Robertgreaves Carries On ROOTing in 2022

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Robertgreaves Carries On ROOTing in 2022

1Robertgreaves
Redigerat: feb 28, 2022, 3:11 am

Carried on from here.

My target for 2022 is 90 ROOTs. All books acquired before 09 January 2022 will count as ROOTs during 2022.

My ROOTs as of today (02 January 2022) consist of 33 treebooks and 122 ebooks, making a total of 155 ROOTs, down from 171 ROOTs last year.

(ETA: After the end of Christmas/New Year splurge, I have 38 treebooks and 122 ebooks, they all count as ROOTs but any books bought after today (10 January 2022) will not count as ROOTs until 29 September 2022.)

Since ebooks are always available and always tempting I am as usual going to limit myself:

1. 2 books as a reward for each kg I lose;
2. next in a series (if I am up to date on the 7 1/2 ROOTs per month needed to reach my goal);
3. bookclub/reading group books.

My ticker:

2Robertgreaves
jan 2, 2022, 1:07 pm

Currently reading Beginning Operations by James White (an ebook) and My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs (an audiobook).

3Jackie_K
jan 2, 2022, 1:40 pm

You've done great at reducing the TBR list, Robert!

4Robertgreaves
jan 2, 2022, 3:36 pm

>3 Jackie_K: 9 1/2 years to go :-)

5floremolla
jan 2, 2022, 6:33 pm

Happy new year, Robert, hope it’s full of good reading, and disappearing ROOTs and kgs.

6rabbitprincess
jan 2, 2022, 9:53 pm

Excellent work reducing the TBR! Have a great reaidng year :)

7connie53
jan 3, 2022, 1:39 am

Hi Robert, glad to see you back for another year of ROOTing.

8Robertgreaves
jan 3, 2022, 2:32 am

Thank you for dropping in, Jackie, Donna, RP, and Connie.

9FAMeulstee
jan 3, 2022, 3:28 am

Happy ROOTing in 2022, Robert!

10Robertgreaves
jan 4, 2022, 4:00 am

And my No. 1 for 2021 is The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier. It is not a ROOT but it does fit the RandomCAT and AlphaKIT.

My review of Beginning Operations:

Hospital Station
The first book in the series was a collection of short stories originally published in magazines with little to no linking material. I found the first one with O'Mara as the main character a little heavy going but the rest kept me reading to see what the answers to the puzzles were, though I could have done with more exploration of the different species and how their psychology differed as well as their physical differences.

Star Surgeon
The first part, where the doctors try to work out how to treat Lonvellin, is much more interesting than the second part where Sector General comes under military attack from an empire trying to cover up its own misdeeds.

Major Operation
The third novel starts with mysterious incidents in an operating theatre, which ultimately lead to an operation on a very, very, large patient.

There was quite a bit of repetition from book to book, so the omnibus format may not be the best way to read these. I will continue with the series but after a break.

11MissWatson
jan 4, 2022, 4:52 am

Happy reading and ROOTing, Robert!

12Robertgreaves
jan 7, 2022, 10:42 am

Thanks for dropping by, Birgit.

My No. 2 is Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley. This book is not a ROOT but it fits the RandomCAT, the CATWoman, and the AlphaKIT.

My review of The House on the Strand:

Dick Young experiments with a drug that takes him back in time to the 14th century as a disembodied observer.

DNF. I got about half way through and found I wasn't following the parts set in the 14th century at all because I couldn't keep track of who was who.

13rocketjk
jan 7, 2022, 12:21 pm

Just checking in with you. Happy reading in 2022.

14Robertgreaves
jan 12, 2022, 7:02 am

>13 rocketjk: Thanks for dropping by, Jerry.

Starting my No. 3, The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves. This ebook is my first ROOT for 2022. It fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of Jane Austen At Home:

Lucy Worsley takes us through Jane Austen's life through the lens particularly of the houses she lived in.

15Robertgreaves
jan 15, 2022, 3:45 am

My No. 4 is the next in the series, Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Crow Trap:

When one of a trio of biologists carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment is killed, Inspector Vera Stanhope investigates.

I've watched random episodes of "Vera" at my parents' over the years but it was only recently that I discovered the character was based on a book series. Certainly this first book isn't as focussed on Vera herself as the TV series seems to be (though I haven't seen the TV version of this story) - she doesn't put in an appearance till nearly halfway through. There were times when I could hear Brenda Blethyn's voice when reading the dialogue, but the book still stands on its own terms as a good mystery.

16enemyanniemae
jan 15, 2022, 11:05 am

Thank you so much! I am thrilled to be back for another round. Here's to a new year of great reading and reaching goals.

17Robertgreaves
jan 17, 2022, 2:50 am

Starting my No. 5, Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Telling Tales:

10 years after being convicted of killing her lover's teenaged daughter, Jeannie Long commits suicide, just a few days before evidence proving her innocence comes to light. DCI Vera Stanhope is brought in to re-investigate the case to find out what led the police astray and who was really guilty.

Nice and twisty. The author misled me into unwillingly thinking that one character must be guilty even though I didn't want it to be that person. TV Vera is a much toned down version of Book Vera.

18Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jan 19, 2022, 9:50 am

My No. 6 is Last Night in Montreal (not a ROOT) by Emily St. John Mandel, which I started last night but is now on hold for the moment, while I read my No. 7, The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis, which is my second ROOT for 2022.

My review of Hidden Depths:

Julie Armstrong comes home after a night out and finds her son dead in the bathtub with flowers scattered over the water. He was strangled, not drowned. DCI Vera Stanhope investigates.

More like TV Vera than the earlier books.

19Robertgreaves
jan 20, 2022, 5:16 am

Starting my No. 8, the next in the series, The Shadow Collector. I borrowed this book from my sister's library so it is not a ROOT and has to be read before I leave for home on Saturday morning.

My review of The Cadaver Game:

Hunting foxes is illegal, but hunting humans is perfectly legal, except when they end up dead of course.

I can't put my finger on why but this wasn't as interesting as the previous ones in the series although still a quick read. Is the author running out of steam?

20Jackie_K
jan 20, 2022, 3:13 pm

Glad to hear you'll be home soon, Robert.

21Robertgreaves
jan 22, 2022, 1:00 am

Starting the next in the series as my No. 9, The Shroud Maker. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Shadow Collector:

Eighteen years ago Lilith Benley and her mother were convicted of the murder of two teenage girls. Now Lilith has returned home after being released and the murders are starting again.

I lost track of who was who in places, possibly because I was trying to read it too fast in order to return the book before I left.

22Robertgreaves
jan 23, 2022, 9:05 am

Starting my No. 11, Echoes of the Runes by Christina Courtenay. This ebook is my third ROOT for 2022. I am reading it now for my book club and for the AlphaKIT.

Catch Up.

My review of The Shroud Maker:

The body of a strangled woman is found out at sea, floating in a rubber dinghy. Is it Jenny Bercival who disappeared during the Palkin Festival a year ago? A similar-looking woman, Kassia, a musician due to play at this year's Palkin Festival has also disappeared. What is the connection with the fantasy website Shipworld? Wesley Peterson investigates while Neil Watson excavates John Palkin's home and warehouse, the site of which now belongs to the owner of the website.

Kate Ellis is back in form with this episode in the Wesley Peterson series. Unputdownable.


My review of my No. 10 The Death Season:

Wesley Peterson investigates the suspicious death of a man in a hotel room while Neil Watson appears on a TV archaeological programme excavating the remains of a village most of which was swallowed up the sea towards the end of WWI.

Ingenious parallels between past and present.

23Robertgreaves
jan 26, 2022, 1:01 am

Starting my No. 12, The Sea-Wolves by Lars Brownworth. This ebook is my fourth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Echoes of the Runes:

Excavating a Swedish Viking site, an archaeologist and a conservator develop feelings for each other in a way that echoes the romance between the Viking jarl who lived there and his Welsh hostage.

If you go in believing the subtitle which describes it as a "sweeping epic tale of forbidden love", you will be in for a disappointment. It was OK but I didn't really have any emotional interest in the outcome.

24Robertgreaves
jan 29, 2022, 1:31 am

Home again:

25Robertgreaves
jan 29, 2022, 8:24 pm

My No. 13 is Money From Holme by Michael Innes. This is my fifth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Sea Wolves:

An interesting history of the Vikings. There were a couple of places where it didn't sound quite right but competently enough done.

26cyderry
jan 31, 2022, 4:49 pm

been busy reading, glad you're back with us!

27Robertgreaves
jan 31, 2022, 8:23 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Chèli

28Robertgreaves
jan 31, 2022, 10:10 pm

Possible reading for February 2022:

29Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jan 31, 2022, 11:00 pm

Starting my No. 14, The Patrician Tribune by W. Jeffrey Tatum. This ebook is my sixth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Money From Holme:

Attending a memorial exhibition for the painter Sebastian Holme, whose pictures now fetch eye-watering prices, Mervyn Cheel discovers that Holme is not actually dead and tries to blackmail him into reproducing works believed to have been destroyed when the Wamba Palace Hotel was burnt down.

Cheel's misogyny and racism were part of his portrayal as a slimeball even in the 1960s. Perhaps one of Michael Innes's that is best forgotten. Fortunately, not an Appleby story, though Braunkopf does appear with some very funny malapropisms.


30Jackie_K
feb 1, 2022, 3:40 pm

>28 Robertgreaves: I bought On the Red Hill recently, I hope I can get to it reasonably soon. I heard the author interviewed on Radio 4 (one of their book programmes) and am really keen to read the book now.

31Robertgreaves
feb 5, 2022, 8:37 am

Starting my No. 15, Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. This treebook is my seventh ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 38. It fits the SFFKIT and AlphaKIT.

My review of The Patrician Tribune:

Much more heavy-going academic than I expected. The most interesting part was the first chapter, emphasising that the groupings we think we see in the sources, such as plebs, clients, optimates, etc., were not monoliths but made up of individuals who were subject to different pressures and had different aims at different times.

