Robertgreaves is ROOTing again in 2020 part 2

Discussão2020 ROOT CHALLENGE

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Robertgreaves is ROOTing again in 2020 part 2

Editado: Set 30, 2020, 10:01 pm

Continued from Part 1

I have reached my goal for ROOTs in 2020 and also it was my birthday yesterday (29 September 2020). All books I owned on that date become ROOTs and will be contributed to the group total.

(ETA: I have 45 treebooks and 132 ebooks on the TBR shelves, a decrease of 2 ebooks since this time last year.)

My next big splurge on treebooks would normally be Christmas and New Year, but who can tell in present circs?

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

1. 2 books as a reward for each kg I lose;
2. next in a series;
3. bookclub/reading group books.

Books I am considering for reading in October 2020:

Set 30, 2020, 5:42 am

Happy (belated) birthday to you!

Set 30, 2020, 7:06 am

Happy birthday and congrats on reaching your goal.

Set 30, 2020, 7:22 am

Happy birthday for yesterday, Robert, and excellent work reaching your goal. Happy reading for the rest of the year!

Set 30, 2020, 6:27 pm

Belated birthday greetings and happy new thread!

Set 30, 2020, 7:00 pm

Thanks for dropping by, Miss Watson, Connie, Jackie, and RP

Set 30, 2020, 10:05 pm

Starting my No. 170, Fear in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the GeoCAT.

My review of Slaughter in the Cotswolds:

Thea's sister Emily turns up on her doorstop in a state having witnessed a brutal murder and yet her story doesn't quite ring true. What is going on?

Good twisty fun, but I do hope Thea and Phil aren't going to turn into one of those on again off again couples.

Out 1, 2020, 2:39 pm

Hope your birthday was a happy one!

Out 1, 2020, 7:34 pm

>8 cyderry: Thanks, Chèli

Editado: Out 2, 2020, 1:42 am

My No. 171 is the next in the series, A Grave in the Cotswolds. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the GeoCAT.

My review of Fear in the Cotswolds:

Thea is house-sitting in a converted barn in an isolated hamlet in January. After a heavy snowfall, she finds footprints round the house and a body in a neighbour's field the body disappears by the time the police get there.

Very atmospheric as Thea grows more and more frightened and also trembles on the brink of depression and suicidal thoughts. I would have liked an update on what happened to Emily after the events of the previous book.

Out 3, 2020, 12:59 am

My No. 172 is the next in the series, Deception in the Cotswolds. This ebook is not a ROOT but does fit the GeoCAT and the AlphaKIT.

My review of A Grave in the Cotswolds:

Drew Slocombe, an undertaker specialising in back-to-nature burials, carries out a client's wish to be buried in a field adjoining her house. After a local resident and councillor voices strong objections and threatens to get an exhumation order and have the deceased buried "properly", he is found with his head bashed in and Drew finds himself the main suspect.

The story is told from Drew's point of view with Thea taking a less prominent role. The penultimate scene with the suspects all gathered together for the reveal was very funny. Apparently, Drew has his own series which I will have to check out some time.

Out 4, 2020, 5:11 am

Starting my No. 173, The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George. This ebook is not a ROOT. I am reading it now for my online Reading Group.

My review of Deception in the Cotswolds:

Part of Thea's duties in her latest gig is providing an afternoon coffee for an elderly neighbour. On her third day, he is found by Thea and his daughter having apparently committed suicide with a plastic bag over his head. Although he had often said he would rather die than become too dependent or submit to medical indignities, Thea has her doubts as to what happened.

Thea is forced into self-reflection by people who object to her nosiness and tactlessness. She also finds out that she has gained herself something of a reputation as a sleuth in area with a murder rate only slightly less than such dangerous parts of the world as Midsomer. Also much pondering over the difficulties that would arise if assisted suicide were made legal.

Out 8, 2020, 3:05 am

Starting my No. 174, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This is my ninety-first ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 44. It fits the SFFKIT and the GeoCAT.

My review of The Memoirs of Cleopatra:

I don't know what is about this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I would take almost any excuse to put it down, usually after reading only half a dozen pages. I read about a third but it is such a tome, I really can't face any more.

Out 8, 2020, 5:26 am

I hate it when that happens, but I'm finally able to put a book away when I don't like it.

Out 8, 2020, 5:30 am

>14 connie53: As I get older I have much less patience with books I'm not enjoying.

Out 9, 2020, 6:00 am

Starting my No. 175, Galileo: A Very Short Introduction by Stillman Drake. This is my ninety-second ROOT and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 43. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Flowers for Algernon:

The story of Charlie Gordon, whose IQ soars from 68 to 180 after an experimental operation. Now that he's "smart", will he get the friends he hoped for?

