Wookiebender's 100 reads for 2014

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Wookiebender's 100 reads for 2014

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1wookiebender
Dez 27, 2013, 2:29 am

Huzzah! I may not make it to 100 in 2013, but it's always fun trying, and this is a great bunch of readers to hang out with. And maybe I'll do it in 2014! :)

2wookiebender
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 6:29 pm

Books read in 2014:

1. Carry On, Jeeves, PG Wodehouse
2. The Magic ToyShop, Angela Carter
3. Joan Makes History, Kate Grenville
4. The True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey
5. Farthing, Jo Walton

6. The Shining, Stephen King
7. Snuff, Terry Pratchett
8. City of Dark Magic, Magnus Flyte
9. More Than This, Patrick Ness
10. Three Hearts and Three Lions, Poul Anderson

11. Horns, Joe Hill
12. Miles, Mystery & Mayhem, Lois McMaster Bujold
13. Travel Light, Naomi Mitchison
14. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
15. Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan

16. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor
17. Engraved on the Eye, Saladin Ahmed
18. The Inexplicables, Cherie Priest
19. Locke & Key Volume 6: Alpha & Omega, Joe Hill
20. Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon

21. Texts From Dog, October Jones
22. Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet
23. Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan
24. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne Valente
25. Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal

26. The Osiris Ritual, George Mann
27. The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
28. Geekomancy, Michael R. Underwood
29. Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
30. Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed

31. To Spin a Darker Stair, Tehani Wessley (Ed.)
32. One Damned Thing After Another, Jodi Taylor
33. The Anonymous Venetian, Donna Leon
34. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
35. A Symphony of Echoes, Jodi Taylor

Daughter of Blood, Anne Bishop (DNF)
36. The Risk of Darkness, Susan Hill
37. Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman
38. The Cutting Season, Attica Locke
39. The Immorality Engine, George Mann
40. Saga, Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughan

41. A Second Chance, Jodi Taylor
42. Saga, Volume 3, Brian K. Vaughan
43. White Knight, Jim Butcher
44. The Girl Who Loved The Doctor, Paul Cornell
45. Finch, Jeff VanderMeer

46. Ha'penny, Jo Walton
47. The Miernik Dossier, Charles McCarry
48. Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts
49. The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi
50. Make Room! Make Room!, Harry Harrison

51. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Lish McBride
52. The Executioner's Heart, George Mann
53. The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
54. Dark Matter, Michelle Paver
55. Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe

56. The Shattered City, Tansy Rayner Roberts
57. Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal
58. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John Le Carre
59. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
60. The Girl With All the Gifts, M. R. Carey

61. Necromancing the Stone, Lish McBride
62. Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist
63. Madame de Pompadour, Nancy Mitford
64. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, Tom Reiss
65. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler

66. Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
67. A Trail Through Time, Jodi Taylor
68. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
69. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
70. Sarah Canary, Karen Joy Fowler

71. Mike and Psmith, P.G. Wodehouse
72. Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
73. Shakedown, Terrence Dicks
74. The Good, The Bad, and The Undead, Kim Harrison
75. The Hanover Square Affair, Ashley Gardner

76. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, Zach Whedon
77. The Light Between the Oceans, M.L. Stedman
78. The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
79. Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris
80. Sherlock Holmes - The Spirit Box, George Mann

81. Saga, Volume 4, Bryan K Vaughan
82. Snowpiercer Vol.1 - The Escape, Jaques Lob
83. The Bookman, Lavie Tidhar
84. Libriomancer, Jim C. Hines
85. The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer

86. The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers
87. Von Gobstopper's Arcade, Alexandra Adornetto

Book Bingo!

MY RULES (which are mine): I reckon books cannot count more than once on one card. I can also shuffle things around, if I find a better fit for a square I've already filled.



General List
A Book With More Than 500 Pages - The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
A Forgotten Classic- The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers
A Book that Became a Movie - The Magic Toyshop, Angela Carter
A Book Published This Year - Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet
A Book With a Number in the Title - Three Hearts and Three Lions, Poul Anderson

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty - Von Gobstopper's Arcade, Alexandra Adornetto
A Book With Non-Human Characters - Travel Light, Naomi Mitchison
A Funny Book - Carry On Jeeves, PG Wodehouse
A Book by a Female Author - Joan Makes History, Kate Grenville
A Book With a Mystery - More Than This, Patrick Ness

A Book With a One Word Title - Farthing, Jo Walton
A Book of Short Stories - Engraved on the Eye, Saladin Ahmed
A Book set on a Different Continent - Snuff, Terry Pratchett
A Book of Non-Fiction - Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed

The First Book by a Favourite Author - The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer
A Book you Heard About Online - City of Dark Magic, Magnus Flyte
A Best-Selling Book - The Shining, Stephen King
A Book Based on a True Story - Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
A Book at the Bottom of Your To-Read Pile - Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist

A Book Your Friend Loves - Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon
A Book That Scares You - Dark Matter, Michelle Paver
A Book That is more than 10 Years Old - True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey
The Second Book in a Series - The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente
A Book With a Blue Cover - Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal

My blue cover:

3Eyejaybee
Dez 27, 2013, 3:36 am

Hi Tania.
Welcome back and best wishes for a great year of reading :)

4jfetting
Dez 27, 2013, 11:12 am

Welcome back!

5Tanya-dogearedcopy
Dez 27, 2013, 12:12 pm

"Hi!" from one /Tanya/ to another :-)

6divinenanny
Jan 1, 2014, 8:49 am

Welcome back, and keep trying ;)

7rosalita
Jan 1, 2014, 4:26 pm

Happy New Year, Tania. I'm looking forward to following your reading adventures again this year.

8wookiebender
Jan 1, 2014, 11:53 pm

Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to reading this year too, I had a lot of fun reverting to my sci-fi and fantasy obsession, and I'm thinking it might continue this year too.

Of course, having said that, I'm currently reading the second Jeeves book, Carry On, Jeeves. Hardly based in reality though, I guess. :)

9LShelby
Jan 2, 2014, 9:00 am

>8 wookiebender: I'd say that P.G. Wodehouse counts as fantasy... except for the Golf stories, those are clearly non-fiction. (And if anyone says otherwise, I'm sticking my fingers in my ears... some delusions are worth keeping!) ;)

10mabith
Jan 2, 2014, 11:53 am

PG Wodehouse is too much fun, definitely fantasy (one hopes!). Can't wait to see what you read this year. I've gotten so many great recommendations from you in the last two years.

11divinenanny
Jan 2, 2014, 3:31 pm

I'd say romance, doesn't Jeeves get engaged at least once every book?

12mabith
Jan 2, 2014, 3:48 pm

Ha, Wooster is the one who accidentally gets engaged and then spends a lot of time trying to extricate himself. The books generally present anti-romance.

13Helenliz
Jan 2, 2014, 4:04 pm

Jeeves & Wooster? That's historical fact, don't cher know?

Wodehouse lived for some time in my home town, we're imortalised in some of the characters.

14AmyLynn
Jan 2, 2014, 4:31 pm

Welcome back! Excited for another year of reading and stealing book recommendations from you.

15divinenanny
Jan 3, 2014, 2:38 am

Oh yeah, mix up ;) Sorry ;)

16divinenanny
Jan 3, 2014, 2:44 am

BTW, I love books that are (loosely) based on non-famous real people. A famous series here in the Netherlands is Het Bureau where the writer chronicles his whole working life in seven books. It is based on his actual working life and only names have been changed, but for the most part it is pretty obvious who he is talking about (there are even lists online linking characters to real people, and his old company/institution actually keeps his desk (bureau in Dutch) as an exhibition piece). I used to work in the same field as he, and knew (about) some of the people described. Made the reading of the series even better for me! And I know from a fellow student that the creepy vampiric librarian of the University of Amsterdam in Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian is based on a real creepy librarian ;)

17wookiebender
Jan 3, 2014, 4:56 am

Hello all! And thanks for visiting, and chatting about Jeeves and Bertie.

#13 & #16> how fascinating! I know no one at all famous in that sort of way, although Patrick White lived in my neighbourhood while I was growing up, and one of my contemporaries made it into his autobiography, Flaws in the Glass, being a ditz.

Spending the weekend at a friends' place, feeding goats and chickens and being out of mobile range (hurrah for wifi) and drinking mango bellinis. Life's tough.

18rainpebble
Editado: Jan 3, 2014, 2:15 pm

Hi Tania! Love Wodehouse. So wonderful for those days when one needs something to just cozy into. Good luck with your 2014 challenges. I look forward to following you.
hugs,
belva

19wookiebender
Jan 4, 2014, 4:43 am

Hi Belva, glad to see you're here too!

20wookiebender
Editado: Jan 5, 2014, 7:55 pm

1. Carry On, Jeeves, PG Wodehouse



What, what, what. A collection of Wooster and Jeeves stories, not one of which fails to delight. Jeeves is always on hand to rescue Bertie or one of Bertie's chums from some dreadful fate, romantic entanglement with the wrong woman or the threat of the loss of money from a wealthy uncle or aunt. Or worse, the dullness of a weekend away with some positively scaly acquaintances.

****

21judylou
Jan 4, 2014, 8:59 pm

Sigh, yet another series that I want to read but haven't quite found the time or the opportunity . . . yet. But welcome back Tania and I hope there are many more book recommendations and discussions ahead in 2014.

22wookiebender
Jan 5, 2014, 5:08 am

Hi Judy! The Jeeves stories are very easy to pick up and put down, since they are just a series of short stories. Good sort of book to tuck into your handbag, if you have a handbag book. Or a handbag, even. (I'm a backpack user, myself. :)

23wookiebender
Editado: Jan 6, 2014, 7:10 am

2. The Magic Toyshop, Angela Carter



Three young children are suddenly orphaned, and have to leave their very comfortable house to go and live with their uncle that they have never met, Philip Flower, a talented toymaker. Uncle Philip has married a mute woman, and she and her two brothers also live with them above the toyshop. The story is mostly told from the point of view of the eldest child, Melanie, who is halfway between being a child (she still carries her Edward Bear when she arrives at the shop) and a woman.

Not overtly a fairytale like her later works, however there are fairytale elements to the story, with a definite Bluebeard feel to the tyrannical Uncle Philip.

I really enjoyed this story, more than I thought I would. It's beautifully written, and I am a sucker for a fairytale. Sadly, I thought the ending let it down (and lost it 1/2 a star), with a bit of a over-the-top Gothic sting and no clear resolution. Ended with a bit of a crazy whimper, rather than a bang.

****

24bookwormjules
Jan 6, 2014, 6:00 am

Never heard of this book before, or author. It's a shame the ending was a letdown, but at least you still enjoyed the book.

25wookiebender
Jan 6, 2014, 7:09 am

I believe her best known and best loved work is Nights at the Circus which I read and did enjoy a few years ago. Her The Passion of New Eve is a 1001 title, and apparently I do own a copy. Now to drag out of memory where I shoved it when I brought it home...

26rosalita
Jan 6, 2014, 7:41 am

#23> That's a new one on me, Tania, but it sounds like a really promising setup. What a pity the ending doesn't carry it off.

27wookiebender
Jan 6, 2014, 6:44 pm

Hi rosalita! Other people may like the ending, but it did fall flat for me. As it's one of her earlier books, and I liked the rest of the book so much, I'm willing to forgive her. :)

And I did find my copy of The Passion of New Eve, right where it should be, with the Virago Modern Classics...

28wookiebender
Jan 6, 2014, 6:56 pm

3. Joan Makes History, Kate Grenville



The story of Joan, an everywoman during Australia's colonial history. She pops up all over the place, from Captain Cook's voyage to the Federation of Australia in 1901, always declaring she's there to make history. But it is a quiet sort of history, the one not written about in history books, but the one where babies are born, clothes are washed, crops are planted.

She does rub elbows with some famous men, being painted by Fred McCubbin, taking Ned Kelly's iconic photograph, flirting with Herman Melville.



Interspersed with this is the tale of another Joan, daughter of eastern European immigrants early in the 20th century. Again, Joan is determined to make grand history (Prime Minister!), and her tale is echoed in the tales of the other Joans.

This being Grenville, it's well written, and her interest in Australian history is writ large upon the page. I enjoyed all the Joans' journeys through history, be they bold or timid, rich or poor.

****

29judylou
Jan 8, 2014, 1:13 am

I loved "Joan"! It was one of my first Grenville's and started me reading all her other books. I thought it was a brilliant look at our history.

30wookiebender
Jan 8, 2014, 1:35 am

And now I have no more unread Grenville in the house! Oh my, must keep my eyes open in the bookshops.

It was a great slice of Australian life (I also love the way she describes the bush so well), and it inspired my current read, The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey which is also proving a very entertaining read. When Carey is good, he's very very good. I did ponder reading some actual Australian history, as opposed to historical fiction, but I just don't read non-fiction hardly at all!

31mabith
Jan 8, 2014, 10:00 am

Ah, I loved that Peter Carey book. It was really nicely done. I'll have to put Joan Makes History on my list. I've avoided the other books related to The Secret River because no one seems to like them as much and I want to leave it as a shining beacon in my memory.

I read Outback Pioneers a few years back and really enjoyed it, if you do ever feel like some history history.

32rainpebble
Editado: Jan 8, 2014, 1:05 pm

I enjoyed Joan Makes History very much when I read it and though I am not an Angela Carter fan (rather in fact she quite creeps me out though I know she is a brilliant writer), I did LOVE The Magic Toyshop!
You are really getting off to a good start Tania. And I did hunt up the Billy Bookcases & if I ever need more than my 15 I will head out to Ikea! I like them very much.

33wookiebender
Jan 8, 2014, 8:51 pm

#31> Oh yes, the sequels to The Secret River weren't nearly as good. They're not bad books (well, the third got torn to bits by my book group...) but in comparison to TSR, they fade to bleurgh. Thanks for the heads up on Outback Pioneers!

#32> 15 bookcases? Wow. I think I have 12 (just did a mental count). Hm, will have to get rid of something to fit more bookshelves in now (suffering from bookshelf envy)...

34bookwormjules
Jan 9, 2014, 6:08 am

I almost read The True History of The Kelly Gang this past year. Is it worth bumping up the list for this year?

35wookiebender
Jan 9, 2014, 6:18 am

Yep, definitely worth a read, although I'm dying to get to the end to then be able to Google ol' Ned and find out what is true and what is Carey's imagination.

36bryanoz
Jan 9, 2014, 4:11 pm

Kelly Gang definitely worth bumping up, it and Illywacker his best IMO, his the Unusual Life of Tristan Smith is very underrated as well.

37wookiebender
Jan 9, 2014, 4:49 pm

Hm, I've owned and read 10 McEwan novels; but only 6 Carey novels. Hoping this isn't cultural cringe...

My favourite was Oscar and Lucinda, and my least Parrot and Olivier. I've been meaning to get Chemistry of Tears, and now I'll add Illywhacker and Unusual Life of Tristan Smith to the list.

38wookiebender
Editado: Jan 12, 2014, 4:53 am

4. The True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey



Peter Carey tells a rollicking tale about Australia's best loved larrikin son, or our most famous cold-blooded murderer, depending on where you stand. Constantly harassed by the police, young Ned Kelly (a Australian of Irish descent) ends up pushed into a life of crime, cattle and horse stealing, and eventually robbing banks.

Carey really captured Ned's voice and spins a great tale around the known facts. I did have to Google afterwards to read up on his whole life (I've not known much about Kelly apart from the famous siege and his armour, and his final words, "such is life"), and was very impressed with how Carey fits it all into this great story. There's a lot of humour in here as well, with a bumbling apprenticeship to a fairly unimpressive outlaw, Harry Power, plus Kelly's wonderfully rambling but compelling use of language.

My quibbles would be that he firmly plumps down on the side of Kelly being a good guy, whereas I've always felt he's more of a murderer. (Although I definitely acknowledge that as a poor Irish Australian, he was subject to a ridiculous amount of harassment by the law, so I've never really blamed him that much.) And that there's this strange subplot about Irish outlaws dressing as women. Google shed no light on this one, if anyone can confirm it for me, I'd appreciate it (and maybe give another 1/2 a star for highlighting a peculiar bit of history).

