Sally Lou's 2022 ROOT challenge

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Sally Lou's 2022 ROOT challenge

1sallylou61
Redigerat: nov 30, 2022, 5:21 pm

I was planning to drop out of this group for 2022, and then decided that I would definitely miss it, particularly the people. However, I'm lowering my goal to 24 this year. I would rather surpass than need to play catch-up at the end of the year to make it (as I did in 2021). The past couple of years I've ended up reading a lot of new books. In 2022 I'm planning to read as much as possible in the various challenges from books I already own. I am counting any books I owned on December 31, 2021 plus "assigned reading" including LT early reviewer books and books read for book clubs, adult education classes and community reads.



1. Taken Too Soon: a Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell -- bought in March 2021 -- finished reading January 5th.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell -- book club read -- bought Dec. 2021 -- finished reading January 19th.
3. Beloved by Toni Morrison -- bought in Aug. 2019 -- finished reading for book club February 13th.
4. Lorraine Hansberry: The Life behind A Raisin in the Sun by Charles J. Shields -- LibraryThing Early Reviewers -- finished reading Feb. 16th.
5. Song of Myself by Walt Whitman (Final 1892 edition) -- bought in summer 2021 -- finished reading Feb. 17th.
6. Claws for Alarm by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown -- birthday gift, Nov. 2021 -- finished reading Feb. 19th
7. The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear -- bought in March 2021 -- finished reading Feb. 23rd
8. A Changing Light by Edith Maxwell -- bought in July 2021 -- finished reading Mar. 5th.
9. The Gambler Wife: a True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman who Saved Dostoyevsky by Andrew D. Kaufman -- OLLI Community Read -- finished Mar. 6th
10. We Are Not Free by Traci Chee -- book club read -- finished reading Mar. 24th.
11. King Lear by William Shakespeare -- OLLI class -- finished reading Mar. 29th
12. An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg -- OLLI class beginning Apr. 1st -- finished reading Mar. 31st.
13. Bone Fire by Mark Spragg -- OLLI class -- finished reading Apr. 13th
14. Blindness by José Saramago, translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero for a book group read -- finished Apr. 18th.
15. Montpelier and the Madisons: House, Home, and American Heritage by Matthew G. Hyland -- received in November 2007, finished reading May 7th.
16. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston -- bought March 2020 -- finished reading May 21st.
17. Whereabouts : a Novel written in Italian and translated into English by Jhumpa Lahiri -- bought in August 2021 -- finished reading May 28th
18. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson -- for book club read -- finished reading June 9th
19. The Women's March -- Jennifer Chiaverini -- Christmas gift in 2021 -- finished reading June 13th
20. The Barbizon: The Hotel that Set Women Free by Paulina Bren -- bought May 2021 -- finished reading June 17th
21. Still Water: Poems by Jewelle Gomez -- for LT Early Reviewers -- finished reading June 21st.
22. Voices in the Dead House by Norman Lock -- for LT Early Reviewers -- finished reading July 9th.
23. Sooley by John Grisham -- bought May 4, 2021 -- finished reading July 27th.
24. The Stranger by Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward -- purchased in Dec. 2014 -- reread for book club, finished reading August 16th
25. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro -- purchased Aug. 2020 -- finished reading Aug. 25th.
26. Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker -- OLLI mystery novels class -- finished reading Aug. 28th.
27. The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty -- Colonnades book club -- finished reading Aug. 29th.
28. Shroud for a Nightingale by P. D. James -- OLLI mystery novels class -- finished reading Sept. 5th.
29. Misjudged by James Chandler -- OLLI mystery novels class -- finished reading Sept. 14th.
30. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje -- Northside Library Book Club -- finished reading Sept. 17th
31. Angels Flight by Michael Connelly -- OLLI mystery novels class -- finished reading Sept. 26th
32. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore -- Colonnades Book Club -- finished reading Oct. 9th
33. March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution by Will Englund -- Virginia Festival of the Book 2018 -- finished reading Oct. 24th
34. True Compass: a Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy -- bought in Nov. 2018 -- finished reading Nov. 30th

2Jackie_K
dec 29, 2021, 2:17 pm

Glad to see you decided to join us again! I think lowering your goal sounds very sensible. Nobody needs to put extra pressure on themselves, particularly not right now!

