Robertgreaves is ROOTing again in 2020

Discussão2020 ROOT CHALLENGE

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Robertgreaves is ROOTing again in 2020

Dez 31, 2019, 7:15 am

For the new decade I've decided to change to calendar years, January to December, rather than years of my age.

My target for 2020 is 90 ROOTs. At the moment ROOTs are books I've owned since before 30 September 2019, and new books will become ROOTs on 11 January 2020 and 30 September 2020.

My big physical book splurges each year are the Christmas and New Year period, the Big Bad Wolf Sale, which is usually round about Easter, and my birthday in September.

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

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

My reading plans for January are:

Editado: Jan 31, 2020, 12:16 am

My ticker:

Dez 31, 2019, 7:30 am

Welcome back, Robert. Nice to see you do a calendar year.

Dez 31, 2019, 7:34 am

Welcome back from me too, Robert. I have The Silk Roads lined up as a possible read later this year. I bought the audiobook for my mother in law a couple of years ago and she said it was excellent, really interesting.

Dez 31, 2019, 10:04 am

Wishing you a good year of reading in 2020!

Dez 31, 2019, 2:45 pm

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Dez 31, 2019, 5:50 pm

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

Jan 2, 2020, 7:20 am

Thank you all for dropping in.

My first book for 2020 is The Plague Maiden by Kate Ellis. It's not a ROOT just the next in the series I started at the end of December.

My review of The Skeleton Room:

A skeleton is found in a sealed room as a former girls' boarding school is being renovated to become a hotel, a body is found in the sea near an 18th century wreck, and a lorryload of computers is hijacked and the computers stolen.

Some people's roles were fairly obvious right from the start but there were still enough surprises. There were hints of drama to come in Wesley's private life later in the series, which I hope are not realised.

Jan 2, 2020, 8:33 am

Happy reading through 2020, Robert!

You’ve piqued my interest with The Silk Roads - first BB of the decade.

Jan 2, 2020, 10:50 am

That reminds me of a ticker I wanted to make for BBs.

Going to do that now.

Jan 2, 2020, 12:45 pm

Welcome back, Robert. I'm looking foreward to quite a few book bullets!

Jan 2, 2020, 3:15 pm

Happy 2020 and may your ROOTing be successful!

Jan 2, 2020, 5:40 pm

Happy ROOTing in 2020!

Jan 3, 2020, 3:50 am

Thanks for dropping by, Miss Watson, Sace, and mstrust

Jan 3, 2020, 8:16 am

Starting my No. 2 for 2019, The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters, which fits the AlphaKIT and MysteryKIT. It is not a ROOT.

My review of The Plague Maiden:

Foodstuffs in a supermarket are being deliberately poisoned with botulism while construction of a new branch is being planned in a field which was once a plague pit. What is the connection with the murder of a vicar twelve years earlier? Was the wrong man convicted? And who is the modern body unearthed in the plague pit?

Good parallels between the two periods as usual. I guessed who the murderer was about half way through and the final revelation concerning the back story didn't surprise me.

Jan 7, 2020, 3:10 am

Starting my No. 3 for 2019, Under the Waterfall by Neil S. Plakcy. This fits the AlphaKIT but it is not a ROOT.

My review of The Ape Who Guards the Balance:

A private Egyptological collection is stolen from a house in London during a suffragette demonstration. Somebody attempts to kidnap Peabody. More untoward events occur when the family relocates to Egypt for a new digging season. Has The Master Criminal returned?

I always enjoy Amelia Peabody's narrative voice but it's been a while since I've read some of these so I didn't always get the references to earlier instalments - especially as the footnotes were missing from this edition.

Jan 8, 2020, 10:35 am

Starting my No. 4 for 2020 (yes, only 8 days late!!!), Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. It fits the AlphaKIT but is not a ROOT.

My review of Under the Waterfall:

Aidan and Liam have to protect the family of a mining engineer in Corsica which has been receiving threatening letters. But who is sending the letters? Environmentalists? Corsican nationalists? Or is the motivation more personal or just criminal?

Always fun spending time with the boyz.

Jan 9, 2020, 3:49 am

My No. 5 is a book of short stories for occasional reading, Mumbai Noir edited by Altaf Tyrewala. Although I don't expect to finish it this month, it does fit the AlphaKIT and GeoCAT.

Jan 11, 2020, 7:16 am

I have 65 books on the treebook TBR shelves (seen below) and 134 books on the virtual TBR shelves, all of which are now eligible for ROOTing purposes.

This time last year I had 76 treebooks on the TBR shelves and 132 ebooks on the virtual TBR shelves, so treebooks are down by 11 and ebooks up by 2, making a total reduction of 9. I am going to run out of books in 22 years.

Jan 11, 2020, 10:19 am

>19 Robertgreaves: 22 years? That's a comfortably long way off, then.

Jan 11, 2020, 11:27 am

>19 Robertgreaves: Such a LTer thing to do the math and figure out that you have enough books to last X amount of time! :-D

Jan 11, 2020, 1:18 pm

You encouraged me to look at my book numbers. If I decrease Mt TBR by 14 every year then I will finish all my books in just over 30 years. There's my next challenge!

Jan 11, 2020, 1:48 pm

I did do the math too. I ended 2019 with the TBR down by 27 books. If I do that every year I will need 16,55555 years and will be 82 years old.

Jan 11, 2020, 6:15 pm

>19 Robertgreaves: LOL! I have studiously avoided actually counting how many print ROOTs I have but based upon your photo, approximately 5 times what you have (if not more!)...

Editado: Jan 12, 2020, 1:21 am

Currently reading my No. 6, The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle. I am reading this for my book club and it is not a ROOT.

My review of Commonwealth:

Beverly Keating and Bert Cousins leave their respective spouses and marry each other. We follow the reverberations through the lives of the step-brothers and sisters, in particular Franny Keating.

It was beautifully written - after all, this is Ann Patchett - but I did get the characters confused at times because I simply wasn't particularly interested in any of them. Perhaps it just wasn't the right book for aeroplane reading or perhaps my expectations based on the others of her books that I've read were impossibly high.

Jan 12, 2020, 7:28 pm

My first ROOT for 2020, Eyrie by Tim Winton, turned out to be a bit of a dud. I read the first 30 pages or so and realised that was enough.

So, my No. 7 is Selections from the Tatler and the Spectator by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.

My review of The Good Liar:

An elderly couple meet through an internet dating site, but all is not what it seems.

An enjoyable cat and mouse game where you are not sure at first who is the cat and who is the mouse. It's much less violent than the film with the man more of a conman and opportunist and not so much of a thug.

Editado: Jan 18, 2020, 1:27 am

Starting my No. 8, Agatha's First Case by M. C. Beaton. This is my second ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT and I am reading it in memoriam as the author died recently.

My review of Agatha's First Case:

Short story telling how Agatha got her start in PR and detective work.

I still find Ms. Beaton's style a bit clunky, so having read two novels and now a short story, I'm in no hurry to look at her other works.

Jan 18, 2020, 1:18 am

Starting my No. 9, Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. This is my third ROOT for 2020, bringing the treebook count down to 60. It fits the AlphaKIT.

Jan 19, 2020, 6:47 pm

Starting my No. 10, Kant: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scruton. This is my fourth ROOT for 2020, bring the treebook count down to 59. The author died recently, so I'm partly reading it in memoriam.

My review of Numero Zero:

Colonna (I don't think we ever find out his first name) is terrified. While he was asleep somebody turned off his water supply. Are "they" telling him that they know where he lives and can get into his apartment at any time without leaving any traces?

Although it's less than a third of the length, this is basically a rehash of Foucault's Pendulum with conspiracies to restore Fascism in post WWII Italy playing the role of the Templars and other occult groups in the earlier work. The occultists held my interest much better than the fascists.

Editado: Jan 21, 2020, 5:08 am

Starting my No. 11, Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson. This ebook is my fifth ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Kant: A Very Short Introduction:

I think I sort of understood most of it, but how much I will coherently remember or could explain to anybody else is another matter.

Jan 21, 2020, 9:11 am

>30 Robertgreaves: "I think I sort of understood most of it, but how much I will coherently remember or could explain to anybody else is another matter." I so know that feeling! I feel clever while I read (and more or less understand) something, but if you asked me 10 minutes after closing the book, all bets are off!

Editado: Jan 22, 2020, 6:52 pm

Starting my No. 12, The Man From the Sea by Michael Innes. This is my sixth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 60.

My review of Life in Ancient Rome:

A disappointment. Apart from some references to prostitution the broad strokes are so broad as to seem to be aimed at 8 or 9 year olds.

Jan 23, 2020, 6:58 pm

Starting my No. 13, Buddha: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Carrithers. This is my seventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 59. It also fits the GeoCAT.

My review of The Man From the Sea:

When a stranger comes out of the sea interrupting Richard Cranston's midnight beach frolic with another man's wife, he feels compelled to help the stranger, who is being pursued by armed and dangerous men.