****

39wookiebender
Editado: Jan 12, 2014, 4:58 am

4a. The Jerilderie Letter, Ned Kelly

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Jerilderie_Letter

Narrated by Kelly and transcribed by his fellow gang member Joe Byrne during one of their sieges (in Jerilderie, NSW). Part Unabomber manifesto, part scathing diatribe against The Man, it's a great bit of Australian history and well worth a read.

I'll just quote one small section:

...I have been wronged and my mother and four or five men lagged innocent and is my brothers and sisters and my mother not to be pitied also who has no alternative only to put up with the brutal and cowardly conduct of a parcel of big ugly fat-necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish Bailiffs or english landlords which is better known as Officers of Justice or Victorian Police who some calls honest gentlemen but I would like to know what business an honest man would have in the Police as it is an old saying It takes a rogue to catch a rogue and a man that knows nothing about roguery would never enter the force...


Neither Ned nor Joe ever heard of a comma, obviously. But you've got to love the temper and the language.

40bookwormjules
Jan 11, 2014, 9:17 am

Thanks, maybe I'll get to the book at the end of the month or early February.

41wookiebender
Jan 12, 2014, 4:59 am

Jules, it's definitely worth a read, and I look forward to your comments on it!

42wookiebender
Editado: Jan 12, 2014, 5:18 am

5. Farthing, Jo Walton



Set in an alternate history, where England made peace with Hitler in 1941 after the Blitz, allowing him to conquer the Continent and attempt to invade Russia; while the English got to live in comfort and quiet away from the horror of the fascists. During a weekend party at the manor house Farthing, home to a group of Tory policy makers (also responsible for the peace agreement with Hitler), one of the politicians is gruesomely murdered. Was it a crime of passion? A Bolshevik plot? A mad attack by Jews, angry at the peace with Nazi Germany?

The book is narrated in alternate chapters, one by the very sweet but somewhat scatter brained Mrs Lucy Kahn, daughter to the lord of Farthing, who has managed to alienate her family and their friends by falling madly in love with and marrying a Jewish man, David Kahn. The other chapters are from the point of view of Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard, who is sent to Farthing to sort this out, with the least inconvenience to the Farthing set themselves. Jo Walton ties together the two threads effortlessly as they both approach the same conclusion.

The plot gets thicker thicker, and more and more twisted as further events happen and more information comes out. In the end it all suddenly falls into place, and left me in absolute horror of the world Walton has created. A great anti-Fascist read, and definitely my best book of the year (so far, and I know it's early days, but I'm thinking it'll still be a best book when I get to the end of the year), I'm scrambling to find the next in the series.

*****

43Eyejaybee
Jan 12, 2014, 5:27 am

That sounds great. I love alternative histories like that.

44wookiebender
Jan 12, 2014, 5:34 am

Oooh, glad it sounded good to you, because I was thinking it was on a par with Code Name Verity. Possibly because of the WW2 and young-woman-narrator (although Lucy Kahn is older than the narrators of CNV). And also possibly because both made me cry with anger and upsettedness.

I was expecting something silly and entertaining on the way in, but was quite deeply moved by the end of it all.

45Eyejaybee
Jan 12, 2014, 6:20 am

I was thinking the same thing when I read your review. There is the shared narrative aspect, too.

I have just bought it from the Kindle store for £0.61 (about one Australian dollar)!

46whitewavedarling
Jan 12, 2014, 4:57 pm

Definitely looking up Farthing... Thanks for the review/bb!

47mabith
Jan 12, 2014, 6:08 pm

I want to find Farthing as well, I think. I've somewhat stayed away from alternative histories that involve the Nazis winning. I can read about what actually happened until my eyes bleed, but generally the of reading about "oh if they'd won" makes me really sad/upset.

48wookiebender
Jan 12, 2014, 11:29 pm

#45> James, don't make me want a Kindle! I've only got ~500 unread paperbacks in the house. Once I've finished all of those, then I'm allowed a Kindle. :P

#46> No worries, I hope you like it!

#47> Well, they don't really win, in that England is independent, and the battle for Russia is ongoing (even after 10 years). There's an ongoing joke where Kursk changes hands a ridiculous number of times during the book. But the Continent is a very, very depressing place in this alternate history.

49divinenanny
Jan 13, 2014, 3:36 am

I'm really thinking I just need to buy and read everything by Jo Walton. Every review I read intrigues me...

50wookiebender
Jan 13, 2014, 6:50 am

Yes! Yes, you must! I think she's rapidly becoming a favourite of mine, she's yet to disappoint.

51divinenanny
Jan 13, 2014, 8:30 am

Oh yeah, like I need more writers/works on my wishlist ;) But thanks for enabling me. I read Among Others last year and loved it.

52rainpebble
Jan 13, 2014, 12:25 pm

I love coming to your thread to see what you are reading & read your reviews. For me it is like stepping into a different section of the library & I find it fascinating. Perhaps I shall jump in the pool and read some alternative histories this year as well. They do sound so interesting.

53wookiebender
Jan 13, 2014, 5:57 pm

#51> Glad to be of service. ;)

#52> Most of the alternate histories I've read have been because they've shoe-horned dragons or fairies or vampires into our usual history. (Nothing wrong with dragons/fairies/vampires, I am a fan of fantasy literature.) This was my first step into alternate-history-without-fantasy-elements, and I did like it.

Funnily enough, Mum & I did some bookshopping prior to Xmas, and I recommended a couple of crime novels for Dad that I hadn't read, but had heard good buzz about (thanks to all the lovely LTers, and all our compulsive reading, and talking about reading): The Cutting Season by Attica Locke and Dominion by CJ Sansom. Turns out the latter is also alternate history with crime (rather than fantasy). We've agreed to swap our alternate history crime novels next time we catch up. :)

54rainpebble
Jan 14, 2014, 3:16 pm

>53 wookiebender::
How much do you want to bet that Attica Locke's mother read & loved To Kill A Mockingbird?

55wookiebender
Jan 14, 2014, 5:30 pm

I think it's a given, belva! :)

You made me wonder who Atticus Finch was named after, and it could have been one of many: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atticus

56rainpebble
Jan 14, 2014, 5:56 pm

I am going with the "Platonist philosopher and author of lost Plato commentary".
How about you?

That was interesting wookie. Thank you for posting that fun link.

57wookiebender
Jan 14, 2014, 7:44 pm

I rather like the sound of "ancient Roman littérateur". Plus, he corresponded with Cicero and sometimes it makes me boggle that these ancient names (in this case, Cicero) actually lived and had normal lives.

58mabith
Jan 14, 2014, 10:12 pm

Wow, littérateur is my new favorite word. If anyone ever tells me they're a raconteur I'll know what to respond with now...

59rainpebble
Jan 15, 2014, 1:20 am

>57 wookiebender:;
I know, right?

>57 wookiebender: & 58;
I rather like that word me own self.

And yeah Meredith, as if someone is going to come to you with that line. LOL!~! You're cracking me up here girl!

60mabith
Jan 15, 2014, 9:21 am

I usually have a small, lightly embroidered tablecloth over my TV when I'm not using it (I feel the set clashes with my teacup collection). Since it's in between lots of books I have an incredible urge to embroidery "littérateur" in the middle of it. Hmmm...

61rainpebble
Jan 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

Oh, you totally should do that mabith! And then take a photo of it to plant on your thread. That would be so way cool!

62wookiebender
Jan 15, 2014, 8:10 pm

#59> Don calls himself a "raconteur" without any blushes or shame. :) (And it's true, he's a great storyteller and life-of-the-party guy.)

#60> Yes! That'd be brilliant, and I'd love to see the photo! :)

And, in other news, apparently today (US-time; yesterday Australia time) I hit my thingaversary! Happy 8 years to me! (Eight??? Jeez, where did the time go??)

63mabith
Jan 15, 2014, 8:29 pm

Ooh, congrats! Doesn't that mean you're supposed to buy yourself eight books?

64Tanya-dogearedcopy
Jan 15, 2014, 8:58 pm

Plus one to grow one! :-)

65rainpebble
Jan 15, 2014, 9:39 pm

Yea wookie!~!~! Happy Thingaversary. Can't wait to hear/see what books you gift yourself. :-)

66wookiebender
Jan 15, 2014, 9:40 pm

Nine books!! I think I'd go insane at the bookshop. (Mwahahahahaha!)

Maybe just the one book. :)

Hot day in Sydney, and the kids are off doing Festival of Sydney things (without me! well, at least I have the airconditioning at work...). http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2014/Family/Merchants-Store/ & http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2014/Family/Sacrilege/

I'll have to pop by after work to see Sacrilege - a life size bouncy castle of *Stonehenge*. I wanna bounce on it!!

67wookiebender
Editado: Jan 19, 2014, 12:17 am

6. The Shining, Stephen King



Jack Torrance takes his family to a remote luxury hotel in the mountains of Colorado, The Overlook, to be caretaker over winter while he attempts to finish his play. Of course, it all goes horribly horribly wrong.

Never have I been so frightened by a book. I only read it during daylight hours, and with people around, but still I'm finding it hard to turn my back on the bath in my bathroom, and once woke up at 5am and had to wait until the sun came up before I could go back to sleep because I couldn't close my eyes on the dark. And let's not get started on topiary, which is creepy enough on its own without any help from Mr King.

While this was better written than I expected, I still found the newspaper clippings detailing the history of The Overlook that Jack finds in the basement rather awkward; I hope King has never seriously considered a job in journalism. And the plot is a bit annoying at times, characters doing things to drive the plot along (like taking the caretaker job and bringing one's family in the first place) rather than what made sense. But that may just be because I have the privileged position of being able to watch this all unfold. And knowing some standard horror memes, some of which probably started with this book.

While I haven't seen the Kubrick adaptation, I know enough about it through pop culture references to realise that he didn't do a straight adaptation. But I don't think I want to see it anyhow, I think this little black duck has reached her limit of King for the time being. I think I'd better go and read something set in the summer sunshine, with lots of fluffy ducks and unicorns and rainbows, in order to recuperate.

****

68wookiebender
Jan 18, 2014, 9:44 pm

And BINGO! Well, on one column at any rate. ;) Will aim for the whole square.

69mabith
Jan 18, 2014, 10:20 pm

Bingo already! Gracious! I was trying to think of a prize, but postcards are all I thought of. Happy to send you one if you like (I have funny, silly, bookish, comic book, pixar, local area, fairy tale art, etc...).

70wookiebender
Jan 19, 2014, 12:18 am

Thanks Meredith, but I think I'm aiming for the whole square. :)

71Helenliz
Jan 19, 2014, 5:50 am

I know there's a reason I don't like horror - I think your review sums it up. I have read some King, but certainly none of the scary stuff. One I will certainly be giving a miss to.

72wookiebender
Jan 19, 2014, 5:59 am

I have been recommended some non-scary King, and I'll probably read some of those at some stage. But I'm definitely steering well clear of the scary stuff - I don't have the nerve for him!

73PaulCranswick
Jan 19, 2014, 6:28 am

Tania - Managed to track you down over here. Wanted to wish you a wonderful 2014 and hope to see you around the threads on your guest appearances in the 75ers.

It seems that we share a Thingaversary (14/15 January) as does Linda (Whisper). Happy Thingamajigamy to you my dear. xx

74wookiebender
Jan 19, 2014, 7:09 am

Thank you Paul! I've been to your thread a couple of times, but have yet to catch up enough to leave a comment!! Things move fast over with the 75ers. :)

75whitewavedarling
Jan 19, 2014, 2:59 pm

The Shining still terrifies me as well! It's clearly some of his earlier writing--he's gotten better over the years, but it certainly is something! Meanwhile, I've heard that Doctor Sleep is a really satisfying follow-up, long awaited as it's been. I haven't gotten to it yet, but will sooner than later...

76wookiebender
Jan 19, 2014, 5:57 pm

I've also heard good things about Doctor Sleep but am not quite sure that The Shining needed a sequel, I was quite happy with where it ended! Maybe in a while I'll be curious, once the terror has dimmed. :)

77whitewavedarling
Jan 19, 2014, 9:58 pm

It's not a direct sequel...just a look at the son once he's an adult. I think so many people get attached to his character that they end up wondering...

78Berly
Editado: Jan 19, 2014, 10:12 pm

Happy Thingaversary!!! Now, for a serious question...how do you get the purple dots on the Bingo card? I love it! And I agree with Wookie about needing a sequel; course know that I know about it I will probably have to get it!

79wookiebender
Jan 19, 2014, 10:24 pm

#77> I can understand that, Danny was a great kid. But at the moment, I think I'll just stick my fingers in my ears, go "lalalalalalala!" and assume he grew up to be a great kid and President of the United States of America. :)

#78> Hello Berly! Thanks for visiting, and for the Thingaversary wishes! I wish I could claim credit for the purple dots, but it was done by the very clever lshelby, and she's got explanations here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/164113#4467197

80Berly
Editado: Jan 19, 2014, 10:53 pm

Well, you were smart enough to post it on your website! And now I am going to steal it. Thanks LShelby! Thanks Wookie!

81LShelby
Jan 19, 2014, 10:46 pm

> 80 I'm glad people are finding it useful. :)

82wareagle78
Jan 21, 2014, 12:28 am

<67
The Shining was an old favorite, read more than once, but I abandoned King (and most of the horror genre) years back and i'm not really sure why. While I did prefer the book to the movie, some of the movie imagery was wonderful.

83wookiebender
Jan 21, 2014, 2:57 am

I did abandon sci-fi/fantasy a while back in favour of more "literary" works, but have had a lot of fun over the past few months returning to sci-fi/fantasy. Not quite sure why I left in the first place, either! Just drifted away.

There were a few readers in book group last night who were more familiar with the movie than the book. :) (We're flexible with reading the actual book, so long as people turn up and have fun, we're all happy. I'm the only obsessive one who reads all the books, and on time too.)

Turned out to be a good bookgroup read, not everyone liked it (discussion is boring when we all agree and are all positive), but most of us did, and we could talk about the book, the movie, how autobiographical it is, how unrealistic Danny was, how terrified we were, etc. :)

84judylou
Jan 22, 2014, 1:14 am

I read The Shining way back in the dark ages when I was about 15 or 16 I think. The only place I could read it was in the bath. It was the only place where nothing scary was able to sneak up on me! I read and loved all of King's early stuff even though it scared me stupid. I went off his middle years, but now I'm reading his newer stuff again. Dr Sleep is on my e-reader, just waiting.

85wookiebender
Jan 22, 2014, 7:12 am

O.M.G. You read The Shining IN THE BATH??? When the bath in Room 217 was where are the scariness really happened?? You were a far tougher teenager than I ever was. :)

I'm not convinced that I need a sequel for The Shining, but maybe I just need a little time away from it all. Although I am happier now I'm finished, the terror is lessened once the story is over. (Phew.)

86wookiebender
Editado: Fev 1, 2014, 6:16 am

7. Snuff, Terry Pratchett



Sam Vimes, Commander of the Watch, Duke of Ankh, and Blackboard Monitor, etc, is dragged on holidays from Ankh-Morpork to his wife's ancestral home in the countryside. Young Sam has the time of his life, collecting various poo samples from the wildlife; Lady Sibyl is, of course, completely at home at her childhood home; and Sam has to deal with the unnerving silence of the nights (no Anhk-Morpork nightlife here) although, being a copper at heart, he does of course sniff out troubles. And, as lord of the manor (and Commander of the Watch, Duke of Ankh, and Blackboard Monitor, etc), sets out to solve them.

This is Pratchett wearing his heart on his sleeve, making an impassioned plea towards some basic humanity. You could (and I did) apply this story to any number of current conflicts on our planet. Sadly, I don't think that those responsible for them actually read Pratchett.

This is also a lovely inclusion to Vimes's story, always one of the best Discworld characters in all senses of the word, with much action, derring-do, and the baddies getting some excellent comeuppance. And these are some pretty nasty baddies, some of the worst I've come across in Discworld.

Oh yes, and humour. As usual, there's a lovely playfulness at work here, from Young Sam's poo obsession (one known only too well to parents of boys of a certain age), through the social satire provided by Lady Sibyl's social occasions, to Sam's deft handling of the local low rent baddies. Oh, and the footnotes, of course.

