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Book a Week in 2014 - BW23


Robin M
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Happy Sunday, dear hearts!  Today is the start of week 23 in our quest to read 52 Books. Welcome back to all our readers, to all those who are just joining in and to all who are following our progress. Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 Books blog to link to your reviews. The link is below in my signature.

 

52 Books Blog - Welcome to Steampunk Month:   Are you ready to let your hair down, metaphorically speaking and relax for the summer?  Me too!    James is officially done with the 8th grade and we are free, sort of.  Since it looks like we will be continuing to home school through the high school years (*gulp*),  I've been researching curriculum and figuring out the plan for the next 4 years.  But first, it's break time and what better way to spend it than diving into some science fiction, a bit of fantasy, wondering back in history with a futuristic bent, and delving into the philosophical ideals of steampunk.  

And since the majority of stories seem to take place in Europe, we'll continue our armchair travelcation in England for one more month before moving on to.....     I haven't yet decided. Maybe the middle east???  Scandinavia???  Tour of the WWII European theatre???

H.G. Wells and Jules Verne were considered the forefathers of steampunk and writers created worlds in the 19th century Victorian era which were driven technologically by steam rather than electricity. The term steampunk was a variation of cyberpunk and coined by K.W. Jeter in 1987. 

I've read quite a few including Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, which is full of werewolves, vampires and proper Victorian ladies, and is amusing and entertaining.  Currently in my backpack are  Jay Lake's Mainspring, Lillith Saintcrow's Iron Wrym Affair, Mark Hodder's Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel.   Find these and more listed on Goodread's humongous list of Best Steampunk Books.

Join me in reading Steampunk for the month of June.

 

 

 

History of the Ancient World: Chapters 19 and 20

 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

Link to week 22

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To start off steampunk month, hubby and I watched The League of Extraordinary Gentleman last night and really enjoyed it.  On my plate for this week is Mark Hodder's The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.

 

This past week I read Dean Koontz False Memory which included a psychiatrist working for a shadowy government (who knows which one) who brainwashed people and used them to ruin peoples careers, murder and cause mayhem. He arrogantly decided a housepainter, his wife, a video game designer, and his drug addled half brother would be perfect subjects and they couldn't possibly have the brains or ingenuity to figure out what he had done.   Well done and creepy!

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I finished up book two in the 'She-King' series, The Crook and the Flail. by L. M. Ironside bringing my yearly total to 28. I won't go into detail since I commented last week. I'm well into A.S. Byatt's, The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, a series of fairy tales for adults...

"The magnificent title story of this collection of fairy tales for adults describes the strange and uncanny relationship between its extravagantly intelligent heroine--a world renowned scholar of the art of story-telling--and the marvelous being that lives in a mysterious bottle, found in a dusty shop in an Istanbul bazaar. As A.S. Byatt renders this relationship with a powerful combination of erudition and passion, she makes the interaction of the natural and the supernatural seem not only convincing, but inevitable.

The companion stories in this collection each display different facets of Byatt's remarkable gift for enchantment. They range from fables of sexual obsession to allegories of political tragedy; they draw us into narratives that are as mesmerizing as dreams and as bracing as philosophical meditations; and they invite [sic] us to inhabit an imaginative universe astonishing in the precision of its detail, its intellectual consistency, and its splendor."


It's been interesting to read within the context of Lang, HCA and Grimm as these are so fresh in my mind. The main difference seems to be a certain self-awareness of the protagonist which I find enhances the trajectory of the story with more texture but also takes it out of the realm of innocence, universality, timelessness and into something more quantifiable. I'm also listening to another of CPE's books, this one, The Joyous Body. Again her voice is as compelling as the material she is presenting.

And for the Steampunk challenge, last month a freebie came up on kindle. I looked and it's still available as a freebie. So for those so inclined, Lady of Devices is the first in a series by Shelley Adina. I know nothing about her, nor do I know much about the genre however I downloaded it and it may be just the thing after all the fairytales.

And finally an amusing commentary on the cover page of the NYTimes Book Review...

 

Sunday Book Review

 
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Aha!  I'm here early enough to not have a dozen previous posts to read before I start my week in review!

 

After putting it aside for a few months, I've started back to reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes.  What an extraordinary family the author has, and how extraordinary it is that he can envision scenes from his great-grandmother's life.  I realized when I started reading again that one of the reasons I put it down was the due to the discomfort of reading the matter-of-fact descriptions of anti-semitism in Europe in the late 1800s and turn of the century Vienna.  Just knowing what is ahead for this family, reading about it in factual, non-emotional prose just takes my breath away.  

 

I'm obsessively listening to The Martian.  What a fun book!  The main character is really funny with a nerdy sense of humor that reminds me of my own ds (who absolutely loved this book.)

 

I've got a nice stack piled up next to me, titles that I plan to get to this month:

Wide Sargasso Sea

The Weeds that String the Hangman's Bag (the next Flavia!!)

Bloodhounds, a Peter Diamond mystery

Ha'Penny, the next title in a Jo Walton trilogy 

Seating Arrangements, which I found used at the library. Maggie Shipstead is the author, and this got really good reviews.

 

I have the flat librarian project figured out, and will post details later today!!!

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I finished The Film Club by David Gilmour, which wasn't great from the POV of a homeschooler who thinks books that talk about film studies should be organized into teachable units - at least in an index if not throughout the memoir, but wasn't bad if you're looking to read about alternative parenting paths in the high school years.

 

And I finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  I enjoyed the parts about animal behavior, like the defense of zoos and the parts explaining how he managed to live with a tiger, and I enjoyed some of the parts describing the tedium and monotony of life at sea. I also like some of the connections, like swimming pool/ocean, and zoo habitat/life boat (even smaller and less free), and zoo confines/societal confines/religious confines. I can't agree that this is a must-read book, but I'm glad I finally know what all the hubbub is about. 

