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Book a Week 2017 - BW17: Book news and notes


Robin M
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Happy Sunday and welcome to  week 17  in our 2017 adventurous prime reading year. Greetings to all our readers and those following our progress. Mister Linky is available weekly on 52 Books in 52 Weeks  to share a link to your book reviews.
 
 
Today is World Book day, promoted by UNESCO and held in honor of several authors who died on this date including Miguel De Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

The Cervantes Prize, in honor of Miguel is awarded this day by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Founded in 1976, it is the most prestigious prize to “honor the lifetime achievement of a Spanish Language writer whose contribution to the Hispanic Cultural Heritage has been decisive.â€

In England, fans of William Shakespeare celebrate his life as well as St. George, the country's patron saint.

National Poetry month is winding up and Thursday, April 27th is Poem in Your Pocket day. Select a poem, carry it in your pocket, purse, book, backpack or whatever else is handy and share it with your family, friends and neighbors.

The Man Booker prize which celebrates translated fiction works from around the world announced the International Shortlist for 2017 and the nominees are:
 
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The 2017 Stella Prize, celebrates fiction or non fiction written by Australian women and has been awarded to Heather Rose for her novel The Museum of Modern Love which is available on Kindle. 


More author birthdays:

April 23rd:  Icelandic author - Halldor Laxness and Russian author - Vladimir Nabokov

April 24th: English authors Daniel Defoe, Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Goudge as well as mystery writer Sue Grafton

April 25th: English poet - Walter De La Mare and southern author Padgett Powell

April 26th: Philosophers Marcus Aurelius and David Hume

April 27th: Historian Edward Gibbon and poet Cecil Day Lewis

April 28th: Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett and Lois Duncan

April 29th: Gilbert Rocque and Yusef Komunyakaa

Have fun following rabbit trails and share a book or two or three! 
 
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Story of Western Science – Chapter 12
 
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What are you reading this week?
 
 
 
Link to week 16

Edited by Robin M
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I finished Diamond!
 
 
D: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larson (#1 Millennium, Scotland, 590)  Wasn’t at all what I expected and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
 
I: Dead Iron - Devon Monk (#1 Age of Steam, steampunk, 357 e)  A steampunkish horror story with non stop action and very evil villain. Of  course some things remain unresolved as it continues in the next book, Tin Swift.
 
A: Don't Turn Around - Michelle Gagnon (#1 Don't Turn Around, YA thriller, 336 e) Loved Gagnon’s adult thrillers. This is her debut into young adult thrillers. Kids disappearing and being used for experiments. Computer hackers unite to try and get the bad guys.
 
M: Midwife of Venice - Roberta Rich (16th Century Italy, 335)  Historical fiction story about Jewish midwife is talked into doing the forbidden – helping a  Christian woman give birth in 16th century Italy. Fascinating story. 
 
O: One Way Fare - Hannah and Barb Taub (#1 Null, fantasy, 279)  War between heaven and hell and you never quite know who to trust.
 
N: The Necromancer - Michael Scott (#4 Nicholas Flamel, YA fantasy, 418) Continuing saga of Sophie and Josh trying to help save the world.
 
D: Dark Watcher - Lilith Saintcrow (#1 Watchers, Urban Fantasy, 192 e) 4 witches, guardians, modern day world being attacked by darkness. Throw in a bit of romance and skepticism and has the makings of an interesting series. 
 
 
 
I’m currently reading Robert Jordan’s New Spring and learning all about Moraine, how she became  Aes Sedai and background to the whole series.

Edited by Robin M
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I have read Imperium by Robert Harris.

Normally I don't like / am interested in ancient Rome books.

This book is on dd 'useful background' booklist for het grade 12 (exit) exam Latin.

So I thought I could beat two in one: prepareing homeschool and bingo square.

I'd never expected that I would really like the book.

 

As I don't read much about this era I can't compare and judge if it is better then other, but it gave me a spark to want to read other works of this author as wel.

 

++++

I also read Everything under the sky this week:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8784001-alles-onder-de-hemel

I think it is written in Spanish originally and picked the book for my female adventure square.

Although I liked the book very much it was if the writing style was not according to the plot.

That made a disconnection to me.

It could be a very exciting movie / book, sitting on the edge of my chair (or holding my breath while reading in bed) but the writing style is not exicted / engaging, it is pretty dry though.