Not quite the way I remembered it from reading it 40-odd years ago (I remembered it as a drug rather than an operation) but the themes of the difference between IQ and emotional growth and how people treat those they consider "less than" are timeless. Episodes throught the book might make the reader sad or angry, but the ending is heart-breaking.

Editado: Out 10, 2020, 6:59 am

Starting my No. 176, Doubt by C. E. Tobisman. This ebook is my ninety-third ROOT. It fits the AlphaKIT, GeoCAT, and MysteryKIT.

My review of Galileo: A Very Short Introduction:

The author does a good job of setting Galileo in the context of his times. However, he freely admits that his take on some issues, particularly Galileo's own religious faith, goes against most scholarship on Galileo, so I'm not sure if this is really an "introduction"?

Out 11, 2020, 6:35 am

Starting my No. 177, Pamela or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson. This ebook is my ninetyy-fourth ROOT and fits the AlphaKIT and GeoCAT.

My review of Doubt:

Exciting well-paced legal thriller as a first-year associate tracks down missing evidence and a missing witness in a suit against a GMO company whose main product seems to be causing kidney disease.

Out 16, 2020, 5:57 am

Starting my No. 178, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This ebook is my ninety-fifth ROOT for 2020 and I am reading it now for my book club.

My review of Pamela or Virtue Rewarded:

18th century novel about a maid who is sexually harassed and then kidnapped by her employer but who refuses to give in to threats or bribes and eventually reforms him by her good example.

There were times I thought it dragged a bit, especially in the second half and Pamela's humble piety and gratitude were a more than a bit overdone, but it was interesting to see how things have changed and how they've stayed the same.

Out 18, 2020, 1:29 am

Starting my No. 179, Shamela by Henry Fielding. This ebook is not a ROOT. I'm actually reading this online from the Delphi classics complete works of Fielding and I'm also intending to read The Female Husband from the same source, but as they are both short works I am going to count them as one.

My review of Station Eleven:

A group of travelling players wander a post apocalyptic landscape along the shore of Lake Michigan after a pandemic has wiped out 99%+ of humanity, with extended flashbacks to life before the pandemic.

It has obvious reverberations at the moment, but I have read better apocalypses. It's a good story with interesting characters who I'd like to hear more about but I don't really have very much to say about it. Hopefully something will strike between now and my book club meeting on Saturday.

Out 18, 2020, 9:13 am

Starting my No. 180, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This is my ninety-sixth ROOT for 2020 but TBR shelf remains at 43 because I have added The Supplicating Voice to re-read.

Out 19, 2020, 2:49 am

>21 Robertgreaves: Very curious what you think of that book, Robert. I really loved it and read it two times in a row. Keep a notebook at hand.

Out 22, 2020, 5:58 am

Starting my No. 181, At the Reunion Buffet by Alexander McCall Smith. This ebook is not a ROOT. It fits the GeoCAT.

My review of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle:

Aiden Bishop has to discover who killed Evelyn Hardcastle and why in a single day that repeats over and over again as he inhabits different bodies each time.

I managed to keep my head above water until some time in the sixth day when I realised I'd lost track, so then I just kept going for the ride without bothering to try and reach a solution ahead of the characters or understand every nuance. It's an ingenious puzzle but I don't think I'm intrigued enough to read it again while keeping all the balls in the air.

Out 22, 2020, 9:16 am

Starting my No. 182, The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith. This ebook is my ninety-seventh ROOT for 2020.

My review of At the Reunion Buffet:

A short story in which Isabel Dalhousie ponders emotions and feelings raised by a school reunion attended by someone some people remember as a bully.

The usual gentle musings.

Out 23, 2020, 6:54 am

Starting my No. 189, Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine, another short story in the series.

My review of The Novel Habits of Happiness:

Isabel Dalhousie is asked to look into claims by a little boy that he used to be somebody quite different with a different family. Fantasy or evidence of reincarnation?

Another gentle outing with Isabel as she tries to do the right thing and more difficult, to be sure what the right thing is.

Editado: Out 23, 2020, 9:28 am

Starting my No. 190, A Distant View of Everything, the next novel in the series. This is my ninety-eighth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 42.

My review of Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine:

Isabel has to decide which friend to disoblige in the case of a painting which is worth far more than the auction house knows.

Editado: Out 24, 2020, 5:26 am

Starting my No. 191, The Quiet Side of Passion, the next in the series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of A Distant View of Everything:

Isabel's friend Bea is worried that she may have introduced a friend to charmer who woos, defrauds, and then abandons wealthy women and so Bea asks Isabel to look into it.

I was right, I was right. I got the answer way ahead of Isabel ;-)

(no touchstones?)

Out 24, 2020, 9:22 pm

Starting my No. 192, The Geometry of Holding Hands, the latest so far in the series. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Quiet Side of Passion:

Isabel comes up against some of the grittier aspects of life in Edinburgh while following up a hunch about the mother of Charlie's playgroup friend.

