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Book a Week 2018 - BW4: River by Shuntaro Tanikawa


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Happy Sunday and welcome to week four in our Open Roads Reading Adventure. Greetings to all our readers and to all following our progress.  Mister Linky is available weekly on 52 Books in 52 Weeks  to share a link to your book reviews.

 

 

River

 

by

 

Shuntaro Tanikawa

 

 

 

Mother, 

Why is the river laughing? 

Why, because the sun is tickling the river

 

 

Mother, 

Why is the river singing? 

Because the skylark praised the river's voice

 

 

Mother, 

Why is the river cold? 

It remembers being once loved by the snow. 

 

 

Mother, 

How old is the river? 

It's the same age as the forever young springtime. 

 

Mother, 

Why does the river never rest? 

Well, you see it's because the mother sea

Is waiting for the river to come home. 

 

 

 

Learn more about Shuntaro Tanikawa from Japan Times Newly Selected Poems,  Roger Pulvers, the Guardian's Poem of the Week as well as the Skinny's Escaping West.

 

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it's time to redo our 52 Books postcard exchange list since we have a few newbies.  If you’d like to join in on our 52 Book postcard swap and send postcards (or chocolate *grin)  from your home town, activities, travel, or just because -  pm your name and mailing address as well as email address to me.  Also if you’d like to send or swap books. 

 

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What are you reading this week?

 

 

Link to week three

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Oh my -- this brings back memories. Many if not most of our dates nights found us in Borders (remember them?) killing time before going home so that the kids would definitely be asleep. This was in th

This week I had a couple of non-starters, and I can't remember WHAT they were.   I really think I should keep a list of books I started but gave up on, just so I won't forget and try to read them agai

Well, this past week I needed something light & easy to read. I had picked up LM Montgomery's Blue Castle to reread, but I realized it wasn't what I was looking for after about 30 pages. I put it

I finished The Sunne in Splendour.   Sharon Kay Penman has become one of my favorite historical fiction story writers. I was first introduced to her books through her Welsh trilogy.   Her stories are full of depth and richly populated with interesting historical characters.  

The Sunne in Splendour covers the life of Richard III over a 33 year period from when he was seven years old until after his death. From page one she immerses you in the lives of the House of York, as well as Lancaster and Neville.  I enjoyed learning about Richard, his brother Edward's rise to to be King and his relationship with Richard, the War of the Roses, the intrigues as well as betrayals of the time period.  History too often is rewritten with the facts being lost in the process when told from your enemies point of view. Through meticulous research, Penman set out to write a historical fiction novel that would show Richard wasn't the villain the Tudors and Shakespeare made him out to be. At 900+ pages, The Sunne in Splendour is a rich and densely packed story about 15th century England,  family, power, and politics which will capture your attention and hold you there until the very end.  

 

Currently reading Genevieve Cogman's The Masked City which is quite exciting! 

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Nothing makes your day awesome like waking up to discover a plumbing problem in the kitchen. I was able to fix it quickly, but visions of expensive bills were dancing in my head while I was working.

 

It was an interesting reading week. I read an excellent book, one I re-read once I finished, then read a truly terrible book. I guess that's a consequence of reading outside my comfort zone.

 

Books finished last week:

  • The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross. Fantasy Steampunk - YA. At the end of the nineteenth century, a servant girl discovers she has special powers. Typical YA fiction with not one, but two love triangles! Cassandra Clare does it better.
  • Redefining Reality by Steven Gimbel. Philosophy. The philosophical implications of scientific discoveries. Some interesting moments, but too many instances where his statements are wrong, misleading, or overly simplified.
  • It Takes One to Tango by Winifred M. Reilly. Self Help. A counselor offers advice on correcting your own behavior in relationships. It reminded me of The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula Le Guin. Essays. A collection of blog posts from Le Guin, some interesting, others less so. I was reminded that I need to pick up her books to read this year. 
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Memoir. A collection of stories about a man, born to a black mother and a white father, growing up in South Africa. A truly excellent book with a compelling voice. When I finished, I immediately re-read it, something I can't remember doing for a non-fiction book. If you haven't read this yet, I think it's a must read. Highly recommended.
  • Bright Scythe by Tomas Transformer, translated by Patty Crane. Poetry - Sweden. A collection of poems from a prominent Swedish poet.
  • Grant by Ron Chernow. Biography. The life of a United States general and president. The fourth Chernow I've read (House of MorganTitanAlexander HamiltonGrant), I think he is an exhaustive biographer who writes well. A reader learns a lot, but it seems his books could benefit from trimming. The descriptions can also be hyperbolic. In one instance, while describing Grant's despair on his daughter's wedding day, Chernow claims it turned out worse than Grant's "innocent imagination" could conceive. I find it incredulous that the commander of the Northern armies during the US Civil War had any form of innocence when it came to men's behavior. I presume the general knew quite well how terrible men could be thus his tears over his daughter's marriage. I read a much better Grant biography a few years ago so I'm trying to track it down to provide a link.
  • History's Greatest Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach by Gregory Aldrete. A historical survey of famous battles which led to disaster.
  • A Spell of Chameleon (Xanth #1) by Piers Anthony. Fantasy. In a magical land, a boy without any power is expelled from his native country. Part of my NPR Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy project, this book forced me to change my goals. Though I originally said I'd read three books in a series, I'm only reading one. I couldn't force myself to read any more Xanth - I'm too old for this...
  • Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. Fantasy - Second World. Three witches band together to stop a fairy godmother from making fairy tales come true.

Next on my top 100 is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. I'm reading this one slowly - his world building and prose are fantastic. Connie Willis's Doomsday Book is next. For poetry, I have Book of Twilight by Pablo Neruda which is also being read slowly. I'm learning Spanish so I'm reading the original poem then the English translation. I'm still trying to finish The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, but the book only emphasizes my ignorance of European history, a subject I once thought I knew, if not in detail, at least in broad strokes. Nope.

