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Book a Week 2017 - BW41: Bookish Notes and Birthdays


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Happy Sunday and welcome to week 41 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.

 

It is time for another round of bookish notes and birthdays. 

 

Congratulations to  Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  The secretary of the Swedish academy "described Kazuo Ishiguro's writing style as a mix of Jane Austen and Franz Kafka: 'But you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix, and then you stir.'"  Ishiguro has been awarded the prize as one "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."  Check out Literary Saloon's round up of articles discussing Ishiguro.

 

Neil Gaiman's Good Omens will be coming to screens in the near future with David Tennant and  Michael Sheen, playing the demon and the angel.   Plus Gaiman's All Hallows Read will be repeated this year the week of Halloween with some scary but not too scary book suggestions for kids to teens.  

 

Check out 8 Stellar Nonfiction Reads for World space week which runs from October 4th through the 10th. 

 

Tor's We Dare You to Spend the Night with These Haunted House stories

 

Moving on to the not so spooky with The Irish Times article: Mrs Osmond by John Banville: An entertaining homage to Henry James.

 


Royal History of Women's October compilation of royal women stories.

 

The little known visual art of E.E. Cummings.  

 


Birthdays:

 

October 8:  Science Fiction writer Frank Herbert,  and the author of Goosebumps - R.L. Stine

October 9:  Australian author Jill Ker Conway

October 10:   Yugoslavian novelist and 1961 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Ivo Andric as well as English playwright and 2005 Nobel Prize winner for literature - Harold Pinter 

October 11:  French novelist and 1952 Nobel Prize winner - François Mauriac 

October 12: African American novelists - Alice Childress and Ann Lane Petry

October 13:  Pulitzer Prize winner Conrad Richter

October 14:  Poet e.e. cummings

 

Have fun following rabbit trails!

 

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

 

War and Peace:  Read Epilogue – Part One

 

 

In the Epilogue, Tolstoy analyzes how historians apply the actions of one person and represent it as the action of an entire people. He discusses the actions of Napoleon, the question of power and whether power is taken by one person or given to that person by a select few or the masses.

 

"How did these individuals compel whole nations to act in accordance with their will? pg 1317

 

What is the meaning of power and what happens if no one follows that power? What is the meaning of free will and if people are influenced by the actions of those around them or if it is all meant to be? His examination of the events of 1812 is very interesting and gives you much to think and talk about.

 

 

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What are you reading this week?

 

 

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Happy Sunday and welcome to week 41 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 

We had a quiet and uneventful night, even slept pretty well. Now back in front of the computer looking for updates. The fire still rages, but mostly in the open space around the densely inhabited area

Hello everyone!   I haven't read any War and Peace this week but will get going with it again after I finish my current read, The Four Swans (Poldark #6) by Winston Graham.    I finished The Black

Favorite quote from Volume IV Part IV of W&P:

 

 

Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.

I laughed aloud at that one!

 

I found a new (to me) crime writer with a new (to me) vicarious setting.  Garry Disher sets his Inspector Challis mysteries on the Mornington peninsula, south of Melbourne.  There is just something a little different about Australia--Christmas in the summer and a greater awareness of water as a precious resource.  Disher is quite an accomplished Australian writer.  Why had I not encountered him previously?

 

My non-fictional selection takes me to Portugal.  Roger Crowley's book Conquerors is subtitled How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire.  I have known of the feats of navigation performed by the Portuguese but had not given much thought before to the role they played in the slave trade with its profound effects in shaping the "new world".

 

Two audio books going at the moment, one on disc in the car and the other on the phone to accompany me as I sew and knit.  In the car is an Inspector Montalbano mystery (The Track of Sand) while on the phone I have an audio version of Kei Miller's Augustown, the 2017 winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Miller is Jamaican.

 

So I am obviously traveling all over the world in my reading. Have a good week everyone!

Edited by Jane in NC
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Reposting ~

 

Those of you who have a Barnes & Noble store nearby might be interested in this shareable coupon for 20% off one item which expires on October 9 at close of business.

**

 

A one day only currently free classic for Kindle readers ~

 

The Man of Property (The Forsyte Saga Book 1) by John Galsworthy 

 

"The first installment of the critically acclaimed Forsyte Saga introduces the Forsyte clan and their endlessly fascinating intrigues. Author John Galsworthy’s take on the constricted roles of women within the confines of marriage casts an unforgiving light on traditional courtship while rendering otherwise common domestic dramas in the luscious, indelible prose that would establish him as one of English literature’s brightest luminaries.
 
Upon acquainting the reader with the sprawling Forsyte dynasty, Galsworthy narrows his focus to the relationship between Soames Forsyte, a wealthy solicitor, and his stunning wife, Irene. Determined to keep Irene for himself, Soames slowly narrows his wife’s social circle before convincing her to move to a countryside home. And when Irene begins to take a romantic interest in architect Philip Bosinney, Soames will stop at nothing to ensure that Irene understands her place within their marriage.
 
Widely regarded as the finest novel in an exemplary series, The Man of Property is a groundbreaking work of Victorian literature and a delightful read from first page to last."

