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Robin M

Book a Week 2020 - BW6: 52 Books Bingo - Whimsical and Humorous

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All you need is love. La la la la la. I have The Beatles song "All You need is Love" stuck in my head today.

 

There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

 Nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It's easy 

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need


I think it's because Valentine's day is coming up and love is in the air so love the one you're with. Dang, now I've got Stephen Stills rocking in my head. How about hug the one you're with because everyone needs a hug today. Whenever you need a bit of whimsy, just watch the Beatles movie, The Yellow Submarine and it'll cheer you right up. 

Which brings us to our next two 52 Books Bingo categories: Whimsical and Humorous. They could be one and the same although whimsy always strikes me as something light and fanciful, magical, or playful while humorous is comedic and makes me laugh. How do you define whimsy?

NPR's 
We Did It For The LOLs: 100 Favorite Funny Books

Lit Hub's 20 Very Funny Novels By Women

Barnes and Noble Reads 50 of the Funniest Books Ever Written

Explore Buzzfeed's collection of eclectic choices for whimsical magical reads: 
19 Books That Will Make Your Life A Little More Magical or Barnes and Nobles selection of Whimsical Women Sleuths

Also Goodread's Popular Whimsical books and 
Popular Magical Whimsical Books and Popular Fanciful Books. Plus check out Book Inc's Wit and Whimsy book club for the youngsters. 

Your mission this week is to pick out a story that 
makes you laugh or provides you with the power of whimsy. Happy reading!!!
 

 Happy Valentine's Day

Hugs and love my lovelies!

 

Link to week 5

 

Visit  52 Books in 52 Weeks where you can find all the information on the annual, mini and perpetual challenges, as well as share your book reviews if you like.

 

Edited by Robin M
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What's on my nightstand for this week:  Mary Stewart's Crystal CaveWhen Books Went to War, and my current read Cleo Coyle's Brewed Awakening, # 18 I think in her coffee house mysteries.  Last night we watched the 3rd movie in the Mummy series - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor which was non stop action and very intense.  

 

ETA: My whimsy book is Douglas Adam's So Long and Thanks for all the Fish  😁

Edited by Robin M
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7 minutes ago, Robin M said:

All you need is love. La la la la la. I have The Beatles song "All You need is Love" stuck in my head today.

Robin, I need to look into the Beatles movie. I've loved their music since I can remember. 

Thank you for all the links. Going to look into them later. 

I read The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors - 4 Stars - How I miss Charles Krauthammer and his insightful articles. He was a voice of reason in a world that has gone slightly mad to say the least.

This book, a collection of his essays from “The National Review”, “The Washington Post”, and “Time”, was edited by his son, Daniel. I preferred his other book, Things That Matter, but this one was a wonderful read also.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. There were so many. Others that I loved are shown below my Good Reads review.

“The next time you find yourself in the midst of some national hysteria with sensible people losing their heads, with legislatures in panic and with the media buying it all and amplifying it with a kind of megaphone effect, remember this: Remember that a people—even the most sensible people—can all lose their heads at once.”

“As Chesterton once put it unkindly, ‘Tolerance is the virtue of people who do not believe anything.’”

“You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think—and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.”

“He believed in Einstein’s (apocryphal) dictum that ‘if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’”

9781984825483.jpg

Some more pictures from my time in NYC. 

The first one is from the Garment District. 

The second is obviously at Macy's.

The third one is in Central Park. 

 

 

19 - 28.jpg

19 - 29.jpg

19 - 30.jpg

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It might be quite the Mary Stewart week around here. I just started Touch Not The Cat as an audiobook. I only picked it up because it's Mary Stewart and I hadn't read the back cover. Well. I just did and I don't know about that premise but we'll see....

I finished The Chenltenham Square Mystery by John Bude. Who first mentioned Bude as a Golden Age mystery writer? Someone on here did and I meant to mark it down and then forgot and now I'm embarrassed. (I REALLY got to find a way to remember who recommends books to me!) Anyway, just read it. It hit everything I love from that era. It's also interesting because it's helped me to pinpoint why I prefer women writers from that era. The men writers never seem to have a romantic subplot and that's one of my favorite things in my Miss Silver or AC novels. Can anyone prove me wrong? Is there a male Golden Age mystery author that adds a strong romantic subplot?

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1 minute ago, Negin said:

 

I read The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors - 4 Stars - How I miss Charles Krauthammer and his insightful articles. He was a voice of reason in a world that has gone slightly mad to say the least.

I used to tease my grandmother that she was Krauthammer's biggest fan. Looks like she was in good company with you in the fan club! I have such happy memories of watching him sitting beside her on the couch.

Thank you for sharing your pictures. 

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15 minutes ago, aggieamy said:

It might be quite the Mary Stewart week around here. I just started Touch Not The Cat as an audiobook. I only picked it up because it's Mary Stewart and I hadn't read the back cover. Well. I just did and I don't know about that premise but we'll see....

I finished The Chenltenham Square Mystery by John Bude. Who first mentioned Bude as a Golden Age mystery writer? Someone on here did and I meant to mark it down and then forgot and now I'm embarrassed. (I REALLY got to find a way to remember who recommends books to me!) Anyway, just read it. It hit everything I love from that era. It's also interesting because it's helped me to pinpoint why I prefer women writers from that era. The men writers never seem to have a romantic subplot and that's one of my favorite things in my Miss Silver or AC novels. Can anyone prove me wrong? Is there a male Golden Age mystery author that adds a strong romantic subplot?

