VivienneR reads the Language of Flowers

Forum2022 Category Challenge

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VivienneR reads the Language of Flowers

Bearbeitet: Jan. 14, 7:22pm


This will be my 9th year at the Category Challenge and where I feel most at home on LibraryThing. I’m retired and live with my husband in the south east corner of British Columbia where we enjoy hot summers and snowy winters. I’m fortunate that my son and daughter-in-law live nearby, our only family in Canada. As I’ve mentioned often, I am originally from Northern Ireland and like to keep up with Irish authors.

This year my categories come from the language of flowers. I’m also doing a Queen Elizabeth II challenge for her Platinum Jubilee celebrating her 70 year reign in 2022 where I aim to read one book by a British author published in each year of her reign. If I manage to get halfway this year I’ll be happy.

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QEII Platinum Jubilee
Lily of the Valley is said to be Queen Elizabeth’s favourite flower - Up first is my plan to read a book by a British author published in each year of her reign, with a different author each year. I hope to get at least half read this year.

Double-dipping: Because this will probably be a high volume category, I will allow any of these titles to be used in CATs, KITs or Bingo if they happen to fit.

1952 Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
1956 Five on a Secret Trail by Enid Blyton
1957 Ten Pollitt Place by C. H. B. Kitchin
1959 My Friends the Miss Boyds by Jane Duncan
1961 Thunderball by Ian Fleming
1962 The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side by Agatha Christie
1973 Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
2008 When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
2016 Real Tigers by Mick Herron

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Familiar faces
Blue Hyacinths mean constancy - I’ve always loved these little Grape Hyacinths that pop up every year no matter how much they are disrupted in the fall clean up. Some of my favourite authors will appear here.

  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
  • 5VivienneR
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    Fresh faces
    Daffodils say new beginnings - for new-to-me authors.

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    On the shelf since…
    Bluebells mean kindness - this is my attempt to be kind to those books that have been collecting dust.

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    Anemone is for anticipation - for the books that have recently arrived on my shelves.

  • The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer
  • 8VivienneR
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    Sweet Pea indicates departure - here I’ll be departing from UK, US, and Canadian settings for travel to other countries.

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    Clover means think of me - a reminder to keep up with some of the series I’ve been following.

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    Big books
    Orchid says abundance - for books with more than 500 pages or too big to read in bed.

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    Gerbera means cheerfulness - perfect for my favourite KIT.

    January - Home sweet home: Ten Pollitt Place by C. H. B. Kitchin

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    Daisy means innocence - and we know there is always an innocent party in a mystery.

    January - series: Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton

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    Bouvardia indicates Zest for life - used to find all the letters especially the tricky X and Z. A tenuous link I know…

    January R & H: Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill
    January R & H: Real Tigers by Mick Herron

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    Forget-me-not is for remembrance - I will try to remember CATs here, maybe not every month, but the ones that catch my fancy.

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    Gardenia for good luck - an absolute necessity for playing Bingo!

    1. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
    3. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
    7. Five on a Secret Trail by Enid Blyton
    14. The Holdout by Graham Moore

    Nov. 24, 2021, 4:44pm


    Nov. 24, 2021, 5:09pm

    Fabulous theme and pictures. My favourite of your flowers is the bluebells, and especially as the picture is the native species, not the Spanish type. It's hard not to smile at a gerbera though, they match their trait extremely well.
    Good luck with your 70 years challenge, I look forward to seeing what you read - and maybe stealing a few ideas!

    Nov. 24, 2021, 6:11pm

    lovely theme and great pics! Good luck!

    Nov. 24, 2021, 6:14pm

    >17 Helenliz: Thank you, Helen! I love bluebells too, they remind me of going for walks in the country with my mum when I was a kid. I still remember the scent.

    I'm still working on choosing books for the QEII category and trying to use books I own, without doubling up on authors.

    Nov. 24, 2021, 6:18pm

    >18 majkia: Thank you, Jean!

    Nov. 24, 2021, 7:07pm

    Beautiful, Vivienne!

    Nov. 24, 2021, 10:13pm

    Vivienne, you've done a great job with a beautiful theme. I'm looking forward to seeing your choices this year.