 

I also read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. It wasn't flawless, but I think it's a great YA book. My eldest ds is going to read it too, and I look forward to watching a movie with Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and Emilio Estevez - AND the author of the novel. I am amazed that Hinton wrote this when she was 15/16 years old.

 

I need one more book about learning or education for my 5/5/5, and I've been skimming things and reading prologues, but nothing has been just right or what I was hoping for. Today I'm going to finally pull Keeping a Nature Journal off my shelf and give it a try.

 

I also  plan to start on Miss Lonleyearts The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West and take a look at Transfer of Qualities by Martha Ronk.

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Jenn--I'm so glad that you returned to The Hare with the Amber Eyes.  It is truly a wonderful book about an extraordinary family.

 

crstarlette--I have not read Nathaneal West since my post college years.  I am curious to hear what you think!

 

My dusty book pile is about to topple!  Sigh.  I have read six dusties this year but I think the pile has grown by twelve.  From the stack I pulled David McCullough's The Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris. At the library I stumbled upon a heretofore unknown author, French mystery writer Pierre Magnan. Death in the Truffle Wood (written in 1978 but not translated into English until 2005) will complete the foodie portion of my 5/5/5.

 

And I am caught up on HoAW--or at least I was yesterday. 

 

 

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Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart. She really knew how to put you right into a certain place and time - in this case it is the south of France not too long after WWII. There was one plot point that had me rolling my eyes, but overall I liked it.

 

The Film Club by David Gilmour. It was ok. I think I was expecting something different. This was more of a bittersweet memoir about his relationship with his son and his son's girlfriend troubles.

 

 

and an audiobook that I finished a few days ago:

 

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Excellent!! I listened to most of this on a long car trip with my 9yo and 15yo daughters. We laughed and giggled through the entire book. Fast-paced, clever story that is fully brought to life by Bronson Pinchot's (remember him?!) narration. The different accents he used with each character really made the story a delight to listen to.  If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this.

 

Upstairs & Downtstairs: The Illustrated Guide to the Real World of Downton Abbey

by Sarah Warwick. This is a nice, brief look at the life of domestic servants in Victorian and Edwardian times. Many photos with semi-interesting captions. I have read several books on this subject so just skimmed through the text which ended rather strangely and abruptly. Some Goodreads reviewers have said this, and because I agree I'm going to repeat it here: this book seems to have been put together to cash in on the Downton Abbey craze. I think it is a decent overview of the subject but I would recommend just borrowing it from the library rather than buying it.

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I finished The Film Club by David Gilmour, which wasn't great from the POV of a homeschooler who thinks books that talk about film studies should be organized into teachable units - at least in an index if not throughout the memoir, but wasn't bad if you're looking to read about alternative parenting paths in the high school years.

 

 

I read this this week, too! I was somewhat disappointed as I expected it to go in a different direction than it did.

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Jane, you might be interested to know there is a full-page interview on your Alan Furst in the Sunday NYTimes Book Review section. Some BaWers here may be interested to know that Don Quixote is one book he's embarrassed not to have read. In his words..."At one time I toyed with the idea of writing a historical novel about Cervantes, who lost the use of his left arm fighting the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto, fought duels, spent some time in jail and lived a very adventurous life. I will never write this novel but I put off reading 'Don Quixote', waiting for the time when I might".

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On the last chapters of Rob Roy, the book that prompted R. L. Stevenson to say "When I think of Rob Roy I am impatient with all other novels." Here's the most famous scene, the death of Morris the spy at the hands of Rob Roy's wife:

------------

He fell prostrate before the female Chief with an effort to clasp her knees, from which she drew back, as if his touch had been pollution, so that all he could do in token of the extremity of his humiliation, was to kiss the hem of her plaid. I never heard entreaties for life poured forth with such agony of spirit. The ecstasy of fear was such, that instead of paralysing his tongue, as on ordinary occasions, it even rendered him eloquent; and, with cheeks pale as ashes, hands compressed in agony, eyes that seemed to be taking their last look of all mortal objects, he protested, with the deepest oaths, his total ignorance of any design on the person of Rob Roy, whom he swore he loved and honoured as his own soul. In the inconsistency of his terror, he said he was but the agent of others, and he muttered the name of Rashleigh. He prayed but for life---for life he would give all he had in the world: it was but life he asked ---life, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations: he asked only breath, though it should be drawn in the damps of the lowest caverns of their hills.

 

It is impossible to describe the scorn, the loathing, and contempt, with which the wife of MacGregor regarded this wretched petitioner for the poor boon of existence.

 

"I could have bid ye live,'' she said, "had life been to you the same weary and wasting burden that it is to me---that it is to every noble and generous mind. But you---wretch! you could creep through the world unaffected by its various disgraces, its ineffable miseries, its constantly accumulating masses of crime and sorrow: you could live and enjoy yourself, while the noble-minded are betrayed---while nameless and birthless villains tread on the neck of the brave and the long-descended: you could enjoy yourself, like a butcher's dog in the shambles, battening on garbage, while the slaughter of the oldest and best went on around you! This enjoyment you shall not live to partake of!---you shall die, base dog! and that before yon cloud has passed over the sun.''

 

She gave a brief command in Gaelic to her attendants, two of whom seized upon the prostrate suppliant, and hurried him to the brink of a cliff which overhung the flood. He set up the most piercing and dreadful cries that fear ever uttered---I may well term them dreadful, for they haunted my sleep for years afterwards. As the murderers, or executioners, call them as you will, dragged him along, he recognised me even in that moment of horror, and exclaimed, in the last articulate words I ever heard him utter, "Oh, Mr. Osbaldistone, save me!---save me!''

