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Book a Week 2017 - BW36: Sappy September


Robin M
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Happy Sunday and welcome to week 36 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.

 

Wave a hearty goodbye to August as we greet Sappy September and embrace the royal and romantic Sapphire, our birthstone of the month.   This month we are celebrating Labor Day and Constitution day in the U.S.,  International Literacy,  the Autumn/Spring equinox, and Banned Book Week.  Let's not forget Emma Nutt who became the first woman telephone operator on September 1, 1878 and worked happily for 33 years.  During September we are also celebrating special as well as wacky days including International Bacon day, Grandparents day, No News is Good News day, Hat day, Talk like a Pirate day and World Gratitude day. 

 

Our birthstone of the month is the Sapphire. You may choose to spell out the word, reading one book per letter or read a book with the name or the colors of the stone in the title.  Or perhaps find an author whose name is Sapphire.   You may decide to find a book set in the time period where the birthstone was discovered or surrounding the myth and lore or set in countries where the birthstone is currently found.

 

 

Sapphires were discovered around 800BC and the name comes from the Latin word saphirus and the Greek sapheiors which means blue.   The ancient Greeks believed the stone protected them from envy and  harm. In the 12th century, the stone was believed to guard against witchcraft.  Sir Richard Francis Burton thought the stone brought him good luck. King Solomon wore the ring and many believed it provided them with heavenly blessings.  The ring's symbolism for romance and royalty was reinforced in the 1980's when Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a blue sapphire engagement ring.  Sapphires come in different shades of blue depending on from which country they are mined. The purest blue come from Kashmir and Burma, darker shades from Wales, Australia, China and Nigeria.  The lighter shades of blue comes from Sri Lanka, which is largest producer of sapphires over 100 carats. 

 

Our armchair travels are taking us all over the world this month as we dive into the world of Romance.  From G rated to the "oh my god, hide the cover so no one knows what I'm reading" books, there is a wide variety to choose from. 

 

The Romance genre includes a number of sub genres: 

 

·         Historical

·         Contemporary

·         Regency

·         Paranormal

·         Fantasy

·         Futuristic

·         Time travel 

·         Gothic 

·         Romantic suspense

·         Inspirational 

·         Young Adult  

·         Erotic   

 

 

and our own special category - flufferton abbey - a term coined by Amy which represents more of a writing style, rather than a genre

 

Don't know where to start? Check out Dear AuthorLiterary EscapismDeadline DamesRomance Writers of AmericaCozy Romantic Mysteries as well as Feedspot's list of Top 100 Romance Books blogs and Websites.  And don't forget Goodread's Listopia of Romance Books

 

Ten of my favorite romance authors are:

 

Nora Robert

Roxanne St. Claire

Jayne Ann Krentz 

Debbie Macomber

Diana Gabaldon

Nalini Singh

Robyn Carr  

Karen Marie Moning

C.E.Murphy

Faith Hunter

M.L. Buchman

 

Romance writers take us around the worlds as well as out of this world.  Have fun following rabbit trails.  

 

 

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

 

War and Peace:  Read Volume Three  â€“ Part Three

 

Chat about what stood out for you, thoughts on storyline, setting, characters and motives as well as favorite quotes prior to this week’s reading.

 

 

**************************** 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

 

Link to week 35

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Waving from hot, muggy, smoggy and smoky Sacramento. Have been hunkered down inside and haven't been on a walk for a several days. Hubby is still persevering with his daily 25K steps.  However, I did manage to finish 12th grade plans which I revised a couple times after mapping out the year  (ala ambleside online's example) and discovering I'd gone a bit overboard as usual.  

 

Book wise I have many S books on my shelves to begin my Sapphire read. However,  two in particular, Sunne in Splendor as well as Sena Jeter Naslund's The Fountain in St. James Court, have  been calling my name for months now, so they have been moved to the top of the pile. another chunky book is Jordan's Winter's Heart, #9 in WOT series which I'll get to this month as well.   However, I think I'll start with Nalini Singh's Silver Silver which is the first in her Psy Changeling Trinity Series.  

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Oh, sapphire, good. I've been planning to try Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun, which has two volumes, Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine. Just put it on hold.

 

I finished Saramago's The Elephant's Journey last night. I love how Saramago writes, but this book was a solid 3 stars for me. I enjoyed the whimsy of the writing, but it was a fairly plot-free book and didn't really go anywhere. Well, they went from Lisbon to Vienna, but other than that . . . So it was fine, but not earth-shattering.

 

Still making progress on Jar City, State of Wonder, and The Thirteenth Tale (audio). It almost lost me there during the description of Isabel and Charlie's relationship, but I'm persisting for now.  New to the mix is some Karel Capek, an early 20th century Czech writer of dystopias and satires. I read War With the Newts a couple of months ago, and I'm now reading two plays, R.U.R., which coined the use of the term "robot" which is derived from a Czech word (as is "pistol"). The other play is The Makropoulos Secret, which reminds me a lot of an Oscar Wilde play, which means I'm not really sure *what* is going on, and know one in the play seems to know, either.

 

 

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I finished listening to The Zookeeper's Wife https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13552110-the-zookeeper-s-wife this afternoon for my Z in the alphabetical by title challenge. I am so glad I listened to it as opposed to reading it, I enjoyed it but I tend to get bored with what I would class as rabbit trails taken by the author. There must of been 5 pages about types of beetles for instance and I know I would have quit. I have been on the holds list for this book for months and when it came up in the audio section as available now.....I grabbed it.