Bother. How did I manage to write a Discworld review without any footnotes?

****

(I've added this to "book set on another continent" for book bingo. I rather like it there. :)

87divinenanny
Jan 22, 2014, 8:31 am

I read The Shining a couple of weeks ago. This year I'd place it on my "A Book that Scares You" square on the bingo, it scared me both before and during reading it. I used to LOVE King as a teenager (even had a fight with my English teacher because he didn't let me read King for my "read 500 pages of English text" requirement). Later I moved on, but I've been reading some King lately (mostly because I keep getting King books for free). I hated Under the Dome (didn't finish) but mostly because of the nasty nasty characters. I liked The Shining, although I agree Wookie, that some things are just too convenient. As entertainment though, it is a fun read.

I've been reading more 'real' literature instead of my beloved SF/Fantasy. On purpose, to broaden my horizon, but I did notice I had no SF on my TBR Soon shelf next to my bed, and that felt wrong. So I added some Aldiss and a promise to myself to always have some SF/Fantasy on there (besides the three SF/Fantasy series I am reading anyway).

88Helenliz
Jan 22, 2014, 12:30 pm

*waits impatiently for Snuff review*

I like the idea of it counting for being on a different continent. I mean it's not the same continent you're on, so it counts, surely?

89mabith
Jan 22, 2014, 1:12 pm

Ooh, I loved Snuff. I thought it was such a good rounding off of Vimes and his various personal journeys. Also, it has my favorite Pratchett name in it - Bewilderforce Gumption (not sure on spelling since I listen to the audiobooks).

90lizamichelle1
Jan 22, 2014, 2:52 pm

I LIKE THIS!! I will try to make this part of my challenges!

91lizamichelle1
Jan 22, 2014, 2:59 pm

Kubrick did not follow the book, but it was a good movie with shock value. One of my favorites. Now the "Stephen King's The Shining" made for TV movie was closer to the book. Since I read the book after the second movie, I hadn't realized it.

92judylou
Jan 22, 2014, 3:44 pm

There was a made for TV version? Now I'm going to have to find that!

93wookiebender
Jan 22, 2014, 9:42 pm

#87> Yeah, I was a bit torn between putting The Shining under "scares me" (because it did, and well and truly to boot), or "bestseller". I went with the category that (for me) is usually harder to fill. Getting a row is a bonus. ;)

And if I break down and read a Twilight book this year (*shudder*), then maybe I'll put it in the bestseller category. (Or, LOL, in the "scares me" category. ;)

#88> I'll get a review up there tonight, I hope! Got distracted by smallish children and then by the film adaptation of Tamara Drewe which I read last year and enjoyed. (Rather good adaptation, they did soften part of the ending, but that suited the movie better.)

#89> Bewilderforce Gumption was a great name, very Dickensian! I thought it slumped a bit towards the end, but it was a great Vimes story.

#90> Book Bingo is all the fault of LShelby this year. :)

#92> Yep, and everyone does say it followed the book more closely: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118460/

Apparently King didn't like the Kubrick adaptation, and apparently Kubrick didn't get along with the actor playing Wendy (Shelly Duval?) so her character gets sidelined, and all the iconic film moments that I know of aren't really in the book, so I think Kubrick just made his own film, using the book as a starting point. Kubrick is a great director, so I am curious to see what he made of the book, but am steering clear of scary things for the next while.

94LShelby
Jan 22, 2014, 10:00 pm

>94 LShelby: "Book Bingo is all the fault of LShelby this year."

It is not. It was mabith's idea. I just provided a little tech support.

95wookiebender
Jan 24, 2014, 7:42 am

My apologies for misattribution for the Book Bingo idea! Thank you mabith for starting it this year, and LShelby for the technical support! Both are appreciated.

96mabith
Jan 24, 2014, 11:43 am

No problem! I came across those boards in my bookstore work (web stuff only) and wanted to get my oar in since I liked the choices a lot more than the board from last year or the others I'd seen. Pure selfishness on my part.

97wookiebender
Editado: Fev 1, 2014, 6:33 am

8. City of Dark Magic, Magnus Flyte



After the untimely death of her PhD supervisor, music student Sarah Weston is offered his summer job, curating papers relating to Beethoven in Prague, readying them for exhibition. There, working alongside a bunch of other somewhat eccentric academics working in their own fields in the museum, Sarah gets drawn into something rather strange.

I won't go into details, except to say that it involves Beethoven, a powerful American senator and ex-CIA agent, some pretty trippy drugs, the rather dashing yet odd Prince Max (owner of the treasures being prepared for exhibition), and sex. Sarah is neither shy nor retiring and knows what she wants. (Although I was a little startled by a heroine who has sex in a bathroom with someone she's just met.)

The plot is a bit all over the shop, and if you stop to think about it, it all falls apart. But there's not much breathing room in this book, there's always a newly murdered corpse, a new secret passageway, a new twist to keep you turning pages.

Overall, rather good fun, if a bit silly.

***1/2

98wookiebender
Editado: Fev 1, 2014, 9:12 pm

9. More Than This, Patrick Ness



Xmas shopping with Mum and I almost gave her a heart attack by squealing and leaping upon this book when I saw it at the shop. Naturally she took the (completely unintended) hint and it duly appeared under the Christmas tree. And now I'm wondering why it took me so long to read this one.

Here is the boy, drowning.

And with that we're plunged into a brief but harrowing description of the last few minutes of the boy's life as he fights, but loses the battle with the wild cold ocean. But it's not the end of the story, for he then wakes up in the middle of an empty, deserted, decaying town.

Ness cleverly interweaves this strange afterlife with flashbacks to the boy's life before the drowning, building the tension for both strands of the story. This was a very hard book to put down (as I should have remembered from his "Chaos Walking" series), with constant dilemmas, but it never feels forced or just an action packed ride, as this book also asks some pretty big questions and brings up some pretty big issues. And all the characters are wonderfully crafted, believable and utterly human.

Highly recommended.

****1/2

This one is "A book with a mystery" in book bingo. It's not a mystery book per se, but it's pretty much a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Works for me.

99wookiebender
Fev 1, 2014, 6:35 am

Phew, caught up on reviews! Including Snuff, waaaaaay up above. And I'll have to get a cover for More Than This, it's quite gorgeous.

100rosalita
Fev 1, 2014, 11:01 am

I've never heard of More Than This but I really like Patrick Ness so I will have to check that one out, Thanks for the tip, Tania!

101wookiebender
Fev 1, 2014, 7:14 pm

If you like Ness's other works, then you'll like this new one too!

102bryanoz
Fev 1, 2014, 7:53 pm

Thanks for the More Than This review, onto the TBR monolith !

103wookiebender
Fev 1, 2014, 9:18 pm

#102> I think you'll like it, Bryan.

I've updated the review to include the cover art, which is pretty cool, and also clever, as demonstrated by Miss Boo:

104judylou
Fev 2, 2014, 2:20 am

Great cover! I loved Ness's Chaos Walking books, but sadly, was underwhelmed by Monsters of Men. I might just give him another try.

105wookiebender
Fev 2, 2014, 5:54 am

Oh, that's the first negative comment I've read about Monsters of Men! It's not a book I'm keen to read (sounds too harrowing to me) but everyone keeps saying I must. Nice to have a dissenting voice! :)

106judylou
Fev 2, 2014, 7:43 pm

I can dissent . . anytime ;o)

107PaulCranswick
Fev 5, 2014, 12:49 pm

I bought the Patrick Ness last month (sans Miss Boo of course) and am intrigued by it. Your enthusiasm for it dear lady bumps it up a notch or two in the queue.

108wookiebender
Fev 6, 2014, 1:07 am

Hi Paul! You buy so many books, I'm not surprised that More Than This ended up in your stacks at some stage. :) I hope you enjoy it!

109wookiebender
Editado: Fev 7, 2014, 7:13 am

10. Three Hearts and Three Lions, Poul Anderson



Holger Carlson, a Danish engineer, is suddenly transported from a beach fighting the Nazis, to a parallel Carolingian world, complete with faeries (and Morgan Le Fay), trolls, dwarves, swan maes, et al. He fits into this other world surprisingly well, suggesting that maybe there's more than random happenstance that he's ended up here.

In the meantime, there are faeries to flirt with (and outwit), giants to battle, and peasants to save.

While nothing ground breaking in terms of classic fantasy, it is rather light and charming, and surprisingly modern for a book written in the 1950s. In particular, I did like the fact that the women seem to take the lead in the romantic encounters, rather than being sexually passive. Holger is a charming hero, and this was an enjoyable romp and an easy read.

***1/2

110wookiebender
Fev 8, 2014, 6:25 pm

Pearl ruled my first book for the year. Couldn't get into Winter's Tale, one of those reads where you get to the bottom of a page and have no idea what you'd read. Hopefully another time I'll be better focused! But not this weekend.

111wookiebender
Editado: Fev 15, 2014, 1:11 am

11. Horns, Joe Hill



One morning, after a drunken bender, Ignatius Perrish wakes up with horns curling out of his forehead. But stranger still is what happens when other people see the horns: they are compelled to tell Ig their deepest, darkest secrets (much to Ig's horror) and also take his advice over whether to act on them or not a bit too seriously.

And it turns out that many of Ig's nearest and dearest are harbouring some very dark secrets, given that Ig's girlfriend was raped and murdered a year before. And the crime is still unsolved. Although most people believe that Ig is the guilty party, there just isn't enough evidence to convict, or exonerate, him.

Joe Hill tells a good tale, complete with believable characters in what is a fairly unbelievable situation. The pacing was a bit odd at times, I felt that we found out the real murderer too early on in the piece, in particular some more time to doubt Ig and his version of his girlfriend's murder would have been creepy, but would have made it a better book.

And I do have to say, I wanted the bad guy to be more thoroughly punished by the end, and Ig completely exonerated. Leaving the townfolk still in their mistaken belief of Ig's guilt was rather frustrating for me. Which is very "me", I dislike it when people believe the wrong things, I always want to correct them!

***1/2

I read this because the movie adaptation is coming up, and I do like reading the book before seeing a movie. I'm curious how they're going to do this one, it's not always a straightforward book. While I think Daniel Radcliffe is an interesting choice for Ig, for some strange reason when I was reading the book I was actually picturing Elijah Wood in the role. Go figure.

112ronincats
Fev 12, 2014, 10:53 pm

Tania, reading your post in the Fantasy February thread reminded me that I had forgotten to set up my thread over here AND hit me with a book bullet for Travel Light.

113wookiebender
Fev 12, 2014, 11:48 pm

Hi Roni! Glad I got you back here and only very small apologies for the book bullet, because that's what we're here for, to hit everyone with book bullets. :) I probably will still read the Vorkosigan books next (I'm up to Miles, Mystery & Mayhem), but Travel Light will hopefully be up after that! A Virago Modern Classic *with* dragons! What's not to love??

114PaulCranswick
Fev 18, 2014, 10:08 am

Tania - I am trying to read a few more fantasy based books and your Poul Anderson novel review makes it seem as if it may be the sort of easily digestible fayre I am looking for.

115wookiebender
Fev 19, 2014, 7:47 pm

Hi Paul! I read a lot of Poul Anderson's sci-fi as a teenager and enjoyed them very much (although would be very hard pressed to give you a precis of any of the plots now!). This was my first fantasy novel of his, and it was a good read. Nothing as "big" as modern romances (hello, Game of Thrones), but a nicely self contained book. It's a bit hard to track down, although my copy is a relatively recent edition (one of the Fantasy Masterwork series), I did have to get it second hand as it was already out of print.

116wookiebender
Editado: Fev 23, 2014, 8:34 pm

12. Miles, Mystery & Mayhem, Lois McMaster Bujold



This volume (one of the rather excellent omnibus series) comprises two novels, Cetaganda and Ethan of Athos, and a novella, Labyrinth. All deal with issues of gender identity, as well as with genetic manipulation.

In Cetaganda, Miles travels with his cousin Ivan Vorpatril, as official diplomatic representatives of Barrayan to the funeral of the Cetagandran Empress Dowager. It's supposed to be a simple mission, but with Miles, nothing is simple, and he's soon up to his eyeballs (and Ivan's elbows) in intrigue and conspiracy. The society of Cetaganda is complex and well explained, and the mystery is suitably intricate.

Miles does not appear in Ethan of Athos, as this is about Dr Ethan Urquhart, from the planet Athos, founded by men who believed that women were inherently evil, and so set about creating a male-only world, where only sons are born and are gestated in uterine replicators. Given this rather unpleasant start, Ethan is actually very easy to warm to as a character, although I did probably enjoy his discomfort at meeting his first woman (the brilliant Elli Quinn) more than I should have.

The final story, Labyrinth, is a simple tale of a quick pick up of a defecting scientist from the venal Jackson's Whole. Only Miles is sent to pick him up, so guess what? Yep, total chaos reigns, as it can only do with Miles in charge.

McMaster Bujold creates wonderful worlds and future societies, with believable characters and interesting dilemmas. You can't read her books superficially, she does tend to rock your assumptions if you're being complacent as a reader and assuming you know where she's going with her characters and plot.

****

117wookiebender
Editado: Fev 24, 2014, 6:55 am

13. Travel Light, Naomi Mitchison



In a far earlier age than ours, a young girl is to be left in the forest to die, because the new queen does not like her husband's first child. Luckily Hella's nurse can change into a bear and so takes Hella into the woods. There she raises Hella as a bear cub, until when winter comes she needs to hibernate, and so passes the child onto a passing dragon.

Raised part bear, part dragon, given a love of treasure and loathing of heroes, Hella is an unusual and wonderful heroine. The All-Father tells her to "travel light" and so she does, traversing the continent, making friends, and being suspected of being either an angel or a witch.

There's a lot of Norse mythology in this story (I particularly liked when the rather damp Grendel family came to visit her dragon), which I enjoyed.

****

118mabith
Fev 24, 2014, 8:30 am

Ah, I think I know the base folktale in that one (my dad's a professional storyteller), so I might have to pick up Travel Light.

119wookiebender
Fev 24, 2014, 6:48 pm

It's a sweet, short little read. I hadn't realised it was based on a fairytale, although it certainly has a fairytale style to it.

120jfetting
Fev 25, 2014, 1:41 pm

I'd never heard of it, but now I want to read it. Thanks!

121wookiebender
Fev 26, 2014, 3:41 am

Jennifer, someone on Another Group also recommended her The Corn King and the Spring Queen. I'll be keeping my eye open.

122judylou
Fev 27, 2014, 2:01 am

(my dad's a professional storyteller),

That must have been fun when you were a kid!

123wookiebender
Editado: Mar 2, 2014, 6:43 pm

14. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent



In 1828, two men are brutally murdered in a remote farmhouse in Iceland. A man and two women are found guilty and sentenced to death. It is decided to execute them in Iceland, rather than sending them to Denmark, and so one of the women, Agnes Magnusdottir, is sent to a farm to await execution and to hopefully repent of her sins.

The young and untried Assistant Reverend Thorvardur Jonsson (Toti to his friends) is chosen to bring Agnes back to the path of God, and does this by engaging her in conversation, rather than by browbeating her, as expected by his superiors. We get her story in bits and pieces as she tells Toti her history, and also in a slightly less edited version as she relives what happened.

Her story is interesting, but sadly did not really start until about halfway into the book, so I was quite a restless and reluctant reader for some time. And while it was beautifully written - especially Agnes' passages - beautiful writing does not make up for lack of engagement for me. But once Agnes' story was underway, I was gripped and read the second half of the book in one sitting.

The author has written a very well researched book, and I found the detail of life on the farm quite fascinating as well, the daily grind of sweeping and milking and cooking, and the very long dull winters with everyone crowded into the badstofa together with blizzards howling outside.

***1/2

ETA: cover picture, plus link to Icelandic moss soup: http://diningoutwithhistory.com/2014/02/28/cooking-with-icelandic-moss/ - yes, moss really is part of their diet. (Or lichen, really.)

124rosalita
Mar 4, 2014, 3:42 pm

Tania, I bought that ebook late last year and am planning to dive into it soon, so I'm glad to see you didn't hate it, anyway.

