Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Page 4

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Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Page 4

Redigerat: nov 19, 6:57 pm

Neighborhood in Elves, Portugal

I am Beth, a recently retired English instructor. I read eclectically, mostly fiction, with essays and memoir and poetry also in the mix. I have certainly expanded my reading horizons here.

I generally don't plan my reading. I do belong to a real-life book club and have some shared reads with other LT members. I would like to read more from my shelves this year, but those shiny new library books are SO tempting.

Please feel free to lurk or post. I hope we all have a great year of reading!

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” - Elizabeth Hardwick

Redigerat: nov 19, 6:58 pm

Currently Reading
I usually have a fiction, nonfiction, and poetry book going at once.

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:00 pm

I don't tend to plan my reading, but I do belong to a book club and do some shared reads on LT. General plans for 2023 include reading in Spanish, reading more in translation, and reading from my shelves.

Book Club Selections
January: Wintering ✔️
February: The Word Is Murder ✔️
March: The Stone Angel ✔️
April: The Constant Rabbit ✔️
May: A Ladder to the Sky ✔️
July: The Poisonwood Bible✔️
August: Agatha Christie month ✔️
September: Meeting Jesus for the First Time ✔️
October: French Braid ✔️
November: Silence ✔️
December: Small Things Like These

Shared Reads
January: The Candy House✔️, Your Duck Is My Duck✔️
February: Horse ✔️
March: Demon Copperhead ✔️
April: Stone Blind ✔️
May: Trespasses ✔️
July: A Children's Bible ✔️
September: 11-22-63 ✔️
October: Cat's Eye ✔️
December:The House of Doors
January: The Vaster Wilds

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:04 pm

Read 2023 - Q3
72. Nefertiti*
73. Leave the World Behind*
74. The Poisonwood Bible* 💜
75. A Children's Bible* REREAD
76. Ghosts of Spain*
77. Nightbloom*💜
78. The Memory of Animals💜
79. The Secret Adversary 🎧
80. Portraits in Fiction*
81. The Midnight News

July Reading Report
Books read: 10
By women: 8
By men: 2

Novels: 8
Nonfiction: 2

From my shelves: 7!!
Library: 3

82. Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop
83. 33 Minnesota Poets*
84. Victory City 💜
85. El Viento Conoce Mi Nombre
86. Not the Ones Dead
87. The Sun Walks Down 💜
88. When I was A Child I Read Books*
89. The Last Beekeeper
90. Uncaged* 🎧
91. Outrage*
92. Rampage* 🎧

August Reading Report
Books read: 11
By women: 6
By men: 1
By couple: 4

Novels: 8
Memoir: 1
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 8
My shelves: 3

93. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time*
94. Shock Wave 🎧
95. Artemisia
96. In the Margins*
97. Mad River 🎧
98. Take What You Need
99. Fortune and Glory 🎧
100. French Braid REREAD
101. Break Blow Burn*
102. 11/22/63*
103. Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles
104. Storm Front 🎧

September Reading Report
Books read: 12
By women: 7
By men: 5

Novels: 7
Graphic novel: 1
Essays: 3
Biography: 1

Library: 8
My shelves: 4

105. Deadline 🎧
106. The Windeby Puzzle*
107. The Whalebone Theatre*
108. Escape Clause 🎧
109. The Art of the Wasted Day*
110. The Fraud
111. The Best American Poetry 2013*
112. The Vaster Wilds
113. The Puppets of Spelhorst*

October Reading Report
Books read: 9
By women: 7
By men: 2

Novels: 5
Young reader fiction: 2
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 4
My shelves: 5

114. Cat's Eye*
115. Deep Freeze 🎧
116. What You Need to Be Warm*
117. The Lost Library 🎧
118. Silence*
119. The Raging Storm
120. Tom Lake*
121. System Collapse 🎧

*From my shelves

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:08 pm

Read in 2023 -Q2
35. Memphis
36. Who Owns the Clouds*
37. I Have Some Questions for You
38. Old Babes in the Wood 💜
39. A Killing of Innocents
40. The Constant Rabbit*
41. Just the Plague
42. The Great Enigma*
43. Quarrel & Quandary*
44. Stone Blind*
45. Trespasses 💜
46. The Dog of the North
47. The Faraway World 💜

April report
Books read: 13
By women: 11
By men: 2

Novels: 8
Short stories: 2
Young reader: 1
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

From my shelves: 5
Library: 8

48. Pod* 💜
49. Homecoming
50. A Ladder to the Sky*
51. The Marriage Portrait*
52. Trace Elements*
53. Dark Angel
54. Cursed Bread
55. Blood Substitute*
56. The Last Remains
57. Devotions*
58. How to Live or A Life of Montaigne*
59. Black Butterflies* 💜
60. The Hero of this Book*
61. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret 🎧

May report
Books read: 14
By women: 12
By men: 2

Novels: 11
Poetry: 1
Nonfiction: 1
Young reader: 1

From my shelves: 9
Library: 5

62. Independence
63. Why Mermaids Sing*
64. Where Serpents Sleep*
65. A Town Called Solace*💜
66. Early Morning Riser*
67. Schooled in Death*
68. The Bookwanderers*
69. Death Comes Knocking*
70. Death Sends a Message*
71. Everything Under the Sky*

Books read: 10
By women: 10

Novels: 10

From my shelves: 9
Library: 1

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:12 pm

Read in 2023- Q1
1. Portrait of an Unknown Lady
2. The Consequences of Fear*
3. Network Effect 🎧
4. Little Big Bully*
5. The Man Who Could Move Clouds
6. Wintering*
7. Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces*💜
8. A Dangerous Business
9. A World of Curiosities
10. Twenty and Ten
11. Super-Infinitive
12. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair*
13. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands 💜
14. Twisted Twenty-Six 🎧
15. Your Duck Is My Duck*

January Report
Books read: 15
By women: 14
By men: 1

Novels: 8
Short stories: 1
Poetry: 1
Memoir: 3 (1 graphic)
Biography: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 9
From my shelves: 6

16. The Light Pirate 💜
17. The Word Is Murder*
18. The Sacrifice of Darkness
19. Burn This Book*
20. Horse
21. Cold Cold Bones
22. The Inquisitor's Tale*
23. The Bandit Queens
24. Midnight at Malabar House
25. Notes of a Native Son*
26. Dinosaurs 💜
27. A Lethal Lesson

February report
Books read: 12
By women: 8
By men: 4

Novels: 10
Essays: 2

Library: 8
My shelves: 4

28. The Lions of Fifth Avenue*
29. A Field Guide to Getting Lost*
30. Sharks in the Time of Saviors* 💜
31. H Is for Homicide* 🎧
32. A Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands
33. Ex Libris*
34. The Alice Network*

March report
Books read: 7
By women: 5
By men: 2

Novels: 4
Essays: 2
Nonfiction (history): 1

From my shelves: 6
From a friend: 1

Redigerat: jul 27, 1:53 pm

You Must Read This

87. The Submission was a book club selection. I loved it and we had a great discussion -- about ten years ago! Here are my brief comments at the time:

When Mohammad Khan is found to be the winner of the winning design for the 911 memorial, all hell breaks lose. Ambitious politicians, liberal commentators, special interest groups, conservative talk radio hosts, the press -- all are quick to weigh in on the appropriateness of a Muslim designing the memorial.

Waldman tells the story from multiple viewpoints, letting us see that no one is entirely blameless. As we see the story from different people's views, Waldman complicates the story. Khan is often arrogant, while we can see the pain of families who have lost people in the violence.

I think this deserves more recognition.

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:18 pm

jul 27, 5:30 pm

Happy new thread, Beth.

jul 27, 7:06 pm

Happy new thread Beth!

jul 27, 7:58 pm

Happy number four, Beth.

Feliz novo topico!

jul 27, 8:08 pm

Happy new one!

jul 27, 10:39 pm

Happy new thread!

jul 27, 10:52 pm

Thanks Shelley, Susan, Paul, Anita, and Jim. Welcome.

jul 28, 12:59 am

>7 BLBera: Hi Beth. Skimmed the previous thread and thought I'd better delurk here on the new one.
So, is The Submission a heavy trip and emotional? Or can a reader avoid the obviously painful angst that pervades all the memories of 911?
I don't feel 'strong' that way, and as a fiction choice, I want to avoid feeling like I'm poking a stick in my eye. I'm very tempted to give it a cautious whirl because I like the idea of all those perspectives mentioned in the book page overview.

jul 28, 3:13 am

Happy new thread Beth!

jul 28, 4:19 am

Happy new thread, Beth!

jul 28, 1:13 pm

78. The Memory of Animals
I've loved the other books by Fuller that I have read, Unsettled Ground and Swimming Lessons, so I was anxious to read this novel. It's a pandemic novel; the narrator Neffy tells about the ten days she spent in a unit that was testing a vaccine for the virus that is devastating the world. Neffy is twenty-seven, an unemployed marine biologist and deeply in debt. She sees volunteering as a way out of her current difficulties.

She is joined by Rachel, Piper, Yahiko, and Leon, other volunteers. Leon has invented a "Revisiter," a device that enables some people to relive memories. The device is an effective way of introducing Neffy's back story. I love Neffy; she is a well rounded empathetic character that I really care about.

Overall, I really liked this novel. I do wonder if Fuller tries to introduce too many things into it -- the questions about ethics in animal and medical research, the revisiter, and a pandemic. And I dislike the device of skipping ahead multiple years in the last few pages, which Fuller uses. Still, I am happy to have picked this up.

And it's a great cover.

jul 28, 1:17 pm

>15 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy - I think The Submission focused more on labeling people than on the actual event. It has been a while since I read it.

>16 charl08:, >17 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita and Charlotte!

jul 28, 1:28 pm

Happy new thread!

Redigerat: jul 28, 2:27 pm

>20 mstrust: Thanks Jennifer

jul 28, 3:55 pm

Happy New Thread, Beth! I lovedThe Midnight News earlier this year , and I hope you do too.

jul 28, 5:16 pm

I've added The Submission to my list of books to read shortly.

It sounds very interesting

jul 28, 10:30 pm

Hi Beth, I am delurking so that I can wish you a happy new thread with lots of good reads. The Memory of Animals has caught my attention and I will add it to my library list.

jul 29, 1:41 am

Happy new thread Beth! >18 BLBera: This book caught my eye awhile ago just because of the cover - it's so good! But I haven't seen many reviews of it yet, glad to see it might worth picking it up.

jul 29, 10:56 am

>22 vancouverdeb: The Midnight News is very compelling, Deborah.

>23 Whisper1: Hi Linda. I hope you enjoy it.

>24 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy - Thanks. I do like a good dystopia. This one is a pandemic story, so for some people it might be too soon.