A salutary reminder that even if I moved to Isabel Dalhousie's very attractively portrayed Edinburgh, I still wouldn't be leading her sort of life.

Out 25, 2020, 4:50 am

Starting my No. 193, Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman. This is my ninety-ninth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 41.

My review of The Geometry of Holding Hands:

Isabel is asked by a stranger to be the executor for his will and Cat's developing relationship with Leo brings major changes at the deli.

This brings me up to date with this series, and at some point I'd like to go back and read the whole thing right through.

Out 25, 2020, 4:59 am

>23 Robertgreaves: I did that the first time too. Just reading along when I lost sight of what was going on. But I read it again and saw, with the knowledge of the first reading, lots of things more clearly.

Out 25, 2020, 9:36 am

Starting my No. 194, the next Sandman volume, The Sandman Volume 5: A Game of You. This is my one hundredth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 40.

My review of Season of Mists:

Morpheus goes down to Hell to rescue a woman he unjustly condemned there only to find that Lucifer has resigned and it is now up to Morpheus to decide who from among claimants from different pantheons to give the key to Hell.

Gorgeously illustrated but I found the story a bit meh. It was mildly amusing in places, but I didn't really feel anything much was at stake.

Out 25, 2020, 10:09 am

Wow, 100 ROOTs - great going!

Out 26, 2020, 4:35 am

>31 Robertgreaves: That's very good, Robert.

Out 26, 2020, 4:51 am

Thank you, Jackie and Connie.

Starting my No. 195, Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks This is my one hundred and first ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT. The treebook TBR shelf stays at 40 because a birthday present from my sister finally arrived, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

My review of The Sandman Volume 5: A Game of You:

The last remaining loyal inhabitants of the Land try to call back their princess, who is dreaming on Earth.

I enjoyed the story much more in this one. It had a strong Narnia feel to it, particularly reminiscent of "Prince Caspian" and "The Last Battle". I did get a bit teary-eyed at the end with the last sighting of Wanda.

Out 28, 2020, 1:09 am

Starting my No. 196, The Supplicating Voice by Samuel Johnson. This is my one hundred and second ROOT for 2020 and again because of the second half of my birthday present from my sister, the treebook TBR pile stays at 40. This book fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Seeing Voices:

Three essays by Oliver Sacks on Sign. One is based on an extended review, the second is a longer reflection on Sign and what it can tell us about language, and the third about the student rebellion at Gallaudet University demanding a Deaf university president.

Lots of interesting rabbit holes. A pity he is no longer with us to give us an update.

Out 28, 2020, 7:19 am

The Starless Sea is a great book, Robert. Don't wait to long reading it.

Out 30, 2020, 6:50 am

Starting my No. 107 Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth. This ebook is my one hundred and third ROOT for 2020. It fits the RandomCAT.

My review of The Supplicating Voice from when I read it in 2009:

This book contains sermons Dr. Johnson wrote for clergymen to preach (apparently it was quite common for 18th century clergymen to use other people's sermons), prayers he composed and extracts from his diaries, poems, essays from the magazines he wrote and published, and extracts from the dictionary.

The sermons provide plenty of material for thought and reflection, particularly when read together with the prayers and diary extracts which show how far he felt he failed to live up to his ideals. The sermons also showcase his sonorous language, though I don't think the essays selected for this book show his use of language at its best.

Editado: Out 31, 2020, 7:35 am

Starting my No. 192, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. This is my one hundred and fourth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 39. It fits the AlphKIT.

My review of Shadows of the Workhouse:

Second volume of memoirs of a nurse and stories about the patients she served in London's East End.

Moving account of what it was like to be poor in the early to mid 20th century.

Out 31, 2020, 10:26 pm

Possible reading for November:

Nov 1, 2020, 12:35 am

Starting my No. 193, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. This is my one hundred and fifth ROOT of 2020 but the treebook TBR shelf remains at 39 because I want to re-read The Dispossessed soon.

My review of Black Swan Green:

DNF. I disliked the 12-year-old main character's first person 'voice' and couldn't face a whole book of it.

Nov 5, 2020, 6:00 am

Starting my No. 194, The Huntress by Kate Quinn. This ebook is not a ROOT, but it does fit the AlphaKIT. An order arrived from The Book Depoistory arrived today, bringing the treebook TBR shelf up to 42.

My review of Stand on Zanzibar:

2010's world of 7 billion humans as seen from 1968.

This tour de force of world building combines broad strokes through media snapshots and a focus on a few characters. Much of John Brunner's vision has come true and much has not, and it's worth pondering what trends continued into the present confirming his predictions and what trends suffered discontinuities.

