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Robin M

Book a Week 2017 - BW7: Happy Valentine's Week

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Finally finished something!

 

Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris -  I liked this much better than that other P&P mystery.  It was a everything I've come to love and enjoy in a cozy mystery.  Good characters, only bad guys die, and fast paced.   There was a wierd supernatural twist that caught me off guard but still really good.  (Thank you Lori D for the recommendation!)

 

For Deader or Worse by Sheri Cobb South - I got this as an ARC and enjoyed it.  This series is somewhere between cozy mystery and cozy light romance.  I recommend starting with the first in the series if you want to read them. 

 

Oh my goodness! I didn't know this was coming out so soon! Yay!!

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I'm reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It is long and slow paced, so I've been reading for over a week and am only halfway through. I'm enjoying it.

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Philip Pullman is a controversial writer.  I loved the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy.  The last one took a troubling dark turn for me, but no one can deny that Pullman is an intelligent writer. 

 

The Guardian has announced that Pullman is publishing a new trilogy, The Book of Dust.  Lyra Belacqua returns! And there is more on the mysterious dust: 

 

 

The Oxford-based former teacher said he had returned to the world of Lyra because he wanted to get to the bottom of “Dustâ€, the mysterious and troubling substance at the centre of the original books. “Little by little, through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more,†Pullman said.

 

In a description that will resonate with the current political climate, he added that “at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be freeâ€.

 

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I forgot to check in last week, and I will have to try and catch up on this thread later. I finished Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey yesterday. It's been on my kindle app for a year or more, so that was a relief. :lol: I enjoy her style of writing, and this book was encouraging, but I liked Out of Sorts much better.

 

Last week I re-read It Starts With Food, which is the companion book for the Whole30 program. I love, love, love this book. I needed to get back to clean eating, and this was a way for me to spur that on.

 

I checked out a bunch of other paleo/low-carb books a couple weeks ago, and I'm working my way through those. I'm not sure I'll actually complete any of them. I may just skim them for recipes/ideas. Also, I'm still working on The Bible Tells Me So. It's a slow read, and I have to be in a certain mood for that one.

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Philip Pullman is a controversial writer.  I loved the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy.  The last one took a troubling dark turn for me, but no one can deny that Pullman is an intelligent writer. 

 

The Guardian has announced that Pullman is publishing a new trilogy, The Book of Dust.  Lyra Belacqua returns! And there is more on the mysterious dust: 

 

I was just coming here to post about this! I'm excited. I thought the trilogy was very powerful and challenging. I didn't like the one hollywood movie made from The Golden Compass, as they changed the ending, and wasn't sorry they didn't continue. But it looks like BBC is working on a new film version. I'll look forward to seeing what they do with it.

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I didn't know my hair could hurt. It does. Everything hurts. Trying to read but my eyes hurt.

 

:grouphug: Sending lots of sympathy because hugs probably hurt right now too. I hope some of your boys are up and waiting on you continuously!

 

 

:grouphug: Penguin, your whole experience sounds very scary. Glad you are fine now.

 

I've been busy reading the new JD Robb Echoes in Death. It's good but have to agree with Robin this one is a bit darker then normal. Definite rape trigger warnings also spousal abuse. It's just that slight bit more violent and much less of the beloved extra characters. This one has been all Eve, Rourke, and Peabody so far. The cat and Summerset have been spotted breifly and I'm at 60 %.

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I'm reading it right now actually.  It was one of the free kindle unlimited books on Amazon so I decided to give it a try.  I'll report back when I've finished it. 

Great, I would like to know your thoughts. I should say that I did really like the brain science part of The Power of Habit.

 

Hmm...now that I am reading regularly again, I will have to take a look at kindle unlimited. 

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I'm reading Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and it is brutal :crying: . I thought I knew about the atrocities of WW2, it's a big topic in Dutch school history lessons.....but apparently I didn't. I thought Auschwitz was the epitome of evil, but no....there are always worse things. I can only read a couple of pages a day and even then it is very difficult.

 

I've trouble finding other books to counteract the horror. Tried to read some J.D. Robb....didn't work. Read Pratchett's The Wee Free Men....didn't work.

So now I'm mostly cleaning my house, which kinda works.

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I didn't know my hair could hurt. It does. Everything hurts. Trying to read but my eyes hurt. 

