Laura (lauralkeet)'s 75 in 2021 - Part 5

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Laura (lauralkeet)'s 75 in 2021 - Part 5

1lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 31, 12:35pm



Alys is very happy with her new Nylabone! She usually guards it with her life but Woody stole a moment to sit with the new and old Nylabones for a bit.



Midnight, Aug 2002 - Apr 2021



Welcome to my thread! I'm Laura, late 50s, retired. My husband Chris and I recently moved from Philadelphia to northern Virginia. Our daughters, Kate and Julia, live in Brooklyn. 2021 is my thirteenth year in the 75 Book Challenge Group. Where has the time gone?!

Reading has always been an important part of my life, but it saved my sanity in 2020. I made a nice dent in the tbrs on my shelves, but also read a fair amount of contemporary, recently-published stuff. More of the same this year, I think, along with a group read now and then. And of course I’ll keep plugging away at various series, and stay current with new series releases.

Besides reading, I spend a lot of time knitting and have a knitting thread in the Needlearts group; stop in and say hi sometime!

My 2021 threads can be found here:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Books completed
July
34. Whose Body? - comments here
35. The Bingo Palace - comments here
36. Life in the Garden - comments here
37. God Help the Child - comments here
38. The Dictionary of Lost Words - comments here
39. Nature's Best Hope - comments here
40. The Night Hawks - comments here

August
41. Unsettled Ground - comments here
42. Night Waking - comments here
43. While Justice Sleeps - comments here
44. A World Lost - comments here
45. That Summer - comments here
46. Pray for Silence - comments here
47. Migrations - comments here

2lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 31, 1:12pm

Series Progress

Active series as of July 1:

A snapshot of my active series sorted on the "progress" column.

Series completed/current in 2021:
* Harbinder Kaur, by Elly Griffiths (June 2021)
* Sandhamn Murders, by Viveca Sten (June 2021)
* Ruth Galloway, by Elly Griffiths (July 2021)

Series started in 2021:
* Harbinder Kaur, by Elly Griffiths
* Darktown, by Thomas Mullen
* Kate Burkholder, by Linda Castillo
* Lord Peter Wimsey, by Dorothy Sayers

Series abandoned in 2021:
* Darktown, by Thomas Mullen

---------------------

Toni Morrison Catch Up Project
Inspired by a course I took last year, I started a project to read (or re-read) all of Toni Morrison’s novels in order of publication. Below is a list of Morrison’s novels, with those I have yet to read in bold. Some of these will be re-reads.

The Bluest Eye, 1970 (read June 2020)
Sula, 1973 (read July 2020)
Song of Solomon, 1977 (read August 2020)
Tar Baby, 1981 (read October 2020)
Beloved, 1987 (read Jan 2020, this was a re-read)
Jazz, 1992 (read January 2021)
Paradise, 1997 (read February 2021)
Love, 2003 (read March 2021)
A Mercy, 2008 (read May 2021)
Home, 2012 (read June 2021)
God Help the Child, 2015 (read July 2021)

3lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 31, 12:36pm



Currently Reading



Force of Nature

On Deck



A Town Called Solace

4lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 1, 7:42am

Last month I read Square Haunting, which profiled five women who lived in the same part of London between the wars. One of those women was Dorothy Sayers, and I found myself thinking, "how is it I've never read anything by her?" So I am now reading the first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery: Whose Body?

To say it's very different from my previous read, Sworn to Silence, would be an understatement.

5msf59
Jul 1, 7:57am

Sweet Thursday, Laura. Happy New Thread. Love the toppers. I will be watching for your thoughts on the Erdrich.

6PawsforThought
Jul 1, 8:05am

Happy new thread, Laura!

I see you're reading Whose Body - have fun with Wimsey and Bunter (who is one of my absolute literary favourites)!

7NanaCC
Jul 1, 8:26am

>4 lauralkeet: I can’t believe you’ve never read the Lord Peter series, Laura. Lots of fun there.

8lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 1, 8:44am

>5 msf59: Okay Mark! I'll post about it here of course, and will also make a (regrettably) rare appearance on the monthly AAC thread.

>6 PawsforThought: I'm not far in, but I do like Bunter already.

>7 NanaCC: I don't know how I've missed it, Colleen. We have a couple of the later books on the shelves (Chris has read them), but I wanted to start at the beginning. Because of course I did.

9BLBera
Jul 1, 9:11am

I love Lord Peter, Laura. How nice that you have the series ahead of you.

Happy new thread. All of your furry family look very comfortable.

10Caroline_McElwee
Jul 1, 9:26am

>4 lauralkeet: I do have a soft spot for Lord Peter, Laura. Gaudy Night is a favourite.

11katiekrug
Jul 1, 10:03am

Happy new thread, Laura.

12weird_O
Jul 1, 10:50am

Good time to start a new thread, Laura. Our heat wave—not nearly as vicious as the heat grilling the west—has broken and know it's raining, granting me a reprieve on the mowing.

I missed my deadline for completion of Ken Kesey's Demon Box for the June AAC. Halfway is okay.The July challengee is not Erdrich but any Native American writer or issue. But, ha, I'll likely stick with my plan to read one of the five Erdrich novels in amongst all the other TBRs. I read two Wimseys so far this year, and since each of them was paired in one volume with an unread (as yet) Wimsey, I am forced to read those unread novels before year's end. (I'm reading the series in order.)

Have a safe and happy 4th.

13laytonwoman3rd
Jul 1, 12:16pm

>8 lauralkeet: "will also make a (regrettably) rare appearance on the monthly AAC thread." Regrettably, indeed. I despair the lack of participation lately. (Not just yours.)

14quondame
Jul 1, 12:27pm

Happy new thread!

I read and reread the Wimseys starting about 60 years ago, and have enjoyed them every time.

15lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 1, 1:28pm

>9 BLBera:, >10 Caroline_McElwee:, >14 quondame: Hi Beth, Caro & Susan. I'm glad to see so much love for Lord Peter!

>11 katiekrug: Hi Katie!

>12 weird_O: Bill, I had planned to read Erdrich because of her Pulitzer win (I've already read The Night Watchman. The AAC offered a nice bit of serendipitous timing. I'll look forward to your thoughts on the Lord Peter Wimsey books as you go through them.

>13 laytonwoman3rd: I'm sorry you're not getting the participation level you hoped, Linda. You do such a nice job with background and stuff on the threads. I just haven't been able to get fired up for challenges, and have been reading more on whim of late.

16drneutron
Jul 1, 2:37pm

Happy new one!

17lauralkeet
Jul 1, 2:39pm

Thanks Jim! You've been in my thoughts this week. It sounds like your travels have gone as well as can be expected.

18drneutron
Jul 1, 2:47pm

Yeah, pretty much. D and I are going to take a few days to drive back leisurely and relax a bit. Don’t know if you ever watch HGTV’s Home Town - we’re going to stop by Laurel, Mississippi, where the series happens to explore. Then spend some time on the Virginia wine trail up Rt 29 from Roanoke on Sunday.

19dudes22
Jul 1, 2:53pm

Happy New Thread! How do you handle the in-between (.5) books on your spreadsheet? Do you hide columns? Mine's become somewhat cumbersome with all the in-between books in the series.

20PaulCranswick
Jul 1, 3:14pm

Happy new thread, Laura!

21RebaRelishesReading
Jul 1, 4:21pm

Happy new one, Laura!

22lauralkeet
Jul 1, 4:40pm

>18 drneutron: that sounds nice, Jim. It will be nice to spend time together, not focused on family (as nice as I'm sure that was)

>19 dudes22: Hi Betty, I don't have too many series that have "0.5" books. In fact, I think I just came across that for the first time with Lord Peter Wimsey. In that series the "in-between" books appear to be short story collections which I'm less interested in. I might just ignore them.

>20 PaulCranswick:, >21 RebaRelishesReading: thanks, Paul and Reba!

23FAMeulstee
Jul 2, 10:47am

Happy new thread, Laura!

24msf59
Jul 2, 11:36am

"and will also make a (regrettably) rare appearance on the monthly AAC thread." Guilty as charged too.

Happy Friday, Laura. Have a great holiday weekend. We are going up to the UP and visit friends. I hope to get in some birding too.

25lauralkeet
Jul 2, 4:37pm

>23 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

>24 msf59: If I have to be in the AAC slammer with someone Mark, I'm glad it's you LOL. Hope you have a great time in the UP. We'll be hanging around here, probably doing some outdoor work if the weather is tolerable.

26lauralkeet
Jul 2, 4:48pm

Baby Vulture Update!

The chicks have spent the past two months in the barn. We've been able to get a peek at them from time to time and see that they were developing. They were weird-looking tan fluff balls. But this week they started venturing beyond the nest to the area just outside their entrance. And they are getting adult plumage. Today I was able to sneak around behind them to get a couple of photos. Note Mabel (or Henry?) at the far right of the second pic, ever watchful.



27laytonwoman3rd
Jul 2, 10:40pm

How will you know when it's time to shut and bar the barn door to the young'uns? (And I forget---do they have names?)

28lauralkeet
Jul 3, 7:31am

>27 laytonwoman3rd: Linda, funny you should ask: we were just talking about that yesterday. I said something like, "someday we'll come out here and they'll be gone without so much as a good-bye." After some discussion we decided that the first time that happens we will close up the barn. They have remained in the barn and so close to it so far, that venturing further would seem to indicate a new level of independence. And even if they are still hanging out with their parents, perhaps they can find other accommodation? That's our current thinking, anyway.

29lauralkeet
Jul 3, 8:08pm


34. Whose Body? ()
Source: Recent Purchase

Not really a review, just some thoughts. When I read Square Haunting recently I thought, “how is it I’ve never read Dorothy Sayers?” I’ve seen a couple of her Lord Peter Wimsey stories adapted for television, and thought it was high time I read her books. This is early detective fiction, and the structure and writing are quite different from contemporary mystery novels. So, as with other classics, the reader needs to adapt. The edition I purchased didn’t help -- I think it was a “print on demand” product; the text was very small and breaks within chapters were not made obvious. I knew this was affecting my reading experience and had to persevere to get past it.

I liked the characters very much, even if the story was a bit preposterous. I plan to continue the series, paying closer attention to the editions available.

30NanaCC
Jul 4, 8:53am

>29 lauralkeet: This was definitely not one of the best, Laura.

31lauralkeet
Jul 4, 8:58am

>30 NanaCC: Thanks for that feedback, Colleen. It seems that's often the case with mystery series, doesn't it? I tend to look at the first book as an introduction to the characters and style, and am likely to give the author the benefit of the doubt. Especially a successful and much-loved author like Dorothy Sayers. I just can't help my silly desire to read a series in order from start to finish, even if I'd be better off skipping the first book.

32NanaCC
Jul 4, 12:32pm

>32 NanaCC: When I did a reread of the series a few years ago, I still read the first one knowing it wasn’t the best. I think you’ll be happy going forward.

33lauralkeet
Jul 4, 12:35pm

Here's a recent Facebook exchange that I thought my LT pals would understand ...

The other day I posted a June reading recap, with cover images of the 6 books I read that month. A couple days later I posted a photo of some knitting.
FB Friend: How do you find the time! It is beautiful! And reading four books a month!
Me: (silently) Six.

I decided not to mention it, but oh I so wanted to!!!

Does anyone else find it annoying when someone reacts to a hobby with "How do you find the time?" Ironically, this FB friend is both a reader and a knitter. So she finds the time. *shrug*

34BLBera
Jul 4, 1:02pm

I've stopped telling people how many books I read, Laura, for that very reason. Even in my book club, I think some of the members only read our book, or twelve books a year. And I think that's the norm in the US. Which might explain quite a lot.

35LizzieD
Jul 4, 1:37pm

Oh! Reading in the USA - (and a Happy Independence Day to you, Laura!) - I'd say that reading 12 books a year is far from normal on the positive side . I'd hate to see the percentage of people who read even one. I saw your fb post, Laura, and thought your friend was low-balling you.

As to Whose Body, it's almost to be read only because it's the first of the series. The more she wrote, the better they got, I think. As a friend says of Lord Peter later in the series, "If he was acting the young-ass-about-town, he was either frightfully bored or detecting something." (That's close to being a quote) Read on, my friend, read on!

36drneutron
Jul 5, 9:57am

According to the all-wise Google, the average in America is 12 books per year, while the median is 4. Which means (i) we’re skewing the statistics, and (ii) people lie about how many books they read. 😀

37laytonwoman3rd
Editado: Jul 5, 10:36am

I wasn't taken with Lord Peter after reading Whose Body? From my review: "I was surprised at his character, which struck me as somewhere between Sherlock Holmes and Bertie Wooster, with a hint of American sloppiness of speech thrown in." I liked Clouds of Witness better, and I have two more in the series on the shelf, but I don't think Peter is ever going to be one of my favorite sleuths.

38lauralkeet
Jul 5, 11:57am

>36 drneutron: that's interesting, Jim. We get spoiled hanging around here where voracious reading is the norm. Once or twice I've been in a book discussion IRL where I realize I've read way more than others, and I just shut up because I don't want to come across as a know-it-all, nor do I want to be on the receiving end of any backlash comments.

>37 laytonwoman3rd: I love that quote from your review, Linda, it's spot on. I wishI'd thought of it. I'll give Lord Peter a few more books and see how I get on.

39lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 5, 2:56pm

Okay, I know I just posted vulture pics a couple of days ago, but they are developing quickly now. Here's what I saw early this morning when I walked the dogs; they wouldn't be able to perch there without flying.



Later, we went out to do some barn painting and both chicks were out and about. One struck the characteristic vulture wingspan pose:


They puttered about the area while we painted and then Mabel showed up and looked a bit anxious. We were also hot and thirsty by then, so we went inside to give them (and us) a break. Black vultures fledge at 10-14 weeks and these guys are 9 weeks old, so I suppose we'll be seeing them more and more outside the barn, and then one day they'll take off.

40BLBera
Jul 5, 12:58pm

I love your vulture pics, Laura.

>38 lauralkeet: I do the same thing, Laura.

>36 drneutron: Those numbers don't surprise me.

41FAMeulstee
Jul 6, 5:49am

>39 lauralkeet: Thanks for the vulture update, Laura. They look so big now.

42Sakerfalcon
Jul 6, 7:35am

>39 lauralkeet: It's amazing how quickly they have developed. It's great that you've been able to watch them grow, and share it with us!

43lauralkeet
Jul 6, 8:12am

>40 BLBera:, >41 FAMeulstee:, >42 Sakerfalcon: Hi Beth, Anita, and Claire. I'm glad you all are enjoying the vulture pics. I have to admit we were rather lukewarm about all this back in February, when we first realized they were nesting in the barn. But it's actually been fascinating to watch their progress. We know songbirds have been nesting around here too, but they are smaller and better hidden so we don't get to observe their activity.