>25 WhiteRaven.17: Thanks! If you like dystopias and can read about a pandemic, you will like this.

jul 30, 9:58 pm

79. The Secret Adversary
This is the first Tommy and Tuppence book, and it's very entertaining. The mystery is lighter than Christie's other mysteries although equally well plotted. In this Tommy and Tuppence, lifelong friends meet up after WWI, at loose ends and looking for work. They decide to form a partnership for adventure. They stumble into a plot to overthrow the government.

I listened to this and the audiobook is OK although some of the accents were a bit off. August is Christie month in my book club and I will try to pick up a couple of others featuring Poirot and Miss Marple. I read these years ago but have little memory of them -- beyond the fact that I could never guess the villain.

Redigerat: jul 31, 8:15 am

>27 BLBera: Nice review, Beth — too bad about the audiobook accent issues, though. I remember listening many years ago to a mystery set in Miami featuring all American characters but the narrator was inexplicably British. She took me right out of the story when she pronounced Geraldo Rivera's name with a hard 'g' and I don't think I ever recovered because I am drawing a complete blank on either the title of the book or the author! :-)

I think I've read most if not all of the Tommy and Tuppence books and they are a little fluffy for Christie but not bad.

jul 31, 9:52 am

Thanks Julia. Fluffy is a great description for the Tommy and Tuppence books. For my book club, I wanted to read a book with each of the characters: Miss Marple, Poirot, and Tommy and Tuppence. I have read most of Christie, but I never remember the solutions!

The best audiobooks don't draw attention to the reader...If I notice it, I tend to be put off. I started to listen to a Scandicrime book once and the characters spoke in a cockney accent?! I had to stop listening. I can't remember which book it was.

jul 31, 10:00 am

80. Portraits in Fiction
This book originated in a lecture Byatt gave and discusses "portraits" in both painting and in written fiction. Byatt discusses description and the use of portraits in her own work as well as work by Zola, Balzac, and Murdoch, to mention a few. I really appreciated the inclusion of the portraits she discusses.

This little book is thought-provoking. A couple of the quotes that stuck with me:
"Writers rely on the endlessly varying visual images of individual readers and on the constructive visualizing work those readers do This is the reason, I think, why I very distressed to find publishers using photographs of real, identifiable people to represent my characters on the covers of novels. It limits the readers' imaginations." -- This bothers me as well.

"What a novelist can do, which is difficult for a painter, is convey what is not, and cannot, be known about a human being."

I think anyone interested in art and literature would enjoy this.

jul 31, 10:13 am

>29 BLBera: One from each series is a good goal for your book club reads. Maybe toss in one of her standalone books as well?

jul 31, 12:07 pm

Do you have a suggestion for a standalone?

jul 31, 12:26 pm

The most famous one, and probably the most highly regarded, is probably And Then There Were None. The Man in the Brown Suit was interesting for the setting but I thought the plot wasn't really up to Christie's usual standards. I own a few others — Crooked House, Endless Night and They Came to Baghdad but haven't read them yet.

jul 31, 12:38 pm

Thanks - I did read And Then There Were None recently. I will look for one of the others you mention.

jul 31, 1:54 pm

>18 BLBera: Thanks for the rec - adding it to my list! I remember Unsettled Ground being a bit creepy but really good.

jul 31, 3:24 pm

81. The Midnight News
Although Jo Baker's new novel The Midnight News is set during the Blitz in London, it is not just a WWII novel. Charlotte Richmond, the protagonist, is estranged from her family, and as the novel progresses, we learn why. Her brother Eddie died at the beginning of the war, and Charlotte became a "nuisance" and was committed by her father. When her best friend dies in the Blitz, Charlotte suspects foul play, while friends and family think she is having a breakdown. Charlotte wants to avoid being committed again, and this is tension that runs through the novel. Besides the fear and uncertainty of the nightly bombing, Baker also shows the the roles of women are limited and anyone straying from the acceptable finds herself criticized -- or worse.

I really liked this -- an interesting twist to the Blitz novel.

jul 31, 7:55 pm

Hi Beth.
Looks like you're reading up a storm here. No BB's even winged me. That is a good thing since I have a dismal record in reading off my own shelves and I really should give the unread-long acquired books some attention.

jul 31, 8:08 pm

Glad you enjoyed The Midnight News, Beth! I totally loved it! I'm looking very forward to the Booker Longlist announcement, which I am sure you are too. I think late tonight my time it wlll be announced. The Secret Adversary sound fun. We all need some lighter reading amongst the darker reads, I think.

aug 1, 8:21 pm

>37 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy. I wish I were better at ignoring those shiny new library books.

>38 vancouverdeb: It was very good, Deborah. I saw the Booker longlist; I wasn't familiar with many of the books, but I will take a look to see if my library has some.

aug 4, 9:45 am

Great quote from When I Was a Child I Read Books:
"Over the years I have collected so many books that, in aggregate, they can fairly be called a library. I don't know what percentage of them I have read. Increasingly I wonder how many of them I ever will read. This has done nothing to dampen my pleasure in acquiring more books. But it has caused me to ponder the meaning they have for me, and the fact that to me they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life."

aug 4, 10:09 am

>40 BLBera: - Well, that certainly describes me, to a tee. As I suspect it does many LTers....

aug 4, 11:19 am

>40 BLBera: Yes. Beautifully put.

aug 4, 11:40 am

>41 jessibud2:, >42 charl08: It's nice to have validation. :)

aug 4, 11:49 am

82. Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop
Well, I've added Alba Donati's bookshop to my bucket list after reading this memoir. It covers about six months of the day-to-day life of her bookstore in the small town of Lucignana. She includes book orders, stories of visitors, and lovely descriptions of the area she lives in. There are some book lists as well. One of the most interesting aspects is how the community is involved in the book shop. She sees it as a way to revitalize her community. I hope she succeeds.

aug 4, 11:57 am

>44 BLBera: A comfy-sounding story. What especially drew you to adding this book to your bucket list?

aug 4, 12:16 pm

>44 BLBera: - Definitely going to have a look for this one, Beth!

>45 SandyAMcPherson: - She meant she's added visiting the bookshop to her bucket list.

aug 4, 12:45 pm

>45 SandyAMcPherson: I'm adding the bookshop to my bucket list, Sandy. You should look online at photos. It looks charming, and just as she describes in the book.

>46 katiekrug: Hi Katie - It was a fun read, I have fantasized about owning a bookshop, but realize that it involves more than being in a shop surrounded by books and recommending books to customers.

aug 4, 12:58 pm

>47 BLBera: - A friend of mine sent me a link to an AirBNB in Scotland, where you rent the apartment above a bookshop and run the shop during your stay. Apparently, it's fully booked into 2025 already!

aug 4, 1:42 pm

>48 katiekrug: I would SO be up for that, Katie! Donati's bookstore is staffed mostly by volunteers from her town.

aug 4, 2:07 pm

>40 BLBera: yup.

>44 BLBera: I loved this one too Beth.

aug 4, 4:50 pm

>44 BLBera: You got me with a book bullet for that one, Beth. The cover alone would have done it! I do love books about books. The community involvement is intriguing. Thanks for calling it to our attention.

aug 4, 6:01 pm

>40 BLBera: In a way isn't that about collecting anything?

Of course books are of a different order than say marbles, but it's in the meaning the object has for the collector that the value exists.

aug 5, 1:43 pm

>50 Caroline_McElwee: I think it should be a popular read on LT, Caroline.

>51 Donna828: I think it's one that you will like, Donna.

>52 quondame: Good point, Susan.

aug 5, 6:22 pm

>1 BLBera: This was one of my favourite pictures from your last thread. I am glad it made it over here :)

aug 6, 12:07 pm

>54 LovingLit: Thanks Megan!

aug 6, 12:08 pm

Walter Dean Myers: “We all know we should eat right and we should exercise, but reading is treated as if it’s this wonderful adjunct. ‘Reading takes you to faraway places.’ We’re still thinking in terms of enticing kids to read with a sports book or a book about war. We’re suggesting that they’re missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”

Redigerat: aug 13, 5:09 pm

>40 BLBera: ... they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life.

I love this - exactly my sentiment.

aug 6, 8:45 pm

>40 BLBera: I feel seen.

>44 BLBera: This one sounds lovely!

aug 6, 11:33 pm

>56 BLBera: This is such a truism, I like it and sure believe Myers is (was) qualified to say so. Thanks for posting it.
I *also* believe there's as much need to convince parents to understand that "reading is not optional" for their children, from birth in fact.

aug 7, 11:54 am

I think this is the link Katie mentioned:

>57 PlatinumWarlock: I thought this would speak to LTers.

>58 Copperskye: I think you'd like it, Joanne.

>59 SandyAMcPherson: ANd it is FUN to read to kids!

aug 8, 8:04 am

>60 BLBera: I've wanted to go to Wigtown for their book festival, but the public transport options are er, not great. It looks lovely though!

aug 8, 9:33 am

>61 charl08: Good to know about public transport, Charlotte. It does look like fun.

aug 8, 9:41 am

83. 33 Minnesota Poets
As with any anthology, there were poems I loved and poems that left me cold. One thing that disappointed me is that this anthology, published in 2000 did not include any writers of color. After reading the essays from A Good Time for the Truth and learning about the marginalizing experiences many of the writers have had in Minnesota, I would hope that anthologies like this can be more inclusive and mindful.

Some of the poets were familiar (Joyce Sutpen, Michael Dennis Browne), while most were new to me. It was nice to discover some new local poets, especially Ethna McKiernan and Mary Kay Rummel.

aug 8, 10:04 am

Happy newish thread!

>40 BLBera: The perfect quote for me. I even bought a house just to have the space to store them in case I do end up reading them!

aug 9, 2:04 pm

Happy newish thread, Beth!

Love the Christie discussion. To add to the standalone discussion, I found The Man in the Brown Suit interesting but that's because I read about the promotional tour that the Christies went on while they were still married. The actual man in the brown suit was based on their tour leader and it was good to know that going in as it gave an added value to the character. She didn't usually base her characters on real people but her feelings were such that she couldn't resist in that case.

You got me with a BB for Portraits in Fiction.

aug 11, 10:45 am

>64 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. I knew that quote would resonate here.

>65 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I look forward to the Christie discussion in my book club today.

aug 13, 10:07 pm

84. Victory City is an epic story of a lost civilization. It draws from Hindu mythology and has a sense of the magical, which is often associated with mythology. It's the story of Pampa Kampana, who is possessed by the goddess Pampa as a child and given certain magical powers, including extreme longevity, which she comes to see as a curse. In her long life, she sees the rise (which she facilitates) and fall of the great city Bisnaga. The city lasted for two centuries (14th-16th), a time of constant change.

The story is told in Pampa's own words from a manuscript discovered buried in the ruins of the forgotten city. I found this framing device worked well. Through Pampa's story, we see her utopian vision for Bisnaga. Unfortunately, utopias never seem to last.

