DiskuteraThe 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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Redigerat: jun 14, 2012, 2:22am

I am new to this group and starting midway through the year. I haven't given too much though to my categories and some of them will over lap. If a book can go into more than one category it goes in the topmost one on my list. I will start adding books I have already read today and tomorrow

I have mucked up my thread title :(. I meant it to say Zozette's 12 in 12.

1) Scandanavian mysteries (favourite authors - Karin Fossum, Arnaldur Indridason)
2) YA/Children's
3) Elementary, Dr Watson (anything fiction or non-fiction that is about the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, various authors)
4) Iceland - books by Icelandic authors or books about Iceland (excluding those Icelandic authors from category 1)
5) Language
6) Science
7) Other mysteries
8) Sci fi/fantasy/horror
9) Memoirs, biographies
10) History
11) Survival stories
12) Potpourri - everything else. Hope to get interested in some new genres via this category.

Redigerat: aug 31, 2012, 5:17am

Category 1 - Scandanavian mysteries

1) The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson (Icelandic)
2) Black Skies - Arnaldur Indridason (Icelandic)
3)) In the Darkness by Karin Fossum.
4) Season of the Witch by Arni Thorarinsson (Icelandic)

On my reading list

The Quarry - Johan Theorin

Redigerat: sep 22, 2012, 11:58pm

Category 2 - YA/Childrens

1) Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
2) Mockingjay Suzanne Collins
3) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
4) The Takers - R.W. Ridley
5) Delon City - R.W. Ridley
6) The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
7) The Giver - Lois Lowry
8) Into the Wild - Erin Hunter
9) Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

I read quite a few YA books when I was ill for a month early in the year.

Redigerat: aug 25, 2012, 6:44am

Category 3 - Elementary, Dr Watson.

1) The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
2) A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle
3) Sherlock Holmes for Dummies - Steven Doyle
4) The Sign of Four - Arthur Conan Doyle
5) The Valley of Fear - Arthur Conan Doyle
6) Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes - David Stuart Davies
7) The Science of Sherlock Holmes- E.J. Wagner
8) The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes: Nine Adventures from the Lost Years by Ted Riccardi.
9) Arthur and George - Julian Barnes
10) Holmes on the Range - Steve Hockensmith
11) Dear Mr Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries by Steve Hockensmith

On my reading list

Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds - Manly W Wellman and Wade Wellman

My maiden name is Holmes and when I was a little girl my dad's best friend had the surname Watson.

Redigerat: nov 11, 2012, 8:48pm

Category 4 - Iceland

1) On the Cold Coasts - Vilborg Davidsdottir
2) The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning - Hallgrimur Helgason
3) The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness
4) StoneTree by Gyrdir Eliasson
5) From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjon

On reading list

Independent People - Halldor Laxness
Under the Glacier - Halldor Laxness
The Blue Fox - Sjon
The Greenhouse - Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Redigerat: jun 18, 2012, 6:14am

Category 6 - Science

1) An Anthropologist on Mars - Oliver Sacks
2) Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein

On my reading list

Song of the Dodo - David Quammen. Currently reading.
Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature - David Quammen
Trilobite - Richard Fortey

Redigerat: nov 26, 2012, 4:17pm

Category 7 - Other mysteries

1) The Novice’s Tale - Margaret Frazer (Sister Frevisse series)
2) The Servant's Tale - Margaret Frazer
3) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
4) The Outlaw's Tale - Margaret Frazer
5) The Bishop's Tale by Margaret Frazer
6) The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill (Dr Siri series)
7) The Boy's Tale by Margaret Frazer
8) Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill
9) Slash and Burn by Colin Cotterill
10) Petrified by Barbara Nadel

Redigerat: sep 4, 2012, 3:06am

Category 8 - Sci fi/fantasy/horror

1) The Drought - J.G. Ballard
2) The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
3) Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fford
4) Island Life - William Meikle
5) Halfway Human - Carolyn Ives Gilman
6) Life of Pi - Yann MArtel

Redigerat: okt 24, 2012, 5:12am

Category 9 - Memoirs, biographies

1) Barbie and Ruth - Robin Gerber, Biography about the woman who created the Barbie doll.
2) They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan - Benjamin Ajak et al.
3) Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s - Jennifer Worth
4) Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar London - Jennifer Worth
5) Farewell to the East End - Jennifer Worth
6) Rabbit Stew and a Penny or Two: A Gypsy Family's Hard Times and Happy Times on the Road in the 1950s by Maggie Smith-Bendall
7) The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling
8) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
9) The Cross in the Closet - Timothy Kurek

Redigerat: jul 16, 2012, 6:10pm

Category 10 - History

1) Over the Edge of the World - Laurence Bergreen. Account of Magellan's crew's journey around the world.
2) 1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet - David Hill

Redigerat: jun 13, 2012, 5:36am

Category 11 - Survival stories

1) Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World - Joan Cruet
2) Australian Book of Disasters - Larry Writer

jun 13, 2012, 2:38pm

Welcome!! Lots of good reads over here, I see - I'll be following your Iceland category since I've not read enough myself. I'm also a fan of Sherlock, so it'll be interesting to see what you read in that category - I've missed that there's a Sherlock Holmes For Dummies and need to put that on the wishlist.