 

The book is set in Warsaw during WWII so is filled with horrifying parts. The Zookeeper and his wife were responsible for saving many Polish Jews by hiding them within the zoo property. Those stories were interspersed with many interesting animal related facts. It was taken primarily from diaries and fleshed out by interviews with survivors and other research. Interesting but probably too dry for me in book form but it was good to quilt to.

 

My fascinating animal bit was their carnivorous rabbit. Yes, their bunny loved sausage a whole lot...mine considers sweet fruits and muesli to be the best. Don't worry he a huge assortment because 3 families feed him their leftover vegetables and fruits.

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...Our armchair travels are taking us all over the world this month as we dive into the world of Romance. 

 

I think it's safe to say I'll be reading some romances this month.

 

 

...Feedspot's list of Top 100 Romance Books blogs and Websites

 

I saw some very familiar blogs on that list as well as many of which I've never heard.  Two favorites I didn't see that I'll add are:

 

Dear Author

 

and

 

Word Wenches

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Greetings all. I am behind in W&P, having spent too much time on other diversions. I finished Canfield-Fisher's The Home Maker and am almost finished with the second book in the Carrigan and Miller series by Stav Sherez--finally got my hands on it.

 

Better get cracking...

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I also finished my August gemstone challenge today. I am getting tired of hunting for vowels. :lol: All I have left for the alphabetical titles are the vowels and the X. I know I could reuse but planning to read new books if I have time.

 

I spelled both Peridot and Spinel but used the same I and E in both.

 

P. Sacred and Profane by Faye Kellerman

E. Enter a Murderer by Ngaio Marsh

R. Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

I. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

D. The Rise and Fall of DODO by Neil Stephenson

O. Black Out by Ragnar Johasson

T. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

 

S. Summerhils by DE Stevenson

P. Murder at Puppy Fest by Laurien Berenson

I. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

N. Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

E. Enter a Murderer

L. A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

 

I have to admit I'm looking forward to Flufferton month. I also have Sapphire spelled in my stack so I just need to read them!

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A one day only currently free classic for Kindle readers ~

 

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 

 

"The classic tale of one young woman’s quest for fulfillment in 1820s England, and the price she would pay for true freedom.
 
Maggie Tulliver’s entire life has been spent in the shadow of Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss with her beloved older brother, Tom. But when their father meets an untimely death, the siblings’ singular bond is strained as Tom is forced to leave his studies and Maggie struggles to find a sense of belonging.
 
Maggie’s sharp intelligence and spirited nature have made her an oddity in the rural hamlet of St. Ogg’s, where such unique qualities are perceived as unbecoming for a woman. Her need for recognition and love eventually drives her to defy her brother, who casts her out of his house to survive on her own. Forced to grieve the losses of both their father and each other, the siblings will have to find it in their hearts to forgive in order to reconcile before tragedy strikes again.
 
Inspired by events in the life of the author, The Mill on the Floss is George Eliot’s most heartfelt novel and one of her most compelling and moving works."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I posted on last week's thread about finishing Stevie Smith's Novel On Yellow Paper and Larry McMurtry's Horseman, Pass By, and I just finished (in time for family movie night tonight) Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man.

 

I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me. She was small and blonde, and whether you looked at her face or at her body in powder-blue sports clothes the effect was satisfactory.

 

"Aren't you Nick Charles?" she asked.

Not sure what to read next. I have some nonfiction waiting for me to return to it.

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I finished women in White and RomanFever.

 

I liked women in white very much, and fits my ABC bingo square 'book your parents loved'.

A hard square if your parents used to have not much more then the yellow pages, the bible and a dictionary in their younger years.

 

I did not really like Roman Fever.

But maybe I am not used to this kind of short stories.

Several of them feeled like 'unfinished novel'.

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I read The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code - 5 Stars - I loved this book, but then again I love all books by Dennis Prager. He has a true knack for explaining things ever so clearly. As always, he was engaging and articulate. In this book, he goes through each of the Ten Commandments and explains their importance and relevance today.

 

I highlighted so many quotes and had a difficult time choosing my favorites to share here. Other quotes are included at the bottom of my Good Reads review.

 

“Any moral system that is detached from God, no matter how noble and sincerely held, will likewise fail.â€

 

“Sigmund Freud, the father of psychiatry and an atheist, theorized that one’s attitude toward one’s father largely shaped one’s attitude toward God.â€

 

“Neither the Ten Commandments nor the Bible elsewhere commands us to love our parents. This is particularly striking given that the Bible commands us to love our neighbor, to love God, and to love the stranger. The Bible understands that there will always be individuals who, for whatever reason, do not love a parent. Therefore, it does not demand what may be psychologically or emotionally impossible. But it does demand that we show honor to our parents. And it makes this demand only with regard to parents. There is no one else whom the Bible commands us to honor.â€

 

“The Hebrew original does not say, ‘Do not kill.’ It says, ‘Do not murder.’ Both Hebrew and English have two words for taking a life—one is “kill†(harag, , in Hebrew) and the other is “murder†(ratsach, , in Hebrew). Kill means: 1.Taking any life—whether of a human being or an animal. 2.Taking a human life deliberately or by accident. 3.Taking a human life legally or illegally, morally or immorally. On the other hand, murder can only mean one thing: The illegal or immoral taking of a human life. That’s why we say, ‘I killed a mosquito,’ not ‘I murdered a mosquito.’ And that’s why we would say, ‘The worker was accidentally killed,’ not ‘The worker was accidentally murdered.’â€

 

“So why did the King James translation of the Bible use the word ‘kill’ rather than ‘murder’? Because four hundred years ago when the translation was made, ‘kill’ was synonymous with ‘murder.’ As a result, some people don’t realize that English has changed since 1610 and therefore think that the Ten Commandments prohibit all killing. But, of course, they don’t. If the Ten Commandments forbade killing, we would all have to be vegetarians—killing animals would be prohibited. And we would all have to be pacifists—since we could not kill even in self-defense.â€

 

and A Russian Journal - 2 Stars - This wasn’t as good as what I had hoped, nowhere near as good as the few other books that I have read by Steinbeck. I think that part of the problem with this one was that he seemed to be trying very hard to not be judgmental or show much at all in the way of opinions. It quickly became quite boring.