**

 

In honor of

 

World space week which runs from October 4th through the 10th.

 

Books in Space! 30 Stellar Pieces of Bookish Space Gear  by Nikki VanRy

 

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Hello everyone!

 

I haven't read any War and Peace this week but will get going with it again after I finish my current read, The Four Swans (Poldark #6) by Winston Graham. 

 

I finished The Black Moon (Poldark #5) earlier in the week and just loved it. Apparently Winston Graham took a 20 year break in between #4 and #5 - the story did not suffer from his break in any way! His writing is even better, imo, and I just had to go straight to #6. Is anyone watching the new season of Poldark on PBS? If you are, I won't spoil it but hold on to your hat! Lots of things will be happening in Cornwall  :ohmy:

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This week I'm reading Select Treatises of St. Athanasius in Controversy With the Arians, edited by Cardinal Newman -- I know, it just flies off the library shelves, but somehow I managed to get hold of it -- and the only slightly more popular novel The Reverberator, by Henry James. Anyone remember Somerset Maugham's comment, in the introduction to The Razor's Edge -- "Even so subtle and careful observer as Henry James, though he lived in England for forty years, never managed to create an Englishman who was through and through English"? Let me say for the record that James's portrayal of the speaking patterns of Americans -- or at least, those Americans of whom he socially disapproves -- is more grating than convincing. I nearly threw the book across the room when he says, superciliously, of a character who has just said the word "sitting," "A person with a delicate ear might have suspected Mr. Dosson of saying 'setting.'" (Dh and his parents, originating from a culturally disfavored part of the United States, don't distinguish between short /e/ and /i/, and I dislike the suggestion that there is something contemptible about their accent.) So we'll see if this novel recovers from this early stumble. I know James can do better; the protagonist of The American was well done.

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Jane, that W&P quote sounds similar to something one would find in Catch-22.

 

Still working on Catch-22 & very much enjoying it. As I posted yesterday, I think M*A*S*H owes a lot to Catch-22.

 

Robin, I enjoyed that linked list of haunted house stories. Glad to see The Elementals, as well as Horrorstor on the list.

 

Speaking of Catch-22 ... I was reading our local news this week, and there was a policeman named Commander Officer, and I thought, "I bet he worked like a dog to make commander so everyone would have to stop calling him -- "

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Ooooh, several of these sound so good! I still haven't made a decision on what spooky October book to read but I think I'll try to find The Grip of It or The Little Stranger or The Elementals at my library.

 

I actually read The Amityville Horror when I was 9 or 10. Not sure what my parents were thinking  :eek: but maybe they didn't notice what I was reading? lol

I spent the next year trying desperately trying to not look in the direction of my window at night, expecting to see red eyes glaring through the glass at me!

 

Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House is really good and The Shining is pretty terrifying, too. I think I read The Shining when I was 12? It's funny because now I rarely read horror stories. 

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My spooky reading has commenced! This week I read two short anthologies of spooky stories from famous writers: Great Ghost Stories and Great Tales of Suspense. I'm currently reading A Discovery of Wtiches by Deborah Harkness. Last week, I buzzed through Crosstalk by Connie Willis (not a spooky). It wasn't one of my favorites by her but it held my attention. She captured the harrassed feeling of a life of constant connection very well. I'm also working my way slowly through the collected works of Robert Ingersoll.

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I read Loner - 1 Star - This was a disturbing and strange book. In all fairness, the author is a good writer and he did a great job portraying the protagonist, but the story was a challenge for me. There wasn’t a single character that I thought was interesting, never mind any that I liked. Neither are good signs for me. This was just a creepy and sad read. 

 

9781501107894.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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I finished a lovely science book this morning, Biography of a Germ. It's about Borrelia, but it's such great science writing - think Oliver Sachs or Lewis Thomas - that I'd recommend it even if you aren't particularly interested in Lyme disease.   Also finished but unmentioned so far were How Can I Get Better, Neuromancer, and Love Among the Chickens.

 

Currently I'm reading Provenance, 1984, Why Buddhism is True, and Unlocking Lyme and listening to The Terror. 

 

ETA: I forgot: another Bingo Row:

 

Translated – We – Yevgeny Zamyatin
Thriller – Neuromancer – William Gibson
Banana! – Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World – Dan Koeppel
Finance- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond

Set in the 1970s – Another Brooklyn – Jacqueline Woodson

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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Didn't have much time over the week to sit and read a book or to listen to an audiobook.  Nevertheless I did finish Blue at the Mizzen, the last complete entry in the Master and Commander series. It wasn't very good, sad to say. There were moments that made me smile, but he skimmed past the action and spent far, far too much time sharing the letters the doctor was writing to his new love interest. It is a nice ending to the series, though, with the Captain finally making admiral in the last paragraphs of the book. I won't read the next, unfinished book for now, but will enjoy rereading my favorites for years to come.

 

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the Vampire's Violin. Not much happening except a vampire, who is a virtuoso violinist, biting his way through half of Europe in search of a rare violin. Not terribly spooky -- I'm saving spooky for Rebecca.