    Bearbeitet: Nov. 24, 2021, 11:06pm

    Love your challenge! I used flowers a few years ago and you've chosen some great ones to match your categories. I'm looking forward to your QE II category too.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 3:10am

    It's a wonderful theme, Vivienne! I'll be following along eagerly, especially for the QEII challenge, that is such a marvellous idea.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 8:20am

    Vivienne, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such lovely flower photos. I’ll be keeping an especially close eye on your Departures and Series categories. Happy reading in 2022.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 11:51am

    Wonderful flower pictures. And I liked the cartoons at the top.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 1:03pm

    >21 Tess_W:
    >22 NinieB:
    >23 dudes22:
    >24 MissWatson:
    >25 marell:
    >26 hailelib:

    Thank you all. I'm really looking forward to a new challenge, a new year, and sharing our reading.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 1:05pm

    Fantastic theme and pictures! I love the idea of your QEII challenge - what a fun idea. I am setting a star here and look forward to following along with you in 2022.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 1:43pm

    What a lovely theme! I've starred your thread, and no doubt will pick up some BBs from here throughout the year.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 2:46pm

    >28 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! I'm having fun planning my challenge.
    >29 Jackie_K: Thank you, Jackie! Those BBs go in both directions.

    Nov. 25, 2021, 3:49pm

    I'm looking forward to seeing what pops up in your Queen Elizabeth challenge and predicting some cross pollination in 2022. Happy reading!

    Nov. 25, 2021, 5:13pm

    >31 pamelad: "cross pollination" - I like that! 😀

    Nov. 26, 2021, 3:54pm

    This is a beautiful and thoughtful set up. I look forward to following along!

    Nov. 26, 2021, 4:16pm

    >33 beebeereads: Thank you, I'll look forward to sharing our reading experiences.

    Bearbeitet: Nov. 26, 2021, 8:47pm

    I love flowers, all of them have their special beauty. Those blue hyacinths, known to me as grape hyacinths, are tough little guys. I've had them pop up in my beds for years and I've never planted one!

    I look forward to following you again and hope you enjoy your new reading year.

    Nov. 27, 2021, 7:26am

    My daughter-in-law gave me The Language of Flowers by Odessa Begay for my birthday and I loved it so much, I'm giving it to 3 people who like to garden for Christmas. It has some great illustrations.

    Nov. 27, 2021, 3:48pm

    >35 clue: I've had the same experience with grape hyacinths. Even if I turn over the flower beds, they pop up somewhere else, even in the lawn. I've never planted one either but with that kind of success I'm considering it.

    >36 dudes22: What a lovely gift! I always enjoy books that I can browse through and enjoy the illustrations - especially anything to do with gardens.

    Dez. 4, 2021, 3:30pm

    Your flower garden is lovely! I hope it is filled with good reads in 2022!

    Dez. 4, 2021, 6:32pm

    Thank you, Lori! I'm looking forward to 2022.

    Dez. 8, 2021, 5:10pm

    Good luck in 2022! I'm looking forward to your Queen's reading list, and the little forget-me-nots are adorable!

    Dez. 8, 2021, 5:46pm

    This challenge makes me think of Enola Holmes! The language of flowers is a theme in the series (the books, anyway). Have a great 2022!

    Dez. 8, 2021, 8:56pm

    >40 mstrust: Thank you, Jennifer. It's been a job trying to find books for the Queen's category among the books I own, looks like I'll have to get a few from the library. I loved the pic of the forget-me-nots too.

    >41 rabbitprincess: I still haven't got around to reading Enola Holmes but will definitely check that out. I see one in the series is titled The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets that sounds like a must for my challenge. I've enjoyed the Rowan Hood series.

    Dez. 10, 2021, 12:56pm

    Gorgeous pictures! I have The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh on the TBR shelf; this is giving me incentive to bump it up, especially as we get in the depths of winter.

    Love the QEII challenge--Lily of the Valley is my favorite flower, too. And your first book Excellent Women by Barbara Pym is one of my favorites.

    Dropping a star and wishing you a bouquet of wonderful reading this year.

    Dez. 10, 2021, 3:27pm

    >43 kac522: Thank you, Kathy! Since I decided on this theme I've come across a number of books about the language of flowers.

    I've enjoyed other Barbara Pym books but haven't read Excellent Women. I'm looking forward to it. Our mail has been delayed because of the flooding that cut off Vancouver so the copy I ordered hasn't arrived. Looks like I'll have to borrow the library copy.

    Lily of the Valley is a beautiful flower, one of my favourites too even though I've never been able to grow any.

    I'm looking forward to sharing our reading in the new year.

    Dez. 10, 2021, 6:17pm

    >44 VivienneR: I think I'm going to add Excellent Women to my re-read list for 2022...I also loved Quartet in Autumn and No Fond Return of Love and want to re-read those. Ahh, too many books....

    Dez. 11, 2021, 12:06am

    >45 kac522: Good idea to revisit a book you enjoyed. I'm often torn - why reread a book when there are so many still to read for the first time, but my "to read again" shelf continues to expand.