Dd seemed to rather like Touch Not the Cat when she was on her Mary Stewart kick.  I never finished it......possibly because I gave it to Dd when she was whining about nothing to read! 😂

I think I may have started the John Bude, mine is still decorating my nightstand.  I am trying to work through what I have without accumulating too much more book wise so will hopefully get to it later this week.  I find checking books out to be really fun, not sure what the name for the compulsion is, but it is so satisfying and I currently have many, too many, that I plan to read!   
 

I am currently finishing Aurora Blazing https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43472908-aurora-blazing which is the second book in a Space Opera (I think) series that I know Kareni and someone else here also has been enjoying.  I really like this one.

I also finished my four corners Bingo square with Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman.  I almost cheered when it explicitly said “four corners”. 😉. It also works for my Bookchain Challenge so it was an added bonus to really like it.  I plan to read the next one in the series soon......I may even read it next in my bookchain.  Lots of options thanks to the Anne in the authors name.....just can’t decide if I am cheating if I read the next then switch to a different Anne.  I do realize this one can be Hillerman.  What an easy silly problem to be worried about!

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Ordered the Krauthammer and am searching Robin’s lists for something light and funny!

also 

Addison Wesley Chemistry (high school textbook as I need to review to be able to assist my son), and am finding it much more interesting at this stage when it isn’t My homework!   

 

Meanwhile I am listening to a cozy mystery called One Dog Too Many     Which for better or worse puts me to sleep (narrator voice in part?) so I relegated it to bedtime as it’s about as effective for me as melatonin. 

 

 

Am about to start

Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima (at which point there’s no more ready and written in that series 😢.  Write, Margaret, write!), as my entertainment book.

Am continuing to reread Atomic Habits

Almost done with: Happiness is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager

all the Dave Ramsey stuff in a recent thread has me wanting a good book on finance, but right now my serious books are in the political realm.  Am I allowed to give those titles?  I’ll put them but if it violates the “no politics” policy, tell me and I’ll remove them.   I’ll put titles, no commentary.

Secret Empires by Peter Schweitzer

Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution by Bernard Sanders

Great Again by Donald Trump

 

 

 

(Avogadro silly math riddle:  what did Avogadro teach his arithmetic students?

 

answer:  mole-tiplication) 

 

 

Finally, 

The Secret Teachings of Plants by Buhner continues  (been reading it for over a year bit by bit...) 

 

Caffeine by Michael Pollan

and

Our Harlem by Marcus Samuelsson 

were my 2 Audible February (?) free books. Neither started.  

 

I am using up all my credits and I intend to cancel Audible for awhile and catch up on reading what I already bought!!!

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@Pen I found the the 19 books list https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ariannarebolini/whimsical-fantasy-books-buzzfeed-book-club to be particularly wonderful. The books The Eyre Affair and Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookshop are particular favorites of mine, so good both my kids were forced to read them!  The other’s I have read were good, and several of my want to reads are on it.  I found a couple of new to me’s that I can’t wait to try.  On a humorous note I went hunting for the Uncanny Valley which sounds charming,  I found I completely different techy Uncanny Valley which I put on hold because it will good for me......two techy kids.

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3 hours ago, Pen said:

Addison Wesley Chemistry (high school textbook as I need to review to be able to assist my son), and am finding it much more interesting at this stage when it isn’t My homework!   

 

(Avogadro silly math riddle:  what did Avogadro teach his arithmetic students?

 

answer:  mole-tiplication) 

 

Yay!!  Someone learning to like chemistry!!! 😄

And chemistry humour!!  Bestill my heart! 😉 😄

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Some bookish posts ~

Sandra Boynton Writes Children’s Books That Don’t Condescend

23 Retellings of Classic Stories From Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors [some of these are forthcoming]

https://www.tor.com/2020/02/05/23-retellings-of-classic-stories-from-science-fiction-fantasy-authors/

14 HANDS-FREE READING TOOLS

https://bookriot.com/2020/01/22/hands-free-reading-tools/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Kissing Books&utm_term=BookRiot_KissingBooks_DormantSuppress

Five Books Featuring Medicine and Magic

https://www.tor.com/2020/02/03/five-books-featuring-medicine-and-magic/

THE STRANGE RURAL NOIR OF WILMA DYKEMAN’S THE TALL WOMAN

Rediscovering A Lost Classic of Mid-Century Literature
by CHRIS MCGINLEY

https://crimereads.com/the-strange-rural-noir-of-wilma-dykemans-the-tall-woman/

Regards,

Kareni

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21 hours ago, Negin said:

I read The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors - 4 Stars - How I miss Charles Krauthammer and his insightful articles. He was a voice of reason in a world that has gone slightly mad to say the least.

Sounds like an interesting book, one my hubby would enjoy reading.   Love the pictures, @Negin  Makes me want to go to New York again.   

 

21 hours ago, aggieamy said:

The men writers never seem to have a romantic subplot and that's one of my favorite things in my Miss Silver or AC novels. Can anyone prove me wrong? Is there a male Golden Age mystery author that adds a strong romantic subplot?

Good question.  We'll have to look into that. 

21 hours ago, aggieamy said:

I used to tease my grandmother that she was Krauthammer's biggest fan. Looks like she was in good company with you in the fan club! I have such happy memories of watching him sitting beside her on the couch.

He was always the most interesting person to listen to on any panel, besides Fareed Zakaria.   Loved it when they both debated against each other on the Munk Debates

21 hours ago, mumto2 said:

I am currently finishing Aurora Blazing https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43472908-aurora-blazing which is the second book in a Space Opera (I think) series that I know Kareni and someone else here also has been enjoying.  I really like this one.