 

A quote that I thought to share:

“There is very little laughter in the streets, and rarely any smiles. People walk, or rather scuttle along, with their heads down, and they don't smile. Perhaps it is that they work too hard, that they have to walk too far to get to the work they do. There seems to be a great seriousness in the streets, and perhaps this was always so, we don't know.â€

 

9781621574170.jpg   9780141180199.jpg

 

Once again (and I hope no one minds), sharing photos of our visit to Monet’s House and Gardens. This is the kitchen which I fell in love with.

“Adjoining the yellow dining room, the spacious blue-tiled kitchen had a glass-paneled door and two uncurtained windows opening onto the veranda, so the cook could enjoy views of the garden framed by trees, and step outside to where hens and ducks roamed through the nearby farmyard. … Monet himself rarely set foot in his kitchen, but as a demanding gourmet, he took an intense interest in everything that happened there."

 

97db8278454f32699afdbd0b5cd73b3d.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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Greetings to all! I totally missed last week's thread! I've had way too many distractions lately - some fun and others that were not so fun as they involved "adulting." I'm plodding along with W&P - I seem to have got bogged down a bit. I must say that reading Natasha's Dance along with W&P has provided a great deal of insight to Russian history and culture that I would not have had otherwise.

 

I recently read Refuge by Dina Nayeri and highly commend it to you BAWers. The story is focused primarily on the relationship between two characters: a young woman who immigrated from Iran as a child and her father - a dentist and opium addict who remained behind in Iran. I learned a lot about what it felt like to be a refugee as well as details of addiction. 4.5 Stars

 

Also, I've just discovered the works of Aviva Chomsky. In addition to her work as a professor at Salem State University, she writes about labor uniions and also immigration. She spoke in a town near me recently and I was unable to attend. Alas. I've got two of her books in my TBR pile, but it may be a while before I get to them. Her father is Noam Chomsky. 

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Hooray for Romance month! I can't wait to peruse the links you posted, Robin! 

 

I'm still behind in War and Peace - I haven't picked it up recently. I did do a quick read of a child's biography that my 10yo read - Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20518965-little-author-in-the-big-woods . It was pretty basic and mostly re-told the plots of the LIttle House series, adding a few extra details about Ma and Pa's childhoods, the death of their only son, and time spent running a hotel, along with Laura's writing career. 

 

Happily, LIW is my dd's favorite author. Out of my seven daughters, she has been the only one to read all of the Little House series. :)

 

eta - Nan! Thank you for the postcard! What a lovely summer you are having! 

Edited by Mothersweets
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I finished reading State of Wonder. it was really great, I enjoyed it a lot. I was sucked in, surprised multiple times, and moved. I really believed the characters. Sometimes life doesn't give you easy, obvious choices. Sometimes life isn't like a fairy tale and people aren't like movie heroes. This book felt both really really and completely surreal.

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I recently finished Mary Jo Putney's historical romance  Once a Rebel; it was a pleasant read.

 
It was enjoyable to read a historical romance from the regency era that was predominantly set in America and to hear about the war of 1812 from (primarily) a very sympathetic British perspective.  Occasionally though it felt somewhat belabored, i.e., mentioning the heroine's lawyer Francis Scott Key four times and including the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" which became, with time, The Star-Spangled Banner.
 
Regards,
Kareni
 
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I spent all day yesterday at the Library of Congress National Book Festival.  :hurray: I will give you a full review. Since my reading has  lately slowed down considerably due to life circumstances, I am happy to have something to share with y'all.

 

I went with one of my closest friends and her young adult daughter. We are all bookworms, but have very different reading tastes. We split up and got back together multiple times during the day.

 

The festival is held at the DC convention center, which is gargantuan. And cold. I should have worn warmer clothes! It was super well organized, which is always a plus.

 

I had never been before, and I thought that in addition to the author talks/ presentations there would be lots of booths to roam through and explore. There really aren't. There is a book sales area that pretty much only had the books that the authors were there to talk about.

 

There was a 50 states pavilion. Each state had a table and they were promoting children's books that are tied to the state. They had a little map that kids could go around to each state and get a stamp. My friend and I went to about 12 states and got stamps - we were not above the game. What was interesting is that we asked each booth for a recommendation about adult books. We told them that we are trying to do a literary road trip. Asked who they would recommend for their state. Props to those state representatives who could answer the question - which was about 60 percent.

 

These are the talks I went to:

 

Kate DiCamillo. I didn't stay long. She was doing a reading from her most recent book, which I know nothing about, and I didn't have a good spot. Left after a few minutes. 

 

Then I went to the Hemingway panel. There were three authors, all of whom have written biographies about Hemingway. I learned a lot :) I can tell you more if you are interested.