 

ETA: I think I found the Grant biography I read: U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth by Joan Waugh which is a biography of Grant as well as a historical view of his reputation.

Edited by ErinE
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I read Evening Class - 4 Stars - Maeve Binchy has been a huge part of my reading life since I was 18, when a friend urged me to read “Echoesâ€. Since that time, I had read almost everything by her. One of my dreams in life was to meet her someday. Sadly, she died a few years ago. Her books are delightful, comfort reads, and I’ve decided that I would like to re-read them.

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first time that I read it. The setting is Ireland, as are pretty much all of her books, where several different characters from all walks of life come together to take an evening class in Italian. This, to me, is where Maeve truly shines – her realistic, everyday characters – and, of course, her storytelling.

 

and Death at La Fenice - 4 Stars - I chose this book, the first in the Commissario Brunetti mystery series, because the setting is Venice, and my family and I will be briefly visiting there soon. Donna Leon does a wonderful job describing the city. If you’re looking for the type of mystery that you can’t put down, this isn’t it. Except for the ending, when it all comes together, this book is more about characters and the setting. A famous, but not particularly likeable conductor is found dead in his dressing room at the La Fenice theatre (Teatro La Fenice), an opera house in Venice. Brunetti is assigned to investigate the murder. I like him, as well as the fact that he adores his wife. This was an enjoyable read and I look forward to continuing with more in this series.

 

Some of my favorite quotes:

 

“He left his office and walked slowly up towards Piazza San Marco. Along the way, he paused to look into shop windows, shocked, as he always was when in the centre of the city, by how quickly their composition was changing. It seemed to him that all the shops that served the native population – pharmacies, shoemakers, groceries – were slowly and inexorably disappearing, replaced by slick boutiques and souvenir shops that catered to the tourists, filled with luminescent plastic gondolas from Taiwan and papier-mâché masks from Hong Kong. It was the desires of the transients, not the needs of the residents, that the city’s merchants answered. He wondered how long it would take before the entire city became a sort of living museum, a place fit only for visiting and not for inhabiting.â€

 

“Why was it that, when children loved you, you knew everything, and when they were angry with you, you knew nothing?â€

 

and The War Bride's Scrapbook - 3 Stars - As with her other book, “The Scrapbook of Frankie Prattâ€, this one is beautifully crafted with attractive text, photos, and illustrations. It’s just like reading a scrapbook. The story is compelling and so realistic that towards the end, I had to check to see if it may have even been partially based on a true story (it wasn’t). I do love Caroline Preston’s scrapbooks, although I prefer “The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt†over this one. They would make lovely gifts, and would also be perfect for reluctant readers or if you’re in a reading rut. 

 

9780440223207.jpg   9780061043376.jpg   61ba8fCYQ8L._SX260_.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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  • Grant by Ron Chernow. Biography. The life of a United States general and president. The fourth Chernow I've read (House of MorganTitanAlexander HamiltonGrant), I think he is an exhaustive biographer who writes well. A reader learns a lot, but it seems his books could benefit from trimming. The descriptions can also be hyperbolic. In one instance, while describing Grant's despair on his daughter's wedding day, Chernow claims it turned out worse than Grant's "innocent imagination" could conceive. I find it incredulous that the commander of the Northern armies during the US Civil War had any form of innocence when it came to men's behavior. I presume the general knew quite well how terrible men could be thus his tears over his daughter's marriage. I read a much better Grant biography a few years ago so I'm trying to track it down to provide a link.

 

I can't WAIT to read this book..... :lol:

 

I read Evening Class - 4 Stars - Maeve Binchy has been a huge part of my reading life since I was 18, when a friend urged me to read “Echoesâ€. Since that time, I had read almost everything by her. One of my dreams in life was to meet her someday. Sadly, she died a few years ago. Her books are delightful, comfort reads, and I’ve decided that I would like to re-read them.

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first time that I read it. The setting is Ireland, as are pretty much all of her books, where several different characters from all walks of life come together to take an evening class in Italian. This, to me, is where Maeve truly shines – her realistic, everyday characters – and, of course, her storytelling.

 

I love Maeve Binchy too.   I've read all of her books.

 

This was my first attempt at multiquoting.   

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This week I had a couple of non-starters, and I can't remember WHAT they were.   I really think I should keep a list of books I started but gave up on, just so I won't forget and try to read them again in 2 years. 

 

I did finish The Circle.   Which wasn't the world's greatest book, but was interesting.   I think we're way past stopping all of this privacy invasion stuff.   It's just so far beyond that.  I also watched the movie, and wasn't thrilled with it.   They made some odd story change choices.

 

This week I am trying to read Operation Mincemeat for the 3rd or so time.   I own this, and am trying to cull my dusty collection.   I just can't get into it for some reason.  WWII non-fiction is of particular interest to me, so I would think I would really enjoy this book.  

 

I also started A Partial History of Lost Causes and it's interesting.   

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I finished this week Last Girl, for the Nobelprize square.

Very good to read how news flashes touches ones personal lifes.

Very touchy topics too.

 

I finished Yemma, a book from a Marrocan-Dutch author and the problem he faces when his analphabetic muslim mother gets Alzheimer and how the care system is not ready for the situation.

 

I also finished the rule of four for Bingo reading.

