calendar makes some good sense. I don't know that it will ever become mainstream, though. Too many people love that long summer vacation.
Oh! I forgot to offer congrats on 100 books! So, congrats!
I'll have to listen to that new Spoon album. I liked their first 2 or 3 albums, and then didn't keep up.
>82 johnsimpson: Thanks, John!
>83 RebaRelishesReading: It's been a pretty good year for reading, Reba! It certainly helps not to have an actual life. ;-)
>84 DorsVenabili: Thanks, Kerri. Spoon is yet another band that wasn't really on my radar until recently. I am hopelessly out of touch with new(ish) music.
100. The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Gailbraith.
This one almost slipped past me. I knew, of course, that J.K. Rowling had penned a detective novel under a pen name, but all I remember reading about it was that fact; there must have been reviews of the book as a book and not a publishing phenomenon but I don't remember reading any. But you know how it goes around here, visit enough threads in the 75er group and eventually all those positive reviews start to accumulate even in an overstuffed brain like mine. Off to the library!
And you know what? I'm glad I listened to all of you, because this one is pretty darn good. Cormoran Strike is a former war hero-turned-private detective, down to one leg and down on his luck, when a rich client comes to him with an impossible case: Prove that the death of his sister, a world-famous model, was murder and not suicide. Even Strike doesn't believe it's true, but he needs the money and brother John is willing to pay. And a funny thing happens on the way to a no-hoper payday: Strike starts to think brother dear is right.
Strike is no Sherlock Holmes. There are no wild "aren't I clever" flights of deductive genius on display, just dogged determination and a sense for who's not telling the whole truth. Galbraith/Rowling portrays Strike as a bit of a sad sack, reduced to sleeping in his office when he breaks up with his rich girlfriend, but somehow makes him an appealing sack for all of that. I've already put myself on the holds list the library for the second in the series, The Silkworm. I'm No. 200-and-something, so no worries about reading these too close together for me.
101. A Duty to the Dead, Charles Todd.
Another series? When I already have way too many series going (80, according to FictFact.com, and who ever thought that was a good idea, tracking series)? What can I say? I am helpless before the mighty ebook sale tsunami!
Alas, this series of mysteries featuring World War I nurse Bess Crawford, was worth breaking all my self-imposed rules for. The first book finds Bess, home on convalescent leave after the hospital ship she served on was sunk at sea, traveling to Kent to deliver a deathbed message to the family of a soldier who died under her care. While there, she manages to get tangled in a decades-old murder mystery. As one does, apparently, when one is a spunky WWI nurse with a heart of gold and a brain of ... platinum. Whatever.
I liked that this series defied some of the typical conventions. Perhaps Bess is a bit too spunky for the times, but her family (including her highly respected military dad) cautiously encourage her free spirit to a remarkable extent. That's refreshing, as is the near-total lack of a romantic entanglement for Bess, who while no raving beauty is apparently not a complete "antidote" (yes, I've been reading too much Georgette Heyer lately).
Will I continue with the series? Oh sure, why not? I liked Bess and I liked her dad and I'm curious to know what she gets up to next. It's a helluva thing when an English nurse has to worry more about the murderous deeds of her fellow countrymen than those blasted Germans, though.
I have a couple of the Bess Crawford's floating around but haven't read them, either (good to know about the second one). Happily, I have a few of the Ian Rutledge books read. You might like them, Julia, you know, when you run out of series books to read.... :)
A Duty to the Dead sounds charmingish, so I'm going to plop it on the wishlist.
It's interesting to read her as a writer for "grownups", isn't it? She does a surprisingly good job of it.
All of this really makes the summer seem like it's over, but I have tomorrow as one last day to kick up my heels (figuratively; if I tried to literally kick up my heels I'd end up in the emergency room) before it's time to buckle down again.
And I hope you enjoy your Wednesday off!
>105 scaifea: It's a delightful problem to have, Amber! I'm heading out in a little bit to the Quad-Cities, to meet up with some friends I used to work with at the Quad-City Times and also to close out my safe-deposit box. After 12 years I've decided maybe I should have it a bit closer to where I live now (I don't like to rush into these decisions, you know).