 

I'm also about 50 pages into The Grand Hotel, and am enjoying it very much. I'd be finished with it except Real Life keeps getting in the way. 

 

Speaking of which, I should close this browser window and get back to my task du jour, editing my quilt guild's by-laws and standing rules in preparation for next week's board meeting. The fun just never stops around here!

Edited by JennW in SoCal
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Robin, I enjoyed that linked list of haunted house stories. Glad to see The Elementals, as well as Horrorstor on the list.

 

Stacia, I remembered that you'd read Horrorstor and thought you might be interested in this review of another book the author wrote.  This is from the SBTB site:

 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix  by Carrie S

 

"If you are pining for 1980s tribute fare like Stranger Things, and you love books that focus on friendships between women, and you can tolerate some gross content, then I highly recommend My Best Friend’s Exorcism. It is not a romance, but it does have a great, though platonic, love story between two teenage girls who battle occult forces in 1988. And yes, the paperback cover is a perfect facsimile of a beat-up VHS tape.

 

Abby and Gretchen become friends after Gretchen is the only person to show up to Abby’s tenth birthday party. Gretchen’s parents are rich and Abby’s are not (her father is clinically depressed and her mother works long hours), and over time Abby spends more and more time at Gretchen’s house. Abby helps Gretchen experience all the parts of pop culture that Gretchen’s over-protective parents forbid, and Gretchen provides Abby with a shelter from Abby’s emotionally desolate household...."

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Kei Miller's Augustown, the 2017 winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Miller is Jamaican.

 

 

I have a few possibilities for Jamaica on my World Tour list, and this one is at the very top. I'm partial bc of the author's name; wondering if he pronounces it like my Kai. It's not currently in our library system, but I requested they purchase it so I imagine it will be soon. Probably long before I get around to reading it. 

 

Jane, that W&P quote sounds similar to something one would find in Catch-22.

 

 

Haha! It really does.

 

I read Loner - 1 Star - This was a disturbing and strange book. In all fairness, the author is a good writer and he did a great job portraying the protagonist, but the story was a challenge for me. There wasn’t a single character that I thought was interesting, never mind any that I liked. Neither are good signs for me. This was just a creepy and sad read. 

 

 

I'm amazed you stuck with it!

 

 

I actually read The Amityville Horror when I was 9 or 10. Not sure what my parents were thinking  :eek: but maybe they didn't notice what I was reading? lol

 

 

Right?! I wonder the same wrt to some of my youthful reading & viewing habits.

 

 I should close this browser window and get back to my task du jour, editing my quilt guild's by-laws and standing rules in preparation for next week's board meeting. The fun just never stops around here!

 

"The Amateur's Guide to Quilt Guild By-Laws", lol ~ could be a hot commodity, lol!

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I was pleased yesterday to come across a $8 excellent condition copy of some Carson McCullers. The volume includes The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, and The Member of the Wedding.  This Georgia start to my States tour will keep me satisfied when I head to Columbus soon. 

 

I am still waffling as to how to tackle the World Tour list.  My library happened to have In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree (Cambodia) and Broken April (Albania) readily available so I checked out & perused them. Both are enticing. But unlike you mega-bibliophiles, I'm not stellar at reading multiple fiction books at once. I like things interrelate. Maybe I should start with a book from the nation of Georgia, lol. 

 

Edited by Colleen
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Some currently free books for Kindle readers ~

 

The Unity Game by Leonora Meriel:  called an "ambitious and thought-provoking novel" by Kirkus Reviews

**

 

Greensmith Girls: A Supernatural Witch series, Book 1  by Raven Snow

**

 

Chasing Rabbits (The Underground Book 1)  by Erin Bedford:  an urban fantasy readers are comparing to Christine Feehan and Nalini Singh.

**

 

Struck: (Phoebe Meadows Book 1)  by Amanda Carlson

**

 

The Secret Heart  by Erin Satie
**
 
**

 

The Island of Echoes: A Novel by Roman Blair

**

 

Regards,

Kareni

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On the Spooky reading front I have been bust listening to Fred the Vampire Accountant https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22081680-the-utterly-uninteresting-and-unadventurous-tales-of-fred-the-vampire-a. Currently listening to the second in the series. These are pleasantly entertaining with a mixture of supernatural creatures. Not spooky and at times silly. Fred, the accountant, who cut a deal with the head of the local hospital for access to the blood supply in return for certifying the less than accurate tax filing. No guilt because the hospital does a lot of good. ;)

 

Also "(re)reading" Tanya Huff's Smoke and Shadows https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/338121.Smoke_and_Shadows?ac=1&from_search=true which I thought was a reread. It's not, right author wrong series. Pretty disappointed but will finish it because I have it and it isn't bad just not what I wanted it to be. It probably qualifies better as spooky than the vampire and werewolf fiction I intended to read. The world or at least a TV set in Vancouver is being invaded by otherworldly shadows that attach themselves to people. Creepy...... Isn't that an X file episode?