:grouphug:  I'm sorry :(

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I liked the how-to-read-200-books article; I am always looking for inspiration. But the reality is that there are a few other worthy (to me) things that compete with my reading time. It isn't as simple as ditching facebook and trash TV. My biggest hobby see-saw right now is between reading and learning two foreign languages. 

 

My updates:

I finished The Bear and the Nightingale. I really enjoyed the story, but I felt like both the author and I rushed through the ending. Then I went back to Dr. Zhivago, which is impossible to rush through if one does not want to be lost in a maze of characters. Dr. Z is going to be a slow, delicious read for me.

 

One of my most bookish IRL friends visited from out of state last weekend. :001_wub: There was much discussion of books, book clubs, and bullet journals. And there was book swapping. I was on the receiving end of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

 

On a not-so-fun-note, I spent yesterday morning in the ER with mysterious chest pains. I brought Dr. Zhivago along, but was unable to concentrate on it. I was able to read something lighter, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. In fact, I was there long enough to read the whole thing...The source of the chest pains remains a mystery, but did not appear to be heart related. 

 

The Power of Habit has a bit of self-help, but it is really more of an anaylsis of habit. Case studies include Alcoa, Starbucks, and the civil rights movement. Go elsewhere if you want the nitty-gritty on how to quit smoking or stay off of Facebook.

 

Glad you are ok. I had that happen once. Get well wishes to all who are sick! 

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The Guardian has announced that Pullman is publishing a new trilogy, The Book of Dust.  Lyra Belacqua returns! And there is more on the mysterious dust: 

 

Thanks for this link, Jane.  I've shared it with others in the family who will also find it of interest.

**

 

A one day only currently free American classic that sounds intriguing ~

 

Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries  by Melville Davisson Post

 

"The adventures of a true American original—a detective who puts equal faith in his Bible and his brains

 

In the backwoods of West Virginia, years before the Civil War, a man arrives with gold in his purse and evil on his mind. His land too barren for farming, Doomdorf builds a still and grows rich selling high-proof moonshine to anyone with a bit of change in his pocket. As drunkenness and debauchery run rampant across the countryside, the locals turn against him. They are preparing to exact frontier justice when the bootlegger is found dead, shot through the heart in a room locked from the inside.

 

At the scene is Uncle Abner, a folksy sleuth who uses a keen eye and steadfast beliefs to solve the mysteries of Appalachia. In this landmark story collection, Abner contends with hunchbacks and drunkards, killers and thieves. In a time and a place beyond the rule of law, justice belongs to the Lord—and Uncle Abner is His instrument."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I forced myself to finish Hidden Figures but I really didn't like it. I usually have no problem dropping a book I don't like, but most often that's either fiction or a memoir. I wanted to know the real story vs. the Hollywood version, and that's the only reason I persevered. 

 

My review isn't very flattering. 

 

Robin, for Bingo does the Debut Author square have to be fiction? I didn't read this book for that reason (I really thought it would be a good book) but once I started I discovered it's the author's first book. 

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Some currently free Kindle books ~

 

 

"Breezy and engaging.  Reliable sci-fi entertainment...comfortably, competently told." -- Kirkus Reviews

 

"Two centuries after mankind drove itself to the brink of extinction, a new civilization rises from the ashes of what was once Great Britain. But when deadly strife breaks out among their ranks, the teenage son of one prominent family finds himself fleeing in the dead of night only to wind up shipwrecked on the forbidden continent of America. Armed with only his wit and the most unexpected of allies, the teenager struggles to survive in a wasteland filled with unspeakable horrors and in the end must uncover the one secret that can save his own people or spell doom for mankind forever."

**

 

And here's a romantic suspense ~  Enemy Mine (The Base Branch Series Book 1)  by Megan Mitcham

 

"When friends become enemies and enemies become lovers.

Born in the blood of Sierra Leone's Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord's inner circle. The man called The Devil killed her family and helped destroy a region.

As son of the warlord, Baine Kendrick will happily use Sloan's body if it expedites his father's demise. Yet, he is wholly unprepared for the possessive and protective emotions she provokes. Maybe it’s the flashes of memory … two forgotten children drawing in the dirt beneath the boabab tree… But he fears there is more at stake than his life.

In the Devil's den with Baine by her side, Sloan braves certain death and discovers a spirit for living."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Did you know that today is National Hippo Day?

