mstrust ROOTs for herself

Discussão2020 ROOT CHALLENGE

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mstrust ROOTs for herself

Editado: Dez 15, 2020, 12:05 pm

I'm Jennifer in Phoenix, and while my 12th Thingaversary will be in March, this is just my second year ROOTing. Last year, nearly half of my 100 books read were ROOTs, so this group really pushed me to read what I already own. I count anything that has been on my own shelves for six months or more as a ROOT, but I don't set a goal for how many or what percentage for the year. I prefer to just see what happens.
My reading includes fiction and non-fiction, mysteries, noir, literary, plays, YA... a real hodge-podge.

2020 ROOTs

1. Round Ireland with a Fridge
2. A Morbid Taste for Bones
3. Something From the Oven
4. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
5. England Made Me
6. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
7. Eisenhower: A Life
8. Before the Fact
9. Paris to the Moon
10. Unfamiliar Fishes
11. Boy: Tales of Childhood
12. Killer Librarian
13. Bone Key: Supernatural
14. Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry
15. What's Japanese About Japan
16. The Buddha of Surburbia
17. Library of Souls
18. George's Marvelous Medicine
19. Measure for Measure
20. The Light Fantastic
21. Mrs. Dalloway
22. Henry VIII: Wolfman
23. The Museum of Hoaxes
24. Bury Me Deep
25. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library
26. Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown
27. The Old Sow in the Back Room
28. Pigeons
29. The Life of Lou Reed
30. Al Capone Does My Homework
31. Deadly Beautiful
32. Station Eleven
33. Spontaneous Human Combustion
34. Help for the Haunted
35. Locker 13
36. The New England Grimpendium
37. Colors of Fall
38. Universal Harvester
39. Winter in the Blood
40. Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England
41. Recipes from the Dump

Dez 30, 2019, 12:39 pm

Happy ROOTing, Jennifer

Dez 30, 2019, 2:28 pm

Happy ROOTing, Jennifer!

Dez 30, 2019, 4:01 pm

>2 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. And to you.
>3 connie53: Thank you, Connie!

Dez 30, 2019, 4:57 pm

Don't forget to become a member of the group, Jennifer.

Dez 30, 2019, 6:43 pm

Yay, Jennifer's here, so now the party can really get started! :D

Dez 31, 2019, 12:57 am

Good to see you back ROOTing, Jennifer!

Dez 31, 2019, 7:40 am

Welcome back! I love that topper picture - I feel seen.

Dez 31, 2019, 10:26 am

>5 connie53: Thanks for the reminder, and now I'm official!

>6 rabbitprincess: Everybody, push the piles of books together and make a dance platform. Now watch me pop 'n' lock!
It's good to see you, Princess! Get down with yer bad self.

>7 Familyhistorian: Thanks! It's good to be back. It's such a feeling of accomplishment when I've finished a ROOT.

>8 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie! Ha, she means business!

Dez 31, 2019, 5:17 pm

Wishing you a happy year of ROOTing in 2020! :)

Jan 1, 2020, 10:46 am

Thank you so much! Happy ROOTing to you too!

Editado: Jan 2, 2020, 12:27 pm

1. Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks. Englishman Hawks accepts a bet from a friend that he can't hitchhike all the way around Ireland while accompanied by a smallish fridge on a handcart. That's the whole premise, and it works out well for Hawks. The bet took place in 1997, so there's very little computer or cell phone interference. Instead, his journey was made tremendously easier by the fact that he was a well-known comedian, which landed him an interview on an Irish national radio show the very first day, a show that it seemed half the country listened to daily, and by throwing out a "be nice to him if you see him" message. With repeated on-air interviews, Hawks was able to secure rides, free lodging and meals all over the country. He did avoid the majority of Northern Ireland, just dipping into the area at one point.
For me, the highlight of the book was the excitement of the people who recognized this guy with a fridge and bent over backwards to assist him. The people, whether individually or in groups, were so ready to help. On the flip side, I was pretty familiar with English comedians of this period and I'd never heard of Hawks before, even though he starts his journey just after having performed for an audience that included Prince Charles. So, I thought the book would be funny but it was just mildly amusing throughout, and I found the times when he tried to make people laugh to be pretty lame. This is a nice read to get a look at the Irish people of that decade.

This has been on my shelf nearly 3 years.

Jan 2, 2020, 5:45 pm

Good start with the ROOTing, hope it continues to go well!!

Jan 3, 2020, 3:52 am

Happy ROOTing, Jennifer

Jan 3, 2020, 6:36 am

>12 mstrust: Good start! I enjoyed Round Ireland with a Fridge too.

Jan 3, 2020, 10:57 am

>13 floremolla: Thanks, Donna!

>14 Robertgreaves: Thank you, Robert, and good luck to you!

>15 Jackie_K: Hi, Jackie! I think the book would have been funnier in someone else's hands, but Hawks has certainly gotten a lot of mileage from his adventure. I believe there was a follow-up book and even a tour afterwards.

Jan 4, 2020, 12:31 pm

Welcome back and happy ROOTing! The lady in the topper picture definitely means business...

Jan 4, 2020, 6:38 pm

ROOTING for you from Tucson!

Jan 4, 2020, 6:46 pm

>17 MissWatson: And how! Thanks and happy ROOTing to you!

>18 wandaly: Thanks, and good luck to you this year!