Rushdie gives us a lot to think about; many of the ideas about history, gender, religious tolerance, and power are still relevant. I really enjoyed this magical tale although I think I will have benefitted from more knowledge of Hindu mythology.

aug 14, 2:22 am

>67 BLBera: Great comments on Victory City Beth. I was out trying to Booker Longlist shop today, but no luck. I did finish A Spell of Good Things from the Booker longlist Friday night. I have not yet had a chance to create any comments, but I do recommend it. I had it on hand from the UK from some months ago, so that was handy. For me it was a 4 star read. I did find it to be rather slow to get going, but quite powerful and moving as it got going. But of the two I've read, I think that Old God's Time was the better book, at 4. 5 stars. But I do recommend A Spell of Good Things if you can find it.

aug 14, 9:17 am

Hi Deborah - I've been wanting to read Adebayo for a long time, and my library does have A Spell of Good Things, so I will check that one out. I'll watch your thread for Booker suggestions. I do want to read the Eng book. I've heard such good things about that. I reserved a copy at my library.

aug 15, 11:23 pm

>44 BLBera: I love reading about books and what could be better than a bookshop in Tuscany?

aug 16, 12:06 am

Congratulations on reading 84 books thus far this year!

aug 16, 7:07 am

>67 BLBera: I am on the waiting list for this one at the library. Glad it was a good read!

Happy mid week

aug 16, 12:06 pm

>70 DeltaQueen50: I think this one will be popular on LT, Judy.

>71 Whisper1: Thanks Linda.

>72 figsfromthistle: I'll watch for your comments, Anita. I enjoyed it.

aug 16, 12:21 pm

85. El Viento Conoce Mi Nombre is a short novel about child refugees, starting with the Kindertransport in WWII. As I began the novel, I found the story of Samuel Adler fascinating, but then Allende skips to the mid 20th century with the story of Leticia Cordero, a refugee from El Salvador. From there she moves on to the present day and Anita, an eight-year-old Salvadoreña separated from her mother. This is a short novel, and the fact that Allende has so many different storylines means that she ends up summarizing vast swathes of the characters' lives, and a lack of character depth.

Good topic, but it would be more powerful if focused on one character in more depth.

aug 16, 12:25 pm

Well, I took a ton of BBs from your thread, Beth. Thanks for all the recommendations!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

aug 16, 12:43 pm

You are welcome, Stasia! I hope your Wednesday is fabulous.

aug 16, 4:02 pm

Book bullets for me, too, Beth! Darn your thread is always so dangerous.

I'm now on the hold list for The Memory of Animals. The microbiologist in me loves a good pandemic story. I haven't read any by Claire Fuller so I'm also thinking about some of her backlist.

And then there's The Midnight News which I also requested. A RL bookfriend loves WWII novels and I wonder if she's read this one.

The only reason that I didn't request Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop is that it doesn't yet exist in our library system. :))

Good for you for reading seven(!) off your shelves in July.

aug 17, 12:55 am

>The Memory of Animals does sound interesting, Beth. I saw it in the bookstore the other day and had a look at it. I enjoyed her book Unsettled Ground, so maybe it would be a good one for me.

Redigerat: aug 17, 9:41 am

>77 streamsong: Hi Janet - I am so glad you found some books of interest here. 😁

>78 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah. It is a pandemic novel, and so be warned. I know not everyone is ready for those yet!

Redigerat: aug 17, 9:08 pm

86. Not the Ones Dead
I really enjoy the Kate Shugak series, and this latest is a good one. It is post COVID in the Park, and changes are coming. Deaths have opened up some private property within the Park, and outsiders are appearing in Niniltna. A suspicious fire in a landmark, a midair small-plane collision, and hikers' complaints about being warned away from paths by military men combine to make Kate Shugak curious about what is happening. Is the plane crash an accident? Is the fire arson? The investigation reveals a troubling presence in the Park.

Well-paced with the regulars all present, a satisfying read. The Alaskan setting, as always, is wonderful.

aug 17, 5:36 pm

>40 BLBera: Well said!! Loved seeing you at my Dad's house in WI and, yes, I posted our pic on my thread. Can't wait to have you out to Portland in November! Bye for now Twin. : )

aug 17, 6:02 pm

❤️Thanks TwinK! I am psyched for November.

aug 18, 7:04 pm

>77 streamsong:, >78 vancouverdeb:, >79 BLBera: Thanks for the BB for The Memory of Animals and Claire Fuller, you three! I love a good pandemic story too, and I'm not familiar with her, so... into the Dark TBR Pit it goes.

aug 18, 10:00 pm

>83 PlatinumWarlock: You are very welcome. Fuller is great. I've loved all the books by her that I have read.

aug 20, 12:33 am

>80 BLBera: The Kate Shugak book looks interesting, Beth. Just what I need, another series to follow!

aug 20, 2:29 am

Beth, like Stasia and Janet, I found a lot of books on this thread that I added to my TBR pile. You read a lot of very good books this month.

aug 20, 11:33 pm

Hi Beth! Are you coming out for the book festival? That should be epic.

aug 21, 8:39 am

>85 Familyhistorian: It's a good series, Meg, with a great setting.

>86 Whisper1: I'm happy to add to your list, Linda. Thanks for stopping by.

>87 banjo123: Yes I am, Rhonda. I'm hoping we can meet.

aug 24, 9:47 am

87. The Sun Walks Down is an excellent historical novel, that showcases the Southern Australian desert.

In 1883, during a dust storm, a small boy gets lost in the desert. The novel is set during the week that the search for Denny occurs. With the various viewpoints, McFarlane is able to capture the people of the town and family. But the setting is the star here. The cover manages to beautifully capture the color and the heat.

I will look for more from McFarlane.

aug 24, 9:53 am

>89 BLBera: That sounds excellent, Beth. Sadly my library does not have it but I've added it to the "keep checking" list. :)

Redigerat: aug 24, 10:18 am

It is really good, Julia. I love good novels with a clear sense of place, and the description was amazing. And, in this case, the cover really fit the book. I hope your library gets it.🤞

aug 24, 11:32 am

>89 BLBera: I’ve added The Sun Walks Down to my TBR mountain. Thanks for the review!

Karen O

aug 24, 2:20 pm

>92 klobrien2: I hope you like it, Karen. McFarlane writes really well.

aug 24, 2:21 pm

88. When I Was a Child I Read Books
In this thought-provoking collection of essays, Robinson's Christianity informs her views. She discusses human nature, evolution, the Old Testament, and there's a lot to consider. Underlying her discussions is also the conviction that ignoring the humanities in education is a mistake that leads to sloppy thinking. I read some of the essays twice, and I think I could go through many of them again. In one essay, she says that her style owes more to Cicero than to Hemingway, and her long sentences with multiple clauses certainly supports this assertion.

This isn't an easy or quick read, but it is rewarding, and I think it would be a good discussion book. It certainly leads to my book club selection for September, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

aug 24, 4:22 pm

>89 BLBera: That does sound very good, Beth, and I've added it to my TBR tower.

aug 25, 12:27 pm

>95 Copperskye: Enjoy, Joanne.

aug 25, 12:36 pm

89. The Last Beekeeper
This dystopian novel follows Sasha Severn, the daughter of the "last" beekeeper. After bees become extinct, the food supplies diminish, plunging the world into famine and chaos. As the novel opens, Sasha, now twenty-two, is returning to her childhood home to find answers about her father's imprisonment. When she arrives, she finds squatters and works to settle in with them so she can find not only answers but also a place to belong.

Although the world in the novel isn't as developed as in some dystopian novels, I enjoyed the journey of Sasha. The novel does offer more hope than many dystopian novels.

aug 25, 3:24 pm

>97 BLBera: Thanks for the BB, Beth! That looks good.

aug 25, 8:47 pm

>80 BLBera: Stabenow is an author that I really need to revisit. I used to read the Kate Shugak series regularly and now am so far out of the loop I would not have a clue what is going on.

>89 BLBera: >97 BLBera: Adding those to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendations, Beth!

>94 BLBera: Dodging that BB as I have already read that one. Whew!

Have a wonderful weekend!

aug 27, 7:59 pm

>97 BLBera: Glad you enjoyed that one-I did as well!

Happy start to your week

aug 31, 4:34 pm

Hi Beth. I should know this but in your list of completed books, is a Purple Heart a favorite?

I'm sort of curious about Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Definitely not my usual fare but I'm curious about it.

I really enjoyed 11/22/63 and look forward to discussing it. I'm currently reading People of the Book -- more along my usual lines and really good so far.

Tomorrow we leave Dublin, train to Cork. Our hiking tour in Cork and Kerry starts Saturday. This holiday has flown so far!

aug 31, 7:47 pm

>94 BLBera: Adding this to my TBR list. Sounds like a perfect slow read.

aug 31, 7:53 pm

Visitors! Thanks for stopping by.

>98 PlatinumWarlock: I am a fan of dystopias, Lavinia. This was a little less dark than some of them.

>99 alcottacre: Hi Stasia. I love Kate! You should revisit.

>100 figsfromthistle: I must have heard about it from you, Anita. I couldn't remember.

>101 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - I can't wait to hear about your trip. Yes, the purple hearts are my favs for the month. I guess I should have a key. I am reading the Jesus book for my book club. It is short, based on lectures that Borg gave. It's interesting. I will send my copy your way when I am done. I just started the King. I need to devote some time to it; the first few pages aren't really grabbing, but I will persist.

>102 witchyrichy: It is thought provoking, Karen. I will revisit it for sure.

sep 1, 1:21 am

Hi Beth. I love books that are set in Australia and so of course, I have added The sun Walks Down to my list.

sep 1, 11:08 am

Have a wonderful weekend, Beth!

sep 1, 6:58 pm

90. Uncaged
91. Outrage
92. Rampage

These three YA novels show a group of teens fighting against an evil corporation. The audiobooks are well done, and were good to listen to while cleaning out my attic. Shay and Odin Remby are orphans in Portland, Oregon, foster care. Odin is on the autism spectrum and a computer genius. When he gets involved in an animal rights group and breaks into a lab (Singular) experimenting on animals, he and the group find more than animal experimentation, and corporate security starts to hunt them down to silence them.

The trilogy requires a huge suspension of disbelief, and while the main characters are teens, I wasn't sure I would label this YA. There is a fair amount of violence. Still, teens may like the young protagonists and the action.

sep 1, 6:58 pm

sep 4, 4:10 pm

>103 BLBera: Beth, I recommended The Last Beekeeper as one of my choices for bookclub yesterday, and everyone wanted to read it! So I'm excited about that - even more thanks for your suggestion!

sep 4, 8:04 pm

Great Lavinia - I'll watch for your comments. I hope you have a good discussion.

sep 5, 1:07 am

>106 BLBera: Cleaning out your attic? It must be the time of year or something. I've been cleaning out things around here too. It all started because I got a new couch and mushroomed from there.

sep 8, 10:27 am

93. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
This short book is based on a series of lectures by Jesus scholar Marcus Borg. I wouldn't have picked up this book if it weren't a book club selection. I found parts mildly interesting, especially the discussion of the historical Jesus, what we really know about his life. Borg points out, "...the gospels are not straightforward historical documents but are the developing traditions of the early Christian movement put into written form in the last third of the first century."