It's in the relationships between the main characters and particularly between the main characters and their "shiggies" that the difference between the prediction and the reality is most glaring but nevertheless, I am glad to have revisited this book because despite the gloomy atmosphere, it is fun.

Nov 8, 2020, 7:35 am

Starting my No. 195, Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by Sue Hamilton. This is my one hundred and sixth ROOT of 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf back down to 41.

My review of The Huntress:

In 1950 a group of Nazi hunters consisting of a former war correspondent, a former army interpreter, and a former Nightwitch (a Soviet woman night-time bomber navigator/pilot), are tracking down a war criminal known as die Jägerin (the Huntress).

It was so obvious who die Jägerin was right at the beginning, I thought there was going to be a twist whereby it wasn't her after all, so for a lot of the book I was reading it in the wrong genre. As a result Nina's back story during the war was much more interesting than the actual hunt for the Nazi or the 1950 dometic details.

Nov 11, 2020, 8:33 pm

Starting my No. 196, Ice by Anna Kavan. This ebook is my one hundred and seventh ROOT of 2020. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction:

What it says on the tin

Nov 13, 2020, 12:08 am

Starting my No. 197, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer. This ebook is not a ROOT but it does fit the GeoCAT.

My review of Ice:

After a nuclear war, a nuclear winter sets in. As the icesheets spread the narrator (nobody in the book has a name) pursues and attempts to rescue a woman who he considers is in an abusive relationship. Is she? Well, since he sees her get killed or stumbles across her body several times, only for the pursuit to continue in the next chapter, who knows? Some beautiful descriptive writing but I would have appreciated a much clearer storyline.

Nov 14, 2020, 9:09 am

>44 Robertgreaves:

I had similar thoughts about Ice.

Nov 15, 2020, 1:35 pm

>44 Robertgreaves: I have that book too. So I will give it a try. It's rather thin and I usually love those kind of SF stories.

Nov 15, 2020, 8:04 pm

Starting my No. 198, Leo the African by Amin Maalouf. This is my one hundred and eighth ROOT for 2020. It's the fictional memoirs of the title character, who got mentioned several times in The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu.

My review of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu:

The title and publicity for this book focusses on the manuscript collections in Timbuktu and the librarians and owners, and in particular Abdel Kader Haidara, the owner of a large private collection and how they preserved the collections during the occupation of Timbuktu by an alliance of Islamist armed rebels against the Mali government. However, the book itself focusses just as much on the leaders of the various rebel groups and their careers and shifting allegiances in quite bewildering detail. It is telling that there is only illustration in the book while the descriptions of some of the manuscripts call out for illustration.

Nov 20, 2020, 7:50 am

Starting my No. 199, Binti: The Complete Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor. This is my one hundred and ninth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 40.

My review of Leo The African:

Fictional memoirs of the 16th century travel writer Hasan al-Wazzan al-Gharnati al-Fassi aka Leo Africanus de Medici born in the last years before the fall of Granada in 1492, who grew up in the Maghreb and travelled backwards and forwards across the Sahara to Timbuktu, who lived in Egypt under the Mamelukes before it was conquered by the Ottomans, and who was captured by pirates and sold into slavery before becoming a diplomat and adviser serving Popes Leo X and Clement VII.

Nov 21, 2020, 9:40 am

>49 Robertgreaves: I saw on Twitter that she had died - she was a great writer and traveller. I read her Venice earlier this year and enjoyed it a lot.

Nov 21, 2020, 12:55 pm

So sad!

Nov 22, 2020, 9:49 am

Starting my No. 200, Plainsong by Kent Haruf. This ebook is my one hundred and tenth ROOT for 2020. I am reading it now for my bookclub.

My review of Binti: The Complete Trilogy:

Binti is the first Himba to be admitted to Oomza University. Since Himba rarely leave their own territory let alone Earth, she runs away to take up this opportunity. But while she is on the way to Oomza, her ship is attacked and apart from the pilot and Binti herself, all of the passengers and crew are killed. Binti develops a special bond with one of the attackers, Okwu. Can she ever go home again, and if she does, will she be welcomed?

Apart from one slip that really should have been caught by the editor, this is a masterpiece of storytelling. I am defiintely going to be keeping an eye open for the author's other works.

Nov 24, 2020, 6:45 am

Starting my No. 201, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. It is my one hundred and eleventh ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 39.

My review of Plainsong:

The story of Tom Guthrie and his two young sons, and of Victoria Roubideaux, a pregnant teen who is given shelter by two elderly brothers, Harold and Raymond McPheron.

I found the extreme plainness of the style rather affected for much of this book and it was only when the feud between Tom Guthrie and the Bowmans started to escalate and when Victoria decided to come back to Holt from Denver that I really got interested in the characters and the story. I spent much of the book wondering how the two narrative threads were going to link up, and even at the end I felt they hadn't really.