 

And after that we had a lot of extra practices with my choir so I read mostly music sheets...

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I missed a week! Rather unexpectedly, we decided to move within the year and all my online time has been devoted to googling questions about the new location and browsing (online) real estate. We could either move as soon as September (yikes!) or as late as February 2018. Add to that a week of dress rehearsals and performances for my spouse and DS (Haydn's The Creation) and we end up with chaos.

 

I know I've finished a few books since I last posted: two Claire McNab mysteries, The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a Louise Penny mystery, and - for my IRL book club - a re-read of Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Ladies' Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth (my book club loved it!).

 

Current books: continuing with Lord of the Rings with DS, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Kathleen Rooney's Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, and Carter Heyward's new book - She Flies On: A White Southern Christian Debutante Wakes Up.

 

 

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Still reading the bildungsroman (and thrilled to have an excuse to use this word!) My Struggle, Volume 3:  Boyhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard.  There are some painful moments in this book as Knausgaard's father is often cruel.  At best, the man lacks sensitivity.  That said, I am still enthralled with Knausgaard's autobiographically inspired novel of minimal action and microscopic inspection. 

 

The last few days have left minimal time for reading as I was maximizing my time with The Boy and The Girl!!  What fun to have them here for four days!  It was not a total vacation for them.  They are on an archaeological assignment in which they work ten days then have four off. Since their work had taken them into a meadow of poison ivy, their first order of business was scrubbing work boots, doing loads of wash and, in my son's case, getting some steroids. 

 

One of the local organizations was having a wine tasting/silent auction fundraiser.  I managed to get the last two tickets for them. At last year's event, I fielded numerous questions about The Boy who was then on the Appalachian Trail.  This year he and his girlfriend fielded questions on what commercial archaeologists do.

 

They left this morning but since they'll be working in the region for at least another month or more, there is a good chance we'll see them again. 

 

Ah...blissful Mom status here.

 

 

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Well, some progress made, but nothing finished. I'm within 50 pages of the end of Hidden Figures. Good book, but it's just going slowly. I think I could have been happy just watching the movie, for which I'm still over #100 on the waitlist for a library copy. I've started Etched in Bone but I threw a lot of my reading time toward Hidden Figures thinking I could get 'er done. Then I just picked up the new C.S. Harris book from the library, Where The Dead Lie, I think. But I will make myself finish the other two before starting it. Would love to try Razor's Edge but I didn't even pick it up at the library as I knew I have enough on my plate. And I'm supposed to be reading my text book for Public Speaking but it gets a bit dull.

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Finished 3 books this week. :)

 

43. News of the World (audio) - quite enjoyed this one, although I think maybe this is one I should have read instead of getting the audio - the narrator wasn't awful, but I think sometimes took away rather than enhanced the story.  4 stars.

 

44. Hillbilly Elegy (ebook) - I also really liked this one.  I got through it quicker than I thought, as I kept coming back to read another chapter.  5 stars.

 

45. Ensayo sobre la ceguera / Blindness by José Saramago - I liked it and found it quite readable in spite of the lack of paragraphing and quotation marks, but I also found some of the choices made by the characters to be not so believable, blindness notwithstanding.  I know it's all allegorical and everything, but really, no one ever introduces themselves by name?  3 stars.  

 

Still Reading... Exiles of Erin.  I dumped Beast to the Blonde and feel nothing but relief.

 

Currently Reading...

 

- Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexeivich.  Really liking this one so far.  Hey, can I still count this for the Chunky challenge if it's 496 pages, or do those missing 4 pages disqualify it? 

 

About to start Roadside Picnic by the Strugatskys, which is the other book for my SciFi book club this Tuesday.

Edited by Matryoshka
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I am making some progress on my Utopian/Dystopian list: I finished Candide, which is just so flipping brilliant. I'm reading some other stories that are collected with it, including Micromegas. Candide was one of the godfathers of the world in the Terra Ignota series, and one of the character's title was Micromegas, and it's cool to understand that reference clearly now. Voltaire is a great satirist and I really love his "philosophical stories" - he does such a great job of representing the philosophy he's describing - or satirizing - in a way that's so much more engaging than most philosophical treatises, which I find really dry and hard to read.  I'm also reading Transcendental Wild Oats, a satirical memoir by Louisa May Alcott of her father's short-lived commune where they lived for a year when she was my younger dd's age.