Not one of Innes's best. I missed Appleby's erudition and the chase across the Scottish moors was far too reminiscent of, and inferior to, The Secret Vanguard.

Jan 24, 2020, 7:24 am

Starting my No. 14, Illegally Dead by David Wishart. This ebook is my eighth ROOT for 2020 and fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of Buddha: A Very Short Introduction:

Looks at the milieu the Buddha lived in and what based on the sources but without blindly following them the philosophy he must have espoused. Within that it does what is says on the tin.

Jan 25, 2020, 2:27 am

Starting my No. 19, The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke. This is my ninth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR down to 58. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Illegally Dead:

Marcus Corvinus is summoned to his aunt-in-law's village by his adopted daughter because she suspects a neighbour may have been poisoned rather than succumbed to a longstanding degenerative disease.

I love Corvinus's 'voice'. Although the mystery itself was fairly run of the mill, it is just so much fun the way Corvinus tells it.

Jan 25, 2020, 7:27 pm

Starting my No. 20, The Great Dinosaur Robbery by David Forrest. This ebook is my tenth ROOT for 2020.

My review of The City and the Stars:

Safe from the Invaders, the City has more to offer than one could sample in a million lifetimes, so why would anybody want to leave? But suppose somebody did?

A great page-turning adventure exploring different paths humans could take from one of the mid-20th century masters.

Jan 26, 2020, 6:00 am

Starting my No. 21, Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi. This is my eleventh ROOT of 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 57. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Great Dinosaur Robbery:

A team of British nannies working in New York have to retrieve a microdot containing vital information from the biggest exhibit in Room 13 of the American Museum -- a brontosaurus.

I read this 50-odd years ago and enjoyed the sheer ludicrousness of it, but it hasn't really worn well - especially the stereotype Chinese spies. The scene between Tarzan the parrot and the museum guard is still funny, though.

Jan 26, 2020, 6:57 am

You are really reading an lot, Robert.

Jan 26, 2020, 6:14 pm

>38 connie53: All quite short books, Connie

Jan 27, 2020, 11:19 pm

Starting my No. 22, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. This is my twelfth ROOT of 2020 and brings the TBR volumes down to 58. It fits the NonFictionCAT.

My review of Down and Across:

While 16 year old Scott/Saaket Ferdowsi's parents are visiting his grandfather in Iran, he runs away to consult a professor of psychology at Georgetown University in Washington DC who is branching out into inspirational self-help articles and videos.

While it's a quick, smooth read I didn't really feel much interest in any of the characters and their antics. Given the title and the patterning of the cover and the chapter headings, there should have been a lot more about crosswords.

Jan 30, 2020, 6:56 pm

Somehow I miscounted my number of books read this month. It should be 18. I don't know why I thought 19 came after 14.

Jan 31, 2020, 2:31 am

Possible reading for February 2020

Editado: Fev 1, 2020, 1:09 am

Starting Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey for my No. 19. This ebook is my thirteenth ROOT for 2020. I'm reading it now for my Reading Group. It fits GeoCAT and since we are only reading the first half until Odysseus arrives back in Ithaca, I think it also fits NonFictionCAT's theme of travel.

My review of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World:

The author is writing against the popular prevailing idea that specialising as early as possible with deliberate practice in an attempt to get a head start is the best way to proceed.

He adduces examples from sports and games, music, engineering, science and the arts to show that sampling and experimenting till you find something that really fits you is much more productive and fruitful

I suspect the truth lies in between, that the world needs both specialised plodders and generalists who can bring new, creative approaches informed by their experience in other fields.

Fev 3, 2020, 11:12 am

Your ROOTing is going very well! I had about a 50/50 ratio so far.

Fev 5, 2020, 6:51 pm

>44 mstrust: Thanks, mstrust.

Starting my No. 44, The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey. This ebook is not a ROOT.

Fev 7, 2020, 1:45 am

I have abandoned The Western Wind:

Newman has disappeared, presumed drowned in the local river at Oakham in 1491. Accident, suicide, or murder?

This book backtracks through the 4 days since Newman's presumed drowning. I got about halfway through day 3 and gave up. I don't know if it was me or the book but I was spending too much time thinking about what I'd rather be reading.

Fev 7, 2020, 2:51 am

>46 Robertgreaves: Thinking about what you would rather read is a sign! Good for you to give up on the book that did not keep your attention.

Fev 7, 2020, 4:04 am

So, my new No. 44 is Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody. This is my fourteenth ROOT for 2020. I am reading it now for the AlphaKIT.

Fev 8, 2020, 7:07 pm

My new No. 45 is A Medal for Murder the next in the Kate Shackleton series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Dying in the Wool:

Having successfully tracked down missing soldiers for their families after WWI, Kate Shackleton is asked by a friend from when they were both in the VAD to turn professional and find her father, a mill owner who went missing in 1916.

Interesting background, but I think I spotted a slip with regard to Kate's family (admittedly not the real focus of the story) which an editor should have caught.

Fev 10, 2020, 4:14 am

>49 Robertgreaves: but I think I spotted a slip with regard to Kate's family

I like that! spotting something in a book that's not correct and not noticed by the editor. That makes me feel real good!

Fev 10, 2020, 11:55 pm

>50 connie53: Up to a point. If it keeps happening and dragging me out of the story, I will give up on an author.

Starting the next in the series, Murder in the Afternoon. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of A Medal for Murder:

After an amateur production of a dramatisation of Anna of the Five Towns, Kate finds a body in a shop doorway and the lead actress goes into hiding and sends a fake ransom note to force her grandfather to give her her inheritance so she can go to RADA.

Good well-paced story which provides sympathy even for unsympathetic characters and skillfully avoids threatened toe-curling embarrassment for the reader.

Fev 11, 2020, 3:30 am

>51 Robertgreaves: I went so far once that I contacted the writer (A Dutch woman I knew from a Dutch forum, that made it easier to do so) and in the next batch of books they corrected it. She was happy I told her about it.

Fev 11, 2020, 4:45 am

>52 connie53: I have done with some other authors, so I might drop her a line.

Fev 12, 2020, 9:18 pm

>52 connie53: I dropped the author a note via FB Messenger and she wrote back saying I was right but I was the only person who had noticed or at any rate pointed it out.

Starting my No. 47, The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre. I am reading this now for my book club but it also fits the AlphaKIT and it may fit GeoCAT depending on how much of it actually takes place in the Soviet Union.

My review of Murder in the Afternoon:

Kate is woken up at four in the morning by a woman asking for her help in tracing her husband, who has disappeared and who may or may not have been seen by her daughter lying dead or unconscious in the quarry where he worked. When the daughter raised the alarm and fetched neighbours, he was nowhere to be seen.

I enjoyed meeting Kate's birth family in this one. I hope they continue to play a part in the series. The solution was gratifying but unexpected.

Fev 13, 2020, 3:59 am

>52 connie53: Maybe not many people bother to point it out. But nice that she wrote you back.

Fev 16, 2020, 8:22 am

Starting my No. 24, All This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo. This is my sixteenth ROOT for 2020. It fits the GeoCAT.

My review of The Spy and the Traitor:

This story of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB agent who rose to the head of the KGB's operations in Britain, but who had been a spy for MI6 for many years.

I found reading the first part something of a chore and only persevered because it was a book club choice. The second part, describing Gordievsky's time in London was mildly interesting and the actual escape in part three was quite exciting, but not enough to rescue the whole book. I suspect, however, this reflects my reaction to the genre rather than the actual quality of the book.

Fev 19, 2020, 6:48 am

Starting my No. 25, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. This is my seventeenth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 53.

My review of All This Will I Give To You:

When Manuel Ortigosa is told his husband Álvaro has been killed in a car accident, he also finds out Álvaro was in Galicia rather than Barcelona, where he was supposed to be, and he belonged to a wealthy aristocratic family. What else didn't he know? He goes to the family's estate for the funeral and to get some answers.

The first two-thirds or so of this book was engrossing but very slow-moving (at one point I thought "Has it only been a week since Álvaro's death? It feels more like a month."). But then the revelations and action come thick and fast in the final third not giving the readers a chance to catch their breath.

Since this was a freebie for last year's World Book Day, I will pick some nits and point out that the editor for the translation should have picked up that a marquis's wife is a marchioness, not a marquess (alternative spelling of marquis) and several times 'secret' was used when I think 'secrecy' would have been more idiomatic.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the author's other books.

Fev 19, 2020, 9:39 am

>54 Robertgreaves: You should at least get some free swag out of that. Good job!

Editado: Fev 21, 2020, 8:27 am

Starting my No. 26, Blind Eye by Marilyn Todd. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT and GeoCAT.

My review of Earth Abides:

Isherwood Campbell is bitten by a rattlesnake on a hiking trip in the Sierras. When he recovers enough to return to the city he finds humanity has succumbed to a new virus and he is one of the few left alive.