32Robertgreaves
feb 6, 2022, 6:31 pm

Starting my No. 16, the sequel Tales from the Cafe. This treebook is my eighth ROOT for 2022 and brings the TBR shelf to 37. Again it fits the SFFKIT.

My review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold:

Four charming interlinked short stories set in a cafe in Tokyo where you can go back in time. There are certain constraints, however:

1.Nothing you do will change events between then and now. Whatever has happened, will happen.

2. You cannot leave your seat in the cafe, so you can only meet people who have already been to the cafe.

3. You will return to the present when you have finished your coffee - and you MUST finish it before it gets cold.

However the author doesn't apply them consistently. Fusagi wants to give his wife a letter in the present so how can he have given it to her on her trip into the past? On her last visit to the cafe Kumi writes a letter to Hirai, but then Hirai goes back in time to meet her and they spend time talking until Kumi goes to the toilet and then leaves the cafe, so when did Kumi write the letter? Having said that, they are charming, sweet stories, so I will read the second volume, especially as I bought them as a pair.

33Robertgreaves
feb 7, 2022, 9:11 pm

Starting my No. 17, These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. This treebook is my ninth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 36.

My review of Tales from the Cafe:

Another four charming, sweet, interlinked stories from the cafe where you can travel backwards or forwards in time.

34Robertgreaves
feb 8, 2022, 2:41 am

Starting my No. 18, Prostho Plus. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT.

I'm enjoying These Precious Days but I think it is a book for dipping into rather than reading straight through.

35Robertgreaves
feb 8, 2022, 8:52 pm

My review of Prostho Plus:

A dentist is kidnapped by aliens and tours the galaxy fixing teeth.

Not quite as funny as I remember it from when I read it in my twenties, but still very enjoyable.

36Robertgreaves
feb 11, 2022, 8:26 pm

Starting my No. 19, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This ebook is my tenth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT and seems fitting for the run-up to Valentine's.

My review of Last Night in Montreal:

Lilia disappears from Eli's life. We follow his search and explore her past, always moving from place to place so as not to be found.

Although I pretty much worked out what had happened to Lilia long before the big reveal (if not the exact details), it was still an interesting read watching the different timelines and characters come together, though I think my abiding impression is going to be how cold Montreal is.


37Robertgreaves
feb 13, 2022, 12:24 am

Starting my No. 20, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. This ebook is my eleventh ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Red, White & Royal Blue:

When the son of the US President and a British prince fall into a wedding cake during a public spat, their respective handlers insist on them pretending to be best friends in social media and joint public appearances to avoid an international incident. The fake friendship becomes genuine and then turns to love.

I went into this wanting to enjoy it as a daft piece of fluff but it just didn't work for me. I simply wasn't interested in the minutiae of the President's campaign for re-election (especially as it didn't answer the truly interesting question - if Alex was known as FSOTUS, what would he be if he'd had a brother?) or Alex's plans for a career in American politics. And although it seems churlish to complain about a lack of realism in something with such a premise, the author obviously hadn't done her homework about the UK or worked out properly the roles of the members of her fictional royal family.

The romantic elements and the developing relationship between the two main characters was well done, but it just wasn't supported by the scaffolding around the story.

38Robertgreaves
Redigerat: feb 17, 2022, 7:12 pm

I started my No. 21, Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas, last night as insomnia reading. This ebook is my twelfth ROOT for 2022. It fits the CATWoman.

39Robertgreaves
feb 20, 2022, 1:12 am

My review of Alias Grace:

A doctor planning to open an asylum for the insane comes to interview a notorious 19th century murderess.

I found the first 2/3 of this really difficult to get into and was easily distracted from it. It was only the last third that I found the interest and ability to concentrate necessary to finish it off. I don't know why.

40Robertgreaves
feb 21, 2022, 7:35 pm

My No. 22 is The Accordionist, the next in Fred Vargas's Three Evangelists series. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the AlphaKIT and CATWoman.

My review of Dog Will Have His Day:

When Louis/Ludwig Kehlweiler spots what appears to be a human toe bone on a Paris street, he goes looking for the bone's owner although no bodies with a missing toe have been reported.

The three evangelists are less prominent in this book than I remember them being in the first book, which admittedly I read 13 years ago so my memory may be misleading me. Louis/Ludwig is the focus here, with the evangelists in supporting roles - and Lucien hardly even that. Despite that, it was a fun, quirky read which kept my interest throughout.

41Robertgreaves
feb 23, 2022, 12:48 am

My No. 23 is A House in Bali by Colin McPhee. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the AlphaKIT. I am reading it now for my book club.

My review of The Accordionist:

When Clement Vauquer realises he is being framed as a serial killer, he seeks help from Marthe, who had been kind to him as a boy and taught him to read. She enrols the help of Louis Kehlweiler, who, with the three evangelists, hunts for the real killer.

Rather darker than the earlier books in the series but the characters still held my interest.

42Robertgreaves
feb 24, 2022, 2:09 am

Starting my No. 24, On the Red Hill by Mike Parker. This ebook is my thirteenth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it for the UK's LGBT History month.

43Robertgreaves
feb 25, 2022, 9:30 pm

Starting my No. 25, Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto. This is my fourteenth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 36. I am reading it now for the AlphaKIT.

My review of On the Red Hill:

An elderly couple leave their home just outside a Welsh village to a younger couple. The book explores the four seasons, the four directions, the four elements, and the four men.

Wonderfully descriptive of the countryside and nature. I didn't much like one of the older couple but the stories of their younger days were engrossing, while the youngest of all never really came into focus for me even in the part which was nominally devoted to him. Nevertheless it was a great read.

44readingtangent
feb 26, 2022, 3:21 pm

Wow, 90 ROOTs! Impressive goal. It looks as though you've already made a lot of progress.

45Robertgreaves
feb 26, 2022, 9:44 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Elizabeth. I am exactly on track.

Starting my No. 26, Sundowner Ubuntu by Anthony Bidulka. This ebook is my fifteenth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Dial A for Aunties:

How to get rid of a corpse while working as photographer at a wedding on an island resort.

A hilarious mix of rom-com and cirme caper. I enjoyed it so much I stayed up late to finish it.

46Robertgreaves
feb 28, 2022, 2:46 am

Starting my No. 27, Ithaca Forever by Luigi Malerba. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the March AlphaKIT. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Sundowner Ubuntu:

PI Russell Quant is approached by a woman who wants him to find her son, who had disappeared 20 years previously after being sent to a reformatory as a teenage delinquent.

Lots of twists and turns. Some of them I didn't see coming, some I did. It's been a while since I read the earlier books in the series, so my memory of some of the events referred to is a bit vague, which probably argues that I should read the rest of the series fairly soon.

47Robertgreaves
feb 28, 2022, 8:54 am

My review of These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

A splendid collection of essays. Some were interesting as showing connections between her life and writing, others read like writing exercises, but I must particularly mention the wonderful journal of life in Covid lockdown with an unexpected guest.

48Robertgreaves
Redigerat: feb 28, 2022, 9:59 am

Possible reading for March:

49Jackie_K
feb 28, 2022, 12:21 pm

>47 Robertgreaves: Well that's gone straight onto my wishlist!

50Robertgreaves
mar 1, 2022, 6:58 pm

Last night I started my No. 28, Aloha, Candy Hearts by Anthony Bidulka. This ebook is not a ROOT.

This morning I started my No. 29, Cafe Theology by Michael Lloyd. This is my sixteenth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it now for Lent.

My review of Ithaca Forever:

The story of Odysseus's homecoming, told alternatively from Odysseus's and Penelope's point of view.

For much of this book I felt it was just a re-telling of the second half of the Odyssey which stuck too close to the original. It was only after Odysseus (disguised as the beggar) and Penelope met and the two tricksters start manoeuvring round each other that I really thought we were getting anything new.

51Robertgreaves
mar 2, 2022, 9:00 am

My No. 31 is the next Russell Quant book, Date With A Sheesha. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of Aloha, Candy Hearts:

Flying back to Saskatoon from Hawaii, the passenger sitting next to Russell Quant tells him he has a treasure map. On their arrival, the passenger is murdered and when he gets home Russell finds the treasure map has been slipped into his jacket pocket. How can he not try to find the treasure?

The treasure hunt was great fun, actually more fun than the murder mystery itself.


Having finished Russell Quant's trip to Hawaii, I then read the Russell Quant/Mahu crossover story in Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations by Neil Placky. I am re-reading this book for insomnia reading as my No. 30 and my seventeenth ROOT for 2022.

52Robertgreaves
mar 4, 2022, 1:54 am

Starting my No. 32, Dos Equis, the last in the Russell Quant series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Date With A Sheesha:

Nayan (Neil) Gupta was killed on a trip to Dubai to acquire carpets for a Saskatoon museum. The police report says it was a street robbery that went wrong, but his father believes Neil was a victim of gay-bashing and asks Russell to investigate.

I think this series is starting to run out of steam and there may be a reason this appears to be the penultimate one.

53Robertgreaves
mar 5, 2022, 3:39 am

Starting my No. 33, The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie. This is my seventeenth ROOT for 2022. It is a duplicate on my shelves. I found I not only had it as a treebook but it is also in a Miss Marple omnibus ebook.It fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of Dos Equis:

While on sabbatical to recover from the events of the previous book, Russell Quant receives a voicemail from Jane Cross, another PI, asking him for help. He returns to Saskatchewan only to find that she has been murdered.

Since this installment dates from 2012, I assume it is the last in the series and serves a fitting, if at times rather dark, close to a series which focussed on beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes and eating and drinking fine foods and beverages in exotic locales.

54Robertgreaves
mar 5, 2022, 11:12 pm

Starting my No. 34, Towards Zero, another Agatha Christie. This treebook is not a ROOT. I'm not sure where it's set yet, so I don't know if it fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of The Moving Finger:

Advised by his doctor to rest after a flying injury, Jack Burton rents a house just outside Lymstock with his sister only to find their peaceful retreat enmeshed in poison pen letters, suicide, and murder.