 

On National Hippo Day, Sci-Fi Author Reminds Us Why We Don’t Just Eat All the Hippos

**

 

Last night I finished And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini which my book group will be discussing tomorrow.  Initially, I didn't care for the book due to a feeling of impending doom; however, I became engrossed with the book as I continued on.  This book is set in Afghanistan but also in France, Greece, and the US.  Each section of the book features a different character (and sometimes a different time); it was interesting to see how the various people/threads connected.  I'll recommend it.

 

 

“[Hosseini’s] most assured and emotionally gripping story yet . . . Hosseini’s narrative gifts have deepened over the years. . . . [And the Mountains Echoed] grapples with many of the same themes that crisscross his early novels: the relationship between parents and children, and the ways the past can haunt the present. And it shares a similar penchant for mapping terrain midway between the boldly colored world of fable and the more shadowy, shaded world of realism… [W]e finish this novel with an intimate understanding of who his characters are and how they’ve defined themselves over the years through the choices they have made between duty and freedom, familial responsibilities and independence, loyalty to home and exile abroad… a deeply affecting choral work… a testament both to his intimate knowledge of their inner lives, and to his power as an old-fashioned storyteller. â€â€”Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“The Kite Runner author’s latest is a moving saga about sacrifice, betrayal, and the power of family. . . . More expansive than The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, the novel spans three generations and includes overlapping tales of expatriates and aid workers, parents and children, doctors and drug lords. Hosseini shows how easy it is for people to brutalize or abandon those they should protect. But his ultimate achievement is demonstrating the power and persistence of family.â€â€”People (4 stars)

“[Hosseini’s] beautifully written, masterfully crafted new book, And the Mountains Echoed, spans nearly 60 years of Afghan history as it investigates the consequences of a desperate act that scars two young lives and resonates through many others. . . . And the Mountains Echoed is painfully sad but also radiant with love: the enduring bond of a brother and sister; the irritable but bedrock connection of cousins; the quiet intimacy of master and servant who become friends; the commitment of a doctor and nurse to war's victims. To underscore love's centrality and contingency, Hosseini closes with an image drawn from a dream: a snapshot of bygone happiness all the more precious in retrospect because we know how fragile it is.â€â€”Los Angles Times

“And the Mountains Echoed opens like a thunderclap. . . . [Hosseini] asks good, hard questions about the limits of love. . . . Love, Hosseini seems to say, is the great leveler, cutting through language, class, and identity.  No one in this gripping novel is immune to its impact.â€â€”O, the Oprah Magazine

**

 

I also read the light-hearted How to Howl at the Moon  by Eli Easton which is a male/male romance featuring what might be considered weredogs.  (Adult content)

 

"Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Penguin - So glad to hear you're okay. 

 

Mom-ninja, the flu is just awful.

 

:grouphug: to both of you.

 

His Dark Materials - I wanted to like this series, I really did. I heard it was the anti-Narnia, and at the time (2008-ish) was at a point in my life where that's what I wanted.  I read The Golden Compass and hated it. I was going to try the second one to see if I could like it, but decided not to.   :(

 

 

 

I just finished The Ice Beneath Her which is a Swedish police procedural by Camilla Grebe. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30184856-the-ice-beneath-her. This is the first book by this author to be translated to English. It felt different from the other Scandinavian police procedurals that I have read, a bit more American than I really liked, possibly because of the translator. The story had quite a surprise ending and I did enjoy it. It just was missing the edge I am used to I think. It was more of a book set in Sweden than a Swedish author. I have another Scandinavian author planned for my Birthstone challenge this month with Snow Angels for my A so I will be able to compare.

 

 

I wonder if the author picked up on the fact that Americans are currently obsessed with Swedish (and Scandinavian in general) crime fiction, and tried to write it to appeal to Americans? If true, that's too bad. Part of what makes it appealing is how different it is from the usual crime fiction we're used to reading. 

 

From the Tor. com site ~  Books to Read If You Loved Hidden Figures by Swapna Krishna

 

 

 

I posted up thread that I didn't like the book (I loved the movie). I've had both Rise of the Rocket Girls and The Mercury 13 on my TR list for some time. I'm still going to give them a try, since neither was written by the author of Hidden Figures.

 

My ds is very happy because I'm reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I figured I needed to re-read it before reading the rest of the series.