On the whole the book reinforced my idea that anyone can use the Bible to suit their ends and that it shouldn't be taken literally.

If you are interested in scholarship about Jesus, you might enjoy this. I am curious about the discussion...

sep 8, 10:28 am

>110 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yes, I am trying to declutter. Between that and tennis (US Open), my reading has been slow.

sep 9, 12:20 pm

94. Shock Wave
According to LT, I read this in 2011m but I had no memory of it. The audiobook is well done, and Sandford's straightforward style with plenty of action makes it easy to listen to while cleaning closets.

Virgil Flowers is a BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) agent for rural southern Minnesota. In this book, he's asked to investigate a bombing at a construction site in a small town. The site will be a PyeMart (Walmart by another name) and the building will destroy many of the small businesses in the town, so there are plenty of suspects.

The mystery is well-plotted and fast-paced, and Virgil is likable overall. It's an entertaining listen that I will no doubt not remember much about in a few months. Still, it's nice to find a series of audiobooks that work well. Note: I do have to ignore the sexism and macho posturing, but I find that in most thriller-type books written by men.

sep 9, 8:15 pm

>94 BLBera:. I do love Robinson, maybe I will try this someday. (but I will skip Meeting Jesus

sep 9, 10:45 pm

You can safely skip the "Jesus book," Rhonda. It did make for a good discussion, but there wasn't much new stuff in it as far as I was concerned.

sep 10, 6:42 am

>111 BLBera: I came across some of Borg's writings years ago although I can't remember if it was this one or something else. I was already of the opinion that the Bible shouldn't be taken literally. His work reinforced that, and also broadened my view of biblical texts: when they were written, who wrote them and why, which works were included and which weren't, etc. It's all a lot more complicated than what you learn as a child!

sep 10, 6:52 am

>111 BLBera: I follow a Biblical scholar named Daniel O. McClellan. He has a podcast called Data Over Dogma and often takes on the Biblical literalists over mistranslations and interpretations. He often points out that the Bible is full of contradictions, sometimes made by the same writer in the same book. According to Dan, we all negotiate with the text whenever we try to use the Bible to support an argument.

sep 10, 3:11 pm

>116 lauralkeet: Hi Laura - There was some interesting historical stuff in Borg, but I had heard most of it before. It was an interesting discussion because to some people in my book club, this was new information, and they were angry that they had never learned this.

>117 witchyrichy: Hi Karen. Yes, Borg also discusses the fact that in the same books, we can find contradictions.

sep 11, 2:23 am

>111 BLBera: On the whole the book reinforced my idea that anyone can use the Bible to suit their ends and that it shouldn't be taken literally.

If only more practicing Muslims, Christians, Jews or adherents to other faiths had that enlightened view of things, Beth!

sep 11, 7:06 am

>118 BLBera: Don't get me started on contemporary religion, Beth. Borg's writing is very accessible, so I'm glad his works are around for people who, for whatever reason, have not been exposed to critical thinking about theology.

sep 12, 1:45 am

>113 BLBera: I love John Sandford and have read all of his Prey books, but had never started the Virgil Flowers series until just a couple of weeks ago, and I thought the first one was great - had a hard time putting it down. I concur with the sexism and macho posturing, but if the story is engrossing enough (and his are, for me), I can ignore it.

sep 12, 6:38 pm

I've not read any of the books by John Sandford, but my husband is big fan , as was my late dad. Started on Prophet Song last night, from the booker longlist and it seems very good so far.

sep 12, 10:51 pm

Your book group discussion about the Borg book should be interesting.

I'm reading The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store and I'm enjoying it but also getting a bit bored with it. I have Tom Lake cued up for next and I'm anxious to get to that one.

sep 13, 9:31 am

>119 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. If only.

>120 lauralkeet: Hi Laura - We are definitely not going to start a discussion on religion here. :)

>121 PlatinumWarlock: Hi Lavinia - Yes, he does tell a good story and the writing is not bad. I think his journalism background helps him. But I do groan every now and then.

>122 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah - I think John Sandford would definitely appeal to men more than to women. I started the series because they are set in Minnesota, and he uses the setting well.

>123 EBT1002: Hi Ellen, Welcome back. The Borg discussion was interesting. We have a retired pastor in our group, which added some depth. I am currently struggling with Kairos, Jenny Erpenbeck's latest, so I decided to pick up the King and some other things to see if that helps. I've been listening to audiobooks as well as I declutter.

sep 13, 7:36 pm

95. Artemisia
I have been working with an Italian art historian on her English. Her specialty is Artemisia and Caravaggio, so I wanted to learn more about these artists.

This graphic novel is beautiful, and I appreciate that four of Artemisia's paintings are reproduced here. Artemisia was born in Rome and lived from 1593-1653, not an era known for equality of the sexes. Her father was a painter and found that Artemisia, his only daughter, was the only child who was talented. This made for a difficult life for Artemisia, who couldn't even buy her own paints and canvases. But she persisted, and painted some powerful work: Judith and Her Maidservant, Judith Slaying Holofernes, and Susana and the Elders are shown in this book. She did not shy away from controversial topics.

This is a good introduction to her life. My only complaint is that the font was hard to read.

Redigerat: sep 14, 10:18 am

96. In the Margins is a collection of essays that are based on lectures. In them, Elena Ferrante discusses her writing process, influences and challenges, and some of her novels. Among other things, she mentions the problems of finding her voice when she was exposed mostly to male writers: "...the female 'I' who writes -- has had an arduous journey." She also talks about balancing inspiration and order.

I think people interested in her writing and in Ferrante will appreciate this volume.

sep 14, 10:40 am

>126 BLBera: Oh, that does sound good! I do love her work.

sep 14, 2:14 pm

>127 ffortsa: I am always interested in learning about writers' processes, Judy.

sep 14, 2:20 pm

97. Mad River
This is another Virgil Flowers book, an audiobook. In this one, Virgil is tracking some spree killers through southwestern Minnesota. Think Bonnie and Clyde. As he investigates, he discovers that the case might be more complicated than he first imagined. Feelings among law enforcement grow heated and the body count goes up.

The audiobook is well done, and the plot is fast paced. I like that this one also raises some questions about justice. What happens when you know someone is guilty of murder, but there's no proof? And, is it OK to take justice into your own hands?

I'll continue with these.

sep 14, 11:27 pm

>125 BLBera: Artemisia looks like a good one, Beth.

sep 14, 11:59 pm

>129 BLBera: I will have to ask Dave, my husband, if he has read Mad River. I don't think he has, and if not, I'll put that on hold for him at the library.
The cover of Artemisia is gorgeous, Beth.

sep 15, 9:22 am

The Sandfords sound good, but I need another series like I need a hole in the head!

Hope you have a good weekend, Beth.

sep 15, 3:08 pm

>63 BLBera: It's always nice to discover new poets you enjoy.

>80 BLBera: I haven't read much in that series. I need to get back to it.

sep 15, 4:30 pm

>125 BLBera: This GN looks really interesting, though the font might be an issue. Long ago, I read a novel about Artemisia. I think it was The Passion of Artemisia. I remember enjoying it but not much else about it.

I may be one of the only people who hasn’t read Sanford. Not sure why, because I like mysteries.

sep 16, 11:47 am

>130 Familyhistorian: I liked it, Meg. It was a good introduction to an artist I knew nothing about.

>131 vancouverdeb: It's part of the Virgil Flowers series, Deborah. If he likes the Prey books, he will probably like these.

>132 katiekrug: Hi Katie - the Sandford books are good audiobooks, if you are ever looking for something to listen to.

>133 thornton37814: Hi Lori - I love the Kate Shugak series; the setting is spectacular.

>134 Storeetllr: Hi Mary - I think I might have The Passion of Artemisia on my shelves. I'll have to check. Sandford isn't my usual reading; I started them because they are set in Minnesota, but if you like mysteries, you may like these. His protagonist is kind of a male chauvinist pig in the earlier books, but he improves. Also, some are pretty violent although that also gets better with the series. At one point, I was going to stop reading, but he writes well, and the stories are fast paced and well plotted.

Redigerat: sep 16, 1:40 pm

National Book Award Longlist for Fiction:

And here's the link to the main page, so you can see the other categories as well.

sep 16, 2:35 pm

The Passion of Artemesia may be the only book by Susan Vreeland that I have not read. She writes wonderfully about art and artists. I should say *wrote*; she died a few years ago. I have loved almost all her books

sep 16, 5:29 pm

>136 BLBera: Oh boy, another list! I saw this set of nominees the other day and found myself interested in several of them.

Just getting ready to start Tom Lake. In addition to some praise in these threads, my sister said she loved it.

sep 16, 6:12 pm

>137 jessibud2: I haven't read much by Vreeland, but I do have the Artemisia one on my shelf, somewhere.

>138 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - I am getting into 11/22/63. It took me a while, but my e-reader tells me I'm about 30% of the way through.

Several books on the list were already on my radar, and my library owns several, so I'll give them a try. Which ones look good to you?

Chain Gang All-Stars, A Council of Dolls, Night Watch, Temple Folk, and Loot call to me. For nonfiction, The Rediscovery of America looks good.

Redigerat: sep 16, 7:07 pm

Fan of Caravaggio here Beth. During a three city holiday in Italy with my sister many years ago we tried to see all his paintings in those cities (Venice/Florence/Rome). Derek Jarman's film 'Caravaggio' is a favourite telling his dark story.

I like Artemisia too.

sep 16, 9:53 pm

I see you are on a John Sandford run, Beth. He is one of my hubby's favorites so I've listened to more than a few of them on long road trips. They sure make the time go by.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

sep 17, 11:17 am

>140 Caroline_McElwee: I really don't know much about Caravaggio, Caroline, but am enjoying the brief biography I am reading now.

>141 Donna828: Hi Donna. The Sandford books are good audiobooks, and since I have been trying to declutter, they are good company. I hope you are having a great weekend. I am enjoying the relief from the heat although some rain would be nice.

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:16 pm

98. Take What You Need
Idra Novey's novels are quietly thoughtful, and I have loved all of them, especially Ways to Disappear. Her latest, set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, is another good one.

Jean is Leah's stepmother. After Jean left Leah's father, he didn't allow Jean to see Leah, and they have become estranged. The novel is their story, told in alternating chapters. Jean has remained in the dying town of Sevlick, living on a street filled with deserted houses. Yet, she has never let her subscription to her art magazine lapse, and she has filled her house with sculptures, her "Manglements." She is inspired by Agnes Martin and Louise Bourgeois. Leah has left, spending her time trying to get over what she sees as Jean's betrayal.

