rainpebble's 11/11/11

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rainpebble's 11/11/11

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Editado: Ene 5, 2011, 5:02am

Well this should be fun. I mucked up last years so badly but read a lot of great books. Let's see what will happen this year. I am going to keep it just nice and easy.

Editado: Nov 18, 2011, 2:09pm

My 11/11/11 categories:
6. BOOKS OF THE BIBLE (completed)
7. ALL VIRAGO/ALL AUGUST (completed)
8. COZY READS & MYSTERIES (completed)
9. VIRAGOS (completed)
12. DIS-N-DAT-N-DAT-N-DIS (completed)

Editado: Dic 23, 2011, 6:29pm

Category Completed.

1. Tinkers by Paul Harding Pulitzer; (4 stars)
2. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout Pulitzer;
(4 1/2 stars)
3. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Pulitzer; (4 1/2 stars)
4. Little Stranger by Sarah Waters Booker ;
(4 1/2 stars)
5. March by Geraldine Brooks Pulitzer; (3 1/2 stars)
6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson Pulitzer; (5 stars)
7. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides Pulitzer;
(4 1/2 stars)
8. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Booker; (4 1/2 stars)
9. The Hours by Michael Cunningham Pulitzer;
(5 stars)
10. The Long Song by Andrea Levy Booker; (3 stars)
11. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor Booker; (5 + stars)

favorites thus far: Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor& Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Category Completed.


1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 1/2 stars)
2. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (5 stars)
3. (can't remember)

1. The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini (4 stars)
2. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (4 1/2 stars)
3. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (5 stars+)
4. Great House by Nicole Krauss (5 stars +)
5. Annabel (4 stars)
6. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (4 stars)
7. Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (3 1/2 stars)
8. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (4 stars)
9. A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (5 stars +)
10. One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden (5 stars)
11. The Invention of EVERYTHING ELSE by Samantha Hunt (4 1/2 stars)
12. The Seas by Samantha Hunt (4 1/2 stars)
13. The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey (3 stars)
14. Gilgamesh by Joan London (4 1/2 stars)
15. Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden
(5 stars)

favorites: The Help & A Spell of Winter

Darryl's 'An Orange a Month Challenge':

August: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5+ stars)
September: The Long Song by Andrea Levy (3 *)
October: When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant (3 1/2 stars)
November: Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (4 stars)
December: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
(4 1/2 stars)

favorite: The Help, When I Lived in Modern Times,
Five Quarters of the Orange, Fugitive Pieces

Editado: Dic 23, 2011, 6:48pm

Editado: Dic 23, 2011, 6:55pm

Category Complete

1. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
(5 stars)
2. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (3 1/2 stars)
3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (5 stars)

for the "Austen-a-thon":

4. Emma by Jane Austen (3 1/2 stars)
5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (5 stars)
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (5 stars)

7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5 *+)
8. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (4 1/2 stars)
9. Five Quarters of The Orange by Joanne Harris (4 stars)
10. Beloved by Toni Morrison (4 1/2 stars)
11. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
(4 1/2 stars)

favorites: Outlander , The Age of Innocence, The Way We Live Now, Pride and Prejudice, The Help, Sarah's Key, Five Quarters of the Orange

Editado: Nov 18, 2011, 2:13pm

6) BOOKS OF THE BIBLE: I will be reading all of these from the King James Version of the Bible.
Category Completed but still reading.

1. Job (completed)
2. John (completed)
3. James (completed)
4. Daniel (completed)
5. Ezekiel (completed)
6. Acts (completed)
7. Psalms (completed)
8. Hebrews (completed)
9. Ezra (completed)
10. Song of Solomon (completed)
11. 1st & 2nd Peter (completed)

favorite book of the Bible: always John

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with
God and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him and without Him was not made anything that was made.
In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men.
And the Light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not."

The book of John never fails to bring me to my knees.

Editado: Nov 18, 2011, 2:14pm

7) ALL VIRAGO/ALL AUGUST: (My favorite category) (see ya in August)
Category Completed

1. Where the Apple Ripens by Jessie Kesson (2*)
2. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (4*)
3. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (5*+)
4. The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer (4 1/2*)
5. This Real Night by Rebecca West (4*)
6. Red Dust by Gillian Slovo (3 1/2*)
7. For One Sweet Grape by Kate O'Brien (4 1/2*)
8. A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (4*)

I am going to choose the skinniest Virago books I have so that I can complete this category of my challenge in August.

9. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (5*)
10. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (4*)
11. The White Bird Passes by Jessie Kesson (3 1/2*)

favorites: Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, The Lying Days, 84, Charing Cross Road & For One Sweet Grape

Editado: Nov 18, 2011, 2:14pm

Category completed :-)

1. Devine Evil by Norah Roberts (2 1/2 stars)
2. The Journey Begins: Road to Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (3 1/2 stars)
3. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (3 1/2 stars)
4. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (4 stars)
5. The Walk by Richard Paul Evans (4 1/2 stars)
6. Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows
(4 stars)
7. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah (4 1/2 stars)
8. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
(4 stars)
9. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay (4 stars)
10. Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans (3 stars)
11. While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
(2 1/2 stars)

favorites : Magic Hour & A Secret Kept

Editado: Dic 23, 2011, 6:42pm

Category Completed

1. January: Emma by Jane Austen (3 1/2 *)
2. February: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (3 1/2 *)
3. March: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni (4 1/2 *)
4. April: The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (4 *)
5. May: Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt
(3 1/2 *)
6. June: Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum (4 1/2 *)
7. July: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (3*)
8. August: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5 *+)
9. September: Five Quarters of The Orange by Joanne Harris (4 stars)
10. October: The Legacy by Katherine Webb (3*)
11. November: Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (4 1/2 stars)

favorites thus far: The Help, Amaryllis in Blueberry, Five Quarters of the Orange, Sarah's Key

Editado: Nov 18, 2011, 2:15pm

Category Completed

1. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (4 *)
2. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway (4 stars)
3. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (5 *+)
4. A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve (2 1/2 *)
5. Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard (5*)
6. Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum
(4 1/2 *)
7. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna 5 *+)
8. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (3 *)
9. Red Dust by Gillian Slovo (3 1/2 *)
10. Hemingway in Africa: The Last Safari by Christopher Ondaatje (2 1/2 stars)
11. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (5+stars)

favorites: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, Cry, the Beloved Country (hands down) by Alan Paton, The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard

Editado: Nov 26, 2011, 9:10pm

Category Completed :-)

1. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman (5 *)
2. Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman (3 *)
3. Still Waters by Jennifer Lauck (4 *)
4. The Bass, the River and Sheila Mant by W.D. Wetherell
5. The Man in a Case by Wendy Wasserstein
6. Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin
7. The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
8. Cathedral by Raymond Carver
9. Solstice by Joyce Carol Oates
10. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (2*)
11. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (4 1/2 *)

favorites: Winter Garden, Green Angel, Sonny's Blues, The Man in a Case, Solstice

Ene 5, 2011, 5:26pm

Hi Belva, I'll be checking in here to keep track of your progress, good to have you back on LT on a regular basis.

Ene 11, 2011, 4:22am

Thank you DQ50. And I will be checking on you as well. Thank you for popping by.

Ene 11, 2011, 6:19pm

I am reading such a good book at the moment. It is Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf. I do not believe it was written for publication but for her own pleasure/need to understand the goings on of her family. It is:
"A collection of five memoir pieces written for different audiences and spanning almost four decades, Moments of Being reveals the remarkable unity of Virginia Woolf's art, thought, and sensibility. "Reminiscences," written during her apprenticeship period, exposes the childhood shared by Woolf and her sister, Vanessa, while "A Sketch of the Past" illuminates the relationship with her father, Leslie Stephen, who played a crucial role in her development as an individual and a writer. Of the final three pieces, composed for the 'Memoir Club', which required absolute candor of its members, two show Woolf at the threshold of artistic maturity and one shows a confident writer poking fun at her own foibles. A showcase of Woolf's only autobiographical writings, Moments of Being provides invaluable insight into a woman who forever changed the face of literature."
I am loving this piece.

Ene 12, 2011, 7:17pm

My granddaughter has talked me into reading one of her books. It is a Norah Roberts book entitled Devine Evil. I think I will read it between parts of the Virginia Woolf book of memoirs that I am currently reading.
She really enjoyed so here is hoping that her 'nanny' can enjoy it as well. Not what I usually go for but I have a hard time letting my grands down. Love them so.