 

I finished The Jane Austen Project last night https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32930819-the-jane-austen-project. Two time travellers from the future return to 1815 with the purpose of befriending Jane and returning to their time with her unfinished novel and letters. For a serious Austen fan probably a great time but for me, more of a time travel geek, this one wasn't as good as others in the genre. I highly recommend an alternate like Jodi Taylor's series https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29661618-just-one-damned-thing-after-another?ac=1&from_search=true if one is considering this for the time travel elements instead of Austen. This one ticked my second to last book off in my alphabetical title challenge. All I have left is The Devotion of Suspect X which is now on hold.

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I'm amazed you stuck with it!

Me too! I usually give up on a book if it doesn't interest me. I thought that the story may, just may, possibly improve. Many have liked this book. It wasn't for me. I didn't care for the ending nor any of the characters. 

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Getting back to some comments from last week ~

 

 

I haven't really lived internationally, but I moved all the time when I was growing up. So, even though I have lived in my current town for over 30 years, I don't necessarily feel like I'm from here. But I also don't feel like I'm from where I was born. When people ask me where I'm from, I usually don't know how or what to answer, lol.

 

Nor do I, so I know precisely what you mean.

 

Wow Kareni! I had now idea you had lived so many places.

 

I have hidden depths ....

 

And now with your dd in Korea, your extended family is conquering yet another continent. All hail the global Kareni clan!

 

According to my daughter, about the first thing a person is asked in South Korea is where he or she is from.  My daughter was born in one state and moved to our current state when she was eleven.  She tends to answer that she is from here, the current state ... which she left at age 18 to attend college and has visited only sporadically since moving to South Korea four years ago.

 

On the theme of "Where are you from?", let me introduce my husband whose first and last names are Germanic in spelling.  I cannot tell you how many times people have seen his name (I never changed my last name when I married) and have asked me what country my husband is from.  Well, his mother's family came over on the Mayflower.  His father's family settled around 1750 in what is now the state of Pennsylvania.  But apparently his name doesn't look "American" which leads to what I find to be a weird question:  "What country is your husband from?" Yeah, he is an engineer so is he from Mars? Maybe that's the appropriate answer. (And if all engineers are from Mars, I guess Amy and my husband are cousins!)

 

If he is from Mars, is he also a space pirate?!  Does he grow potatoes?

 

For Kareni and other BaWers, perhaps we can be categorized as "Readers", giving an alternative meaning to People of the Book.

 

I would happily be categorized as a Reader.

 

ummm:  GENTLE READERS methinks

 

Or a Gentle Reader!

**

 

I really tried to like that first Anne Cleeland book, but felt something about that budding romantic relationship was a little icky. 

 

I hear you; it's not everyday that an admitted stalker is the hero of a tale/series.  Still, I did enjoy the first six books and look forward to reading more.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I've recently finished a couple of books ~

 

This was a quick read which raised some interesting questions while also being enjoyable and touching.
 

I don't think I can do the book justice, so here are a couple of reviews:

 

A Family Memoir Makes the Case That  Autism Is Different, Not Less  by RON SUSKIND

 

"In just the third paragraph of what turns into an uncommonly riotous and moving book, Judith Newman dives headlong into the highly charged debate over whether to replace the term “autistic†with more cautious, politically correct language: “a man with autism, a woman with autism.â€

 

Newman understands the impulse behind such “person-first†nomenclature, but she’s not buying it. The phrase “person with autism,†she writes, “suggests that autism is something bad that one needs distance from. You’d never say ‘a person with left-handedness’ or ‘a person with Jewishness.’ Then again, you might say a ‘person with cancer.’ … There’s also something about this pseudo-delicacy that is patronizing as hell.â€..."

 

And another review

 

‘To Siri With Love’: The tale of a mother, a son and a phone by Jamie Fisher

 

"Judith Newman’s twins, Gus and Henry, were born prematurely, after a difficult pregnancy. In the hospital, shortly after giving birth, Newman was visited by a friend, the editor of a parenting magazine. “She told me she knew immediately that Henry was extremely intelligent. She said nothing about Gus.â€
 
When Gus reached 10 months, Newman began to acknowledge that something might be wrong. At a year and a half, he was more interested in acquiring the language of machines than of people. Newman joked to a friend: “I guess it’s good he’s a city child. Soon he’ll be doing car alarms, cars backfiring, buses emitting exhaust, drive-by shootings.†When he did begin talking, he seemed to speak without full comprehension — wailing about elephants when he used the toilet or mimicking the sponsor credits on PBS. “I remember him at four,†Newman writes, “running into my room at three a.m., for some reason screaming, ‘I DON’T LIKE WHALES.’ †At age 6, Gus was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum...."
**
 

I also read and enjoyed The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin.

 

"When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

 

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us."

 

 

I heard mention that a movie was going to be made of this story and thought I might like to see it; however, it appears that the movie is being panned.  (Which led my husband and I to wonder about the etymology of this meaning of the word panned.  Some online searching has not proved productive.  Any ideas?)  Here's a link to a collection of said poor reviews including "The Mountain Between Us is epic all right – an epic waste of talent and your time." — Rolling Stone.