>27 laytonwoman3rd: Returning to Linda's message for a minute, I forgot to answer her question about names and the answer is no, we haven't named the chicks. Also, I think I'm going to contact a local wildlife rescue/rehab for advice on closing up the nest site, both because we don't want to accidentally do something harmful, and because we want to prevent them from nesting there again in the future.

44karenmarie
Jul 6, 9:07am

Hi Laura, and happy new thread!

From your last thread – glad to hear that you have propane burners that you’ll be able to use during a power outage. I’ve never heard of extra-low burners. I’m a confirmed NYT Spelling Bee addict, but am cheap and only do the free one every day. Glad you liked the first Kate Burkholder.

>4 lauralkeet: I am so happy that you’re reading Whose Body?. DLS is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read the Lord Peter Wimsey and Peter/Harriet novels many, many times over the decades. In fact, I did a personal DLS fiction re-read in 2019, reading the novels and short stories in publication order. I’m sure it won’t surprise you that I have a spreadsheet of the books/stories in publication order.

>26 lauralkeet: Yay for the Baby Vulture update. Sweet pics, especially with ever watchful mama or papa Vulture.

>29 lauralkeet: I’m sorry Whose Body? was only a 3* read. Peter is a bit Bertie Wooster-ish in this first effort. I’m glad to read in >38 lauralkeet: that you’ll give Lord Peter a few more books. Gonna read Clouds of Witness next?

>33 lauralkeet: I do find it annoying. I keep four people updated with the number of books I read a year outside of LT, and they are all proud of me and love that I read so much.

>34 BLBera: I only have three non-LT friends who read as voraciously as I do, and with the exception of Friends of the Library Board members, the only local friends I have do not have shelves of books in their houses. It’s a challenge to make connections with folks who don’t read, frankly.

>39 lauralkeet: Aww, the babies are growing up. I love that they are perched next to each other.

45BLBera
Jul 6, 1:07pm

I agree, Laura. My friends tend to be readers.

46LizzieD
Jul 6, 1:33pm

Hi, Laura. My friends tend to be readers too, but we mean different things when we say that we read. I have only one close friend who plans what she'll take to read before doing anything else to prepare for a vacation. I think that's a good test if anybody wanted one.

Also, let me record myself here as a vulture baby enthusiast. Great pictures!

47quondame
Jul 6, 4:25pm

>44 karenmarie: >45 BLBera: >46 LizzieD: A number of my friends from my 30s I met through a SF club and they do read more than average and often the same books. But even if we all have bookcases overflowing with common authors it puzzles me how little we talk about them.

48lauralkeet
Jul 6, 7:08pm

>44 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I love that you've commented on so many different topics. Thank you! I am optimistic about Lord Peter Wimsey even though the first book didn't rock my world.

>44 karenmarie:, >45 BLBera:, >46 LizzieD:, >47 quondame: We are really lucky to be in the company of avid readers here. I have RL friends who are readers, but like the rest of you even they don't read like I do, and don't have my insatiable appetite for book chat.

49lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 6, 7:14pm

In >43 lauralkeet: I mentioned I was going to contact a local wildlife rehab center for advice on closing up the nest site. They answered me right away, which is great. Here's what they said:
Thank you so much for your question and let me also thank you for allowing this Black Vulture family to grow on your property! As far as timing, when to close and secure the barn it is going to be best if the young vultures are fully flying and leaving the area for periods of time. This is usually closer to 16 weeks. The parents are most likely done for the year and not going to nest any more after these two and will continue to stay with them for a bit longer. After you’re seeing the juveniles fully flying, it will be safe for you all to secure the barn. Be sure to do a fully perimeter search and make sure all openings and gaps are closed off to prevent future inhabitants from taking advantage of the prime real estate!

Since the juveniles are currently about 9 weeks old, it looks like they'll be hanging around for a while longer. Meanwhile, we have been painting the barn and currently have nearly 3 of the 4 sides done (the exception being the front, since that's where the vultures go in & out). We might be able to do some of the front while they're still here, and we can definitely start cleaning out the interior because it's divided into three bays with partitions, and the vultures only have access to one of them.

50lauralkeet
Jul 7, 7:31am



We interrupt all the vulture talk to bring you a photo of Woody and Alys sporting new insect-repelling bandanas made by InsectShield. I learned about these over on Lucy/sibylline's thread. The pups get a monthly flea & tick preventive, but the ticks have been especially plentiful this year and we're hoping this adds extra protection and minimizes the number of ticks that get to us by way of the dogs.

Plus, they look cute.

51msf59
Jul 7, 7:38am

"If I have to be in the AAC slammer with someone Mark, I'm glad it's you LOL." That was a worth a early morning chuckle. Love seeing the vulture chicks updates too.

I hope you had a nice holiday weekend, Laura. We did. Love Woody and Alys new bandanas.

52japaul22
Jul 7, 8:07am

>50 lauralkeet: Cute! I'm impressed that they'll leave them on!

53sibylline
Jul 7, 9:27am

Love the vulture pix and glad the Audubon folks were helpful. That sounds about right. Even the robins who fledged two weeks ago are still hanging around in their family group out the back door although they don't use the nest, of course, thank goodness as it is on our porch!

About the reading -- yep -- one reason public libraries are considered so pointless, folks (except now for the wifi and free use of computers). At the best of times only a small percentage of the population use them (apparently a fairly large group are reluctant to go in a library at all, afraid they might reveal they don't know things they feel they should.) I wonder how much the internet has changed reading -- my feeling is less than you might think.

54jnwelch
Jul 7, 9:52am

Happy New Thread, Laura. I love that Lord Peter mystery series. As others have said, you have better ones ahead. We just saw a play adaptation of Whose Body (Lifeline Theater in Chicago) and it was a lot of fun.

55scaifea
Jul 7, 10:06am

>50 lauralkeet: Aw, they're so handsome in their bandanas!

We've been terrible about keeping up with Mario's flea & tick/heartworm meds in these past months. We need to get back on track, and once I make vet appts for both the gals here in the next week, we should be able to.

We haven't found a tick on our dogs for years, though, so hopefully our walks in our suburban development and our fenced-in backyard means it'll stay that way.

56quondame
Jul 7, 11:15am

>53 sibylline: Ack! What a terrible thought! The libraries around me see a fair amount of use and have greatly enhanced my reading range and are anything but pointless.

57lauralkeet
Jul 7, 12:11pm

>51 msf59: Hi Mark! Thanks for dropping by this morning. Glad I made you chuckle.

>52 japaul22: Jennifer, they don't seem at all bothered by the bandanas. Still, we do take them off when we come inside, just in case.

>53 sibylline: I don't think libraries are pointless, Lucy -- but maybe what you mean is that the population at large considers them pointless? I do think libraries have evolved over the years to serve a variety of community needs beyond books and reading.

>54 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I'm glad to see another Lord Peter fan.

>55 scaifea: I'm glad your pups are tick-free, Amber. Our city lifestyle was blissfully devoid of ticks, but they are *everywhere* in these parts, and I don't have history to know whether this year is unusual.

>56 quondame: I'm a fan of our library system too, Susan. They have pretty much reopened all aspects of their operations now, except for book donations and volunteer opportunities. I'm hoping both of those return soon -- I wouldn't mind being more involved with our local branch.

58EBT1002
Jul 7, 1:49pm

Hi Laura. Like you, I am new to the Lord Peter series. I have only read Whose Body and I agree with your comments. My understanding is that the series improves and that our hero becomes more and more interesting and complex. Not surprising, really.

>50 lauralkeet: I hope those bandanas help and yes, they do look quite cute. :-)

I read and loved Summerwater recently, then dove right into Signs for Lost Children, which I have had on the shelves for a long time. It is something of a sequel to Bodies of Light although I don't think you need to read the first one to enjoy the second. That said, reading Signs for Lost Children first will certainly serve a spoiler for some detail in Bodies of Light. Anyway..., I really love Sarah Moss' writing. If you have not yet read BoL and SfLC I think they would be your cuppa.

I'm now reading The Death of Vivek Oji. Whew. It's wonderful but painful.

Oh, and your comments have made me interested in Square Haunting so I have put it on the wishlist.

59lauralkeet
Jul 7, 3:47pm

>58 EBT1002: Hi Ellen! So nice to see you. I've passed your compliments on to Woody and Alys. I hope it doesn't all go to their heads.

I'm glad to see you echoing my feelings about Lord Peter. I'll definitely be reading more, especially because my library seems to have a lot of them in Kindle format.

Speaking of my library (which I love, btw), they also have Signs for Lost Children so I've added it to a "read soon" list I keep over on my library account. I'm not sure when I'll get to it -- I have one book checked out now and a couple of holds that will soon be ready for me, plus the last book in my Toni Morrison project that I'd like to wrap up this month. Ack! So much to read!!

60BLBera
Jul 8, 8:40am

Woody and Alys are adorable in their bandanas.

I'm also reading a Sarah Moss book right now, Night Waking, which I highly recommend. My book club meets to discuss it tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see what people think of it.

My reading has been slower because of Wimbledon.

61lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 9, 7:56am

>60 BLBera: Hi Beth, I've been following all the Sarah Moss love on other threads and wondering how I missed out on all of these novels. I read Cold Earth back in 2010, and then lost track of her until Ghost Wall, 9 years later. Silly me, I never thought to look into what she'd been up to all that time. Three novels, in fact: Night Waking, Bodies of Light, and Signs for Lost Children. It looks like my local library only has Signs for Lost Children. Sigh.

62BLBera
Jul 10, 10:25am

That's what bookstores are for, Laura. :)Night Waking doesn't seem to be widely available in libraries.

63japaul22
Jul 10, 10:56am

>61 lauralkeet: Yes, American libraries don't seem to have Sarah Moss on their radar. There is so much LT love for her, but my large library system only has 3 of her books and those were all acquired in the last year or two. Since I do read most newly published books by checking them out through the library, this definitely has held me back from reading her works.

64lauralkeet
Jul 10, 12:06pm

>62 BLBera:, >63 japaul22: What is it with libraries and Sarah Moss? Our library has Names for the Sea (nonfiction), Signs for Lost Children, Ghost Wall, and Summerwater. The latter was acquired after I requested it, so I was pleased about that in any case.

65laytonwoman3rd
Jul 10, 2:50pm

Of course I had to go check our county library system for Sarah Moss---only Summerwater and Ghost Wall are available.

66lauralkeet
Jul 10, 3:25pm

I’m guessing Ghost Wall is better known in the US than her previous books, and a library that has it might be more likely to acquire her next book?

67AMQS
Jul 10, 6:08pm

Hi Laura! I've enjoyed getting caught up here. It looks like you're settling in nicely! I love your vultures - how amazing! Marina and I spent a week at a colleague's condo in Salida and on a hike we took we saw a moose! Then, while still buzzing about the moose on our way back, Marina suddenly shouted "There's a whole-a** vulture!" And sure enough there was. it was a great wildlife day:)

I've enjoyed the discussion about readers and number of books read. Where there's a will... I am happy to say that our library system is well-loved. Every time I try to find a library parking space I think back to a column I read some years ago that argued that libraries are obsolete. I have friends who are readers and friends who are non readers, but I do wish teachers at my school (and teachers in general) read more, particularly those whose job it is to teach literacy and encourage reading. It is so powerful to enthuse about your own reading with students, but many teachers just frankly admit that they don't read and don't enjoy reading. And I really hate the pervasive idea in education that "new books are crap." I'm not suggesting they throw classics out the window but reading only classics in school is not the way to inspire high schoolers to read for pleasure.

68quondame
Jul 10, 7:09pm

>63 japaul22: >64 lauralkeet: >65 laytonwoman3rd: My usually excellent libraries are also light on Sarah Moss, the LAPL has the most with 7 titles, a couple in 3 formats.

69lauralkeet
Jul 10, 9:38pm

>67 AMQS: Hi Anne, it's really great to see you back among us again, making the rounds. I'll add your name to the Vulture Fan Club List (for what that's worth, ha ha). I love your thoughts on readers and non-readers, especially coming from an education perspective. It's been a while since I had school-aged children, but I remember them reading a mix of classics and more modern works, and thinking that was a pretty good idea.

>68 quondame: Well all I can say is, we love Sarah Moss here in the 75ers group and thank goodness we can find copies of her books for sale.

70dudes22
Jul 11, 7:29am

None of the local libraries in my area have any Sara Moss, but there are a few in the ILL system in the state that do.

71lauralkeet
Jul 11, 7:35am

>70 dudes22: I often forget about ILL, Betty, but it's another great way to get hold of books. I used it a few times before the pandemic, and then of course it wasn't available. Thanks for the reminder.

72msf59
Jul 11, 8:31am

Happy Sunday, Laura. No surprise, that I had a great visit with Joe yesterday afternoon. He looks fine and fit. We then had dinner with Bree & Sean and my Momma to Be looks beautiful. Just a few more weeks.

My feeders have been sooooo quiet...

73lauralkeet
Jul 11, 8:47am

Hi Mark, I can't believe Bree will be a Momma so soon. That's so exciting! No sign of grandkids yet with our two. Of course we're fine with whatever they decide (both "if" and "when"), but I have to admit I'd love to snuggle a baby someday.

74msf59
Jul 11, 9:04am

I am a bit older than you and Bree is 31, so your time will come. We can't wait!!

75BLBera
Jul 11, 9:26am

FYI, Laura, I really enjoyed the memoir, Names for the Sea as well.

I so agree with Anne about how we teach. We need to rethink the curriculum regarding classics. There are so many good, more relatable books we could teach to promote love of reading in students.

I have a robin nest on my front porch eaves and a sparrow nest in the hollow part of my clothesline.

76lauralkeet
Jul 11, 9:32am

>74 msf59: Good point, Mark. Kate and Julia are 28 and 25. And I was a month shy of 31 when Kate was born. So, no hurry.

>75 BLBera: Stop tempting me with all these Sarah Moss books, Beth!! Ha ha, just kidding. Exciting about your bird nests. We haven't seen robins around here, I wonder why? Regarding education and the classics, in your teaching are you able to develop your own curriculum and choose a mix, or do you have to follow guidance from on high?

77lauralkeet
Jul 11, 10:09am


35. The Bingo Palace ()
Source: Recent Purchase

Louise Erdrich’s early novels are set in and around a Native American reservation in North Dakota, and are often compared to Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha. Her characters bring the culture to life while also showing the impact of government policy and discrimination. The Bingo Palace is set in contemporary times and is primarily the story of Lipsha Lamartine, a young man abandoned by his mother in infancy. His father has long been in prison, and Lipsha has few role models. When he is summoned home by his grandmother, he almost immediately falls for Shawnee Ray, who unfortunately for Lipsha is in a relationship with Lipsha’s uncle, Lyman Lamartine. Lyman is older, wiser, and more prosperous. He is also the father of Shawnee’s son. But Shawnee has ambitions of her own: to further her education, start a career, and make an independent life for herself.