 

I caught the tail end of a YA panel. I didn't know any of the authors, but Nicola Yoon was so charismatic that I now want to read everything she has ever written :)

 

The highlight for me was the Thomas L. Friedman's Main Stage presentation. He talked about the ideas in his latest book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. I don't know about the book, but the talk was great. I was super-excited to hear him speak. I read From Beirut to Jerusalem when it first came out in 1989, and that was a watershed book for me. I don't know how it stands the test of time, but at the time it really woke me up to the Middle East and to reading non-fiction. For reasons I am unsure about, I have never read any of his other books. 

 

Then I went to poet Juan Felipe Herrera's talk. Twenty years ago, I was living in Fresno and going to poetry events and workshops. He was teaching at Fresno State. I didn't know him, but I would encounter him at different events. And now he just finished being as poet laureate! I really enjoyed hearing him speak.

 

There were plenty of other talks that I would have also enjoyed. Too many! We didn't bother with any signings. The lines were long.

 

My only real complaint about the authors is that I thought sci fi and fantasy were pretty much forgotten about. There was a Thrillers and Fantasy Stage that hosted six thriller/mystery writers and one sci fi author (John Scalzi). Diana Gabaldon (Outlander) had a Main Stage slot. I think that was it. Not sure what to make of that.

 

I had a great time :)

Edited by Penguin
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I used to read a lot of romance, but haven't read as much in recent years. My favorites not mentioned by Robin:

  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips - one of the funniest romance writers. Fancy Pants (a spoiled rich woman tries to make it in on her own in small town Texas) is my favorite.
  • Teresa Medeiros - another funny romance writer. My favorite is still the first book I read from her - Breath of Magic (a colonial witch finds herself transported to modern day New York City).
  • Sherry Thomas - her historical romance focus on interesting, smart, strong women. Delicious (a chef hides her secret past from a politician aiming for a higher position) is my favorite, but her entire catalog is excellent. Her YA fiction Elemental Trilogy is good as well.
  • Mary Balogh - an author who's a little more steamy than Flufferton Abbey, but not quite as explicit as most regency romances. Slightly Dangerous (a powerful, reserved duke finds himself falling for an inappropriate, free-spirited woman) is my favorite.
  • Lavyrle Spencer - she no longer writes, but I enjoyed her books when I was younger. Morning Glory (a pregnant widow hires a convict to work on her farm) is her best book in my opinion. Christopher Reeve starred in the movie.

I don't have any romance books lined up this week, but I have Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart B*tches' Guide to Romance Novels in my physical TBR pile. I'll try to start that one.
 
Books read last week:

  • The Day of the Duchess by Sarah McLean. Historical Romance. A duchess returns to England seeking a divorce from her estranged husband.
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Historical Fiction. Ghosts tell their stories in the graveyard where Abraham Lincoln's son is interred. My debut author read for Bingo.
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire. Dark Fantasy. Twin girls enter another world and become more than their parents' expectations. I loved this book and thought it was better than the first in the Wayward Children series, though that was good as well.  She is a wonderful writer.

"There are worlds built on rainbows and worlds built on rain. There are worlds of pure mathematics, where every number chimes like crystal as it rolls into reality. There are worlds of light and worlds of darkness, worlds of rhyme and worlds of reason, and worlds where the only thing that matters is the goodness in a hero's heart."

"Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world."

I highly recommend it, but it does deal with vampires, monsters, and murders so content warning.

  • The Monster Hunter Files by Larry Correia, Jim Butcher, Steve Davidson, and others. Urban Fantasy. Short stories from the Monster Hunter International universe.
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Urban Fantasy. A young man attends a school for magicians. A nihilistic mash-up of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov. Fiction - Russian. A nobleman spends his life dreaming about his potential, but doing nothing to reach it. My Eastern European bingo read.
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes P. Nutter by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Apocalyptic Fantasy. An angel and demon try to stop the end of the world. This was a lovely, funny book. I enjoyed trying to pick out which parts where more Pratchett and which were more Gaiman. I think the philosophical bits were heavily influenced by Pratchett. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm still working through Italian folktales and I've also picked up a book on Cajun and Creole folktales (translated from the Cajun French). I'm loving this book as the patois of the storytellers reminds me of my relatives. I'm trying to finish up Women Who Run With Wolves, but it's a struggle.

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Rose, not to add anything more to your plate, but I thought of your daughter as I'm working through Myth in Human History from the Teaching Company. The lectures are centered around themes like Sky Gods, the Goddess, and Tricksters, and the professor analyzes the meaning of the myths and their interpretation within the originating culture. The numerous articles and books he cites could keep someone busy for years. I've found it fascinating. I think your daughter might enjoy it though it is more analytical and in-depth than a straight mythology course.

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Penguin, I'd be interested in hearing more about the Hemingway talk. I just recently re-read A Farewell To Arms and am in a bit of a Hemingway place right now. (Though I strained myself rolling my eyes at the introduction, which explained how you have to know his manly biography to understand his "masculine prose style." I hope there wasn't much of that in the discussion.)

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Rose, not to add anything more to your plate, but I thought of your daughter as I'm working through Myth in Human History from the Teaching Company. The lectures are centered around themes like Sky Gods, the Goddess, and Tricksters, and the professor analyzes the meaning of the myths and their interpretation within the originating culture. The numerous articles and books he cites could keep someone busy for years. I've found it fascinating. I think your daughter might enjoy it though it is more analytical and in-depth than a straight mythology course.

 

That does look interesting!

 

I finished The Makropolis Secret. It's a play about immortality, kind of a cross between The Picture of Dorian Gray and one of Wilde's comedies.   I have one more Capek to try, The Absolute At Large. After that I'm back to the 1970s in my journey through Utopian/Dystopian lit.