 

The 14 Meanest Things Critics Are Saying About Kate Winslet’s New Survival Movie

 

Regards,

Kareni

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With the holidays and my housing coalition work, I missed updating last week!

 

The stand-out book of these two weeks was Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change.  Wow.  The author is an incredibly gifted nature writer and a professor of philosophy who teaches courses in environmental ethics and she brings both skill sets powerfully to play in this moving and inspiring book.  If you already care about this issue, enjoy nature writing, and want to read one book on the subject, read this one.  For me, this was exactly the book I need to read right now, one which calls out our underlying assumptions about how we make decisions - are we deciding certain things based on likely outcomes?  ... what does that starting place bake into our process and thinking?  What about when we decide based on our characters, our internal moral compass, our integrity?  And I realized that much of what I do is from the latter perspective.  ...what one new article about my arrest called my "stubborn decency".  There are things that are right, whether they make a significant difference in the bigger picture or not... because it isn't about the outcome, it is about who I am and what I believe to be the ethical, moral way to act.

 

On a similar theme (no catastrophic climate change or beautiful nature writing in this one, though) is When G-d Is Near: On the High Holidays which, among other things, talks about Yom Kippur and this season as being a time for bringing our actions in line with our truest selves and our deepest values.... the story of Yonah and his attempt to escape from his calling were drawn on a number of times and resonated strongly for me. 

 

Other than that, I read:

 

Two other nonfiction titles:  Dream Hoarders: this names some really obvious areas of inequity which need addressing, but the solutions suggested, in my eyes, are tepid and fail to seriously address the underlying issues.  The naming of the problems part was less frustrating, but still felt rather surface.

Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters: This doesn't really answer the question it poses, but does look at three broad categories of kids who have killed (and others who have been prevented from killing) - another entry in what I'm still thinking of as the flip-side of my Medea reading.  (though for that one, I read mostly literary works and for this mostly non-fiction... )

 

5 DE Stevenson books (all 4 of the ones connected to Miss Buncle, plus Celia's House).  They were, as always, gentle, sweet reads, but the casual misogyny in a few of them bothered me more this time.

 

Books #6-12 in Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mystery series.  I am still appreciating their voice and atmosphere and the stubborn decency of Brunetti.  They aren't as satisfying as some mysteries, though their lack of tidy solutions to the larger issues is one of their appeals right now, but they seem to be the right leisure reading for me right now.  (and I'm not even half-way through them yet!)

 

A Clara Benson: Mystery at Underwood House. I have a few more of these on my shelves and might read more.  They are completely lacking in the nuance of the Leon books, but have a similar appeal to Heyer mysteries - cosy-ish, predictable, with an engaging voice.

 

 

 

 

 

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And I also finished Dream Hoarders this week! I think it's useful in pointing out the issue of the wide and growing separation between the upper quintile income-wise and the lower 80%. His point is that we are too eager to point to the top 1% as the hoarders of wealth and opportunity when the problems start at a much lower income than that. The author is British (now an American citizen) and he thinks we're developing an entrenched class system perhaps worse than Britain. Our systems like college admissions, exclusionary zoning, and internships are skewed to keep those on top in place. I'm not sure I agree with everything he said (eg I don't see legacy admissions at colleges as he does) but I thought it was worth reading.

 

Almost done with the first epilogue in W&P--perhaps I'll finish this week! I also have Mink River I need to get to for next week's book club.

 

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Finished four books this week!

 

107. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (ebook) - I'm not sure exactly what I enjoyed so much about this tale, but I really, really enjoyed it.  The 18yo half-elf, half-goblin son of the emperor, who is 4th in line for the throne and pretty much exiled to the boonies since his mother's death and father's marriage to wife #5, is suddenly put on the throne overnight when the emperor and all his other sons are killed in a dirigible accident - which may not have been an accident.  Lots of political intrigue, some great world (and language) building, and a central character I found very sympathetic.  I often shy away from reading the first books in series because I don't want to feel like I need to read on to get the full story - this, as far as I know, is a standalone book.  But I liked the characters and world so much I almost wish there were more... For my Steampunk square, since I moved The Invisible Library book to another category... 5 stars.

 

108. The Wee Free Men - My first Pratchett! :D  And yes, I found it quite enjoyable, especially all the pictsie dialogue.  I'll be reading Going Postal quite soon for the Philately square. This one was for the 'elves, sprites, or other impish creatures' square. 4 stars.

 

109. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (audiobook) - Interesting and all, but I didn't find it was compelling as I thought I would, considering praise I've heard heaped on this.  The ending is abrupt and leaves the main characters (Marguerite who is almost never called Maya in the book, and her brother Bailey), in very bad places with no hint as to a way out.  Obviously she somehow turned her life around, but the book gives us no clue how.  And I'd love to know whatever happened to Bailey... For the Maya Angelou square. 3 stars.

