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Robin M

Book a Week 2016 - W2: Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters

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Ah.  I didn't make the connection to the Anzac centenary.  That makes sense.

 

I'm pretty sure that had at least some role to play in his winning the Man Booker. 

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Alice- A trip to Iceland sounds exciting. My grandfather was stationed there for many years and they loved living there. I've never been but I would love to go.

 

I'm currently about 200 pages into A Suitable Boy. I am enjoying it but am finding it a slow read due to the language. I keep stopping to look up Indian words. However, I am enjoying learning about the culture so very much.

 

I am also working through HotAW, usually a chapter a day.

 

These threads are so hard because I want to add so much to my wish list! I've capped it at 100 books and have already met that. I also think I need to buy a new set of bookshelves.

I have A Suitable Boy on the way, so I was doing some research and found this:

http://suitableboyglossary.blogspot.com/

 

I only checked it out briefly and bookmarked for when the book arrives. The book I just finished took place in India and I was thankful for the glossary the author provided!

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I'm excited to be joining you this year. I was so pleased with how much I read in 2014 when I was part of the group. Last year I didn't join in and found that I fit in almost no personal reading (though I did still read a great number of books to the kids). This year my focus will be to explore new topics and genres. I am particularly interested in learning about other places and cultures.

 

I started the year with Laughing All the Way to the Mosque (thank you to whoever suggested this in the 2015 wrap-up thread). I learned that I have been mispronouncing the word "Muslim" all this time. This was a lighthearted and funny book that also gave me a peek into another culture. It was a quick read.

 

I'm almost finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book has truly inspired me to declutter. My family is fairly amazed and even my kids talk about "konmari-ing" to get things in order. I started the book two months ago, but I didn't want to read too far ahead until I finished decluttering certain categories of things. Now that I'm in the last few pages I can say that it really has been life-changing for me. I plan to re-read it again later this year.

 

I am half-way through An Unnecessary Woman. I don't know what I think of it yet. It's interesting, but it's hard to read it in the little snippets of time I have available. I think it would be best enjoyed with more time to delve into it.

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I finished 2 books this week:

2.  Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

     I listened to this on audio and it was enjoyable.

3.  Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden 

     I didn't like this one very much.  It was predictable.

 

 

How is Wonderland Creek compared to other Austins?

She is well translated into Dutch, and I herited several books from her from my mother in law.

 

 

I started the year with Laughing All the Way to the Mosque (thank you to whoever suggested this in the 2015 wrap-up thread). I learned that I have been mispronouncing the word "Muslim" all this time. This was a lighthearted and funny book that also gave me a peek into another culture. It was a quick read.

 

You're welcome.

It was a quick read indeed!

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re: Lost Boys of Sudan

Alice, how harrowing was Long Walk?  I've been thinking about this with my 7th grader.

 

(and SO COOL re: Iceland.  That's on my Top 5 wishlist....)

 

 

 

 

Ditto on Long Walk to Water,which I'm thinking about for my 7th grader!

 

It's not bad for a middle schooler. Park does a really good job of making a horrible story both readable and less horror filled but not candy coating it. The book has two stories. One is of Nya, a modern day girl in Sudan who must basically walk all day back and forth from the village water source to bring her family water.  The other story is of Salva Dut, a young Sudanese boy who becomes one of the Lost Boys. It follows his journey across Sudan and into Ethiopia. The very fact of the events is horrific...he is alone and without his family and doesn't know if they are alive. One boy is eaten by a lion on their journey and there is one particular scene where they must flee the Ethiopian refuge camp. The Ethiopian soldiers are shooting them as they are trying to cross a river full of crocodiles. Many refuges die in that river. That is the most graphic scene and Park does a good job of making it age appropriate. It's factual without being overly graphic if that makes sense. 

 

The two stories eventually come together and the ending is one of hope for multiple reasons. I think because of the hope it's more manageable for a middle schooler. It ends with a feeling of "yes, there are horrible things in the world but we can work together to make the world a better place". 

 

There is a website for Salva Dut's (the main character who is a real person) organization, Water for Southern Sudan. There are also youtube videos of Salva and Linda Sue Park being interviewed. I plan to have my son watch some of those and look at the website as well. 

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My first two books of the year were ones I started in 2015.

 

Welcome to the Episcopal Church is a brief intro to (obviously) the Episcopal Church. We've been attending one for almost two years, and the priest recommended this book to the newcomers in the congregation. I found the history of the Episcopal Church in America to be more interesting than I expected, especially the discussion of the differences that arose from being a state church (as it was in Virginia) or a church that was planted by congregations in England (as it was in New England), and how they had to reconcile those differences to create a national Episcopal Church. I also found that the author articulated some of things I love about the church but had been unable to express clearly, specifically the attraction to "both/and" theology instead of "either/or."

 

It did not, however, answer some of the questions I was hoping it would. I think I need to read the author's volume specifically on worship to get those answers. Possible bingo category: Nonfiction

 

No idea if you like mysteries but I have to recommend Julia Spencer Flemmings Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series to anyone who talks about the Episcopal Church (Clare is an Episcopal priest). 

 

In bookish news ~

 

Some of the British coins to be released in 2016 have bookish themes.

 

Whimsical 2016 British Coins Feature Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Homages to Shakespeare

**

 

One of my father's favorite authors was Heman Wouk.  Wouk is now 100 and has published an autobiography ~

'Sailor And Fiddler' Is A Lovely Coda To A Literary Career

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

We have literary people on our money too. The out going 20SEK note had Selma Lagerlöf and the incoming one has Astrid Lindgren (we are currently changing over)

 

 

 

:lol: What order are you doing them in?  Have you done Boy and His Horse yet?  My son was all good til he got to that one, but he FLATLY REFUSED to go on once he got to that one.

 

 

Your son is a very smart boy. The Boy and His Horse was always one I skipped. 

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So far this year I've read:

 

1. Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune

2. Who We Are by TJ Klune

3. Helping Hand by Jay Northcote

4. The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune

5. Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson

6. Let Love Live by Melissa Collins

7. At War by Andria Large

8. War Torn by Andria Large

 

All of them are m/m romances. Numbers 1, 2,4,7 and 8 all deal with mental illness (Anxiety, Panic attacks/disorder, PTSD and Depression). The last three I read yesterday and today, and I am almost done the final book in the War trilogy. Then I am going to read The Score by Elle Kennedy and then I am going to get to January's classic/non-fiction. I think it will be a non-fiction. I am feeling non-fictiony

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No idea if you like mysteries but I have to recommend Julia Spencer Flemmings Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series to anyone who talks about the Episcopal Church (Clare is an Episcopal priest).

Thanks! Added this to my list.