    Dez. 15, 2021, 11:31pm

    Good luck with your 2022 reading.

    Dez. 16, 2021, 12:40pm

    I haven't read every book by Pym, but a few. Excellent Women has been my favorite so far.

    Dez. 16, 2021, 2:12pm

    >47 lowelibrary: Thank you, April.

    >48 mstrust: That's good to hear, Jennifer. Thanks for that. That popularity might be the reason I've had a lot of trouble laying my hands on a copy, from any source. I was delighted to get a package delivered today and ripped it open only to find it was not Pym but a Christmas gift from my husband. Surpri-ise!

    Dez. 24, 2021, 8:52am

    Lovely images! Looking forward to following your reading in 2022.

    Dez. 24, 2021, 1:41pm

    >50 Crazymamie: Thank you, Mamie. I'm ready and looking forward to the New Year reading.

    Dez. 27, 2021, 11:11am

    Wonderful pictures.

    Dez. 27, 2021, 2:24pm

    >52 mnleona: Thank you, Leona.

    Dez. 31, 2021, 11:28am

    Jan. 1, 12:00am

    >54 mstrust: Thank you, Jennifer. And the same wishes to you. As the card says "may you enjoy 365 days of good health" - and good reading!

    Jan. 2, 6:32am

    Happy New Year, Vivienne! I'm a sucker for flowers - love your new thread theme. Look forward to following along in 2022.

    Jan. 2, 12:21pm

    Happy New Year, Vivienne. I love your theme. I look forward to following along in 2022.

    Jan. 2, 1:03pm

    Happy New Year, Vivienne! A beautiful selection of flowers. I especially like the clover picture, because at first I thought it was something bigger and was then pleasantly surprised. Enjoy your reading!

    Jan. 2, 7:48pm

    >56 AlisonY: I'm a sucker for flowers too, Alison! I have more categories than I'll be able to handle because I couldn't resist the flowers.

    >57 BLBera: Thank you, Beth! And Happy New Year to you too. I'll be expecting BBs as usual from you in 2022.

    >58 Chrischi_HH: Thank you! I really like clover so had to use them somewhere. Happy reading in 2022.

    Jan. 2, 8:01pm

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee (1952) & Bingo 3

    Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

    Fortunately Mildred Lathbury understands what is expected of a single clergyman's daughter in 1950s Britain, still recovering from war and shortages. Still, the unwanted requests for help come from all sides, and Mildred cheerfully obliges. As one of those "excellent women" who do the everyday work of the church: the flower arrangements, organizing jumble sales, polishing the brasses, sitting on committees, and making gallons of tea, Mildred is a woman who can be relied on to handle anything. This was a charming story, true to life for the era, highly entertaining and filled with fabulous characters. My favourite Barbara Pym novel that I've read so far.

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee (1961)

    Thunderball by Ian Fleming

    With frequent cringingly sexist passages, this was evidently written long before the style was abandoned and while it was still expected of Bond. Enjoyable to some extent, but probably would have been better read during the Bond era in the 1960s. This was the last of a box set that I received as a gift a couple of years ago, and not one of Fleming's best although the novels are generally a step up and of more substance than the movies.

    Jan. 3, 11:41am

    >60 VivienneR: I must get to the Pym book this year! It's on my TBR list.

    Jan. 3, 12:14pm

    I have a strange relationship with Pym books - I nostalgically think I enjoy them after the fact much more than I actually did at the time.

    Jan. 3, 1:59pm

    Great themes! Happy New Year

    Jan. 3, 3:25pm

    >61 thornton37814: You will enjoy it, Lori!

    >62 AlisonY: I feel a little like that too, but I enjoyed this one more than others. Her writing reminds me of Muriel Spark, whose books I like better.

    >63 Nickelini: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you too. Are you getting lots of snow. We've had a record snowfall and still coming down. The ski hills will love it.

    Jan. 3, 3:31pm

    category: AlphaKIT

    Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill

    A story that takes place all in one day at a time when Dalziel is about to return to work following his convalescence when he was blown up by a terrorist bomb (in a previous book). Still a bit muddle-headed, he was visiting a church to confirm that it is Sunday and enjoying a Bach Fugue when he is approached by a woman. The music reference crops up often in the story and Dalziel's knowledge of Bach surprises and annoys the supercilious Pascoe. Maybe Pascoe thought Andy was on the scrap heap and he was in charge, only to have his ambition thwarted again. Hill has created a mystery with a clever plot combining musical allusion and humour. I've never been a fan of Pascoe, but Dalziel, even with his earthy language, is one of my favourite fictional characters.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 3:52pm

    >64 VivienneR: Are you getting lots of snow. We've had a record snowfall and still coming down. The ski hills will love it.