Oh, that looks good. Added Polaris Rising to my wishlist. 

21 hours ago, Pen said:

all the Dave Ramsey stuff in a recent thread has me wanting a good book on finance, but right now my serious books are in the political realm.  Am I allowed to give those titles?  I’ll put them but if it violates the “no politics” policy, tell me and I’ll remove them.   I’ll put titles, no commentary.

Yes, you are allowed to provide titles and thoughts about them if you wish. Negin strikes a good balance with quotes and thoughts so use her posts as an example.  There are two other books you may want to consider is  Trump's The Art of the Deal which gives insight into how he thinks and Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals which is quite eye opening. 

 

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3 hours ago, mumto2 said:

The books The Eyre Affair and Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookshop are particular favorites of mine, so good both my kids were forced to read them

Both of these are excellent.  I have One of Your Thursdays is Missing which I probably should reread. 

2 hours ago, Kareni said:

Looks good.  Awesome links, Karen.  I liked Beth Revis's Across the Universe.  Added the 2nd book as well as Give the Dark My Love to my wishlist. Thank you! 

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Hello, BaWers! 

So far, I’ve read twenty-three books this year, fifteen of which are from my shelves and eleven of which are non-fiction titles. I’m off to a promising start, eh?

 Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute (Jean M. Evans; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS
We revisited the Oriental Institute in December in anticipation of seeing An Iliad there next month.

 The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie; 1952. Drama.) RFS
Read in advance of seeing the Court Theatre production.

 Trust Exercise (Susan Choi; 2019. Fiction.) RFS
Interesting review here.

 Rutherford and Sons (Githa Sowerby; 1912. Drama.) RFS
Read before seeing the TimeLine Theatre production.

 Richard III (William Shakespeare; 1592. Drama.) RFS
Reread before seeing the Shakespeare Project of Chicago production.

 In the Heart of the Sea (Nathan Philbrick; 2000. Non-fiction.) RFS
In a weird twist, I watched the movie before reading this terrific book. My interest was, of course, fueled by my Moby-Dick reread late last year.

 Dear America (Jose Antonio Vargas; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS
Related link here.

 A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah; 2007. Non-fiction.) RFS
Arrived at this book a bit later than most. Here’s a related link.

 Frogcatchers (Jeff Lemire; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB
Another of Lemire’s meditations on death, regret, and letting go.

 On Tyranny (Timothy Snyder; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS
Again, arrived at this later than most. I began marking passages for the commonplace book and soon realized I’d copy the entire text. Review here.

 Tomten Tales (Astrid Lindgren; 2017 ed. (1960 and 1966). Juvenile fiction.) LIB
Small gnome ornaments topped the holiday gift bags I distributed this year. In a lovely note, my music teacher thanked me for, among other things, “the adorable tomten.” In pursuit of a definition, I stumbled on this delightful children’s book.

 An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Chris Hadfield; 2013. Non-fiction.) RFS
My younger daughter (insistently) recommended this.

p. 267
If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on.

 Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates; 2015. Non-fiction.) RFS
p. 51
Poetry aims for an economy of truth — loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions — beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.

 Keep It Moving (Twyla Tharp; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB
Meh.

 The Passengers (John Marrs; 2019. Fiction.) ATY
Flawed and a bit predictable but an altogether entertaining way to pass a Sunday evening.

 Digital Minimalism (Cal Newport; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS
This book is partially responsible for the gap in entries here.

 We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; 2014. Non-fiction.) LIB
p. 18
Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.

 Daughter of Time (Josephine Tey; 1951. Fiction.) RFS
I reread this after rereading Richard III.

p. 33
It was shocking how little history remained with one after a good education.

p. 196
“No, that doesn’t matter at all. Most people’s first books are their best anyway; it’s the one they wanted most to write….”

 Blood Dazzler (Patricia Smith; 2009. Poetry.) LIB
Excerpts here.

 Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (Carolyn Criado Perez; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS
Wow. Wow. Wow. This will certainly top my list of memorable reads this year. Related link here.

 The Whisper Man (Alex North; 2019. Fiction.) ATY
Another meh.

 The Warehouse (Rob Hart; 2019. Fiction.) LIB
Although I’m weary of the narrative device of alternating voices, it worked in this was near-future dystopian novel.

 Emma (Jane Austen; 1815. Fiction.) RFS
Austen’s prose sparkles; her wit pierces. But I wonder if I am too old to appreciate Emma. I reread the novel before seeing the new Chicago Shakespeare musical.

—————————————
ATY Acquired this year
LIB Borrowed from library
RFS Read from shelves

Edited by Melissa M
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1 hour ago, Melissa M said:

Hello, BaWers! 

So far, I’ve read twenty-three books this year, fifteen of which are from my shelves and eleven of which are non-fiction titles. I’m off to a promising start, eh?

 Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute (Jean M. Evans; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS
We revisited the Oriental Institute in December in anticipation of seeing An Iliad there next month.

 The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie; 1952. Drama.) RFS
Read in advance of seeing the Court Theatre production.

 Trust Exercise (Susan Choi; 2019. Fiction.) RFS
Interesting review here.

 Rutherford and Sons (Githa Sowerby; 1912. Drama.) RFS
Read before seeing the TimeLine Theatre production.

 Richard III (William Shakespeare; 1592. Drama.) RFS
Reread before seeing the Shakespeare Project of Chicago production.

 In the Heart of the Sea (Nathan Philbrick; 2000. Non-fiction.) RFS
In a weird twist, I watched the movie before reading this terrific book. My interest was, of course, fueled by my Moby-Dick reread late last year.