Jean is the star of the story. Her life shows that art can exist anywhere and be created by anyone. And despite the fact that she lives in such a dreary place, she finds fulfillment. As she says, "Why had it taken so long to figure out, what kind of careful work would bring a happiness so full and deep that doing it just one minute without falling off a ladder would feel like a gift?"

If you enjoy character-driven novels, you might want to give Novey a try. I think she deserves more recognition.

sep 21, 1:38 pm

99. Fortune and Glory is another Stephanie Plum mystery. In this one, Stephanie is helping her Grandma look for the treasure that her late husband left keys to. It is also being sought by his gangster friends. There are the usual miscues apprehending fugitives and problems with Stephanie's love life. Evanovich does try to complicate Stephanie's character, but I think it's too late for that.

The audiobook is good, but I found this mediocre.

sep 21, 2:34 pm

>125 BLBera: You remind me that I have a fictionalized account of Artemisia's life here to read yet, The Passion of Artemisia. I need to get that done! I have only owned it for 9 years now.

>143 BLBera: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, Beth!

sep 22, 12:20 pm

Thanks for the links to the National Book Awards in >136 BLBera:. A Council of Dolls sounds most interesting to me from the fiction list. From the non-fiction list, I'll probably read Fire Weather since it's of importance to where I live.

Several of the translated works look interesting, too, although I suspect they will be harder for me to access without buying them.

sep 22, 4:30 pm

Thanks for posting the link to the National Book Awards. I'm in the midst of This Other Eden and it's is very interesting but sad, so far. I may finish it this evening. The other book that I have wish listed for now, is Night Watch. I'm making good progress with the short listed Bookers. I've read two of them , and nearly finished the third. I've order Bee Sting and have the two others on hold at my local library.

sep 23, 10:54 am

>145 alcottacre: Hi Stasia - I've also had The Passion of Artemisia on my shelf for years. Maybe I will finally read it?

>146 streamsong: Hi Janet - You are welcome. A Council of Dolls also caught my eye. For nonfiction, the Indigenous history of the US looks good to me.

>147 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah - You are doing well with the Booker list. What is your favorite so far? I'll have to stop by your thread.
My internet has been out.

sep 23, 11:02 am

41. French Braid
This was a reread for my book club. When I first read the book, I gave it four stars and commented:

Anne Tyler is a master with families. In this novel, she gives us the Garrett family, Robin and Mercy, and their three children, Alice, Lily, and David. This short novel spans the years from1959 to the present day, but each person gets enough attention that we feel like we know and care about everyone. No matter how far apart the family grows, we know, "This is what families do for each other -- hide a few uncomfortable truths, allow a few self-deceptions. Little kindnesses."


I agree with my rating and look forward to discussing it. The second time around, I have more questions about the character of Mercy. It should be a good discussion.

sep 23, 6:54 pm

101. Break Blow Burn
The subtitle of this book is "Camile Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems". The book has a copyright of 2005, and Paglia's choices are interesting; known as a feminist scholar, Paglia has chosen only six women among the twenty-eight authors represented here. There is heavy representation of dead white guys. Missing are poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Glück, to mention a few notable omissions.

Still, for those interested in reading and understanding poetry, this is a good introduction. Paglia pays close attention to language and structure, and gives context to the poems. Her writing is clear, not academic-speak. So, while I might question some of her choices and assertions (Is Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" "possibly the most popular and influential poem composed in English since Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy'"?), this is a good collection, rewarding to people dipping their toes into poetry.

sep 23, 7:16 pm

Hi Beth!

>149 BLBera: I loved French Braid as I've loved just about every other Tyler that I've read. I could absolutely reread it someday. The only one I've reread is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant which was and still is my very favorite of hers.

sep 23, 9:31 pm

Hi Joanne - I still haven't read Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. One of these days...

sep 24, 1:18 am

>41 jessibud2: I really enjoy Ann Tyler's books and I own French Braid, but have not read it yet. Why ? Too busy with my Booker's lately ? I'll pay close attention to Mercy when I do read the book.

sep 24, 3:21 pm

102. 11/22/63
This was my first novel by Stephen King, and I admit I was disappointed. The premise, traveling in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination, was interesting, and I was anticipating a good read. Instead, I found it a slog. The narrator, Jake, spends hundreds of pages detailing the daily life of the Oswalds. I think with some judicious editing, the book could be half as long ( it's almost 800 pages!), and tell the story in a more coherent way.

I will meet with my LT buddies to discuss soon and will report on our discussion.

sep 24, 3:22 pm

>153 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah. I've been following your Booker reading.

sep 24, 5:16 pm

>143 BLBera: ooh, I'm definitely making note of that one. I love character-driven novels and I love Appalachia as a setting.

Sorry 11/22/63 didn't really work for you.

I'm reading Prophet Song at present. It made the Booker shortlist and I can see why. It is not an emotionally easy read and his narrative style took a bit of getting used to, but it's quite good so far. I also read This Other Eden from the short list -- also painful but good.

Redigerat: sep 24, 9:39 pm

Hi Ellen ! I am anxious to discuss 11/2263 tomorrow.

I think Novey deserves more recognition. Both Prophet Song and This Other Eden are on my WL.

sep 24, 10:23 pm

>154 BLBera: Didn’t work for me either. In fact, I DNFd it. King is hit or miss for me, tbh, but, when it works, it is magic.

sep 26, 10:07 am

103. Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles is part of the Eminent Lives series, brief introductory biographies of outstanding artists, writers, etc. Since much is unknown about Caravaggio's brief life, Prose wisely spends much of the book discussing his painting. The inclusion of colored plates add to her discussion of the paintings, and she gives context to his work. I feel I now have some understanding of what to look at/for in his paintings. This is a very accessible introduction to Caravaggio and anyone at all interested in his art will appreciate it.

sep 26, 10:08 am

>158 Storeetllr: Hi Mary - The consensus seems to be that this is not representative of King's work. I may give a try to some other work of his in the future.

sep 26, 10:11 am

>159 BLBera: You got me with the Caravaggio book! And by Francine Prose?! Have to go look for it now!

Karen O

sep 26, 11:01 am

Hi Beth - I remember liking 11/22/63 a bit more than you report in >154 BLBera: but I agree that it was a slog and should have been edited. I wonder whether it's even possible to edit a writer like King who has had such success and commercial acclaim. I'm reading The Covenant of Water which is very good but way too long as well.

sep 26, 11:21 am

>159 BLBera: Accessible is what I need. I have wondered about a history of art course, but not got any further than that.

I just finished Night of the Living Rez. Not a light read by any means, was it!

sep 26, 7:44 pm

Francine Prose is another author I want to explore more. I read and loved Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 and I have Reading Like a Writer on my shelves.

sep 27, 8:50 am


>161 klobrien2: I found it fascinating, Karen. My art historian friend was filling in the blanks, and I guess the use of prostitutes as models for Mary was extremely controversial at the time.

>162 vivians: Hi Vivian - I really wanted to like it, but the middle part was such a slog that it kind of spoiled the good parts for me. I suspect that it is difficult to edit successful writers although professionals should understand that editing generally improves things and a second opinion is a good thing.

>163 charl08: I have also considered an art history course, Charlotte, but if I can find more books like the Prose, I might go that route. I loved Night of the Living Rez, but it certainly wasn't a light read.

>164 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! I've also loved what I have read of Prose, but I haven't read Lovers at the Chameleon Club. I do have a couple of hers on my shelf.

sep 27, 8:53 am

In other book news, my daughter gifted me a copy of Tom Lake, so I can take my name off the library reserve list, where I am still #50. She wasn't crazy about it.

I just started The Whalebone Theatre, which is a large book, recommended by my sister, who called me up to rave about it. It's starting off promisingly, a palate cleanser after the King.

sep 27, 12:41 pm

>159 BLBera: If you want to delve further Beth, and although I've still to read it myself, I've watched all Andrew Graham-Dixon's art documentaries which are wonderful.

sep 28, 10:04 am

>167 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks Caroline - I will see if I can find the documentaries.

sep 28, 10:37 am

Will be interested to hear what you make of The Whalebone Theatre. What was it your sister loved about it?

Re art history I got half way through A History of Art Without Men: I should go back to that and improve my knowledge.

sep 28, 12:05 pm

>166 BLBera: So interesting that your daughter wasn't crazy about Tom Lake. I'll be interested to see how it lands for you. Sometimes I worry about over-warbling about a book. I know we have all had the experience of reading something loved by others and being disappointed. It's hard sometimes to tell if the hype interferes with the actual experience.

Redigerat: sep 28, 12:08 pm

The Whalebone Theatre looks interesting. I'll wait to see what you think before I invest in what one reviewer called "a whale of a book." It has gotten some love but one person also said it was just too long.

sep 29, 1:20 am

>169 charl08: Hi Charlotte: I don't know if she said too much about what she loved about it. We'll talk about it when I am done with it. I am only about 100 pages in, but I do love Cristobel, the little girl. I have my eye on A History of Art Without Men. Too many books!

>170 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - When my daughter commented on Tom Lake, I wondered if it was a generational thing? I will talk with her more after I read it. I know what you mean though about being disappointed by books that you expect to love.

I'll let you know about The Whalebone Theatre. So far I am enjoying it. It begins in 1920, and is doing a good job of portraying the changing times.

sep 29, 1:49 pm

It's been so many years since I've kept up with Francine Prose that I didn't know she wrote nonfiction now. I liked her very strange Household Saints.

sep 29, 7:49 pm

I wanted to come over and thank you for the recommendation of The Sun Walks Down, Beth. I finished it tonight and very much enjoyed it.

sep 30, 12:25 pm

>159 BLBera: I remember viewing some Caravaggio paintings when I was in Italy a couple of decades ago, but all I remember was his dramatic use of chiaroscuro, which, up till that time, I had no idea was a thing. Now I struggle with that technique in my watercolor paintings. I'll have to see if I can get the book from the library.

sep 30, 1:15 pm

>173 mstrust: Hi Jennifer: I have enjoyed the books by Prose that I have read. I am lucky that I still have some of hers on my shelf.

>174 alcottacre: Hi Stasia. I am glad you enjoyed it. She did a wonderful job with the setting, I thought.

>175 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. I am always happy to learn more about art, and the Prose book was very easy to understand.

Redigerat: okt 3, 9:43 am

105. Deadline

This is another entertaining audiobook in the Virgil Flowers series. Virgil starts by investigating a series of dognappings, which leads to the discovery of a big meth lab. His investigation is complicated by the murder of a local journalist and by efforts to keep the dog owners from vigilante justice.