Nov 24, 2020, 1:19 pm

>52 Robertgreaves: I've heard really good things about Binti and am curious! (Not least because Namibia is the only country in Africa I've ever visited, and I gather much of the Earth-based bit of the book is based there).

Nov 24, 2020, 7:37 pm

>54 Jackie_K: The Namibia in the story is several hundred years from now so may not be recognisable ;-)

The first in the trilogy opens there, while the second in the trilogy mostly takes place there while the third in the trilogy is wholly Namibia-based.

Nov 25, 2020, 3:48 am

Starting my No. 202, The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. This is my one hundred and twelfth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 38.

My review of The Chrysalids:

A group of telepathic children grow up in a post apocalyptic society where genetic purity and the eradication of mutants are primary values.

Well paced picture of David becoming more aware of the nature of his society and the danger he is in as he grows up.

Nov 27, 2020, 1:28 am

Starting my No. 203, Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie. This ebook is my one hundred and thirteenth ROOT for 2020.

My review of The Dispossessed (unchanged from when I read it previously in 2008):

Shavek, a physicist working on a grand unified theory of time, leaves the anarcho-socialist not-quite utopia of Anarres for the "propertarian", "archist" societies of its sister planet Urras hoping to find a more intellectually stimulating environment so that he can complete his work and to act as a bridge between the Anarresti and their Urrasti origins in order to continue the revolution.

The chapters alternate between Shavek's experiences once he arrives on Urras and his life on Anarres up to his departure, perhaps a literary demonstration of the unification of Simultaneity and Sequentiality in his work.

The descriptions of the two ways of life are engrossing even if the anarcho-socialists on Anarres seem quite dated now, very 60s-ish. Or is that just my age? Somehow it's much easier to accept dated views of technology in SF than dated views of social change. Having said that, the way Le Guin follows the ideas to their logical conclusion and explores how human nature would or would not change is well worth reading and thinking about.

As an aside, I do like the way Le Guin exposes one's assumptions in how one imagines fictional characters by not mentioning a crucial detail like skin colour or amount of body hair till a long way into the story.

Nov 27, 2020, 7:14 am

Starting my No. 205, Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Appointment with Death:

Sadistic matriarch dies of what appears to be a heart attack at Petra. Unfortunately there is the mark of a hypodermic needle in her wrist and some medicine missing from a doctor's chest. Poirot happens to be in the vicinity when the death is reported to the authorities.

Was Dame Agatha running out of steam when she wrote this? Lots of remarks about "if this was a detective novel" and all of the characters seem quite oblivious to the ruins at Petra, which is surely what tourists go there for.

Editado: Nov 28, 2020, 12:12 am

Starting my No. 206, Murder Is Easy, another Agatha Christie. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Hercule Poirot's Christmas:

Simeon Lee summons his children and grandchild to spend Christmas with him. He enjoys stirring up animosity between them and "accidently" reveals that he wants to change his will. He is later found in his sitting room with his throat cut amidst chaos and lots of blood.

I had the curious feeling while reading this book of having read it or something very similar before, though no memory of having done so, which is a bit creepy since deja vu plays a role in the story.

Nov 28, 2020, 2:00 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

Nov 28, 2020, 8:18 am

Starting my No. 207, Death Ex Machina by Gary Corby. This ebook is my one hundred and fourteenth ROOT. I am reading it now for my Reading Group.

My review of Murder is Easy:

Luke Fitzwilliam falls into conversation on a train with an old lady, who tells him that she is going to Scotland Yard to report her suspicions that a serial killer is operating in her village. When the old lady meets with a fatal accident in London, Luke decides to investigate matters for himself.

What with the disappearing train and the old lady's yarn, I did wonder if we'd wandered into Michael Innes territory. But no, we were safe in Christie land, and very enjoyable it was too.

Nov 29, 2020, 3:54 am

Starting my No. 208, the next in the series The Singer from Memphis. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Death Ex Machina:

When a series of "accidents" hold up rehearsals of Sophocles's latest play, the actors go on strike. They agree to continue after an exorcism, but the accidents then culminate in murder and Nico and Diotima have to find the culprit before the Great Dionysia can go ahead.

The usual fun and games.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 10:58 pm

Starting my No. 208, Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells. This ebook is my one hundred and fifteenth ROOT.

My review of The Singer from Memphis:

Pericles sends Nico and Diotima on a mission to contact a Libyan prince in Egypt, which is currently a warzone.

This was a fun one with lots going on and a real page-turner towards the end.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 11:20 pm

Possible reading for 2020

Editado: Nov 30, 2020, 8:49 pm

Starting my No. 209, The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder about a magic Advent calendar. Reading one chapter a day. As a re-read, it is my one hundred and sixteenth ROOT for 2020.