A very powerfully told post-apocalyptic novel with a focus on Ish's activities as he drives from San Francisco to New York and back and eventually becomes the centre of a community of survivors and on Ish's anthropologically and historically informed thoughts about people's reactions to the disaster and how the community should best face the future.

Although it's not an emotional book, I did get a bit weepy in the last 30 pages or so.

Fev 23, 2020, 11:43 pm

Currently reading my No. 27, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. This ebook is my eighteenth ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT and GeoCAT.

My review of Blind Eye:

Iliona is "persuaded" to work with the Spartan secret service on a mission to Syracuse to prove that it was not Spartans who slaughtered Syracuse's herd of cavalry horses. But then members of the team start dying.

A disappointment. The frequent references to a serpent in paradise were too reminiscent of Christianity to work as the musings of a Spartan priestess or the villain despite a belated attempt to tie it in with Greek mythology. The Claudia Seferius series was much better.

Fev 24, 2020, 6:34 pm

Starting my No. 28, Dead But Not Forgotten, a collection of short stories edited by Charlaine Harris. This is my nineteenth ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Girl You Left Behind:

The first part is the story of Sophie Lefèvre in occupied France during the First World War, and the second part the sotry of Liv and Paul, on opposite sides in the legal struggles over Sophie's portrait, painted by her artist husband, in the 2000s.

The tension involved in Sophie's life during the first part was very well done, making it difficult to read, while the second part was a real emotional roller coaster.

Editado: Fev 25, 2020, 6:48 pm

Starting my No. 29, Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch. This is my twentieth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 52 books. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Dead But Not Forgotten:

Southern Vampire fanfic by other novelists, who I don't think I've ever heard of, and edited by Ms. Harris herself. The stories varied in quality and some involved characters so minor I have no memory of them at all. None of them inspired me to look for their author's own work.

Fev 27, 2020, 6:37 pm

Starting my No. 30, The Iron Age by Arja Kajermo. This ebook is my twenty-first ROOT for 2020 and fits the GeoCAT.

My review of Because Internet:

The author explores various internet and language related themes, stressing that internet users are not a monolithic block but vary according to when and why they started using it ranging from those who were there in its very early days to those who have grown up with it always there. She teases out what online behaviour is analogous to offline behaviour (eg teen hangouts) and what is genuinely new (eg emojis).


Fev 28, 2020, 3:05 am

Starting my No. 31, The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling. This ebook is my twenty-second ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Iron Age:

A novel loosely based on the author's childhood in Finland and then Sweden.

I'm not sure how this book ended up on my virtual TBR shelf. For the most part it read like a series of snapshots rather than any real story. It would have made an interesting couple of magazine articles.

Fev 28, 2020, 9:31 am

>63 Robertgreaves: I'm really keen to read Because Internet - I follow the author on twitter and she is a great communicator.

Fev 28, 2020, 10:05 pm

Possible reading for March:

Mar 3, 2020, 1:45 am

Starting my No. 32, Drop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Jungle Books:

Although I have a vague idea that I read the two Jungle Books as a teenager if not even younger, I had long ago forgotten that they were collections of short stories, some of which have nothing to do with Mowgli and friends. As a child, the Disney cartoon Jungle Book was my favourite film, and it was interesting to see what the film had taken from the films and what they had left out, but I think if I had come across the stories now for the first time I probably wouldn't have read very far. Just meh all the way.

Mar 5, 2020, 12:35 am

Starting my No. 33, After Many A Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley. This is my twenty-third ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebooks down to 51. It fits the RandomCAT.

My review of Drop Dead Healthy:

A. J. Jacobs tries out different ways of getting healthy over a period of two years.

It was amusing and thought provoking in the way his books generally are, though I'm not sure how many of the methods explored I could actually put into practice.

Mar 6, 2020, 6:36 pm

Giving up on After Many A Summer Dies the Swan, so my new No. 33 is Murder on Camac by Joseph R. G. DeMarco. This ebook is not a ROOT but it fits the AlphaKIT.

Mar 9, 2020, 12:57 am

Next in the series is A Body on Pine. This is my No. 34 and is not a ROOT. I went to the BBW sale on Saturday and came away with 11 books. This means my treebook count is now 62.

My review of Murder on Camac:

PI Marco Fontana is asked to investigate the death of a writer who was gunned down in Philadelphia, but was it a mugging that went wrong as the police claim or was a hit put out on him by a spurned lover or by people who did not want the research in his latest Work In Progress to surface?

Enjoyable, twisty, puzzle. Marco is lots of fun and both his PI business and his side business bring him into contact with a intriguing mix of characters both professionally and personally.

Mar 9, 2020, 2:42 pm

I'm taking a hit for Drop Dead Healthy, I'd never heard of this one. Thanks for the review, And congrats on your book sale haul!

Mar 10, 2020, 6:30 am

Next in the series is Death on Delancy. This is my No. 35 and not a ROOT.

My review of A Body on Pine:

When Marco goes for a massage, he finds a dead body in the spa and no sign of the masseur. What is going on?

I worked out the who and why long before Marco found the proof, but it was still a quick, fun read. On to the next one to see if he gets his love life sorted out.

Mar 11, 2020, 8:52 am

My no. 36 is next in the series, a volume of short stories set in Marco's earlier years, Crimes on Latimer.

My review of Death on Delancey:

The winner of a bartending contest is later found dead in what appears to be a murder suicide. The sponsor of the competition is worried that conspiracy theorists will hold him to blame and hires Marco to investigate.

More good fun but can't say much more without spoilers.

Mar 12, 2020, 9:25 am

My No. 37 is Circe by Madeline Miller. This is not a ROOT but I am reading it now for my online reading group. It also fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Crimes on Latimer:

Six short stories prequelling the first in the Marco Fontana series.

Enjoyable stories but we didn't get what I was hoping for, how Marco met Nina and the other geeks, the case of Olga's husband, and of course Marco's lost love.

Mar 14, 2020, 3:55 am

My No. 38 is Three Tales About Marriage by Geoffrey Chaucer. This is my twenty-fourth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook number down to 61. It also fits the AlphKIT.

My review of Circe:

Well written and imagined reminiscences of the witch Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun god.

Mar 16, 2020, 6:39 am

Starting my No. 39, Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie. This ebook is my twenty-fifth ROOT for 2020 and fits the MysteryCAT and the AlphaKIT.

Mar 16, 2020, 11:10 am

>69 Robertgreaves: It's not a shock to me that you gave up on After Many a Summer Dies the Swan. I read it a few years back and remember enjoying it in a "This is really Aldous Huxley?" kind of way. I found it to be so off the wall as to be interesting. But I can definitely see someone losing interest.

Mar 17, 2020, 5:58 am

Starting my No. 40, Dumb Witness, another Agatha Christie. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the MysteryCAT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of Cards on the Table:

Mr Shaitana holds a dinner party with four detectives and four murderers who got away with their crimes. While his guests play bridge, Mr Shaitana is murdered. But which of the murderers did it?

First of all, I have to say I know nothing about bridge, so a lot of Poirot's line of questioning went way over my head. Despite that I enjoyed being bamboozled by it not being the person who I considered the most obvious suspect.

Mar 18, 2020, 8:22 pm

Starting my No. 41, Death on the Nile. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the MysteryCAT, the GeoCAT, and the AlphaKIT.

My review of Dumb Witness:

After falling downstairs, an elderly woman writes to Poirot requesting his help. By the time he gets the letter, she has died having disinherited her family and leaving everything to her companion. Was it murder?

OK mystery, but I could have done without the thoughts of Bob the dog.

Mar 19, 2020, 3:11 am

Bob the dog! LOL.

Mar 20, 2020, 3:01 am

Starting Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the SFFKIT.

My review of Death on the Nile:

Linette Doyle is murdered on a cruise down the Nile with a gallery of suspects who may have a reason for wishing her demise. Fortunately Poirot and Colonel Race are also among the passengers.

Christie on top form. I just saw the film with Peter Ustinov as Poirot over the Christmas/New Year holidays so I knew whodunnit but that didn't spoil the effect.

Mar 22, 2020, 9:28 am

My No. 43 is the next in the series, Going Postal. This is not a ROOT, but fits the SFFKIT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of Monstrous Regiment:

Polly Perks disguises herself as a boy and joins the army to find her brother Paul.

Not as good as some of Pratchett's but it had its moments.

Mar 25, 2020, 10:47 am

My No. 44 is The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman. This is my twenty-sixth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR count down to 60. It fits the AlphaKIT and SFFKIT.

My review of Going Postal:

Lord Vetinari saves a condemned conman and puts him in charge of the Post Office. But can he turn it into a going concern when the world is turning more and more to the clacks?

All the Pratchett trademarks of great puns, high and low culture references, and social commentary work together to make this great fun.

Mar 26, 2020, 6:32 pm

My No. 55 is The Sandman: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman. This is my twenty-seventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR count down to 59. It fits the AlphaKIT and SFFKIT.

My review of The Sandman: The Doll's House:

The artwork is gorgeous. The problem with the glossy pages is that it is all too easy to turn over several pages at once, which had me very confused for a while in several places.