Miss Marple only puts in an appearance in the last quarter of the book but it's still fun watching the other characters try to solve the mystery and getting so close without being able to make the final leap.

55Robertgreaves
mar 6, 2022, 2:56 am

My review of A House in Bali:

The author's reminiscences of his time living in Bali in the 1930s. It felt disjointed rather than a connected narrative, and although richly descriptive, I found it difficult to pin down the soundscape he was obviously impressed by beyond my own memories of Balinese gamelan in the 1980s and 1990s, which is probably not the way it sounded in the 1930s. A pity there couldn't be an accompanying soundtrack.

56Robertgreaves
mar 7, 2022, 2:04 am

Starting my No. 35, Soulless by Gail Carriger. This ebook is my eighteenth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT and the SFFKIT.

My review of Towards Zero:

An invalid old lady is battered to death in her bed. Superintendent Battle investigates.

The subject of the book is not so much the murder as the events leading up to it and so we are more than halfway through the book before the murder comes. A lot of the time it all felt very familiar as if I'd read it before, although I don't remember doing so, but I still didn't manage to work out whodunnit.

57Robertgreaves
mar 8, 2022, 4:37 am

Starting my No. 36, The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't by Gail Carriger. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the SFFKIT.

My review of Soulless:

Alexia Tarabotti is attacked by a vampire while taking tea in her host's library during a ball. The vampire seems to be unaware of her status as immune to attack since her touch makes vampires and other supernatural creatures human again until the touch is broken. Alexia and the werewolf Lord Maccon investigate why the vampire is so ignorant and why vampires and werewolves are going missing in London.

Great world-building and story-telling that sucks the reader in, curious to know more about this world and the characters.

58Robertgreaves
mar 8, 2022, 7:32 pm

Starting my No. 37, Etiquette & Espionage, the next in the Parasol Universe. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't:

Ostensibly in Egypt to get his aunt's deceased cat mummified, Alessandro Tarabotti is on a secret mission.

Although it's not made explicit, this is presumably the story of how Alexia's parents met.

59Robertgreaves
mar 10, 2022, 4:32 am

Starting the next in the series, Curtsies & Conspiracies, as my No. 38. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the SFKIT.

My review of Etiquette & Espionage:

Malory Towers meets steampunk and urban fantasy. Great fun.

60Robertgreaves
mar 10, 2022, 6:09 pm

My No. 39 is Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries by Ashley Gardner. This ebook is my nineteenth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it as an insomnia book.

61Robertgreaves
Redigerat: mar 12, 2022, 10:24 pm

Starting my No. 40, Gods and Robots by Adrienne Mayor. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Curtsies & Conspiracies:

None of the other girls likes Sephronia any more because she did so much better on the first term test. But she needs their help to investigate why the school is being moved to London and why boys are being allowed on board.

Vampires, werewolves, and picklemen, oh my. Lots of growth in this one for Sophronia as she learns the skills she is being taught have real-life consequences for other people.

62Robertgreaves
mar 16, 2022, 12:13 am

Starting my No. 41, Ponsonby Post by Bernice Rubens. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT.

63connie53
mar 16, 2022, 8:02 am

Hi Robert, moving on with my 'visit all ROOTers' project and arriving at yours (the one with the highest number of new posts). Good to hear you're back home again and reading lots of ROOTs too.

I hope you are doing fine!

64Robertgreaves
mar 16, 2022, 8:50 am

>63 connie53: Thanks for dropping by, Connie.

65Robertgreaves
mar 17, 2022, 3:03 am

Starting my No. 42, Blood of A Gladiator by Ashley Gardner. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Ponsonby Post:

Two aid workers in 1970s Yogya are murdered and one is kidnapped and left for dead.

Not really a murder mystery as we find out quite early on who did it, more of a satire on the aid community as they adjust to the deaths. I read it with a smile, but I don't know whether those without any connection to Indonesia would find it interesting.

66Robertgreaves
mar 18, 2022, 10:18 am

Starting the next in the series, A Gladiator's Tale, as my No. 43. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Blood of a Gladiator:

Leonidas, a gladiator who has recently earned his freedom, is hired as a bodyguard by a senator transporting gold to pay for imported goods. Somebody wants the senator dead, and preferably with Leonidas getting the blame. But who and why? And how is the murder of a brothel madam connected?

Quite apart from the main mystery, the mystery of Leonidas and Cassia's benefactor is obviously going to play out over what promises to be a very intriguing series.

67Robertgreaves
mar 20, 2022, 6:55 pm

My review of A Gladiator's Tale:

Somebody is killing and dismembering off-duty gladiators. Can Leonidas find out who before he becomes the next victim or Nero has him executed?

I like Leonidas and Cassia and their developing relationship and this was an intriguing plot as well. Looking forward to the next installment.

68Robertgreaves
mar 20, 2022, 10:57 pm

My number 44 is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. This is my twentieth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AuthorCAT.

My review of Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries:

Three novellas, one from each of Gardner's historical mystery series.

I'm normally sceptical of authors who write historical mysteries in more than one period but Gardner does an excellent job in her Roman, Regency, and Late Victorian settings.

69Robertgreaves
Redigerat: mar 22, 2022, 5:57 am

Starting my No. 45, The Secret Lives of Planets by Paul Murdin. This is my twenty-first ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Thursday Murder Club:

Four friends in a retirement village who discuss police cold cases find themselves with a present-day case to investigate when a shady developer who is being cut out of plans to expand the village is murdered.

I did find the humour rather relentless at the beginning but once the murder happened and the investigation got underway, the book settled down into a good mystery with a side-serving of humour. Looking forward to the next one, but maybe not just yet.

70Robertgreaves
mar 23, 2022, 11:40 pm

My review of Gods and Robots:

Adrienne Mayor explores concepts of artificial life in the ancient world of (mainly) Greece and Rome.

Talos is the obvious example, but apart from that I found myself going 'well, maybe, sort of' more often than with her other books.

71Robertgreaves
mar 24, 2022, 10:03 am

Starting The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel. This ebook is my twenty-second ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT and CATWoman.

My review of The Secret Lives of Planets:

Good introduction to what we know about the planets and what we would like to know, but don't yet. The author does get a bit bogged down with the vital statistics in places but it's worth persevering.

72Robertgreaves
mar 27, 2022, 1:28 am

Starting my No. 47, The Sandman Volume 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman. This brings the treebook TBR shelf to 32. It is my twenty-third ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Glass Universe:

The story of the women who worked in the Harvard Observatory from the beginnings of photographic astronomy to the post WWII period, as computers, recording the observations of the astronomers and squeezing as much information as possible from the results, gaining recognition for their contributions to astronomy until ultimate recognition as astronomers in their own right from the university and academia at large.

73Robertgreaves
mar 28, 2022, 6:05 am

Starting my No. 48, the next in the series: The Sandman Volume 10: The Wake. This brings the treebook TBR shelf to 31 and is my twenty-fourth ROOT for 2022.

My review of The Sandman Volume 9: The Kindly Ones:

I had problems following this in parts because it harks back to and ties up some of the very early episodes which I don't really remember much of.

74Robertgreaves
mar 29, 2022, 9:15 pm

Starting my No. 49, the next in the series: The Sandman Volume 11: Endless Nights. This brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 30 and is twenty-fifth ROOT for 2022.

My review of The Sandman Volume 10: The Wake:

Reactions of various characters from earlier episodes to the death of the Sandman.

75Robertgreaves
Redigerat: mar 30, 2022, 11:26 pm

Starting my No. 50, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters. This brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 29 and is my twenty-sixth ROOT for 2022.

(ETA: Note to self, actually my twenty-seventh ROOT (two books were counted as ROOT number 17))

My review of The Sandman Volume 11: Endless Nights:

7 short-ish stories about each of the Endless. Variable in quality: some good stories, some difficult to read fonts, some incomprehensible artwork.

76Robertgreaves
mar 30, 2022, 8:15 am

Starting my No. 51, The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Sandman: The Dream Hunters:

Lovely Japanese-themed tale about a monk and a fox-spirit. I did spend quite a bit of time wondering if it really was in the Sandman universe, but it is. Quite delightful

77Robertgreaves
Redigerat: mar 30, 2022, 9:37 pm

I abandoned The Book of Skulls 40-odd pages in. The premise sounds intriguing but I found the four main characters who take turns narrating obsessed with how much each of their companions conforms or does not conform to ethnic and sexual stereotypes. It was probably quite progressive for its time but enough is enough.

My new No. 51 is Death of an Avid Reader by Frances Brody. This treebook is not a ROOT.

78Robertgreaves
mar 31, 2022, 10:43 am

Possible April reading:

79floremolla
mar 31, 2022, 5:24 pm

Hi Robert, just popping in to see what you’re reading and say hi. Good to see you’re powering through your ROOTs as usual.

Your April ‘pool’ of books looks like a good selection. I’ve never read any Nadine Gordimer - must sort that out!

80rabbitprincess
apr 1, 2022, 1:07 pm

I thought I had Humble Pi on my to-read list, but apparently not! With a cover like that, how can I resist?

81Robertgreaves
apr 1, 2022, 8:13 pm

Starting my No. 52, Soho Noir by T. S. Hunter. This is my twenty-eighth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 29. It fits the AuthorCAT and the MysteryKIT.

My review of Death of An Avid Reader:

Kate Shackleton is asked to trace an illegitimate child given up for adoption. She is also asked to take part in the exorcism of a library reputed to be haunted, during which a body is found in the basement of the library, apparently crushed under falling books.

The rather ominous title did put me off for a bit but it's all good, intriguing fun.

82Robertgreaves
apr 6, 2022, 7:26 pm

I started my No. 53, The Madman's Library by Edward Brooke-Hitching last night. This is my twenty-ninth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 27. It fits the AlphaKIT.

Since its size makes it a bit awkward to carry around, I am also starting my No. 54, Humble Pi by Matt Parker. This ebook is my thirtieth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Soho Noir:

A collection of six novellas set in 1980s Soho, each sharing a title with a hit song from the period or the previous decade.

Pros:
The mysteries were fairly straightforward but still kept the reader's attention.
The story title/song title gimmick provides a clue to where the reader's focus should be without giving too much away.
The setting felt authentic enough to make me wonder if it was part of the author's lived experience.
I liked the fact that although the two detectives were both gay and were flatmates they were not a couple and each had their own love life.

Cons:
The prose was a bit clunky, particularly in expository parts.
Some repetition from story to story so perhaps a compilation was not the best way to read them.
The corrupt, homophobic cop was a bit of a pantomime villain and although it is implied in the last story that he gets his comeuppance, we don't actually get to see it so presumably he could still appear in any future stories.

Would I read any future stories by this author? Definitely.


83Robertgreaves
apr 9, 2022, 3:35 am

My review of The Madman's Library:

Beautifully illustrated book about books that one way or another fit the author's description of weird - edible or wearable books, books written in blood or bound with human skin, very small or very big books, or books whose contents are strange to our eyes.

84Robertgreaves
apr 10, 2022, 3:15 am

Starting my No. 55, The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my bookclub. It also fits the AuthorCAT.

My review of Humble Pi:

Despite the title, the book is as much or more about engineering or programming as it is about maths. For me, a lot of the anecdotes didn't really strike the right balance between too much detail and risking boring the reader and enough detail so that the reader understood what should have happened and what went wrong. The main take away for me was that people are inevitably going to make mistakes so systems need to be better designed to catch the mistakes before they turn into disasters.

85Robertgreaves
apr 13, 2022, 10:09 am

Starting my No. 56, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for the CATWoman.

My review of The Forgetting Time:

Janie's young son keeps saying he wants to go home and see his mother even when he is with her. He also has terrible nightmares and refuses to bathe. While researching on the internet some anti-psychosis medication prescribed for Noah, she stumbles across a psychiatrist who may be able to help. But he has his own problems.

I thought the main story about Noah tried too hard to convince the reader that was a real thing rather than just take it as a given, thus making it almost a polemic. I found Andersen's plight much more interesting and would have liked it to have been the main focus.

86Robertgreaves
apr 15, 2022, 6:49 am

Starting my No. 57, Murder Past Due by Miranda James. This ebook is my thirty-first ROOT for 2022.

My review of My Sister, the Serial Killer:

Ayoola's boyfriends have a nasty habit of ending up dead. Totally not her fault. Unfortunately she gets that look in her eye again when she sees Korede's work crush.

Great fun, reading about Ayoola's antics and how Korede deals with the fallout.

87Robertgreaves
apr 16, 2022, 9:48 am

Starting my No. 58, the second in the series, Classified as Murder. This ebook is not a ROOT. It does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of Murder Past Due:

When his boarder is under suspicion of killing a bestselling but personally unpopular author, Charlie Harris decides to help with the investigation at the request of his cleaner, who is also the lead detective's mother.

This was fun and I enjoyed the Jimmy Stewart vibe I got from the main character, so I'm going to continue with the series despite what struck me as a couple of false notes.

88Robertgreaves
apr 17, 2022, 10:23 am

Starting my No. 59, the next in the series, File M for Murder. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of Classified as Murder:

Wealthy bibliophile James Delacorte asks Charlie Harris to help him catalogue his collection of first editions because he suspects somebody has been stealing valuable items.

The Delacorte family were fun to watch, and the book was generally more assured than the first one, confirming that this is a series to continue with.

89Robertgreaves
apr 19, 2022, 2:29 am

Starting my No. 60, the next in the series, Out of Circulation. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of File M For Murder:

A personality-challenged playwright with whom Charlie Harris's daughter Laura had a brief affair becomes the playwright-in-residence at the university where Charlie works and Laura has also taken up a teaching post for one semester. Laura finds his body and is concealing something from the police.

“I’ve seen every episode of Murder, She Wrote , and I adore Angela Lansbury to pieces. But you’d have to be insane to let Jessica Fletcher within ten yards of your house."

The way Charlie Harris's track record is going, I don't think his household is in any position to cast aspersions on Jessica Fletcher. He said in the first book that the last murder in town was 7 or 8 years ago, and although I haven't been keeping count there must have been 6 or 7 murders in the books so far, which cover about a year.

90Robertgreaves
apr 20, 2022, 5:41 am

Starting my No. 61, the next in the series, The Silence of the Library. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of Out of Circulation:

A practically universally loathed member of the library board is killed at a charity fancy-dress party and Azalea, Charlie Harris's housekeeper, is found with the body.

Another fun outing for Charlie and Diesel and the other denizens of Athena.

91Robertgreaves
Redigerat: apr 22, 2022, 1:57 am

Starting Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the AuthorCAT.

My review of The Silence of the Library:

The public library is putting on an exhibition on children's mystery series in honour of the 100th birthday of one of Charlie Harris's favourite authors and she has agreed to participate.

It's a mystery so we know somebody is going to get murdered but as usual the murder doesn't happen till about 1/3 of the way through the book and this time the murderee doesn't have a big flashing victim sign flashing over their head when they are first introduced as is usually the case. Watching the antics of the superfans and reading the parody novel within the novel made this the funniest so far in the series.

92Robertgreaves
Redigerat: apr 23, 2022, 10:16 am

Last night I started my No. 63, The Bone Ritual by Julian Lees. This brings the treebook shelf down to 26 and is my thirty-second ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

I am also reading my No. 64, Returned to the Enchanted Island by Johary Ravaloson, translated by Allison M. Charette, today in honour of World Book Day. This ebook is my thirty-third ROOT for 2022.

93Robertgreaves
apr 24, 2022, 2:45 am

My review of Return to the Enchanted Island by Johary Ravaloson

Suffering from insomnia, Iesty Razak passes the nights looking back over his privileged life as a member of Madagascar's hereditary elite and the derivation of his status from the island's legendary history.

The shifts in the timeline and between Iesty's life and the legendary past were not always easy to follow and I definitely felt that I could have done with more background context.


94Robertgreaves
apr 26, 2022, 10:17 am

My review of Rules of Civility:

Kate reminisces after a visit in the 1960s to an exhibition of photographs of 1930s travellers on the NY Subway, one of whom she recognises.

I wanted to like this book but I actually found it a real struggle to get through. Most of the characters and events made no impression at all so that I had problems understanding references to earlier events and had no idea what was going on at times when I'd picked the book up again after doing other things.

95Robertgreaves
apr 28, 2022, 3:30 am

Starting my No. 65, The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury by Marc Levy, translated by Chris Murray. This ebook is my thirty-fourth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Bone Ritual:

Ruud Pujasumarta is in charge of the police attempts to catch a serial killer in Jakarta who is targetting women and amputating their left hands before strangling them.

Exciting well-paced thriller but some of the background details don't quite ring true. For example, why does Ruud's ex-mother-in-law speak broken English? Presumably the conversations are taking place in Indonesian so what does this represent?

96Robertgreaves
apr 29, 2022, 9:19 am

Starting my No. 66, Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams. This is my thirty-fifth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR to 25. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury:

Ethan Daldry uses part of his legacy from his father to take Alice Pendelbury to Instanbul, a city a fortune teller insisted she must visit if she is to find the most important person in her life.

Charming characters find their way to a happy-ever-after but not before their dark backstories are revealed. Very enjoyable.

97Robertgreaves
Redigerat: apr 29, 2022, 9:19 pm

Today (Saturday) is my 16th Thingaversary and in honour of the occasion I have bought 2 treebooks:

Four Aunties and A Wedding by Jesse Sutanto; and

Katherine of Aragon The True Queen by Alison Weir;

and 1 ebook:

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

98Robertgreaves
Redigerat: apr 30, 2022, 4:00 am

Starting my No. 67, Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams. This is my thirty-sixth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 26.

My review of Life, the Universe and Everything:

Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are enlisted by Slartibartfast to find a way to foil the plans of the Elders of Krikit to destroy the rest of the universe.

Some amusing parts, some such as the piling up of weird names get repetitive and tedious after a while.

99rabbitprincess
apr 30, 2022, 2:26 pm

>97 Robertgreaves: Wow, 16 years! Your LT account is old enough to get a driver's licence where I am! Happy Thingaversary :)

100Robertgreaves
apr 30, 2022, 8:34 pm

>99 rabbitprincess: My account can get a motorbike licence in the UK, and a driver's licence next year.

Possible reading for May 2022:

101Robertgreaves
maj 1, 2022, 1:41 am

Starting my No. 68, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction by William Doyle. This is my thirty-seventh ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook shelf to 25.

My review of Mostly Harmless:

In some parallel universes Tricia McMillan did not leave Earth with Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Earth was not demolished and now using the new edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe you can cross to whichever parallel universe you desire.

Back to the funny playing with ideas. I enjoyed this one.

102Caramellunacy
maj 1, 2022, 5:38 am

>100 Robertgreaves: I read A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley (assume it is simply a title variation) and found it very interesting - but I did wish I had read Bleak House and The Moonstone beforehand...

103MissWatson
maj 1, 2022, 8:47 am

Happy belated Thingaversary, Robert!

104Robertgreaves
maj 1, 2022, 6:49 pm

>103 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit.

Starting my No. 69, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson. This ebook is my thirty-eighth ROOT for 2022. It fits the SFFKIT.

My review of The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction:

A clear, concise account of popular images of the French Revolution (Carlyle, Dickens, Orczy), what led to it, the events, the aftermath, and scholarship surrounding the bicentennial and afterwards.

105Robertgreaves
maj 2, 2022, 7:40 am

Starting my No. 70, The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the MysteryKIT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of The High Crusade:

Fun romp as medieval English knights and their retainers hijack a UFO to take them to France and end up invading the aliens' home planet.

106Robertgreaves
maj 2, 2022, 8:51 pm

Also reading my No. 71, The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. This ebook is my thirty-ninth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

107Robertgreaves
maj 5, 2022, 8:46 am

Starting my No. 72, The Legacy of the Bones, the next in Dolores Redondo's Baztan trilogy. . This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the MysteryKIT and AlphaKIT.

My review of The Invisible Guardian:

Inspector Amaia Salazar returns to her home town, having been put in charge of the search for a serial killer. She also has to contend with PTSD from her experiences at the hands of her abusive mother and spooky goings-on in the forest with creatures from Basque legend.

Enjoyable background in Tarot mysticism and the basajaun and uncertainty as to whether they were real or just part of the characters' belief system. Looking forward to the second part of the trilogy.


108Robertgreaves
Redigerat: maj 6, 2022, 6:42 am

My review of The Memory Police:

On an island things are disappearing - birds, the ferry, music. When the things disappear, so do most people's memories of them. Some people retain the memories, but the Memory Police are looking for them.

Atmospheric, creepy tale that evokes a mood rather than tells a story.

109Robertgreaves
maj 9, 2022, 10:56 am

Starting the third in the Baztan trilogy, Offering to the Storm. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the AlphaKIT and MysteryKIT.

My review of The Legacy of the Bones:

Jason Medina's trial for the rape and murder of his stepdaughter is cancelled after his suicide in the courthouse holding cell leaving a note with the word Tarttalo, a local legendary creature similar to a Cyclops. The case is far from over yet.

Even more intense, exciting, and intriguing than the first book.

110Robertgreaves
maj 9, 2022, 9:58 pm

Today (Tuesday) is my 6th Litsyversary and in honour of the occasion I have bought 2 treebooks:

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie and
Democracy: A Very Short Introduction by Bernard Crick

and 1 ebook:

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

111richardden
maj 10, 2022, 3:23 am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

112rabbitprincess
maj 10, 2022, 10:24 am

>110 Robertgreaves: Happy Litsyversary! Sparkling Cyanide is one of my favourite Christies.

113Robertgreaves
maj 10, 2022, 9:42 pm

>112 rabbitprincess: Thank you, RP

114Robertgreaves
Redigerat: maj 11, 2022, 11:33 pm

Starting my No. 75, The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor. This ebook is not a ROOT but it fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Offering to the Storm:

A baby is smothered with a cuddly toy. How does it fit in with the deaths of children and adolescents in Amaia's allegedly closed cases? And Amaia is convinced her mother is still alive despite everybody else believing she was washed away in the river during the storm.

Just as twisty as the previous two installments. The trilogy told an excellent story though the narration of each event/scene was so gripping as to make me forget sometimes what had happened earlier. However, it was marred in places by mistranslations and, especially in the third part, typos so more proofreading was definitely necessary.


Last night, I also read my No. 74 An Accursed Race, Mrs. Gaskell's essay about the Cagots, whose history plays a significant role in The Legacy of the Bones.

115Robertgreaves
Redigerat: maj 14, 2022, 8:52 am

Starting my No. 76, The Flute Player by Albert A. Bell Jr. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my reading group.

My review of The Book of Phoenix:

In the distant future Sunuteel comes across abandoned computers and finds an audio file telling the story of Phoenix, a human genetically engineered to be a radioactive weapon.

Some interesting ideas but ultimately although I found it enjoyable reading it, I didn't really feel like reading it for too long at a time and was easily distracted.


116Robertgreaves
Redigerat: maj 16, 2022, 10:56 pm

Starting my No. 77, Tall Tales and Wee Stories by Billy Connolly. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my book club.

My review of The Flute Player:

The daughter of the biblical Lazarus is sold into slavery by her stepfather. Although she feels she is well-treated in the first household she enters, she is not so fortunate when she is sold on.

Something of a surprise. Although it was the author's first historical novel and was meant to be a standalone, it serves as a prequel to the author's detective stories featuring Pliny and Tacitus, but is a lot grimmer in tone.

117Robertgreaves
maj 17, 2022, 3:46 am

Also reading my No. 78, The Kiss Murder by Mehmet Murat Somer. This ebook is my fortieth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it for the MysteryKIT.

118Robertgreaves
maj 18, 2022, 7:47 pm

Starting my No. 79, The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos. This ebook is my forty-first ROOT for 2022.

My review of The Kiss Murder:

Without naming names, Buse tells the owner of the transvestite night club where she hangs out that she still has letters and photos from a youthful liaison with an important public figure who very much wants the evidence to disappear. The next day, Buse is murdered but the police are uninterested, so the only way to find the murderer is to find the letters and photos.

A fascinating narrator and some very funny scenes in this thriller set in an interesting milieu. Unfortunately the font in this ebook was unable to cope with Turkish diacritics, which was distracting at times.


119Robertgreaves
maj 20, 2022, 5:38 am

Also reading my No. 80, Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey. This ebook is my forty-second ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Tall Tales and Wee Stories:

I've always felt a little Billy Connolly goes a long way. Most of the time I just don't find him particularly funny, even more so here as his material doesn't translate well from the stage to the printed page. I would never have looked at this book if it hadn't been a book club choice and I read the book out of a sense of duty which probably didn't help.

120Robertgreaves
maj 20, 2022, 9:41 am

My review of The Mystery of Henri Pick:

In a small Breton town is a library of rejected manuscripts. An editor on holiday in town to visit her parents persuades her firm that one of the manuscripts would be worth publishing and it becomes a literary sensation. But some are sceptical that it could have been written by the deceased owner of a pizzeria who kept it a secret from his family and is not otherwise known to have written a word.

A gentle book about the French literary world (which I admit I know very little about - many of the names dropped were just names to me) and the effects of fame on the celebrity's nearest and dearest. Lovely.

121Robertgreaves
maj 22, 2022, 2:21 am

Also reading my No. 81, Gone Away by Hazel Holt. This ebook is my forty-second ROOT for 2022.

122Robertgreaves
maj 22, 2022, 9:48 pm

My review of Gone Away:

An old schoolfriend of Sheila Malory's now living in America is planning on returning to Taviscombe to marry a local estate agent. When his fiancee stops answering the phone and her secretary doesn't seem to know where she is, he asks Sheila to find out what's going on.

Delightful cozy mystery by friend and biographer of Barbara Pym.

123Robertgreaves
maj 23, 2022, 5:13 am

Starting Kissing the Demons by Kate Ellis. This ebook is my forty-third ROOT for 2022 and fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Whistle in the Dark:

15 year old Lana reappears after having disappeared on an activity holiday four days earlier but claims to have no memory of where she was or what she was doing during her disappearance. Her mother finds this difficult to cope with.

I kept reading because I wanted to know what had happened, but quite honestly both Lana and Jen sounded absolutely exhausting to be around.

124Robertgreaves
maj 24, 2022, 10:27 pm

Starting my No. 83, The Languages of Pao by Jack Vance. This ebook is my forty-fourth ROOT for 2022 and fits the SFFKIT.

My review of Kissing the Demons:

When DNA evidence in a cold case of the disappearance of two teenage girls points to the local MP, his alibi is that he was visiting a prostitute in a house near where the girls were last seen. A student now living in that house has gone missing and it turns out that 150 years ago the house was notorious as the scene of a brutal murder.

Enjoyable solid police procedural with creepy background elements.

125Robertgreaves
maj 25, 2022, 8:17 pm

Starting my No. 84, More Than This by Patrick Ness. This ebook is my forty-fifth ROOT for 2022.

My review of The Languages of Pao:

In this 1958 novel, when Pao is unable to repel a military invasion, an adviser from the technocrat Breakness planet advises setting up restricted areas for military, mercantile, and technician castes, each with their own language. Of course, the members of these castes will need specialist training from Breakness advisers.

The book could have done with more examples of the different languages showing how they work rather than abstract explanations. On the other hand, where one planet consists of undifferentiated masses of people and the other consists of extreme individualists who barely interact, it is difficult to care much about the characters, so it was a quick read but an uninvolving one.

126Robertgreaves
maj 27, 2022, 2:20 am

Starting my No. 85, The Saga of Gosta Berling by Selma Lagerlöf. This ebook is not a ROOT. It counts for the CATWoman.

My review of More Than This:

17 year old Seth drowns at sea off Washington State and wakes up in a deserted, post-apocalyptic version of the English town where he lived until he was nine. Is this Hell?

Some pacing problems particularly in the early part before Regine and Tomasz appear, but still an enjoyable and thought-provoking story.

127Robertgreaves
Redigerat: maj 31, 2022, 3:53 am

Starting my No. 86 (ETA actually 85, one book counted twice above) , Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Saga of Gosta Berling:

Gosta Berling is a pastor unfrocked because of his drunkenness but taken in by the wife of a major to join the cavaliers, a group of pensioned veterans she supports. The cavaliers take over the majoress's property and business for a year, believing she is in league with the devil.

I'm not sure whether the book was soporific or whether I was too tired to appreciate it properly, but it was a struggle to get through, and I really can't see what makes the author deserving of a Nobel prize for literature.

128Robertgreaves
maj 31, 2022, 4:14 am

Possible reading for June 2022:

129connie53
Redigerat: jun 5, 2022, 7:23 am

Hi Robert. 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.

You have been really reading a lot of books. Impressive! Congrats on reaching the halfway-point! That's also impressive!

130Robertgreaves
jun 5, 2022, 6:45 pm

Hi, Connie. Thanks for dropping by.

I've just got back from a 5-day break in Lombok. I took a chunkster with me but didn't get as much reading done as I hoped. Too much to see and do. So, currently reading Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. This is my forty-seventh ROOT for 2022. The treebook shelf now has 26 books.

131connie53
jun 6, 2022, 8:15 am

>130 Robertgreaves: Enjoy Voyager, Robert. I love those books and read them several times.

132Robertgreaves
jun 6, 2022, 7:15 pm

Starting my No. 87, Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon, as part of my quest to read the whole of the Outlander universe books in order. I have read some of these stories before, but it was reading them that convinced me that I would have to also read the main Outlander sequence as well as reading the Lord John sequence, which is what I originally intended. So, as a re-read this is my forty-eighth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Voyager:

20 years after the events of the first two books, Claire tracks down evidence that Jamie had survived Culloden and returns to the 18th century to meet him again.

Diana Gabaldon is a born story teller with a particular gift for adventure and humour.

133Robertgreaves
jun 7, 2022, 9:16 am

Also reading my No. 88, Lord John and the Private Matter, which as another re-read is my forty-ninth ROOT for 2022.

134Robertgreaves
jun 9, 2022, 1:43 am

Next in the series is my No. 89, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. This ebook is not a ROOT.

135Robertgreaves
jun 10, 2022, 9:56 pm

My review of Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade:

A page from a missing volume of his father's journals turns up, and Lord John starts to find anomalies in the accepted version of his father's death nearly 20 years previously.

Some definite retconning going on here, but still a good yarn.

136Robertgreaves
jun 11, 2022, 4:09 am

My review of Lord John and the Hand of Devils:

Three mystery novellas featuring Lord John, the third of which was new to me. Although they are meant to be stand-alones, there are quite a few references which would go over the head of someone unfamiliar with either the other Lord John novels and stories or the wider Outlander universe.

137Robertgreaves
jun 11, 2022, 6:41 pm

Starting my No. 90. Marcus Agrippa by Lindsay Powell. This ebook is my fiftieth ROOT for 2022. I am reading it now as my reading group's choice for June. It also fits the AuthorCAT.

138Robertgreaves
jun 12, 2022, 9:59 am

Also reading my No. 91, Mary, Queen of Scotch by Rob Rosen. This ebook is my fifty-first ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT and the RandomKIT.

139Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jun 13, 2022, 3:58 am

Starting my No. 92, Caitlin Ross and the Commute From Hell by Brian Olsen. This ebook is my fifty-second ROOT for 2022. It fits the SFFKIT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of Mary, Queen of Scotch:

Private eye Barry discovers his inner drag queen while trailing a possibly errant husband.

The author made the narrator's "voice" come alive but in such a way that I felt exhausted by the end of the first chapter. Fortunately the narration becomes less frenetic thereafter, though still full of incident. It was OK, but I don't think I will be reading any more by this author.

140Robertgreaves
jun 15, 2022, 1:32 am

Starting my No. 93, Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. This ebook is my fifty-third ROOT for 2022. It fits the AuthorCAT.

My review of Caitlin Ross and the Commute From Hell:

Mysterious portals keep opening round New York City sending people to unexpected destinations.

It's been a while since I read the first one in the series but from what I remember, my reaction was similar - a good start with fun and interesting characters which runs out of steam despite the author's attempts to ramp up the excitement.

141Robertgreaves
jun 16, 2022, 6:31 pm

Starting my No. 94, Death Comes As The End by Agatha Christie. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the MysteryKIT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of Everybody Lies:

How Internet searches show what people are really thinking and what combinations of massive amounts of data can reveal.

Fascinating. Some of the results are counter-intuitive: violent crimes go down when violent films are being shown at cinemas at least in the short term (because those most likely to commit the crimes are in the cinema watching the films rather than out drinking?). Some are all too predictable. The number of women looking for information on self-induced abortions goes up as access to abortion is restricted.

I hope somebody is doing similar work in other countries, not just America.

142Robertgreaves
jun 17, 2022, 10:18 am

Starting my No. 95, The Annals of the Heechee by Frederik Pohl. This ebook is not a ROOT. it fits the SFFKIT.

My review of Death Comes As The End:

Agatha Christie's historical detective story set in Ancient Egypt around 2000 BC.

I wasn't sure whether X or Y was the murderer, and of course it was Z. It was an interesting experiment, but I did spend quite a bit of time trying to work out who the characters would be and how the story would unfold in one of Dame Agatha's more contemporary stories.

143Robertgreaves
jun 19, 2022, 9:30 pm

Starting my No. 96, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. This is my fifty-fourth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook shelf down to 25. I am reading it now because it is my book club's choice for June.

My review of The Annals of the Heechee:

Chronologically, the last in the series. At last the Heechee and humanity meet the Assassins/Foe. As my memories of the previous installments were rather vague, it was difficult to follow at times until about half way through when there was a useful summary of events so far. It wrapped things up satisfactorily, though in a rather predictable way.

144Robertgreaves
jun 21, 2022, 5:12 am

Starting my No. 97, The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola. This ebook is not a ROOT.

145Robertgreaves
jun 21, 2022, 11:33 pm

Also reading my No. 98, Barthes: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan D. Culler. This is my fifty-fifth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook shelf down to 24. It fits the AuthorCAT and AlphaKIT.

146Robertgreaves
jun 22, 2022, 6:22 am

My review of The Palm-Wine Drinkard:

When the un-named narrator's palm-wine tapster falls from a tree and dies, the narrator travels through a mythological landscape to find him in the Dead's Town and bring him back.

Noteworthy as the first English-language novel written by an African and published outside Africa rather than for its intrinsic interest.

147Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jun 23, 2022, 3:33 am

Starting my No. 99, The Great Quake by Henry Fountain. This ebook is my fifty-sixth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT and AuthorCAT.

My review of Barthes: A Very Short Introduction:

There were parts where I think I grasped the point but would have welcomed more examples, there were other parts where I had no idea what was being said.

148Robertgreaves
jun 23, 2022, 9:37 pm

Also reading Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache by Martin Aston. This ebook is my fifty-seventh ROOT for 2022. It fits the AuthorCAT.

149Robertgreaves
jun 26, 2022, 7:47 pm

Starting Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow. This ebook is my fifty-eighth ROOT for 2022.

My review of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous:

Semi-autobiographical novel about a gay, mixed-race Vietnamese boy who immigrated to America as a small child with his mother and grandmother.

Gorgeous writing that really drew the reader into the scenes described but I found it ultimately disappointing because for me it didn't really cohere as a narrative.


My review of The Great Quake:

The story of the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Alaska, said to have been the strongest earthquake ever to strike North America, and the support it gave for the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.

The scientific part of the book was well done, mainly focussed on George Plafker and his work in geology and, after the quake, seismology. The human interest part of the book suffered from being too comprehensive, trying to cover the stories of all of the dead and injured in several chapters before the quake occurred and then during and after the quake in later chapters with the result that they all blurred together.


150Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jun 28, 2022, 12:31 am

Starting my No. 102. Jack of Eagles by James Blish. This ebook is my fifty-ninth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Under the Eagle:

Newly promoted centurion Macro has a secret and if it comes out he will be reduced to the ranks again. New recruit Cato attracts the attention of a bully and is suspected of cowardice when he tries to avoid him. Can they help each other out in the run-up to Claudius's invasion of Britain?

Enjoyable Roman military fiction. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get to this. So many books, so little time.


151Robertgreaves
jun 29, 2022, 5:46 pm

Starting my No. 103, A Spell for a Chameleon by Piers Anthony. This ebook is my sixtieth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Jack of Eagles:

Danny Caidin has always been a good guesser with a knack for knowing the whereabouts of misplaced objects but now his talents are developing further.

The technobabble explanations for Danny's powers swamped what could have been a good story.

152Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 1, 2022, 1:29 am

Possible reading for July:

153Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 2, 2022, 6:05 pm

Starting my No. 104, In Exile by Alexandra Turney. This is my sixty-first ROOT and fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of A Spell for Chameleon:

Bink will be exiled from Xanth on his 25th birthday if he does not have a magical talent, so he leaves home to consult the Good Magician Humfrey to find out whether he does have a magical talent and what it is.

There are parts of this 1977 fantasy novel which have not worn well but overall it was still an enjoyable quest fantasy with some truly groanworthy puns. i must admit I quail a bit at the thought of a 45-book series, but I will read at least some of the others from time to time.

154Robertgreaves
jul 5, 2022, 12:17 am

Starting my no. 105, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. This is my sixty-second ROOT for 2020. I am reading it for a group read over on Litsy and it also fits the AlphaKIT.

155dgtfg
jul 5, 2022, 12:50 am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

156Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 7, 2022, 3:28 am

Starting my No. 106, Never Say Goodbye by Hilary Green. This is my sixty-third ROOT for 2020.

My review of In Exile:

Dionysus comes back to modern-ish (late 20th century?) Rome, where he gains three teenage English and Australian schoolgirls as his followers.

An interesting premise and some good scenes but ultimately could have done with being about 2/3 the length and the ending needed to be clearer - I realised what happened but who to? And what happened next?

157Robertgreaves
jul 10, 2022, 6:57 pm

Starting my No. 107, Roommate by Sarina Bowen. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Never Say Goodbye:

After a year working in WWII Britain supporting the spies in the SOE, Diana Escott Stevens (aka Steve) volunteers to work in France as part of a spy circuit herself.

Enjoyable thriller with lots of suspense as we wait for the inevitable to happen.

158Robertgreaves
jul 11, 2022, 10:02 am

Starting my No. 108, The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt. This ebook is my sixty-fourth ROOT for 2022.

My review of Roommate:

Fleeing a bad relationship, Roddy Waite returns to his home town where he gets a job as a baker in a coffee shop and lodges with one of his coworkers who is leaving the family farm to become a graphic designer.

Despite it being the first in a series following different characters but all set in Vermont, I didn't really feel any sense of place. It could have been anywhere. Still, it was an enjoyable quick read that didn't need any great powers of concentration.

159Robertgreaves
jul 12, 2022, 9:59 am

My review of Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache:

A history of LGBT people in the music industry (singers,musicians, producers, songwriters) over the last 100 years. It is mainly focussed on the US and the UK, with occasional nods to the rest of the English-speaking world, Western Europe and South America, and a world tour in the last chapter.

I frequently got distracted while reading this, looking up the songs mentioned on YouTube, where they exist. The author's attempt to be comprehensive meant at times the text basically felt like a list of names many of which I'd forgotten again ten minutes later. A worthy effort but for me at its best where it served as a trip down memory lane.