125wookiebender
Mar 4, 2014, 5:58 pm

Hi rosalita, I hope you enjoy it - most people do, but our bookgroup felt it had been somewhat oversold to us. You know how everyone raves about something so much that you can't help but be slightly disappointed when you get around to it? No one hated it (and two people loved it) but most of us felt a bit disappointed.

126wookiebender
Mar 4, 2014, 6:01 pm

15. Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan



Review pending

*****

127bryanoz
Mar 5, 2014, 4:08 am

Hope you liked Tender Morsels wookie, I thought it was a brilliantly original story.

128mabith
Mar 5, 2014, 2:11 pm

Ooh, five stars for Tender Morsels. I'll have to advance it up my to-read list.

129wookiebender
Mar 5, 2014, 11:26 pm

Bryan, I was reading it when I arrived at my bookgroup meeting this last Monday, and when asked to describe it, I was a bit lost for words. So much happens, but there's no trope you can use to describe it. Fugue state fairytale?? I did love it!

Meredith, yes, you must! :)

130wookiebender
Mar 8, 2014, 9:12 pm

131judylou
Mar 9, 2014, 1:27 am

Tender Morsels was a five star read for me too. Brilliant stuff.

132wookiebender
Mar 11, 2014, 8:30 pm

17. Engraved on the Eye, Saladin Ahmed



Review pending, but was free at the Kindle store a few days ago, and is worth downloading if the idea of short fantasy stories with an Arabian twist sounds good to you.

***1/2

133ronincats
Mar 13, 2014, 12:51 am

Still free--I'm not that much of a short story reader, but it sounds intriguing.

134wookiebender
Mar 13, 2014, 7:24 am

I don't read many short stories either, but it did also get me another bingo square. :)

135wookiebender
Mar 21, 2014, 1:48 am

18. The Inexplicables, Cherie Priest



Review pending

***1/2

136wookiebender
Mar 21, 2014, 1:50 am

137wookiebender
Mar 21, 2014, 1:52 am

20. Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon



Review pending but it broke my brain.

***1/2

138wookiebender
Mar 27, 2014, 5:39 am

21. Texts from Dog, October Jones



Review pending, but rude, crude, and awfully funny.

****

139wookiebender
Mar 27, 2014, 5:43 am

22. Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet



Review pending but oh so very dark.

****1/2

140wookiebender
Mar 27, 2014, 5:44 am

23. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, Rick Riordan



Review pending but a nice conclusion to the series.

****

141wookiebender
Editado: Mar 30, 2014, 8:42 pm

24. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne Valente



Review pending but great ideas, shame about the overly twee and breathless writing style.

***1/2

142wookiebender
Editado: Mar 30, 2014, 8:45 pm

25. Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal



Review pending, but squeeeeee! Such great fun.

****1/2

143msf59
Mar 30, 2014, 8:36 am

Hi Tania- My deepest apologies. I don't know how I never starred your thread. I thought maybe you just were not posting, due to being busy.
Well, I found my old friend now. I've been meaning to read Burial Rites for awhile now and I think it would make a perfect companion piece to Independent People, which I just finished.
I hope all is well and you had a restful weekend.

144wookiebender
Mar 30, 2014, 8:38 pm

Oh, everyone gets busy with the start of the New Year, and things are easy to misplace. It wasn't until you mentioned over on your thread about wondering what I was reading, that I thought "hang on..." and checked to see if you'd visited at all. You hadn't, so I guessed you never got this year's link.

Thank you for popping by, and my, I am behind on reviews. And you got me with a book bullet with Independent People!

145richardderus
Abr 1, 2014, 1:42 pm

>141 wookiebender: *pat pat pat* I'm particularly eager for this one. *pat pat pat*

146wookiebender
Abr 2, 2014, 12:42 am

Richard, I shall make it a priority! :) It had a dodo in it (called Aubergine, and she is a fine practitioner of the Quiet Physicks) if that makes you happy. Dodos usually make me happy.

The kids are used to my top three animals: sloths, puffins, and dodos. (Their favourites are eagles! No, dragons! No, unicorns! No, lions! No, bears!) I understand sloths on a basic level (although I wish I could afford to spend several minutes traversing a few metres), and have a soft spot for silly looking birds. (Not that I don't also love eagles/dragons/unicorns/lions/bears/giraffes/etc.)

147wookiebender
Abr 2, 2014, 12:48 am

26. The Osiris Ritual, George Mann



Review pending but fell a little flat towards the end, after a really gripping beginning and middle.

***1/2

148wareagle78
Abr 2, 2014, 1:33 am

>146 wookiebender:

Puffins!!!!!!!

My favorite sweatshirt, one which never fails to bring snorts and eyerolls from the husband and son, is the puffin hoodie I won in a raffle on a puffin and whale-watching excursion in Maine. I love those little birds!

149richardderus
Abr 2, 2014, 8:25 pm

>146 wookiebender: I'm so with you on the dodo luuuuv. They're just so hapless looking! How can anyone not think "awwww poor thing aren't you adorable?" when confronted by that absurd beak?

>147 wookiebender: My problem with Mann in a nutshell.

150ronincats
Abr 2, 2014, 10:58 pm

Oooh, good to know the new Kowal is good!

151judylou
Abr 14, 2014, 5:20 am

I wonder if there are scientists working with dodo genetic material right now? I can just imagine a small island colonised by happy little dodos.

152ViolaRoadkill2
Abr 14, 2014, 11:58 am

Ahh dodos are so cute!!!

Looking forward to your review of "The Girl who Fell Through Fairyland". I've got the series on my list for this year & I'm really excited about reading them!

153Berly
Abr 16, 2014, 6:10 pm

WOW! You have been doing some reading. And you are a much more dedicated reviewer than moi. I got very behind on doing mine and have simply rated the lot and am moving on. Unless you want to write mine for me? LOL.

154wookiebender
Abr 24, 2014, 12:19 am

Oh, my poor neglected little thread. It's looking a little dusty, but thank you all who popped in to say hello! All is fine at this end, I was just mightily engrossed in all (nearly) 1000 pages of The Wise Man's Fear. Took a while, that one did.

#148> Hurrah for puffins! I've never seen them in the wild (really not cold enough this part of the world), but I did fall in love with a bunch at New York Zoo, I think it was. Many, many years ago now.

#149> Hi Richard! It's a shame, he's got great ideas, but, yeah, just _flat_. Maybe the third's the charm...?

#150> Oh, I've loved all the Kowal novels! Looking forward to #4, but it'll be a while before it's out in paperback, sigh.

#151> Squee! Judy, you made my day with that image!

#152> The ideas in the "Girl Who..." series are wonderful. But it's all a bit overwritten for me. Other people love them though, so ignore me.

#153> Hi Berly, long time no see! And LOL to your "dedicated reviewer" comment, I feel like I'm terribly behind! Nothing wrong with rating and moving on, I'm about to do a bit more of that right now...

155wookiebender
Abr 24, 2014, 12:22 am

27. The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss



Review pending, but in short a worthy successor to The Name of the Wind, but dragged a bit at one stage when Kvothe (finally) discovers sex. And proceeds to have a rather large amount of it.

****

156wookiebender
Abr 24, 2014, 12:24 am

28. Geekomancy, Michael R. Underwood



Review pending, definitely one for the geeks, needed a bit more polish in the writing department but a fun idea and some good characters.

***

157msf59
Editado: Abr 24, 2014, 7:04 am

Hi Tania! Blowing off dust. I also really enjoyed The Wise Man's Fear. A bit sprawling and lengthy but also a lot of fun. Looking forward to book 3. I've been enjoying Just One Damned Thing, which has been a hot LT title. You might like this series.
I hope all is well, my friend.

158wookiebender
Abr 25, 2014, 8:30 pm

Hi Mark! Given Rothfuss's writing speed, it may be some years before we get the next Kingslayer Chronicle. (And hey, where is this king that is presumably slain at some stage? We get the occasional mention, but he's hardly front and centre. It's an interesting idea for naming a series, it seems a completely irrelevant title given the current plot!)

159wookiebender
Abr 25, 2014, 8:38 pm

29. Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

Review pending but wonderful. I cried buckets. Twice.

*****

160bryanoz
Abr 26, 2014, 3:37 am

#159 Alright, I'll read it then !

161Eyejaybee
Abr 26, 2014, 5:09 am

#159. I loved it too and thought it was extraordinary. So different from her previous books (which I had also enjoyed).

162msf59
Abr 26, 2014, 7:22 am

I also loved Life After Life. I do not think I cried but I may have come close. You've read her Brody series, right?

163heterocephalusglaber
Abr 26, 2014, 8:37 am

Hi, I'm a bit new to all this - noticed we have some authors/books in common so I'm looking forward to keeping up with your thread.

I am glad Life After Life is getting such positive reception. I read Behind the Scenes at the Museum earlier this year and loved it so I'll be really glad if the rest of her work is to the same standard!

164Tanya-dogearedcopy
Abr 26, 2014, 12:40 pm

Oh! I read Life After Life (by Kate Atkinson) last year and I loved it too! In fact, it was my favorite book released in 2013. I had never read KA before and I've eagerly picked up Case Histories which I hope to get to before too long :-)

165wookiebender
Abr 27, 2014, 6:52 am

Hi all! I have also read Atkinson's Brodie series and really enjoyed them. This is quite different, but (obviously!) excellent. I have Behind the Scenes at the Museum on the shelves, looking forward to getting to that one sooner rather than later.

And welcome, heterocephalusglaber! I've been meaning to pop by your thread and welcome you to the group, but life has been busy. (Good busy, but busy nonetheless.)

166wookiebender
Abr 30, 2014, 7:34 am

30. Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed

Review pending but good, even though it came with an Oprah book club sticker.

****

167wookiebender
Abr 30, 2014, 7:36 am

31. To Spin a Darker Stair, Ed Tehani Wessely

Review pending but a pair of excellent short stories inspired by fairy tales.

****

168wookiebender
Editado: Abr 30, 2014, 7:38 am

32. One Damned Thing After Another, Jodi Taylor

Review pending but a great time travel romp, highly recommended if you're looking for something diverting.

****

169msf59
Abr 30, 2014, 8:21 am

Hi Tania- Glad you liked Wild and the first St Mary book. I already have the 2nd book waiting in the wings and I should grab book 3.

170richardderus
Abr 30, 2014, 11:04 pm

>159 wookiebender: Even *I*, who didn't like the Jackson Brodie books at all, thought Life After Life was something special.

So happy to know you're doing well, if being kept a bit too busy. Have you watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries? If not, do!

171mabith
Editado: Abr 30, 2014, 11:23 pm

Just to add my two cents to anyone reading your thread... Everyone everywhere should always be watching Miss Fisher constantly! My mom actually wanted to watch an episode TWICE, which she never does, and insisted I look for more shows with the cast, particularly Essie Davis (did I stay up until 4 am one night watching a silly teen movie just to see her? Why yes I did). That show is beyond perfect for about a million reasons.

172wookiebender
Editado: Maio 1, 2014, 7:31 am

#169> Hi Mark! Thanks for bringing both Wild and St Mary's to my attention. Wildly different books, but both definitely worth a read!

#170> Hang on, there's someone out there who didn't love Jackson Brodie? :) And, yes, I love Miss Fisher and watch her when I can. Essie Davis is glorious.

#171> was Ms Davis one of the silly teens? I'd be curious to see her in a younger role. (Saw her briefly on the Logies the other night - terrible television, I think I was mostly reading when it was on - but she was just as charming in real life as acting as Miss Fisher.)

PS, I forgot to say before, but BINGO! Middle row, thanks to my first non-fiction read of the year, Wild.

173mabith
Maio 1, 2014, 10:28 am

No, she was the overbearing, perfectionist mum. There wasn't a lot in it to stretch her, but she was excellent as always. According to the internet her first roles were in her early 20s.

174richardderus
Maio 1, 2014, 12:02 pm

>172 wookiebender: Oh good! Glad you are a Miss Fisher fan, too, along with >171 mabith:! (And mum, of course.)

I didn't dislike Jackson Brodie! I disliked the book. I heartily enjoy Jason Isaacs' portrayal of Jackson Brodie. Show > book, IMO.

175wookiebender
Maio 1, 2014, 11:59 pm

>173 mabith: I'd never seen her before Miss Fisher, and she was also in that unbearably awful Underbelly (the razor gangs of Sydney one, where they all had appalling accents, and the writing was atrocious, and I sat there stunned that this stuff rated).

>174 richardderus: I wish the show was on free-to-air! Only pay TV around this neck of the woods, and I get sulky when asked to fork out money towards Mr Murdoch. Will have to see about downloading them, Jason Isaacs is a favourite of mine. (As is Mr Brodie, even if he is only fictional. :)

176wookiebender
Maio 5, 2014, 6:28 pm

33. The Anonymous Venetian, Donna Leon



Review pending, but another great story with Brunetti. And now I'm craving Italian food.

****

177msf59
Maio 5, 2014, 8:49 pm

Hi Tania- Hope you had a nice weekend and your work life has eased up a bit. I have never read Leon. I know she is popular.

178wookiebender
Maio 7, 2014, 8:11 pm

Hi Mark! Busy weekend, Miss Boo's 9th birthday party! (And it was unexpectedly bitterly cold, so a last minute adjustment from a party in the park with games to a party at home.)

Her birthday was yesterday, and I'm sure you heard the excited squeals over in Chicago when she unwrapped her Doctor Who K-9 slippers: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/12b9/ She's only taken them off to put on school shoes and at bedtime.

And work will never get quiet. Sigh. I'm looking forward to retirement, to spend time with my books.

179wookiebender
Maio 7, 2014, 8:12 pm

34. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie



Review pending but rather silly and contrived, really. Not one of my favourites of hers.

***

180wookiebender
Maio 17, 2014, 2:38 am

35. A Symphony of Echoes, Jodi Taylor

review pending but another entertaining madcap adventure with the time traveling historians of St Mary's. And plenty of cups of tea. These are a bit rough around the edges, but great romps.

***1/2

181wookiebender
Maio 17, 2014, 2:41 am

Daughter of Blood, Anne Bishop

Review pending but steer well clear unless paedophilia, torture, really creepy sexual politics, and awful awful people are your thing.

Did not finish, but read enough that I feel okay with giving it a 1/2 star.

182wookiebender
Maio 17, 2014, 2:42 am

36. The Risk of Darkness, Susan Hill

Review pending but another great Simon Serrailler novel. Not your average crime reads, this series.

****

183msf59
Maio 17, 2014, 7:24 am

Big loving waves to Tania! I have A Symphony of Echoes on my iPad. I'll try to squeeze it in, at some point.

184wookiebender
Maio 19, 2014, 7:45 pm

Hi Mark! I've been having fun recommending the Historians of St Mary's to other readers as well. A workmate just accosted me in the cafe because I'd lost her sleep time since she'd been staying up late reading them. (Mwahahahahaha!)

185wookiebender
Maio 20, 2014, 11:29 pm

37. Fortunately, The Milk, Neil Gaiman



Full review pending but I read this to the kids in one night and we had a lot of fun. Maybe it lagged a bit in the middle, or maybe it was just my voice giving way under the strain of all the different silly voices I did. :P

****

186msf59
Maio 21, 2014, 8:45 am

Hi Tania- I just managed to snag a copy of A Symphony of Echoes on audio. I bet this plays well in this format. Hope the week is going along fine.

187ronincats
Maio 21, 2014, 3:21 pm

Fortunately the Milk was extremely silly, wasn't it? Just right for the kids!

I've only read the first Jodi Taylor so far. I know I'll get to the others, but I'm comfortable pacing them out.

188wookiebender
Maio 31, 2014, 12:06 am

Hi Mark! I hope the audio is read by someone good, a decent reader could bring a lot of fun to the books.

Hi Roni! I woke up this morning and my MIL was reading Fortunately, the Milk to Miss Boo again. She's insisted that we all read it, and it was her Grandee's turn. :)

189wookiebender
Maio 31, 2014, 12:13 am

38. The Cutting Season, Attica Locke

A good atmospheric crime novel, set in a glorious plantation in Louisiana, now mostly used as a historical backdrop for weddings and corporate events. Our main character is a young single mother who is more interested in protecting her daughter than in helping the police.