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re: Long Walk to Water

It's not bad for a middle schooler. Park does a really good job of making a horrible story both readable and less horror filled but not candy coating it. The book has two stories. One is of Nya, a modern day girl in Sudan who must basically walk all day back and forth from the village water source to bring her family water.  The other story is of Salva Dut, a young Sudanese boy who becomes one of the Lost Boys. It follows his journey across Sudan and into Ethiopia. The very fact of the events is horrific...he is alone and without his family and doesn't know if they are alive. One boy is eaten by a lion on their journey and there is one particular scene where they must flee the Ethiopian refuge camp. The Ethiopian soldiers are shooting them as they are trying to cross a river full of crocodiles. Many refuges die in that river. That is the most graphic scene and Park does a good job of making it age appropriate. It's factual without being overly graphic if that makes sense. 

 

The two stories eventually come together and the ending is one of hope for multiple reasons. I think because of the hope it's more manageable for a middle schooler. It ends with a feeling of "yes, there are horrible things in the world but we can work together to make the world a better place". 

 

There is a website for Salva Dut's (the main character who is a real person) organization, Water for Southern Sudan. There are also youtube videos of Salva and Linda Sue Park being interviewed. I plan to have my son watch some of those and look at the website as well. 

Thanks.  Just put it in the Amazon cart.  My daughter and I both loved Single Shard and Kite Fighters.

 

 

ETA: If you're doing an Africa unit, some books for that age that we've enjoyed are Kid Moses (Tanzania), The Heaven Shop (Malawi), Akata Witch (Nigeria), and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Malawi).  First two are fiction, Witch is Rick Riordan-style mythology-based fantasy, and Boy is a memoir of a remarkable kid who read and then built his way out of extreme hardship.

Edited by Pam in CT
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Over the weekend I veered off-plan and read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  Mmmmm ended up feeling that I'd wasted reading time.   Not my style, though I did finish!  I feel a bit like I cheated because it was so short and quick, but now I have 3 books completed for the year which is pretty good for me. 

 

I do need to keep up with the homeschool reading, so it's back to geology and American history today.  My daughter has an orthodontist appointment so I hope to have some waiting room time for reading. 

 

Too bad she does not like audiobooks - it's an hour drive each way. For some reason I downloaded the audio of David Copperfield (from the library) and it would be nice to get a chunk of that done.  It's been on my TBR forever but 34 hours, man that will take a long time!  I do speed up the audio a little bit...

 

 

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re: Long Walk to Water

Thanks.  Just put it in the Amazon cart.  My daughter and I both loved Single Shard and Kite Fighters.

 

 

ETA: If you're doing an Africa unit, some books for that age that we've enjoyed are Kid Moses (Tanzania), The Heaven Shop (Malawi), Akata Witch (Nigeria), and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Malawi).  First two are fiction, Witch is Rick Riordan-style mythology-based fantasy, and Boy is a memoir of a remarkable kid who read and then built his way out of extreme hardship.

 

Ooh, thanks for the recommendations! 

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I'm just about finished SWB's History of the Ancient World! This is big for me. I've had it for a long time but I was finding that I was reading just to get through the chapter and say I'd done it - I wasn't remembering anything. I bought the questions for high schoolers that PHP put out and started over with them, but they took up too much time and I never got to them. So I started over one more time last fall with a few different colours of highlighters, figured out a system and have finally made it all the way through (almost, I'm on chapter 72 out of 84).

 

Also last week, I finished the novel When the Moon is Low. I don't read a lot of fiction but I'm determined to add them to my list occasionally for a bit of a reading break. This one fit the bill perfectly, I really enjoyed the story.

 

I'm also currently reading Pride & Prejudice (about half way), Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh (about third of the way) and Hands Free Life (also about a third).

 

So I'm hoping to finish HotAW this week, and probaby Art of Communicating as well, if not Pride & Prejudice too. We'll see how the week pans out!

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Books last week:

 

Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, by Dean Cycon.  The author lives in my parents' community and is constantly doing various Good Works through his crunchy fair trade coffee businesses, and my father has been nagging me for years to get on one of his bandwagons.  Having read the book, a travelogue of his forays into various coffeelands to support the development and growth of organic cooperatives -- more thoughtful about sustainable development issues, and less full of himself, and FAR more funny than I expected -- I suppose I will...  Stacia, you might enjoy it, let me know and I'll pass it along.

 

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.  Well.  This one merits another Ta-Nehisi Coates discussion (and is, I think, a very good follow-up to him, with delving into the weeds on the mechanics of how structural racism operates without conscious explicit intent).  I remember Eliana read it last year -- any others?  Very highly recommended.

 

The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis.  My mother chucked this at me back in high school, along with dozens of other equally developmentally inappropriate tomes, when I was going through a particularly angst-ridden identity-sorting phase that in hindsight must have been just insufferable... anyway, I vividly remember being astonished at how laugh-out-loud FUNNY parts of Screwtape were... I re-read it because yesterday we went to a theatrical production (!) of it that is currently playing in NY.  While it reads differently at this stage of life -- while the satiric bits are perhaps even more biting (and hold up surprisingly well over time) the ending today feels too fast/too forced/too outta nowhere, it still is worthwhile.  And our little theater group -- a motley mix who didn't much fit the audience profile -- enjoyed the stage production, which is running for another few weeks.

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.  Well.  This one merits another Ta-Nehisi Coates discussion (and is, I think, a very good follow-up to him, with delving into the weeds on the mechanics of how structural racism operates without conscious explicit intent).  I remember Eliana read it last year -- any others?  Very highly recommended.

 

 

 

Thanks, Pam. I just put this on hold.

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A few weeks ago I started researching Cozy Mysteries based in the UK with the intention of sorting ones based in villages out from the pile as I read the first books in the new to me series.....I have looked at lots of blogs for ideas. A few author's were thrown out immediately (Val McDermid who I love) because I know what they write can't be classed as cozy as they are crime/suspense with seriously long descriptions of violent crimes.

 

Elizabeth George came up on several people's list as cozy. Now that I have read The Great Deliverance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10482749-a-great-deliveranceI have no idea how. It was a good book but a horrifying crime with pages of description. Maybe not quite as detailed as a Val McDermid but not Christie either. Part of my personal cozy description is a book I could hand dd17 as a youngish teen and know nothing super troubling would be encountered or if the crime was new to her knowledge wise at least the descriptions would not be detailed. No eye burning.

 

That being said I liked Inspector Lynley a lot. He has a bit Wimsey feel to him. I also know that I have read some of this series in the past, it was the cozy classification that confused me. The crime took place in North Yorkshire somewhere around Ripon I think. It was a good book and I will read more of this series, in order ;) , soon.

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I finished The Fishermen this morning*, which I found to be both a heart wrenching and beautiful story. My Goodreads review is here.