"My maiden name is Holmes and when I was a little girl my dad's best friend had the surname Watson"
That's excellent!!

jun 13, 2012, 3:06pm

Welcome! Looking forward to seeing what you read for your Scandanavian category and Sherlock. I'm considering a Sherlock category for next year so am curious as to which stories you like.

Redigerat: jun 13, 2012, 8:27pm

At the moment, because I want to do more reading in different genres, I have limited my Scandanavian mysteries to seven authors.

Karin Fossum
Arnaldur Indridason
Yrsa Sigurdsdottir
Karin Alvtegen
Johan Theorin
Mari Jungstedt
Ann Holt

I will expand this to include at least one Finnish author next year.

I also own Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History by Alan Barnes. It is an excellent book but not one I would read from cover to cover so it isn't on my list of books read.

jun 13, 2012, 8:45pm

I suppose I should give a quick review of some of these books

Category 11

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World - Joan Cruet

This is was a gripping tale. In 1864 two different crews are shipwrecked on different sides of Auckland Island south of New Zealand. Because mountains separate the two crews they are unaware of each other presence through the whole of their ordeals.

One crew has good leadership and the men pull together to survive. Luckily this crew are able to salvage items from their wreckage.

Thw second crew has poor leadership. Their captain becomes catatonic after the shipwreck. The only man who seemed to have the skills and drive needed to survive is one of the common seamen and the officers are not willing to let him take control. This crew also do not have the luxury of a wrecked boat close to shore and there are few seals on their side of the island.

jun 14, 2012, 1:37am

Adding to the welcome posts to say I am new to most of the books you have posted so will be following along to see how many new authors/books I add to my To Read Later list.

jun 14, 2012, 2:53pm

Nice list of authors, lots of authors I'm not familiar with though I do have several Arnaldur Indridason on my Kindle to read.

So, being a Sherlock fan, have you seen the BBC Sherlock series?

jun 14, 2012, 4:17pm

Welcome to the challenge! I'll add my two cents about the Sherlock Holmes stories. I downloaded a free set to my Kindle and am delighted that they also have all the original illustrations from the Strand magazine. I am a big fan of the Jeremy Brett dramatizations as well as the modern version with Benedict Cumberbatch. However, as I read them I have Jeremy's voice in my head.

jun 14, 2012, 7:07pm

I love, and own, both the Jeremy Brett and Benedict Cumberbatch series. I think Jeremy is slightly ahead of Benedict in being my favourite Sherlock. I also like Basil Rathbone's portrayal, and also Vasili Livanov's portrayal in the Russian series of Sherlock Holmes.

Martin Freeman is my favourite Dr Watson. My least favourite is probably Nigel Bruce, he almost ruins the Basil Rathbone movies for me.

jun 16, 2012, 8:19pm

Good to have you here - welcome!

jun 17, 2012, 9:30pm

Brett is my favorite Sherlock as well - he is the Sherlock, I think - but Cumberbatch has taken on much of the same Sherlock-isms that Brett has and it works very, very well. Freeman is a brilliant Watson, indeed!

Redigerat: jun 18, 2012, 6:17am

I added Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from The Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein to my Science category. An informative book but I found some parts of it to be a little boring. 3/5.

jun 20, 2012, 10:34pm

Adding the 4th Sherlock Holmes novel, The Valley of Fear to my list of books read. Now I have the short stories collections to go.

jun 22, 2012, 4:14am

Just finished reading 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History's Most Influential Felines by Sam Stall. Pleasant, enjoyable read though I think the title is a little over-ambitious. 4/5. Most of the cats mentioned didn't change civilisation all that much.

jun 22, 2012, 11:51am

26 - Hey! I just finished that one too! Cute but yah, they really weren't doing anything life changing were they?

jun 27, 2012, 4:53am

Just finished reading Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies. Excellent book that looks at the 10 years Jeremy spent playing the role of Sherlock Holmes, including his battle with manic depression (bipolar order) and heart disease. 4.5/5

jun 27, 2012, 6:15am

Welcome to the challenge! I have a Scandinavian Mystery category too. Will be interested in seeing what you read from that category, and the others too!

jun 29, 2012, 6:51pm

I might look for that book about Jeremy Brett. I can remember when they started the second SH series and noticing how bad he looked; puffy with dark circles under his eyes. At the time I had no idea how ill he was.