I am loving The Whalebone Theatre, which is long, but not a slog, at least at the halfway point. Cristabel, Digby, and Flossie are great characters.

okt 3, 11:48 am

>149 BLBera: Hi Beth. You like French Braid more than I did. Somehow I could never find engagement with the characters, so I didn't finish it (the library due date kept looming and I ran out of renewals).
I do like Anne Tyler's writing though. Redhead by the Side of the Road is one of my favourites, though many folks didn't find it as interesting. It's that old YMMV thing, I guess.

okt 3, 12:20 pm

Hi Beth,

Sorry to see that your first Stephen King didn't really work for you, Beth. 11/22/63, as you noted, isn't really typical King, except in that he really needs his editor to do some editing. I recently read Billy Summers and that wasn't what I would usually expect from him either, although I did like it. I used to love his books when I was in my 20s but have fallen off the King wagon recently. If you ever want to jump back in, I'd probably recommend one of his collections. Different Seasons has a couple great novellas.

I hope you like Tom Lake more than your daughter did. I wonder if it is a generational thing.

okt 3, 12:39 pm

>179 Copperskye: Joanne’s idea is excellent! One of my favorite King novellas is The Shawshank Redemption, which is in Different Seasons. Another is The Green Mile.

okt 3, 12:46 pm

>177 BLBera: I may have to try the Virgil Flowers series. The Whalebone Theatre looks very good! I will be curious to see what you think of it in the end.

okt 3, 11:23 pm

>178 SandyAMcPherson: You are right Sandy. Redhead by the Side of the Road didn't do much for me. :)

>179 Copperskye: Hi Joanne - Thanks for the King recommendations. Maybe I will give him another try one of these days. I look forward to Tom Lake. My daughter said it was "predictable/" I need to ask her a bit more about it after I've read it.

>180 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary.

>181 alcottacre: Hi Stasia. I am still loving The Whalebone Theatre.

okt 4, 2:08 am

Hi Beth, thanks for posting the link to the National Book Awards, there are a few there that are quite intriguing.

okt 6, 12:44 am

Just stopping by to say hi, Beth. I enjoyed Redhead by the Side of the Road , but have yet to read French Braid. I have not had a lot of luck with Ann Patchett, so I have been avoiding Tom Lake despite the many good things I have read here on LT. I did enjoy her book, Patron Saint of Liars, but not so much with The Dutch House.

okt 6, 11:52 am

Hi Beth! Did you see that the Finalists (short list) for the National Book Awards were released this week?

okt 6, 12:15 pm

>177 BLBera: Glad it's a good read.

>185 streamsong: Trying to get away without checking this - too late, too late! (and I've hardly come across *any* of the finalists...)

okt 6, 12:30 pm

>182 BLBera: Glad to hear you are still loving The Whalebone Theatre. I already checked and my local library has a copy, although it is definitely not going to happen in October what with all my travels this month.

Have a wonderful weekend!

okt 6, 10:18 pm

>185 streamsong: Yay!

Hi Beth. 🙂

okt 6, 10:35 pm

>184 vancouverdeb: Deb, I was pleased to see I am not alone in that you also liked Redhead by the Side of the Road.
As well, I did not cotton onto The Dutch House (Ann Patchett), though I haven't given up on her. I have The Magician's Assistant on my Overdrive WL.

okt 6, 11:09 pm

I was also underwhelmed by The Dutch House but I loved State of Wonder, Bel Canto, and Tom Lake.

okt 7, 1:37 am

I put a hold on Whalebone Theatre at the library, Beth. You sold me on that.

>189 SandyAMcPherson: I've not given up on Ann Patchett either Sandy, but I'll wait until I am not booked up with books that I really want to read before I give Tom Lake a try.

Good to know that others were not so keen on The Dutch House.

okt 7, 9:54 am

>189 SandyAMcPherson: Oh I really liked The Magician's Assistant. Hope you do too.

okt 8, 8:56 am

>167 Caroline_McElwee: I was interested in seeing what these Andrew Graham-Dixon's art documentaries were like. Based on the link, I can't find documentaries though, just a library book. Anything to modify to find an online video?

I meant to ask awhile ago, so maybe this is old news now...

okt 8, 11:27 am

106. The Windeby Puzzle
Scout and I read this novel together. She is interested in bog people, and Lois Lowry bases the story on the discovery of a 2000-year-old bog body in northern Germany. It was discovered in 1952 and thought to be a thirteen-year-old girl who was killed. However, later with more advanced science, the body was determined to be a sixteen-year-old boy who probably died of natural causes.

Lowry alternates the story with the history. She begins with the finding of the body and explains how it piqued her imagination. She imagines, first, the life of a girl Estrild, living in the Iron Age. After Estrild's story, Lowry explains learning that the Windeby body was really a boy, so she wrote another story centered on Varick, an orphan boy in the same village.

Scout liked the book, especially Estrild because as Scout put it, "She wasn't Miss Perfect." She also liked the pictures that are included and the history.

okt 8, 11:34 am

>183 DeltaQueen50: You are welcome, Judy. I am intrigued by some of them.

>184 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah - I have liked most of what I read by Patchett, so I will get to Tom Lake one of these days.

>185 streamsong: Thanks Janet. I was also interested in the Nobel Prize choice. I haven't read any Fosse.

>186 charl08: Hi Charlotte - That just means there is more for your WL. :)

>187 alcottacre: Hi Stasia - I am nearing the end of The Whalebone Theatre, and it is still fulfilling its early promise.

>188 EBT1002: Hi Ellen - How many days left?

>189 SandyAMcPherson:, >190 EBT1002: I was lukewarm about The Dutch House when I read it the first time. The use of the brother as a narrator just didn't work for me. Then, when my book club chose it, I listened to Tom Hanks read it, and I loved it! It made much more sense when I could HEAR the narrative voice.

>191 vancouverdeb: I hope you enjoy it, Deborah.

>192 ffortsa: Hi Judy - I haven't read The Magician's Assistant yet. One of these days...

I got my flu shot and COVID booster on Friday and felt pretty crappy yesterday.

okt 8, 12:21 pm

I love that you and Scout are still reading together, just at a different level. Are you still reading aloud together, or reading the same book and discussing just like LT buddies do?

Interesting to listen to Tom Hanks read The Dutch House. I am not big on audio books although I have listened/read several and I have quite a few on my docket. I'm not sure any of them are narrated by him. I might have to look into that.

Sorry you felt crappy after the shots, but I'm glad you got them. I haven't done either yet this fall but I know I should. I'll definitely target a Friday so if I have that reaction I can spend the next day doing not much.

okt 8, 1:04 pm

The Wayne also felt crappy yesterday after getting both his shots Friday evening. He's better today - hope you are, too!

okt 8, 1:11 pm

Hi Ellen - Yes, I am so grateful that Scout still enjoys reading with me. We read aloud together. Sometimes, we do pick up old favorite picture books, which is also fun. I am feeling better today.

>197 katiekrug: Hi Katie - I do feel better today, a little headachy but with more energy.

okt 8, 10:36 pm

That Scout sounds like such a character, I love that she is interested in bog people.

Glad you are feeling better from the shots... I am scheduled to get them on Thursday.

okt 9, 10:01 am

>199 banjo123: Bog people and mummies, Rhonda. Her favorite museum in Spain was the museum of instruments of torture. The docent there said it is very popular with kids. ??

I had a couple of yucky feeling days after the shots but am back to normal. It's good to have them done.

okt 9, 1:36 pm

Hi Beth! I am glad Scout enjoyed The Windeby Puzzle. What did you think?

I am glad that you are feeling better. I need to schedule my covid vaccine too, but it's hard to schedule a precious weekend day to feel awful. I put off my shingles vaccine for the same reason until someone I know on FB was positively miserable with a really bad case. So not I need to schedule both covid and the second shingles. Ugh. Covid is going around my school and we have lots of staff and students sick with it. Callia had it last week - her first time.

okt 9, 2:57 pm

Hi Anne - I enjoyed The Windeby Puzzle as well, especially Lowry's description of her writing process.

okt 9, 3:07 pm

107. The Whalebone Theatre
I loved this debut historical novel, and as I read the last pages, I was sad to leave the Seagrave family.

In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story. The novel follows the three Seagrave siblings, Cristabel, Flossie, and Digby from their childhoods to early adulthood, beginning in 1919 and ending in 1945. The parents and stepparents of the children are all scarred by WWI, so the children grow up largely unsupervised, free to exercise their imaginations.

The characters of all the children are well developed although Cristabel is my favorite. From the time we meet her at age four, she is a formidable person.

The novel is told mainly in chronological order, and Quinn does a good job of portraying both the years after WWI and the war years. The novel is long but the events move along, so I never felt it was a slog. This is remarkable since it is a first novel.

If you like historical fiction, this might be for you.

okt 9, 7:59 pm

>203 BLBera: Sounds great, Beth! Nice review. It's waiting for me at the library, but the library is closed due to it being Thanksgiving here. Plus I have to finish The Bee Sting and also read another book for a library book club.

I do love historical fiction, yes !

okt 10, 8:01 am

>203 BLBera: I have not heard of this one. Does sound like it would be my kinda read.

Hope you have a fantastic week!

okt 10, 1:04 pm

>204 vancouverdeb: I hope you like it when you get to it, Deborah.

>205 figsfromthistle: I really loved it, Anita. It was so well done for a debut novel.

okt 10, 2:04 pm

I've added The Whalebone Theatre to my lbrary list, Beth. Thanks for the good review.

okt 11, 5:55 pm

Neither of my libraries has The Whalebone Theatre but I'll keep checking.... It sounds like a worthwhile read.

okt 11, 5:57 pm

Actually, I just checked and was able to put it on hold as an eBook from Seattle Public Library. I bet I spelled it wrong the last time I checked.

okt 11, 10:31 pm

>207 katiekrug: I loved it, Katie. I hope you enjoy it as well.

>209 EBT1002: An ebook would be a good choice for The Whalebone Theatre, Ellen. It is quite hefty.

okt 21, 1:45 am

>203 BLBera: I have it one the shelves, Beth and will get to it soon and with plenty of optimism for it given your enthusiasm.

Have a great weekend.

okt 23, 11:11 am

109. The Art of the Wasted Day
Patricia Hampl is a poet and her writing and description are lovely; this book on the importance of thought will appeal to readers and thinkers.

It is always surprising to me how reading very different books often reveals connections. Earlier this year I read How to Live about Montaigne, and when I picked up Hampl's book I realized that much of her contemplation is inspired by Montaigne. She even describes her visit, or pilgrimage?, to his tower. I appreciate her book more after reading that first book about Montaigne.

Hampl also mentions others who have removed themselves from the mainstream, among them the "Ladies of Llangollen," and then, in Zadie Smith's new novel, The Fraud, one of the characters mentions the Ladies. Amazing.

Some quotes from The Art of the Wasted Day that resonate with me:

"So many books I keep meaning to read. I move the titles from one to-do list to another. I don't bother listing Proust anymore."

