tymfos (Terri) 12 in 12 Golden Oldies Hit Parade Challenge -- Song 3

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DiskuteraThe 12 in 12 Category Challenge

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tymfos (Terri) 12 in 12 Golden Oldies Hit Parade Challenge -- Song 3

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Redigerat: sep 22, 2012, 11:08am

It's the first day of Autumn, and time for a new thread. Welcome!

I define my categories in this way: any book that in any way relates to the title of the category is fair game to fit in. I've listed some ways books may fit, but other associations are valid, too.

I sincerely doubt that I'll manage 144 books; I'm starting out with 6 in each category, and will add on as time and available reading material allow.

Here are my Golden Oldies Hit Parade Categories and some ideas as to kinds of books that might fit each category.

1. American Pie - Don McLean (for all things USA)
2. Color My World - Chicago (world literature, world history, and books with colors in titles)
3. Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Jo Stafford (James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux books will fit here, along with other books set around New Orleans or other bayou areas)
4. What's Goin' On? - Marvin Gaye (Current events and mysteries)
5. Help! -- The Beatles (disaster-related, and maybe some crime-related, books)
6. King of the Road - Roger Miller (Stephen King books would fit here; travel books might work, too; anything about royalty)
7. Spooky - Classics IV (self-explanatory)
8. On and On - Stephen Bishop (for series)
9. Doctor, Doctor - Thompson Twins (for books with a doctor in the house!)
10. Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles (for more assorted mysteries)
11. The Winner Takes it All - Abba (sports & award-winning books)
12. Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum (religion/spirituality)
and also a catchall for things that don't fit:
Anything at All - The Beatles (miscellaneous)

OK, I'm defeating a lot of the point of categories by making so many of them easy to fit mysteries into. And I'm deliberately giving myself whole categories to allow me to catch up on favorite series & authors. But I don't like it when I really want to read a book and can't find a place to fit it into my challenge.
This is supposed to be fun.

I'm also doing the 75 challenge again, and the BOMBS (books off my book shelf) challenge

Redigerat: dec 4, 2012, 10:39am

I've decided to do the "side challenge" of at least one book for each month that relates to the name, number, birthstone, or flower of the month -- either in the title or author (and, in at least one case, I'm probably using a series name).

January: Graveyard Dust: a Benjamin January Mystery by Barbara Hambly
February: The Civil War: A Narrative vol. 2, by Shelby Foote (2nd volume)
March: Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (third in series)
April: Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger (4th in series)
May: Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger (5th in series)
June: The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith (6th in series)
July: The Body in the Bog by Katherine Hall Page (7th in series)
August: Light in August by William Faulkner
September: A Weekend in September by John Edward Weems
October several reads where Halloween is a significant date: Book of Shadows and The Dead Zone
November 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke (11th in series), and The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page (11th in series)
December plan to read Jolie Blon's Bounce by James Lee Burke (12th in series)

I'll probably also continue to have monthly themes, or at least give special emphasis to certain topics in certain months. I'm almost certain of these ones:

January: First things First! (one by one)
February: February observances (two by two?)
March: Magnificent Mystery March (Three m's)
April: An Autism Awareness April (month four)
May: (most marvelous) May Murder & Mayhem (month five)
June & July: Fill In the Blanks months (months 6 & 7)
August: Anything Goes August (month 8)
September: Series & Sequels & Sureal September (month 9)
October: Halloween Read for October (month 10)
November: "New Novels" (group theme) (month 11)
December: Holiday Dinners and Other December Disasters (month 12)

Redigerat: sep 22, 2012, 10:36am

I'm going to try to provide most of the following as a heading for each book, as applicable:


Copyright/Year of original publication:
Dates Read:
Number of pages:
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?:
Category for 12 in 12 challenge:
How does it fit the category?
Alternate category
Why did I read this now?
My Rating:

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 10:41pm

glitter-graphics.comCategory 1: American Pie

1 A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd
2 Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb
3 The Civil War: A Narrative Vol. 2 by Shelby Foote
4 Appalachia: A Self-Portrait ed. by Wendy Ewald
5 Sherman's March by Burke Davis
6 State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

completed initial goal of 6 in category

7 Three Months in the Southern States by Col. Arthur James Lyon Fremantle (E-BOOK)
8. Light in August by William Faulkner (E-Book)
9. The Haunting of the Presidents by Joel Martin
10 A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh by Jeff Shaara (E-BOOK)
11 The Ghosts of Virginia by L.B. Taylor, Jr.
12 Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin



Redigerat: dec 16, 2012, 10:03pm

Category 2: Color My World

1. Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder: What it is and How to Overcome It, by Norman E. Rosenthal (color blue)
2. Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon (Italy)
3. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (England) AUDIO
4. Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Islands)
5. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet (color blue)
6. The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri (Sicily)

7. The Dead of Summer by Mari Jungstedt (Scandinavian)
8. The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum (Norway)
9. The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo (Norway)
10.Gallows View by Peter Robinson (England)
11. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (England)
12. Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves (Shetland Islands & color blue)


Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 2:20pm

glitter-graphics.comCategory 3: Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

1 Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke
2 Graveyard Dust by Barbara Hambly
3 Burning Angel by James Lee Burke
4 Cadillac Jukebox by James Lee Burke
5 The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith
6 Sunset Limited by James Lee Burke

Completed initial goal of 6 in category

7 The Healing by Jonathan Odell
8 The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish by Elise Blackwell AUDIO
9 We Shall Not Be Moved by Tom Wooten (E-BOOK)
10 Purple Cane Road by James Lee Burke (mystery fiction)
11. City of Refuge by Tom Piazza

currently reading:
12. Jolie Blon's Bounce by James Lee Burke

Redigerat: dec 13, 2012, 9:28pm

Category 4: What's Goin' On?

1 Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple by Tempa Pagel
2 Iron House by John Hart
3 He Who Fears the Wolf by Karin Fossum
4 When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum
5 Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye
6 Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger

completed initial goal of 6 in category

7 The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
8 The Body in the Bog by Katherine Hall Page
9 Final Approach by Rachel Brady
10 Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon
11 Dead to You by Lisa McMann (Moved to this list from the miscellaneous category (as, on second thought, I think it fits here OK)
12 The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner (E-BOOK AND AUDIO)


Redigerat: dec 19, 2012, 4:13pm

glitter-graphics.comCategory 5: Help!

1 Drowning in Oil: BP & the Reckless Pursuit of Profit by Loren C. Steffy
2 Purgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger
3 Voyagers of the Titanic by Richard Davenport-Hines
4 Under a Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown
5 Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Judith Redline Coopey
6 The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (AUDIO)

completed initial goal of 6 in category

7 The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Frederick Stonehouse
8 A Weekend in September by John Edward Weems
9. Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea by Frank Delaney (AUDIO)
10. Unnatural History of Cypress Parish by Elsie Blackwell Overlap -- also used in "Jambalaya" category
11. We Shall Not Be Moved by Tom Wooten overlap -- also used in "Jambalaya" category
12. City of Refuge by Tom Piazza overlap -- also to be used in "Jambalaya" category

currently reading
Last Man Out by Melissa Fay Greene

To Sleep with the Angels by David Cowan
The Collapse of Richmond's Church Hill Tunnel by Walter S. Griggs, Jr.
Curse of the Narrows by Laura M. MacDonald

Redigerat: nov 25, 2012, 2:07pm

Category 6: King of the Road

1 The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney
2 Bag of Bones by Stephen King
3 Cujo by Stephen King (AUDIO)
4 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
5 Roadwork by Stephen King (AUDIO)
6 Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (AUDIO)

completed original goal of 6 in category

7 Women and the Lakes by Frederick Stonehouse
8 A Ghostly Road Tour of Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Jan Langley
9 Christine by Stephen King (AUDIO)
10 The Dead Zone by Stephen King
11 Parnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley (AUDIO & E-BOOK)
12 12 11/22/63 by Stephen King


Redigerat: nov 25, 2012, 2:09pm

glitter-graphics.comCategory 7: Spooky

1. The Moonlit Mind by Dean Koontz
2 The Cypress House by Michael Koryta
3 The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
4 The Ridge by Michael Koryta
5 Haunted Foothills by M.A. Mogus & Ed Kelemen (no touchstone)
6 The Devil's Tea Tables by Mack Samples

completed initial goal of 6 in category
7. Ghost Shadow by Heather Graham (E-book)
8. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
9. A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons
10.Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff
11. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux Audio
12. The Empty House and other ghost stories by Algernon Blackwood (E-book)


Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 11:15pm

glitter-graphics.com Category 8: On and On

1 Think of a Number by John Verdon
2 The Fitzgerald Ruse by Mark de Castrique (AUDIO)
3 Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
4 Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger
5 Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman
6 Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

completed initial goal of 6 in category
7. Copper River by William Kent Krueger (AUDIO)
8. Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo (AUDIO)
9. A Crown of Lights by Phil Rickman
10. The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page
11. Mad Mouse by Chris Grabenstein (E-BOOK)
12. Red Bones by Ann Cleeves overlap also used in "Color My World" category

Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane

Redigerat: dec 16, 2012, 10:05pm

Category 9: Doctor, Doctor

1 Green for Danger by Christianna Brand
2 Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
3 The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner
4 The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
5 Behind the Smile: My Journey out of postpartum depression by Marie Osmond
6 Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill

completed initial goal of 6 in category
7. Doc by Mary Doria Russell (AUDIO BOOK)
8. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
9. Disco For the Departed by Colin Cotterill
10. Cross Country by James Patterson (AUDIO BOOK)
11 Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta (AUDIO BOOK)

Currently reading:
12. Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott

Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 10:12pm

Category 10: Magical Mystery Tour

1. Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer AUDIO
2. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
3. The Likeness by Tana French
4. We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews
5. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
6. A Corpse's Nightmare by Phillip DePoy

completed initial goal of 6 in catgory
7. Tilt-A-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein
8. Dead Easy by Phillip DePoy
9. Open Season by C.J. Box
10 Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
11 The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
12 Graveyard Dust by Barbara Hambly overlap -- also used in "jambalaya" category