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I spent all day yesterday at the Library of Congress National Book Festival

...

I caught the tail end of a YA panel. I didn't know any of the authors, but Nicola Yoon was so charismatic that I now want to read everything she has ever written :)

 

It sounds like a wonderful event; I'm glad you had a great time.  I've read Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything; it was an enjoyable young adult novel with a twist that surprised me.

 

I used to read a lot of romance, but haven't read as much in recent years. My favorites not mentioned by Robin:

  • Sherry Thomas - her historical romance focus on interesting, smart, strong women. Delicious (a chef hides her secret past from a politician aiming for a higher position) is my favorite...
  • Mary Balogh - an author who's a little more steamy than Flufferton Abbey, but not quite as explicit as most regency romances. Slightly Dangerous (a powerful, reserved duke finds himself falling for an inappropriate, free-spirited woman) is my favorite.
  • Lavyrle Spencer - she no longer writes, but I enjoyed her books when I was younger. Morning Glory (a pregnant widow hires a convict to work on her farm) is her best book in my opinion.

 

You named three of my favorite romances authors, and my favorite books to boot!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I read The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett. Mystery and antique books and Shakespeare, all very nicely twined together. I do wish the protagonists late wife had been more realized and less idealized as a character.

 

Also Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hothschild. Very good, both as an interesting work of sociology and a glimpse into our current political divide here in America.

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OK, I am a little disappointed with the conclusion of Stav Sharez's novel Eleven Days. Without giving too much away, let me just say that I find the information presented from CCTV cameras in British mysteries to be uneven. Namely the cameras reveal clues and red herrings yet conveniently miss other important people.

 

That said, I enjoy the rich and often gritty London settings Sharez creates.

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Romances!  Not a genre I "do" other than that Georgette Heyer I read earlier this year, likewise I can't really say I have consciously read any since I achieved adulthood.  Not sure what that is about but the same holds true for spy novels and horror.

 

Robin, my vote is for The Sunne in Splendour but then you can see my sentiment about romances and take my advice with a grain of salt.  Mumto2, The Zookeeper's Wife was an enjoyable movie too, considering the subject matter.  I need to get my machine fixed because there is no way I could listen to an audiobook while quilting...it's too bad the repair shop keeps banker's hours as I am never able to get there during the workday.  Negin, love as ever your pictures!  Penguin, what a delightful event; dd loved Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star and I, too, read/was ever changed by Friedman's FBtJ at the same time you were.  VC, quite curious about whatever nonfiction you next attack...

 

Two books again this week.  One I completely enjoyed, the other was a Book of Obligation (I am sure you're familiar with the concept...?  A good person in your life presses upon you Their Fave Book (or favorite of the day) and you are duty bound to read/report back?). 

 

The first was Beryl Markham's West with the Night, an autobiography. I found it delightful on so many levels.  She was a bush pilot in British East Africa (Kenya) and also a thoroughbred trainer and safari hunter.  She also was the first woman soloist to cross the Atlantic east to west. Getting beyond the Wikipedia details...this book did not burden itself with many scandals; she mostly wrote about people she admired and situations she found herself in.  Her descriptions of flight itself, or horse-training, were very moving.  She waxed philosophic about Africa, Africans and colonialism.  It was very tightly written, obviously a labor of love, and very spare of prose.  I loved it.

 

The Book of Obligation was Sarah Waters's The Paying Guests.  My boss handed it to me (we are friends as well as co-workers) and, as a lesbian, my boss has ever been keen to the written word of her world that is not burdened with the salacious or the shameful.  This book started as a love story and ended as a police procedural.  Narrated by the main character, its problems for me were really ones of an overemphasis on class (the main character and her mother are upperclass, have now to stoop and accept lodgers in their moldering London pile).  As such, she never can truly get beyond down-the-nose observations of everyone.  I did appreciate the quotidian (how one had, even in a swanky home, to heat one's bath water:  as ever, I am struck with the notion that Britain conquered the world yet the concept of central heating and plumbing remained out of their reach) as I always appreciate how people clothe/bathe/feed themselves, and novels that avoid these topics tend to sour my believing them.  But the romance seemed doomed in the "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" sense...they were too badly matched by class and habits and desires.

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Romances!  Not a genre I "do" other than that Georgette Heyer I read earlier this year, likewise I can't really say I have consciously read any since I achieved adulthood.  Not sure what that is about but the same holds true for spy novels and horror.

 

Robin, my vote is for The Sunne in Splendour but then you can see my sentiment about romances and take my advice with a grain of salt.  Mumto2, The Zookeeper's Wife was an enjoyable movie too, considering the subject matter.  I need to get my machine fixed because there is no way I could listen to an audiobook while quilting...it's too bad the repair shop keeps banker's hours as I am never able to get there during the workday.  Negin, love as ever your pictures!  Penguin, what a delightful event; dd loved Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star and I, too, read/was ever changed by Friedman's FBtJ at the same time you were.  VC, quite curious about whatever nonfiction you next attack...

 

Two books again this week.  One I completely enjoyed, the other was a Book of Obligation (I am sure you're familiar with the concept...?  A good person in your life presses upon you Their Fave Book (or favorite of the day) and you are duty bound to read/report back?). 