3rabbitprincess
dec 29, 2021, 6:53 pm

I'm glad you joined us again! I lowered my goal this year, too.

4MissWatson
jan 4, 2022, 4:49 am

I'm glad you reconsidered about spending time with us. It's all about enjoying your reading, after all, not a competition.

5sallylou61
jan 6, 2022, 10:55 am

>2 Jackie_K:, >3 rabbitprincess:, >4 MissWatson:. Thank you all for welcoming me back. I'm glad to be back. I enjoy reading; however, I have a tendency to buy too many new books, and unsuccessfully try to read them to keep them from becoming a backlog. I purchased/received at least twice as many books last year as I read.

6sallylou61
Redigerat: jan 6, 2022, 11:18 am

First ROOT for 2022: Taken Too Soon: a Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell -- purchased March 2021 -- finished reading January 5th.
In this story, midwife Rose Carroll has finally married her long-time lover David Dodge whose mother had kept trying to prevent. However, at the wedding reception, Rose is notified that her elderly aunt's teenage female ward has been murdered, and she is requested to go at once to the aunt's house. David and Rose go. This story features a number of suspects including David's estranged older brother, an elderly male member of the local Friends Meeting, a young Native American, and teenaged girl who works at the same factory at which the murdered worked, etc. Included are family mysteries. I particularly liked the portrayal of the Native American family, which included a female midwife (and mother of the suspect); the prejudice of people against Native Americans, (and Irish immigrants), and females is shown.

7rocketjk
jan 6, 2022, 12:03 pm

I'm still catching up on 2022 threads. I, too, am glad you decided to stay. Happy reading this year. Cheers!

8sallylou61
Redigerat: jan 20, 2022, 5:54 pm

Second ROOT for January and the year: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
I enjoyed much of this very long book club book although I thought parts of it dragged. There was too much conversation concerning labor theory for my taste. The North and South were the industrial North of England at the time of the industrial revolution and the agrarian South (including the city of London); two different cultures were portrayed. The book also illustrated class differences between the more wealthy aristocrats and factory owners versus the very poor mill workers, who hardly made enough to feed their families. The heroine, Margaret Hale had a lot of responsibility thrown upon her including preparing and packing for the journey when her father decided to move from the South to Milton, an industrial Northern city, and taking care of both parents plus trying to help some poor families she befriended in Milton. I was disappointed with the ending of the book which was a letdown concerning a love affair .

9Caramellunacy
jan 21, 2022, 3:28 am

>8 sallylou61: I came to North and South last year by way of the TV adaptation starring Richard Armitage, so I was surprised about how much page time labor theory got and how little the more romantic elements. I enjoyed both a great deal.

10cyderry
jan 31, 2022, 5:09 pm

Glad you're back!

11sallylou61
feb 6, 2022, 7:06 pm

>10 cyderry:. Thanks.

12sallylou61
feb 17, 2022, 2:49 pm

First ROOT for February and 3rd overall: Beloved by Toni Morrison
I had purchased this book in August 2019 shortly after Ms. Morrison's death, and had tried reading it both in 2019 and 2020 but had not gotten very far. This time for the book club, I read the whole book, and after getting past the places where I had stopped earlier, enjoyed it although at times I found it hard to follow. I think a large part of my difficulty was cultural; I am white, and do not believe in ghosts or coming back from the dead, and the character Beloved was both. The story showed the brutality of slavery and its effects on AfroAmericans particularly, even after slavery was over. However, I found some passages beautifully written.