"...the final page of any novel is a destination, the creation of form offering the illusion of inevitability, the denial of chaos. We don't love novels because they are like life, but because they are unlike it -- deftly organized, filled with the satisfaction of shape."

"The job of being human is not figuring things out, but getting lost in thought."

okt 24, 1:00 pm

110. The Fraud
I am still thinking about Zadie Smith's latest novel, but some initial thoughts.

It is very different from her previous novels -- it's based on real people: the novelist William Ainsworth, his cousin Mrs. Touchet, the Tichborne Claimant, and his servant Andrew Bogle, to name a few. After reading it, I can see parallels with today. The Claimant was wildly popular with the disposed, despite lots of evidence against his claim. The hysteria of his supporters and willingness to disregard facts remind me of a current e-president.

The short chapters with titles are reminiscent of serials, which were popular at the time.

Even after slavery was abolished in the UK, fortunes were still made on Caribbean plantations, and ex-slaves had few possibilities to rise from poverty. Women had no rights either and the only possibility open to them was marriage.

I didn't love this but it gave me a lot to think about and I look forward to discussing it with my fellow LTers.

Redigerat: okt 24, 2:05 pm

>213 BLBera: I'm on hold for this one, Beth, and I heard the audio is worthwhile since Smith reads it.

okt 24, 3:44 pm

>213 BLBera: Waiting for this from the library (and due to discuss at the next book group at work).

okt 25, 7:15 am

>213 BLBera: I'm on hold for this one, too, Beth. It looks like it will be a while but I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading thoughts from others.

okt 25, 9:44 am

>214 vivians: Hi Vivian - As I read, I wondered about an audiobook. I will look for a copy of Smith reading it. I'll watch for your comments as well.

>215 charl08: Hi Charlotte - I think it would be a great discussion book.

>216 lauralkeet: I will watch for your comments, Laura, when you get to it.

okt 25, 9:45 am

>212 BLBera: >213 BLBera: Two very tempting titles! I read (listened to) the book on Montaigne a few years ago and it's still on my reread list. I don't think I have read any Hampl, but I'll check my list.

okt 25, 1:56 pm

>212 BLBera: Hit by a bullet, thanks Beth.

>213 BLBera: I started this but the consistency of the short chapters were annoying me. I'll revisit in a different mood.

okt 26, 1:13 am

Just catching up with your thread, Beth, and got hit by a few BBs. Sorry to see that 11/22/63 didn't land well for you. I read it this year and found it was a long book too.

okt 26, 10:18 am

>218 ffortsa: Hi Judy. It was nice to revisit Montaigne. I still have a collection of his essays to read.

>219 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline. I think you would love the Hampl book. I came close to putting down The Fraud but persisted. One of the things I struggled with was trying to figure out the focus...

>220 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. King could have used an editor on that one for sure.

okt 27, 10:33 am

I have been meaning to talk about my trip to the Iowa City Book Festival. I saw two writers this time; it was a short trip. One was Eskor David Johnson who read from his debut novel Pay as You Go. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. The other writer I saw was Ayana Mathis, who read from her second novel The Unsettled. I bought that one. Both were engaging speakers, and I was happy to hear them.

Next week I'll attend the Literary Arts Festival in Portland, and I am really looking forward to that, and to the possibility of seeing some LTers while I am there.

okt 27, 10:53 am

Enjoying retirement, eh, Beth? :)

The Unsettled sounds good!

okt 28, 10:43 am

>223 katiekrug: Yes I am, Katie. 😁

okt 28, 10:43 am

111. The Best American Poetry 2013
I really like this collection of 75 poems. There is a mixture of familiar poets (Louise Glück, Adrienne Rich, Sherman Alexie and new-to-me poets. Author biographies follow, pointing me to collections from authors I would like to read more of. This is a good series, and I'll pick up these collections as I come across them.

From "Endpapers"

The signature to a life requires
the search for a method
rejection of posturing
trust in the witnesses
a vial of invisible ink
a sheet of paper held steady
after the end-stroke
above a deciphering flame

okt 28, 1:09 pm

>222 BLBera: What fun! I really miss living in Los Angeles and being able to go to the book fair every summer. I saw so many great authors singly and on panels, and met a few in person. Arthur Phillips and Michael Connolly spring to mind, and I think Guy Gavriel Kay.

okt 28, 2:56 pm

Have fun in Portland!

okt 29, 11:39 am

112. The Vaster Wilds
Lauren Groff's new novel is lovely, descriptive and poetic, and while I loved it, it won't be to everyone's taste.

The novel tells the story of a servant girl who escapes an early colonial settlement into the wilderness. As she struggles to survive, we learn about her past, how she has arrived in the New World, and what precipitates her departure from the fort. In some ways, this is a coming-of-age story as the girl learns about herself and the world around her.

Groff puts us in the mind of the girl as she labors to survive. Somehow, Groff is able to keep up a constant tension that kept me turning the pages -- would the girl survive, and how? You have to follow along the journey to find out. I quite enjoyed it.

okt 29, 11:39 am

>226 Storeetllr: Hi Mary - I really look forward to it.

>227 Copperskye: I will do my best, Joanne.

okt 29, 12:44 pm

It looks like I'm your reading copycat, Beth. Or at least I will be, once some holds come in. First The Fraud, and now also The Vaster Wilds. I was intrigued by critics' reviews, and your recommendation just strengthens it.

Redigerat: okt 30, 9:57 am

I will watch for your comments, Laura. I haven't seen too many comments on either of the books here on LT, at least so far.

okt 30, 8:32 am

>228 BLBera: Sounds really good, I've stuck it on the library reservations list (I'm back up to 18 books out - so much for my good intentions, post-holiday).

Your book event plans sound lovely. I think I will try to make a few next year, at least the closer to home ones.

okt 30, 9:58 am

>232 charl08: Those pesky library books! The book festivals have been fun. And the Iowa City one is close.

okt 30, 10:04 am

113. The Puppets of Spelhorst
This is another wonderful book from Kate DiCamillo. It follows five puppets -- a girl, a boy, an owl, a king and a wolf (with very sharp teeth) on their adventures. DiCamillo has the ability to give her characters, puppets and people distinct personalities. I look forward to more puppet adventures. Julie Morstad's illustrations are also wonderful.

This is a Halloween gift for Scout, who loves DiCamillo. She is currently reading Raymie Nightingale. The puppets book might be a little young for her, but she will appreciate the humor.

Redigerat: okt 30, 4:05 pm

>234 BLBera: I really loved The Puppets of Spelhorst! I enjoy the heck out of any DiCamillo, but this one especially has the feel of a kid/adult classic. I can hardly wait for more puppets!

Excellent gift for Scout!

Karen O

okt 30, 4:53 pm

>203 BLBera: I've got that one on reserve at the library, Beth. It's probably bad timing for a big book with the holidays around the corner, but I couldn't resist. Sounds like The Whalebone Theatre is right up my reading alley, just like you thought.

I can't wait to hear your report from the Portland trip. Not only will you interact with interesting authors, but you will also be enjoying the company of some lovely Library Thingers. Y'all have Fun!

okt 31, 12:41 pm

>235 klobrien2: Thanks Karen.

>236 Donna828: Hi Donna - I think you'll find that The Whalebone Theatre goes pretty quickly for such a big book. Since I woke up to snow on the ground here, I am really anxious to leave for Portland.

okt 31, 4:47 pm

>234 BLBera: Sounds like fun, Beth. Happy Halloween! I looked at The Fraud at the bookstore, but I think I will wait until I get it from the library.

nov 4, 11:36 am

Hi Beth, delurking to let you know I'm reading going the rounds, reviews.
Can't say I found any BB's this time, but then I am definitely not short or WL candidates and as always have a TBR pile. Hope your weekend is being very readerly-satisfying.

nov 4, 8:33 pm

>228 BLBera: This one *almost* made my book discussion list for 2024, but a last-minute vote pushed it off. Still, I was intrigued by the description and may try to read it myself sometime soon.

nov 5, 2:47 pm

Hi Beth! So great to see you. Safe travels.

nov 6, 8:49 am

>238 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah.

>239 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy. I had a great time in Portland. More later.

>240 bell7: It is very good, Mary.

>241 banjo123: I had so much fun, Rhonda. It was great to meet Mrs. Banjo and Banjo Jr. as well! My trip home was uneventful, which is a good thing.

nov 6, 2:46 pm

The Portland book festival was so much fun. Besides books, I got to spend time with some LTers, which is always a good time. I did come back with a loaded suitcase and backpack. I know people will ask, so my acquisitions are:
Opinions Roxane Gay
The Future
America Fantastica
Cross-Stitch Jazmina Barrera
What You Need to Be Warm
The Greatest Invention
To Free the Captives
Emperor of Rome
Light in Gaza
So Many People, Mariana
That Time of Year
The Lost Journals of Sacajewea
A Man of Two Faces

I saw Viet Thanh Nguyen speak with Tommy Orange. It was fantastic. Orange had great questions for him and didn't use any notes. He was super prepared.

Then I saw Debra Magpie Earling and Justin Torres, and again the moderator was really good, and they had a great conversation. I bought Earling's book; she did some interesting things with the formatting, so I look forward to reading that. Berly also bought it, so we expect to do a shared read (are you listening Ellen) soon.

I really wanted to hear Tracy K. Smith, but I was starving, so instead I had some lunch with Banjo and Banjo Jr. Banjo Jr. saw Roz Chast and said she was hilarious. Chast, Tim O'Brien, and Viet Thanh Nguyen were all at the same time, so it was a hard choice.

In the afternoon I saw Naomi Alderman, who spoke with Omar El Akkad, and it was a great conversation. Alderman is very funny. I started reading her new book as I was waiting, and I can't wait to get to it.

The last authors I saw were Patrick DeWitt and Lydia Kiesling who talked about the characters in their new novels. The moderator wasn't very good, so this was a little disappointing although I liked both Kiesling and DeWitt.

It was really fun. Everything is well organized and other than too many choices, I don't have any complaints.

nov 6, 2:53 pm

Sounds brilliant Beth. I could have camped out in Powell's never mind adding a book festival on top.
Your acquisitions seem quite restrained to me!

Redigerat: nov 6, 3:09 pm

>244 charl08: I love that LTers are such enablers regarding book buying. :) I was restrained by the fact that I had to carry them back. Powell's was fun, but I really enjoyed walking through the book market. I picked up most of my books there.

Banjo turned me on to the Two Lines Press booth, which had the translated books I bought.

nov 6, 5:09 pm

>243 BLBera: Wonderful adventure Beth, and LT get-together too, what's not to like.