 

 

*I was so close to finishing last night, but couldn't hold my eyes open. When my Kindle fell onto my face as I dozed off (not an uncommon thing with me unfortunately), dh suggested maybe I should finish tomorrow. This morning he brought me coffee in bed so I could finish. If he hadn't done that I would have gotten up as usual and read online news while I drank my coffee. Instead I finished the book, then went to my news sites only to read the sad news about David Bowie.  :crying:

 

My total is at two now, though I actually finished three books. I mentioned in the Wrap-up thread about not counting multiple re-reads. I finished the audio book of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but since I need more fingers and toes to count the number of times I've read or listened to that entire series, I don't count it. I'm also currently re-reading Emma, another one I don't feel right counting due to multiple re-reads.

 

Still reading:

A Suitable Boy

Swann's Way

The Age of Reason

 

Added:

Bethlehem Road - #10 in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt historical mystery series

 

Audio book:

Bleak House - I haven't read any Dickens since 2014 and I'm slowly working my way through most (probably not all) of his novels.

 

I downloaded the sample of The Body on the Beach after mumto2 posted about it, but haven't looked at it yet. I also discovered that Sing for Us, mentioned by Melinda in VT, is in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. It looks good, and I think it will either be my January or February KOLL book. We're not even two weeks into the new year and the BAW crowd is already influencing me.  :lol:

 

 

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No idea if you like mysteries but I have to recommend Julia Spencer Flemmings Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series to anyone who talks about the Episcopal Church (Clare is an Episcopal priest). 

 I love this series! I didn't like the most recent book in the series as much, mostly because I didn't like the ending.

 

Another "churchy" mystery series that I enjoyed (from a Unitarian perspective) was Emilie Richards' Ministry is Murder series. Laugh out loud funny in parts.

 

I've finished 5 books so far this year and am now working on Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; so far, it is a very inspiring read and I am learning a great deal about the World War II era. I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle; R. Stevenson's Treasure Island (along with DS); and am beginning SWB's The Revolt.

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Elizabeth George came up on several people's list as cozy. Now that I have read The Great Deliverance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10482749-a-great-deliveranceI have no idea how. It was a good book but a horrifying crime with pages of description. Maybe not quite as detailed as a Val McDermid but not Christie either. Part of my personal cozy description is a book I could hand dd17 as a youngish teen and know nothing super troubling would be encountered or if the crime was new to her knowledge wise at least the descriptions would not be detailed. No eye burning.

 

 

 

:eek: It's always been my understanding that cozies don't involve graphic descriptions of the crime, sex unless it's implied, and little to no profanity. Apart from the murder itself which as I said isn't graphically described, there is very little violence. The killer usually gives up quietly and meekly when unmasked. 

 

This fits my definition of a cozy mystery. It's a bit long to be called a definition, but it describes all the necessary parts of a cozy.

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:lol: What order are you doing them in?  Have you done Boy and His Horse yet?  My son was all good til he got to that one, but he FLATLY REFUSED to go on once he got to that one.

Your son is a very smart boy. The Boy and His Horse was always one I skipped. 

 

I HATED The Horse and His Boy.  I also was not a fan of Magician's Nephew.  I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first because my 9 year old was going to be assigned it in school.  Then I read Magician's Nephew and then The Horse and His Boy.  I was pretty sure after those two that people who are fans of The Chronicles of Narnia were crazy or there was something wrong with me.  I like Prince Caspian much more and am enjoying Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My daughter pointed out when they made the three movies a few years ago they skipped MN and THAHB.  Probably because they are terrible.

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My mom told me that a few months ago a woman taught the women's lesson at church and she said it is very important to her to not allow her daughters to read smut such as anything written by Jane Austen (her daughters range in age from around 8 up to around 24).  She urged the other women to forbid their daughters from reading those books as well because they are nothing but porn in print.  Several women at first thought she was being sarcastic.  Turns out she was dead serious.  I am still just flummoxed by this.

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I HATED The Horse and His Boy.  I also was not a fan of Magician's Nephew.  I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first because my 9 year old was going to be assigned it in school.  Then I read Magician's Nephew and then The Horse and His Boy.  I was pretty sure after those two that people who are fans of The Chronicles of Narnia were crazy or there was something wrong with me.  I like Prince Caspian much more and am enjoying Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My daughter pointed out when they made the three movies a few years ago they skipped MN and THAHB.  Probably because they are terrible.

Yeah, everyone has their moments; even Shakespeare had the "lesser plays."  Coriolanus, shoot me in the head.  (Cue Eliana to come in with commentary...)

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Last week's reading:

 

Neither Indian nor AA:

 

De Rerum Natura by Lucretius: I read this once, when I was 17 or 18, and thought it was nifty.  Rereading it now, while thinking about the development of scientific thinking, I had even more fun with it.  I now want to read Swerve (which has been sitting on my shelves for a long time) and Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, which none of my libraries have... I think I will have to resort to ILL.

 

Being Mortal:  (thank you, Rose) A powerful and very important book that everyone should read... since we all have good odds of dealing with aging and end of life in ourselves or our loved ones.  My only complaint is that this doesn't emphasize enough the troubling fact that at many key points in life our society does not allow/respect control of our own bodies.... It hints at it, touches briefly on it, but this issue lies at the core of the problems being observed.

 

Ruach Chayim: Another commentary on Pirkei Avos (often translated as Ethics of the Fathers).  I have been reading this gradually over many months and found it, both text and commentary, to be inspiring.

 

The Dinner by Koch: Blech.  The reviews I read made me think this would be thought provoking, that it would bring interest and nuance to hard questions... but instead it is a squicky story about vile sociopaths - the only "interest" is the gradual revelation of just of vile and how sociopathic.  I think there could be an interesting story in how a semi-normal family might deal with teens who do something horrific - the balance between finding them help/treatment, having them take responsibility, and trying to protect their futures... and the emotional pull to protect the family image... all of that could be a compelling, nuanced, interesting story...  This was well enough written to keep me turning the pages (while waiting for the interest and nuance to show up), but not well enough to make me feel this horrid story had been worth experiencing.  (In stark contrast to Lolita, for example, which has complexity *and* amazing prose, but the prose alone would have been worth reading).  In reading more, this is described by some as the Dutch Gone Girl.  I never read GG, so I can't compare them (and I am certainly not interested now!), but given its popularity, there must be an audience for this type of story... I am just not it.

 

 

 

India-related:

 

Field Notes on Democracy by Roy: These essays are heavily weighted with an incandescent rage and an often biting bitterness towards the powers she holds responsible for many horrors and injustices.  Although I share many of her approaches, I have an instinctive discomfort with stridency and lack of nuance... but this has left me with many uncomfortable questions... and sometimes there isn't much nuance to be found...