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Some of my favorite quotes:

 

“He left his office and walked slowly up towards Piazza San Marco. Along the way, he paused to look into shop windows, shocked, as he always was when in the centre of the city, by how quickly their composition was changing. It seemed to him that all the shops that served the native population – pharmacies, shoemakers, groceries – were slowly and inexorably disappearing, replaced by slick boutiques and souvenir shops that catered to the tourists, filled with luminescent plastic gondolas from Taiwan and papier-mâché masks from Hong Kong. It was the desires of the transients, not the needs of the residents, that the city’s merchants answered. He wondered how long it would take before the entire city became a sort of living museum, a place fit only for visiting and not for inhabiting.â€

 

I read this quote, having skipped over the book’s setting and the location, and thought, “This sounds exactly how I feel about Venice.†I re-read your post and realized it is Venice. It shows how evocative the writing is and the impression the city leaves. It is a lovely city, but feels like a living museum.

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Well, this past week I needed something light & easy to read. I had picked up LM Montgomery's Blue Castle to reread, but I realized it wasn't what I was looking for after about 30 pages. I put it back and picked out Pat of Silver Bush. It was just what I needed - cats, cozy, laughs, whimsy, and just enough sadness that I could get my crying out. I had to follow it with Mistress Pat, which is just as cozy, but filled with more sadness with all the goings-away, changes, and deaths of loved ones. I'm always grateful for the ending, though, when I get to it. Old Lucy Maud is good for a happy ending.

 

Eldest dd is going through an Agatha Christie jag, so in solidarity, I've started The Mysterious Affair at Styles (the ebook version I linked is currently available for free as a pre-order, but verify before you take my word for it). I already have it for free on Audible, so it will count as one of my Audible books that I'm going to get through this year - that is, if I can make it through. It was a bit of a slow go, but I'm starting to get into it. I might actually like it better in print. . . 

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Finished 4 books this week:


 


4. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper - Very enjoyable reread, even if I missed the readalong deadline.  ;)  I may reread the rest of the series at some point maaaybe, but not now, I keep seeing new shiny books I want to read!  This list is the major contributor to the shininess, of course.  :lol:  I'm up at 777 (what a nice number) books on my TR list atm...  and it gets longer by the day...


 


5. The Way Station by Clifford Simak - one of my SciFi book club's selections this month.  About aliens setting up a transit stop on an interstellar travel line on earth back just after the Civil War.  The guy manning it is the only one who know it's there, and he doesn't age any more (unless he goes outside).  All sorts of good feelings about different races getting along in the end which I have to say was just nice to read in these current times.  5 stars.


 


6. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino - My non-Murakami Japanese novel for the month.  :)  A detective story that isn't a mystery because you already know who did it, it's more about them figuring out the cover-up.  Liked it but didn't wow me.  3 stars.


 


7. Señales que precederán al fin del mundo / Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera - poetic yet still slangy book about a young woman who crosses into the US to find out what happened to her brother and to try and bring him back.  So much Mexican slang and obscure and invented words made this challenging but also interesting.  I pretty much never go back and reread something quickly, but I might with this one - maybe after I've read at least a synopsis on the Aztec myths some reviewers say are being recalled in the story.  Looking at the quotes from the English translation in many reviews, I have to say that the translation looks really excellent, especially coming from tricky source material.  I feel like this would really benefit from a second reading, both to 'get' more of what's going on with the mythical references and to sink into the story without having to look up words - it's a short book and even with the challenge didn't take me long, so I think I'm up for it.  4 stars.


 


Currently reading:


 


Dune by Frank Herbert (audiobook) - about halfway in.  


 


Word by Word by Kory Stamper (ebook) - fun if you like language (and I do!)


 


The Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski - not that far in yet, but other than the 'planet only contains one biome from earth' I'm not seeing that it's 'Dune with water' as some reviewers have said.  I'd wait to finish Dune before starting this, but SciFi book club is on Tuesday and I'm hoping to finish it by then, and I've got 10 hours (!) of audio left on Dune...


 


Coming up: 


 


Next audio might be Celine by Peter Heller or A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, as both of those look like they'll come off hold next.  Anyone suggest one over the other?  I have both the Girl in the Tower and La Belle Sauvage out of the library, so one of those will come up soon... and I'm not sure yet which of the books in my German stack I'm in the mood for...


 


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This morning I finished a book which was discovered on one of Kareni's wonderful lists. I hope her visit with her mom and sister is going well and she is able to post again soon! :)

 

A few months ago she found a list of books with unusual pets for me. I went through and bookmarked them all to be worked into my reading schedule this year. I can not remember the pets at all so it will be a surprise I guess. I've read the hedgehog and know there is a weasel but beyond that...... In the case of a book being part of a series I decided to start with the first and read until the animal appears. Far more satisfying than reading for the backstory later.imo Which is how I read the book I finished this morning. The Legend of the Highland Dragon was the first in a series that has an unusual pet in it's third book I believe. I have never read anything by Isabel Cooper before but have to say this book was well done. I liked the magical set against a London season. Perfectly happy to continue this rather fluffy series. Good historical romance with magical, almost steampunk elements built in.

 

I've started my Ann Cleeves book for Northumberland and am finding it a bit depressing. So far a suicide (personal trigger) and animal(crow) abuse....the title says it all! Not quitting yet but certainly not loving the content. The writing and story are good, I just don't like parts.

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Almost done with Ratisbonne's St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Niche reading, not because Bernard of Clairvaux and his role in the tumultuous events of 12th-century Europe are of niche interest, but because this isn't a history or biography as we would expect it today, but rather a 19th-century French priest's account of those events for a contemporary Catholic readership. I'm very much enjoying it, though the chapter on Realism versus Nominalism made my head swim.

 

Earlier this week I read another of my recent NYRB finds, Jean Giono's 1929 novel Hill, sort of an early environmentalist writing, very mystical and French. Highly recommended.

 

If most of my reading this year is in translation, it's partly because I'm immersed also in Child's Ballads, Cleanth Brook's studies of great poems in English, and the King James Bible: so I've been filling up my Timeless English prose and poetry need that way. Three more NYRBs to go, two translated from German and one from Finnish.