 Dear America (Jose Antonio Vargas; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS
Related link here.

 A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah; 2007. Non-fiction.) RFS
Arrived at this book a bit later than most. Here’s a related link.

 Frogcatchers (Jeff Lemire; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB
Another of Lemire’s meditations on death, regret, and letting go.

 On Tyranny (Timothy Snyder; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS
Again, arrived at this later than most. I began marking passages for the commonplace book and soon realized I’d copy the entire text. Review here.

 Tomten Tales (Astrid Lindgren; 2017 ed. (1960 and 1966). Juvenile fiction.) LIB
Small gnome ornaments topped the holiday gift bags I distributed this year. In a lovely note, my music teacher thanked me for, among other things, “the adorable tomten.” In pursuit of a definition, I stumbled on this delightful children’s book.

 An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Chris Hadfield; 2013. Non-fiction.) RFS
My younger daughter (insistently) recommended this.

p. 267
If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on.

 Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates; 2015. Non-fiction.) RFS
p. 51
Poetry aims for an economy of truth — loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions — beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.

 Keep It Moving (Twyla Tharp; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB
Meh.

 The Passengers (John Marrs; 2019. Fiction.) ATY
Flawed and a bit predictable but an altogether entertaining way to pass a Sunday evening.

 Digital Minimalism (Cal Newport; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS
This book is partially responsible for the gap in entries here.

 We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; 2014. Non-fiction.) LIB
p. 18
Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.

 Daughter of Time (Josephine Tey; 1951. Fiction.) RFS
I reread this after rereading Richard III.

p. 33
It was shocking how little history remained with one after a good education.

p. 196
“No, that doesn’t matter at all. Most people’s first books are their best anyway; it’s the one they wanted most to write….”

 Blood Dazzler (Patricia Smith; 2009. Poetry.) LIB
Excerpts here.

 Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (Carolyn Criado Perez; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS
Wow. Wow. Wow. This will certainly top my list of memorable reads this year. Related link here.

 The Whisper Man (Alex North; 2019. Fiction.) ATY
Another meh.

 The Warehouse (Rob Hart; 2019. Fiction.) LIB
Although I’m weary of the narrative device of alternating voices, it worked in this was near-future dystopian novel.

 Emma (Jane Austen; 1815. Fiction.) RFS
Austen’s prose sparkles; her wit pierces. But I wonder if I am too old to appreciate Emma. I reread the novel before seeing the new Chicago Shakespeare musical.

—————————————
ATY Acquired this year
LIB Borrowed from library
RFS Read from shelves

Great to see you. How are the Flute lessons and band rehearsals going? 

Yes, you are off to a promising start.  I'm looking forward to reading In the Heart of the Sea. Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for all the links.  I'm still following rabbit trails.  I read the article in the New Yorker on Trust Exercise.  I added the book to my wishlist.  Love the quotes and makes me want to read Between the World and Me as well as We Should all be Feminists.  I probably should read Digital Minimalism so I can get more writing done. 😁

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I finished quite a few books last week!

I read some American Girl books and some frou-frou fairy books for my girls.  I sometimes can get my older girls to pre-read for the youngers, but I knew that if I asked any of them to read the fairy books I would have to make it up to them in a big way.  It was easier to just bite the bullet and read them myself.  Sigh.

I did, though, actually finish some books that I wanted to read.

Hidden Figures -- This book was good, although I liked the movie much better.  The book jumped around a lot from person to person and it was a little bit hard for me to follow.  There was also a fair bit of the history of race at Langley that was included.  Whoever wrote the screenplay did a really good job of weaving a lot of the information in organically.

Turtles All the Way Down -- I didn't really like this book, although I was curious enough about it to finish it.  I am definitely not in the target audience, so maybe that it why I didn't really connect with it.  

The House on Mango Street -- Another book that was kind of a miss for me.  I liked it, but it certainly isn't one of my favorites and it is likely that I won't re-read it.  

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7 hours ago, Robin M said:

Sounds like an interesting book, one my hubby would enjoy reading.   Love the pictures, @Negin  Makes me want to go to New York again.   

Robin, I liked his other book more than this one, although I liked both. 

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I finished the first "The Rose Years" book, Little House on Rocky Ridge.  Need to go find book 2 in my kid's messy room so I can start that today.

We are on about chapter 10 in Wuthering Heights.  My kid asked me if there is a movie about this, which is a good sign.  😛

That's about all as far as books go right now.

The kids say they are starting Johnny Tremain in school.  Lucky for them, we did that audiobook about a year ago.  😛

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12 hours ago, Pen said:

Alexander McCall Smith is such a prolific writer. He's written over 100 books ... he's got to be writing two books a year. And he works as a professor. And travels. Impressive!

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22 hours ago, Seasider too said:

Catching up, I’ve completed three in the last two weeks.

Florida by Lauren Groff

I am studying the short story genre as that is the focus of my current work. This collection is literary in tone, but rather depressing. I appreciated the familiar imagery.  

 
 
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
 
This was good! Moriarty is a great author, twisty plots like Paula Hawkins, laugh out loud dialogue and descriptions like Kristan Higgins. I am usually pretty good at figuring out whodunits but this kept me guessing right down to the end. I know it has been made into an award-winning HBO series, but I have not seen it. After reading the book, and reading online articles about differences between the book and the video, I think I’ll stick with the book. Adult content and themes, but great story. Recommend. 
 
(Sorry my fonts vary. A mystery of technology.)

I read Florida a few years ago for a challenge (takes place in your state, or something like that) and was disappointed. I don't normally like short stories - oh, maybe it was a short story challenge - but I was hoping I'd like this collection of short stories. It's clear the author doesn't like Florida and hasn't learned how to live here. This was my review.