 

I bought a copy of The Obesity Code after it was raved about here - my library doesn't have a paper version - and I'm reading it now. Makes sooooo much sense. Also still enjoying Wolf Hall and The Sisters Brothers. Finished since last week:

 

84. Henry V - William Shakespeare

83. A Storm of Swords - GRR Martin

82. The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck - funny spoof of the KonMari book, which I've not read, and also fulfills my Bingo square of Curse Word in the Title  ;)

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It's interesting that you're mentioning the audiobook. My book club is planning to read this later (once there's no longer a waitlist at the library), but one of the gals listens to audiobooks rather than reading the print version. I was talking to her tonight & said I had already read it & wondered how the audiobook would be because of the format. I suggested that she might want to request a written copy alongside the audio version solely because of the format/style.

 

So, then she & I looked it up & it looks like this may be one of the largest (or *the* largest?) audiobook cast ever assembled. And, wow, what a group of voice actors! Many big names. I am not an audiobook person in any way, shape, or form. But looking at the cast list, I think I'm definitely planning on listening to the audio once we get around to it for book club. I saw a few different numbers in various articles, but around 160 seems to be the right number.

 

Time's article about it: Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller and 164 Other People Will Narrate George Saunders’ New Book

 

Looks like Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation), David Sedaris, & George Saunders himself will be reading the main roles.

 

 

Wanted to respond to this post from last week's thread. :)  

 

I'd heard that this was going to be a cool audio with lots of actors, so I,ve been on the waiting list for the audio on Overdrive - I'm #9 on the list for 3 copies, so hoepfully won't take toooo long to come in. :)  Glad to hear you liked the book, Stacia!

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 I'm also reading Transcendental Wild Oats, a satirical memoir by Louisa May Alcott of her father's short-lived commune where they lived for a year when she was my younger dd's age.

 

I read that a few years back.  Bought it at the Fruitlands book store (Fruitlands is where the commune was). Fun and funny read. :)  They were so clueless.  Good thing those utopians knew enough to give it up for the winter rather than stay and starve...  I seem to recall they asked Thoreau along and he was ... uh, NOPE.

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How goes it? Can your husband take the heavy pain killers? Are you guys sleeping? My husband would sympathize with all the waiting involved. He started scheduling conference calls to coincide with my pt appointments. As far as I can tell, your physical therapist has an awful lot to do with the final outcome of your surgery. They keep your shoulder from freezing up while the tendon is healing and keep you from retearing while you regain strength and mobility after it heals. They can really mess you up if they aren't careful. Pt is pretty scary stuff. Does your husband 's sling have a velcro pocket on it for the squishy ball the way mine did? I got more questions about that ball once I was out and about. : )

 

Nan

 

Trying to catch up from last week. He's doing much better and has decided to stop taking the pain meds and just go with ibuprofen or acetaminophen when he needs something. Yes, he has the squishy ball. It's bright red and he said he feels like a seal.

 

I'm beginning to understand your praise of having the right PT. It was actually his PT who told him she wouldn't touch him until he had a diagnosis. The first doctor he went to just gave him a steroid shot and sent him for therapy. He didn't do any diagnostics. She said no way would she start therapy without him having had an MRI. He went to a different doctor then (the one who ended up doing the surgery) and it turns out that if he had done physical therapy it would have made things worse. 

 

He's bored and driving me crazy but otherwise is doing well. He did take another week off work when he realized one week wouldn't be enough. His stitches come out Friday.

 

 

 

I'm thinking I will skip the hygge books I was planning to read. Sounds like it won't apply to where I live. Which is fine because my tr list gets longer faster than I can make it shorter. 

 

 

 

While I didn't actually plan to read any hygge books, now I'm sure I won't. I don't think they'll have much relevance in my climate. That's not to say there aren't hygge-like activities I could do, but I doubt the books will cover any.

 

 

That's 52 books.  I can stop reading for the year now.  :lol:

 

Congratulations Heather!  :hurray:

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The worst part about reading one of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novels is when you realize there is no brie in the fridge, no freshly baked baguettes. That the only thing in the house to eat while you finish the book is a lousy bowl of cereal!!