---------

And, because his contemporaries loved to paint scenes from Scott's novels: http://www.photo.rmn.fr/LowRes2/TR1/50G1Z6/99-011878.jpg (if someone not on an ipad wants to make that picture visible for me...).

 

We visited the Victoria Gallery at the little McManus in Dundee, and several of the paintings were scenes from Scott novels; others were clearly influenced by Scott's idealization of the kilted half-savage noble Highlander.

 

Hout awa'!

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Happy Sunday, everyone!

 

Robin, thanks for the steampunk links... I am not that familiar with the genre, but willing to explore it!!  Interestingly, my son and I had just yesterday selected Wells' "The Time Machine" as our next read aloud!

 

(Side note:  Did anyone watch the show Warehouse 13?  I thought it was fun, and loved the depiction of HG Wells in the show!)

 

I am re-reading all the Ladybug Farm books by Donna Ball.  If you're not familiar with them, they are fun books about three friends in their 50's who decide to buy and restore an old run down rural estate, and they have quite the adventures.  I enjoy the characters and the descriptions of country life.  They're funny, and although dissimilar to my life, somehow very real.  The first title is "A Year on Ladybug Farm" and there are now six books, I believe?  A new one just came out, which was my impetus to re-read the others.

 

After wrapping up May, I've finished a total of 27 books this year!

 

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I am so loving The Blind Side!!! I am not a football person but the person who wrote the book did it in a interesting way for me at least.

 

Finished: Empty Nest Parenting by Richard and Linda Eyre

 

Working on:

Fiction:  Secrets of the Heart by JoAnn Jolley

Kindle: Spinning Forward by Terri DuLong

Non-fiction: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Phone: The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker

Computer: Random small pdfs

Well Education Mind: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Angel Girl: Water Babies by Charles Kingsley 

Audiobook: The Blind Side by Micheal Walter (I think lol)

 

Total Read for 2014: 71

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   Since it looks like we will be continuing to home school through the high school years (*gulp*),  I've been researching curriculum and figuring out the plan for the next 4 years.

 

It's an exciting time but playing the advisor role can be daunting.

 

I'd be happy to share my daughter's high school transcript and course descriptions if you (and others) would like to see an example.  I collected as many samples as I could prior to creating my own documents when my daughter applied to college.   If you're interested, simply send me a personal message with your email address.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I read my first Kindle books yesterday.  My sister sent me an early -- very early! -- Christmas present about a month ago when she was offered a great deal.  It's taken me this long to overcome the technological energy of activation. 

 

It was an okay experience but I won't be giving up on paper books any time soon (if ever)!

 

In March I posted here about having read the book Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx.   At that point, I mentioned

 

"There is a prequel novella available for free on Kindle; I have not read it (though I'd like to) as I don't have an e-reader.   Cutters Vs. Jocks, A Prequel Novella to Binding Arbitration   The term 'cutters' has nothing to do with self-harming."

 

and that is precisely what I did read as my first book (okay, it was a novella).  Like Binding Arbritration, it too suffered from some purple prose, but I'm happy to have filled in that gap.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

 

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I am reading  The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archeology and History of Northern Israel by Israel Finkelstein for my coursera class The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Impact.

 

I am stuck somewhere in the beginning of Storm Front, the first book of the Dresden Files, which is depressing since I bought the first seven books when they were on a daily deal.  I'm hoping it will pick up soon.

 

I am looking forward to some new releases expected out this week including I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force, and A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry) by Laurell K. Hamilton, but the first one on my list will be Shield of Winter (Psy/Chagelings) by Nalini Singh.  I am really looking forward to Vasic's story.  This also means I need to check out the novella's recently released in the Psy/Changeling series to see what I've missed.

 

 

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---------

And, because his contemporaries loved to paint scenes from Scott's novels:  (if someone not on an ipad wants to make that picture visible for me...).

 

We visited the Victoria Gallery at the little McManus in Dundee, and several of the paintings were scenes from Scott novels; others were clearly influenced by Scott's idealization of the kilted half-savage noble Highlander.

 

Hout awa'!

 

Your wish is my command.

 

 

Thanks for the nudge to read Rob Roy.  My son and I both enjoyed Ivanhoe which was the perfect selection for an 8th grade boy.  As was Gulliver's Travels. 

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I finally finished How the Irish Saved Civilization and need to figure out what to read next.  I have One Day, by David Nicholls, which looks interesting (a man and woman meet on July 15, 1988.  The book reveals their relationship as it stands - every July 15th- for the next 20 years).  However, there are some iffy reviews for it.  Also considering starting Old School, by Tobias Wolff.

 

Am just not feeling either one at the moment.  I have read a few pages of both and nothing is grabbing my attention.

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Jane, you might be interested to know there is a full-page interview on your Alan Furst in the Sunday NYTimes Book Review section. Some BaWers here may be interested to know that Don Quixote is one book he's embarrassed not to have read. In his words..."At one time I toyed with the idea of writing a historical novel about Cervantes, who lost the use of his left arm fighting the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto, fought duels, spent some time in jail and lived a very adventurous life. I will never write this novel but I put off reading 'Don Quixote', waiting for the time when I might".

 

Thanks for making me aware of the interview.  It is always interesting to learn which authors have influenced or are enjoyed by my favorite authors!