Dez 2, 2020, 11:27 pm

Starting my No. 210, the next in the series, Remanence. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Fluency:

Jane Holloway is recruited as a linguist to join an expedition to an alien spacecraft discovered in the asteroid belt.

I kept thinking of "Arrival" for the first couple of chapters but came to appreciate it more on its own terms after that. I was starting to get a bit irritated about how much of the action rewound because whoops, this was just a virtual reality test by Ei'Brai while a character was in the healing pods. I will read the next one and see how it goes now that Jane and Ei'Brai's partnership has been cemented but I don't know if I will continue after that.

Dez 4, 2020, 1:44 am

Starting my No. 211, The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Remanence:

Jane Holloway and her crew leave for Sectilius to return the ship to its rightful owners only to find that the system has been placed under quarantine.

The book finished on quite a cliff-hanger but dragged rather in the middle sections. Apparently. despite the cliff-hanger the next volume in the series follows a different character rather than resolves the cliff-hanger. I'll put it on my wishlist and see later if I want to continue.

Editado: Dez 5, 2020, 1:20 am

Starting my No. 212, The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin. This is my one hundred and seventeenth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 38. I'm reading it for the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam:

Charlie Howard is a crime writer with a side gig as a thief. He is employed by an American to steal two out of a set of the Three Wise Monkeys, but now has to prove that he wasn't the one who beat up his employer to the point where he later died of his injuries.

Fun idea spoiled by poor ebook formatting (random hyphenation presumably carried over from where necessary in the print edition) and bad editing (many homophone mistakes). This doesn't convince me that I need to add it to the many series I've got on the go.

Dez 6, 2020, 4:47 am

Starting my No. 213, Newton by Peter Ackroyd. This is my one hundred and eighteenth ROOT for 2020 and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 37. I am reading it now for the AlphaKIT.

My review of The Night Listener:

Writer and broadcaster Gabriel Noone is asked to write a blurb for a book purportedly written by a 13 year old who was abused as a child and is now living with AIDS and who is a big fan of Gabriel.

I'm not a great fan of books with unreliable narrators, and Gabriel freely admits he is given to embellishing narratives, but I found Gabriel himself so engaging and he struck so many chords with me that I just kept going. My desire to know what had really happened was particularly acute in the part set in Wisconsin but after the ending I really didn't mind not being fully certain.

Dez 7, 2020, 4:50 am

Starting my No. 214, Neutron Star by Larry Niven. This ebook is my one hundred and nineteenth ROOT for 2020 and fits the AlphaKIT and SFFKIT.

My review of Newton:

Brief life of Sir Isaac. Sympathetic to him, though if one reads between the lines, he could obviously be very difficult to deal with. I realise it's not meant to be a scholarly work, but there were some quotations which were unattributed and it would have been nice to know who said it, even if it was a name I didn't recognise.

Dez 8, 2020, 7:06 pm

Starting my No. 215, The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of Neutron Star:

Collection of short stories with lots of appearances from one of my favourite alien races, Pierson's Puppeteers.

Dez 10, 2020, 7:01 pm

My review of The Drowned World:

Increased solar activity strips away the Van Allen belts, increasing the temperature and radiation levels on Earth, which reverts to a Triassic climate. Humanity retreats towards the poles while memories encoded in DNA assert themselves psychologically.

The amount of very descriptive writing overwhelms the rest of the book, which reads like somebody telling you at length about a dream they had.

Dez 10, 2020, 7:01 pm

Last night I read An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good by Helne Tursten, which was my No. 216 and my one hundred and twentieth ROOT.

My review:

Series of short stories about a little old lady who commits murders to solve her problems.

Didn't really live up to the expectations aroused by its word of mouth reputation.

Now starting my No. 217, Ruso and the Root of All Evils by Ruth Downie. This is my one hundred and twenty-first ROOT and brings the treebook TBR down to 36. I am reading it now for my reading group, but under its US title, Persona Non Grata, it fits the AlphaKIT.

Dez 12, 2020, 8:06 am

Starting my No. 218, The Ancient Paths by Graham Robb. This is my one hundred and twenty-second ROOT and brings the treebook TBR shelf down to 35.

My review of Ruso and the Root of All Evils:

Ruso is summoned back to the family home only to find a lawsuit which could ruin the family is about to be launched by a creditor. The creditor is then poisoned while visiting Ruso's family. Ruso is of course the main suspect.

The first time I read this I found it dragged in places, but this time round it was quite suspenseful, and in places very funny as Ruso flails about trying to cope with his exasperating family.

Dez 14, 2020, 11:31 pm

Starting my No. 219, The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen. This ebook is my one hundred and twenty-third ROOT for 2020. It fits the ScaredyKIT.