 

I was surprised that I enjoyed Big Little Lies as much as I did. I usually don't like books that get a lot of hype, and especially ones that very quickly get turned into a series or movie. I really enjoyed it though, and was pleasantly surprised that it was deeper than it originally appeared. Like you I have no interest in the series though.

 

17 hours ago, mumto2 said:

 The books The Eyre Affair and Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookshop are particular favorites of mine, 

I keep forgetting about The Eyre Affair but have been meaning to read it. I checked to see if it's on my tbr list so I can count it for my challenge to read from that list. Alas, it's not. A mental tbr counts though, right? 😄 

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

I read Florida a few years ago for a challenge (takes place in your state, or something like that) and was disappointed. I don't normally like short stories - oh, maybe it was a short story challenge - but I was hoping I'd like this collection of short stories. It's clear the author doesn't like Florida and hasn't learned how to live here. This was my review.

 

I was surprised that I enjoyed Big Little Lies as much as I did. I usually don't like books that get a lot of hype, and especially ones that very quickly get turned into a series or movie. I really enjoyed it though, and was pleasantly surprised that it was deeper than it originally appeared. Like you I have no interest in the series though.

 

I keep forgetting about The Eyre Affair but have been meaning to read it. I checked to see if it's on my tbr list so I can count it for my challenge to read from that list. Alas, it's not. A mental tbr counts though, right? 😄 

 

About Florida - yeah! It was clear she wasn’t from Florida, hates Florida. Stay in France, then!

(eta whoops forgot she pretty much hated France, too!)

And BLL - from what I’ve read about the HBO series, the weighty theme of post-abuse trauma may go unaddressed. And at the end of the book, that character takes the noble route of telling the truth. If I read correctly, in the show, they all engage in a cover up. Which makes me feel like that character gets Faramired, iykwim. Like how they messed up Faramir's character in the LOTR movies. 

 

Edited by Seasider too
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Appears I forgot to update last week! So, finished 5 books over the past two weeks: 

10. Just Mercy by Bryan Steveson (audiobook) - read by the author.  This was a fantastic book.  And a bit depressing, but hopeful by the end.  Very highly recommended. 5 stars.

11. The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton - a middle-grades book that I'd never heard of before that someone said was their favorite as a child, and it's set in nearby Concord, in fact probably about 2 blocks from where I met dh, so thought I'd give it a quick read.  Sweet book, might have given it more stars if I'd been the targeted age when I read it? Now I'm just middle-aged, rather than middle-grades and I'll give it 3 stars.  I think I drove by the house used to inspire the cover - I may take a pic to compare with the cover...

12. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (audiobook, read by the author) - Not about Jason and the... but rather a somewhat stream of consciousness memoir about the author, her transgender husband, and motherhood (one of their kids was his from a previous relationship; the second she had by a donor).  While there were a few times she got a bit too TMI for me about details of her sex life and preferences, overall it was a good book if you're looking for something touching on this subject matter. 4 stars.

13. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin - Read this for a new IRL bookclub I found; the meeting was on Friday.  I liked the meeting; it was at a local independent bookstore and moderated by someone there who is also a writer.  The people were nice and the discussion interesting.  The general thoughts on the book were similar to mine, which was that it was a nice read, but not super-well written and a bit clunky in its plot machinations - it was supposed to be a Muslims-in-Toronto take on Pride & Prejudice, but it was mostly that it stole verbatim some of the most famous quotes from that book in a few key places.  It read kinda YA, though it's supposedly not aimed there - I read it in a day.  3 stars.  Next month we're reading American Marriage.

14. What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché (ebook) - One day the cousin of a friend of the author's shows up on her doorstep unannounced with his two kids, having driven to California from El Salvador.  He tells her he wants her to come to El Salvador to see what's going on down there and write about it.  She says, 'why me, I'm just a poet' - and he says yes, that's why.  He spends three days there, and leaves again, and when he sends her plane tickets, she goes.  No one is sure who this guy is or what his exact agenda is - not even her friend, his cousin.  He takes her all over the country - he has her meet the poor working the land, and people high in the military and government. He never explains anything, but just tells her to observe.  It's quite a compelling read, and some good background on why there's such a migrant problem still. 5 stars.

Almost finished with Cien años de soledad.  After listening to a book that sounds like a Greek myth retelling but isn't, I'm listening to one that doesn't sound like one but is - The House of Names by Colm Tóibín - and quite liking it, in spite of all the inevitable Greek Tragedy.  Also reading Wilder Girls by Rory Power, which is written by the niece of a friend, so I had to read it in spite of its being YA.  Somehow reminiscent of Annihilation and Vita Nostra.  Hopefully we'll find out in the end what's causing the weirdness.  

Interesting side-note, since my reading was more male-heavy than usual the 2nd half of last year - Just Mercy was the first male-authored book I've read this year - Cien años will be the second.  This must be some kind of cosmic evening-out...

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3 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Interesting side-note, since my reading was more male-heavy than usual the 2nd half of last year - Just Mercy was the first male-authored book I've read this year - Cien años will be the second.  This must be some kind of cosmic evening-out...

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

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6 minutes ago, aggieamy said:

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

At this point I appear to be 15% male authors.  I always tend to the female authors but 15% male is pretty low even for me.....my Faith Hunter and Julia Spencer Fleming rereads May take that percentage even lower!  