 

 

 

I believe you've said you saw and enjoyed the movies, right? Try to keep in mind that as the characters matured, so did Rowling's writing, though admittedly at some point she became "too big to edit". I saw the first five movies before I started reading the books, and someone told me if you already know the story you should start with the fourth book, then go back. I can't do that with series books, at least not knowingly, so I started at the beginning. Anyway, I think this is just a cheerleading post to get you to keep going. 

 

 

 

 

I think of media fasting being a modern thing, but I guess it's been around longer than I thought....

 

Also, partisan bickering and infighting is nothing new either. I've read about it before and am seeing it in Alexander Hamilton, but I'm sure you can find it in the history of pretty much any country. 

 

 

For Deader or Worse by Sheri Cobb South - I got this as an ARC and enjoyed it.  This series is somewhere between cozy mystery and cozy light romance.  I recommend starting with the first in the series if you want to read them. 

 

I could have sworn I read the first book in this series - In Milady's Chamber. However, my library doesn't have it and it's not in my Kindle cloud, so I couldn't have. I think I must have downloaded the sample at one time and for some reason was thinking I actually read the whole book. Thanks for the reminder though. I'm adding it to my list. 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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If you usually get a Kindle First book and you like Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series, she has written a stand-alone historical fiction. It's free for Kindle First members. I usually don't bother with these books because I've been disappointed too often, but I try to remember to see what's available each month. I'm glad I checked. 

 

This link goes to all of the Kindle First books. In Farleigh Field (the first one on the left) is the Rhys Bowen book. When I link to the book itself it doesn't show as being free though I'm not sure why. Possibly it's because I already purchased it for free. 

 

 

 

 

Last night I finished And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini which my book group will be discussing tomorrow.  Initially, I didn't care for the book due to a feeling of impending doom; however, I became engrossed with the book as I continued on.  This book is set in Afghanistan but also in France, Greece, and the US.  Each section of the book features a different character (and sometimes a different time); it was interesting to see how the various people/threads connected.  I'll recommend it.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for that review. I've read both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and have And the Mountains Echoed on my TR list for some yet undetermined time.

 

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I wonder if the author picked up on the fact that Americans are currently obsessed with Swedish (and Scandinavian in general) crime fiction, and tried to write it to appeal to Americans? If true, that's too bad. Part of what makes it appealing is how different it is from the usual crime fiction we're used to reading. 

 

 

 

I posted up thread that I didn't like the book (I loved the movie). I've had both Rise of the Rocket Girls and The Mercury 13 on my TR list for some time. I'm still going to give them a try, since neither was written by the author of Hidden Figures.

 

 

 

I believe you've said you saw and enjoyed the movies, right? Try to keep in mind that as the characters matured, so did Rowling's writing, though admittedly at some point she became "too big to edit". I saw the first five movies before I started reading the books, and someone told me if you already know the story you should start with the fourth book, then go back. I can't do that with series books, at least not knowingly, so I started at the beginning. Anyway, I think this is just a cheerleading post to get you to keep going. 

 

 

 

 

 

The current popularity of Scandinavian mysteries could be it. When a character was studying for her GED because she hadn't finished high school I really wondered. You can take the GED in Sweden, google told me so, but I don't think it's something Swedish people necessarily do. Even if it is something they do it was the it was phased, American like. The UK has SAT exams but they are essentially to be placed in 7th grade. Same name but very different in purpose.

 

Ikea was mentioned constantly. People meeting for coffee at Ikea which seemed odd. If one piece of furniture was from ikea it was mentioned...The murders were brutal which is what I would expect but the edges nicely smoothed.

 

I'm a bit afraid to read your Hidden Figures review. I think I will wait until after I give the book a try since I already put it on hold.

 

HP definitely becomes more as you read through the series. For me that was fortunate because I read the first couple in he haze of home with a new baby with the book by my chair. I keep reading and admiring everyone here who is working on reading in a foreign language. This week (we'll see how long it lasts) I have been hitting duo trying to dust off my high school French so maybe I can tackle HP in French in the future.

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I remember when HP and the Sorcerer's Stone first came out.  Well, actually, not when it first came out, it was a kids book and I had no kids, so no interest in it.  After awhile a bunch of people raved about it and said, "You've got to read it" and I picked it up, and thought, "Yep, just like I thought, it's a book about 11 year olds. Why would I want to read this?" I don't think I even finished it.