Ene 28, 2011, 12:01am

We had our R/L B/C meeting tonight and our January book was Emma. I was very disappointed to find that I was the only one to read and complete the book. I did have a difficult time getting into the book and broke the 'Pearl Rule' of 50 pages and finally got into a rythym of Austens gift of humor by about page 80-90 and was able to enjoy the remainder of the book. It is my understanding that Emma is perhaps the most difficult of her books to read. Am looking forward to beginning Sense and Sensibility this week end for the 'Austen-A-Thon' and to continue 'Virago Reading Week'.
Our February book for B/C is Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I am hoping it is a hit. Know nothing about it but that was the chosen book so hopefully I will enjoy it.
Am continuing to read Seventh Heaven for Virago Week in Jan. I am quite enjoying it and all of it's quirkiness.
Signing off,

Editado: Ene 28, 2011, 1:31am

Belva, I think you will enjoy Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, a well written, charming book.

Ene 28, 2011, 1:51pm

Thanx DQ50. I am hoping. I was very disappointed that not one of the members, other than myself, even attempted to finish Emma so the discourse was rather a waste of time and some of us travel 40-60 miles for this one-two hour gathering each month. So I hope Major Pettigrew's Last Stand works better for the group.

Abr 25, 2011, 11:07pm

I, just moments ago, finished reading One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downs and loved every single page of it.
"He felt awfully happy, driving home in the peace of the splendid evening. He had turned off the Bridbury road at the Crossroads, and now the land on either side of the low hedges resumed it's quiet lyric meter."
"On an evening like this, all the great truths which had ever been stated about an English summer day seemed to come so freshly into the mind."
Lovely, just lovely. It has been quite a little while, what with everything going on in R/L, that I have read a book in so few hours. This one is such a delight.

Abr 26, 2011, 10:52am

Hi Belva - great to see you here posting! One Fine Day does sound good so I am off to investigate if my local library has a copy.

Abr 29, 2011, 3:01pm

Hey Lori;
How are you. Thanx for popping over to say hello. Good to see you too. What are you reading these days?

Abr 29, 2011, 3:02pm

I just this morning finished another that I couldn't put down, but this one was a mental and emotional roller-coaster. Does Joyce Carol Oates ever write anything that is not fascinating? This one grabbed my gut from a short way in and had it the whole time. I couldn't read the last bit fast enough.......not because I wanted to the book to end; Oh no!... but because I had to see what was going to happen next. This title is simply Solstice.
What a master of the written word Oates is. She sucks us in and holds us until the very end and sometimes our mouths and eyes are wide open and I am sure we look like fish absorbing her words. This one definitely didn't turn out as I expected. I give it an absolute high 5!

Editado: Mayo 1, 2011, 1:51am

have begun Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and am enjoying it greatly thus far. My first Diaz and he writes really differently, at least in this book. I like it a lot.
We are still having snow here; what's up with that? Weather like when I was a kid. Strange, but rather nice to have four seasons again. I hope it doesn't rain all of spring.
We jerked up the last bit of carpeting in the house last week and laid laminate flooring down and then put together our new Tempur-Pedic bed. For the first time in my life I have a headboard & footboard. I am liking it a lot. Both of us are sleeping so much better and I enjoy it so much that if I don't have to get up early, I just lie abed and revel in it. Strange for me as I am one who, upon waking, is up and at it. Not work, but coffee and FaceBook. LoL!~!

Mayo 1, 2011, 3:53am

I picked up the Oscar Wao book fairly recently so it's good to hear you're enjoying it.

Editado: Mayo 7, 2011, 9:19pm

I just have to say it.


I just finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and though I had to work a bit to stay in the first part of the book..........by the end, I was rendered nearly speechless. I found the swearing in the first part a little disconcerting but getting beyond............I didn't even notice it. This book doesn't end up anything like it begins and it is a powerhouse. I, not knowing much of Santo Domingo's history, was very thankful for all of the footnotes and will be looking for a book or two on the apparently horrendous history of that country. Diaz's characters are very easy to get into and I am sure they will be rattling around my brain for a time. I give this one 4 1/2 stars.

I sure hope you like it as well Dave. It is definitely not a formula book.

Mayo 8, 2011, 6:25am

Glad you enjoyed it so much. It was just one of those impulse type purchases for me but I've no idea when I'll get round to reading it though.

Mayo 13, 2011, 2:46am

I am reading a most interesting book entitled The Hours by Michael Cunningham. It isn't a Virago but it should be. He has taken Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and blended it with the story of Virginia as she is beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa; the character from said book, and Laura, a Los Angeles housewife who is beginning to feel the constraints of home and family. It is a fascinating take on M.D. Have any of you read it? It has been around for a while as the copyright year is 1998. Anyway I am really enjoying it. The perfect read after oral surgery this morning.

Jun 13, 2011, 6:31am

Just put down Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. A quite worthy Pulitzer Prize winner. There were a couple of slow parts for me, but I really liked this fairly different book. I liked the characters and loved the way the heritage played into almost all aspects of the storyline. Very good book.
Now, since I can't seem to get back into Pride and Prejudice, I am going to begin Beowulf when I go to bed in just a few.
hugs all,

Jun 14, 2011, 7:17pm

Am also reading Roman Fever and Other Stories by Edith Wharton. What a writer!~!

Jun 20, 2011, 11:19am

Hi Belva!! I have yet to read Wharton. I should get around to it soon!!

Jun 21, 2011, 2:23am

Currently I am still reading Beowulf, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees and Acts from the King James Bible.
I am starting to get excited for Orange July and am beginning to get my ducks in a row for that. Have decided to attempt to read the/or part of the following:
The Tiger's Wife,
The Memory of Love,
Great House,
Annabel, (should be good following Middlesex)
Room, ???
Grace Williams says it Loud,
The Lacuna,
Black Water Rising,
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, and
The Boy Next Door.

Jun 21, 2011, 9:42am

Hi Belva, just getting caught up on your thread. Oscar Wao is on my TBR pile, as is The Hours. Like you, I am looking forward to Orange July. I was hoping to read The Memory of Love but the hold list at my local library means I will have to wait awhile for that one! You have a great list of books lined up. The only ones I have read are Room and Black Water Rising. I thought Black Water Rising was an interesting crime/civil rights piece set in the 1980's.

Are you going to join us over on the Orange January/July Group? The more, the merrier!

Jun 22, 2011, 7:07pm

Thank you Lori. I didn't even realize that there was an Orange January/July Group. Of course I will be joining you. I appreciate your comments so much. Oscar Wao was amazing and amazingly different. I really liked it but there are those who have not. Just depends. It is one that I will hang on to and read again one day.
Thank you once again regarding the Orange Group. I shall be seeing you there.

Jun 24, 2011, 7:30pm

I absolutely loved Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum. It is the story of a family of 6. Ma, Pa, and 4 girls, all named Mary something and who go by their middle names except for Amaryllis who is the baby and goes by Yllis. The father is a bit jealous of the mother and thinks/knows that Yllis is not his birth child and in talking to their priest about this, decides to take his family from America to West Africa where all manner of things happen to them. The story is told beautifully. Each chapter is told by a different character in the book. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I hated to see it end excepting for the fact that I am eager to begin my books for Orange July. I gave this one 4 1/2 stars. It won't be leaving my library.........I can tell you that.

Jun 26, 2011, 12:19am

Having just finished Great House by Nicole Krauss, I just have to say: WOW!~!
What a wonderful book with a totally unexpected ending. I really loved this book. Accidentally the second book I have read this week in which each portion/chapter is told through the eyes of a different character. I wish I had purchased this one instead of checking it out at the library. I know one day I will want to read it again.

I think I will begin Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna tonight when I go to bed. I have heard nothing but praise for it and I think it is the only actual Orange Prize winner that I have chosen for Orange July.

Jun 28, 2011, 4:47pm

After a very slow start, I am loving The Lacuna. For myself, it is reading like non-fiction. Making me very hungry to restudy Frida, to dive into Trotsky but I am hoping that I can hold off until after 'All Virago/All August.
I hope you all are reading something great. I am really happy thus far with my Orange July picks.

Editado: Jul 5, 2011, 12:20am

I finished The Boy Next Door just moments ago and am yet a bit awe-struck. I liked and enjoyed parts of the book but I appreciated the entire book. For the most part it is a rather harrowing story of a family during the eighties through the late nineties in Rodesia/Zimbabwe. I recommend it to some of you but not all. It is not an easy book to read but once into it, the story moves along very fast and I found myself unable to put it down except when I had to, as when we had family and friends here today for a BBQ. Even then, I came in for a couple of hours to read. It kept me awake last night...... not just to read. It literally kept my mind whirling and unable to rest. I cannot imagine living through anything even similar to this.
It is a novel so it is fiction, of course. But we know that things of this nature literally happened there and are yet happening. My heart goes out to the people of Africa so often and I ache for them. This is Irene Sabatini's debut novel and while it wasn't perfect, it was an unstoppable read. I predict Sabatini to be a literary force to be reckoned with one day.