 

Shards of Memory by Jhabvala: An immensely readable but very odd story.

 

Interpreter of Maladies by Lahiri: This is very much of the modern literary fiction genre.  Some of the stories transcended the predictability of the genre and touched me, others not as much.

 

 

AA Lit/Culture:

 

Morning Haiku by Sanchez: Sanchez became a favorite last year with her poetry collection Shake Loose My Skin.  I intend to read more of her collections...

 

Appalachian Elegy by hooks: I have a number of bell hooks' prose writings in my stacks, but I was drawn to this slim poetry volume.  This is evocative, moving verse.

 

Poems from Prison by Knight: A painful, honest, often raw collection

 

Native Guard: Poems by Trethewey: Exquisite - and raised some issues I'd never heard of...

 

Black: A Celebration of Culture: This was an interesting photo collection, but not very satisfying.  ...still looking for one that hits the spot.

 

Sorcerer to the Crown: This sff book set in an alternate Regency with a freed slave as the Sorcerer Royal confronting his society's prejudices teamed up with a woman who challenges those prejudices in a whole different range of ways received a lot of positive reviews and I was looking forward to a pleasant read. ...but I was very disappointed.  The humor fell almost completely flat for me, the romance was tepid, the world-building felt shallow and inconsistent, and the core mystery made no sense at all.  Now I want to reread Sorcery and Cecilia... (or petition Wrede to write her own version of this...)

 

 

 

 

 

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I finished Tisha. It ended on a hopeful note.

 

I may try If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, again. It's been sitting on my shelf since the time it was a group read here. I left it unfinished about 1/3 of the way through and I can't remember why.

 

If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my very favorite books! Let me know what you think of it. (Gosh, it might be time for a reread on that one...)

 

I can definitely see why you might set it down in the middle, though. I definitely did at least once before I made it all the way through. It's so frustrating to have all of those stories dropped mid-narrative -- I ended up feeling like it was a good kind of frustrating, but still frustrating.

 

VC, you really need a Kindle! I think you would love it for your travels.

 

Believe me, I've tried to convince her. No luck so far.

 

I picked a slow read this week, so I'm still working my way through it. I had to buy a copy of The Norton Psychology Reader for a class a couple of years ago, and although we only read a couple of excerpts for the class, I've wanted to go back and read the whole thing for ages. I'm enjoying it, but it's pretty heavy stuff (there's some very technical chapters), so it's taking a while.

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The Dinner by Koch: Blech.  The reviews I read made me think this would be thought provoking, that it would bring interest and nuance to hard questions... but instead it is a squicky story about vile sociopaths - the only "interest" is the gradual revelation of just of vile and how sociopathic.  I think there could be an interesting story in how a semi-normal family might deal with teens who do something horrific - the balance between finding them help/treatment, having them take responsibility, and trying to protect their futures... and the emotional pull to protect the family image... all of that could be a compelling, nuanced, interesting story...  This was well enough written to keep me turning the pages (while waiting for the interest and nuance to show up), but not well enough to make me feel this horrid story had been worth experiencing.  (In stark contrast to Lolita, for example, which has complexity *and* amazing prose, but the prose alone would have been worth reading).  In reading more, this is described by some as the Dutch Gone Girl.  I never read GG, so I can't compare them (and I am certainly not interested now!), but given its popularity, there must be an audience for this type of story... I am just not it.

 

 

 

Thank you for this review, Eliana. The Dinner has been on and off my TBR list for over a year. I hear good things and add it, then bad reviews and take it off, and on again-off again. I think it's going to stay off, at least for a while. I have plenty of other books with better reviews on my list.

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:lol: What order are you doing them in?  Have you done Boy and His Horse yet?  My son was all good til he got to that one, but he FLATLY REFUSED to go on once he got to that one.

 

 

 

I haven't really enjoyed any of them past The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was so excited to read the rest of the series but now find myself just mouthing the words. My kids definitely thought that The Horse and His Boy was weak, but they still enjoyed it. I guess I am a tougher critic. They are excited about the rest of the series while I am looking longingly at the bookshelf for something that wont put me in a robotic trance. 

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My mom told me that a few months ago a woman taught the women's lesson at church and she said it is very important to her to not allow her daughters to read smut such as anything written by Jane Austen (her daughters range in age from around 8 up to around 24).  She urged the other women to forbid their daughters from reading those books as well because they are nothing but porn in print.  Several women at first thought she was being sarcastic.  Turns out she was dead serious.  I am still just flummoxed by this.

 

 

I wonder if she ever actually read any of Austen's books.  Porn in print?!   :rolleyes: ....She clearly has no idea what porn is, or what it would look like in print.

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My mom told me that a few months ago a woman taught the women's lesson at church and she said it is very important to her to not allow her daughters to read smut such as anything written by Jane Austen (her daughters range in age from around 8 up to around 24). She urged the other women to forbid their daughters from reading those books as well because they are nothing but porn in print. Several women at first thought she was being sarcastic. Turns out she was dead serious. I am still just flummoxed by this.

I had a friend once tell me that the Little House books were too feminist and shouldn't be given to young girls.

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I love this series! I didn't like the most recent book in the series as much, mostly because I didn't like the ending.

 

Another "churchy" mystery series that I enjoyed (from a Unitarian perspective) was Emilie Richards' Ministry is Murder series. Laugh out loud funny in parts.

 

I've finished 5 books so far this year and am now working on Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; so far, it is a very inspiring read and I am learning a great deal about the World War II era. I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle; R. Stevenson's Treasure Island (along with DS); and am beginning SWB's The Revolt.

Thanks for the tip and I totally agree with you about the last book in the Clare series, I didn't like the ending either

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Last week's reading:

 

Neither Indian nor AA:

 

De Rerum Natura by Lucretius: I read this once, when I was 17 or 18, and thought it was nifty.  Rereading it now, while thinking about the development of scientific thinking, I had even more fun with it.  I now want to read Swerve (which has been sitting on my shelves for a long time) and Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, which none of my libraries have... I think I will have to resort to ILL.

 

Being Mortal:  (thank you, Rose) A powerful and very important book that everyone should read... since we all have good odds of dealing with aging and end of life in ourselves or our loved ones.  My only complaint is that this doesn't emphasize enough the troubling fact that at many key points in life our society does not allow/respect control of our own bodies.... It hints at it, touches briefly on it, but this issue lies at the core of the problems being observed.

 

 

 

Ah, The Swerve looks fascinating! My library has it, so I just put it on hold, too.  I am also experiencing the phenomena of BaW inspired TR list swelling!

 

I'm glad you appreciated Being Mortal.  My dh basically made me read it, I was rather resistant. But I'm glad I did. I do think this is a book everyone should read, and I don't say that often, but these issues are truly relevant to each and every person on the planet.