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12 minutes ago, aggieamy said:

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

At least since I've been keeping track since joining BaW a few years ago, my reading is usually very close to 50/50, with a percentage or two over to the male side.  First half of last year was tracking that way, skewing a bit female, at 55%.  But then somewhere after June I apparently read a lot of men, enough so that my end-year total was only 43% women.  This was not on purpose, and neither is this quite-female run at the beginning of this year.  That's why I think it's perhaps just an evening out again - should look back mid-year and see if I measured the last year from June/June instead of calendar year if I'd be back to the midline...

Apparently most people read many more men, and many more books by men are published and reviewed (with the exception, apparently, of the romance genre).  I think of myself as somewhat preferring female authors (or at least I certainly don't have a preference for male authors), so the fact that I'm only about even is interesting.  

Edited by Matryoshka
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Eight of my 14 books this year were written by females.

If you take out the children's books, that number drops to 2 out of 7.

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37 minutes ago, aggieamy said:

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

Mine is generally around 50/50 and usually leans towards male but there have been years where I read more female authors. I have a GR shelf for women authors but I don't always remember to categorize. I just checked and of the 13 books I finished this year 7 were by men and 6 by women. Of my current reads, including my current audio book, it's pretty male-heavy - 4 men, 2 women. 

 

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1 hour ago, aggieamy said:

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

I had never thought about this much - thank you, @aggieamy, for suggesting it! 🙂

I've only finished 5 books (plus a novella of 80 pages) this year but all 5 have been by female authors.  The novella was by a man/man author team.  Of the books that I'm (recently) currently reading, 3 have male authors (Tolkien, Preston/Child, Johnny Acton) and 3 have female authors (Mary Stewart, Miss Read, Wendy Webb).

I think I tend to read plot-driven novels over character-driven novels much of the time (but not always :)).  What does everyone think when relating plot or character driven writing with male/female authors?  Do you think that male authors tend to write plot driven novels while female authors tend to write character driven ones (obviously not meaning ALL authors 🙂 but maybe as a general trend)?  I know I'm over-simplifying things greatly as really good writing is probably both plot AND character driven.  Maybe I need to read better written books. 😉

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23 hours ago, Robin M said:

...Whenever you need a bit of whimsy, just watch the Beatles movie, The Yellow Submarine and it'll cheer you right up. 


You might also enjoy the Beatles light, silly, funny, exuberant Help! -- Done before the fame and drugs weighed them down, and it has several absolutely wonderful music videos that are far more visually creative than when MTV became a "thing" 20+ years later! 😄 Also, Leo McKern is wonderful as a high priest of Kali... I can say no more... 😉 

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3 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

 

11. The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton - a middle-grades book that I'd never heard of before that someone said was their favorite as a child, and it's set in nearby Concord, in fact probably about 2 blocks from where I met dh, so thought I'd give it a quick read.  Sweet book, might have given it more stars if I'd been the targeted age when I read it? Now I'm just middle-aged, rather than middle-grades and I'll give it 3 stars.  I think I drove by the house used to inspire the cover - I may take a pic to compare with the cover...


I would love to see your photo! I loved that book, and the sequel, The Astonishing Stereoscope, when I was a kid (along with the Edward Eager Half Magic books).

When I re-read it as an adult, I was surprised at what an axe-grinder the author Jane Langston was against Christianity (or at least against the local traditional church). That was disappointing. I totally am fine with reading authors who have different beliefs, or who have different worldview as the focus of their stories (here, Hinduism and Existentialism) -- I just never appreciate it when an author has to tear down another worldview or turn characters who portray another worldview into one-dimensional villains and punching bags in order to make their own worldview shine. (It ends up making me wonder who beat Jane Langston with a bible when she was young, so that she feels she has to vent her anger in her children's books...)  😞 

I still recommend both of the first 2 books in Langston's Hall Family chronicles (Diamond in the Window and The Astonishing Stereoscope) for those interested in magic adventures, and lots of great references to ideas by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau -- even Louisa May Alcott gets a shout out. 😄

Edited by Lori D.
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Good afternoon fellow bibliophiles!  I didn't add another read last week after finishing The Count of Monte Cristo the previous week.  I needed a bit of time to process it.  For an online book club I'm continuing What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer.  Some chapters I've liked, some not.  If not for the book club, I doubt I would finish this one.  I'm also continuing Black Robe Fever by Gary L. Richardson.  Dh suggested it to me and while it is an easy read with locations I am familiar with, I find myself putting it off.  I borrowed Ember Falls, the second book in the Green Ember series, from the library.  I will be starting it today as our family's afternoon read aloud.  

I haven't been paying much attention to the weekly challenges, but hope to incorporate them into my book selections.  This is the first year I'm pretty confident that I will be able to reach 52 books.  I will thrilled if I am able to accomplish that goal!

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4 hours ago, aggieamy said:

I would have guessed my reading is more male author heavy too but it appears it's not! Right now I'm at 50/50. That'll be a fun thing to track this year.

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

I tend to read more female authors overall.  Not that I'm trying but it just ends up that way.  This year  so far is 9 females /  4 male

1 hour ago, Lori D. said:


You might also enjoy the Beatles light, silly, funny, exuberant Help! -- Done before the fame and drugs weighed them down, and it has several absolutely wonderful music videos that are far more visually creative than when MTV became a "thing" 20+ years later! 😄 Also, Leo McKern is wonderful as a high priest of Kali... I can say no more... 😉 

"Go to the Window."   😁  Hilarious movie as well. 

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46 minutes ago, Robin M said:

"Go to the Window."   😁  Hilarious movie as well. 


😂 That line gets used around here a lot. Along with "take this hastily scribbled note hastily"... and.. "the importance of blood sacrifice" ... and...  "good British plugs"... 😄 

We just re-watched about 2 weeks ago!