 

Fast forward ~10 years later, my kids are both small, we're stuck in a Missouri hotel room in a blizzard, and The Goblet of Fire is playing on the movie channel. I watched it and was mesmerized by the film. That is what inspired me to go back and read the books, and then read them with Shannon when she was entirely too young for them.  She must have read the whole series 7 or 8 times during her 5th and 6th grade years. I came nowhere near that level of devotion, but I did come to really appreciate the series. I thought they got much more interesting after the first book, as the characters matured. And the writing, too, frankly.

 

Anyway, that's all to say, they get better after Book 1!

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My oldest son (25 now) probably had the best HP experience in our family. When the first book came out, he was about 9. Every year, he and Harry got a year older. And he had to wait for the next book to release. Good memories :)

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My oldest son (25 now) probably had the best HP experience in our family. When the first book came out, he was about 9. Every year, he and Harry got a year older. And he had to wait for the next book to release. Good memories :)

 

Same for my kiddo.  We had great fun making HP sweets one holiday, attending a launch party for one of the books, staying up all night reading said book (not me--that was The Boy).  He was ready to move on at the end--which is the way it should be.

 

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My oldest son (25 now) probably had the best HP experience in our family. When the first book came out, he was about 9. Every year, he and Harry got a year older. And he had to wait for the next book to release. Good memories :)

 

 

Same for my kiddo.  ...

 

Likewise here. 

 

The used bookstore that I used to frequent had a basket of advance readers copies of all manner of books that customers were welcome to take and read.  I picked up a copy of a forthcoming children's book, read the first chapter, decided it was likely too dark for my child, and returned it to the basket.  (That ARC might sell for a few dollars on ebay now.)  Said child went on to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in second grade; I guess it wasn't too dark after all.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Since some are mentioning hygge books, here's an article about hygge.

 

The book mentioned, The Year of Living Danishly, looks pretty good. (Looks like it's $5.26 for kindle right now.)

I read that a couple of years ago. It didn't make my list of best books of the year, but I liked it. I thought one of the most interesting things about the book (for me, as the mother of 7 boys) was that her husband worked for Lego.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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The Great Backyard Bird Count starts Friday! (Feb. 17-20)

 

 

My family is doing it this year and I'm excited for it to start.

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I'm reading Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and it is brutal :crying: . I thought I knew about the atrocities of WW2, it's a big topic in Dutch school history lessons.....but apparently I didn't. I thought Auschwitz was the epitome of evil, but no....there are always worse things. I can only read a couple of pages a day and even then it is very difficult.

 

I've trouble finding other books to counteract the horror. Tried to read some J.D. Robb....didn't work. Read Pratchett's The Wee Free Men....didn't work.

So now I'm mostly cleaning my house, which kinda works.

 

 

It's always noce to have a clean house, but I feel sorry for you :(

:grouphug:

 

 

 

Since some are mentioning hygge books, here's an article about hygge.

 

The book mentioned, The Year of Living Danishly, looks pretty good. (Looks like it's $5.26 for kindle right now.)

Thanks!

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I am in shock. Next year I will only have one student. So, this morning i was going over what he is going to be learning next year and what I need to buy/replace. After 24 years of spending at least $200-500 a year on educational material, I only need to purchase one thing, which will come to a grand total of $15. I had to tell somebody.

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I am in shock. Next year I will only have one student. So, this morning i was going over what he is going to be learning next year and what I need to buy/replace. After 24 years of spending at least $200-500 a year on educational material, I only need to purchase one thing, which will come to a grand total of $15. I had to tell somebody.

 

That is awesome :hurray: ....quickly now, spend the money on books for you :D .

 

(I wish I could cap my homeschool spending at 500 a year, Dutch educational materials are sooooo expensive. I spend the week battling Dutch educational publishers who are *refusing* to even sell to homeschoolers, so this makes me doubly :angry: .)

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That is awesome :hurray: ....quickly now, spend the money on books for you :D .

 

(I wish I could cap my homeschool spending at 500 a year, Dutch educational materials are sooooo expensive. I spend the week battling Dutch educational publishers who are *refusing* to even sell to homeschoolers, so this makes me doubly :angry: .)