>106 msf59: It definitely will, Mark. See my response to Amber for the day's plans.
And with that, I'm off! Y'all behave yourselves while I'm gone, now.
Fortunately, I'm optimistic about the student I have starting next week. She seems really sharp.
Please have a lovely day in the Quad Cities with friends! And best wishes on choosing student employees.
The Grant is in the post...
>109 DorsVenabili: Hey there, Kerri! It was a great day indeed.
>110 msf59: Thank you so much, Mark! I love having packages to look forward to ...
So yeah, it was a pretty great day off today. Lunch with my QCT friends was very good. We went to one of the restaurants we frequented often back in the day. It's called The Filling Station and it's basically a bar with an old-timey gas station theme. But the food is not typical frozen bar-food crap, it's all handmade and delicious. So that was nice.
They had to go back to work, the poor suckers, so I wandered over to Illinois and visited the Quad-City Botanical Garden, which is tiny but nice. They've added an outdoor train garden since I was there last, where they have model train tracks running through a garden landscape with the usual little buildings and accoutrements. It was rather charming.
And of course I drove past my house (I say my house even though I sold it in 2002) to see what the "new" people have done with the place. Overall, it's fine — the grass is neatly mowed, there's no trash or junk cluttering up the yard. BUT, they "updated" it by covering the lovely old narrow clapboards with BABY-BLUE VINYL SIDING! Personally I think anyone who puts vinyl siding on a beautiful 1920s Craftsman bungalow should be taken out and, if not actually shot, certainly given a shake and a stern talking to. But I guess progress marches on. It's just hideous, though, really. I should have taken a picture but I was too heartbroken to think of it until later.
So yeah, other than that it was a good day. I ran out of time to go to the Putnam Museum (natural history) and the Figge Museum of Art, but they are on the list for next time, definitely. And hopefully it won't be several years before I get back there again!
Vinyl siding is one thing, but baby blue takes it to another level of horror that is difficult to comprehend. I feel for you.
I think we may have been at different botanic gardens at the same moment yesterday! How about that?!
Here's hoping the make-over of your old family home, when it comes, is thoughtful and respectful of the house's history.
*digging in heels*
I'd rather my former homes be left in their happy memory place rather than reality. Snicker, the former owners of our current house would probably be a bit saddened to see the sad state of their rhododendrons. It's not my fault!!!
Happy prepping for the new school year!
>120 scaifea: I feel a bit silly to still feel so much ownership over a house I haven't lived in for 12 years, but I do, anyway.
>121 Carmenere: It absolutely was a relief, Lynda! Perhaps there's hope for the future yet ...
>122 katiekrug: That must have been a bit traumatic, Katie. As I was driving around town I kept thinking "Didn't there used to be something here?" or "When did they build that?" It's rather disorienting when the landmarks you used to rely on for navigation without a second thought are suddenly gone. There was an elementary school right down the street, which was also our polling place. I was totally shocked to see it was gone and all that's left is a big field.
The Maplewood was a really nice house, especially for the day.
>130 richardderus: So true, Richard. Perfect for my grandparents, and their two children. They were rightly proud of that sweet little house.
September Series and Sequels
I thought, 'My friend, Julia, would just love this conversation!'
I can easily see the house I grew up in on Google street view. The new owners made some changes and it's good to see that it's well cared for. The last time I drove down the street was in 2010 after it'd been sold about a year or two before. It was so strangely uncomfortable knowing that it wasn't our house anymore, and I couldn't just walk up the driveway and open the back door. It still makes me sad to think about and I know, should I go back to NJ, that I won't want to drive by again.
Oooh, weird, I'm typing this on my computer and my iPad screen just lit up with a Facebook notification about you! *Cue music from The Twilight Zone*
Miss you, friend!