160Robertgreaves
jul 15, 2022, 11:10 pm

Starting my No. 109, Your Voice Speaks Volumes by Jane Setter. This ebook is my sixty-fifth ROOT for 2022.

My review of The Engines of God:

Hutch is the pilot for a team of exo-archaeologists exploring why humans are now the only space-faring species and what happened to their predecessors, the Monument Makers.

Exciting and enjoyable combination of adventure and intellectual exploration. I look forward to reading others in this series.

161Robertgreaves
jul 17, 2022, 8:30 am

Starting my No. 110, Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Your Voice Speaks Volumes:

Mainly about the reactions people's voices inspire depending on accent (regionally and internationally) and sex and how intended and unintended changes in your voice can produce desirable and undesirable results.

Lots of QR links to sound files and YouTube videos. I wish more books did this.

162Robertgreaves
jul 17, 2022, 6:26 pm

Starting my No. 111, Death Overdue, the second in Mary Lou Kirwin's duology. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Killer Librarian:

Karen Nash is dumped by her boyfriend on the eve of their trip to England but decides to go anyway. In the land of Agatha Christie and other great mystery writers she naturally finds a corpse (natural causes? accidental overdose? poison?) and overcome by jet lag and a boozy evening in a pub, she may have accidentally put out a hit on the cheating scumbag (how to retract it?).

Very entertaining piece of fluff. Moving rapidly on to the second in the duology.

163Robertgreaves
jul 18, 2022, 8:12 pm

Starting my No. 112, Honest to Dog by Neil Plakcy. This ebook is my sixty-sixth ROOT for 2022. It fits the RandomKIT.

My review of Death Overdue:

The night after Caldwell Perkins's ex turns up claiming a share in the B & B, she is found dead crushed under a bookcase full of books that fell over. Karen Nash investigates so that she and Caldwell can realise their dream of opening a bookshop together.

Enjoyable but doesn't really stand out from a crowded field the way the first one did.

164connie53
jul 19, 2022, 9:23 am

Hi Robert, thank you for visiting my second thread.
I'm quit impressed by your reading progress. So many books.

165Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 20, 2022, 5:01 am

Starting my No. 113, The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT and AuthorCAT, and possibly the SFFKIT.

My review of Honest to Dog:

Steve Levitan's friend Doug is found drowned in a local canal shortly after telling Steve that he suspects that the investment company he is working for may be involved in a Ponzi scheme. Although Steve's policeman friend Rick thinks Doug committed suicide, Steve and Rochester are not convinced.

I had an enjoyable time following along with the gang, even if the mystery was solved by outside events rather than Steve's little grey cells.

166Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 22, 2022, 6:01 am

Starting my No. 114, If Not, Winter, a translation of Sappho's surviving poetry by Anne Carson. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Majesties:

Gwendolyn, aka Doll, lies in a coma, the only survivor of her sister's poisoning of their extended family, casting back in her memory of what led up to it and whether it could have been avoided.

The twist at the end had actually crossed my mind in the first few pages but the story was such a fascinating picture of the characters' lifestyle as members of a wealthy elite that are also victims of racial prejudice that I had quite forgotten about it by the time I reached the end, and then I found it unnecessary to the story being told.

167Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 22, 2022, 9:51 am

duplicate

168Robertgreaves
jul 23, 2022, 3:35 am

If Not, Winter is hard to read as an ebook, so I am going to wait till I can get a physical copy. In the meantime my replacement No. 114 is The Zig-zag Girl by Elly Griffiths. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the AlphaKIT.

169Robertgreaves
jul 24, 2022, 4:55 am

My No. 115 is the next in the series, Smoke and Mirrors. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Zig Zag Girl:

The body of a woman is found in 1950 in three cases reminiscent of a stage magician's act. DI Edgar Stephens enlists the help of Max Mephisto, a magician he served with in WWII, and as the bodies mount up they realise the intelligence team they worked with is being targetted.

I thought I was being so clever ignoring one red herring, not realising I was falling for another. I did feel though that the author was being a bit heavy-handed with characters being dismissive of what we know with the benefit of hindsight are going to be great successes.

170Robertgreaves
jul 26, 2022, 1:58 am

My No. 116 is The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett. This ebook is my sixty-seventh ROOT for 2022 and fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Smoke and Mirrors

Two children are abducted and their bodies found covered in snow and surrounded by sweets. DI Edgar Stephens leads the investigation, calling on the assistance of Max Mephisto as there seems to be a connection with the panto he is playing in.

Interesting mystery with some nice period detail, though Edgar seems to be more sympathetic to two minor characters who turn out to be a gay couple than I suspect a policeman in 1950 would be.

171Robertgreaves
jul 28, 2022, 4:09 am

Also reading my No. 117, Battles At Thrush Green by Miss Read. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the AlphaKIT.

172Robertgreaves
Redigerat: jul 29, 2022, 2:31 am

My review of Battles at Thrush Green:

Friction with the new teacher at the village school, disagreements over maintenance of the churchyard, and a charge of dangerous driving in this visit to the Cotswolds in the early 1970s. Lovely nature-writing and now 50 years later, a real nostalgia-inducing read.

173Robertgreaves
jul 31, 2022, 7:44 pm

Possible reading for August:

174Robertgreaves
aug 1, 2022, 10:57 am

Having read an 18th-century picaresque novel, I have chosen a mock one, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee as my No. 118. It is my sixty-eighth ROOT for 2022 and brings the Treebook TBR shelf to 26. It fits the AlphaKIT, AuthorCAT, and CATWoman.

My review of The Adventures of Roderick Random:

Disinherited by his grandfather, Roderick Random leaves Scotland for London to become a naval surgeon.

The novel was more interesting as a social document consciously and unconsciously revealing its period than as a story. I found a lot of it repetitive, especially parts that were obviously meant to be funny and probably were when it was published, but I can only take so many jokes involving somebody getting covered in piss or poo.

175Robertgreaves
Redigerat: aug 5, 2022, 8:51 am

Starting my No. 119, Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann. This is my sixty-ninth ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 25. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue:

In the 1720s Henry Montague aka Monty sets out on the Grand Tour with his sister Felicity, and his best friend. Percy. After shenanigans at Versailles and an encounter with highwaymen they are forced to go on the run.

Unconvincing, as our three heroes seem to be 21st century people in 18th century clothes and there were some details where I was wondering whether the writer had done her homework properly. Although it wasn't so bad that I wanted to DNF it, it didn't really grip me either. I certainly don't see why it won so many awards.

176MissWatson
aug 5, 2022, 8:59 am

>175 Robertgreaves: My reaction exactly.

177Robertgreaves
aug 7, 2022, 7:23 pm

Starting my No. 120, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This ebook is my seventieth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Black Tudors:

An account of ten black people living in Tudor and Jacobean England as glimpsed mainly through parish and court archives. A glimpse is all we get but then that's true of most of the population at that time. The author is able to cite enough other records to show that the ten people she's chosen weren't the only ones even if they were a very, very small minority. It seems intuitively obvious that once England started interacting with the wider world that the traffic would not have been all one way but it is fascinating that the author can actually point to these people.

178Robertgreaves
aug 10, 2022, 8:36 am

Currently reading my No. 121, Ringworld by Larry Niven. This is my seventy-first ROOT of 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 24.

My review of Dark Matter:

Jason Dessen goes to out to buy ice cream for his wife and son but is kidnapped and drugged. When he wakes up, he is told he is a successful scientist but unmarried with no children.

About 2/3 of the way through this book I thought it was running out of steam and basically over bar the wrap-up and couldn't believer how much there was left to go, but then an unexpected twist,which nevertheless perfectly cohered with what had gone before, came and the last third was just as much of an enjoyable ride as the earlier parts of the book had been.

179Robertgreaves
aug 12, 2022, 3:33 am

Starting the sequel, The Ringworld Engineers, as my No. 122. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Ringworld:

Louis Wu is recruited to go on an exploratory mission by a Pierson's Puppeteer who goes on to recruit a kzin and a human woman, Teela Brown.

The wonderful concepts and aliens (Pierson's Puppeteers are one of my favourite alien species ever) are unfortunately not matched by the author's vision of future relations between the human sexes.

180Robertgreaves
aug 14, 2022, 5:29 am

Starting my No. 123, An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. This is my seventy-second ROOT for 2022 and brings the treebook TBR shelf to 24.

My review of The Ringworld Engineers:

Louis Wu and Chmeee (formerly Speaker-to-Animals) return to the Ringworld with the Hindmost only to find that it is drifting off course and will soon collide with its sun.

A disappointing sequel in that it was often less clear than the original so that I found it difficult to understand what was happening and what the characters were doing at various points.

181Robertgreaves
Redigerat: aug 20, 2022, 8:32 am

Starting my No. 124, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my RL bookclub.

My review of An Instance of the Fingerpost:

Four narrators tell the story of the death by poisoning of a Fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1663 and the execution which followed.

I have read this before but I had forgotten how good it is. The mixture of natural philosophy (science), politics, and religion is just as fascinating as the actual mystery. The book shows up how rooted in the attitudes of our own day most other historical detective fiction is.

182Robertgreaves
aug 21, 2022, 7:20 pm

Also reading my No. 125 Hands Like Clouds by Mark Zuehlke. This ebook is my seventy-third ROOT for 2022 and fits the RandomKIT and the AlphaKIT.

183Robertgreaves
aug 23, 2022, 10:11 pm

My review of The Art of Racing in the Rain:

A dog who is the beloved pet of an aspiring racing car driver looks back over his life.

I have to admit that even after watching some of the races referred to on YouTube, most of the racing metaphors went way over my head. It was a quick read, but felt emotionally manipulative. For example, it was blindingly obvious that I should not read the last 1/3 over my lunchtime Starbucks.

184Robertgreaves
aug 24, 2022, 11:35 pm

Starting my No. 126, X, Y & Z by Dermot Turing. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT and the AuthorCAT.

My review of Hands Like Clouds:

As coroner in Tofino on Vancouver Island, Elias McCann is called out to the body of an anti-logging activist found hanging from a tree. Although the police are eager to rule it a suicide, Elias is not convinced.