Lipsha gets a job working for Lyman at his gambling establishment. He also plays a bit of bingo on the side, and between paid work and gambling manages to improve his finances somewhat. Lyman sort of takes Lipsha under his wing and Lipsha values their relationship, even as he is sneaking around wooing Shawnee behind Lyman’s back. Lipsha tries hard to make himself a better man, but as a man with limited education and job prospects, the odds are stacked against him. Ruled by his desires, he fails to read Shawnee’s signals even when she is fairly direct with him. And then Lipsha’s father re-enters his life, with dramatic consequences.

At first I thought The Bingo Palace might be a "beat the odds" kind of story and was really pulling for Lipsha, but Erdrich doesn’t write that kind of fiction. I enjoyed seeing a few of Lipsha’s ancestors return, much older and sometimes wiser than in previous books. Some earlier events were also described more fully. So once again, I am left with a deeper understanding of this community, but also a desire to read more.

78BLBera
Jul 11, 10:24am

Great comments on The Bingo Palace, Laura. Lipsha is a great character. I am anxious for her new book coming in November.

Since I teach at a community college, I am able to choose what I teach. These days, I choose mostly writers students wouldn't have read in high school. Students loved The Round House when I taught it and lately I've been using Sing, Unburied, Sing, which students really like as well.

79lauralkeet
Jul 11, 12:10pm

>78 BLBera: Great book choices, Beth. Lots to unpack in both.

80laytonwoman3rd
Jul 11, 2:17pm

"I am able to choose what I teach" Lucky you. And lucky students, to have a teacher who chooses such great reads.

81SandyAMcPherson
Jul 12, 12:21am

Hi Laura. It's late here, but I've been doing the rounds and wanted to post a comment to say thanks for your wishes back at the beginning of July.

I'll have to revisit to read through a bit more thoroughly.

82AnneDC
Jul 12, 12:55am

Hi Laura! I'm ever so slowly making my way around to a couple of threads. I think the last time I was here was before you moved--it looks like all your furry friends are settled and comfortable.

I'm still keeping up with your Toni Morrison project and will probably go back to the early books once I read God Help the Child--I joined in at Jazz and you've inspired me to read/reread them all.

83lauralkeet
Jul 12, 8:16am

>81 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy, it's nice to see you back among us. I've been thinking of you.

>82 AnneDC: Hello Anne! I left a comment over on your thread already. I'm excited to be nearing the end of my Toni Morrison project. It's interesting to have a perspective on an author's work over the arc of their career.

84BLBera
Jul 12, 9:04am

When is God Help the Child up, Laura? That's one I would like to reread.

85lauralkeet
Jul 12, 3:41pm

>84 BLBera: Hi Beth! I'm sorry I didn't check with you on this, for some reason I thought you were done with Morrison for a while. I am totally flexible. I could start in the next day or two after I finish Life in the Garden. Or, I just picked up The Dictionary of Lost Words today, so I could read that and then the Morrison. And if you need more time, I have books on my shelves to keep me happy ...

What suits you?

86BLBera
Jul 12, 7:43pm

I'm reading How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House right now, so I could start in a couple of days, or by the end of the week after you finish The Dictionary of Lost Words. Really, just tell me what works for you.

87lauralkeet
Jul 12, 9:08pm

I don't think we need to both start at exactly the same time, and it sounds like we will both finish our current reads in the next couple of days. So how about we both start reading it after finishing our current book?

88BLBera
Jul 12, 11:06pm

Perfect.

89msf59
Editado: Jul 13, 7:22am

Morning, Laura. This damp weather has been keeping me off the trails, plus we are making final arrangements to purchase a pickup. This will be our first step in acquiring a camper, which we plan on doing early next year. I hope to get out and do some birding tomorrow. I have that itch. Feeders continue to be quiet. A pair of black-capped chickadees and a lone male downy woodpecker seem to be visiting the most yesterday afternoon.

ETA- Oh yeah- I also highly recommend Diary of a Young Naturalist, which I am nearly done with.

90lauralkeet
Jul 13, 10:12am

>88 BLBera: Beth, last night I sent a message to Anne, following up on her comment in >82 AnneDC: about interest in God Help the Child. She now has it on her "read next" list as well. So that makes three of us!

>89 msf59: Hi Mark. I'm glad you're enjoying Diary of a Young Naturalist. We saw the author interviewed on a British wildlife show not too long ago. I'm not surprised you've enjoyed the book.

91katiekrug
Jul 13, 12:21pm

Hi Laura! Just checking in now that I'm back.

92lauralkeet
Jul 13, 12:28pm

Hi Katie! Thanks for leaving your calling card. I'll pay you a visit here shortly.

93BLBera
Jul 13, 12:29pm

94lauralkeet
Jul 13, 3:31pm

We received some bad news about Woody today. He's been slowing down in general, and last night had some sort of episode where he was very wobbly on his feet and then very lethargic. He wasn't much better this morning, so we took him to the vet. He's been diagnosed with tumors near the spleen, most likely cancerous, with poor prognosis. Surgery is possible, but then again the cancer may also have spread. And at 13.5 years old, we are not in favor of surgery anyway. They gave us several medications to help keep him comfortable for however many days or weeks he has left with us.

He's had a good, long life but it's still really sad.

95katiekrug
Jul 13, 3:45pm

>94 lauralkeet: - Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Woody. That's hard. I am glad I got to meet him - he's a sweetie.

96vivians
Jul 13, 4:00pm

Very sad to hear. Always so hard to lose one of those very good boys.

97drneutron
Jul 13, 4:01pm

So sorry for Woody. I'm hoping the meds do keep him comfy.

98quondame
Jul 13, 4:14pm

>94 lauralkeet: I'm so sorry about Woody.

99PawsforThought
Jul 13, 4:31pm

>94 lauralkeet: Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Woody. I’m sure you’ll make his last time with you the best it possibly could be.

100dudes22
Editado: Jul 13, 7:18pm

I'm sorry to hear about your dog Laura . It's so hard to know what's best to do. Hang in there.

101AnneDC
Jul 13, 4:43pm

>94 lauralkeet: That is very sad news. I hope he's able to be comfortable and fussed over.

A reminder to take my guy to the vet for a checkup now that they've reopened.

>90 lauralkeet: Glad I get to join you in reading God Help the Child.

102msf59
Jul 13, 6:12pm

I am so sorry to hear about Woody. I am sure you will make him comfortable.

103scaifea
Jul 13, 6:17pm

*hugs*
I'm so sorry that you're at that stage with sweet Woody. It's the hardest part about furry friendships, but Woody's lucky to have you - you'll do what's best for him and he knows it.

104EBT1002
Jul 13, 7:19pm

Hi Laura. Great comments about The Bingo Palace which I read in 2017 and thought was not her strongest but still a wonderful read. ("Not her strongest," when speaking of Erdrich's work, almost inevitably still means it's a worthwhile read!)

>94 lauralkeet: I am so sorry to hear this news about Woody. I know you will just spend time with him while you can. Sending you (and him!) lots of hugs.

I also see you are reading The Dictionary of Lost Words. I quite enjoyed that one.

Take care.

105brenzi
Jul 13, 9:40pm

I'm so sorry to hear about your Woody Laura. So tough when we lose our beloved pets.

I read The Bingo Palace so long ago I don't remember a thing about it but I loved all the early Erdrich books.

106lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 14, 7:15am

Katie, Vivian, Jim, Susan, Paws, Betty, Anne, Mark, Amber, Ellen, & Bonnie ... thank you so much for your kind thoughts about our sweet Woody. The meds he's taking are for pain relief and anti-nausea, so he seems relatively comfortable and he's eating well although with perhaps a bit less vigor than is typical for a lab. Our walks yesterday were shorter than usual, as he just didn't seem up for his usual jaunt. We're just keeping an eye on him and taking things one day at a time.

------

Yesterday I finished Penelope Lively's memoir, Life in the Garden, and hope to start God Help the Child today.

>104 EBT1002: Ellen, I added The Dictionary of Lost Words to my "Currently Reading" collection after I picked it up from the library on Monday. It's actually "on deck," to be read after the Morrison.

Also, I'd like to sing praises for the Loudoun County Public Library System. Last Friday I checked my holds and *gasp* something was missing! A few days before I had been #2 on the list for the new Ruth Galloway, The Night Hawks. AND IT HAD DISAPPEARED. I was absolutely certain I hadn't cancelled it by mistake, since you get an "are you sure?" prompt when you do that. It was Friday night, so I sent an email to the library using their "Contact Us" form. I knew I wasn't likely to get a response over the weekend, but (and I forget why) I didn't think I'd have time to pop into the branch. But hurray, on Monday I received a reply apologizing for the glitch and saying that my hold had been reinstated and I was back at #2 again. Hurrah!

107BLBera
Jul 14, 10:01am

Sorry to hear about Woody, Laura. That is so tough. I hope you can keep him comfortable. He's old for a lab. Ours died at 11.

108RebaRelishesReading
Jul 14, 6:06pm

Losing a pet is very painful but it is good to know he had a long life with people who loved him. Hugs to you all.

109lauralkeet
Jul 14, 8:48pm

Thank you, Beth and Reba.

110lauralkeet
Jul 15, 8:07am


36. Life in the Garden ()
Source: Library loan - recommended by Beth (BLBera)

This slim volume is part gardening book, part memoir, by one of my favorite fiction authors, Penelope Lively. Lively, now well into her 80s, cites reading and gardening as the two most important activities in her life. She explores the importance of gardening to other authors, the role of gardens in society over the years, and the relationship between gardening and social class, weaving in personal history along the way.

This book reads like a series of chats with a friend over cups of tea. Although I can’t say I learned anything new about my friend Penelope, she did help me understand what makes gardening such a satisfying pursuit. I enjoyed her references to gardening in literature and her ability to discern when an author is a true gardener vs. just throwing words around for effect. She also pointed me towards more substantial gardening books that have been on our shelves for a long time, but that I’ve never really examined.

Despite the cozy good feelings engendered by this book, I struggled with how to rate it. It’s a “niche” work, unlikely to have universal appeal. The writing was sometimes repetitive, especially certain catch phrases employed a few times too often. It would be of greatest interest to gardeners (obviously), and some prior knowledge of English gardening history and style would enhance the reading experience.

111Sakerfalcon
Jul 15, 9:51am

>94 lauralkeet: I'm so sorry to hear the news about Woody. I hope that the time you have left together is very special.

112BLBera
Jul 15, 10:54am

>110 lauralkeet: Great comments, Laura. You pinpointed exactly my feelings about the book. I'm not a gardener, so while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it. I think avid gardeners would appreciate it more.

113lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 15, 2:56pm

>111 Sakerfalcon: Thank you Claire.

>112 BLBera: Thanks Beth. I remember you saying something to me like, "you'll probably get more out of it since you're a gardener," and I did get something out of it. But I also hoped for something more, although I can't say what that would be, exactly.

Meanwhile, I'm already about halfway through Morrison's God Help the Child and I only started reading it yesterday. Have you started yet?

114AnneDC
Jul 15, 3:34pm

>113 lauralkeet: I haven't started God Help the Child yet but I hope to start it tomorrow. It sounds like you're flying through!

115lauralkeet
Jul 15, 4:18pm

>114 AnneDC: That's great, Anne. I experienced a bit of "what is going on here" at first, which is typical of Morrison's novels (for me anyway) but once I got past that, her prose has been pretty easy to follow.

116BLBera
Jul 15, 4:28pm

I have just started it, Laura. But I did read it before, and I see that I gave it 4 1/2 stars on my first read, so it will be interesting to see how I react to it after reading through most of Morrison's work.

117lauralkeet
Jul 15, 5:28pm

>116 BLBera: I can't wait to see what you think!

118lauralkeet
Jul 17, 1:11pm


37. God Help the Child ()
Source: On my shelves

Toni Morrison’s final novel, God Help the Child, was published in 2015. It is the only book in her eleven-novel body of work that is set in contemporary times. The main character is a young woman named Bride, a successful executive at a cosmetics company. Bride was poorly treated by her mother, who couldn’t accept Bride’s “blue-black” skin color, but Bride believes she has moved past that abandonment. Then Bride’s partner, Booker, leaves her suddenly and without explanation, although the reader is aware it’s due to Bride’s recent well-intentioned but misguided behavior towards another person (I don’t want to reveal too many details about that in this review). She eventually sets off on a journey to find Booker, which has a life-changing impact.

This novel celebrates the possibility for individuals to become fully-formed adults despite childhood trauma, while also making it clear how difficult that journey is. Bride and Booker are victims of such trauma, which looms so large that neither one can support the other. Booker is initially a vague, undefined figure, but his back story, when revealed late in the novel, is one of the most interesting parts of the book.

Morrison’s late career writing style is less experimental and complex than her early works. While her early style confused me at first, I found myself wishing she had made more use of it in God Help the Child. Themes of childhood abuse ran like a current through this work, but the emotional impact was not as visceral as in The Bluest Eye. Morrison introduced elements of magical realism, but failed to develop them as fully as in her prize-winning Beloved. And the secondary characters -- Bride’s friend Brooklyn and Booker’s aunt Queen -- could also have been fleshed out to play more significant roles.

Nevertheless, the stories of Bride and Booker’s respective healing journeys make for good reading and show why Toni Morrison was one of our literary greats.

119lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 17, 1:27pm

And with that, my Toni Morrison project is complete. I have really enjoyed reading through her novels over the past year, and have a greater appreciation for her career and her craft.

----



On another topic, I just bought a copy of Nature's Best Hope, by Douglas Tallamy. There's an excellent bit of LT serendipity in this purchase. The other day we had a representative from Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy visit us to discuss ways to make our property wildlife-friendly. We had a great conversation as we tramped around the property. Afterwards we received a report and an extensive list of resources to guide us going forward. This book was one of them, so of course the first thing I did was check reviews on LT. Although there are only a few reviews, all but one are highly favorable. And that's when I realized I'd heard of this book before, on Jennifer (@japaul)'s Club Read thread back in June. I made a mental note of it at the time, which was clearly about as effective as a sieve. Well, I'm happy to have rediscovered it. Here's the publisher's description:
Douglas W. Tallamy's first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives. In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature's Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it's practical, effective, and easy--you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard. If you're concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature's Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife--and the planet--for future generations.
I'll probably start this today and read it alongside my fiction reading.