13sallylou61
feb 17, 2022, 3:38 pm

Second ROOT for February and 4th overall: Lorraine Hansberry: The Life behind A Raisin in the Sun by Charles J. Shields -- LibraryThing Early Reviewers

In my opinion, the very best part of this book tells the story of the production of A Raisin in the Sun including all the complications of getting it performed on Broadway. That part was fascinating. The story of Lorraine Hansberry's life is interesting; it shows the many conflicts which she felt. She experimented with Communism and lesbian, and she and her white husband were codependent on each other. However, in my opinion, there was much too much information on her family in the early part of the book which describes in detail her father's business dealings. He was a slum landlord as was the rest of her family following his death. Ms. Hansberry wrote a powerful play showing the lives of a poor black family living in a small kitchenette apartment in Chicago at the same time she owned a couple of such buildings.

14rocketjk
feb 18, 2022, 12:03 pm

>13 sallylou61: Wow. That looks like a terrific biography. Thanks!

15sallylou61
feb 18, 2022, 11:45 pm

>14 rocketjk:. The book went on the market on January 18 of this year so that it is already out.

16sallylou61
Redigerat: feb 24, 2022, 12:52 pm

Third ROOT for February and 5th overall: Song of Myself by Walt Whitman. (Final 1892 edition)
I bought a volume containing both the first (1855) and final editions last summer thinking I might take a workshop on it, which I did not. I'm disappointed that this volume does not contain any commentary on the poem; I missed the underlining meaning discussed in some online posts. However, I enjoyed reading the lyrics of the poem, some of which were beautiful. It was also interesting reading the language of the 19th century as used by Whitman.

17sallylou61
Redigerat: mar 11, 2022, 4:05 pm

Fourth ROOT for February and 6th overall: Claws for Alarm by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown
This mystery featured three deaths, of which one of an elderly woman was initially thought by officials to be natural. This latest Mrs. Murphy Mystery once again included a story from the late 18th century since its setting was on land featured in the 21st century. This time the 18th century story was not a mystery and really had nothing to do with the current story; I found it very annoying. The 21st century mystery was interesting but not surprising.

18sallylou61
feb 24, 2022, 12:32 pm

Fifth ROOT for February and 7th overall: The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear.
Place is extremely important in this book, set during WWII; the copy I read, a Barnes & Noble exclusive, even contained an essays concerning place. The story is mainly set in London and a lesser degree in Kent, but sending personnel to France in the war effort is also important. War is constant in this story; a main mystery is about whether a young teenage message runner who ran delivering messages as bombing was occurring in London really saw a man murdered. The effect of war is stressed with several war damaged characters. In addition to her investigating, Maisie Dobbs also is a mother (via adoption) who finally marries her American agent lover. There are few too many threads for my taste.

19connie53
mar 5, 2022, 6:17 am

Hi Sally Lou, I've been away from LT Threads for a while. Too much going on in my life the last months. I see you are still going strong with your reading.

20sallylou61
mar 5, 2022, 11:15 pm

First ROOT for March and 8th overall: A Changing Light, a Quaker Midwife Mystery by Edith Maxwell. This is the last book in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series; unfortunately, the books did not sell well enough to be profitable. This is by far the shortest book in the series, and serves as a goodby. Midwife Rose Carroll was married in the previous volume, and in this one she has her first child. Many characters who appeared in other volumes are brought back, at least briefly. The mystery is weaker than in many of the earlier books; the murderer is the character I suspected from early in the story. At the end, Rose decides she is not going to be involved in solving any more murders; she wants to devote her time to her family and midwifery.

21sallylou61
Redigerat: mar 6, 2022, 11:49 pm

Second ROOT for March and 9th overall: The Gambler Wife: a True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman who Saved Dostoyevsky by Andrew D. Kaufman -- OLLI Community Read -- finished Mar. 6th
The woman is Dostoyevsky's wife, Anna Dostoyevskaya. I thought the title was odd, being Gambler Wife instead Gambler's Wife. However, the book makes clear that Anna herself was a gambler, not at roulette table, but in the chances she took in her support of her husband, including marrying him in the first place and founding her own publishing company to publish his works -- the first woman in Russia to start and maintain such a company by herself (i.e. doing most the work and not having any partner in the enterprise). The Dostoyevsky family lived in poverty during much of their life together, and through her management of money, Anna managed the survival of the family. She also supported her husband in his writing as a stenographer and understanding and managing his disposition which allowed him to write.