    We HAVE had a lot of snow, and very cold (for us), but it started raining 2 days ago and washed a lot away. Currently it's just before 1 in the afternoon, the clouds are low, it's very dark, and pouring rain. Ugh! But it's supposed to turn to snow this afternoon and tomorrow is supposed to be rain-snow-rain-snow, which is always super fun

    Are you close to Fernie? I sometimes watch a young dad's YouTube channel about skiing in Fernie. A recent video had his kids unable to ski because the powder was so deep. It went up to the forehead of his 3 year old. Adorable, and he also had some amazing footage of the adults skiing powder up to their hips. I've retired my skiis, but I still like to watch

    Jan. 3, 4:03pm

    >65 VivienneR: Happy New Year, Vivienne! I love your theme. The flowers are lovely.

    Well, you’ve already managed to put a new to me series on my wishlist. I’ve never read anything by Reginald Hill. And I do like Barbara Pym. Excellent Women is already on my wishlist, and I had forgotten about it. I’ll look forward to it.

    Jan. 3, 5:32pm

    I'm glad you like the Pym as much as I did!

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 6:43pm

    >66 Nickelini: Fernie is in the general area, I borrow books from their library sometimes although I haven't been in it. I was on the board of the Kootenay Library Federation so visited most libraries in the area.

    Our snow would cover a three-year-old! This is the most we have had in one snowfall since we've lived here. And we're to get more every day this week. I'm just dreading the snow plough coming past because he leaves a mountainous berm behind the car, the hardest stuff to clear. Luckily we have nice neighbours with machines that will handle it! Rain and snow mixed Ugh!

    >67 NanaCC: And Happy New Year to you too. I can't believe you haven't tried Reginald Hill. I guess you didn't watch the Dalziel and Pascoe series on tv. Warren Clarke stars as Dalziel. Dalziel is an old school detective with an earthy Yorkshire style of speech, Pascoe is priggish and has been known to quote Latin phrases to the boss. I hope you try the series. And don't forget Excellent Women, you will enjoy it.

    >68 mstrust: Pym was excellent. I love her vivid characters. It reminded me of my first flat where I was shocked to find I shared a bathroom, with two "excellent women" straight out of Pym's book. One was terrified of burglars so would bolt the front door in the evening. Then when I got home to find myself locked out she wouldn't answer the doorbell "in case it was a burglar".

    Jan. 3, 7:59pm

    >60 VivienneR: I read most, if not all of Barbara Pym long ago and obviously enjoyed them. They certainly had different covers than you show here. I hadn't seen the updated ones and I think it's a good idea because younger readers might respond better to them than the ones I had.

    Jan. 3, 8:58pm

    >70 clue: I was quite disappointed at the cover of my copy. The old covers are the ones I like best. I agree, the new covers might be more appealing to younger readers.

    Jan. 3, 9:02pm

    Never read nor never heard of Barbara Pym! I guess I need to find a Pym novel!

    Jan. 3, 9:29pm

    >72 Tess_W: Yes, you must find a Pym novel, Tess. In Excellent Women she portrayed the post-war period in the UK very well, especially for women.

    Jan. 3, 10:44pm

    >60 VivienneR: Taking a BB for Excellent Women, as I'm hoping to fill out my 1001 Books category this year. The 1001 list has so many challenging and/or depressing books on it that it's nice to find a charming and entertaining book for a change.

    Jan. 4, 5:14am

    Happy New Year, Vivienne. x

    Jan. 4, 8:41am

    >60 VivienneR:

    I might try Excellent Women as well.

    Jan. 4, 3:06pm

    >74 mathgirl40: Glad I was able to help you fill out your 1001 Books category. I agree, a run of glum books is difficult, especially at this time of year.

    >75 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! Wise advice! Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year!

    >76 hailelib: Good choice, I hope you enjoy it.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 5, 12:56am

    My Friends the Miss Boyds by Jane Duncan

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee (1959)

    Written in the first person by eight-year-old Janet Sandison (known also by the name of the croft, Reachfar) this story is set in Scotland in 1918 when her world is beginning to change. Also a social history of manners and local customs, it describes a charming childhood where Janet is expected to "Do As She Is Told" but with solicitude and sensitivity. Granny is boss, except when Grandfather chooses make a decision, reminding me of my own beloved grandparents. The Miss Boyds were six sisters who came to the village from the town and were protected by the Reachfars. Although there are dark sections, the story is for the most part sweet and will tug at the heartstrings.

