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Book a Week 2016 - BW22: Philosophical June


Robin M

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Happy Sunday dear hearts!  This is the beginning of week 22 in our quest to read 52 books. Welcome back to all our readers, to those just joining in and 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 also below in my signature.

 

52 books Blog - Philosophical June:  Welcome to Philosophical June and our author of the month - Dante Alighieri.  If you look at The School of Athens by Raphael, you will probably notice, there aren't any women philosophers included. There are many womenphilosphers:  from the ancients -  Hypatia -  to the present - Vandana Shiva - and too numerous to mention and impossible to highlight just one.  So I'll leave you with a few links to explore for yourself: Reviving the female canon,  Ten great female philosophers and Society of the study of women philosophers 

 

Everything you wanted to know about philosophy broken down into manageable chunkshistory brought to you without any gaps by Kings College, and everything you ever wanted to know (or not) about philosophers around the world, plus 10 easy philosophy books you have to read.

 

Are you back?  Did you have fun following rabbit trails?  Now that I've overwhelmed your brains and probably pushed your tbr stacks over in a scattered heap, it's time to return to Dante.  I'm currently reading Rod Dreher's How Dante Can Save Your Life which has renewed my desire for completing the Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) which includes InfernoPurgatorio and Paradiso.   I made it through Inferno a couple years ago, meant to read Purgatorio last year, and read Paradiso this year. However I stalled at Purgatorio, so will be diving into it this month.  

 

Join me in reading The Divine Comedy or delving into the many branches of philosophy.

 

 â€œHow can you get very far,

If you don't know who you are?

How can you do what you ought,

If you don't know what you've got?

And if you don't know which to do

Of all the things in front of you,

Then what you'll have when you are through

Is just a mess without a clue

Of all the best that can come true

If you know What and Which and Who.†

― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

 

*****************************************************************

 

History of the Renaissance World - Chapters 35 and 36 

 

******************************************************************

 

What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

 

 

Link to week 21

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I'm still reading So Big, which is not anything like I thought it would be. So far, it's very good, but it's one of those books that makes you glad to be a woman in this day and age. The simple life of the past wasn't all that simple, or pleasant.

 

I know I've got philosphy books that I haven't read in my stacks. I'll have to see what strikes my fancy.

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It's memorial day weekend and the Sacramento Jazz Festival is in full swing.  Me, I'm being extremely lazy or trying to be for the three day weekend.  Still reading, quite slowly, Rod Dreher's How Dante Can Save Your Life and a few other writing books.  I dove into book 6 of Elaine Levine romantic suspense Red Team Series  - War Bringer - last night.  

 

Our excitement last night. Went to throw out the thrash around 7:30 and discovered a couple in front of our house with a little black boy about 3 years old, dressed only in pajama bottoms and barefoot.  They saw him running down the street and into our court and no parents, so stopped and had just called the police.  Neither John or I or any of our neighbors recognized him.  We had four police cars in our court, numerous people looking around to see if there were any frantic parents looking.  Nope. so sad.  At one point, I brought him in to go to the bathroom, followed by one of the officers of course.  The little boy couldn't tell us his name.  James played with him a bit and started to draw the child out, get him to talk more, The officer said if there had been a call or report about the child within the first hour, that would have been excusable, but two hours and no word of any kind.  CPS wasn't available for another couple hours, so they sent someone from the receiving home to pick him up.  

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Currently watching Indy 500. Dh grew up in Indianapolis, so this is a yearly play-hooky-from-church tradition here.

 

On the reading front, not a lot of action this week. Very busy week and I think we have one, maybe two more busy weeks before things calm down a bit for summer. I finished Mortal Arts, the poorly written book, last Sunday and managed to finish Murder on a Summer's Day by Frances Brody last night. She's a better writer. Still have two due back to the library next Friday and it will be hard to finish both: Jim Wallis' America's Original Sin and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. Also I want to see what all the hype for Elena Ferrante is all about, so the first of the series she just finished (can't remember its name) is on hold at the library.

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Hah!  I read this week's title as "Philosophical Jane"!

 

I am really enjoying Stav Sherez's crime novel, A Dark Redemption, which Stacia kindly sent my way. 

 

We have a new neighbor!  An Eastern Screech Owl moved into the owl box that I was given as a gift a couple of years ago:

 

27325978745_2a651349f4.jpg

 

We're calling him Our Neighbor Totoro!

 

Sending good thoughts to the little boy who came your way last night, Robin.  May he find some loving arms.

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I have to confess that I don't much enjoy reading "philosophy" - I'd much rather get my philosophical musings from the pages of a novel. So I liked seeing some novels on the "10 easy philosophy book" list that Robin posted. It inspired me to check my own fiction and nonfiction TR shelves (on goodreads) and see what I have put on there that might qualify is philosophy, from a broader definition:

 

from the fiction list - Notes from Underground is on there, and I just added The Fall.  I might put Look Homeward, Angel in this category too.  From my nonfiction shelf, I have the Dhammapada, The Faraway Nearby, The Cave and the Light, and Walden.  That's about as Philosophy as I get, usually!

 

I don't think I've finished anything since i posted last week, I keep starting new things instead of finishing something I'm already reading.  I started Neil Gaiman's American Gods and The Sunne in Splendor, a novel about Richard III. I'm pretty close to finishing a couple of things, I'll post about them when I do.

 

We are almost done ripping the multiple layers of old flooring out of the last room of the house. So that's how I'm spending my holiday weekend.  Next up: choosing replacement flooring, painting, installing floor, oh my.  Blech, I hate construction.

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What a great picture, Jane! I always recommend that my farm clients install barn owl boxes, then always prowl around under them looking for pellets to see if they are inhabited.  But they are always on tall poles, so I've never actually seen a face peeking out like that! Very cool.

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I will post later on my actual reading when I can access dh's laptop--all I've got is my phone-- but apropos of Philosophy Week I must mention dh just had a philosophy book published. Soon the royalties will pour in and we will be wealthy beyond imagining! Because technical books in the field fly off Amazon's shelves.

 

Was that another pre-order? No it was not.

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Wow, Robin! That's quite some excitement. Hope the little tyke is ok and with someone who is loving. Jane - loved the owl pic!

 

As for philosophy - I was a philosophy major in college, but that was a really, really long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Must see what's still on my shelf and explore some of those links. DS and I did the Philosophy for Kids book this year.

 

The gardening thread had me checking goodreads for gardening-related mysteries. I found this one short community garden mystery series, so I may indulge in that for some fun reading. We just got back from our community garden plot where we added some zucchini and yellow squash to what is planted.

 

Last week I read a few more cozy mysteries, another Miss Julia book (love that North Carolina-based series by Ann B. Ross!), and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe along with DS. This week, I'm making slow progress as I am reading way too many books at the same time (another Miss Julia book, probably one of the community garden mysteries, an Agatha Christie book (Miss Marple), HAW, The Magical World of the Inklings by Gareth Knight, The Magician's Nephew, May Sarton's The Magnificent Spinster, and whatever else strikes my fancy). My spouse and DS are heading out for the Acadia Birding Festival in Maine on Thursday and won't be back until Monday; they'll have the car, so I will be at home reading and doing some container gardening.

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I decided to reread some of our large collection of academy books--I'm halfway through Porcelain on Steel, about women at West Point. Just finished Skies to Conquer--about the Doolie year of 2010 at AFA. That's dd's year, had she gone there, instead of Annapolis. She did do an exchange several years later with that class. Dd is reading Becoming a Leader the Annapolis Way and I'll read The West Point Way of Leadership next. And then I suppose it will be time for the annual rereading of The Long Gray Line. We both just read Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. Very heavy book, as you might imagine. 

 

There are a LOT of good books on that memoir list--enough to stay busy all summer!

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I am taking an eight week Intro to Theology course - so I am currently reading Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed, The Aquinas Catechism and Lumen Fedei - Pope Francis' first Encyclical.    I am also read The Song of Bernadette for a new Spiritual Classics book club a priest at our parish is just starting.  Good stuff!

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Happy holiday weekend to all.

 

Jane, Your new neighbour looks like a lovely fellow!

 

I have been busy working on my quilts this weekend. So not that much reading but I have finished some that have been sitting around partially read.

 

Ten Little Herrings is the second book in a cozy mystery series that I have been reading. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6854740-ten-little-herrings. It is one series that I can't say is great but is still entertaining. One of the main characters is the author of several series of books under multiple pen names and his crime fighting companion is his agent. Light stuff with some chuckles.....this one is a version of a house party murder.

 

Kareni also read Because of Miss Briggerton this week. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25657772-because-of-miss-bridgerton. I really like Julia Quinn's book and the Bridgerton's are possibly my favourite character family. This one was fine but didn't live up to my probably unfairly huge expectations.

 

 

Lastly, the book I am currently devouring. I actually set the quilt aside this afternoon for The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths. I love her Ruth Galloway series and this is the latest. These appear on British cozy lists but probably should be considered to be more of a general mystery imo. A bit too much everything to be cozy although these books are a favourite. Ruth is an archaeology professor in Norfolk. The series needs to be read in order.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25897794-the-woman-in-blue?ac=1&from_search=true

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Oh, no, Robin. I hope the little guy lands back in a loving home.

 

Jane, love the owl photo. I have always hoped to attract both owls & bats to my yard, but have not been successful through the years.

 

Well, at least Camus is on the easy to read philosophy list, though I'm reading The Stranger (instead of The Fall). I read a collection of short stories by Camus many years ago (& loved it), but had never read The Stranger. I'm reading it because I also have a modernized, companion novel that came out last year sitting here: The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud. Both are relatively short, so I'm hoping to read both by the end of this long weekend.

 

The Stranger:

The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.
 

The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.
 

Meursault remains a cipher nearly to the story's end--dispassionate, clinical, disengaged from his own emotions. "She wanted to know if I loved her," he says of his girlfriend. "I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't." There's a latent ominousness in such observations, a sense that devotion is nothing more than self-delusion. It's undoubtedly true that Meursault exhibits an extreme of resignation; however, his confrontation with "the gentle indifference of the world" remains as compelling as it was when Camus first recounted it.

 

The Meursault Investigation:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2015 â€” Michiko Kakutani, The Top Books of 2015, New York Times â€” TIME Magazine Top Ten Books of 2015 â€” Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year â€” Financial Times Best Books of the Year

“A tour-de-force reimagining of Camus’s The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute Arab victims.†—The New Yorker

 
He was the brother of “the Arab†killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.
               
In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.
               
The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.

 

Haven't done a movie post in awhile. We went to see The Nice Guys today & enjoyed it. Funny, good (but somewhat violent) buddy flick; Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe played very well off of each other. Quite fun to see all the 70s fashions, cars, music, etc....

 

 

And, I'm happy because our local theater is doing retro movies this summer, including a couple of showings of Raiders of the Lost Ark (my favorite movie). I'll definitely be going to those!

 

2016 Books Read:

Africa:

  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, pub. by Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company. 2 stars. Zimbabwe. (Child’s-eye view of life in post-colonial Zimbabwe & as a teen immigrant to the US. Choppy & hard to connect with the characters. Disappointed.) [baW Bingo: Female Author]
  • Good Morning Comrades by Ondjaki, trans. from the Portuguese by Stephen Henighan, pub. by Biblioasis. 4 stars. Angola. (Simple & charming child’s-eye view of life in Angola during revolutionary changes & civil war in the 1990s. Semi-autobiographical.) [baW Bingo: Set in Another Country]
  • The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Wilma Stockenström, trans. from the Afrikaans by J.M. Coetzee, pub. by Archipelago Books. 4 stars. South Africa. (A haunting, stream-of-consciousness story of slavery, survival, solitude, strangeness, & strength. The language is lovely.) [baW Bingo: Translated]
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham, pub. by North Point Press. 5 stars. Kenya. (Markham’s amazing & wonderful tales of her life growing up in Africa & her adventures as a pilot.)

Asia:

  • North to the Orient by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, pub. by Harvest/Harcourt Brace & Co. 3 stars. Various countries. (A.M. Lindbergh served as her husband’s radio operator during their trek to try mapping new air routes to Asia by travelling north. Diary-like observations of some stops.) [baW Bingo: Historical]
  • Smile as they Bow by Nu Nu Yi, trans. from the Burmese by Alfred Birnbaum & Thi Thi Aye, pub. by Hyperion East. 3 stars. Myanmar. (Fiery & feisty natkadaw [spirit wife] Daisy Bond performs during a nat festival while dealing with the wandering heart of his assistant & love Min Min.) [baW Bingo: Banned (in Myanmar)]
  • A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power by Paul Fischer, pub. by Flatiron Books. 4 stars. North Korea (Fascinating & sometimes depressing look at the cult of personality & power of propaganda & film in North Korea, based around the 1970s kidnappings of two of South Korea's most famous movie personalities.)
  • Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama, trans. by Howard Hibbett, pub. by Tuttle. 3 stars. Burma [Myanmar]. (Slightly didactic view of a troop of Japanese soldiers & POWs in Burma at the end of WWII. The group is united by music. Probably revolutionary when written in 1946.)
  • The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, pub. by Doubleday. 4 stars. India. (A feminist retelling of parts of the Mahabharata, focusing on the viewpoint of Panchaali throughout her life. Makes me want to know more about the original.) [baW Bingo: Epic]

Europe:

  • Gnarr! How I Became Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World by Jón Gnarr, trans. by Andrew Brown, pub. by Melville House. 3 stars. Iceland. (A quick, easy, fun, & inspiring read with an emphasis on being nice & promoting peace. Just what I needed this week.) [baW Bingo: Non-fiction]
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi, pub. by Riverhead Books. 5 stars. Various countries. (Exotic, surreal, & magical collection of slightly interlinked short stories. Slightly sinister, fun, compelling, & completely delightful.) [baW Bingo: Fairy Tale Adaptation]
  • A Dark Redemption by Stav Sherez, pub. by Europa editions. 4 stars. England. (Well done gritty crime/thriller, good detective duo, & nice twists involving international politics & African rebel groups. A series I might read more of….)
  • Eleven Days by Stav Sherez, pub. by Europa editions. 4 stars. England. (Same comments as with his first novel – well done gritty crime/thriller, good detective duo, & nice twists involving international politics. Looking forward to future books in the series.)
  • Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. 3 stars. Various countries. (Time-travel book going back to 1914 to prevent the start of WWI. A bit uneven but quick to read. Thought-provoking ending.)

Latin America:

  • The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean, pub. by Riverhead Books. 4 stars. Columbia. (Brilliant & bittersweet story showing the impact of the rise of the Colombian drug cartels on an entire generation of people growing up during the violent & uncertain times of the drug wars.) [baW Bingo: Picked by a friend – idnib]
  • The Three Trials of Manirema by José J. Veiga, trans. from the Portuguese by Pamela G. Bird, pub. by Alfred A. Knopf. 3 stars. Brazil. (A mix of rural-life naturalism & the Kafkaesque in an allegory of life under [brazilian] military rule; captures the underlying fear & dread of a town. A serendipitous find.) [baW Bingo: Dusty]
  • Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel by Tom Wainwright, pub. by PublicAffairs. 4 stars. Various: mainly Latin & North America. (Interesting look at illegal drugs & cartels through an economist’s eyes, analyzing them like any other large global corporation.) [baW Bingo: Published 2016]

Middle East:

  • Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa, trans. from the Spanish by Howard Curtis, pub. by Europa editions. 3 stars. Israel. (Chorus of stories, mainly based around an author attending a conference in Jerusalem. One attendee commits suicide. Or did he?)

North America:

  • The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail by Óscar Martínez, trans. from the Spanish by Daniela Maria Ugaz & John Washington, pub. by Verso. 5 stars. Mexico. (Front-line reporting of the dangers migrants face – from physical challenges, terrain, kidnappings, robberies, murders, rapes, & more – when crossing Mexico while trying to reach the US. Required reading.) [baW Bingo: Library Free Space]
  • A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith, pub. by Eagle Brook/William Morrow and Company. 3 stars. USA. (A quiet & inspiring look at basic tenets of living a life of love & service. Nice little book with valuable & thoughtful ideas for today's world.)
  • An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook, pub. by Melville House. 4 stars. USA. (Super-fun mash-up as if Pynchon met Sherlock Holmes & they had a few too many beers while sparring with Poe & Joyce. Entertaining, untraditional, modern noir detective romp.) [baW Bingo: Mystery]
  • Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan, pub. by Atlantic Books. 3 stars. USA. (Mini-novella prequel to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Pleasant, nice, light reading about tracking down the single-surviving copy of a very old book.) [baW Bingo: Number in the Title]
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey, pub. by Little, Brown and Company. 3 stars. USA. (Light & laugh-out-loud funny in places as Fey shares her life & fame. It’s easy to tell that she started as a writer -- her writing skill shines.)
  • The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay, ARC copy, pub. by Melville House. 3 stars. USA; also Europe: Italy. (Interwoven stories linking “Venice†from the 1500s, 1950s, & present day. Mix of thriller, historical fiction, magic/alchemy, & philosophy.) [baW Bingo: Over 500 Pages]

Other:

  • Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston, pub. by W. W. Norton & Company. 3 stars. (Book for font/typography/punctuation nerds tracing the history of various marks. Some chapters are better than others.)
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I read Made in America - 2 Stars - This was thoroughly researched and full of trivia-type facts of U.S. history and the evolution of words in American English. Much of these facts were fascinating, but then the book got boring. Maybe it was the layout and the way that all the facts were organized. I can’t really tell. This being Bill Bryson, well, I guess that I wanted to like it much more than I did. I definitely prefer his travelogues, which are among my favorite books ever. 

 

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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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I will post later on my actual reading when I can access dh's laptop--all I've got is my phone-- but apropos of Philosophy Week I must mention dh just had a philosophy book published. Soon the royalties will pour in and we will be wealthy beyond imagining! Because technical books in the field fly off Amazon's shelves.

 

Was that another pre-order? No it was not.

 

Just like my inlaws retired after my father in law's science book was published (pre-Amazon)? (Ha!!) Glad you are gearing up to bask in fame.

 

Wow, Robin! That's quite some excitement. Hope the little tyke is ok and with someone who is loving. Jane - loved the owl pic!

 

As for philosophy - I was a philosophy major in college, but that was a really, really long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Must see what's still on my shelf and explore some of those links. DS and I did the Philosophy for Kids book this year.

 

The gardening thread had me checking goodreads for gardening-related mysteries. I found this one short community garden mystery series, so I may indulge in that for some fun reading. We just got back from our community garden plot where we added some zucchini and yellow squash to what is planted.

 

Last week I read a few more cozy mysteries, another Miss Julia book (love that North Carolina-based series by Ann B. Ross!), and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe along with DS. This week, I'm making slow progress as I am reading way too many books at the same time (another Miss Julia book, probably one of the community garden mysteries, an Agatha Christie book (Miss Marple), HAW, The Magical World of the Inklings by Gareth Knight, The Magician's Nephew, May Sarton's The Magnificent Spinster, and whatever else strikes my fancy). My spouse and DS are heading out for the Acadia Birding Festival in Maine on Thursday and won't be back until Monday; they'll have the car, so I will be at home reading and doing some container gardening.

 

Community garden mysteries?  I should have known since there are mystery series based around almost everything except a virtual book club.  All righty then. Those of you in this thread who are writers--time for you to make your millions!

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I love Bryson's book on the history of English, The Mother Tongue.  I found it fascinating and also it made me laugh until my sides ached.  But his other books have been hit or miss.  He can be really annoying, like a 13 yo old boy is thinks fart jokes are the funniest thing ever.  Gross me out (says my inner 13 yo girl recoiling in disgust!).  

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Our excitement last night. Went to throw out the thrash around 7:30 and discovered a couple in front of our house with a little black boy about 3 years old, dressed only in pajama bottoms and barefoot. 

 

My four year old nephew (youngest of five) was both an escape artist and a nudist.  Many years ago, he was returned home naked from a very busy street some four or so blocks away.  I hope your young visitor is now safe.

 

**

 

Many of the philosophy books look both intriguing and daunting.  I'd probably read The Philosophy of Chocolate, but it appears not yet to be published.  I did find Chocolate Choices: Universal Principles of Managing and Mastering Life as well as Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma, so perhaps the other book is imminent.  (It can give your husband's book some competition, Violet Crown.)  The first book above has a relative of your new neighbor on the cover, Jane.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I love Bryson's book on the history of English, The Mother Tongue.  I found it fascinating and also it made me laugh until my sides ached. 

 

That is my favorite of his books also.  And I too felt that Made in America did not compare.

 

**

 

Some bookish links ~

 

Literary Google Doodles, Revisited by Kelly Jensen
 
"Way back in 2013, I pulled together a round-up of literary Google Doodles. It’s been three years, and I thought it might be worth doing another round-up. This time, I’ve included Doodles that those of us in the US, Canada, Australia, or the UK may not have seen. Going international with the Doodles means learning about the literary worlds of non-English speaking countries and seeing the variety of books and voices and stories out there...."
 
**
 
The Re(a)d Planet: 10 Short Stories about Mars  by A.J. O'Connell
 
"Mars is super-close to Earth this week; the closest it’s been in 10 years. On May 30, it will be about 46.8 million miles away from Earth, which means that all this week, you can go outside and get a pretty good look at it with the naked eye until June 3.
 
There are hundreds of science fiction novels about Mars: Heinlein, Asimov, Bova, Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Butler, Burroughs, Robinson, Clarke, Lao, Bear and, most recently, Weir have written novels about it. There are enough books about the Red Planet to stock an entire library.
 
You know what else there’s a lot of? Short fiction about Mars...."
 
**
 
Regards,
Kareni
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I haven't posted in a long time. 

 

Hope the little boy is doing well somewhere, Robin. 

 

Yesterday was my husband's 50th birthday and we had a huge all day open house potluck party that was exhausting for this introvert but very fun for him. I'm looking forward to some long days of reading in the upcoming week. 

 

I just read The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows which was a good, light read. It's about a somewhat unconventional family in a West Virginia town in the 1930s. A young woman who is working for the government writing project comes to stay with them to write about the history of the town and ends up intertwined in their family. It's a bit about how different memories and truths become an agreed on history- both personal and public. I'm starting H is for Hawk this week which I've heard good things about. Between birthday party planning, three end of year related parties and my husband's trip to the ER for a kidney stone (welcome to the 50's!) I didn't read much other than New Yorker magazines this past week. 

 

 

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I will post later on my actual reading when I can access dh's laptop--all I've got is my phone-- but apropos of Philosophy Week I must mention dh just had a philosophy book published. Soon the royalties will pour in and we will be wealthy beyond imagining! Because technical books in the field fly off Amazon's shelves.

 

Was that another pre-order? No it was not.

 

That's amazing! Congratulations to him, and you too. I bet you're proud of him, and I'm sure he couldn't have finished the book without a helpful and understanding wife. 

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Dante time again, huh? Well, it looks like somebody has checked the Mandelbaum translation out from the library, but it's due back it two days. Hopefully it will be in my hands soon, and I'll finally read Paradiso and finish the darn trilogy (and hope I never feel like I need to revisit it).

 

I finished reading The Girl Who Raced Fairlyand All the Way Home - the last Fairyland book by Catherynne M. Valente. I read the first three books to my children. We all hated the third book, but middle ds wanted to continue the series anyway, so he and I read the fourth and fifth books together. I'm glad we did. The fourth book was really great, at least as good as the first book. This final book was a little slow, but was good enough and wrapped things up in a charming way. 

 

Sadly, I finished listening to A Moveable Feast. I wish I could listen to more of that. It was so pleasant, partially because of the voice and reading style of the narrator, but I know I would have loved it in print, too, and I suppose I might read it normally sometime. It was fun to hear about Hemingway's interactions with and opinions of other authors, and dreamy to hear about him writing and drinking in cafes in Paris all the time.

 

I also read Demian by Hermann Hesse, which is a nice coincidence since it was a pretty philosophical novella about man's path to find his true self. It went along with The Book of Merlyn a bit, so that was a nice coincidence too. 

 

What's next? I've got Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy on CD in the car, but that may go slow since my youngest would not like to listen to so much adult language. I may get a second audiobook to listen to when he's riding along. I'm signed up for the Gabriel Garcia Marquez course on Future Learn, but I don't know how much I'll do or how fast. The course starts with some short stories, and it starts tomorrow, so I suppose I'll at least get some of those in. And I'm waiting for my irl reading buddy to get back to me on what he and I will read together next. Oh, and I've finally got the second LotR book sitting here. 

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I've recently finished four books; all are contemporary romances.  The first two I quite enjoyed and will likely re-read ~

 

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata.  The hero of this book was so utterly unappealing for the first third of the book that I'm impressed that the author was able to make me like him by the end.

 

"Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?"

 

**

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata

 

"Twenty-six-year-old Gaby Barreto might be a lot of things (loyal, sarcastic, one of the guys and a pain in the butt depending on which family member you ask), but dumb isn’t one of them. When her twin brother invites her to go on tour as his band’s merch girl, she isn’t exactly screaming at the top of her lungs with joy.

With no job opportunities pounding on her door, an ex-boyfriend she would still like to castrate, and no end in sight to moving out of her parents’ house in Dallas… it would be dumb to say no to the chance of a lifetime. Two bands, three continents, one tour. Spending the next ninety-plus days with three beloved idiots and eight complete strangers shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

If only the singer of the headlining band didn’t have tattoos... a great personality… a fantastic body… and if he wasn’t so funny….

Let’s be real: Gaby never had a chance against Sacha Malykhin."

 

**

Listen To Me: A Fusion Novel by Kristen Proby.  I still haven't figured out why this is called A Fusion Novel!  (Some adult content.)

 

"In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

 

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

 

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

 

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?"

 

**

and a re-read of  Addicted to You (One Night of Passion Book 1) by Beth Kery.  (Significant adult content.)

 

"Once, film director Rill Pierce's raw sexuality and sultry Irish accent made women weak with desire. But a tragedy has left him barely recognizable. Leave it to Katie Hughes, his best friend's sister, to bring him back to life with her own pent-up passions. But will Rill's insatiable attraction to Katie heal his pain-or just feed the darkness within him?"

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

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An offer for those who read or are interested in reading a Kindle book -- $3.00 off your next e-book ~

 

Be aware that I've seen posts that some are having issues using this offer.  I had no problem doing so.

 

https://www.facebook.com/kindle/posts/10154005460891558?ft[tn]=C&ft[qid]=6289745349883978558&ft[mf_story_key]=9221414693658895799&ft[ei]=AI%40cdfa71e3e2c97e2664b3806ef762e7f9&ft[fbfeed_location]=1&ft[insertion_position]=2&__md__=1

 

This offer expires on 5/30/2016.

 

Regards.

Kareni

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13480960.jpg    25263557.jpg

 

I sat down & read both The Stranger & The Meursault Investigation tonight, back-to-back.

 

They compliment each other beautifully.

 

The Stranger is Camus' famous tale. Clipped & clinical in tone, it weaves a simple, yet absurd, story of malaise & murder. The Meursault Investigation is the rebuttal, almost breathless (& reminiscent of Camus' narrator in The Fall), poured out by the murdered man's brother many, many years later. They are yin & yang, separate, opposite, yet twins too.

 

For the budding philosophers or literature lovers in your life, both these books together would make an excellent gift set.

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Robin, I hope all ended well. I used to be terrified of Wee Girl ending up in some such situation: perfectly capable of getting herself far afield; unable to speak if found. We had an ID wristband for her but I worried she'd take it off.

 

Jane, love your Totoro. Eastern screech owls have such a melancholy trill; it always makes the nights mysterious.

 

Finished Moby Dick re-read.

 

"I turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! Let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow, - death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"

 

 

Doesn't get any better than that.
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Ethel, what is the Philosophy for Kids book? Dh read Gareth Matthews when Great Girl was very little and it encouraged him to engage the girls in philosophical conversation since (he had perhaps noticed it didn't work so well with me). He's been unimpressed by homeschool "logic" curricula; but is there something better homeschoolers are using to introduce philosophical thinking?

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That's amazing! Congratulations to him, and you too. I bet you're proud of him, and I'm sure he couldn't have finished the book without a helpful and understanding wife.

Actually Middle Girl helped him more; it's intended for undergraduates, and sometimes he'd explain a chapter's concept to her, and if she didn't grasp it, keep simplifying until it was at a 13yo level of comprehension, which he figured was about right.

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Two updates that I wish to share.

 

Tropical Storm Bonnie spared us for the most part although the waves/rip currents from the storm remain.  My husband (aka maniac man) loves surf kayaking in the waves.  So after taking a morning walk on the beach, he suggested returning with his kayak and my chair and book.  He immediately noted the power of the rip currents that carried him out past the breakers.  Thus when he saw children dashing into the water without parental supervision, he was quick to talk to parents about the hazards of rips.  You can tell some folks just ain't from around here...

 

Also, the little screech owl has the song birds in our woods on edge.  It is getting quite noisy as the cardinals, jays, chickadees try to dive bomb our new neighbor. What totally cracked me up though was finding my husband's car which he parks in the driveway (as opposed to the garage) covered with bird poo!  It is as though the song birds know we have taken sides.

 

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Ethel, what is the Philosophy for Kids book? Dh read Gareth Matthews when Great Girl was very little and it encouraged him to engage the girls in philosophical conversation since (he had perhaps noticed it didn't work so well with me). He's been unimpressed by homeschool "logic" curricula; but is there something better homeschoolers are using to introduce philosophical thinking?

We used this and this. We enjoyed the discussion questions and general exploration of the topics. I'm thinking about using Philosophy for Teens for next year. Royal Fireworks Press also has a philosophy series, but I haven't looked into it yet.

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I've decided to simplify and just stick with two easy books for now. The first one I'm reading the extended edition of Stephen King's The Stand. It includes the 400 pages the editor cut when it was first published. From King's introduction:

 

 

For the purposes of this book what's important is that approximately 400 pages of manuscript were deleted from the final draft. The reason was not an editorial one; if that had been the case, I would have been content to let the book live its life and die its eventual death as it was originally published.

The cuts were made at the behest of the accounting department. The toted up production costs, laid these next to the hardcover sales of my previous four books, and decided that a cover price of $12.95 was about what the market would bear (compare that price to this one, friends and neighbors!).  [i paid $8.99 for the softcover.]

 

For the second book, I am reading something by Theo Jansen, titled The Great Pretender. I'll back up a bit. In 2014, Nan posted this thread, and I fell in love with Jansen's work and his way of thinking. Friday night the Exploratorium in SF hosted the opening of his work, which will be touring the U.S. and we were able to get s sneak preview at the members' party. I got to meet him and chat a bit, plus he signed my copy of the book. The book itself is amazing, as it outlines the thought process behind a simple idea to create animals (strandbeests, "beach animals") to move sand around in local beaches in the Netherlands, and how Jansen used animals made from plastic conduit tubing to create a new "life form" and used evolutionary principles to refine them. What was initially a one-year project has become one lasting decades.

 

and h
It's almost an hour, but worth  a watch.

 

I owe Nan a debt of gratitude for turning me in this direction. I love the melding of art and science.

 

Robin, I hope the little guy is okay. My brother went missing for a couple of hours without us knowing when he was about 3. He used to take long naps in the afternoon so my mom thought he was sleeping, but he had actually gone out the window, down to the rural highway, and was found by a trucker. Luckily our neighborhood was isolated from town so the trucker figured out my brother must live nearby and he went to a house and they pointed him to the correct home. So, a couple of hours can go by even with great parents, and I hope it's something like this.

 

Jane, I love the owl photos and am glad you were spared by Bonnie. I watched on the radar! Same problem here on the West coast, lots of sneaker waves and riptides at places like Ocean Beach in SF, where tourists love to go.

 

 

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I finished When Then is Now: Three Greek Tragedies by Brendan Kennelly, an Irish playwright. They are modern verse retellings of Antigone, Medea and The Trojan Women.  They were written in the 1980s and first performed then. They are very modern in feel and language, fairly feminist, Irish Republican slants on the original stories. I like this version of Antigone very much. Medea is disturbing, as it is in every version, and just isn't a play that works for me as open as I try to be to it. I get the rage, and I can understand that killing "Jason's" children and forcing him to live on is the best revenge that Medea can take on him, but it just doesn't work for me emotionally that a mother would do what she did for those reasons.

 

The Trojan Women is super disturbing, even more so in this version which really focuses on the effects of war on women and the sexual bondage that is perpetrated on them.  The rage of the women, their desolation, their loss of everything except their own, internal freedom is shocking, troubling, and ripped from the headlines for the past 2500 years, pretty much without pause, which is horrifying to contemplate. But the way that the women rage at Helen as the cause of all the trouble is very disturbing. It really isn't her fault, and the fact that they direct so much of their (understandable) rage at her reminds one of all the ways that victims are blamed.  It is a very disturbing and powerful play.

 

I think we will just study Antigone next year, of the three. I don't think I'm ready to go there with dd with the themes in the other two plays. I may never be, I don't think I'd have been able to grasp either of these plays pre-18.  Some things you can't really take in fully till you've had more life experience.

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Today has been a reading day for me. I finished Ian Rankin's Knots and Crosses.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3096774-knots-and-crosses

 

It is the first in his Inspector Rebus series set in Edinburgh. It was good. Definitely a police procedural mystery but done well. Not as grim as some. I will eventually come back to this series.

 

 

My second book was a page turning thriller that I couldn't put down. I am sure if I tried to find errors Karen Robards Darkness is probably filled with them but as entertainment it was similar to watching a good movie. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26037928-darkness. It starts with a bird watching scientist in a boat in the artic, a storm is approaching, then she spots an airplane which is obviously going to crash.... There actually is a couple of chapters before that scene but that's what hooked me. :)

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I'm reading Vicious by V.E. Schwab.  Did someone here recommend this author?  I'm really enjoying this one.

 

Next up will be City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong.  My mom called me to recommend it based on a review in our newspaper. lol  The plot sounds intriguing to fans of thrillers/mysteries:

 

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want: She's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding―in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

An edgy, gripping crime novel from bestselling urban fantasy writer Kelley Armstrong, City of the Lostboldly announces a major new player in the crime fiction world.

 

Some of her other novels/series sound good as well.  :)

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Last night I finished Shaye Marlow's Two Cabins, One Lake: An Alaskan Romance which is a contemporary romance.  It was an entertaining read but be aware that it has copious adult content.

 

"Helly is a volatile blonde with a passion for fishing, a grudging tolerance for the fishermen she guides, and a part-time job putting her sexual fantasies in writing. She lives a quiet life in the Alaskan bush, alone on her little lake with only a spooky dog and her gun collection for company.

But then Gary, the most obnoxious man Helly’s ever met, roars into her life. The mysterious helicopter pilot moves into the cabin across the lake with a vengeance. And fire. And karaoke. He’s a despicably early riser with a penchant for public indecency, a talent for trespassing… and he’s handsome as the devil, with abs she’d like to lick.

Helly quickly realizes her little lake isn’t big enough for the two of them. After an initial attempt at being reasonable, and responsible, and mature, she gives up—and gives as good as she gets. What follows is a feud of eardrum-battering intensity...."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Thanks! Wish I could get a look inside them.

 

Can you see the "Look Inside" feature on your Amazon page? Granted, it's not like being able to hold the book in your hands and look it over, but at least it gives you a hint or two, plus table of contents.

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This long weekend has been so nice. I have given myself permission to do nothing but read the whole time & it has been lovely.

 

Today, I started The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. The cover drew me in. Didn't know much about the story, have mostly just seen it around in the library. Did someone here read it too? After starting, I looked up & read some mixed reviews. I have to laugh that the Kirkus review ends with, "For die-hard mermaid-fiction lovers only." :lol:  I am not sure I an in *that* particular category of fiction lovers, but I figure this will fall under escapist reading for me. I will see how it goes....

 

9781250054807.jpg

 

One of BuzzFeed's 24 Best Fiction Books of 2015
 

"As Simon, a lonely research librarian, searches frantically for the key to a curse that might be killing the women in his family, he learns strange and fascinating secrets about their past. A tale full of magic and family mystery, "The Book of Speculation" will keep you up all night reading." Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed
 

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.
 

One June day, an old book arrives on Simon's doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of "mermaids" in Simon's family have drowned--always on July 24, which is only weeks away.

As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon's family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola?
 

In the tradition of Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants, "Erin Morgenstern's "The Night Circus, "and Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian, The Book of Speculation"--with two-color illustrations by the author--is Erika Swyler's moving debut novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

 

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I finished The Goldfinch a couple weeks ago. The two titles I've tried to read since have failed to capture my attention.

 

I loved The Goldfinch. So richly & beautifully written. And buttery-soft pages too.

 

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Wow.  I finished Stav Sherez's A Dark Redemption and all I can say is I did not see that ending coming.

 

This is not a cozy.  Although Sherez incorporates some pretty awful stuff into the story line, he does so less graphically than some authors.  Does that mean that I would recommend this to Amy? No way. (We need a graphic representation of the Flufferton Index.)

 

The book is published by Europa as part of their World Noir series which is why the minor editing errors rather surprised me. Europa books usually don't have silly misspellings. 

 

I will look forward to reading the next volume in the series.

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Wow.  I finished Stav Sherez's A Dark Redemption and all I can say is I did not see that ending coming.

 

This is not a cozy.  Although Sherez incorporates some pretty awful stuff into the story line, he does so less graphically than some authors.  Does that mean that I would recommend this to Amy? No way. (We need a graphic representation of the Flufferton Index.)

 

The book is published by Europa as part of their World Noir series which is why the minor editing errors rather surprised me. Europa books usually don't have silly misspellings. 

 

I will look forward to reading the next volume in the series.

 

You are right there, Jane. I, too, did not see that ending coming. And I agree -- definitely not a cozy, definitely not Amy material.

 

It's a gritty, dark crime thriller w/ international overtones. I really enjoyed the second one (Eleven Days) too & was fortunate that my library had it. Wish he had a third one in this series.

 

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I'm reading Vicious by V.E. Schwab.  Did someone here recommend this author?  I'm really enjoying this one.

 

Next up will be City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong.  My mom called me to recommend it based on a review in our newspaper. lol  The plot sounds intriguing to fans of thrillers/mysteries:

 

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want: She's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding―in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

An edgy, gripping crime novel from bestselling urban fantasy writer Kelley Armstrong, City of the Lostboldly announces a major new player in the crime fiction world.

 

Some of her other novels/series sound good as well.  :)

 

 

Thanks, I just put City of the Lost on hold. I have read most of her Cainsville and Otherworld series. Enjoyed both.

 

 

 

Wow.  I finished Stav Sherez's A Dark Redemption and all I can say is I did not see that ending coming.

 

This is not a cozy.  Although Sherez incorporates some pretty awful stuff into the story line, he does so less graphically than some authors.  Does that mean that I would recommend this to Amy? No way. (We need a graphic representation of the Flufferton Index.)

 

The book is published by Europa as part of their World Noir series which is why the minor editing errors rather surprised me. Europa books usually don't have silly misspellings. 

 

I will look forward to reading the next volume in the series.

 

 

I have The Dark Redemption sitting in my stack. I am going to have to move it a bit higher in the pile now!

 

 

 

This long weekend has been so nice. I have given myself permission to do nothing but read the whole time & it has been lovely.

 

Today, I started The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. The cover drew me in. Didn't know much about the story, have mostly just seen it around in the library. Did someone here read it too? After starting, I looked up & read some mixed reviews. I have to laugh that the Kirkus review ends with, "For die-hard mermaid-fiction lovers only." :lol:  I am not sure I an in *that* particular category of fiction lovers, but I figure this will fall under escapist reading for me. I will see how it goes....

 

9781250054807.jpg

Looking forward to this review. I can't wait to see what my friend Stacia thinks of Mermaid Fiction! Actually I think it sounds really good. I haven't read it but I have looked at it somewhere, that cover really is eye catching. Maybe it wasn't in kindle format at the time.

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Can you see the "Look Inside" feature on your Amazon page? Granted, it's not like being able to hold the book in your hands and look it over, but at least it gives you a hint or two, plus table of contents.

Ah--Look Inside doesn't work on my phone apparently. I'll have laptop access again in a few days & check out the books then.

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Robin - That poor little boy! I hope it had a happy ending for him. 

 

Jane - Thank you for sharing that photo. We often hear barred owls at night (sometimes a lone one, sometimes two calling to each other). We've only seen them a few times but have never been able to get a picture when we did see one. They're very skittish and will fly away if they have the slightest suspicion we're there.

 

Stacia - I keep meaning to add The Stranger to my list. I did just place a hold at my library.

 

 

I have to confess that I don't much enjoy reading "philosophy" - I'd much rather get my philosophical musings from the pages of a novel. So I liked seeing some novels on the "10 easy philosophy book" list that Robin posted. It inspired me to check my own fiction and nonfiction TR shelves (on goodreads) and see what I have put on there that might qualify is philosophy, from a broader definition:

 

 

 

I don't think I have the philosophy gene ;). It just doesn't appeal to me at all. I read two of the books from that list plus Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. The only one I actually enjoyed is Candide, which I just read recently.

 

 

 

Sadly, I finished listening to A Moveable Feast. I wish I could listen to more of that. It was so pleasant, partially because of the voice and reading style of the narrator, but I know I would have loved it in print, too, and I suppose I might read it normally sometime. It was fun to hear about Hemingway's interactions with and opinions of other authors, and dreamy to hear about him writing and drinking in cafes in Paris all the time.

 

 

 

I finished the Kindle version over the weekend and really enjoyed it.

 

 

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Currently reading:

 

The Ghost Bride - I don't know how I missed the fact that this is paranormal. Somehow I thought it would be more about the ghost bride tradition without actual ghosts. Still, I don't dislike it and am anxious to find out what happens.

 

The Werewolf of Bamberg - #5 in The Hangman's Daughter series. I wasn't crazy about the last one, so I didn't jump on this one when it first came out. I finally decided to get it as my Kindle Owner's free library book for May.

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Stacia - I keep meaning to add The Stranger to my list. I did just place a hold at my library.

 

I will be curious to hear your review of it, Kathy.

 

I can't really say I liked The Stranger. But, I appreciate the writing, the bigger statement, I guess. I think reading The Meursault Investigation right after it made me appreciate it more.

 

While reading, I did think of Camus' writing being Hemingway-esque in a way -- honed, edited, precise. (I know Hemingway is not your favorite.) But, even though Camus chose his words carefully & there is a very clinical, surgical precision about them, it left me cold. (Probably what was intended, given the anti-hero & the circumstances of the story.) A book I am glad to have read for various reasons, but not a book I necessarily liked, if that makes sense.

 

And, I will admit that at times Meursault, the main character, reminded me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Not in his talkative way, but more in his manner of being disaffected, distant, observant but cold toward others. Funny to wonder if something like Asperger's or similar is what Camus was filtering through his character, but in a time long before diagnoses such as those were named.

 

P.S. Did you have a good trip/get-away?

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 Looking forward to this review. I can't wait to see what my friend Stacia thinks of Mermaid Fiction! Actually I think it sounds really good. I haven't read it but I have looked at it somewhere, that cover really is eye catching. Maybe it wasn't in kindle format at the time.

 

I'm about a third of the way through. Something about it reminds me a bit of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

 

Intriguing enough story so far, though leaning more toward the sad/dark side than to the lighter side of things.

 

"Mermaid fiction" still makes me giggle. Who knew it was a genre?

 

[i think I'm not very good at picking out "escapist" fiction! (By that, I mean light, happy, uplifting, but also literary enough to keep me interested.) :leaving: ]

 

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I started my year with this book. I enjoyed it. I remember thinking that people who liked The Night Circus would enjoy it. I don't think magical realism is the right term, but something along those lines. But not light and fluffy--definitely a dark side to it. Still, I found it captivating enough to read through it pretty quickly.

 

This long weekend has been so nice. I have given myself permission to do nothing but read the whole time & it has been lovely.

 

Today, I started The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. The cover drew me in. Didn't know much about the story, have mostly just seen it around in the library. Did someone here read it too? After starting, I looked up & read some mixed reviews. I have to laugh that the Kirkus review ends with, "For die-hard mermaid-fiction lovers only." :lol:  I am not sure I an in *that* particular category of fiction lovers, but I figure this will fall under escapist reading for me. I will see how it goes....

 

9781250054807.jpg

 

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