 

110. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - My first spooky read! Read this in one sitting.  I'm very happy that I didn't even read the blurb so I had no idea what the premise was or why the sisters were living on their own and where the antipathy with the villagers came from.  I really liked the way she built the story.  For the Thriller square.  Not sure if this is a classic thriller, but I'm going with it anyway.  4 stars.

 

 

Currently reading:

 

- Dragon Dawn by Deborah O'Neill Cordes - Time travelling, alternate realities, and some dinosaurs have evolved into intelligent bipeds while mammals are all still rat-like.  For my sci-fi book club, and the Dinosaur square. 

 

- Into Thin Air (ebook) - taking it slow as I'm running out of ebooks on my shortlist TR list and have many hardcopy books to get through.  But really enjoyed the first couple of chapters.

 

- Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (audiobook) by Lisa See - liking it okay so far.  Is making me think of the discussion of outsiders writing about a culture vs. them writing about themselves.  Much explanation of the local culture, and some internal dialog that doesn't seem authentic - but what are the chances of ever reading anything by someone from this obscure mountain tribe (the Chinese have just lumped them and a few other nearby but non-related cultures into one 'minority group' without bothering to differentiate them), which doesn't appear to even have a written language?  

 

- El capitán Alatriste  by Arturo Peréz-Reverte - meant to read something else by him first, but needed something for the En garde! square. ;)  Not that far in yet...

 

- W&P - just caught up this afternoon, so now starting on the Epilogues! :)

 

Coming up: 

 

Planning on the audio of Something Wicked This Way Comes as another spooky read, and I think I'd like to get to Die Verwandlung / The Metamorphosis.  Also have my other SciFi book club book, The Empress of Mars, to get to soon.  Oh, and I'm planning on The Seven Dials Mystery as a double-dip for the Agatha Christie square and my Opal book, because according to the blurb at least, there's a theft of an opal pin or something going on?  Hope that's actually in there...

Edited by Matryoshka
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I don't know if I skipped one week or two! Time has been running together lately, but I'm reading Diana Gabaldon's giant books, so I guess it doesn't matter. I finished The Fiery Cross, which was an absolute mess of a book. It should have been edited down or revised or structured as a series of related novellas or... something. It struck me very much as a draft that she should have taken and mined for themes, then revised and developed those. Instead she would bring things up and then leave them hanging like she forgot about them.

 

On the other hand, I read all 980 pages and went on to A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which is even bigger but has much more of an actual plot. The characters were what pulled me through The Fiery Cross, specifically Roger Mac. I liked him a lot in that book, but oh my, is Diana Gabaldon mean to him!!! That's the thing that gets me most about her as an author; her books can just ramble and feel unconnected and make me frustrated, and then all of a sudden she'll stumble on a plot thread that makes me sit back, stunned, and say, "I can't believe she did that!"

 

Anyway, I'm on page 690 of A Breath of Snow and Ashes and not halfway through the book. The level of violence in the first half of this book has been somewhat astonishing. I'm also not sure of the direction in which she's going with Roger. But I'll keep reading, with some trepidation.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Jane, I thought that quote was funny too. And....I finished War and Peace!  I'm glad I chose to reread this book. There were parts I looked forward to, parts I dreaded (some because they were sad, some because of Tolstoy's armchair general musings), and parts that clicked with me the second time that I didn't pay close enough attention to on my first read.

 

Stacia, thank you for those quotes. I had forgotten how irreverent Catch-22 is. Maybe it needs to go on my ever-growing reread list for next year.

 

I'm making progress in Nicholas and Alexandra and am about 2/3 through Den of Thieves

 

I was browsing Overdrive trying to help dh find a book whose title he couldn't recall, when I came across Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. I downloaded it, we're both reading it now, and we never did find that WWII book he was trying to remember. :)

 

Although I never mentioned it (at least I don't think I did) and didn't add it to Goodreads, I was trying to read The Invention of Murder but I found it too dry and boring so I abandoned it. Over the weekend I found a three part documentary on Britbox called A Very British Murder. It covers much of what the book synopsis says it covers but has the advantage of being hosted by Lucy Worsley, who is never dry and boring. I watched all three episodes and now feel like I don't need to read the book. 

 

 

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Caught by a cold with fever.

 

I finished last week:

Orange is the new black

Dd and I both liked the book.

 

From Lord Halewijn to Hugo Claus

220 most famous dutch poems from the middle ages to ca. 1950

The serie also has a 1950-present volume

 

In progress:

A thick book about - in their time - 2 famous dutch feminists who are somehow forgotten in our times.

Extremely interesting as it lists a lot of titles written in their time that nobody seems to know now but were bestsellers in their time. So my TBR list is growing :)

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Last night my DS asked how my BaW challenges were going. As I was updating him I mentioned that I still needed a local author to try (there are several thanks to my insider library volunteer scoops and I have tried many. The ones I haven't are not high on my list or too short for the challenge). Which completely cracked Ds up because to him this means mom has to read a Jeremy Clarkston (Top Gear), his biography never lists our village but everyone knows he was here, moved in and out during childhood. I disappointed the lad when I tried to explain I would probably just read a Joanne Harris (new to me) who is from 15 miles or so away. He thinks I need local, local. So.....