 

The first was Beryl Markham's West with the Night, an autobiography. I found it delightful on so many levels.  She was a bush pilot in British East Africa (Kenya) and also a thoroughbred trainer and safari hunter.  She also was the first woman soloist to cross the Atlantic east to west. Getting beyond the Wikipedia details...this book did not burden itself with many scandals; she mostly wrote about people she admired and situations she found herself in.  Her descriptions of flight itself, or horse-training, were very moving.  She waxed philosophic about Africa, Africans and colonialism.  It was very tightly written, obviously a labor of love, and very spare of prose.  I loved it.

 

The Book of Obligation was Sarah Waters's The Paying Guests.  My boss handed it to me (we are friends as well as co-workers) and, as a lesbian, my boss has ever been keen to the written word of her world that is not burdened with the salacious or the shameful.  This book started as a love story and ended as a police procedural.  Narrated by the main character, its problems for me were really ones of an overemphasis on class (the main character and her mother are upperclass, have now to stoop and accept lodgers in their moldering London pile).  As such, she never can truly get beyond down-the-nose observations of everyone.  I did appreciate the quotidian (how one had, even in a swanky home, to heat one's bath water:  as ever, I am struck with the notion that Britain conquered the world yet the concept of central heating and plumbing remained out of their reach) as I always appreciate how people clothe/bathe/feed themselves, and novels that avoid these topics tend to sour my believing them.  But the romance seemed doomed in the "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" sense...they were too badly matched by class and habits and desires.

:lol: Your machine is absolutely fine! I have made 3 of my quilts 99.9 % by hand. I think the machine has been out 3 times this summer to piece backing that wasn't large enough. So I have LOTS of time to sit and listen or watch the somewhat familiar. My fingers are sore, really sore, but life is peaceful.

 

I read 50 or so pages of the Paying Guests back when it was first published. All I can remember is not liking it at all. I can't remember the details but I think it was class issues and perhaps the plumbing that made it an easy book to abandon. It has remained in my mind as an author I am unwilling to try again without an incredible recommendation.

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I finished Jar City. I enjoyed it, and will read the next one. It wasn't a typical mystery in that you figured out pretty early what had happened, that wasn't the point. The point was the unfolding of the why and the interplay of the characters. Erlendur is now up there with Dalgliesh as a favorite police investigator of mine, although of course he isn't dreamy like Adam is.  :laugh:

 

So, another Bingo row, that's 8 rows so far:

Book with a Duke as a main character – Katherine – Anya Seton
Has pretty pictures in it – The World of Ice & Fire – G.R.R. Martin
Mystery –Jar City – Arnaldur Indridason
Translated from a language not read previously in translation – War with the Newts – Karel Capek

Oprah book club selection – Cane River-Lalita Tademy

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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A one day only currently free classic for Kindle readers (that I've posted before) ~

 

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (A. J. Raffles, the Gentleman Thief Book 1)  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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Penguin, I'd be interested in hearing more about the Hemingway talk. I just recently re-read A Farewell To Arms and am in a bit of a Hemingway place right now. (Though I strained myself rolling my eyes at the introduction, which explained how you have to know his manly biography to understand his "masculine prose style." I hope there wasn't much of that in the discussion.)

VC, I will gladly tell you more :)

 

Since the book festival was all about what is new, new, new this panel was a welcome respite from that. I would have liked more in that vein.

 

The moderator was Paul Hendriksen, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost 1934 - 1961. He used Hemingway's boat, Pilar, as a symbol of something that was a rare constant in the chaos. The two feature authors had 2017 books - I think it is a prerequisite that you have a brand-spanking-new-book. They were Mary Dearborn, author of Ernest Hemingway: A Biography, and Nicholas Reynolds, author of A Spy in Wartime: Hemingway's Secret Life with Soviet and American Intelligence (subtitle: Writer, Soldier, Sailor, Spy).

 

I thought the most interesting question to the panelists was "How did you come to write a book about Hemingway?" Mary Dearborn said she had been working on a different research project that led her into the papers of Hemingway's mother, Grace Hemingway, and that sparked the book.  Mary Dearborn is the first female to write a comprehensive biography of Hemingway. Nicholas Reynolds was developing the CIA Museum and became fascinated with that aspect of Hemingway's life.

 

NB: I did not do any fact checking :) This is just what I remember from the panel discussion!

Edited by Penguin
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Kathy, did your ds have a good time at DragonCon? And I hope that he made it safely home in spite of the dead cellphone battery!

 

 

He did. I haven't seen any pictures yet and I hope he got some good ones before his phone died. He stayed in his friend's dorm room at Georgia Southern last night and will be home later today. So, he's almost home safely. 

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I spent all day yesterday at the Library of Congress National Book Festival.  :hurray: I will give you a full review. Since my reading has  lately slowed down considerably due to life circumstances, I am happy to have something to share with y'all.

 

<snip>

 

I caught the tail end of a YA panel. I didn't know any of the authors, but Nicola Yoon was so charismatic that I now want to read everything she has ever written :)

 

We used to love going to the National Book Festival when we lived in MD/VA.  It used to be held outside.  I'm not sure what's better.  Inside and cold or outside and hot and humid lol

 

I love Nicola Yoon.  Everything Everything had just come out when I was on bedrest waiting for my hysterectomy.  It was one of the books I read to keep my mind off the pain and boredom.  I loved it so much.  I had no idea at the time that it was brand new or that it was the author's first book.  I gave it a glowing review and, as usual, I posted a link to the review on Twitter and tagged her like I tag all authors who are on there.  She liked, retweeted, and responded to my tweet *and* sent me a long direct message thanking me and telling me how happy she was that I liked her book.  It was really cool.  It won't be hard to read everything she's ever written because that is only two books so far! (Everything Everything and The Sun is Also a Star)

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An update on me: Thursday I have another venogram scheduled. The doctor wants to do a full scan of my lower abdomen as opposed to the limited one I expected which might mean a couple hours under anesthesia, a prospect that makes me nervous. Any good thoughts or prayers are appreciated!