I don’t know if any of you read the BookRiot website, but it’s pretty neat. Lots of interesting bookish articles, some more interesting than others as you might expect, written by a diverse group of writers so you get viewpoints from all over. One of the
The contents of the August 2014 BookRiot Quarterly Box included (clockwise from top left) a trade paperback copy of What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund, a print “suitable for framing” of a quote from Jorge Luis Borges, a smaller card with an illustration and a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, a trade paperback copy of The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer, a Read Harder water bottle, a READ sticker. Not pictured: a voucher for a free download of the e-book edition of Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends.
The positives: All three books (the two paper and the one e-book) look like things I would definitely read. The print is nice enough, and I have a water-bottle fetish so that was welcome. The sticker is … nice? I don’t know where I’d put it.
The negatives: I already own a copy of The Salinger Contract. I am trying to get rid of physical books, not acquire more. I don’t hang things on the walls, or stick things on my car or possessions. It cost $50.
A closeup of What We See When We Read, which had a bunch of these Post-It notes included and supposedly written by the author especially for this offering.
I guess I’m glad I gave it a try, and I’m thankful that I didn’t hate anything I got (I’ve seen some of their previous boxes and yikes). I’m coming down on the side of it not being worth $50, though, but maybe I’m just turning into a miserly cheapskate in my old age? Some people (supposedly 20% of the people who bought the box) got an additional book. One lucky person got some sort of book-themed lamp. Obviously having received either of those bonuses would have upped the “worth it” quotient but since I didn’t get ‘em, they don’t count.
What do you all think?
You know, I like a surprise and that's a sharp-looking gift box. (Also, you got some nice lighting in those photos.) And who can't use another water bottle? I did the NYRB subscription this year and I've been quite happy with it. It's fun to get a surprise package once a month.
The BookRiot website and their quarterly gift boxes sounds like an interesting concept but I don't think I will be signing up.... my other half has informed me that I am rather particular about the books I read - Really?! - and some of the 'swag' doesn't appeal to me, something else my other half informed me is normal for me. I appear to be a rather picky individual and didn't even realize it. Go figure.
Happy Sunday to you!
I love the Book Riot podcast and I listen to Jeff & Rebecca every week.
I've eyed that NYRB subscription before and may give that one a whirl next year. At least with that one, you have a fresh chance every month to get something you like, instead of a bunch of things you might like or hate that come all at once. That probably doesn't make any sense ...
>201 lkernagh: Hi, Lori! I think you and I may be somewhat similar in our tastes. It's too bad your other half didn't intervene for me before I plunked down my $50. :-D
>202 msf59: My friend Mark is here! I am leaning toward the "too steep" side of the equation myself but I was curious to try it and I'm grateful that at least I didn't get anything I hated. I think BookRiot has several podcasts — which one is the one you listen to? I've tried one that is an "answer reader questions" one and it's pretty awful but I don't think that's the one you're talking about.
>203 luvamystery65: Ro! I'm so happy to see you here.
I'm with you on the gift package - nice enough, but I think I'd rather spend the $ on books I picked.
I like the idea of the Book Riot box but I probably don't need more random stuff coming into the house :)
Glad to see you back on the threads! I've been snowed under at work the last couple of weeks too, with no sign of it letting up. I'm already counting down the day to next summer.
>208 katiekrug: I hear you on that, Katie!
>209 cbl_tn: I don't think they are custom covers, Carrie — in fact the cover for The Salinger Contract is the same as the one I already had (sigh). The them was meant to be books and bookish things about books, I think. The last box, which I thankfully did not buy, had a "stretch yourself" theme and included books from different genres that people tend to turn up their noses at, like YA and fantasy. Neither of which I turn up my nose at but the books in that particvular box did not look appealing at all.
>210 porch_reader: Hi Amy! I am slowly coming to the realization that I just find it really hard to browse and buy books that I don't already know I want or have a high probability of liking. I had a hard time spending my $50 gift card at Prairie Lights last time I was there, because I wanted specific books and they didn't happen to have them and I just couldn't bring myself to buy random books. Crazy, I know.