Editado: Jul 28, 2011, 8:46pm

After completing The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey last evening I felt I need a bit of fluff as a break from the intensity of these Orange listed books. So I grabbed Miles to Go, the continuation of Richard Paul Evanss journal in The Walk. Just a nice, easy, comfy read. I am halfway through it and will probably be picking up my next Orange tonight late which is: Black Water Rising by Attica Locke.

Anyway, my thoughts and comments on The White Woman on the Green Bicycle:

I was ready for a 'knock your sox off' book when I began The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. I didn't find it to be so. The story takes place in the racially political years of Trinidad and is about a couple who move there from England "for three years" in a job related transfer for the husband. He falls in love with Trinidad, she....not so much.
The story is plotted out in three sections. The first section; the early days .... their move and the wife slowly realizing that chances are pretty good their three years is going to turn into more. She becomes very disillusioned with their lives, the island and her husband. But she has their children and a busy life so she accepts the situation.
The second section; the ending days .... their children are grown and the couple are now in their seventies and still in Trinidad. The wife has become complacent and yet angry at the same time with her husband. She knows they will never leave Trinidad and will die there. The end of this section is the end of the story but not the book.
The third section; the middle years is the real meat of the story and comes at the back of the book. So much happens in this part of the story. The political unrest becomes an unbearable violence toward the whites and Trinidad is now a very dangerous place to be living. The couple both have secrets from one another. He is unfaithful with many women though he adores his wife and she has a secret correspondence (which she never mails off to him) with the Prime Minister or whatever they call the leader of the country. When the husband finds this, he feels even more betrayed than she does when she realizes that he is sleeping with other women.
For me the best part of the story was the interactions of the characters with their servants and the one servant's family. I cared more about them than I did the main characters.
I would not say that this was not a good book, but I think it could have been so much better. All of the concepts are there, the characters are there....they just needed to be drawn out more clearly and be more who they were. Like I said the strong characters were the servants. I won't read this one again and I am very surprised that it got as far as it did on the Orange list. My first disappointment with an ORANGE. ;-)

I have had to reassess this book as some 22 days after reading it, I still cannot get it off my my mind. So it definitely has something to tell me. I WILL read it again and have raised it from 3 1/2 stars to a 4 star read.

Jul 6, 2011, 2:07pm

Hi! Saw your name and recognized it from Orange January/July, so I thought I'd pop in. You''ve got a great list of books here.

But I have to ask, what's ALL VIRAGO/ALL AUGUST? Something along the same line as Orange January/July, I'm assuming, as you also have a VIRAGOS category, but the name isn't ringing any bells.

Jul 6, 2011, 9:02pm

Hey Samantha_kathy;
Thank you for popping over. We have a group on L.T. called The Virago Group. Virago Press is a publishing house in the U.K. that was started by a group of women who came to realize that great numbers of books, mostly written by women, were coming out of copyright and no longer being published. They put their company together and their first publication was Frost in May written by Antonia White and the original copyright date was in the early thirties. Now they are up to some 500-600 books, I believe.
To me they are mainly books written for and by women. Our group is not very large but you are certainly welcome to join us if this seems your cup of tea. For the most part, the ladies are genteel, though we do have a great deal of fun. And we have a few men in our midst too which is very nice as they give us a different outlook sometimes. I know you would be warmly welcomed by all.
All Virago/All August is a challenge that I came up with 3 years ago. I hosted the first two and I think Romain is hosting it this year. Some of us read nothing but Virago books for the month and some of us just try to get 1 or 2 in; whatever works for each one.
I had never heard of Virago Press until I joined L.T. and they have become my absolute favorite books. I buy or trade for them whenever the opportunity arises and have some 300 or there-abouts. But I know some of our ladies have almost all of them.
We don't have individual threads within the group but it doesn't take long to figure our group out. We are simply lovers of this type of book. Quite a few of the books hone in on early feminism. I am enclosing the link to our group's home page so you can see what it is all about for yourself. This page is the first place I go when I sign into L.T. first thing in the morning with my tea or coffee and has been ever since I was introduced to the group. I hope you find us interesting and more than that, that you will come to also love the books.


Jul 6, 2011, 9:59pm

Just finished Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans and it was just an okay read for me. I much preferred the first one of the series, The Walk.

Jul 7, 2011, 4:01pm

>42 rainpebble:: Thanks for the explanation and the link. It looks like a great group and a great initiative with some great books. Unfortunately, the Dutch libraries don't seem to have caught on to that :). I did see that the books I searched for were available to buy, but that's something I'm trying to cut down on, so I'll stick to Orange books for now, as my library at least has them or can get them from other libraries around the country.

Jul 12, 2011, 7:54pm

After reading Miles to Go I picked up another Orange listed book, Black Water Rising and enjoyed this relaxing murder (amongst others) mystery. No tension for the reader here but an enjoyable read.

I just finished A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore and how easily I see that this book had to win the Orange Prize. What a wonderfully drawn story.
A Spell of Winter is an exquisite story of an illicit relationship between siblings. The thought may make one go "ewww", but this book is written so tastefully and beautifully that I do not think I can recommend it highly enough. It is quite possibly going to be my # 1 read of the year. 5 stars +

Jul 13, 2011, 3:12am

This evening I read another 5 star Orange listed book, One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden. This one is about a family with 3 daughters growing up in Northern Ireland in the time of "the Troubles". The story is told in a manner that bounces from character to character, year to year, memory to memory. It is a wonderful story. The girls are so close and close to their parents as well. They remain so to and through their adult years. I learned more about the horrors of "the Troubles" than I would have liked to. I would have liked this book to have been a simple sweeping tale of this extended Irish family, as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmothers are brought in as well. But it would not then have been the story that it is.

Next up: The Invention of EVERYTHING ELSE by Samantha Hunt

Jul 14, 2011, 7:05pm

I am still reading The Invention of EVERYTHING ELSE, am about 2/3 through it and while it did take me a bit to get into it, I am quite enjoying it.
Interestingly, yesterday while sitting & waiting for the hubby to get in to his eye Dr., I was reading and just for the heck of it........I turned and asked him if he had ever heard of Tesla. He proceeded to supply me with said gentleman's first name and an entire history of the man, where he was from & how and why he came here, what he invented, how he did not patten most/all (?) of his inventions, that he just wanted to better mankind's lot, about how another inventor named Marconi had taken credit for a great many of Tesla's inventions, about Tesla and Thomas A. Edison's limited relationship........... and so on. He was still sharing with me when they called him in a good twenty minutes later.
On the way home I asked him how he knew so much about Tesla. (I didn't even know he was a real person; I mean I am reading a novel) His answer: "I watch the Discovery and History channels." My man, the quietly well articulated & salt-of-the-earth man that I love and have been with since the hippie days of 1972 (we celebrated our 37th yesterday) surprised me once again.
So when I went to bed last night and picked up my book to continue reading, it was with a whole new & fresh attitude. This caused me to enjoy this Orange listed read even more than I was before.
'Ain't life grand?'

Jul 15, 2011, 1:16am

Goodness, this one just kept getting better and better and rolling faster and faster. The Invention of EVERYTHING ELSE must have been a strong contender for the Orange Prize. I hated for this one to end. I really liked all of the characters a lot. I found the book fascinating and I continually wanted to know more and more about everything in the story.
The 'beer poem' in the book was actually written by the author, Samantha Hunt's father. Interesting, eh? I thought so.
The story is about Nikola Tesla, an inventor of many things, a great humanitarian, a wonderfully spirited man and a man who really lived. In the story a young maid (Louisa) in the New York hotel where Mr. Tesla, a recluse living out his final years, becomes acquainted him and befriends him, whether he wishes it or not.
She lives with her father (Walter) having lost her mother at the time of her birth. Her father is a night watchman at one of the city libraries. Everyone in the story seems to be rather reclusive. The maid and her father are best friends and very close. Her father has one other friend (Azor) who is also an inventor.
The story wanders back and forth from days past to days present and I enjoyed the way it was told. In this way we get to meet and know the wonderful woman (Freddie) who was Louisa's mother. We are also introduced to Thomas A. Edison but his role is fairly brief. We also get to know a couple who befriend Mr. Tesla and who remain friends with him until the very end.
I liked this book so much more than I expected to from the rather slow beginning. It has so much in it; the scientific data and talk, of which I understood so little, romance, family, mystery ........ just a lot going on in this one. I wish I hadn't felt the need to read it so quickly because I wasn't ready for the ending when it arrived. I did think that it tied up a few things too nicely at the end. By nicely here I mean conveniently. But a very good read, very good.