 

I have spent way too much time playing on the computer this morning looking for a new to me author and I wanted to share one of my finds. This website doesn't seem to work very smoothly and appears to still be in development but it dovetails in to our 50 States and Country's of the World discussion beautifully...... Let me present Counties of Englandhttps://www.fernwehfiction.co.uk/place-reviews. The business concept appears to be fun because they send a box monthly with a book or two and something like a special tea as you travel around the country by county. Clever.

 

The result of my search is I will probably still read Joanne Harris since I never have.

I know she is a favourite of Negin among others .....:lol:

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I started up my spooky reads last week as they came into the library. I have a large stack to work through and I'm looking forward to it! Most of my reading this year has been fantasy with my BAW Bingo reads mixed in, so it will be fun to change things up.

 

Books read last week:

  • Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Fantasy. A con man finds himself running the town's postal service. I thought this was a fantastic book, the first Discworld book I thoroughly enjoyed apart from the Death/Susan Sto Helit and Tiffany Aching series.
  • Ulysses by James Joyce. Classic Literature. A day in the life of an aspiring artist and an ad man. I finished! Wipes the sweat off my brow and dances in celebration. What a tough read! While I could appreciate Joyce's talent and brilliance, I just couldn't care about the characters. It's like studying a well-executed painting and finding the subject matter repulsive. Nearly every possible bodily function is described, often in such beautifully descriptive detail that it takes a few lines to realize what is happening. I'm still working on the Ulysses Teaching Courses lecture and debating whether I should re-read sections, but it doesn't sound very tempting right now. I wish Joyce had written books I could like. 
  • I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas. Horror. A writer investigates a murder at a Lovecraft conference.
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. Science Fiction-Space Opera. A burned out cop investigates the disappearance of a wealthy girl with rebel sympathies. A well done science fiction read.
  • Envy of Angels by Mark Wallace. Urban Fantasy. A short novella about a catering company that creates magical dishes for demons.

My goal this week is to finish my last bingo read plus read some horror to get in the mood for October.

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Dubliners, surely?

 

I forgot about Dubliners, which I haven't read. I've read Portrait of the Artist, and I've attempted Finnegan's Wake a few times, but couldn't get very far. There was a period in my early twenties where I had planned to read the top 100 books written in the English language. I can't remember the website but the Modern Library list looks familiar. I think Finnegan's Wake was where I gave up on the list. I don't know why I thought Wake would be more approachable than Ulysses.

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Hoping Rose checks in this morning. There are major wildfires up in her neck of the woods.  

 

We've got red flag warnings today down at my end of the state -- dry, windy conditions, but so far it is cool and calm. Californians joke that we get our share of autumn color here, too, the red and orange of the annual fires. 

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Hoping Rose checks in this morning. There are major wildfires up in her neck of the woods.

 

We've got red flag warnings today down at my end of the state -- dry, windy conditions, but so far it is cool and calm. Californians joke that we get our share of autumn color here, too, the red and orange of the annual fires.

I was just coming over here to check on Rose. Yikes!

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Guys, this is super scary. We are ok for now, but there are fires & evacuations to the south, east and north. If we do have to evacuate it's not clear where to go. It's been crazy windy. Right now it's not blowing towards us but if it shifts . . . 

 

Some good friends have evacuated, haven't heard from them. Others are standing by with hoses. Dh is hosing down our roof. Trying not to freak out too badly here . . . It's much worse for many. The hospitals have been evacuated. Restaurants and stores we frequent have been burned to the ground. It is zero % contained at this point.  I'll try to check in regularly but we may lose power/service, I'm a little surprised we still have it, many don't.

 

I could use whatever good thoughts you can send my way today.

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Guys, this is super scary. We are ok for now, but there are fires & evacuations to the south, east and north. If we do have to evacuate it's not clear where to go. It's been crazy windy. Right now it's not blowing towards us but if it shifts . . . 

 

Some good friends have evacuated, haven't heard from them. Others are standing by with hoses. Dh is hosing down our roof. Trying not to freak out too badly here . . . It's much worse for many. The hospitals have been evacuated. Restaurants and stores we frequent have been burned to the ground. It is zero % contained at this point.  I'll try to check in regularly but we may lose power/service, I'm a little surprised we still have it, many don't.

 

I could use whatever good thoughts you can send my way today.

 

Firestorm days are the absolute worst. Hope you've at least packed up your car, or have your important stuff ready to go. 

 

My young neighbor is a student at Sonoma State where classes have been cancelled and students are evacuating. 

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11 Books Like Ready Player One  by Stephen Lovely

 

"Ready Player One is one of the best science fiction novels from the past decade. It’s fast and funny, but also smart and serious. It’s vividly imagined, while being instantly familiar. It’s packed with cultural references, but it never loses its own identity. In short, it's a hard book to match. 