Redigerat: jun 29, 2012, 8:00pm

I read the Kindle version of Bending the Willow. It cost me $AUS9.99.

I believe that the printed version is now a collector's item and is quite expensive starting from around $200 a copy.

Redigerat: jun 30, 2012, 2:11am

Finished reading The Outlaw's Tale by Margaret Frazer. I am quite enjoying the Sister Frevisse series though it is a bit of the stretch of the imagination that a nun could repeatedly get involved in so many murders. 3.5/5

jun 30, 2012, 9:24am

Oh, my! I think I've just discovered another series that looks very interesting. I've kind of been in a mood for historical mysteries lately, and this series by Frazer looks great!

jun 30, 2012, 7:00pm

I'm definitely getting the Jeremy Brett-book! I'll stick to the ebook as well, though... :)

Redigerat: jul 3, 2012, 5:52am

The Science of Sherlock Holmes by EJ Wagner.

Subtitled "From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases" the author uses Sherlock Holmes's stories as an aid to look at the history of forensic science as a whole. She mentions many interesting real life cases and forensic pioneers. This book is an easy read, is educational, interesting and informative. 4.5/5

jul 3, 2012, 1:45pm

Oh dear, this has turned out to be a very dangerous thread to visit - more stuff on the wishlist. :)

Redigerat: jul 5, 2012, 2:48am

The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason

Category - Iceland.

A Croatian hitman working in New York finds himslelf on the run. He ends up in Iceland after killing and taking the identity of an American televangelist. He finds Iceland and its people bewildering.

Not the book to read if you are offended by strong language. Or offended by sex.

I found this novel to be extremely funny, if a little shocking in bits. 4/5.

jul 5, 2012, 5:47pm

That description made me giggle - think this is going on my TBR list!

jul 5, 2012, 7:23pm

I would advise you to read the first chapter on Amazon to see if you like it.

The novel is written in the first person and for the narrator, the Croatian hitman, English is not his first language and he hasn't quite mastered it. Though the author wrote this way intentionally some people consider it to be a sign that the book is poorly written.

The ending is also a disappointment for some people.

jul 7, 2012, 3:25pm

Thanks for the tip. I skimmed a bit and am still interested. Doubtful that I'll get to it anytime soon, but at least I have it marked as something I'd like to read.

Redigerat: jul 12, 2012, 4:31am

The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes: Nine Adventures from the Lost Years by Ted Riccardi.

Dr Watson retells 9 stories told to him by Holmes, adventures that Holmes had during the 3 years following his supposed death at the Reichenbach Falls. I enjoyed the last four stories the most. However I did miss Watson actually being a participate in Sherlock's adventures. 4/5.

jul 13, 2012, 11:50pm

I hve just finished reading Rabbit Stew and a Penny or Two: A Gypsy Family Hard Times and Happy Times on the Road in the 1950s - Maggie Smith Bendell

An enjoyable read about what life on the road was like for gypsies, as experienced by the author as a child. The later chapters dealt with her adult life and her role as an advocate for rights of Travellers. 4/5

jul 14, 2012, 12:59am

What interesting categories! Welcome to the challenge. Rabbit Stew sounds interesting.

jul 15, 2012, 5:33pm

The Bishop's Tale by Margaret Frazer. 4th book in the Sister Frevisse series 4/5.

Four down, thirteen left in this series. I wonder if I will end up reading them all?

Redigerat: jul 16, 2012, 6:26pm

added 1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet by David Hill. 5/5.

I have read other books about the First Fleet, this is the best so far. Tells the story about the 11 ships that bought around 1400 people from England to seetle Australia. about 750 of these people were convicts to my history category.

I am not sure that the word 'brutal' is the most suitable adjective to use in the title. The convicts of the First Fleet were reasonably well treated on the voyage out, especially when compared to the horrific conditions that the convicts on the Second and Third Fleets were subjected to.

The people of the First Fleet (not just convicts but the marines as well) were placed on starvation rations when the first crops failed etc but on the whole I think that Governor Phillip was a caring and fair man.

I had an ancestor, John Wood, who arrived as a convict on the Third Fleet (1791). He would have known many of the people who are mentioned in "1788".

jul 22, 2012, 6:43pm

added to my Scandanavian mysteries category

47) In the Darkness by Karin Fossum.

A novel by my favourite Scandanavian mystery writer featuring my second favourite Scandanavian police detective.

Despite only being released in English this month, this novel is in fact the 1st in the Inspector Sejer series. Eight later books in the series were released in English before it.

