Lori's Wonderful World of Reading for 2012 - Part 3

Den här diskussionen är en fortsättning på: Lori's Wonderful World of Reading for 2012 - Part 2

DiskuteraThe 12 in 12 Category Challenge

Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.

Lori's Wonderful World of Reading for 2012 - Part 3

Denna diskussion är för närvarande "vilande"—det sista inlägget är mer än 90 dagar gammalt. Du kan återstarta det genom att svara på inlägget.

1lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 12:21am

Lori's Wonderful World of Reading for 2012

Previous threads:
The Warm-up Thread
Part 1
Part 2

Well, now that fall is well and truly here I thought I would start this thread off with a couple of pictures I took during the September long weekend when the Victoria Inner Harbour was playing host to its annual Classic Boat Festival:


Side shot from the lower causeway with the legislature building in the background


Shot of the boats also taken from the lower causeway




The Categories:

1. Don't know much about history - Historical Fiction pre-1945
2. Don't know much biology - Medical discovery/illness as a theme (Fiction or Non-Fiction)
3. Don't know much about a science book - Science as a theme (Fiction or Non-Fiction) that does not fall under Medical discovery/illness
4. Don't know much about the French I took - Foreign language novels translated into English
5. But I do know that I love you - More books by favorite authors
6. And I know that you love me too - Poetry
7. What a wonderful world this would be - Plays
8. Don't know much about geography - Books set in foreign lands
9. But I do know that one and one is two - Next in Series
10. And if this one could be with you - "New to me" Canadian authors
11. Now I don't claim to be an "A" student - Prize Winners and Shortlisted
12. I can win your love for me - Books languishing on my TBR pile

... But I'm trying to be - Overflow (basically anything that does not fit in any of the 12 categories above so I can track all of my reading for the year in one location).

Thank you Sam Cooke!

**********

Book Statistics: I want to track some book stats throughout the year, in particular to see if I am purchasing more books than reading what I already own and have sitting waiting TBR.

Books purchased: 56
Books read: 89
Books read off TBR Bookcase: 22
Books read from local library: 57
Books read and borrowed from friends/family: 3
Free book download/ER book: 10
Audiobook listened to: 12
Books read by male authors: 52
Books read by female authors: 42
* two books read co-authored by male and female author and two books read as compilations of short stories by various authors so counted both here!

2lkernagh
sep 23, 2012, 11:04pm

1. Don't know much about history - Historical Fiction pre-1945



1. Paris Requiem by Lisa Appignanesi - (review here - post 143)
2. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey - (review here - post 179)
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - (review here - post 194)
4. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - (review here - post 53)
5. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston - (review here - post 66)
6. The Raven's Seal by Andrei Baltakmens - (review here - post 247)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

3lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 10, 2012, 11:33pm

2. Don't know much biology - Medical discovery/illness as a theme (Fiction or Non-Fiction)



1. The Making of Modern Medicine by Michael Bliss - (review here - post 198)
2. Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure that Changed the World by Fiammetta Rocco - (review here - post 135)
3. Quarantine by John Smolens - (review here - post 181)
4. Dreams and Due Diligence: Till and McCulloch's Stem Cell Discovery and Legacy by Joe Sornberger - (review here - post 231)
5. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam - (review here - post 27)
6. October by Ricard B. Wright - (review here - post 59)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:
LT picked: Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam - Smiler69

4lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 8, 2012, 8:50pm

3. Don't know much about a science book - Science as a theme (Fiction or Non-Fiction) that does not fall under the Medical discovery/illness category



1. Science in the Renaissance by Brendan January - (review here - post 45)
2. Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Astronomy For All Edited by John Martineau - (review here - post 245)
3. The Technologists by Matthew Pearl - (review here - post 92)
4. Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation by Alan Lightman - (review here - post 104)
5. Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe by George Johnson - (review here - post 252)
6. How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty - (review here - post 55)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

5lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 22, 2012, 6:55pm

4. Don't know much about the French I took - Foreign language novels translated into English



1. 1953: Chronicle of a Birth Foretold by France Diagle - (review here - post 118)
2. Underground Time by Delphine de Vigan - (review here - post 40)
3. Love in the Time of Cholera by by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - (review here - post 114)
4. Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco - (review here - post 151)
5. The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho - (review here - post 177)
6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - (review here - post 77)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

6lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 19, 2012, 12:55pm

5. But I do know that I love you - More books by favorite authors



1. Unholy Loves by Lisa Appignanesi - (review here - post 144)
2. The Hangman by Louise Penny - (review here - post 160)
3. A Far Cry From Kensington by Muriel Sparks - (review here - post 123)
4. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - (review here - post 168)
5. City by Alessandro Baricco - (review here - post 222)
6. Ad Eternum by Elizabeth Bear - (review here - post 155)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

7lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 1, 2012, 12:49am

6. And I know that you love me too - Poetry



1. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis - (review here - post 44)
2. Blackbird Singing by Paul McCartney - (review here - post 79)
3. Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen - (review here - post 114)
4. Honku by Aaron Naparstek and Office Haiku by James Rogauskas - (review here - post 32)
5. Lost August by Esta Spalding - (review here - post 203)
6. Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke - (review here - post 35)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

8lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 3, 2012, 9:35pm

7. What a wonderful world this would be - Plays



1. Strawberries in January by Evelyne de la Chenelière - (review here - post 46)
2. Ivona, Princess of Burgundia by Witold Gombrowicz - (review here - post 186)
3. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry - (review here - post 47)
4. Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher - (review here - post 182)
5. Mrs. Packard by Emily Mann - (review here - post 253)
6. November by David Mamet - (review here - post 124)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

9lkernagh
Redigerat: sep 23, 2012, 11:10pm

8. Don't know much about geography - Books set in foreign lands



1. Gilgamesh by Joan London - (review here - post 78)
2. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton - (review here - post 100)
3. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - (review here - post 221)
4. Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon - (review here - post 54)
5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - (review here - post 59)
6. Venice Noir edited by Maxim Jakubowski - (review here - post 176)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

10lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 9, 2012, 5:52pm

9. But I do know that one and one is two - Next in Series



1. Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island by Sandy Francis Duncan and George Szanto - (review here - post 92)
2. Never Hug a Mugger on Quadra Island by Sandy Frances Duncan and George Szanto - (review here - post 242)
3. B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton - (review here - post 145)
4. C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton - (review here - post 148)
5. E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton - (review here - post 221)
6. Miss Buncle, Married by D.E. Stevenson - (review here - post 205)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:
LT picked: What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey - VictoriaPL
LT picked: The Likeness by Tana French - christina_reads

11lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 22, 2012, 11:56pm

10. And if this one could be with you - "New to me" Canadian authors



1. Campie by Barabara Stewart - (review here - post 31)
2. The Island Walkers by John Bemrose - (review here - post 35)
3. The Rules of Engagement by Catherine Bush - (review here - post 79)
4. Seaweed on the Street by Stanley Evans - (review here - post 189)
5. British Columbia Murders by Susan McNicoll - (review here - post 206)
6. Touch by Alexi Zentner - (review here - post 83)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:
LT picked: What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey - VictoriaPL
LT picked: The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson - BCteagirl

12lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 21, 2012, 9:30pm

11. Now I don't claim to be an "A" student - Prize Winners and Shortlisted



1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes - (review here - post 58)
2. March by Geraldine Brooks - (review here - post 28)
3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - (review here - post 169)
4. Fences by August Wilson - (review here - post 214)
5. Ru by Kim Thúy - (review here - post 46)
6. What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn - (review here - post 214)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:

13lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 17, 2012, 12:09am

12. I can win your love for me - Books languishing on my TBR pile



1. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - (review here - post 165)
2. A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay - (review here - post 46)
3. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson - (review here - post 52)
4. A Widow for One Year by John Irving - (review here - post 108)
5. 2666 by Roberto Bolano - (review here - post 143)
6. The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson - (review here - post 210)

CATEGORY COMPLETED!

Candidates:
LT picked: Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson - bucketyell
LT picked: Widow for One Year by John Irving - katiekrug
LT picked: The House Within by Fiona Kidman - cammykitty
LT picked: The Likeness by Tana French - christina_reads
LT picked: Coastliners by Joanne Harris - paruline
LT picked: The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson - BCteagirl
LT picked: Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz - ivyd

14lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 31, 2012, 12:20am

... But I'm trying to be (the Overflow slot) - Basically anything that does not fit in any of the 12 categories above so I can track all of my reading for the year in one location.

1. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton - (review here - post 134)
2. D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton - (review here - post 154)
3. Walking for Fitness: The Beginner's Handbook by Marnie Caron - (review here - post 167)
4. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy - (review here - post 210)
5. Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth - (review here - post 64)
6. Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes forward by Francisco X. Stork - (review here - post 70)
7. The Necrophiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop - (review here - post 114)
8. Judith by Lawrence Durrell - (review here - post 138)
9. Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson - (review here - post 147)
10. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - (review here - post 158)
11. Bilal's Bread by Sulayman X - (review here - post 199)
12. 100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein - (review here - post 204)
13. What Dress Makes of Us by Dorothy Quigley - (review here - post 235)
14. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore - (review here - post 236)
15. Beyond Suspicion by Tanguy Viel - (review here - post 237)
16. Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley - (review here - post 242)
17. Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard - (review here - post 250)

15lkernagh
sep 23, 2012, 11:07pm

Book Rating System:
Both decimal and LT star ratings will be applied to each book. My star rating system can be found on my profile page. For the decimal system, I have decided to assess each book on the following criteria (each on a scale of 1 to 5):

Plot Development
Character Development
Premise - Did the author deliver on the original premise that enticed me to pick up the book in the first place or do I feel as though I have been hoodwinked?
Writing Style
Imagery - was I able to visualize the story as I was reading it
Length - too long, too short or just right to convey the story

Now the challenge is going to be whether or not I stick to this plan!

16lkernagh
sep 23, 2012, 11:07pm

My third thread for this challenge is now open for visitors, browsers, lurkers and discussions!

17SouthernKiwi
sep 24, 2012, 3:41am

Ooh I'm the first in you shiny new digs! Looks like you're pretty well on track with your challenge Lori.

18lkernagh
sep 24, 2012, 11:16am

Hi Alana! Yes, you are first. The cooler weather has made it easier to settle in and read so I hope to make some headway here, especially as I am falling down on the job with my Alphabet challenge and still need to get to the stack of TBR books that were chosen for me to read as part of this challenge.

19christina_reads
sep 24, 2012, 3:04pm

Just dropping in to say that you're (still) starred and that I really like your photos! The water is gorgeous.

20-Eva-
sep 24, 2012, 5:35pm

Lovely photos - talk about perfect weather for September! :) Great review of The Raven's Seal - thumbing and adding to the wishlist!

21dudes22
sep 24, 2012, 6:06pm

I'm here too. Just catching up after a busy weekend.

22lkernagh
sep 24, 2012, 8:39pm

Hi Christina, Eva and Betty - Thanks for stopping by. Ironically, the water in the harbour isn't always that colour, or that still. This is an area of town I walk past on a regular basis. You should see how choppy, cold and uninviting it is in the winter months! **Brrrr!**

23VioletBramble
sep 24, 2012, 9:17pm

Wow - thread number three! (or is it 4 with the warm up thread?) I see that most of your categories are almost full already.
Beautiful photos. I love autumn.

24DeltaQueen50
sep 25, 2012, 12:47am

Hi Lori, just stopping to say Hi and admire the new thread. Your pictures make me homesick!

25mamzel
sep 25, 2012, 2:12pm

It's so rare to see water that undisturbed. I would hold my breath if I was there to make sure it stayed that way.

26lkernagh
sep 25, 2012, 9:31pm

> 23 - Hi Kelly, you are correct, it really is thread 4. I hope to finish the challenge by mid-November to give myself some free reading time.

> 24 - Hi Judy, didn't mean to make homesick! Hope the weather is still holding nice for you on the Lower Mainland. I have a sneaking suspicion winter may be a bit of a brute given the great weather over the past three months..... *look of worry*.

> 25 - Hi mamzel, Agreed! ;-)

------------
On the reading front I am one chapter/short story away from finishing Vincent Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, but tonight I am in the mood for escapism and will be settling in to watch the movie The Green Lantern instead. ;-0

27lkernagh
sep 27, 2012, 12:28am

Book #62 - Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam
Category: - Don't know much Biology - Medical discovery/illness as a theme



Winner of the 2006 Giller Prize and the author's literary debut, this book has been on my TBR bookcase for some time now and would probably still be sitting there if it hadn't been chosen last year by Ilana (Smiler69) as one of the books to be read off my TBR pile. I like to think I would have gotten to it at some point.... but I have to admit that it didn't have that shiny "oooh ahhh" quality to attract me. I am going to blame the cover design for that. REALLY unattractive, IMO.

This book is actually 12 connected short stories. Each of the stories follow one or more than one of four characters: Ming, Fitzgerald, Sri and Chen. Their common bond: They know one another and all progress through the rigors of medical school, postdoctoral training and into the world of challenging medical careers of emergency rooms, medical evacuation services and unknown illnesses. Dr. Lam's experience as an emergency room physician shows here in his well written descriptions of medical procedures and the physical/mental/emotional drain the job can have on the health care professionals we rely on.

Lam's stories aren't just the stilted literary musings of a doctor with aspirations of becoming a writer. He is really a decent writer - of course, I doubt they would have given him the Giller Prize if he wasn't, so that is a mute point. Some of the stories contain rather shocking surprises. Others, interesting twists/dilemmas. His insight into human nature, in all its forms - good, bad and indifferent - comes through here. Sadly, I was left with an overall negative reaction to the characters and a number of the situations portrayed in the stories. After a while, I even started to find the stories a bit overwhelming and would find myself putting it. If this was non-fiction, I would be very worried that the medical profession was near collapse under the burden it bears on a daily basis. The fact that it is fiction makes me then worry that this may be a literary vehicle to subtly communicate real frustrations experienced in the system. Either way, food for thought.

Overall, I found this to consist of decent stories which may appeal more to an audience with a strong interest in medical fiction then me. I am still glad I read it as one of those unexpected eye opening reading experiences.

Decimal Rating: 3.55
3.00 - Plot Development
3.25 - Character Development
3.30 - Writing Style
3.50 - Premise
4.25 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 355 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

28SouthernKiwi
sep 27, 2012, 2:19am

Interesting review of Bloodletting, Lori. I'm not sure if I will try and find a copy but it sounds thought provoking

29-Eva-
sep 27, 2012, 12:43pm

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures sounds like it'l be right up my alley - it's going on the wishlist. I did think from the title it would be a non-fiction book, though. :)

30GingerbreadMan
sep 27, 2012, 3:27pm

I liked your review of Bloodletting a lot too, Lori. Not sure if it's for me, but I'm making note.

31mathgirl40
sep 27, 2012, 8:19pm

I've been intrigued by Bloodletting ever since it won the Giller but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I've also seen very good reviews of The Headmaster's Wager.

32tymfos
sep 27, 2012, 11:00pm

Lovely thread, Lori. The photos up top are wonderful!

Great review of Bloodletting!

33lkernagh
sep 27, 2012, 11:09pm

Hi Alana, Eva, Anders and Paulina - Thanks! I agree, it probably has strong appeal in more of a medical fiction reader niche market.... one needs the stomach to read the details of autopsies of cadavers, cutting into a patient without an anesthesiologist present and an appreciation that even professionals in high adrenalin/life and death situation jobs need a vehicle to unwind once the crisis has waned.

Paulina - I admit I am looking forward to reading The Headmaster's Wager. Lam has a knack for suspense and drawing the reader in emotionally so it should be a pretty good read!

34lkernagh
sep 27, 2012, 11:11pm

Hi Terri - Thanks! I must have missed you posting while I was typing.

35lkernagh
okt 1, 2012, 12:42am

Book #63 - Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke
Category: - And I know that you love me too - Poetry



Taken from the preface of the first edition of Clarke's Whylah Falls:
Founded in 1783 by African-American Loyalists seeking Liberty, Justice and Beauty, Whylah Falls is a village in Jarvis County, Nova Scotia. Wrecked by country blues and warped by constant tears, it is a snowy, northern Mississippi, with blood spattered, not on magnolias, but on pines, lilacs, and wild roses.
This book is a narrative poem set in the fictional setting of Whylah Falls during the 1930's. With a listing of 17 characters as dramatis personae, their stories unfold through a combination of poetry, songs, sermons, newspaper clippings, photographs and the unique voices of the characters. Love making, passion, drinking, music playing, hard labour and misery are themes that occur here. One of the main stories is the murder of one black man by another over a woman. Divided into eight sections, separate sections focus on the experiences and problems of specific pairs of lovers.

In Whylah Falls, life is mercurial and Clarke portrays his characters - lovers, murderers, muses and musicians - as voices of a marginalized racial group. The wide range of mediums Clarke utilizes here - everything from blues ballads, haiku, free verse and even some biblical phrases - works and works really well to convey the story. The characters gain their strength for survival from their drinking, their music and their love making. The beauty of this book is how Clarke weaves nature into his poetic descriptions, softening and heightening the senses of the reader for the story.

Overall, an extraordinary book of poems and the story they tell.