>212 BLBera: I'm on the last leg of this and have loved it Beth, so thanks for putting it on my radar, I'd never heard of her, and now have two more of her books winging my way.

nov 6, 6:21 pm

The book festival sounds amazing, Beth. Lucky you!

nov 6, 6:33 pm

Sounds like the Portland book festival was great, Beth. Glad you enjoyed it . We sure are enablers here on LT. I put The Fraud on hold at the library. I really loved Sisters Brothers by Patrick dewitt, but his new book, I purchased this summer, and got to page 200 and DNF'd it. You might like it, but I could not finish it, it was so slow - agonizingly so , I thought. It's The Librarianist. Borrow it from your library rather than purchase it like I did, Beth.

nov 7, 9:58 am

114. Cat's Eye
Elaine Risley is an artist, back in Toronto, where she lived as a child, for a retrospective of her work. This novel is another retrospective, as Toronto triggers memories of her childhood, especially the period when she was bullied by three other girls. One of them, Cordelia, has reappeared in Elaine's life from time to time, and Elaine is hoping to see her again, if only to find out why she was a target. Although in the end, I think the painting has helped her survive and get past the bullying.

I loved learning about Elaine and seeing her life unfold. Her earlier childhood, spent in the woods while her father studied insects is especially vivid, and I wonder how much of Atwood's life is entwined with Elaine's story.

Atwood's writing is wonderful -- she has described masterfully a body of paintings so that I feel as though I have seen the works. The post WWII setting is shown in detail, giving the reader a clear sense of the time.

Wonderful novel.

nov 7, 10:14 am

115. Deep Freeze
This is another satisfying audiobook that continues the story of Virgil Flowers. In this novel, Virgil returns to Trippton, Minnesota, the site of Deadline, which is one of my favorites in the series. Virgil is called away from his vacation to investigate the murder of a forty-year-old bank president. But, his boss also assigns him a side job assisting a private investigator from LA. She is in Trippton to serve cease and desist papers to a Trippton woman who is altering and selling Barbie dolls. Mattel isn't happy.

Some of the characters from Deadline appear again, and as always, Virgil's investigation is entertaining. The audiobook is well done.

nov 7, 10:19 am

What You Need to Be Warm
Neil Gaiman wrote the poem based on what thousands of people told him about home. He gave the poem to the UN HCR, the UN Refugee Agency and it was illustrated by various artists, with the proceeds going to aid refugees. It's a lovely book, illustrated in black, white, and orange. The artists' comments on their inspiration are fascinating. I was happy to contribute to a good cause.

nov 7, 10:22 am

>249 BLBera: Nice review, Beth. I'm pretty sure I have Cat's Eye on a shelf somewhere (an actual shelf, not an e-reader shelf). Your review makes me want to look for it.

nov 7, 12:00 pm

It is one of my favorite Atwoods, Julia, although I have loved most of what she writes.

nov 7, 12:39 pm

I've had Cat's Eye on my shelf forever. Really must get to it...

nov 7, 12:42 pm

>246 Caroline_McElwee: It was great fun, Caroline. I am so glad you are enjoying Hempl.

>247 lauralkeet: It was great, Laura. I am lucky that I got to go.

>248 vancouverdeb: I think The Librarianist sounds interesting, Deborah. But I will probably wait and check it out of the library.

>254 katiekrug: The story of our lives, Katie, right?

nov 7, 12:42 pm

nov 7, 1:31 pm

> I really enjoyed The Librarianist, Beth. It's a quiet and contemplative book, with some great characters (and lots of book love).

nov 7, 3:29 pm

Not even trying to catch up, Beth, but just stopping in to say "Hello!"

I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

nov 7, 4:46 pm

My goodness you have been busy lately! Your trip to Portland sounds like it went very well - coming home with a suitcase full of books must have made unpacking fun!

I read Cat's Eye in 2021 and remember it mostly for the insights into women's relationships with each other.

nov 7, 8:53 pm

>243 BLBera: Looks like you have a nice variety there. I have Patrick DeWitt's latest novel on hold at the library. Can't wait to read it.

nov 8, 11:37 am

>256 katiekrug: 😂

>257 vivians: The panel I attended with DeWitt was about character, so I am looking forward to it.

>258 quondame: You are welcome. :)

>259 alcottacre: Hello back!

>260 DeltaQueen50: It was great, Judy.

>261 figsfromthistle: I'll watch for your comments, Anita.

nov 8, 12:31 pm

>249 BLBera: One of those books I'm not sure if I've read or not - or maybe it just sounds familiar from Atwood's descriptions of her childhood in interviews? Due a re/first read either way!

nov 8, 6:00 pm

>263 charl08: I know the feeling, Charlotte. I think she wrote about the childhood in Moral Disorder and maybe in some of her essays as well.

nov 10, 4:53 pm

117. The Lost Library is an engaging book for young readers that centers on Mortimer the cat; Evan, a fifth grader; and Al, the ghost librarian. When a mini free library appears in the park on Evan's route to school, he is surprised to find that the books are from the library that was destroyed by fire many years ago, and that one of them had been checked out by his father. His father's weird reaction to seeing the book leads Evan to discover that there is a mystery surrounding the library fire, and he becomes determined to find the solution.

I think young readers will enjoy this. The audiobook is well done.

118.Silence, a story of Catholic missionaries in seventeenth century Japan, raises a lot of questions, not only about the missionaries, but about the nature of faith.

I read this for my book club and it did lead to a good discussion. And while readers did not love the book, they found it interesting. The style reads like a newspaper report, and the first few chapters are written in the first person in the form of letters from Sebastian Rodrigues, one of the missionaries. We get a pretty thorough idea of his fears and doubts. Then, in the middle of the book, the point of view changes to third person.

Some questions raised about the book -- questions about the contrast between Spanish missionaries in South American and the Portuguese missionaries in Japan. Using religion as a colonizing force. The question of what faith is.

nov 10, 7:39 pm

I am glad I am finished with Silence, a rather grim read. Combined with Not That Bad, essays about rape, I was feeling rather depressed. My next read will be the new Ann Cleeves The Raging Storm.

nov 11, 12:25 pm

Hi Beth! Emma says to tell you that Garlic and Sapphire does have recipes

nov 11, 6:28 pm

Thanks Rhonda!

nov 11, 11:52 pm

I have yet to get to Cat's Eye. It is hard to stay on top of all the good book, isn't it!

nov 12, 1:05 pm

>269 vancouverdeb: Yes, it is, Deborah. I have given up trying -- I know there are many books that I will never get to -- unless I live to be 500!

nov 12, 1:14 pm

119. The Raging Storm
This third Matthew Venn mystery is well-plotted and another strong entry in the series. The setting is the star here. As one would expect from the author of the Shetland series, Cleeves is a master at description, and her north Devon town of Greystone is windy and stormy and isolated, making me feel as though I were there.

Matthew Venn is called to Greystone to investigate the murder of a famous adventurer, Jeremy Rosco. Rosco is found naked in a boat off Scully Bay in the middle of a storm. From the beginning, Venn is puzzled by the crime, unable to understand why Rosco's body is staged, and who would have motive to kill a man who has been gone from the region for years. The plot is intricate, and I didn't guess the culprit or the motive at all.

I look forward to the next book in this series, and I hope that the second and third books will be televised.

nov 12, 1:19 pm

>243 BLBera: “Too many choices”…always a good thing. Thank for the detailed report, Beth. I’m glad you had a good time and brought some books home with you.

>Cat’s Eye is one of my favorite Atwood novels. I look forward to rereading it someday.

nov 12, 1:33 pm

Hi Donna! Portland was really fun, and I am so glad I went. I loved Cat's Eye. I need to read earlier Atwood books. So I have a treat in store, I know.

nov 12, 1:49 pm

Hey there!! Glad to hear you had fun visiting me and Portland! I just posted some pics on my thread. : )

nov 12, 5:42 pm

Thanks so much! I want to return the favor. Thanks for posting the pics.

nov 12, 7:08 pm

>271 BLBera: Loved the first and second, glad to hear the third is good too!

nov 13, 10:13 am

>276 drneutron: It kept me guessing although to be honest, I rarely guess the solution. :)

nov 15, 5:01 pm

You’re really making the most of your time with reading and book festivals, Beth. Lots of interesting ones posted. Very tempting!

nov 17, 10:29 am

Portland was great, Meg. I am glad I got to go.

nov 18, 6:55 pm

120. Tom Lake
As the pandemic emerges in 2020, Lara Nelson's three grown daughters are back home on their cherry farm in northern Michigan. When her daughters learn that their mother once dated a famous movie star, they ask for the story, and so, as they pick cherries, Lara tells of her summer with a theater company at Tom Lake. She was Emily in Our Town.

I really enjoyed this novel. The way Patchett sets up the story works really well. Lara's girls are the same age she was during her time at Tom Lake, and they can't understand how she could leave acting behind with no regrets. So, besides learning about Lara's past, we learn how our desires and priorities change with time.

nov 18, 7:01 pm

121. System Collapse

Murderbot is still on the planet where it was almost killed in Network Effect, and things are getting more complicated. The B-E
corporation ship has arrived, and Murderbot, along with ART and its crew, are trying to help the colonists avoid being enslaved by the corporation.

Kevin Free returns to do the narration of the audiobook, and this is another entertaining story. And I am not a big science fiction fan!

nov 19, 7:33 am

>280 BLBera: I'm glad to see you enjoyed Tom Lake, Beth. I loved the setup and structure, too.

nov 19, 10:52 am

>282 lauralkeet: I've been thinking about it since I finished yesterday afternoon, Laura. It's such a lovely book, and I love that it doesn't privilege youth over age. There is little nostalgia in Lara's story.

Redigerat: nov 19, 7:20 pm

I am returning Chain-Gang All Stars to the library; I am too squeamish for this book. I don't know what I expected from a book about cage fighting in prison but...back it goes.

Before starting The House of Doors, I decided to pick up a couple of Maughm short stories: "The Book-Bag," one of my favorites, and "The Letter," which Eng says inspired him.

"The Book-Bag" opens: "Some people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent, but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praiseworthy. Of that lamentable company am I...And like the dope-fiend who cannot move from place to place without taking with him a plentiful supply of his deadly balm I never venture far without a sufficiency of reading matter. Books are so necessary to me that when in railway train I have become aware that fellow-travelers have come away without a single one I have been seized with a veritable dismay."

Sound familiar?

nov 19, 11:51 am

>283 BLBera: An excellent point, Beth. Tom Lake lingered in my thoughts long after I finished it, too.

nov 19, 12:53 pm

>284 BLBera: Lovely quote, Beth.

I added Tom Lake to my list. I'm going to have a bit of a wait at the library I think: clearly plenty of Patchett fans in my library system.

I just finished a brilliant collection of journalism by a Russian journalist (now in exile) I love Russia. Reminded me of Svetlana Alexievich in her willingness to explore the unspoken.

nov 19, 1:19 pm

>285 lauralkeet: Patchett is so good with character.

>286 charl08: I Love Russia sounds good, Charlotte. I'm adding it to my WL.

After reading my Maughm stories, I am ready for The House of Doors.
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