 

Back later with a more complete update. I'm late to a rehearsal, late because I had to finish that book while eating a bowl of cereal....

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...we decided to move within the year and all my online time has been devoted to googling questions about the new location and browsing (online) real estate. ..

 

Moving is hard work.  I hope the whole process will go smoothly.

 

... I was maximizing my time with The Boy and The Girl!!  What fun to have them here for four days!     ...

 

I'm glad you had a good time and hope that you'll get to see the boy again in the next month.

***

 

A one day only currently free collection of short stories for Kindle readers ~

 

Raffles by by E. W. Hornung

 

"The cracking debut of A. J. Raffles, proper English gentleman and jewel thief extraordinaire

 

Sometimes the greatest of partnerships are born in the direst of moments. For Bunny Manders and A. J. Raffles, such a moment comes when a bad night at the baccarat tables threatens to end in suicide. Hundreds of pounds in the red, Bunny grows so desperate that he asks Raffles, a former classmate who captained their public school’s cricket team, for help. When Raffles hesitates, Bunny pulls a gun out of his coat pocket and puts it to his head. “I never dreamt you had such stuff in you, Bunny!†says Raffles, a gleam in his eye. A few hours later, he and his old school chum break into a jeweler’s shop and steal thousands of pounds’ worth of diamonds and gemstones. Disaster averted, adventures begun.

 

In these thrilling stories, E. W. Hornung introduced the world to a duo as gifted at burglary as Sherlock Holmes and Watson are at detection. Full of sophisticated banter, hair-raising close calls, and nefarious schemes, Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman is a masterwork of crime fiction and irrefutable proof that there truly is honor among thieves."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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The worst part about reading one of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novels is when you realize there is no brie in the fridge, no freshly baked baguettes. That the only thing in the house to eat while you finish the book is a lousy bowl of cereal!!

 

Back later with a more complete update. I'm late to a rehearsal, late because I had to finish that book while eating a bowl of cereal....

 

I know exactly what you mean and I've only read 3 of those books. Would it be too weird to go grocery shopping for brie, baguettes, etc. before I sit down to read her next book? 

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I read Paris: The Novel - 4 Stars - I always know that a book has touched me when I continually think back on the characters. This is a story of a few families in Paris through centuries of time. It was more than 800 pages, but I didn’t get bored at all. Also, I normally get overwhelmed with too many names, but that wasn’t a problem here. The only thing that I didn’t care too much for was all the jumping around through time. I would have preferred it had the book been written in more of a chronological order. I especially loved the parts about the building of the Eiffel Tower.

You may like this book if you enjoy historical fiction. I look forward to reading his book on London as well as maybe a few others.

 

Some of my favorite quotes:

 

“However much you may fall in love, do not waste that love on a woman who is not considerate in return.â€

 

“When you marry,†the priest had said, “before you take any action, think first how it will feel to your wife. Consider her feelings before your own. If you and your wife both do this for each other, you are on the road to a happy marriage.â€

 

9780345530769.jpg

 

MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

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

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Congratulations to Robin for spelling Diamond. I need to go searching for Dark Watcher I think!

 

Yeah, to 52 completed by Heather also.

 

Jane, glad you will have the boy and the girl around for several days/weeks. But I am itching just thinking of the poison ivy. Hope the Boy is doing OK.

 

Ethel, looking forward to your review of Lillian Boxfish......I keep looking at that one. I'm sure your choir performance was wonderful.

 

Ali, I'm jealous. I still 3 on 1 copy for the CS Harris.

 

I finished Tripwire my latest Jack Reacher suspense thriller novel by Lee Child's. These books are addictive. :) I keep ending up giving them fives because they are pretty much impossible to put down once I start reading sort of like a great movie. I figure that means a five from a Goodreads pov. Dh even made me popcorn to go with my book last night! :lol: Honestly it was more he shared because they had a movie night with one of the Marvel movies...Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

I went on to get accidentally hooked on The Last One https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27245997-the-last-one which MMV read recently. I didn't have my Kindles synced and had a few minutes to read and no idea where I was in Ink and Bone https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643052-ink-and-bone on the kindle I grabbed for the car. If you have ever watched a reality show like Survivor it's an interesting book, sort of a behind the scene with what I suspect is going to be a horrible twist.