There was a doll's house, but I have no idea why this volume was called that apart from a nod to the title of Ibsen's play, which I haven't read or seen so I'm no further forward.

Mar 27, 2020, 7:03 am

My No. 46 is A Place of Safety by Caroline Graham. This ebook is my twenty-eighth ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Sandman: Dream Country:

Four independent short stories showing different ways Morpheus interacts with the mortal world.

Again, gorgeously illustrated. The first theree stories (one about an enslaved Muse, one about cats trying to take back the world through dreams, and one about the first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream) were interesting, but I didn't really get the fourth story about immortality as a gift or curse from Ra. I didn't read the script and instructions to the illustrators for the first story, which was included as a bonus.

Mar 27, 2020, 11:31 pm

My No. 47 is Smutby Alan Bennett. This ebook is my twenty-ninth ROOT for 2020 and reduces the treebook TBR count to 58.

My review of A Place of Safety:

A quarrel with one of the unfortunates taken in by her husband involves Ann Lawrence in a case of blackmail and suspected and actual murder. Can Tom Barnaby sort it out?

Good, fun mystery. Not as cozy as the TV versions (Troy is much nastier in the books) but it kept me entertained.

Mar 29, 2020, 7:47 am

I changed my mind about Smut and read the final Barnaby mystery instead. I am now starting my No. 48, Oh Dear, Silvia by Dawn French. I am reading it now for my book club on Saturday, which in the present circs will have to be by Zoom rather than the usual mixture of F2F and Skype.

My review of A Ghost in the Machine:

The death of Dennis Brinkley in his collection of medieval weaponry is dismissed as an accident until a medium who has a surprising amount of knowledge of the circumstances of his death is poisoned a few days before she is due to reveal all.

Barnaby's investigations only really get started just over half way through, and so most of the book is spent following the various characters before, during, and after the investigation rather than the investigation itself. Having said that, it was an intriguing mystery albeit with some characters left at loose ends the reader may wish to finish off for themself.

Mar 29, 2020, 12:35 pm

>87 Robertgreaves: I had my first Zoom meet this afternoon. My real-live bookclub planned a meet a few weeks ago, which was canceled because of Corona. So we had a virtual meet today. Which was fun. We had 14 people online on tiny screens.
I enjoyed it very much.

Mar 31, 2020, 7:46 am

>88 connie53: I've been using it for work and it seems to be going well so far.

My No. 49 is Living With A Dead Language by Ann Patty. This is my twenty-ninth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR count down to 58. I'm reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Oh Dear Silvia:

Silvia Shute lies in a coma in a hospital intensive care unit. Hoping to rouse her, family and friends come in to talk to her.

There were some very, very funny parts, mainly involving Silvia's sister, Jo. Other parts I found irritating, particularly Silvia's Indonesian cleaning lady, Tia. I didn't find her particular brand of broken English convincing, and I think most Indonesians would have no problem pronouncing Shute even if the spelling threw them off at first. It certainly wouldn't end up being pronounced 'shit'.

The Jamaican nurse's eye dialect was something of a trial as well, even though she had a good storyline.

The ending was unexpectedly moving.

Mar 31, 2020, 8:29 am

Possible reading for April:

Abr 2, 2020, 5:42 am

My No. 50 is The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein. This ebook is my thirtieth ROOT for 2020. I'm reading it now for the AlphaKIT.

My review of Living With A Dead Language:

Ann Patty's memoir of learning Latin in her retirement.

Her musings on the process of learning Latin and how it tied in with or reminded her of earlier parts of her life were interesting.

However, as a former editor herself, she really should have got someone to cast an eye over her work. Nouns don't have a first person singular and first person plural (I think she meant nominative singular and nominative plural) and she should know the difference between 'hoard' and 'horde'.

And although she comes across as a driven, self-reflective but on the whole likeable woman, she did come perilously close to suggesting a gay male friend is an accessory every sophisticated New York woman should have.

Abr 3, 2020, 7:45 am

My No. 51 is Making Money by Terry Pratchett. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Trauma Cleaner:

I got this book because of the word of mouth on LT and Litsey about how good it was. Going in I was expecting the main focus to be the cleaning jobs Sandra Pankhurst had worked on, but her lifestory as a trans woman in Australia was unexpectedly compelling.

I also didn't realise the book was somebody writing about her rather than her own memoirs. And TBH I found the way the author kept injecting herself and her opinions into the narrative rather irritating. Also the book was definitely overwritten in places in a search for significance and literary style which it didn't need as Ms Pankhurst's life and work are more than capable of standing on their own merits.

Editado: Abr 3, 2020, 9:22 pm

Also reading my No. 52, Smut by Alan Bennett. This is my thirty-first ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR count down to 57. It fits the AlphaKIT.

Abr 6, 2020, 8:18 am

Starting my No. 53, The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy. This is my thirty-second ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook count down to 56. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Making Money:

Moist von Lipwig is made Master of the Ankh-Morpork Mint and introduces the concept of paper money.

My review of Smut:

Two very funny novellas about people's unexpected sexual and financial entanglements.

Abr 6, 2020, 3:42 pm

>94 Robertgreaves: I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on The Prodigal Tongue!

Abr 8, 2020, 9:18 am

Having watched 'Hamlet' from the Globe last night ( ), my No. 54 is Hamlet Globe to Globe by Dominic Dromgoole. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Prodigal Tongue:

Differences and similarities between (mainly) English English and American English, how each variety is seen by speakers of the other, and how all that is changing.

Anybody who has read the author's blog at all regularly will know what to expect: a look at what people actually say and write and how that has changed to bring the two varieties closer together or push them further apart rather than jeremiads about language degeneration based on no more than gut feeling.

Something anyone feeling the urge to pontificate about language should read first.

Abr 9, 2020, 5:52 am

Also reading my No. 55, The Secret Dead, a novella by S. J. Parris. This is my thirty-third ROOT for 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT.

Abr 10, 2020, 9:27 am

Starting my No. 56, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon This is my thirty-fourth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR down to 55. It fits the SFFKIT.

My review of The Secret Dead:

Prequel novella in the Giordano Bruno series.

Not much of a mystery, really, more of a look at Bruno's background.

Since Bruno repeatedly swears never to tell anyone what happened, I felt there should be a framing story to justify this 1st person narrative.

My review of Hamlet Globe to Globe:

A touring company from the Globe Theatre in London goes on the ultimate tour: 2 years travelling round the world in an attempt to put on a performance of Hamlet in every country.

I was expecting more of a travelogue but it turned out to be a series of reflections on the play with traveller's tales and reflections on people and places mixed in. And once I'd mentally shifted gears, it worked very well.

Abr 11, 2020, 4:09 am

>98 Robertgreaves: My favorite series! Enjoy!

Abr 15, 2020, 11:47 pm

Starting my No. 57, Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stevens. This is my thirty-fifth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR count down to 54.

My review of Outlander:

A stone circle in Scotland sends Claire Randall back 202 years into the past from 1945 to 1743.

Diana Gabaldon is a great story-teller and I can see why so many find her books addictive. However, it has to be said that the beginning of the book, set in 1945, is woefully under-researched. The whole 'post-war' picture of Scotland was generally unconvincing, made even more so by Claire and Frank having spent some time after the war in the Highlands when she was sent back, but this was at Beltane (1 May), i.e., a week before the war ended.

Having said that I do have the second book in the series on order :-)

Abr 17, 2020, 1:24 am

Starting my No. 58, House of Rejoicing by Libbie Hawker. This is my thirty-sixth ROOT for 2020.

My review of Jung: A Very Short Introduction:

Something of a struggle to get through. It was difficult to avoid the impression at times that a lot of what Jung was saying was pure verbiage without any meaning one could test against reality.

Abr 18, 2020, 5:23 am

My review of House of Rejoicing:

Harem politics in the time of Akhenaton. I was a quarter of the way through this first in the trilogy when I realised I didn't really care enough about any of the characters enough to get through all three volumes.

My new No. 58 is Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. This ebook is not a ROOT but fits the AlphaKIT.

Abr 20, 2020, 7:02 am

My No. 59 is Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This is my thirty-seventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR books down to 53.

My review of Raising Steam:

AnkhMorpork enters the Railway Age.

Lots of cameo roles for people from previous books, making it a conscious swansong even if it wasn't actually the last book.

Abr 22, 2020, 6:21 am

Starting my No. 60, Crime through Time II, edited by Miriam Grace Monfredo and Sharan Newman. This is my thirty-eighth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR books down to 52.

My review of Lord of the Flies:

A group of schoolboys is marooned on a tropical island after their plane crashes.

A classic exploration of how powerless rationality is when faced with the irrational, something we can see playing out in all too many parts of the world now.

Abr 22, 2020, 8:11 pm

Happy World Book Day everyone. In honour of the occasion, my no. 61 is The Great Passage by Shion Miura. This is my thirty-ninth ROOT for 2020 and also fits the AlphaKIT.