On to my next Orange listed read: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna. I hope it is as good as most of the books I have been reading.

Jul 15, 2011, 7:35pm

Hi Belva, I have been lurking and getting all kinds of additions to my wishlist! Helen Dunmore is an author that I need to get to sooner rather than later, she gets rave reviews for her work. The only Orange nominated book I have gotten to so far this year was The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer and it was an excellent read. Glad to see you are getting so many 5 star reads in.

Jul 15, 2011, 10:09pm

Bouncing through to say Hi Belva and to add The Invention of Everything Else to my TBR pile. I had no idea the book was about Tesla...... so, NOW I am intrigued!

Jul 20, 2011, 1:43pm

Hey kids, thanx for popping over.
DQ; The Invisible Bridge (I popped over to the book page) sounds right up my alley. WWII is a favorite genre of mine. I will have to see if the library has a copy of it. If not for this month, at least for January.
Lori; I think you will really like The Invention of Everything Else. Sounds like something for you to pick up.
thanx ladies. See you soon,

Editado: Jul 20, 2011, 2:29pm

Last night I completed The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna, an absolutely outstanding book about the days following the Sierra Leone civil war. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
What a beautiful book about a horrendous subject or rather subjects. So many really good story lines in The Memory of Love and all of them proved out to be very telling.
There are so many lovely reviews on this book that I am not even going to attempt to review the book but I did love it. I cared about all of the characters, I laughed, I cried, I mourned, so many emotions are drawn out of the reader with this book.

A couple of quotes:

re: the study of PTSD on patients and civilians; "You call a disorder, my friend. We call it life."

"So now his turn has arrived and he has never felt more conflicted. For here in this building where he barely has a moment to himself, he has never been so sure of who he is. He can walk he corridors, courtyards and wards blindfolded. Out on the streets he is recognised by his patients and he in turn recognises them. The change had occurred outside of his awareness. In this place of terrifying dreams and long nights, he knows who he is."

"Sometimes I think that this country is like a garden. Only it is a garden where somebody has pulled out all the flowers and trees and the birds and insects have all left, everything of beauty. Instead the weeds and poisonous plants have taken over"

The Memory of Love

I too, wonder why it did not win the Orange Prize. This is a spectacular read! I read a library copy but must buy my own. 5 stars + Now on to my next Orange listed book: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I feel as if I am in for a rare treat as this is my first Waters.

Jul 22, 2011, 2:50pm

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: I hardly know where to start. This one took me in gently, grabbed me and held me throughout. Strangely enough, the character I cared the least about was Caroline. I simply was unable to read her and get into her. I cared about all of the other characters, even the minor ones. Thus, the 4 1/2 stars. Otherwise I would have easily rated this one a 5 star read.
And 'the little stranger', indeed, turned out to be what/whom I thought it to be. It made sense, it fit perfectly........but I didn't like it. Not that I didn't like it in the read. I think it had to be that way.
The story is one of a doctor who comes to the village and in his work, he falls for the sister of one of his patients. Eventually they plan to marry but things occur and continue to occur that keep putting the wedding at bay. The house of his patient is one of the old 'great houses' and I think the good doctor falls in love with the house as well even though it is in ill repair. Things fall through in the end, literally..............and we are rather back where we began but with our head still in the story.
The entire book is rather a head-game with the characters and with the reader. I liked it a great deal and would have loved it if the character, Caroline, had been more believable to me. Still and all it was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.
Now onto my next Orange listed read: The Road Home by Rose Tremain.

Jul 22, 2011, 9:35pm

I had intended to read The Little Stranger a couple of years ago when we had it in the library on the lease program. I didn't manage to get to it before we sent it back, and I've seen such mixed reviews of it that I haven't been sure whether or not I would like it. I suspect the mixed reviews may be because people didn't like the main character. I may eventually get around to reading it, but it hasn't been high on my priority list.

Jul 23, 2011, 3:46pm

Lori, I found it very well worth the read. I would have 5 starred it except for the one character. You might just give it a try one day and see for yourself how you feel about it. Hope you are reading something you are loving.

Jul 23, 2011, 3:48pm

I am putting aside my current Orange book to read the book we chose for my Real Life Book Club: My Name is Memory. Haven't begun it yet but I am hoping it is a dandy. I find so many of our book club picks are just meh!
later dayz

Jul 23, 2011, 4:51pm

>56 rainpebble:: That's exactly why I haven't joined any Real Life Book Clubs. To pick a book that nobody in the group absolutely hates, you usually end up with a choice that's kind of meh for most (if not all) members. Unless reading tastes are very similar, but then there's usually little to no actual discussion, just a group gushing about the book they all read.

Jul 24, 2011, 2:25pm

Only too true. I have been in this book club for perhaps a year and a half. The only reason I remain is to help support the hostess. She owns a small independent book shop, the only one left in our area but still over 40 miles away, and she has the meets at the book shop. Oh and another good reason is there is always wonderful finger foods, wine and teas. Can't do the wine but I must say I do enjoy the other.
I have long wanted to have a book club here at home and I may try that one day and see how it flies. Perhaps limit it to ones of a certain age and with reading similarities. IDK>
thanx for popping by,

Editado: Jul 24, 2011, 2:28pm

The title: My Name is Memory
The author: Ann Brashares
The time period: all over the place from 541 A.D. to 2009
The place: again, all over the place but it seemed to center mainly in Africa and the U.S.
The characters: Daniel, Lucy/Sophia/Lucy/Constance/Lucy,......
The story:
Daniel, our protagonist, has a gift. A gift for life and remembrances of previous lives. Many souls come back but very few have a memory of their past lives and loves. Daniel remembers and Daniel remembers Sophia, his one and only love. The story weaves through Daniel's many lives as he searches for and sometimes finds her. But it never works out. There is always a hindrance of one sort or another.
This book worked for me. I enjoyed the way it was written, I liked the characters very much except for the one I hated and he was born to be hated several lives over. I enjoy time travel books and had anticipated that this was to be one but it wasn't. Daniel didn't travel back and forth through time. He was born, lived and died only to be born again in another time and place. The book does, however, go from current back to another life and returns to current time and time again.
Daniel overdosed on heroin in one life only to be born (& abandoned) in the next life by a heroin addicted mother. I loved his constant searching of Sophia/Lucy. The name he knew her by when he first fell in love with her was Sophia but her name in today's world was Lucy.
It is a very simple little love story that spans time and lifetimes. It is enjoyable, a fast read, a good book to take on holiday. There is no real depth here but I did enjoy the book. Not all books have to be intense nor have a lot of depth to be enjoyed. This little story works. (3 stars)

Jul 25, 2011, 3:44pm

Have set aside The Road Home once again. It just isn't suiting my mood at the time. I have turned to The Seas by Samantha Hunt; much more to my liking right now and was long listed for the Orange Prize this year.

Jul 30, 2011, 3:14am

The Seas by Samantha Hunt is an enchanting little tale about a young girl who thinks that she & her father before her are mermaid/merman. The story is one of isolation both by the physicality of it and also of self isolation. The girl keeps to herself and spends a great deal of time at the beach hoping to see her father return to she and her mother. One day while there she sees a young man coming out of the ocean and he is beautiful. She immediately falls in love with him though she is at the tender age of twelve and he is much older. The story moves on from there and is mainly about their relationship.
It is a fast paced fantasy that even an old lady can love. I really liked this little book. It wasn't perfect but then what fantasy is?
I gave this one 4 1/2 stars.

Next Orange Prize listed book for the month is The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey.

Jul 30, 2011, 3:17am

The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey
My thoughts and comments:
This book was a very difficult read for me what with my father-in-law and his father both succumbing to Alzheimer's Disease or dying of complications of the disease. It brought back a great many difficult memories and as my beloved father-in-law just passed a year and a half ago some of those are still very raw.
This is the 2nd or 3rd Orange book of the month that I have read that has been written in a past tense and present tense back & forth manner. I do like this style of writing and I will say that this book was well written. However, I found it difficult to engage with any of the characters other than perhaps the protagonist's mother and her gentleman friend, whose parts were rather small.
So I liked the style of the book but I can't say that I liked the book because of the personal issues that I had to deal with while reading it. Someone who has not had to live with this disease would, I am sure, have a whole different take on the book.
I gave it 3 stars.

Having the weekend to finish up my reads for Orange July; next up: Gilgamesh by Joan London.