22sallylou61
Redigerat: mar 31, 2022, 2:45 pm

Third ROOT for March and 10th overall: We Are Not Free by Traci Chee.
This is a ya novel featuring 14 Japanese-American teenagers who were forced by the American government into incarceration camps during WWII. The families could take very little with them, and lived in two-room barracks in camps surrounded by barbed wire fences and guard towers. Ms. Chee featured 14 main characters to show that the situations were different for different families. Each chapter told the story of one teenager and his/her family although many of the teenagers were friends and are mentioned in various chapters. Fortunately, a list of the main characters appears in the Character Registry in the front of the book, and a picture supposedly drawn by one of the teenagers appears in the back. This book describes a very sorry event in U.S. history.

23sallylou61
mar 31, 2022, 3:38 pm

Fourth ROOT for March and 11th overall: King Lear by William Shakespeare
Although I had heard a little about the play prior to reading it for class, I don't think that I had ever read it. I was surprised by how many of the characters were killed in the play. Although Lear was the main character, the play featured siblings (three sisters and two brothers) who hated each other enough that they wanted to kill each other.

At my age (late 70s), I find Shakespeare hard to read; I don't plan to take any additional classes on his plays.

24sallylou61
mar 31, 2022, 3:43 pm

Fifth ROOT for March and 12th overall: An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg
Tomorrow I start taking an OLLI adult education class on Mark Spragg. We'll be studying An Unfinished Life and its sequel, Bone Fire. For An Unfinished Life, we will both read the novel and watch the film based in it. I enjoyed reading An Unfinished Life about family relationships featuring Einar, a 70-year old white man and Mitch, a crippled black man who has been his friend of many years and was mauled by a bear, who are unexpectedly visited by the Jean, the man's daughter-in-law (widow of his son whom he blames for his son's death) and Griff, his granddaughter. Griff helps heal the family.

25sallylou61
apr 13, 2022, 9:39 pm

First ROOT for April and 13th overall: Bone Fire by Mark Spragg
I read this for for our OLLI class. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with this sequel to An Unfinished Life. The story takes place approximately 8 to 10 years later than An Unfinished Life. Mitch, one of my favorite characters, has died and Einar and Griff, although prominent, are not as heavily featured. Two of the other main characters, Jean and Crane, have what I find as unpleasing personalities. The writing in this book seems choppy; the going back and forth between the stories of the various characters does not run as smoothy as in An Unfinished Life. Sometimes I had a hard time figuring out what characters were being discussed; the characters portrayed sometimes changed within a chapter. Also, I thought that the ending was more unresolved than in the earlier book. I hope we do get time to discuss this book in some depth in class; our instructor is a therapist, and the characters are damaged.

26sallylou61
apr 25, 2022, 7:02 pm

Second ROOT for April and 14th overall: I read Blindness by José Saramago, translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero, for my book club.

I was among the majority of the group who did not like this novel. Almost everyone in an unnamed city goes blind. The characters are never call by name but referred to by phrases such as the doctor, the doctor's wife, the girl with dark glasses, the man wearing an eye patch, etc. The sentences run on and on, and there is relatively little punctuation in the book. I had to read some passages more than once to figure out who was talking. The first part of the book is especially unpleasant where the blind and the partially blind are placed in a jail-like institution where they are cruelly treated. Our group leader asked us what the blind represented, something which I had not tried to figure out since I tend to read novels for the stories they tell instead of underlying meanings.

27sallylou61
maj 7, 2022, 3:20 pm

First ROOT for May and 15th overall:
Montpelier and the Madisons: House, Home, and American Heritage by Matthew G. Hyland