Editado: Jan 5, 2020, 2:14 pm

2. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters. Set in 12th Century England and Wales, Brother Cadfael is the worldly man who gave up secular life and all its pleasures to become Benedictine monk. When one of his Brothers becomes seriously ill, another Brother claims to have a vision of an obscure Welsh saint. The Prior determines that this is a sign that they travel to a remote Welsh village and dig up the saint's bones in order to bring them to the monastery, but the locals don't agree and violence ensues.
I know Brother Cadfael is a beloved series and I expected to like him too, but I thought this was a snooze. I know my mom passed it on to me, and I know it's been on that shelf for at least 6-7 years, so way too long.

Jan 5, 2020, 3:33 pm

>20 mstrust: I had a hard time getting into this one too. But with all the series out there, it's sometimes good to know there's one you don't need to continue on with!

Jan 6, 2020, 12:34 am

>20 mstrust: Sounds good. My library hasn't got Ellis Peters' books.

Jan 6, 2020, 3:37 am

Apparently A Morbid Taste for Bones was written as a standalone but then the author decided she could do a lot more with the character. The series only really gets going with the second novel when some more recurring characters are introduced and the background of the war between Steven and Matilda starts.

Jan 6, 2020, 3:06 pm

>21 rabbitprincess: So not just me who didn't get sucked in. It's true, there are too many other choices that would be a better fit to force myself to read a series.

>22 Ameise1: Enjoy!

>23 Robertgreaves: Good to know that it improves. I wonder if Derek Jacobi would be disappointed in me?

Editado: Jan 13, 2020, 12:23 pm

3. Something From the Oven by Laura Shapiro. From the difficulties of getting consumers to buy frozen dinners, the rise of food advice newspaper columns and the emergence of famous female cooks who specialized in home cooking, as opposed to the trained male chefs showing how to do professional dishes who had been nearly the only experts until the 1950s. The book focuses on the female cook as the one who traditionally cooked for the family.
There's a chapter on the beginnings and entries of The Pillsbury Bake-Off, and a bio of a long-forgotten cookbook author named Poppy Cannon, author of The Can Opener Cookbook and several others, who became famous even though she had little culinary skill and was called out for publishing recipes that didn't work. She once recommended serving Campbell's tomato soup topped with canned fish cakes as the first course at an elegant dinner party.
There's a chapter called "Is She Real?" that addresses product spokeswomen such as Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima, and another chapter that is half Julia Child, and the other half is a bio of Betty Friedan, which is sort of out of place and seems like it's there just because the author wanted to write about her.
Overall, lots of interesting and hard to find information.
This has been on the shelf for 17 months.

Jan 13, 2020, 1:21 pm

>25 mstrust: A nice review and the historical home cooking product information sounds quite interesting. A great start to your January ROOTs progress.

Jan 13, 2020, 1:50 pm

Thanks! It's a very good choice for someone looking for the "I've always wondered how that started..." type of cooking info.

Editado: Jan 21, 2020, 1:17 pm

4. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. Bryson's memoir of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. Born in 1951, he recalls the era of comic books, baseball, his school friends and his family. That sounds really sweet, but it's Bryson, so his father was so cheap that the family dentist cut costs by not using Novocaine, his mother sent Bryson to school wearing his sister's capris, and his paper route took him to the city's wealthy homes, with one particularly vicious dog. He describes hoping for the excitement of being present when the man who works the buzzsaw at the lumber yard cuts off another finger, the decline of farmers and the rise of corporate businesses that make every town look the same. He discusses the popular tv shows of his childhood and mentions forgotten figures who were in the news when he was a kid, especially the scandals.
Very funny. This is one I'll likely re-read in a few years. It's been on my shelf for over a year.

Editado: Jan 27, 2020, 11:31 am

5. England Made Me by Graham Greene. Anthony Farrant has been separated from his twin sister Kate for a while, something that bothers her a lot but not him. Anthony is a slick guy who has been fired from jobs all over the world, and it's only his immediate need for money and Kate's urging that gets him to Stockholm to interview for a job with Kate's boss Krogh, an enormously successful and wealthy businessman who is so famous that there are several reporters who solely cover his comings and goings. Before he even has the job Anthony has a deal with scummy reporter Minty to give him inside information. The question is, can Anthony hold down the job for any amount of time, even with the bonus that it includes a lot of unethical behavior that he's naturally drawn to.
First published in 1935, then re-worked a bit and republished under another title in 1953. This is a surprisingly modern story featuring a man (Krogh) who has become enormously wealthy, famous and practically invincible, who doesn't enjoy it but possesses such an ability with numbers that amassing wealth is a substitute for a personality. He is hounded around the clock by reporters trying to follow his schedule, figure out who he's with and get inside dirt on him.
The author cleverly keeps the reader wondering if Kate is a sympathetic character, then maybe Krogh or Minty or Anthony. Each one has a twisted part that makes for a complex cast of characters.

I know that I've had this one on the shelf for more than a year, maybe two.

Editado: Fev 2, 2020, 5:56 pm

6. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. When twelve year-old Kyle learns that the prize for an essay contest is being one of just twelve kids who gets to spend the night in famous game-maker and weirdo Luigi Lemoncello's brand new library, he's willing to do anything to be one of the winners, even re-write his sloppy essay. That he is actually chosen as one of the winners amazes even him, and his friends, who are also winners. The children gather inside the state-of-the-art library on the special night, expecting to stay up all night exploring the books, museums and interactive video library, but crazy Lemoncello has an even bigger prize on offer for the kid who can figure a way out of the locked library by morning.
Placed in a slightly alternate universe where twelve year-olds can name five books each written by Agatha Christie and Dostoyevsky, and, as a group, happily bury themselves in volumes of Sherlock Holmes, these are kids as adults would like them to be, but this is still a really enjoyable story. Lots of literary references, of course, and even a villain.
I've had this for about a year.