 

But if you find yourself looking for something new to read, we've compiled a list of 11 similar books that are sure to keep you captivated. No matter what your favorite part of Ready Player One is—from cultural references to the richly imagined virtual world—there's something for everyone on this list. We hope they tide you over until the Steven Spielberg movie adaptation is released, which is currently set to premiere on March 30, 2018...."

**

 

A one day only currently free classic mystery for Kindle readers; I've posted this one before  ~

 

813 (Arséne Lupin) by Maurice Leblanc 

 

"Framed for murder, Lupin must clear his name or face the gallows

 

Millionaire diamond collector Rudolf Kesselbach is in a Paris hotel room, contemplating the stroke of genius that is about to make him one of the wealthiest men in Europe, when a shadow steals into the room—a shadow with fine clothes, an easy smile, and a revolver pointed at Kesselbach’s chest. The intruder’s name, he says, is Arsène Lupin.

 

A few hours later, Kesselbach is found dead on the floor, Lupin’s calling card pinned to his chest. With the police hot on his trail, the master jewel thief must use every ounce of his genius to escape their traps and find the man responsible for the murder. But as Lupin soon discovers, his freedom is not all that is at stake. The fate of Europe hangs in the balance as well."

 

ALSO currently free ~

 

POLK, HARPER & WHO  by Panayotis Cacoyannis

 

 

The Death Wish Game  by Jonathan Chateau

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Guys, this is super scary. We are ok for now, but there are fires & evacuations to the south, east and north. If we do have to evacuate it's not clear where to go. It's been crazy windy. Right now it's not blowing towards us but if it shifts . . . 

 

Some good friends have evacuated, haven't heard from them. Others are standing by with hoses. Dh is hosing down our roof. Trying not to freak out too badly here . . . It's much worse for many. The hospitals have been evacuated. Restaurants and stores we frequent have been burned to the ground. It is zero % contained at this point.  I'll try to check in regularly but we may lose power/service, I'm a little surprised we still have it, many don't.

 

I could use whatever good thoughts you can send my way today.

 

 

:grouphug: Rose  :grouphug:

 

Sending good thoughts your way. Thank you for checking in. 

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Guys, this is super scary. We are ok for now, but there are fires & evacuations to the south, east and north. If we do have to evacuate it's not clear where to go. It's been crazy windy. Right now it's not blowing towards us but if it shifts . . .

 

Some good friends have evacuated, haven't heard from them. Others are standing by with hoses. Dh is hosing down our roof. Trying not to freak out too badly here . . . It's much worse for many. The hospitals have been evacuated. Restaurants and stores we frequent have been burned to the ground. It is zero % contained at this point. I'll try to check in regularly but we may lose power/service, I'm a little surprised we still have it, many don't.

 

I could use whatever good thoughts you can send my way today.

Rose, that is so scary! Thanks for checking in. Hope you can get somewhere safe for the duration but that your home and neighborhood stay safe in the meantime. :grouphug:

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We're still at home. With fires to the south, east and north and heavily forested steep land to the west, we're actually in the safest place we could be at the moment.  We do have bags packed if we have to evacuate, but at this point there is nowhere to go (that we could get to) that would be safer than where we are.

 

Some friends just east of here-where we used to live-texted pictures of a fire right down the road from their house, but the firefighters arrived and they seem to be ok now. 

 

Ashes are falling. And the wind is picking back up, which is not good news.

 

So far the unkindest cut: the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, where my girls do musical theater, is gutted. We literally helped build that little theater, and it is our 2nd home. I know it's just a place, but it's a special place to us and it's heartbreaking to lose it.

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We're still at home. With fires to the south, east and north and heavily forested steep land to the west, we're actually in the safest place we could be at the moment. We do have bags packed if we have to evacuate, but at this point there is nowhere to go (that we could get to) that would be safer than where we are.

 

Some friends just east of here-where we used to live-texted pictures of a fire right down the road from their house, but the firefighters arrived and they seem to be ok now.

 

Ashes are falling. And the wind is picking back up, which is not good news.

 

So far the unkindest cut: the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, where my girls do musical theater, is gutted. We literally helped build that little theater, and it is our 2nd home. I know it's just a place, but it's a special place to us and it's heartbreaking to lose it.

Horrible to read this. Holding you and your family in the safe zone of my heart.

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We're still at home. With fires to the south, east and north and heavily forested steep land to the west, we're actually in the safest place we could be at the moment.  We do have bags packed if we have to evacuate, but at this point there is nowhere to go (that we could get to) that would be safer than where we are.

 

Some friends just east of here-where we used to live-texted pictures of a fire right down the road from their house, but the firefighters arrived and they seem to be ok now. 

 

Ashes are falling. And the wind is picking back up, which is not good news.

 

So far the unkindest cut: the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, where my girls do musical theater, is gutted. We literally helped build that little theater, and it is our 2nd home. I know it's just a place, but it's a special place to us and it's heartbreaking to lose it.

 

What an awful day. 

 

  :grouphug:  to your girls on the loss of their theater home and more hugs to all of you as you sit completely unsettled and worried. I've been in your shoes 2 or 3 times in the last 15 years, so am fully empathizing. It is a total nightmare.

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