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I read Paris: The Novel - 4 Stars - I always know that a book has touched me when I continually think back on the characters. This is a story of a few families in Paris through centuries of time. It was more than 800 pages, but I didn’t get bored at all. Also, I normally get overwhelmed with too many names, but that wasn’t a problem here. The only thing that I didn’t care too much for was all the jumping around through time. I would have preferred it had the book been written in more of a chronological order. I especially loved the parts about the building of the Eiffel Tower.

You may like this book if you enjoy historical fiction. I look forward to reading his book on London as well as maybe a few others.

 

Some of my favorite quotes:

 

“However much you may fall in love, do not waste that love on a woman who is not considerate in return.â€

 

“When you marry,†the priest had said, “before you take any action, think first how it will feel to your wife. Consider her feelings before your own. If you and your wife both do this for each other, you are on the road to a happy marriage.â€

 

9780345530769.jpg

 

MY RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars

Fantastic, couldn't put it down

4 Stars

Really Good

3 Stars

Enjoyable

2 Stars

Just Okay – nothing to write home about

1 Star

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

Glad to know you enjoyed one of Rutherfurd's books. Sarum https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1853145.Sarum?ac=1&from_search=true is my plan for the Ancient's Bingo square and I am feeling intimidated. I finally put it on hold in my Overdrive a couple of weeks ago. Not sur if you have ever visited Sarum or not. We took my fil many years ago because he had read this book and loved it. He had a grand time walking around the site and sharing what he was seeing with regard to the book. It's one I have had on my list since then.

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I read that a few years back.  Bought it at the Fruitlands book store (Fruitlands is where the commune was). Fun and funny read. :)  They were so clueless.  Good thing those utopians knew enough to give it up for the winter rather than stay and starve...  I seem to recall they asked Thoreau along and he was ... uh, NOPE.

 

One of the aged aunts on my husband's side volunteered at Fruitlands for years before her death.  She was rather enamored with the New England Utopians including the Shakers.  Now talk about a fascinating group...

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Robin, congrats on getting Diamond! Dead Iron looks interesting. I like a good steampunk novel.

I've been working on Don Quixote for over a year now and making slow progress. I read somewhere that an audio book was the best way to finish it, but since I already own the book, maybe I'll try to finish it this week.

I haven't been paying attention to my gemstone reads. I'm working on the A-Z challenge and end up on rabbit trails reading other things.

Jane, I'm glad you enjoyed your time with The Boy and The Girl. I'd probably be one of those quizzing your son on archaeology as well!

Ethel, good luck on your move.

Books read last week:

  • Deathless by Catherynne Valente. Fantasy-Russian Fairytales. A young woman is stolen away by the Tsar of Life and suffers through the siege of Leningrad. The Tor.com free book in April, I can't help but contrast this book with The Bear and The Nightingale. Where the The Bear felt like a fairy tale, this book is darker and much more adult. It's filled with re-imagined fairy tale creatures, goblins that resemble rifles, house elves devoted to the Party, and two powerful superbeings, while war rages between Russia and Germany. I reached the end during DD11's volleyball practice and found myself tearing up. I had to set it aside for a few minutes so I wasn't crying in public. I loved it, but Valente writes about violence and s*x so be warned.
  • Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn. New Adult Fantasy. The personal assistant to a superheroine ends up impersonating her boss to save San Francisco. The book opens with the superheroine fighting demon cupcakes which felt like a promising start. It becomes a bit muddled as the story progresses, focusing more on romance than fantasy, but it was a fun read. There's a couple s*x scenes, so despite what the cover looks like, it's not a Young Adult book.
  • Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson. Nonfiction-Writing Advice. Despite the cringe worthy title, I found it most helpful when it comes to the business side of writing.
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters. Alternative History. In a speculative modern world where slavery still exists, a bounty hunter, himself a former slave, searches for a runaway. This book was on my Goodreads "BAW x 2" shelf, meaning more than one boardie recommended it for reading. The history and world felt very true to life. Highly recommended.
  • Too Like the Lightening by Ada Palmer. A violent felon serves society as part of his sentencing. A re-read. Stripping away the ideas and worldbuilding, there isn't much story in the book which is tough after reading through 400+ pages.
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Nonfiction-Writing Advice. Advice on editing a manuscript, with tips on structure, dialogue, pacing, and style. It includes sample passages, bad, good, and corrected, as well as checklists and exercises with sample answers provided in the back. Highly recommended.