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I finished two shorter works yesterday ~

 

The Seer's Choice: A Novella of the Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney

 

This is a companion piece (featuring different characters) to the full length fantasy I recently read.  It's currently free to Kindle readers.  I enjoyed it but it was lighter than The Golden City.

 

"Genoveva Jardim's father was a monster—a defrocked priest who used his healer's gift to murder instead. Determined to make amends for the deaths her father brought to the Golden City, she turned her back on her life among the aristocracy. She's chosen to work for the Special Police, learning how to use the healer's gift she'd never even known she had. She wants to save lives instead of killing like her father.

Rafael Pinheiro has kept an eye on Miss Jardim for some time now. The very first time he met her, his seer's gift told him he would someday marry her. What he can't figure out is why he would choose her. She's young and an aristocrat—hardly a match for a mere police captain raised in an orphanage. They don't seem to have anything in common.

But when Miss Jardim's life is threatened, everything changes…"

 

**

 

I also read the short work Breaking Out: Part I by Michelle Diener.  I'd recently read and enjoyed the author's science fiction romance  Dark Horse.  This work was quite different. I don't think I'll search for Part 2 though if it were to fall into my lap, I'd read it.

 

"Kelli Barrack has spent the last three years imprisoned in Dr. Greenway's facility plotting her escape, but when her chance comes one Halloween evening, it's in a way she never expected.

Nate Halliway is being removed from the facility, but he refuses to go without his special forces team-mate, Giles. When his resistance lands him in Kelli's cell, they both get a chance for freedom, a chance they take with both hands.

But as Giles, Nate and Kelli fight their way out, Kelli discovers that the most insidious danger to her freedom might lie within her, rather than in the small army out to stop them."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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:eek: It's always been my understanding that cozies don't involve graphic descriptions of the crime, sex unless it's implied, and little to no profanity. Apart from the murder itself which as I said isn't graphically described, there is very little violence. The killer usually gives up quietly and meekly when unmasked. 

 

This fits my definition of a cozy mystery. It's a bit long to be called a definition, but it describes all the necessary parts of a cozy.

 

 

Pretty much my idea of cozy too. I will admit that I think British ones are sometimes a bit less cozy and slightly more descriptive but generally s*x behind closed doors and no huge descriptions. The motive behind the crime may bit more gritty but no real details...if that makes sense.

 

I think The Body on the Beach probably fits the modern British cozy pretty well but it is hard to compare to something like a Joanne Fluke baking mystery. I hope you read the Body on the Beach because I am curious what you think of it.

 

 

My mom told me that a few months ago a woman taught the women's lesson at church and she said it is very important to her to not allow her daughters to read smut such as anything written by Jane Austen (her daughters range in age from around 8 up to around 24).  She urged the other women to forbid their daughters from reading those books as well because they are nothing but porn in print.  Several women at first thought she was being sarcastic.  Turns out she was dead serious.  I am still just flummoxed by this.

I heard the whole Austen thing a couple of times back when dd was devouring her books at age 11/12. One of the women who lectured me apparently allowed Twilight. To be fair she probably had no idea what Twilight was and her dd was reading one with a pretty bland cover when I spotted it. But still, it was a movie at that point. I did preread a lot for dd at her request around that age. Some books were set aside until she got a bit older because she wanted them set aside.

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My mom told me that a few months ago a woman taught the women's lesson at church and she said it is very important to her to not allow her daughters to read smut such as anything written by Jane Austen (her daughters range in age from around 8 up to around 24).  She urged the other women to forbid their daughters from reading those books as well because they are nothing but porn in print.  Several women at first thought she was being sarcastic.  Turns out she was dead serious.  I am still just flummoxed by this.

 

 

I had a friend once tell me that the Little House books were too feminist and shouldn't be given to young girls.

 

I read a book about homeschooling high school some years ago (as ds was approaching high school age) where the author said she didn't want her teens reading or seeing plays by that author of smut, Shakespeare. She then went on to list "better" options. I quickly put down that book and moved on to other homeschooling high school books.

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Yeah, everyone has their moments; even Shakespeare had the "lesser plays."  Coriolanus, shoot me in the head.  (Cue Eliana to come in with commentary...)

 

 

 

I'm not sure what commentary to offer.  Coriolanus wouldn't make my list of Shakespeare's greatest plays, but since I first encountered it at 8, I have found it to be deeply moving and to leave me thinking... about power and pride and loyalty and that particular strand of strong mothers... and what does it mean to really own that when we choose an action we choose its consequence...

 

 

 

 

 

I... am beginning SWB's The Revolt.

 

I read both her novels many years ago and found them interesting.  This one touched me more than the other, but both felt very worth reading, though both are also very clearly early works where an author is still finding her footing. 

 

 

 

 

I finished The Fishermen this morning*, which I found to be both a heart wrenching and beautiful story. My Goodreads review is here.

 

 

Thank you for the review.  I am not sure I could handle the journey to reach the pay-off, but knowing what I would be getting into (and that there is a pay-off to be found) is very helpful

 

 

Elizabeth George came up on several people's list as cozy.

 

 

Gaah!  George has a cast of recurring characters (as does Martha Grimes, who has a similar story style, imho), but she deals with really grim, ugly, horrible things.  Heartbreaking, disturbing things.  I read all of her books in my year of many mysteries (2005, I believe), but couldn't touch them now.

 

 

Over the weekend I veered off-plan and read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  Mmmmm ended up feeling that I'd wasted reading time.   Not my style, though I did finish! 

 

 

:iagree:   ...I wanted to love it, but it didn't click for me.

 

I am half-way through An Unnecessary Woman. I don't know what I think of it yet. It's interesting, but it's hard to read it in the little snippets of time I have available. I think it would be best enjoyed with more time to delve into it.

I appreciated it when I read it last year - I liked the glimpses of time and place, the central place reading has in the protagonist's life, and the (not completely believable) glimpse of transcendence at the end.

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Thank you for the review.  I am not sure I could handle the journey to reach the pay-off, but knowing what I would be getting into (and that there is a pay-off to be found) is very helpful

 

 

 

 

 

 

In regard to The Fishermen, just so you know - a hopeful ending (which this book has) is not the same as a happy ending. That's all I can say without giving spoilers.

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.  Well.  This one merits another Ta-Nehisi Coates discussion (and is, I think, a very good follow-up to him, with delving into the weeds on the mechanics of how structural racism operates without conscious explicit intent).  I remember Eliana read it last year -- any others?  Very highly recommended.

I read them in the other order and found they worked well that way too. 

 

Coates gave me a glimpse into his experience of the world - and given that we are around the same age, that hit rather hard for me.  It doesn't (as many here have noted) offer any substantial analysis, nor does it bring any solutions.  ...but it opened my eyes to what it was like for him to live as a black man in my generation... and I especially valued his musings near the end where he is glimpsing the ways in which his view was a narrow one....