****

190wookiebender
Maio 31, 2014, 12:16 am

39. The Immorality Engine, George Mann

Review pending but a pretty good romp in this steampunk-with-zombies series. The writing is still oddly flat, but I was fully engaged for the whole book.

***1/2

191wookiebender
Maio 31, 2014, 12:21 am

40.Saga, volume 2, Brian K. Vaughan

Review pending because I'm reading this as individual issues rather than the collected volumes so I don't actually know where I'm up to really. Still an excellent read though.

****

192wookiebender
Jun 1, 2014, 1:03 am

41. A Second Chance, Jodi Taylor

The most serious of the series so far (hard to put a fun spin on the fall of Troy, for one) but probably the best of the series so far. And the funny bits are still very funny.

****

193wookiebender
Jun 1, 2014, 1:25 am

42. Saga, Volume 3, Brian K. Vaughan

A satisfying conclusion to the series.

****

194Berly
Jun 6, 2014, 10:17 pm

Hey Wookie--You are just cranking out the reviews! In my current incapacitated state (knee surgery) I am totally loving lighter reading fare, and the Jodi Taylor books hit the right note. Wildcap time adventure with a very likable heroine. Yup. I have read the first two. Fun!

195wookiebender
Jun 9, 2014, 11:14 pm

Hi Berly! Ouch to the knee surgery, I hope it heals quickly! And glad that the St Mary books hit the recuperative spot. :)

196Berly
Jun 10, 2014, 12:53 pm

: )

197wookiebender
Jun 11, 2014, 7:13 am

43. White Knight, Jim Butcher

A very exciting final battle didn't quite make up for a whole lot of exposition dialogue. Still, Harry Dresden brings the giggles.

***1/2

198msf59
Jun 11, 2014, 7:16 am

Hi Tania! How are you? I really liked the first 2 Saga books. I didn't realize the 3rd will be the last. Boo! I hope to get to the 3rd St. Mary's book in the near future. Did you read Wool?

199wookiebender
Editado: Jun 11, 2014, 7:53 am

Hey Mark! All fine this neck of the woods, although some days I regret that I accepted a role with more responsibilities at work. :P Hard to find time to just chill out now, work days are a mad rush from morning to night, lunch is usually snarfled down during meetings. But hurrah for reading time during the commute, and I'm leaving *on time* tomorrow so I can catch up with a friend for some drinks at a new rooftop bar. (Hopefully it won't be too cold! Although you'd laugh at a Sydneysider's definition of "cold". :)

Saga's original story is pretty much wrapped up for our fabulous heroes in 3 volumes, but it does continue, although I haven't read on yet. Definitely plenty of story to continue on with!

And I really enjoyed Wool! So nice having grown ups in a story. :) Haven't read on yet, but only a matter of time...

200wookiebender
Jun 25, 2014, 7:43 am

44. The Girl Who Loved The Doctor, Paul Cornell



A rather charming little story where The Doctor lands his TARDIS in the middle of London, right where they're about to start filming a Doctor Who episode with his lookalike, Matt Smith. Lots of love for the Doctor Who fans out there in this one.

***1/2

201wookiebender
Jun 25, 2014, 7:47 am

45. Finch, Jeff VanderMeer



Well worth a read, if you like your noir set on a different world where humans are subjugated by a race of fungal people. No, really.

It *was* a great read (great noir, fascinating planet/world/city, excellent plot, good characters), but it was a really weird place. Apparently (I discovered while reading the end notes) this is the third in a series, and ties the whole Ambergris place together. Now it makes sense why I felt very much like I'd been dropped into the deep end in terms of world building. I'll have to track down the first two.

And be prepared to look at mushrooms slightly askance after reading this. I'm still eating them, but I have to poke them a bit first to make sure they are mere mushrooms.

****

202wookiebender
Jun 25, 2014, 7:53 am

46. Ha'penny, Jo Walton



An excellent sequel to the outstanding Farthing (an alternate history where England makes peace with Hitler) although our main female character didn't quite work this time around for me, she just seemed rather daft at times. The book is written in alternating chapters, one from the POV of the somewhat annoying Viola Lark (an upperclass woman who has fled her decidedly odd Mitfordesque family to become a stage actress), the other about Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard, as they slowly work their way around the puzzle from different sides.

Inspector Carmichael is as brilliant as ever though, and the whole series (so far) is deliciously creepy, as fascism takes more of a hold on 1950s England.

See people, this is what happens when you don't fight Hitler!!

****

203msf59
Jun 25, 2014, 8:05 am

Hi Tania- Glad to see you posting books. I read Annihilation, which is book one, in a dystopian trilogy. It was my only Vandermeer and it was a good one. The 2nd one has also been released.

204wookiebender
Jun 25, 2014, 8:49 am

I'll keep my eye open for Annihilation, thanks for the recommendation! I was rather chuffed to find the second Ambergris novel (Shriek: An Afterward) secondhand on the weekend. I may end up reading this series in reverse order, if I'm not careful. :)

205judylou
Jun 26, 2014, 2:28 am

I'm reading Vandermeer's sequel to Annihilation. It is a bit slower than the first but still very good. And there is strange fungi events in this series as well. Looks like he has a theme going.

206wookiebender
Jun 27, 2014, 6:57 am

Annihilation creeps ever higher on my wishlist...

207richardderus
Jun 27, 2014, 2:54 pm

Hi Tania! Jealous that it's wintertime Down Under. Hot today, and I *loathe* hot weather.

208mabith
Jun 27, 2014, 3:44 pm

Seconding Richard! Very jealous you've got winter now. Summer = can't leave the house for me, most of the time.

209Berly
Jun 27, 2014, 11:52 pm

Nope. I like the change of seasons and my few months of dryness and warm weather. ; )

210wookiebender
Jun 28, 2014, 4:38 am

But Sydney winter weather is hardly cold! It was 22C and gloriously sunny today, fabulous day to be drinking craft beer in the sunshine. Hic.

Probably not making you any happier, am I? :)

211mabith
Jun 28, 2014, 10:26 am

Ha, I'd take 22C! It's more often around 33C here (plus around 60-80% humidity all the time), and will likely be worse in July and August.

212wookiebender
Jun 28, 2014, 9:20 pm

Shudder. Sounds like a hot Sydney summer. We're much nicer in autumn/spring and I also like winter because I hate humidity.

Thanks to climate change, our winters are getting warmer. Only just got the doona out this week! Usually the doona makes its first appearance in May... (don't know if "doona" is an Australian term? Big fluffy quilt, also known as a "duvet".)

213richardderus
Jun 28, 2014, 9:22 pm

"Doona" is, to me, an Anne McCaffrey planet: Decision at Doona et alii

214wookiebender
Jun 29, 2014, 5:01 am

LOL, I loved Anne McCaffrey when I was a teenager (have been toying with re-reading the Pern series), but never really noticed the name. :)

215wookiebender
Jul 17, 2014, 11:48 pm

47. The Miernik Dossier, Charles McCarry



This has sat sadly neglected on Mt TBR for far too long, and I finally picked this one up because my MIL was reading the series, and I had an attack of book jealousy (I'm not proud).

But I'm glad I did, this was a corker.

****

216wookiebender
Jul 17, 2014, 11:50 pm

48. Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts



I've been listening to Tansy (I feel like we're on a first name basis now) on the Verity podcast, where a bunch of women discuss Doctor Who in far too much detail. Fabulous, wonderful detail.

Anyhow, a friend mentioned that she was enjoying her books, and then I serendipitously stumbled across this one second hand, and, yes, it is an excellent dark fantasy.

****

217wookiebender
Jul 17, 2014, 11:52 pm

49. The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi



My brain hurt after reading this one, but a great hard sci-fi read.

****

218wookiebender
Jul 17, 2014, 11:57 pm

50. Make Room! Make Room!, Harry Harrison



Haven't read Harry Harrison since I was a teenager and a fan of the Stainless Steel Rat series (and Bill, The Galactic Hero), so it was fun going back and reading one of his grown-up works.

For those who have seen the movie, prepare to be slightly disappointed, as this is more of a polemic about unchecked population growth and Soylent is (sadly) what it says on the label: Soy + lentils. I think I did prefer the movie.

***1/2

219wookiebender
Jul 18, 2014, 12:00 am

51. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Lish McBride



A highly entertaining romp about young Sam, who suddenly finds out he's a necromancer (and that werewolves, fey, vampires, etc, are all alive and well) and that the local necromancer does not take well to having competition on his turf.

***1/2

220wookiebender
Jul 18, 2014, 12:03 am

52. The Executioner's Heart, George Mann

The fourth Newbury & Hobbes book this time sees the intrepid pair battling a clockwork/human hybrid assassin, with no mercy, and some pretty kick-arse talent when it comes to slaughtering people. And taking their hearts, ew.

Again, great elements, but there's something about Mann's writing style that means it never quite gels into a great read.

***1/2

221msf59
Jul 18, 2014, 7:01 am

Hi Tania! Miss seeing you around, my friend! Glad to see you churning through the books. How is work? Still stressful?

222wookiebender
Jul 18, 2014, 8:22 pm

Went through stress and out the other side into a state of zen like calm. Funny watching my other workmates go through it all now, this week I was the sounding board for a number of bitch sessions about how horrid and unreasonable Other People were being.

And I goofed off and took a lunch break! And extended it to write some very quick book reviews!!

I'm also doing Dry July this year (give up the booze and raise money for cancer patient services) and it was tough at the start, not being able to have a glass of wine after one of Those Days at work. I'm into the swing of it now though, well into the "I may never drink again!" phase. (Yeah, right. :P)

223Berly
Jul 20, 2014, 12:52 am

My Dad always has a dry January, although his is intended to help him keep his New Year's resolution of losing weight. Lotta calories in those drinks! Enjoy your zen-like calm.

224wookiebender
Jul 22, 2014, 11:33 pm

Delicious, sweet, delectable empty calories... :)

And any weight loss resulting from skipping wine is being completely overwhelmed by a steady supply of juice and fizzy drinks in my case. Ahem. (Cranberry juice, squish of fresh lime, topped with ginger ale or soda water. Yum!)

BUT I am saving money, and am planning lots of delicious, sweet, delectable books to buy in the meantime...

(And I should be raising money, but I haven't gotten around to actually doing a please-donate-to-this-great-cause email at work, so it's a little slow on that side of things. My bad.)

225wookiebender
Jul 22, 2014, 11:42 pm

53. The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly



I woke up early this morning to finish this book, that's how much I loved it.

Young David is reeling from the loss of his mother, his father's quick remarriage to Rose, the birth of a younger brother, and the start of the Blitz. He takes refuge in his books and in reading, finding a wonderful old book of fairy tales with odd additions and extra illustrations. And then the fairy tales start becoming a bit too real for comfort.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves reading for the art of telling a great story, to anyone who spent far too much of their childhood lost in books of fairy tales, and most especially to anyone who really enjoyed the gruesome macabre tales the most.

*****

226mabith
Jul 23, 2014, 12:31 am

Definitely putting The Book of Lost Things on my list. Plus, what a great cover it has.

227Berly
Jul 23, 2014, 12:34 am

Oh, that sounds great!! Onto the WL it goes! I have a friend coming in tonight from NY. I Think I see a bookstore visit in my future!

228wookiebender
Jul 23, 2014, 3:49 am

Meredith, I don't think you'll be disappointed! If you get that edition, it's also got a large chunk of extras at the end, about the actual fairy stories. (I didn't realise I was going to finish the story this morning, until I actually did! I thought I still had at least 50 pages to go... I'll probably get around to reading the extras at some stage, but wanted to leave the story in my mind without any extras for the time being.

A weekend or two ago, I dusted off some of the shelves, and pulled off a whole heap of books to sell/give away (we're hoping for a garage sale). In doing so, I found a whole lot of books that I'm kicking myself for not reading earlier, like The Book of Lost Things and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (plus my current read, Dark Matter). I really must not let myself double-stack books again.

Kim, I hope you enjoy the friend's visit, and I hope you also enjoy the bookshop visit!

229msf59
Jul 23, 2014, 7:22 am

Hi Tania! Miss you, my friend! Glad to see you loved The Book of Lost Things. I've had this on shelf for a few years. What is my problem, you ask? I am not sure.
Hope the week is going well!

230wookiebender
Jul 23, 2014, 7:51 am

Mark, your "problem" (which we all suffer from) is that there are too many good books out there vying for our attention! Some will, sadly, slip between the cracks.

231Tanya-dogearedcopy
Jul 23, 2014, 10:27 am

>225 wookiebender: Oooh! The Book of Lost Things sounds enough like the Samuel Johnson series that I would love it; but different enough to make me feel like Connolly wasn't "re-treading!" Definitely a BB! ;-)

This past spring, I had to weed out the stacks a little bit. It had gotten to the point where, though cataloged, the books were, in a way, "out of sight" and therefore "out of mind." Double stacking, book totes still full, book cases in almost every room, plus DH who also buys... I never have gotten around to truly organizing my bookshelves!

232bryanoz
Jul 25, 2014, 6:29 am

I have looked at The Book of Lost Things and thought it might be an interesting read, now I have to add it to my way-over-the-limit TBR list, thanks !???

233wookiebender
Jul 26, 2014, 12:20 am

Tanya, your DH sounds like a keeper. :) What is the Samuel Johnson series?

Bryan, always a pleasure to influence others to build Mt TBR to dizzying heights. It's what LibraryThing was created for, was it not? :)

234wookiebender
Jul 26, 2014, 12:27 am

54. Dark Matter, Michelle Paver



It's 1937, and a bunch of jolly spiffing chaps set off to the Arctic on a scientific investigation. They take all the essentials, like crystal decanters of whiskey, and while it does seem to be all a boy's own adventure at the start, it all goes horribly, horribly wrong.

The book is taken from the diaries of the only non-upper class young gentleman in the group, Jack, who does have a rather large chip on his shoulder about their Oxbridge ways and in jokes, not to mention the amount of money the other adventurekateers have to splash around. But he's desperate to leave his dead end boring job and try to get back into science, after training as a physicist, but being unable to work in that field due to the Great Depression.

From the start, their expedition is beset by bad luck, but that's nothing to when they actually set up camp in a remote area of Spitsbergen and are left alone, and the endless nights start. It's then that things begin to go bump in the night.

I couldn't read this one after sunset, and I'm still slightly twitchy about the windows once the sun goes down, all curtains are going to be drawn so I can't see out and see something that shouldn't be there...

****

235wookiebender
Jul 26, 2014, 12:31 am

Woot! Dark Matter gives me the bottom row of Book Bingo, being "a book which scares me". (Damn straight it did.)

236Tanya-dogearedcopy
Editado: Jul 26, 2014, 10:19 am

>233 wookiebender: The Samuel Johnson series is a trilogy that John Connolly wrote featuring a young boy, the CERN Large Haldron Collider, and Satan! It's very smart and funny and worth checking out. Sometimes librarians shelve it in the YA section, but it's really rather sophisticated :-)

237SouthernBluestocking
Jul 26, 2014, 12:55 am

My sister keeps recommending these John Connolly books-- I'll have to give them a try!

238SouthernBluestocking
Jul 26, 2014, 12:55 am

My sister keeps recommending these John Connolly books-- I'll have to give them a try!

239wookiebender
Jul 26, 2014, 9:11 pm

#236> Oh yes, I've heard of those, just didn't know the name. :) Thanks, I'll keep an eye open for them.

#237> resistance is futile. :)

240wareagle78
Editado: Jul 27, 2014, 7:56 am

#224> I'm on the wagon, unfortunately, but have been slugging back the fruit juice mocktails as well. I've been hooked on pomegranate with soda water, I think adding lime juice might be a nice addition. I've got fresh mint now too, wonder how that would be?

Mine is not for a worthy cause, although I guess my own health counts. i have to abstain because of some meds for my lupus. Eck.

241wareagle78
Jul 27, 2014, 7:59 am

#234> Having a fatal attraction to Arctic exploration stories, I foresee sleepless nights ahead once this rises to the top of my Mt. TBR...

242wookiebender
Jul 28, 2014, 12:44 am

Your own health is probably the worthiest reason of all.