Editado: Fev 4, 2020, 6:35 pm

7. Eisenhower: A Life by Paul Johnson. This bio keeps up a brisk pace as the reader is taken through the life of the 34th President. There's just a bit more depth when it comes to Eisenhower's military command in WWII, but I think this book skims along the surface of most of his life while still praising his accomplishments and pointing out a few character interesting flaws, like his dislike for paying up when he lost a bet.
I should be ashamed to admit that I know almost nothing about the majority of the American Presidents, including Eisenhower, so I have a short stack of bios about a few waiting on the shelf. I think this one was probably a good choice for me as I tend to go glassy-eyed when it comes to war and military strategy, and Johnson keeps it as simple as possible.

This has been on the shelf for a year.

Editado: Fev 14, 2020, 2:17 pm

8. Before the Fact by Francis Iles. Lina is in her late twenties and known as the smart sister while her younger sister, Joyce, is the pretty one. Lina is smart enough to know her looks aren't getting her anywhere but she isn't a genius, just a young woman from a very wealthy family who desperately wants to have a husband who loves her. Johnnie is introduced to Lina just when she'd about given up hope, and he's perfect: remarkably handsome, charming, fun and very interested in Lina. He sweeps her off her feet and they are quickly married, with Lina wondering how she could be so lucky. But as charming as he is, Lina finds that year after year, Johnnie's breezy charm comes from the fact that nothing matters to him and he's capable of smiling through anything.
Published in 1932, this book was the inspiration for Hitchcock's movie Suspicion. It's often surprisingly modern, with it's characterization of a sociopath. It's also frustrating, as Lina goes from an intelligent woman to a simpering fool who loves Johnnie a ridiculous amount. Iles is a good storyteller though, so I kept reading and hoping that Lina would figure out what to do about her terrible husband.

I've had this for nearly five years.

Editado: Mar 6, 2020, 4:08 pm

9. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. A collection of essays about living in Paris circa 1995-98. The author and his family moved from NYC to Paris, a city he'd been to many times. Chapters include political scandals, fashion, Christmas and the rise of Halloween, and cooking.
I've had this for four years. I read it for the TravelKit- "Tourist Meccas" group this month.

Editado: Mar 15, 2020, 8:52 pm

10. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell.
The history of Hawaii with a focus on its history once the missionaries showed up. This must have been an astounding amount of research to put together the story of the specific islanders who were there to meet the specific New Englanders who showed up, and who said what, and how they negotiated living side by side. Vowell talks to present day Hawaiians, some descended from the first missionaries and some of long native lineages, to find out what they think. It can be confusing as nearly every Hawaiian of noble birth had names that began with 'K' and many shared the same name.
The amount of work that went into this book has to be admired. But Vowell's writing has become irritating to me. She can be humorous but also pretty damn preachy. As I cracked it open, I wondered on what page of this book she'd remind the reader that she has some Cherokee ancestors who were mistreated (answer: page 9), as she does in nearly every book she writes, before launching into her family's own history, which meets with Hawaiian history by the very slimmest thread. Then, throughout the book, she keeps quoting her young nephew as if he's brilliant. She can't seem to help herself.
I'm giving it stars for the admirable amount of research that went into it, but this is likely my last read from Vowell. 2.5 stars

This has been on my shelf for four years.

Editado: Mar 17, 2020, 8:21 pm

11. Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl.
Dahl's memoir of his family and attending British schools in the 1920's and 30's. He recounts his family's yearly holidays to his parental home in Norway, the car accident caused by his older sister that severed his nose at nine years old and the local doctor who re-attached it, and the intense homesickness at boarding school that led Dahl to fake a serious illness in order to be sent home for a few days. He recounts the prank he and his friends played on a local shopkeeper that led to their canings, and the school masters who seemed to enjoy beating the boys.
Written 50 years after the events, Dahl remembers the people of his childhood remarkably well, and he describes the experience of being a British schoolboy with detail. This period of his life was sometimes hilarious with friends and pranks, sometimes incredibly harsh.

Been on the shelf for 3 years.

Editado: Mar 21, 2020, 12:00 pm

12. Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin.
Karen's lifelong dream has been to visit London, and finally, at the age of forty-six, she's about to meet up with her boyfriend Dave and their flight will leave in just a few hours. When Dave calls just as Karen's has zipped her suitcase, she expects he's on the way, but instead he breaks up with her. Karen is crushed, but she's determined not to give up her chance to see London, so she gets on the plane and discovers that not only is Dave on the flight, he's with a younger woman.
As Karen, a librarian from a small Minnesota town, visits The National Gallery, sees Macbeth at the Globe and excitedly goes book hunting in Hay-on Wye, she's sometimes accompanied by Caldwell, the single book collector who owns her B&B and seems to like Karen more than his other guests. Karen and Caldwell try to get to know each other, often through book talk, but they're often interrupted by a French female rival, or Karen drunkenly sending a murderous thug to kill Dave, or finding a dead guest.
It's a fun little mystery filled with book stuff. The author continued with just one other book, but I think it's worth finding.
I've owned this for 2 years.

Mar 21, 2020, 9:25 pm

>36 mstrust: BB added to my wishlist

Mar 22, 2020, 10:13 am

Glad I could hit you with it!