I guess I could focus on Don Quixote, and I also have The Hogfather and The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. I picked up Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You, a book filled with quotes using chiasmus.

Edited by ErinE
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I finished My Story by Elizabeth Smart.  That was an amazing book.  She is an amazing person.  Even though what happened to her is horrible and evil, the optimism and hope that comes across in the telling of it is incredible.  She seems to be a genuinely wonderful person.

 

Next up is Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer.

 

 

Well, some progress made, but nothing finished. I'm within 50 pages of the end of Hidden Figures. Good book, but it's just going slowly. I think I could have been happy just watching the movie, for which I'm still over #100 on the waitlist for a library copy.

 

That's how I felt about Hidden Figures.  Good book, interesting stuff, but it went on and on very slowly for much of the book.

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I am STILL reading City of God even though the group study ended this Thursday. (weeps softly)  I'm am chugging through Book XIX.  Still got XX, XXI and XXII to go.

 

I am going full strength on my children's lit challenge.  I've read 101 Dalmatians, The Children of the New Forest, Bedknob and Broomstick and am almost done with The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.  I think I'll be able to squeeze one more children's classic in before the end of April.  Not sure which one to pick.

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Trying to catch up from last week. He's doing much better and has decided to stop taking the pain meds and just go with ibuprofen or acetaminophen when he needs something. Yes, he has the squishy ball. It's bright red and he said he feels like a seal.

 

I'm beginning to understand your praise of having the right PT. It was actually his PT who told him she wouldn't touch him until he had a diagnosis. The first doctor he went to just gave him a steroid shot and sent him for therapy. He didn't do any diagnostics. She said no way would she start therapy without him having had an MRI. He went to a different doctor then (the one who ended up doing the surgery) and it turns out that if he had done physical therapy it would have made things worse.

 

He's bored and driving me crazy but otherwise is doing well. He did take another week off work when he realized one week wouldn't be enough. His stitches come out Friday.

 

:

I am so glad he is doing well. That's great!

Red! How unfortunate! At least mine is black.

When I got the stitches out, we discovered that my shoulder says HI across the front. : )

Yikes about the doctor!

I am finally allowed to paint (and write and tpye), as long as I don't overdo it. What I really need to do is brush the dog. That is a two handed operation. She is shedding like mad now it is spring.

I hope your husband continues to do well!

 

Nan

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I had trouble focusing on anything for the first part of the week but finally managed to finish two books.

 

Long Term Reads

📚ESV Bible - I finished Second Kings this week and began First Chronicles. I found myself wishing for a more visual genealogy rather than the long lists of names.

📚History of the Ancient World - I finished three more chapters on China, the Aryans of India, and the Assyrians

 

Finished This Week (Books 40-41)

📚 A Is for Alibi- I enjoyed the fact that this was a basic detective story with an ordinary private investigator and basic policework. It was a nice change of pace from stories that are driven more by either forensics or psychology. 5 stars.

📚From The Beast to the Blonde - I finally finished and to me it was not worth the effort. 1 star.

 

Currently Reading

📚The Power of Habit by Duhigg - Finally starting to make some real progress on this with the Warner book complete. He cites a remarkably diverse set of examples from the founder of AA to a NFL coach to a former CEO of Alcoa.

📚Bloody Jack by Meyer- my current audiobook for the seaworthy bingo square. They're just putting out to sea. Interesting so far.

📚The Amulet of Samarkand by Stroud - I've assigned this to ds1 for lit. Actually since he blew through the Lord of the Rings trilogy so quickly in the fall, I'm using lit as an excuse to throw a bunch of new books and authors at him with the hope that he finds more series to enjoy, which means reading along with him since it's new to me as well.

📚Crystal Clear by Heller - I picked this up for the gemstone challenge since I've been reading books with the color of the gem in the title and will try to finish it this week.

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I finished Transcendental Wild Oats. It was amusing. I felt so sorry for Alcott's wife! It did inspire me to start a re-read of Walden, which I've been wanting to do for awhile.

 

I also read the novella Binti, a scifi by Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor. I enjoyed it. The characters were so foreign, the setting entirely unfamiliar, yet the concerns so human. And it's cool to read a far future speculative fictional scifi where there aren't any white characters, and not very many human characters, yet it feels entirely familiar at the same time. People are people, even when they aren't human. And sometimes it might be easier to identify with another species than with others of your own. I can relate to that feeling sometimes. 