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I read Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give this week. I have to admit that I had some trouble getting into it. I read it for 30 min in the morning on the treadmill but didn't pick it up the rest of the day, and then I repeated that for a few days. About 150 pages into it, it finally started to pick up for me and I ended up really liking it. If you've been reading books like The New Jim Crow, Between the World and Me, and We Were Eight Years in Power, this may not have any new ideas for you. But it's far more accessible than those books, so it has the potential to reach a larger audience. I think Thomas does a good job of looking at the complexities of the issues involved, so while this book is centered on a case of a white cop killing a black teen, there is also lots of discussion of black-on-black violence and other struggles. I really liked Starr and her family and their interactions with each other.

 

This is a YA book that first drew my attention when I heard that the school district in Katy, TX banned this book. Which of course made me want to read it. I think parents can have some legitimate concerns about younger students being exposed to a lot of profanity and a few sexual situations--I wouldn't personally encourage its use with middle-school aged students, but I think the themes are well worth discussing for high school students. I was very happy to see my 15 yo (who has not been my avid reader) pick it up after I finished. While we discuss news events, I think this book will open her eyes more to issues Black Americans face.

 

Up next: I have a few books at the library--a Georgette Heyer that I haven't read and A Man Called Ove for our February book club pick.

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I finished two books recently. Kathy Reich's Two Nights introduces a new main character, so it is a departure from her Temperance Brennan novels. I feel iffy about it. The main character is a reclusive former police officer with a tragic past. Her traumatic memories are triggered by her current case. If Reich turns this into a series, I'll give it another go, but I didn't feel drawn in by the characters, and strong characterization is a key element that I seek. The main character is too brusque and tightly wound for me to feel a connection to her. I also found the dialogue to be filled with too many wry one line responses that seemed short and choppy -- the kind of repartee found in television or movies, but it didn't work well in a novel for me.

 

The other was Corrupted in Lisa Scottoline's Rosato and DiNunzio series. I ran into the library and grabbed the next two books in this series to read next, so I'll continue with this series. It's not my favorite. Unlike Kathy Reich's stripped down style, I find the writing style of this series to be a little too descriptive. I don't need to know the color of every sofa in every room they walk into, or a detailed description of every character's clothing, so I get a little impatient at times. But the stories are interesting, and I like to see characters develop over the course of a series, so I'll keep going for now. Once I get caught up, I'll decide whether to go back and read her first series starring these same characters (Rosato and Associates series).

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Erin, I've been meaning to read Born a Crime for months; good to know you liked it so much.

 

I read one quick book -- The House of Unexpected Sisters, by Alexander McCall Smith.  This is the latest in his No. 1 Ladies Detective series and was a fun, light read, as always.  

 

I am continuing along with the Menachem Elon treatise on Jewish law, reading a bit every day.  

 

I also started The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James.  Shockingly, I've never read this before, but I read Daisy Miller over the summer and decided I needed to read more James.  I'm about 100 pages in and totally hooked.   

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Not a great reading week for me.  I did finish Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.  I'm working my way through Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell.  It's got lots of dialect in it, so it makes for slower reading.  And I'm reading it at night, so my eyelids keep shutting before I've read very many pages.  However, I am loving it!  

 

I've started reading Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Newman as my morning short meditation reading.  At this rate, it will take me forever, but it's very interesting in that it opens with his letters to Charles Kingsley (Victorian author who wrote The Water Babies and Madam How and Lady Why among many others). claiming he slandered Newman. I've just started it so I can't report much yet.  I have a very old copy of Apologia Pro Vita Sua of my grandfather's and Tip O'Neill (anyone here remember him?) signed the book for my grandfather!  So cool.

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Erin, I've been meaning to read Born a Crime for months; good to know you liked it so much.

 

It is fantastic. I'm not doing justice to Noah's voice and story, but they truly are compelling. I've heard the audio book is great as well. Noah knows multiple languages and hearing him speak them aloud adds to the listening experience. My library doesn't have the audio, but I'm watching the catalog to see if they add it.

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Not a great reading week for me.  I did finish Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.  

 

I like her website. Was her book more in-depth or just a collection of her posts? Although I doubt we'll be able to go completely zero waste, I have worked to cut back on our plastic usage and use more bulk products.

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This week I had a couple of non-starters, and I can't remember WHAT they were.   I really think I should keep a list of books I started but gave up on, just so I won't forget and try to read them again in 2 years. 

 

 

 

I've had to do this, because I've almost bought the same horrid books again. On multiple occasions! GoodReads saved me! 

 

I finished Rethinking School by SWB last week. Really enjoyed it. I'm sleep deprived so I've felt a little ADD in the reading department and haven't read as much as I would like. 

 

Dh and I had a sitter last night so we went out for Mexican food and had a couple of margaritas and the next thing you know one thing led to another and we found ourselves leaving Barnes and Nobles with a giant bag of books!  :lol:   I gave Hilary Mantel some more money, because I decided rereading Wolf Hall was so awesome, I truly needed a physical copy for my shelf and not just the Kindle version. Since I was there I threw A Place of Greater Safety into the pile, along with some others for dd. On the way to the register I stumbled across The Half Drowned King by Kinnea Hartsuyker, Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller, and The Alienist by Caleb Carr because the recommendation cards seemed to good to pass up. The stack just keeps on growing........

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I made it halfway through Being Mortal today, over family dinner at the in-laws we talked about their advance directives. I'm very pleased that they are making the decisions they are making, even more so after reading what I have in Gawande's book, I told dh about some of it, I hope he will read it. I really wish even more that dh's sister would read it. She thinks it is terrible that we are talking about these things at all, she's having a very hard time with it, which is understandable but we can't ignore it. 

 

I enjoyed reading everyone's reviews, I stink at writing them myself but find them very helpful. I requested Noah's autobiography, I was looking for biographies anyway and quite like him, I'm looking forward to reading it. While at the library webpage I went through the new book lists and also requested Brene Brown's Braving the Wilderness and Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. 