Editado: Mar 29, 2020, 7:23 pm

13. Bone Key: Supernatural. Sam and Dean Winchester are celebrating New Year's at Bobby's in South Dakota when they hear of a death in Key West that sounds strange enough to make them drive across the country to check it out. More murders soon follow, but even more distressing is the fact that the island, which has the reputation for hauntings pretty much everywhere, has now had an explosion of ghosts being seen, heard and hurting the living. The ghost of Hemingway physically throws a visitor out, while Truman's ghost tries to get up a card game. The Winchester brothers have to figure out if the murders, including two committed by a possessed doll, are being controlled by someone.
I've had this for 9 months.

Editado: Abr 2, 2020, 4:53 pm

14. Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson. Using the railroad trackliner song as the starting point, the author goes in search of the legendary John Henry. The first question is, was he a real man? After much research and visits to sites that may have clues, Nelson finds that there was a young African American named John Henry working with a hammer for the C & O Railroad at that time, as part of a prison crew that was leased out to the railroad by the warden.
The author also researched the song about John Henry and its many variations, along with Henry's image as it has been used in plays, art and folklore. With all that research, there's a lot of unexpected information found, such as Henry being just 5'1", or that he went to prison on a ten year sentence for stealing from a grocer. There is also quite a bit of information about the justice system and the "black codes" from this period. Anyone interested in the early railroad and how they were built will be especially interested in this book.

I've had this on the shelf for 2 years.

Editado: Abr 11, 2020, 11:33 am

15. In Search of What's Japanese about Japan by John Condon and Keisuke Kurata.

First published in 1974, this book departs from the majority of English language books about the culture of Japan. It addresses both the way a Western person would see a particular incident or behavior, then explains how a Japanese would see it and why this Japanese person is doing that thing, or what is Japanese about the way it's being done. Each page is filled with amateur photos of actual events, as apposed to professional staged photos, that are very specific to what's being discussed, such as the many varieties of smiles you would find in Japanese culture and how they should be interpreted.
Much of the book focuses on the differences of traditional versus modern culture and the transitioning that was occurring in the early 70's, so the reader is exposed to both the subject of kimono and what Westerners would see as blatant sexism, and the modern manga and face masks. The information, which goes far beyond the standard "here's how to say hello and keep from insulting people" delves deeply into the culture, explaining when a person should be ignored, the importance of ikebana and the Japanese outlook on space, whether physical of psychological.

This has been on my shelf for 7 years.

Editado: Abr 23, 2020, 4:47 pm

16. The Buddha of Surburbia by Hanif Kureishi. In the early 70's, South London, we meet teenager Karim, the son of an English mother and Indian father, Haroon, whom Karim nicknames both "God" and "Buddha of Suburbia" after Haroon begins leading groups of middle-class English suburbanites in his brand of living room Eastern mysticism. That the woman who is encouraging Haroon in the new career is also seducing him away from his family is obviously to Karim, who wants his family to survive but who also is entranced by both the woman and her handsome teenage son and wants to see what will unfold.
Over the next few years the reader follows Karim as he drops out of college, lies to his parents, gets brutally truthful at times, and has various crushes and encounters with both men and women, and makes good on his pronounced desire to be an actor. There's an awful lot of graphic sex, and some hilarious scenes, especially with Changez, a physically repulsive and lazy man who Karim's uncle was tricked into bringing over from Bombay to marry his daughter and help with the family business. That everyone else loathes Changez just makes him more interesting to the contrary Karim.

This has been on the shelf for two years.

Editado: Maio 4, 2020, 7:08 pm

17. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. Book three in the Miss Peregrine series. Here, Jacob, Emma and the talking dog Addison have been separated from their friends and are chased through the subway by hollows and wights. They believe they will find their group being held hostage in another loop so they hire Sharon (Charon) the Ferryman to take them to the very worst loop.
I spent two weeks slogging through this and called it at page 170. It has been a few years since I'd read Hollow City, and for a story that has so much world building, that was too long for me to remember who and what and to get back into the storyline. Not the author's fault.
I've had this a little over two years.

Editado: Maio 9, 2020, 2:25 pm

18. George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl.
Eight year-old George lives on a farm with his parents and his terrifying Grandma. She calls George a worm and screams at him to fetch things for her. When his parents are out of the house one day, she frightens him so badly that he goes into the kitchen and decides that he'll replace her daily medicine with something he makes himself, something that will either cure her or at least give George something exciting to watch. Hauling a huge saucepot throughout the house, he throws in shampoo, hair remover, shoe polish, black pepper, anti-freeze, paint and all the animal medicine in the barn. When he gives Grandma a spoonful of her new medicine the results are so spectacular that George's father sees the new medicine as a sure way to get rich.

I've had this for a year and a half.

Maio 12, 2020, 4:18 am

>43 mstrust: Read that series too. And loved it for most of the time. Hope you are fine, Jennifer.

Maio 12, 2020, 10:04 am

I'm good, Connie, and hope you are too!
I'm guessing I would have enjoyed Library of Souls a lot more if I'd read them closer together. The deciding factor in letting the series go was that I thought I was reading the last in a trilogy, but at some point I found there were two more books in the series. I knew I wouldn't continue and wasn't interested enough to go back and re-read the first two.

Maio 13, 2020, 5:05 am

Two more!!! Hmm, should I or shouldn't I? Going to think about that a bit.

Maio 13, 2020, 1:24 pm

Ha, sorry to tell you that there are more books to buy!