I think that, at least for me, going back to a less fleshed out Konrad Sejer is a little distracting. I would have preferred to have read this book before the others. It is a good novel but not as good as some of her later ones. However I would suggest that people who haven't read Karin Fossum to start with this one. 4/5.

jul 22, 2012, 8:49pm

I like Margaret Frazer too - I usually just sample a few books from a series though. I never complete them. 13 is a lot, and what an unfortunate convent. ;)

Redigerat: jul 24, 2012, 11:43am

Thanks for pointing out that In the Darkness should be read first. I'll be sure to read that one before any of her others.

jul 23, 2012, 6:16pm

Your touchstone is for the wrong book. I hate it when so many books have similar names.

If you don't like In the Darkness do try and stay with the author. Some of her later books are among the best I have ever read. She is very good at understanding the criminal or disturbed mind. I find her portrayal of Errki Johrma in He Who Fears the Wolf haunting and I don't think I have ever felt as much sympathy with a victim as I did in Calling Out For You also known as "The Indian Bride".

jul 24, 2012, 11:49am

Oops - guess I wasn't paying attention. Fixed now. The book doesn't come out here until the end of August so I'll look for it then.

Redigerat: jul 24, 2012, 4:44pm

I bought the Kindle version which came out this month. I am sort of debating with myself whether to buy a paperback copy as well. I am a bit of a completist when it comes to my favourite authors and I have all her other books on my shelves as I bought them before I bought my iPad.

jul 24, 2012, 9:55pm

I really enjoyed Karin Fossum's Don't Look Back and I've been meaning to look for more of her books.

Redigerat: jul 26, 2012, 11:43pm

Added Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language by Douglas C Baynton to my language category 3.5/5

An historical look at the conflict between two different groups concerning how the deaf should be educated. Mainly deals with the situation in America between between 1865 and 1920.

The two groups were the Manualists who wanted sign language to be used to teach the deaf, the the Oralists who wanted education to be via lipreading and speech.

For the most part the Manualists didn't seem to mind if the oral method was used along with signing, but the Oralists wanted all sign language to be banned from the classroom. The Deaf themselves supported the Manualists but, for the most part, the opinions of the deaf were ignored.

I leanrt a great deal about American culture, and about sign language from this book. I thought it dragged in bits.

jul 28, 2012, 6:11pm

53 - A pretty good movie that addresses this a bit (albeit much later than 1920) is Children of a Lesser God. I saw it for the first time this year and was quite impressed. I still have the boomerang song in my head!

jul 28, 2012, 7:23pm

I did watch Children of a Lesser God more than 20 years ago but do not remember it all that well. I will have to get a copy and rewatch it.

I also plan to read Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard because I think that it will be interesting to read about a society in which the deaf were totally integrated into that society.

jul 31, 2012, 2:57am

I added Arthur and George to my Sherlock Holmes category. 4/5.

This novel is not about Sherlock Holmes though he is mentioned. It is a novel about the true life story of George Edalji who was accused of, and sentence to prison for, the mutilation of animals. After his unexpected early release he contacted author Arthur Conan Doyle about his case. Conan Doyle became sure that Edalji was innocent and investigated the case.

I considered this book to be a good introduction to this case but I think I might end up reading a non-fiction book on the case.

jul 31, 2012, 8:38pm

Arthur and George is waiting very patiently for me on my TBR bookcase. Glad to see you gave it the star rating you did - at some point I will get around to reading it, just not this month as I have again over-booked my planned reading.....

Redigerat: aug 3, 2012, 9:31am

I have added Lighter Shades of Grey: a (very) critical reader's guide to Fifty Shades of Grey by Cassandra Parkin to my Potpourri list.

The author lists three groups of people who this book is for, roughly speaking the three groups are

1) Those who have shamelessly embraced the "Fifty Shades" happening and need to know what sort of arguments those who are insulting the books are likely to make
2) Those who pretend that they are above it all but have a secret copy of the book and who are trying to make up their minds whether to love or hate the book.
3) Those who have braved accusations of elitism and literary snobbery and have declared never to read 50 Shades because it is crap. Via this book these people will be able to pick big giant holes in 50 Shades without having to actually read it.

I will let you decide which of these three groups I belong in.

Lighter Shades is only available as an ebook.

aug 1, 2012, 2:36pm

Love the descriptions of the three groups! Maybe I should read it as I fall into category 3 but could see crossing over into category 2 if I ever crack and read the book. Maybe this book would save me the trouble of actually reading Fifty Shades.

Redigerat: aug 3, 2012, 8:13am

I also fall into category 3 and now I can reasonably safely criticise the book as if I had actually read it.