Redigerat: dec 11, 2012, 3:23pm

Category 11: The Winner Takes it All

1 Alan Kulwicki NASCAR Champion Against all Odds
2 The Great American Gamble by Joe Menzer
3 At the Altar of Speed by Leigh Montville
4 Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
5 Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger
6 The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi

completed initial goal of 6 in category

7 Burning Rubber by Charles Jennings
8 The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede (Christopher Award winner)
9 Blindness by Jose Saramago (author is a Nobel Prize winner in Literature)

moved to this category from misc.:
10 I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury (ALA best books for Young Adults 1969; author has won numerous awards)
11 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel overlap -- also used in "King of the Road" category
12 Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel overlap -- also being used in "color my world" category

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 11:09pm

Category 12: Spirit in the Sky

1 Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace by Cathleen Falsani
2 Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin
3 He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado
4 And the Angels were Silent by Max Lucado
5 Miracles and Moments of Grace by Nancy B. Kennedy
6 Hurting With God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms, by Glenn Pemberton

completed initial goal of 6 in category

7. To Bless the Space Between Us by John O'Donohue
8. Fearless by Max Lucado
9. A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller
10. An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor (E-book)
11. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny overlap -- also used in "Magical Mystery Tour" category (but takes place in monastery)
12. Here's The Church, Here's the Steeple by Tempa Pagel overlap -- also used in "What's Goin' On" category

currently reading:

Jesus of Nazareth volume 1 by Pope Benedict XVI (E-book)

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 11:10pm

and for those pesky books that demand to be read, but refuse to fit into a category:

glitter-graphics.com Anything at All


Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 10:47pm

Ongoing summary of progress, not counting overlaps:

Challenge Category and the number of books completed
3. Jambalaya (On the Bayou) 11, 1 in progress
5. Help! 9, 1 in progress
8. On and On 11
9. Doctor, Doctor 11, 1 in progress
10. Magical Mystery Tour 11
11. The Winner Takes it All 10
12. Spirit in the Sky 10, 1 in progress
and also a catchall for things that don't fit:
Anything at All (miscellaneous) 1

Total books: 133
Fiction: 94
Non-fiction: 39

Redigerat: sep 22, 2012, 10:50am

sep 22, 2012, 11:05am

Am I the first visitor? Wow!

sep 22, 2012, 11:06am

HI, Lori! Yes, you're first!

sep 22, 2012, 8:03pm

Stopping by to check out the new thread Terri! Hope you are having a great weekend!

sep 22, 2012, 8:40pm

Thanks, Lori! A great weekend to you too!

sep 22, 2012, 9:56pm

Looks good!!!

sep 23, 2012, 6:11pm

Thanks, Katie!

sep 24, 2012, 10:47am

What an iconic photo to celebrate autumn! Nice choice.

sep 24, 2012, 5:49pm

I'm here to follow you to the end of the year also. First time in a few days I've had a chance to catch up here.

sep 24, 2012, 11:59pm

Doesn't it seem weird to be talking about the end of the year? It seems like yesterday we were all starting on this category challenge.

sep 25, 2012, 12:03am

25 Thanks!

26 I never seem to get caught up here, Betty.

27 This year has flown by. . . my Mom always said time goes faster as one gets older, and lately it's going way too fast.

Redigerat: sep 26, 2012, 8:20pm

Title: Shut Your Eyes Tight E-BOOK
John Verdon
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2011
Subject: solving mystery of bride decapitated on her wedding day
Setting: New York State
Series: Dave Gurney #2
Dates Read: finished 9/26/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book, varies with format/type size)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?:NO, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: What's Goin' On?
How does it fit the category? Mystery
Alternate category any mystery or series category; also, this could go in "doctor, doctor" due to a central character
Why did I read this book now? liked first in series, this was available for download
My Rating: 3.7 stars

I thought the first book in this series, Think of a Number, was very clever and well-written; so when this second volune became available for download from the library, I grabbed it.

Retired ace NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney is is asked to "consult" on a gruesome crime -- a bride decapitated on her wedding day. Supposedly, the gardener did it, and all they need to do is find him, according to the police. But Dave begins to suspect there's more to the crime than meets the eye. His wife Madeline wishes he'd turn down the case and just stay retired. But, of course, there wouldn't be a book if he did that. And he's drawn in by the puzzle. Is this an isolated crime of passion, or are there other bodies to unearth?

Verdon seems to specialize in crime stories with a seemingly impossible element. This one is a complex tale that had me on the edge of my seat with a kind of pull-push effect, making me want to read on while afraid of what would come next. I found the ultimate solution a little implausible, but went back and read carefully and can see how the original crime might have been pulled off that way.

I didn't like this one quite as much as the first one for a variety of minor reasons (that probably had more to do with what "pushes my buttons" than the actual quality of the book) but it was a good, complex mystery/suspense outing.

sep 26, 2012, 8:24pm

I'm toying with ideas for the '13 challenge. One idea that comes to mind is to use classic TV series names for category names, but I'm sure someone has already done that. It does provide marvelous possibilities, though . . .

sep 26, 2012, 8:56pm

@ 30 -- I haven't seen that theme over at the 2013 challenge yet...seems like you should stake your claim! ;)

sep 27, 2012, 12:50am

Terri, on satellite radio, I listen to the 60's on 6 a lot. It seems like every day, they're talking about how it's the 50th anniversary of this or that classic TV show. Today (Wed-Sept 26), for instance, was the 48th anniversary of the first episode of Gilligan's Island. After they mentioned that fact, they played the entire theme song.

Classic TV would make for a great theme, I'd say.

sep 27, 2012, 5:04am

Terri, I think classic tv shows would be a great theme. That was one that I toyed with also.

I haven't seen anyone post anything related to that yet. I was just reading about my favorite 60's show, Bewitched yesterday....

sep 27, 2012, 7:53am

Christina, thanks for the nudge. After reading your post last night, I went over and joined the 2013 group and started a thread. As of now, it's classic TV -- worth doing for the Twilight Zone category alone!

Linda, I like the 60's on 6 a lot, too. I'll have to let hubby know about Gilligan's anniversary -- it's a favorite of his.

Valerie, I'm glad you like my theme.

sep 27, 2012, 8:12am

Glad to hear it, Terri. I'll have to check it out.

I especially like Phlash Phelps in the morning. I live trying to guess his city of the day. That man seems to have been everywhere. Recently, Tiny, the huge spider at our nearby Six Flags, wouldn't reinflate. It was a national story for a moment and he spoke knowledgeably about our area.

sep 27, 2012, 11:00am

Did you guys know that you can sing the Emily Dickinson poem "Because I could not stop for death" to the tune of "Gilligan's Island"? It's fun! Of course, if you try it, it will then be stuck in your head forever, so I apologize in advance.

sep 27, 2012, 1:30pm

Linda, I'm not planning to spend much time over on the 13 site until later. But I have played with categories and graphics. I already changed one category. I think that's going to be an ongoing process.

Interesting, Christina! My husband found out that you can sing the words to "Amazing Grace" to that tune, too. It also has that brain-sticking property.

sep 27, 2012, 7:30pm

I think classic TV is a great idea. I'll have to head over to the 13 and star you up.

sep 27, 2012, 8:04pm

Thanks, Betty!

sep 29, 2012, 5:24pm

Title: A Winter Haunting
Dan Simmons
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2002
Subject: Time, memories, failure, depression, & the nature of reality
Setting: Duane McBride's old farm outside Elm Haven, Illinois, at the turn of the new millenium
Series: "Elm Haven" -- sequel to Summer of Night
Dates Read: finished 9/29/12
Number of pages:303
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, from County Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spooky
How does it fit the category? pretty creepy
Alternate category ?
Why did I read this book now? Sept. Series & Sequels and Surreal September
My Rating: 3.74 stars

Dale Stewart, one of the main characters in Simmons' novel Summer of Night, has been through a lot since the summer of 1960. He's grown up, married, become a college professor & professional writer -- and thoroughly messed all that up by having an affair with one of his college students. Now he's taken a "sabbatical" to hole up at the old McBride farm -- where his friend Duane was killed in a freak "accident" with a farm combine machine -- and write his next novel.

But what is going on at the farm? What is in the sealed-up 2nd floor of the farmhouse? Are all the people he encounters who/what they appear to be? And what about the black dogs that keep showing up around him?

This book was well-done, but I didn't enjoy it as much as Summer of Night. For one thing, I didn't like the adult Dale nearly as much as I liked his younger self and friends. I detested his girlfriend Clare, who showed up in passages describing events leading up to Dale's return to Elm Haven's environs. There was at least one sexual scene I could have seriously done without. I didn't like or particularly understand the role of the dead Duane in the telling of the story. And as I read -- up until the very end, when Simmons pulled a sly trick -- I was confused that Dale's memories of the infamous Summer of 1960 were so vague and seemed to lack recall of VERY key events. But Simmons did keep the surprises coming, kept ratcheting up the suspense, and left the reader room to interpret some aspects of what is described

Redigerat: okt 5, 2012, 12:19am

Title: Christine (AUDIO)
Stephen King
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1983
Subject: A furious 1958 Plymouth Fury
Setting: "Libertyville, PA" in the Pittsburgh area
Dates Read: finished 10/4/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: King of the Road
How does it fit the category? Author King & Road Warrior Car
Alternate category Spooky
Why did I read this book now? getting in the mood for Halloween
My Rating: 4 stars

Meet Christine -- a 1958 Plymouth Fury. It's thoroughly appropriate that she is that particular model. Fury. A furious Fury.

Arnie buys her -- and then she owns Arnie. And soon people who cross her path begin to feel her wrath.

OK, I admit, one must suspend disbelief for this one. It's not so much an issue of the paranormal stuff -- one expects that to be incredible -- but also for some basic stuff about how the world works -- the world where certain actions get people into big trouble with the police or mental health folks or those whose property they've damaged.

Having said that, I think this is one dynamite story. I was pulled in from the start. I grabbed every excuse I could to listen to it -- housework, driving -- and sometimes just sat listening because I couldn't stand to turn it off. King uses the details of everyday life to ground his story in its place and time. And on that very solid platform; he creates realistic, complex, memorable characters; and then he uses them to weaves nightmares. Mind you, it's not just the major characters that are so real. The redneck family so posessive of the parking place in front of their house who unwillingly "hosted" Christine on her debut drive with Arnie is just so laghably real you almost want to punch them. King picks just the right details to bring characters and their settings into sharp focus.

If you want everything in a book to make total sense in that logical part of your brain, this book may make you crazy. But if you're ready for a ride on the wild side of horror, Christine is just the right vehicle.

Redigerat: okt 6, 2012, 6:01am

Title: Book of Shadows
Alexandra Sokoloff
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2010
Subject: ritual killings
Setting: Boston, Massachusetts; and Salem, Mass.
Dates Read: finished 10/5/12
Number of pages: 309
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes, purchased at the Book Barn, Niantic CT several years ago
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spooky
How does it fit the category? one creepy book
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? Halloween-time reading
My Rating: 3 stars??

OK, what shall I call this? Paranormal police procedural? Boston homicide detective Adam Garrett and his partner Carl Landauer are called to a landfill where a body has been found -- missing its head and left hand. They quickly zero in on a suspect, and make an arrest. They are approached by a woman, Tanith Cabarrus, a witch who owns a shop in Salem called Book of Shadows, who insistes that they have the wrong man -- and that there have been and will be more victims. Garrett -- who is markedly attracted to Tanith -- consults her as to the meaning of some of the evidence relating to the murder. The killing appears to be linked to satanic rituals -- some evil person is trying to summon forth a powerful demon.

Is Tanith really trying to help? Or is she somehow involved in the killing?

This book was a bit out of my comfort zone as far as the details of the perpetrator's demonic rituals and some of the witchcraft Tanith uses, as well as some sexual scenes. I will acknowledge that it's a clever story with lots of twists and turns, and it kept me turning pages to see what was going to happen. Sokoloff seems to have a knack for writing horror stories that are a little unusual, and appear to be well-researched as to particular types of beliefs and practices.

okt 6, 2012, 12:37am

All the victims where thieves and they were being killed for their hands - hands of glory I think it's called - did I guess right? Was it good, or a bit like a novel with a kitchen sink?

Redigerat: okt 6, 2012, 5:47am

Right about the hands of glory thing being involved, but no mention of them being thieves. And there was more to it. Still trying to figure out what to think of it. Gave me nightmares. No more like that one for me.

It did offer a clear warning for kids who are bored or longing for power not to go messing with black magic that can tangle them up with dangerous powers beyond their control or comprehension.

Redigerat: okt 6, 2012, 4:54pm

Title: Fearless
Max Lucado
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2009
Subject: how God can help us conquer fear
Dates Read: finished 10/6/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book; varies with formatting)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spirit in the Sky
How does it fit the category? spirituality
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? became available at library
My Rating:3.5 stars

Talk about contrast! It's hard to think of a greater contrast than my last horror novel and this devotional book. A fear-filled book of shadows followed by a fear-banishing book reflecting the Light of the world.

This book didn't really say anything new that I hadn't already read or heard dozens of times in the course of my spiritual life. But Lucado sometimes has a way of telling the old, old story in ways that are new; some of his illustrations granted some small bits of new insight.

But there was at least one place, though, where a Bible quote was used in a way that I didn't like, as though to imply that those with faith would never be lacking the food they need. There are plenty of Christians in the world who don't have enough food on their tables. It's not their lack of faith that leaves them hungry; it's, perhaps, a result of the lack of faithfulness of other Christians in the world (myself included) who enjoy more than our fair share of the world's resources.\

So I have mixed feelings about the book; but there was enough good to cautiously recommend it.

Redigerat: okt 16, 2012, 8:09am

Title: Open Season (E-BOOK)
C.J. Box
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2001
Subject: murder, wildlife, endangered species
Setting: Wyoming
Series: Joe Pickett, #1
Dates Read: finished 10-16-12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book; varies with formatting/font size)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Magical Mystery Tour
How does it fit the category? mystery
Alternate category any mystery or series category
Why did I read this book now? available from library, have next book in series on my TBR shelf
My Rating: 3.5 stars

This is the first in a series featuring Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. It took me a while to get drawn into this one, as I slowly got to know the characters and the setting. There were a few plot elements that annoyed me (just a matter of what pushes my buttons, not of writing quality). But toward the end I couldn't put it down. In fact, I finished it before the other novel I'm reading that I expected to finish first.

The setting is a new and interesting one to me, and I like the central character. To my way of thinking, there's nothing spectacular in the writing here -- just a good, solid story well-told. Sometimes that's just the ticket. I'll definitely read the next in this series, as I already have it on my shelf from a used book sale. Who knows? This series may spark my interest in Wyoming the way William Kent Kreuger's series has inspired my fascination with the northwoods of Minnesota.

Redigerat: okt 16, 2012, 12:18pm

HALLELUJAH! I finally finished this audio book.

Title: The Phantom of the Opera (AUDIO)
Gaston Leroux
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1911
Subject: "ghost" falls in love with opera singer
Setting: Paris
Dates Read: finished 10/16/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spooky
How does it fit the category? creepy
Alternate category color my world (set in Paris)
Why did I read this book now? who knows?
My Rating: 2 1/2 stars

My, what a convoluted, melodramatic mass of hogwash! OK, maybe that's a little harsh. But I really can't see how this book managed to become so famous, and get made into plays and movies and musicals.

But I've read it. And at the end, managed a tiny bit of admiration for how such an outlandish plot could actually be tied together at the end in a way that sort of made sense.

The "popular" works I've seen based on this left out some of the more bizarre details.

okt 16, 2012, 1:48pm

I don't know if she portrayed the same way in the book, but Christine seemed so wishy-washy in the musical that I felt no desire to read the book.

okt 16, 2012, 1:56pm

Yeah, wishy-washy would pretty well describe her.

Redigerat: okt 17, 2012, 3:11pm

Title: Blindness
Jose Saramago
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1995; English translation 1997
Subject: a blindness epidemic
Setting: nameless city in nameless country, full of nameless people
Series: There appears to be a sequel called Seeing
Dates Read: finished 10-16-12
Number of pages:326
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, from public library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Winner takes it all
How does it fit the category? Author won Nobel Prize for literature
Alternate category color my world or help
Why did I read this book now? group read
My Rating: 4.5 stars

An epidemic of blindness strike a nameless city, and the authorities take draconian measures to try and contain the contagion. This book is grim, as many people yield to fear and selfishness. And yet there are those who manage to work together and still care about others.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say about this book. I found it powerful. The writing style is somewhat unconventional, but pulls the reader along.

okt 16, 2012, 9:22pm

The Phantom of the Opera is one of those 'popular classics' that I haven't gotten around to reading. I still might, only because now I am kind of curious about the melodrama. Sometimes I am in the mood for that!

As for Blindness, powerful is a good word to describe this one. I found the story stayed with me for some time after reading it... in fact it is still pretty easy to visualize the story two years later!

okt 17, 2012, 1:30pm

Blindness sounds outstanding. I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

okt 17, 2012, 9:27pm

Thanks for your comments on The Phantom of the Opera. I was waiting to see what you thought because I was hoping you'd say the book made sense where the musical does not. Really, I can't figure out how the plot in the musical holds together. One of my friends adores it! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the spectacle of it is interesting, but making sense out of it... no.

okt 18, 2012, 7:24am

51 Hi, Lori! I think Blindness is one of those books that will stay with me for quite a while, too.

52. Definitely outstanding!

53 Katie, not a lot of sense to be made of it . . . and it's just so corny!

okt 23, 2012, 11:25am

Been busy with visiting family. Very little LT or reading time.

Taking a moment while I eat lunch to write up this book. I had some reading time last night waiting for a quilt to dry in the clothes dryer, and then managed to finish up the book reading in bed.

75 Challenge Book #101
Title: The Cater Street Hangman
Anne Perry
Copyright/Year of original publication:
Subject: series of murders on/around Cater Street
Setting: Victorian London, England
Series: Charlotte & Thomas Pitt #1
Dates Read: finished 10/23/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book -- pages vary with format)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: still deciding
How does it fit the category?
Alternate category any mystery or series category
Why did I read this book now? available from library; wanted to try series
My Rating: 3.24 stars

I can't quite decide what I think of this book. I think it was probably well done. I was slow to get into it, and almost gave up on it several times. Parts of it drew me in, especially later in the book. The plot involved a lot of issues of social strata, which annoyed me. I just don't get into all that, though I know it's historically accurate. I'll probably try the next book, as some of what bugged me about this is probably resolved. This clearly functioned as a first-in-series, to establish the characters and how they came to be in the situations they'll be in going forward. I did think the ending was rather abrupt.

okt 23, 2012, 12:48pm

I recall feeling the same way about the first Pitt novel from Anne Perry.

I read these occasionally (once or twice a year) and I like them. Not my favorite series of all but good.

Redigerat: okt 23, 2012, 9:13pm

I recall feeling the same way about the first Pitt novel from Anne Perry.

Good to know it's not just me, Linda! I may try the next if I run into it, but won't likely go out looking for it.

I tried the first in another of her series, but it didn't suit me, either. Maybe she's just not a writer I'll take to.

okt 24, 2012, 8:53am

Apparently, there has been a major security breach of customer credit/debit card data at 63 Barnes & Noble bookstores. Card reader/pin pads were hacked.



Supposedly, their databases for online purchases & Nook are not affected.

okt 25, 2012, 6:50pm

I'm glad I've been using Gift Cards when I've been purchasing at BN lately.

okt 26, 2012, 9:50pm

Okay, I'll skip Anne Perry. I hate reading a book that feels unresolved because there will be a next book - only thing I hate worse is a sequel that rips up all the resolutions of the first book because otherwise the author has no conflict to write about.

Redigerat: okt 26, 2012, 10:01pm

59 That's one good thing about gift cards, Lori.

60 Katie, maybe I didn't make myself clear. The mystery resolved just fine. The "set up for the next" had to do with who wound up married to whom, primarily. They would seem like odd pairings without the first book providing some backstory for the future volumes.

okt 27, 2012, 3:35am

Okay - it's fair to end a book without making all the pairings clear - after all, in romance editors tend to cancel a series once everyone is married off. Mystery editors look a bit more kindly to marriage. After all, you can always kill off an annoying spouse in a later novel. ;)

okt 27, 2012, 9:38pm

No, the pairings were crystal clear at the end. I'm not sure where I gave the impression that anything wasn't clear or was left unresolved. As I said, the book functioned to establish the characters and how they came to be in the situations they'll be in going forward. In a nutshell, the book set up how the title characters of the series wound up married to each other despite their different social classes -- and very unlikely to kill each other off, I may add. (I don't think that's a spoiler for me to say, since the series name alone and the fact that there are like 20-something books in the series clues the reader in to the fact that they'll wind up together for quite a while.)

Maybe you were misled by my saying that the story ended abruptly? By that, I mean that the final solution came rather quickly, and in the space of a few pages the whole case was turned on its end, solved with little post-arrest discussion, and complicated relationships among the characters suddenly sorted themselves out. Very quick, like "where did that come from, and how did that get sorted out so fast?" Almost too neat a resolution.

okt 27, 2012, 9:50pm

Yup, that's what misled me. Abrupt ending.

okt 28, 2012, 12:21am

OK, fair enough. I just couldn't believe how quickly the whole thing suddenly wrapped up. Just the opposite of those stories where it takes pages and pages to explain what happened and how it fit together and what the aftermath was (which I don't like, either). I finished the last page and turned it, expecting . . . what? Not sure, but not expecting it to be "the end." But, really, it was pretty much all settled.

okt 28, 2012, 12:36am

Title: The Dead Zone
Stephen King
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1979
Subject: man emerges from coma with serious case of "second sight"
Setting: New England (mostly Maine and New Hampshire)
Dates Read: finished 10/27/12
Number of pages: 402
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: no, from county library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: KIng of the Road
How does it fit the category? author named King
Alternate category Spooky
Why did I read this book now? Part of Halloween Read
My Rating: 4.2 stars

This was a good, suspenseful read. King makes John Smith and his experience seem very real.

Toward the end, I really didn't like the direction I thought the story was obviously going. But I wound up liking where it wound up.

okt 28, 2012, 12:48am

A shift in categories: moved The Coronor's Lunch from category "Color my World" to category "Doctor, Doctor."

okt 30, 2012, 11:17pm

I was so preoccupied with the storm, I forgot to post my most recent audio book:

75 Challenge Book #103
Title: Gallows View (AUDIO)
Peter Robinson
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1987
Subject: Tracking down a "peeping Tom," burglary ring, and murderer (are the crimes related?)
Setting: Village of Eastvale, Yorkshire, England, UK
Series: Inspector Alan Banks #1
Dates Read: finished 10/28/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Surce?: NO, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Color My World
How does it fit the category? takes place in England
Alternate category any mystery or series category
Why did I read this book now? available, sounded good
My Rating: 3.9 stars

This was a good, solid British police procedural with a likeable protagonist. Inspector Alan Banks is faced with a mini crime wave in the small Yorkshire village of Eastvale, whose police force he recently joined after leaving London hoping for a quieter pace. A "peeping Tom" has the "womens libbers" up in arms because they think the police aren't taking the crimes seriously; a series of home invasions & burglaries have people on edge; and the murder of an elderly woman may be related or not to either series of crimes.

As an added distraction for Banks, his superior has brought in a very attractive female psychologist to work with Banks in an attempt to "profile" the Peeping Tom (and to quiet the local feminist group), and the chemistry between them is threatening to derail Banks' fidelity to the wife he loves.

The very beginning was a bit creepy, as it was told from the POV of the peeper, but as the story moved on to follow the police investigation, I became more comfortable with the story and quickly came to like Alan Banks as a character. This is a solid and plausible mystery that made sense and had enough complexity to keep me guessing.

I definitely plan to read more in this series.

okt 30, 2012, 11:50pm

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your first "Banks" book, Terri. He's one of my favorite detectives.

okt 30, 2012, 11:54pm

So I can count on continued good reading in future installments, Judy? Great!

okt 30, 2012, 11:55pm

I actually found that the books improved as they went along, you start to learn more Alan Banks the man, his family, his co-workers, and none of this takes away from the great mysteries either.

okt 31, 2012, 11:08am

Glad to hear the storm passed safely and (to judge by your post) that you didn't lose power or Internet. They are sending crews from California to help clean up and reconnect power.

okt 31, 2012, 2:34pm

Glad to see you posting, Terri, and that the storm wasn't too devastating for you!

okt 31, 2012, 4:06pm

Glad you enjoyed your first Banks book, Terri! I started reading that series from the middle, years ago, and have recently gone back to read the first 8 or so which I'd missed; I agree, the later ones are better, so if you already enjoyed the first you've got a good solid lot of enjoyable reading ahead.

okt 31, 2012, 8:09pm

Hi, Judy, mamzel, Ivy and Genny!

71 Glad to know the books continue to get better, Judy!

72 It's great how people from different areas pitch in to help. I'm not sure where you're located. Were you affected by the storm?

73 Thanks, Ivy!

74 I look forward to the rest, Genny!

okt 31, 2012, 8:10pm

75 Challenge Book #104
Title: The Empty House and other ghost stories
Author: Algernon Blackwood
Copyright/Year of original publication:
Subject: short stories/ horror
Setting: varied
Series: no
Dates Read: finished 10/31/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book, varies with format)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes (virtual shelf), download from Project Gutenberg
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spooky
How does it fit the category? Spooky
Alternate category Color My World (international)
Why did I read this book now? Halloween
My Rating: 4 stars

This is a marvelous collection of good, old-fashioned quiet horror. Not all the stories are exactly ghost stories, but they are all chilling and mostly quite original. A great Halloween read!

okt 31, 2012, 10:05pm

A lot of my friends say Blackwood is their favorite horror writer. I still haven't read him. Good to see your comments.

okt 31, 2012, 10:27pm

HI, Katie! I really liked his stories. They were creepy without being gross or over-the-top.

Redigerat: okt 31, 2012, 10:50pm

Title: The Haunting of the Presidents
Joes Martin & William Birnes
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2003
Subject: supernatural events surrounding the White House, US Presidents, other places they lived, and other sites in Wasington, DC
Setting: Washington DC and other presidential locations
Series: no
Dates Read: finished 10/31/12
Number of pages: 400 + appendix
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes, purchased used some time ago
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: American Pie
How does it fit the category?
Alternate category Spooky
Why did I read this now? Halloween read
My Rating: 2 stars

I was disappointed in this book. Much of it was written in a very dry style. The writers insisted on including their pet conspiracy theories in the mix. Sources included lots of "anonymous" folks, tabloids, and other questionable witnesses. There was a lot of speculation about how certain words and actions of people might suggest a supernatural experience of which they'd not spoken. I found the chapter on Nancy Reagan's astrologer absolutely boring, and the one about Hillary Clinton "channeling" Eleanor Roosevelt silly -- sounds like she was simply engaging in an imaginative exercise of WWED (what would Eleanor do?). Then there was the final chapter about the mediums "channeling" the presidents -- not my cuppa.

Oh, and then there was some questionable organization. For instance, the chapter titled "Presidential Birthplaces" included a lot of sites that were not presidential birthplaces, and very few places where presidents were actually born. There was also a fair amount of repetition between the different sections.

Within the dross, there were a few pearls of stories that appeared to have some documentation. I enjoyed those, but not enough to make it worthwhile slogging through 400 pages of this stuff.

nov 1, 2012, 10:40am

Terri, I'm in California, land of the shaking ground. Not so many hurricanes! I grew up in the Caribbean, however, and have had first hand experience with tropical storms.

nov 1, 2012, 5:46pm

Well, I hope your ground stays solid and still for the foreseeable future!

nov 1, 2012, 6:28pm

From your keyboard . . .

nov 2, 2012, 1:00am

:( A lot of those specific location pick up as a tourist ghost story books are pretty bad, but you'd think someone could do a good one on the White House! Thanks for taking the hit on that one.

Redigerat: nov 3, 2012, 5:45pm

82 . . . to God's ears, perhaps? Would be nice, mamzel!

83 Katie, this isn't one of those little paperbacks you pick up at tourist spots. This is a 400+ page hard-cover volume!

I finished this audio book while doing housework today:

Title: The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish (AUDIO)
Elise Blackwell
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2007
Subject: On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, an elderly man remembers the experiences of his youth surrounding the flood of 1927
Setting: "Cypress Parish" Louisiana
Dates Read: finished 11/3/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: NO, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: "jambalaya (on the bayou)"
How does it fit the category? set near New Orleans
Alternate category Help!
Why did I read this book now? available from library w/o wait, sounded interesting
My Rating: 4.1 stars
Notes: Southern Voices production, Recorded Books c2009 narrated by Scott Sauers,

On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, the thoughts of 95-year-old Louis Proby turn to the earlier flood which largely defined the course of his life -- the 1927 flooding of the Mississippi Valley. His eventual role as driver to one of the most powerful men in Cypress Parish gave Louis an eyewitness view, but no voice, as decisions were made that changed thousands of lives forever, as well as his relationship with family and neighbors.

Louis is an engaging protagonist, and the first-person narrative takes us into his life as he moves in a few fateful months from youth to manhood, learning difficult life lessons along the way. Many secondary characters are complex and lifelike.

This thought-provoking novel is based on a true event in history. As the flooding of 1926-1927 reached its apex, business leaders in New Orleans prevailed upon the governor of the state to dynamite a rural levee, relieving flooding in New Orleans, but decimating the better part of two parishes.

The 1927 flood inspired composition of the song, When the Levee Breaks.

Now I want to read a non-fiction account of the 1927 floods!

nov 3, 2012, 11:34pm

Wow, that sounds interesting - I had no idea they'd deliberately sacrificed different locations before to save New Orleans - kind of like the British decision to let Coventry be bombed so the Germans wouldn't know they'd broken the code. Although on a smaller scale.

Redigerat: nov 4, 2012, 1:24am

That flood is full of very upsetting stories -- some very nasty incidents in Mississippi, too, Katie.

75 Challenge Book #107
Title: The Beautiful Mystery
Louise Penny
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2012
Subject: murder in a monastery
Setting: an isolated monastery in rural Quebec
Series: Chief Inspector Gamache (Three Pines) #8
Dates Read: finished 11/4/12
Number of pages: 372
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library book
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Magical Mystery Tour
How does it fit the category? mystery
Alternate category any series or mystery category
Why did I read this book now? catch up with series
My Rating: 3 (grudging) stars

Very well written, had its moments, but the reality is that I DIDN'T much like the story and I DETESTED the ending. I don't like the nasty politics of their police force, I missed the Three Pines setting and characters. With Gamache as the only likable regular (I detest Jean-Guy more each book), it was hardly worth including in the series.

nov 4, 2012, 12:38pm

>86 tymfos: Oh, sorry you didn't like it, Terri! I have to agree with you about the ending (the very end, that is, after the mystery has been solved), but I did really like the story.

nov 4, 2012, 4:47pm

I found The Beautiful Mystery rather claustrophobic. I hope the series returns to Three Pines, too!

Redigerat: nov 4, 2012, 8:52pm

Thinking back,Ivy, the story (the actual murder mystery) was fine. I just don't like the police politics part, and since it ended on that note, it spoiled the experience for me. "Last impressions" trump "first impressions" as far as the reaction I take away from a book.

"Claustrophobic." Yes! I do long for a return to Three Pines.

I think there's a disconnect between how Penny views the series and how many of us readers view it. She calls them "Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries." Whereas, most of us here tend to refer to them as "Three Pines" mysteries. Do you think the author will ever get the hint and give us more of what we want?

nov 5, 2012, 12:18pm

I also hope she returns to Three Pines and its wonderful inhabitants.

However, I have observed over the years that many of the most talented writers, artists, musicians (and I do believe Louise Penny is talented) are not content to keep doing the same thing over and over. They seem to feel compelled to keep experimenting, changing, mixing things up -- sometimes successfully, and sometimes not so much. While we want more of the same, she maybe doesn't want to write more of the same...

nov 5, 2012, 3:18pm

True enough, Ivy.

But she did leave some things sort of "hanging" in Three Pines last time she took us there, as I recall. I'd like to know how those relationships progress or end.

Redigerat: nov 6, 2012, 8:46am

I've done some moving around of books within my categories. I decided my two books in the miscellaneous category could actually go into proper categories.

Dead to You had enough elements of suspense and surprise to fit into the "What's Goin' On' category.

I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults in 1969, and Bradbury himself won numerous awards. So I moved it to the "Winner Takes it All" category.

Redigerat: nov 7, 2012, 8:07pm

Title: Parnassus on Wheels (AUDIO & E BOOK)
Christopher Morley
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1917
Subject: author's sister buys traveling book business from literate peddler; brother is not amused
Setting: Long Island, circa many years ago, when it was still rural
Series: Roger Mifflin #1
Dates Read: finished 11/6/12
Number of pages: n/a
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes, at least partly, off the virtual shelf. E book downloaded from Project Gutenberg last year. Audio via new E-book phone app
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: King of the Road
How does it fit the category? traveling salespersons
Alternate category American Pie
Why did I read this book now? wanted to try audio book app.
My Rating:3.7 stars

As a reader, how can I not like this story full of books? This was a delightful little tale of a woman, sick of doing all the domestic tasks & keeping the farm running for her author brother, who is always off on some adventure; a traveling book salesman, who wants to sell his business -- his "Parnassus on Wheels" -- originally planning to sell to the author; but the sister decides it's high time she had an adventure. Brother is determined to spoil things. Misadventures ensue.

ETA to add Mind you, it's a little a product of its time (c1917). A woman bookseller was a novel idea at the time, and she still needed a man to "rescue" her from some tough spots. But I think it was ahead of its time in recognizing that a woman's life needed more than just domestic life to be happy.

nov 7, 2012, 11:17am

Glad you liked Parnassus on Wheels -- it's such fun! :)

nov 7, 2012, 1:29pm

Hi Terri, I have Parnassus on Wheels sitting on my bookshelf. Sounds like I have a fun read waiting for me.

nov 7, 2012, 6:47pm

Got to love a book with logs of books in which "misadventures ensue."

Redigerat: nov 7, 2012, 8:07pm

Absolutely delightful, Christina!

Judy, I think you'll enjoy it.

Katie, it was fun.

Redigerat: nov 8, 2012, 8:39pm

I finished this book while waiting at the garage for my car to be serviced:

Title: We Shall Not Be Moved: Rebuilding Home in the Wake of Katrina (E-Book)
Tom Wooten
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2012
Subject: efforts to rebuild neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina
Setting: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Dates Read: finished 11/8/12
Number of pages: n/a (varies with format/ font size)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Jambalaya (on the bayou)
How does it fit the category? is about New Orleans
Alternate category Help, American Pie
Why did I read this book now? It looked interesting and was available from the library
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

This book was really interesting and informative. It's absolutely amazing to see what people can do when they work together. In the face of a city government that was ready to write off their neighborhoods, communities banded together to create development plans and clean up and rebuild their communities.

This book chronicles the massive effort made by many people who worked together to plan the rebirth of neighborhoods, meeting the need to gut and renovate homes, get infrastructure back, re-open schools, and provide other basic human services in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

This book had a few flaws. It was trying to deal with a number of communities and many groups over a long period of time, and at times it got a little confusing. There were also some obvious errors that the editors missed (repeated words and such). But it was very much worth reading.

nov 10, 2012, 4:26am

I'll bet there are going to be some really interesting books on Katrina coming out soon. This one sounds good, but those flaws you mentioned would drive me nuts. I'd probably prefer a book that focused on one small community.

nov 10, 2012, 3:34pm

Katie, the flaws were minor -- I followed the account pretty well, and those editorial lapses were few. For all I know, they may be confined to the e-book version. But I agree -- lots of books are emerging about Katria, from a variety of perspectives.

nov 10, 2012, 10:25pm

I'll keep my eyes open for it then.

Redigerat: nov 13, 2012, 9:16pm

Good, Katie!

Title: Cross Country
James Patterson
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2008
Subject: American links to violence and corruption in Africa
Setting: Washington, DC, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan
Series: Alex Cross #14
Dates Read: finished 11-13-12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Doctor, Doctor
How does it fit the category? Cross is a psychologist as well as a detective.
Alternate category any series or mystery category
Why did I read this book now? available, wanted to continue the series
My Rating: 3 stars

I got hooked on the Alex Cross series years ago, and continue to read the series. I love the character of Dr. Alex Cross -- psychologist and detective -- a thoughtful, intelligent, educated African-American man who loves his kids and relaxes by playing jazz piano. He's a man of both thought and action.

In this book, Cross heads to Africa in an effort to bring down a vicious killer/gang leader called The Tiger, after the slaughter of Alex's first love and her family in their Washington, DC home.

I'd like to give this a higher rating if only for its social conscience. Patterson was obviously working to educate his readers about the horrible violence, corruption, civil war, genocide, atrocities, etc., occurring in places like Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sudan -- the plight of refugees, the victims of war.

However, the number of unlikely escapes Cross managed to make from impossible situations just made this book a little too implausible to deserve a higher rating than 3 stars. It was a book that made me want to study a map of Africa and do a little more non-fiction reading about the instability of the region he described. There was plenty of suspense, too. But if Alex was a cat, I'd say he used ten of his nine lives just in this book -- a little too much for me to accept.

nov 13, 2012, 11:04pm

But if Alex was a cat, I'd say he used ten of his nine lives just in this book -- a little too much for me to accept.


nov 20, 2012, 1:44pm

Hi, Lori! :) Glad you liked that line . . .

nov 20, 2012, 1:44pm

Title: Purple Cane Road
James Lee Burke
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2000
Subject: Was Dave's mother murdered, and if so, by whom? More police & political corruption in Louisiana; hit men, and a condemned woman
Setting: New Iberia, LA; New Orleans, LA; and vicinity
Series: Dave Robicheaux #11
Dates Read: finished 11/19/12
Number of pages: 306
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: no, library book
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Jambalaya (on the bayou)
How does it fit the category? set in New Orleans area
Alternate category any mystery or series category
Why did I read this book now? next in series; also, 11th in series for month 11 of 12 month challenge
My Rating:3.8 stars

Another outing with one of my favorite detectives, revealing a bit more of his history. This time, he's investigating allegations that his long-missing mother (who he thought had simply abandoned him) was murdered. He's also upset that a woman is going to be executed for killing the man who abused her as a child -- abuse he feels he might have been able to recognize and stop if he hadn't spent most of his time back then in a drunken haze.

OK, at one point I was starting to think, I'm really tired of Dave losing it and punching people out when he knows he shouldn't. But he doesn't do it so often as the series progresses, and he keeps learning and realizing he's shooting himself in the foot with these outbursts. One time when it really counted, he showed remarkable restraint. Still not one to do things totally by the book, his heart is generally in the right place.

A competent but not exceptional outing in the series -- until the end, which was elevated by a few deft twists. (I loved the ending -- almost worth an extra half star!)

Redigerat: nov 24, 2012, 11:59pm

Title: A Praying Life
Paul E. Miller
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2009
Subject: prayer
Dates Read: finished 11/21/12
Number of pages: 279
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes, but not pre-2012. Bought this year from Amazon
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spirit in the Sky
How does it fit the category? spirituality
Alternate category n/a
Why did I read this now? wanted to
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

I found this a very uneven read -- at least for me personally. That's why it's taken me months to get through it. Early on in the book, I got some great insights. I loved his emphasis on honesty in prayer -- on bringing everything to God, even when it might not make us look good. (After all, God knows what we're thinking, anyway!) I liked the fact that he saw it as OK if our minds wandered while praying -- that maybe the things our mind wandered to might be things we ought to be praying about, if they were that important to us.

I also could relate a bit to his struggles raising one of his daughters, a girl who has autism. My son has autism, though not as severe as his daughter does, and, for instance, I could relate to his difficulties praying when his daughter was pacing in her room overhead. (Sometimes I think my son is going to bring the ceiling of my den down on my head, as his room is directly overhead! It's a bit distracting.) I could certainly relate to his worries over how she would get along in the world.

But there were some aspects of the book that didn't resonate with me at all. He seemed to over-react to normal things -- he was concerned that his other daughter was too attached to things of this world because she really liked one of their cars. That seemed kind of fanatical to me. (I believe it's OK to enjoy the good things we have, as long as we're not selfish or greedy or dishonest in order to have them, or place them ahead of God in some way.) There were a bunch of little things like that which made it hard for me to find some parts of the book helpful. He acknowledged that he had very little contact with non-Christians before he made that a particular goal; and then his only purpose seemed to be in converting them. I didn't get the feeling he valued them simply as friends or colleagues. That reminded me of too many people I know who insulate themselves from anyone who has ideas different from theirs. And there was a lot that was just repetition of ideas I'd already heard regarding journaling and such.

I'm giving it 3 1/2 stars because I did get a couple of major insights from the book, where it really spoke to me -- Those were four-star moments that offset the shaky qualities of much of the book.

nov 25, 2012, 2:06pm

Last night, I stayed up waaay too late finishing this book -- especially since I knew I needed to be up early to lead two church services this morning! The story may have dragged a bit in the middle, but the ending was un-put-down-able!

Title: 11/22/63
Stephen King
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2011
Subject: time travel; changing history; the Kennedy assassination
Setting: Maine & Texas
Series: n/a
Dates Read: 11/19/12 through 11/25/12 (3:30 a.m.)
Number of pages: 849
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, from public library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: King of the Road
How does it fit the category? Author named King, and involved several types of travel!
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? timed for November month sub-challenge in 12-in-12 group; anniversary of Kennedy assasination
My Rating: 4.4 stars

This one was a doozy! King drew me into this life of Jake Epping alias George Amberson as though I'd known him half my life. This book was full of deft details and mind-boggling paradoxes. There were times in the middle when it seemed to drag a bit, but the ending was compulsively readable. On the one hand, I was tempted to think that some of the detail was overkill, not necessary, and slowed the book down. On the other hand, those very details grounded the book in a reality so that the reader could buy into the fantastic aspect of time travel.

King obviously did his homework regarding the historical details, and even the likely events in alternate timelines. He talks about some of his sources in the afterword. Very interesting stuff! Some of the details I wondered about while reading were quite well researched by various means.

This book also provided a lot of food for thought. When we look at events with regret, we have no way of knowing what might have happened if things had gone differently. The alternate outcome might have been quite the opposite of what anyone would have expected.

nov 25, 2012, 2:12pm

>107 tymfos: I really enjoyed 11/22/63, too -- and was also so fascinated that I raced through it. It's been many years since I've read Stephen King -- I really don't like horror -- but if he writes more books in this vein, I may become a fan again!

nov 25, 2012, 7:01pm

I am not a King fan but I have been leaning towards 11/22/63 so very happy to see you stayed up late to finish it!

nov 26, 2012, 7:11pm

Hi, Ivy! Yes, this one was a real treat.

Lori, I hope you try it. It's a very unusual book.

Redigerat: nov 26, 2012, 7:29pm

I finished my latest audio book:

Title: Monday Mornings (AUDIO)
Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2012
Subject: doctors at a major teaching hospital; their lives, their successes and especially their mistakes
Setting: "Chelsea General" in Detroit, MI
Dates Read: finished 11/26/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: NO, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Doctor, Doctor
How does it fit the category? full of doctors, written by doctor!
Alternate category
Why did I read this now? New Novel November
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars

"Monday Mornings" at 6 a.m.: the time slot for Morbidity and Mortality conference at Chelsea General Medical Center. It's the time when doctors discuss those medical/surgical cases that have gone spectacularly wrong. This novel follows a group of physicians (mostly neurosurgeons) as they deal with their case loads, and the very real specter of medical error and its consequences.

I found this a very uneven read. When it was good, it was captivating! But there were also some times when it was very awkward. Gupta is at his best describing medical procedures and hospital politics. I found some of the characters a bit weak; some seemed a little stereotyped, some seemed hard to "pin down" and lacking a harmony in their actions and attitudes. Gupta showed some questionable judgment in how he brought in back story. For instance, the middle of a deposition by a high-powered malpractice attorney seems an odd time for a character to reflect in detail upon her family background in medicine. OK to think, "grandpa never went through this," but going on and on seemed odd. Same issue in the middle of an OR crisis -- not a time to be bringing in a lot of back story. Some of the scenes obviously designed to display the "character" of the main players seemed kind of forced and out of the flow of the story. I just thought there was some very odd pacing, strange places for chapter breaks, awkward timing. And then there was the medical terminology. I expect it in the OR, but when a character is reacting to a joke, it seems more normal to say he slapped his thigh, not to refer to it as his "quadricep," however anatomically correct that term might be. (There was another incident like that, but the details escape me.)

This book gave me lots of food for thought as to the pressures doctors face on a day-to-day basis, and about what goes on in a major teaching hospital. But it wasn't the most well-written novel I've ever read.

nov 26, 2012, 11:02pm

> 111 - I downloaded the audio book from my local library back in the spring, hoping to listen to it for my medical category, but I just couldn't get past the music/noise that was playing at the start of the first chapter, distracting me from listening to the narrator. I didn't bother listening far enough to see if that background noise finally stopped. Happily, it doesn't sound like I missed out by not persevering with the audiobook.

Redigerat: nov 28, 2012, 4:11pm

The background music/noise did stop, Lori, at least on the version to which I listened.

I finished my latest e-book early this morning (or late last night) just before its loan period expired:

Title: Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh (E Book)
Jeff Shaara
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2012
Subject: The Battle of Shiloh, US Civil War
Dates Read: finished 11-28-12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book -- varies with font/type size)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: American Pie
How does it fit the category? US history
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? New Novel November
My Rating: 3.7 stars

This was a pretty good novel about the Battle of Shiloh. Judging from the ratings here on LT, I don't think I liked it quite as much as most readers did. I may need to reconsider. It probably suffered by comparisons -- to Shelby Foote's Shiloh: A Novel, which I loved; and to The Killer Angels, probably my favorite novel, written by the author's father about the battle of Gettysburg. (It must be hard being the son of a Pulitzer Prize winner, and writing in the same genre!) I also had some technical battles with the e-book, which may have affected my mood when trying to read the book. So if you like historical fiction, and/or are a Civil War buff, don't let my mere 3.7 rating dissade you from reading this.

nov 28, 2012, 5:46pm

> 113 - Good to know. I may consider checking the audiobook out again. Thanks!

nov 28, 2012, 7:51pm

You're welcome, Lori! Have a great evening!

Redigerat: nov 29, 2012, 1:00am

Title: The Body in the Moonlight
Katherine Hall Page
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2001
Subject: a "mystery dinner" ends in real murder
Setting: Aleford, Massachusetts, USA
Series: Faith Fairchild #11
Dates Read: finished 11/29/12 (just past midnight)
Number of pages: 307 + recipes & excerpt from next in series
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: YES, pre-2012
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: one of the series or mystery categories to be determined
How does it fit the category? mystery series
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? 11th book for 11th month sub-challenge; needed another off-the-shelf
My Rating: 3.7 stars

First Parish of Aleford, Massachusetts is celebrating its 250th anniversary, and Faith's catering company is handling the food for a "mystery dinner" fundraiser, while the congregation bickers over whether to fix the church's steeple or crypt. But when one of the dinner guests keels over dead -- poisoned -- it's not good for business, to say the least. Add in some nasty rumors about the local elementary school principal -- and some innuendo about the dead woman & Faith's husband, the Rev. Tom Fairchild -- and life in Aleford is not happy for my favorite catering clergy spouse chef.

I really like the Faith Fairchild series when I'm in the mood for a cozy mystery. It's a series I've read as I've been able to get hold of them over the years. Other than the kids getting older, and some secondary characters moving in and out of the story, I hardly notice where I am in the series, so it's not vital to read them in order. This installment was a pretty good one, though not my favorite in the series.

nov 29, 2012, 5:50am

I think I have the first of this series on the TBR. I'm hoping to get to it next year.

Redigerat: nov 29, 2012, 3:52pm

I hope you like it when you get to it, Betty. I think these are nice little mysteries. I must admit, I'm probably a little biased because I lived in the Boston suburbs for a while and recognize places that are named; also, I actually have a friend named Faith who is a pastor's wife -- and I met her while I lived in that area. :)

nov 29, 2012, 4:02pm

I enjoy the Faith Fairchild books. I've read almost all of them. There are a couple of earlier ones that I don't remember whether I read or not so I have them on my TBR list. I generally stay up with the most recent one although I may be one book behind at the moment. I'll get caught up soon so it won't matter. I think one of my favorites in the series though is the one that features Faith's friend Pix on a trip to Scandinavia.

Redigerat: nov 29, 2012, 4:16pm

Lori, I haven't read that one yet. Is that, perhaps, The Body in the Fjord? I think I have that one on the TBR shelf. I'll have to check.

ETA to add No, looks like that's one that the County Library has. One of these days, I'll get hold of it . . .

nov 30, 2012, 12:03am

@116 - never bicker about fixing either the steeple or the crypt. You better find enough money for both or some ghoulie will get you. I know. I've seen a few horror films.

Redigerat: nov 30, 2012, 6:10pm

Katie, this next book has a few horror stories involving old churches . . .

Title: The Ghosts of Virginia
L.B. Taylor, Jr.
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1993
Subject: spooky Virginia folklore and other "true" ghost stories
Setting: throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia
Series: (does have a sequel -- vol. 2)
Dates Read: finished 11/30/12
Number of pages: 381
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: YES, purchased used years ago
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: American Pie
How does it fit the category? Lots of American Folklore in this book
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? Needed a book "off the shelf" and also prompted by trip to VA
My Rating: 3.7 stars

This is a thick book of purportedly true ghost stories from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Most fall into the category of folklore. In addition to some chills, this book contains a lot of Virginia history, and much architectural information about historic properties in Virginia. There are frequent quotations from descriptions in the Virginia Landmarks Register. There are also numerous photos (of many of the properties) and drawings (of purported spooky events). Despite a rather dry writing style and occasional odd wordings/syntax, this is more well done than many of the regional "true ghost story" books one encounters, especially for readers interested in history and architecture as well as eerie stories.

There is at least one historical inaccuracy in this book, which is a product of when it was written.

Redigerat: nov 30, 2012, 11:23pm

OK, I have to plan for December. I have some things started I need to finish:

Simple Courage (Audio non-fiction) -- Category "Help!"
Team of Rivals (non fiction) -- category "American Pie"
Bring up the Bodies (Audio fiction) -- category "Color My World"
An Altar in the World (devotional) -- category "Spirit in the Sky"

I plan to do these for my 12th month/December sub-challenge:
Jolie Blon's Bounce by James Lee Burke (#12 in Dave Robicheaux series) -- category "Jambalaya!"
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (#12 in Temperance Brennan series) -- category "On and On"

After reading those, I have these gaps in my 12/12 category challenge (though some can be filled by overlaps if I need to, and some books already read can be shifted between categories):
1 in "Color My World"
1 in "Jambalaya"
1 in "What's Goin' On"
3 in "Help!"
1 in "On and On"
1 in "Doctor, Doctor"
1 in "Magical Mystery Tour"
2 in "Winner Takes it All"
2 in "Spirit in the Sky"

I also need at least 6 books from my own TBR shelf, 2 of which must be hard-copy owned prior to 2012. Possibilities:

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves -- category "color my world"
*City of Refuge by Tom Piazza -- category "Jambalaya" (and owned pre-2012)
Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane -- category "What's Goin' On"
To Sleep with the Angels by David Cowan -- category "Help!"
The Collapse of Richmond's Church Hill Tunnel by Walter S. Griggs -- category "Help!"
A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan -- category "Help!"
(need one for "On and On" category -- any series book will do -- see overlap note below!)
*My Lobotomy by Howard Dully -- categtory "Doctor, Doctor!" (and owned pre-2012)
(need one in "Magical Mystery Tour category -- any series book will do -- see overlap note below!)
(Need two in "Winner Takes it All" category -- see overlap note below.)
The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth -- category "Spirit in the Sky"
One more devotional book to be determined.

Likely overlaps:
Wolf Hall, which is in "King of the Road" category (royalty) could also go in "Winner Takes it All" (Mann Booker Prize 2009)
Bring Up the Bodies, planned to go into "Color My World" category, also going in "Winner Takes it All" (Mann Booker Prize 2012)
Unread mysteries already posted in non-mystery categories can fill slots in mystery/series categories

dec 1, 2012, 12:54am

Good luck with your December reading, Terri. My goal is to finish my last 3 books for 12 in 12. If there's a gap, just read whatever, then get started on the 2013 category challenge. December is usually so busy that I don't get much reading in, anyway.

Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 1:55pm

Hi, Linda!

After all that planning, I found myself waiting in the chiropractor's office today with only the books on my phone. On a whim, I started Mad Mouse by Chris Grabenstein, 2nd in his Jersey Shore/John Ceepak series. I'm reading it in honor of my friends back at the Jersey Shore who are dealing with the fallout of Sandy. Things may never be the same there again.

Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 2:40pm

I finished the last segment of this audio book while doing relatively mindless work on the computer last night.

Title: Simple Courage
Frank Delaney
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2006
Subject: the sinking of the SS Flying Enterprise
Setting: The North Atlantic
Dates Read: finished 11/30/12
Number of pages: n/a (AUDIO)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Help!
How does it fit the category? disaster on the sea
Alternate category
Why did I read this now? available, sounded good, needed for Help category
My Rating: 3.4 stars
Notes: I listened to the audio book, narrated by the author.

In late December 1951, the SS Flying Enterprise steamed out of the English Channel into the Atlantic into a terrible storm. With emergency repairs, she survived a serious crack in her hull; but then suffered further severe damage by a second rogue wave.

I was not at all familiar with this event, but apparently it drew widespread attention. Frank Delaney was a 9-year-old boy when Flying Enterprise encountered its peril, and his fascination (obsession?) with the story began there. He does a good job of describing what happened, and trying to understand why -- despite his admitted hero worship of the ship's captain. But he also tries to explain why the story was so important to him. A bit of that is good. But the details of his relationship with his stern father (and, to put that in perspective, the story of his father's life) are not quite the story that I meant to sign up for when I checked this book out of the library. And he overdid analysis of the captain's reasons for staying with the ship. He seemed emotionally over-involved with his subject matter.

(And can somebody explain to me why the default touchstone for the title "Simple Courage" comes up as "Jane Eyre"? The titles aren't even close to being similar!

dec 1, 2012, 7:43pm

My husband is a fan of sea disaster books and I usually try to buy him one for Christmas, but I think this might not be the one. Matter of fact, I think I got a suggestion for a book for him last year from one of your disaster reads. And now I'm running into the "has he already read this or not?" problem.

dec 1, 2012, 7:46pm

This really isn't one I'd recommend, unless someone was especially interested in this particular ship.

dec 1, 2012, 8:27pm

120> Terri - Yes, that is the one - The Body in the Fjord. I actually kept that one to read again some day. Most of that series goes on to the used bookstore.

Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 9:53pm

Well, Lori, I'll definitely have to get hold of the county library copy of that one!

I'm looking at my "plan" for December. I swore I was going to take it easy and not pressure myself with reading this month. Then I come up with an ambitious plan, and then start reading something extra besides..

What I'm going to do, I'm going to go up to my categories and try filling them using "overlaps" (books that fit 2 divergent categories) from the books I have done. I'll put those ones in italics, no touchstone. I'll finish what I've started reading. I'll work to fill any slots that can't be filled with overlaps & current books. Then, if I have time, I'll try reading fresh books to fill some of the "overlapped" slots.

I will not allow overlaps on books that fit 2 similar categories (such as putting a mystery book in 2 mystery categories, or a mystery & a series category.)

Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 10:14pm

OK, I did the recalculation, and when I finish the books I've started, I'll have the categories all filled, at least using overlaps, except for:

"Jambalaya" -- will need one book, and have a James Lee Burke book planned.
"Doctor, Doctor" -- may need one book, though if I include Ph.D. doctors, I can fill that slot with an overlap, too.

dec 2, 2012, 1:49pm

Terri, I like your reorganization and think the overlaps make a lot of sense! And I'm really impressed that you're managing a full 12 in 12!

dec 2, 2012, 2:46pm

"Doctor, Doctor" - how about a Dr. Who story?

dec 2, 2012, 3:02pm

132 Thanks, Ivy!

133 Dr. Who? Now that would be a suggestion for my husband -- he's really a Dr. Who fan! I, alas, am not. I'm tentatively planning to read the book My Lobotomy, the true story of a man who, as a child, had been lobotomized by a doctor who did many, many of those procedures. As an adult, he decides to look into what happened and why. The book looks interesting, has good reviews, isn't terribly long, and has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while.

dec 2, 2012, 4:36pm

Sounds like you have everything planned out to end the year on a positive note, Terri. I admit I'm getting eager to start the 2013 Challenge, and will probably do so in the week after Christmas.

dec 3, 2012, 12:25am

Judy, I think I'll be satisfied with finishing off this year's challenge the way I've now got it planned.

I think with next year's challenge, I'm going to go with "overlaps" right from the start where applicable. 13x13 will just never work for me if each book counts just once; I've tried using lesser amounts of books per category as goals, but I always feel drawn to the "magic number" of books to match the year.

dec 3, 2012, 11:19pm

Ah - haunted churches - There's a Mexican ghost story that always ends up in a church - it's a variation of the dead hitchhiker, only in this one the hitchhiker is a woman killed on her way to a church to get married.

Looks like your challenge will end with some good books!

Redigerat: dec 6, 2012, 12:23am

I wonder if every culture has a variation on that hitchhiker ghost story theme, Katie?

Here's one of those good books:

Title: City of Refuge
Tom Piazza
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2008
Subject: two families dislocated by Hurricane Katrina
Setting: New Orleans, Chicago, and Houston (and a few interim stops along the way)
Dates Read: finished 12/5/12
Number of pages: 400
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Off the shelf, purchased 2010.
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Jambalaya
How does it fit the category? Set in New Orleans
Alternate category Help! (disaster)
Why did I read this book now? fit categories I needed; was an "off the shelf" book; looked good
My Rating: 4.1 stars

This novel focuses on two families. SJ., his sister Lucy, and her son Wesley are an African American family in the Lower Ninth Ward who are lifelong New Orleanians. Craig and Alice are Midwestern transplants living uptown with their two kids. Craig loves the city, but Alice is increasingly uncomfortable raising their children in New Orleans.

When Katrina approaches, Craig and Alice decide to evacuate. SJ and family don't. Both families are (unknown to them) about to embark on a long odyssey that will take them far from home and all that is familiar to them.

I mostly loved this book. I thought there were a couple of cheap shots (one in particular) thrown at Pres. Bush. (Not that I'm a Bush fan, but there's plenty to legitimately criticize about the all-around government response to Katrina without taking personal jabs at anyone.) But mostly I loved this book. It really helped me to feel (as much as an outsider can, which is surely limited) what the people must have gone through when the disaster hit and in the aftermath. It actually brought me to tears in a few spots.

I especially enjoyed that he managed to show different sides of characters as the story progresses. Some characters I initially disliked at first showed redeeming traits later on as I got to know and understand them better.

dec 9, 2012, 1:12am

I'll bet you're right! I'll bet there are versions of the hitchhiker story that go with the horse & buggy.

City of Refuge sounds good. There aren't many books set around Katrina yet. I'm sure we'll see more.

dec 10, 2012, 6:17am

Title: An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (E-BOOK)
Barbara Brown Taylor
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2009
Subject: Recognizing the sacred in ordinary things
Setting: Anywhere and Everywhere
Dates Read: finished 12/10/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book, varies with font/type size)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Spirit in the Sky
How does it fit the category? spirituality
Alternate category
Why did I read this book now? available; sounded good
My Rating: 3.9 stars

Barbara Brown Taylor is an ordained Episcopal priest who is a professor of World Religions. The lovely little book is written from a Christian perspective, but with great respect towards many other spiritual traditions. Brown's faith is no pie-in-the-sky, otherworldly dogma. She reminds us of the significance of incarnation for the Christian faith. She invites us to find the sacred, the holy, in our everyday life -- in the people we meet, the work we do, our natural surroundings, even in the pain we sometimes suffer. Some of what she suggests works better for me than other parts, but just the chapter on blessing made it worth reading the book. (I was going to put a few quotes here, but they don't work in isolation -- you have to read at least the whole chapter to understand the context.)

Redigerat: dec 11, 2012, 3:32pm

Title: Bring Up the Bodies (AUDIO)
Hilary Mantel
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2012
Subject: Thomas Cromwell arranges for a queen to lose her head . . .
Setting: England, reign of Henry VIII
Series: Wolf Hall trilogy
Dates Read: finished 12/11/12
Number of pages: n/a (audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, library download
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Color My World
How does it fit the category? Set in another country (England)
Alternate category Winner takes it All (Booker prize)
Why did I read this now? hold finally became available
My Rating: 4.5 stars

What can I say? This perhaps deserved its Booker Prize even more than Wolf Hall did. I'm not going to write a full review because there are already plenty available. After reading Wolf Hall, I had wondered how easily I'd follow this book on audio. But it was a good listening experience.

dec 11, 2012, 7:26pm

On BUTB: Maybe I should have listened to it. It didn't flow as well for me.

dec 11, 2012, 10:52pm

The narration of the audio was excellent, Lori.

dec 13, 2012, 9:22pm

Title: The Lost Stradivarius (E Book and AUDIO)
John Meade Falkner
Copyright/Year of original publication: 1895
Subject: a haunting (or haunted?) violin & song lead to a man's demise
Setting: Oxford University, the English countryside, and Naples, Italy
Dates Read: finished 12/13/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book pages vary with formatting; also partly done on audio)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Off my virtual shelf, obtained pre-2012 from Project Gutenberg; audio via LibriVox
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: What's Goin' On?
How does it fit the category? mysterious
Alternate category Spook (but that category is full)
Why did I read this book now? wanted to read something that had been on my e-reader for a while
My Rating: 3.24 stars

This short novel (novella?) is an old horror classic that turns up on many of the public domain book websites. From time to time as I listened I got a sense of deja vu, and wonder if maybe I read it years ago when I was young? (I've always loved ghost stories.)

Sir John Maltravers is happy in his studies at Oxford when an old musical manuscript comes into his possession. It contains one piece which seems to have a supernatural effect. Add in a hidden, rare violin, and you have the beginnings of a creepy little story that has apparently been scaring people since 1895. I found the writing style a bit melodramatic, and some of the attitudes (typical for their day) annoying. But it was a decent, quiet little horror story.

dec 14, 2012, 1:56am

Hmmm - The Lost Stradivarious sounds good. I wonder if it's floating around on my nook. I've got a few big short story collections. It sounds kind of fun, but I've never heard of that author. Might be safer to stick with someone like J S Le Fanu or Algernon Blackwood for Victorian/Edwardian horror.

dec 14, 2012, 3:23pm

Le Fanu and Blackwood are probably the best of that genre. Great stuff!

dec 15, 2012, 1:20am

I totally agree.

Redigerat: dec 16, 2012, 10:17pm

Title: Blue Lightning
Ann Cleeves
Copyright/Year of original publication: 2010
Subject: murder of a prominent bird scientist
Setting: a remote observatory in the Shetland Islands
Series: Shetland Quartet
Dates Read: finished 12/16/12
Number of pages: 357
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: Yes, but not pre-2012; from Amazon this year
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Color my World
How does it fit the category? color blue in title; set in Shetland Islands
Alternate category any mystery or series category
Why did I read this now? finish out the quartet
My Rating: 3.8 stars

This is the fourth of Ann Cleeves' series featuring Detective Jimmy Perez and set in the Shetland Islands. The director of a remote bird observatory located in a lighthouse on Fair Isle is murdered. There is a limited pool of suspects. Whodunit? Detective Jimmy Perez is on his home turf on the remote Fair Isle, and isolated from help from other police resources due to weather which is preventing planes and boats from making the passage there.

Cleeves gives us an interesting cast of characters and a great deal of atmosphere. It's also a complex puzzle, and I didn't guess the answer. I found the going a bit slow until about halfway through, when the pace picked up a bit. Still, this is not an action thriller by any means. It's a subtle book. Overall, I liked it, though I was a bit disappointed near the end. Cleeves threw in one final twist of which I approved heartily. Is she trying to leave room for something resembling a sequel? Originally this series was supposed to be a trio, now it is a quartet; is there a quintet in the future? If so, it will be a bit different from the earlier installments. And that's all I'm going to say. . .

dec 17, 2012, 1:30am

LOL - you're giving us teasers! I've got to say the Shetland Islands is an appealing setting. I know I've WListed this series before thanks to you. ;) Still haven't gotten there.

dec 17, 2012, 7:56pm

Thanks for the reminder about Blue Lightning. That's the next in series for me.

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 3:34pm

Hi, Katie & Lori! I hope you enjoy it.

Title: Mad Mouse (E-Book)
Chris Grabenstein
Copyright/Year of original publication:
Subject: a paintball attack escalates to something much more serious!
Setting: The New Jersey Shore
Series: John Ceepak, #2
Dates Read: finished 12/18/12
Number of pages: n/a (e-book, varies with font/size setting)
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: YES, owned e-book, but NON-pre-2012
Category for 12 in 12 challenge:
How does it fit the category? series mystery
Alternate category any series or mystery category
Why did I read this book now? Thoughts of Jersey Shore in wake of Hurricane Sandy
My Rating: 3.8 stars

This is the second book in the John Ceepak series, set in a fictional New Jersey coastal town. The narrator in this series is junior police officer Danny Boyle, who contrasts nicely with his partner: the duty-bound, by-the-book Iraq war veteran Ceepak. This one begins with a deceptively mild situation -- an apparent paintball attack upon Danny and his friends. But by the end of the book, Danny and Ceepak are trying to thwart a mass shooting with more lethal ammunition.

I chose this book wanting something set at the Jersey Shore, mindful of that area due to Hurricane Sandy's recent devastation there -- especially on the barrier island where this book is set. That it wound up involving a planned mass shooting (I'm not going to tell you if the plan went through!) brought it chillingly near to another disaster -- this one man-made -- fresh in all our minds. It made the reading experience a bit more raw than it otherwise might have been.

These books are by turns light and heavy. Danny is irreverent and often immature, but he winds up dealing with serious crime, however bizarre some of the details may be. I mean, a murder on Halibut Street can be just as much of a nightmare as one on Elm Street -- but the name gives a bit of the flaky character of shore towns in summer.

I did find the device of the town officials trying to hush up the local crime spree, for fear of losing Labor Day Weekend business, a bit old and overdone, like Jaws with bullets instead of teeth.

dec 18, 2012, 3:49pm

In 2013, I'm going to read the second Shetland Island book. I enjoyed it.

Right now, I'm reading a disaster book set in Chicago. The 1950 Green Hornet streetcar disaster (crashed into a gasoline truck).

Anyway, on my new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet, whenever I have something in the carousel, it gives me 8-10 ideas of similar items I might like.

Lots of good disaster books I need to add.

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 5:41pm

Oh, my, I never heard of that streetcar disaster. Sounds horrible! (Sounds like a book I'd want to read . . .)

I'm glad you're enjoying your Kindle Fire HD, Linda.

I'm finally almost done with Team of Rivals. I'll probably finish it this evening or tomorrow. I think my next non-fiction read (outside the spirituality category) will be Last Man Out by Melissa Fay Greene, the story of the Springhill (Nova Scotia) Mine Disaster.

This morning, I downloaded Volume 1 of Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth as a library loan. I'm not Roman Catholic, but I'm interested in reading what he has to say about Jesus.

ETA to add Uh, oh. I started "looking at" Last Man Out, and I think I am already starting it, even though I'm not done with ToR. Really, I didn't mean to start it quite yet . . .

Redigerat: dec 18, 2012, 11:04pm

Well, I finished it. There's something good to be said for having a sick day. Lots of reading time.

Title: Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Copyright/Year of original publication:
Subject: The Lincoln administration, and the interplay of the cabinet members
Setting: (primary) Washington, DC
Dates Read: finished 12/18/12
Number of pages: 754 plus acknowledgments, notes, etc.
Off the Shelf? (pre-2012 or ER?) Source?: No, inter-library loan
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: American Pie
How does it fit the category? American History
Alternate category
Why did I read this now? group read
My Rating: 3.9 stars

My overall impression: I found the first part, giving the backgrounds of the various men, a bit tedious -- though quite necessary. As we got into the actual Lincoln administration, and began to see the interplay of the various personalities within the cabinet, I thought the book got much more interesting. This is obviously the angle DKG was aiming for, and it gave me insights I hadn't gotten from other books about Lincoln and his times.

dec 19, 2012, 10:32am

@ 153 -- I look forward to seeing what you think of Jesus of Nazareth!

jan 2, 2013, 11:08am

Unfortunately, Christina, I got too sick to read a few chapters in and didn't get it read before the library loan ran out. What I did read left me with several impressions. Certainly, nothing theologically that is much different that what I believe. (I'd say most of the differences between Catholics and Protestants have more to do with ecclesiology than with Christology.) I agreed with his thoughts that the Christ of faith tends to get lost in the historical-critical method's obsession with finding the "historical" Jesus -- and how subjective some of the "historical" portraits are. I saw deep faith and complex thinking, and a real working knowledge of the original language of the texts and subtle meanings. The one thing that rather spoiled it for me was the rather frequent use of male-dominated language to reference humanity. (Yes, Jesus saves men -- but he saves women, too.) This usage simply wouldn't be tolerated in a new publication in my tradition.

jan 2, 2013, 12:18pm

Hope you're feeling better now, tymfos! I'm glad you enjoyed what you read of Jesus of Nazareth. I don't tend to mind the use of words like "mankind" instead of "humanity," but I'm sorry it was jarring for you.

jan 2, 2013, 12:21pm

It wasn't that bad, it just struck me because it's made such an issue of when we're taught how to write and speak in seminary -- even back when I studied, and it's stricter now.