Editado: Maio 24, 2020, 5:24 pm

19. Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. Young Claudio is arrested for getting his fiancee pregnant, a situation that isn't so unusual, but the deputy, Angelo, has decided to make Claudio an example. Angelo sentences Claudio to death. Claudio has a sister who is about to become a nun, and he sends for her, hoping that chaste and intelligent Isabel can sway Angelo towards leniency. Angelo is swayed, but only because can exercise even more viciousness by forcing Isabel to choose: sleep with him and save her brother or refuse and save her own soul.
This was one of Shakespeare's plays that has always flown under my radar. It has sat on my shelf for more years than a know, and until I watched an episode of "Shakespeare Uncovered" a few weeks ago, I never even know the plot. They made a very interesting point about this play, of all Shakespeare's, being a preface to the modern #MeToo movement or the general disparity of power between genders.
The play begins rather slowly,but when Isabel is introduced both the plot and Angelo's true nature quickly unfold. We know she is good and brave, and she stands up to Angelo and says she will expose him for the kind of man he is. With his reply of "Who will believe thee, Isabel?" he pushes her to make a decision that can be seen as heroic or incredibly selfish.

How long has this been on my shelf? Decades.

Editado: Jun 3, 2020, 3:24 pm

20. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. The second in the Discworld series. Wizard Rincewind is still working as a guide to the wealthy tourist Twoflower and his dangerously loyal Luggage. But groups all over the world are looking for Rincewind because years ago, when he was a young wizard in training, a particularly powerful spell lodged itself in his mind and has refused to budge. Now that the spell is needed to keep the Disc from being destroyed, Rincewind is on the run.
Funny and clever, with lots of memorable characters such as Cohen the Barbarian. I can't remember when or where I acquired this book.

Editado: Jun 16, 2020, 5:05 pm

21. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. While preparing the party she's hosting that evening, Clarissa Dalloway considers her life and relationships. She's married to Richard, who rather bores her, but years ago she considered marrying Peter, who adored her but wasn't the right material for Clarissa. Her daughter, Elizabeth, has become a sullen young woman who spends too much time with an older, ugly and extremely religious woman that Clarissa can't stand.
The reader also spends time with the introspective and deeply unhappy Lucrezia, an Italian war bride who expected happiness with her handsome English husband only to find that he is still going over the past to the point of madness.
I've never enjoyed stream of consciousnesses but I liked this one more than any other I've tried. It takes a few pages to get in the groove of jumping from one character's thoughts to another without the benefit of chapters, but the characters really are interesting.
I can't remember when I bought this but it's been on the shelf for awhile.

Editado: Jul 1, 2020, 2:07 pm

22. Henry VIII: Wolfman by A.E. Moorat. Henry is anticipating the birth of what he hopes will finally be a son and heir. Queen Katherine has so far delivered nothing but a daughter and miscarriages, so when a son arrives, Henry's joy is shared throughout the court, which leaves the castle open to infiltration by a pack of werewolves. Destroying the happy occasion, the organized pack also permanently changes the royal bloodline, turning the King into a suffering creature who tears his prey apart when the moon is right.
Attempting to hold things together, Sir Thomas More's plans are ruined when he is caught among werewolves and handed over to the Witchfinders, who are currently burning werewolves, while foul-mouthed Cardinal Wolsey plots with a demon and Lady Jane Seymour rides around the country as a secret agent.
I had expected this to be a more humorous story, and there is some, but overall it's treated as a historical horror story. There's quite a bit of gore and some too graphic torture. I think over 400 pages is on the long side for a story of this genre.

This has been on my shelf for 7 years.

Jul 1, 2020, 5:22 pm

>52 mstrust: I read Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by the same author and enjoyed it at the time, although it was pretty gory as well. It helped when I read it that I'd just seen The Young Victoria and could picture everyone that much more clearly ;)

Jul 1, 2020, 7:18 pm

I read QV:DH ten years ago. It would have been fun to picture the tv actors as I read it, though it was a fun read anyway. I don't recall it in great detail, but I doubt if there was as much gore as this one, which has a lot. Not that it should put off any potential readers. If you see the cover and still choose to read it, you're probably not going to be shocked by some blood or disembowelment.

Editado: Jul 12, 2020, 7:37 pm

23. The Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese. A collection of hoaxes, deceptions and liars from around the world. This includes crop circles, aliens, bat men, infamous April Fool's Day pranks, Bigfoot and Nessie, radio tricksters and frauds who cheated to win competitions such as The Boston Marathon. An interesting look at how far some people will go.

This has been on my shelf for 3 or 4 years.

Jul 25, 2020, 3:16 am

Hi Jennifer, just visiting your thread to see what you are reading.

>47 connie53: I put the two books om my wish-list at my bookstore. So I won't forget about them.

Jul 26, 2020, 11:28 am

Good to see you, Connie!
My reading has been moving pretty slowly lately. The heat must be making me sluggish ;-)

Editado: Jul 28, 2020, 5:21 pm

24. Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott.

A noir based on the true crimes of Winnie Ruth Abbott, aka "The Trunk Murderess".
Marion's husband, a doctor who had lost his license due to drugs, dumped her off in Phoenix with a promise to return after he has completed his latest shifty employment down south. She finds a job as a nurse in a medical clinic and meets two new friends, Louise and Ginny, two friendly, down on their luck party girls. Through Louise and Ginny's nightly parties, Marion is introduced to Joe Lanigan, a wealthy pharmacy owner who immediately begins working on shy Marion, and in her loneliness and poverty, it isn't long before she falls for him, and not long after that, that she discovers that he wasn't her savior after all. In fact, it's because of Joe that Marion's life gets so much worse.

This has been on my shelf for six years.