And sympathies to my fellow snowed-under Hawkeye. Is it Thanksgiving break yet??
Haha, I have been my late and similarly unlamented father for a number of years, at least as regards the miserly aspect of him. Also, like you and a lot of others here, I don't need more stuff, including more physical books. Well, maybe a few more physical books every now and then, but only ones I really really want to keep.
I, too, have been tempted by the Book Riot box thing, but haven't caved and I don't think I will. Seems too dear (I'm a bit miserly, too, or at least when I spend money - that much money - on books, I want to know what I'm getting).
What a coincidence! I also signed up for the same quarterly box - I love surprises and figured what the hell. But it was a one shot thing. I don't think it was really worth it, although I liked the prints and the books looked interesting. There was a small pin too, did you find that? Mine was rolling around in the bottom of the box. Anyway, kinda meh...like a lot of others, I'm looking to get rid of stuff not add to the pile of stuff.
Pin? Oh right. I think I lost the pin already. Well, it's probably around here somewhere and I'll probably find it when I run the vacuum over it. :-)
>220 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy! Well, no surprise that you and I have similar outlooks on this topic, given how closely our reading aligns. :-)
Have had a "mini splurge today" in one of my fave second hand bookstores in Brixton. Well,from one of them I own already two copies, but I couldn't resist the cover art *blush* - The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (hm, I can't get the touchstone to work for this book), Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter and one of the Murakami's I haven't got yet South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Mruakami.
However, I have to agree with Donna that the water bottle is indeed very cool.
Wish you a lovely rest of the week :)
I can't say I'm too broken up about Booktopia. As you might remember I did not love my one and only experience, and I do think Ann and Michael are wise to call it quits if they are not able to do the kind of planning that would allow them to avoid, for example, scheduling events in non-accessible locations. As a catalyst that allowed me to meet you, as well as Katie, Joanne, Anne, and Mary, however, it was fantastic!
I love our idea about putting the sticker on another water bottle! You are a clever lady.
>223 drachenbraut23: Well done on your little book splurge, Bianca! Now I am really curious about the outstanding cover art that got you to double-buy a book. What a pity that the touchstone won't work. They can be so pernickety at times.
Well, since then I had another very small haul The Sick Rose which is mainly about disease and Art of medical illustration, very stunning and interesting book. Had to hide it on Saturday, because my son saw it and thought it was soooo cool. I told him he can read it once I finished it. William Shakespeare's Star Wars and this one I actually bought for him already for christmas. Again, I started reading and it is just hiliarious, especially when you are familiar with the Star Wars series.
However, in the end I decided to start my own thread again, so feel free to visit when you are around! I wish you a wonderful week and not too much work Julia!
Hope your work life is calming down!
eta to direct comment to right post!
I'm just going to leave you a song every week.
"Pale Blue Eyes"
Do you listen to him? Probably, right? This is one of my favorite covers of all time.
Blurb from Amazon:
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
When Bruce Springsteen was a little boy, he learned the story of Brave Cowboy Bill, about a pure-hearted little cowboy. It was the first of Bruce’s Western loves, which now range from John Ford movies to Mexican music to Native American art. Each of these inspirations, plus what he’s learned as a man and a rock ’n’ roller about how to combine whimsy and wisdom, were stations on the way to Outlaw Pete, a modern legend of a criminal who starts out in diapers and confronts the roughest edges of adulthood. It’s one of the most ambitious and original story songs Springsteen has written—rhapsodic and harsh, a meditation on destiny, filled with absurdities but not for one second of its eight minutes exactly a joke. It’s an elaborate musical drama, weaving into a single tapestry several styles of rock and an orchestration reminiscent of a Morricone soundtrack.
Outlaw Pete is an adult book, illustrated by Frank Caruso, who drew and painted its pages. Caruso does more than illustrate the song. His approach, immaculately detailed, simple when it needs to be, parallels Springsteen’s blend of absurdity and meditation. The questions about destiny remain unanswered, as they must be, but they’re also brought into a different kind of focus. Details that pass by almost unnoticed in the lyrics become central.