 

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------------

He fell prostrate before the female Chief with an effort to clasp her knees, from which she drew back, as if his touch had been pollution, so that all he could do in token of the extremity of his humiliation, was to kiss the hem of her plaid. I never heard entreaties for life poured forth with such agony of spirit. The ecstasy of fear was such, that instead of paralysing his tongue, as on ordinary occasions, it even rendered him eloquent; and, with cheeks pale as ashes, hands compressed in agony, eyes that seemed to be taking their last look of all mortal objects, he protested, with the deepest oaths, his total ignorance of any design on the person of Rob Roy, whom he swore he loved and honoured as his own soul. In the inconsistency of his terror, he said he was but the agent of others, and he muttered the name of Rashleigh. He prayed but for life---for life he would give all he had in the world: it was but life he asked ---life, if it were to be prolonged under tortures and privations: he asked only breath, though it should be drawn in the damps of the lowest caverns of their hills.

 

It is impossible to describe the scorn, the loathing, and contempt, with which the wife of MacGregor regarded this wretched petitioner for the poor boon of existence.

 

"I could have bid ye live,'' she said, "had life been to you the same weary and wasting burden that it is to me---that it is to every noble and generous mind. But you---wretch! you could creep through the world unaffected by its various disgraces, its ineffable miseries, its constantly accumulating masses of crime and sorrow: you could live and enjoy yourself, while the noble-minded are betrayed---while nameless and birthless villains tread on the neck of the brave and the long-descended: you could enjoy yourself, like a butcher's dog in the shambles, battening on garbage, while the slaughter of the oldest and best went on around you! This enjoyment you shall not live to partake of!---you shall die, base dog! and that before yon cloud has passed over the sun.''

 

She gave a brief command in Gaelic to her attendants, two of whom seized upon the prostrate suppliant, and hurried him to the brink of a cliff which overhung the flood. He set up the most piercing and dreadful cries that fear ever uttered---I may well term them dreadful, for they haunted my sleep for years afterwards. As the murderers, or executioners, call them as you will, dragged him along, he recognised me even in that moment of horror, and exclaimed, in the last articulate words I ever heard him utter, "Oh, Mr. Osbaldistone, save me!---save me!''

---------

 

 

 

 

 

99-011878.jpg

 

 

Oh.My.Word.

 

The combination of words and image inspires a simultaneous and visceral fascination-repulsion. Is it the astonishing fact of her female power amidst all those males? Is it the juxtaposition of their respective body languages? Is it the interplay between haughtiness and desperation in both word and image? Have you recovered yet from your foray into that realm? :lol:

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Just popping in to follow this thread - a month of steampunk makes me giddy, I'm anxious to go through some of the suggestion links. :)

 

I am going to come back to read all the posts so far, it looks like there is some great reading going on. I have TWO HOURS of complete silence in the house while kids and hubby are out at various places - this NEVER happens. I am off to go take advantage of those two hours and read in silence. 

 

I am still working on Winter's Tale, and I started Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper. I have yet to find one of her books that I really enjoy, but I think I may have! I need easy to read books on my Kindle when I'm on my treadmill, so I got that for my exercise time, but my next time I'll be on there isn't until tomorrow, so I have to wait, and I'm chomping at the bit to have some of that brain candy!

 

I'll pop in later to read more closely...have a great Sunday ladies!

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I want to post something before I start reading my current Lady Julia Grey historical,  Dark Road to Darjeeling.  They are currently investigating a murder on a tea plantation in India.  A bit different and quite enduring characters. :)

 

I am more than halfway through Monuments and almost caught up in HotAW.  

 

Looking forward to trying some more Steampunk novels.  I have to go through the links yet but I did  put Steampunk in the library catalogue search engine yesterday and got several books including a steampunk  doll making book.  I couldn't resist and requested it.  I made several Waldorf style dolls when the dc's were little.  Not sure what I would do with a Steampunk doll but who knows?  Requested the first in a couple of series also so will see what arrives.  May went by quickly.  I still have a stack of 16th century and art theft books which look good.  

 

Kareni, Congrats on your first Kindle book.  I find myself shifting to the kindle more and more.  I wish it wasn't so but the ease of a chunksters on the kindle.......sigh.  It does make taking a whole stack with you pretty easy which is great.

 

I spent several hours in the garden today.  I found a peach coloured foxglove plant at a nursery which I had to have.  It necessitated lots of replanting to make room for it.   

 

 

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I am re-reading all the Ladybug Farm books by Donna Ball.  If you're not familiar with them, they are fun books about three friends in their 50's who decide to buy and restore an old run down rural estate, and they have quite the adventures.  I enjoy the characters and the descriptions of country life.  They're funny, and although dissimilar to my life, somehow very real.  The first title is "A Year on Ladybug Farm" and there are now six books, I believe?  A new one just came out, which was my impetus to re-read the others.

 

 

 

I am on an e-list for bookaholics and they have been talking about these books this week.  Now I am curious.  I think I will put them on my TBR pile.

 

Steampunk is something that I have been curious about but that is as far as it has gone.  Thanks for the links, Robin.  Now my curiosity will be settled.

 

I have done quite a bit of reading this past week.  I finished:   The Cuckoo Calls  by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K.Rowling)--it was surprisingly good,    Missing You by Harlan Coben--I am a Coben fangirl, have read all 24 of his books but I have finally found a Coben book that I did not particularly  like--  and  the first book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place  series.  That was a good read as well.

 

I am currently reading:  Confessions  by Augustine,  Radical Hospitality  by Fr. Daniel Homan  and Lonnie Pratt,  God in my Everything  by Ken Shigematsu   and  Holy is the Day  by Carolyn Weber.   I'm not good at reading more than one at a time so I don't  know why I am doing it now  but I just can't  seem to stay with just one. 

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I just finished reading about the battle of the 300 and only have two books left of Herodotus's Histories.  I'm getting bored reading about war and was grateful to read about Leonidas rather than a long list of armies and such. Hopefully the next two books will be a better fit.  Apparently war makes me hungry as I just downed a whole pizza by myself.

 

I put in a request for T.S. Elliot and C.S. Lewis at the library.  