Ago 3, 2011, 1:32am

I read Where the Apple Ripens by Jessie Kesson this afternoon and while I liked this little book of short stories I disliked the writing style enough that it totally disturbed my affection for the stories. I know that Kesson is one of Scotland's most beloved of writers and so I will not give up on her but will simply read more of her in the attempt to make my brain accommodate her method of writing.
I am not going to attempt to review the book as I believe that Elaine has done a fine job of that and because of the above.

Ago 4, 2011, 2:01pm

Gilgamesh by Joan London: my thoughts and comments:
I loved this book. I came to care about all of the characters and I couldn't wait to see what was coming up around the corner with Edith and her son's travels and travails looking for 'the papa'. The writing is beautifully done and this reader did not want this one to end.
I am not going to review the book as Soupdragon has done it so beautifully on the book page. But I too, found it to be everything I desire in a read. So well done and the characters were so interesting. Loved the part with the handicapped singer. Just so colorful. A wonderful book. I gave this one 4 1/2 stars. Read it.

Ago 4, 2011, 9:50pm

Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden:

Again, lindsacl has written such a succinct review on the book page that I won't bother, but will just slip in a few thoughts and comments.
I didn't realize how much I loved this little book nor how well written and important it was until I finished it and sat there without a word to say. Because what does one say when they have read perfection? And it is not the story although it is a good story. It is not the characters although I related to the them all from the beginning. It was simply the writing. This author writes exquisitely and with such subtlety that one is not even aware of it until it is done. At least this reader was not. Deirdre Madden ............. an author of contemporary literature to be reckoned with. (5 stars)

Ago 10, 2011, 3:22pm

Where the Apple Ripens by Jessie Kesson
While I liked this little book of short stories I disliked the writing style enough that it totally disturbed my affection for the stories. I know that Kesson is one of Scotland's most beloved of writers and so I will not give up on her but will simply read more of her in the attempt to make my brain accommodate her method of writing.
I am not going to attempt to review the book as I believe that Elaine has done a fine job of that and because of the above. (2 stars)

Editado: Ago 15, 2011, 3:56pm

The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
This is a wonderful book. I loved it and I know that I will read it again and again. Rebecca West is awesome! (4 stars)

"Rebecca West's novel touches the very essence of life ..... Reviewing Rebecca West is like trying to review Michaelangelo. Perhaps we have become afraid of acknowledging contemporary greatness."
--Sybille Bedford


Ago 10, 2011, 3:26pm

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

Just a comment:
I loved Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont but my poor old heart was broken at the end. I didn't want it to end like that but it certainly was in keeping with the beautiful story.
Mrs Palfrey's daughter, Elizabeth; what a bloody cold hearted bitch!~!
Elizabeth Taylor writes like an angel. This is just a really lovely little story. (5 stars +)

Ago 11, 2011, 11:26am

#68: Your comment about the ending reminds me of movies like The Gladiator, Braveheart, and even Apollo 13 a little. Great movies, but with a sad ending for the main character, which breaks my heart. Those kind of movies I watch once and only once, and I get grumpy after watching them. What can I say, I like happy endings, in movies and in books!

Ago 12, 2011, 12:05pm

That is not a bad thing to want Sammie-cat. I like happy and sad endings. It just depends on the book/movie.

Am now about half way through The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer. A wonderful sort of coming of age story that takes place in South Africa circa 1950s I would guess. I just fell into this one, rather like the rabbit hole. It is so good.

Ago 15, 2011, 3:53pm

I completed The Lying Days in bed last night. What a wonderful book with great writing, a great story-line.....I loved it. But then with the rex I had, I knew I would and it is about South Africa and I am crazy for books on Africa. I liked the way Gordimer wove her characters with light & dark colors as they should be and I liked the way that she rushed no part of the story, not even the end. All in all, a 4 1/2 star read for me.

Now I am moving on to the second in a three book series by Rebecca West, another new Virago author for me and I love her as well. Continuing from The Fountain Overflows, I am reading her This Real Night and finding it very good so far.

Editado: Ago 18, 2011, 9:40pm

Nearly finished with This Real Night by Rebecca West, a very good follow up book to The Fountain Overflows. After this one, I am moving on to Red Dust by Gillian Slovo.

"In a small dusty South African town three people returning after many years away are about to meet their pasts. From New York comes top lawyer Sarah; from jail, and in chains, comes ex-deputy policeman Dirk Hendricks; from the new government, about to face his former torturer, comes Alex Mpondo M.P. And in the town two old men wait -- one for news of his son's murderer and one for his darling girl's return. Crackling with tinderbox energy, the scene is set . . . " (from the back of the book)

"A beautifully written novel with the pace and twists of a thriller and the atmosphere, scents and space of Africa. Slovo has drawn a cast so vivid that these torturers, heroes and victims will live in your mind long after the book is closed." (from The Guardian)

looks interesting to me and a break-away from what I have been reading and yet a Virago.

Editado: Ago 21, 2011, 2:29am

Just finished Red Dust by Gillian Slovo; a page turner for me.

The Place: a village in South Africa
The Time: post Apartheid; during the Amnesty hearings
The People: Lawyers and Police Officers mainly
The Story-line: Sarah, an attorney born and raised in the village but moved to New York, is called back by her mentor to help with an Amnesty hearing. A young man was killed by a police officer during questioning/torturing and the officer is now wanting to tell all in an Amnesty hearing in order to be freed from prison.
Some court room drama and people drama in this one. No blood and guts but a nice tight dramatic piece of historical fiction based on real events. (non specific to the story) (3 1/2 stars)

Next up: A View of the Harbor by Elizabeth Taylor

Ago 25, 2011, 9:49pm

I finished A View of the Harbour last evening and loved it. I am finding Elizabeth Taylor to be one of the best Virago writers in that she writes in an such an understated manner, is very subtle, and grows her characters very quietly. Love her writing. I loved the way this one ended and must say that while I should have been prepared for it, I was not.

Am off task now with my RL/BC and Orange read: The Help by Kathryn Stockett and just 60 pages in, I am loving it as well. I have been so fortunate in my reads this year. Almost all of them have been wonderful. It is so nice when the duds don't come in runs.
I am hoping that I will have time for one or two more Virago reads in August after finishing The Help. Actually I need to read 4 more to fulfill my obligation of 11 to meet the challenge. Don't think I can do it.

Ago 25, 2011, 10:17pm

Hi Belva!! I'm on the waiting list for The Help at the library. Everyone that has read it seemed to like it. I saw the previews for the movie the other day and thought it was time to get to it.

Ago 26, 2011, 1:35am

Hi Tammy;
I am really liking it a lot. It is even better than I expected it to be. I think you will enjoy it too. I don't pay too much attention to the nay-sayers who claim that it is not realistically portrayed. It is listed as fiction, not non-fiction so I am not nit-picking but simply enjoying it. It's very good.

Editado: Ago 27, 2011, 10:19am

I've just concluded The Help by Kathryn Stockett and I absolutely loved it. I know there is a lot of controversy regarding the accuracy of the black/white characters and relationships in this book. But I didn't go into it as a bio or as a bit of history. I went into it as it was written, I believe, and that is as a piece of fiction and I really enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried, but mainly laughed at some of the conversations. I really liked how Stockett grew her characters and how I was slowly drawn to like/dislike a particular character. People in real life often waffle on decisions and are wimpy as were a few in the book. Then there are those who take an immediate stand and stick with it no matter what as did some in the book.
It is difficult for me to realize that this is a debut novel. It was that wonderful. It just may be my best of the year. I highly recommend it and give it 5+ stars.

I am now moving back to my All Virago/All August month beginning with 84, Charing Cross Road by
Helene Hanff to be followed by 3 more Viragos by month's end. (I hope)

Ago 28, 2011, 12:32am

I just finished the loveliest little book of letters by Helene Hanff entitled 84, Charing Cross Road. I was quite taken with it and so sad at the end that Helene was never able to make the journey 'across the pond' to meet and visit her dear friends from the bookshop. A very charming book and I highly recommend it. (5 stars)

My next Virago is another new author to me. Although I have all of her books this will be the first of hers I have read. It is Barbara Pym's Exellent Women. I hope that I enjoy it half as much as I did 84, Charing Cross Road.

Ago 28, 2011, 12:47am

Nice & easy? You're challenge looks quite ambitious. I had a South Africa category in my 11 11, and it's interesting. We didn't read any of the same books. My favorite off the South African authors was The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut. Someday, I'll read Cry, The Beloved Country.

Ago 29, 2011, 9:59am

>78 rainpebble: I just read Excellent Women. I somewhat liked it, although some of the characters frustrated me.