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Stacia, thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your cat.  My sympathies to you and to Faithr.

***

 

This currently free Kindle book might interest some ~

 

Journal of a Mountain Man: Mountain Man Classics, Book One) by Win Blevins

"“James Clyman was one of untamed and wild America’s most joyful explorers.†~ Win Blevins

 

A member of Jedediah Smith's first mountain man brigade, Clyman was there when the South Pass was discovered, opening the inter-mountain West to fur trappers. Crossing the country during the great migration of 1846, Clyman encountered the Donner party and gave them sound advice, which they tragically ignored.

 

A few other adventures: He sewed Jim Bridger's ear back on after a grizzly bear attack; explored the Green Valley and the Salt Lake Basin; alone and weary, he walked 600 miles to Fort Atkinson. (Still one of the West's most remarkable tales of survival.) He also kept Bill Sublette from freezing to death en route.

 

Clyman crossed twice to the Pacific and ended up settling in the Napa Valley, raising his family, writing down his adventures, and spreading the legendary stories of the mountain men.

 

In his own heartfelt and exciting way, James Clyman gives us his experiences in the heyday of the American fur trade, and during the peak of exploration and immigration to Oregon and California.

 

Clyman was a keen and meticulous observer, and his epic adventures are the stuff of legends. A must-read for everyone who loves the West."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Finished Grand Hotel this week; thanks, Jane! Matryoshka, were you interested in having it next, or were you looking for it auf Deutsch?

 

Starting Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. For a two-hundred-year-old book, very relevant today. Also thinking of getting started on Paul Johnson's The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830, which would go swimmingly with De Quincey.

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It is so sad to hear about the loss of a well loved pet cat in two of our BaW households this last week. I think Faithr put it well -- such a loss does indeed cast a gloom over everything. Hugs to both your families, especially to your kids who have lost childhood companions.

 

Ethel -- I'm jealous of your family members performing The Creation! And yes, I do believe it should be a rule of thumb to stock up on brie and baguettes while reading the Louise Penny mysteries.

 

Nan -- I'm glad you can start using your arm again!! And Kathy, sorry you are having to be the "Lady Florida in Waiting" for your husband!

 

A Great Reckoning is the Louise Penny novel I finished earlier today. Very satisfying. I sometimes find her plots a little far fetched and the characters and community of Three Pines to be far too perfect to be true, but what keeps me coming back to the series (besides the food) is how she weaves in poetry, art and music, not just as ornaments, but as integral to moving the plot along. I especially love Penny's optimistic outlook on life and people. I love that flawed characters have found redemption and grown throughout the series. Very satisfying, indeed, even when accompanied by a lousy bowl of cereal. 

 

I'm a chapter or two away from finishing a delightfully quirky travel book, Larry McMurtry's Roads: Driving America's Great Highways. It is almost as if he recorded his stream of consciousness thoughts while driving long stretches of I-10 or I-80 or some of the 2 lane US Highways.  He talks about what he sees, his history with the road, about books by authors who grew up in the area -- many authors he thinks are brilliant but are forgotten. (I've added several to my "want to read" list at Goodreads.) The one stunning omission from this book is maps. There isn't a single one! I've had my iPhone map open to trace roads and areas unknown to me.  He doesn't linger anywhere, but still a map would be an obvious thing to have in a travel book, don't you think?

 

Interesting contrast -- much of A Great Reckoning centered around a map. A copy of the map wasn't included in the book, but that never felt like a glaring omission as I was fine visualizing a fictional map for a fictional town.

 

And finally, in spite of my better judgement, I am almost through the second Wheel of Time book. When the action is interesting and good, it is a fun listen, but I've skipped ahead through sections, even slept through some of it!! I find myself happy to have it as background because I don't need to pay close attention, and here I am almost through the next book. 

 

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I know exactly what you mean and I've only read 3 of those books. Would it be too weird to go grocery shopping for brie, baguettes, etc. before I sit down to read her next book? 

 

That sounds civilised and sensible to me.

 

 

 

 

I'm reading Alain de Botton's romance novel because I can't be bothered to read Susan's history of science, even though I really want to. Don't you hate that?

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