Decimal Rating: 4.38
4.50 - Plot Development
4.20 - Character Development
4.75 - Writing Style
3.80 - Premise
4.50 - Imagery/Visualization
4.50 - Length

Star Rating: 4.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 240 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

36lkernagh
okt 1, 2012, 12:45am

September Re-Cap:

Books read:


September:
Books purchased: 4
Books read: 9
~ Books read off TBR Pile: 1
~ Books read from local library: 7
~ Books read and borrowed from friends/family: 0
~ Free book download/ER book: 1
~ Books read by male authors: 7
~ Books read by female authors: 2
Overall Pages read for the month: 2,130
Average # of pages read per day: 71

Favorite book (decimal rating): Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke - (4.38 decimal rating)
Least favorite book (decimal rating): Miss Leavitt's Stars by George Johnson - (3.00 decimal rating)

CATEGORY SUMMARY:
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY - Historical fiction - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ The Raven's Seal by Andrei Baltakmens -
DON'T KNOW MUCH BIOLOGY - Medical discovery/illness as a theme - (5/6 read - 2 new)
~ ~ ~ Dreams and Due Diligence: Till and McCulloch's Stem Cell Discovery and Legacy by Joe Sornberger -
~ ~ ~ Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT A SCIENCE BOOK - Science as a theme - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe by George Johnson -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE FRENCH I TOOK - Translated works - (5/6 read - 0 new)
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU - More books by favorite authors - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ City by Alessandro Baricco -
AND I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO - Poetry - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke -
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE - Plays - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ Mrs. Packard by Emily Mann -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT GEOGRAPHY - Books set in foreign lands - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
BUT I DO KNOW THAT ONE AND ONE IS TWO - Next in Series - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton -
AND IF THIS ONE COULD BE WITH YOU - "New to me" Canadian authors - (5/6 read - 0 new)
NOW I DON'T CLAIM TO BE AN "A" STUDENT - Prize Winners and Shortlisted - (4/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ Fences by August Wilson -
I CAN WIN YOUR LOVE FOR ME - Books languishing on my TBR pile - (2/6 read - 0 new)

... BUT I'M TRYING TO BE - Overflow - (4/6 read - 0 new)

Overall, a rather successful reading month with three categories now completed.

37lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 1, 2012, 12:51am

4TH QUARTER PLANNED READING

- I just need 13 books to complete my 12 in 12 challenge, which should be easy enough.
- I have 9 books still to read that were chosen for me by my LT friends as well as my continued reading of Don Quixote and 2666. October will be the month where I plan to focus some of my reading to clear these books off my reading list.
- I am still working on my Alphabet Author Surname challenge and have the following letters still to fill to complete that challenge: "I", "O", "Q", "T", "V", "X", "Y" and "Z".

Assuming for some overlaps, I have approximately 26 books to read before December 31st to complete all of my challenges for this year. That is do-able.

Let the October TBR reading commence!

38christina_reads
okt 1, 2012, 12:02pm

Wow, only 13 books to go! You should finish this year's challenge with no trouble -- congrats!

39-Eva-
okt 1, 2012, 12:29pm

13 to finish the challenge and 26 total for the rest of the year sounds very doable indeed!!

40thornton37814
okt 1, 2012, 9:54pm

You are doing well!

41lkernagh
okt 1, 2012, 11:16pm

Thanks Christina, Eva and Lori!

So, now that I have committed myself to reading books off my TBR bookcase for the month of October, the first book I will be reading is Ru, a book from the library, mainly because it is due back after the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend (which is this weekend!) and I really want to read it as it is a Governor General Award winner translated from the French into English by my favorite translator, Sheila Fischman. I will get to my TBR books, just not right away. ;-)

42ivyd
okt 3, 2012, 2:46pm

Hi, Lori! You're really closing in on your challenge!

You've reminded me that I should get back to 2666 at some point. Probably not yet, though. I hope I'll be able to remember enough to just keep going rather than re-read parts of the earlier books.

I meant to mention -- and don't think I ever did -- that some time ago (last spring), I was curious about your rating system, so I used it to rate the previous 4 or 5 books I'd read. The decimal ratings came out very close to my subjecive ratings. My conclusions were that 1) it's a very good rating system; 2) the elements that are important to you are the same ones that are important to me; and 3) I must be doing okay on my ratings, even without a system!

43lkernagh
okt 3, 2012, 9:45pm

Hi Ivy, I have made it through the first three parts of 2666 and I can see how the original intention was to publish them as five separate books would have worked. The parts connect but not enough that you have to remember everything that happened previously.... in fact I now think it probably makes more sense to assume that the aren't meant to be that closely connected. I will test this theory when I read the last two parts, hopefully next week because I have that week off from work and plan on spending the down time reading!

Great to see the decimal ratings came out close to your subjective ones. How cool is that!

44avatiakh
okt 3, 2012, 9:49pm

Another DQ reader, we seem to have fizzled out somewhat on the group thread. The last section is a bit harder going but I'm sure you'll make it in good time. I'm impressed that you've been reading 2666 through the year as well.

45lkernagh
okt 4, 2012, 12:39am

Thanks Kerry. I think my scattergun approach to reading multiple books at the same time is causing the big tomes like DQ and 2666 to take longer to read than I had hoped they would. I could always resort to reading and finishing one book at a time, but hey, where's the fun in that?!?!?!

;-)

46lkernagh
okt 6, 2012, 1:43am

Book #64 - Ru by Kim Thúy
Category: - Now I don't claim to be an "A" student - Prize winners and shortlisted



Life is a struggle in which sorrow leads to defeat.
Originally published in French and winner of the 2010 Governor General Award for French language fiction, Ru is an ambitious autobiographical fictional debut novel that tells the story of Vietnamese refugee Nguyen An Tinh. A child of a prestigious Saigon family born during the Tet Offensive, the story is a first person narrative of a privileged world shattered by the Communist inspectors, escape to a Malaysian refugee camp, subsequent arrival in Quebec to an overwhelming foreign world of language and customs and life as an adult traveling back to Vietnam.

Instead of following a traditional story-telling method, Thúy employs a vignette approach that allows the story to ebb and flow like a memory journey, each vignette connected to the previous by people, smells, sounds and scenes. Beautifully written and expertly translated into English by Shiela Fischman, Ru is as much an experience as a journey. The horrors of the Vietnam war, and the peace, resonates off the pages with meaning and we experience through our narrator the no man's land of not fitting into one's adopted country and no longer being recognizable as belonging to one's birth country:
But the young waiter reminded me that I couldn't have everything, that I no longer had the right to declare I was Vietnamese because I no longer had their fragility, their uncertainty, their fears. And he was right to remind me.
While it sounds like a story of struggle and loss, it is also a story about celebrating life. Beautifully written, I was surprised how quickly I was able to read this one and at the same time saddened to find myself at the end of the written journey held in my hands. Some may say the story tries to introduce too much in the mere 140 pages but I believe, in keeping with the vignette style of writing, that some topics can be just touched upon and left for the reader to explore further in their own mind.

I was very happy to see the English translation of Ru has made the longlist for the 2012 Giller Prize. It is a story worthy of the three hours it took me to read it at an unhurried pace. A truly memorable read.

Decimal Rating: 4.54
3.50 - Plot Development
4.50 - Character Development
5.00 - Writing Style
4.50 - Premise
5.00 - Imagery/Visualization
5.00 - Length

Star Rating: 4.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 140 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

47SouthernKiwi
okt 6, 2012, 2:36am

Great review of Ru, Lori. It sounds like one I should keep an eye out for.

48thornton37814
Redigerat: okt 6, 2012, 7:55am

Ru looks like one that I should consider reading next year for my M*A*S*H or St. Elsewhere categories.

49lkernagh
okt 6, 2012, 4:03pm

Hi Alana and Lori - It is a fascinating story. If you do get a chance to read it I will be curious to see what you think.

50-Eva-
okt 6, 2012, 10:06pm

Great review - from what I've heard before, I've been wondering if it may just be a little too much suffering to be worth it, if you know what I mean. I'm encouraged by your "celebrating life" comment.

51lkernagh
okt 7, 2012, 10:57am

Thanks Eva! There is a good balance to the story - not all negative and suffering - so I hope you do give it a go if you get the chance. Ru also contains some great "awe geez, I never thought..." moments for a reader (or at least it did for me) when reading the narrator's explanations of how the well-intentioned citizens' of her adopted country sometimes missed the mark on what what the immigrants' needs were.

52lkernagh
okt 7, 2012, 11:02am

Book #65 - Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
Category: - I can win your love for me - Books off my TBR bookcase



What if your imaginary friend from childhood was your one true love?
As far as chick lit goes - which is something I admit to reading from time to time when I am in the mood for some fluff - this one had a bad start for me and I came close to abandoning this one in the first 100 pages. I was a bit taken aback by.... hummm, how shall I put this... the rather lowbrow writing style, plot and character development I encountered. The occasional grammatical typos didn't boost my enthusiasm for the story either but I persevered and was rewarded with some redeeming qualities during the last 100 pages of the story. Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible story. Patterson did managed to get me to shed a few tears while I was reading it. It's just that after what I have been reading lately this was quite the drop for me. It is possible I am being overly harsh here in my judgement of the book for that reason. Also, I had trouble seeing the characters Jane and Michael as anything more than sugar coated images of ill-fated lovers, and rather unbelievable ones at that.

Overall, an okay read that may appeal to readers of contemporary love stories or possibly readers of The Time Traveler's Wife with this book being the poorer second cousin to Niffenegger's book. The goods news is this is now one more book off my TBR bookcase!

Decimal Rating: 2.83
2.75 - Plot Development
2.50 - Character Development
2.25 - Writing Style
3.50 - Premise
2.75 - Imagery/Visualization
3.25 - Length

Star Rating: 3.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade paperback
# of Pages: 309 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

53mamzel
okt 8, 2012, 11:51am

The good news is that Patterson probably didn't write the book, only the outline, so he wouldn't be responsible for the mistakes. I kind of view his books like cotton candy, sweet, nutrition-free, and full of air. The only books of his I enjoyed were the first few of the one with the women's club that took place in San Francisco.

Congrats on getting a book off your shelf!

54lkernagh
okt 8, 2012, 2:03pm

See, I wondered about that as it was a bit difficult for me to picture Patterson as a romance writer based on what I knew about his thrillers. The book does mention a co-author Gabrielle Charbonnet although Patterson does still get top billing! ;-)

55lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 8, 2012, 8:48pm

Book #66 - How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty
Category: - Don't know much about a science book - Books with science as a theme



I will start off by stating that I have never read a Philip K. Dick book. I have seen some movies, namely Total Recall (original version, not the 2012 remake - that is on my to-do list), Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly, but I wasn't even aware these were based on Dick's novels until I read this book. I am not a huge sci-fi fan or a big computer geek but I have to say this book, recounting the creation of an android replica of Philip K. Dick, the creative minds behind the technology, the popular attention the android attracted and the mysterious disappearance of the android's head back in December 2005 was all quite fascinating to read.

As a Star Trek: Next Generation viewer, I had amusing visions of this small team, working on just a shoe string budget, embarking on creating a Commander Data of sorts, masquerading as the cult science fiction writer and counterculture guru. Okay, they weren't even close to creating a Data - not surprising - but what they did accomplish given the resources and the short period of time is truly remarkable. Who knew the rather tacky singing rubber fish mounted on a board - Big Mouth Billy Bass - would be useful in developing the android? Seriously, if I ever see one of those singing fish things again I will automatically think of this book and the Philip K. Dick android!

Reading almost at times like a how-to manual, Dufty explains the hurdles researchers face when trying to design an otherwise inanimate object to respond in a human manner. The psychology graduate in me appreciates Dufty's in-depth discussion on this topic: that even a two years old is able to master the processing of information from multiple channels at the same time, almost instantaneously, whereas an android requires a huge computer network, mapping endless modules and connections to even attempt the same response.

Part of the reason they were able to accomplish what they did was the Renaissance thinking of David Hanson, a classically trained sculpture and self taught roboticist. The following quote from the book is one of my favorites:
It is an appealing notion, the idea that artists and scientists can work together to solve problems and make new discoveries. It's unlikely to catch on, though. Modern science, like the rest of society, is becoming increasingly specialized. It is divided and subdivided into a vast patchwork of enclaves, where experts in one thing toil away at the problems specific to their niche. People who can wander from enclave to enclave - "Renaissance men" - are rare. Hanson embodies a curious intermingling of art, aesthetics, and engineering. You can't mass-produce him.
Filled with references to science fiction stories - a lot of them Dick's works but also mentioned are Asimov and other writers - I came away with a great backgrounder about Dick's works, his personality and interesting points from his life story. The head, which went missing when Hanson accidentally left it in the overhead bin when changing flights en-route to give a presentation at Google headquarters, is already legendary as well as the fact that it has never been located.

Even the judgement in the court case Hanson filed against the airlines for damages from the loss of the head has a surreal Dick quality to it:
The Court must GRANT Defendant's Motion. But it does so hoping that the android head of Mr. Dick is someday found, perhaps in an Elysian field of Orange County, Dick's homeland, choosing to dream of electric sheep.
A really fun, interesting read for popular science enthusiasts, fans of Philip K. Dick novels or just people like me intrigued by the whole idea.

Decimal Rating: 4.00
N/A - Plot Development
N/A - Character Development
3.75 - Writing Style
4.25 - Premise
N/A - Imagery/Visualization
N/A - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 288 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

... and this completed my Science category! Wahoo!!!!

------------------

Next Up: October by Richard B. Wright

56psutto
okt 9, 2012, 4:42am

I have losing the head of philip k dick on the shelf - is this the American title?

57lkernagh
okt 9, 2012, 10:39am

I located a preview of the first 20 pages of Losing the Head of Philip K. Dick and it is the same text as the book I read so I think How to Build an Android is the North American title for the book.

58psutto
okt 9, 2012, 10:53am

OK great glad you liked it then :-)

59lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 10, 2012, 11:40pm

Another book read off my TBR pile.... October by Richard B. Wright. Because it has themes of Polio, Cancer and Euthanasia, I have decided to include this one in my medical illnesses/diseases category so I can close another category as completed.

Book #67 - October by Richard B. Wright
Category: - Don't know much biology - Medical discovery/illness as a theme



Picture this if you will: Your name is Jame Hillyer. You are seventy four years old. A retired University literature professor focused on the Victorians. Tennyson, Lord Alfred, is one that frequently comes to mind. You are at home in Toronto when you receive one of the calls all parents hope they will never receive: your daughter Susan has called to tell you that she has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Immediately, you are reminded of your own wife's losing battle with cancer over twenty years ago and face the horrifying thought that you might outlive your child. But the surprises don't end there. Who knew that a trip across the Atlantic to see your daughter would bring you in contact with someone from your past, someone you haven't seen or even thought of for sixty years. Someone who asks you to do something that is difficult to ask of anyone you only know because of one summer in Quebec back in 1944....

Wright has a great way of writing in a conversational style, reminding me in ways of Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending, a book I read at the start of the year. I felt at ease with James, a thoughtful, pragmatic character with a good dose of common sense. An observer of humanity. A rather reluctant participant in the drama of the life around him. A soul searching for wisdom and peace. This is James at seventy four. The story shifts back and forth between those ten days in October and James' memories of that summer in 1944 when James and polio-stricken Gabriel Fontaine are reluctant friends, letting us see James at fifteen and allowing the reader to make comparisons between the old James and the young James.

Wright has chosen an interesting approach, which I think works well here. Sadly, parts of the story are reminiscent ramblings that appear to miss their mark than a preferred tight, plot driven approach. The reader is left with some unanswered questions, which bugs me a little but maybe that is the point. I don't know. Wright is known for writing about ordinary lives that collide with extraordinary events. This was another one of those kinds of stories. As much as I was drawn in as a reader during the first half of the story, the second half was a bit of a slog and, for me, lacked some of the strength of writing and storytelling. The ending was just that: an ending.

One quote did catch my eye as I was reading this one:
There was no escaping such grim thoughts. Cancer was again a leading player in my own narrative, the "heavy", who after an absence of twenty years had appeared again ten days ago. I would dream about it, for isn't that the way our minds work during these ordeals, turning over and over the same assailing thoughts, maddening and exhausting us. Meanwhile the body must still look after itself; its daily needs cannot be forgotten for long.
A well written examination and subtly persuasive novel that has made me decide to move Wright's Clara Callan up my TBR pile.

Decimal Rating: 3.71
3.00 - Plot Development
3.25 - Character Development
4.50 - Writing Style
3.25 - Premise
4.00 - Imagery/Visualization
4.25 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade paperback
# of Pages: 241 pages
Source: TBR bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

60-Eva-
okt 11, 2012, 2:24pm

Too bad with books that don't keep the pacing all through. :( Definitely thumbing its review, though! :)

Congrats on finishing another category!!

61lkernagh
okt 11, 2012, 5:01pm

Thanks Eva! Even though our summer-like weather came to an end on Tuesday (now nothing by overcast skies, fog and colder temperatures), I am enjoying a week off from work with lots of reading and overall downtime. Very relaxing!

Right now I am reading Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth - Loving it! What a great entertaining read! - about to start Touch by Alexi Zentner and determinedly continuing with Don Quixote. I will finish Don Quixote this month.... really I will.

62GingerbreadMan
okt 11, 2012, 5:52pm

I'm a PKD fan, but had no idea about the andorid and the lost head. I read way too little non-fiction to see me getting to How to build an android anytime soon, but I'm making note of it. Love the notion of scientists and artists working side by side.

Liked the reviews of Ru and October a lot.

63lkernagh
okt 11, 2012, 7:13pm

Agreed and thanks! If we can't have more Renaissance thinkers in the world, at least lets have the diverse fields work together, each contributing what they know best. Hanson was able to view the android from before the scientific and the aesthetics point of view. He was a bit like a bull in a china shop but when he wanted something done, he just went ahead and did it, hurdles be damned! Gotta love that kind of gung-ho attitude. ;-)

64lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 12, 2012, 8:45pm

Book #68 - Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
Category: - ... but I am trying to be - Overflow



Remember Jello salads? Even if you don't, like me, this book is a treat for any reader who enjoys Southern fiction. Picture yourself back in 1962 in the sleepy, sun-baked Southern town of Naples, Florida. A little fishing village by the sea. A town of maybe 800 people. A town where the number of Christian churches is surpassed only by the number of its bait-and-tackle shops. A town where racial integration in the school system hasn't been established and where there is an evening curfew that only applies to Negroes. A redneck town and proud of it.