I received this book as a birthday gift two days after joining LT in 2007. Probably the reason I had not read this entire book before now is that the beginning chapters are very uninteresting talking about the inventory of property (including slaves) that the various generations of Madisons before the President had. The main part of the book describes the interests in architecture and farming which President James Madison had in his adult life. He was very much involved in the design and construction of the house he remodeled and considered himself a gentleman farmer. Madison is compared to both Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe in these endeavors. The story is "padded" with discussing the estates of other men including relatives. As Madison was aging Montpelier became rundown; Madison could not afford caring for his slaves, many of which were too young or too old to work, and maintaining the house. The Madisons' dealing with the slaves is more in their philosophy of treating them; not with their interaction with the slaves or how the slaves lived. The history of Montpelier after Dolley was forced to sell it for financial reasons is not discussed in any detail although the restoration of Montpelier to the way it was during the Madisons' time is mentioned. That included taking off the duPont additions. {Marian duPont Scott was the last owner who gave Montpelier to the National Trust; in addition to additions to the house, Ms. Scott was a horse woman and the property includes a race tract which is still being used.}

28sallylou61
Redigerat: maj 31, 2022, 1:30 pm

Second ROOT for May and 16th overall: Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston, edited by Genevieve West.
This book contains 21 short pieces, mostly stories, which Hurston wrote during the Harlem Renaissance. Most of the pieces are set in either Harlem or in Easton, Florida, where Hurston grew up. They feature a lot of dialect, and many have religious connections. Some are numbered lists; this is why I'm calling them pieces instead of stories. Ms. West discovered these stories in publications, mainly magazines, of the period or in manuscript form in archives.

29sallylou61
Redigerat: maj 31, 2022, 1:30 pm

Third ROOT for May and 17th overall: Whereabouts, both written in Italian and translated into English, by Jhumpa Lahiri has "A Novel" as its subtitle on the book jacket. However, in my opinion, it is numerous (over 45) vignettes told by the same unnamed narrator about her thoughts and experiences in an unnamed location in Italy. Many of the vignettes are beautifully written although I became rather tired of them by the end of this short (157 p. of text) book. (Perhaps I tried to read the book over too short a time period.) Also, I was disappointed with the ending which seemed abrupt.

30connie53
jun 5, 2022, 7:35 am

Hi Allison. I've been neglecting the ROOTers for some time. Live, sunny days, babysitting the grandkids and doing volunteer work for the library at Lonne's school. And reading of course. Today is a rainy day with some thunderstrokes. A perfect Sunday for reading al those neglected threads.

I see you are still reading those ROOTs and far past the halfway-point already! Great job and congrats on that!

31sallylou61
Redigerat: jun 30, 2022, 2:28 pm

First ROOT for June and 18th overall: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, which I read for a book club.
Ms. Wilkerson discusses the caste system in 3 countries: India, Nazi Germany, and the United States. She considers the whole racial situation to be part of caste. Ms. Wilkerson, who is black, explained situations in which she was judged on the basis of her skin color. She also gives interesting examples of experiences of other people based on caste. Although Ms. Wilkerson talks about all three countries, her emphasis is on the United States.

32sallylou61
Redigerat: jun 14, 2022, 12:26 pm

Second ROOT for June and 19th overall: The Women's March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession by Jennifer Chiaverini
It's a story concerning the suffrage march in Washington, DC, the day before Woodrow Wilson's inaugural. Although as a whole I enjoyed the book, unfortunately it was focused on three suffragettes, Alice Paul, Maud Malone, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and kept switching between their stories which made the novel choppy. By including Mrs. Wells-Barnett, it featured a black woman and showed the problems of nonwhites in the suffrage campaign, which was primarily white.

33sallylou61
jun 17, 2022, 12:23 pm

Third ROOT for June and 20th overall: The Barbizon: The Hotel that Set Women Free by Paulina Bren.
It's the story of a 20th century hotel for women in New York City which catered to young single women. Many young women, particularly from the midwest who were not used to cities, came there to find jobs (and husbands). However, the focus of the book is on several programs such as the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school which housed its students there, young women who came hoping to be models or actresses, and particularly on the Mademoiselle guest editors (GE) program in which chosen young college women spent a month working as a guest editor under the supervision of a department head. Many names of famous women were mentioned in the book. However, the most attention is focused on some writers such as Joan Didion, Gael Greene, and particularly Sylvia Plath whose The Bell Jar is based on her experiences at the hotel.