Edited by ErinE
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An update on me: Thursday I have another venogram scheduled. The doctor wants to do a full scan of my lower abdomen as opposed to the limited one I expected which might mean a couple hours under anesthesia, a prospect that makes me nervous. Any good thoughts or prayers are appreciated!

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

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An update on me: Thursday I have another venogram scheduled. The doctor wants to do a full scan of my lower abdomen as opposed to the limited one I expected which might mean a couple hours under anesthesia, a prospect that makes me nervous. Any good thoughts or prayers are appreciated!

:grouping: and Prayers.

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I am still working on Tom McCarthy's Satin Island. Haven't had a lot of time to read the past few days.

 

Kathy, did your ds have a good time at DragonCon? And I hope that he made it safely home in spite of the dead cellphone battery!

 

Penguin, I wonder if fantasy/sci-fi authors were less represented because they are quite widely represented at places like ComicCon, DragonCon, etc...? (For example, DragonCon was this weekend too, so I wonder if fantasy/sci-fi authors prefer to go to conventions like that because it definitely caters to their target audience?) Thanks for the additional info about the Hemingway discussion. I was wondering about it too.

Yeah, Sci-Fi-loving DS said the same thing. And if there was a direct competitor this weekend that would make even more sense. There were five graphic novelists on the stage. I forgot to mention those b/c they were in the evening and I left at 6. My friend and her daughter stayed for the evening Poetry Slam and gave it a thumbs up,
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I finished Jar City. I enjoyed it, and will read the next one. It wasn't a typical mystery in that you figured out pretty early what had happened, that wasn't the point. The point was the unfolding of the why and the interplay of the characters. Erlendur is now up there with Dalgliesh as a favorite police investigator of mine, although of course he isn't dreamy like Adam is.  :laugh:

 

It was not Erlendur but the Icelandic landscape that captived me in these books. Hence my trip there in June!

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I'm late this week!  As of Sunday, I finished 4 books:

 

95. El murmullo de las abejas / The Murmur of the Bees by Sofía Segovia - I really, really liked this book set in northeastern Mexico in the early 20th century.  It was historical fiction with a dose of magic realism and a family story.  For the Author is the same age as you square. 5 stars.

 

96. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (audiobook) - I still like Felicia Day, but I'm not such a fan of chirpy you-can-do-it memoirs, I guess.  For the Written by a blogger square. 2.5 stars.

 

97. Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese - a silly send-up of the SciFi genre, I actually enjoyed this far too much.  Best silly sci-fi since Hitchhiker's Guide.  For the Something Silly square. 4 stars.

 

98. The Masked Library by Genevieve Cogman (ebook) -  2nd in the Invisible Library series.  I read this hoping to use it for the Vampires square, as the first book had Vampires.  But alas, other than one aside mention, none are here.  So I've shuffled.  Invisible Library is moving from Steampunk to Vampires (at least for Big Bingo), and this one will fill Murder, Mayhem and Madness quite well.

 

And speaking of Big Bingo squares, I'm hesitant to lock myself in to some choices that may end up fitting better elsewhere, so I'm hesitant to announce completed rows, but I think I can count 6 completed rows so far that I'm fairly sure are not going to shift.

 

Currently reading:

 

- Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland (audiobook) - actually just finished this, but it'll count for this week.  Nice collection of stories about a Vermeer painting through the years. For the Art square.  3 stars.

 

- The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivrähk - Just started this and think I'm going to like it.  Lots of fairy tale/mythology elements.

 

- W&P - seems I'm not the only one who's a bit behind this week.  I think part of it is that the section this week is a bit longer than usual, but also soooo bogged down in the preparations for the battle of Borodino and whatever's going on with the Redoubts and Pierre dilettanting around like it's some kind of entertainment.  Hopefully next week's section, which is also a bit longer, will be less about how well entrenched the Redoubts are. 

 

 

Coming up:

 

The Golem and the Jinni finally came in on Overdrive and I should get to it soon.  Wee Free Men is here, but I feel like I've been reading a lot of humor/supernatural/irreverent books lately and I think I may want to wait a bit and clean my palate.  I need a new audiobook, but my audiobook to-read list currently has Stardust (ditto on Wee Free Men and waiting a bit for that one), a book that I'm not yet first in line for, a book I'd like to wait for October for (cause it's about Halloween), and so I thought I'd listen to a Sherlock Holmes collection which of last week had no wait list, but of course now does... hmm... I just decided to download A Long Walk to Freedom ... but 27 hours?  I'll need some road trips..  Or maybe a sewing project...

 

 

 

 

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An update on me: Thursday I have another venogram scheduled. The doctor wants to do a full scan of my lower abdomen as opposed to the limited one I expected which might mean a couple hours under anesthesia, a prospect that makes me nervous. Any good thoughts or prayers are appreciated!

 

I'll send a healthy helping of good thoughts your way, Erin.

 

... I just decided to download A Long Walk to Freedom ... but 27 hours?  I'll need some road trips..  Or maybe a sewing project...

 

or perhaps a (VERY) long walk?!

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Since the last time I posted (which I think was week before last), I've read:

 

Two activist related books:

No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein: This looks at our current political situation from about as far left as I am, and discusses how we got here and how important it is to not just oppose the things we stand against but to also articulate our values and vision for a better future. 