Witness the arrival in town of the Hart family from Boston, and more particularly the arrival of Jackie Hart, a red head with an hourglass figure, who will turn the town upside down, and not in the way you think. Well, not quite in the way you think. When Jackie establishes the Collier County Women's Literary Society, comprised of herself, a divorced post office worker, a middle aged woman with a secret who likes to write poetry, the town librarian, an elderly woman recently returned from serving ten years in jail, the town's obvious homosexual and a young Negro girl with aspirations of college and a teaching career - i.e., the non-Junior League crowd - more than a few eyebrows are raised.

While our 'Yankee' finds her way through the minefield of Southern do's and don'ts, the local radio station starts to run a late night program with a mysterious female deejay with the handle of "Miss Dreamsville": a sultry voice introducing songs like Patsy Cline's Crazy and Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa. Overnight, the otherwise sleepy town of Naples becomes a town that doesn't sleep as residents old and young alike spend late nights listening to her radio broadcasts. As can only be expected, the hunt is soon on to discover Miss Dreamsville's identity.

Narrated as reminisces by Dora Witherspoon, the divorced post-office worker of the group, this story captures time and place with the perfection of a lemon chiffon cake. Set against the backdrop of local Southern traditions and social customs, the Cuban missile crisis, racial intolerance and literary readings of Silent Spring, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Feminine Mystique, unlikely friendships are forged. Battles are fought. Secrets are laid bare. Sometimes, living in a small Southern town in 1962-1963 isn't all about perfect makeup, baking cakes and being a housewife.

A wonderful cast of characters makes this a great feel good story filled with humour and spirit. On a rainy day it will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye and sunshine to your soul. A perfect nostalgic journey back in time.

This book was courtesy of NetGalley.

Decimal Rating: 4.13
3.75 - Plot Development
4.25 - Character Development
3.75 - Writing Style
4.00 - Premise
4.50 - Imagery/Visualization
4.50 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: ebook advanced reader copy
# of Pages: 272 pages
Source: NetGalley
Male/Female Author: Female

65IrishHolger
okt 13, 2012, 7:30am

First time logging into LT for over a month, followed you along to this thread and really enjoying the pictures on the first post. Looks like a beautiful area.

66ivyd
okt 13, 2012, 12:10pm

>64 lkernagh: Wonderful review, Lori!

67lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 13, 2012, 6:19pm

> 65 - Thanks! Now that I am back playing with my camera I will try to post more pictures of the area from time to time. Sadly, I live in an area where we don't see the amazing fall colours when the leaves turn in autumn.

> 66 - Thanks Ivy!

-----------------------

Almost near the end of a great nine days off from work. Spent the week getting creative with turkey leftovers and thanks to the colder weather we have been experiencing, dinners this week have been turkey enchiladas, turkey shepherd's pie, turkey chili and turkey mushroom stroganoff. YUM!

I discovered last night that I have an unread ebook from NetGalley that will be released next week so I am getting myself ready a little early for my 2013 Fables and Fairy Tales category by reading Two and Twenty Dark Tales, an anthology of dark retellings of Mother Goose rhymes. I am flying through this collection of short stories at a fair clip - the stories are really good! - so I hope to have it finished and a review posted sometime over the next couple of days.

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend!

68VictoriaPL
okt 13, 2012, 9:49pm

I am so far behind on threads. Thanks for your review of Losing the Head of Philip K Dick. I am going to have to find room in next year's challenge for it.

69lkernagh
okt 14, 2012, 2:10pm

> 68 - Hi Victoria, thanks for stopping. I hope you enjoy the android PKD book. It was quite the interesting read!

70lkernagh
okt 14, 2012, 2:17pm

Book #69 - Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes forward by Francisco X. Stork
Category: - ... but I am trying to be - Overflow



Ah, Mother Goose. The nursery rhymes of my childhood: Jack and Jill and that well on the hill; the mouse that ran up the clock in the middle of the night; Wee Willie Winkie, the boy that just never sleeps and runs around town in his pajamas; good old prissy and arachnophobic Miss Muffet; making wishes on a bright star in the night sky while at the same time hoping to catch a glimpse of the cow jump over the moon; the blackbirds baked in a pie for the self-centered king and queen; Little Boy Blue, asleep on the job and so on and so on. Great memories and surprising how many of the rhymes I still remember.

Two and Twenty Dark Tales is an anthology of 22 short stories by 22 authors. An anthology of tales of runes, spells and enchantments. Of huntsmen, witches, soothsayers and royalty. Of creatures, mystical beings and magical places. Where music is a curse and memories can lead to things best left alone. Dark tales of fear, escape, revenge and in some cases all out creepiness and shocking endings with the occasional lyrical tales of fantasy thrown in. Mother Goose with a dark and creepy side to her, written with a young adult reading audience in mind.

Each story starts off with the first part of the nursery rhyme the story is based upon. As with all anthologies, I found that some stories were better than others. I loved Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda, based on the nursery rhyme of the same name: a dark dystopian style story with revenge on the menu. Blue by Sayantani DasGupta, based on Little Boy Blue, is a beautiful fantasy tale of a mystical being who inks stories on the bodies of those sleeping and dying. Pieces of Eight was a fun adventure tale with a reluctant hero based on the nursery rhyme lullaby of papa guarding sheep and mama shaking the dreamland tree. Boys & Girls Come Out to Play is a dangerous witches' game of life and death. Tick Tock, based on the rhyme about the little clock in the schoolroom and Wee Willie Winkle were both great stories of creepiness.

A couple of the stories seemed to be out of place in this anthology: Sea of Dew was more of a survival story and I had difficulty making the rather thin connection the story was to have to the nursery rhyme. According to my advanced reader copy, this was only the short version. The publication copy will contain the extended version of this story. Also, while I love historical fiction, The Lion and the Unicorn stuck me as more historical fantasy than a retelling of a nursery rhyme, but my advanced reader copy only contained part 1 of the story. Part 2 will be included in the publication copy.

Usually with anthologies one can notice the differences in the writing from story to story and author to author. While this is also true with some of the stories in this anthology, I was surprised at how well one story complimented another, making for a more seamless flow of reading from one story to the next, minimizing the jarring effect of divergent writing styles.

The advanced reader copy I received did not contain two extended stories and a poem that are included in the publication version so I cannot say whether or not the stories I have listed above are the only ones that stand out for me. Overall, this is a good collection of stories for reading on dark stormy nights and for readers that enjoy retellings of fables, fairy tales and stories from ones childhood.

Oh, and before I forget, this is the first charity anthology from Month9Books. Proceeds from the first five thousand books sold will be donated to YALITCHAT.ORG, a literary organization fostering the advancement of young adult literature. Gotta like that!

This book was courtesy of NetGalley.

Decimal Rating: 3.54
3.50 - Plot Development
3.25 - Character Development
3.75 - Writing Style
3.25 - Premise
3.50 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: ebook advanced reader copy
# of Pages: 340 pages
Source: NetGalley
Male/Female Author: Both

71mathgirl40
okt 14, 2012, 11:20pm

I'm just catching up with my favourite threads, and I loved your review of Ru. I plan to pick that one up sometime in the near future. As someone who likes both Philip Dick and Data from ST TNG, I also enjoyed very much your review of How to Build an Android. When I was in grad school, my office-mate was doing her thesis on natural-language processing, and I got a better appreciation of how very challenging AI is!

72-Eva-
okt 15, 2012, 4:35pm

I do like it when people put new spins on traditional tales (and, yes, got to like the charity angle), so I'll add Two and Twenty Dark Tales to the groaning wishlist. :)

73lkernagh
okt 15, 2012, 9:07pm

Well.... it 'tis the season for things that go bump in the night! ;-)

74lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 20, 2012, 12:48am

TGIF. It has been a crazy, and at times frustrating, work week. Not much reading this week. Unwinding this evening with an episode of MadMen. I am new to the series and tonight watched episode three of Season 1. Overall, I am undecided. Love the wardrobes but undecided about the script. What can I say, I am a Downton Abbey viewer.

I am currently half way through Touch by Alexi Zentner, the author's debut novel. Loving the story but baffled as to why my local library has this was categorized as being Science Fiction. I think when I return the book I try to remember to return it when the library is open so I can ask about the Science Fiction designation, because I just don't see it that way. Mystical Historical Fiction maybe, but Sci Fi? Really?!?!

I am now settling in for the weekend and if it decides to rain all weekend, I am good with that.... all the more reason to just hibernate with a book or two!

75DeltaQueen50
okt 20, 2012, 12:58am

Hi Lori, I have added Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society to my wishlist, sounds like a perfect read for a dreary winter day!

76lkernagh
okt 20, 2012, 11:07am

Hi Judy, it's a fun story and yes, perfect for a dreary winter day!

77lkernagh
Redigerat: okt 22, 2012, 6:56pm

I did it. I finally completed Don Quixote!!!!!!!

------------

Book #70 - Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Category: - Don't know much about the French I took - Translated Works



I am soooo HAPPY to be FINALLY finished with this one! Interesting story, but waaaaaay too long. This is a story of adventures told in florid prose, with more descriptive language than action and more tomfoolery than reasoned thought. Fun, yes but 800 pages of this gets a bit tedious, IMO. The story is also filled with philosophical wisdom - a great way to break up the stories with some food for thought and not something one expects to encounter coming out of our knight errant's mouth!

The book is divided into two parts. Part one is the original serial of stories Cervantes wrote. Part two was written years later by Cervantes, more in response to continued publications of our knight errant's adventures under a rival's pen than any immediate desire on Cervantes' part to continue the story. Part two has a more logical structure to the story telling, but for me, it is missing the roaming adventurer emphasis and free wheeling spirit of the tales in the first part. I grew rather tired of the duke and duchess and the on-going drama of part two.

That being said, I am kind of sad to see the end of Don Quixote and Sancho Panzo. I have been reading Don Quixote on and off since the end of January - a very convenient book to have stored on my ipod Touch for when I am stuck in a lineup or waiting for public transport. Over the months of reading this one the main characters have come to be familiar ones and my haphazard visits to their world over the course of the past nine months has been like getting caught up with infrequent neighbors one might bump into from time to time and learning what is new in their world. Their friendship really makes the story. I felt that the story had a very fitting ending for what was, for me, a long-winded and at times overly dramatic literary adventure.

On a personal note, I know my Mom will be glad to hear that I have finally finished this one. She remembers reading it back in her school days and thinking at the time that it was one crazy story - she referred to Don Quixote as a bit of a nut (Really Mom....)! She was a bit surprised to learn that I was actually reading it because I wanted to..... ;-)

Decimal Rating: 3.17
3.25 - Plot Development
3.25 - Character Development
4.00 - Writing Style
3.25 - Premise
3.75 - Imagery/Visualization
1.50 - Length

Star Rating: 3.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade paperback
# of Pages: 800 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

---------------

And with this book, I have now completed another category in my challenge. Getting closer to the finishing line...... ;-)

78-Eva-
okt 22, 2012, 7:21pm

LOL! Congrats on finishing Don Quixote. It's on Mt. TBR for whenever I can muster up the strength... :)

79christina_reads
okt 22, 2012, 8:42pm

Congratulations, Lori!

80lkernagh
okt 22, 2012, 9:05pm

Thanks Eva and Christina! It is always a nice feeling of accomplishment when one reaches the end of a long read!

Weather wise today was cold. Brrrrrrr! No snow but don't want to tempt fate considering snow did fall in part of the lower mainland over the weekend. In keeping keeping with the cold temps, dinner tonight is homemade potato leek soup with garlic bread, with enough for leftovers for lunch at work!

81thornton37814
okt 22, 2012, 9:12pm

We read what was probably an abridged edition of that in Spanish III back in the late 1970s.

82lkernagh
okt 22, 2012, 11:47pm

I am not sure what version my Mom would have read - probably some type of abridged version as well - but I can see where it would have some appeal as part of a curriculum.

83lkernagh
okt 22, 2012, 11:54pm

Book #71 - Touch by Alexi Zentner
Category: - And if this one could be with you - "New to me" Canadian Authors



There are some things I have to take on faith. A funny thing for an Anglican priest to say, isn't it? My whole life is, in some ways, about faith. And I do have faith in these stories about the history of my family. I would not be back here if Father Earl had not asked me to return, but I have faith that there is a greater reason why I am back here in Sawgamet, raising my daughters in a place that has taken so much from my family and me: I have faith that there is something that I can reclaim.
Touch is a haunting and yet beguiling story of three generations of a family living in a struggling fictional mining/logging town located in northern interior British Columbia. A place where nature and its elements reigned over the humans that had come to settle and make their fortune panning for gold or just to make a living among the trees at the turn of the 20th century. The unbearable harsh winters of a forgotten era leap off the pages. Even the Alberta girl in me has a hard time picturing the winters told here, but I know they did exist in the past, before I was born. Sawgamet is place where the mystical beings of native Indian folklore breeze through the trees and rise out of the cold depths of the Sawgamet river. Under Zentner's pen, this magical realism blends into the fabric of the story and helps make this original story a startling, disturbing and yet beautiful read.

Told through the wandering narration of Stephen, a 40-something Anglican priest recently returned to the town of his childhood to replace the outgoing priest, his stepfather, and to sit bedside vigil over his dying mother, the story jumps all over the place, one minute in Stephen's childhood, another with his grandfather when he first settled the land as a boy of eighteen years old. The stories of Stephen's memories come into focus and fade, only to be replaced by other memories competing for attention. Not all memories are pleasant ones but they do bring into focus the elemental struggle of man against nature:
It is easy enough with my grandfather and father. They were, as I've said before, like gods among the forest, a sort of living folklore. Something that I in particular, as a man of the cloth, should know better than to believe in. And yet. And yet. And yet, of course, how can I not believe in them, how can I separate the raw, nautral - supernatural - Sawgamet that was already dying when I was a child from the settled land which I now occupy?
The way the story bounced around was a bit of a drawback for me, making it difficult for me to place where in time I was. As I progressed through the book the story grew on me. With time, I came to really appreciate it for what it is and the message it communicates. As Stephen says,
I'm no longer afraid of what comes with winter. Or of what is waiting in the woods.
Not a science fiction tale as my local library has categorized it but a very good tale all the same.

Decimal Rating: 3.79
2.50 - Plot Development
3.75 - Character Development
3.50 - Writing Style
3.25 - Premise
4.75 - Imagery/Visualization
5.00 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 272 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

84DeltaQueen50
okt 23, 2012, 12:33am

Hi Lori, just had to drop in and congratulate you on completing Don Quixote - you've really earned some bragging rights with that read!

85SouthernKiwi
Redigerat: okt 23, 2012, 2:29am

Well done on finished Don Quixote Lori! I'm not sure if I'll ever tackle it, long winded florid prose sounds like a lot of work to me :)

86psutto
okt 23, 2012, 5:47am

Well done on don quixote although I view my plan to read it in two months next year now fills me with trepidation!

87IrishHolger
okt 23, 2012, 6:34am

Congratulations on the Don Quixote. I am not sure if I will manage to finish mine before the end of the year.... but then again I started reading it only this summer.

I haven't touched it since last month and need to urgently connect with it again. I always promise myself to read it more regularly but then I attack in one big burst just to let it linger again for a while.

I guess this is symptomatic for I am feeling about the novel. If it really hooked me I'd be way more on top of it. I like it but understand your sentiments when you write that it is interesting but "but waaaaaay too long".

88mamzel
okt 23, 2012, 11:42am

Good for you, finishing Don Quixote. I am still a little less than half way through and bent on finishing it this year. If only they would stop throwing distractions in my way.

89ivyd
okt 23, 2012, 12:02pm

Congratulations on finishing Don Quixote! Great review, too!

90GingerbreadMan
okt 23, 2012, 6:42pm

Ticking off Don Quixote is quite something. Congrats! A bit of a nut seems a short and to the point review to me :)

91lkernagh
okt 23, 2012, 9:42pm

Thanks everyone! it feels good to have that one finished!

> 86, 87 and 88 - If it is any conciliation, and as IrishHolger has pointed out, it helped that sometimes Don Quixote had enough forward momentum to it to entice me to read further... sort of as compensation for the sections that were a slog to get through! You will get through it..... if I can, so can each of you!

:-)

----------------

Continuing to work my way, somewhat systematically - Please ignore the blindfold and dart board behind me - through my challenges and currently reading another largish book, A Widow for One Year by John Irving. I remember abandoning The World According to Garp, one of my sister's books, a long, long time ago. This book is part of the TBR pile of books chosen for me last year to read as part of this challenge. The fact that it also fills my "I" author for my Alphabet challenge is all the motivation - I hope! - to turn this 537 page book into a quick read. *Note to self: quick buying these big tomes!*

So far so good, but at only 25 pages into this one it is a tad premature to start judging this book.

92mamzel
okt 24, 2012, 10:48am

Thanks for the encouragement.

93-Eva-
Redigerat: okt 24, 2012, 12:22pm

I read loads of John Irving when I was younger and I remember loving their weirdness. I want to reread, but I'm hesitant in case the love and magic will go away. I don't want that!! :)

94lkernagh
okt 24, 2012, 9:27pm

> 92 - ;-)

> 93 - I remember loving their weirdness. LOL! By weirdness do you mean the interesting lens Irving places on his characters, the circumstances and the time period? I have to say I am finding A Widow for One Year to be an engaging read. I am now at page 89. His humor has given me more than a few chuckles and while there is a fair bit of sex and sexual innuendo in the book its not graphic... it is rather tastefully and tactfully presented with a spin on Mrs. Robinson and The Graduate, circa the summer of 1958......

95dudes22
okt 25, 2012, 6:32am

I have A Widow for One Year on my shelves and keep skipping because of the length. Your 89 pages sounds encouraging. I also have Trying to Save Piggy Sneed; probably found the title intriguing.