 

Alexander gave me a bigger picture, a way of connecting the injustices now with the history I have heard/read about.  And it showed me things I am not sure I wanted to know... because knowing them means I can't keep looking the other way.

 

I had many moments of incandescent rage reading it (and I am not given to anger as a primary response).  Especially when reading about some of the major Supreme Court decisions...

 

I don't know what to *do* with where this book has left me.  As I (over) shared last week, I am struggling to find ways to bring my reading and thinking into real world action in ways that match my own realities and that match my sense of responsibility.  This book was a non-trivial catalyst in that struggle...

 

Yes.  Very highly recommended.

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In regard to The Fishermen, just so you know - a hopeful ending (which this book has) is not the same as a happy ending. That's all I can say without giving spoilers.

 

Sometimes a hopeful ending is more uplifting than a happy one... and I can do without happy better than without hope, if that makes any sense at all.  (Though, of course, both together is splendid!)  The books I have trouble with are the crushing ones, the hopeless, grim, suffocating ones...

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I lurked through last year's wrap-up threads. The descriptions of Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane caught my eye, so I requested it through the library. I checked it out on Sat. and sat down and read through the whole thing before doing what I actually came to town to do (buy groceries :) ). Thank you to everyone who mentioned it. I enjoyed it on the whole (even though it disturbed me a bit, too).

 

One of my goals for this year is to commonplace more (in an attempt to slow down a bit and not just read to see what happens, but to savor a bit more of the prose...another reason for re-reading as a habit). There were so many beautiful paragraphs, that I think I'm going to read through again to find some of my favorites and write them by hand before I have to take it back. 

 

I also requested Neverwhere, so I'm looking forward to that sometime soon. And, a Tommy and Tuppence Agatha Christie (I've only read the first one, the second looks like a collection of short stories with a loose arc).

 

I don't know why New Years always calls to me for a bit of mystery reading, but it does. I finished up the audible version of Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice (reread, I don't know how many times anymore). It's almost like fan-fic in that it adds to the end of the Sherlock timeline and includes a brainy female protagonist side-kick. 

And, Dorothy Gilman's The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax (another I don't know how many times reread) makes me smile. A widowed lady gets tired of Garden Club and applies at the CIA to become a spy. It's the first in the series. My favorite, too, I think.

 

I hadn't heard the term "cozy" before, but that's definitely the kind of mystery I like. 

 

BaW is so fun! :) 

 

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Believe me, I've tried to convince her. No luck so far.

 

 

It starts with reading books on Kindles, and before you know it you're downloading filth like Jane Austen from the Intertubes.

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Gaah! George has a cast of recurring characters (as does Martha Grimes, who has a similar story style, imho), but she deals with really grim, ugly, horrible things. Heartbreaking, disturbing things. I read all of her books in my year of many mysteries (2005, I believe), but couldn't touch them now.

 

 

Martha Grimes made it onto British Cozy lists too. I am in line for her first. I was 99% sure they didn't meet my definition of cozy but since they are overdrive available went ahead and reserved it. I think I will find I have read her books in the past too.

 

The George book was an odd read for me. Because I thought it was a cozy when I started it I read it as one. Totally enjoyed descriptions of scenery and a funny little girl with a fat pet duck. I will be honest and say yesterday I thought it was a great cozy. :lol: I didn't really catch on to where the book was going as it got grimmer. Part of me must have known but I was certainly not prepared for the conclusion.

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A quick post before I run out the door again but Elizabeth George as "cozy" makes me say :ohmy:??

 

I quit reading her books due to the gruesome turns they were taking (and one very annoying character). Admittedly they make great airplane books. Or did.

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52 Books Blog - Sahitya Akademi:  Since I'm experiencing 1950's India through Vikram Seth's eyes in A Suitable Boy, decided to do a bit more exploring and found Sahitya Akademi which is India's National Academy of Letters. The academy was established to promote Indian Literature.   They issue awards to authors of books written in 22 Indian languages, including English.  Seth won the English Award in 1988 for his novel The Golden Gate and Arundhati Roy won in 2005 for her novel The Algebra of Infinite Justice, which she declined to accept.

 

 

 

This is a fascinating resource - thank you!

 

For anyone else curious, Roy refused to award because the Akademi is funded by the government of India and she was (and is) actively protesting many of that government's actions and policies. At the same time, she also spoke highly of the organization and its previous awardees.

 

 

 

 

 

I just wanted to repeat what Kathy (Lady Florida) said yesterday as it is a very important part of what makes 52 Books work.  

 

 

 

 

 

:iagree:   

 

One of the reasons I fell in love with husband was realizing that with him I could be fully myself, and it was okay.  My real, imperfect, idiosyncratic self... I could be as smart or as stupid as I really am (and I am frequently both, but that is part of how I learn, how I process the world), I could be as intellectual, as geeky, and as sappily sentimental as I really am. 

 

I had an analogous process here - that I can be the reader I am...I've never been able to be so candid about what I read in all its weird diversity and never, ever so candid about how much I read. I don't need to apologize for any of the things I read, or the ways I read them... I can be my genuine self here.  ...and I can hear the ideas and experiences of other people who can be their real selves too.

 

...and being real enables and openness to ideas and growth, as well as bonds of affection.

 

 

 

I stayed up late last night to finish the quirky, thoughtful, sweet and throughly enjoyable The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones. Set in Wales in the 1920s, it follows a few months in the life of the all too human Wilfred Price.

 

Ooh!  I pulled this book off my shelves when Jane mentioned it last year. but it got culled when the shelf was overflowing & I still hadn't gotten to it.  (Does anyone else go through this process?  My beside shelf gradually fills to overflowing with the books I am either currently reading or about to read... and every so often I have to go through and pull out the ones I haven't gotten to, or have set aside for a long time...)

 

The Just City by Walton - thanks Eliana for recommending

 

 

I am not letting myself reread it again until I either get around to rereading The Republic or the third book comes out... though I suspect I will be too eager to read the new one to go back for a reread...

 

My first two books of the year were ones I started in 2015.

I read The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare because I'd never read it and because I bought The Gap of Time after seeing it talked about here, among other places, and I wanted to read the original before I read the "cover." It was a fun play, although I do wonder why we give Shakespeare a pass on things that we would eviscerate another author for. Bohemia having a sea cost, for example, or a woman posing as a statue (and having people believe it!).

 

I think Winter's Tale gets a fairy tale type pass  - it isn't even remotely a realistic story, except on the emotional level... so much of Shakespeare has plot that is there for the emotional or narrative arc, not realism or accuracy...