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I made it halfway through Being Mortal today, over family dinner at the in-laws we talked about their advance directives. I'm very pleased that they are making the decisions they are making, even more so after reading what I have in Gawande's book, I told dh about some of it, I hope he will read it. I really wish even more that dh's sister would read it. She thinks it is terrible that we are talking about these things at all, she's having a very hard time with it, which is understandable but we can't ignore it. 

 

 

 

I told my dh about after I read it and asked him to read it, which he eventually did. It's rare that I recommend a book "everyone should read" but this is one of those rare ones. I think the conversation is important for everyone who is dealing with aging parents and everyone who hopes to live to an old age themselves.

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As a pp mentioned, these threads just adds fuel to my books-to-read fire.  Nice problem to have :)

 

My recent book purchases were not margarita influenced  :tongue_smilie: but also included Caroline: Little House Revisited ~ Sarah Miller.

The reviews shared here, and at a few other places on the web, put me off Praire Fires ~ Caroline Fraser; I don't want a modern author's negative input (?) on Laura Ingalls Wilder interfering in my younger years pleasure with The Little House on the Praire series. 

 

My reading has shifted a bit to include a significant amount of researching, and speed reading,  books for Dd to read this year.  So most of the books I'm endeavouring to go through, off my own personal reading list, have switched to audio.

I'm trying to find a well-published book with Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field  ~ Sir Walter Scott in it.  (Off to ask the hive after this post)

 

I’ve had to pause reading on The Zookeeper’s Wife,   Moon Over Manifest ~ Clare Vanderpool,  and my audiobook with the children The Bettencourt Affair.

 

Completed:

-  My Family and Other Animals ~ Gerald Durrell  N/F   Autobiography  Corfu, Greece.      Enjoyable!!

 

-  Young Mrs. Savage ~ D.E. Stevenson Fiction.   Gentle read/romance. Scottish Countryside.  

This story was just an okay read for me.  Not as enjoyable as Miss Buncle’s Book.  Others may like to know,  Stevenson uses an ‘N’ word when talking about some dark-skinned children.

 

-  Gray Matter ~ David I. Levy, M.D  N/F.   Medical/Memoir/Christian           

nearly completed, will have by the end of the week, so adding it here now.   Completed.

This my favourite read, so far, for this year.  Others may find it preachy as he spends some time on a Christian approach to dealing with unforgiveness and bitterness.  More than just a collection of surgical stories, this is Levy’s testimony about the benefits of praying over patients before surgery, his own journey with faith and learning to trust God while he interacts and operates on his patients.

 

ETA: updated completed status.

Edited by Tuesdays Child
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Let's see... this week... gosh... what have we read this week?  

 

Ok...

 

Me:

Never Let Me Go - good.  better the longer you read it.  

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party - so good, especially considering I picked it up out of the 'children's section' of the library on a whim! :lol:

 

Link (13):

A Man for All Seasons

Pygmalion

Sherlock Holmes (a collection - he took for.ev.er. to read this because he found them so boring! lol)

 

Astro (12):

the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

 

Pink (8.5):

Henry and Ribsy

Hans Brinker

The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me

and 2 Kingdom Hearts graphic novels that I can't remember the name of

 

 

Link had a fever for 4 days last week, but nothing else lol... so I kept forgetting he was sick.  :lol:  Luckily we always realized it before we did something dumb... :D .... like go visit MIL in the hospital or invite FIL over for dinner!  She went back in almost a week ago with afib, and then the med for the afib cancelled out her chemo drug, so her WBC count skyrocketed again the end of the week... etc, etc.  She's still there, but DH said she sounded better today.  Friday he said she sounded really bad.  :/  Now they are going to do a sleep study?  Because apparently sleep problems can cause afib?  Idk... 

Thankfully, my back is feeling a lot better, comparatively.  My next chiropractor appointment is tomorrow, and it still hurts when I stand in one place or walk around for very long, but at least now it's not bothering me just sitting down any more.  It didn't stop me from FINALLY getting to the art museum to see the Terra Cotta Army exhibit.  Not that it's going anywhere anytime soon (it's there til March lol), but I'd been wanting to go since it first came.  

 

On a random note, my dreams have been slightly unpleasant as of late.  I always have wild and crazy dreams and can remember them every day, with rare exceptions.  But two nights ago I had a sad dream and last night a stressful/scary one, which is unusual.  Usually they are just... bizarre.  :lol:

 

 

Ah, also, I've kind of fallen off the wagon with Chrysanthemum, though I still want to try.  :lol:  So I may need to go find a book with one on the cover!  :D

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I told my dh about after I read it and asked him to read it, which he eventually did. It's rare that I recommend a book "everyone should read" but this is one of those rare ones. I think the conversation is important for everyone who is dealing with aging parents and everyone who hopes to live to an old age themselves.

I agree. If more did these changes that are so desperately needed would come about much sooner.

 

I finished Being Mortal this morning. It was a good hard read, I don't think I can say more than that. It gave me hope.

 

 

 

1-4 Dark is Rising

5- Art of Asking

6- The Hobbit

7- The 100 Yr Old Man

8- Being Mortal

 

I am almost a third of the way to my goal of 26 books for the year. I'm not sure how many I usually read in a year because I've never tracked it very well, I think it will be fairly easy to meet it but I wanted to make it something I could attain. 

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Last week I finished The Stranger by Albert Camus. I don't know what to think. It was absurd (see what I did there?).

 

My currently reading list hasn't changed much except for one addition -

  • Jane Austen at Home, Lucy Worsley
  • Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
  • I Henry VI, Shakespeare
  • We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates - the one addition
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling - audio book, not the first or even the second time I'm listening to it.