Edited by Lori D.
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7 hours ago, aggieamy said:

@Group - I'd love to know where everyone else falls. Do you tend to read more female or male authors? What about so far this year?

I looked over my January reading.

I read and reread 14 books and novellas. Eleven were written by female authors (in some cases, co-authored by female authors) and three were written by men.

Regards,

Kareni

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   One of this year’s goals is to finish my Dorothy Sayers reread that I started a couple of years ago....going in story line order through Lord Peter Whimsey’s life.  Harriet has finally arrived on the scene so my reading speed should improve and I will hopefully finish this year.  My bedtime reading last night was the first few chapters of Have His Carcase.  I happily highlighted all my location identifiers which became my habit during Brit Tripping and starting looking for exactly where the book was set this morning and found this enjoyable blog post https://cranberrymorning.blogspot.com/2014/03/have-his-carcase-lord-peter-wimsey.html. Now I want to watch the movies!
 

Btw @Lori D. I am still enjoying your reading notes for the Hobbit.  I am going very slowing this time through...........Bilbo is just about to get in the barrel which is a favorite of mine.  The quilt has stalled for now as my husband wants a quilt which has never happened before. I will look at the LoR quilt as a very long term project I think......still highlighting all the useful bits pertaining to the quilt blocks.

Edited by mumto2
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21 hours ago, Dicentra said:

I had never thought about this much - thank you, @aggieamy, for suggesting it! 🙂

I've only finished 5 books (plus a novella of 80 pages) this year but all 5 have been by female authors.  The novella was by a man/man author team.  Of the books that I'm (recently) currently reading, 3 have male authors (Tolkien, Preston/Child, Johnny Acton) and 3 have female authors (Mary Stewart, Miss Read, Wendy Webb).

I think I tend to read plot-driven novels over character-driven novels much of the time (but not always :)).  What does everyone think when relating plot or character driven writing with male/female authors?  Do you think that male authors tend to write plot driven novels while female authors tend to write character driven ones (obviously not meaning ALL authors 🙂 but maybe as a general trend)?  I know I'm over-simplifying things greatly as really good writing is probably both plot AND character driven.  Maybe I need to read better written books. 😉

 

I looked at my audio list to try to judge—

by number of books, more total books by women because of series by women where I’ve read all I could get, and sometimes listened to a whole cozy mystery (most by women) in a couple of days

by author, more men’s names where there’s a single non fiction book, or a shorter series, or where I read only part of a series

for my favorite genres, both men and women authors’ of books I particularly like have both a lot of character and a lot of plot

I think women tend to write more of the “cozy” side and men more of the “international espionage” side of the mystery/thriller genre

I think it may be true that more women write in genres like romance where character tends to be the Driver.  I tend to prefer books that are more plot driven such as mysteries 

 

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So that I can follow via email  I doing a zoom through post and waving hello to each one here.  (February is a busy (!!) month with birthdays etc, so not much time for me to book chat).

An 'O' title you might like to consider @mumto2  One-way Tickets: A Case For Willows and Lane

@aggieamy  The Eloquence... book I mentioned last week does have some 'skip it' content for me - so I am.  I'm noting things on GRs so others who like the bedroom door to stay shut,  don't like f-bombs etc may be a little forewarned before reading too.   

****

I finished my first Mary Stewart book selected for this month and gifted it a 5/5:  I was in the mood to enjoy it and so I did 🙂 

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, Ellie Heydon (Narrator)    I don't usually read suspense romances, but a GR retro reader who is au fait with Mary Stewart books recommended this book to me, last year, as being an enjoyable title.  It was.  I had to keep listening until we'd got Linda and young Philippe to a safe haven.... and the villainy sorted out.
The romance is very retro, but thankfully, for me, is clean.

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21 minutes ago, tuesdayschild said:

So that I can follow via email  I doing a zoom through post and waving hello to each one here.  (February is a busy (!!) month with birthdays etc, so not much time for me to book chat).

An 'O' title you might like to consider @mumto2  One-way Tickets: A Case For Willows and Lane

@aggieamy  The Eloquence... book I mentioned last week does have some 'skip it' content for me - so I am.  I'm noting things on GRs so others who like the bedroom door to stay shut,  don't like f-bombs etc may be a little forewarned before reading too.   

****

I finished my first Mary Stewart book selected for this month and gifted it a 5/5:  I was in the mood to enjoy it and so I did 🙂 

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, Ellie Heydon (Narrator)    I don't usually read suspense romances, but a GR retro reader who is au fait with Mary Stewart books recommended this book to me, last year, as being an enjoyable title.  It was.  I had to keep listening until we'd got Linda and young Philippe to a safe haven.... and the villainy sorted out.
The romance is very retro, but thankfully, for me, is clean.

Thank you for the recommendation!  My overdrive has it on audio and I just marked it for the next time I need an O.😉

So glad you enjoyed your first Mary Stewart experience.  I read most of her books as a teen and enjoyed DD’s binge reading them as a teen also.  I missed a few with her so will hopefully read some of those this month.   I picked up The Rose Cottage and The GabrielHounds the other day......no memories of either.

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On 2/10/2020 at 4:32 PM, Lady Florida. said:
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
 
This was good! Moriarty is a great author, twisty plots like Paula Hawkins, laugh out loud dialogue and descriptions like Kristan Higgins. I am usually pretty good at figuring out whodunits but this kept me guessing right down to the end. I know it has been made into an award-winning HBO series, but I have not seen it. After reading the book, and reading online articles about differences between the book and the video, I think I’ll stick with the book. Adult content and themes, but great story. Recommend. 

