NinieB Plays with the Cats in 2023

Discussão2023 Category Challenge

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NinieB Plays with the Cats in 2023

Nov 25, 2022, 1:23 pm

I'm Ninie (rhymes with shiny) and I'm an avid reader in beautiful upstate New York.

My cats are an endless delight, so I'm sharing some pictures of them as my category toppers.

The categories are almost the same as 2022--I found that this setup works really well for me. I don't spend time fussing over which book goes where, I keep track of the KITs and CATs and Bingo, and I have space for challenges that come up as the year progresses. The only category I've added is 21st Century Mysteries.

Editado: Nov 19, 11:08 pm


I've spent a lot of time with classics in 2022 and don't foresee a change in 2023.

1. Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress by Charles Dickens
2. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
3. Phoebe, Junior by Margaret Oliphant
4. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
5. Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
6. The Claverings by Anthony Trollope
7. Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
8. First Love by Ivan Turgenev
9. The Iliad by Homer
10. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
11. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
12. The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
13. Curious, If True by Elizabeth Gaskell
14. Lotta Schmidt and Other Stories by Anthony Trollope
15. The Lifted Veil; Brother Jacob by George Eliot
16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Editado: Nov 17, 9:21 pm

20th Century

1. The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell
2. The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie Jr.
3. Poor Cow by Nell Dunn
4. The Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park
5. Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay
6. Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College by Jessie Graham Flower
7. A Companion to the Iliad by Malcolm M. Willcock
8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. A Rolling Stone by B. M. Croker
10. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
11. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
12. 1984 by George Orwell
13. Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym
14. Where Nests the Water Hen by Gabrielle Roy
15. Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell
16. Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai
17. Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck

Editado: Fev 22, 6:16 pm

21st Century

1. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
2. The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy

Editado: Nov 4, 3:51 pm

Keating Mysteries (books on H.R.F. Keating's list of 100 Best Crime & Mystery Books)

1. A Death in the Life by Dorothy Salisbury Davis
2. Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross
3. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White
4. The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest by Peter Dickinson
5. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins
6. Post Mortem by Guy Cullingford
7. The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham
8. Portrait of Lilith by June Thomson

Editado: Nov 12, 5:51 pm

20th Century Mysteries

1. The Draycott Murder Mystery by Molly Thynne
2. There's a Reason for Everything by E. R. Punshon
3. Edwin of the Iron Shoes by Marcia Muller
4. Ask the Cards a Question by Marcia Muller
5. The Cheshire Cat's Eye by Marcia Muller
6. Games to Keep the Dark Away by Marcia Muller
7. Leave a Message for Willie by Marcia Muller
8. Double by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
9. There's Nothing to Be Afraid Of by Marcia Muller
10. Eye of the Storm by Marcia Muller
11. There's Something in a Sunday by Marcia Muller
12. The Shape of Dread by Marcia Muller
13. Trophies and Dead Things by Marcia Muller
14. Where Echoes Live by Marcia Muller
15. Pennies on a Dead Woman's Eyes by Marcia Muller
16. Wolf in the Shadows by Marcia Muller
17. Hoodwink by Bill Pronzini
18. Scattershot by Bill Pronzini
19. Dragonfire by Bill Pronzini
20. Bindlestiff by Bill Pronzini
21. Quicksilver by Bill Pronzini
22. Nightshades by Bill Pronzini
23. Bones by Bill Pronzini
24. Deadfall by Bill Pronzini
25. Shackles by Bill Pronzini
26. Jackpot by Bill Pronzini
27. Breakdown by Bill Pronzini
28. Quarry by Bill Pronzini
29. Epitaphs by Bill Pronzini
30. Demons by Bill Pronzini
31. Hardcase by Bill Pronzini
32. Sentinels by Bill Pronzini
33. Illusions by Bill Pronzini
34. Boobytrap by Bill Pronzini
35. Till the Butchers Cut Him Down by Marcia Muller
36. A Wild and Lonely Place by Marcia Muller
37. The Broken Promise Land by Marcia Muller
38. Both Ends of the Night by Marcia Muller
39. While Other People Sleep by Marcia Muller
40. A Walk through the Fire by Marcia Muller
41. A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
42. The Body in the Billiard Room by H. R. F. Keating
43. A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
44. North Star Conspiracy by Miriam Grace Monfredo
45. Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley
46. The King Is Dead by Ellery Queen
47. Dead on Time by H. R. F. Keating
48. Blackwater Spirits by Miriam Grace Monfredo
49. Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer by Dorothy Gilman

Editado: Nov 1, 10:24 pm

21st Century Mysteries

1. Her Final Words by Brianna Labuskes
2. Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
3. The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
4. The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
5. The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths
6. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
7. Crazybone by Bill Pronzini
8. A Dangerous Talent by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
9. Bleeders by Bill Pronzini
10. Listen to the Silence by Marcia Muller
11. Dead Midnight by Marcia Muller
12. The Dangerous Hour by Marcia Muller
13. Still Waters by Viveca Sten
14. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

Editado: Nov 17, 9:22 pm


February (before 1900): Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
July (always wanted to read): Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
August (translation): First Love by Ivan Turgenev; The Iliad by Homer
September (nonfiction): Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
October (women): Curious, If True by Elizabeth Gaskell

June (South and Southeast Asia): The Body in the Billiard Room by H. R. F. Keating
July (Western Europe): Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens; Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay; Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
September (Africa): Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley
October (US & Canada): The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins; Where Nests the Water Hen by Gabrielle Roy
November (East Asia): Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck

June (animal): The Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park
August (series): Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College by Jessie Graham Flower