This book caught my eye because it is set near where a friend lives. The location descriptions are good, and the backstories of Elias and his girlfriend Vhanna are intriguing and well done, but the actual story is just plain dull. It wasn't so bad that I felt a DNF was justified, but by the time I got to the climactic drive through difficult terrain to foil the bad guy's plans, I just didn't care.

185Robertgreaves
aug 26, 2022, 8:16 pm

Starting my No. 127, Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Howard. This is my seventy-fourth ROOT for 2022 and brings the TBR shelf to 24. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of X, Y & Z:

Alan Turing's nephew's history of the decipherment of the Enigma coding machine focuses more on the work by a team of Poles breaking earlier versions of the Enigma codes. It does assume rather more familiarity with how the physical machines actually work than I possess, which made it hard to follow in places, but it was nevertheless fascinating.

186Robertgreaves
aug 27, 2022, 5:12 am

Starting my No. 128, The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell. This ebook is my seventy-fifth ROOT for 2022. I am also counting it for the AlphaKIT.

My review of Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction:

What it says on the tin

187Robertgreaves
aug 29, 2022, 7:20 pm

My review of My Family and Other Animals, the first book in the omnibus The Corfu Trilogy:

Gerald Durrell's first memoir of his childhood years in Corfu between the wars.

I last read this about 10 years ago after a gap of 35 years. The descriptive passages are rather more leisurely than they seemed 45 years ago, but the narrative is still very, very funny. It's not safe to read it in public unless you don't mind people watching you howl with laughter.

188Robertgreaves
aug 31, 2022, 5:15 am

Starting my No. 129, The Bloody Wood by Michael Innes. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the August and September AlphaKITs as a bridge.

My review of The Corfu Trilogy:

Three books of the author's memories from the time in his childhood when he and his family spent 4 years in Corfu before the Second World War.

From this distance it sounds like an idyllic time as the budding naturalist goes off exploring the beautifully described local scenery and wildlife, for the most part by himself apart from his dogs and also once a week a local doctor, who was something of a polymath.

The books are also full of hilarious anecdotes involving his family (his mother, two brothers and one sister), their visitors, and the animals the author collected.


189Robertgreaves
aug 31, 2022, 11:30 pm

Some possible reading in September:

190Robertgreaves
sep 1, 2022, 5:59 am

Starting my No. 130, A Change of Heir by Michael Innes. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Bloody Wood:

Grace Martineau is dying and has invited friends and family for a farewell visit. Her eventual death is not due to disease but to murder. Fortunately Sir John Appleby is amongst the friends visiting and he agrees to investigate.

I last read this 30+ years ago but I remembered that one of the early clues was a clue even if I didn't remember who the murderer was.

191Robertgreaves
sep 3, 2022, 4:01 am

Starting my No. 131, Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of A Change of Heir:

A common theme of Michael Innes's standalone novels, the conman conned, comes to a satisfactory, if rather abrupt conclusion.

192Robertgreaves
sep 5, 2022, 7:54 pm

Starting my No. 132, The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears. This is my seventy-sixth ROOT for 2022. The treebook TBR shelf now has 22 books.This book fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Lavinia:

Lavinia, a Latin princess, has many suitors but she is not interested in any of them until Aeneas arrives from Troy.

Another woman from legend gets the chance to tell her own story, but she herself also reflects on whether she actually exists outside the story as told by Vergil. Enjoyable but if even the main character isn't sure whether she exists it's difficult to feel any emotional involvement in what's going on.

193connie53
sep 12, 2022, 6:28 am

Hi Robert! Here I'm again to catch up on your thread. I see you're right on track to your goal! Great job.

194Robertgreaves
sep 12, 2022, 11:20 pm

Thanks for dropping by Connie.

I have been going through The Dream of Scipio very slowly, not more than a few pages a day, and couldn't understand why - I thought I was coming down with Covid again but a PCR was negative and the doctor said a bad case of strep throat (which I always thought was a disease of American teenagers, but apparently you can get it at any age and not just through snogging). On top of that the death of QEII has also really knocked me back. I've been spending ludicrous amounts of time scrolling through social media and news channels.

So, my No. 133 is The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Hopefully this will get me back in the reading saddle. It is my seventy-seventh ROOT for 2022. It is a re-read but doesn't affect the treebook TBR shelf, which remains at 22 books.

195Caramellunacy
sep 13, 2022, 4:13 am

>194 Robertgreaves:
I hope you are feeling less under the weather soon.
You remind me that I've been meaning to try The Uncommon Reader - and now seems an apropos time to give it a read.

196Robertgreaves
sep 13, 2022, 9:58 am

My review of The Uncommon Reader, slightly adapted from last time I read it:

A quick read with some laugh out loud moments.

Unfortunately those who most need to hear the message that reading is good and important (but not necessarily the most important thing in life) are least likely to read the book.

I'd love to know if HM read this and what she thought.

197Jackie_K
sep 13, 2022, 4:19 pm

>194 Robertgreaves: I hope you feel better soon, Robert. Are you sure you've not been snogging? :D

198Robertgreaves
sep 13, 2022, 8:14 pm

>197 Jackie_K: Well, if I have, it was pretty unmemorable and definitely not worth it. :-)

My No. 134 is Paradox Bound by Peter Clines. This ebook is my seventy-eighth ROOT for 2022. I'm hoping it will fit the SFFKIT.

My review of The Dream of Scipio:

Three parallel stories set in a small area of Provence at times when the world or at least civilized life seemed to be coming to an end (the last years of the Western Roman Empire, the Black Death, WWII) look at issues of cultural memory and how ideas survive and recognising and choosing the lesser of evils.

199Robertgreaves
sep 16, 2022, 2:49 am

Starting my No. 135, The Impossible Life of Benson by Rodney Bolt. This ebook is my seventy-ninth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Paradox Bound:

Eli Teague has met the mysterious Harry three times over 20 years when a faceless man comes to the bank where he to question him about her. Eli decides its time to find Harry himself and maybe join her on her quest, whatever it might be.

It had its moments but I suspect would be far more enjoyable for an American reader.

200connie53
sep 18, 2022, 6:34 am

Hi Robert! Poor you! I hope you feel better soon.

201Robertgreaves
sep 19, 2022, 8:24 pm

>200 connie53: Thanks Connie. I'm still a bit clogged up but basically over it now.

Starting my No. 136, The King Must Die by Mary Renault. This is my eightieth ROOT for 2022. The treebook TBR shelf now stands at 22. I am reading it for the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Impossible Life of Mary Benson:

Fascinating life of Mary Benson, who was called the cleverest woman in Europe. The wife of a Victorian Archbishop of Canterbury, she also had a series of women lovers. Five of her six children survived into adulthood to become prolific writers and they all seem to have been gay or lesbian.

202Robertgreaves
sep 21, 2022, 10:31 am

Starting my No. 137, How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. This ebook is my eighty-first ROOT for 2022.

My review of The King Must Die (slightly adapted from last time I read it}:

Just as much a page-turner as it ever was. Even if it's been overtaken by archaeology in places it's still the way things ought to have been. And who wouldn't want to be a bull-dancer?

203Robertgreaves
Redigerat: sep 23, 2022, 9:32 pm

Currently reading my No. 138, The Sun Goes Down by James Lear. This ebook is my eighty-second ROOT for 2022.

My review of How To Stop Time:

Tom Hazard has anageria - since puberty he has aged very slowly, about one year bodily aging every fifteen actual years. Always moving on to keep it a secret, he has been looking for his daughter since his wife told him on her deathbed in the 17th century that she had inherited the condition.

Very enjoyable mix of historical and speculative fiction with reflections on how things stay the same even when they don't.


204Robertgreaves
sep 24, 2022, 5:55 am

Starting my No. 139, On the Beach by Nevil Shute. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my book club.

My review of The Sun Goes Down:

Mitch Mitchell is called to Gozo in 1932 by a friend from medical school who wants to consult him about a young soldier who seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Does it stem from a sordid affair of blackmail and suicide or a much more interesting story of murder dressed up to look like suicide?

The usual parody of Agatha Christie mixed with detailed extra-curricular activities dear Dame Agatha never dreamed of. Fun but probably a good idea to bring the series to a close with this the fourth book before the joke wore thin.

205Robertgreaves
sep 26, 2022, 10:32 am

Starting my No. 140, The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine. This ebook is my eighty-third ROOT. It fits the RandomCAT

My review of On the Beach:

After a nuclear apocalypse a group of Australian and American navy personnel and their friends and families in Melbourne wait for the radiation drifting southward to reach them and inevitably kill them.

Somehow I had the impression that Nevil Shute wrote macho spy and war thrillers and so would not be my cup of tea at all. In fact I found this 1957 novel very readable if rather dated in its understanding of what the aftermath of a nuclear war would be like and some of its characterisation. Of the two main women characters, I found one extremely irritating at the beginning, though she did eventually grow up a bit, while the other was so far gone in her state of denial that she came across as practically half-witted.

But having said that, as time went on I found the book had quite a deep emotional impact, with a deepening sense of despair in the second half which carried over into my general outlook and in the final chapter floods of tears as each character met their end.

206rabbitprincess
sep 26, 2022, 4:18 pm

>205 Robertgreaves: I felt low for several days after reading On the Beach. Very powerful.

207Robertgreaves
sep 27, 2022, 4:52 am

Starting my No. 141, The Inheritors by William Golding. I am re-reading this ebook as my eighty-fourth ROOT for 2022. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Angel of History:

A gay Yemeni living in San Francisco in the 1990s checks himself into a psychiatric clinic having lost too many friends and his lover to AIDS. In the meantime Satan is interviewing Death and the saints known as the Fourteen Holy Helpers about him.

I wanted to like this book and kept thinking it was on the verge of becoming something really good but a third of the way through I have to admit it's just not happening for me. DNF.

208Robertgreaves
sep 28, 2022, 7:23 pm

Continued here.