I really want to start my reread of Middlemarch but I promised myself I'd finish at least one of the above first (not counting the audio book)

 

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Currently reading Genevieve Cogman's The Masked City which is quite exciting! 

 

Thank you for mentioning this.  I had so enjoyed the first one in this series and meant to reserve the next one right away and then forgot.  I've done that now.  And I'm happy to hear you are finding it exciting.

 

 

 

Next on my top 100 is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. I'm reading this one slowly - his world building and prose are fantastic. Connie Willis's Doomsday Book is next. 

 

I keep meaning to read It Takes One to Tango and Born a Crime.  In fact I've been waiting for the library to deliver Born a Crime to me for about a year but I just realized that perhaps I had not actually requested it - done now.

 

I'll be interested to hear about your thoughts on Doomsday Book.  I don't know anyone else who's read it and I was very drawn into the world she created.

 

I told my dh about after I read it and asked him to read it, which he eventually did. It's rare that I recommend a book "everyone should read" but this is one of those rare ones. I think the conversation is important for everyone who is dealing with aging parents and everyone who hopes to live to an old age themselves.

 

Another vote for everyone should read Being Mortal.  I handed it immediately to my dad after I read it and he has also been passing it on to lots of his friends.

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I finished The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui for my graphic novel square in Bingo.  I enjoyed the spare colour scheme - it made it easier for me to focus on the illustrations and the storyline.  Having just covered the Vietnam War with the kids, this was a valuable addition to that for me and I recommend it for older teens (grades 11-12) and adults.  I'm not a big graphic novel fan but this was one that I would be happy to revisit.

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I finished The Masked City and will have to wait until my buying ban is over to read the next in the Invisible LIbrary series.   I've been reading Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl in bits and pieces and finally decided to make it a priority. Fascinated by all the underwater life that takes place in the middle of the sea that on an ordinary motorized ship would have gone unnoticed, how the men go with the flow of the water and nature. 

 

Decided to go with author names for spelling out Chrysanthemum.  Thank goodness February is Rose because it will take me part of that time to spell it out.   So far:

 

C - Genevieve Cogman - The Masked City (fantasy, 381) 

H - 

R

Y

S  - Sharon Kay Penman - The Sunne in Splendor (historical 15th England, 936)

A

N - Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones (NF writing, 224)

T - Thomas Merton - Thoughts in Solitude (devotion 146 e)

H

E

M - Haruki Murakami - Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball (literary, Japan, 256)

U

M

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I was a bit negative yesterday about The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves. It is now going well and I am enjoying it but I really had a depressing start with this book. When it stopped talking about estate gamekeeper's management of grouse hunting grounds and moved on to the real story I started enjoying myself. I have been reading a few pages every time I had a spare minute!

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Dh and I had a sitter last night so we went out for Mexican food and had a couple of margaritas and the next thing you know one thing led to another and we found ourselves leaving Barnes and Nobles with a giant bag of books!  :lol:  

 

Oh my -- this brings back memories. Many if not most of our dates nights found us in Borders (remember them?) killing time before going home so that the kids would definitely be asleep. This was in the dark ages before streaming music and movies, so we not only shopped -- and bought -- books but cds and DVDs, too. 

 

All my current reads are audiobooks, and I'm on a good streak at the moment:

 

True Grit, read by Donna Tartt is every bit as wonderful as y'all have said. Great story, the perfect Western, great characters. Loved it!

 

Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto by Leslie Buck, is really fascinating, though getting a bit repetitive and slow. But, it is the kind of book you can just listen to in chunks -- there is no need to remember characters or plot points as it is a memoir of 9 months spent in Japan. Recommended for anyone interested in gardening or Japanese aesthetics or working culture.

 

Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is one I just started yesterday but I really like it. It is fantasy, but so grounded in realistic characters that it doesn't feel like fantasy. So far no magic. A young man, 4th in line to the throne, is suddenly made emperor, and is struggling to keep his wits about him as he copes with court politics and intrigue. 

 

One of these days I'll read print books again. I've not felt like I have the luxury of time to sit and read, and haven't let myself start any mysteries which generally glue me to the couch for hours on end.

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  • A Spell of Chameleon (Xanth #1) by Piers Anthony. Fantasy. In a magical land, a boy without any power is expelled from his native country. Part of my NPR Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy project, this book forced me to change my goals. Though I originally said I'd read three books in a series, I'm only reading one. I couldn't force myself to read any more Xanth - I'm too old for this...

 

Did you post on this last week? I'll have to go and see if I can find it... I didn't want to say anything until you were done reading it.

 

I loved everything Piers Anthony wrote as a kid. The Xanth series and the Incarnations books and then somehow I stumbled across some of his books I didn't quite understand and figured I better not let my parents catch me with them so I quickly returned them to the library and stuck with the Xanth series. After awhile I just moved on to different genres and didn't read anything else of his. Fast forward a few (*ahem* 20 YEARS!) and I decided to pick them up again before handing them to DD. *Jaw Drop* Oh my goodness. I was a naive kid not to pick up on a lot of the undertones of those stories. It makes me think that he can't possibly be a decent person IRL. I gave all my books of his away because I didn't want my DD to accidentally pick one of them up.

 

 

This was my first attempt at multiquoting.   

 

Hurrah! Now you're a pro!

 

I finished The Masked City and will have to wait until my buying ban is over to read the next in the Invisible LIbrary series.  

 

The buying ban has been tougher than I thought it would be.

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Did you post on this last week? I'll have to go and see if I can find it... I didn't want to say anything until you were done reading it.