 

Power and Struggle (Volume 1 of Gene Sharp's Politics of Nonviolent Action): I've read a lot of things which quote Sharp or refer to these books, but this is my first time reading the texts themselves.  If you've done anti-racist trainings for organizers you've almost certainly encountered the concepts, but seeing them put together was valuable.  I am, however, more excited about the later books which get into greater detail.  (My favorite part of this book is the last section which pulls together specific historical examples of nonviolent action from a range of times and cultures.)  As I question my own certainties about use of force (not for me personally, but philosophically) this was a helpful read.

 

Two plays:

By The Bog of Cats: Yet another Medea... this one is Irish and relatively modern.  The place and culture was well used, but there was a section that tried to bring Medea's brother and that didn't work for me at all. 

 

Intimate Apparel - Since I found Sweat quite powerful, I was interested in trying another by this author, but wasn't as moved.

 

Two Lorna Landvik novels:

One I liked and one I strongly disliked (both rereads from some time ago) but both fall into the very predictable, slightly formulaic realm.  (Which is what I am reading them for, honestly, for when my brain is exhausted and I'm done with real complexity and want familiar grooves and sappy melodramas with lots of friendship and solidarity)  The one I liked is Welcome to the Great Mysterious and the one I didn't (which I now remember not liking before...) is Patty Jane's House of Curl.

 

Two Jodi Picoult novels:

Formulaic with "surprise twists"... though even when I read them for the first time I saw each twist coming far ahead of time.  Again there was one I appreciated and one I disliked (and, again, I remembered those feelings *after* finishing the books)  Nineteen Minutes is, sort of, a follow-up on Columbine, which I read a while ago, and A Mother's Reckoning, which I read earlier this summer.  The Pact had much more in common with 19 minutes than I'd remembered, but handled it worse, imo.  ...and its simplification (imo) of suicidal motivation really bothered me.

 

One read-aloud with my little guy: 

 

The Ark.  Our last one was Winged Watchman, which is set in WWII occupied Holland.  This one is set in post-war Germany.  Both touch on grim realities, but have very much a child's viewpoint... and both have a lot of compassion and agency.  (And are childhood favorites of mine)  We're moving on the The Singing Tree....

 

One YA SFF book:

 

Court of Fives: I heard this billed as Little Women meets the Hunger Games (and the girls' names hint at the LW connection, though there really isn't anything else that ties them)... and (fortunately, since I hated HG) that comparison falls flat too.  It lacks depth, but has some interesting world building and was an engaging read.  I'm not sure if I will read the sequels.

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I started to write that I hadn't read much since last week, but just realized I must have gotten through about 5 hours of War and Peace as I'm down to the last hour. I came to a screeching halt in the second epilogue -- I wasn't in the mood for grand reflections on history and historians.  

 

Perhaps as an antidote to the sweeping grandness that is W&P, I started Broken Homes, the 4th in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series. I've been saving them to read as a treat in between other books, to have something light, fun and just a bit silly. 50 pages in and I've laughed out loud at least twice.  And dh and I listened to more of the Truman biography on a drive up to meet family for dinner last night. 

 

Sending good thoughts your way, Erin. 

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We used to love going to the National Book Festival when we lived in MD/VA. It used to be held outside. I'm not sure what's better. Inside and cold or outside and hot and humid lol

 

I love Nicola Yoon. Everything Everything had just come out when I was on bedrest waiting for my hysterectomy. It was one of the books I read to keep my mind off the pain and boredom. I loved it so much. I had no idea at the time that it was brand new or that it was the author's first book. I gave it a glowing review and, as usual, I posted a link to the review on Twitter and tagged her like I tag all authors who are on there. She liked, retweeted, and responded to my tweet *and* sent me a long direct message thanking me and telling me how happy she was that I liked her book. It was really cool. It won't be hard to read everything she's ever written because that is only two books so far! (Everything Everything and The Sun is Also a Star)

What a great story about Nicola Yoon. She indeed seemed so kind and gracious.

 

I prefer cold and indoors lol, especially since it was rainy on Saturday. It would not have been a good day for an outdoor event!

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Checking in late this week and just skimmed the thread. We had an end-of-summer quick trip down to SoCal this weekend to see a few more colleges, my brother, and Disneyland. I sprung for the kindle Maude version of W&P just so I wouldn't fall behind and I'm very proud to be caught up because this was a really long section. I do like reading the paper book better--translations on the same page, easier for me to flip back or read notes at the end. But it was nice to read it on the plane ride and easier to hold and carry! I'll keep the kindle in my purse until I finish the book.

 

Finished another book last week (3rd week in a row)--Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge, one of older dd's assigned summer reads which I've been working on for a few weeks. It was good, but I'm glad to be done with the heavier assigned reading stuff. Today I finished a book in one day which I haven't done in a long time (car and plane travel home). It was Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train which is our book club pick for this month. This was an easier read than anything I've read in a month or two.

 

Up next: a book club member recommended The Nordic Theory of Everything-In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen and I have the library's copy. The author is a woman from Finland who marries an American and how she finds American concepts of health insurance, taxes, education, child care, etc. so much more complicated and stressful than in Finland. I'm expecting to be in total agreement with her.

 

Someone want to recommend a Flufferton for me for this month? I don't want a long list--just a "here's a good one that's probably in your library that I think you would like. Not too steamy, characters you'll root for. Less than 300 pages too!" I've read the few Georgette Heyer's our library has and enjoyed them. Something else I would like?

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