Reading and listening have rarely so superbly complemented each other. The result becomes the most intense kind of artistic collaboration, a vision shared.
But I’m not trying to start anything, so buy it, don’t steal it, OK? —Dave Marsh
I saw all the posts and thought that you were back for good. Alas, RL seems to have claimed you again. I hope things are going well.
And I would never, ever spend $50 on a surprise box. When I get my hands on $50 for books, I have a little list - I have a little list.
I hope your life is not so busy that it keeps you completely from reading :)
(and, it's the 29th here, so I am way too late in my birthday greetings. But, HB anyway!!)
"Your Own Worst Enemy" for autobiographies? Pearl ruled books?
Of course you are welcome to stay with me when you camp out in Texas, but my new plan is to become a Summer Scandinavian. LOL! I am drooling over these images of the Scandinavian summers! Of course they can keep their winters. I'm from South Texas how can I ever survive that!
And I just noticed you're plowing through the Ian Rutledge series - you go girl! I've got to get back to them, it's been awhile.
Have I mentioned Insp. Montalbano? For you know, when you need another series.... :)
Hope you are well!
Have a super duper Sunday!
I hope you are writing up a storm.
I hope you are nice and warm.
I hope you are feeling well.
I hope you are having a good Thanksgiving.
If you've been to the Joplin Meet-Up thread you may have noticed a (thankfully) blurry photo of yours truly amongst the crowd of much more distinguished (but no less blurry) fellow LTers. I had a wonderful time visiting with Donna(828), Brenda (brenpike), Sandy (sjmcreary), Nancy (on LT but no 75er thread), and BJ (billiejean), who were all terrible, terrible influences and caused me to fall off the book-buying moratorium wagon. The damage done:
From top to bottom: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood, Everything's Eventual by Stephen King, Duma Key by King, A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron, and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
I did manage to convince BJ to give some of my favorite old Nero Wolfe paperbacks a good home so I guess if I send her at least six books my conscience will be clear(er).
In that list of cool people I met in Joplin, I left out Stasia (alcottacre) and Terri (tloeffler). I had to save them for their own paragraph to say that we were all staying at the same hotel and had entirely too much fun together for three straight days of laughter (lots and lots of laughter), good food, and good fun. I mean, we did manage to drown everyone on the Titanic four times over, but still ...
I had never been to a meet-up before the calendar turned to 2014. This year alone, I had lovely meet-ups in Iowa City with Steve, Amber, and Amy (January); in Chicagoland with Mark, Kerri, Joe, and Debbi (April) in Boulder with Katie, Donna, Joanne, Anne, and Mary (May); and now Joplin in December. And not a dud amongst them. I feel like Jimmy Stewart in my least favorite Chritsmas movie.
I am a little jealous of all the meet-ups you've attended. I would love to make it to one some day. It always sounds like so much fun.
Six books isn't bad. I haven't read any of those, but I may read The Little Stranger in February for Paul Cranswick's British Author challenge.
Nice stack of books...and look at that cute little bag! ;-)
(Good to have you back - now stay put, please!)
welcome back. Loved the pics of your Joplin meet-up and great to hear that there was lots of laughter, good food and games............and of course not to forget the books :)
>283 Donna828: It was so lovely to see you again especially, Donna. I get very nervous about meeting new people, and the whole way down to Joplin I just kept saying to myself, "It's OK, Donna's going to be there." And you were, and it was OK, and I miss you all already. And yes, next time you must come and hang out with us at the Baymont and play games!
>284 Berly: You might want to hold off on that "welcome back", Kim, until we see if I stick around. :-) But thanks for the kind words.
>285 CDVicarage: So much fun, Lori!
>286 scaifea: No promises, Amber, on staying put, but here I am for now, at least. My first meet-up buddy. :-)
>287 luvamystery65: Ro! I've missed you so! (Hey, that rhymes.)