Editado: Ago 31, 2011, 2:42am

camkat; Cry, The Beloved Country is one of the best books I think I shall ever have the pleasure of reading. It is a book that I believe should be required school reading in every school everywhere. (Of course, I also think that every school in America should raise the funds to send their Junior class to Gettysburg each year.) But it is a wonderful yet heart rending book that truly opens one's eyes.
It is so nice to meet another who is fascinated by Africa. Okay if I invite you to be my friend so I can follow you & your reads more easily? Ewww, now I sound like a stalker.....truly am not.
I will be giving your The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut a go. I will see if my library has it probably for October. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize so there must be something to it. Thanx for the rec and very nice to chat with you.

Ago 31, 2011, 2:49am

I totally understand that frustration. I felt some of it myself but I think that this particular book was written to give us a bird's eye view into the lives of persons, namely unmonied, unmarried, gentle women with "no" lives. And I thought that Pym did a remarkable job of doing just that. But I know what you mean. You just wanted to bap them up along-side the head and say: "Do something, make a decision and just do the hell something!" Right?
Thanx for popping by. I am going to check the book page and see how you rated it. I gave her a 3 1/2 or a 4 on this one. Can't remember for sure.

Ago 31, 2011, 2:52am

Have completed Excellent Women and am off and running with The White Bird Passes. I must finish it before midnight tomorrow night in order to complete my AV/AA category in the 11/11/11 Challenge. Wish me luck as I have a couple of appointments plus a luncheon engagement and must drive an hour to get to them. So I will most likely have only a couple of hours to read on this one. .....The Pressure........

Ago 31, 2011, 9:58am

>82 rainpebble: I think I gave it 3.5 stars. I suppose that's how the women of that time period and class were raised to be, but I just wanted to tell them "You can have a fabulous life without being married or taking care of a man! Go do something you want to do!"

Ago 31, 2011, 12:01pm

rain, glad to have you as a friend! The Good Doctor is one of the more gentle post-appartheid books, but don't let that fool you. There's still plenty of odd human interaction and betrayal in it. It is beautifully and subtlely written.

Sep 1, 2011, 10:39pm

@ casvelyn;
I gave Excellent Women 4 stars but did feel much like you did about it. But I loved her style of writing so that bumped it up 1/2 * for me.

@ camkit;
I am looking forward to reading it. I do so love a book that is beautifully & subtly written.

Sep 1, 2011, 10:48pm

>86 rainpebble: Since I didn't like the ending, I decided that Mildred should fall in love with Everard while working on his book index. I'm probably the only person who would find indexing conducive to falling in love, but what can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic and a lover of indexing projects.

Sep 1, 2011, 10:56pm

The White Bird Passes by Jessie Kesson:
My thoughts and comments:
While I liked this little story a great deal, I have difficulty with the fact that Jessie Kesson does not grow her characters. They are simply there and the story goes.
The book is about a little girl, Janie, who lives in a very poor section of town with her mother. There are very few men and most of the women are prostitutes and the children pretty much raise themselves. There are State Dept persons who go around to check on the living conditions, the health conditions, etc., of the residents of the area and if the children are not being cared for as the politicos think agreeable they are removed from the home/hovel and taken to an orphanage, which is what happens to our Janie.
Janie is a very interesting and well rounded character whereas I found most of the characters to be flat. (For me, this is a Kesson hitch.) Janie is very resilient and thinks quick on her feet. But the story ends when she is released from the orphanage. I would have loved to found out what future escapades awaited our main character and it may be that there is a sequel to The White Bird Passes. I hope so.
I gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 5 and guardedly recommend it.

Now I am off to a bit of non-fiction that I have been having a hankering for: Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall by Michael Baker. Forty eight pages in and am fascinated already.

Sep 2, 2011, 1:34am

Too bad about The White Bird Passes. You'd expect Janie to change a lot through all her experiences. Poor thing!!! Using a character like that as a main character is hard though because they tend to be helpless and things happen to them. A good main character makes things happen.

Thought of a couple other African books. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Ake by Wole Soyinka. Ake is an autobiography, and it's amazing.

Sep 2, 2011, 4:31pm

Oh, thank you for the rex. I do have Things Fall Apart and plan to read it before year's end. But have never heard of Wole Soyinka. I went over to the book page on Ake and one of the reviewers said that if you are going to read this author that this is the one to start with. BAM!~! It is on my order list/library list. Thanx again. Africa is such a fascinating continent to read about as there are so many different countries, dialects, social mores, there is just such a variety of story-lines when you read of Africa. The history, the colors, the beauty, .................. love it.

Sep 2, 2011, 5:26pm

Can't help myself, have to put in a good word for Things Fall Apart. It's wonderful. I agree with your comments, Belva about Cry, The Beloved Country - a magnificent book. I'm going to add The Good Doctor to my wish list along with Elizabeth Taylor.

I have just finished Pym's Jane and Prudence and felt that a good shake would do some of those women a lot of good. In this book, Jane and Prudence are both Oxford educated. Jane is an incompetent vicar's wife and Prudence has unfortunate love affairs while looking for Mr Right. By the end of the book, Jane is still incompetent and Prudence is still unmarried. I enjoy Pym's humour and witty writing style.


Sep 2, 2011, 11:02pm

I'm sure you'll love Ake - Wole Soyinka is best known as a very political playwrite who has done jail time for being outspoken. & yup, Nobel prize winner.

Sep 4, 2011, 11:38pm

While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
My thoughts and comments:
While I enjoyed this story, I could not help but compare it to my life with my younger sister and her very similar death at the age of forty seven years. As one of the other reviewers noted, there are discrepancies between the story and what actually occurs in the true situation. It does not seem to have been well researched.
I spent 3 days and nights loving my sister on her way out of this world. I sang to her, I rubbed lotion on her, I talked to her...........I loved her and the family went to all efforts to be agreeable with her wishes.
In this story, Robin, the sister who is a runner, goes down with a freak heart attack at the age of thirty something. Her mother, father, brother, sister Molly, and friends must deal with all of the things that must be dealt with while mourning the fact that it is only the machines keeping their loved one alive.
I have read much better by Barbara Delinsky and this one too, could have been much better. It is rather a 'pat' story for the subject matter that it covers and while a quick and easy ready it did not feel real to this reader. I have come to expect more from a Delinsky novel.

Sep 4, 2011, 11:57pm

Good review - I'll avoid WMSS.

Sep 7, 2011, 8:23pm

Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall by Michael Baker.
My thoughts and comments:
When I began this book I knew absolutely nothing about Radclyffe Hall. This biography is about her private and public life. It goes into depth regarding the writing of her short stories, poetry and her novels as well; even so far as telling the stories. This was a woman who fought for everything she ever gained in her life. The book goes into her many travels to different countries and her political and religious life. By the time I had finished reading this book, I felt as if I knew the real Hall.
She was a fascinating woman who led a fascinating life, albeit sometimes an unhappy & miserable life. One of the biggest battles in her life was her fight to get The Well of Loneliness published both in England and in America. Some of the biggest names in writing at the time stood forth for Radclyffe, or John as she liked to be called, during the court battles over the publication of this book. In 1928 the British courts banned the book as 'obscene' and ordered all copies destroyed.
Parts of the biography do deal with her lesbianism and how the world around her dealt with it as well as sharing the stories of her great loves and what they brought to and took from her life.
The author, Michael Baker, has done a wonderful job on this bio. It was interesting and generally to the point. It doesn't paint Hall as a perfect person but just gives us her life. I enjoyed this read tremendously, recommend it highly to those who are interested in the writing of this particular era and rated it 4 stars.

Sep 7, 2011, 8:35pm

My next read is my answer to Darryl's 'an Orange a Month' Challenge and I have chosen The Long Song by Andrea Levy. It was long listed in 2010 and looks promising.

Editado: Sep 11, 2011, 7:37pm

My September Orange was The Long Song by Andrea Levy. I had such high hope for this one and those hopes entertained me about 4/5 through the book. Then things went rather off-kilter for me.
Here's hoping my October Orange is a little sweeter.
My review is here:

Sep 11, 2011, 7:37pm

Reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain about the 1st wife of Papa (Hemingway) told in the 1st person by the wife. I am quite enjoying thus far.

Editado: Sep 14, 2011, 12:29am

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway's marriage to his first wife, Hadley Richardson. I quite liked the character of Hadley. She had a lot of integrity, staying power and she adored Papa as he did her, but he couldn't love just one woman. That was his (and her) problem. It is a nice little story, a quick read and one that made me really hungry to run to the library and check out 3 bios on Hemingway. I was unable to find one on Hadley.
I gave this one 3 1/2 stars.