Abr 24, 2020, 8:23 am

Starting my No. 62, The River God's Vengeance by John Maddox Roberts. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Great Passage:

Lexicographers working for a Japanese publishing house spend 15 years on bringing out a new dictionary.

A lovely story wonderfully translated so that the non Japanese speaking reader can, to some extent, grasp the nuances the lexicographers discuss. I was surprised how little impact computers seem to have made on the methodology used in compiling the dictionary. The characters use email, but their methods involve index cards, hand correcting paper proofs, a lot of design decisions made intuitively in people's heads rather than looking at a screens, and the characters read and watch TV to look for new usages and coinages rather than use corpora.

In the story of the characters' interactions and feelings the translator used a style that, at least to somebody with no experience of Japan, did not seem to be ignoring differences in story-telling and culture between Japanese society and most English-speaking cultures but still read very fluently. And who would have thought it possible to bring tears to the eye in a story of lexicographical triumphs and failures?

All the stars.

Abr 25, 2020, 8:49 am

Starting my No. 63, The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. This is my fortieth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 51.

My review of The River God's Vengeance:

When an insula collapses, killing more than 200 people, Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, who as an aedile is responsible for enforcing the building code, investigates. Was it purely shoddy workmanship and materials or was something more sinister going on?

Always a pleasure to watch Decius Caecilius and his household and friends at work.

Abr 25, 2020, 9:55 am

>106 Robertgreaves: Added to the to-read list! I love books about translators, interpreters, and lexicographers.

Abr 26, 2020, 2:25 am

Starting my No. 64, The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. This is my forty-first ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 50.

My review of The Invisible Man:

An original take on the idea of becoming invisible and the problems that might follow. Not as compelling a read as some of the author's other works.

Abr 26, 2020, 8:26 am

Starting my No. 66, The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley. This is my forty-second ROOT for 2020 and brings the TBR volumes down to 49. I am reading it now for my book club and it may also fit the Non-FictionCAT.

My review of The October Man:

Meanwhile in Germany ....

Fun novella and short story about the Folly's counterparts in Germany dealing with mysterious deaths surrounding a vineyard on a tributary of the Mosel.

(no touchstones)

Abr 27, 2020, 9:28 pm

Starting my No. 67, The Evolution of Ethan Poe by Robin Reardon. This ebook is my forty-third ROOT of 2020.

Abr 28, 2020, 1:56 am

Starting a new No. 67, The Secret of Lonesome Cove by Samuel Hopkins Adams. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Evolution of Ethan Poe:

40 pages in I'd had enough of this heavy-handed "issue" novel about evolution and creationism in schools.

Abr 29, 2020, 9:09 pm

Back to Crime Through Time II.

My review of The Secret of Lonesome Cove:

A mysterious body is found on the beach at Lonesome Cove, handcuffed to a grid and with a head wound. When suspicion falls on Francis Sedgwick, his friend Chester Kent, a professor who undertakes work investigating for the Department of Justice, takes on the case.

This book dates from 1912 and so falls between Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. The racial stereotyping of Gansett Jim (a mixed race Native American/African American) is the only sour note. Apart from that, it not only gives us a picture of its time but is also a very good mystery with an unexpected solution, which the dedication with its hint of a real-life parallel makes even more intriguing.

Abr 30, 2020, 4:09 am

My reading plan for May:

Abr 30, 2020, 7:50 pm

Starting my No. 68, Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Crime Through Time II:

An anthology of short stories in the historical detective fiction genre.

The only stories I really liked in this collection were the ones by authors I was already familiar with. Perhaps world building and solving a crime are just too much for a short story.

Editado: Maio 1, 2020, 12:10 am

Starting my No. 69, The Order of the Poison Oak, the next in Brent Hartinger's Russel Middlebrook series.

My review of Geography Club:

Sweet YA novel about Russel Middlebrook finding out he is not the only gay kid in school, making choices between popularity and doing the right thing, and the importance of forgiving and finding forgiveness.

Maio 1, 2020, 5:55 am

Starting my No. 70, the next in the series, Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies / Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies. This fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Order of the Poison Oak:

Russel and friends become counsellors at a camp for children who bear facial scars as survivors of burns.

Russel makes mistakes but tries to make amends and learns from his mistakes. I like him.

Maio 1, 2020, 10:24 pm

My No. 71 is the next in the series, The Elephant of Surprise.

My review of Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies / Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies:

Russel Middlebrook and friends get work as extras in a zombie film.

I liked the way the story was told in two first-person narratives, giving us first Russel's point of view and then Min's, though it did make me wonder for a few seconds whether something had gone wrong with the download for my ebook.

Editado: Maio 2, 2020, 3:45 am

My No. 72 is the first in a series about Russel Middlebrook as an adult, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know.

My review of The Elephant of Surprise:

Russel finds out a bit of unpredictability (emphasis on a bit) is a good thing and gets his HEA.

A nice wrap up.

Maio 2, 2020, 8:49 pm

My No. 73 is the next in the Russel Middlebrook adult series, Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams.

I'd read The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know before, but enjoyed it more this time recognising some of the characters from the previous books.

Maio 3, 2020, 7:27 am

My No. 74 is the last in the series, The Road to Amazing.

My review of Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams:

Russel and Kevin move to LA as Russel tries to become a scriptwriter.

WHERE ARE GUNNAR AND MIN? Ok, Russel has moved to another city but not even an exchange of emails?

Maio 4, 2020, 12:56 am

My No. 75 is the first in a spinoff series, The Otto Digmore Difference.

My review of The Road to Amazing:

Russel and Kevin's wedding threatens to turn into a disaster.

Like all these books a quick, fun read.

Maio 4, 2020, 8:14 pm

My No. 76 is the second and latest in the spinoff series, The Otto Digmore Decision.

My review of The Otto Digmore Difference:

Otto and Russel go on a road trip from LA to New Orleans so that Otto can audition for a part in a TV movie.

Maio 5, 2020, 12:12 am

Starting my No. 77, Improbable Destinies by Jonathan Losos. This is my forty-third ROOT for 2020 and brings down the treebook TBR down to 48. It fits the AlphaKIT and the NonFictionCAT.

My overall review of the Russel tetralogy and trilogy, and the Otto Digmore duology:

Yes, there were times when I felt a character was just there mouthing the author's view on some issue but it was a fun collection of interlocking series which read quickly and fluently and I'm looking forward to another series continuing Russel's adventures, which we were promised in pre-corona days.

Maio 8, 2020, 6:26 am

Starting my No. 78, A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow. This ebook is my forty-fourth ROOT for 2020. It fits GeoCAT.

My review of Improbable Destinies:

The book attempts to answer the question of whether, given that there are so many cases of convergent evolution, the evolution of certain features is inevitable in certain environments.

The answer seems to be yes, no, maybe, sometimes.

For the most part I managed to follow the examples and arguments presented, which made me feel clever, but I don't have the background knowledge to be able to tell whether the author is pulling the wool over my eyes with cherry-picked examples and omission of details which would be obvious to a better informed reader.

Maio 9, 2020, 3:20 am

Starting my No. 79, A Fatal Thaw, the second in the Kate Shugak series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of A Cold Day for Murder:

Kate Shugak is asked to look into the disappearance of a well-connected park ranger and the investigator originally sent to find him.

It all feels a bit like the Wild West, though it held my attention more than Westerns do. The interest lies more in the Alaskan setting than the actual mystery, which was pretty run-of-the-mill.

Maio 10, 2020, 4:47 am

Starting my No. 80, Dead in the Water, the third in the Kate Shugak series.

My review of A Fatal Thaw:

A mass murderer goes on the rampage in Niniltna but during the autopsies one of the victims is found to have been killed with a different gun from the others.

The descriptions of the Alaskan physical and social background are still what hold my interest rather than the actual mystery, though the characters are also starting to draw me in - primarily the main character, Kate, and her husky/wolf mix, Mutt, but also the supporting cast of Jack, Bobby, and Bernie.

Maio 10, 2020, 9:07 pm

Starting my No. 81, Amuse Bouche by Anthony Bidulka. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Dead in the Water:

Kate Shugak goes undercover on a crab fishing vessel in the Aleutian islands to investigate the disappearance of two members of the crew.

As someone who gets seasick easily, I found this one a bit too graphic in its description of the lives of the crab fishing crews. The author says she spent five years in her childhood on a crab fishing vessel with her mother. I just cannot, will not try to, imagine it.

Maio 11, 2020, 5:45 am

Hi Robert! You have been reading a lot! Wow. I hope you are doing fine and feel good! Keep safe.

Maio 11, 2020, 7:58 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Connie. Everything is good here. I've been reading a lot of short books which don't need much concentration :-)

Maio 11, 2020, 9:07 pm

Currently reading the next in the series, Flight of Aquavit. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Amuse Bouche:

When a groom doesn't turn up for the wedding but appears to have gone off on the honeymoon in France by himself, PI Russell Quant is hired to track him down and demand an explanation.