>288 katiekrug: If I can drive seven you can surely do five, Katie. Of course, you have an actual life and stuff, so maybe not, but what a great addition to the party you would be!
>289 johnsimpson: Thank you, John!
>290 drachenbraut23: Lovely to see you, Bianca! It was all of those things and more. I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all.
I'm glad you had a nice time in Joplin. It looks like a lot of fun and all the smiling faces just affirms my thoughts.
Was it you you had the tree sock pictures last year? Yeah, that's the first time I saw them anywhere. Pretty amazing!
Nice Joplin book haul! And a popped over to see the photos, looked like a great lunch, and Stasia hiding again. hehe, I respect her right to relative anonymity!!
Nice book haul - I definitely want to read the Wiley Cash book - it seems to be right up my alley.
Good to see you popping in!
>293 Crazymamie: Some fun, Mamie, some not so fun. Such is life, eh?
>294 DeltaQueen50: Someday, Judy, I'll make my way up to Vancouver and we'll have a little meetup of our own!
>295 Carmenere: It probably was me with the tree sweater pics last year, Lynda. I didn't knit one last year, but a couple of friends did and they talked me into doing it this year.
>296 ronincats: I bet Caro still has me beat in miles traveled, though! Thanks, Roni.
>297 LovingLit: Sort of back, Megan. Stasia is delightful company as long as you are not trying to take her picture!
>298 DorsVenabili: I hope I'm still around for the next Chicagoland meet-up, Kerri! It was great fun. Ragbrai would be fabulous, too, so take care of that darn foot. This is no time for it to be acting up on you.
>299 billiejean: It was great to meet you, BJ. I think I just agreed today to lend my e-reader to a friend who is going to Guatemala for Christmas and wanted to borrow my copy of The Goldfinch, so I may get to those paper books I bought sooner than I expected.
It sounds like you all had a wonderful time in Joplin - books and games and friends - it doesn't get much better than that, does it?!
Great books you found! I've read them all except for the Wiley Cash. It's just one of a few that I own but haven't read yet... :)
I had a great phone conversation with Stasia on Sunday. She told me how wonderful the meet up was!
>302 Whisper1: I am glad you are going to be there next year. I hope you know that you were spoken of very fondly by multiple folks, so we were thinking of and missing you lots.
There's a group here in Portland who knit sweaters for the various statues and sculptures downtown.
There are some photos here.
>305 porch_reader: Amy, it's too bad Joplin falls at a not-great point in the semester for you. It would be fun to carpool down together.
>306 Whisper1: Meet-ups are just the best, Linda!
>307 SuziQoregon: Thanks, Juli! I loved those photos of the Portland statue sweaters. So very clever!
Julia, I'm so happy to have made your acquaintance this year. I'm praying for 2015 to be better for us all.
Julia, wanting to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope you will have a little more time to LT again in 2015!
Have a safe and Happy New Year!
Do you have a 2015 thread, yet? You and Mamie are killing me with this late thread business ;-)
I suppose I should put a little note here to say that I have decided against having my own thread in 2015 but I plan to make myself obnoxiously present on all of yours instead. :-)
Just curious why you decided against it, as I'm feeling a bit conflicted about starting one, but then where would I keep track of my reading?
I had the same thought regarding tracking my reading, and what I've decided to do is to add a "2015 Read" tag to each book in my LT library. That has the added incentive of making sure I actually catalog my books, which I fell severely behind on last year and had to cram for hours to catch up in December.
Please feel free to be as obnoxiously present as possible! I miss quite a few LTers who've chosen to not participate anymore and I don't want to add you to that list!
^Just chiming in on the new thread debate. Yes, I am my usual subtle self.
Those are some mighty fetching puppy eyes that Mark is throwing at me, I must say. Very hard to resist ...
ETA: Well maybe there is thread police but they don't seem to be too mean.
And more sincerely, thank you to all of you for continuing to visit here, and for both understanding why I can't keep up a full-fledged thread in 2015 and wanting to visit with me anyway. You're just the best, that's all, and you lift my spirits every day. Thank you.