Editado: Ago 3, 2020, 9:24 am

25. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library by Alice Kimberly.
Penelope is the co-owner, with her aunt Sadie, of a small university town bookshop that specializes in rare books. She's widowed and raising a ten year old son, and she spends her days accompanied telepathically by the ghost of a 1940's hardboiled detective named Jack who died in her shop and can read her mind.
When Sadie and Penelope are called urgently to elderly Peter Chelsey's run-down mansion in the middle of a storm, they are puzzled about why the man needs them to remove stacks of old valuable books so immediately. They take the books, including a famously rare collection of Edgar Allen Poe, but returning to the mansion after just a few minutes, they find Peter dead at the bottom of the stairs he had just claimed he never used. Both the women believe someone else was in the house and Penelope and Jack sets out to prove that Peter was murdered and that the rare books are involved.
My cover claims Alice Kimberly as the author but LT has it as Cleo Coyle. It's been on my shelf for two and a half years.

Editado: Ago 11, 2020, 10:42 am

26. Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown by Michael Cunningham. Published in 2002, the author takes the reader around the town he has lived on and off in for many years, pointing out geographical highlights and introducing locals. Beginning with a seven month residency provided by a writing grant that began just as the seasonal town was closing up, leaving him determined to never return to Provincetown, Cunningham did return many times and made it his home with a variety of partners. He discusses the local wildlife, the beaches, and the town's history, including its gay-friendly reputation, and how it is the antithesis to Cape Cod.

I've had this for six months.

Editado: Ago 17, 2020, 11:37 am

27. The Old Sow in the Back Room by Harriet Sergeant.
Published in 1994 and describing the author's time in the mid to late 80's when she and her family lived in Tokyo. They left London for Japan because of Sergeant's husband's work, but it's surprising how little this husband or their toddler figure into the story. The author interacts with her new neighbors, makes friends with other misfits, volunteers at a center for the underprivileged, goes to underground clubs, interviews to work as a hostess at a bar and ends up interviewing a mama-san, along with many other citizens. Which is strange, because throughout the book she is behaving as someone who is researching a book rather than just going about in a normal way, yet she doesn't state this as her purpose for interviewing people who are clearly uncomfortable with her prying and seem to not know she is a writer. There's also no explanation for why she goes on dates with a young gangster. It had been briefly discussed earlier that it wasn't unusual for Japanese wives to have boyfriends because their husbands were rarely home, but it seemed like she dove into dating five minutes after getting there and it wasn't clear if it was personal or professional.
These lapses in explanation don't keep it from being a really interesting "fish out of water" story. Her Western individualism is very funny when she goes to a public pool and refuses to follow the commands of the team of lifeguards.

I've had this for six months.

Editado: Ago 24, 2020, 12:52 pm

28. Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew D. Blechman. Given the right author, even mundane subjects can be really interesting, and this book is proof. I'm not particularly interested in pigeons but I do like quirky non-fiction so that's why I picked this in the first place. It turns out to be both quirky and sometimes grim.
The author spends time with people who are involved with the declining sport of pigeon racing and others who breed them for shows, and here is where you'll find the rarer pigeons like Parlor Rollers, who will somersault across the ground for hundreds of feet. He visits the home of an Arizona pigeon activist who changed the way government buildings control their pigeon problem and also meets organizers of rural pigeon shoots, in which small towns make money by allowing a day of slaughtering (this book was published in 2006), and follows a couple of New York City pest control guys who try to figure out how to get flocks of pigeons to just leave their clients alone. He traces the lineage of the common city pigeon, also called the rock dove, which is related to the morning dove, and the extinct passenger pigeon and dodo. And somehow, this is all really fascinating.

I've had this for over five years.

Ago 24, 2020, 3:40 pm

>62 mstrust: That's the kind of quirky book I really like. We have a couple of wood pigeons in our garden (which is tiny) and we are trying everything to put them off, and we're now in a bit of a standoff with them. We've put a roof on the bird feeder and moved the tray down so that they can't reach the seeds in the feeder (I don't mind them hoovering up the seeds that fall to the ground), but to give them their due, they're very persistent! They're also starting to engage in psychological warfare with me, I think - if I sit out there they'll do really low fly-overs, and stare at me from the hedge, or jump up our steps to the door, and clearly don't give a monkeys that I'm there! I'm kind of begrudgingly admiring of them, although I wish they'd have chosen a bigger garden and left our feeders to the smaller birds!

Ago 24, 2020, 5:49 pm

They're also starting to engage in psychological warfare with me...

Ha, I have no doubt it feels that way! The author points out that pigeons are found in nearly every country and landscape in the world because they thrive wherever humans thrive. If there's enough food for them, a benefit to being in the proximity of humans, they overbreed. And you're right, they're more wary than afraid of humans.
All I know about them comes from this book, but the majority of ways to get rid of pigeons wouldn't be of any help to you as they'd also scare off the birds you want. But he did note that some cities have been able to control the pigeon population by making other locations, like a food-filled birdhouse, more attractive to the pigeons. This would be more time and expense than most people would do though.

Editado: Ago 27, 2020, 7:34 pm

29. Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed by Howard Sounes.
A heavily researched bio of musician/songwriter Lou Reed. It covers his childhood in Brooklyn and Long Island, through his college years, having shock treatment after a breakdown, to his first contacts in music and his breakthrough with The Velvet Underground, then solo success. There are the romantic relationships and his working relationships, most notably with Andy Warhol. And throughout it all is Reed's narcissistic personality, which reared up while still in school. I've never read a bio of someone who is described independently by so many people as "a prick".