    Jan. 5, 1:46am

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee (1973)

    Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

    This was the Father Christmas from my childhood: a normal, if slightly rotund, grandfatherly type. In the UK he was (maybe still is) not generally known as Santa Claus but as Father Christmas or even Daddy Christmas by little children. Briggs has given him a home typical of the 1930s or thereabouts with an outside loo, stables for the deer, and an OXO tin for his sandwiches. He has my admiration because he tends to the animals first, making sure they are warm and well-fed. He may have been a bit grumpy when he wakened on Christmas Eve but who wouldn't when they have a big job to do in the worst weather. At heart though, he is a sun-worshipper and dreams of holidays in tropical locations. I've had this book for many years and it will always be one of my favourites. The illustrations are a delight.

    Jan. 5, 1:57am

    >79 VivienneR: That's so lovely!

    Thanks for sharing. I only know The Snowman, which I love. Also the film version, the music is enchanting:

    I love the European takes on Christmas! We never did the typical Canadian Christmas, with the standard Santa and all, because my family didn't do that, and neither did my Italian husband's.

    Jan. 5, 2:25pm

    >80 Nickelini: Glad you liked it! And thank you for The Snowman link.

    Father Christmas might entertain a youngster but it will mainly be appreciated by grown-ups, especially those of British origin.

    Briggs is also the author of When the Wind Blows, a darkly funny graphic novel about an older couple who are following government advice on how to prepare for an imminent nuclear holocaust. I've seen the play on stage and it's so sad while the humour gets embarrassed laughs from the audience. I see some people on LT have it tagged as a children's book which it most definitely is not.

    Jan. 5, 3:33pm

    >79 VivienneR: That is so charming - I love the illustrations.

    >81 VivienneR: You have made me curious about When the Wind Blows.

    Jan. 5, 3:53pm

    >79 VivienneR: Growing up he was always 'Father Christmas', it's only since having a child in Scotland that I discover that they almost never say 'Father Christmas' here, it's all 'Santa'. When my parents asked my daughter about Father Christmas a couple of years ago, I had to tell her they meant Santa before she knew what they were talking about!

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 5, 9:49pm

    >82 Crazymamie: I love the illustrations too! I can look at the details for ages. His cat and dog are very eloquent. I wondered if When the Wind Blows had been made into a movie, and yes, there is a movie dated 1986, directed by Jimmy T. Murakami. With Peggy Ashcroft, John Mills, Robin Houston, James Russell.

    ETA: I love the familiar red OXO tin that he carries his sandwiches in. OXO were foil-wrapped, strong beef-flavoured cubes. My mother used to stir one into a mug of hot water to make a hot drink, especially if there was colds and flu about. The tin they came in were the perfect size for sandwiches. I don't know if they are still available. Strangely I came across mention of them in Ghosts of Everest, the climbers used them for nutrition value.

    >83 Jackie_K: Isn't that odd that in Scotland he is Santa. After living in Canada for so long I don't know what he's called in Northern Ireland nowadays. What a shame to lose the name though, 'Father Christmas' is so descriptive.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 5, 9:45pm

    >78 VivienneR: I've tried to read this twice and didn't get very far into it either time. I didn't want to clear it from the shelf though so I'll try it again. I don't even know why I didn't like it!

    Jan. 5, 9:52pm

    >84 VivienneR: It sort of drones on a bit. When she left to deliver eggs and butter to the Miss Boyds it was many pages before she arrived. And the Scottish dialect is throughout, which might bother some people if unaccustomed to it. There is some tragedy in it though, which I didn't expect.

    Jan. 6, 6:39am

    >79 VivienneR: Great illustrations!

    OXO still produces foil wrapped bouillon cubes.

    Jan. 6, 11:21am

    >84 VivienneR: Okay, I loved the trivia about the OXO tins! I ended up ordering both When the Wind Blows and Father Christmas, so nicely done.

    Jan. 6, 1:19pm

    >79 VivienneR: That is so cute! Thank you for sharing. I love Christmas traditions and was interested in reading about the different names for Father Christmas in the different regions.

    Jan. 6, 2:55pm

    >87 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess. Oh, that's interesting. I haven't seen them for many, many years but then I've been vegetarian for 40 years so probably wouldn't notice them.

    >88 Crazymamie: I know you will enjoy them, Mamie!