96-Eva-
okt 25, 2012, 4:29pm

I've not read A Widow for One Year, but maybe that's a good idea - to read one of his that I don't have memories of...! I just love how his characters are allowed to be so completely peculiar without anyone making much fuss about it.

97GingerbreadMan
okt 26, 2012, 7:21pm

I had an Irving period in my early 20ies, which stopped rather abruptly for reasonens I can't remember. Still have some of his major titles left to read. I recall them as page turners big time, all of them!

98lkernagh
okt 26, 2012, 9:01pm

> 95 - I saw Trying to Save Piggy Sneed when I stopped to browse in my favorite local bookstore during my lunch hour today. That is a good title!

> 96 - Eva, that sounds like a good plan to me. I am too scared to reread some of my favorites for fear they just won't hold up to the re-read, shattering a nice memory from my past in the process.....

> 97 - Page turners gets a positive response from me!

I didn't find time for any reading last night but now that it is the weekend and the weather outside my window is lousy to say the least, I am looking forward to cracking open the bottle of Chenin Blanc in the fridge, curling up under a cozy blanket and resurfacing when: 1) I need a refill; 2) I finish the book; or 3) its Monday morning and I have to get up and go to work.

99-Eva-
okt 28, 2012, 4:09pm

Sounds like great weekend plans. It's in the low 80s here, so I'm having a little bit of a hard time convincing myself that staying indoors and just read is a good idea, but I made myself a cup of tea to start so we'll see how it goes! :)

100lkernagh
okt 28, 2012, 7:59pm

It has been a good relaxing weekend. I did venture out for groceries and some incidental shopping, made shepherd's pie and did about 7 loads of laundry. Got a fair bit of reading done.... I am at the start of part 3 of The Widow for One Year - at page 413. overall it has been a good read but I have some quibbles I will be mentioning in my review after I finish it, which will be either tonight or tomorrow.

If it wasn't for LT and my family, I wouldn't have known about the 7.7 earthquake that rattled BC's coast Saturday evening, or any of its aftershocks for that matter as none of those were felt here in Victoria, or at least I never felt them. Ah, the joys of living along a fault line.... I hope everyone has had an enjoyable weekend!

101DeltaQueen50
okt 28, 2012, 8:34pm

Hi Lori, we got a phonecall from Brother-in-law from Washington State last night asking how we were, we didn't know a thing about the earthquake until then. Glad to hear you Southern Islanders didn't feel it either.

102lkernagh
okt 28, 2012, 8:53pm

Good to know I wasn't the only one that didn't feel anything Judy. I chatted with my mom this afternoon (who lives in Calgary) and thankfully she does understand that not all regions in the same circumference from an epicenter will experience the quake in the same manner, which makes explaining things a lot easier (she chalked it up to 'waves' and I just left it at that).

103ivyd
okt 29, 2012, 1:04pm

Lori & Judy, glad to know the earthquake didn't affect you at all!

104-Eva-
okt 29, 2012, 4:36pm

I missed the notification of the earthquake too and only found out when Facebook-friends in Hawaii posted about having a tsunami warning. Good to hear you guys are OK!

105lkernagh
okt 29, 2012, 8:58pm

Yup all good here! I have a coworker who is on vacation this week in .... you guessed it.... New York City. Received an email from her this afternoon only to learn that their hotel is across the street from the building where the highrise crane toppled. They reported they were fine and making the most of it but sheez, this isn't the vacation they figured they were in for when they booked the trip a few months ago!

Hope everyone in the storm's influence range is doing ok.

106mathgirl40
okt 29, 2012, 9:58pm

Glad to hear that everything is OK in your end of the country!

107lkernagh
okt 30, 2012, 10:57pm

> 106 - Thanks Paulina... hope you are doing well in your area. I know hurricane Sandy was to have some far reaching influence and Ontario was in the mix for so bad weather if I am not mistaken.

-------------------

I managed to finish A Widow for One Year this evening. Review coming. Happily, I will be able to fit in one more read for October that will fit my Alphabet Challenge and is in keeping with the gothic/ghoulish nature of Halloween:

Next Up: The Necrophiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop translated from the French by Don Bapst.

108lkernagh
okt 30, 2012, 11:10pm

Book #72 - A Widow for One Year by John Irving
Category: - I can win your love for me - Books off my TBR Bookcase



From the back cover:
Twenty years after A World According to Garp, John Irving gives us a new novel about a family marked by tragedy. At its centre stands Ruth Cole: a complex, often self-contradictory character - a "difficult" woman. By no means is she conventionally "nice", but she will never be forgotten. At the age of forty -one, she is about to fall in love for the first time. Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing, A Widow for One Year is a multilayered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both ribald and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief.
Let me just say, for the record, that I never read the back cover of this book until after I finished reading it. A good thing too because otherwise I would have felt cheated. THAT - points finger to quote above - is not the story I read. I am not saying it was a bad story - although I do have a few issues that I will get to - but "astonishing emotional force" and "the relentlessness of grief" just didn't hit me that way.

Irving knows how to create well developed and interesting life-like characters. His attention to detail is strong and consistent. He has a wry humour I really like that he projects through his characters and he is very good at getting into the mindset of his characters. He doesn't pull punches or candy coat his story, another realistic and very likeable aspect to his storytelling.

So why only a 3.0 star rating, you may ask? Overall, I liked this one. for a 560 page book, it was a very quick read. Part 1 - Summer 1958 really drew me in. I liked everything about that section of the book: the characters, the setting, the plot development, the writing style, ..... pretty much everything.

Part 2 - Fall 1990 had its moments AND its problems..... this is where I dive into a personal rant of sorts. While I enjoyed some of this part of the story, I am not a fan of authors who write books about authors writing books unless they are able to make it work for me. I am REALLY not a fan of authors who write books about authors writing books that have the character author bemoan autobiographical fiction writing while finding themselves uncontrollable driven towards that format of writing for their next book. I don't need or want to read about that kind of minutiae examination that smacks of self examination under the guise of fictional writing. The book is littered with writers, readers, fans of writers..... some of it works, while some of it feels like an attempt on Irving's part to write a magnum opus and manages to lose the story and this reader more than a few times in the process.

That being said, Irving starts to redeem himself in my eyes with Part 3 - Fall 1995. While the story is peppered with stories within stories - a chapter from a publication read during a book reading, excerpts from Ted Cole (Ruth's Dad) children's books, etc - in Part 3, Irving managed to grab my undivided attention and interest again when the story focuses on the police viewpoint of a murder in the red light district of Amsterdam. The fact that he managed to hook me in so completely once again is a redeeming quality I will say Irving the writer possesses, and I was prepared to elevate my previously deflating rating of the book from the plummet it had taken in Part 2 ..... only to have him then present what I can only describe as a second-rate ending, and a rather pathetic half-hearted attempt at the ending given the caliber of writing he exhibited earlier in the book!

This is more of a collection of rambling thoughts than any attempt at a review on my part. In all fairness, I will not write off Irving. It was 20 years ago when I started and never finished reading The World According to Garp. I figure after another passage of time, I will be ready to attempt another one of Irving's books. Happily, this is now another book off my TBR bookcase that I probably won't have gotten around to reading if it hadn't been chosen for me!

.... and before I forget, the title does make some kind of sense once you read the story, but it is a somewhat fleeting connection, IMO.

Decimal Rating: 3.21
2.75 - Plot Development
4.20 - Character Development
2.50 - Writing Style
3.00 - Premise
3.75 - Imagery/Visualization
3.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 560 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

109-Eva-
okt 31, 2012, 1:45pm

Bookblurbs tend to have at least one hyperbole per book! :)

It's been such a long time since I read Irving, but I do want to read him again. I'll try one of the older ones that I haven't read rather than this one, though, to make sure I still enjoy his style.

110ivyd
okt 31, 2012, 1:57pm

>108 lkernagh: I've only read a couple of John Irving books (and not this one), but my reaction to them has been rather ambivalent. Much as you felt about this one, I liked parts of them and didn't like other parts, and certainly haven't felt inclined to rush out and find other books by him. Nice review, though!

111GingerbreadMan
okt 31, 2012, 6:05pm

Ooh, looking forward to hear what you think of The necrophiliac! I only have one friend who's read it, but he described it as "strangely beautiful".

112dudes22
nov 1, 2012, 5:52am

I have A Widow for One Year in the TBR and was going to read either it or Trying to save Piggy Snead for my 12 in 12 challenge this year, but maybe I'll put it on hold for now. Good review though.

113lkernagh
nov 1, 2012, 11:27pm

Thanks Betty. I will be curious to see what you think of Trying to Save Piggy Snead!

114lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 1, 2012, 11:47pm

Book #73 - The Necrophiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop - translated from the French by Don Bapst
Category: - ... But I am trying to be - Overflow



Was I ironic - behaving with the sort of irony that's nothing more than a bad coat of the shameful poor? Did I forget - to forget is to omit from feeling again, it's a folly of the soul and the body - did I then forget that I fall in love each time?
I read this book because it is a short novella so I assumed, correctly, that it would be a quick read and because the description of the book fit the gothic/horror reading I wanted to close out October with.

What an exquisite and yet thoroughly shocking read! Written as a series of journal entries in a confessional style, the reader is exposed to the mindset, the lust and the overpowering obsessive drive of a necrophiliac called Lucien. Lucien is a member of society - he runs the antiques store bequeathed to him by his father - and is a lover of the dead, regardless of sex or age. He is an individual who experiences an unusual level of enthusiasm at the prospect of visiting the catacombs of Naples, a vacation of sorts from his usual nocturnal cemetery activities in Paris. A cautious individual driven by a compulsion that he knows society cringes from and revolts against.

Wittkop writes to shock the reader. She hits the reader with graphic details right off the bat on page 1. Read that page and you will either quickly shut the book and walk away or you will venture further with a combined 'sinking gut' feeling caused by a combination of morbid fascination and trepidation of anticipated horrors to come. It would be very easy for some readers to just dismiss this book as a disgusting display of morbid exhibitionism but to do so would be to dismiss the exquisite prose it is written in:
Their fine powder odour is that of the bombyx. It seems to come from the heart of the earth, from the empire where the musky larvae trudge between the roots, where blades of mica gleam like frozen silver, there where the blood of future chrysanthemums wells up, among the dusty peat, the sulphureous mire. The smell of the dead is that of the return to the cosmos, that of the sublime alchemy. For nothing is as flawless as a corpse, and it becomes more and more so as time passes, until the finally purity of this large ivory doll with its mute smile and its perpetually spread legs that is in each one of us.
To dismiss this book would be to dismiss the well presented character self examination where Lucien's obsession shows striking parallels to what we characterize as normal displays of love and the associated tenderness for a living being.

This novella is billed as being a cult classic in France in the 40 years since its original publication and I can see why. I am glad it wasn't a full length novel because I don't think I could have made my way to the end of it..... my whole body physically cringed numerous times while reading this and I don't think I could have handled much more, although I am at a loss as to what 'more' Wittkop could have brought to the story. A good part of me doesn't want to envision what might have been added. One thing for sure, this book will get you out of your comfort zone.

Decimal Rating: 3.92
3.25 - Plot Development
3.75 - Character Development
4.50 - Writing Style
3.75 - Premise
4.25 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 92 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

115lkernagh
nov 1, 2012, 11:34pm

October Re-Cap:

Books read:


October:
Books purchased: 5
Books read: 10
~ Books read off TBR Pile: 4
~ Books read from local library: 4
~ Books read and borrowed from friends/family: 0
~ Free book download/ER book: 2
~ Books read by male authors: 7
~ Books read by female authors: 4
Overall Pages read for the month: 2,819
Average # of pages read per day: 91

Favorite book (decimal rating): Ru by Kim Thuy - (4.54 decimal rating)
Least favorite book (decimal rating): Sundays at Tiffanys by James Patterson - (2.83 decimal rating)

CATEGORY SUMMARY:
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY - (6/6 read- CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
DON'T KNOW MUCH BIOLOGY - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ October by Ricard B. Wright -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT A SCIENCE BOOK - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE FRENCH I TOOK - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes -
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU - (5/6 read - 0 new)
AND I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO - (6/6 read- CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE - (5/6 read - 0 new)
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT GEOGRAPHY - (6/6 read- CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
BUT I DO KNOW THAT ONE AND ONE IS TWO - (5/6 read - 0 new)
AND IF THIS ONE COULD BE WITH YOU - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ Touch by Alexi Zentner -
NOW I DON'T CLAIM TO BE AN "A" STUDENT - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ Ru by Kim Thúy -
I CAN WIN YOUR LOVE FOR ME - (4/6 read - 2 new)
~ ~ ~ Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson -
~ ~ ~ A Widow for One Year by John Irving -

... BUT I'M TRYING TO BE - Overflow - (7 read - 3 new)
~ ~ ~ Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth -
~ ~ ~ Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes forward by Francisco X. Stork -
~ ~ ~ The Necrophiliac by Gabrielle Wittkop -

Overall, a great reading month to get me back on track with completing my challenges for this year!

116lkernagh
nov 1, 2012, 11:36pm

UPDATE TO 4TH QUARTER PLANNED READING

- I just need 6 books to complete my 12 in 12 challenge.

- I have 6 books still to read that were chosen for me by my LT friends as well as my continued reading of 2666, which I will finish in November:
What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey
The Likeness by Tana French
Coastliners by Joanne Harris
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
The House Within by Fiona Kidman
The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson

- I am still working on my Alphabet Author Surname challenge and have the following letters still to fill to complete that challenge: "O", "Q", "V", "X" and "Y".

Assuming for some overlaps, I have approximately 16 books to read before December 31st to complete all of my challenges for this year. Feeling really good about this!

-----------------------------

Next Up: The play November by David Mamet, an political satire set during November in a presidential election year....... very fitting reading for now!

117lkernagh
nov 2, 2012, 1:07am

Some how I completely missed three posts:

> 109 - Eva, I try to remember that those types of blurbs are .... dare I used the term 'slightly skewed' in favour of the book. I will try Irving again, just not sure when.

> 110 - Thanks Ivy! It is always good to know there are other readers out there that view a book in the manner.

> 111 - "strangely beautiful" is an succinct summary of The Necrophiliac. It is worth the read.... just very unsettling at times!

118SouthernKiwi
nov 2, 2012, 4:55am

Looks like you've had a great reading month overall, Lori

119psutto
nov 2, 2012, 12:40pm

Seen the necrophiliac on Foyle's recommended list so good to see your review sounds like I should pick up a copy next time I'm in town...

120ivyd
nov 2, 2012, 2:46pm

You're doing really well on your challenges, Lori!

I thought you (and everyone else) had already finished 2666. Maybe I'll pick it up again, and see if I can finish by the end of the year. I've only read the first 2 parts...

121-Eva-
nov 2, 2012, 4:28pm

->117 lkernagh:
The more earth-shattering it sounds, the warier you should get... :)

122lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 2, 2012, 9:37pm

> 118 - Thanks Alana. The trick/challenge for me is to now stay focused on what I need to finish and not keep getting distracted by 'shiny' books that don't fit any of my challenges. I know I will be distracted, I always am......

> 119 - Pete it is worth the read. Having now distanced myself slightly from the book - it is back with my local library for further circulation - my lasting impressions are more for the beauty of the prose and how the story was presented... the cringe factor isn't impacting me on the same level it did while I was reading it.

> 120 - Oh Ivy, I still have two more parts to read in 2666 before I am finished. I hope to read it after I finish November so I should have a spoiler free review with my thoughts in the next five days or so for you to skim through.

> 121 - So true!

-------------

No reading tonight. I came home this evening with the DVD of the movie adaptation of The Crimson Petal and The White. Loved that book when I read it back in 2006! I will report back if the movie holds up to my recollections of the book.... although after six years, I won't be critiquing minor details, just major differences.

It is pouring rain here - or normal fall/winter weather - so I hope everyone is having better weather than we are or is safely tucked in at home like I am!

123lkernagh
nov 3, 2012, 9:31pm

Made it through all four episodes - 4 hours of viewing time - of the TV miniseries Crimson Petal and the White last night. I highly recommend this for anyone that likes period pieces set in 1800's London. I felt that the movie really stayed true to Michel Faber's book on a whole the imagery is just astounding. For a preview you can see the first three minutes of the first episode on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EQdkMo6SJ0

Gillian Anderson is fantastic as Mrs. Castaway. Romola Garai and Amanda Hale are great in their portrayals of Sugar and Agnes. That being said, I would still recommend reading the book as the movie adaptation just doesn't get one inside Sugar's thoughts/feelings/mindset to the extent the book does.

124lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 3, 2012, 9:35pm

Book #74 - November by David Mamet
Category: - What a wonderful world this would be - Plays



Plot summary of play from back cover:
It's November in a Presidential election year, and incumbent Charles Smith's chances for reelection are looking grim. Approval ratings are down, his money's running out, and nuclear war might be imminent. Though his staff has thrown in the towel and his wife has begun to prepare for her post-White House life, Chuck isn't ready to give up just yet. Amidst the biggest fight of his political career, the President has to find time to pardon a couple of turkeys — saving them from the slaughter before Thanksgiving — and this simple PR event inspires Smith to risk it all in attempt to win back public support.
I had such high hopes for this play given that the author won the Pulitzer Prize for his play Glengarry Glen Ross, among other very notable mentions regarding his works.

As a political satire, it has some merit, albeit somewhat fleeting in nature. Hopefully, it presents better as a performance because reading it was quite a distracting experience. The majority of the play appears to require the actors to talk over one another, making for disjointed dialogue in script form. It may appeal to anyone looking for comic relief during the 'silly season' of the final days in a presidential election campaign where the president is trailing - quite drastically in the polls - and is still expect to engage in the rather superfluous acts of elected office, like grant a pardon to a turkey in preparation for the national holiday.

November received its world premiere on January 17, 2008 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York. One can only imagine what must have been going through Mamet's mind at the time he wrote this one.