I'm sorry you have such a difficult time getting materials. 😞

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I'm reading Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and it is brutal :crying: . I thought I knew about the atrocities of WW2, it's a big topic in Dutch school history lessons.....but apparently I didn't. I thought Auschwitz was the epitome of evil, but no....there are always worse things. I can only read a couple of pages a day and even then it is very difficult.

 

I've trouble finding other books to counteract the horror. Tried to read some J.D. Robb....didn't work. Read Pratchett's The Wee Free Men....didn't work.

So now I'm mostly cleaning my house, which kinda works.

 

 

It just is so devastating that people can be so cruel and horrible to each other.  It's almost unbelievable to think that it was only a generation separated from us.  It seems to be easier to think, "Oh those horrible things that the INSERT ANCIENT SOCIETY HERE did were awful but that wouldn't happen today.  Today we're civilized good people."  

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The Great Backyard Bird Count starts Friday! (Feb. 17-20)

 

I think my older ds might enjoy this. Thanks.

 

I am in shock. Next year I will only have one student. So, this morning i was going over what he is going to be learning next year and what I need to buy/replace. After 24 years of spending at least $200-500 a year on educational material, I only need to purchase one thing, which will come to a grand total of $15. I had to tell somebody.

🙌
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.... After 24 years of spending at least $200-500 a year on educational material, I only need to purchase one thing, which will come to a grand total of $15. I had to tell somebody.

 

The curious among us would now like to know what is that one thing ....

**

 

A one day only currently free collection of stories by a well known author.  One story was the basis of a movie ~

 

Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

"A master craftsman brings one of the most fascinating periods in American history to vivid life in these provocative and poignant short stories

 

Born gray-haired and grumpy, Benjamin Button may be an infant, but his body and personality are those of an old man. Curiously, however, he grows younger with each passing year. Benjamin is aging backwards, which begs the question, when does a man become a man? And how do we recognize our true selves?

 

A delightful fable that poses serious inquiries about the nature of existence, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button†is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best-known stories and the centerpiece of this legendary collection. From the Jazz Age decadence of “May Day†to the delightful fantasy of “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,†these evocative tales showcase one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors at the height of his talent."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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My latest book is another chosen directly or indirectly because it is related to East Asia. I saw the cover, read the blurb and thought, "sure, why not?"

 

It is Chasing the Phoenix by MIchael Swanwick, about 2 con men (one a genetically modified half dog/half human) in a post apocalyptic world who through a long-con inadvertently bring about the reunification of China.  I'm 40 pages into it and don't know quite what to think, though admittedly have enjoyed what I've read so far. Tongue in cheek sci-fi is a tough sub genre to pull off, but the reviews on Goodreads are mostly positive.

 

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Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick

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Yesterday I finished reading the historical romance The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble; it's the third book in a series, but it stands alone well.  I enjoyed it, but I doubt that I'll re-read it.  It featured a heroine who was a botanist specializing in rose hybrids.

 

"Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?"

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I started Parable of the Sower  by Octavia Butler today for book club. I like the premise. I want to like this book but I'm finding the prose really underwhelming. It seems pretty cheesy at this point. Does it get better?

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Earlier today I finished Hard Wired (Cyberlove Book 3) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell. It's the third in a series and while it could be read independently, I think it makes more sense to read the series from the start.  I'm definitely unfamiliar with the gaming/con/online setting; however, that did not stop me from enjoying the story.  (Significant adult content)

 

 

"My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There's a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I've known online for years. And he'd known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we're back online, and he's acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don't plan to let him forget."

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

 

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Update from the Arnaldur obsessed reader...

 

One more book in the Inspector Erlendur series and then I'll move on to the "Young Erlendur" books.  I finally figured out something though. The first four English translations were done by Bernard Scudder.  The fifth (Arctic Chill) lists both Scudder and another Icelandic translator whose name I recognized, Victoria Cribb. Apparently Scudder died of a heart attack before finishing the translation of Arctic Chill.  Sjon's English translator, Cribb, stepped in. 

 

The next book in the series, Hypothermia, is translated by Cribb. 

 

All of these books in English, Jar City to Hypothermia, focus on Erlendur.   In the next, Outrage, Erlendur is apparently taking time off.  He has gone to the countryside, most likely to the place where he grew up, and is traveling without a phone  He enters the story in name only.  Outrage has a different feel in part because of the detective on whom the novel focuses, one of Erlendur's sidekicks, Elinborg.  But the book doesn't quite read in the same way.  Aha! There is a different translator:  Anne Yates. Is that the reason?