    >89 MissBrangwen: Glad you enjoyed that bit of Christmas tradition, Mirjam.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 2:58pm

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee 2008

    When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson

    When a mother and two of her children were murdered, a third child, six-year-old Joanna, witnessed the slaughter and got away. Now an adult she employs sixteen-year-old Reggie as a nanny. When Joanna disappears Reggie is suspicious, but the husband denies there is anything wrong. However, Reggie, in keeping with her devotion to Joanna, keeps up the search with the help of her new acquaintance, Jackson Brodie. As with all of Atkinson's stories, the plot has many threads that she is able to unravel and bring back together in a page-turner with a resounding and satisfying conclusion. This is the third in the excellent Jackson Brodie series.

    edited to correct date

    Jan. 9, 7:26am

    Aha, tracked you down Vivienne. What a beautiful thread. I shall enjoy keeping up with your reading.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 7:43am

    >91 VivienneR: I absolutely adore that series!

    Jan. 9, 9:11am

    >91 VivienneR: Sounds like a great book. Do you have to read number 1 & 2 before this one?

    Jan. 9, 12:07pm

    >91 VivienneR: I'm slightly confused, how does that fit 1980 for the QEII challenge?

    Jan. 9, 2:59pm

    >92 Caroline_McElwee: Good to see you drop by, Caroline. Looking forward to sharing reading experiences again this year.

    >93 Crazymamie: Me too! This was the first of my re-reading the series. I hope to get to more soon.

    >94 Tess_W: I read them out of sequence the first time around and it didn't seem to matter much. I watched the tv series too, with Jason Isaacs, so they were really mixed up for me.

    >95 Helenliz: Aaargh! Thank you, Helen! I have no idea where 1980 came from, should have been 2008. I have a list of potential titles and it's in the right place there so brain slippage is my only excuse.

    Jan. 10, 1:48pm

    >91 VivienneR: I’ve read all five of the books in this series, Vivienne, and enjoyed them all. I enjoyed the tv series, although I’m not sure that it really follows the books completely.

    Jan. 10, 5:46pm

    >97 NanaCC: I loved them all too, Colleen. I can rely on anything Kate Atkinson writes. Back to the first one with my next re-read, Case Histories.

    Jan. 10, 8:57pm

    category: blue hyacinth - familiar faces

    All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

    Toews writing is wonderful. She can take the most distressing topic and inject it with just enough sensitive humour that transforms it into a realistic story. I've enjoyed all the books I've read by Toews, and in passing, learned a lot about Mennonites.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 10, 10:41pm

    >99 VivienneR: Oh, that's an interesting cover that I've never come across. I LOVED All My Puny Sorrows, which I read this past September. I haven't loved everything I've read by her, but she's definitely one of my top favourites. But then I'm also from a Mennonite background, although more liberal and more mainstream than hers (and she comes from sort of mid-range of the Mennonite spectrum, where it can get way crazy and sort of Amish)

    Jan. 10, 11:56pm

    >100 Nickelini: As I read I was thinking of the five stars you gave it, but I have to admit this wasn't one of my favourites. They are The Flying Troutmans and A Complicated Kindness. It was the topic that I didn't care for as much this time. But no matter what she writes I love her style. I usually pass up any book related to religion but Toews grabbed me with the first one I read (A Complicated Kindness).

    I love the cover.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 12:19am

    >101 VivienneR: I've never come across Toews, so am adding The Flying Troutmans to the wish list because it looks to be the least religious. Until >100 Nickelini: I had confused Mennonites with Maronites.

    Jan. 11, 12:28am

    >101 VivienneR: Oh, okay . . . I thought The Flying Troutmans was interesting but didn't do great things for me. A Complicated Kindness I did love (5 stars), but that's because (it's an excellent book and) the protagonist has the same surname as me (only time in a novel I've read), and also I bought it at a bookstore right after it was released (and I'd heard about it) and I was reading it out loud to my family and laughing in the car on the way back to the hotel . . . how often do you buy a book and do that? (Also, my husband is Italian, and my kids were kids, so no one got what I was laughing about AT ALL).