The Barbizon could be a very lonely place for many women. A chapter describes these women and shows how the hotel tried to hide information about suicides.

There is much repetition in the book, and no index.

34sallylou61
jun 22, 2022, 10:00 pm

Fourth ROOT for June and 21st overall: Still Water: Poems by Jewelle Gomez for LT Early Reviewers.
Ms. Gomez, a lesbian of Native American and Black descent, has written powerful poems about people who have been discriminated against. Many of the poems are for particular people or mention people by name in their text. The people so named can be looked up on the web which makes the poems especially meaningful. Other people for whom poems are written are identified only a first name. Ms. Gomez features such topics as lesbianism, skin color, interracial marriage, gay marriage, observing people on public transportation, her own childhood and family relations, and aging, plus many other subjects.

35sallylou61
Redigerat: jul 10, 2022, 2:21 pm

First ROOT for July and 22nd overall: Voices in the Dead House by Norman Lock.
My review for LT ER:
Voices in the Dead House is a novel about Walt Whitman and Louisa May Alcott working in hospitals for the Civil War wounded in Washington, DC, in December 1862 and January 1863. Although it is fiction, it is based on facts. The novel is basically in two parts telling about Whitman and then Alcott with a very short section about Whitman at the end. The hospital working experiences of these two authors are described, plus their thoughts about the conditions and literature. They both have some interactions with Negroes; Alcott even attends a church service with a Negro woman. Both sections talk about other literary authors, whom Whitman and Alcott know. The reader would most appreciate this novel if he/she was familiar with Whitman and Alcott and their lives. I found the section on Alcott especially appealing since I already knew a great deal about her life.

The novel covers such a short amount of time since Alcott was only there for a few months before she became seriously ill. Reading this novel makes me want to read Hospital Sketches, her nonfiction book about her experiences there.

Fortunately, in the Afterword, Mr. Lock tells what is fact and what is fiction in his novel. With historical novels about people, this is something I always wonder about if the author does not give this information.

36connie53
jul 19, 2022, 9:29 am

I noticed you are reading a number of books about all sorts of discrimination, Sally Lou. Love it.

37sallylou61
jul 19, 2022, 5:40 pm

>36 connie53:. Thanks. Many of them I read for a book club or an adult education class (and a few for the LT Early Reviewers program). Some were for pleasure (and to take down my backlog.

38sallylou61
Redigerat: jul 31, 2022, 1:15 pm

Second ROOT for July and 23rd overall: Sooley by John Grisham. Bought May 2021, finished reading July 27th.
This is the story of Sooley, a basketball player who is brought from war-torn South Sudan to play basketball in a tournament in the United States. After the tournament he ends up at North Carolina Central in Durham where he makes tremendous progress and leads the team deep into the NCAA tournament. Sooley is selected in the NBA draft after playing college basketball for only one year. Throughout the novel, the scene goes back and forth to the life of his mother and brothers who are refugees in a crowded refugee camp in Africa.

39sallylou61
aug 18, 2022, 12:43 pm

First ROOT in August and 24th overall (meeting my goal): The Stranger by Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward.
I kind of struggled reading this book; I had read it back in 2015 for a class and basically knew the story. I found the main character, Meursault, who is the stranger or outsider in this story unappealing. He seemed a very weak character who was not interested in change (refusing a job promotion which would be leaving Algeria and going to Paris) or in relating to other people. He just seemed to go along with things until the very end when he refused to listen to the priest who came to visit him in jail. In our book group we have several biologists who wondered if Meursault had something physically wrong with him. We also realized that Camus wrote this book during World War II, and that the sun and heat played important roles.

40sallylou61
Redigerat: aug 27, 2022, 12:43 pm

Second ROOT for August and 25th overall: Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro.
This is the only "novel" which short story writer Ms. Munro has written; some people do not consider it really a novel since it is like a group of long short stories tied together around one central character, Del Jordan. I was disappointed in this book; I felt that Del made some poor choices (both in people and in actions), and found her mother and at least one of Del's boy friends to be very unappealing characters.