An example of what is mention in Lighter Shades is this short passage from 50 Shades

The radio crackles into life, and Mark mentions three thousand feet. Jeez that sounds high. I checked the ground, and I can no longer distinguish anything down there

The author of Lighter Shades gives her opinion of this and now I will give mine which is

I often go to the top of Mount Wellington, the mountain that towers over my city. It is 4170 feet high. From the top of Mt Wellington I can clearly make out the Tasman Bridge and Wrest Point Casino (Tasmania's tallest building) which are both several miles away. Yet Anastasia can't see anything 3000 feet below?

edited to add - Tasmania's tallest building is not that tall compared to other building around the world. It is only 83 meters (240 ft tall) and has only 19 floors and is considerable shorter than Tasmania's tallest tree (named Centurion) which at 99.6 meters (326.7 ft) is said, by some sources, to currently be the second tallest tree in the world.

aug 3, 2012, 7:39am

Maybe her eyes are still blurry from all the sex she has been having?

Redigerat: aug 3, 2012, 9:18am

Maybe she has been blinded by Christian Grey's amazing beauty (she mentions how handsome he is time after time after time after time, just in case her readers forget). According to Lighter Shades she trips over her feet and falls the first time she meets Mr Grey and that was when she was still a virgin so maybe she was dazzled/blinded then as well.

I also forgot to mention that Lighter Shades only costs $2.25 which is 1/4 of the price of a 50 Shades book.

aug 3, 2012, 4:50pm

Oh yes, I forgot about his amazing beauty. That can be blinding. Blech...

I don't fit into any of the above categories. I did read the first one because I figured there must be something to the hype. I was wrong. The writing is awful (think junior high level), the misogyny is appalling (women can't have male friends apparently) and the contract is down right dangerous (how often to exercise? really?) And yet sadly, whenever I try to talk to friends about it, they look at me like I am insane because I don't think that it's the most romantic thing ever. Very sad.

aug 3, 2012, 5:47pm

I now have "Blinded by the Light" stuck in my head. Thanks a lot, author of 50 Shades of Grey.

Redigerat: aug 3, 2012, 6:38pm

I can sometimes put up with poor writing if there is a good reason to pardon it.

For example there was a book I read written by a man who had survived being buried in an avalanche. He wasn't a good writer but i didn't expect him to be and his story was just so amazing that it gripped me. It annoyed me a little that he was quite repetitive when he was descibing the love he had for his wife and how perfect she was but I reminded myself he was totally traumatised by her death - she had initially survived the avalanche which had buried the ski lodge they were working at. They were trapped on their bed and could barely move. Eventually a flood of water from burst pipes engulfed them and though he tried desperately to save her she drowned beside him.

Likewise I am currently reading a book about British executions. The guy who wrote researched over 800 executions that took place in Britain between 1900 and 1964 which he has published as ten volumes. I worked for a while transcribing documents for the Tasmanian Execution Database (not yet publish) so I can really appreciate the effort this man has put into his research and feel that I have to forgive his occasional typos and grammar mistakes. The typos are not that bad "ladt" instead of 'lady", "logder" instead of "lodger", "pat" instead of "pay" etc, though, as I am reading it as an e-book, I wish he had used a spellchecker as it would have pick up the majority of his typos.

But, it would seem to me that EL James is a poor writer on all levels. She certainly comes across as far too immature to be a middle-aged TV executive.

aug 3, 2012, 10:10pm

Added to my Potpourri category

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

What a marvelous story. I got so teary at times that I had to keep wiping my reading glasses. A very beautiful and uplifting tale 5/5.

aug 5, 2012, 4:43pm

Added Holmes on the Range to My Sherlock category.

Two brothers, Gustav (Old Red) and Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer are working on a cattle ranch in Montana. Only Big Red can read or write as his family could only afford to educate one child. Big Red reads Sherlock Holmes stories to Old Red, and when there is a murder on the ranch Old Red (who is only in his late 20s) decides to use his Holmes-inspired "deducifyin'" skills to solve the mystery.

Told in the first person by Big Red. Quite a few of the early Holmes stories are mentioned. I really enjoyed this novel and plan to read more in the series. 4/5.

aug 6, 2012, 3:17am

OMG - Thanks for the warning - I went to costco and saw a table filled with skids and skids of 50 Shades of Grey and read the author as P.D. James and thought, interesting, she's a steady seller of mystery novels but I wonder why they have so many copies. Overstock???

aug 6, 2012, 5:04pm

Added Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce to my Language category.

Interesting to read about how the deaf population on Martha's Vineyard were integrated into society without any prejudice. As the title suggests everyone, including the hearing, knew sign language and the hearing population used it even when there were no deaf people around i.e. for communicating from fishing boat to shore, for 'communicating' behind the non-signing teacher's back when she had told them not to speak, for speaking to neighbours across the way etc.

aug 6, 2012, 6:17pm

->68 cammykitty:
"read the author as P.D. James"

Had to LOL @ that - what a shock that would have been!! :)

aug 7, 2012, 12:26am

So glad I wasn't book buying that day!!!