    Did you think All My Puny Sorrows was about religion? Did I miss that because I get way too much religious stuff in my life (I'm addicted to hearing recovering from religion horror stories, I admit)? I found the religion in this kinda just an aside to the rest of what was going on. But I admit I'm probably off balance there, due to all the religious trauma stories I hear all the time. I did find the religion in The Testaments, which I just finished, pretty much as far as an author can expect to push it, but it was about the level I find on social media these days.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 12:42am

    >102 pamelad: . . . looking up Maronites . . . thinking it's some cult of Mary? (And prepared to be way wrong)

    Oh yeah, WRONG! I'm sure I've heard of them, but apparently there are 40,000 sects of Christianity, and Maronites are from Lebanon, Syria and Armenia, and I know Christians that immigrated from all of those areas, so I'll have to ask them if they are Maronites next time I see them. Wikipedia says there are just over 1 million Maronites. . . . . Mennonites are entirely different, coming out of the Reformation in 1500s Europe, and today number 1.5 million. Mennonites fragment easier than a stale sugar cookie, so if you know one Mennonite, she is probably not like the other millions out there.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 12:35am

    >102 pamelad: Great! And although Toews' books have Mennonite religion as a background, she is very witty, which takes the story to a different level.

    ETA A Boy of Good Breeding was my first book when I fell in love with Toews.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 11, 12:38am

    >104 Nickelini: There's a Maronite Catholic church a couple of kilometres away from where I live. It's Lebanese. I think there are Maronite Catholics in Middle Eastern countries other than Lebanon, as well. I don't think we have Mennonites in Australia, hence my confusion.

    >105 VivienneR: I'll put it on the list too.

    Jan. 11, 12:45am

    >103 Nickelini: Great story about buying a book and reading it to the family! When I read a special excerpt to my husband I can hear his eyes rolling in his head (even if I can't see them).

    No, it wasn't about religion but most of the time (not always) if it is in the background then I won't "get" the finer nuances of the story.

    Jan. 11, 12:51am

    >105 VivienneR: I don't think we have Mennonites in Australia, hence my confusion.

    You're probably right. I've never heard of it, anyway, and it has to do with immigration patterns, which are complicated. The period when Mennonites were escaping horrors in Europe were not the time when Australia was a destination for them. My mom has an uncle that couldn't come to Canada because he was missing an arm, but he went to Paraguay.

    Jan. 11, 12:54am

    >107 VivienneR: No, it wasn't about religion but most of the time (not always) if it is in the background then I won't "get" the finer nuances of the story.

    Ah, yes. I'm going to send it to my 25 year old daughter and see what she thinks.

    I certainly had cousins who would say weird religious things, so I always like to see that it wasn't just my family

    Jan. 11, 2:47pm

    >91 VivienneR: I bought this on a trip a few years ago without knowing that it was part of a series, and then didn't read it because I wanted to read the first two volumes first. Good to know that it is possible to read them without any previous knowledge, although I might still wait until I have read 1 & 2.

    Jan. 12, 4:29pm

    >110 MissBrangwen: I believe this was my first Jackson Brodie book purchase too! After reading it I quickly acquired and read more and it didn't bother me that they were out of order.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 12, 4:36pm

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee 1957 & RandomKIT January

    Ten Pollitt Place by C. H. B. Kitchin

    A forgotten story out of print for a long time and deservedly brought back by Valancourt Books gives an account of the residents of the posh apartment house at Ten Pollitt Place. The building and neighbourhood was based on Kitchin's own neighbourhood at 23 Montpelier Street (where, coincidentally Thomas Hardy lived in 1870) and is described well enough that it may be recognized by locals. Harrod's appears as Garrow's department store where Dorothy Fawley shops and has lunch. Justin Bray, a less than successful author, resembles Kitchin enough that he could be seen as a self portrait. Hugo, a disabled teenager with an odd crush on the dustman, predicts that someone in the house will die within the year. The dated chapter headings work as a countdown through a dismal Christmas to a dramatic turn at the end of the year. There is much to ponder over in this ostensibly simple story that reveals more complexity as it progresses. Kitchin is better known for detective novels, which is what drew me to his work, but this muted story is my favourite of what I've read so far.

    I love the cover beautifully illustrated by Val Biro.

    Jan. 12, 4:41pm

    >112 VivienneR: I've read three of Kitchin's crime novels and your review definitely makes me want to read this book, so I'm adding it to the wish list to join Birthday Party.

    Jan. 12, 8:03pm

    >113 pamelad: I'm so glad! Kitchin is one of those authors that I plan to re-read at some point. He made me think while I was reading this one. I'll watch for your opinions.

    Jan. 12, 9:37pm

    category: MysteryKIT series

    Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton

    Hamish has a date with a beautiful nurse, a no-show whose body is later found at the bottom of a cliff. As usual Hamish runs his own investigation parallel to the official one and succeeds - in avoiding promotion. Not surprisingly Priscilla's latest beau is another disastrous choice. She definitely needs some guidance in this area. This is another variation of the usual plot line loved by Beaton's fans. Sonsie, Macbeth's beloved wildcat, makes a contribution to the story, and Sally is introduced.