41sallylou61
Redigerat: aug 28, 2022, 2:22 pm

Third ROOT for August and 26th overall: Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker for my mystery OLLI class starting in September. In this class we will be focusing on the society and culture displayed in the novels. I'm glad that I read Bruno, Chief of Police, but feel that I would understand it better if I knew more about French history, particularly as it relates to the Resistance, and also the structure of the various police units and how they relate to each other. This novel shows life in a small French town where people know each other, and Bruno teaches the young children tennis so that he gets to know them, and hopes to keep them from violence and joining far right or left political groups as teenagers and adults. I like the way that women are portrayed in this novel, which includes professional women, important normal female citizens, and women involved in crime. Although a murder is the first crime being investigated, during the investigation drug trafficking is also discovered and solved.

I am taking two OLLI adult education classes beginning next month which requires reading seven total books, plus I'm now in two book clubs. Therefore, since I'm counting "required reading" in this challenge, I will be adding a number of new books to my "ROOTS."

42sallylou61
aug 30, 2022, 9:58 pm

Fourth ROOT for August and 27th overall: The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty for one of my book clubs.

This is a good discussion book since its ending especially is open to interpretation. This is the story of Laurel, a middle aged professional woman working in Chicago, who returns South to New Orleans where her father, retired widowed Judge McKelva, is having serious eye trouble. Judge McKelva has relatively recently married a second wife, Fay. Unfortunately, Fay is a very self-centered woman who is mean to others. Laurel must deal with both her ill father, who dies after an eye operation, and Fay. Both Laurel and Fay go back to the Judge’s home town in Mississippi after his death for his funeral and burial. Laurel is alone in the house where she grew up for several days, finds correspondence from her father to her mother, and learns more about both of them and herself. This is the part which could use a better explanation in my opinion.

43connie53
Redigerat: sep 11, 2022, 3:54 am

Hi Allison! Just popping in to say hi and checking on your reading. Congrats on reaching your target

44sallylou61
sep 14, 2022, 4:38 pm

>43 connie53:. Thanks, Connie. Congratulations to you for also completing your challenge.

45sallylou61
Redigerat: sep 14, 2022, 4:41 pm

First ROOT for September and 28th overall: Shroud for a Nightingale by P. D. James
I have been reading some mystery novels for my adult education class on that topic. Tomorrow we will be discussing Shroud for a Nightingale by P. D. James, which takes place in Nightingale House where student nurses live. Although this novel was published in 1971 and was supposed to be in current times then, it appears dated. Early on in the story, two student nurses are killed -- one in a class demonstration and other found dead in her bed. The nursing school is rather isolated; the murders appear to be an "inside" crime. Detective Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard is called in to solve the murders. There are many female nurses and nursing students mentioned in the novel in addition to a doctor. Moreover, two more deaths occur by the end of the book. Clues point to several of them. I did not guess the perpetrator/s in advance ; my "candidate" did not do it.

46sallylou61
Redigerat: sep 19, 2022, 7:31 pm

Second ROOT for Sept. and 29th overall: Misjudged by James Chandler, the first book in the Sam Johnstone series.
I think that the book started out kind of slowly, but a large part of it is the murder trial which was fascinating. It seemed as if nearly everything was going wrong for the defense. It is hard to tell who was misjudged in this book: the war injured defendant, the war injured defense attorney (who had lost a leg), the prosecuting attorney, one or two judges, several of these?

47sallylou61
Redigerat: sep 25, 2022, 11:27 pm

Third ROOT for Sept. and 30th overall: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje for Northside Book Club.
This novel is about four people -- a father, two daughters, Anna and Claire (one of whom was adopted), and a young man, Coop, helping on the farm. These four people live together until an instance of violence occurs and everyone except the father leaves. The daughters, who were the same age and considered themselves almost to be twins, never see each other again although sometimes they think of each other. The story is about what happens to Anna, Claire, and Coop usually in different chapters although Claire's and Coop's stories overlap. Also featured, towards the end of the book is an author who Anna is researching and his close relationships. The book keeps switching between California, Nevada, and southern France and also in time.