I love Russell's first person narrative voice in this one even though I have no real reference points for the clothes, food, and wines he talks about.

Maio 12, 2020, 8:59 am

My No. 83 is the third in the series, Tapas on the Ramblas.

My review of Flight of Aquavit:

Russell is lured into the countryside where an attempt is made to intimidate him into dropping a case. But he doesn't have a case until the next week when he gets a client asking him to help him deal with a blackmail note.

Nice and twisty. I still deplore Russell's liking for mixing beer (nasty stuff in itself) and clamato (which sounds absolutely revolting).

Maio 12, 2020, 9:18 am

>132 Robertgreaves: Can confirm, Clamato is pretty gross. It's basically watery, salty ketchup with an undertone of seafood. I know this because a friend and I were out at a food-truck festival and there was a Clamato truck giving out free samples. My friend loves free samples so she took a glass, then pronounced it disgusting. I managed to finish it for her (it was a small glass) but will definitely not try it again.

Maio 13, 2020, 4:47 am

>130 Robertgreaves: Good to hear that, Robert. And I think all ROOTers read lots of books in these days.

Maio 13, 2020, 5:26 am

>134 connie53: Unfortunately, especially in May, I've mainly been reading non ROOTs.

Maio 13, 2020, 12:07 pm

I do change form ROOTs to new and shiny ones. ROOT preventing ;-)

Maio 13, 2020, 10:31 pm

Currently reading my Nos. 84 and 85. One is A Jade in Aries by Tucker Coe. I read this in the mid-1970s and although something sparked memories of certain scenes and the basic plot a couple of years ago I couldn't remember the title or author, so I was quite excited to stumble across a reference to it.

The other is the fourth in the Russell Quant series, Stain of the Berry. The third one finished with a definite To Be Continued moment which made me curious to see what was coming next, if not an actual cliffhanger.

My review of Tapas on the Ramblas:

An wealthy matriarch is convinced a member of her family is trying to murder her to get their hands on the inheritance and hires Russell to find out who.

Some nice comedy here and also lots of misdirection. But Russell's love life needs sorting out. He needs to find someone who is obtainable, doesn't get murdered, and is not one of the bad guys. And most importantly what has happened to Sereena?

Maio 14, 2020, 3:03 am

My review of A Jade in Aries:

Disgraced ex-cop Mitch Tobin is asked for hlep by a gay man whose partner has been murdered since the police don't seem to be pursuing the matter.

This was written in 1970 so the attitude to the gay men in the book is less than enlightened but was quite progressive for its time. It worked well as a mystery, avoiding some of the tropes that have almost become cliches since then.

Maio 15, 2020, 6:31 am

Starting my No. 86, The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope and illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Stain of the Berry:

When the police decide a young woman's death was suicide, her family ask Russell Quant to investigate.

This was rather darker than the earlier instalments apart from a very odd wish fulfilment fantasy/fairy tale section (I'm really not sure how to describe it - it just doesnt fit the mystery genre) in the middle.

Maio 15, 2020, 10:11 pm

Starting my No. 87 Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter. This is my forty-fifth ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT and MysteryKIT. The treebook TBR count stays at 48 because I bought Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

Maio 16, 2020, 11:28 am

starting my No. 88, Palatine by L. J. Trafford. This ebook is my forty-sixth ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Last Bus to Woodstock:

In the first Inspector Morse book, he investigates the case of a dead body of a woman found in a pub car park.

Although I've seen odd episodes on TV, I had never read any of the books before, something I can see I will have to remedy.

Editado: Maio 20, 2020, 2:15 am

Starting my No. 89, Galba's Men, the next in the 4 Emperors series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Palatine:

The fall of Nero as seen by the palace freedmen/freedwomen and slaves.

The tone was rather uncertain in places when what seemed to be a build-up to violence involving a main character just fizzled out, not through being defused but just not happening. Apart from that, it was an imaginative and entertaining story.

Maio 21, 2020, 8:26 am

Starting my No. 90, the third in the series,Otho's Regret. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Galba's Men:

We follow the characters in the previous book through Galba's reign from when he arrives in Rome to Otho's succession.

The first half of the book was very funny and there were also flashes of humour in the second half in amongst the much grimmer events. The author managed to arouse considerable sympathy for one character's emotional tribulations to the point that I was quite sorry to see him go despite the fact that objectively he was an awful human being.

I can't wait to see how the characters manage in the next reign.

Editado: Maio 22, 2020, 9:33 am

Starting my No. 91, the fourth and last in the series, Vitellius' Feast. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Otho's Regret:

Otho's reign.

We lost one character along the way, which was sad, but what a fun time this reign was. And I did tear up a bit at Otho's death. I hope the real Otho and the imperial household enjoyed themselves as much as the fictional characters did.

Maio 23, 2020, 10:31 am

Starting my No. 92, Appleby Talks Again by Michael Innes. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Vitellius' Feast:

Vitellius' reign.

Lots of tension and again we lose someone -- and he was right, the world was greyer without him.

Maio 24, 2020, 2:45 am

My No. 93 is Mansfield Park. It is my forty-seventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 47. It also fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Appleby Talks Again:

A collection of short stories featuring Sir John Appleby. The usual pleasant mixture of detection, games, and puns.

Maio 27, 2020, 10:50 am

Starting my No. 94, Provenance by Ann Leckie. It is my forty-eighth ROOT for 2010. It fits the AlphaKIT and, I hope, the SFFKIT.

My review of Mansfield Park:

Fanny Price is sent to live with her rich aunt and uncle, Lady Bertram and Sir Thomas Bertram, and their family at Mansfield Park.

The most serious of Jane Austen's novels and perhaps the most difficult to get into.

Maio 30, 2020, 1:27 am

Starting my No. 95, Heechee Rendevous by Frederik Pohl. This is my forty-ninth ROOT for 2020. It leaves 47 on the treebook TBR shelves. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Provenance:

In the hope of outsmarting her brother and impressing her mother enough to be made her heir, Ingray Aughskold jailbreaks a politician's son hoping e will tell her where e hid the loot.

I did not enjoy this as much as the Raadch trilogy despite it being set in the same universe. I found the pronoun system the author had created a real stumbling block in a way I haven't in other books. I'm not sure why e, em, eir is so much more difficult than xe, xem, xeir, but it is. It was only in the last third or so when Ingray's mother and some schoolchildren are taken hostage in a museum by invading forces that the story became interesting.

Maio 31, 2020, 6:43 am

Starting my No. 97, Motel of the Mysteries, a novella by David Macaulay. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Heechee Rendezvous:

Robin and Essie and others from earlier books are caught up in events when humanity has done enough to attract the attention of the Heechee.

It took me a while to remember everything that happened in book 2 to the point where I was wondering whether I had missed a book, but it all came together in the end.

I also read another ebook which was not a ROOT, Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes.

My review:

David Henchman comes acrosss a dead body on the moors only to find that the murderer and - er - his henchmen are still in the vicinity. A chase ensues.

I don't think I've read this one before and to be honest I hadn't missed much. It dragged rather till Appleby appeared and even then Appleby was not his usual erudite self.

Editado: Maio 31, 2020, 9:21 pm

Started last night my no. 98, Strange Children by Kate Charles. This ebook is my fiftieth ROOT for 2020.

(ETA: looking back to compile my stats for May I find I missed a ROOT so this is in fact my fifty-first ROOT for 2020).

My review of Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay.

Humorous account of a 4020 excavation of a 20th century motel.

More of a smile than a lol but enjoyable.

Maio 31, 2020, 9:46 pm

My reading plans for June:

Jun 1, 2020, 7:39 pm

Last night I started my No. 99, Battling the Gods by Tim Whitmarsh. I am reading it now for my online reading group.

My review of Strange Children:

Tessa Nicholls is going to meet her mother-in-law for the first time, but when she and her husband arrive at Linda's house, they find her body, battered to death with a poker. The police seem to be determined to blame her husband so Tessa decides to investigate for herself.

Nice and twisty. I'm glad to say the murderer was one of the two people I decided quite early on were the most likely suspects.

Jun 3, 2020, 10:38 am

Starting my No. 100, Revolt in Paradise by K'tut Tantri. This is my fifty-third ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR volumes to 47. I am reading it now for my RL/Zoom book club. It also fits the AlphaKIT.

Jun 7, 2020, 6:23 am

Starting my No. 101, The Romance of K'tut Tantri and Indonesia by Timothy Lindsey. This is my fifty-fourth ROOT for 2020 and brings the TBR volumes to 46. I am reading now to supplement my book club read. It also fits the AlphaKIT.

Jun 10, 2020, 6:53 am

Starting my No. 102, Mission Improbable by J. J. Green.

My review of The Romance of K'tut Tantri and Indonesia:

This book tries to assess how reliable a narrator K'tut Tantri is in her famous book and also looks at her life before she came to Bali and after her book was published.