That's the toughest part about reading this book, seeing Reed mistreat so many people over so many years, and there are lots of famous people who weave into the story. Reed was a talented rock 'n' roll star who broke barriers, but the fan who feels Reed could do no wrong probably wouldn't be happy with this.

I won this from LT in January or February.

Editado: Set 2, 2020, 11:19 am

30. Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko. Thirteen year-old Moose and his family still live on Alcatraz, but his father has been promoted from guard to assistant warden, which puts a target on his back with the inmates and also enrages another guard who was passed over for the promotion. Moose's older sister, Natalie, is on break from her special needs school in San Francisco, which means that Moose is put in charge of her, a heavy responsibility that Moose carries on his shoulders twenty-four hours a day. When their apartment is nearly destroyed in a fire, Moose takes on that responsibility too and has to prove whether or not Natalie did it.
This is the third in the series of historical Alcatraz, and it's a smart and informative story.

Set 5, 2020, 12:45 pm

>64 mstrust: Pigeons! Last spring they tried to nest in on of our trees , very near to the terrace with the table and chairs. And I would not have that at all! So we put all kinds of carton boxes in the tree. They were furiously picking at the boxes but eventually they gave up.

Waving at you!

Set 6, 2020, 5:26 pm

Ha, good for you for finding an effective yet humane way to move them along! That's brilliant!
*Waving back fast enough to create a breeze*

Set 6, 2020, 6:50 pm

Come visit my Autumn & Halloween 75 thread:

Editado: Set 12, 2020, 12:30 pm

31. Deadly Beautiful by Laurence Gadd.
A coffee table book that covers deadly mushrooms, vipers and other snakes, garden plants, scorpions, stingrays and the most horrible of all, spiders.
It's an informative book that even has charts in the back by country and region to show what deadly species can be found there.

And I've had this on my shelf for somewhere around 15 years, so it's a ROOT!

Editado: Set 20, 2020, 10:07 am

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. On a snowy night in Toronto, international star Arthur Leander has a heart attack onstage while performing King Lear. Medic-in-training Jeevan jumps from the audience and performs CPR but Arthur is dead. By coincidence that same night is the beginning of a pandemic brought by a Russian flight that spreads death within hours across North America.
We follow a handful of survivors through the next days or years, all separately yet connected by having known Arthur. Between these survivor stories is the life story of Arthur, who came from a small island off the Canadian coast and left to find such amazing success as an actor yet never found a way to be personally happy, and his first wife, Miranda, the creator of Station Eleven.
Even though this is probably the worst time to read a book about a pandemic wiping out the population, it's still one I'd recommend because it's hard to put down once the survivors are determined, and Arthur and Miranda were so interesting. There are also a couple of little mysteries to solve.

This has been on my shelf for two years.

Set 20, 2020, 7:19 pm

>71 mstrust: It sounds interesting. This is my book club's choice for October.

Set 21, 2020, 12:23 pm

I hope you like it! It's a 5 stars read for me.

Editado: Set 22, 2020, 10:33 am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Set 24, 2020, 3:40 am

>72 Robertgreaves: It was a 4,5 star book for me!

Set 24, 2020, 4:47 am

>71 mstrust: >75 connie53: The more I hear about it, the more I'm looking forward to it

Set 27, 2020, 11:19 am

>75 connie53: Really good, right? I'll look for more from her.

>76 Robertgreaves: I hope you like it. The story goes to unexpected places. If the author continued with some of these characters I'd welcome more.

Editado: Set 27, 2020, 11:22 am

33.A study of whether or not SHC is the reason for unexplained deaths. The authors, who also write books about UFOs and aliens, get quite snippy with officials who try to thwart their research.
I've had this on the shelf for 2.5 years.

Set 27, 2020, 1:30 pm

>77 mstrust: There are more and two are even translated into Dutch. I don't now if they are about the characters though.

Set 30, 2020, 6:58 pm

You're right, she has a few more. As far as I can tell Station Eleven is her only dystopian so far but I'd read more from her regardless.

Editado: Out 3, 2020, 3:06 pm

34. Help for the Haunted by John Searles.
The Masons are an unusual family, a fact that their community realizes once newspaper articles and then a book about them appear. Sylvester and Rose Mason are paranormal investigators and faith healers, but as this story takes place in the late 80's- early 90's, that's a bizarre occupation, and making things worse, they really believe in possession and spirits and have filled their basement with evil objects removed from clients.
Their teenage daughter, also named Rose, is old enough to be enraged that her parents are so weird and cause the family to be the target of pranks and ridicule. But this story is told by the youngest of the family, Sylvie, who gets the brunt of the mess because she's timid and her sister's horrible behavior obligates Sylvie to always be accommodating even when it's unfair.
From the very beginning the reader knows that Sylvie's parents have been murdered and that Sylvie witnessed some of what happened, but since the Masons took on the burden of several sick strangers, mostly because Sylvester was interested in the fame "curing" these people brought, there were several different scenarios that might have happened in that dark church.
This has a scary doll and some other pretty creepy stuff, plus a twist ending.
I've had this on the shelf for 9 months.

Editado: Out 9, 2020, 1:25 pm

35. The Nightmare Room: Locker 13 by R.L. Stine Luke is the most superstitious kid in the school, and it doesn't help that his best friend Hannah is the luckiest. When the new year starts Luke is horrified to be given locker 13, just because it's an unlucky number. But things change drastically one day with the appearance of a toy skull, and he and Hannah's luck are reversed.
This one contains some surprisingly gruesome events, like a twelve year old with blood gushing from his ear canals.