Next up I am reading Hemingway in Africa by Christopher Ondaatje and enjoying it for the descriptiveness of Africa, it's landscapes, people and animals. Not much on Hemingway as of yet.

Editado: Sep 18, 2011, 5:16pm

Beloved by Toni Morrison
My thoughts & comments:

1st read several years ago: This story creeped me out but I loved it and found it fascinating at the same time. I will read it again. I gave it 5 stars.

2nd read: The first half of the story I found very difficult to get into. I liked all of the characters and I love how it is written but I just could not concentrate and follow the story well at all. Just before I got into the second half of the book, I found myself suddenly enmeshed within the story-line. I think the book brilliantly written and a very thoughtful story of the subject matter.
It is difficult to discuss this story or to know what to say about it. I can picture all of this actually happening in the time and place of the story. I read it as if the ghost were real, as to me she was, but I can see that the story can be read either way. I think that the chickens/turkeys, etc. were an excuse for the community to believe in the supernatural occurring at 124.
I will leave it to those much better versed than myself to actually review it. I gave it 4 1/2 stars and like before, I will read it again.

Sep 19, 2011, 9:36pm

It took me awhile to get my "sea legs" in Beloved too. I think she was deliberately avoiding a "story line" in the beginning, to give the illusion of collapsing time, but I may be totally wrong. It shifted back and forth chronologically, especially in the beginning. Thanks for joining the group read!

Oct 3, 2011, 4:14pm

I ended up really liking the book and look forward to reading it again but I do agree with what you had to say.

Editado: Oct 3, 2011, 5:38pm

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

My thoughts & comments:
Not really much to say on this one. I was interested to hear what he saw and heard within those 90 minutes and the man really went through hell on earth as he was recovering from his accident. I believe in a literal heaven but I thought that the book was written quite poorly and I am unable to recommend it for the writing but if you are curious about the content, by all means do read it. I gave it 2 stars because of the writing.

Oct 3, 2011, 4:21pm

Hemingway in Africa: The Last Safari by Christopher Ondaatje:

My thoughts and comments:

I found this bio to be quite interesting. The more I read of Hemingway, (though I quite like his works), the more I realize just what an ass he really was and that the size of his ego was HUGE! Probably the most tender thing he is quoted as saying is regarding his first wife Hadley, at the end of his memoir he says: “I wished I had died before I loved anyone but her.”
The man, while an ass, is a fascinating man. This particular biography follows Hemingway's second and last African Safari route by the author. It was interesting and I do want to read more of the man and more of his works, specifically "A Movable Feast".
I gave this one 2 1/2 stars and I did enjoy Ondaatje's writing skills.

Editado: Oct 3, 2011, 4:26pm

Princess Ka'iulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People by Sharon Linnea:

My thoughts and comments:

This bio on the lovely Princess Ka'iulani of Hawaii is a very interesting look at the 'take-over' of Hawaii's royalty and the way it all went about to make Hawaii a province of the U.S. Rather like we took over America from the Indians but without the violence which was a constant threat. The princess was a smart, brilliant and very lovely girl who lived in exile in Europe for 8 years while the fate of her country was being decided. A lovely but sad bio. I am very glad I read it. Now I wish to read more on the history of Hawaii. This was a 3 star read for me.

I have now moved on to Hadley another bio on Ernest Hemingway's first wife by Gioia Diliberto.

Oct 4, 2011, 5:49pm

Interesting reviews. Here's wishing a 4 or 5 star book your way.

Oct 4, 2011, 6:34pm

Thank you cammykitty. The same for you. :-)

Oct 4, 2011, 6:36pm

Hadley by Gioia Diliberto
My thoughts & comments:

I found this book to be very interesting and learned a lot about Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway's first wife, through the reading of it. I understand why his quotes: "I wish I had died before I ever loved anyone but her." and "I only loved one woman and then lost her." and where they came from.
Hadley was a very unhappy girl who grew up in a home (house) dominated by her mother who appeared to me to be jealous of Hadley, who hated men, thought sex was a destroyer of women and conjured her other daughter to join her in organizing groups to 'save' women from men. However she, Hadley, did live with her mother, taking care of house and her mother when she became ill and remaining with her through her death. Only then did she embark on a life of her own.
Hadley Richardson was a fascinating woman on her own, aside from Hemingway. And from the accounts in this book, other that her years growing up and to 28 when her mother passed, and the years immediately after her breakup with Hemingway, she led a happy and fulfilling life.
I disagree with the one other reviewer on this book that it is more about Hemingway than Hadley and I would have liked to have known her. I would love to have someone like her in my life.
I recommend this book to any bio lover whether they cared for the work of Ernest Hemingway or not and I rated it 3 1/2 stars.

Oct 4, 2011, 6:57pm

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
My thoughts & comments:

Amongst so many negative reviews, I will stand and say that I loved this book. The lesbianism in it is not written overtly enough so as to be offensive. I found it to be very sensitively written and a very thoughtful read.
I cared about the characters that I should have and despised those that were to there to be despised. I am very taken with Hall's writing and looking forward to reading more of her work. I am very glad that I read Radclyffe Hall's bio before reading this book. I think it brought me more in tune with her writing.
There is some happiness in the story and a great deal of sadness as well. I am certain that I will be reading this one again. I gave it 4 1/2 stars.

Oct 4, 2011, 10:29pm

More interesting reviews. Hadley sounds intriguing, especially since it sounds like she married her mother's worst nightmare.

Oct 7, 2011, 7:36pm

ha ha cammykitty........I had to laugh at that. I does, doesn't it.?.

Oct 7, 2011, 7:38pm

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

My thoughts and comments:


"He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front.
He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come."

The "beauty" of a war story is an intriguing thought, but I can think of no other word with which to describe this book than beautiful. Remarque has written a book of the horrors of WWI told through the eyes of an innocent young German soldier and he has written it with such a simplicity that it is overpowering in the beauty of the language.
We owe the translator a huge debt as well, for the translation can make or break a book and this is a wonderful book, deserving of all the accolades it has received.
It is the story of several young men from the same village who enter the service and the war at the same time. It tells of the horrors of the smallest nature as well as the hugely horrifying events of this war. It also tells of the remarkable little things that put smiles on the faces of these young men and gave them hope for another day.
There are many books written about The Big War but I can only think of one after reading All Quiet on the Western Front. If you have not read this book, please do so. You will be giving yourself a wonderful gift. I highly recommend it and gave it 5 stars

Oct 10, 2011, 8:17pm

When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant

My thoughts and comments:

I won't attempt a review on this book as there are already several quite good ones on the book page. I will say that I really liked the book. Read it in one sitting. I loved the story; thought the writing could have been a bit better. Some of the characters I quite liked; others I wondered why they were even there. I really liked the main character and could understand, at times, her wishi-washiness. I did not, however, understand why she allowed that couple to basically abduct her and remove her from Tel Aviv and take her back to England or wherever. I liked the description of her marriage and think a lot of marriages are actually like that. I also loved that she returned to Tel Aviv when she was able to upon the death of her husband. I will most likely read it again because I loved the story-line so much. And I definitely am going to creep into clueless's library and see what books they followed this one up with. I recommend When I Lived in Modern Times to those who are truly interested in the cause of Israel becoming a nation in it's own right and I gave it 3 1/2 stars.

Oct 13, 2011, 3:51pm

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway

I quite enjoyed this slim volume of short stories by Hemingway. His words have a way of engaging the reader with the time, place and space of the story. So far I have loved everything I have read by him.
The first short: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, which he titled this book after, is about a man & wife on safari in Africa under the Mountain of Kilimanjaro. He has a serious leg injury that has gone gangrene. She is attempting to keep him amused whilst they await the plane to take him to hospital. While they wait they talk and he drinks. He is not so frightened now that the pain is gone.
The second: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, is about 2 waiters in a sidewalk cafe and an aged man who comes in every evening and sits quietly drinking until 3:00 A.M. by which time he is drunk and goes home. He attempted suicide 'last' week and his niece who cares for him saved his life. The one waiter is a bit surly and wants the old man to leave so he can close up the joint. The 2nd waiter is much more laid back and sees no harm in letting the gentleman drink for that last hour.
The third story: A Day's Wait, is about a little boy who becomes ill and must remain in bed for a day or two. His father reads to him and sits by his bed and talks with him. The boy does not want to sleep even though he is sleepy. He thinks that he is dying.
The fourth: The Gambler, The Nun, and the Radio, is about a 2 men hospitalized with gunshot wounds. One was shot twice in the abdomen and the other one in the leg. When the police come in to question them, the men insist that it was just an accident, although they were shot by an angry card player. It was an accident because the man had shot 8 times and only hit them three but was only attempting to hit the one. Good story.
The fifth: Fathers and Sons, is about a father and his son out hunting and then about the son & friends out shooting. The son, Nick, always thought of his father in the fall during hunting season.
The sixth: In Another Country, is about two men, again in hospital in Milan, Italy with war wounds. They are on machines said to help with their therapy. It is rather a character study as are the others as well.
There are four more, each as good as the last. Some of these are just a very few pages, but what pages. After a couple of them I had to just sit and ponder the meaning that Hemingway was possibly attempting to get to us. Also several of these are 'Nick Adams stories', which are always exceptionally good.
I highly recommend this book and I gave it 4 stars.

Oct 13, 2011, 5:09pm

The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold by Adrian Havill

This is quite a fascinating study of the man who fooled the FBI for sixteen years. He worked for the FBI and sold (for a pittance) top secret information to the Soviets throughout that time.
The story of how & why he did this is interesting but the book is, in my opinion, not very well written. He was a good Catholic and family man with six children. He used most of the money he gained from his espionage to provide his children with a high quality education.
According to the book, Robert Hanssen was to receive a sentence of life without parole. I would only recommend this book to those very interested in this specific subject matter and I gave the book 2 stars.

Oct 14, 2011, 12:08am

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

I was absolutely fascinated by this book. Strange as I did not care for her book Chocolat very much at all. I did, however, love the movie Chocolat.
But this book has almost all of the elements that I look for in a 'but perfect' read. A little dark, a little light; some drama, some playfulness; strong characters, weaker characters who can be manipulated, a heart break, a love story; I think you get my drift.
This story takes place in war time France and brings to a village a woman, who spent half of her childhood here under a different name. There are mysteries and reasons why she does not wish the villagers to remember her or her family from her early years here. The story goes back and forth to her youth with her mother and 2 siblings and then to the current day. It is told in the first person of the woman and then of the young girl of her childhood.
It is a great story and is well written. I am sure that I will read it again one day. I gave it 4 stars.

Oct 16, 2011, 9:03pm

The Age of Innocence is a book about living your life in respect to appearances. And in 'old' New York it was 'all' about appearances. There is a sameness within all marriages, a sameness between the ladies as well as the gentlemen, a sameness in what time the lights go on in the evenings and the time the curtains are pulled.
This could have been a very boring book but it was not at all. In point of fact, I found it to be fascinating. The main character is in love with the young lady that he eventually proposes to, but comes to realize that with her, their marriage will have that boring sameness to it of all the others, that she will be just like all of the other wives which will make him just like all of the other husbands. He meets another young lady who rather than being brought up in old New York was brought up in Europe and finds that she is quite different. She is married to a man whom she has left in Europe due to the very unhappy circumstances in the way he treated her. He becomes fascinated with this woman and even his fiancee tells him that if he should want something different, that she would not want to stand in his way. But...............times being as they were, there are certain standards to be met no matter the happiness or sadness involved.
I enjoyed this Wharton tremendously and have found her to be a wonderful author. I highly recommend the book and have given it 4 1/2 stars.

Oct 16, 2011, 9:06pm

Now The Age of Innocence is the book that I look at, then walk away from. A few years later I look at it again, and again, I walk away from it. Pretty much the same approach I take with War and Peace. I Will need to rethink my look and walk away from habit and actually pick it up and start reading the darn thing!

Oct 16, 2011, 9:17pm

That is too funny because I have done that for years as well with both of those books. But I saw that billiejean was reading it with a group read and I thought: I can do this, so I joined them. (It is ongoing through the end of the year with The Age of Innocence I enjoyed the read so much that I read it in a day and 1/2.
I did the same with War and Peace.....saw someone doing a group read and decided to join in. For some reason that seems to help me get going on a book I have off for eons. Now I have done a group read of War and Peace twice with group reads and regarding both books I am happy that I did join in. I don't know if this would work for you but you might try it.
The Age of Innocence group read is going on over on the 'The Highly-Rated Book Group' and the link if you would like it is:

Oct 24, 2011, 12:16am

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

My thoughts & comments:

The time: 1902
The place: New York
Caroline is young and in love. Her guardian aunt is stiflingly negative regarding nearly everything about Caroline and definitely about her upcoming nuptials which she refuses to have any part of. The groom is from out West where the buffalo roam & where he has a cattle ranch.

The time: current day
The place: England
Erica and sister Beth have come from London to spend the holidays in the ancestral home. The home that their grandmother has willed to them upon her death if they both live in the home. Erica wants to but Beth is terrified to live in the house. Too many secrets must be kept.

The story goes back and forth between Caroline's (Erica & Beth's great grandmother) story and that of Erica and Beth. Beth suffers from horrible depression and anxiety. Erica tries to watch after her older sister but is also very curious about Caroline's history and things left in the house from that era. As she searches through her great grandmother's belongings she finds letters written by and to Caroline. She learns that she lived in New York and out on the western plains. She thinks there was a child as she finds a photo of Caroline with a baby. Yet she knows that Caroline married a Lord and that this could not have happened had she had children.
As the story weaves it's way forward and backward it was quite easy to become engaged with the young American Caroline but not the older European Caroline. It was also easy to become engaged with Erica and Beth, along with Beth's son and the gypsy type family and friends who, at times, lived on the English estate.
Erica knows that the mystery of her great grandmother involves these people who were a part of she and Beth's childhood at the time that their cousin, Henry, disappeared.
I read this for my R/L B/C and have to say that it was one of about 3 that we have read this year that was not a yawn. I enjoyed it but not enough to read again. I gave it 3 stars.

Oct 25, 2011, 12:19am

Ah! So I see you have been posting here and not on the 75 thread. Glad to have found you, now back to read from the beginning. Hugs. : )

Nov 13, 2011, 5:46pm

Winterwood by Dorothy Eden
My review:

The night was dark and the wind rustled through the branches of the trees and pressed them against the old house at Winterwood. The house itself creaked and moaned protesting the winds blowing though the loose window casings. Lavinia was alone in the dark and each time she attempted to light her candle, the moving air would blow it out. Her nerves were shattered and she began to feel that there was movement in the old house. ******* not really, I just thought I would throw that in ******** hee hee

Winterwood is a throwback to the old Gothic Romances and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lavinia is a young lady who has had the good life and through unkind circumstances, is now one who must make her own way in the world. She becomes a guardian/governess to a young girl in a wheelchair who has two brothers. One of them is away at school and the younger one spends his time being petted by his mother, when not having one of her migraines, and the rest of the time up to no good. The father is an estate owner, (Winterwood), and is kept busy with the property.
There is an old aunt who is dying and plans to leave her inheritance to charities. The wife and a 'friend' of hers plot to get this inheritance. And in thus the story lies.
It's an old story and things turn our perfect for everyone. But coming back to this type of story is so relaxing and makes one wonder why we think we must have all of the fast talk and action and goings on that are in the more contemporary works. I will be reading more of this type of novel. They are perfect for fall, winter and a wet spring. I gave Winterwood by Dorothy Eden 4 stars.

Nov 13, 2011, 8:32pm

Winterwood sounds like a perfect read for late autumn! I'll have to check it out!

Editado: Dic 5, 2011, 5:07pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Editado: Dic 5, 2011, 5:07pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Dic 7, 2011, 12:40am

Having posting trouble are we??!! Don't worry. You and your reviews are worth waiting for. I'll be back. : )

Dic 23, 2011, 6:57pm

Thanx for popping over Berly. Merry Christmas to you and all of your loved ones.

Dic 24, 2011, 2:02pm

And the same to you, Belva!! Love the cardinal picture on your profile page. Very wintery. : )

Ene 6, 2012, 5:14pm

I really had to whittle through my favorite reads of 2011 to get the list down to a reasonable number. I read some really good books this past year. So my favorites of 2011 are:

Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
A Secret Kept and Sarah's Key both by Tatiana de Rosnay
Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall by Michael Baker
When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant
Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky; an amazing accounting.

The books that were losers for me in 2011 were much easier to list and they are:

After a 6th attempt, Moby Dick by the dastardly Herman Melville himself.
The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold: The Secret Life of FBI Double Agent Robert Hanssen by Adrian Havill good true story, poor telling of it.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (was not able to finish it but WILL try it again this year.
It seems like there were a couple more but they are so totally non-memorable that I can't even list them. lol!~!

And that is the year of 2011 reading for belva.

Ene 6, 2012, 9:07pm

I love the summary.... and have made a note of Moments of Being as I am still dipping into the well of Virginia Woolf's writing!

Ene 6, 2012, 10:33pm

And your new thread would be...where? Chop, chop!! It's already the 6th.