120AnneDC
Jul 17, 1:33pm

>37 laytonwoman3rd: I'll be skipping over your review until I finish the book myself. (I'm done with Part I and there were only a few confusing moments--more straightforward than I'm used to from Morrison.)

Congratulations on completing this reading project--what an excellent idea!

121BLBera
Jul 17, 2:30pm

Congrats on finishing it Laura. I should finish later today. First, I have some painting to do. :(

122lauralkeet
Jul 17, 5:26pm

>120 AnneDC: I totally understand skipping over my post, Anne.
>121 BLBera: I hope the painting was productive, Beth.

I'm looking forward to seeing thoughts on God Help the Child from both of you soon!

123dudes22
Jul 18, 11:10am

Congratulations on finishing your project. I still have many of her books to go but have enjoyed your comments on them.

>119 lauralkeet: - I too made note of this book when Jennifer mentioned it but haven't picked it up yet. Since we live in a condo community, there's not much opportunity to change to natural plantings. But we do live at the edge of one of the ponds and my husband planted a large quantity of native wild flower seeds on the bank this spring. Hopefully they will come back next year.

124RebaRelishesReading
Jul 18, 11:25am

>118 lauralkeet: Nice review, Laura. I read some of Morrison's early works and had decided I was done but you just hit me with a BB for this one.

125lauralkeet
Jul 18, 12:44pm

>123 dudes22: Hi Betty. It's great that you and your husband are doing what you can, I understand the opportunities would be limited in a condo setting. But every action helps!

>124 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks Reba. God Help the Child is a straightforward narrative, so it's an easier read than those early works. I was surprised to find I kind of missed that early style, but there's no doubt this book is more accessible.

126karenmarie
Jul 18, 1:09pm

Hi Laura.

I'm so sorry to hear about Woody.

>119 lauralkeet: Congrats on your Toni Morrison project. Are you in the middle of another project that I don't remember offhand? If not, have you given any thought to the next one?

127weird_O
Jul 18, 2:08pm

Been quite a few years since I've read any Morrison. You're challenging me, not to read all her novels, but certainly one or two more.

I'm awfully scattered these days, but I did finally get my bookcase addition done enough to accept books. A week's work dragged out to a couple or three months. Lots of clean up, my projects require. *sigh*

128BLBera
Jul 18, 5:00pm

Thanks for taking the lead on the Morrison Project, Laura! Finally, I've read all of her work, and most of them more than once! The one I was most surprised by on reread was Paradise. That is one I will definitely read again. It was also interesting to read them in order.

Any ideas for future projects?

129lauralkeet
Jul 18, 6:49pm

>127 weird_O: I hope you'll give Morrison another try, Bill. Which ones have you read? And of those, which did you like the most?

>126 karenmarie:, >128 BLBera: Hi Karen & Beth, I honestly haven't spent a moment's thought on future reading projects. The Morrison project came about after taking a course where we read Beloved, and at first I thought I might re-read a couple books I'd read before. But when I realized she'd only written 11 novels I knew that reading her complete works would be achievable.

So, all that to say there was a specific inspiration for the journey. I'm not opposed to other projects, but I don't have a list queued up in my head. I'm open to ideas!

----

Also, since Karen mentioned Woody (thanks Karen), I just wanted to say he's doing okay, in fact, he's pretty much just as he was before Monday night's incident. He's obviously not going to be cured, but the meds are helping. He takes one for anti-nausea, one for pain, and a Chinese herbal medication for the specific type of cancer that he has. Who knew, right? Although one or more of these seems to make him thirsty, they are also benefiting him.
He's stable and comfortable for now, and I can't ask for more than that.

130laytonwoman3rd
Jul 18, 9:20pm

>129 lauralkeet: "I'm open to ideas!" Well, now... (imagine the evil grin I'm wearing)

131weird_O
Jul 18, 10:14pm

>129 lauralkeet: >130 laytonwoman3rd: Can you say, "William Faulkner"? Right, Linda?

>127 weird_O: I have read Beloved, Sula, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Jazz. Of those, I liked Beloved and Song of Solomon best. The former was a difficult read for me, in terms of following what was going in. But very rewarding.

Still on the unread shelf are Home, Paradise, Tar Baby, God Help the Child, and A Mercy. That's 10, so I'm missing one book.

132lauralkeet
Jul 19, 7:25am

>130 laytonwoman3rd: Oh dear. You're evil, Linda!

>131 weird_O: Bill, the book missing from your list is Love. I think I'd recommend Paradise for you next. There's a lot of imagery and symbolism, similar to Beloved. And like that one, it can be hard to figure out what's going on but it's worth the effort.

133msf59
Jul 19, 7:27am

>119 lauralkeet: Nature's Best Hope sounds like a good, informative book. I love the bluebird too. How does it read so far?

A little more activity at my feeders. The goldfinch are back and there has been a pair of black-capped chickadees that have been zipping around. You get Carolinas, right?

134lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 19, 7:40am

Good morning Mark! I'm enjoying Nature's Best Hope so far. His writing style is easy to read, and it's not a long book (~250pp). I'm only three chapters in, but am learning a lot about why our conservation efforts have been necessary, but not sufficient. Preserving tracts of land (e.g., national parks) and species (via the Endangered Species Act) were important actions at the time but meanwhile humans have continued to turn most of the remaining land on the planet into residential, commercial, or agricultural space. This forces wildlife into smaller, disconnected tracts which limits their food sources and ability to reproduce. The author notes that most land is now in private hands, so it is up to all of us to take actions that begin to create biological corridors between these isolated tracts. The next chapter discusses the great American lawn and how reducing the space devoted to lawns can help. Should be interesting.

I'm glad your feeder activity is picking up. We do get Carolina Chickadees although I haven't seen one in a while. We've taken our feeders down because of the bird mortality event that is sweeping over the eastern states, so we're seeing fewer birds generally.

135dudes22
Jul 19, 7:52am

>128 BLBera: - I'm going to have to read that one again too, Beth. I ended up quitting about halfway through because I was so confused. But I will try it again. And the others that I haven't read yet. I just found Tar Baby at the FOL shelf at the library so that may be next for me.

>134 lauralkeet: - We have a local land trust that tries very hard to preserve land. In a state where ocean access is so important, they try to prevent our state from becoming one big parking lot. Some people leave their land to the trust, some sell, and they have some walking trails through a lot of them. Every bit helps.

136lauralkeet
Jul 19, 8:20am

>135 dudes22: Land trusts are great, Betty. I'm glad there's one in Rhode Island. Virginia has one, too. I need to educate myself on how they work and whether it's something we could look into for our land.

137msf59
Jul 19, 8:21am

It looks like I will track down a copy of Nature's Best Hope. The bird mortality situation hasn't hit Illinois yet, although there are some that have taken their feeders down. It did strike in Indiana and it was suggested that all feeders be taken down. I hope this is just temporary. The birds have enough survival issues. For the time being I will keep my feeders as clean as possible.

138vivians
Jul 19, 12:28pm

Bird mortality? I enjoy all the birding updates and especially the photos but I know very little about the subject. What am I missing - it sounds awful.

139lauralkeet
Jul 19, 12:38pm

>138 vivians: Hi Vivian,

There's some sort of disease that's had a huge impact on the bird population along the east coast. No one seems to know what causes it, and it is apparently always fatal. Local authorities (i.e.; Virginia wildlife organizations) have advised homeowners to take down their feeders to prevent birds from congregating and from potentially transmitting the illness. Here are a couple of recent-ish articles from reliable sources:

* Audubon: https://www.audubon.org/news/scientists-still-searching-pathogen-behind-easts-so...
* Smithsonian: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/news/mysterious-bird-deaths-mid-atlan...

140PaulCranswick
Jul 21, 11:23pm

>139 lauralkeet: That is a little bit scary isn't it, Laura? We take the birds in the sky/trees very much for granted and clearly we should not do so.

141lauralkeet
Jul 22, 7:36am

>140 PaulCranswick: It sure is, Paul. They've really been stumped about what's causing this. I hope they're able to determine that soon.

142BLBera
Jul 22, 9:41am

That is sad news about the birds, Laura. I've been following your vulture news; I have three baby robins in the nest on the eaves of my front porch. We have been entertained watching the parents try to feed those hungry mouths.

143lauralkeet
Jul 22, 12:23pm

I could watch birds for hours, Beth. We're still seeing a few regulars even without feeders. You come to feel like you know them personally. Or maybe I'm just weird ha ha.

144lauralkeet
Jul 25, 8:36am


38. The Dictionary of Lost Words ()
Source: Library loan - recommended by Bonnie (brenzi)

I love books about words, and books about the hidden history of marginalized groups. Mix in interesting, likeable characters and a love story, and I’m totally there for it. The Dictionary of Lost Words is all of these things, and a delight to read.

Esme Nicoll is the fictional protagonist dropped into the decades-long effort to develop and publish the Oxford English Dictionary. As a child, Esme spent her days sitting beneath the sorting table in the Scriptorium, where her father worked as a member of the lexicography team. She began collecting words that fell to the floor, discarded for one reason or another. As she grew up, Esme took on more formal roles in the Scriptorium. She also came to the realization that most of her “lost words” were used almost exclusively by women to describe their daily lives. Inspired by the suffrage movement, she began actively collecting words which she hoped would be published someday.

Esme’s life revolved around the development of the dictionary, and this is a very interesting story indeed. But The Dictionary of Lost Words delivers even more through interesting, well-developed characters -- some real, some imagined -- who had a profound impact on her life. The historical backdrop, which included both women’s suffrage and World War I, added even more interest. I was totally immersed in Esme’s life, and strongly affected by her life choices and relationships. This is a lovely, memorable novel -- highly recommended.

145SandyAMcPherson
Jul 25, 9:03am

Back again in LT-land. Skimmed your thread and caught up with the news. Sympathy for Woody, btw. Our furry friends are so meaningful in our lives.

>110 lauralkeet: I borrowed this book from a friend who is an avid philosophical gardener. She loved it "five stars". Confession, I didn't finish it.

While I appreciated the theme, the writing was not as sharp (lucid?) as I have found in earlier books. I agree it was very comfortable and there were whimsical passages but it just didn't feel the same as the other Penelope Lively books, with brilliant phrases of insights on the human condition.

I maybe didn't quite capture how it struck me ~ but I think your review is about where I am on the work.

146BLBera
Jul 25, 10:41am

>144 lauralkeet: Great comments, Laura. Esme is a great character.

147PawsforThought
Jul 25, 12:00pm

>144 lauralkeet: Ooh, sounds like it’s right up my alley. Definitely going to check it out.

148NanaCC
Jul 25, 2:07pm

>144 lauralkeet: Great comments, Laura. I loved Esme’s character, and her relationship with her father.

149lauralkeet
Jul 25, 3:32pm

>145 SandyAMcPherson: Sandy, I appreciate your comments on Life in the Garden. I just wanted a little something more from it, and you describe that little something very well.

>146 BLBera:, >148 NanaCC: I loved Esme too! She was a great vehicle for telling the story of the OED too.

>147 PawsforThought: Go for it, Paws.

150brenzi
Jul 25, 7:23pm

>144 lauralkeet: Great review of The Dictionary of Lost Words Laura. I'd never heard of Pip Williams but I'll be waiting for her next book with bated breath. Such good characterizations!

151lauralkeet
Jul 25, 8:52pm

>150 brenzi: Thanks Bonnie. I can imagine there are loads of talented Australian authors that we don't know about. I *should* seek them out but I'm not even sure where to start.

152SandyAMcPherson
Jul 25, 9:25pm

>149 lauralkeet: Thanks for your kind words, Laura. I was a tad reluctant to be critical of Lively's book ~ there lurks in the back of my mind the idea that this pandemic has affected my judgment (skewed to being overly picky and negative).

153lauralkeet
Jul 26, 7:16am

>152 SandyAMcPherson: I understand how you feel, Sandy. I wanted to give the book a higher rating simply because I love Penelope Lively -- a sort of halo effect, I guess.

154msf59
Jul 26, 7:26am

Morning, Laura. Another LT pal singing the praises of The Dictionary of Lost Words. Nice review too. I have it on the list but maybe I should bump it up. This continuing heat is keeping me off the trails. I am bummed.

155dudes22
Jul 26, 7:32am

>144 lauralkeet: - This book was already on my radar, but I think I'll move it up. I too like books about books.

>110 lauralkeet: - This too caught my interest even if it's not quite up to her usual writing.

156lauralkeet
Jul 26, 8:50am

>154 msf59:, Hi Mark, I'm sorry you're not able to get out and about. The heat is affecting us, too. We had a couple of nice cycle rides on local roads & trails before it became too hot. I suppose we could go out really early in the morning, but so far coffee has been a more attractive option.

>155 dudes22: Betty, I hope you enjoy The Dictionary of Lost Words. And Life in the Garden is enjoyable, even if not her best.

157vivians
Jul 26, 11:33am

>151 lauralkeet: Hi Laura - a great source for Australian writers is the "Books on the Go" podcast. It's usually weekly and is short - about 20 minutes. The Australian hosts read internationally but often focus on local writers, and generally review all the Stella Prize and Mile Franklin Prize longlists. I've picked up a number of great recommendations from them.

158lauralkeet
Jul 26, 12:09pm

>157 vivians: Thanks for the podcast recommendation, Vivian. That sounds really good. Prize lists are always a good starting point for me, and the reviews would help whittle the list down to something manageable.

159lauralkeet
Jul 26, 5:00pm


39. Nature’s Best Hope ()
Source: Recent purchase - recommended by Jennifer (@japaul) & Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

The title of this book, Nature’s Best Hope, might lead one to believe there’s a miracle cure for the environmental destruction perpetrated by humans. But look closer, and you’ll notice a subtitle: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard. Yes, that’s right: each and every one of us plays a part in restoring our ecosystems. And doing so is important not just because our favorite wildlife species depend on it, but because ultimately the human race does, as well.

Today, there is very little undeveloped land on our planet. Protected lands, while important, represent only a small portion of total acreage. Every tract of land that is turned into residential developments also results in associated commercial corridors. This leaves only small, isolated areas for wildlife. And both the size and the isolation contribute to reduced birth rates and increased mortality among our wildlife.

Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, has spent his career working to understand the role of insects and plants in creating biodiversity. In this book he advocates for creating ecological corridors through the actions of individual landowners. The highest-impact actions we can take are to reduce the size of our lawns and increase the footprint of native plants.

Prior to reading this book, I had a vague understanding of native plants as “good,” but could not have explained why. I now have a better understanding of the importance of insects and caterpillars in the food webs that sustain wildlife, and the essential role native plants play as a food source for those insects and caterpillars. As home gardeners, we have been trained by years of tradition to prefer certain trees and ornamentals which are non-native and therefore do nothing to build and sustain our wildlife populations. In fact there are often equally attractive native alternatives, and nurseries and garden centers are increasingly offering these varieties. Each region also has a small number of “keystone” plants: a critical few with huge impact.