My review of The Ancient Paths:

The author's theory is that the Druids were ancient geocachers who used meridiens, solstice lines, and equinox lines to construct a mental grid mapping Gaul, Iberia, and Britain, which was then used to site oppida, tribal boundaries and battlefields.

He may be on to something and no doubt the pre-Roman Celts were more advanced than they are often given credit for, but I suspect that if you look at enough scattered points and lines on a map you can find a pattern. I admit my eyes glazed over at times so I may have missed something, but the reasoning did seem to be circular at times: the site must have been here because the theory says so and the fact that the site was here shows the theory is right.

Dez 15, 2020, 4:53 am

Starting my No. 220, The Woman In Blue by Elly Griffiths. This is my one hundred and twenty-fourth ROOT. It fits the supplementary RandomCAT.

My review of The Great God Pan:

Experimental brain surgery unleashes unspeakable, indescribable evil on the world.

Trouble is it's so unspeakable and indescribable I have no idea what it is except that the sight of it reduces people to gibbering idiots or makes them commit suicide. I recognise the story as a classic but it doesn't do anything for me, sorry.

Editado: Dez 16, 2020, 3:21 am

Starting my No. 221, the next in the series, The Chalk Pit. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Woman in Blue:

Is the woman Cathbad sees in a graveyard in Walsingham a vision of the Virgin Mary or a real woman who is found murdered nearby the next morning? And is there a connection with the anonymous letters received by a woman priest friend of Ruth's?

I'm trying to remember what the other murder mystery I read set in and around Walsingham was called, which was more sympathetic to the devotees there. This was a good mystery, with some good misleading clues, but had more of an outsider's rather condescending viewpoint.

Dez 16, 2020, 11:22 pm

Starting my No. 222, the next in the series, The Dark Angel. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Chalk Pit:

Bones are found during construction work involving a network of tunnels under Norwich. Is there any connection with a homeless people who has disappeared and a homeless man who was stabbed overnight on the police station porch?

A good mystery with some intriguing background and a very exciting climax, but we still need Ruth to be doing more archaeology rather than focussing on the characters' domestic complications.

Dez 17, 2020, 7:14 am

Next in the series is my No. 223, The Stone Circle. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Dark Angel:

Ruth and Kate go to Italy for a working holiday when an old flame of Ruth's asks her to consult on some bones found in a television archaeology programme he was filming.

The mystery takes second place to the characters' convoluted personal lives, but in the last third or so the author manages to build up a doom-laden atmosphere while keeping us in suspense as to which particular disaster is actually going to happen.

It is unfortunate that after an Author's Note explaining her use of BCE/CE rather than BC/AD, the author manages to get the Volscians'' struggle against the Romans in the wrong 5th century.

Dez 18, 2020, 3:45 am

Bringing me up to date on this series (though there is another one due out in February 2021) is my No. 224, The Lantern Men. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Stone Circle:

Ruth and Nelson receive anonymous letters eerily reminiscent of those in the first book. But Erik is dead, isn't he?

The person I had marked down as the culprit was guilty but not of the main crime. Still, I was half right. We had enough archaeology and Cathbad to keep me going, as I was wondering whether to give up on this series.

Dez 19, 2020, 6:44 am

Starting my No. 225, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This is my one hundred and twenty-fifth ROOT for 2020. I am reading it now for my book club.

My review of The Lantern Men:

There have been a lot of changes since the previous installment in this series. Ruth and Kate are now living in Cambridge with Frank. Judy and Cloughie have been promoted.

Ivor March has been convicted of killing two women but Nelson is sure he also killed two other missing women. March agrees to reveal where the other two women are buried, but only if Ruth is present and agrees to excavate the burial site.

Elly Griffiths is back on form with this one. It's actually one of the best in the series. The mystery itself is intriguing, Ruth gets to do her forensic archaeology stuff, and although the entanglements are still there, we are not lurching from one soap opera crisis to another.

Editado: Dez 21, 2020, 1:36 am

Starting my No. 226, The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín. Although strictly speaking, this is the longest day since Jakarta is in the Southern Hemisphere, it's still the shortest day to me, since the length of the day only varies by about 40 minutes over the course of the year and so is not really noticeable.

My review: Nicely done eerie tale.

Dez 21, 2020, 10:37 pm

Starting my No. 227, A Song for Nero by Thomas Holt. This ebook is my one hundred and twenty-sixth ROOT for 2020. I'm reading it now for the AlphaKIT.

My review of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine:

I enjoyed the way Eleanor's mind worked and she is happier at the end of the book than when it started but I do have mixed feelings about the book. The author has said that she wrote the book as a response to an article about lonely people in their 20s and wondering why they would be lonely. I can see that her lifestyle isn't working for Eleanor but are we supposed to conclude that those of us who would rather spend time with a good book or a cryptic crossword than socialising had traumatic childhoods and need therapy?