Wow, I'd never heard of a deaf population on Martha's Vineyard. That sounds really interesting.

aug 7, 2012, 1:33am

There is no longer a deaf community on Martha's Vineyard. There was from the early 18th century until the last person who was deaf as a result of the hereditary deafness died in 1952 meaning it lasted almost 250 years. It seems that the rate on the island was 20 times the national average, and in some settlelements higher still.

The families in which the deafness occurred seemed to immigrated from the same area of England (The Weald in Kent).

aug 7, 2012, 2:44pm

>66 Zozette: Looking forward to reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, it's almost my turn at the library.

aug 10, 2012, 2:32am

Very interesting - 250 years really is a long time considering how much moving around people do now. There aren't so many isolated pockets of almost inbred groups. I've got Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language on order from Powells. Probably won't get to it until next year, but I'm looking forward to it.

Redigerat: aug 12, 2012, 6:53pm

I have another book on my wishlist Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox. It is about an isolated Bedouin community in Israel with an unusually high rate of deafness. Fox is a linguist who went to the village to study the sign language that the community had developed and which no outsider had decoded before.

I think it will be interesting to compare the two comminities and see what similarities and difference exist betweem to the two.

Redigerat: aug 21, 2012, 4:57pm

Added The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness to my Icelandic category.

I loved the characters in this book especially Alfgrimur's adoptive grandparents. 4.5/5

Its been a couple of weeks since I finished my last book. This is because my house has been renovated during that time (bathroom and kitchen) so there has been so much noise that I haven't been able to read much.

aug 25, 2012, 6:48am

Added Dear Mr Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries by Steve Hockensmith to my Herlock Holmes category.

Seven short stories about Old Red using his Holmes-inspired "deducifyin'" skills to solve crimes. The seven stories are told in letters that Big Red writes to various people including Sherlocck Holmes, Dr Watson and the Strand Magazine. 4/5.

aug 25, 2012, 11:03pm

Ah, Talking Hands is going on my WL too. I have a hunch I'm going to get fascinated with cultures like that. The Fish Can Sing sounds good too. Hope the renovations are cool enough to make up for the noise!

aug 27, 2012, 2:47am

Added Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman to my Potpourri list.

Though it starts with a murder and eleven-year old Harri and a friend investigate that murder this really doesn't fit into my Murder Mystery category. It is more about how Harri, a recent immigrant from Ghana, adapting to British society. 4/5

aug 27, 2012, 8:18am

79> We have that book at the library in leased books, and I keep thinking I should check it out and read it. I probably ought to do so before it has to go back to the vendor.

aug 27, 2012, 8:44am

It has a lot of bad language and sexual references in it, I know such things upset some people.

aug 27, 2012, 6:53pm

In that case, I will skip it!

aug 31, 2012, 5:24am

Added Season of the Witch by Arni Thorarinsson to my Scandinavian mysteries category.

This book started out slowly. I didn't particularly like the protagonist, Einar, a journalist. I did like the fact that the novel was set on Iceland's second largest city, Akureyri (which only has a population of around 17,000) rather than being set in the capital Reykjavik. The book became more interesting in the second half. 3.5/5.

sep 1, 2012, 1:04am

I wish I could read more books in a year. You're making me want to add a Scandinavia category - but alas, next year I'm heading to warmer reading in Mexico.

sep 1, 2012, 6:29pm

I've been to Akureyri (a very long time ago, granted) and would love to read a book set there - Season of the Witch goes on the wishlist!!!

Redigerat: sep 2, 2012, 2:15pm

Added The Glass Collector by Anna Perera to my Potpourri category.

Aaron is a 15 year old boy living in Mokattam Village in Cairo, Egypt. He is a member of the Zabbaleen community. The Zabbaleen are mainly Coptic Christians. Each morning the men go out on horse-drawn carts and collect Cairo's rubbish and bring it back to their village were it is sorted and sold to recyclers. The Zabbadeen are among the poorest people in Cairo.

In the novel Aaron's mother has died. He is living with his stepfather and abusive stepbrother and life isn't very promising and then his situation takes a turn for the worse. 4.5/5.

sep 4, 2012, 3:05am

Added Life of Pi by Yann Nartel to my fantasy category.

Absolutely loved this novel. 5/5.

sep 7, 2012, 5:22pm

Stone Tree by Gyrdir Eliasson to my Icelandic category.

This is a collection of short stories. I think the author is a very good writer. I was however at how abruptly some of the stories ended without any real conclusion. I wished that he had actually written a couple of the stories as novels, or at least novellas. 4/5.

sep 7, 2012, 11:17pm

I loved Life of Pi too, and I snuck it into my animal behavior category - it fits there just about as awkwardly.

sep 7, 2012, 11:35pm

It certainly is a hard book to categorise - I had to choose between my fantasy, my survival or potpourri categories. The reason I put it into my fantasy category is because so many people had tagged it that. In my view it isn't a fantasy at all. I suppose it could be a fantasy if the first story is totally true, but not a fantasy at all if the second story is true.