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 OOh. I'm going to  check this out.

I just signed up for the Coursera course.  The kids saw the horse course and asked to take that so it looks like when school lets out this week, we'll be doing that as well.

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crstarlette, The Outsiders was my absolute favorite book when I was 11. I must have read it 100 times, at least. I hold a special place in my heart for that book and the movie is still one of my favorites. 

 

Melissa, looking forward to A Shiver Of Light. There hasn't been a Merry Gentry in a while! I must ask, where in MI? I live there too.

 

Aunt Dimity's Death and Aunt Dimity and The Duke were a lot of fun. Starting Denise Schipani's Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing The Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later at the recommendation of a friend. My paper book pile is getting short. I only have 5 in there other than Mean Moms Rule. I do have a good stack left on Kindle though so I'll turn to that soon!

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And for the Steampunk challenge, last month a freebie came up on kindle. I looked and it's still available as a freebie. So for those so inclined, Lady of Devices is the first in a series by Shelley Adina. I know nothing about her, nor do I know much about the genre however I downloaded it and it may be just the thing after all the fairytales.

 

Looks interesting and you can't go wrong with free.

 

I also  plan to start on Miss Lonleyearts The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West and take a look at Transfer of Qualities by Martha Ronk.

 

 Miss Lonelyhearts does sound intriguing.

 

After reading a few sections of Creative mythology, I've started The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. I'm checking out the steam punk recommendations and and am happy to see a wide spread of books that qualify.

 

So does this one. Adding it to my wishlist.

 

Jane, you might be interested to know there is a full-page interview on your Alan Furst in the Sunday NYTimes Book Review section. Some BaWers here may be interested to know that Don Quixote is one book he's embarrassed not to have read. In his words..."At one time I toyed with the idea of writing a historical novel about Cervantes, who lost the use of his left arm fighting the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto, fought duels, spent some time in jail and lived a very adventurous life. I will never write this novel but I put off reading 'Don Quixote', waiting for the time when I might".

 

Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed reading it and will have to look into some of the books he likes

 

Robin, thanks for the steampunk links... I am not that familiar with the genre, but willing to explore it!!  Interestingly, my son and I had just yesterday selected Wells' "The Time Machine" as our next read aloud!

 

(Side note:  Did anyone watch the show Warehouse 13?  I thought it was fun, and loved the depiction of HG Wells in the show!)

 

I am re-reading all the Ladybug Farm books by Donna Ball.  If you're not familiar with them, they are fun books about three friends in their 50's who decide to buy and restore an old run down rural estate, and they have quite the adventures.  I enjoy the characters and the descriptions of country life.  They're funny, and although dissimilar to my life, somehow very real.  The first title is "A Year on Ladybug Farm" and there are now six books, I believe?  A new one just came out, which was my impetus to re-read the others.

 

After wrapping up May, I've finished a total of 27 books this year!

  Time Machine should be a fun read.  I'll have to read it again myself.    I never did get into Warehouse 13, although I did catch one or two shows. Kept forgetting to dvr it and got annoyed with all the commercials. I think I heard this was the last season? 

 

It's an exciting time but playing the advisor role can be daunting.

 

I'd be happy to share my daughter's high school transcript and course descriptions if you (and others) would like to see an example.  I collected as many samples as I could prior to creating my own documents when my daughter applied to college.   If you're interested, simply send me a personal message with your email address.

 

Regards,

Kareni

Will do. Thank you for offering.

 

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I am looking forward to some new releases expected out this week including I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force, and A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry) by Laurell K. Hamilton, but the first one on my list will be Shield of Winter (Psy/Chagelings) by Nalini Singh.  I am really looking forward to Vasic's story.  This also means I need to check out the novella's recently released in the Psy/Changeling series to see what I've missed.

I've had Shiver of Light pre-ordered for a while. Looking forward to reading it.  The last time she released a book in the Anita Blake series, I spent all of july rereading the whole series again. 

 

 

I am on an e-list for bookaholics and they have been talking about these books this week.  Now I am curious.  I think I will put them on my TBR pile.

 

Steampunk is something that I have been curious about but that is as far as it has gone.  Thanks for the links, Robin.  Now my curiosity will be settled.

 

I have done quite a bit of reading this past week.  I finished:   The Cuckoo Calls  by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K.Rowling)--it was surprisingly good,    Missing You by Harlan Coben--I am a Coben fangirl, have read all 24 of his books but I have finally found a Coben book that I did not particularly  like--  and  the first book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place  series.  That was a good read as well.

 

I am currently reading:  Confessions  by Augustine,  Radical Hospitality  by Fr. Daniel Homan  and Lonnie Pratt,  God in my Everything  by Ken Shigematsu   and  Holy is the Day  by Carolyn Weber.   I'm not good at reading more than one at a time so I don't  know why I am doing it now  but I just can't  seem to stay with just one.

I'm about to dive into Confessions.  Just finished reading Thomas Merton's Seeds of Contemplation - lots to think about.  I know what you mean though, it is hard to read just one because there is so much to think about, have to digest a little bit at a time.

 

 

crstarlette, The Outsiders was my absolute favorite book when I was 11. I must have read it 100 times, at least. I hold a special place in my heart for that book and the movie is still one of my favorites. 

 

Melissa, looking forward to A Shiver Of Light. There hasn't been a Merry Gentry in a while! I must ask, where in MI? I live there too.

 

Aunt Dimity's Death and Aunt Dimity and The Duke were a lot of fun. Starting Denise Schipani's Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing The Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later at the recommendation of a friend. My paper book pile is getting short. I only have 5 in there other than Mean Moms Rule. I do have a good stack left on Kindle though so I'll turn to that soon!

So happy to see you and Melissa also like Laurel Hamilton's books.