I read Revolt in Paradise back in the 1980s, again about 10 years ago, and now for a third time for my book club. Timothy Lindsey's book helped clarify what I'd found irritating this time especially in part 1, that everybody loves K'tut and she sorts everybody else's problems out for them. His in depth research shows she doesn't actually make things up but is very willing to exaggerate things or omit them as it serves to play up her role.

I was a bit intimidated when I read that the book was based on Lindsey's PhD thesis but it was very readable.

Jun 10, 2020, 9:40 pm

Starting my No. 103, The Long Farewell by Michael Innes. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Mission Improbable:

Carrie Hatchett unwittingly applies for a job as an intergalactic crisis mediator and gets it. This is the story of her first mission.

Mildly amusing in places but I feel no urge to read the rest of the series at the moment.

Jun 11, 2020, 9:47 am

>156 Robertgreaves: Yes, that's pretty much how I felt about Mission Improbable. I do have the 3rd book (not the 2nd) as it was a freebie. It was a nice and mildly silly diversion at the time.

Jun 11, 2020, 8:01 pm

Starting my No. 104, Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott. The treebook TBR shelf now has 47 books as I received two from The Book Depository. This is my fifty-fifth ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Long Farewell:

After an acquaintance's funeral, his solicitor confides in Appleby that he thinks it was murder rather than suicide as the police thought.

Michael Innes is back in form with this story of an investigation in a houseful of batty academics holding a parody convention devoted to the work of an imaginary 18th century writer.

Jun 13, 2020, 1:38 am

Starting a new 104, The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. This ebook is my fifty-sixth ROOT for 2020. It fits the ScaredyKIT, the AlphaKIT, the RandomCAT, and the SFFKIT.

My review of Infinite Home:

DNF. Maybe I'm just tired but I found this a confusing mess, hopping backwards and forwards in the different characters' timelines and I just didn't care about any of them, so I bailed.

Jun 14, 2020, 7:36 am

My review of The Kraken Wakes:

Fireballs from space land in the seas and something in the very deep parts begins to stir.

Slow motion apocalypse without graphic violence, but still rather unsettling. Deservedly not one of his more famous books but it does have something to offer with contemporary resonances in the 3rd and last part but to say any more would be a spoiler.

Jun 15, 2020, 9:31 pm

Starting my No. 105, The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. This is my fifty-seventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 46.

Jun 16, 2020, 8:57 am

Starting my No. 106, Mr. Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Demolished Man:

In a struggle for commercial dominance of the Solar System, Ben Reich decides to murder his arch-rival, Craye d'Courtney. But how do you murder someone when telepaths can detect the intent in your mind before you commit the act?

It certainly kept me turning the pages, even though I didn't find the world building and psychological theories very convincing, even less so when the plot twist was revealed.

Jun 17, 2020, 9:24 pm

Starting my No. 107, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. This is my fifty-eighth ROOT for 2020.

My review of Mr. Loverman:

Growing up gay in 1950s Antigua, Barry Walker had three options: to get married to allay suspicions, commit suicide, or be murdered. Now it's 2010, he's in his seventies and living in London, and he has a fourth option, to leave his wife for the man he has always loved. But will he take it?

This could so easily have been a misery memoir, but wasn't. Barry's joie de vivre was great fun even if I did want to shake him at times for his obliviousness to the damage he'd done to his wife, as much trapped by their sham marriage as he was, and daughters by ignoring one and indulging the other. I still couldn't help rooting for him and hoping it would all work out, though.

Jun 21, 2020, 12:41 am

Starting my No. 108, The Obelisk Gate, the second in the trilogy. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Fifth Season:

The book cycles between three narratives set on a geologically unstable planet where orogenes, who have the power to set off and prevent earthquakes and volcanoes, are a despised minority.

It took me far too long to work out the relationship between the three narratives but nevertheless I found the world the author built fascinating and I will continue with the trilogy.

Jun 22, 2020, 9:20 am

Starting my No. 109, The Stone Sky, the third in the trilogy. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Obelisk Gate:

We find out what happened to Nassun, and continue with Essun's adventures underground.

I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. The world building remains stupendous but I don't care very much about the characters.

Maybe I'm just going off trilogies and prefer either stand alone stories or series where each installment is a separate story and while there may be a story arc it's in the background rather than in the foreground making the whole thing just one story.

I will finish off the trilogy but if I'd had to wait between the volumes, I don't think I would have.

Jun 25, 2020, 9:40 am

Starting my No. 110, The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff. This ebook is my fifty-ninth ROOT of 2020.

My review of The Stone Sky:

Hoa's back story, Essun and the Castrima comm move North, and Nassun runs away with Schaffa.

I understand why the author told the story the way she did, but I found it much easier to understand what was going on as we explored Hoa's back story.

Jun 27, 2020, 5:29 am

Starting my No. 111, Etty Steele Vampire Hunter by Grayson Grave. This ebook is my sixtieth ROOT of 2020.

My review of The Mark of the Horse Lord:

An ex-gladiator in prison for brawling is offered a way out by impersonating the rightful king of the Dalriad, deposed by his aunt.

More high adventure beyond the Roman Wall from Rosemary Sutcliffe. Once again her sense of place and landscape stands out as much as the story and characters.

Jun 27, 2020, 9:25 am

Starting my No. 112, Some Lie and Some Die by Ruth Rendell. This ebook is my sixty-first ROOT. It fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of Etty Steele Vampire Hunter:

Fun children's book about a 10 year old girl being trained to become a vampire hunter. But are vampires as evil as she's been taught?

Jun 28, 2020, 4:45 am

Starting my No. 113, Shake Hands Forever, the next Chief Inspector Wexford book. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Some Lie and Some Die:

The body of a young woman is found in a quarry during a pop festival. Chief Inspector Wexford investigates.

I understand the actual murder, whodunnit and whydunnit, but I'm not sure I followed why the events were set in motion.

Jun 28, 2020, 10:51 pm

Starting my No. 114, A Sleeping Life, the next Chief Inspector Wexford mystery. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Shake Hands Forever:

Robert Hathall takes his mother down from London to Kingsmarkham to try and bring about a reconciliation between his mother and his wife. When they arrive at his home his mother finds his wife's strangled body in the bedroom.

The time flew past while I was reading this one and I had to stay up late to finish it. I certainly didn't see the final twist coming.

Jun 29, 2020, 7:04 am

Starting my No. 115, "Collected Short Stories" (no touchstone) by Ruth Rendell, some of which are Wexford stories. I shall read the Wexford ones now, but dip into the others from time to time.

My review of A Sleeping Life:

The corpse of a woman down from London to visit her elderly father, who has been hospitalised after a bad fall and a stroke, is found on a country path near her father's house. Although it is agreed she had come down from London, nobody seems to know anything about her London life, even her address or phone number. Can Wexford find her killer without knowing anything about her?

Although I had an inkling of the answer half way through it seemed to be ruled out, but I hadn't taken into account how unobservant some (most?) people are.

Jun 30, 2020, 9:10 am

Starting my No. 116, A Land Without Jasmine by Wajdi al-Ahdal. This ebook is not a ROOT.

Editado: Jun 30, 2020, 10:00 am

Possible reading for July 2020:

Jun 30, 2020, 6:10 pm

I quite liked Arthur & George! Hope you do too :)

Jul 2, 2020, 12:28 am

Starting my No. 117, Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of A Land Without Jasmine:

Jasmine, a young archaeology student in Yemen, disappears. After an extract from Jasmine's diary we hear from the police investigator, witnesses, and suspects.

Fascinating inside look at a different society and very different from standard detective fiction.

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 9:24 pm

Starting my No. 118, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. This ebook is not a ROOT. I'm reading it now for my bookclub and it also fits the AlphaKIT.

My reiew of Other Minds:

Since celaphods like octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish are about as far from us as you can get in the animal kingdom, Peter Godfrey-Smith uses the differences between them and us to explore the nature of sentience and consciousness and how far back in evolution they can be traced.

I must admit I found the Precambrian and Cambrian a bit of a slog to get through but other parts were fascinating and thought-provoking.

However, there is no excuse these days for an ebook not providing links between the endnotes and the portion of the text being discussed further.

Jul 7, 2020, 12:52 am

Starting my No. 119, A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint. This is my sixty-second ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 46.

I lost another kilo yesterday (but I suspect I'm going to find it again today), so rewarded myself with two ebooks:

The Prophet Murders by Mehmet Murat Somer and
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

My review of Into Thin Air:

The story of an ill-fated Everest expedition by one of the members.

I suspect I wouldn't have finished this if it hadn't been a book club choice. Perhaps I wasn't concentrating enough, but I found it hard to keep track of who was where and where each place was in relation to other places. I just came away with an impression that Everest is ridiculously overcrowded.

Jul 8, 2020, 9:57 pm

Starting my No. 120, Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction by Robert Wokler. This is my my sixty-third ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 45 volumes.