Dry July is sold here as a nice little package - raise some money, and in the meantime do something good for yourself. (They even offered discounts on gym memberships last year.) I'm finding the saving money is my favourite bit of the package. :)

243richardderus
Jul 28, 2014, 3:13 am

>234 wookiebender: *pow* got me with a book-bullet all the way from Oz!

244Tanya-dogearedcopy
Jul 30, 2014, 8:47 am

In print, I just started Every Dead Thing by John Connolly) which is much more graphic than I had anticipated. From the description which explains that Charlie "Bird" Parker is a former cop that sees the dead; and from having read Connolly's Samuel Johnson series, I thought this would be a bit lighter, like Koontz's Odd Thomas series. But this is a little intense from the get-go with a gruesome double murder on the prologue to set the tone. I'm on vacation at the moment and while this isn't my idea of a beach read, and you might think I'm not interested in it as I've just been poking through a few pages a day, it is different enough in style and content that I've been carting it around with me "just in case" I can grab a few minutes to read!

245wookiebender
Ago 15, 2014, 7:09 pm

>243 richardderus: Richard, always glad to return the favour. I've gotten plenty of book bullets from you in the past! :)

>244 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Tanya, does sound a little dark for a beach read :) but I'll keep my eye open, does sound right up my alley.

246wookiebender
Ago 15, 2014, 7:20 pm

55. Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe



Look, if you're into high fantasy and graphic novels, and were okay with all the blokey characters but kinda sorta wished there were more (misbehaving) women in these stories, then this is the book for you. Great stuff.

****1/2

247wookiebender
Ago 15, 2014, 7:26 pm

56. The Shattered City, Tansy Rayner Roberts



A good solid sequel to Power and Majesty. Characters keep developing (I particularly like the character arcs for Velody's close friends), the sex is toned down a bit from the first novel, lots happens, and it ends on a great cliffhanger. Must buy book 3!

****

248mabith
Ago 15, 2014, 7:56 pm

I finally caught a Rat Queens reference at just the right time for me to go put it on hold at the library (though it's not quite been processed yet, so I got the first volume of Saga in the meantime. Thank you for that, it sounds like so much fun.

249wookiebender
Ago 15, 2014, 8:37 pm

I can't remember where I first heard about Rat Queens (probably a podcast somewhere), but I'd only read the sample (free from Comixology!) when Don appeared with the first volume from the bookshop, where it had been highly recommended by a friend of his. Damn, just missed letting him know about something first!! We both really enjoyed it, and his copy is now on loan to our group of friends, which is annoying, because I want to read it again...

250wookiebender
Ago 16, 2014, 12:04 am

57. Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal



The ever wonderful Jane and Vincent are travelling to Venice, when they run into some trouble in the form of pirates. Yes, pirates. But this is not a pirate novel, but in fact a heist story. Another fun entry in this excellent series.

****

251wookiebender
Ago 16, 2014, 12:10 am

58. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John Le Carre



A re-read for book group, and it was excellent re-reading this, knowing how it all comes together in the end.

One of the other readers emailed "I found Liz totally unbelievable as a character. Made me suspect le Carre had never actually met a woman". Spot on. But Smiley is wonderful, even if he gets almost no page time.

*****

252wookiebender
Ago 16, 2014, 12:14 am

59. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins



This was another re-read, this time read aloud to Mr Bear (who has suddenly turned from a kid to an almost-teenager, but I wasn't yet comfortable with him reading this without an adult supervising).

I enjoyed it much more this time around, reading it to a member of its target audience. He had the right reactions (outrage at the Capitol!), and while he did complain about the kissing scenes, he was overruled.

****

253wookiebender
Ago 16, 2014, 12:21 am

60. The Girl With All the Gifts, M. R. Carey



Okay, I think this was oversold, but not by much. I wasn't disappointed in it, but I wasn't as blown away as I felt I should have been, given all the raves from friends both in the flesh and on the internet. But I finished it last night, and then woke up this morning still thinking about it.

It was certainly a page turner, the pace was kept up very well, the characters are interesting and believable (and, I even found myself wondering if the baddie was actually on the right track several times), and the setting is interesting.

I did have questions that weren't answered at the end, but maybe that's a good thing. (But I want answers, dammit!)

****1/2

254Tanya-dogearedcopy
Editado: Ago 16, 2014, 12:28 am

>251 wookiebender: Ooh! I read this a couple of summers ago and I adored it! DH found LeCarre a bit bleak, but there is something about his writing that resonates with me and makes me feel "all the feels" for the characters. Although technically not Smiley novels, I've found that The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking Glass War, and A Small Town in Germany essential in LeCarre's world-building of The Circus. It's uncanny, but sometimes, in reading about the goings-ons, I fell like I'm spying on them!

I set myself a goal to read more of LeCarre's novels this year, but this summer has been disappointing reading-wise and I'm way behind on a number of my reading goals. Still, I'm hopeful that I can get from The Little Drummer to The Secret Pilgrim (four novels) soon!

255wookiebender
Ago 16, 2014, 1:18 am

Of Le Carre novels, I've read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking Glass War and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. All were excellent, the first and third particularly. Looks like I should continue with The Honourable Schoolboy...

I do have to agree with your DH, they are bleak. But that's not always a bad thing, IMO. :)

256richardderus
Ago 16, 2014, 9:16 am

Jane and Vincent sound so charming...and I'm glad you enjoyed reading The Hunger Games at all. *shudder*

Happy Winter! (I'm jealous, if you can't see the Sarcasm Font.)

257wookiebender
Ago 17, 2014, 7:39 am

If you can, I do recommend reading The Hunger Games with a member of its target audience! I haven't started the third book yet myself, wondering if Mr Bear and I will get to it before the next movie comes out...

Winter in Sydney is lovely, mostly. A bit wet and (relatively) cold this weekend, but once we get the blue skies back, it'll be gorgeous again. :)

258Berly
Ago 26, 2014, 2:11 am

Popping in...Hi!

259wookiebender
Ago 31, 2014, 8:20 am

Hi Berly! Thanks for popping by. :)

Funny reading my last comment from 2 weeks ago. It's been raining mostly non stop since I posted that comment. I'm a bit over the rain, I have to say...

260msf59
Ago 31, 2014, 8:53 am

Hi Tania! How are you? Just checking in on my pal, from Down Under. Miss seeing you around.

261wookiebender
Ago 31, 2014, 9:16 pm

Hi Mark! Flat out, of course! But still getting reading done as well, of course. :)

The company I work for was bought by a Large American Company (which is a Good Thing, for my team at least, as they're tech focused and we're very, VERY happy with the change in focus), so there's been lots of meetings as we work out integration, meet the new people, show off the Harbour to the American big wigs, learn new technologies, and run around like headless chooks trying to work out how on earth we're going to get it all done by next July (whose idea was it for that particular deadline??) etc.

Add to that the end of soccer season (OMG, I got to sleep in on Sunday morning! Bliss!), planning for kids' outfits (Showcase at the end of term - Miss Boo's class is doing "Phantom of the Opera" and Mr Bear's is doing "Rock of Ages"; plus outfits for the fun run tomorrow), school projects due this week and next, catching up with friends, and making time for new "Doctor Who", and I feel rather like I need another weekend to recuperate from the one just gone...

262Berly
Set 1, 2014, 3:23 am

Whew! I need a break from all your activities! ; ) Soccer is just starting up again here. But tomorrow I get to sleep in. yay!

263wookiebender
Set 13, 2014, 12:44 am

61. Necromancing the Stone, Lish McBride



Necromancing The Stone was another good fun romp in this series, plenty of silliness, and a very likeable main character. Of course, Sam is so likeable, that he's a bit unable to actually do any action, since he's always worrying about the consequences. Luckily, all his other friends (and not-so-friends) pile in and help out with the action. It wraps up nicely from the first book, leaves a few questions open, but a further book in this series isn't actually required, which is rather nice. (I believe the author is continuing the series, but with different characters. Looking forward to it!)

And one word: Thundergnome. (Two gnomes enter, one gnome leaves.) The gnomes were great fun, but also nicely not overdone, just added here and there for the occasional spot of humour.

Yeah, if you're looking for something silly and fun and entertaining, I do recommend this series.

****

264wookiebender
Set 13, 2014, 12:48 am

62. Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist



Far too bleak (I remember the 80s as day glo and pop music, I don't like this revisionist history that makes it all gloom and threat of nuclear war); crossed several lines I wasn't happy with (paedophilia, violence to children); and was awkwardly written/translated, which I find in a number of Scandinavian novels (maybe they just have a weird way of writing?).

Strangely, when I picked it up, it was a very fast read. I just did an awful lot of avoiding picking it up because when I did read it, I felt like I needed a Silkwood type shower afterwards.

***

265wookiebender
Set 13, 2014, 12:54 am

63. Madame de Pompadour, Nancy Mitford



Quite delightful, as one would expect from Nancy Mitford. I don't think I've ever laughed aloud reading history before. (And thanks to the Splendid Chaps Doctor Who podcast for letting me know that Nancy Mitford wrote histories! Not sure how I missed that fact before.)

It's not ground breaking (one doesn't learn any shocking new facts), but was a good solid read, with a rather fun gossipy tone.

***1/2

(Yes, this one is not sci-fi or fantasy!! But I got into it via Doctor Who, in particular "The Girl in the Fireplace", and it's continued with quite a Francophile kick at the moment, I'm currently reading the fascinating The Black Count, a biography of Alex Dumas, father to Alexandre Dumas and The Count of Monte Cristo is next on Mt TBR...)

266richardderus
Set 23, 2014, 7:44 pm

Hi Tania, whipping through to leave smiles & greetings & stuff like that.

267wookiebender
Set 28, 2014, 11:41 pm

Always nice to see that my thread is not being neglected by others, even if I am letting the weeds grow up a bit!

School holidays, so I don't get any computer time. Apparently *their* need to chat online is more important than mine. Harrumph. (Mr Bear plays a game online with two friends; he communicates through Skype with one, and the other uses the FaceTime app on his iPhone\*\ to chat to the other, with the camera pointed at the screen so his friend can see what Mr Bear is up to in the game. It's a rather brilliant use of technology, IMO. :)

* It's Don's old old iPhone, and we've chucked in a pre-paid SIM card so he can text us and ring us while he's out of the house because next year is High School!! He's all growing up and we're encouraging as much independence as we can (and as we feel comfortable with, in my mind he's still just the little newborn I brought home nearly 12 years ago).

268Berly
Editado: Set 30, 2014, 11:29 pm

Laughing about the kid chat time being more important than your LT time. That's the way it is in my house!! Well, actually, I have my laptop back now -- no more summer interns at work using it. Yay at home! Boo, more for me to do at work. Just can't win. LOL

269mabith
Set 29, 2014, 9:38 am

My poor mother had to deal with me commandeering the computer AND the phone line just to surf websites for favorite animes (which did take quite a while, this being the day of the 56k modem). Having had online chat from age 12 on myself, it really is SO hard to end a conversation, especially at that age when everything seems so important and urgent (well, everything to do with your friends...).

Hope you're enjoying The Black Count! I got it as an ER and just loved it.

270wookiebender
Out 4, 2014, 8:37 pm

Hi Berly! They're talking about getting us laptops at work, and I'm half "hurrah, I'll have my own computer at home!" and half "bum, I'll have to work from home (on occasion)!". It would be good, we have so much work to get through. But I don't think Don'll be impressed.

Meredith, I remember 56k modems! They were so fast (in comparison to what we had before)! It's always hard to stop chatting when you're young, the kids only stop because we or another parent physically boot them off their computers.

And I'm child free!! Miss Boo is at a friend's beach house (nice!) and Mr Bear is sleeping over at a friend's place. Computer time for me!

271wookiebender
Out 4, 2014, 8:47 pm

64. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, Tom Reiss



A fascinating look at a sadly forgotten historical character, Alex Dumas, father to Alexandre Dumas, top general for the French revolution, and son of a French count and a black slave in Haiti. The backdrop of what was happening in Europe with the French revolution and Napoleon was also gripping, it's a period I knew little about.

I could have done with less of the military history, but I can't see how that could have been cut out given Dumas' rank (and skill). A few too many battles. But he's such a wonderful man, larger than life, and so neglected now.

I'm so sorry I left this one gathering dust for so long. (I had to dig it out from under several piles of books. Time to revamp Mt TBR, I think!)

****

272wookiebender
Out 4, 2014, 8:53 pm

65. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler



This was a bookgroup read that was unanimously enjoyed by everyone. It's hard to discuss without spoilers, and having the story unfold without knowing where it would go was one of the best things about this, so I'll try to be careful.

It's the story of a family. Um, I may leave it at that.

And while it does tug the heartstrings, it's also very funny at times, written with a wry and clever voice, from the point of view of Rosemary, one of the daughters of the family.

Highly recommended to all.

****1/2

273wookiebender
Out 4, 2014, 8:56 pm

66. Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison



A somewhat patchy urban fantasy, but with good interesting characters. I'll be reading on, although I do hope the editing gets better.

***1/2

274wookiebender
Out 4, 2014, 8:57 pm

And I'm caught up! I'm currently reading A Trail Through Time (the fourth St Mary's Chronicle, and a very silly read as usual), and The Count of Monte Cristo which is MASSIVE (1400+ pages!!) but also a great read.

275wookiebender
Out 5, 2014, 10:24 pm

67. A Trail Through Time, Jodi Taylor



Another solid entry in this entertaining series, this one seeing Max and Leon on the run from the Time Police in an alternate world. The plot is less episodic than previous books, with a more coherent storyline. Given the tension in the plot, there's less of the silly, but when the silly hits, it's delightful as always.

****

276Berly
Editado: Out 11, 2014, 1:22 am

Ack!!! I have been hit! We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves sounds awesome and I already want to read A Trail Through Time, but you helped nudge it up the TBR pile a few spots. Hope you have a great weekend. : )

277wookiebender
Out 11, 2014, 12:36 am

Hi Berly! I hope you enjoy both the books. Weather is glorious in Sydney, and I'm catching up with an old friend for his birthday drinks this evening in a local pub. (I love it when my friends schedule their parties within walking distance. :)

Also trying to break in (or break myself in with) new glasses. I'm slightly short sighted and also need reading glasses now, so went for multifocals this time, so the top bit of the glasses lets me see the tv (etc) in focus, the middle bit is great for the computer screen, and the bottom of the lens is perfect for reading (or knitting or playing stupid games on my iPhone...). Does mean that one has to move one's head around so you're looking through the right bit of the glasses for whatever you're trying to get into focus, and this week I (unrelatedly) pulled a muscle in my neck. So I'm having to move myself in entirety, rather than just the head. :P

Still, I got funky purple frames, so the shallow bit of me is happy. :)

278Berly
Out 11, 2014, 1:27 am

So far I am getting by with over-the-counter cheaters (reading glasses) and I have a gazillion all with very colorful frames, so I totally endorse the purple funky! I don't know what I will do when I have to pay a bundle for one pair of prescription ones. Although it will probably be easier to keep track because right now my hubbie steals them; yes, even though they are wild and even sport flowers on one of them. He has no shame! If they are prescription they probably won't work for him. LOL

I hope your neck heals quickly. That is so annoying. Did you put arnica on it? Topically? I suppose the birthday drinks helped. How nice of your friend to schedule that. ; )

279msf59
Out 11, 2014, 8:00 am

Happy Weekend, Tania! I have not read Let the Right One In, (I own a couple of his other books) but the original film version is outstanding. If you haven't seen it, check it out.
I also LOVED We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It is nice seeing it get some attention.

Have you read Peter Temple? I've been reading the first Jack Irish book and I really like it. I know he is very popular in Australia.

280mabith
Out 11, 2014, 12:11 pm

>278 Berly: I get glasses online through Zenni Optical. You can't try them on of course, but I've had glasses for so long I know what works on me, and they have all the measurements on the site so I know what's too wide for my head, etc... You only get half refunded if you return something, but they're so cheap it doesn't matter too much (I can get a complete pair for $15, which includes the anti-glare coating and the shipping). They do bi-focals and maybe the tri-focals too.