I wonder if both stories will make it into the movie, and how much attention will be given to the religious themes in the movie.

Redigerat: sep 9, 2012, 6:00am

Added Season of the Rainbirds by Nadeen Aslam to my Potpourri category.

Novel set in a small Pakistani town. The action takes place over a 10 day period during which time a corrupt judge is murdered and a mailbag that has been missing for 19 years is found. 3.5/5

sep 9, 2012, 6:41pm

Good question - there are so many stories in Life of Pi that they can't possibly fit it all into the movie - but the religious part of the book is critical because, IMHO, it isn't a fantasy. It's metafiction - a story on how we use stories to endure, interpret and share our lives.

sep 11, 2012, 1:11am

Added The Merry Misogynist to my Other Mysteries category. 4/5.

This is the 6th book in the Dr Siri series and is set in Laos. I read the previous five last year. I think I have another two to go in the series.

sep 11, 2012, 12:05pm

I loved this series!

Redigerat: sep 12, 2012, 7:49pm

Added The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling to my biography category. It could have just as easily been put in my Science category.

This book tells the story of Mary Anning. She was from a working-class background and she spent the grater part of her life searching for fossil along the Lyme Regis shores. She made some very significant discoveries but never got the recognition she deserved for her contribution to science.

I agree with one reviewer - there were too many "might haves", "could haves" etc in this book which lessen my enjoyment of it. 3.5/5

Redigerat: sep 13, 2012, 11:40pm

Added The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls to my biography/memoir category.

I am not sure how I feel about this book. The first 10 years of Jeannette's life seem to be have been happier than my own even if she was materially worse off than I was as a child. Her life in Welch, West Virginia was appalling and it wasn't until this part of the book that I really started to get angry at the way she was treated by her parents. I am glad that she got away and made such a success of her life. 3.5/5.

sep 19, 2012, 9:26pm

Added Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages by Michael Popek to my Potpourri list.

Title pretty much tells you what this book is about. Among the things the author has found are recipes, dried leaves, concert tickets, poems, baseball cards, letters etc.

I found the letters the most ineresting.

The only things I remember having found in used books are 1) A third place ribbon for a school sports carnival 2) a playing card of a horse 3) a photocopy of an American woman driving licence.

sep 20, 2012, 5:41pm

The most disgusting thing I ever found was a banana peel someone left in one of our library's books.

Redigerat: sep 20, 2012, 8:05pm

Ewwww, that is horrid.

I remember how delighted I was when I opened up a very large and thick book when I was a child and found some flowers my mother had pressed many years before inside it.

sep 22, 2012, 11:57pm

added Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins to my YA/Children's category. Enjoyable fantasy. 3/5.

sep 24, 2012, 6:14pm

added The Boy's Tale by Margaret Frazer to my Other Mysteries category. 5th book in the Sister Frevisse series 4.5

sep 28, 2012, 9:02pm

added Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox to my Language category.

Margalit Fox is a journalist who has a master's degree in linguistics. She accompanies a linguistics team to an isolated Bedouin village in Israel. The village had been found seven generations before by a deaf Egyptian and his Palestinian wife. Two of the couple's sons inherited the recessive gene for deafness.

Three generation ago, after numerous cousin marriages, the hereditary deafness resurfaced with 10 children born deaf in that generation. Those children and their families started to create a new language which they passed onto the next generation. Now there are about 150 deaf people in a village with a total population of 3000.

This language, known as Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) is one of the world's newest language and is of great interest to linguists as it is a key to how language started and how our minds are programmed for language.

The author also looks at other sign language including the even newer Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL). However NSL developed in a less natural environment (in schools for the deaf) than ABSL. I do wish someone would write a book about NSL.

Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL) gets a mention as does Nora Ellen Groce's book Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language that deals with that subject. However Groce was writing about an extinct language. Though some of it made its way into American Sign Language little is really known about the actual language. Groce alos had to deal with the fact that the lives of the people that she was talking about was not well documented. I would however recommend that her book be read before reading Talking Hands as the books compliment each other very well.

The author also looks at how hearing children develop language.


sep 30, 2012, 12:11am

Already on the WL! I hope I can get to it next year!

Redigerat: okt 1, 2012, 4:17am

Added Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill to my Other Mysteries category.

7th book in the Dr Siri series, only one more to go. 4.5/5.

okt 1, 2012, 9:00am

adding Talking hands to my WL- great review!

Redigerat: okt 7, 2012, 8:37am

added Slash and Burn by Colin Cotterill to my mystery category.