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Since we last spoke I've only gotten one book read.  Unbelievable.  I was on vacation but didn't get much reading in.

 

Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers - I finally meet Harriet Vane.  I'm interested in where this is going to go because it seemed to be left open ended.  Too bad I have a bunch of Dusty's on by end table that I HAVE to read first.  Book Girl problems.  

 

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Excellent!! I listened to most of this on a long car trip with my 9yo and 15yo daughters. We laughed and giggled through the entire book. Fast-paced, clever story that is fully brought to life by Bronson Pinchot's (remember him?!) narration. The different accents he used with each character really made the story a delight to listen to.  If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this.

 

 

We loved this book too!  I was kept up at night laughing for a few parts. 

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I think the Coursera Bible Prehistory course is going to answer my question on why Edom had a shoe thrown at it in Psalms.  If everyone was trying to expand their territory, then that would explain it.

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I read Neil Gaiman's Stardust this week and enjoyed it. I don't think I've read much fantasy in the last couple of decades (maybe some kid-lit with the girls). I thought it was a lovely story. The font-size made it a slightly more difficult read for my aging eyes (it did not work on the treadmill), but other than that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

 

I'm about halfway through Jo Walton's Farthing which I am also enjoying, but it is a bit more stressful for me. Not sure if it is classified as dystopian officially, but definitely leans that way. The world she envisions (1949 in England, but the English made peace with Hitler in 1941) is well-conceived and believable, but disturbing. After studying the Civil War this year, I am familiar with the viewpoint that it took the painful penance of a long brutal war to end the evil of slavery. Walton cuts her war short, and anti-semitism is alive and well in her England. The British compromised with evil (not Churchill though). The story is otherwise a nice British country house murder mystery.

 

I read three chapters of HOTAW which leaves me behind by one--three more this week and I'll be caught up again.

 

Our next book club pick is in honor of Maya Angelou--Mom and Me and Mom. I think it was her most recent. I also pulled out I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which our club read maybe 5 years ago--I may want to re-read that one too.

 

The girls and I are working our way through Jane Eyre. We've also been listening to Harry Potter books in the car this year, but I haven't been counting those since we've all read them before. It seemed like a good pick for the car because they don't get tired of them, but they practically know them by heart, so if I take one kid to ballet, the other kid may miss a bit of the story but we don't need to backtrack and hear it again. We're in the middle of The Half-Blood Prince now.

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Just discovered Jay Lake, a new to me author of one of the books I just downloaded this week for our Steampunk month, passed away this morning from cancer.  IO9's tribute to him.

 

On a more happier note - 23 places where you'd rather be reading.  I think I need to take a road trip to San Marino. 

 

Off to watch a movie with hubby - night my lovelies!

 

 

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The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Excellent!! I listened to most of this on a long car trip with my 9yo and 15yo daughters. We laughed and giggled through the entire book. Fast-paced, clever story that is fully brought to life by Bronson Pinchot's (remember him?!) narration. The different accents he used with each character really made the story a delight to listen to.  If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this.

I just had to add this to my audio library. :)

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Howdy! (Waving after my absence.) Please forgive any typos as I'm on a touch pad.

 

Spent the last week in AK with my family. :-) Got to see whales, eagles, black bears, porpoises, and sled dogs too. Am in Seattle now, visited Mt. Rainier yesterday (& was sad to learn about the climbers there -- have been woefully unaware of the news while traveling). Love Mt. Rainier -- a gorgeous, yet dangerous, beauty. I have apparently carried warm, sunny weather with me from the southern US to both AK and the Seattle area, lol.

 

Two BaW related things from my travels.... Got to meet Negin!!! <insert happy dance here> We were crossing paths in the Seattle airport a week ago so we got about an hour to chat & have a coffee. You will all be completely jealous to know that Negin & her family are completely amazing & wonderful & one hour was wayyyyy too little time! We really were supposed to meet for only about 30 minutes, but an hour blew by like nothing. Negin, I'm so glad I got to meet you irl!!!

 

While talking with Negin, she mentioned an amazing bookstore in Canada & I'm thinking it was Munro's (???). (Yes, of author Alice Munro fame.) If so, I got to go there & bought a few goodies for myself (as well as ds picking up 3 Terry Pratchett books there). My haul...

The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aria by Cesar Aria

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders

The Whispering Muse by Sjon

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris (which I could not find in the US, so was happy to find in Canada, & which dd read all in one go that night & really enjoyed it)

Decline of the English Murder by George Orwell (reading this now; it is from Penguin's Great Ideas series that Violet Crown alerted us to last year; it's a lovely little paperback with an embossed cover that I like to caress, lol)

 

On my trip, I relied on the vagaries of the ship's library for my reading.... Read Lev Grossman's The Magicians. I had heard of it previously, started out in a promising manner, really liked it at first. Later, I felt it was uneven, the characters exasperating, felt unsure where the story was going. It would continue on one arc for awhile to the point that it would verge on boring, the the author would throw in something unexpected (hooray!), but then repeat the same process again. (Um, not so hooray after all.) Near the end, it got overly gross & violent (imo) and the ending was not one that I'm a fan of. I think I was mostly mad after finishing. Two stars or possibly even just one....

 

Had better luck with my next book, Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge, which was witty, smart, fun, hip, touching, & hopeful, imo. Always wanted to read Pynchon and am really glad I have. Mostly read this all in one long, breathless (at sea) day, then stayed up too late the last night on the ship so I could finish it before disembarking. Lol!

 

Rosie, keeping you in my heart. Jane, sending you a hug at your bittersweet mom time. Eaglei, so glad to hear the updates on your son.