 

I loved everything Piers Anthony wrote as a kid. The Xanth series and the Incarnations books and then somehow I stumbled across some of his books I didn't quite understand and figured I better not let my parents catch me with them so I quickly returned them to the library and stuck with the Xanth series. After awhile I just moved on to different genres and didn't read anything else of his. Fast forward a few (*ahem* 20 YEARS!) and I decided to pick them up again before handing them to DD. *Jaw Drop* Oh my goodness. I was a naive kid not to pick up on a lot of the undertones of those stories. It makes me think that he can't possibly be a decent person IRL. I gave all my books of his away because I didn't want my DD to accidentally pick one of them up.

 

 

You did say you’d wait on your opinion until I was done. I had to set the book aside after the first few paragraphs, the sexism was so bad, but I appreciate the effort it takes to write a book so I finished. One good result from reading Xanth was the memories of reading my father’s excellent fantasy books (no Xanth in my house). I was able to find the book names through internet searches and I have them on order from the library. I’m a bit worried they might not be as good as I remember.

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Thank you for mentioning this.  I had so enjoyed the first one in this series and meant to reserve the next one right away and then forgot.  I've done that now.  And I'm happy to hear you are finding it exciting.

 

 

I keep meaning to read It Takes One to Tango and Born a Crime.  In fact I've been waiting for the library to deliver Born a Crime to me for about a year but I just realized that perhaps I had not actually requested it - done now.

 

I'll be interested to hear about your thoughts on Doomsday Book.  I don't know anyone else who's read it and I was very drawn into the world she created.

 

 

Another vote for everyone should read Being Mortal.  I handed it immediately to my dad after I read it and he has also been passing it on to lots of his friends.

 

I love Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog! DD9 listened to the audiobook for TSNotD with me last year, and loved it as well. We like to jokingly do the baby talk that Tossie uses for her cat. "Dearums, dearums JuJu!"  :lol:

 

I read Doomsday Book when it was first released, but didn't realize that there were other books in that world until recently. I have the audiobooks for Blackout and All Clear, but I may never get to them because I can't seem to finish up listening to the audio that I have in progress. This thread will help me remember to bump them up to the top of the list!

 

Yesterday I finished The Dreadful Debutante (The Royal Ambition Series Book 1) by M. C. Beaton.  I think that I picked this one up for free from a BAW thread a few years ago, and it had been languishing on my Kindle. Entertaining, but not worth paying for any more in the series.

 

2018 so far:

 

1-4 The Wrinkle in Time series

5 The Last Archer

6 A House Like a Lotus

7 Why Gender Matters (1st and 2nd editions)

8 The Dreadful Debutante

 

I picked up The Floating Admiral based on a post here a week or two ago. I will either start that, or commit to Kristin Lavransdatter.  I'm leaning towards the datter, er, I mean latter.   :leaving:

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I finished up Men Without Women by Murakami in the wee hours of the morning.  Most of the time the short stories left me appeased with a succinct ending, but there were 2-3 in there that I wanted there to be more pages of!  :P  I *think* this might be my first time reading anything Haruki Murakami, but I may be wrong.  1Q84 always looks familiar to me, not the book necessarily, but the title.  Idk if it's because I've read it, started it, or just have had it on my 'to read' list for so long I am used to seeing it there.  :lol:

 

Tonight I picked up the next two in my pile - The Artist's Way and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  I'm really looking forward to diving into TAW, though it's a library book and I'm really feeling that I want to do it all the way she lays it out by weeks in there.  So I have to figure out what to do about that.  :lol:  I'm considering doing every other week instead of every week, and then I can check it out every other week lol... I'm pretty sure they have a rule that I can't renew it more than twice.  Idk, we shall see.

The Secret Keeper looks promising and like good story.  I think I actually put it on my list a couple years ago when I attempted BaW.  Sometimes in the evenings I only read for a little while and then move onto something else, but tonight the story had me wanting to just keep reading, so that's a good sign!

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The buying ban has been tougher than I thought it would be.

I think you're (all) doing well to commit to this!

There is no way I could sustain a book buying ban in January or February: the first few months of a calendar year are when I start purchasing the books needed for the Dc's reading/lit studies for the year. ( Summer time audiobook sales are a savings bonus).

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I love Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog! DD9 listened to the audiobook for TSNotD with me last year, and loved it as well. We like to jokingly do the baby talk that Tossie uses for her cat. "Dearums, dearums JuJu!"  :lol:

Since you've read both books, do you think TSNotD can stand by itself or is it necessary to have read Doomsday Book?

Edited by Tuesdays Child
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I made it halfway through Being Mortal today, over family dinner at the in-laws we talked about their advance directives. I'm very pleased that they are making the decisions they are making, even more so after reading what I have in Gawande's book, I told dh about some of it, I hope he will read it. I really wish even more that dh's sister would read it. She thinks it is terrible that we are talking about these things at all, she's having a very hard time with it, which is understandable but we can't ignore it. 

 

 

I told my dh about after I read it and asked him to read it, which he eventually did. It's rare that I recommend a book "everyone should read" but this is one of those rare ones. I think the conversation is important for everyone who is dealing with aging parents and everyone who hopes to live to an old age themselves.

It's a fabulous, fabulous book. I read it almost three years ago and plan on reading it again. I agree it's one of those rare books that I think everyone should read. 

 

I read this quote, having skipped over the book’s setting and the location, and thought, “This sounds exactly how I feel about Venice.†I re-read your post and realized it is Venice. It shows how evocative the writing is and the impression the city leaves. It is a lovely city, but feels like a living museum.

Erin, yes, that's how I imagine it to be - a living museum. I've never been before. My husband has been a few times. 