8th and last book in the Dr Siri series. It isn't very often I read this many book in a series. I am going to miss the old guy and his wicked sense of humour. 4/5.

okt 8, 2012, 11:39am

Me too!

okt 9, 2012, 5:33pm

Dr. Siri and his crew are just such charming characters. I still have Love Songs From a Shallow Grave and Slash and Burn to read and it looks like there's a new one coming out next year, The Woman Who Wouldn't Die.

okt 9, 2012, 8:31pm

#108 - That is excellent news. I have put it on my wishlist. After reading the 8th book I assumed the series had ended.

okt 10, 2012, 10:24am

Dr. Siri came out of retirement once, why not again? (Is it next year yet?)

okt 10, 2012, 12:09pm

@ 110 -- Haha, that reminds me of Hercule Poirot. He was always retiring, but that never stopped him from solving crime!

Redigerat: okt 12, 2012, 6:06am

Added 50 Reasons people Give for Believing in God by Guy P Harrison. to my Potpourri category.

First book I have read on a religious topic for about two or so years. The title pretty much covers what the book is about. The author is an atheist. 3.5/5 after taking half a mark off because the author was too repetitive at times.

Redigerat: okt 24, 2012, 5:25am

added "The Cross in the Closet" by Timothy Kurek to my biography list.

Timothy Kurek was born into a fundamentalist Christian family and learned to despise gays. When one of his female friends told him she had come out only to be thrown out of home by her father, Tim was unable to offer her the comfort she needed. He started to feel guilty about his reaction and decided that he had to face his bigotry. He decided on an experiment - though he was heterosexual he would come out as gay for a year so that he could experience the prejudice that gays had to face.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. The experiment was interesting and I do appreciate how it changed Tim. The beginning of the book when he came out and was rejected by many former friends etc was interesting and moving. The ending, where he had to do the reverse - come out to gay friends that he was straight - was also touching. However I found the rest of the book a little boring because Tim and I had very little in common and this was not just because he was religious and I am a non-believer (I am actually quite interested in people's religious views). 3.5/5

nov 11, 2012, 8:54pm

Added From the Mouth of the Whale to my Icelandic category.

This is a stream-of-consciousness novel in which healer and poet Jonas Gudmundsson, who has been convicted of witchcraft, tells his story after being exiled to a remote island as punishment. It is set in 17th century Iceland and take place soon after the conversion of Icelanders from the Catholicism to Lutherism. it is a beautifully written book with great imagery though some people might not like the way Jonas rambles. 4/5.

nov 12, 2012, 12:17pm

From the Mouth of the Whale seems to garner reviews from all parts of the spectrum. I have another of Sjón's books on Mt. TBR, so I think I'll try that one before venturing any further. :)

Redigerat: nov 12, 2012, 5:36pm

#115 - I isn't a book I would feel comfortable about recommending to most people, I certainly can understand that many people might not like it. It took me several days to get through despite the fact that it was only 288 pages long. I found the story extremely interesting but, at times, I found myself wishing it was written in a more conventional way.

I have Sjon's The Blue Fox on my TBR list and I think I will end up reading it for my Icelandic category next year.

Redigerat: nov 12, 2012, 6:13pm

The Blue Fox is the one I have too - it's only 112 pages, but that's indicative of absolutely nothing, it seems. :)

nov 12, 2012, 5:54pm

I actually gave the wrong name in my little review in #114. The protagonist was actually called Jonas Palmason but the character was based on the historical figure Jon Gudmundsson. I would love to find out more about the real man.

nov 19, 2012, 6:27am

sounds very similar to the Sjon book I read earlier this year (the whispering muse) which I enjoyed so making a note of it..

nov 26, 2012, 4:25pm

added Petrified by Barbara Nadel to my Other Mysteries section. 4/5. Crime mystery set in Turkey.

For some reason, I downloaded this book a few months ago, thinking it was the first in a series. It isn't, it is the 6th in the Inspector Ikmen series, which explains why I found the characters a bit confusing - I was missing much of their background that would have been given in earlier books. I plan to read the first in the series before the year ends.

nov 27, 2012, 3:31am

added The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah to my Potpourri category.

A moving novel about the friendship between two young boys. Set on Mauritius in 1944-1945. Raj is a local boy, who meets David, a Jewish boy, who is among 1500 Jewish people put into a British internment camp on the island after they were refused entry into Palestine in 1940. 4/5.

Redigerat: dec 12, 2012, 11:40pm

added The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared to my Potpourri category.

It was an OK novel but I didn't find it to be as funny as reviews of it lead me to believe it would be. Maybe I like a different type of humour. I did like Allan Karlsson (the 100 year old man). 3/5.

Redigerat: dec 13, 2012, 6:29pm

I have The One Hundred Year Old Man on Mt. TBR and I've heard so very veries opinions about it that I'm quite eager to get to it to find out what's what. I do hope I'm one of those who find it hilarious. :)