The good news: This now concludes my Plays category!

Decimal Rating: 2.25
N/A - Plot Development
N/A - Character Development
2.50 - Writing Style
2.00 - Premise
N/A - Imagery/Visualization
N/A - Length

Star Rating: 2.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 128 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

125ivyd
nov 4, 2012, 12:47pm

>123 lkernagh: I've been wanting to watch that series, Lori. I read the book a long time ago (before LT) and don't remember the details, but the basic story has stayed with me. I was fascinated while I was reading it, but I couldn't ever decide whether I liked the book or not.

126DeltaQueen50
nov 4, 2012, 1:50pm

Hi Lori, thanks for letting us know about The Crimson Petal and the White mini-series. I also loved the book and now I am looking forward to getting my hands on the mini-series.

You certainly had a successful reading month in October, looks like you will be finishing your challenge sometime in November.

127lkernagh
nov 4, 2012, 2:39pm

> Hi Ivy, I agree, fascinating is a good way to describe Faber's book.... there is a lot to not like in his book given the subject matter but a very good portrayal of the scrabble for survival, the low treatment of women and depraved individuals in that gritty London setting.

> Hi Judy, our local library has the DVD in its collection so I hope it will be easy for you to lay your hands on a copy. October was a great reading month for me and I hope to continue that reading spurt into November.

128-Eva-
nov 4, 2012, 8:43pm

I keep looking at Crimson Petal and the White in the bookshelf, but it looks very looong. Maybe the mini-series is a better option... :)

129lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 4, 2012, 9:12pm

Your right Eva, it is a looong book, page count wise, but one of those surprisingly quick reads once you sink into the book!

ETA: You can get away with watching the DVD and foregoing the book. If anything, the DVD may entice you to read the book!

130-Eva-
Redigerat: nov 4, 2012, 10:38pm

There are just so many books I want to read that whenever a good (or even decent) film-version comes out of one of them it means I have more time to read the rest. :)

131lkernagh
nov 5, 2012, 10:31pm

I like the logic in that thinking Eva!

------------------------

Soooo......, I have dived back into 2666 and have just realized that I wasn't even at the halfway mark page-wise when I picked up where I left off with this one back at the end of spring. I am now 100 pages into Part four - which means I am now at the halfway mark for this book..... just another 450 pages to go!!!!! I am starting to like pammab's idea for her 2013 challenge to be based on page count more and more........ that, or I quit committing to reading all of these big boys, which will never happen as I am thinking of tackling Bleak House and Clarissa next year.

There is no chance I will finish this one in the next four days, in fact, I will probably read some different books between Part 4 and Part 5, but it's still my goal to finish 2666 sometime this month.

132ivyd
nov 6, 2012, 1:18pm

>131 lkernagh: Oh... I was hoping for some encouragement to get back to 2666! I stopped in the middle of 3 long books earlier this year, and have been debating which to pick back up. I've been inclining toward Hellenica, but maybe I should try another part of 2666 first. As much as I like his writing style, it's just so confusing that I'm inclined to never finish it!

133lkernagh
nov 6, 2012, 9:20pm

The good news with Bolano's writing is it is easy to make it through the pages some what quickly! Part four is reading like an interesting police procedural in a chronographer narrative format. So far it is working for me.

134lkernagh
nov 10, 2012, 9:30pm

135lkernagh
nov 11, 2012, 3:56pm

I attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the legislature this morning. The weather - cold, grey with drizzling rain - was somehow fitting for the ceremony and there was a good crowd in attendance.

I have Monday off and look forward to finding some time to settle in with some reading. In the meantime I do have an update:

STATUS REPORT:



2666: I finished Part Four - The Part About the Crimes - earlier this weekend. At 283 pages, Part Four reads like a stand alone book, in keeping with Bolano's idea before his death that each part should be sold as a separate book. Part Four is more of a chronological, rambling police procedural that drones on and on and on about murder victim after murder victim after murder victim. Bolano's writing style continues to make it easy to move through the pages but the endless murder victims and the overall police/political indifference to what was happening started to get to me after a while. Bolano could have easily cut 100 to 150 pages from this part and still presented the same in-depth descriptions of the various crimes, the community of Santa Teresa and the politics. I can only hope that the last part - Part Five - will finally bring some closure to this story of stories, but I need to take a break and read something different before I continue with this one.

136dudes22
nov 12, 2012, 2:35pm

Not that I've read it - cause I haven't - but I think someone else who was reading it mentioned the same thing.

137lkernagh
nov 12, 2012, 6:43pm

> 136 - Hi Betty, I am sure others will have the same complaint I have about part four of 2666! I did enjoy the first three parts so I am hoping that part 5 will bring things back and redeem the book for me.

138lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 12, 2012, 6:56pm

Book #75 - Judith by Lawrence Durrell
Category: - … But I am trying to be - Overflow



You know how some books just exude an old black and white film look and feel? This is one of those books!

Set during the tumultuous 1948 end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the UN resolution for Israel, Judith is a story that crosses multiple boundaries: politics, religion, military blockades, police mandates, secret intelligence, friendship, romance, personal doubt and rebirth. This never-before-published work by Durrell is part adventure story, part military/spy thriller and part romance all rolled up into one tidy package.

Judith, a mathematician and daughter of a Nobel prize-winning scientist of propulsion engine theory, is riskily spirited through the British blockade into Palestine and the Jewish kibbutz of Ras Shamir for reasons she is yet to understand. There she meets Aaron, Peterson and Grete. Grete is a German Jew with more than the Jewish settlement of Palestine on her mind, in fact, the Jewish settlement of Palestine is the farthest thing from her mind, and understandably so given what she has had to endured. Aaron is a man born and raised in the region and a full supporter of Israel as its own nation. Peterson is an intelligent and reasoned Jew by choice. To round out the main characters we have Hugh Lawton, a reluctant British military intelligence officer who's inclusion helps to brings a slightly Casablanca feel to the story.

What I really liked about this story is that Durrell has presented a very nicely balanced 360 degree point of view of the main players in this political hotbed situation that was brewing: the British posted to the area, the Jewish raised in the region as well as those recently transplanted from all regions of the world, and the neighboring Arabs. Durrell doesn't take sides or decide who should win as history has already made those decisions for him. His fictionalized view of events is good and kept me reading. As with most other books, I found some characters more developed than others, but the story moved around enough and provided enough plot elements to allow me to forgive some of the character shortcomings, which I am going to chalk up to as being in keeping with the - I assume - 1960's writing style the story was written in.

I found the introduction, written by editor Richard Pine, to be of immense value in setting the context of the time period as well as the genesis of the story - originally developed as a screenplay for the 1966 film starring Sophia Loren - and Durrell's background. I highly recommend reading the introduction and glossary before diving into the story.

Overall a good read and my first introduction to Durrell's works.

This advanced reader copy was courtesy of NetGalley.

Decimal Rating: 3.71
3.25 - Plot Development
3.00 - Character Development
3.25 - Writing Style
3.75 - Premise
4.25 - Imagery/Visualization
4.75 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: e-book (advanced reader copy)
# of Pages: 308 pages
Source: NetGalley
Male/Female Author: Male

139-Eva-
nov 12, 2012, 7:06pm

I've not read anything by Durrell yet (I have The Alexandria Quartet on the wishlist), but Judith sounds fascinating - I may go for this one first.

140lkernagh
nov 12, 2012, 7:14pm

> 139 - Wow, you are fast Eva! I have to say I am more fascinated with the idea of reading The Alexandria Quartet now that I have read this one and have experienced Durrell's writing style. The release date for Judith is tomorrow - November 13th - and I am not sure but this might be only an e-book publication by the publishers, Open Road Media. I have seen the Kindle links on Amazon for it.

141-Eva-
nov 12, 2012, 7:21pm

I automagically put it on my Nook wishlist, but it looks like a papercopy will be released as well.

142lkernagh
nov 12, 2012, 7:38pm

As someone who still prefers paper to electronic, I very am happy to see a paper copy will also be released!

143lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 18, 2012, 12:28am

Book #76 - 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
Category: - I can win your love for me - TBR Pile



Considering I started reading this one back in March, I am going to take a slightly different approach to my review. I will reproduce my summaries of the first four parts, add my thoughts on Part Five and then provide an overall assessment.

Part One: The Part About the Critics: I really love Bolaño's writing style - fluid, intellectual prose presented in a reflective narration that I think works well with the story he is telling. I don't think it would have worked as well as it does if he had chosen one of the literary critics as our narrator. The story - or at least Part 1 - really does need the omnipotent, nameless narrator that gets inside everyone's heads and provides the story through a 'seen from above' lens and makes for an interesting and at times philosophical game of connect the dots while reading. I like how it is broken down into small, easy to pick up and read sections.

Part Two: The Part About Amalfitano: I found that Part 2 was an easier story to follow - less characters, less literary allusions to try and understand - an overall more focused part of the book so far. Of course it helps that we were already introduced to Amalfitano in Part 1 so familiarity probably played a role in my appreciation of this section of the book. Overall, while the story continues to lack any cohesive direction/path that I am aware of, I have found it is easier reading if I just allow the story to go where it does and to more or less breeze over the parts - like the philosophy, the diagrams and the telepathy - that tend to stump and baffle me. It is making me wonder if madness is one of the overarching themes of the book.....

Part Three: The Part About Fate: I think I now have a handle on this group of connected stories that Bolaño has written. Part 3 introduces a new character, an African American reporter facing a cross roads in his life when he is assigned to go to Santa Teresa to cover a boxing match. While the story is focused on our reporter, Oscar Fate, it is the tie-in of characters from the previous parts and the story of the mysterious killings of the women that brings it all together in a more cohesive fashion than the previous two parts did. Bolaño's approach to story-telling seems more philosophical here while still maintaining his signature fluid and surreal stream of ideas storytelling. So far, Part 3 is my favorite.

Part Four: The Part About the Crimes: At 283 pages, Part Four reads like a stand alone book, in keeping with Bolaño's idea before his death that each part should be sold as a separate book. Part Four is more of a chronological, rambling police procedural that drones on and on and on about murder victim after murder victim after murder victim. Bolaño's writing style continues to make it easy to move through the pages but the endless murder victims and the overall police/political indifference to what was happening started to get to me after a while. Bolaño could have easily cut 100 to 150 pages from this part and still presented the same in-depth descriptions of the various crimes, the community of Santa Teresa and the politics.

Part Five: The Part About Archimboldi: Well, now this was quite the change of pace and story! With Part Five we are now back in Europe and have gone back in time to learn about Archimboldi, the reclusive German author our academics from Part One were on the trail for. Set predominantly during World War II, Part Five didn't appeal to me as much as I had hoped it would although I was happy to see some connections/references falling into place from the earlier parts. This part seemed to ramble more aimlessly than the previous parts.... that or I have grown tired of Bolaño's reflective narration that comes through his characters.

Overall, I found this to be both a challenging, and a rewarding read. I can honestly say that the first three parts were good - really interesting page turning reading - but the last two parts left me struggling a bit. Would I recommend 2666 to other readers? Only cautiously, because I can see it being a very frustrating read for some readers. I was frustrated at times. I was confused at times. I was tempted to abandon it at times. It is 900 pages of writing (the trade paperback version I read anyways) that I cannot pin down and describe in a couple of short sentences with genre identifiers to explain it to someone who hasn't read it. It is even harder to explain if the individual has never read any of Bolaño works before. Its a cryptic, enigmatic and only loosely connected grouping of stories and something you really need to approach with an open mind. I will be keeping my copy.... who knows, I may reread it in the years to come to see if I can glean more meaning out of it.

Decimal Rating: 3.71
3.50 - Plot Development
4.00 - Character Development
3.75 - Writing Style
3.25 - Premise
4.25 - Imagery/Visualization
3.50 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 898 pages
Source: TBR bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

Next Up: Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson, for a completely change of pace from 2666.

144AHS-Wolfy
nov 18, 2012, 7:05am

Congratulations on getting all the way through. Still not sure if I want to read it or not. I've really liked some of what I've read from the author but also not so much on other bits (sometimes even in the same book).

145-Eva-
Redigerat: nov 19, 2012, 12:03pm

Congratulations on finishing 2666! It's on the I-wish-I-had-read-this list, but I'm not entirely sure I'll get to it. I'll definitely try something shorter by Bolaño first, in any case.

146lkernagh
nov 18, 2012, 9:23pm

Thanks Dave and Eva! As a reader I really lack the wealth of knowledge that Bolaño relied on in writing this one and the name dropping and allusions did leave me baffled at times. I will continue to read more of Bolaño's works but I am now comfortable with the frame of mind I need to be in to read his works.

-------------------------

Well, a great sunny morning today but we are now settling in to a rather stormy night with some high winds - winds are currently 63 km/hour and predicted to go to 70-90km/hour later this evening. A good night to curl up with another book as I finished Miss Buncle's Book this afternoon.

147lkernagh
nov 18, 2012, 9:29pm

Book #77 - Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
Category: - ... But I am trying to be - Overflow



What a fresh, charming and overall delightful read!

Miss Barbara Buncle lives in the quaint English village of Silverstream, a short train ride away from London. Miss Buncle is in a bit of a bind.... her dividends haven't been coming in, what with the economic times and all, and she is running short of cash. To increase her cash flow situation Barbara sees two possible options: raising hens or writing a book. She chooses the latter and submits her manuscript to a London publishing house under the pseudonym of John Smith. To her amazing delight, the publishing house is interested in publishing the manuscript and have written John Smith to come to their offices to finalize the deal. There is one slight problem... Miss Buncle admits to having no imagination whatsoever and her manuscript, Chronicles of an English Village is based upon Silverstream and its inhabitants. One can only imagine what will happen once the book is published....

Set in what I believe to be the early 1930's Depression Era time period, this is a great book to escape into on a winter weekend or when you just need to escape, period. I loved the characters. They are well crafted with their own personalities, foibles and little secrets. The plot has a nice pace to it, with some fun surprises thrown in. I LOVE the artwork on the book cover - it is just so perfect for the book that you know attention was paid to that otherwise neglected detail. It wasn't until I read the very last page of the book that I understood why and it made me appreciate this book even more. While the book reads like, and courtesy of the cover of the book I read, looks like a recently written story set in a historical time period, Miss Bundle's Book was originally published in 1934. I can honestly say that this is a book that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. It is amazingly timeless in the quality of the writing.

If you ever need a quaint, delightfully charming read to relax with, I recommend Miss Buncle's Book. The fact that Stevenson wrote a sequel, Miss Buncle Married which was originally published in 1936 (and republished by Persephone books in 2011) has me all goose-pimply with excitement to track down a copy of that book, or anything else written by D.E. Stevenson for that matter. She has that perfect touch for a light romantic novel.

Decimal Rating: 4.04
3.50 - Plot Development
3.75 - Character Development
4.50 - Writing Style
4.50 - Premise
3.50 - Imagery/Visualization
4.50 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 304 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

148DeltaQueen50
nov 18, 2012, 11:11pm

Hi Lori, I hope you are curled up warmly on this stormy night. My husband just drove down to Point Roberts to gas up the car and he said he almost got blown away from the gas pumps!

Firstly, congratulations on completing 2666, that was a massive undertaking.

Secondly, with just the words "quaint English village" you got me. Miss Buncle's Book sounds like something I would enjoy!

149lkernagh
nov 19, 2012, 12:18am

Hi Judy - Thanks for stopping by and the congrats. I am happily snuggled up at home away from that wind! Glad to see your husband made it home okay after filing up the car. You will just love Miss Buncle's Book, I am very positive about that!

150SouthernKiwi
nov 19, 2012, 2:12am

You got me with Miss Buncle's Book too Lori, it's gone straight on to the wishlist. Also huge congratulations on finishing 2666!

151clfisha
nov 19, 2012, 5:09am

Chiming in on the congrats on completing 2666, from someone who never got past page 5 of part 3 I am in awe :)

152psutto
nov 19, 2012, 11:53am

just catching up - congrats on 2666!

I have the alexandria quartet on my shelf which I meant to get to this year but shinier books intervened, I must get to it in 2013!

153christina_reads
nov 19, 2012, 12:49pm

Aw, I loved Miss Buncle's Book -- glad you enjoyed it too! Miss Buncle Married is also adorable, and it's recently been republished with a similar cover to the one you posted above. I have another book by D.E. Stevenson on my shelves, Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, and I'm really looking forward to reading it!

154lkernagh
nov 19, 2012, 12:51pm

Thanks Alana, Claire and Pete! I am happy that 2666 is now back on the bookshelf.

> 150 - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did Alana!

> 152 - I am always side-tracked by shinier books. :-) If you do get to reading the The Alexandria Quartet, I will be very curious to see what you think of it.

--------------------

I have a day off from work today and I am very happy to stay indoors as it is lashing of rain outside. I will need to venture out to the grocery store but I am going to wait and see if the rain will let up at some point. So in the meantime, more reading and reviewing!

155lkernagh
nov 19, 2012, 12:54pm

Book #78 - Ad Eternum by Elizabeth Bear
Category: - But I do know that I love you - More books by favorite authors



I absolutely loved Bear's alternate history steampunk short story collection New Amsterdam with wampyrs, sorcerers and detection when I read it a few years back. When I came across this short novella as part of the New Amsterdam series of books, I jumped on it as a chance to revisit New Amsterdam and, I will admit, to also finish off a category.

It is 1962 and the wampyr and private detective Sebastien de Ulloa is back in New Amsterdam, 60 years after he fled the city on pain of death. He returns a changed man. Still a wampyr, older now - as if 60 years can really add much to the age of someone that has be around for centuries - and struggling with his own inner demons pondering to face the dawn, alone without his friends at his side. He sees a changed world in New Amsterdam, meets new friends, spars with an imposter and reacquaints himself with a werewolf from his past. We see Sebastien, now going by the name of Jack, as one who is mentally preparing to put an end to this continued existence.

Written as only Bear can write, this short novella is a must read for fans of the New Amsterdam series. Sadly, it felt like an add-on to an end of a series, almost as if something hadn't be finished off to Bear's satisfaction - which it very well might be, I have yet to lay my hands on the two other books in the series Seven for a Secret and The White City. I really need to track down copies of those other books.....

Decimal Rating: 3.58
3.00 - Plot Development
3.75 - Character Development
3.50 - Writing Style
4.25 - Premise
4.00 - Imagery/Visualization
3.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hard Cover
# of Pages: 90 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

And that is another category completed!

156ivyd
nov 19, 2012, 1:11pm

Congratulations on finishing 2666, Lori! I thought about picking it up again a couple of weeks ago, but that's as far as I got.

Here in Oregon, it's still really, really stormy today.

157lkernagh
nov 21, 2012, 12:27am

Hey Ivy, I hope my review doesn't deter you away from 2666.... not that I am going to comment on any other distractions you may have about getting back to reading it. ;-)

I hope the weather in your part of the world has improved today. We actually saw some sunshine, some rain while it was sunny and at one point in the morning a beautiful rainbow was visible!

158lkernagh
nov 21, 2012, 12:29am

Book #79 - Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - translated from the Japanese by Megan Backus
Category: - ... but I am trying to be - Overflow



Yes, I am still working towards finishing my 12 in 12 Challenge. In the meantime, I read this book as a "Y" author for my Author Surname Alphabet Challenge.

Kitchen is comprised of two short stories - Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow. Both short stories contain a similar theme: A female young adult grieving the loss of a loved one. In Kitchen, our narrator, Mikage Sakurai, finds herself alone in the world when her only living relative, her grandmother, dies. In Moonlight Shadow Satsuki's boyfriend of four years, Hitoshi, died in an automobile accident. In both stories, other characters also experience losses of loved ones and they connect with out main characters. The focus of both stories is on the expression of grief and the ability to see grief through the eyes of a sufferer and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

What I really liked about these stories is the honesty the emotion is portrayed in. The stories contain elements of wit and poetic beauty with the unwaivering viewpoint of a young adult. One of the reviews provided with the book states that "Yoshimoto specializes in city dwellers' existential angst". Not sure I agree what that but I do agree that Yoshimoto has that special something to infuse a story of focused on grief with a humorous, whimsical touch without taking anything away from the strength of the message.

Decimal Rating: 3.46
3.25 - Plot Development
3.00 - Character Development
3.25 - Writing Style
3.75 - Premise
3.50 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 160 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

As an aside, I was intrigued by the following passage in Kitchen:
On my way out I had bought a hot can of coffee from the vending machine, and now I was carrying it in my pocket. It was very hot.
I never knew one could by a hot can of coffee from a vending machine. The things you learn when reading a book..... ;-)

159SouthernKiwi
nov 21, 2012, 3:55am

Books are great for learning things - one of the books I read last year answered a quiz question for me yesterday :-) And from what I've heard from friends who've been to Japan, you can buy pretty well anything from vending machines over there!

160AHS-Wolfy
Redigerat: nov 21, 2012, 9:16am

I never knew one could by a hot can of coffee from a vending machine.

It's probably best if you don't learn what else you can buy from Japanese vending machines.

161clfisha
Redigerat: nov 21, 2012, 9:30am

Sake? Can't think of anything else, oh no! :)

I enjoyed Kitchen when I read it, although the two stories were almost too alike. she has a very nice, distinctive style all the same (or maybe I just don't read many books like hers!)

162GingerbreadMan
nov 21, 2012, 5:56pm

Catching up after my absent november. Glad to see you finishing 2666. I liked it a whole lot better than you did, but agree with many of your points :)

163lkernagh
nov 21, 2012, 10:08pm

> 159 - I completely agree Alana, books are amazing for providing us with information, even if that wasn't the reason we were reading the book! Those must be pretty amazing vending machines... it boggles the mind.

> 160 - Dave, you are probably right. Some things are best left unknown.

> 161 - Your memory is excellent Claire, the two stories were very similar in a number of ways, making the second one a bit of a "been there, done that" deja vu feeling. She had written a number of books which, thankfully, my library has so I will be checking out some of her other books.

> 162 - Hey Anders, I think part of the problem was that I left it too long between reading different parts of 2666 and I lost the rhythm and flow of the writing to carry me along. I still think that Part Four was tooooo long and that would have bugged me regardless of how quickly I made my way through the book.

164mamzel
nov 22, 2012, 10:06pm

About the Japanese vending machines, didn't I see somewhere that one could purchase oxygen in Tokyo?

165-Eva-
Redigerat: nov 23, 2012, 9:31pm

I've come to understand that the Japanese have a much more liberal view of the word "edible" than I do... :) Kitchen is on my reread list - even more now that I read your review and realize I don't remember anything at all...!

166lkernagh
nov 23, 2012, 9:59pm

> 164 - I saw that there is an oxygen bar vending machine so you are correct... you can purchase oxygen that way!

> 165 - It really does bring home a different perspective on things, doesn't it! I have read the occasional book where I cannot remember anything about the stories within a year or two of reading it, and that just drives me crazy!

-----------

Very happy to see the start of the weekend. I was going to spend part of the weekend tearing apart the house looking for my stash of cards for the approaching holiday season, but after a mid-morning coffee conversation with a work colleague, I suddenly have an impulse to make my own cards. This will either be a success or a total failure but at least I am going to tackle this project with enough lead time that I can always resort to Plan B if my crafty skills are a disaster!

Oh, and I have picked up season one of the TV series Warehouse 13 from my local library, based on a conversation over on the 2013 group, so those are pretty much my plans for the rainy weekend we are in for, along with reading, of course!

167-Eva-
nov 23, 2012, 10:23pm

Looking forward to hearing what you think of Warehouse 13 since I was lured by the same discussion. :)

168lkernagh
nov 24, 2012, 1:16am

> 167 - We watched the first episode of Warehouse 13 this evening. This is my kind of show.... it has the paranormal and secret agent aspects of The X-Files but with the technology gadgets, quirky characters and overall look and feel of Eureka - a show I really find fun to watch! - and an interesting historical artifacts angle that whiffs of Relic Hunter or National Treasure.

As you have probably already guessed, the first episode gets a positive from me and I am looking forward to watching more this weekend!

169-Eva-
nov 24, 2012, 1:25am

Excellent! I'm waiting for season 4 to be done so it comes out on Netflix. Good stuff!

170casvelyn
nov 24, 2012, 8:19am

Actually, Warehouse 13 and Eureka exist in the same universe--they crossover in season 2 or 3 (or possibly both).

171lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 24, 2012, 10:50am

> 169 - ;-)

> 170 - Oh, good to know! I have only seen Season 1 of Eureka so far - the library's copy of Season 2 was in repairs for a number of weeks - so I seem to be inadvertently paced to watching the crossover episodes to understand them!

172ivyd
nov 24, 2012, 1:49pm

>166 lkernagh: Have fun making your cards, Lori! I haven't done that for years, and even my sister finally stopped making cards a couple of years ago.

173banjo123
Redigerat: nov 24, 2012, 6:45pm

--I read Yoshimoto's The Lake earlier this year and was really impressed, and so had Kitchen on my TBR pile. Thanks for the review!

--We used to make out own cards every year, and it was fun. But last year I was too lazy to mail anything out, and this year I think I am just going to shutter-fly. How are you planning to do your cards? We did rubber blocks, and the real trick is to have a nice design picked out.

174lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 25, 2012, 12:53am

Hi Ivy and Rhonda - I have had fun being crafty today. My original plan/idea isn't working out quite as I had hoped, but I am inventive so the setback has allowed me to think of alternatives to what I want to achieve. I originally had plans for a filigree tree stencil motif on the front based upon a laser wood cut of the same design, but that hit a number of hurdles, one being that the model I was intending to use for the tree design was too big for the card stock! The laser wood cut model is now hung with mistletoe berry ornaments on our front door knocker instead of a more traditional wreath.

For the cards, I have cream colour card stock that I am using. I have decided to do a cross between a desktop publishing graphic of a filigree tree in green and red on the front with the card message printed on separate paper (currently white but subject to change after I visit the local papery to see what they have in stock) which will be mounted inside the card and bordered with a tartan ribbon in a green and red theme. The card message will be from Longfellow:

I heard the bells
on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth,
good-will to men!


> 173 - My local library has The Lake as well as other works by Yoshimoto so I am looking forward to checking them out!

175banjo123
nov 25, 2012, 1:17pm

Your card sounds great! Very elegant. If you can post a photo, once you get them done, I'd love to see it.

176ivyd
nov 25, 2012, 1:54pm

>174 lkernagh: Sounds lovely, Lori! Yes, please post a photo if you can!

177lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 25, 2012, 7:10pm

Thanks guys.... yes I will post pics once I have the cards finished. In the meantime, here is a photo of the laser wood cut that is now decorated and will adorn the front door for through the holiday season - waste not, want not! It gives you a bit of an idea of where I am going with the theme I have chosen for my cards:

178banjo123
nov 25, 2012, 11:25pm

OOO aahhh -- Pretty!

179SouthernKiwi
nov 26, 2012, 12:16am

Pretty indeed - I've never seen a decoration like that before, and now I want one!

180mamzel
nov 26, 2012, 2:13pm

Very nice! Elegant!

181-Eva-
nov 26, 2012, 2:38pm

->170 casvelyn:
I'd completely missed that - although Eureka has been recommended to me by Netflix very often since I watched Warehouse 13, so I should have figured out what was up. :) In the queue it goes.

->177 lkernagh:
That's beautiful! I want one too!

182DeltaQueen50
nov 26, 2012, 4:49pm

Gorgeous decoration for your door, Lori. I admit to being a little grinch-y and I am dreading dragging out all the Christmas stuff, but my husband is a regular Santa Claus and loves everything to do with Christmas. He's already got the outside lights up and yesterday he turned his Sirius radio to the Christmas music station.

183lkernagh
nov 26, 2012, 10:53pm

> 181 - Eureka has been recommended to me by Netflix.... I tend to turn a blind eye to a lot of online/automatic recommendations that are based on an algorithm so I would have probably just ignored that recommendation. You do realize I am looking forward to seeing what you think of Eureka.

Thanks everyone, it was a lot of fun getting back into crafting - which is always made easier when part of the work is computer assisted! I had to pick up some craft glue on my lunch hour today so that I could finish the cards - gluing the ribbon into place.

Here are the pictures I took this evening of my now finished weekend holiday cards project (I had to use the flash so the colours are a little washed out):

Outside - front and back


...... and the inside:


You can't see it based on the pictures, but the Longfellow verse is slightly raised, giving a bit of a 3-D effect to the card. Now I can relax and let December come.

184banjo123
nov 27, 2012, 12:01am

Wow! Gorgeous.

185SouthernKiwi
nov 27, 2012, 3:59am

Very impressed by your craft skills Lori, your cards are fantastic :-)

186AHS-Wolfy
nov 27, 2012, 7:00am

Great work, Lori. I'm sure everyone will be thrilled when they get one of those.

187hailelib
nov 27, 2012, 7:14am

I particularly like the front!

188dudes22
nov 27, 2012, 12:28pm

I'm at work and can't see any of the pictures - rats! Will have to check in again when I get home.

189ivyd
nov 27, 2012, 12:31pm

Beautiful cards, Lori!

190-Eva-
nov 27, 2012, 1:23pm

Ooh, that's very pretty!

191lkernagh
Redigerat: nov 28, 2012, 12:14am

Thanks everyone!

> 188 - Betty, I have the same problem at work - can't see any pics on my work station. Not sure what they think they are protecting against but there is probably a very good reason for it so I just accept it and find other things to glance at when I have all my work finished and I have some spare time on my hands.

ETA: Warehouse 13 has my full attention right now - damn addicting series! - and we are almost finished season 1, which means, between crafting and video viewing, I have done no reading whatsoever for the past 5 days. *displays video overload smile.*

192dudes22
nov 28, 2012, 5:17am

Nice pics - now that I can see them.

193-Eva-
nov 28, 2012, 6:17pm

->191 lkernagh:
Telly-binging, eh?! That's why my book-total for November ended up at 4... Good to know I'm not alone. :)

194DeltaQueen50
nov 30, 2012, 1:12pm

Lori, your cards are gorgeous. Obviously you are one very talented lady!

195lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 1, 2012, 3:52pm

> 192 - Thanks Betty!

> 193 - Yup, telly-binging big time! Work has been such a gong show this past week - that and I woke up Wednesday morning with the start of a head cold - that Warehouse 13 has been a nice salvation.... we are now plowing through Season Two like a pair of addicts! ;-)

> 194 - Awe, thanks Judy. *blushes*
I do know my limitations - my free-hand drawing skills are non existent and don't trust me with anything like paint and brushes unless its to paint walls or fences - but I do enjoy messing around on my computer and working with fabrics, beads, wood and clay.

--------------------
I have no new reviews to post to close out my November reading so I will get around to posting my monthly summary later today or tomorrow.

196lkernagh
dec 1, 2012, 3:41pm

November Re-Cap:

Books read:


November:
Books purchased: 0
Books read: 5
~ Books read off TBR Pile: 0
~ Books read from local library: 4
~ Books read and borrowed from friends/family: 0
~ Free book download/ER book: 1
~ Books read by male authors: 2
~ Books read by female authors: 3
Overall Pages read for the month: 1,537
Average # of pages read per day: 51

Favorite book (decimal rating): Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson - (4.04 decimal rating)
Least favorite book (decimal rating): November by David Mamet - (2.25 decimal rating)

CATEGORY SUMMARY:
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY - Historical fiction - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
DON'T KNOW MUCH BIOLOGY - Medical discovery/illness as a theme - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT A SCIENCE BOOK - Science as a theme - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE FRENCH I TOOK - Translated works - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
BUT I DO KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU - More books by favorite authors - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ Ad Eternum by Elizabeth Bear -
AND I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO - Poetry - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD THIS WOULD BE - Plays - (6/6 read - 1 new - CATEGORY COMPLETED!)
~ ~ ~ November by David Mamet -
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT GEOGRAPHY - Books set in foreign lands - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
BUT I DO KNOW THAT ONE AND ONE IS TWO - Next in Series - (5/6 read - 0 new)
AND IF THIS ONE COULD BE WITH YOU - "New to me" Canadian authors - CATEGORY COMPLETED!
NOW I DON'T CLAIM TO BE AN "A" STUDENT - Prize Winners and Shortlisted - (5/6 read - 0 new)
I CAN WIN YOUR LOVE FOR ME - Books languishing on my TBR pile - (5/6 read - 1 new)
~ ~ ~ 2666 by Roberto Bolano -

... BUT I'M TRYING TO BE - Overflow - (10 read - 3 new)
~ ~ ~ Judith by Lawrence Durrell -
~ ~ ~ Miss Buncle's Book forward by D.E. Stevenson -
~ ~ ~ Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto -

197lkernagh
dec 1, 2012, 3:43pm

I went to one of my local second-hand bookstores today and came away with the following:



In The Woods by Tana French - I have book two in the Dublin Murder Squad series, The Likeness as a book chosen from my TBR bookcase and as I haven't read the first book, I grabbed this copy when I saw it. Now I can read the books in series order!

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson - I had my eye on this modern gothic story when I saw it at my local library so I jumped at the chance to buy it and add it to my possible candidates for my 2013 Gothic category!

Fall on your knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald - I have heard great things about this one from some friends so decided to add it to my purchases.

This brings my total of books purchased so far this year to 56. Happy to see that I have been able to show some restraint in my book buying.

198lkernagh
dec 1, 2012, 3:46pm

UPDATE TO 4TH QUARTER PLANNED READING - the final push to the finish line.

- I just need 3 books to complete my 12 in 12 challenge.

- I still have 6 books to read that were chosen for me by my LT friends:
What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey
In the Woods by Tana French - replaces The Likeness as I want to read book one before I read book two in this series... but I am pretty sure I will read both!
Coastliners by Joanne Harris
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
The House Within by Fiona Kidman
The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson

- I am still working on my Alphabet Author Surname challenge and have the following letters still to fill to complete that challenge: "O", "Q", and "V". I am currently reading my "X" book and will be finished it this weekend.

To be realistic - as I came home with a huge pile of holiday-themed reading material from the library - I will make it mandatory that I complete my 12 in 12 and my Alphabet challenges and I will continue to work on reading the books chosen for me from that list above. With this change, I just need to read 7books by December 31st to complete all of my challenges for this year. I have the end of December off from work and I do look forward to some great reading time then, so it is probably still possible for me to read everything listed above, but I would rather not force myself to try and get them all read in the month.

-----------------------------

Currently Reading: Bilal's Bread by Sulayman X as my "X" Alphabet Author Surname book.... This is a rather intense read, so I have been pacing myself with it.

199lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 2, 2012, 10:18pm

Book #80 - Bilal's Bread by Sulayman X
Category: - ... but I am trying to be - Overflow



Bilal Abu has a lot to say, but he's scared to open his mouth. And who could blame him? A 16-year-old Iraqu refugee, he has to contend with his immigrant family's never-ending drama and his fanatical older brother's sexual abuse. And then there's life in his sketchy neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, where all the non-Muslim kids think he is a terrorist. When Bilal falls in love with the son of his community's religious leader, things get better - and a whole lot worse.
This is a really intense, emotional and at times, very heart-breaking read. Told from Bilal's point of view, the reader experiences everything from community rejection and scorn, sexual abuse, rape, religious fundamentalism, and threats to differences in social values/belief systems, homosexuality and what love is really supposed to feel like.

Bilal, and his family, have been through the wringer: A Kurdish family that has seen the result of speaking the truth under Saddam Hussein's political regime, and has had to flee to a new life in America as refugees. We see the older family members - Bilal's Ma and his oldest brother Salim - set in their traditional Kurdish ways while Bilal, his sister Fatima and his older brother Hakim are more accepting of the American way of things. As the story progresses, we learn more details about the abuse Bilal has been subject to by his brother Salim, as well as the reason they fled Iraq. No spoiler here as a glimpse into the abuse is exposed in the first chapter of the book.

At times graphic and with some profanity expressed, this story screams for attention like no other book I have recently read. My heart and soul went out to Bilal as the confusion, the abuse and the feelings of imprisonment mount. The characters, and the situations, are highly realistic - I can visualize this very scenario playing out in an unnamed city as I type this review. Our author has managed to present a myriad of conflicting viewpoints while communicating his story - confusions regarding awakening sexualities, restraining viewpoints of community members, the dismissive nature to brush off real concerns as normal traditional practices, authoritarian family structures, fear of law enforcement and foreign cultural beliefs,.... the list just goes on and on.

Highly recommended, provided you read it with a box of kleenex and a pillow by your side: the kleenex for the scenes you uncontrollably cry through and the pillow so you can punch something soft when your anger reaction requires venting.

Decimal Rating: 4.88
5.00 - Plot Development
5.00 - Character Development
4.25 - Writing Style
5.00 - Premise
5.00 - Imagery/Visualization
5.00 - Length

Star Rating: 5.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 240 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

Next Up: After that emotional ride I need to read something light-hearted and fun that will get another book read for my 12 in 12...... solution: Miss Buncle, Married, the sequel to Miss Buncle's Book. I am so looking forward to reading this one as the perfect book to close out my 'next in series' category!

200-Eva-
dec 2, 2012, 10:28pm

I love that Tana French-series. I have the 4th one waiting, but I want to be able to read the whole thing in one sitting, so I'll save it for the holidays.

3 more to finish the challenge will be easy! The others should be able to fit as well - here's to a great reading holiday! :)

201GingerbreadMan
dec 3, 2012, 6:15pm

Wow. Starring the review of Bilal's bread for sure. Your rating system becones very effective, when a book gets high marks all across it really pops out!

202AHS-Wolfy
dec 4, 2012, 5:01am

Probably not something I would go out of my way to read but your review for Bilal's Bread deserves a thumb at least.

203lkernagh
dec 9, 2012, 5:34pm

> 200 - Happy to see you loved the Tana French series. I am thinking that will be good winter reading! Finger's crossed three books is doable - I keep getting sidetracked!

> 201 - Thanks Anders.... that was a tough read emotionally. I will be tweaking the rating system for 2013 as I have found it helps me when I revisit books I read months ago!

> 202 - Hi Dave, thanks for the thumb!

-----------------------------
Another crazy busy work week has made me so thankful for weekends, even if it is the busy holiday season! Yesterday was 'decorate the house' day - tree is now up and festive garland and other such holiday 'baubles' are strewn about the place. Rainy day today here - 'bleh' - so it is a good day for getting caught up with my reviews, laundry and cooking a roast for dinner. Hopefully, some further reading is in the cards today as well.

Here are the two new reviews.......

204lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 10, 2012, 8:48pm

Book #81 - 100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein
Category: - ... but I am trying to be - Overflow



"Women's fashion is a culturally pervasive, behavior-altering, trend-inducing, emotion-stirring, perpetually exhausting, psychologically daring, hopefully uplifting yet potentially scarring, and occasionally foolish but undeniably influential celebration of craftsmanship, showmanship, ego, and seduction that has us more riveted and more attuned to its output and our appearances than ever before."
By the fashion director of Instyle magazine, and with a forward by designer and dressmaker Alber Elbaz, this is a great book for hard core fashionatas and people like me who religiously read Instyle and find the red carpet coverage the best part of an awards show.

These dresses are, in Rubenstein's opinion, the ones that stand out as the "WOW" moments of fashion history - the perfect blending of the dress and the wearer's ability to carry off the outfit with mesmorizing effect. Starting with Gianni Versace's 'Safety-Pin Gown'- worn by Elizabeth Hurley for the world premiere of her then beau Hugh Grant's movie Four Weddings and a Funeral back in 1994 - Rubenstein bounces the reader through time - and fashion - in an eclectic manner.

While I don't always agree with Rubenstein's decision behind including some of the dresses in this collection, I cannot fault the inside scoop presentation of the history behind the dresses' creations and the sometimes collaborative nature between the designer and the "model" - such was the relationship between Hubert de Givenchy and the actress Audrey Hepburn - as that had me page turning almost as much as the pictures did. Who can forget the chartreuse colored chinoiserie gown by Galliano that Nicole Kidman wore to the 1997 Academy Awards or the white halter dress by Travilla worn by Marilyn Monroe.... yah, the one where she is standing over the subway system grating? I was intrigued to learn that the tangerine orange gown by Vera Wang that Charlize Theron wore to the 2000 Academy Awards achieved its unique iridescence color and effect through multiple overlays of chiffon in different hues including pistachio, lemon, vermillion and pink.

Overall, great eye candy with enticing insider stories from one that has been a fashion "insider" for some time.

... and for those interested in knowing, the cover art is a picture of the bodice of the dinner gown by Hubert de Givenchy that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to a dinner at Versailles hosted by President and Madame de Gaulle during President Kennedy and the first lady's trip to Paris in 1961.

Decimal Rating: 4.20
Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Oversized Hard Cover
# of Pages: 208 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

205lkernagh
dec 9, 2012, 5:50pm

Book #82 - Miss Buncle, Married by D.E. Stevenson
Category: - But I do know that one and one is two - next in series



I will start off by saying that the cover on the left is the cover of the copy I read from my local library. The cover on the right is the sparkly new cover for the recently re-published book.

Book two in Stevenson's Miss Buncle series, this story picks up nine months after Miss Buncle's Book left off. Barbara is now married and settling into married life. Demanding social commitments of Sunnydene - where Barbara and her husband reside - and the circle of friends and acquaintances there, lead Barbara and her husband to search for a new place outside of Town (London and its more immediate vicinities). After some searching, Barbara falls in love with The Archway House and they move to the peaceful atmosphere of the village of Wandlebury, where Barbara encounters a new group of villagers, with their own unique personalities. Will Barbara be able to settle into life in Wandlebury without attracting adventures, "putting her fingers into other people's pies" or, writing yet another fact-based novel of village life?

I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as I did Miss Buncle's Book. This one had a bit of a slow start to it; the characters and the plot weren't as dynamic and even some of the visualizations didn't come through as sharply as with the first book. The action - I know, this isn't an action book, but some action/intrigue is expected after reading the first one! - finally started to pick up during the last quarter of the story. The language has some fun old English terms, like referring to one's pay increase as having their "screw raised" and other sayings I am unfamiliar with, that left me with a good chuckle or two.

As Barbara's husband points out: "What you do in the suburbs is your own business, but what you do in a little town like Wandlebury is everybody's business."

Overall, another 1930's quaint slice of English village life. Apparently Stevenson wrote two more Barbara Buncle books - The Two Mrs. Abbotts and The Four Graces and I do plan to continue with the series as my local library has both of these books and because they are relaxing to read.

Decimal Rating: 3.17
2.75 - Plot Development
3.00 - Character Development
3.00 - Writing Style
3.00 - Premise
3.50 - Imagery/Visualization
3.75 - Length

Star Rating: 3.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hard Cover
# of Pages: 248 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Female

206SouthernKiwi
dec 10, 2012, 1:08am

While I don't follow fashion, I do love seeing the dresses during award season. I think I'll be on the look out for 100 Unforgettable Dresses. Nice review!

207lkernagh
dec 10, 2012, 8:55pm

Thanks Alana, now that I have fixed a few typos the review is in a more presentable fashion! ;-) I have to admit that a some haute couture leaves me cold - or baffled in the case of the flamboyant ones! - so it is nice to sit back and read about dresses that are actually worn to dinner parties, etc that you can actually see being worn to a 'real' event and not just on the catwalk.

208-Eva-
dec 10, 2012, 11:04pm

I just ordered 100 Unforgettable Dresses for my mum's Xmas present - sounds like it'll be perfect! Unfortunately for me, I choose to have it shipped to her directly. I clearly should have sent it to myself so I could have read it first!! :)

209lkernagh
dec 16, 2012, 11:53pm

> 208 - That is the downside to the convenience of direct shipping! I hope she enjoys it!

--------------------

Slow reading week, not surprising given the time of year but I am happy to say that I have finished another book for the challenge - The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson - chosen for me off my TBR bookcase.

210lkernagh
dec 17, 2012, 12:02am

Book #83 - The World Above the Sky by Kent Stetson
Category: - I can win your love for me - TBR Pile



"This," he gestured, "is the Earth World. Below us, the World Below the Earth. Over our heads, the World Above the Earth, also called the Sky World. Above that - The World Above the Sky."
It is 1398. Seventeen-year-old Eugainia St Clare Delacroix - the Living Holy Grail - is transported from certain death at the hands of her enemies in Europe to the safety of the New World by her protector, fleet commander Prince Henry Sinclair: Baron of Rosslyn, Earl of Orkney and Liegeman to the Prince of Norway. Prince Henry's quest: to locate the Well of Baphomet and the Stone Grail that are believed to have been brought over to New Arcadia 100 years earlier by a band of Knights Templar and to establish the Grail Castle with the young Goddess Eugainia enthroned there as befitting the royal and holy blood that flows through her veins. Arriving in the New World, they are met by The People, a clan of Mi'kmaq Indians.

Loosely based upon Stetson's play New Archadia: A Grail Romance, Stetson has merged here the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages of Europe with that of the First Nations Indians of North America in a beautiful blending of descriptive prose, magical mysticism and political/religious/mystical intrigue. The Atlantic coast of Canada is captured in a wealth of abundance. The focus of the story is an examination of the interaction between the two cultures and a growing awareness of the similarities both possess as the newcomers learn of the Mi'kmaqs ways and survive a starving winter.

The mystical elements of the Goddess exhibited some of the qualities I recall from reading the the Mists of Avalon. The inclusion of the mystical folklore of the Mi'kmaqs, as well as the balance of strong male and female characters and the trials each one of them face over the course of the story, made for interesting reading. While Stetson does a good job capturing the essence of the Mi'kmaq characters Mimkitawo'qu'sk and Keswalqw, I felt the plot was weak and the dialogue of the newcomers was out of sync with the 1398 time period, and tended to jar me back to the present, just as I was settling into the time period.

Overall, a decent tale of journeys and quests but lacking in the descriptive historical detail of the Knights Templar and the grail quest. It is assumed by Stetson that the reader is conversant in this history and focuses all his energy describing the rituals and beliefs of the Mi'kmaq people. Apparently, this is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy so I can only hope that the second and third book are better.

Decimal Rating: 3.21
2.75 - Plot Development
3.00 - Character Development
3.25 - Writing Style
3.50 - Premise
3.75 - Imagery/Visualization
3.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 336 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Male

----------------

This finishes another category, which means I have just one more book to read to finish this challenge. I need one more book for my Awards category and after scouring my TBR bookcase, I have decided upon What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn, winner of the Costa First Novel Award and a perfect "O" author surname book to help me with my Alphabet challenge (I still need three books to complete that challenge).

211dudes22
dec 17, 2012, 7:14am

Good for you,Lori. Looks like you'll make it.

212DeltaQueen50
dec 17, 2012, 2:03pm

One more, way to go, Lori! I'm glad you have decided on What Was Lost. I keep bumping into this book and don't know much about it so I'll be looking forward to your opinion.

213lkernagh
dec 17, 2012, 5:10pm

Thanks Betty and Judy!

> 212 - I am only 32 pages in so far. I can say that I find the protagonist quite endearing. As I have the day off from work, I will be curling up with the book as soon as I finish this post.

------------------

I am looking forward to wrapping up my various 2012 reading. I have reviewed where I am at and it looks good!

UPDATE TO MY DECEMBER PLANNED READING

12 in 12 Challenge - Currently reading What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn which will finish off my Awards category and my 12 in 12 challenge.

Alphabet Challenge - Currently reading my "O" book and I have my "Q" and "V" books lined up. "Q" was starting to become a bit of a challenge while I was at the library today as I am not in the mood to read Amanda Quick. Inspiration hit me when I got home: I logged onto the Project Gutenberg website and found two books that interested me for my "Q" author, so very happy about that!

Books chosen for me by my LT friends - with the completion of The World Above the Sky, I have only 5 books left to read. Two of them, What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey and The Likeness by Tana French are both second books in a series. I have now decided to carry those books over to my 2013 challenge so I can read the books in proper series order, leaving me with the following three books still to read this year:

Coastliners by Joanne Harris
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
The House Within by Fiona Kidman

Baring the usual distractions of shiny new books, I can easily read 6 books between now and December 31st!

214lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 26, 2012, 11:09am

I am happily doing the dance of joy because:
1) it is the end of the work week;
2) It is the start of my vacation - I am now off work until January 2nd; and
3) I have finished my final book to complete my 12 in 12 Challenge!

Book #84 - What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn
Category: - Now I don't claim to be an 'A' student - Prize Winners and Shortlisted



A lost little girl with her detective notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screens of the Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of Kate Meaney, missing for twenty years. Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, follow glimpses of the girl through the centre's endless corridors - a welcome change from dealing with awkward customers, colleagues and the Green Oaks mystery shopper. But as this after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light.
Starting in 1984, we meet Kate Meaney, a 10-year old orphan and self-stylized junior Nancy Drew with dreams of owning her own detective agency. Kate lives with her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother expects young Kate to be no more trouble than a flatmate so Kate is pretty much left to her own devices and tends to pass through life unobserved by the people around her. Her friend: 22-year old Adrian who works in his father’s newspaper shop in Kate’s neighborhood. Kate spends her time, when she is not in school, conducting surveillance in the new local shopping mall, Green Oaks. When Kate disappears one day, Adrian is the last person to have seen her and becomes the main suspect. The hounding of the press drives Adrian into hiding from everyone, even his own family.

Fast forward 20 years. Green Oaks is now a much larger shopping complex and the story shifts to Kurt and Lisa, Adrian’s younger sister. As Kurt and Lisa find themselves drawn into the mystery around the girl that appears on the CCTV security screens in the mall’s security room, we delve into their unsatisfying lives, their pasts and slowly unfold the secrets they know. I really like how O’Flynn has given Green Oaks a looming, sinister presence on society and takes the reader into the behind the scenes intricate world of a large shopping mall. The effect of Green Oaks on the characters, the plot and the overall story of Kate Meaney’s disappearance made this part mystery, part ghost story a compelling read for me. While the story tends to stray from its original course, there is a purpose to the straying. What really worked for me is how the story unfolds – slowly, layer by layer – to the surprising conclusion.

For the most part, the story is told through the voices of Kate, Lisa and Kurt. It is more a telling of two stories that merge at the end and is something to keep in mind as you read it. An added element that did not make sense to me until I had finished the book was the inclusion of anonymous first person commentator vignettes (depicted in italics) that would crop up from time to time in the story. While the book starts off with energy and purpose with Kate’s character back in 1984 – no, this is not another Flavia de Luce! - the overall sense of the story is one of loss, loneliness and longing. This is more of a slice of life story – with all its warts – than the mystery that is at its roots. The characters are well drawn, as are the circumstances of their lives and their environment.

For a debut novel, this winner of the Costa First Novel Award is an excellent read and I can honestly say that I will never look at a shopping mall in the same way again.

Decimal Rating: 4.04
3.75 - Plot Development
4.00 - Character Development
3.50 - Writing Style
4.50 - Premise
4.00 - Imagery/Visualization
4.50 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 256 pages
Source: TBR Bookcase
Male/Female Author: Female

--------------

I will probably get around to doing some kind of a challenge wrap-up this weekend. While I still have some other challenge reading that I need to finish, I am going to dive into what I hope will be a sinfully pleasurable Christmas book: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore.

215AHS-Wolfy
dec 21, 2012, 11:38pm

Congrats on completing your challenge. Nice to finish on a good one.

216SouthernKiwi
dec 21, 2012, 11:55pm

That's a great trifecta, Lori, that happy dance is well warranted! Congratulations on finishing your challenge

217mathgirl40
dec 22, 2012, 9:43am

Congratulations on finishing your challenge, and very nice review of What was Lost. It sounds like an intriguing book.

218thornton37814
dec 22, 2012, 10:35am

Congrats on completing the challenge. Looking forward to your 2013 reads.

219ivyd
dec 22, 2012, 1:49pm

Congratulations, Lori! Enjoy your vacation!

220lkernagh
dec 22, 2012, 3:05pm

Thanks everyone! I was out today doing some odds and sods shopping first thing this morning and came home by 10:30 am completely done in by the holiday shopping crush. Good news: the only shopping left now before the 25th is for some groceries to carry us through until after Boxing Day.... not surprisingly, my preference is to hibernate at home (with books) and avoid the consumer insanity!

I have managed to pull together my challenge wrap-up but the computer (or the internet) seems to be going to lala land..... I will check back later and will probably post the wrap-up later this afternoon.

221DeltaQueen50
dec 22, 2012, 3:39pm

Congratulations on completing your challenge, Lori! I will have to star What What Lost for when we do the Costa Award next year, it sounds good.

I was out to the grocery store this morning, and I must say, everyone seemed to leave their Christmas spirit outside the store. There was an almost grim determination as people wheeled through. I have one more trip to the grocery store on the 24th for all the last minute stuff, I think I am going to get up and be there by 8:00 am cause it's going to be crazy!

222lkernagh
dec 22, 2012, 5:42pm

> 221 - Hi Judy, Thanks! What Was Lost is good. I look forward to seeing what you think of it if you do read it next year as a Costa book for the AwardCAT.

As for the shoppers... tell me about it. People that leave things to the last minute, or are feeling pressure of the holiday season need to think about checking the negative attitude at the door. Here is hoping your last grocery store trip isn't dampened by the crazy shopper crowd!

----------------

Fingers crossed, I should be able to post my wrap up.........

223lkernagh
dec 22, 2012, 5:53pm

12 in 12 CHALLENGE WRAP-UP
Honorable mentions are provided for books that were part of my Overflow reading and not my 12 in 12 challenge.

"Best in Category": - Top book from each category based on rating


Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke
The Island Walkers by John Bemrose
Memento Mori by Muriel Sparks
Always Kiss the Corpse on Whidbey Island by Sandy Frances Duncan and George Szanto
How to Build an Android by David F. Duffy
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Raven's Seal by Andrei Baltakmens
Underground Time by Delphine de Viagan
Dreams and Due Diligence by Joe Sornberger
2666 by Roberto Bolano
Ru by Kim Thuy
Strawberries in January by Evelyne de la Cheneliere

Best "Rainy Day Fluff" Reads:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Honorable Mentions:

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Heath
Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

Best "Non-Fiction" Read: - From 11 read

How to Build and Android by David E. Duffy

Best "Female Author" Read: - From 32 read

Ru by Kim Thuy

Best "Male Author" Read: - From 44 read

The Island Walkers by John Bemrose
Honorable Mention:

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Best "Educational Fiction" Read:

Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation by Alan Lightman

Best "Adventure" Read:

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Best "Historical Fiction" Read: - 2 way tie

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
The Raven's Seal by Andrei Baltakmens

Best "Speculative Fiction" Read: - 2 way tie

Ad Eternum by Elizabeth Bear
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

"Most Original Story":

City by Alessandro Baricco

Best "Plot":

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Best "Character/Character Development":

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - character: Thomas Cromwell
Honorable Mention:

October by Richard B. Wright - character: James Hillyer

Best "Writing Style": - 3 way tie

The Island Walkers by John Bemrose
Ru by Kim Thuy
Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco
Honorable Mention:

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

Top Three "Premise": - perfectly conveyed what the book was billed as being

The Island Walkers by John Bemrose
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Ru by Kim Thuy

Top Three "Imagery": - able to 'see' the story as I was reading it
The Island Walkers by John Bemrose
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
March by Kim Thuy

Best "Not too long, not too short - just right length" Reads: - 6 way tie

Strawberries in January by Evelyne de la Chenelière
Ru by Kim Thuy
Touch by Alexi Zentner
Fences by August Wilson
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco

224thornton37814
dec 22, 2012, 6:24pm

Nice wrap up!

225AHS-Wolfy
dec 22, 2012, 7:13pm

Very thorough!

226paruline
dec 22, 2012, 7:16pm

Good recap!

227dudes22
dec 22, 2012, 7:48pm

Congratultions on finishing! And it looks like I may have to come back to your wrap-up to make sure there isn't something else I should wish list that I might have missed. I saw a few titles that looked intriguing at a quick glance.

228lkernagh
dec 23, 2012, 11:34am

Thanks Everyone! While I am itching to get started on my 2013 challenge - 9 more sleeps! - I will continue to hang around and post my holiday reading here, transitioning to the new group on January 1st.

While the Victoria I live is expected to have its usual wet, as opposed to white Christmas, here is my idea of a Victorian themed Christmas and my holiday greeting for everyone here:



image courtesy of Scrapsplanet

229-Eva-
dec 23, 2012, 5:44pm

Congratulations on finishing!!!! Great wrap-up too. You've had a good reading year - here's to the next one being even better! :)

230DeltaQueen50
dec 23, 2012, 11:15pm

Merry Christmas, Lori. I have enjoyed following your reading again this year, and look forward to continuing on into the new year. 2013 Category Challenge here we come!

231hailelib
dec 24, 2012, 9:18am

Have a good holiday, Lori, and a great new year.

232AHS-Wolfy
dec 24, 2012, 3:47pm

Thanks for your Christmas wishes and I hope the season is good for you too. Enjoy the holidays!

233SouthernKiwi
dec 25, 2012, 10:16pm

Fantastic wrap up Lori. Merry christmas and happy new year, hope you have a lovely holiday break!

234lkernagh
dec 26, 2012, 11:25am

Thanks Eva and thank you for the holiday wishes Judy, Tricia, Dave and Alana!

We had a great Christmas and now that Boxing Day sales are week long events, I am enjoying my morning relaxing at home, getting caught up on LT. My other half surprised me with a great gift: On Her Majesty's Secret Service on blue ray disc and a wonderfully good condition first edition of the book:


We had been discussing our favorite Bond movie after seeing Skyfall and he remembered I had mentioned that Her Majesty's Secret Service has always been - and continues to be - my favorite Bond movie. He is not revealing how he managed to track down the first edition copy of the book. Since I have only seen the movie, I am looking forward to now reading the book!

I have a few more books finished, including my "Q" and "V" authors to finish my Alphabet Challenge!

235lkernagh
dec 26, 2012, 11:27am

Book #85 - What Dress Makes of Us by Dorothy Quigley
Category: - .... but I am trying to be - Overflow



This little book - roughly 150 pages long, including a bunch of half page illustrations - was the perfect e-book download from the Project Gutenberg website to fit as a "Q" author read for my Author Surname Alphabet Challenge. Originally published in 1897, this fashion critique/commentary is entertaining reading.... if for nothing more than the audacity with which Quigley attacks the fashion faux pas of her fellow lady, and man. Some of the advice is still of common sense usage for our modern times - horizontal stripes only enhance the girth of the human body, that dark colours are more slimming for a figure and how to breakup the visual effect to minimize drawing attention to as trouble spot. It was shockingly interesting to read the viewpoint that one's physical appearance gives way to identification of personality types - that a woman with a protruding nose "should aim to modify the unhappy angularity of her profile as well as to repress her gossipy tendencies." and other comments of this type which are peppered throughout the book.

The book starts out with Quigley thanking the editors of the New York Sun and New York Journal for for kindly allowing her to include in this book articles which she had contributed to their respective papers. The appointed (or possibly self-appointed) fashion adviser to the masses will have you chuckling at the fashions of the period and how freely she communicates "exactly what she thinks".

Overall, a fun, quick and entertaining look at late 19th century fashion advice. If you choose to read this one, I recommend downloading either the epub or kindle versions with the images, which are quite good line drawings and are good visuals aides for Quigley's commentary.

Decimal Rating: 3.50
Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: e-book download
# of Pages: 150 pages
Source: Project Gutenberg download
Male/Female Author: Female

236lkernagh
dec 26, 2012, 11:30am

Book #86 - The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Category: - .... but I am trying to be - Overflow



'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into to holiday spirit. But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed: no, his dog is hasn't run away from home. But Joshua is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old boy has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.
Joshua's prayer is heard and Archangel Raziel's sacred mission of the Christmas Miracle is a misadventure that turns Pine Cove's Lonesome Christmas into deranged, zombie mayhem.

I laughed so hard I cried reading this one. I am new to Moore's zany world and I have to say..... I like it! Anyone who has ever lived in a tourist town can appreciate Christmas time in Pine Cove - besides, where else can you find a "Brine's Bait, Tackle, and Fine Wines" shop or a town with one lone lankly constable in charge, who tends to leave his Glock at home when on duty? The residents are a kooky lot, and well worth a visit during the holidays, and a great way to unwind from an otherwise stressful holiday season.

As per the author's warning at the start of the book:
If you're buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex. Don't blame me. I told you.
Adding Moore to my "must read" list.

Decimal Rating: 3.50
3.25 - Plot Development
3.50 - Character Development
3.50 - Writing Style
3.75 - Premise
3.75 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 3.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 320 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

237lkernagh
Redigerat: dec 26, 2012, 11:33am

Book #87 - Beyond Suspicion by Tanguy Viel - translated from the French by Linda Coverdale
Category: - .... but I am trying to be - Overflow



Beyond Suspicion is a Hitchcockian tale of marriage, murder, and betrayal. The novel opens at a lavish wedding reception in the south of France. Two pairs of siblings have become one big happy family. Or have they? When Lise is kidnapped and Henri disappears, what began as a simple blackmail scheme turns more sinister.
Billed as being of the noir genre, I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I was drawn into the story. This isn't a hard-boiled crime novella. It is more a poetic sleeper of a story - where the surface has the tranquil beauty of a calm sea in its lyrical prose but below the surface lurks dark, menacing undercurrents of greed, passion and conceit. Told entirely from the point of view of Sam as he revisits the events of his memory, the reader is exposed to the moral dilemmas of our main character.

At a short 170 pages in length, this is a story that can easily be read quickly in one sitting, or slowly savored. Now if only I can find more crime novels written in this manner and style.....

Decimal Rating: 4.17
3.00 - Plot Development
4.50 - Character Development
4.75 - Writing Style
4.00 - Premise
4.35 - Imagery/Visualization
4.50 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 170 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

238IrishHolger
dec 26, 2012, 11:58am

234: What an utterly fantastic present and what a lovely first edition. You must be over the moon.

239thornton37814
dec 26, 2012, 4:42pm

Those old books on fashion do make for interesting reads. They are also quite useful for dating photographs and other genealogical pursuits!

240-Eva-
dec 27, 2012, 11:54pm

->234 lkernagh:
That's a very nice gift. Great cover!

241lkernagh
dec 28, 2012, 2:51am

> 238 - Thanks and I am! We watched the movie Christmas Day, along with other DVDs that we had on hand. It is such a classic Bond movie!

> 239 - I agree Lori, the old fashion books are a wealth of information. I never thought about their use for dating photos and for genealogy activities, but that makes a lot of sense!

> 240 - Thanks Eva! The next review might interest you.......

242lkernagh
dec 28, 2012, 2:56am

Book #88 - Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
Category: - .... but I am trying to be - Overflow



A quick review only as there are already some great reviews on the book page for this one. I was over the moon when an ARC of this one arrived in my mail before the holidays!

This is the best Flavia de Luce story so far, IMO, and a very nice improvement over the last installment, I am Half Sick of Shadows, which was still good but a bit of a letdown for me after the first three books. I really enjoyed the plot and the further character development in this story. Flavia seems to have grown up a little here compared to previous installments, but that doesn't stop her from getting into trouble while she investigates the discovery of yet another dead body - this time the church organist - as the village prepares to open the tomb of St. Tancred, Bishop's Lacey's patron saint.

Between dealing with a friendly flora-archaeologist visitor to the area, worrying over de Luce family problems at Buckshaw that seem to have come to a head, and unraveling the mystery of the dead body - not to mention the secret Flavia discovers at Bogmore Hall - it is all an 11-year-old can do to carry on and see the mystery solved, even if it means clandestine activities that are a risk to Flavia's wardrobe, and her safety.

I have never had such nail-biting enjoyment out of what would otherwise be billed as a quaint mystery read. A great page-turner and a fantastic story to stay up late reading. If you enjoy quaint English village murder mysteries and haven't discovered Bradley's series with his precocious young chemist/detective, what are you waiting for? ;-)

Decimal Rating: 4.33
4.00 - Plot Development
4.50 - Character Development
3.75 - Writing Style
4.75 - Premise
4.00 - Imagery/Visualization
5.00 - Length

Star Rating: 4.50 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: ARC Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 400 pages
Source: Friend
Male/Female Author: Male

243cbl_tn
dec 28, 2012, 7:43am

Flavia is definitely in top form in this one. Don't you hate the suspense created by that cliffhanger ending, though?!

244lkernagh
dec 28, 2012, 11:23am

It's one of the best cliffhanger's I have come across for some time..... the suspense is going to drive me crazy!

245lkernagh
dec 28, 2012, 1:29pm

I came across this fun meme on a couple of threads over on the 75 group where one answers the questions using the titles of the books they have read in 2012 to provide the answers and decided it would be fun to see what my answers to the questions would be:

Describe yourself: Beyond Suspicion

Describe how you feel: Great Expectations

Describe where you currently live: The Kitchen House

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The World Above the Sky

Your favorite form of transportation: Driving Miss Daisy

Your best friend is: Judith

You and your friends are: Gentlemen of the Road - best fit and yes, I am aware that 'gentlemen' doesn't quite work as a description for both genders. ;-)

What’s the weather like: October

You fear: The Hangman

What is the best advice you have to give: Never Hug a Mugger on Quadra Island

Thought for the day: Things Fall Apart

How I would like to die: A Widow for One Year

My soul’s present condition: A Far Cry from Kensington

246dudes22
dec 28, 2012, 2:34pm

Lori - I've only read the first Flavia book so didn't ask for this ER. Looks like I need to do some catching up if it's so good. Maybe # 2 from one of my gift cards.

Going to copy your meme whenI get home and see what my answers will be. I already know a couple. Love the "best advice" title.

247GingerbreadMan
dec 29, 2012, 8:45am

Wow, a LOT going on in the last couple of weeks here!

Happy belated holidays! Hope you're snuggled up with a good book still, a good way away from the hustle of the post-christmas sales.

Congratulations on finishing the challenge - and with such an interesting read and good review too. Noting and thumbing What was lost for sure.

Great summary of the year - you really had a strong foundation for making that summary with your rating system!

>237 lkernagh: I picked up a book by Viel at a library sale a few years ago, but haven't read it. I've never come across anyone who's read anything by him, so your review was a nice surprise. Won't find room for it in 2013, I don't think, but am happy to have it on the TBR!

>245 lkernagh: That looks like fun. Don't think I'll find time for it though - still have my year summary to do...

248-Eva-
dec 30, 2012, 1:18pm

->242 lkernagh:
Oh, I am glad you enjoyed it. It is so fun to find a series that seems to get better with time - I do hope he manages to keep it up!

249lkernagh
dec 31, 2012, 12:16am

> 246 - Betty, I am jealous that you have only read the first Flavia book so far.... that means you get 4 more books of entertainment to look forward to! The meme was a lot of fun and rather easy to pull together when I started looking at the books I read this year.

> 247 - Hi Anders! Nice to see you and Thanks! Now I am itching to know which Viel book you picked up. Beyond Suspicion is the only one my local library has - probably due to a lack of translations of his works into English - but I will be keeping my eye out for more of his books from other sources.

> 248 - Love it, Loved it, Loved it!!!! I hope he can keep this up.

-------------------

I finished the last book that I will read for 2012 this evening so it is one more book review and then I will be shutting shop and asking everyone to follow me over to my 2013 challenge thread. First, the review.........

250lkernagh
dec 31, 2012, 12:18am

Book #89 - Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard
Category: - .... but I am trying to be - Overflow



It's the Christmas season, and Mr. Timothy Cratchit has just buried his father. He's also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent "Uncle" Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London's underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets. Timothy's life takes a sharp turn when he discovers the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with the same cruel brand on the upper arm. The sight of their horror-struck faces compels Timothy to become the protector of another young girl, Philomela, from the fate the others suffered at the hands of a dangerous and powerful man.
For my last book of 2012, I wanted to read something with a Christmas theme, that would fit the Reading Through Time Challenge December theme read "Victorian Era". Having read Louis Bayard's The Black Tower a few years back - and being completely captivated by the story - I figured now was a good time to see how Bayard manages to breath adult life into "Tiny Tim" from Dicken's A Christmas Carol.

As far as historical mystery fictions go, this one is a gem of a story. 1860 London, England and its people comes to life under Bayard's pen. Timothy is an intriguing character and I do like how Bayard has given Timothy ghosts of his own to face, chase through passageways and mentally write letters to. The plot is intricate, and rolls along at a fast pace with some hair-raising moments. To add to the fun, Bayard inserts one or two surprises for the reader, and yes, Ebenezer Scrooge - "Uncle N" - is here, reprising his role from Dicken's famous story. As Uncle N says to Timothy, when discussing the topic of ghosts: "I used to see spirits, too, Tim. Terrible things. How I miss them."

Overall, a very good story I would recommend for readers of historical mysteries that enjoy books set in Victorian London.

Decimal Rating: 4.14
4.00 - Plot Development
3.85 - Character Development
4.25 - Writing Style
4.75 - Premise
4.00 - Imagery/Visualization
4.00 - Length

Star Rating: 4.00 Stars
Book Stats:
Format: Trade Paperback
# of Pages: 416 pages
Source: GVPL
Male/Female Author: Male

251lkernagh
dec 31, 2012, 12:24am

And this closes off my reading for 2012. I have had a great reading year and I have enjoyed all the fantastic book reviews/comments and great conversations that have occurred in this group over the course of the year. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the very best for 2013!

For those of you that haven't found it yet, you can find my new thread over on the 2013 Category Challenge Group by clicking this link.

252GingerbreadMan
dec 31, 2012, 3:12am

Congratulations! Well timed too! Mr. Timothy sounds like one for my wife, so I'll make a sneaky note of it until it's gift giving time again.

253thornton37814
dec 31, 2012, 9:06am

Mr. Timothy sounds like a good candidate for next December's reading.

254lkernagh
dec 31, 2012, 12:08pm

> 252 - Thanks Anders! I do hope Flea will like it. It might help if I say, for me it was like reading a mystery that is a cross between Charles Dickens and Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White for setting the stage and the overall atmosphere of the story.

> 253 - Hi Lori, with its Christmas theme, it does make for a good December book!

255Bcteagirl
jan 1, 2013, 4:23pm

Congratulations on all your great reading! Will star your 2013 thread for the new year. :)

256-Eva-
jan 1, 2013, 7:17pm

You're already starred for next year!

257christina_reads
jan 1, 2013, 8:34pm

Belated congratulations on completing your challenge, Lori! See you in the 2013 group! :)

258ivyd
jan 5, 2013, 3:16pm

I'm finally catching up on threads since Christmas...

I love your year-end wrap-up!
Can't wait to read the new Flavia book!
And the Christmas present is fabulous! I read all the (Fleming) Bond books years and years ago, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service was my favorite. I'll be interested to see what you think of it.

See you in the 2013 challenge!

259psutto
jan 7, 2013, 10:01am

missed lots of good stuff here, going off to find you on the 2013 now....