I've had this one for four years.

Editado: Out 12, 2020, 11:50 am

36. The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker. This non-fiction is a travelogue of spooky or just unusual stops all over New England. The author tells you about how much Stephen King related stuff to expect in Bangor, Maine, and visits a grave that supposedly glows in Portsmouth, NH. He visits the shooting locations for many horror movies all over New England, the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME and hunts down the few reminders of Poe around Boston.
Though Ocker is serious about hunting down oddities, he isn't the "ghost hunters" type at all. Humor lightens the entries and often, when it seems so obvious that he can't help but say something, he debunks the myths that have grown around a "haunted" object.

I've had this for a year.

Out 20, 2020, 4:55 pm

37. Colors of Fall Road Trip Guide: 25 Autumn Tours in New England by Jerry and Marcy Monkman.
Bought for a family trip that was suppose to take place this month but was cancelled for obvious reasons.
This has been on my shelf since February.

Out 21, 2020, 5:55 am

>84 mstrust: I hope you manage to make the trip eventually - from what I can gather the colours in New England are amazing this time of year.

Out 21, 2020, 2:30 pm

Thank you, Jackie. I've been to New York a few times in Autumn and Vermont once, but my family has never been so this was going to be a big deal. It is so very beautiful, really something spectacular.
I hope we get the chance to go another year.

Out 25, 2020, 4:05 am

>86 mstrust: I hope you do too.

Out 25, 2020, 5:29 pm

Thanks, Connie. It'll happen. Fingers crossed that 2021 is a big change from 2020.

Editado: Nov 4, 2020, 1:38 pm

38. Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Jeremy lives in a small Iowa town with his widowed father. He's in his early 20's and has been working at a video store for several years, a dead-end job that he knows he's settled into for its familiarity, but also because he has a good boss.
When customers begin pointing out weird home movie type scenes spliced into their VHS rentals, Jeremy and his boss begin watching and researching who could have done this by trying to find the people who appear in the strange scenes.
Sounds like an interesting premise but I'm so bored with the meandering through the family trees that I'm calling it just 80 pages from the end. What can I say but when I'm promised "scary", deliver scary. 2.5 stars

I've had this on the shelf for 8 months.

Editado: Nov 17, 2020, 4:03 pm

39. Winter in the Blood by James Welch.
The days of a Blackfoot man who lives and works at his mother's Montana ranch.
The story begins with the man's mother, Theresa, informing him that his live-in girlfriend has not only left him but she's taken the only items of value he had, his electric razor and his shotgun. The news matters little, he seems to be an even-tempered young man though he wishes she hadn't taken his things. At some point this level-headedness becomes more clearly an indifference that extends to nearly everything around him. He sees his elderly, silent grandmother who never leaves the living room, yet there's no connection, and he gives no opinion, good or bad, when his mother suddenly comes home with a new husband who is now the boss in the ranch work.
The man, who is still referred to by many as his mother's boy, has to remind people that he's thirty-two years old. He and everyone he knows drinks heavily, switching bed partners and fighting, though these things are clearly just ways for killing time. It's when he allows himself to think about the deaths in his family that we find old wounds that haven't healed and have surely led to the indifference he seems to feel for everyday life.

I believe I've had this since February.

Editado: Dez 11, 2020, 9:02 am

40. Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England by Terry Deary.
A rather light-hearted look at the life of Elizabeth I, including her parents, her unlikely ascension to the throne, the political intrigue and courtiers, and battles with the Spanish Armada.
The author is the creator of the tv show Horribly Histories a truly funny show, but this book is full of what I'd identify as "dad jokes", in that he likes asides and footnotes that fall flat.
Throughout the text are boxes of quotes, and some are quotes from a witness or other relevant person to the episode being discussed, but most are not, they're quotes that were made about other events by people who weren't speaking of Elizabethan England, such as Charlie Chaplin or Thoreau. Seemed like padding, really.
That isn't to say this isn't full of interesting information, and it's formatted in a way that even someone who doesn't read history wouldn't be intimidated. Sprinkled throughout, there's also a selection of asides by a doctor who explains exactly what "drawing and quartering" means and how diseases such as typhus or tuberculosis destroy the body.

I've had this for two years.
This may be my last ROOT for 2020. I'll be continuing in 2021 and hope to do better.

Dez 11, 2020, 9:13 am

Editado: Dez 15, 2020, 12:04 pm

One more...

41. Recipes from the Dump by Abigail Stone. This is a quirky one, hard to place in a genre other than just lumping it in general fiction.
Gabby is in her thirties, overweight, working yet lives below the poverty line, and has three children though she's never been married. She listens to Shakespeare on tape and memorizes lines, and her only close friend is elderly neighbor Hester, whom she walks around the shore with as they watch the progress made on low-income housing nearby that caused the forest to be cut down. It's the early 90's in a small Vermont town, and Gabby is still holding on to her hippie days as much as possible.
Gabby's loneliness is palpable, a desperation she keeps returning to. At first she makes light of it even as she's acknowledging it, but as times passes it turns to depression. Yet just when she reaches her most desperate moods, when she wonders why she can't get anyone, one of a couple of interested men appear and she is reminded that she still has standards.
Funny and introspective. The title refers not to workable recipes but parodies of recipes, ones that call for telemarketers, mailmen delivering bills and creepy strangers in the ingredients list.

I've had this about two and a half years.

Dez 25, 2020, 6:49 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 29, 2020, 12:41 pm

Thank you so much, Connie! I had a very good Christmas in Las Vegas, and I hope you did too!