 

I think he is working through pain, anger, jealousy, and redemption using a time frame and a plot which make no real sense, except in their underlying emotions.

 

...and he offers a depth of insight that is matched by a wealth of compassion... without ever losing hold of a sense of integrity... but I am very biased.  Shakespeare has been woven into my being - my sense of honor, of duty, of justice, of love, of compassion, of understanding, are all touched, perhaps even shaped, by his plays.

 

 

Re: accuracy: I think we do (and should) hold authors who have easy access to correct data to a higher standard than those who didn't have such access.

 

 

That's funny; I was wondering about the same part in bold last night when I finished Titus Andronicus. I could not figure out how Lucius was going to raise an army among the Goths, when he and his father had just finished defeating them after a ten year campaign, not to mention taking their queen and her sons as captives. :confused1:

 

Personally I give the Bard a pass because few authors have given me so much joy over the years. He keeps women, Moors, and Jews in their "places," and yet doesn't.  Some of our best homeschooling literary discussions were sparked by Shakespeare and all of his ambiguities.

 

Titus Andronicus was a fine read, but definitely lacked the finesse of his later plays.  Ds and I will see a performance next week and our homeschool liaison informed us that Seattle Shakespeare had hired a "blood specialist" for all of the gore. Should be interesting.

 

 

Historically, we see a number of such occasions where one "side" will ally with a former enemy (even one who has perpetrated atrocities) because that alliance offers them a chance they wouldn't otherwise have.  ..but, yes, nuance isn't a dominant strand of Titus. 

 

I haven't decided if I can take seeing TA again.  Let me know how the performance is for you.  Dave Quicksall is a favorite of ours (as both an actor & director).  His Tempest, many years ago, and his Coriolanus both aligned so perfectly with how I have seen those plays that I hate to miss something he is directing... but TA is a Shakespeare play I do not love.  It might be the only one (well, if we discount Two Noble Kinsmen which I still can't accept as his).

 

:D We went on a five-day camping trip in October and I took a rather large cardboard box of books. It makes me feel secure.

:iagree:   I have a Kindle and I still can't leave home without at least a few physical books as well. 

 

Scarcity of books feels too much like scarcity of oxygen.... except with the added complication that I can't exchange one book for another, as I could molecules of oxygen...

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re: "incandescent rage reading," The New Jim Crow, and Between the World and Me

I read them in the other order and found they worked well that way too. 

 

Coates gave me a glimpse into his experience of the world - and given that we are around the same age, that hit rather hard for me.  It doesn't (as many here have noted) offer any substantial analysis, nor does it bring any solutions.  ...but it opened my eyes to what it was like for him to live as a black man in my generation... and I especially valued his musings near the end where he is glimpsing the ways in which his view was a narrow one....

 

Alexander gave me a bigger picture, a way of connecting the injustices now with the history I have heard/read about.  And it showed me things I am not sure I wanted to know... because knowing them means I can't keep looking the other way.

 

I had many moments of incandescent rage reading it (and I am not given to anger as a primary response).  Especially when reading about some of the major Supreme Court decisions...

 

I don't know what to *do* with where this book has left me.  As I (over) shared last week, I am struggling to find ways to bring my reading and thinking into real world action in ways that match my own realities and that match my sense of responsibility.  This book was a non-trivial catalyst in that struggle...

 

Yes.  Very highly recommended.

 

Yes, and yes.  When I was younger I really couldn't manage anger -- mine or anyone else's -- at all; almost any kind of conflict used to set me off in hives and/or send me into an unproductive interior spiral.  Over the years I've gotten better at both receiving it and when necessary expressing it, but it is still not my primary response.

 

But parts of Alexander's book had me shaking with incandescent rage.  This is my country, the one I love, the only one I ever will have.  What has happened to us?

 

And: now what?

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Well Martha Grimes is another I formerly read but some of her books just became too creepy for me.  Crimes involving children are beyond my comfort zone.  (That goes for you too Peter Robinson!)

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a Tommy and Tuppence Agatha Christie (I've only read the first one, the second looks like a collection of short stories with a loose arc).

 

I don't know why New Years always calls to me for a bit of mystery reading, but it does. I finished up the audible version of Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice (reread, I don't know how many times anymore). It's almost like fan-fic in that it adds to the end of the Sherlock timeline and includes a brainy female protagonist side-kick.

And, Dorothy Gilman's The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax (another I don't know how many times reread) makes me smile. A widowed lady gets tired of Garden Club and applies at the CIA to become a spy. It's the first in the series. My favorite, too, I think.

 

I hadn't heard the term "cozy" before, but that's definitely the kind of mystery I like.

 

BaW is so fun! :)

Tommy and Tuppence are some of my favourite Agatha Christie main characters.

 

Dd and I enjoy the Laurie King books also. We have been reading them a bit slowly, partly to savour them and partly so she gets her school work done. ;) I download onto a shared account. These are on cozy lists also although I am not sure they belong. I am making my own!

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I started this week with Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  I had requested this for Christmas because I am interested in SE Asian history and an award winning novel about the building of the Burma Railroad during World War II from the perspective of an Australian POW seemed liked a good option. 

 

Not so fast.

 

Much of the first section focuses on a love story between the young Australian doctor and his uncle's wife, but written in such dripping prose that it was disorienting.  Is this a romance novel?  Or a pitch to Hollywood for a screen play?

 

Then, the war years.  The story is rough to read because of the brutality yet the prose is beautiful.  It's as if someone secretly awarded Flanagan the Hollywood movie and relaxed and finally began to write.

 

But then something very sad happened to a dear friend of mine this week, and I decided to set aside the war book and instead revisit the original Narrow Road to the Deep North, the prose and poetry travelogue by famed Japanese haiku master Basho. Ah.  Balm for the soul.  I don't claim to understand Japanese culture much but the beauty of nature captured in haiku is fascinating and calming.

 

I will need to finish Flanagan's novel before I understand why he chose the title and how I feel about that.


 

 

I tried several times to read Narrow Road to the Deep North - in a large part because I really wanted to know how it was connected to Basho!

...but the prose and story were both very boiler plate feeling and the storytelling didn't grab me...

 

If you finish and figure out the connection, please let me know!

 

 

 


:lol: What order are you doing them in?  Have you done Boy and His Horse yet?  My son was all good til he got to that one, but he FLATLY REFUSED to go on once he got to that one.

 

 

I don't know how Horse and His Boy would strike me if I were to encounter it for the first time now... when I first read it the more problematic aspects were invisible to me (I took each book I read very intensely as its own reality, which had its pluses and minuses) and it was, for many, many years, far and away my favorite Narnia book.  I'm not sure why (just as I have no idea why Shakespeare's Richard III was my favorite of his plays when I was in elementary & middle school).  I suspect it was Aramis, but there was something about Sasha's aspirations and striving that spoke deeply to me as well.  ...and I was a sucker at the time for the identical twins mistaken for each other trope too...