 

Re: the movie mention from last week's thread -- I'm a go to the theater kind of gal. Guess I want to see my man candy on the big screen. ;-p

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The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris (which I could not find in the US, so was happy to find in Canada, & which dd read all in one go that night & really enjoyed it)

 

 

Stacia, that looks great!  I looked it up on Amazon and it looks like it's being released in paperback here in August, if anyone else is interested... adding to my list!!  :)

 

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Am in Seattle now, visited Mt. Rainier yesterday (& was sad to learn about the climbers there -- have been woefully unaware of the news while traveling). Love Mt. Rainier -- a gorgeous, yet dangerous, beauty. I have apparently carried warm, sunny weather with me from the southern US to both AK and the Seattle area, lol.

 

Two BaW related things from my travels.... Got to meet Negin!!! <insert happy dance here> We were crossing paths in the Seattle airport a week ago so we got about an hour to chat & have a coffee. You will all be completely jealous to know that Negin & her family are completely amazing & wonderful & one hour was wayyyyy too little time! We really were supposed to meet for only about 30 minutes, but an hour blew by like nothing. Negin, I'm so glad I got to meet you irl!!!

 

While talking with Negin, she mentioned an amazing bookstore in Canada & I'm thinking it was Munro's (???). (Yes, of author Alice Munro fame.) If so, I got to go there & bought a few goodies for myself (as well as ds picking up 3 Terry Pratchett books there). 

 

 

 

 

Stacia, meeting you and your family was one of the highlights of my trip :D. Yes, the time flew by and I wish we could have been together for longer. You and your family are so wonderful also and I do wish that we lived closer  :grouphug:. 

Enjoy the rest of your week in Seattle. When we were flying into Seattle, the full moon was shining down on Mt. Rainier and it looked absolutely gorgeous. I have an absolute love of full moons. 

Yes, the bookstore in Victoria (one of my favorite cities ever) was Munro's. I could spend hours in there. I love the fact that we got to see and visit so many similar places :). 

 

Since my last posting, I've read:

 

The Bean Trees - 4 Stars

My Mother was Nuts - 3 Stars

The Rosie Project - 4 Stars

Don't Turn Around - 2 Stars

 

9780061765223.jpg9780547892627.jpg9781405915335.jpg9780062102904.jpg

 

 

 

MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.

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Started reading:

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

 

Still reading:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 

Finished reading:

1. The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan (AVERAGE)

2. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene (GOOD)

3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (EXCELLENT)

4. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (EXCELLENT)

5. The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens (AMAZING)

6. Champion by Marie Lu (PRETTY GOOD)

7. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (INCREDIBLE)

8. Cultivating Christian Character by Michael Zigarelli (HO-HUM)

9. Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff (um...WOW. So amazing and sad)

10. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church by JD Payne (SO-SO)

11. The Happiness Project: Or Why I spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. by Gretchen Rubin (GOOD)

12. Reading and Writing Across Content Areas by Roberta Sejnost (SO-SO)

13. Winter of the World by Ken Follet (PRETTY GOOD)

14. The School Revolution: A New Answer for our Broken Education System by Ron Paul (GREAT)

15. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (LOVED IT)

16. Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning by Sugata Mitra (GOOD)

17. Can Computers Keep Secrets? - How a Six-Year-Old's Curiosity Could Change the World by Tom Barrett (GOOD)

18. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself by David McRaney (GOOD)

19. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (OK)

20. Follow Me by David Platt (GOOD)

21. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (SO-SO)

22. Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman (OK)

23. A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos (GOOD)

24. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (DEPRESSING)

25. No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige (SO-SO)

26. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (DELIGHTFUL)

27. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman (WORST ENDING EVER)

28. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (SO-SO)

29. Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (BRILLIANT)

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crstarlette, The Outsiders was my absolute favorite book when I was 11. I must have read it 100 times, at least. I hold a special place in my heart for that book and the movie is still one of my favorites. 
 
Melissa, looking forward to A Shiver Of Light. There hasn't been a Merry Gentry in a while! I must ask, where in MI? I live there too.
 
Aunt Dimity's Death and Aunt Dimity and The Duke were a lot of fun. Starting Denise Schipani's Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing The Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later at the recommendation of a friend. My paper book pile is getting short. I only have 5 in there other than Mean Moms Rule. I do have a good stack left on Kindle though so I'll turn to that soon!

 

Ok, I will give in and try the Aunt Dimity series since so many enjoy it here.  Do I need to start at the beginning.  Remember I generally need to read in order, So are there tons of prior book reference s?  I think I saw the Vampire one on the shelf at a library recently and Vampires are generally fun, imo.  Also are these Dd appropriate?  Not even sure why I am asking because our holiday stack is about 18 inches tall now.  We need to go somewhere soon!  :lol:

 

Stacia,  Glad that you are having fun! :)  Sounds like a great trip.  The meet up with Negin-- I am jealous!

 

 One of my best real life friends I found through these boards.  She doesn't hang out here much anymore although still home ed. Pretty funny when someone asked how we met,  they live over an hour away.  Our kids definitely make fun of our meeting on the internet.  All the recent talk of a book group get together somewhere......would be lovely!

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Howdy! (Waving after my absence.) Please forgive any typos as I'm on a touch pad.

 

Spent the last week in AK with my family. :-) Got to see whales, eagles, black bears, porpoises, and sled dogs too. Am in Seattle now, visited Mt. Rainier yesterday (& was sad to learn about the climbers there -- have been woefully unaware of the news while traveling). Love Mt. Rainier -- a gorgeous, yet dangerous, beauty. I have apparently carried warm, sunny weather with me from the southern US to both AK and the Seattle area, lol.