Editado: Jul 10, 2020, 9:23 pm

I've found some of the Very Short Introductions a bit of a struggle but Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction is the first one I couldn't finish. The first chapter about Rousseau's life was ok, but after that I would read a few pages and then desperately think of something else to do. 79/150 pages is enough. I don't know if my mind is deteriorating under the present circumstances or the author really is that bad.

My new No. 120 was a re-read of My Brother's Husband Volume 1 and then I read my No. 121 My Brother's Husband Volume 2, both by Gengoroh Tagame. They count as my sixty-fourth and sixty-fifth ROOTs.

My review of Volume 1 from last time I read it:

Yaichi is a single father bringing up a daughter, Kana. His deceased twin brother's Canadian husband comes to stay, forcing Yaichi to confront some of his assumptions.

The summary makes it sound really heavy in tone, but actually it was very light with some gentle cross-cultural fun poking.

My review of Volume 2:

Yaichi's character development continues and Mike does some touristy stuff. Mike meets a closeted high-school buddy of Ryoji's.

Not quite up to the standard of Volume 1. The layout was less pleasing somehow. And definitely more of a MESSAGE book.

Now reading my No. 122, A Quiet Place by Seicho Matsumoto. This ebook is not a ROOT.

Jul 12, 2020, 3:04 am

Starting my No.123 Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson. This ebook is my sixty-sixth ROOT of 2020. I'm reading it now for my online Reading Group and it also fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of A Quiet Place:

A civil servant is called home from a business trip by the unexpected death of his wife. Apparently she had a heart attack in the street outside a cosmetics shop, took refuge inside and died. But what was she doing in that area anyway?

I was somewhat bemused for three-quarters of the book, not sure how much of the leaps in the husband's thinking were based on reality and how much was some sort of paranoia. The last quarter had all sorts of twists and turns and a rather abrupt ending - abrupt enough for me to wonder if I had a defective copy, but apparently not.

Jul 14, 2020, 9:27 am

Starting my No. 124, the next in the series Defender of Rome. This ebook is not a ROOT. It does fit the AlphaKIT.

My review of Hero of Rome:

Gaius Valerius Verrens is serving in Britannia when the governor is pushing into Wales to break the power of the druids. He is sent on a mission to Camulodunum where he hears the king of the Iceni is dying and the tribesmen are getting restless under Roman bad treatment.

Although the great revolt under Boudicca is mainly told these days from the point of the view of the Celts, this was very much a Roman's eye view. I found the great romance between Valerius and Maeve unconvincing and in general the book only really took off well over half way through when the revolt started. The action scenes were suspenseful even though I knew what had to happen. I will read the next one in the series.

Jul 15, 2020, 8:04 am

Starting my No. 125, Arthur and George by Julian Barnes. This is my sixty-seventh ROOT and brings the treebook TBR volumes down to 44. It fits the AlphaKIT and possibly the MysteryKIT.

My review of Defender of Rome:

Nero orders Valerius to find Petrus, the leader of a new sect founded by a Jewish carpenter who had been executed for sedition some 30 years previously.

Exciting with lots of twists and turns though some may feel that the climax of the final fights was a bit too well-timed.

Editado: Jul 16, 2020, 10:59 am

Aaagggh, I left my book at work. I don't want to go in unnecessarily so I am starting my No. 126, Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum. This ebook is my sixty-eighth ROOT. It fits the TravelKIT and GeoCAT.

Jul 17, 2020, 10:53 am

Starting my No. 127 Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. This ebook is my sixty-ninth ROOT for 2020. It fits the MysteryKIT.

My review of Orphans of Eldorado:

Rich young man somewhere on the banks of the Amazon doesn't get the girl and squanders the fortune left him by his rubber baron father.

Not being familiar with the original myth of an underwater city, it was difficult to see where this was going, especially as the timeline jumped about.

Jul 19, 2020, 6:56 pm

Starting my No. 128, Exhalation by Ted Chiang. This ebook is my seventieth ROOT for 2020.

My review of Meddling Kids:

Former kid detectives who grew up into troubled adults get together to re-investigate their last case, the source of their dysfunction.

I'd heard of this as a parody of Scooby-Doo but although the kids' previous adventures do have that vibe, they seem to owe as much to the Famous Five (age, butch girl/woman, location, dog name).

The horror elements are obviously a nod to Lovecraft. I have read some of Lovecraft's work but although I found the mythological system interesting I never found the indescribably awful tentacled creatures horrific or even mildly creepy even in Lovecraft and so some of the fight scenes here against the wheezers were just tedious.

All in all, it was OK in a spot the reference sort of way, but I won't be rushing out to find more of the author's work.

Jul 22, 2020, 9:22 am

Starting my No. 129, The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett. This is my seventy-first ROOT for 2020. It fits the NonFictionCAT.

My review of Exhalation:

Wonderfully thought-provoking collection of SF short stories.

Jul 24, 2020, 10:09 am

Starting my No. 130, The Next One Will Kill You by Neil S. Plakcy. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Idiot Brain:

An overview of what we know about the brain and how it works.

Full of interesting tidbits and the author has a way with humorous metaphors and similes but somehow for me, it failed to really cohere. A diagram of the brain might have helped.

Jul 24, 2020, 10:53 am

>187 Robertgreaves: I particularly enjoyed his deconstruction of the "brain as computer" metaphor :)

Jul 24, 2020, 7:58 pm

Jul 25, 2020, 4:32 am

Starting my No. 131, the next in the Angus Green series Nobody Rides for Free.

My review of The Next One Will Kill You:

Rookie FBI agent Angus Green's first case comes after a tip that a robbery of a high-end jewellery trade exhibition is being planned.

Although Angus is the star of the show, he was very much part of a team and I hope the series continues to showcase the whole ensemble. My brain needs a rest at the moment, and this was just the thing -- intriguing enough to keep my interest without needing to follow anything too complex.

Jul 25, 2020, 5:17 am

Hi Robert. Just wondering how you are doing. You have read a lot so you must be doing okay book-wise.

Jul 25, 2020, 10:12 am

>191 connie53: Thanks for dropping by, Connie. I'm doing well and I hope you and all your family are as well.

Jul 25, 2020, 10:26 am

Starting my No. 132, the third and last (so far) in the series Survival Is A Dying Art. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Nobody Rides for Free:

Alex's next case involves drugs, illegal porn, and shady financial dealings.

One mild disappointment (for me) was satisfactorily resolved and my suspicions about one character turned out to be correct, so a good, undemanding read.

Editado: Jul 26, 2020, 8:09 am

Starting my No. 133, Giotto's Hand. This is my seventy-second ROOT and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 43. I'm reading it now, led on by the art crime elements in Survival Is A Dying Art, my review for which is:

Alex's next case involves helping a friend of a friend retrieve a painting stolen from his gay Jewish uncle by the Nazis during WWII.

The ending read like a wrap up of the series, but I hope not. I enjoyed spending the weekend in Alex and friends/colleagues' company and would definitely read more.

Jul 27, 2020, 3:33 am

Starting my No. 134, the next Jonathan Argyll book, Death and Restoration. This is my seventy-third ROOT for 2020.

My review of Giotto's Hand:

Has an English master-thief been picking off unrecognised paintings by great artists for the last thirty years? Nobody really thinks so, and yet, and yet ....

By far the funniest in this series, with a solution that took me by surprise at least.

Jul 28, 2020, 8:35 pm

Starting my No. 135, the final Jonathan Argyll book, The Immaculate Deception. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Death and Restoration:

A monk is knocked unconscious and an icon stolen, but why the icon when there was a Caravaggio in the same church?

Although it's no. 6 out of 7, this was the first Jonathan Argyll book I read back in pre-LT (BLT?) days. Re-reading it now when I've read the earlier books makes it funnier and of course the solution has extra resonance now in view of what happened earlier this month.

Jul 29, 2020, 8:37 am

My review of The Immaculate Deception:

A Claude picture on loan for a big international exhibition in Rome is stolen and held for ransom, but Flavia is ordered by the Prime Minister not to investigate but just hand over the ransom. What is going on?

Although it has its whimsical touches, this book is not as light-hearted as the rest of the series and in some ways is unnecessary as the previous book would have worked just as well as a wrap-up. Also I'm not entirely sure what we learn about two characters' back story is compatible with what we were told in previous books.

So it's not a bad book and would have worked well as a standalone, but it just doesn't fit in with the series as a whole in tone or, I suspect, content.

Jul 31, 2020, 6:26 am

Starting my No. 136, Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Arthur & George:

Novelisation of a true story where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned on behalf of George Edalji, unjustly found guilty of ripping open the stomach of a colliery pony and other livestock.

I didn't really care about Conan Doyle's relationship with Jean Leckie and found it slowed down the book, but George Edalji's story and Conan Doyle's campaign to clear Edalji's name and his investigation into what really happened were rivetting.

Equally interesting was George Edalji's strong denial of any racial basis to his ordeal despite what would now be considered blatant racism on all sides, even Conan Doyle's.

Editado: Jul 31, 2020, 7:52 pm

Possible reads for August 2020: