75 Books - Year 8 - Fourpawz2 in 2015 - Thread 2
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This is the Orpheum Theater located in The French Sharpshooters Hall in New Bedford, which opened on the day that the Titanic sank. It has been closed for many years - I've never been inside it - but it is a lovely building. There is a group - or was a group - trying to save it. I hope that they do.
Some of my happiest memories when I was a kid were of going to the movies with my father. Every Wednesday night in the summer we would go to one of the old theaters in town to see something. These were in the days when you often got two features and on one occasion I even remember seeing a cartoon, too. When we went to see "The Flower Drum Song" we were the only conscious people in the place - the other theater-goers were three snoring drunks. Sometimes we would go to the drive-in (we both fell asleep on "Nevada Smith" at the Fairhaven Drive-In), but I liked going to those old theaters best. Loved coming out afterward to find that the streets were wet from a rain shower that had fallen while we were inside. So lovely.
1. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff (actually it was free from iBooks)
2. A Tour on the Prairies by Washington Irving (free from Google Books)
3. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (Kindle Daily Deal)
4. Wild Swans by Jung Chang
5. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
6. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson
7. Acqua Alta by Donna Leon
8. Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail by Theodore Roosevelt
9. Small Island by Andrea Levy
10. Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
11. The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
12. The River at the Center of the World by Simon Winchester
13. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
14. Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald
Books 4 -14 bought at Mattapoisett Free Public Library Book Sale
15. Death of a Charming Man by M.C. Beaton
16. Death of a Traveling Man by M.C. Beaton
17. Helen of Sparta - by Amalia Carosella - March Kindle First book
18. Younger by Suzanne Munshower - March Kindle First book
19. Highland Winds: Scrolls of Cridhe, Volume 1: Five Hundred Years of Scottish Romance - Bought for 99 cents and intended for those hot summer days when brain does not work
20. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
21. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
22. Snow in April by Rosamunde Pilcher
23. Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton
24. City of Thieves by David Benioff
25. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
26. Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
27. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
28. A Fatal Vineyard Season by Philip R. Craig
29. Shapechanger's Song by Jennifer Roberson
30. A Coffin for King Charles by C.V. Wedgewood
31. Das Boot by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim
32. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
33. King Jesus by Robert Graves
34. Mistress to an Age by J. Christopher Herold
35. Samuel Johnson by W. Jackson Bate
36. Madame deSevigne: A Life and Letters by Frances Mossiker
37. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
Books 20 through 37 all bought at the Mattapoisett Free Public Library Monthly Book Sale
38. Deadly Pleasures - a Book of the Month Club volume which includes The Black Tower, Death of an Expert Witness, and The Skull Beneath the Skin by P.D. James
39. Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron
40. The Lovely Lady and Caption Caution by Kenneth Roberts (in one volume)
41. Bum Steer by Nancy Pickard
42. Kiss Me Again, Stranger by Daphne du Maurier
38 thru 42 all bought at the Mattapoisett Free Public Library Monthly Book Sale in April
43. The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally - amazon
44. Lost Dreams by Jayne Stone - Kindle (free)
45. Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen - Amazon - Gift Card
46. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny - B&N - Gift Card
47. Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffee - Amazon - Gift Card
48. Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess - Thrift Books
49. Death of a Nag by M.C. Beaton - Thrift Books
50. Death and Judgment by Donna Leon - Thrift Books
51. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
52. The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
53. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
54. Angel of Light by Joyce Carol Oates
55. Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
56. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
57. Trinity by Leon Uris
58. Solstice by Joyce Carol Oates
59. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
51 thru 59 were given to me by the woman from house-selling project. Especially excited about #52 which has been on the wish list for some time.
60. Jester's Fortune by Deweny Lambdin
61. The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey - Kindle
62. Die Upon a Kiss by Barbara Hambly - amazon - Benjamin January Series
63. Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt - Mattapoisett Library Sale - Read Granny's copy years ago. Wanted to re-read.
64. Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke - Mattapoisett Library Sale
65. Double Knit Murders by Maggie Sefton - Mattapoisett Library Sale - Omnibus - bought it for the second book in it
66. Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie - Mattapoisett Library Sale - a Hercule Poirot book
67. Northern Portugal:Passport's Regional Guides of Portugal - Mattapoisett Library Sale
68. The Feud that Sparked the Renaissance - Mattapoisett Library Sale
69. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler - Mattapoisett Library Sale - Excited to read this one
70. Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - amazon - my fiction purchase for September
71. Our Own Snug Fireside by Jane C. Nylander - amazon - my non-fiction purchase for September - on my wishlist for years
72. The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney - actually this one was not bought but I got it from the Early Reviewers program
73. Apollo's Angels by Jennifer Homans - found on Amazon at a bargain price - on my wishlist for years
74. Unnatural Murder by Anne Somerset - my non-fiction purchase for October
75. Rural Rides by Thomas Cobbett - free Kindle book
76. The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling - my fiction purchase for October
77. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot - free Kindle novella
78. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells - free Kindle book bought for BAC 2016
79. For The Term Of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke - free ebook via Google
80. Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier - B&N - Gift Card
81. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte - free Kindle book - acquired just in case AB is a choice for the BAC in 2016
82. West with the Night by Beryl Markham - Mattapoisett Free Public Library Book Sale - November
83. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - Mattapoisett Free Public Library Book Sale - November
84. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini - from Barnes & Noble - bought with a gift card I received from my old law firm in 2013
85. Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton - from Barnes & Noble - bought with the last of the previously gift card, plus 69 cents of my money. I think this is probably it for the year.
86. News of the World by Paulette Jiles - Late arrival from Early Reviewers. Can't imagine that there will be another this year.
87. Trilby by George DuMaurier - Apparently I have a poor imagination. Got it free for my Kindle as it is old and pretty obscure
BOOKS LOANED TO ME IN 2015
1. Consequences by Penelope Lively - Library Book for BAC 2015 - Read and Returned
2. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Loaned by a friend - Read and Returned
3. Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan - Library Book - DNF - Returned
4. The Day of Atonement by David Liss - Library Book - impulse pick - Read and Returned
5. In The Clear Light by Fiona Kidman - Library Book for ANZAC 2015 - Read and Returned
6. The Quick by Lauren Owen - OverDrive - Read and snatched back from me by OD
7. The City & the City by China Mieville - Library Book for BAC 2015
8. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky - Library Book from my list
9. The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser - Library Book for ANZAC 2015
10. Divergent by Veronica Roth - Library Book ebook impulse pick
11. Mr. Wakefield's Crusade by Bernice Rubens - Library Book for BAC 2015
12. The Undertaking - Library Book - impulse pick
13. The May Bride - Library Book - impulse pick
14. Stich 'N Bitch lent by a friend
15. The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge - Library Book for ANZAC 2015
16. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - Library Book for BAC 2015
17. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo - Library Book - impulse pick
18. A Fatal Winter by G. M. Maillet- Library Book. - impulse pick
19. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - Library Book from my list
20. Plague Land by S.D. Sykes - Library Book - impulse pick
21. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene - library book for BAC 2015
22. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie - library book to continue reading Christie chronologically
23. Red Rising by Pierce Brown - library book from my list
24. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden - library book from my list
25. The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore - library book for BAC 2015
26. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews - library book - from my list
27. The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford - library book - impulse pick
28. In Milady's Chamber by Sheri Cobb South - library book from my list
29. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark -library book borrowed for the November BAC
30. Murder on Monday by Ann Purser
31. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
32. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
1. Consequences by Penelope Lively - 1/02/2015
2. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro - 1/04/2015
3. Murder Past Due by Miranda James - 1/09/2015
4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - 1/12/2015
5. Spirit of the Border by Zane Grey - (re-read) - 1/16/2015
6. The Great Fire of London: In That Apocalyptic Year, 1666 by Neil Hanson - (re-read) - 1/20/2015
7. In the Clear Light by Fiona Kidman - 1/24/2015
8. The Day of Atonement: a Novel by David Liss - 1/26/2015
9. To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace - 2/1/2015
10. The Quick by Lauren Owen - 2/09/2015
11. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - 2/13/2015
12. Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn - 2/18/2015
13. Leviathan by Eric Jay Dolin - 2/25/2015
14. The History Of New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts by Daniel Ricketson - 2/26/2015
15. Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier - 3/7/2015
16. The City & the City by China Mieville - 3/15/2015
17. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky - 3/18/2015
18. The Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton - 3/21/2015
19. The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser - 3/26/2015
20. Divergent by Veronica Roth - 3/29/2015
21. The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon - 4/11/2015
22. Well-Schooled in Murder by Elizabeth George
23. Mr. Wakefield's Crusade by Bernice Rubens
24. The Woman Who Murdered Black Satin by Albert Borowitz
25. Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
26. The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
27. The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn
28. Acqua Alta by Donna Leon - 5/10/15
29. The Millstone by Margaret Drabble
30. The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell - 5/24/15
31. The Bells by Richard Harvell - 5/25/15
32. The Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke - 5/27/15
33. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny - 6/01/15
34. The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer
35. The Lost City of Z by David Grann - 6/7/2015
36. The Terror by Dan Simmons - 6/16/2015
37. The Whalerider by Witi Ihimaera - 6/19/2015
38. The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge - 6/21/2015
39. The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys - 6/21/2015
40. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters - 6/26/2015
41. Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess - 6/27/2015
42. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson - 7/01/15
43. Breath and Bones by Susan Cokall
44. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo - 7/22/15
45. The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason - 7/12/15
46. Tricked by Kevin Hearne - 7/21/15
47. A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet - 7/30/15
48. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - 8/01/15
49. Plague Land by S.D. Sykes - 8/11/15
50. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - 8/12/15
51. Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell - 8/15/15
52. Dr. Johnson's London by Liza Picard - 8/19/15
53. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene - 8/23/15
54. Charles Goodnight by J. Evetts Haley - 8/29/15
55. The Hills at Home by Nancy Clark - 9/10/15
56. Death of a Charming Man by M.C. Beaton - 9/13/15
57. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie - 9/22/15
58. Red Rising by Pierce Brown - 10/1/15
59. Small Island by Andrea Levy - 10/8/15
60. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden - 10/11/15
61. Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews - 10/16/15
62. The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore - 10/17/15
63. The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford - 10/24/15
64. The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy - 10/24/15
65. The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes - 11/01/15
66. In Milady's Chamber by Sheri Cobb South - 11/01/15
67. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh - 11/09/15
68. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - 11/10/15
69. Jester's Fortune by Dewey Lambdin - 11/18/15
70. The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney - 11/20/15
71. Payback at Morning Peak by Gene Hackman - 11/23/15
72. Country Arts in Early American Homes by Nina Fletcher Little - 11/25/15
73. Children of the Light by Everett S. Allen - 12/04/15
74. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - 12/06/15
75. Murder on Monday by Ann Purser - 12/08/15
76. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel - 12/29/15
My very first challenge that I'm posting up top and so feel really, really obligated to actually complete. Will I manage it? Who knows.
Consequences by Penelope Lively - Read
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro - Read
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - Read
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - Reading - sort of
Frenchman's Creek by Daphne DuMaurier - Read
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville - Changed this to The City & the City - Read
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Mr. Wakefield's Crusade by Bernice Rubens - Read
The Millstone by Margaret Drabble - Read
Experience by Martin Amis
The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge - Read
Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess - Read
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - Read
Christie Marly's Own Double-Entry by B.S. Johnson
The Bell by Iris Murdoch
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene - Read
Small Island by Andrea Levy - Read
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore - Read
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - Read
Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel - Read
My Man Jeeves or The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - Read
The BAC got me all excited and so I decided to take on this one, too.
January - Australia - Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan *
February - New Zealand - Season of the Jew by Maurice Shadbolt - Cancelled by Snow Complications
March - Australia - The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser - Read
April - Australia - Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald - Reading
May - Australia - The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
June - New Zealand - The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera - Read
July - Australia - The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
August - New Zealand - The Bone People or Te Kaihau by Keri Hulme
September - Australia - Missus by Ruth Park
October - Australia - The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes - Read
November - New Zealand - Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh - Read
December - Australia - The Cleaner by Paul Cleave
This is not the perfect 50/50 split that I would have liked, but it is the best that I could do given the limitations of my pocketbook and my local library. I may choose to double up on some of the Kiwis to make up the difference.
*Changing this one to In The Clear Light by Fiona Kidman - New Zealand. DoaRG did not work for me. - Read
My job will disappear at the end of the month. The mortgage business - or the mortgage business at my current place of work - is very, very bad. My boss will now do the processing himself as well as everything else. Am not optimistic that he will survive, but after June 30th (probably, actually June 26th) it is not really my concern. It was nice of him to let me work through June, but in a way I can hardly wait to be done with it.
No idea what I am going to do. At least this time around it is summer and I anticipate that it has to be better than being tossed onto the dust heap in the dead of winter.
Have a few books to add to my library and many books that I have finished recently to be listed.
I have not bothered to list my progress in the Jane Austen 2015 read on this new thread as I have not finished one of them and I don't realistically expect to turn that around this year. I am still trying to stick to continuing the BAC and the ANZAC though, but am having difficulties there as well. Still - have not completely given up on them yet.
Amber, I am still plugging away with the knitting. Have mastered the purl stitch and now the stockinette. My old office manager's mother sent me a HUGE bag of her yarn that is not enough for one of her many knitting projects which I thought was really, really nice of her. It is more than enough for me to practice on and it was a lot of fun sorting through the various colors. Hoping that a couple of them are enough for me to make scarves for myself and maybe one for my aunt. And a friend loaned me her copy of Stitch 'N Bitch to look through. It's really good to have yet another source of help.
Charlotte - I think you would like The Millstone. After reading it I find that I am very interested in reading more Drabble. (What a neat name is Drabble. So quirky. Unusual without being weird. Fun to say a bunch of time. Drabbledrabbledrabbledrabbledrabble. Yup - fun.)
Heather - glad you liked The Millstone. One of the best things I've read this year.
The wool sounds like fun :-) My mother used to store all her leftover wool in an Ali Baba basket (cane-work - very popular in the 70s but I never see them now) and it was always a treat to be able to take everything out and go through it. Not as much fun as the button box, but still pretty good.
My granny had one of those and when I was young and I loved to get it out and play with it. I really had a lot more fun playing with those buttons, crayons, cans and even sticks, in preference to regulation toys. I used to assign personalities and names to them and then spent hours playing with them, doing all of the voices and moving them around as if they were people. Liked them ever so much better than dolls. I expect that if I hadn't been an only child, likely I would not have played with such rudimentary toys, but I was alone a good deal of the time when I was young and I think it was the sound of constant prattle (even if it was just my own) that I craved.
I'm sorry to hear about your job ending - here's hoping that this means that you'll be free to take that dream job when it comes round this summer...
And yay for button boxes! I loved going through my moms as a kid, too, many of the buttons in which were my grandma's, whom I never met but about whom I heard endless stories and love her as if I did know her well.
I'm afraid, Susan, that I don't know what a swap is. Granny's button box was, as I recall, a largish cardboard box decorated with flowers. It was old - probably somewhere between 1890 and 1920.
Book Number 30 - The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell - the fifth book in the The Saxon Tales series. In this book Uhtred is still fighting English Norsemen for Alfred and still fighting all of his unhappiness over fighting for the King and his priests when all he wants to do - all he has ever wanted to do - is recover the lands of Bebbanburg, stolen from him when he was a child by his uncle. Uhtred is still a powerful and dangerous warrior, even though he is now a man in his thirties, wealthy and respected. Things go to pot when the woman Skade shows up and Uhtred's life turns upside down.
Once again the battles, as described by Cornwell, shine. His treatment of the battle at Beamfleot (Benfleet, Essex) is excellent. I never get tired of the way Cornwell writes of fighting.
Giving this 4.5 of 5 stars.
COVER ART - I was going to give this one only a 5 of 10 rating - the warrior's blood-flecked face and helmet, filing the space did not do anything for me - but looking at it again this morning, the way the face fills the space, makes me think of what it must have been like to have a man, wielding sword and battle ax and spear, standing in such close proximity and the thought is a little scary. So, I'm giving it a 6 of 10. Having thought of the cover in this way, I would like to give it more, but as I've kind of resolved to rate these covers based on the art's ability to get a person (me) to pull it off of a shelf, I can't go higher - even though I bought this one sight unseen.
Book Number 31 - The Bells by Richard Harvell - Loved this story of Moses, whose mother is a deaf-mute, self-appointed bell-ringer in a tiny Swiss village. A child with no father, Moses spends his first years living with his mother, often exposed to the elements, dressed in rags, often stealing food from the villagers in order to keep himself and his mother alive. Both Moses and his mother live like wild-things much of the time, living in the bell tower or in the countryside near the church. The bells of the church are what matter most to Moses' mother. These bells that his mother rings with such passion are so loud that the villagers must protect their hearing from the peals, but it is no problem for Moses' mother or her son. (This is something that I did not understand. If the sound of the bells was so painful to people with normal hearing and if it was possible for people's hearing to be permanently damaged from hearing them, why did Moses, who was around them from birth, not suffer any harm? Did not get that.)
Moses is still quite young when he is orphaned. Shortly thereafter he is taken in by two passing monks, returning to their home in Switzerland after a long trip to Italy. It develops that Moses actually has a wonderful singing voice. Unfortunately, this is noticed by Ulrich, the cathedral singing master. Moses' voice is so amazing and Ulrich is so obsessed with beautiful voices that he takes steps to preserve the boy's voice forever.
Loved the way the author told this story. It felt very grand and I could almost hear the music - which to me seems like such an accomplishment. So difficult to write about things that have no solid form, I would think. I mostly knew what was going to happen to Moses, but it did not matter because Harvell told the story so well.
Giving this one 4.5 stars.
COVER ART - this one gets a 7.5 of 10 from me. The design was very simple, but very attractive to me. Loved the matte-black background. If I had not gone looking for this book because of Ilana's rec, I would still have pulled it down off a shelf if I had seen it in a store.
>5 Fourpawz2: Your story about Jane made me chuckle but the news about your job definitely didn't. Really sorry to hear that - feel quite cross with the universe on your behalf.
And button boxes! I loved playing with my Mum's when I was little - I bet she still has it somewhere (probably as full of buttons that don't match any of our clothes as ever).
Lovely day today - not so humid as yesterday. Sticking around the house and reading, with Jane snoozing on the couch at my feet. Skipped the Mattapoisett Library Book Sale in favor of the big one in Westport that I skipped last year because of money concerns. Not going to miss it this year though, come hell or high water!
Book Number 32 - Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke - the third book of the Hannah Swenson series. This time Hannah is involved in her town's first Winter Carnival - typical behavior for her, for she is one of those people who is part of everything that goes on in this small town. It is easy to dislike the murder victim in this book and also easy to spot the hand of death pointing directly at said murder victim for the MV is so unlikeable. (As they so often are.) And yet again, Hannah is the one to discover the body, although - to be fair - the body was in a location where it was inevitable that Hannah would be the one to find it. And though she promises to stay out of the investigation being conducted by her brother-in-law and one of her two boyfriends, Hannah immediately sets about getting right in the middle of everything and discovers all the important clues and information leading to the murderer.
Have to say that the murderer was on my radar very early in the story and so I was not surprised by the unmasking of the perpetrator.
There were several recipes in this book that looked very good, but this is not a surprise because Hannah bakes with plenty of butter and as everyone knows butter makes everything better. Better tasting that is. As soon as the news comes down from on high that the medical geniuses were wrong about butter, then I am going to make virtually every one of Hannah's recipes (except for anything with pineapple - allergic - or coconut - shredded styrofoam) and wolf them right down.
Giving this one a solid 3 stars - it's a cozy mystery story in a small town and there are plenty of baked goods, so what else could I do?
COVER ART - gets about a 3 of 10. Too cartoony. But, I did like the way the blueberries are shown in the shape of a skull - didn't even notice it at first.
Book Number 33 - A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny - Chief Inspector Gamache gets away from work in company with his wife, the two of them making their annual visit to Manoir Bellechasse for some much deserved R&R, but unfortunately work will not leave him alone. There is a suspicious death and with Gamache right on the scene (as are a pair of Three Pines citizens, as well), naturally enough the solving of this very tricky case is up to him.
Really liked the fact that Penny took Gamache away from Three Pines for this mystery which seemed to me to be a very Agatha Christie-ish type mystery - only better. Had no clue at all who was behind the perplexing death or really how anyone could have done it given the seeming physical impossibility of the method. This was great! Looking forward very much to the next book, but will try not to read it too soon. These books are too good to be rushed toward. I need a while to savor them.
Giving this one 5 stars.
COVER ART - It's pleasant, but if I had not been looking for this book, I would not have taken it off the shelf based on the art alone. And - once again - too dang much unnecessary text on the cover! Gets a mere 4 of 10 from me.
Book Number 34 - The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer - I actually finished this book a little sooner than it's order would indicate. It got omitted, sort of, because it was not on my ratty list of books finished most recently and I had to go looking elsewhere for it. I started it in March, mostly ignored it in April and then polished it off in a couple of days toward the end of May. This is no reflection upon the book - just me - as it was really quite good. Mortimer addresses pretty much every aspect of life in this time and if time-travel were a possibility, I think in many ways I could get along quite well in the 14th century. Of course the language would still be a problem and I expect I would be unmasked as an intruder inside of ten minutes and then likely executed, but otherwise I might get along quite nicely.
Giving this one 4 stars.
COVER ART - Kind of lame. Giving it a 2 of 10 rating. The colors are awfully 'meh' and the overwhelming amount of print would not have caught my eye. Fortunately it was recommended by Jenny, so I went looking for it deliberately.
So many great books you've been reading lately! I'm chuffed you decided to pick up The Bells based on my recommendation. I did indeed love that book when I picked it up as an ARC. I agree with you the artwork isn't all that impressive on that edition, but I'd been looking up this title recently as would like to reread it eventually and had (silly me!) given away my original copy, and I've found other editions quite lovely (as seen below).
I understood the reason for Moses's 'immunity' to the sound of the bells to be that since he'd been exposed to it from his first conception and must have 'heard' them from his mother's womb, this would have inoculated him in some way.
I now have no less than thee books by Ian Mortimer on the tbr; your aforementioned The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England, The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation, the latter of which came up as a Kindle Daily Deal at some point last year. I became interested in him because the Folio Society published an edition of Medieval England a couple of years ago, but rather than get their expensive edition (with a cover design I hated anyway), I got my hands on softcover edition from BookOutlet (same edition as your). I have Elizabethan England as an audiobook, so am pretty well covering all formats with that particular author, which I've yet to read, mind you!
Wishing you all the best my dear, with a dose of good luck thrown in for good measure!
eta: had published instead of previewing—still had some work to do on my posting!
>21 Smiler69: - Hi Ilana! I suppose that explanation takes care of Moses' 'immunity', although I do wonder how scientifically sound that is. No matter. I'm perfectly willing to go with it as it helps to make the story acceptable and it was such a good story. Hope you like the Mortimer books. I had been looking forward to that one and am anticipating the one Liza Picard that I own, (which I am expecting is somewhat similar) very, very much. It's a Folio Society edition, too, so will have to keep Jane at a distance in case her paws are dusty!
What I will do after my current job is done is up in the air. Hopeful that something will come along. Perhaps I should sell everything I own, load Jane into the car and then embark on an endless road trip where I turn up on the doorsteps of the 75 book group and stay for a week or two, like some throwback to those old maid aunts who would make the circuit of their many friends and relations, staying for a while here and a while there. As Amber would say - Hah! and *snork!*
Book Number 35 - The Lost City of Z by David Grann - which was, back a ways, a very popular book on LT. For that reason alone I bought it back then and it has now risen to the top of the TBR non-fiction pile. Turns out (as likely everyone else knows) to be about famous Amazon explorer, Percy Fawcett, who went missing back in the 1920's on one of his several forays into that huge territory. (He took his son and son's best friend with him and I found this really despicable of him. He knew how dangerous the place was; how he could have taken young men, who had no experience, with him? What it did to the families left behind really made me angry.)
Fawcett's story is only part of this book; the rest is taken up with the author's story of his trip to the Amazon, wherein he tries to follow in Fawcett's steps, trying to see which way the explorer really went. (Fawcett, unhelpfully, concealed the true route that he intended to take that last time. This made it difficult and deadly for any of the many rescuers who tried to find him after he disappeared.)
It was hard for me to connect with Fawcett. He seemed a pig-headed person and I really don't understand the willingness - eagerness, really - to suffer from heat, disease, bugs, threats of death from natives, starvation and the general danger of the jungle. The mythical (or real) city of Z did not interest me, either. Found it impossible to believe in the city of gold that it was reputed to be by the many explorers who looked for it centuries ago.
These things said, Grann's book was, despite the antipathy I felt for Fawcett, a really good one. Did not make me want to go tramping through the jungle, but learning about this period when professional explorers littered the earth (relatively speaking) and the public was fascinated by them, was interesting.
Giving this one 3.75 stars
COVER ART - Very green and jungle-y looking from what I can see behind all that massive text that obscures the view. Needless to say all that text affects my rating because it makes it so difficult to appreciate the greenery. This one gets a 4 of 10 from me. Another one where, based on the cover alone, I would never have picked it off of the shelf.
>18 Fourpawz2: I've been enjoying slowly rereading the Three Pines series this year and A Rule of Murder is next up for me - I'm looking forward to it.
>19 Fourpawz2: I've heard good things about Ian Mortimer although I still haven't got round to reading any of his books but The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England is on my wishlist (amongst others).
I think you will like Mortimer. Plenty of interesting stuff in that book.
>25 BLBera: - Hi Beth! Hope you like TTTGtME. I'm trying to keep up, but have plainly failed to be perfect - as ever. Have only a little less than half of my last book for June (Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess) still to read. But then, here comes July next week! Ack!
Book Number 36 - The Terror by Dan Simmons - And hard on the heels of a book about exploration in the Amazon, comes a fiction book about exploration in the Arctic. I bought this book for my Kindle waaaay back in 2011 - the first kindle book that I paid really money for and in the intervening time, apparently I forgot what exactly it was about. For some reason I thought that it was kind of Stephen King-esque - a horror story in the frozen north. This was right - to some extent, but it mostly was about the doomed Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage in Canada in the 1840s. Sir John Franklin, as portrayed in this book (and I think Simmons got this right) was another explorer with a massive ego who was guilty of extremely bad planning. Did not find him at all likeable. Liked Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, the commander of the ship Terror, who became the expedition leader after Franklin's death, much, much better. If the man that Simmons writes about had been in charge from the first, I think that there is a chance that things might possibly have turned out differently/better.
Hmmm. It sounds as if I have the impression that The Terror was a narrative history book and not the Historical Fiction/Horror/with-a-touch-of-magical-realism book that I think it actually is. To me, Simmons' rendition was that good. Even without knowing a lot about this Expedition, I trust Simmons' history here, though of course I may be being completely gullible in that.
As for the horror part - there is a 'thing' on the ice that is raising particular hell with the men and honestly I don't think that Simmons really needed that part. It does add an element of suspense, blood, gore and a number of OMG moments, but I bet he could have written it just as well without it.
Over-all really liked this book. Giving it 4.25 stars. Would have given it 4.75 stars if not for the fact that it is awfully long.
COVER ART - From what I can tell, the cover here is not much - but that, with my book being a Kindle book, was never an issue in buying this book. If I'd seen it on a shelf I would have likely passed right by it. Gets a 4 of 10 rating from me.
Book Number 37 - The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera - my ANZAC book for June. I vaguely remember the movie based on this book. It had a pretty location as I recall, but was, for me, pretty forgettable. It might have been a more memorable film if they had decided to follow the book more closely. The book, I liked. A lot. I even liked the fantasy-like elements describing the thoughts and feelings of an ancient male whale and his followers and I am not usually a fan of poofy, fantasy elements. The descriptions of their world were just beautiful. And I also liked the main character, Kahu (the little girl) who has a connection to the whales and dolphins of the waters around her home. A quick read, but a lovely one.
Giving this one a 5 star rating which, according to my criteria, it deserves. The Fourpawz2 rating criteria says that a book that causes me to make an emotional connection with the book gets 5 stars. (This requirement is for non-genre books. Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc. are judged differently.)
COVER ART - Bought this book at a library book sale earlier this year because it was one of the ANZAC books I had picked out to read months before. The movie tie-in cover gets a 1 of 10 from me. Do not like movie tie-in covers. A book cover is supposed to be about the book within - not about a movie. Especially a movie that did not do the book justice!
Book Number 38 - The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge - The first of my books for the June BAC. Yet ANOTHER book about exploration, a fiction entry about the Robert Scott trip in 1912 to Antarctica and the effort to reach the South Pole first. (Scott was terribly disappointed - Roald Amundsen got to the SP only a short while before Scott would have done.)
This relatively short book is divided into five parts in which Bainbridge has five members of the expedition (including Scott) narrate their experience. It is in these narrations that I figured out the title of the book, for each narrator's birthday seems to occur in one of the five parts.
It was so weird reading about landmarks in the Antarctic named after Francis Crozier and John Franklin in this book. I could not help thinking about the Franklin expedition throughout. The Terror kind of hung over me throughout TBB.
Maybe this was one exploration book too many for me, (There were 3 in a 19 day period) because I did not get the impression that this trip was as horrific for them as it should have been. The five men seemed too -stiff upper lip, carry on, never let them see that you are suffering - to me. Perhaps Bainbridge is just very subtle and I was, as I say, just full up with all of this tramping around in the snow, starving, freezing, losing toes, fingers and that sort of thing.
Well-written - just did not resonate with me. Giving this one 3.25 stars.
COVER ART - Giving this one a 4 of 5, but kudos for the choice of the photo of the ship and the ice for they are quite evocative of the story within. I just don't happen to like the idea of all that ice and snow (especially after this past winter) and all of that freezing water. Seen on a shelf, I would have hurried right by this one.
The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys - MORE ice. And cold. And death by water and cold.
Honestly - I did not plan this. TFT was just the next book up in the TBR Fiction pile.
Really thought this book about the 40 different occasions on which the Thames River has frozen was awfully clever. Humphreys tells forty different stories - one for each occasion - basing them on actual things that happened. Each story was very, very short, but most all of them are quite good.
Loved the size of the book - quite small - 5.5 inches by about 6 inches. I like the way it fits in my hands.
Giving this one 3.5 stars
COVER ART - Meh! Only a 4 of 5 rating as it is sporting a lot of text. Would have liked it if the center picture on the front cover had gotten a little more room.
Book Number 40 - A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters. I have avoided the Brother Cadfael series for many years - mostly because my mother once bought me one of them thinking that because I liked history I would like these books. Did not care for it at all - most likely because of my pesky ol' mystery aversion which I only got rid of in the past couple of years thanks to repeated efforts to force myself to develop a taste for mysteries. Thank goodness I really kind of like mysteries now. But do I like Brother Cadfael? So, when this first entry in the Brother Cadfael series showed up for free on Kindle, I decided to get back on this particular horse to see if I actually can like these books about a sleuthing monk in medieval England. Turns out I can.
I especially like the bits of humor (Brother Cadfael putting one over on Prior Robert was particularly pleasing to me) and I also liked the fact that BC was kind of a regular guy of a monk. I did guess who the murder victim would be and was mighty suspicious of the person who turned out to be the murderer. Most definitely will be continuing with this series and hope that I run across a few copies at the big book sale in Westport a week from Saturday.
Giving this one 3.75 stars (which will turn out to be 4 stars because of LT limitations).
COVER ART - Not much to see, but am giving it a 5.5 of 10 rating because I like the bright blue color of the cover's copy that is on my Kindle app. I would definitely have stopped to look at this book on a shelf.
We book-people are a decidedly odd group, aren't we?
Book Number 41 - Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess, my second June selection for the BAC. I went for this book because of my memories of A Clockwork Orange that I was forced to read in college. Absolutely HATED that book and so could not face any fiction by Burgess. This biography of Shakespeare, was a bit thin, but this was no surprise to me seeing as how there is so much that is uncertain about the man. A lot of what Burgess has to say about him seems to have been best guess deduction of the facts of the playwright's life and what he had to say seemed pretty reasonable to me. Burgess also brings in a lot about the leading literary lights, actors and politicians as well as royals and members of the nobility. There was also good bit about poetry, which I have to confess that I read, but did not really absorb. Poetry and I are not best buds. Not by a long shot. All in all, I liked this one pretty well and I came away with a few things about WS and his time that I had not known before. Really was intrigued by AB's reasoning that Shakespeare and Ben Jonson may actually have had a hand in writing some of the King James Bible.
Giving this one 3.5 stars
COVER ART - This gets 5 out of 10. It is neither great nor terrible, but is kind of what one would expect to see on the cover of this book.
Somehow I missed The Millstone and I really thought I had read most (or all) of Drabble. I don't like all of her books, but I always find them worthwhile and very readable. Some I have loved.
I adored The Lost City of Z although Fawcett is not a very likable (to put it mildly) person.
The Bells is very tempting!
Still not done with the second house as I have agreed to clean it from top to bottom prior to the sale next week. New career for Charlotte - housecleaner! If my mother weren't already dead, the news would likely cause a major heart attack. Horrible snob, my mother was.
Have discovered that I have bollixed up the numbers by forgetting to list a library book back in May. Will now try to back-track and get this all straightened out.
I can certainly see including the string (I had a little bit of Packers Paranoia concerning some items as I wondered about items that seemed worthless to me but might mean the world to the owner), but certainly not wrapping it up! If a ball of string cannot survive a trans-oceanic trip without being protected then I expect, for sure, nothing else will either and the householder might as well save him/herself the cost of shipping.
Book Number 42 - Case Histories by Kate Atkinson - which I may have jumped over a few other Series books that might have deserved to be read first. Justified this violation of protocol because I have been staring longingly at this book for many months and wishing I could read it. Decided that this was a sign that this book needed to be read now.
Loved this book of intertwined stories with very interesting characters. Not a regular kind of mystery at all, for it seems to me that Atkinson dug much more deeply into the lives of her characters than is usual in these sorts of books. Loving Jackson Brodie and want to read more books with JB in them.
Have to confess that I was somewhat familiar with the story as I broke down a few years ago and saw the episode that was on TV at some point - PBS, I think - but this did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. And kudos to the people who are responsible for the TV production for it seems, as far as I can recollect, that they did not mess with the story much at all.
Giving this one 4 stars
COVER ART - 3 of 10. Very blah.
Book Number 43 - Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal - This one has been on my To Be Borrowed from the Library list for quite some time. And I have no idea why. It is a low rated book with no reviews and nobody that I know even owns it. But I went ahead and got it anyway on the off chance that those low ratings were undeserved.
It begins in Denmark where an orphan, raised in a convent, has been farmed out to work in various households. Somehow she meets an Englishman who is supposed to be some kind of Pre-Raphaelite painter and she becomes his model. Of course she is love with him, but I don't see why. He's kind of snooty and unpleasant and after he finishes painting what he considers to be his masterpiece he ups and leaves Denmark to return to England, abandoning Our Heroine (can't recall her name just now and the book has long since gone back to the library. I really must take notes with these library books.) She resolves to follow him convinced that he loves her and is pining to be reunited with her. Somehow she believes that he is going to America so she hooks up with some Mormon recruiters and off she goes! What follows is OH (our heroine) becoming a 3rd wife to one of the Mormon recruiters, abandoning her new husband, endlessly traveling around the Rocky Mountains trying to track the painter down - a trip which seems to lead her from one bordello to another - dressed as a man (So tired of authors dressing their heroines up as men. Can see why they do it, but am still tired of the device.), tracking her lover down via the very bad hooker portraits that he is leaving on all the bordello walls, and always just missing him. OH meets many odd characters and is being tracked by another Danish orphan hired to do so by one of the nuns at the orphanage.
In short - it's pretty much of a mess.
Still - I gave it a 3 star rating because I was able to finish it.
COVER ART - I suppose that the cover is at least true to the story inside as its focus on the crotch area reflects the near constant references to Down There inside the book. Ms. Cokall talks about Down There (her words, not mine) a lot. So much so that it becomes annoying and it was not long before I wanted to begin counting the number of times Down There came up. The cover gets a 5 of 10 from me. Not a dishonest cover, but not one that I would have been attracted to on a shelf.
How exciting that your next job is a barn. There could be all sorts of great old stuff in there. Or, like Mamie's pole barn, it could be full of books, and you'd be able to say "Ma'am, there are books everywhere," like her packers :-) I think you'll soon get used to it and not be so tired. The fittest I've ever been in my life was when I had a summer job at the land registry, which was mostly photocopying things, but for a couple of weeks we had to move hundreds of boxes of files from one building to another. I was super-fit, and vowed never to let myself be less fit. Huh.
Spent the first three days of this week working on the house that was being sold. There was lots more packing and tossing to be done and on Wednesday I had the job of cleaning the whole house prior to the sale, which was yesterday. Took longer than I thought as I ran into a glitch in one of the upstairs bedrooms. There was a sisal rug that had one of those backings on it - you know, the kind that is supposed to keep the rug from moving when you step on it. The backing was hardly needed as this was not a 2x3 foot rug, but a much bigger 5x8 foot rug. Anyway, from years of sitting in this room, in the sun, the backing turned into a big ol' bunch of adhesive goo and when I peeled it off of the floor there was a lot of this adhesive stuff stuck to the wide-plank pine floor. No ordinary cleaning product worked to remove it so I wound up with a big aerosol can of some stuff that I found under the sink. It worked - very well - but the fumes! Oh my word! It was like working with gasoline or oil paint. Horrible. And of course it escaped from that room, even though I opened a window and closed the door when I left the room, leaving a fan running inside, got out into the hall and then ran down the stairs and onto the first floor. And who should arrive just moments later, but the real estate broker, Mr. Buyer and his mom-in-law for the walk-through. MiL was doing a whole blinky, "my eyes are burning" thing and the crazy person in my head wanted to say - "Your eyes are burning?! You ought to try being in a hot sunny room for 40 minutes with this stuff. You'd be grateful to have gotten out alive!" Fortunately I had control of the crazy person in my head and apologized for the smell.
Anyway, at the end the day (and a super hot, super humid day it was - even with the AC downstairs), I was pleased by how clean and lovely it looked. I hope the new owners were at least a little bit impressed.
Book Number 44 - Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo - My first Nesbo book. Found it on the "New Books" shelf at the library and took it out on a whim.
This is a crime novel about a man named Olav, who is a "fixer" - hit man - who is dyslexic and highly romantic. He has had other jobs, but his only talent seems to be for assassination. He was awfully good at the killing, but not other parts of his profession. Olav is chronically poor - mostly because he has a tendency to give his money away to the survivors of his victims. I don't believe that he did this all of the time - only when the families seemed to him to be deserving.
In BoS, Olav has broken what I assume to be a cardinal rule of being a successful fixer - he's fallen in love with his latest target, who also happens to be the wife of his boss. Olav does his best, but you just know things have to turn out badly for him.
I liked this story a lot, but for some reason it made me think of an old Ed McBain book about a hired killer and his female victim. Can't recall the name of it just now, but from the moment Olav fell for for the wife, I just could not get this other book out of my mind.
Giving this one 4 stars
COVER ART - For some reason I kind of liked this cover - perhaps because it was so simple. It may even have influenced me to take it off the shelf. Giving it a 6 out of 10 rating.
Edited to get the book number right.
And I will not rave about the very hot temperature and the humidity except to say that at the end of almost all of the workdays I was not fit to be seen in public. Or smelled.
But - at the end of the job - I must say that the place looked pretty good. Considering. And pretty clean. The owner seems happy and we have another job sorting other crap for him later on in the autumn.
My new TV addictions are "Rehab Addict" and "Fixer Upper", which are shown over here on the Food Network (no, I don't know why. Maybe they ran out of Guy Fee-airy), and I did think of you as they were going through some of the old, cluttered houses and trying to imagine them all beautiful.
Book Number 45 - The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason - Historical Fiction concerning the Gunpowder Plot. The main characters are entirely fictional - Francis Quant, firemaster (i.e. fireworks expert) and his former mistress, Kate Peach, a Roman Catholic glovemaker (working 'under the table' as she is not a member of the guild, being a woman and all) and Boomer Quant, Francis' father - also a firemaster. Robert Cecil figures fairly prominently in the story and Francis Bacon, Cecil's cousin and rival appears as well. Cecil employs Francis Q to work undercover with Fawkes and his fellow conspirators who expect him to provide them with the massive quantities of explosives that will be needed to blow King James, the Prince of Wales, additional random Royals, Members of Parliament and Westminster itself into the stratosphere.
A basically interesting story - I learned a lot about the business of gunpowder and its manufacture in the early 17th century - there was only a little bit of romance which was ok by me. Working in such a medium and with Cecil (who is a pretty threatening fellow in this story), is more than enough to make one put the courting on hold until after the plotting is done, I thought. Not the very best historical I've ever read, but entertaining enough.
Giving this 3.25 stars.
COVER ART - We've got another chopped off head here. *sigh* Wish I'd begun keeping track of the mangled noggins way back so I would know how many I've seen before this. Guess I am giving this a 5.5 out of 10 rating - if only because the cover girl is not wearing a satiny gown as most of these girls seem to wear when appearing on this type of cover. This kind of cover needs to go away. It definitely does not entice me into looking seriously at any book sporting it.
How dumb was that housecleaner! And who has the time to be making phone calls when you are supposed to be cleaning? Of course in the this house it wouldn't be possible as there isn't a land line, but still...
Book Number 46 - Tricked by Kevin Hearne - Fourth book in the Iron Druid series. Atticus is back to business in the Southwest after spending the third book raising hell amongst the Norse Gods and doing things that I hadn't thought were possible, namely killing immortals and particular Thor. I did not like book three so very much, mostly because Atticus' wonderful dog companion, Oberon, was not along for the ride. I have to admit that I am now reading these books for Oberon and the funny things he has to say. And for his love of meats of all kinds. In this book he was really interested to learn about the existence of Francis Bacon. How could he not be interested in someone bearing the name of his (and my) favorite meat?
That said, I find that the plot did not stay with me that long as a month after the fact I am drawing a blank regarding the specifics concerning what happened and I neglected to make any notes as I guess I was too tired from the heat and working. This one involved Coyote - the Navaho trickster god - who has appeared previously - and Atticus' Druid-in-Training, Granuaile is back. But otherwise I can't think of any other character in this book or anything that happened. Not a great recommendation, but no matter as I mean to keep reading this series. Oberon alone is enough for me to keep going.
Giving this one 3.50 stars. It really merits no more than a 3.25 rating, but it gets an extra quarter star for my pooch, Oberon.
COVER ART - Not so great. The look of the young man, who I have always assumed is Atticus, has not been consistent on these covers and this one is my least favorite version of the druid. Gets a 4.5 from me.
And who has the time to be making phone calls when you are supposed to be cleaning?
But this demonstrates the difference between *you* and many other people he could have employed - never underestimate it! I've heard some terrible stories from people over the years about dreadful things their cleaners have done (wrecking stuff, using the wrong products and damaging things, downright dishonesty) - finding a nice, careful, diligent person is not that easy!
>54 susanj67: Can't understand why housecleaners would abuse their employers in this way, Susan. Around here, if your client lives in the right town, you can make a decent hourly wage. Can't imagine why anybody would play fast and loose with that, even if it is a physical job and hence not the easiest kind of work. I completely believe you when you say that people do these terrible things, but can't understand what they are thinking!
I've got another two hours there tomorrow for more of the same - mostly vacuuming. These people sure do track in a lot of grass from the lawn, never put a chair back when they get up from the table and I must have picked up a dozen and a half partially empty water bottles and soda and beer cans for disposal. Other than that though they are mostly neat. Spent some of time thinking about how it would be possible to write a nice cozy mystery about a wedding taking place in such a lovely setting. It amused me to think about it while I vacuumed, traipsed back and forth and sweated.
Yeah, isn't there a Springfield in, like, half the states? (I really shouldn't speak, it's just as bad over here.)
I hope today's stint went OK.
Book Number 47 - A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet - a cozy mystery that I snatched off the shelf at the library when picking up another book I'd ordered. I haven't read the first book in the series, but thought that perhaps that would not make any difference to my 'getting' this book. For the most part it was not an obstacle.
Two elderly twins - Oscar and Leticia - die within a short span of time on the same day. Oscar has plainly been murdered and Leticia apparently dies of natural causes after hearing of the death of her brother. Their relatives are gathered already at the family home - Chedrow Castle - because Oscar called them together for a Christmas reunion during which he planned to make final decisions concerning the disposition of his substantial estate.
The obligatory cozy mystery sleuth in this series is the local minister, Max Tudor - a former MI-5 agent (why he became a minister is covered, I believe in the first book) who ends up staying at the castle and, perforce, living with the family for a few days. The family of course think that he is only there to offer spiritual support, but Max is working with the local police, as he apparently did in the first book in the series.
Of course everyone is a suspect - from the servants on up to Oscar's teenaged twin children. Almost everyone is unlikeable in some way or other and everyone has a motive.
Naturally I expected Max to uncover the murderer, and there was a 'twist' that he handled easily as well. Was kind of surprised that once the murder was solved the book seemed to keep on going longer than I am used to in this kind of book and I think that was unnecessary. Also - one of the characters was actually having a fit about someone being 'in trade'. Isn't it about fifty or sixty years too late for that kind of thing? I thought surely those kind of concerns - even among the ancients of the very upper crust - must have faded by the end of WWII. Am I way off base here?
Also, one other little irritation - the author mentions how amazingly beautiful Max Tudor is way too often. She really could have limited talk of his incredible physical beauty to one time toward the beginning and I would have been able to remember it through to the end.
Giving this one 3.25 stars. Think I'll track down the first book and get it from the library.
COVER ART - This gets a big ol' 9 of 10 from me - mainly because it was the cover that made me pick this book off the shelf. The little village street scene, the snow - I could not resist them and so I had to give it a big rating.
Susan and Cousin Paws - it looks as if someone named Ann Purser got to the whole cozy mystery series with a cleaning lady sleuth idea, already. Have put the first book on the ol' library list to take a look at it.
Book Number 48 - Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is my one completed BAC book for July. I'm not doing very well with these challenges, I think. I'm too much like that movie cartoon dog who is completely distracted by squirrel sightings - in my case, book sightings - and I do not have the will to resist them. (What movie is that dog from, anyway?) But, I am going to try to read the challenge authors that I've missed, even if it will probably take me another year to do it.
Anyway - Mrs. Dalloway. I have avoided this book for years - ever since I first heard of it, which was a very long time ago. People always talked about it the same way they talked about Ulysses and War and Peace - the kinds of books that were more of a chore than a pleasure. However, I yanked up my britches and went ahead and ordered it from library anyway. Proud of self. And - pleasantly surprised. Even though it was not necessarily pleasant to plod through a day in the life of Mrs. D (and the lives of her old boyfriend, a random, depressed soldier and others) I did admire what Woolf was doing with her writing and how well she did it. I can well understand why this book merits such respect; it is so different from the novels that came before it - and in a good way. And how hard it must have been for her to write about the former soldier so very well, when she was suffering from the same illness herself. Giving this one a four star rating and it, like so many other library books, is one that I must add to my own library, because I would like to read it again.
COVER ART - Yeeech! Lord, how I hate these two colors together. Absolutely vile. If this weren't a very old copy of the book, I might have to consider giving it the lowest rating of all, but I'm giving it a 3 of 10 rating as I think that it comes from an era when, clearly, no one considered that the dust jacket had any part in marketing a book. Grey and yellow! *shudder* I want to poke my eyes out.
Well done for the britches-yanking (I love that!) and reading Mrs Dalloway. I've never tackled Virginia Woolf. I agree about the cover rating, though - eewww. Sometimes when I see black and white pictures and films from Ye Olden Days, I wonder whether it's just as well...
>63 susanj67: - Black and white films are hard to take, Susan. And another thing that really takes away from old movies a lot of the time, IMO, is the sound track. I want to watch those old movies that the critics swear up and down were so amazingly great, but that music so often gets right in the way. So dated and often hopelessly corny. Ye Olden Days - I like that!
A different canine with every mystery - that's an good idea. And it's true. The people in these cozy villages and towns around here all seem to have dogs. My cousin's house sits across the street from one of the town pooper stations, so we see a lot of doggy/owner traffic to and fro when we sit out on her deck after work. Not to mention pooping action! Of course the less said about that, the better, probably.
Mrs Dalloway is a book I've tried to read several times but always find the descriptions of depression too troubling and give up. Not all books about mental illness have that affect on me - not sure why Mrs D does. One day I'd like to finish it...
>65 souloftherose: - Hi Heather! How does one decide who to knock off, anyway? I wouldn't want it to be a horrible person - that always seems way too easy - but then again if the victim is really rotten you certainly increase the number of suspects.
Book Number 49 - Plague Land by S D Sykes - a book picked off the shelf when I was at the library in order to pick up a book I'd ordered. It is the story of Oswald deLacy, who as the youngest son in an English family of the Middle Ages, was once destined for a religious life, only to have his future entirely altered when the Plague kills his father and his two older brothers. Oswald returns to Summershill Manor in company with Brother Peter from the monastery (who is very like a father to him) to take up the title and run the estate - and deal with his difficult mother and sister, Clemence. Oswald never wanted to be Lord Summershill and truthfully he has no talent for the job. But almost immediately there are two murders upon the estate - the Starvecrow sisters (love this name!) - and Oswald wants to discover whoever it is who has killed these girls. The murders are separate, but it seems plain that they are related in some fashion.
The murders are blamed by the local priest - John Cornwall - upon the "Dog-Heads" which seem to be werewolf-like creatures, but Oswald does not credit this idea at all. Oswald is not a natural detective, by any any means, but he is stubbornly determined to uncover the murderer. However the way is tangled and confused and many different people end up as suspects.
I really liked Oswald and enjoyed his difficult mother, disagreeable sister and all of the twists and turns. Giving this one 4 stars.
COVER ART - this cover gets an 8 out of 10 rating from me. The Pieter Bruegel (the Elder) painting is perfect with its subject and all of the chaos. And I really like the colors.
Plague Land looks good. I see it's the first in a series! And also that there's a copy at the library near home. I might have to forget I saw that.
I too have had problems with Mrs Dalloway and never got to finish it. It continues to languish in my TBR Tower and I keep telling myself that I really should pull up my socks and pick it up again. Maybe this time I'll be in the right frame of mind to actually finish the book.
I had a vintage dress for awhile-from the forties- with that same gray-yellow color motif--white in it too as gray was the background and there were yellow and white petals on it. Somehow it worked on the dress. I wonder if it wasn't 'in fashion' briefly! I have that same copy of the Mrs. D. too. And I'm glad you liked it. It is a remarkable book in many ways.
Plague Land sounds like fun. Turns out I am a sucker for historical mysteries (as audio books mainly)-- even though I don't much care for historical novels. Go figure!
Book Number 50 - Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal - kind of Regency/Fantasy - if there is such a thing. This was the book that I actually went to the library for when I picked up Plague Land. It has been on my Library List for a long time and now that I am borrowing more regularly, it finally reached the top.
For her Regency elements, Kowal helps herself - liberally - to the works of Austen. It was easy to see Jane's gang in Kowal's characters. The main character, Jane Ellsworth, (Naturally I love the name, Jane, but she really ought to have picked a different one I think - there are too many Regency characters called Jane) is a typical sad case - un-pretty, old, sober. Regency novels are littered with boringly similar heroines.
The Fantasy element comes from something called 'glamour' which I never did understand even though I read the whole book. It seems to be something like painting, but not really. Practitioners of 'glamour' kind of wave their arms around and somehow manipulate the air around them, producing various works of art out of (apparently) nothing. It is an exhausting process, but a big deal among the well to-do who often engage glamourists to produce small works and sometimes large 'glamurals'. Glamour can also be used to conceal things like one's own unattractive nose or other physical defect - very useful in landing a husband. Jane, naturally, in the tradition of sober Regency heroines, would never dream of using her talent for such selfish reasons, but instead uses hers to produce art. When she isn't waving her hands around, whipping up pretty pictures out of thin air, she is engaged in a quiet rivalry with her younger and much prettier sister, Melody, (who has no talent in the area of glamour) in husband-hunting, which is, as everyone knows, the main raison d'etre for the Regency novel.
I got through it. There was too much use of the word 'shew', 'nuncheon' (shudder) which showed up a few times and 'surprize' which turned up repeatedly.
Gave it 3 stars
COVER ART - 5 of 10 rating. At least on this one the girl has a whole head. There are a whole lot of little gold star-like doo-hickeys on the right-hand side of the cover that I assume are supposed to represent 'glamour'?? Don't love it, but don't hate it.
>68 cameling: - Hi Caro! No, I haven't read Coventry yet. Going to add it to the ol' wishlist, though. I was surprised that I actually liked Mrs. D as I'd been pretty much dreading it, but I was really impressed. Likely it helped that it is not a huge book, but mostly I guess I was just aware throughout the reading of it, of how perfectly she was constructing the thing and how much sheer writing talent it must have taken to pull it off.
>69 sibylline:, >70 sibylline: - I think you may be right about that combination of colors, Lucy. I know I've seen them together somewhere before (and did not like them then either), and am thinking now that maybe it was some article of clothing at my grandmother's house that we ran across when we were going through everything. Just. Sets. My. Teeth. On. Edge.
When I think cottage, I usually think of something like my grandparents' cottage, which was basically one room with a nice wrap-around porch. Not 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen, laundry room and 2 living rooms. I could fit my house inside of it - twice - with room left over.
Yup - the house is very, very, very big. The first floor alone takes me almost two hours to vacuum and I'm sure, if it weren't so well-maintained and these people were not so very clean, it really would take me a good deal longer. Being my usual nosey self, I had to check the town assessors' website and in so doing discovered that it has the highest valuation on the road on which is located and that is saying something.
Have begun a big project reorganizing my books. I've never had any book arrangement plan - never put them on the shelves (with the exception of three authors) using any system but the chaos system. But now I am dividing them into fiction and non-fiction and alphabetically by author. This means a lot of upheaval and I don't think Jane is a fan. Along the way I hope to weed out a few more books that I know I will never read again. It goes completely against the grain to get rid of books, but I'm trying to treat it like pruning a bush. It's healthy, right? I am on the fence about my ancient Encyclopedia Brittannica - the one my parents bought at Springfield Fair (now called the Eastern States Exposition) back in 1965. A lot of the entries are, naturally, out of date, but a lot of them are still useful. And I've always loved the lovely Bible paper. But - I could really use the bookcase that they came with. I can see putting books to be read in the foreseeable future there - or my current reads, thus getting them off of the floor. However, I am conflicted and can't make a decision. And then if I do get rid of them, what do I do with them? No library book sale would ever want them; I think the only alternative would be to take them to the dump. Horrors! Cannot do that. So conflicted.
Book Number 51 - Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell - book number two of the Warlord Chronicles and the follow-up to The Winter King and probably by 3rd re-read. I've nothing to add to anything I've said before about this book other than that my love of it has not lessened any since the last time I read it. TWK is my favorite book of the series (and perhaps my favorite book, ever), but the series as a whole is just stellar. Just love the treatment of Arthur and Merlin - the way Arthur is flawed but so admirable and Merlin is just so dang crotchety and clever - and Nimue of course. She can be terrifying at times, but is such a perfect female character from Ancient Britain.
It's a really good series.
Still gets 5 stars from me.
COVER ART - This is the only thing new that I am doing since the last time I read this book and I have to say that this cover only gets a 6 of 10 rating from me. I like the background color, but there is too much in the way of text and while I don't love this Forbes Magazine Collection artwork, I suppose it is somewhat acceptable. But the armor is all wrong - it is from a completely different era and so is ultimately mis-leading. And the figure, whom I take to be Arthur (He is 'the Enemy of God' according to the Christians in the novel), looks so emotionless. It just misses for me.
Love the idea of your housekeeping murder mystery! If you bump off someone horrible, that will give you lots of people with motives to have done the dastardly deed. Perhaps strangulation by dust rag? Or walloping over the head with a mop?
>74 Fourpawz2: 'I'm trying to treat it like pruning a bush. It's healthy, right?' *Nods wisely* But like pruning a bush you have to make sure you don't cut too much back and damage future growth (that's my excuse anyway).
Hope you're enjoying your weekend!
Book Number 52 - Dr. Johnson's London by Liza Picard - A good history of 18th century London minutiae concerning almost every imaginable subject. My favorite: in the category of cosmetics - false eyebrows made from mouse skins.
It was a vibrant time and most enjoyable - if one had money. No surprise there.
4 stars for this one.
COVER ART - A 5 of 10 rating for me. Oddly the printed portion appealed to me more than the Hogarth artwork.
>75 michigantrumpet: - Hi Marianne! Nice to see you here.
>76 souloftherose: - Still on the fence about the encyclopedia. It's that extra space for books that is making me so undecided.
The book project is probably about 70% done. What an exhausting process! I've re-organized all of the non-fiction and fiction through the letter 'V'. Then I have a Reference and How-To section to take care of. And - naturally - there are escapees that have to be rounded up and shelved which I know will require moving books that have already been shelved. I knew that was going to happen no matter how careful and methodical I tried to be. Beyond that I have a giant bookcase to polyurethane, but there is no time to do that this week - my 'off' week - because a couple of jobs popped up and there is also a lunch with my friends which is happening at my instigation, that are making that project impossible. Also the Reference/How-To shelves really need to be painted, but that will not happen just yet either. And then the worst bit - what to do with the books I cut from the herd with the intention of ejecting them from the house. I have to go through them carefully; it is really difficult for me to send books out of the house as I much prefer to add books rather than subtract them. It goes without saying that my reading is suffering from all of this work/project upheaval, but I am actually getting somewhere in that department. I do have a couple of other books to post, but not right now. Am currently reading The Hills at Home and Pity the Nation which is pretty massive.
Meanwhile Summer is done (as far as I am concerned) and I hardly remember it beginning. How I wish I could have a predictable, ordinary life where I go to work every day, get paid a known quantity of kopecs (enough to live on) and then come home at the same time every day.
Not working today. Had two cleaning jobs pop up unexpectedly for Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday's job was at the Wedding House. His regular cleaning lady is coming back from her summer vacation today, but he needed somebody to come in to kick a path through for his weekend guests. Cleaned 12 rooms - including the biggest kitchen I've ever seen, 3.5 bathrooms, 3 hallways and folded and put away sheets and towels that took me a whole hour to complete - 7 hours in all. Believe me, I was one stinky mess at the end of the day.
Book Number 53 - The End of the Affair by Graham Greene for the August BAC. I always thought that this book was 50's era novel of adultery and for that reason I was never tempted to read it, but it turns out that it is much better and more than that. Had never heard of Greene's Catholic Novels before now and reading about the lovers, Sarah and Maurice and Sarah's wronged husband, Henry, I would like to try another one of them. Giving it a 4 star rating.
COVER ART - Can't rate this one at all, because this 1951 copy, that belongs to the Taunton, Massachusetts Public Library, was rebound in 1966 and only has a kind of orange-red cover with no art work on it. Guess this is a testament to the worth of this book that has been in regular enough circulation over the past 49 years that it has avoided being purged and not cast out of the library - avoiding the fate of countless newer works which every day are banished from their library homes.
Your book reorganising sounds like quite a project too! I'm facing having to weed the book exchange as more donations keep arriving, and even though they're not *my* books I still find it hard to let any go. The whole point of books is to have *more* of them!
>81 scaifea: - I don't think I've posted here in a good while... Apparently that goes for me, too. Eleven whole days away from my own thread - horrors! But, in my defense, I was working on a painting job all of last week and when home did not do very much that could be called useful.
The weather is just perfect here today - cool with a slight breeze. And the light is that almost indescribable light that you get in New England in the fall. Pefection!
Took Jane to the vet's on Saturday for her rabies shot and her feline distemper shot. She was the perfect kitty - and the perfect patient. No hissing, or screaming or growling or clawing. Oh, and no biting, either. She is in perfect health. She got a free pedicure and a free toothbrush with toothpaste (poultry flavour - yum!). Somehow I am supposed to figure out how this is done....
The vet did tell me that she might have some soreness from the shots and when she woke up yesterday morning she was definitely hurting. Did not want me to touch her. I did not freak out - just left her alone on the bed to snooze and by late afternoon she was ready to play, which we did. Very gingerly.
Today I took myself to the dentist. Should have done it a month or so ago, but stuff got in the way.
Book Number 54 - Charles Goodnight by J. Evetts Haley - the biography of a rancher and cowman of the Texas-New Mexico area, and originator of the Goodnight cattle trail, who lived to be 93 years old. I've had this book for about 7 years and not read it until now. It was surprisingly good - full of entertaining anecdotes and things I did not know about this business. Apparently Larry McMurtry borrowed pretty heavily from the true story of the death of Oliver Loring and Goodnight's part in it when he wrote about Gus and Woodrow. Goodnight led a very interesting and incredibly busy life and I really enjoyed it a lot. Giving it 3.75 stars
COVER ART - Pretty bad. From this drawing Goodnight looks like an angry old coot and I don't know why this image was chosen. There are several photos of him in this book (IMO Charles was a pretty handsome guy) that would have been better choices and that would have made the cover much more appealing, I think. It only gets a 3 of 10 rating from me.
I hope Jane's feeling better after her visit to the vee. ee. tee. I suppose, as with little kids, there's no explaining that it's for their own good. I'm also intrigued by how the tooth brushing will work!
>79 Fourpawz2: The End of the Affair is the only Greene book I've ever read and I remember really enjoying it. Not sure why I have never got around to reading any more.
>82 Fourpawz2: Well done Jane on a successful vet's visit. Hopefully that is a behaviour pattern she remembers for future visits! Hope the soreness from the shots wears off soon. I often find my cat gets sore if she's had more than one shot - perhaps she tenses more on the second shot? We have also been given cat toothbrushes from our vet and never managed a successful toothbrush with them although my cat will sometimes let me rub her teeth with my finger which I hope does some good...
Yesterday was Termite Treatment Day. The treatment lasts for 13 years which makes it a really good value - providing they don't show up in another part of the house. They didn't last time, so I am hoping I'm good on that front.
Looking like a beautiful day out there. However, my plan is to finally put a couple of coats of polyurethane on the big stand-alone bookcase. High time. I think I've had it for about 30 years and have never done anything toward finishing it. Had to sand the place where Willie used to sharpen his claws (2nd shelf from the bottom) and then fill in the really deep digs with some plastic wood. Did not do a really great job - on purpose. I did not want to obliterate the spot cuz it reminds me of Willie.
Book Number 55 - The Hills at Home by Nancy Clark - I loved this book about the Hill family. Different branches of the Hill family, all uninvited, descend upon Aunt Lily Hill and move into the old family home in Towne, MA. They've come for allegedly different reasons - a marriage that is cracking up, a job that has disappeared, a career that is being launched, a house in Connecticut that is on the market - but the fact of the matter is they all have money troubles and expect Lily to put them up while they get their lives sorted out. This goes on for months and months. There is also a doctoral candidate who has been sent to Lily's house so that he can study the family and use them as the subject of his thesis. Naturally he moves right in with the rest.
I loved the funny moments, the family interactions. There is lots and lots of description which I loved, but I think there is some criticism of the plethora of description out there in the world. Her description of the house so made me think of my grandparents' house - my favorite place in the world - and so many of the things that Clark had to say about the Hill family were so very reminiscent of my family as well. A good read, for sure. Giving this one 4.50 stars.
COVER ART - This is a definite 8 of 10 for me and I might even bump it up a bit later on. There something so appealing about the tomatoes ripening in the window and, especially, the bits of weathered house and window frame that can be seen. This, too, is very like the house at Westport which was definitely one of your classic, somewhat neglected, New England farmhouses.
>83 susanj67: - I know in my heart of hearts that a lot of these books are ones I will probably never read again, but I just feel guilty about giving them the heave-ho. I will take my time with them, but I will be surprised if many of them survive their last-chance scrutiny. I think that the book that amazon offers a gift card for also comes with a pre-paid shipping label which for me is a serious inducement to take them up on their offer. I'll be interested, too, in seeing how Jane takes to tooth brushing. Haven't had the courage, yet to try it.
>84 souloftherose: - Jane is all recovered now. We have had two sessions of literally running around the house playing with her favorite toy - something that looks like a tiny plastic mop-head suspended on a length of flexible wire with a wooden handle at the end for me to hold. (Jane also likes to lay on the floor with it and she can actually manipulate it as you might a fishing pole. I am so proud of her when she does this - it seems like such an advanced thing for a cat to do.) I think that 2 shots at the same time are too many, but at this time I really can't afford to split the appointments up. Feel kind of guilty about this. Hopefully, in 3 years, when she next has to have these shots, I might be able to afford to schedule them separately. She was so good with the doctor and the vet tech - it is such a different experience for me for Willie was awful at the vet's and Myrtle - my previous cat - was very bad, too. I was always afraid that the vet might think that their behavior was a reflection of some flaw in me. Love Liza Picard's work. So much interesting stuff in her books. I have another one of her to read (Folio Society edition and so lovely), but am trying to hold off for a year or so - because of my 'thing' about reading things when they rise to the top of the pile. It will be harder with this FS book, because the FS books are not allowed to hang out on the floor with the other TBR books.
Why am I so weird....
Have a lovely fall weekend. xx
Very cloudy here today, I think it is from Hurricane Joaquin which is lurking somewhere far to the east out in the Atlantic. That's ok. Much better than having it here. I did not think that it would actually make its way to New England for it was much too chilly here, ever since the end of last week, for it to make landfall.
The kitchen light (one of those pin-up lights) over the sink pretty much died last Saturday and though I thought of taking it to the lamp repair guy for resurrection, I ended up searching the internet for a replacement for about an hour. The lamp guy does an amazing job and he carries a fantastic inventory of re-habbed old lamps and gorgeous lampshades (fabric and glass) that I drool over every time I go into his shop, but the dead lamp is not really worth paying him to fix - even though I know he could do it. So, I chose an LED lamp that is not a pin-up and somehow I am going to make it work. The main factors in picking this one were the price and the fact that it is supposed to give me 50,000 hours of light before I need to replace it. (For some reason they say that the light portion of the lamp cannot be replaced???) Anyway, it will be here today at some point and we shall see if I've done something really dumb. Am looking forward to its arrival as I kept reaching out to turn on the light in this part of the kitchen all to no avail.
Book Number 56 - Death of a Charming Man by M.C. Beaton - the 10th Hamish MacBeth mystery.
We get two dead bodies, as per usual, in this mystery, but 'the charming man's' does not show up until after the murder confession. And the other death is from an accident. Unusual. Guess Beaton was trying to change it up a bit. The deaths occur in the horribly dreadful little village of Drim. This has been a 'thing' of late - having the murders take place outside of Lochdubh. LD is a small place after all.
Hamish's love life is not going smoothly in this one, even though he has recently gotten engaged to Priscilla. His fiancee does not seem to understand Hamish very well, for she is insisting upon trying to change him - domestically and professionally - and that is plainly a deal-breaker for Hamish. He likes his life the way it is and gets quite stubborn and unhappy when anyone tries to interfere with things.
Am still liking these books, even though they are not exciting. Quintessential cozies, all of them. Gave this one 3 stars.
COVER ART - Gets only a 5.5 from me. It's a very pleasant-looking scene, but the big ol' footprints next to the heather are totally mis-leading. This annoyed me even more than the unnecessary blurb from the NY Times Book Review.
Book Number 57 - Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie - the next Christie book in my long quest to read all of AC's books chronologically. (Can't believe that I thought, umpteen years ago, that I could read all of them in 2 or 3 years. What a dummy!)
This is another Hercule Poirot mystery - probably my least favorite of her sleuths. But not to worry. Have managed to put my HP aversion to one side of late and concentrate on the story. This one is kind of a locked-door mystery - only it takes place on an airplane. A French woman, Madame Giselle, seems to have been murdered (via a poisoned blow dart - very exotic!) on a plane in a section occupied by several other passengers (including HP) as well as a couple of airline stewards, yet no one saw anything. HP considers it his duty to get to the bottom of the murder - partly because aspersions have been cast his way (the murder weapon was found behind the cushions of the seat next to him) and partly because (naturally) it is what he does.
Christie did not reveal some bits of information, but I thought that she played fair. I read the bit that clearly implicated the eventual murderer, but - as usual - totally missed it. Overall, I thought it quite a good story and am giving this one 3.75 stars - one of my better ratings for AC.
COVER ART - Gave this book borrowed from the library, a 6 of 10 rating. Liked the contrasting colors and though I did not understand the round circle-thing, it doesn't seem to mis-lead or do anything towards unfairly enticing a would-be purchaser. Maybe if I understood the round circle-thing I would feel otherwise...
Book Number 58 - Red Rising by Pierce Brown - Book one of a series of what seem to be YA books which I borrowed from the library as it was next on my list. At first this one seemed to be right out of The Hunger Games playbook, but eventually I could detect some Science Fiction elements that lead it away from THG and made it a little more bearable. Still, I am tired of these super-young protagonists and the whole Dystopian thing. Not dystopian in general - just the young dystopian thing.
The story takes place on Mars, many years in the future. Society is dominated by highly superior Gold class individuals followed many other classes of people, which are designated by various colors - Copper, Bronze, Green, etc. - descending all the way down to the highly inferior Reds, a class of slaves who live below ground, toiling away mining Helium3 - something which is supposed to be very important for turning Mars into a habitable place. The Reds are told that when Mars reaches this state then they will be freed from their horrible existence and everything will be great for future generations of Reds. Naturally all of this is a terrible lie - something I could see coming a mile away.
16-year-old Darrow, a miner, is the pivotal character and he is sent to infiltrate the Golds. Cannot in good conscience reveal any more, but it is at this point that the story seemed to shift to SF and made it possible for me to continue. It is a very violent and brutal tale and the characters are all rather stock YA ones. Still - I might just go on to the second book in order to see if it gets any better. It probably deserves around 3.25 stars from me. Maybe 3. We'll see.
COVER ART - Giving it a 5.5 out of 10 rating. The red wings don't do much for me, but they are not hugely misleading. I just kind of wonder - why wings? If there were red wings, I think I missed them, but am not prepared to say that wings do not mean anything and are, hence, misleading.
This book is yet another example of why I do not like The Pearl Rule. According to the rule I should have ditched this book at page 38, but I probably had to continue on to about page 60 or so before I knew that I could probably continue much further on. For me The Pearl Rule is a bad thing. When a book is bad enough to ditch I will know it and I will do it then. I don't need a 'rule' to tell me when that time is.
Finally got my books, including the challenge books, that have been read, acquired or borrowed, up to date at the beginning of this thread. What with the working and being too busy, some weeks, to read, I've fallen behind in this housekeeping detail.
Haven't finished a book since the very beginning of the month, but have several books well underway and creeping closer to completion - namely The Trumpet Major and Small Island. Also, I am seriously marching through the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire something that I've been working on (and failing at) for years. Umpteenth time is the charm! Pity the Nation is coming along, but it is a massive book and confusing so I am having to take my time with it. And I mustn't forget to keep up with A History of the Medieval Church 590-1500 that is also underway. Just because it is small doesn't mean that it can be neglected. And - I can hardly believe this bit - I have 3 - count them 3! - books on order from the library. Lost my mind, I think.
>92 charl08: - I've truly been reading The Decline and Fall for most of my life. When I was little (7-ish?) My mother used to consider it a parlor trick or something to pull out the first volume and have me read the first several sentences to whoever was visiting. I always wanted to keep on reading even though I suspect that I did not really understand a lot of what I'd read, but she always took the book away from me at that point. (Never understood this about her - if she was proud of my ability to read such a thing at such a young age, you would think as a big time reader herself, that she would have actually taught me to read instead of leaving it to the schools and my babysitter.) Once the three volumes became mine, I started reading on my own - several times - but it is only now that I am making progress.
Book Number 59 - Small Island by Andrea Levy my September BAC book. This one was a slow starter for me at first, but not too long down the road it got better and I quite liked it by the end. Was kind of surprised at the level of racial prejudice in England at the time period of the novel (pre- and post WW2) - for some reason I thought things were not this way at all. Overall it was a good read and I would definitely recommend it.
Giving it 3.5 stars
COVER ART - this one gets a 7 of 10 rating from me. I quite liked the portion where one can see St. Paul's with the cloud in the background from the Nazis bombing of London.
Book Number 60 - Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden - Borrowed this YA book from the library (how did I manage to put so many YA books on my library list??) and read it in a little more than 24 hours. Group of teenaged friends in Australia go off on a camping trip of about a week and when they return home find out that their homes are abandoned, pets dying or dead and families missing. It seems that the army of some un-named country has invaded Australia and are busy consolidating their position. The teenagers decide to go guerilla.
What a dreadful book! Bad writing, predictable story, giant yawn. It is the first book of a series and I most definitely will not be continuing with it. Am very glad that I did not spend any money on this one and got it from the library instead. Yak, ptooey!!
Giving it 2 stars. Two barely deserved stars.
COVER ART - Not any better than the story. If I'd seen this book on a shelf, instead of running across it here on LT, I would not have given it a second look. Totally unappealing. And my particular copy of the book was one of those poorly put together books. Am assuming that it had something to do with the gluing process; all of the pages down near the spine were very tight and somehow the pages were rumpled instead of being smooth. I was afraid to really open the book for fear of cracking the spine. Scholastic did not put out a good product with this one - on so many levels. Giving the cover a 0 out of 10 rating.
Currently reading The Betrayal for the BAC and am quite liking it. Actually, I think that I like it better than I did The Siege, the predecessor to this book. Also started Savannah Blues that I got as an e-book from the library, this morning at the ridiculous hour of 5:58. I only have it for 6 more days, so I thought I ought to get started. And the other books are moving along - some of them rather slowly - but moving nonetheless.
Worked one day last week, cleaning, a house in an amazing location with gorgeous ocean views. The couple I am cleaning for only live there (mostly) in the summer months, and are only going to want me for a few more days this year. However they will want me on a regular basis when they come back next year. Sure, that's a long way off, but I am trying to think of the kind of job I do now as something that needs time in which to grow.
I had to turn down a job with someone else, this past week, when I found out that it required me to use an extension ladder to clean mildew off of a ceiling in a room with cathedral ceilings. I wouldn't have a problem being on an extension ladder to clean mildew off of the walls in such a room, but not the ceiling! Was having visions of myself landing splat! - face down - on the floor below.
Book Number 61 - Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews - an ebook I borrowed from the library. This is the first book in a cozy mystery series. I read the 3rd book - Blue Christmas - last year in December (it was a free Kindle book at the time) and I enjoyed that one enough that I wanted to read the first two books. As with many (most?) cozies, the main character - Weezie Foley - accidentally ends up as the sleuth. Born, raised and living in Savannah, GA, Weezie is divorced from her husband and works as a picker, hoping one day to be able to afford her own antiques store. Unfortunately she lives in a converted carriage house, just steps away from her ex and his horrible live-in girlfriend, but stubbornly refuses to move, even though it drives her crazy to be so close to them. She was given the carriage house in the divorce settlement and she worked hard to turn it into the lovely place that it is (just as she did with the townhouse that her husband got in the divorce) and she will not give it up.
There is a lot of interesting stuff (interesting to me) about antiquing and a lot of the time I felt as if I was cruising for great finds along with Weezie. There is a murder, of course, and Weezie ends up in jail for a while, but a lot of the focus is on Weezie's job, her family (who have their issues) and a possible new boyfriend. Kind of a cozy mystery with a good-sized helping of chic-lit alongside. It reminded me, more than anything, of Stephanie Plum without all of the Mafia connections.
Gave this one 3.5 stars. Going to read the next one and then I will have to wait for the fourth book - if there is one - to be published. This is very different for me. Usually I happen upon series books way after they first appear and never have to wait for the next book.
COVER ART - Giving it a 5 of 10. It's very colorful and the color and type of pickup look right. The dog does not look like Weezie's dog, Jethro, but I am basing this on what I think he looks like, as I don't think Foley really describes him much at all.
Book Number 62 - for the BAC - The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore. A few years ago I read the first book in this two-book series - The Siege - and did not love it. It was a good book, but not as amazing as I expected it to be. Afterward I was not enthused at all about reading The Betrayal. Fortunately the BAC forced my hand and I got a copy from the library.
In this follow-up, it is 1952 and Anna and Andrei are still living in the same Leningrad apartment with her brother, Kolya, (who is really more of a son to them). She works in a state run nursery and he is a TB specialist in a hospital. Given that Stalin is still running the show, life is about as good as it can be for them. They love each other and are fulfilled by their jobs and the war is over - even if their memories of it are always with them. But then a very special patient comes into the hospital and Andrei is asked to examine him. The young boy - Gorya - is the only child of the Commissar of State Security. Gorya is sick and now things will never be the same for Anna, Andrei and Kolya.
Really liked this one - yet another library book that I will have to get for myself some day.
Giving it 4.25 stars
COVER ART - And the cover is good too. Love the looming, beautiful building and the lowering clouds. And I wonder who the dark figures in the foreground are and what their deal is. In a bookstore, I think I certainly would have snaked this one off the shelf to take a closer look at it. Giving it an 8 of 10 rating.
I received another book yesterday - Unnatural Murder by Anne Somerset (my allowed non-fiction purchase for October) which prompted me to figure out how I am doing on the books read/books bought front. Officially I've bought 74 and read 62, but 26 of the books that I've read were from the library, so I guess I'm still pretty addicted to acquiring books, even though money is always consideration. Unofficially, I know the 'bought books' numbers are higher as I have pitched an unknown number of free books that I've found on BookBub and other places onto the ol' Kindle and have added barely of them to the LT catalog. They are probably mostly terrible books, so I think that they shouldn't count.
Book Number 63 - The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford - A book I took off the shelf at random when I went to the library. The story concerns Dana Catrell, a Paterson, NJ housewife who is descending into madness - not for the first time in her life - at about the same time that a neighbor and friend is murdered. From the beginning Dana is consumed with the idea that she may be the murderer. Naturally this does not help her state of mind. Added to this is the fear that her husband, Peter, may be having an affair with someone she calls 'The Tart', whose picture she has seen on Celia's cell phone on the afternoon of the murder. (She is shown the photo by Celia, who is drunk and emotional at the time.)
The character I liked best in the book is Jack Moss, an over fifty police detective who is handling the case. Jack has his own issues - a second marriage that has just collapsed, and an estranged son.
This was not an amazing story - I did think that Crawford tried to cram too many coincidences into it and I never warmed to Dana - but it was a quick read and ended up being good-ish.
Giving it 3 stars.
COVER ART - Another partial head. Partial heads are everywhere it seems. Did not attract me. Giving it a 4 of 10 rating.
Book Number 64 - The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy - I would have saved this one for my Hardy read in next year's BAC, but I was probably half-way through this lesser work of Hardy's by the time Hardy was chosen, so I just kept on reading.
This one is Hardy's only attempt at historical fiction and is set during the Napoleonic Wars, prior to the beginning of the Peninsular War. In it, Anne Garland, a young woman is living in the village of Overcombe, Wessex with her widowed mother in one half of the local miller's house. Miller Loveday is quite taken with Mrs. Garland, who is really above his station and Anne Garland has had a bit of crush on the miller's son Bob, who is away at sea. The other son, John (the Trumpet-Major) also has feelings for Anne and there is a third suitor, Festus Derriman, nephew of a local farmer and a member of the local militia.
It is a time when the English people are expecting an imminent invasion of the country by the French. But Hardy does not attempt any big set pieces here - the historical fiction aspects are kept at a distance. Overcombe does become the place where John's regiment stays for a time and King George, III and his family come to Weymouth to summer for a bit (as they indeed do in real life), but the only time that anything remotely related to the war comes up is when Overcombe and its surrounding neighborhoods, are thrown into a swivet by a false report that Bonaparte is on the move and the invasion forces are about to land. There are some faintly amusing bits - Derriman's uncle and his obsession with his 'fortune' that he spends a lot of time trying to conceal and other bits here and there, but for the most part TTM is a story of the courting of Anne Garland. I did not like Anne much - she is rather bland - but I did feel for the girl, for these 3 men did not make her life very easy.
Giving this one 3 stars.
COVER ART - This cover is really ugly and unappealing. Giving it a 1 of 10 rating.
And here's how to do it, from the "How to do cool things in your thread post" from 2012:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/129158 (third post)
This is Jane with 'her' cell phone. She is constantly biting the case and often tries to run away with it. A testimony to her powerful jaws as it rather heavy.
I note you read Thomas Hardy, and commend you for this. I find his writing to be very difficult. I very much liked Roman
Polanski's movie rendition of Tess of the D'bervilles.
I've always liked Hardy - ever since I saw the Julie Christie version of Far from the Madding Crowd and bought the book. I know I was 12 or 11 as that edition of the book (which I still have) was put out by Scholastic Book Services and 6th grade was the last year in which I could have bought it. I'm going to be reading Hardy for the BAC 2016, but am thinking that I will have to do a re-read - likely Return of the Native which I've only read once before, although I would really like to re-read my favorite instead - The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Which, I now realize a half hour later, does not show. Will have to find a pic that does.
Book Number 65 - The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes - read for the ANZAC (which seems, somehow to have disappeared - no new monthly threads for a while now).
First read this book back around 1994-ish, when I received this book at Christmas from my aunt. I remember liking this history of Australia's origins as a penal colony pretty well, but re-reading it now for this challenge I found it to be even better than it was all those years ago. It is a pretty massive and comprehensive history of that time, i.e. the first 100 years in the continent's time as a big ol' prison.
Life was brutal, cruel and often downright sadistic. As if survival in Australia at the end of the 18th century wasn't already an extremely difficult proposition, most of the minions of the British government running the place felt that it was their duty to make the lives of the people exiled from the UK as horrible as they possibly could. For far too many years it was the mission of the convict keepers to make certain that those imprisoned in the colony (New South Wales, Van Dieman's Land and Norfolk Island) were starved, beaten, brutalized and terrorized as it was felt that such treatment cemented the reputation of the penal colony, in the eyes of potential British miscreants, as the most horrifying one imaginable - and thus nip any incipient criminality in the bud. Not surprisingly, the super-bad reputation Australia bore as a result of having to house Mother England's transportees did virtually nothing toward achieving the desired result.
Hughes pulled no punches - as indeed no good historian should. The story of Australia's Aborigines is comparatively, only briefly touched upon, which is fine as theirs was not the story Hughes set out to tell. Am very glad that I decided to do a re-read as I think TFS made a much bigger impression upon me this time around than it did all those years ago when I first read it. Gave it four stars back then, but am upping its rating to a full 5 stars now.
COVER ART - Love this cover. I don't know whether it is the quality of the artwork itself or the colors, or something else, but for me it's perfect. Giving it a 9 out of 10 rating.
And once again in this book I ran into Captain John Franklin, who served as Australia's governor in-between arctic explorations. This is either the fourth or fifth time this year that he has appeared in my reading. Most of it was fiction and none of it was done deliberately. Except for the challenge reads (and those were picked out in November of 2014) everything I've read to date, with the exception of 2 other books which were randomly chosen for a re-read, was chosen from the top of the TBR pile or the TBR serial book basket. This has been kind of a recurring thing - people, subjects or places keep showing up in multiple books - close together some of the time. Perhaps I will attempt to keep run of such occurrences next year.
It's been a year (November 4) since Willie died. Was feeling very down yesterday thinking of it - and of a few other things that are not going right in my life. Hate being a glass half-empty person.
Started Memento Mori yesterday for the BAC. Picked it up from the library and had to park on the avenue side of the building because they are working on the sidewalks at the back of the library so the street there, and the little parking lot, were not available. Always kind of hate to park on the avenue side because it is a very, very busy street - one of the busiest in the city - and the place where one has to park leaves you sitting on a convex curve and thus a target of careless drivers rounding it. Am only in the third chapter, but am finding Memento Mori really good already. I shouldn't. The whole subject of extreme old age and nursing homes gives me the willies, but Spark's writing is so good that I don't mind.
Also visited the super popular super market in town yesterday - mostly to see if their prices are better than my usual market. I have avoided this place for years because of the terrible crowds which are legendary around here, but thought I ought to take a look. The prices were very good, but the number of people there - at noon on a weekday - were awful. The number of people there reminded me of the way a normal market looks the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Book Number 66 - In Milady's Chamber by Sheri Cobb South - the first book of a Regency mystery series. Regency is so not my thing, but I read a positive review of the 3rd book in the series so thought I would take a look at it. The book's 'detective' character, a young Bow Street runner by the name of John Pickett is engaging. Was a little surprised at how quickly he allowed himself to fall for Lady Fieldstone, the wife of the murder victim. The murder mystery was rather average. I think the focus of these books is going to be the question of when, exactly, Pickett and Milady are going to do something that is class inappropriate. My guess is later rather than sooner.
Giving this one 3 stars
COVER ART - Giving this one a 7 of 10 rating. For some reason I found the view of the dead Viscount's booted legs and feet, sticking out into the middle of the room, amusing.
Jane approved of this book because she found the corner of it enticing and eminently chewable. It being a library book, this craving was not allowed past the first nibble.
I meant to comment on The Fatal Shore, which I read in May 2009 - I remember this because a domestic plumbing drama started in the middle of it, so it is forever associated in my mind with that. I thought it was excellent but you're right - he does get right to the point. I wish someone would write something like that about NZ but the history just isn't exciting enough.
Yay for the heating remaining off! I got an electricity bill yesterday and not only had they *refunded* me some money, they said they were *decreasing my monthly direct debit*. I thought it must be some sort of joke as I don't stint with the fan heater :-)
And I so understand that ability to associate certain books with certain events. I was reading The Life of Pi one spring when we had a deluge of rain over several days. It was at a time before I replaced the sump pump in the basement and so I was forced to take time off from work in order to baby sit the pump and make sure that it kept pumping. TLoP was so not the book for reading when sitting on tiny step ladder with water swirling around beneath me, so I had to go to The Big Four by Agatha Christie. TBF wasn't awfully good, but at least I wasn't reading about somebody stuck in a boat with a big ol' tiger.
A refund from the electric company - how nice. How much I love it when things go down in price.
>115 Fourpawz2: The Fatal Shore sounds interesting if I can get myself through the darker parts
>118 Fourpawz2: Sorry to hear you've had the blues Charlotte but think it's understandable to feel sad at the times of year when loved ones who have passed on (humans or furry) come to mind. I have Memento Mori on my shelves so glad you're enjoying it. Don't think I'm quite in the mood for Spark's dark humour at the moment but it will keep.
>120 Fourpawz2: ' TLoP was so not the book for reading when sitting on tiny step ladder with water swirling around beneath me'
Oh, that image made me smile! :-)
The dark humor in Memento Mori is a little tough, but it is still a good read so I am trying not to take the difficult parts to heart.
>124 scaifea: - I so hate crowds, Amber, but feel I need to try out shopping there because I can't afford to ignore the lower prices just now. Going to try going tomorrow, early in the day, to see if it is a little more bearable then.
Have packed up a bag of books to go the library for donation purposes this AM. Am wondering if I should give Quicksilver another shot. I absolutely hated it when I first tried reading it, but that was a long, long time ago. Am holding back on donating it just now unless someone convinces me in the next 2 weeks that my original feelings about it were correct and then it's outta here.
Fantastic work of history from Hughes and one of my favourite reads of the year for sure.
Hmmm. Guess it's getting to be time to start thinking about best books and covers for the year. One of those really enjoyable end of year tasks that isn't really a task at all.
Book Number 67 - Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh read for the ANZAC (2015)
Never read any Marsh before now. Ordinarily I would go to the first book in this series (Inspector Roderick Alleyn series), but I already had this copy (#20 in the series, I think) and so decided to chance it.
Can't speak at all to the Inspector Alleyn character - I've no idea if he is one of those fictional detectives who who has to develop over time or remains unchanged throughout - but I can say that I enjoyed this book very much. A serial murderer, who is known as The Flower Murderer, has killed several women (and attacked at least one other, unsuccessfully) and when Alleyn is set upon the trail, TFM has killed a woman down near the docks, in the vicinity of a cargo ship which has set sail for Cape Town, SA with a small group of passengers. Alleyn boards the ship at Portsmouth and goes undercover in order to catch TFM who very likely is on the Cape Farewell.
The passengers are a varied lot and many of them seem as if they could reasonably be suspected of being Alleyn's man (or woman). At one point I actually decided upon the one who turned out to be the murderer, but then crossed the person off my list as seeming to be too obvious.
Liked this mystery very much. Will be reading this Marsh series from the beginning and I do wonder if I will discover that she is a better mystery writer than Christie. (That thought did cross my mind while I was reading.) Giving this one a 4 star rating.
COVER ART - Meh. 4 of 10. Flowers poking through a life-saver thingy. Yawn.
It's good to see a Kiwi in there, though :-)
Quick, Jane, call the Vet!
>128 Fourpawz2: I read my first Ngaio Marsh earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Only read one so can't tell you if Alleyn's character develops. I agree the covers for her books are very uninspiring.
>132 BLBera: - Hey, Beth! Good to know that I did not ruin anything by reading Singing in the Shrouds as my first Marsh. I plan to read more of her books - likely next year.
And yes, Susan, I will have to begin at the beginning. I just can't help myself!
Earlier this morning I was checking reviews for Quicksilver, while trying to decide if it would be worth it to give this book another shot. While doing so, I was led to Thomas Pynchon and The Crying of Lot 49 which I noticed has three reviews that are exactly alike. Two of them (the most recent ones) are apparently double posts, but the other one was written by someone else and posted the day before the double-posted ones. What's up with that? Am thinking this is a flag-able offense.
The sun has decided to show itself today, which is good. It was so dark yesterday that I did not do any painting of my how-to/Reference shelves and pretty much spent the day reading and feeling sorry for myself.
Book Number 68 - Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - read for the BAC (2015)
A very clever story revolving around a group of elderly people who are all receiving telephone calls from someone who says to each of them, when they answer the phone, "Remember you must die." All of these people are related in some way or another - either by blood or friendship or acquaintance. I thought that I was going to be reading a semi-detective story, but MM turned out, instead, to be a book about the final years of these people, their relationships with one another and in the end their deaths. It had some amusing moments and these very flawed people were interesting. Not sorry that I read it, but this was, for me, not the month in which I, being a shining example of the glass half-empty school, should have read it.
All the same I am giving this one 4 stars
COVER ART - Horrible! This one gets no more than a 1 of 10 rating.
Time to start putting together my lists for the BAC and CAC for next year...
Book Number 69 - Jester's Fortune by Dewey Lambdin - Number 8 in the Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure Series. It is 1796 and Alan is cruising the Aegean Sea along with 3 other British ships, in search of French warships and supply ships (either French or of other nations). At the direction of Captain Charlton, commander of their tiny squadron, Alan, in company with his friend and fellow captain, Benjamin Rodgers, is directed to form an alliance with the Balkan pirates who infest the area. Neither Alan nor Benjamin are enthused about the idea, but in any event they go ahead and do as they've been directed. Ignorance of Balkan history very nearly leads them into a disaster as they never suspect that their pirate allies are, first and foremost, Serbian patriots determined to bring slaughter to their enemies, who seem to be almost everyone they have ever met.
Almost thought that Alan was going to remain celibate this time, but the ram-cat is true to his nickname and succumbs eventually. Still, though, he does remain faithful to his beloved Caroline for many months this time. Baby steps!
Giving this one 4 stars
COVER ART - Giving this one a 6 of 10 rating. I like the way this picture shows the flames from the ship's guns as they fire and the spray kicking up from the enemy's missed volleys. If I were an ocean enthusiast, I might even give it more.
Jane spent 6.75 hours under the little bureau she hid under when she first came to live here. Can't say that I blame her; for a time it sounded as if 20 good-sized horses were galloping back and forth on the roof. I was advised to take down all of my paintings, pictures and the knick knacks that are near the ceiling so I have returning them to their places to look forward to tomorrow.
Spent Thanksgiving day with my dear friend and her large family. Have been doing this for six or seven years (maybe longer) in preference to Thanksgiving with my blood relations. In the early years I was a little intimidated by the family. They are so loud and have big personalities and I am a very shy person in new situations (my shyness can last for a long time (think years in a case like this one); given time it passes, but it is a long a difficult process. As of a couple of years ago I seem to have found my place amongst them. Yesterday, I was sitting at the island in the kitchen playing a game with my friend's college age son and realized how happy I felt to be with them all. They feel like real family to me, a normal family, in a way that my own has never been. And - I was allowed to stir the gravy during the prep of dinner, so I think I have finally arrived. It was a good day.
Book Number 70 - The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney - my September ER book. I know virtually nothing about Ancient Egypt and even less about its rulers. Hatshepsut, a king of the 18th Dynasty, was an unusual woman who engineered her rise to the kingship of Egypt successfully and uniquely. With the exception of Cleopatra VII and Tawosret, no other woman served as king in Egypt and these two did so in times of upheaval and crisis while Hatshepsut managed her rise to the kingship in a time of peace and prosperity - a peace and prosperity that she managed to bring about on her own. Egypt was strong under her rule - she was by no means a ruler forced upon the country only because there was no other choice.
I thought, overall, Cooney - an associate professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA - did a good job of telling the tale of this King, explaining clearly how a woman could become king and make the whole thing work from the time she took the title of king until her death. Given the difficulties involved in pinning down so much of such ancient history, I thought Cooney did a creditable job of telling Hatshepsut's story.
Gave this one 3.5 stars
COVER ART - Giving this one a 6 of 10 rating. Although it doesn't really show up here, the actual cover is kind of glittery and goldie and it contrasts nicely with the blackness. (I am such a magpie - I am a total sucker for shiny, glittery things!) It is likely that if I were a fan of things Ancient Egyptian I would have given it more.
Actually cleaned a couple of places this past week - one is going to be a regular gig until June and the other will be regular again starting in May. And - I am advertising in a small local paper at my cousin's suggestion. No takers yet, but I am not surprised. I am competing, after all, with five other cleaners.
Finished my aunt's Christmas scarf and am rushing to produce one for a friend. I was going to do something else for her as a present, but I think it will work better as a birthday present next year. Am pretty sure I can knit the 5 feet or so of scarf that I need for her in time. And I may actually spring for some more yarn for two other presents, but they won't get done by Christmas.
Book No. 71 - Payback at Morning Peak by Gene Hackman - I don't read many westerns. There was a time when I regularly filched them from Granny's shelves - Louis L'Amour, Luke Short and, of course, the classic Zane Grey are ones I remember in particular - but it has been some time, with the exception of an annual ZG read, since I've deliberately acquired a western. I bought this one new mostly because of the author who, so far as I can tell, actually wrote this book all by himself. I wanted to see if someone who is famous in an entirely different area could actually write bearable fiction.
The story is of 18-year-old Jubal Young and his quest to avenge the brutal murders of his family by pursuing them all over the landscape, with the intention of killing them all. The main villain - Pete Wetherford - is a stunning psychopath and killer - a man who kills and rapes on a whim. For a time I thought that Jubal was going to be unbearably good, but he and the other characters developed rather nicely. Overall it was a pretty good book - if you have a taste for Westerns. I'd be interested in reading another by Hackman.
Giving this one 4 stars.
COVER ART - This one gets a middle of the road 5 of 10. It was acceptable, but not special.
The Woman Who Would be King has gone onto my library wishlist. Some branches have it...but no. I will be good for December (cue hysterical background laughter).
My guy from last summer gave my name to my regular-until-June guy, which I thought was very nice of him. He's such a nice guy and very busy with a very prosperous business - he could easily get away with ignoring a small fish like me on the grounds that he is too busy, but he is not like that. My cousin and I are going to be doing more work for him in June and perhaps he'll want me to clean up the guest cottage for rental again next year. I am very grateful to be on his radar.
Hope you like TWWWBK, Susan. I liked it, but then I had no expectations, not having read a whole lot about Ancient Egypt. As for library borrowing, I have gone back to it. (Am reading the first Lois Meade Mystery by Anne Purser - that cozy mystery series about a housecleaner). It wasn't awful not to borrow in November, but I've gradually made library borrowing something I do with greater regularity and I found myself really wanting to get something off my list. Think that I should put something on there today - Elena Ferrante is next up on my list, I believe.
OK - I've ordered Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend from the library. Looks as if I won't be getting my mitts on it for quite a while though as I am #27 on the waiting list. Guess I should go check what book #2 on my library list is...
Was paying bills and noticed that the giant check that I wrote for the roofing people has still not been cashed. Wonder what is up with that. Am telling myself not to stress - if they haven't deposited it on their end it is not my problem.
Book Number 72 - Country Arts in Early American Homes by Nina Fletcher Little - This book has been kicking around the house for many, many years - about 35 years, I am guessing. It belonged to my father and I don't think it's been read more than once and never by me. I found it in the cellar last winter, I think, and brought it upstairs. The cellar smell has been completely eradicated fortunately, so when it ended up on top of my newly reorganized Non-Fiction piles, I decided the time had come to actually take a gander at it.
It's a sort of interesting book with many, many photos concerning the fittings, decorative objects and styles of Early American homes as well of the small articles one might find within such a house. It was informative in a mild way. An easy and quick read.
Giving it a 3.5 star rating.
COVER ART - This one gets a 8 of 10 rating from me - quite appealing to me as I am a lover of this kind of home. The cover shown above is not exactly the one on my copy. The angle is a little different on mine and the entire cover is taken up by the photo of the interior shown. There's a really nice photo of another interior on the back as well. Confronted with it on a shelf, I so would have picked up this book.
My version of it is much better :
Have a great Sunday.
Very grey here. Rained all morning, but at least it was not a drenching one as I chose to go the market this AM. Am liking the new market quite well. Came in $3 under budget and was only unable to find where they are hiding the raisins.
Book Number 73 - Children of the Light;: The Rise and Fall of New Bedford Whaling and the Death of the Arctic Fleet by Everett S. Allen
This book was given to my grandfather by my aunt back in 1977. I'm very sure that Grandpa read it, but think I am the only person in the family who has also read it; it is not the kind of thing that appealed to the other adults in the family back then and it has been hanging out in my library - unread since then - since about 1995. It does indeed concern the Artic whaling fleet, but it is also about so much more, covering New Bedford in its early days, whales and whaling, the Inuit, the Arctic, Quakers, whaleships, the Sandwich Islands, the business side of whaling, the Howland brothers (who lost 9 of their total 13 ship fleet to Arctic disasters) and the fatal bowhead whaling expedition of 1871. This book was tremendously informative and so well written by a man who was well acquainted with many of the old Whaling Masters of New Bedford. I particularly liked this bit that he wrote about them -
"Yet there was this in common about them - their humor, subtle or brash, concerned itself most often with man's smallness and temporariness in the universe. They understood, without actually saying so, that death waited in the wings every day, yet understanding it, did not concern themselves with it. "Not one damn," as one of them said to me. Understanding what man could not do, they nevertheless had great faith in what he could; they possessed extraordinary self-confidence, unshatterable nerves (I do not remember with facial or other mannerisms; they sat and stood with the calm of eternity), and they could, at a moment's notice, tell you at least one reasonable way of doing almost everything on earth with which they had ever had contact."
I think this book is a serious contender for favorite book of the year. Wish I'd read it a long time ago, but perhaps I would not have appreciated it then as much as I do now.
Giving this one 5 stars
COVER ART - This gets a 7 of 10. The ship shown here is the bark Concordia, a whaleship that cost George Howland, Jr. and his half-brother, Matthew, $100,000.00 to build and was the most expensive whaleship ever built. It was speculated, at its launching,that Concordia would be "the best, the swiftest, the prettiest" whaleship ever. Its first trip, after launching in 1867, was to the Arctic whaling grounds in search of bowhead whales. Trapped in the ice in September of 1871 it was abandoned by its crew and burned by the Inuit.
Book Number 74 - My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse - Read this one for the BAC (2015). It was a collection of eight short stories which, for some reason that I did not understand, were not all about Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Half of them were about some other fellow called Reggie Pepper, who seemed to me to be very much like Bertie. The stories were mildly amusing at first, but after a bit their sameness was quite annoying. Both Bertie and Reggie seem to have male friends who get into slight difficulties - usually involving money or a lack thereof. Some of the time they are having girl trouble or girl trouble and money trouble. When looking for a solution to their problems they end up on Bertie or Reggie's doorstep begging for help.
Averaging out my individual ratings for these stories I have come up with 3 stars for this book.
COVER ART - My copy was a free Kindle book, so I have chosen the cover that I would like to have seen on it. Not sure if it is fair for me to rate it, so I won't.
Book Number 75 - Murder on Monday by Ann Purser - the first in a series of mysteries that I have seen described as 'cozies', but after finishing this one, I think that this book, at least, is a little too grim to qualify for cozy-hood. Lois Meade, the supposed amateur detective, is a house cleaner in the little village of Long Farnden, but she and her family do not live there; LF is a little too upscale for their pocketbooks, I think. There is a murder that takes place in LF at the beginning (Gloria Hathaway, a woman in her late 30's, who is strangled in the kitchen of the village hall) and a number of suspects. Lois, being employed in the houses of all of the suspects, is supposedly in a position to find out things which she duly reports to the police. (The police are acquainted with her because she applies to be a Special Constable at the book's beginning, but is rejected because she has too much on her plate.) Solving the mystery of Gloria's murder is stretched out over many months and truthfully the police don't seem to be in much of a hurry to get to the bottom of things. Lois, doing her best to discover information, becomes quite distracted by her 14-year-old daughter, Josie and her sketchy boyfriend, and this storyline seems, at times, to push its way in front of the murder storyline. Eventually, however, the mystery is solved. I was not surprised - the murderer was on my radar as the most likely guilty party.
It wasn't a bad story, overall. However, Purser does have one annoying thing that she does - namely, using her characters' first and last names - in full - often. In the eight pages that comprise Chapter 36, she writes of 9 people (including the murder victim) and uses their first and last names together (or their titles, i.e. Nurse Surfleet, Doctor Rix, etc.) a whopping 56 times. Hope she quits doing that in the future.
Giving this one a 3 star rating.
COVER ART - 3 of 10 - There is something very jarring to me about the combination of the red roofs and the chrome yellow of the fields as they appear in this jacket photograph. Another photo of a different village might have worked better for me.
Mr. Allen was a columnist at the local newspaper for many years and my mother was a fan. She tried to make me read, when a teenager, another book that he wrote, This Quiet Place which was a mistake as I found it deadly dull in the extreme and contracted a distinct aversion for anything else penned by him. I don't think that I would ever be inclined to tackle that book again as I have such negative memories about it. I would, however, like to get hold of a copy of his book about the 1938 hurricane - probably because I have this weird liking for books about disasters - to have for my very own.
Have started The Sisters Brothers and am about 20% through A Place of Greater Safety. Not finding TSB amazing yet and APoGS is ok. Not great. Just ok. And of course, there are about 8 other books in various stages of completion. Am also knitting a couple of scarves for gifting. This is not easy and Jane usually engages me in several struggles per day with the yarn. Hope the giftees won't mind the cat spit.
>150 PaulCranswick: - Thank you, Paul! No last-minute book-of-desperation - such as 2013's Pumpkin Moonshine - for me this year!
Am still proceeding with the Mantel book, which I find is 768 pages long! Oh, my. Wonder if 76 books are going to be my limit this year.
It was a grey, overcast day here in Pennsylvania until five minutes ago when the sun broke through the gloom. Now, all is shining and new.
>133 Fourpawz2: Momento Mori sounds good but as I am also not in a glass-half-full mood this time of year (Christmas - grrr) I doubt I will be picking this up soon. I also agree with you that the cover art of that edition is pretty awful.
>135 Fourpawz2: Poor Jane under the bureau. Glad you had a nice time at Thanksgiving - they sound like a nice family.
Congratulations on 75 books! And good news on results from the newspaper ad.
>156 souloftherose: - Hi Heather. I had to admire Memento Mori - very clever and all that - but too depressing at this particular time in my life.
It's funny how Jane keeps the bureau as her go to safe place. Whenever I can't find her that's where I look.
They are a nice family. I am lucky to have them in my life.
Today was a cleaning day at a house where no one is home when I am there. I really like it best when I am alone cleaning.
For the first time in my life I visited 3 different libraries, each one located in a different town. At one I donated books. At the 2nd I picked up a library card application for my aunt so that she can take out books via her new kindle. And at the 3rd one - my own library - I dropped off The Sisters Brothers which was not working for me. I was only about 111 pages in and not caring what happened to Charlie or Eli - I only cared about Tug, the horse, but not enough to keep going. And I picked up My Brilliant Friend which I thought came very quickly. I ordered it a week ago last Sunday and I was 27th in line. Can't imagine how I got it this fast.
A Place of Greater Safety is coming along, but I am not even half way through it. Not loving the characters much. Would prefer reading about them in a non-fiction book, I think.
This is a picture of the second library that I went to yesterday - The Millicent Library - which was built by Mark Twain's best buddy, oil multi-millionaire, Henry Huttleston Rogers. It is stunning - both inside and out. Library number 3 is just a branch library in my town, but the funds for it were donated by the woman it is named after - Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks - who was the daughter of the infamous Hetty Green. Unfortunately it is butt-ugly.
>159 Fourpawz2: Is a fascinating looking building. Is it good inside too?
I've lost two hours reading time because I am baking two trays of dog cookies for my friend's dachshund. Hope she likes them...
Bookish Christmas wishes (never sure how I feel about people cutting up books to make book art but perhaps as long as they're books that would otherwise have been thrown away due to missing pages etc?)
That's great news about the newspaper ad, and I bet others will indeed be hungering after you.
And congratulations on reaching 75! Too bad about The Sisters Brothers - we have it in the Book Exchange and I was wondering, but I won't hurry to borrow it.
Happy Christmas to you and Jane, and I hope that you win some of the yarn fights :-)
>166 susanj67: - Thanks Susan! Likely The Sisters Brothers is perfectly fine. It just wasn't the book for me right now. I sure hope I win The Yarn Wars some of the time. There's something about yarn - it's mostly definitely the flame to Jane's moth. I try to take advantage of her afternoon nap to get a little uninterrupted knitting in. Nap time is now over and she is playing with the bills that I need to pay so I think it's time and past time to distract her with dinner. Children!
>167 PaulCranswick: - Thank you, Paul!
And my last completed book of the year is....
Book Number 76 - A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel which I read for the December BAC 2015. What an enormous book this was. I really had no idea when I chose it that it would turn out to be so massive for it was something that I bought from iBook quite a while ago and it is so easy to get involved in a read that is more than you expect it to be when you set out. (Another down side to the ebook.) Perhaps I ought to have chosen Wolf Hall, which I have yet to read, but the French Revolution interests me more than do the Tudors. This is not to say that I understand the French Revolution yet, but I'm working on it.
This book, which at the beginning was a bit confusing to me, concerns the lives of some of the best known figures of the Revolution, i.e. Danton, Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins, Marat. I won't lie - at first, for me, it most definitely dragged. The focus of it seemed to be on the relationships of these men with one another (some of which began in boyhood), their families and the women in their lives rather than on the 'action' of the Revolution so, for long stretches, nothing much seemed to happen. Yet, as I went along, it got easier to see that really a lot of things were going on - mainly the slow and inexorable dismantling of an ancient kingdom and society. Then at about the half-way point of this 700+ page behemoth of a book things started to gather momentum - I could see that events were beginning to get away from these men - and I really began to like it quite a bit. Still - it took me a solid three weeks to get through it. I persisted - even though I was forced to send my library book back unfinished (could not renew it as many other readers were clamoring to get it) and was at the end quite happy that I did.
Gets a solid 4 stars from me which I think is quite something as I truly wondered at the 30% point if I would finish it at all.
COVER ART - Yuck! Ptooey! Awful. I hate it. Don't like the way it is all in bits and pieces. Gets a 2 of 10 from me.
Oh - this ebook was just riddled with misspellings, wrong words and weird things such as using 1 when clearly I was meant to be used. I sure hope I did not pay actual money for this book, but it was so long ago that I don't recall. Possibly, somewhere in the future, I will hunt down a physical copy of this book as I do prefer those.
And so, 2015 comes to an end. Seems as if it was only yesterday that it started....
See you on your new thread :-)
Oh - it turns out that though I did not pay money for APoGS, I did use a gift card from a friend in order to purchase it.