281Berly
Editado: Out 11, 2014, 1:23 pm

>280 mabith: That's an awesome tip! Now I just have to find someplace safe to write this down so I can find the info when I need it!! I am going to go check it out now...Because I can! ; )

Oh, look what I found!! I could shop here...

282wookiebender
Out 13, 2014, 2:05 am

Berly> Don wears glasses too, but we can't swap glasses (I think he'd be fine with flowers on his specs too!) as we have quite different scripts (his eyes are much worse than mine).

Hi Mark! What I saw of the (American) movie adaptation of Let The Right One In, it was pretty good, but still too bleak. I want happy stories, dammit.

I've read Peter Temple's The Broken Shore and Truth which were simply marvelous (the second won our top literary award too, the Miles Franklin, but don't let that put you off). There's been some very good TV adaptations of his work too, including the Jack Irish books that I enjoyed, but I'm yet to read those books.

Ooh, found my glasses online!



Mr Bear says they make me look smart. He's a sweetie. :)

Miss Boo & I went plant shopping yesterday (Mr Bear got dragged along, but the least said about the "I'd rather be home playing computer games" constant whinging the better), and she choose a pot of petunias and some rock melon seeds, so I got to spend a hot Sunday afternoon digging up a patch of garden and planting rock melons. (AKA cantaloupe.) And then we soaked each other with the hose and put Mr Bear's nose out of joint by dripping water on the floor near where he was playing computer games. (Yeesh.)

I got nasturtium and marigold seeds, I hope they're happy in the same flower bed as the rock melon. Was not about to dig up any more garden!! And something pretty called a Star of Bethlehem. And some tomato seeds, but they can be planted next weekend.

283Berly
Out 16, 2014, 9:40 pm

>282 wookiebender: I love your glasses. WE could share! (What's your prescription? No, just kidding.)

I love the term rock melon. Haven't head that one. : )

284jfetting
Out 17, 2014, 8:42 am

Just got caught up on like 5 months of your reading (been in a bit of a work vortex myself). You've read a lot of things that I either love or have been meaning to read forever. I think your review and the conversation that followed convinced me to finally take The Book of Lost Things off my shelf and read it.

285wookiebender
Out 17, 2014, 10:19 pm

Berly, I did have to think for a moment before I remembered that they're cantaloupes in the States, they're definitely called rock melons in Australia. :)

Sadly, we had some massive storms this week (I got caught out in the second one and did a brilliant impression of a drowned rat in about 3 seconds), so I think the seeds might be in next door's yard, washed away by the rain. :(

You do learn to say "hurrah for rain!" in a country that tends towards drought more often than not, but timing could have been better this time around.

Jennifer, I know what you mean about work vortex!! Am totally over it all at the moment. Take a break from it all with The Book of Lost Things, you won't be disappointed. :)

And I'm halfway through The Count of Monte Cristo! That's well over 700 pages! And about another 700 pages to go. Erm. Anyhow, it being the weekend and me feeling a bit poorly (woke up with a sore throat, not entirely due to having to talk loudly over pop music at a bowling alley with workmates last night; I got two strikes!! I'm usually hopeless at bowling), I'm taking a break from 19th century France and am hoping to knock off Annihilation over the next day or so.

286wookiebender
Editado: Nov 2, 2014, 12:28 am

68. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer



Fungal horror, what's not to love? Well, if his previous trilogy hadn't been fungal noir, he may have gotten an extra half star for originality, but currently I'm thinking he's a bit fungal obsessed. But then again, is that such a bad thing?

****

And I'm over 800 pages into the Count of Monte Cristo! I feel like I'm on the home stretch with only 600 or so pages now. :P

287mabith
Out 21, 2014, 3:45 pm

I always forget Monte Cristo is that long! It went so quickly when I listened to it, as I was totally wrapped up in it.

288wookiebender
Out 21, 2014, 11:31 pm

It definitely bounces along quite merrily, although I'm finding the Count himself rather creepy with his obsession. (And I'm hoping that his revenge won't be felt by the younger generation who really aren't responsible for their parents' greed, even if some of them are tools themselves.)

I think a cast of characters would be helpful too, I complete forgot that Fernand becomes Comte de Morcref (I may have spelling slightly wrong) so wasn't sure why this Comte guy was hanging around for the longest time. :P Next time, I shall make notes on each new character as they're introduced, plus any major events in their lives!

And "thanks" to a sick day yesterday (stupid headcold season!), I'm now up to p1060. I may start planning the next read soon... (Three Musketeers? Wuthering Heights? Something totally trashy...?)

289Eyejaybee
Out 22, 2014, 7:17 am

I was amazed to see that Dumas published 'The Count of monte Cristo' and 'The Three Musketeers' in the same year.
I would love to know moire about how nineteenth century writers amanged the logistics of writing, printing, proof-reading and distribution of such large works in a time without computers, and with only limited availability of electricity.

290mabith
Out 22, 2014, 4:01 pm

Ha, I would have had trouble with Fernand too, but I've seen the 1990s movie version too many times!

James, that would be a very interesting book or article subject! Perhaps that's why both are so long, doing the editing was just much more difficult?

291Eyejaybee
Out 22, 2014, 5:07 pm

Ah! Another in that ever-lengthening list of theses I might have written :)

292wookiebender
Out 22, 2014, 11:56 pm

I believe Dumas, much like Dickens, wrote serialised novels. So a chapter was published quite regularly (and he got paid by the word, so there are sometimes a LOT of words). The published dates probably refer to when the complete novel was completed.

The wonderful Tansy Rayner Roberts is writing her own gender-swapped Musketeers-in-space story at her blog - http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/guide-to-the-blog/musketeer-space/ - a chapter a week. I'm about 8 chapters in, and having a ball.

(Amd she reckons that Musketeers was published over 4 months - http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/06/guest-post-tansy-rayner-roberts-on-seri... - so he obviously was very, very well organised. :)

293Helenliz
Out 23, 2014, 4:28 pm

> 291 and all of them more interesting than the one I did write. >:-)
We were discussing theses the other day, as one of our newer starters was due to have his graduation. And it came up, the "what use is that" question. None, none what so ever.

294Eyejaybee
Out 23, 2014, 4:37 pm

> 293 I know the feeling. I enjoyed writing mine but can't imagine that anyone has ever read them since!

295Helenliz
Out 23, 2014, 4:46 pm

>294 Eyejaybee: I seem to remember when I handed my copy in to be sent to the British Library that there was a form to sign to permit it to be taken into the collection. I also seem to remember that, should they ever get 5* requests for copies of all or part of the document in any one year, I'd get a payment (of about 3pence, I should imagine). Never been paid, not even once. I wonder why???

* or some similarly small number

296Tanya-dogearedcopy
Out 23, 2014, 4:51 pm

My thesis was "Non-Christian Antecedents to Marian Iconography." Once, while I was working on it, I fell asleep in the library. I was bewildered. I knew other people would probably find it boring, but how could I? Later that same week, I fell asleep on a stationary bike! Off to the doctor's I went. I was pregnant :-)

297Eyejaybee
Out 23, 2014, 5:57 pm

Mine was on 'The Germanic Code and kennings and synecdoche in Old English heroic verse'. I can't imagine I would ever get 3p even if the qualifying period was extended to five requests for copies in a century!

298wookiebender
Out 23, 2014, 8:59 pm

My thesis was in science. I can remember what I did, but not the title. :P My supervisor got a paper or two out of it and I'm sure he's still working in the same area, even if I have moved on. (Sorry research, you were great fun, but IT pays better and has more jobs available.)

I know the Uni library has a copy of my thesis, but it's certainly not at the British Library! (Gosh, don't you all want to go down on a regular basis and get it out, just to pet it and think "I wrote something at the British Library"!! I would. :)

And I would argue that a thesis is of use in a general sort of way: it taught us research skills, writing skills, procrastination skills, etc. All of which are still incredibly useful, even if I don't wear a labcoat anymore.

299mabith
Out 23, 2014, 9:29 pm

I'm with Tania, if I had something in the British Library I'd go check on it, frequently. Hell, at my school seniors had to write a 25 page research paper to graduate and I would check on mine in the school library when I went back for homecoming (tiny boarding school). I learned from it that people don't always have a good understanding of their own interests. We were allowed to choose the topic (with approval, as there had to be published books on the subject), but so many people picked things they found uninteresting to actually read and write about (not me, luckily).

300Eyejaybee
Out 23, 2014, 10:21 pm

I enjoyed working on mine at the time and I am glad (and proud) that I did it. I also certainly agree about the benefits in terms of the research, drafting and other skills that it honed.

On the other hand, nearly thirty years on I would now almost be frightened to read it as I am sure I might find it rather callow and naive in its conclusions.

301Helenliz
Out 24, 2014, 3:40 am

I used to occasionally check the BL catalogue to make sure I was still in there. >:-) When I had to show people how to search it, I'd use searching for my thesis as a test case. Start with name, narrow by subject, la voila, oh look, it's me.
My title was "Alkane adsorption on metal surfaces" with gold at 10 p per letter, that was as short as I could get my professor's preferred title which ran along the lines of "Impact induced dissociation of small hydrocarbon molecules on 111 face of platinum series metal surfaces in ultra high vacuum"
I have a copy, and all I can see are the mistakes.

I work in an area where a science education is useful - but I don't actually do science any more. Moved into industry to do something with a little more practical application. Having said all that, I think that doing a PhD teaches you a lot, as listed above, but I think the most important aspect is that it teaches you how to think, to think for yourself, to think independently, to be able to think that someone else might be wrong.

Go on then , in my field it it usual to have a quotation at the beginning of your thesis, what was yours? I had Kipling's "If" - on the grounds that I think it was the word I'd used more than any other in the preceding 3 or so years!

302wookiebender
Out 24, 2014, 8:27 pm

No quote at the beginning of my thesis (Memory reactivation following extinction: the role of new learning), but the acknowledgments include a number of old friends and the "Enmore X-Files Appreciation Society", LOL! Always a nerd. :)

303Tanya-dogearedcopy
Out 24, 2014, 9:39 pm

No quote at the beginning of mine either, but if I had put one in, it would have been a passage from the Peshitta (Syriac-Aramaic version of the Bible) that would loosely translate to the KJV - Luke 1:28 ("Hail Mary, blessed art thou among women...") It's funny, the paper has been turned in close to twenty years ago, but it's still a "work in progress" in my mind! I often come across a book, article or museum piece that would have had a bearing on my topic and file it away for future reference as if it will ever come up again!

304Berly
Out 29, 2014, 1:08 am

Popping in to say Hi! : )

305wookiebender
Out 29, 2014, 1:44 am

Hi! :)

And I finished The Count of Monte Cristo! One thousand, four hundred, and sixty two pages. Whoa! A good read, too. (To quote Miss Boo: O. M. G.)

Now reading Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler. Her first book! Certainly off to a good start. (Although it was a bit tricky getting my head out of 19th century France for a few pages. I was there for so long!)

306judylou
Out 31, 2014, 2:54 am

Oh, so many great books and authors here. Connolly, Paver, VanDerMeer, Lindqvist. Yes, Lindqvist. I have loved all of his work and I agree that you should watch the original movie. It is stunning.

307wookiebender
Nov 2, 2014, 12:19 am

I may just be the odd one out with Lindqvist. :) And it has been a good reading year! (But any year with reading in it must count as a good year, really.)

308wookiebender
Editado: Nov 2, 2014, 12:38 am

69. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas



We all know the basic plot, right? The young, handsome, smart, and basically all round wonderful Edmond Dantes is accused of a crime he didn't commit and thrown into a dungeon to rot. He escapes, thanks to his prison mate the Abbe Faria, who also educates him and bequeaths him a unbelievably massive fortune. (Almost makes being thrown into a dank dungeon worthwhile, really.)

Once a free man, Dantes takes the title of Comte de Monte Cristo, and embarks on the most insanely complex revenge against the men who sent him to prison because of their jealousy.

The most interesting part of this book is that Dantes is quite scarily intense and driven when it comes to bringing down his enemies. No expense is spared by the Count, and no coincidence is too extreme for Dumas. For a while there, I thought it was going to be very dark, but while the ending didn't quite go the way I thought it might, it also didn't end as blackly as I feared it was going to.

And much credit to Dumas for writing a page turner. While it was a massive 1462 pages long, it hardly ever dragged.

For potential readers, I would recommend: a better translation than this clunky one. :P And an edition with notes in it (no notes in this one, and I really wanted more info on 19th century Parisian politics and society! so many injokes sailing over my head...).

****

309Berly
Editado: Nov 10, 2014, 11:50 pm

Loved that when I read it! And I get extra points for reading it French, right? Although I think I read a shorter version. And I still could not pull that off now...way too rusty.

310wookiebender
Nov 11, 2014, 5:44 am

Absolutely bonus points for reading it in French! I struggled with "oui" back in high school, not my best subject. :)

311Berly
Nov 12, 2014, 9:55 pm

: ) (That's me beaming after getting the bonus points.)

312wookiebender
Nov 16, 2014, 4:57 am

70. Sarah Canary, Karen Joy Fowler



Having loved her most recent novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, when I stumbled across this second hand, I had to buy it and read it instantly. It is her first novel, and is classified as sci-fi (as can be attested by the cover), and she does have sci-fi chops in her background. However, I would not classify this at all as sci-fi, and was mostly puzzled during the book as to when the aliens and spaceships (or whatever flavour it was going to take) were going to show up. They never did.

But, apart from the odd marketing angle (sci-fi! with nothing science fictional about it!), it was a pretty good read. A mute young white woman suddenly appears in the middle of a Chinese camp on the west coast of America during the 1870s. For her safety, and their own as they are worried what will happen if they're found with a white woman in their camp, they attempt to return her to the insane asylum they believe she's escaped from. Cue much wandering and mistaken identity and a rather fun romp, until you realise it's probably not going anywhere much.

Nicely written, and some great characters, make this worth reading. Just don't expect a clear ending. Or aliens and spaceships.

***1/2

313wookiebender
Nov 16, 2014, 5:06 am

71. Mike and Psmith, P.G. Wodehouse



Look at that cover. Worst. Cover. Ever. Don't know what they were thinking, or should I say "what they were smoking?" (In my defence: it was the cheapest Kindle edition available in Australia, as I couldn't find a paper copy easily and I tend to resent paying more than a pittance for electronic copies.)

Anyhow, another delightful romp from Wodehouse, concerning young Mr Michael Jackson and young Mr Psmith, both at Sedleigh public school, decidedly not one of the Better public schools. They get up to all sorts of scrapes, and it's all really rather fun, although there was decidedly too much cricket at times.

***1/2

314wookiebender
Editado: Dez 1, 2014, 5:46 am

72. Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch



An unexpected find at the bookshop this week, and was duly pounced upon and stuffed in my basket, even though I was supposed to be shopping for the kids' Xmas presents, not for me. (I'm a bad mother.)

Anyway, more of the same, which is a good thing. Although this time, Peter is in the countryside, on the trail of two missing girls.

I do have to say though, much as I enjoyed this, it did have a slightly rushed feeling. There were the occasional typos, and the occasional sentences that didn't quite scan. I think another round of editing might have helped smooth out the rougher edges.

***1/2

315msf59
Nov 16, 2014, 9:06 am

Hi Tania! Just a quick check-in. I've never read The Count of Monte Cristo, but I WANT to some day...

I have to return to the River of London books. I've read the first 3.

Hope everything is going well, my friend. Miss seeing you around.

316wookiebender
Nov 17, 2014, 5:43 am

Hi Mark! The Count was a fun read, and not entirely what I was expecting, which was a good thing. :)

And I miss having time to goof off here too!! No sign of work slacking off, which is both good and bad...

317Berly
Nov 23, 2014, 1:58 am

Hi Wookie! Just wanted you to feel the love when you have time to goof off again here. I get my time in little bursts, too. Hope life is treating you well.

318wookiebender
Nov 23, 2014, 9:31 pm

Hi Berly! Mr Bear is starting high school next year, and as such will require a laptop. That means one less person hogging the computer at home, and one more screen in the house! Hopefully that'll help me goof off more online at home. (Hopefully not at the cost of losing reading time, however!)