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I finished up Men Without Women by Murakami in the wee hours of the morning.  Most of the time the short stories left me appeased with a succinct ending, but there were 2-3 in there that I wanted there to be more pages of!   :p  I *think* this might be my first time reading anything Haruki Murakami, but I may be wrong.  1Q84 always looks familiar to me, not the book necessarily, but the title.  Idk if it's because I've read it, started it, or just have had it on my 'to read' list for so long I am used to seeing it there.   :lol:

 

Tonight I picked up the next two in my pile - The Artist's Way and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  I'm really looking forward to diving into TAW, though it's a library book and I'm really feeling that I want to do it all the way she lays it out by weeks in there.  So I have to figure out what to do about that.   :lol:  I'm considering doing every other week instead of every week, and then I can check it out every other week lol... I'm pretty sure they have a rule that I can't renew it more than twice.  Idk, we shall see.

The Secret Keeper looks promising and like good story.  I think I actually put it on my list a couple years ago when I attempted BaW.  Sometimes in the evenings I only read for a little while and then move onto something else, but tonight the story had me wanting to just keep reading, so that's a good sign!

 

My husband and I worked our way through The Artist's Way.  It changed our lives.  We probably would have gotten there eventually on our own but this sped up the process significantly.  Having a word for crazymakers has been useful, too.

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...

 

6. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino - My non-Murakami Japanese novel for the month.  :)  A detective story that isn't a mystery because you already know who did it, it's more about them figuring out the cover-up.  Liked it but didn't wow me.  3 stars.

 

...

Currently reading:

 

Dune by Frank Herbert (audiobook) - about halfway in.  

 

Word by Word by Kory Stamper (ebook) - fun if you like language (and I do!)

 

The Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski - not that far in yet, but other than the 'planet only contains one biome from earth' I'm not seeing that it's 'Dune with water' as some reviewers have said.  I'd wait to finish Dune before starting this, but SciFi book club is on Tuesday and I'm hoping to finish it by then, and I've got 10 hours (!) of audio left on Dune...

 

...

 

 

That was about how I felt about Suspect X.

 

And I agree about Door into Ocean not being a water world Dune.  They felt entirely different to me.  If I had to compare Door into Ocean to other scifi, I'd say it was more like a LeGuin book.

 

Are you going to go all the way through the Dune series?  I did this last year.  Previously, I had read Dune many times, and the next to in the series several times, but hadn't read the others.

 

Nan

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We spent some time at the Takashi Murikami exhibit at the MFA, which I thought interesting, not so much the Murikami part but the Nobuo Tsuji part showing how modern Japanese art is in the continuum of traditional Japanese art.  Not that I didn't enjoy the paintings very much.  I am normally almost but not quite completely uninterested in art history, but found this fascinating.  We went two weekends in a row (MFA makes a good break for us and my husband needed one).  The first time, I read all the labels.  Usually, I find the labels on paintings silly - why do I need a description of what I am looking at when I am looking at it?  These labels linked things that I wasn't able to consciously link by myself. The second time, my husband read the labels and I copied faces from the traditional paintings, which was great fun.

 

I am listening to Nothing to Envy, about everyday life in North Korea, and Sense and Sensibility to go to sleep on, although it ought to be Persuasion or Mansfield Park, considering how we all had to scramble when oldest shipped out Friday to get methods of communication figured out and his kit assembled and his land life settled.  He took 8 books with him pretty good, considering how precious space in his baggage is and weight limitations.  He brought some of his own tools this time.  His brother stenciled his name on his tool bag. : )

 

I am still reading the Honor Harrington series.

 

Nan

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Since you've read both books, do you think TSNotD can stand by itself or is it necessary to have read Doomsday Book?

Both books can stand alone. However, the style of TSNotD is modeled after Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (available on Kindle for $0.99). I don't think you would have to read all of Three Men in order to understand the style, but some scenes from it are mentioned in TSNotD.

 

Also, TSNotD is more light-hearted and humorous, while Doomsday is more serious/dramatic. I strongly recommend the audio book for TSNotD, narrated by Steven Crossley. He also narrated Three Men in a Boat.

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I love Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog! DD9 listened to the audiobook for TSNotD with me last year, and loved it as well. We like to jokingly do the baby talk that Tossie uses for her cat. "Dearums, dearums JuJu!"  :lol:

 

I read Doomsday Book when it was first released, but didn't realize that there were other books in that world until recently. I have the audiobooks for Blackout and All Clear, but I may never get to them because I can't seem to finish up listening to the audio that I have in progress. This thread will help me remember to bump them up to the top of the list!

   :leaving:

 

I have Blackout and All Clear but I've been too afraid to read them since I loved the world created in Doomsday Book so much and I didn't want my feelings for it ruined.  I've had such bad luck with trilogies/series - I tend to always enjoy the first book and find each book that comes out in the series to be progressively less enjoyable until I am in despair at the end.  

 

Come to think of it, perhaps that's why I wasn't in any rush to get the 2nd Genevieve Cogman book in her Invisible Library series.  Well, it's on its way to me now, so I can't avoid it.

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I finished #5 this morning.....News of the World that I heard about here. I would give it a solid 4 stars. Enjoyed the story. My Kindle version had a few editing errors but was still readable.

 

I started Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder as an audiobook but put that aside for now as it was just OK and now I have 2 more audio books waiting for me.

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I have Blackout and All Clear but I've been too afraid to read them since I loved the world created in Doomsday Book so much and I didn't want my feelings for it ruined.  I've had such bad luck with trilogies/series - I tend to always enjoy the first book and find each book that comes out in the series to be progressively less enjoyable until I am in despair at the end.  

 

Come to think of it, perhaps that's why I wasn't in any rush to get the 2nd Genevieve Cogman book in her Invisible Library series.  Well, it's on its way to me now, so I can't avoid it.

 

The good news is that the Oxford world in Blackout and All Clear isn't the focus all that much.  There is a fair amount of Mr Dunworthy and Colin, but not a ton else.  It's mostly set during the Blitz and etc.

 

They are very good books.  Not as depressing as Doomsday Book, on the whole (but then, WW2 didn't kill half the population of England, so that makes sense).

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