Dez 22, 2020, 7:33 pm

Also reading my No. 228, The Countertenor Wore Garlic by Mark Schweizer. This ebook is my one hundred and twenty-seventh ROOT for 2020. It counts for the AlphaKIT.

Dez 23, 2020, 5:04 am

127 ROOTs in one year is amazing!

Dez 23, 2020, 6:11 am

>85 Jackie_K: I know. It's all due to Covid. The amount of work I have to do is down by about 35% and I'm mainly working from home as well. I go to the office 1 day a week plus as needed, so I've got plenty of time and not much else to do but read as I can't really go anywhere. My salary has also been cut by 20%, which isn't so much fun, but I know I'm comparatively fortunate in so many ways.

Dez 23, 2020, 6:47 am

>86 Robertgreaves: A 20% salary drop is less amazing, that's true. I experienced similar, but not being able to go anywhere meant that we didn't have to spend so much money, so it probably hit us less badly than many. I hope with the vaccine roll-out that 2021 will be less of a struggle for everyone, although that will still take a while of course.

Dez 23, 2020, 9:14 am

Starting the next in the series as my No. 229, The Christmas Cantata. This ebook is my one hundred and twenty-eighth ROOT.

My review of The Countertenor Wore Garlic:

It's Halloween in St. Germaine and its zombies vs vampires on the streets, another new priest at St. Barnabas', and of course a corpse.

There were some very funny scenes, but I would have enjoyed it even more if I had a better memory of what happened in the earlier books in the series, which I read quite some time ago.

Dez 24, 2020, 8:19 pm

My No. 230 is the next in the series, The Treble Wore Trouble. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of The Christmas Cantata:

A change from the usual goings on in St. Germaine, with a never before played cantata found in the St. Barnabas church archives which produces goodwill and good humour every time it is rehearsed and eventually played.

Dez 25, 2020, 6:27 am

My review The Treble Wore Trouble:

Hayden Konig has given up criticising the new incumbent at St. Barnabas church for Lent so he's doing exactly as she asks. In the meantime a body has been found in the alleyway behind the Noylene's Beautifery, and Rahab Fabergé-Dupont has been kidnapped. Par for the course in St. Germaine, really.

The usual excellent mix of small town shenannigans, crime, humour, and church music.

Dez 25, 2020, 6:55 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 27, 2020, 8:16 am

>91 connie53: Thank you Connie. I hope you and your family had a good Christmas and are looking forward to a better 2021.

Dez 27, 2020, 9:10 am

Starting my No. 231, The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. This is my one hundred and twenty-ninth ROOT for 2020 and after some Christmas acquisitions it brings the treebook TBR down to 35. It fits the AlphaKIT.

My review of A Song For Nero:

Nero didn't actually commit suicide, his body double was left for his enemies to find while Nero went on the run with his body double's brother, a rather unsuccessful petty thief and con man. They roam through the Empire trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities and gangsters.

A fun ride with an unexpectedly moving ending.

Dez 30, 2020, 9:24 am

Starting my No. 232, A Case of Conscience by James Blish. This ebook is not a ROOT.

Dez 31, 2020, 7:00 am

Starting my No. 233, The Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin. This ebook is not a ROOT.

My review of A Case of Conscience:

Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez is a Jesuit biologist working on the planet Lithia as part of a commission to determine whether and how contact with the planet's indigenous intelligent life forms should be maintained. He comes to some disturbing conclusions.

I'm not sure I really followed all of the arguments but the basic concept was interesting.

Dez 31, 2020, 9:39 am

Round up for 2020:

Books read: 233
Uprooted: 129
Books by women: 40%
Books by LGBT authors or with LGBT themes: 17%
Books by Non Inner Anglosphere writers: 10%
Non Fiction: 16%
Ebooks: 73%

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all.

Dez 31, 2020, 9:59 am

WOW, Robert. Such a lot of books read.

Happy New Year!!

Dez 31, 2020, 10:39 am

Woo hoo, excellent reading stats!

Dez 31, 2020, 10:41 am

>96 Robertgreaves: Nice stats round up. Happy New Year to you!

Dez 31, 2020, 9:15 pm

Hi Robert, Happy New Year! Well done with the reading stats. 233 books in one year is impressive: in the year of Covid it's astounding.

Dez 31, 2020, 9:47 pm

A Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone. May we all have enough to eat and drink, clothes on our backs and roofs over our heads, somebody to love and books to read throughout 2021

My 2021 thread

Jan 1, 2021, 6:13 am

>101 Robertgreaves: That's a very good wish, Robert. And for you too, I hope.

Jan 1, 2021, 7:23 am

>101 Robertgreaves: That's a lovely wish - none of us need more than that, ultimately. Happy new year to you and yours.