 

Next we have Black Skies (Victoria Cribb translation) which is taking place in the same time frame as Outrage but features the other sidekick, Sigurdur Oli. Interestingly, we have a character from an older book, an unsolved case for Erlendur, seek out Sigurdur Oli.  Erlendur's obsession is the lost. There are many unsolved cases that make their way to the police but not all are criminal.  It is as though the landscape of Iceland swallows people.  Was there foul play?  Erlendur seems to understand those who do not fit into society--all except his own children with whom he maintains a strained relationship.  Sigurdur Oli is the well dressed fellow who established a conservative magazine in school  He lacks sympathy for "losers" which turns this side story of a lost soul into an opportunity for us to understand "Siggi" just a little better.

 

What a pleasure it is to have a series captivate me like this one has.  While gritty like many Scandinavian thrillers, these books are not gratuitous with respect to violence.  Some readers may find insufficient action within them.  Erlendur returns to his flat, sits in the dark and broods.  This is not a Hollywood experience.

 

Taking a break from Arnaldur now.  I think I need to space out the remaining books.

 

 

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I downloaded The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie from Overdrive and finished reading it this afternoon. A delightful way to pass the afternoon and finish my 15th book of the year.

 

Agatha Christie is my go to when I want an easy read. 

 

I thought I had finished 15 books but as I was going through my Goodreads list, I noticed I had one book listed twice - two different formats. I fixed it and now it correctly shows me having read 14 books.

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I finally finished "the hidden life of trees" and also Miss Garnets Angel. I did really enjoy the first book although it was a slow read. I found it mostly quite convincing and enjoyed the feeling of taking a walk through the forest with someone who know the ins and outs. His discussion of the role of fungi was interesting, as we've noticed a really bright green moss that grew everywhere after the bushfire here. I feel that it plays some kind of role in the rejuvenation though I'm not totally sure what. We've also noticed that the isolated trees on our property are really vulnerable to mistletoe whereas those growing in scrub or bush are much healthier. Anyway, overall it was an enjoyable read through a little slow.

 

Miss Garnets Angel I found a little weird. I enjoyed it more than I thought but for a while it felt like it was going somewhere. I also disliked the use of the "girl lying about abuse" plot twist, because I feel that too many people tend to think this is what happens when real abuse happens. I don't think those kind of ideas need any reinforcement from the world of fiction. I did like the interweaving of the story of Tobit and the spiritual awakening of the elderly Miss Garnett however.

 

My current in progress books include Thoreau, Pale Blue Dot, The absorbent mind, and Amethyst child. I really need to start less books at once!

Edited by Ausmumof3
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It just is so devastating that people can be so cruel and horrible to each other. It's almost unbelievable to think that it was only a generation separated from us. It seems to be easier to think, "Oh those horrible things that the INSERT ANCIENT SOCIETY HERE did were awful but that wouldn't happen today. Today we're civilized good people."

Which is why I feel we need to participate in the collective memory of past events. (Hence my need to read depressing Eastern European books...)
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I finally finished "the hidden life of trees" and also Miss Garnets Angel. I did really enjoy the first book although it was a slow read. I found it mostly quite convincing and enjoyed the feeling of taking a walk through the forest with someone who know the ins and outs. His discussion of the role of fungi was interesting, as we've noticed a really bright green moss that grew everywhere after the bushfire here. I feel that it plays some kind of role in the rejuvenation though I'm not totally sure what. We've also noticed that the isolated trees on our property are really vulnerable to mistletoe whereas those growing in scrub or bush are much healthier. Anyway, overall it was an enjoyable read through a little slow.

 

I'm reading this right now, in the original German.  I was honestly a bit intimidated about starting this, as I was thinking a nonfiction book in German might be a bit of a slog (German tends to get super-technical and jargony when writing in specialty subjects like science or law), but I'm finding it an easy read.  It is written in quite a conversational style. 

 

It's been interesting to read just after Lab Girl, which backed up some of what would have seemed some pretty out-there claims...

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Wow that could be a challenge! Yes I found it quite chatty and readable. I'm trying to read more non fiction and this is perfect. Not too much technicality but still informative. Lab girl needs to go on my list.

Edited by Ausmumof3
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