It may not be practical -- or even desirable -- to rip out and replace all of the non-native plants in your garden. But each of us can make a start, for example by replacing some of our lawn with native trees or shrubs, and removing invasive plants. We don’t have to do it all, but we do have to do something.

160SandyAMcPherson
Jul 26, 6:38pm

>159 lauralkeet: Nice review and an oh-so-imperative message. I like the emphasis on a more natural approach to the urban environment.

Toronto (Ontario) is not my ideal city but I saw an article some months (maybe years?) ago about interconnected wildlife corridors sustaining natural habitats of native trees, shrubs and plants plus protection for myriad streams and waterways was happening. Didn't find the link to this information, but if Toronto-the-megalopolis can do it, so can other cities.

161brenzi
Jul 26, 6:45pm

I listen to Books On the Go too and the only problem is that the new books they review are generally not yet published in this country. I can't wait for the new Sarah Winman novel, Still Life, but I don't think it'll be here until the fall. In the meantime, I'll read A Room With a View because there's a connection between the two books.

162vivians
Jul 26, 9:36pm

I just ordered Still Life from Book Depository because I couldn't wait for fall! I'll send it along when I'm done.

163lauralkeet
Editado: Jul 27, 6:51am

>160 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy. Nature's Best Hope is a really good book, and I hope the idea begins to spread. Just one point of clarification: the book is not specifically about urban environments; in fact, the author spends very little time talking about cities. His message is aimed at the everyday homeowner, whether their home is on a lot the size of a postage stamp or larger acreage.

>161 brenzi: I've experienced that same issue with Booker winners, Bonnie. It's a good thing to keep in mind.

>162 vivians: The Book Depository is excellent, isn't it Vivian? And I assume you intend to send the book to Bonnie, right? It would be unfair of me to butt in front, especially for a book I've only just heard of LOL. I'm off to investigate Sarah Winman now ...

ETA: Oh!! She wrote Tin Man! I loved that book.

164japaul22
Jul 27, 6:59am

We are on vacation in northern Michigan and have seen a real effort up here to reestablish native plants. And we’ve actually seen tons of monarchs which is exciting! I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t read Nature’s Best Hope.

165OscarBird
Jul 27, 7:08am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

166lauralkeet
Jul 27, 4:42pm

>164 japaul22: that's great, Jennifer. It gives one hope, no? And I love it when a book opens my eyes to something new. Thanks again for your fine review of Nature's Best Hope. I trust reviews from my LT friends more than one-off recommendations.

167brenzi
Jul 27, 6:15pm

>162 vivians: >163 lauralkeet: Thank you Vivian. I'd be happy to send it along to you Laura after I read it😊

168lauralkeet
Jul 27, 8:35pm

>167 brenzi: Thank you so much, Bonnie!

169SandyAMcPherson
Jul 28, 12:24am

>163 lauralkeet: I also meant 'urban' in the sense of homeowners' properties. I think the movement away from manicured, green lawns is an excellent objective, too.

170lauralkeet
Jul 28, 7:11am

>169 SandyAMcPherson: Ah, okay Sandy. It sounds like we're talking about the same thing even if we're using different words. Isn't language fun?

171msf59
Editado: Jul 28, 7:33am

Good review of Nature’s Best Hope, Laura. Thumb. I am going to see if I can track it down on audio.

172lauralkeet
Jul 28, 7:57am

>171 msf59: Thanks Mark. I hope you are able to find the book, I think you'd get a lot out of it.

173SandyAMcPherson
Jul 28, 1:49pm

>170 lauralkeet: In a parallel book, author, Suzanne Simard, wrote Finding the mother tree : discovering the wisdom of the forest.
I've had a hold request in at our local PL for awhile now. A friend of mine did similar research (biochemical signalling via tree roots in a forest) but this book reports a broad range of findings about the interconnectedness of plants.

Perhaps you know the title already?

174lauralkeet
Jul 28, 2:57pm

Sandy, thanks for mentioning that book. I’m aware of the concept of interconnectedness but haven’t read up on it yet. Cool stuff:

175BLBera
Jul 28, 10:11pm

>159 lauralkeet: This sounds very thought provoking, Laura. I'll add it to my WL. In bird news, the babies have left the nest. That didn't take long. My daughter and I will have to find something else to watch from my front porch.

176lauralkeet
Jul 29, 7:36am

>175 BLBera: I'm glad you were able to enjoy the baby birds while they were there, Beth. Maybe they'll come back next year.

Speaking of birds, it appears our vultures have fully fledged. For about a week they were hanging around outdoors all day, at first on the ground and then in the trees. We'd occasionally see them flying from one tree to another, and we could also go for hours without a sighting. This week we've only seen one vulture, one time. Although I wouldn't mind if they stopped by now and then, we've closed the barn door ...

177karenmarie
Jul 29, 8:44am

Hi Laura.

>176 lauralkeet: Ah the vulture adventure is at an end. What a fun and unexpected treat I've had hearing about and seeing photos of the vultures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

178lauralkeet
Jul 30, 5:17pm

>177 karenmarie: You're quite welcome, Karen! We were surprised how much we enjoyed having them around.

179lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 1, 7:30am


40. The Night Hawks ()
Source: Library loan

After a stint in Cambridge, Dr. Ruth Galloway is back at University of North Norfolk, now as head of the archaeology department. When a group of metal detectorists uncovers some interesting finds on the Norfolk coast, Ruth and her new assistant David Brown are called to examine them. But the group has also found a body in the water, which brings DCI Harry Nelson into the story. Nelson and his team are also investigating a potential murder-suicide at a remote farm. This case has a more tenuous archaeological connection, but Ruth does her thing and returns to her academic duties. Red herrings and plot twists ensue, and the reveal is unexpected and satisfying. Nevertheless, I felt most of the crime-solving moved rather slowly considering the severity of the crimes, although there was a well-written suspenseful sequence in which both Ruth and Nelson were in peril. And there are developments in Ruth and Nelson’s personal lives to keep things interesting. If you’re already a fan of this series, you’ll enjoy this one too.

180lauralkeet
Jul 31, 1:15pm



And that's a wrap for July! I read 7 books; favorites were Nature's Best Hope and The Dictionary of Lost Words.

181SandyAMcPherson
Editado: Jul 31, 10:51pm

>180 lauralkeet: Nice wrap up.
And now for your pleasure of a laugh... I wondered why you were doing a July wrap up. Yup.
I think July was a month when I was mostly mentally-absent and now it is done.
I should have realized that it was August nearly-almost, and I know people here are on long-weekend holidays, since it's the first Monday in August that always becomes the Provincial Sask-Day holiday.

Anyway, glad to see your Night Hawks' rating is the same as mine. I wrote that this Ruth G. instalment "was not as engaging as previous sagas". I would have liked more archaeology, too.

P.S. your book link for The Night Hawks leads to a different title. In case you like folks to mention...

182lauralkeet
Ago 1, 7:32am

>181 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy, and a happy August to you -- ha!

Glad we are of the same mind re: the latest RG. Like a lot of long-running series, I'm now in it for the characters and will forgive plots that aren't all they could be.

And thank you very much for pointing out the incorrect touchstone in my review (also in my list of books read at the top). Fixed now!

183msf59
Ago 1, 7:47am

Happy August, Laura. With more comfortable temps, I have been trying to get out on a walk each morning. I may make Nature's Best Hope my next audio.

184BLBera
Ago 1, 10:51am

I'm glad you finally got to The Night Hawks, Laura. I thought the mystery was well plotted in this one. I enjoy Ruth and friends so much that I don't always care about the mystery, but I thought this one was good. I would like more archeology, though.

You had some great reads in August! We did overlap some. :)

185lauralkeet
Ago 1, 12:28pm

>183 msf59: Our temps have cooled off too, Mark. It's drizzly today so it's keeping us indoors, but it's been very dry here so I'm okay with it. I hope you enjoy Nature's Best Hope!

>184 BLBera: You're right Beth, it was a well-plotted mystery. I think my issue was more about pace. The story seemed to move a bit more slowly than usual, and I didn't feel the usual sense of urgency about getting to the bottom of it. But I agree with you about Ruth and friends, they are the best.

186brenzi
Ago 1, 4:07pm

Reminding myself that I've only read the first book in the Griffiths series......

187lauralkeet
Ago 1, 4:43pm

>186 brenzi: Oh my goodness Bonnie! I had no idea. We need to get you on the Ruth Galloway bandwagon, stat! IIRC, the first one isn't the best (why does that happen so often?!), so you need to keep going to see what all the fuss is about.

188PawsforThought
Ago 1, 4:47pm

>159 lauralkeet: Another book I’ll need to put on my TBR. I’m very passionate about conservation issues but like many others don’t quite know what I can do to help (aside from pulling up invasive species when I see them). It would be really good to read a book with some inspiration and advice.

189lauralkeet
Ago 1, 4:51pm

>188 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, you may find the examples US-centric but the general advice is broadly applicable i.e.; use native plants whenever possible. Even in the US, native plant varieties vary by region so I'm finding it helpful to research native vs. non-native in my part of the country. Hopefully you can find similar resources for Sweden.

190SandyAMcPherson
Ago 1, 9:23pm

>187 lauralkeet: I rather liked The Crossing Places and then didn't feel as enthralled and admiring of the series until book 4 (A Room Full of Bones).
So >186 brenzi: Bonnie, just a suggestion, if I may: any one book in this Ruth Galloway saga may strike you differently to what the rest of us blab about.
I am still a card-carrying member of the RGFC along with Laura, Lucy, Karen and Peggy and ... and... etc.

Funny thing how the series would sure have been soothing reading in 2020, had I just then discovered Elly Griffiths. Is there any indication when her next book in the The Postscript Murders (Harbinder Kaur) series is due out? Me wants more Elly G-inspired soothing reading.

191lauralkeet
Ago 2, 7:57am

>190 SandyAMcPherson: I just went back through my LT catalog to see if anything stood out re: the Ruth Galloway books. My ratings are fairly consistent (3.5-4 stars), and to be honest I rarely give mysteries more than 4 stars. But what stood out was my reading pace: I read the first book in May 2019 and was up to book 8 by Feb 2020 -- almost one per month -- and then read 4 more in 2020. I can't think of another series that I've zipped through like that. Comfort reading, indeed.

Griffiths' website gives no indication of books-in-progress. And it describes the two Harbinder Kaur books as "standalones." Does that mean there are no more planned? Who knows.

192dudes22
Ago 2, 9:29am

>190 SandyAMcPherson: - According to Fantasticfiction, it's due out in March, 2022.

193lauralkeet
Ago 2, 10:16am

>192 dudes22: Betty, I wasn't familiar with that site so I just paid a visit. I see a March 2022 release, a paperback edition of The Postscript Murders, but I don't see any new books. Have I missed it somewhere?

194SandyAMcPherson
Editado: Ago 2, 5:32pm

>192 dudes22: >193 lauralkeet: I agree, and likely Betty saw the new release of the paperback. I did also look on FF (a website I booked years ago now, and it is great for an overview) to no avail.

Nothing appears on the Book Series in order lists either. This website has often listed upcoming novels for my 'watch list' sooner than other places (although some author's websites are even faster, but Elly's seems slower).

195lauralkeet
Ago 2, 9:09pm

>194 SandyAMcPherson: I suppose we'll just have to be patient, Sandy. Sigh.

196dudes22
Editado: Ago 2, 9:16pm

Sorry all for the misinformation. When reading the original post, I missed the word "in" and thought it was that title. Mea culpa..

ETA: I love FF.

197lauralkeet
Ago 3, 7:23am

No problem, Betty!

198NanaCC
Ago 3, 11:36am

I just finished listening to The Night Hawks, Laura, and enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the first book in the series and everything in between. I think I’m a sucker for the characters in these books. They are so well done.

199jnwelch
Ago 3, 12:16pm

Hi, Laura. Adding my sympathy about Woody. It’s tough to be in the final stretch with a furry pal.

Yay for Dictionary of Lost Words! I’m also a fan..

Good review of Nature’s Best Hope. We’re emphasizing native plants in our garden, and plan to do that more as we expand it.

As you say about The Night Hawks, if you’ve liked the series, you’ll like this one. I can’t wait to read more about those developments in Harry and Ruth’s personal lives.

200lauralkeet
Ago 3, 12:46pm

>199 jnwelch: Hi Joe! I'm ready for the next Ruth Galloway already, and yet there's none in sight (yet). Darn it!

And thank you for the kind words about Woody. He's doing really well, all things considered. By that I mean he's exactly as he was before the incident that got him to the vet. He's on a Chinese herbal medicine called Yunnan Biayao, which is, per the manufacturer, "commonly used to extend the life of bleeding cancers." That sounds yucky but it's what he needs. The vet says they've seen really good results so we're all for it. And Woody gets to take the pills with peanut butter so he's all for it, too.

201lauralkeet
Ago 3, 1:12pm


41. Unsettled Ground ()
Source: Library loan

Twins Julius and Jeanie are 51 and still living at home with their mother, Dot. Now, I realize this premise raises a lot of questions, most notably why two mature adult siblings would remain together in their childhood home. But this is an important part of the story that is better experienced than explained. When Dot dies, their lives are thrown into disarray. They soon learn that Dot was barely making ends meet, and left some outstanding debt. There is no money for funeral and burial services, and their jobs are not enough to support them let alone pay off the debts.

The reader soon realizes that the twins’ lives were heavily influenced by a web of family secrets, and their sheltered existence led them to accept things most adult children would question and discard. Both are somewhat in denial of their financial situation, and make vain attempts to earn money. While Jeanie can barely scrape together enough to buy food, Julius skims a bit off his earnings for tobacco and pints in the pub. As their lives spiral downward, there are some who try to help and others who cause further trouble. And then the family secrets gradually come to light. The twins’ journey through these extremely rough waters is well told, realistic, and ultimately moving.

202LizzieD
Ago 3, 2:37pm

Laura, I'm glad to read that Woody is essentially in a holding pattern. That's good! I know you'll love him every day that he is able to enjoy you. Sad time/ precious time.

As for EG and RG, I'm eager for the next one, but I'm willing to give her all the time she needs to make it a good one, and I appreciate her not doing a pot boiler. Otherwise, I don't think I'm tempted by the middle-aged+ twins. Glad it was so good for you!

203Caroline_McElwee
Ago 3, 3:39pm

>201 lauralkeet: Interesting. Adding to the list Laura.

204BLBera
Ago 3, 4:25pm

I also loved Unsettled Ground, Laura. Have you read anything else by Fuller? I will definitely look for others by her.

205laytonwoman3rd
Editado: Ago 3, 5:36pm

Has anyone read Ely Griffiths' stand-alone Stranger Diaries? It's touted as a modern gothic thriller. I've just borrowed it from my daughter. I finished The Ghost Fields while on vacation last week.

206lauralkeet
Ago 3, 6:01pm

>202 LizzieD: Thanks Peggy. We're pretty happy with how Woody is doing right now. One day at a time.

>203 Caroline_McElwee: I think you'd like it, Caro.

>204 BLBera: I haven't, Beth, she's new to me. Since you tipped me off to Unsettled Ground, I'll watch your thread for further Claire Fuller reading!

>205 laytonwoman3rd: Yes Linda, I read The Stranger Diaries earlier this year. I know others who visit this thread have read it too. It's billed as a standalone, but there is a second book (The Postscript Murders) featuring the same detective. Still, the two don't have much in common beyond that. Anyway, I enjoyed both.

207brenzi
Ago 3, 6:29pm

I loved Unsettled Ground too Laura and have my eye on Bitter Orange one of her earlier books.

208lauralkeet
Ago 3, 6:34pm

>207 brenzi: Ah ... it was both you AND Beth then! I mean, how could I NOT read the book?!!

209NanaCC
Ago 3, 7:42pm

>201 lauralkeet: I’m still waiting for this one from the library, Laura. Glad to see your rating. I didn’t really read your review though….

210BLBera
Editado: Ago 3, 8:24pm

Oh, you're making me go first? I'm glad to take credit if you loved the book. If not, it was Bonnie.

211laytonwoman3rd
Ago 3, 8:24pm

>206 lauralkeet: Ah, OK...thank you Laura. I didn't realize this was No. 1 of the Harbinder Kaur series. The blurbs and description on the copy I have don't mention that name.

212lauralkeet
Ago 4, 7:38am

>209 NanaCC: Hi Colleen. I try to keep my reviews spoiler-free, but I totally understand not reading it. I do the same thing -- the rating tells me whether the person liked it and that's all I need to know for the moment. I'm confident you'll like Unsettled Ground.

>210 BLBera: ha ha! Honestly I have no idea who was first although I'm sure I could sleuth it out by trawling the threads. I know for a fact that you, Bonnie, or both are responsible for a number of book choices I've made this year. I love it!

>211 laytonwoman3rd: Right, Linda. Here on LT the two books are shown as part of a series. The author describes them as "standalone". I don't know if that means she has no plans to write more, or just that each one can be enjoyed on its own because any links to the other are immaterial.

213msf59
Ago 4, 7:55am

Happy Wednesday, Laura. I just purchased the audio of Nature's Best Hope. It might be my next audio after I finish Yellow Bird. Good review of Unsettled Ground. My LT pals seem to really like that one.

The male ruby-throated hummingbird has been especially industrious lately. I have caught him feeding at 530am and last night at 8:10. I have yet to get a photo.

214lauralkeet
Ago 4, 8:04am

>213 msf59: Yay, I'm glad you bought the book, Mark! I think you'd like Unsettled Ground. Just sayin'.

I love hummingbirds. We are seeing them around our place too. I'm fairly certain they are ruby-throated, because other species are much more rare here. But I'm pretty sure all of our visitors have been female -- no sign of the trademark ruby throat yet. Photos are nearly impossible, although I did get some video of a hummingbird pestering a butterfly the other day.

215laytonwoman3rd
Ago 4, 8:43am

>213 msf59:, >214 lauralkeet: I just read Sy Montgomery's The Hummingbirds' Gift. What utterly amazing creatures they are. Some beautiful photography in there, too.

216lauralkeet
Ago 4, 9:32am

>215 laytonwoman3rd: ooh, that sounds like a nice book. I do love hummingbirds.

217laytonwoman3rd
Editado: Ago 4, 4:26pm

>139 lauralkeet: Here's some encouraging information on the mysterious bird illness---it may not be infectious at all. Outbreak Seems to Be Ending

218lauralkeet
Ago 4, 5:24pm

>217 laytonwoman3rd: Yes, that is encouraging news, Linda. That article has been circulating in a couple of VA wildlife groups I follow on Facebook. And the science is coming from a reliable source, so that's promising. Local guidance hasn't changed yet regarding bird feeders, but this is the scientific process at work. Hopefully Cornell's studies will be corroborated by further research and we can all put our feeders back up again.

219EBT1002
Ago 4, 6:42pm

Hi Laura. Nature's Best Hope sounds like a must-read. Thanks for putting that on my radar!

Sending lots of positive vibes for sweet Woody. He is in good, loving hands.

220lauralkeet
Ago 4, 8:24pm

Thanks Ellen! And you should definitely read Nature's Best Hope -- it's just your cuppa.

221SandyAMcPherson
Ago 4, 9:41pm

>205 laytonwoman3rd: >206 lauralkeet: Hi Linda, and as Laura knows, I've read both books in the Harbinder Kaur set.
They're reviewed on the books' general review pages, although I did chatter about them on Talk at the time.

I liked the stories despite niggles and I tend to believe that the author plans to write another. Lots of meat in the two stories to develop the Harbinder character.

A tip I got from someone, possibly Lucy (sybilline) was to look at who has recently added the title (on the book's page). When I see folks I recognize from the 75-er group, then I can ask them.

222lauralkeet
Ago 5, 7:36am

>221 SandyAMcPherson: Lots of meat in the two stories to develop the Harbinder character.
That's an excellent point, Sandy. There was already some development in book 2 vs. book 1, so I tend to agree Griffiths is probably planning to do more with that character.

223laytonwoman3rd
Ago 5, 9:58am

>221 SandyAMcPherson: "look at who has recently added the title" . That really is a good tip, Sandy. I try to look for reviews from people I interact with a lot, so I know whether I'm likely to have a similar reaction to any given book.
>221 SandyAMcPherson:, >222 lauralkeet: I didn't realize Elly Griffiths had so many irons in the fire. She has another series, the Brighton mysteries, going as well. No wonder it takes her a while to add a new title to any given set.

224weird_O
Editado: Ago 5, 4:58pm

I've got a couple of good books I'm reading actively (How the South Won the Civil War and The Round House), but I do have that Wendell Berry book (Nathan Coulter) beside me. I note that today is Wendell's 87th birthday, and I'm just now thinking this is the perfect day to commence to begin reading it. If only a chapter.

225lauralkeet
Ago 5, 5:03pm

>224 weird_O: that's a great idea, Bill! I'm currently midway through my current read, Night Waking by Sarah Moss, and just picked up a library hold today which I'll read before my reunion with Wendell. I'm guessing Nathan will be in your rear view mirror by the time I start reading my selection, A World Lost. I expect it to be a fairly quick read, because it's more like novella in length.

I hope you enjoy your first visit to Port William. I'll watch your thread with interest.

226Berly
Ago 6, 1:37am

Hi! Finally making the rounds. : )

227lauralkeet
Ago 6, 7:23am

Hi Kim!! Thanks for stopping by! Are you a fan of Sarah Moss? I'm currently reading one of her earlier novels, Night Waking, very strongly recommended by Beth and I think also Ellen. I'm totally hooked. Sarah Moss has a unique way of crafting her stories that totally works for me.

228BLBera
Ago 6, 10:17am

I'm so glad you are enjoying Night Waking.

229vivians
Ago 6, 3:51pm

My library doesn't have Night Waking but I'll track it down somewhere!

230lauralkeet
Ago 6, 4:46pm

>229 vivians: Vivian, my library doesn't have it either so I bought used copies of both Night Waking and Bodies of Light. I would be happy to send either or both along to you when I'm done. I'll leave you a PM about this too just to make sure you see it.

231sibylline
Editado: Ago 7, 11:46am

The first comment I read here (where I haven't been for far too long) was a book bullet! Argh!

Bravo for Nature's Best Hope. The garden club my great-aunt (born in the 1880's) belonged to in Philadelphia is, apparently, responsible for bringing over the multiflora rose, that is, they may well have been the first to bring it over and who knows what else! Interesting to think about -- something like half of our plants come from elsewhere -- many are not a problem. Figuring out what is ok (or way way too late to remove) and what isn't is literally a rabbit hole! I've read several books about the back and forth between the B Isles and, especially, Philadelphia in the 1700-1800's. And all those seeds (and other stowaways like the earthworm) brought on purpose or by accident by the earlier settlers!

Hmm, I just went on more than I meant to there, sorry.

Greatly enjoyed The Night Hawks -- listened to it on audio while driving from VT to the Cape.

Have to check out Unsettled Ground and Night Waking
!

Back to say the latter is already on my WL!

232lauralkeet
Ago 7, 12:24pm

>231 sibylline: Hi Lucy! Multiflora rose: that stuff is awful. We had it all over our Chester County (PA) property. It is not present here in northern VA, but there's a new set of invasives to get to know. We're also trying to get educated on natives which as you know differ depending on where you are. There's a nursery not far from here which deals exclusively in native plants, which is really cool.

233SandyAMcPherson
Ago 7, 5:29pm

Hi Laura. Deluking to say I was here... that's all. Just hiding out inside to avoid forest fire smoke and pretending to be productive.

234lauralkeet
Ago 8, 7:09am

Hi Sandy! Nice to see you. We've had residual smoke here but it has not been disruptive. I hope things aren't too bad out your way.

235lauralkeet
Ago 9, 12:49pm

I forgot to mention that I am now a library volunteer! I met with someone about it last week and worked my first shift this morning. The volunteers typically handle routine duties. I did a lot of shelving and organizing: newly-arrived holds for patron pickup, outbound holds into bins for their destination, and recently-returned new books, DVDs, audiobooks and magazines in their appropriate places. I also helped process books that are going to surplus for one reason or another -- they might be in poor condition, or out of date. This process was suspended during the pandemic so there's a bit of a backlog. My job was to cover all references to the library system (e.g., on the bar codes) with a black marker. Surplus books are handled centrally and I'm not sure what all is done with them except they could be sold in a used book sale when ever those resume.

I met a few members of staff who were all very pleasant. It was a nice way to spend a couple hours and I'll be doing this every Monday now.

236laytonwoman3rd
Ago 9, 1:56pm

>235 lauralkeet: Very nice! And I'm glad you black-marked the bar codes. For a while a few years back, one of the libraries whose sales I frequented cut the bar code out of the mylar covers, leaving a nasty sharp-edged hole at the top or bottom. That was a definite "no sale" for me.

237katiekrug
Ago 9, 2:12pm

>235 lauralkeet: - That's great, Laura! Reminds me of my youth - in high school, we had a community service program that every student had to participate in, and my service of choice was the school library. My favorite duty was wrapping the new books in the plastic :) And then my last two years of college, my work-study job was in the library. All that time spent with my mom when I was little paid off - she was a school librarian...

238japaul22
Ago 9, 2:22pm

>235 lauralkeet: Oh, I would love to do that whenever I retire!

239lauralkeet
Ago 9, 3:47pm

>236 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, that's terrible Linda. What were they thinking?!

>237 katiekrug: I would have enjoyed that community service gig, Katie. I bet your mom would have been proud, too.

>238 japaul22: I've wanted to do this for a while, Jennifer. I couldn't swing it when I was working (to be honest I did very little volunteering because work and kids took up enough of my time), and there didn't seem to be much in the way of opportunity at our Philly branch. And then of course the pandemic. So I'm pretty excited to be able to volunteer now.

240lauralkeet
Ago 9, 4:55pm


42. Night Waking ()
Source: On my shelves - a recent purchase inspired by several 75ers

Anna and her family are spending the summer in the Scottish Highlands, staying in a house that has been in her husband Giles’ family for generations. Anna, an historian and research fellow at Oxford, needs to make significant progress on her book. Giles hopes to gather data on the local puffin population, and is also busy converting a cottage into a holiday rental. But their two young boys need constant supervision, which proves to be a significant test of the couple’s relationship and communication skills.

Most of the novel is told from Anna’s perspective. She is severely sleep-deprived, because her toddler son seldom sleeps through the night. Anna’s internal monologue ranges from laments about lack of sleep to invectives directed at her clueless husband, to anxiety over innumerable but unlikely causes of harm to her boys. Her thoughts are both poignant and hilarious, and familiar to anyone who has cared for young children.

One day while outside with the children, Anna discovers the remains of an infant buried close to the house. They call the police, only to find themselves subjected to questioning. As the police try to determine whether the remains are recent or historic, the reader is made privy to a series of 19th century letters written by a young nurse stationed there. The letters might provide clues to the baby’s circumstances, but Anna, Giles, and the police are all unaware of their existence and the investigation seems to drag on, inconclusively.

What role do the letters play in this novel? Here’s where Sarah Moss shines. This novel is richly layered, exploring working parent dynamics, the challenge of accomplishing anything while juggling the demands of home and family, and a woman’s internal conflict about being a mother. Moss takes the reader on a long journey before revealing the importance of the letters and the buried infant. They turn out to be very important indeed, in a way that is both completely unexpected and immensely satisfying.

241SandyAMcPherson
Editado: Ago 9, 5:55pm

>240 lauralkeet: I heard originally about this novel (and Sarah Moss) in a Guardian article on the author. The book isn't in our PL catalogue but I made a "buy this title request", even though it is not recently published. Your review was really excellent, better than the impression I remember of the Guardian's coverage.

Edited to ask if you would rate Summerwater better than Night Waking. I think I had a BB from you for the former but never got around to doing more than WL-ing it!

242brenzi
Ago 9, 6:53pm

Hmmmm I told you I'd only read the first Elly Griffiths book and I've also only read one Sarah Moss book Laura. That would be Ghost Wall where I found the fathers abuse hard to take. I seem to be bucking the LT trend I guess.

243lauralkeet
Ago 9, 7:17pm

>241 SandyAMcPherson: Sandy, first of all thank you for your kind feedback on my review. This book caught my attention after reading Summerwater. Beth and Ellen were chatting about Moss' back catalogue and I realized I'd somehow missed out on a couple of her books.

As for your rating question, I gave Summerwater 4 stars. Night Waking earned an additional half star because I could so relate to Anna's feelings about motherhood, her career, her husband and children, etc.

>242 brenzi: Bonnie, that father character was a creep! But I would hate for that to put you off reading more of Moss' work. She's an outstanding writer.

244BLBera
Editado: Ago 9, 7:57pm

Great comments on Night Waking, Laura. You pinpointed the reasons I loved that book. Moss is so brilliant at portraying the conflicts between career and motherhood, to name a couple.

And congrats on your volunteer gig.

245lauralkeet
Ago 10, 7:15am

Thanks Beth! And thank you for recommending Night Waking so highly.

246RaquelAHoskin
Ago 10, 7:28am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

247msf59
Ago 10, 8:07am

Congrats, on the library volunteer gig, Laura. This should be a perfect fit for you and you can do it comfortably for the whole year, unlike my volunteering responsibilities. How far away is it?

248lauralkeet
Ago 10, 8:28am

Hi Mark! That's a great point about the year-round nature of library volunteering. I'm sure you'll find something to keep you busy during the winter months though.

The library is in the center of town, just 2.5 miles from home so very easy to get to. I love the building. Here's a photo snagged from the web (sadly there is no actual book sale in progress). This faces Main Street and is the older section. There's a newer addition off the back which is where the main entrance is located.


249drneutron
Ago 10, 9:16am

Oh, that's a gorgeous building!

250scaifea
Ago 10, 9:17am

Aw, yay for library volunteering! I bet you'll absolutely love it. And that building is gorgeous!

I've been talking with Tomm about it, and I think I may eventually apply to be a substitute librarian, if and when a posting comes up. I miss working at the library tons, but I also love my teaching gig. I could get on their books as a sub available only on the days I don't teach and that would work out perfectly and I'd still get my occasional librarian fix.

251laytonwoman3rd
Ago 10, 10:15am

>248 lauralkeet: OMG, that building is so beautiful! A bit church-like, which is perfectly appropriate, imo.

>250 scaifea: Good idea, Amber. I hope that works out!

252lauralkeet
Ago 10, 1:37pm

>249 drneutron: Isn't it, Jim?

>250 scaifea: That's a great idea, Amber. I know how much you enjoyed working at the library and it would be terrific if you could find a way to do so from time to time.

>251 laytonwoman3rd: Oh yes, books are a religion, so that works for me, Linda!

253msf59
Ago 10, 1:49pm

>248 lauralkeet: That is a great looking building, Laura. Thanks for sharing.

254lauralkeet
Ago 10, 1:53pm

>253 msf59: Sure thing Mark!

The first time I saw the library was driving past it on our way to see the house we eventually bought. I was sold on the town on the basis of the library building alone! I couldn't wait to visit after we moved.

255katiekrug
Ago 10, 2:04pm

>248 lauralkeet: - I love distinguished looking libraries like that, even if they aren't always the most efficient nowadays. This was my public library as a kid:



Scoville Memorial Library
Salisbury, CT

256BLBera
Ago 10, 4:16pm

What a pretty library!

257lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 11, 7:14am

>255 katiekrug: Oooh, that's gorgeous, Katie!

>256 BLBera: It sure is Beth.

258laytonwoman3rd
Editado: Ago 10, 9:31pm

>255 katiekrug: Oh...very nice. Is it still the community library in Salisbury?

259katiekrug
Ago 11, 7:08am

>258 laytonwoman3rd: - Yes, ma'am. It has an interesting little history - supposedly the first free public library in the country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_Library

260karenmarie
Ago 11, 7:54am

Hi Laura!

>191 lauralkeet: I just reviewed my Ruth Galloway reading saga. I read the first one in 2014. It must have not really registered, because I didn’t read any more until 2019. I caught up the whole series then, by reading the next ten in July and August and have stayed current in 2020 and 2021. Perhaps we’ll get another one next year. 🤞

>235 lauralkeet: Congratulations, Library Volunteer!

>248 lauralkeet: What a beautiful building! Can patrons go into the upstairs, or is that just offices and storage? Enquiring minds and all that…

Our Library was in a sweet old building downtown, with hardly any parking, until 2010. The new one isn’t beautiful, but it’s bigger, lighter, and linked with the community college. It’s also got more than enough parking.

261scaifea
Ago 11, 8:04am

>255 katiekrug: Whoa. That's gorgeous!

Morning, Laura!

262laytonwoman3rd
Ago 11, 9:22am

>260 karenmarie: Ah....parking! The lovely old ones often have an issue with that, and it's always a point of persuasion when trying to get a new one built. Charm vs. convenience.

>259 katiekrug: Hmmm. I feel like I've heard that claim made about at least one other library somewhere. A sweet thing to be arguing about, if so.

263RebaRelishesReading
Ago 11, 1:24pm

>255 katiekrug: That is one beautiful library!! My local library when I was a kid was a modern, plain vanilla, kind of building. I did sometimes manage to get my parents to take me to the main, downtown Los Angeles library though. It's still one of my favorite buildings.

264lauralkeet
Ago 11, 2:01pm

>260 karenmarie: Thanks for the congratulations, Karen, although honestly I didn't feel like I had to jump through any hoops other than filling out an application. To answer your question about the second floor, there are two meeting rooms up there that members of the public can reserve. I belong to a Fiber Guild that uses the rooms regularly. There are also some offices on the second floor, but apparently interns are relegated to those and staff are on the third floor which I haven't seen.

You mentioned Ruth Galloway which reminds me that I recommended the series to my older daughter Kate, who recently devoured Tana French's novels back-to-back and enjoys all things English. Book recs have previously been met with a vague "uh huh" but this time she immediately went out and bought the first two. Yay!

>261 scaifea:, >262 laytonwoman3rd:, >263 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Amber, Linda & Reba!!

265MickyFine
Ago 11, 6:15pm

I love both your library, Laura, and the one Katie posted as well.

Meanwhile the library system I work for used to have a Carnegie building for its central branch but it was demolished in the 1960s *weeps*. Here's the original building:



This is the concrete edifice it was for most of my lifespan including up to when I started working here (note it's a couple blocks away from the original location):



And this is our newly "revitalized" building, which has been christened the Think Tank:



While I know our new building is FAR more accessible than the Carnegie building would have been, I'm still sad that the city tore it down (even though I wasn't alive when it happened). However, the James Macdonald hotel (the building with turrets in behind the library in the first photo) is owned by Fairmont and continues to be a beautiful building. They do a great high tea too.

266quondame
Editado: Ago 13, 12:41am

>265 MickyFine: Santa Monica has a tiny Carnegie library - with a basement, not a given on the west coast. As to accessibility, the first time I tried to go up the stairs I fell flat not quite on my face. For some reason they had the 3D printing class there.

267SandyAMcPherson
Ago 12, 1:36am

I like the old library photos, especially at >248 lauralkeet:. These are are beautiful, architecturally-attractive buildings. It's lovely to see these old buildings, so much more elegant and solid.

When I was a kid with my first library card, the only public library was downtown in Victoria (BC), an original Carnegie. The building is still there, on the corner of Yates & Blanshard streets. Commercial tenants now.



A new library was established in a different part of downtown many years ago. I haven't visited the that one, it being part of a mall. I've other places to re-visit that are more appealing.

It's strange now, to realize that there was only the one library, so wasn't Carnegie's legacy marvellous? Else we'd have had scattered, unprofessional collections of uncurated books housed in motley rooms as part of some underfunded municipal building.

268lauralkeet
Ago 12, 7:32am

>265 MickyFine: Thanks for sharing your library photos, Micky. That's quite an architectural evolution. I love the Carnegie building but the new one is appealing in a different way. The "concrete edifice," not so much.

>266 quondame: Ouch! Hi Susan!

>267 SandyAMcPherson: Another gorgeous library building, thanks Sandy. It made me wonder just how many Carnegie libraries there are. According to Wikipedia, "1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Fiji."

What a legacy, indeed.

269msf59
Ago 12, 7:49am

"I was sold on the town on the basis of the library building alone!" That is awesome, Laura. Our town has a very modern library but I still LOVE it!

270lauralkeet
Ago 12, 8:38am

>269 msf59: Hi Mark! Libraries are great, no doubt about it!

BTW, I've started using the new "Sound ID" feature in the Merlin app and am really impressed. I was using BirdNet before, which was really handy, but Merlin identifies the bird in real time as you're recording, which is a real plus. So ... the other day I heard a new call nearby but couldn't tell where the bird was, exactly. Merlin identified it as a Red Shouldered Hawk. Cool! I've heard the call a few times since then and because I knew what to look for was actually able to spot the bird. Double cool! SoundID is a really nice addition to the birding universe. It's great to be able to identify a bird without seeing it.

271laytonwoman3rd
Ago 12, 10:28am

>270 lauralkeet: Oh, I'm going to have to try that! If it ever cools off enough for me to spend time outside again, that is.

272SandyAMcPherson
Ago 12, 4:38pm

>270 lauralkeet: I've heard of the Merlin app. And the "Sound ID" feature sounds fabulous.
I don't pay for 'data' on my phone, though, so I guess I would need to have that as part of the package to make Merlin work, yes?

273lauralkeet
Ago 12, 8:26pm

>271 laytonwoman3rd: I know exactly what you mean, Linda!

>272 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy! I suppose the Merlin app would work over wifi, but that won't help you when you're out in the field ...

274Berly
Ago 15, 1:16am

>227 lauralkeet: I have Cold Earth to read, a gift from Beth. : )

>235 lauralkeet: Library volunteer? How fun!! Except that will probably mean that visits here will entail even MORE book bullets. LOL And I love that library!

>273 lauralkeet: The Merlin app? I am going to have to check that out!!

275lauralkeet
Ago 15, 7:17am

Hi Kim! It's nice to see you back with us. Cold Earth was my first Sarah Moss and I remember it begin creepy, in a good way. I hope you enjoy it. And yeah, definitely check out the Merlin app. It's from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and has been around for a while. The SoundID feature is new and really useful. I heard "my" hawk again on this morning's dog walk.

276lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 15, 3:08pm


43. While Justice Sleeps ()
Source: Library loan

When Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn is suddenly incapacitated, it emerges that he recently modified his will to name his clerk, Avery Keene, as his legal guardian.Wynn’s ex-wife is outraged; but so is the President of the United States, who would like nothing more than to immediately appoint a successor and change the balance of power on the Court. Avery is stunned by her appointment, but knows her boss well enough to realize there’s more to this than meets the eye, and refuses to cede her role. Sure enough, Wynn left behind clues, and Avery gradually pieces together a puzzle connecting an international biotech firm’s research and the US government’s anti-terrorism efforts.

The storyline is complex and requires the reader’s attention especially if, like me, you are not conversant in genetic research. Avery’s unique problem-solving abilities seemed a bit of a stretch, requiring some suspension of disbelief. There are also a lot of characters to keep track of, and it takes time for Avery to determine which ones can be trusted. But the fast-paced plotting and rapid twists and turns kept me turning the pages.

I picked up this book primarily because of its author, Georgia politician Stacey Abrams, who has earned a name for herself both as a state legislator and leader in the fight for voting rights. Because of her high profile, this book has gained more attention than previous novels which were published under a pseudonym. This is not entirely unwarranted, and while I think I’d rather see Abrams devote her time to righting injustices in our political systems, there’s no doubt she can also write compelling thrillers.

277Caroline_McElwee
Ago 15, 1:30pm

>276 lauralkeet: I didn't know Abrams wrote novels. I have two of her non-fiction books near the top of the tbr mountain. Might give this a go anon.

278lauralkeet
Ago 15, 3:10pm

>277 Caroline_McElwee: I didn't know that either, Caro. I heard about this one on a radio program and thought I'd give it a go. There was a long-ish wait at the library.

Also, I amended a sentence in my review to say, "Because of her high profile, this book has gained more attention than previous novels which were published under a pseudonym." Because, as you pointed out, she has some recent non-fiction to her credit.

279BLBera
Ago 16, 3:06pm

Hmm. I'm generally not a thriller reader, but Abrams... I might give this a try. I imagine there is a huge wait at my library.

280SandyAMcPherson
Ago 16, 4:11pm

>276 lauralkeet: Woah! A BB for me... drat. I need to start a new list of 'request immediately' so I am in the line up on the holds.

I just checked Overdrive and I'm #9, so that's about 27-weeks for the e-book.
I noted that her pseudonym for the novels is 'Selena Montgomery' and she just stopped using the nom de plume this year. I've never read anything by her, but intend to change that. She sounds a marvellous politician.

281lauralkeet
Ago 16, 5:43pm

>279 BLBera:, >280 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Beth and Sandy! My one critique of the Abrams novel, which I forgot to mention in my review, is that sometimes her character descriptions are a bit over the top. But it was an engaging read. I suspect the name recognition she's gained in the past few years has made it more worthwhile to drop the pseudonym.

282lauralkeet
Ago 17, 12:15pm

Public Service Announcement

LT just released a new redesign of the member stats, retitled to "Charts and Graphs". To see yours, click on your member page and then "Charts and Graphs."

Read more and chat about it here:
https://www.librarything.com/topic/334487

YES! GRAPHS! Going down a rabbit hole in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

283katiekrug
Ago 17, 12:51pm

>282 lauralkeet: - Oooh, the graphs and charts are so pretty!

Stacey Abrams is best known, as an author, for her romance novels. Just sayin' :)

Glad to get caught up with you, Laura!

284PawsforThought
Ago 17, 1:36pm

>282 lauralkeet: Yes, graphs! I’m loving this so much!

285lauralkeet
Ago 17, 3:48pm

>283 katiekrug: did she publish the romances as Selena Montgomery, Katie? I'm not really "into" the romance genre, but I think it's cool that she's been writing books all this time.

>283 katiekrug:, >284 PawsforThought: I loooove the graphs. And that you can click on just about anything to drill down to another level of detail. So much slicing and dicing ...

286lauralkeet
Ago 18, 9:16am


44. A World Lost ()
Source: On my Kindle

Andy Catlett is 9 years old when his beloved Uncle Andrew is killed in a shocking act of violence. Andy’s parents and grandparents are consumed with grief; Andy, too, tries to process what has happened but instinctively knows he cannot ask too many questions of the adults in his life. In this novella, the adult Andy remembers his uncle and attempts to understand who he was and the circumstances surrounding his tragic death.

A World Lost is part of Wendell Berry’s Port William series, set in a fictional Kentucky town with agriculture at its core. Most of the novels focus on one member of the community during a period in history, and in telling their story Berry also portrays a way of life that has largely been lost due to changes in farming. Port William is undoubtedly modeled on Berry’s hometown in Henry County, Kentucky. Andy Catlett appears to be the most autobiographical of his characters, and takes center stage in both A World Lost and Andy Catlett: Early Travels. Unfortunately, both of these books lack the richness and emotion I have experienced in Berry’s other novels. The themes explored in A World Lost might have had more impact written as a personal essay than semi-autobiographical fiction.

287NanaCC
Ago 18, 9:39am

>282 lauralkeet: Very interesting… although another rabbit hole indeed. 😄

288brenzi
Ago 18, 6:40pm

>276 lauralkeet: The question is: how in the world did she find time to write this book??

289lauralkeet
Ago 19, 6:57am

>287 NanaCC: I know, right? I love slicing and dicing my data. Plus, I also end up finding things I can tidy up, like author gender and "dead or alive".