    Bearbeitet: Jan. 14, 7:25pm

    I finished two short books:

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee - Lily of the valley (1956)

    Five on a Secret Trail by Enid Blyton

    A good adventure tale for children. The era, untroubled by security issues, is obvious in a story where parents allow kids to go camping alone. They also appeared to have minimal equipment. As a kid I loved these stories but as an adult this one makes me a tad anxious.

    category: Arrivals - anemone

    The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer

    Dr Watson is missing and Enola Holmes, Sherlock's young sister, has taken on the investigation. Her ability with disguises is excellent, and she has an extensive knowledge of the language of flowers that helps solve the case. This was my first of this series and I really enjoyed the character and the story.

    Thanks to rabbitprincess for a recommendation chosen to fit my category theme.

    Jan. 15, 1:55pm

    >115 VivienneR: I’ve never read any of these, Vivienne. I’ll have to rectify that.

    Jan. 16, 4:06pm

    The Kitchin book sounds fabulous - noting that one.

    Jan. 16, 4:23pm

    >118 AlisonY: The best of Kitchin's books is that they are available as free downloads. They are reminiscent of Margery Allingham's style.

    Jan. 16, 4:54pm

    category: BINGO gardenia - book club read

    The Holdout by Graham Moore

    Maya was the holdout who convinced the other eleven jurors that the accused was not guilty. Ten years later, she is now a lawyer and has been invited to a reunion of the jury members where Rick, one of the jury, plans to present new evidence to show the accused was guilty. I love legal thrillers and courtroom scenes so Moore's novel was a big draw for me but it was difficult to develop enthusiasm for this convoluted plot and unlikeable characters. The author is a screenwriter, which may have contributed to the loss of focus in print.

    Spoiler warning for Christie fans: Moore identifies some of Christie's murderers.

    Because I don't belong to a bookclub I chose a Book of the Month Club selection for this square.

    Jan. 17, 12:12pm

    I didn't know there was a book series with Enola Holmes. I watched the Netflix film and loved it. Was it based on these books, do you know?

    I loved All My Puny Sorrows. I thought the sisters' relationship and the depression were sensitively and beautifully portrayed. That one stuck with me for a long time. I have enjoyed each of Toews novels that I've read. I'm looking forward to A Complicated Kindness, one I haven't read yet.

    Jan. 17, 3:01pm

    >121 BLBera: I know very little about the author or series, Beth. I've never been a follower of Sherlock Holmes, and know nothing of his family. I was hit by a BB with a book from the Rowan Hood series also by Nancy Springer that I enjoyed. The title The Case of the Bizarre Bouquet fits my theme perfectly but I liked it so much that I'll dip into the series again.

    Isn't Miriam Toews a wonderful writer. A Complicated Kindness is one of my favourites.

    Jan. 17, 7:23pm

    >121 BLBera:, >122 VivienneR: A Complicated Kindness is my favourite, maybe because the protagonist has the same surname as me. Only time I've read that.

    Heute, 12:55am

    categories: QEII Platinum Jubilee - Lily of the valley (2016) & AlphaKIT

    Real Tigers by Mick Herron

    This is my current favourite series. Herron's writing is terrific, and he neatly provides literary sections, usually openings and endings, while the text is filled with black humour and a sly complex plot. Slough House, ruled by Jackson Lamb, is where MI5 agents end up when they screw up an op. And although Lamb is personally repellent, he is my favourite character. In this episode, his assistant is kidnapped in a "tiger attack", an attack that is not what it seems, which could result in the end of Slough House or even MI5 itself, under Home Secretary Boris Judd. The ransom is intel to be stolen from Regent's Park, MI5 headquarters, an almost impossible task given their unbreakable security, a place filled with failures who just haven't been caught yet, so they can still wield big sticks.

    The only copy available in my library system was in audio format and the narrator was humdrum, a tad disappointing. I believe print works better for Herron.

    Heute, 2:13am

    >123 Nickelini: That must have been fun to see your name in print! I haven't come across the name anywhere else.

    Heute, 2:04pm

    category: QEII Platinum Jubilee - Lily of the valley (1962)

    The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side by Agatha Christie

    This turned out to be a more complex than I remembered from my reading many years ago. While it is a typically baffling plot that required the unique abilities of Miss Marple to solve, the origin was a sad true story based on actress Gene Tierney.

    It was comforting to see Miss Marple welcome a new era with its many changes including cheerful daily help instead of her faithful parlourmaid, and Gossington Hall renovations fit for a movie star resident. I enjoyed the "Lady of Shalott" connection.