 

Two BaW related things from my travels.... Got to meet Negin!!! <insert happy dance here> We were crossing paths in the Seattle airport a week ago so we got about an hour to chat & have a coffee. You will all be completely jealous to know that Negin & her family are completely amazing & wonderful & one hour was wayyyyy too little time! We really were supposed to meet for only about 30 minutes, but an hour blew by like nothing. Negin, I'm so glad I got to meet you irl!!!

 

Stacia, your travels sound amazing!

 

And stop the bus!  You met Negin--how cool is that!  Yes, I shall speak for the group and say that we are indeed completely jealous.

 

(Short story brewing here:  the coincidental meetings of virtual book group members in airports, etc. although I am envisioning running into VC on a cathedral tour and Mumto2 in a garden. Perhaps more appropriate for us to meet in libraries!)

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I'm pretty sure I never got around to posting last week's books... lots of driving and gardening these days, not so much reading...

 

Carrying on with the fantasy / magical realism genres: I finished Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi.  Sorry, Stacia -- I did like Boy Snow Bird, but this one was far too fugue state-y for me -- so over the edge of reality that the narrative couldn't hold me -- so few handholds that I literally could not name a sequence of events common to the two main characters in the narrative, which made me, therefore, not care about either the characters or the narrative.  More successful was The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, a YA fantasy off my long list of recommendations from Eliana, which my 11 yo daughter and I both enjoyed.

 

An unexpected delight was Diana Abu-Jabar's Crescent, which I noticed in my library's audio collection and grabbed because I have despaired of ever getting to the top of the WL for Language of Baklava.  It's a love story, I guess, between two people who both believed they'd missed the window for love; and wrapped within lots of cooking and photography and academia-jostling and intimations of subplot intrigues.  Very nice.

 

I also listened to Susan Isaac's The Goldberg Variations: A Story of Three Cousins and a Fortune, which caught my eye as I browsed the audio shelf because I liked the title, and which I checked out because I had high hopes that it would evoke Wendy Wasserstein... it had its laugh-out-loud moments, but too much of it was in too snarky a vein to be truly enjoyable; and the ending, while redemptive, was so abrupt that it felt rushed rather than plausible.

 

I did The Huston Smith Reader for my interfaith book group, a marvelous collection of essays over the remarkable lifetime of a remarkably open, curious and generous man.  Parts of this were challenging philosophical dives, and other parts were warm vignettes into his experiences diving deep into other faith traditions... well worth reading.

 

 

 

My younger kids and I got well into Christopher Paolini's Eragon on audio on our long drive and are enjoying it greatly -- my son, who perhaps tends ever so slightly toward big-headedness, has been duly chastened that Paolini wrote this at age 15!  I've started Sayed Kashua's Second Person Singular at Stacia's recommendation, which is very promising thus far; and last night I gritted my teeth and worked through the third section of VS Naipul's Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples.  I think I will push through to the end because much of the historical content is unfamiliar material for me, but I think I'll be taking a Naipul break after this... the guy just doesn't do much to keep it engaging for the reader... I keep wanting him to be Pico Iyer.  And he's.just.not.  And I'll be turning thereafter to Elie Wiesel's novel The Gates of the Forest.

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Mumto2, Definitely appropriate for your DD. There is a little bit of romance but it's not explicit in the least. It was kind of refreshing to read a book where the big romantic reveal is such an innocent kiss. I'm reading them in order so I'm not sure about the out of order business. I don't see why they couldn't be read out of order based on the two that I've read. There were some character references but the second one gave the background story of a couple the main character met in the first book with a few mentions of supporting characters from book 1.

 

 Stacia, it sounds like you had an amazing time on your trip!

 

Halfway through with Mean Moms Rule and I'm not too impressed. Pretty much it's, "Don't lose yourself, say no sometimes, and don't helicopter parent." All well and good but that's how we roll anyway. 

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Oh boy, I just want to chat with everyone:
 

On my plate for this week is Mark Hodder's The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.

 
I just added this to my TBR list for the month... thank you for all the links to books, my TBR list is overflowing!
 

I'm well into A.S. Byatt's, The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, a series of fairy tales for adults...
 
And for the Steampunk challenge, last month a freebie came up on kindle. I looked and it's still available as a freebie. So for those so inclined, Lady of Devices is the first in a series by Shelley Adina. I know nothing about her, nor do I know much about the genre however I downloaded it and it may be just the thing after all the fairytales.


Both of these looked interesting to me, too - I downloaded Lady of Devices and put Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye on my TBR list.
 
 

My dusty book pile is about to topple!  Sigh.  I have read six dusties this year but I think the pile has grown by twelve.  From the stack I pulled David McCullough's The Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris.


Let me know how you like this - I've tried two of his books (Truman & 1776) and haven't gotten through either of them. I know when The Greater Journey came out, I wanted to get it, but wasn't sure if I'd read it.
 
 

and an audiobook that I finished a few days ago:
 
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Excellent!! I listened to most of this on a long car trip with my 9yo and 15yo daughters. We laughed and giggled through the entire book. Fast-paced, clever story that is fully brought to life by Bronson Pinchot's (remember him?!) narration. The different accents he used with each character really made the story a delight to listen to.  If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this.


Oh, that sounds so fun. My library didn't have the audio, but they did have the book so I got it and may read it to my kids this summer.
 
 

I am re-reading all the Ladybug Farm books by Donna Ball.  If you're not familiar with them, they are fun books about three friends in their 50's who decide to buy and restore an old run down rural estate, and they have quite the adventures.  I enjoy the characters and the descriptions of country life.  They're funny, and although dissimilar to my life, somehow very real.  The first title is "A Year on Ladybug Farm" and there are now six books, I believe?  A new one just came out, which was my impetus to re-read the others.
 
After wrapping up May, I've finished a total of 27 books this year!


Also added A Year on Ladybug Farm to my list to read...those look fun.

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