I'm currently reading The Light Between Oceans which is excellent, but rather depressing, so I'm also juggling The Good, The Bad, and the Undead which isn't great, but has some great characters so I'm sticking with the series.

319Berly
Nov 29, 2014, 10:30 pm

I don't know either one, so you will have to let me know what you think. How is it possible that Mr Bear is starting high school???? Happy weekend!

320Helenliz
Nov 30, 2014, 1:47 pm

Find a tissue for the end of The Light between Oceans - I cried a small ocean all by myself.
That sounds like quite a contrasting pair of books!

321wookiebender
Nov 30, 2014, 5:48 pm

>319 Berly: looks like I'm behind on reviews again! Still going on The Light Between Oceans (when I do read it, I'm completely absorbed, but it's such a depressing plot that I find it hard to motivate myself to read it). And, yes! High school! Only a couple more weeks left at primary school, and he just had his 12th birthday party - local pizza place for dinner with a big group of friends and then home with a smaller group (who all brought their laptops) for a sleepover, complete with gaming and candy. (And some sleep. And a viewing of "Guardians of the Galaxy".)

And most of his presents were gift vouchers to the local games shop. Do we sense a theme here? :)

(And OMG, four smallish boys can consume their own body weight in candy.)

>320 Helenliz: Oh, I'm crying too much already!! All the stuff about the young men dying in the Great War (and the families left behind) is really hard, coming in so close on the heels of Remembrance Day. And there's no way this story is going to end well for everyone.

Hence the fluff reads on the side. :)

322wookiebender
Editado: Dez 1, 2014, 5:47 am

73. Doctor Who: Shakedown, Terrance Dicks



Yes, a Doctor Who novel. I stumbled across this one cheap, and thought "I've been meaning to read a Doctor Who novel...." And it wasn't too bad at all, a nice little entertaining adventure with the 7th Doctor. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone outside of Whovian fandom (I am firmly within Whovian fandom, OMG how much am I loving Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor???), but it's not a bad little plot and bounces along nicely and there's nothing really questionable about it. Although the body count and gore levels are slightly higher than I would have expected from a Doctor Who book. Maybe fake blood is too expensive for the BBC budget? :)

I may even grab another Doctor Who book here and there...

***

323wookiebender
Editado: Dez 1, 2014, 5:47 am

74. The Good, The Bad, and The Undead, Kim Harrison



Hm, someone on io9.com did rave about this series. I'm about to drop them a line querying their taste, as the completely dysfunctional "it's all my fault my vampire roommate tried to kill me" relationship is beginning to really grate on me. After only 2 books.

But (overly creepy vampire roommates notwithstanding) the characters are rather fun, there are some twists I wasn't expecting, and it bounces along quickly.

She just needs to sort out that vampire roommate, and I'll be in for the long haul.

**1/2

324wookiebender
Editado: Dez 1, 2014, 5:47 am

75. The Hanover Square Affair, Jennifer Ashley



Well, this is quite unlike any book I've read set in the Regency before. So many fallen women, so many crimes, so much poverty. All pretty much interrelated.

It's a more earthy portrayal of the era, with our hero on a half pension following the Napoleonic wars, living in near squalor in London, with a gammy leg. And a sense of justice, meaning that when he sees a crime committed, he investigates. And it's a pretty sordid crime.

Again, it bounced along well, but I think I may read some Georgette Heyer next. I'd rather fluff in my Regency reads, it seems.

***

325wookiebender
Dez 1, 2014, 5:48 am

All up to date! For the moment. :)

And I just scanned the last few books and thought they all deserved docking of 1/2 a star. While I was entertained, it wasn't really enough for their original ratings from me.

326msf59
Dez 1, 2014, 7:18 am

Hi Tania! Hope you had a nice weekend. I ended up liking the film Snow-Piercer. Try the book too, though. It is quite different.

And speaking of films, have you seen- Babadook? It is an Australian horror film, with an evil book, lurking in the background. It was very good. Good horror movies are very rare, IMHO.

327wookiebender
Dez 1, 2014, 7:32 pm

I saw the short for Babadook and decided to gibber for a while behind the sofa. (I'd love to support an Australian genre flick - deity only knows our film industry runs on the smell of an oily rag - but I'm also a fan of not gibbering in fear.) Maybe I'll watch it on the small screen in the middle of the day. Sunshine helps. :)

328wookiebender
Dez 14, 2014, 9:51 pm

Okay, for those of you following the news: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/lindt-chocolat-cafe-hostage-drama-in-martin-place-sydn...

I am in Sydney, but not in the CBD. I have a pretty good view from our office of the helicopters over the city, and I'll have to make alternative arrangements to get home (rather than bus into the city then another one out again) and may have to cancel catching up for pre-Xmas drinks with an old friend, but they're not really problems today, because at least I will be going home.

My thoughts and best wishes go out to those caught up in this drama.

329raidergirl3
Dez 14, 2014, 10:05 pm

Oh my gosh Tania. I was actually reading through my old Story Sister thread today, remembering people I haven't 'talked' to in ages. (I copied my thread before Jill deleted the group) And then I saw on the news about the cafe, and you are one of the only people I 'know' in Sydney.

Stay safe, and yes, a little inconvenience is a small price to pay. Hopefully it turns out okay for all involved.
Elizabeth

330ronincats
Dez 14, 2014, 11:24 pm

Hope all ends well for the hostages, but glad you are safe, Tania.

331wookiebender
Dez 15, 2014, 5:56 am

Hi Elizabeth! Long time no "see". :)

The police are doing a very good job, being calm and not letting much info out. Sadly, it's still ongoing. (Might have to plan an alternative route to get to work tomorrow morning. Seems strange to be normal during this time, though.)

Hi Roni! Thanks for your thoughts.

332msf59
Dez 15, 2014, 7:20 am

Thanks for letting us know everything is fine and safe with you, Tania! I woke up this morning, hearing about the hostage situation.

333wookiebender
Dez 15, 2014, 5:20 pm

And it's all over, and not as we'd hoped. A rather sombre mood to the city this morning, flags at half mast.

I'm no expert, but I think the police did a good job, being calm and keeping a lid on things as much as possible. Sadly, it looks as if the gunman shot a hostage, and then it all ended suddenly. The gunman is dead (no great loss, frankly), but so are two hostages. The people of Sydney did well too, keeping out of the way and not overreacting. (Although the photos of the sightseers in Martin Place were a bit odd.) The shock jocks and tabloid papers need a stern talking to, however, for insisting that we were all in a state of panic and trying to froth up panic.

334mabith
Dez 15, 2014, 5:38 pm

It certainly sounds like the police and the populace did as well as anyone can in those situations (certainly far better than we in the US would react!). It's a terrible situation though.

335ronincats
Dez 23, 2014, 11:22 pm

I hope that Sidney is recovering, Tania. It's Chrismas Eve's eve, and so I am starting the rounds of wishing my 100 Book group friends the merriest of Christmases or whatever the solstice celebration of their choice is.

336wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 10:09 pm

Merry Christmas, Roni! Love the cats. :)

Xmas was good to our family, lots of fun with the extended family, a pile of books for all, and far too much food. Oink.

337wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 10:22 pm

76. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, Zack Whedon



Squee! Firefly goodness! Starts off where the movie left off, and I can't actually remember anything about it now, some weeks after I read it (must do reviews in a timely fashion!), apart from Zoe's story arc, about which I'm saying nothing, no spoilers from me, nosirree. I did rate it 7, I think it lost 1/2 a star because if you're going to try for photorealistic art in a comic book, it'd be really nice if they looked like the characters, rather than generic pretty people. (There was a short comic at the end with a very cartoon-y style, and I enjoyed that more. Although again, the plot escapes me totally.)

***1/2

338wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 10:29 pm

77. The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman



Beautifully written book, set following World War 1, in a small town on the southern coast of Western Australia, and the lighthouse set on an island off the coast, between two oceans, the Indian and the Southern. The first half, with the impact of the war on those who returned and those who were left behind, packs a powerful emotional punch. The second half, in which the plot hinges on our couple making an incredibly stupid decision is less successful, as I spent the entire book ranting at their stupidity. The ending redeemed it somewhat though, she managed to get herself out of the corner she was writing herself into rather well.

****

339wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 10:57 pm

78. The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin



A.J. Fikry is a misanthropic bookshop owner on a small island (where the main trade is the summer folk, and is mostly inaccessible over winter), grieving the death of his wife, and drinking himself into an early grave. Until a baby is left in his shop.

Now, this could have been twee and sentimental, but I actually found it quite moving. It's cleverly constructed, with chapters starting with letters from AJ describing books that have been important in his life, and some nice meta elements with the chapters reflecting what is in his letters, or in the books mentioned. It does push emotional buttons quite a bit, and not always subtly, but overall I found it a lovely bittersweet journey through one man's life.

****

340wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 11:04 pm

79. Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris



Usually I draw the line at reading autobiographies of people younger than me, but I guess that's a larger and larger pool that I'm rejecting as I get older. This one squeaked past my inner censor because it's a Choose Your Own Autobiography, and that is just way too cool.

At first, I read it sequentially, too nervous I might miss something. But after a while, I got into the swing of jumping around and using multiple bookmarks to keep track of various threads. Some of the chapters are completely fictional (the Bad Childhood, for example), and there are a number of dead ends based on these chapters. It's fun hitting them, and then working back to the last option and continuing on.

And now I have to watch "Rent". Again.

****

341wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 11:08 pm

80. The Spirit Box, George Mann



Hm, didn't really work as either a Sherlock novel or as a Newbury & Hobbes novel. For one thing, no Hobbes!

***

342wookiebender
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 6:41 pm

82. Snowpiercer Vol.1 The Escape, Jacques Lob



Quite, quite different from the movie. Still worth a read, if post apocalyptic train journeys are your thing. (FYI, I think I liked the movie better.)

***1/2

343wookiebender
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 6:41 pm

83. The Bookman, Lavie Tidhar



Steampunk done right. Read it.

****1/2

344wookiebender
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 6:41 pm

84. Libriomancer, Jim C. Hines



Okay, basic premise is that our hero Isaac is a libriomancer, meaning he can pull items out of books. His genre of choice is science fiction, so lots of plasma guns from military sci-fi and monofilament wires from cyberpunk, etc. It's a nice concept. And I appreciated him using them against sparkling vampires. But the main female character, Lena, is somewhat worrying. She's a dryad who has been taken from a book series where she was written as an object of desire, a beautiful woman who will fall in love with anyone. And while the point is that this is a creepy idea, and it's good seeing how Isaac tries to work out how to help her without making her sexually in thrall to him, it's still a creepy idea and made me feel a little squick.

I did take a several week break in the middle of reading it (due to the squick nature), and when I got back to it I did rather enjoy the second half, although I'm rather conflicted about the ending.

In summary, I'm not sure if I'll be reading on.

***

345wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 11:24 pm

All caught up! Phew. Now to find out if we've set up the 2015 group yet!

346ronincats
Dez 27, 2014, 11:43 pm

I've come to the conclusion that Jim Hines is not for me. He has some good ideas but plebeian writing and as you say, often some squicky themes. Goblin Quest was derivative and boring, except for the kick-ass ending, but even that didn't make it worth it. The Stepsister Scheme just got the psychology it was based on all wrong--irritating. And I wasn't wowed by Libriomance even though I loved the concept. He has great ideas, but his execution is meh, IMHO.

You got me with a book bullet with The Bookman, even without any review.

347wookiebender
Dez 27, 2014, 11:49 pm

Ah, you don't need a review for The Bookman, you just need to read it.

But a little teaser/spoiler: Inspector Irene Adler. (Squee!)

A friend did say that she liked Jim Hines as a blogger (especially those brilliant recreation of covers, e.g. http://io9.com/5875868/fantasy-author-recreates-fantasy-novel-cover-poses-with-h... but not so much his books. I should have listened to her! (And I shall listen to her - and you - better from now on. :)

348ronincats
Dez 27, 2014, 11:51 pm

I like his sense of humor in the blogs and those cover renditions are inspired, but his writing not so much.

349wookiebender
Editado: Dez 30, 2014, 6:41 pm

85. The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer



A delightful romp through 18th century England, with fops (or are they dandies, I can never tell!), highwaymen, kidnapping, duels, gambling, and lashings of romance.

I can't believe she was only 19 when she wrote this. I have heard her later works are more polished, I'll have to pick up another one and double check, because (apart from a plethora of plots and characters) this felt like the work of a very mature writer.

****

350wookiebender
Dez 30, 2014, 6:45 pm

81. Saga, Volume 4, Brian K. Vaughan



Forgot this one before! I read the individual issues, so don't actually have them in LibraryThing (too much effort adding each one!) so it got missed (and threw my numbering all out).

More of the excellent same.

****

351wookiebender
Dez 30, 2014, 6:49 pm

86. The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers



I started this way back in May, when I was watching "True Detectives" (of course). The first half is a brilliant collection of Lovecraftian / Poe-ian horror, all centering around a play called "The King in Yellow" that drives you mad (MAD!).

The second half is a collection of stories about a bunch of silly young American men studying art in Paris. They're perfectly charming, but an odd combo with the first half, which is why I stalled. Coming back to them 6 months later, they were a fun read, but I think they definitely lost out when compared to the first half.

***1/2

352wookiebender
Dez 30, 2014, 6:54 pm

87. Von Gobstopper's Arcade, Alexandra Adornetto



This is the third volume in the Strangest Adventures trilogy (I read the first two years ago). Again, another quirky adventure for Millipore Klumpet and Ernest Periclof, this time with the fabulous Von Gobstopper's toys, each one of which is individual and awesome. But where is Von Gobstopper? And the evil Lord Aldor can't be far away.

This is a great little series, written with flair and a wonderful imagination. And she was only a teenager when she wrote them (this one was written while she was also in Year 12, so many kudos to her, and all her support people). She's now writing YA, I'll have to check them out, although I'm assuming they'll be more serious and less of the silly charm. I hope I like them!

***1/2

353wookiebender
Dez 30, 2014, 6:58 pm

Okay, all caught up for 2014! It's NYE here in Sydney, and I must make sure we have bubbly chilling! I won't finish my current read (about to start The Golem and the Djinni) this year, so I'll see you in the 2015 threads. :)

http://www.librarything.com/topic/185174# is where I'll be camping out, come tomorrow.

And while I didn't make the 100 goal (next year I shall start counting individual issues of comics and that should help :P ) I did make book BINGO!

Book by someone under 30 - Von Gobstopper's Arcade
Forgotten classic - The King in Yellow
First book by a favourite author - Georgette Heyer

BINGO!

354mabith
Dez 30, 2014, 8:01 pm

Great job on bingo! My dad gave me The King in Yellow a while back and I haven't managed to pick it up. The Lovecraftian genre isn't really enjoyable for me. Maybe I"ll check out the second half stuff.

Can't wait to hear what you think about The Golem and the Jinni! I absolutely loved it.

355wookiebender
Dez 31, 2014, 12:55 am

I'd recommend at least trying one of the first half (been so long since I read it, I can't remember my favourites!), because they are more Poe-esque than Lovecraftian, IMO. But a good friend of mine insists they are Lovecraftian, so I couldn't skip that adjective. :)

Still to start the book (thanks, I knew someone in this group had loved it!), busy day prepping for a casual get-together at Chez Wookie for NYE. (BBQ, bubbles, watching the 9pm fireworks then an early night.) funny how even a casual evening can take time (at least a basic sweep, discover some tabletop surfaces again, quick shop for lamb to BBQ, apple crumble prepped for dessert, oink).

356mabith
Dez 31, 2014, 10:31 am

Gotcha! I liked Poe as a kid but seemed to grow out of finding any type of 'scary' stuff enjoyable. (Also I think my dad was just using me to get rid of some books!)

I see it's already the new year for you, so I hope it was a nice evening! Vanishing tabletops are the number one problem in my home. One minute there's a clear surface, the next a giant pile of clutter, like magic.

357wookiebender
Dez 31, 2014, 6:48 pm

Yes, Happy New Year to everyone! I fell asleep before the midnight fireworks, but they woke me up anyhow (I'm not that far from the city and Sydney does a LOT of fireworks). Cats seem okay, although they probably spent a lot of time under our bed avoiding noise. :P