 

 

 

Joining in for the first time.  I am reading Unnatural Death, a Peter Wimsey story by Dorothy Sayers, part of my path through all of her mysteries.  I only have a couple to go, The Five Red Herrings and Murder Must Advertise are next.  I love these stories!  Fun and entertaining and little bit erudite, but not too much.

 

I am so fond of most of those! 

 

Five Red Herrings has a very different flavor.  The first time I read it,  I set it down many times before getting into the groove of the book... now I am immensely fond of it and reread it with enjoyment, but it does take a change of gears (at least it did for me).

 

Murder Must Advertise has one thread that is more typical Sayers (and which makes it a favorite) and another that is very unsettling and disturbing.  I think she does a good job weaving them together & the story needs that second thread, for a lot of reasons, but it is a less "cozy" strand.


 

 

 

I may try If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, again. It's been sitting on my shelf since the time it was a group read here. I left it unfinished about 1/3 of the way through and I can't remember why.

 

I didn't start it, but I did put it on my bedside shelf with the intention of starting it... it is on this year's tentative reading list (though since this is the first year I have ever drawn  up such a list, we'll see how it goes...)

 

 

I finished Sputnik Sweeetheart by Haruki Murakami, which was a pleasant, comforting book to start the year off with. As I said before, this is a typical Murakami book.

 

Then I read a book recommended by Stacia: You Animal Machine by Eleni Sikelianos. This book was kind of a mishmash of biography, poetry and memoir. It was tough to get into because, imo, the author didn't start off with enough concrete facts with which the reader could make sense of her abstract meanderings. I spent the first fifteen or so pages (of a ~140 page book) thinking Cut the la-di-da, lady, and tell me what year it is. There were some interesting parts, though, that kept me reading, and I enjoyed some of her poetic moments (while thinking that others were too nonsense-y for me). By the end, I considered the book enjoyable, and I do appreciate books like this that defy boundaries/categorization.

 

I just went and read the description because "pleasant" "comforting" are not words I would think to associate with Murakami.  ... and now I am even more confused.  Could you elaborate?  What is it that feels comforting about his books in general & this one in particular?  I am fascinated!

 

...and now I want to find the Sikelianos (speaking of fascinating...)  Thank you for mentioning it (and to Stacia for finding it - though, as I recall, you didn't feel drawn to finish it, did you?)

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re: "incandescent rage reading," The New Jim Crow, and Between the World and Me

 

Yes, and yes.  When I was younger I really couldn't manage anger -- mine or anyone else's -- at all; almost any kind of conflict used to set me off in hives and/or send me into an unproductive interior spiral.  Over the years I've gotten better at both receiving it and when necessary expressing it, but it is still not my primary response.

 

But parts of Alexander's book had me shaking with incandescent rage.  This is my country, the one I love, the only one I ever will have.  What has happened to us?

 

And: now what?

 

:grouphug: 

 

I don't know.

 

...though there are enough of us here asking such questions, having such feelings, searching for a way to move from the page & screen to the real world that if we were closer together geographically, I would say we had critical mass to start something together... though that doesn't answer the question *what*....

 

...and thank you, everyone, for the loving, insightful responses to my oversharing last week!  Both the love and the space where I could put some words to some of those feelings were deeply helpful.  Thank you so much.

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Well Martha Grimes is another I formerly read but some of her books just became too creepy for me.  Crimes involving children are beyond my comfort zone.  (That goes for you too Peter Robinson!)

 

:iagree:   She was another I read all of in 2005, but couldn't continue with.

 

PD James is another not cozy author with recurring characters.  

 

I do think that is what gets some of these on such lists - there's a coziness to having the same detective with a surrounding cast of familiar characters (in Grimes' books they all stay rather the same all the way through, George (rather infamously) chose not to follow that path...).  Another factor could be the way strand of making sense of the unbearable... there is a comfort in that too.  Making order out of really messy, ugly, heartbreaking chaos...

 

I am warily curious what will happen if I pick up Organic Chemistry again... that year was the only year I've ever binge read mysteries... and mysteries were almost the only thing I did read that year.  (That and everything I could find about Burma/Myanmar)

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<snip>

 

 

:iagree:   I have a Kindle and I still can't leave home without at least a few physical books as well. 

 

Scarcity of books feels too much like scarcity of oxygen.... except with the added complication that I can't exchange one book for another, as I could molecules of oxygen...

 

When traveling, my husband and I always had the hardest time picking the right books to take along.  And we always took too many, just in case.   I was that way before we met, and I imagine he was too.  I do remember going to England in 1992, to join a walking tour.  It was my first "big" trip alone, and it was wonderful.  But I had brought all the wrong books.   Who wants to read The Monkey Wrench Gang (environmental activism in the southwest US) while walking through England's Lake District?  I left it in my hotel and bought something by Hardy, which was still not quite right but closer. 

 

Love having devices to bring along.  But yes, we still bring physical books as well.  Just not as many! 

 

I just realized that BK (before Kindle) I would take a selection of books to the orthodontist when we had a 3-hour appointment.  Today, I had one book and my phone.  My back and shoulders were happy. 

 

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I lurked through last year's wrap-up threads. The descriptions of Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane caught my eye, so I requested it through the library. I checked it out on Sat. and sat down and read through the whole thing before doing what I actually came to town to do (buy groceries :) ). Thank you to everyone who mentioned it. I enjoyed it on the whole (even though it disturbed me a bit, too).

 

One of my goals for this year is to commonplace more (in an attempt to slow down a bit and not just read to see what happens, but to savor a bit more of the prose...another reason for re-reading as a habit). There were so many beautiful paragraphs, that I think I'm going to read through again to find some of my favorites and write them by hand before I have to take it back. 

 

I also requested Neverwhere, so I'm looking forward to that sometime soon. And, a Tommy and Tuppence Agatha Christie (I've only read the first one, the second looks like a collection of short stories with a loose arc).

 

I don't know why New Years always calls to me for a bit of mystery reading, but it does. I finished up the audible version of Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice (reread, I don't know how many times anymore). It's almost like fan-fic in that it adds to the end of the Sherlock timeline and includes a brainy female protagonist side-kick. 

And, Dorothy Gilman's The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax (another I don't know how many times reread) makes me smile. A widowed lady gets tired of Garden Club and applies at the CIA to become a spy. It's the first in the series. My favorite, too, I think.

 

I hadn't heard the term "cozy" before, but that's definitely the kind of mystery I like. 

 

BaW is so fun! :)

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite October books

 

Here is David Bowie's 100 favourite books http://electricliterature.com/david-bowies-100-favorite-books/

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