>288 brenzi: No kidding, Bonnie. Abrams is quite the dynamo.

290lauralkeet
Ago 21, 9:14am

Good news for birds: The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has announced that it is okay to resume feeding birds. Although they haven't determined the specific cause(s) of this summer's bird mortality event, a number of things have been ruled out and there seems to be a consensus that whatever it is, it's not contagious. We'll be putting our feeders back out today. Yay!

In book news, I've been reading Jennifer Weiner's latest, That Summer. I am a latecomer to Weiner's writing; in fact, I was quietly dismissive of her work until a few years ago (tip of the hat to Katie for disabusing me of that notion). A member of one of my Philly book groups knew Jennifer personally and invited her to one of our meetings, just as a regular person. She was delightful and fun to be with. Not long after, her book Mrs Everything was released, and I really enjoyed it. I also started following her on Instagram where her presence is both fun-loving and completely human. At the time of That Summer's release a few months ago, Jennifer's mother passed away, so she has had to deal rather publicly with her grief while also promoting her book. Not an easy task.

That Summer is about two women who meet after one receives email meant for the other. One woman was the victim of sexual assault in her teens. The other is in a rather stale marriage and badly in need of a friend. As the two meet in the present day, Weiner also unveils their back stories. The novel is set partly in Philadelphia, and I'm enjoying Weiner's geographic references (oh! I know where that coffee shop is!). It's also set in Cape Cod, an area Weiner also knows well, so I'm assuming those familiar with the Cape would enjoy those references as well. I'm just over halfway through and something I thought might happen just happened so it will be interesting to see where she takes the story from here.

291msf59
Ago 21, 9:34am

>290 lauralkeet: Funny, the first thing I was going to ask you, was about the feeders. Yah! We never took ours down. Nothing spectacular visiting but they sure are chowing down.

Happy Saturday, Laura. I loved Nature's Best Hope. Thanks for the nudge. I am going to try and implement a couple of his suggestions.

292lauralkeet
Ago 21, 9:42am

>291 msf59: Hi Mark! It's a big day for you although I guess, based on your latest update, tomorrow might actually be the big day, huh? I'm so glad you enjoyed Nature's Best Hope. I'm interested to see how it inspires you.

293katiekrug
Ago 21, 9:47am

>290 lauralkeet: - I was a bit disappointed in Weiner's last novel (Big Summer) before this latest one, but I am still planning to give That Summer a whirl at some point. I am also planning a re-read of Good in Bed which remains a favorite :)

Have a great weekend, Laura!

294karenmarie
Ago 21, 10:59am

Hi Laura!

>264 lauralkeet: Simply being a volunteer is marvelous. During normal times we go through a huge effort to get the 120+ volunteers needed for each book sale. I’m appreciative of every single one.

Yay for daughter Kate starting the Ruth Galloway series.

>282 lauralkeet: I’m not overly fond of change, and don’t particularly like all the circles, but it’s okay.

>290 lauralkeet: I’m glad you can put your bird feeders out again.

I have Weiner’s Little Earthquakes on my shelves. Have you read it? Did you like it?

295lauralkeet
Ago 21, 11:59am

>293 katiekrug: Hi Katie! I confess Big Summer didn't call to me. Sounds like I can take a pass on it.

>294 karenmarie: Hey there Karen! I've just hosed down the bird feeders and am letting them dry in the sun before filling. I haven't read any of Weiner's backlist, so I'm afraid I can't help you there. Maybe Katie can help if sees this ...

296BLBera
Ago 21, 12:05pm

Good news for your bird feeders, Laura. I will give Jennifer Weiner a try. Someday...

297katiekrug
Ago 21, 4:08pm

>294 karenmarie: and >295 lauralkeet: - Little Earthquakes is good. I mean, it was good enough to keep the attention of someone like me who has no experience of motherhood and little desire to hear a lot about it :) I haven't read all of her books, but I'd put Good in Bed and In Her SHoes at the top of the list.

298lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 21, 6:45pm

>296 BLBera: we're waiting for the birds to reappear, Beth. To be fair they are more active in the morning than afternoon, so hopefully we'll have visitors tomorrow.

>297 katiekrug: That's interesting, Katie, since those are her first two novels.

299katiekrug
Ago 21, 7:09pm

Yeah, TBH, I like her earlier stuff much better than the more recent books.

300lauralkeet
Ago 23, 5:13pm


45. That Summer ()
Source: Library loan

Daisy and Diana connect over the internet after one receives an email message meant for the other. Daisy is in a rather stale marriage and lonely, having recently lost a dear friend. The reader knows Diana was sexually assaulted in her teens, when she worked as a mother’s helper on Cape Cod. How has she moved beyond that event to become the friendly, polished, and self-assured woman she appears to be today?

After some email correspondence, the two women decide to meet for lunch, and Jennifer Weiner begins methodically revealing their back stories. Both women are complicated characters -- as are all human beings -- simultaneously likable and troubled. We learn more about Daisy’s upbringing, her marriage to Hal and their daughter Beatrice. Diana’s recovery eventually led her to loving marriage and a stable career. But now, in her fifties, she is compelled to seek answers to the trauma she experienced so many years ago. And it appears Daisy may be a conduit to some of those answers. But at what cost?

This novel was brilliantly plotted. Weiner skillfully moved between past and present, sometimes leaving bread crumbs that became “aha!” moments later. The connections between Daisy and Diana proved to be more layered than I had guessed. Weiner also set the story in the midst of #MeToo, when many public figures were in the spotlight. Weiner uses this novel to show #MeToo isn’t limited to famous people, and advocates for the truth-telling, reckoning, and accountability necessary for both healing and change.

301lauralkeet
Ago 26, 8:01pm


46. Pray for Silence ()
Source: Library loan

Kate Burkholder is Chief of Police in Painters Mill, in Ohio’s Amish Country. Kate herself left the order at 17 and later began a career in law enforcement. She is uniquely suited to her position, since she is (mostly) able to bridge the cultural divide between Amish and English. But when an entire Amish family is brutally murdered, Kate can barely hold herself together let alone investigate the crime.

This was a really good second book in the series. Linda Castillo’s portrayal of the Amish community is sensitive and well researched. The crime investigation and personal story were balanced just right, and I enjoyed the development of Kate’s character and her relationship with John Thomasetti from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation. I’ll be back for more soon ...

302lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 27, 8:13am



Migrations

I've had a steady stream of library holds to keep me busy, and this is my latest one. I just started reading it last night, so not much to report as of yet. I've seen a fair amount of buzz about Migrations around here, although I can't remember who all recommended it. Caro, Beth, and Bonnie are the usual suspects.

ETA: and Mark! How could I forget The Warbler?


303msf59
Ago 27, 7:44am

Morning, Laura. Happy Friday. I am also a big fan of Migrations and did my share of warbling about it. I hope you love it too. How are those feeders doing?

304lauralkeet
Ago 27, 8:16am

>303 msf59: Of course you did, Mark! I should have remembered and have updated my post.

The feeders are doing well, thanks. It's nice to have them back up. During our bird feeder hiatus we still saw a fair number of house finches, mourning doves, and cardinals. They are still out in force, and the cardinals are now bringing their young ones who are adorable little food beggars. The hummingbirds continue to visit (we kept those feeders going), but I suspect they will begin migrating soon. Other birds are returning gradually, our brown thrasher friend has reappeared although they seem to prefer ground feeding.

305msf59
Ago 27, 8:19am

>304 lauralkeet: Oh, I like hearing about the brown thrasher. That is a treat. They do summer here, although I have not seen one, in several weeks. I have never seen one in our backyard. Too urban, I guess.

306BLBera
Ago 27, 10:28am

Hi Laura - I haven't read Migrations yet, but it is on my shelf and if I every find enough will power to resist those shiny new library books, I'll get to it!

307lauralkeet
Ago 27, 1:15pm

>305 msf59: Mark, I guess you could say the brown thrasher was a lifer for me, after we moved to VA. Obviously we never saw one in Philly but also didn't see them when we lived in the semi-rural PA burbs. It showed up early here and then disappeared for a while. I feel a little thrill every time I see it in our garden.

>306 BLBera: I understand your dilemma, Beth. I keep prioritizing library books ahead of books I own and hope to read this year. And then I keep requesting more library books.

308dudes22
Ago 27, 5:17pm

A friend of mine recommended Migrations to me earlier this year, but I haven't managed to get to it yet. I'll be looking for your thoughts.

309brenzi
Ago 27, 6:42pm

Migrations was a book I kept putting off and didn't think I would actually like Laura and of course I loved it. Now I'm looking forward to her new one, Once There Were Wolves. At this point as I told you, I have way too many books waiting for me.

310Caroline_McElwee
Ago 28, 2:51am

>302 lauralkeet: Yes, I read and enjoyed this one recently Laura, as did Lois.

311lauralkeet
Ago 28, 7:49am

>308 dudes22: Hi Betty, watch this space!

>309 brenzi:, >310 Caroline_McElwee: Bonnie and Caro, thanks for "owning" the BB on this one. I had been keeping better notes on who recommended a particular book, but lost that discipline and then of course I couldn't remember.

312karenmarie
Ago 28, 9:22am

Hi Laura!

>297 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! I loved Good in Bed, have also read Goodnight Nobody and Fly Away Home.

>300 lauralkeet: And onto the wish list it goes!

>301 lauralkeet: I’ve read the first three and have taken a bit of a break, but have 4-9 on my shelves waiting for the right time for more of Kate.

>304 lauralkeet: We have hummingbirds until about the first or second week of October.

313lauralkeet
Ago 28, 11:14am

>312 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Thanks for the information about hummingbirds. Good to know they will probably be around for a bit longer. I really like the Kate Burkholder novels but they are more graphic than, say, Ruth Galloway. I don't think I could read them back to back so I understand taking a break.

314sibylline
Editado: Ago 28, 8:23pm

I put the J. Weiner That Summer on the WL -- Philly and the Cape, can't resist. Migrations is already there and I will likely ask for it for xmas!

Saw a hummingbird here today! Little green number flittering around.

315lauralkeet
Ago 29, 7:13am

>314 sibylline: I thought of you while reading it, Lucy -- your ears must have been burning! You'll have to let me know whether her depiction of the Cape is as accurate as that of Philly.

And hooray for hummingbirds.

316LizzieD
Ago 29, 12:12pm

Hi, Laura! No way that I can do your thread justice, but I've loved looking at the beautiful old libraries and sending out good vibes to the birds! You have grazed me with BBs for J. Weiner and non-Ruth Griffiths and S. Moss. Hope you're enjoying your library volunteering.
Keep reading and telling us about it!

317lauralkeet
Ago 29, 3:53pm

Hi Peggy! I'm so happy you stopped by.

We've had a very lazy Sunday, but much reading has been done and that's nice. I am more than halfway through Migrations and it is so compelling.

318msf59
Ago 29, 7:16pm

Happy Sunday, Laura. I was able to see a pair of brown thrashers on my walk today. They were perched high in a tree and the lighting wasn't very good, so I don't think I got a good photo. I like it when when they sing their unusual song but this time they were quiet.

319lauralkeet
Ago 30, 7:20am

Good for you, Mark!

320lauralkeet
Ago 31, 12:34pm


47. Migrations ()
Source: Library loan

Franny Stone cares deeply about conservation and the state of our planet, and wrangles her way onto a fishing vessel as a means of studying the arctic tern’s migration path. But what appears to be a scientific endeavor soon shows signs of something very different. Franny’s internal monologue hints at tragedy in her past, which is gradually revealed through flashback segments set at specific points in her life. These puzzle pieces slowly come together, revealing a woman damaged by multiple traumas, but Franny’s behavior repeatedly keeps one crucial piece just beyond our grasp. The long-awaited reveal brought an entirely new perspective to Franny’s sea journey and the subsequent epilogue was quite moving.

The beauty of this novel is in the trail of breadcrumbs dropped in the flashbacks, coupled with Franny’s unreliable narration. I was quickly hooked, and even though I questioned a couple of plot elements that seemed a bit forced, I couldn’t put this book down.

321lauralkeet
Editado: Ago 31, 12:39pm



And with that, August comes to a close. This was a great reading month, with three 4.5-star novels: Unsettled Ground, Night Waking, and Migrations. Also, 5 of the 7 books were library loans, which just makes me happy.

322brenzi
Ago 31, 6:39pm

Wow, both Unsettled Ground and Migrations in the same month. That's a great reading month and a wonderful review of Migrations too. I loved how Franny's story was revealed bit by bit.

323msf59
Ago 31, 6:44pm

Hooray for Migrations. Good review too, Laura. Now, I need to bookhorn in Unsettled Ground.

324weird_O
Ago 31, 7:06pm

Cheers for your good reading this month.

I too had a good month, having completed 11 (!) books. All of them were fine, and the majority were excellent. Piranesi was the best. You know it's special when books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Wendell Berry garnered the lowest ratings (not that they were bad); in a different month, either of them might have been the fav.

I just got word that The Grand Claire couldn't smell the coffee this AM. Tested positive. Quarantined for the next 10 days in a room in "the alumni hotel" on campus. Yes, she was fully vaccinated in April-May. Her mom and dad and both sisters got tested today and failed. (I.e., negative tests).

Aaaaahhhhh.

325scaifea
Set 1, 7:51am

Morning, Laura!

I...don't have much to say, but it feels like it's been a long time since I've done anything but lurk here. So...hello!

326lauralkeet
Set 1, 7:57am

>322 brenzi: I loved that too, Bonnie. I thought the author did a great job embedding subtle clues into a very dramatic novel.

>323 msf59: You'd really like Unsettled Ground, Mark. I hope you get to it soonish.

>324 weird_O: That sounds like a great reading month indeed, Bill. Sorry to hear about Claire -- off to visit your thread next.

>325 scaifea: Hey there Amber! No pressure to say anything noteworthy, it's just nice to see you. And you left your mark before I created a new thread, which will happen a bit later.

327karenmarie
Set 1, 8:04am

Hi Laura!

>321 lauralkeet: I loved Fuller’s Swimming Lessons and now have Unsettled Ground on my wish list. Congrats on a great reading month.

328lauralkeet
Set 1, 8:30am

>327 karenmarie: Hi Karen! It looks like I need to explore Fuller's work a bit more. I just checked the library catalog and they have Swimming Lessons as well as Bitter Orange.

329NanaCC
Set 3, 10:38am

I’ve been on the waiting list for Unsettled Ground for ages. All the good reviews make it seem like it’s worth the wait.

330lauralkeet
Set 3, 1:11pm

>329 NanaCC: yes it is, Colleen!
Este tópico foi continuado por Laura (lauralkeet)'s 75 in 2021 - Part 6.