48sallylou61
sep 28, 2022, 7:07 pm

Fourth ROOT for September and 31st overall: Angels Flight by Michael Connelly -- OLLI mystery novels class
This is a complex novel which gets involved with investigating an earlier case in which a young girl is murdered in addition to the two murders in Angels Flight, a funicular railroad in Los Angeles. A main theme in this novel is the corruption in the L.A. Police Department in which officers are expected to keep reporting how solving crimes is coming along instead of being allowed to actively work to solve them. Also, police from different units are expected to work together, even when some have had bad relations in the past. Moreover the police are being watched as they try to solve the crimes. The book contains a lot of violence including riots, and five deaths (mostly murders) occur in addition to the original three deaths as the investigation is being carried out.

49connie53
okt 3, 2022, 5:03 am

Hi Allison, still reading those ROOTs I see. I like to do that too. Just making in a dent in The ROOT Pile gives me lots of satisfaction.

50sallylou61
okt 5, 2022, 5:08 pm

Hi Connie,

I've just read many more ROOTs than I expected since I took an adult education class for which we read 4 novels in September, and I'm counting books I buy and read for classes or bookclubs as ROOTs.

Thanks for stopping by again. I enjoy hearing from you.

Allison

51connie53
okt 12, 2022, 6:51 am

>50 sallylou61: Always glad to stop by because I'm really interested in what my fellow ROOTers are reading. I get some nice tips that way.

52sallylou61
okt 26, 2022, 7:53 pm

First ROOT for October and 32nd overall: The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore (a book club read).

This book is a fictional account of the struggle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse concerning the electric light bulb and the best kind of electricity for distribution (direct current according to Edison or alternating current according to Westinghouse). Edison had patented a light bulb and sued Westinghouse. Westinghouse hired Paul Cravath, a young attorney recently out of law school as his lawyer. The story is told from Paul's point of view.

I didn't like the technical explanations at the beginning of the book. However, the story became more interesting as it went along. Other major characters included Nikola Tesla, another inventor with Westinghouse, and Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who helped the eccentric Tesla and later married Cravath.

53sallylou61
Redigerat: okt 26, 2022, 8:34 pm

Second ROOT for October and 33rd overall: March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution by Will Englund.
This is a detailed by interesting story of that particular month with primary emphasis on the United States and to a lesser extent Russia. Of course, World War I was raging in Europe. In the United States, there were pressures both to get involved militarily in the war, and to stay out of it. In Russia, the "February Revolution" (using the Julian calendar; March using the Gregorian calendar) occurred with the abdication of Czar Nicholas II.

Many colorful characters appear in this story including former president Theodore Roosevelt who wanted to go over to Europe himself to fight. President Woodrow Wilson comes across being a very weak President, especially as far as being involved in the crucial decisions made this month. He appeared to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Although much of the book discusses foreign affairs, Mr. Englund also includes a considerable amount of social history including the labor unrest in the United States, and the early career of Jeannette Rankin (the first female representative in Congress which occurred prior to women throughout the United States getting the vote). Ms. Rankin wanted to push for suffrage, and heard from numerous women on both sides of the issue concerning how she should vote on going to war. This, of course, was a minor part of the story, but particularly interesting to me.

54sallylou61
dec 1, 2022, 9:41 pm

Only ROOT for November and 34th overall (10th past goal which obviously I set too low): True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy.
I bought this book at our local library's book sale in 2018 and decided to read it for the long book for me square on my BingoDOG card. Although this book is long (507 p. of text), it was a pleasure to read. I was a senior in high school when John F. Kennedy was elected president, and thus had lived through Teddy Kennedy's career. This is the story of Teddy Kennedy's life and career. I enjoyed reading about his views of his relationships with his family members both when he was growing up and as an adult. Teddy Kennedy was a relatively powerful force in the Senate, especially when the Democrats were in power. He describes his career in more detail during those times; when a Republican was president, his description was much briefer, but he tells the main challenges which are still interesting.

55connie53
dec 22, 2022, 4:27 am

Hi Allison. Here I am again!

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2023 and Happy Holidays! I hope to see you back with the ROOTers in 2023!