Back from the land of flu.  Still in recovery.  I did finish The Lost City of Z.  Mini-review later.  

But, a question re: the bolded above.  When this is mentioned, is this because of explicitness?  Like "you are there in the bedroom following every move" or just the fact that adultery or drug use or whatever is mentioned?  or use of F-bombs and other language?

Personally, for me, dialogue loaded with swearing is a no-go.  The occasional word, meh.  Pages of detailed intimate relations--a no-go.  The fact of adultery and immoral behavior--well, that's life.  I hope I'm making sense.  

This book seems like something I *might* enjoy, depending on how adult the adult content is.  

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Checking in late. This was standardized testing week, and if there is anything duller than proctoring a test room all day for a bunch of well-behaved kids. I don't know what it is. You can't do anything other than proctor, and other than respond to the occasional confused child with the scripted "Some of these are tricky, aren't they? Just give your best answer," and oversee restroom trips, there is nothing but to gaze out over the silent bubble-filling and watch the timer tick down and despair.

But that's all done now for better or for worse, and I have two (two!) finished books to report. 

Poems of Geoffrey Grigson
Poems of Edwin Muir

These are from the '70s Penguin Modern Poets series, which little volumes are worth their weight in gold. Low page count but high time investment, and I've been working on them for a while, so I have no shame about counting them for BaW. The Muir gets me three 10x10 categories: Plucked From the Air, Scots Wha' Hae, and Lyric, Dramatic, and Epic (though I've got way more than ten in that category now).

Currently reading Memoirs of Vidocq, of whom I learned from Joyce. Check out his Wikipedia page! Another from the Crime and Punishment 10x10. A fantastic read, if you can lay your hands on a copy.

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11 hours ago, mumto2 said:

Thank you for the recommendation!  My overdrive has it on audio and I just marked it for the next time I need an O.😉

So glad you enjoyed your first Mary Stewart experience.  I read most of her books as a teen and enjoyed DD’s binge reading them as a teen also.  I missed a few with her so will hopefully read some of those this month.   I picked up The Rose Cottage and The GabrielHounds the other day......no memories of either.

Highly recommend both those Mary Stewarts! They are dated but so charming. 

11 hours ago, tuesdayschild said:

So that I can follow via email  I doing a zoom through post and waving hello to each one here.  (February is a busy (!!) month with birthdays etc, so not much time for me to book chat).

An 'O' title you might like to consider @mumto2  One-way Tickets: A Case For Willows and Lane

@aggieamy  The Eloquence... book I mentioned last week does have some 'skip it' content for me - so I am.  I'm noting things on GRs so others who like the bedroom door to stay shut,  don't like f-bombs etc may be a little forewarned before reading too.   

****

I finished my first Mary Stewart book selected for this month and gifted it a 5/5:  I was in the mood to enjoy it and so I did 🙂 

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, Ellie Heydon (Narrator)    I don't usually read suspense romances, but a GR retro reader who is au fait with Mary Stewart books recommended this book to me, last year, as being an enjoyable title.  It was.  I had to keep listening until we'd got Linda and young Philippe to a safe haven.... and the villainy sorted out.
The romance is very retro, but thankfully, for me, is clean.

That's a new Mart Stewart to me. It's on my to-read list ... so many books so little time! 

Thanks for the heads up about the Eloquence.  

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@Violet Crown - What's your Emma schedule look like? I've attempted it a few years ago and can never get through. (I've had better luck with the movies which is a bizarre things for me to say since I'm generally TV-phobic.) I've downloaded an audiobook to try with the idea that it might go better. I'm really attempting to add some culture to my life but I still can't seem to get myself to start Emma again. 

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15 minutes ago, aggieamy said:

@Violet Crown - What's your Emma schedule look like? I've attempted it a few years ago and can never get through. (I've had better luck with the movies which is a bizarre things for me to say since I'm generally TV-phobic.) I've downloaded an audiobook to try with the idea that it might go better. I'm really attempting to add some culture to my life but I still can't seem to get myself to start Emma again. 

It's anything you want. I started it but have been a little overwhelmed by Dickens and felt the need for some non-England reading (thus the Muir and Vidocq). And as usual i needed to go back and make up an index card-cum-bookmark with the characters and the names of their homes, so I'm more or less on the second chapter and holding. But ready to go at any time.

Edited by Violet Crown
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8 hours ago, vmsurbat1 said:

Back from the land of flu.  Still in recovery.  I did finish The Lost City of Z.  Mini-review later.  

But, a question re: the bolded above.  When this is mentioned, is this because of explicitness?  Like "you are there in the bedroom following every move" or just the fact that adultery or drug use or whatever is mentioned?  or use of F-bombs and other language?

Personally, for me, dialogue loaded with swearing is a no-go.  The occasional word, meh.  Pages of detailed intimate relations--a no-go.  The fact of adultery and immoral behavior--well, that's life.  I hope I'm making sense.  

This book seems like something I *might* enjoy, depending on how adult the adult content is.  

 

Sorry, I could have been clearer!

In this case “adult” does not mean erotica as in steamy romance novel. I should have said trigger warning for domestic violence and an incident of sexual assault. The author describes these scenes at what I personally felt was a good level - balanced, not sensationalized, definitely pertinent to the story and issues considered in it. 

As in, I wouldn’t hand it to my 14yo dd, but would recommend it to my 21+ gal. There is profanity, but not a ton. Its use helps define the character using it - the text is not thoroughly peppered with it. 

HTH

Edited by Seasider too
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