April (no need to read in order): Phoebe, Junior by Margaret Oliphant
June (favorite author): The Body in the Billiard Room by H. R. F. Keating
September (series more than 50 years old): Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross
October (Asian setting): Dead on Time by H. R. F. Keating
November (historical): Blackwater Spirits by Miriam Grace Monfredo

January (S): The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
March (A): Ask the Cards a Question by Marcia Muller
March (G): Games to Keep the Dark Away by Marcia Muller
April (D): Demons by Bill Pronzini
April (W): While Other People Sleep by Marcia Muller
May (C): A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
June (B): The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie Jr.
June (K): The Body in the Billiard Room by H. R. F. Keating
August (M): North Star Conspiracy by Miriam Grace Monfredo; A Companion to the Iliad by Malcolm M. Willcock
September (V, E): The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White
October (N): The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest by Peter Dickinson
October (H): The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins; Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym
October (N, H): Where Nests the Water Hen by Gabrielle Roy
November (T): The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham; Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell
November (L): The Lifted Veil; Brother Jacob by George Eliot; Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai; Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer by Dorothy Gilman
November (T, L): Lotta Schmidt and Other Stories by Anthony Trollope; Portrait of Lilith by June Thomson

February (classic setting): There's a Reason for Everything by E. R. Punshon
July (police procedural): A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
August (past or future): North Star Conspiracy by Miriam Grace Monfredo
September (academic setting): Death in a Tenured Position by Amanda Cross
October (locked room): The King Is Dead by Ellery Queen
November (senior sleuth): Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer by Dorothy Gilman

February (second or two): Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy
March (water): Eye of the Storm by Marcia Muller
April (7 stages--the corpse): Quarry by Bill Pronzini
May (Royal names): A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
August (something good): North Star Conspiracy by Miriam Grace Monfredo
September (West): Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
October (treats): The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
November (a little light): Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

February (historical horror): The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy

Editado: Nov 1, 9:51 pm


1. (features music or musician) The Broken Promise Land by Marcia Muller
2. (features inn or hotel) Double by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
3. (Member of cat family) The Muddleheaded Wombat by Ruth Park
4. (next in series) Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
5. (author is your zodiac sign) Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
6. (memoir) The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell
7. (bestseller 20 years ago) The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
8. (plant on cover) A Walk through the Fire by Marcia Muller
9. (switched or stolen identities) There's a Reason for Everything by E. R. Punshon
10. (taught me something) The Companion to the Iliad by Malcolm M. Willcock
11. (book on cover) Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College by Jessie Graham Flower
12. (art or craft related) A Dangerous Talent by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
13. (read a CAT) Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
14. (small town/rural setting) The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
15. (STEM) The Claverings by Anthony Trollope
16. (4+ rating) Shackles by Bill Pronzini
17. (regional author) North Star Conspiracy by Miriam Grace Monfredo
18. (involves an accident) Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
19. (features journalist/journalism) Dead Midnight by Marcia Muller
20. (popular author's first book) Edwin of the Iron Shoes by Marcia Muller
21. (topic you don't usually read) The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy
22. (number in title) Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens
23. (author under 30) Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress by Charles Dickens
24. (set on train) The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White
25. (>1000 copies on LT) The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

Editado: Nov 6, 9:17 pm

Special Projects

Virago 50th Anniversary Reading
June: Poor Cow by Nell Dunn
July: Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay
August: A Death in the Life by Dorothy Salisbury Davis
September: Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
October: Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym
November: Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell

Editado: Nov 25, 2022, 1:56 pm

Welcome, everyone--the door is open!

Nov 25, 2022, 4:49 pm

Your cats are adorable. Have a happy reading year.

Nov 25, 2022, 6:52 pm

lovely! good luck with your challenge!

Nov 25, 2022, 6:58 pm

What beautiful cats.

I have only read about 10 of the books in the 100 best crime and mystery list. I will be interested in seeing what you have to say about the books in the list.

Nov 25, 2022, 8:03 pm

I'm not a cat lover, but yours are rather cute. And I'll be watching to see what mysteries you read.

Nov 25, 2022, 8:18 pm

AWWWWWW they're so cute!!! I love the one curled up in your suitcase -- if they fits, they sits!

Nov 25, 2022, 9:12 pm

A great tribute to your fur babies. Love all the pictures, several of them brought memories of my own kitties doing the same activities. Good luck with your reading this year.

Nov 25, 2022, 11:10 pm

Aaaawwww, so many cute kitty photos - my heart is full!
Happy reading in 2023.

Nov 26, 2022, 2:23 am

Thank for sharing these wonderful pictures! Your cats are so pretty and cute! And I am looking forward to seeing what you read in 2023.

Nov 26, 2022, 7:39 am

The cats are beautiful. Good luck in 2023 on your reading goals.

Nov 26, 2022, 8:59 am

>12 sallylou61: Thanks, Allison!
>13 majkia: Thanks, Jean!
>14 Zozette: Thanks, Zozette! At this point I have read 61 from Keating's list. I'm shooting for 24 more in 2023.
>15 dudes22: Thanks, Betty!
>16 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rabbitprincess! For some reason Charlie just loves his cat carrier, even if it's associated with the vet.
>17 lowelibrary: Thanks, April! They are just 3 month old babies in some of these photos, so already fond memories.
>18 JayneCM: Thanks, Jayne!
>19 MissBrangwen: Thanks, Mirjam!
>20 mnleona: Thanks, Leona!

And Charlie (white and gray) and Buster (white and orange) really appreciate all the love. Can you hear them purring?

Nov 26, 2022, 2:20 pm

Gorgeous kittys! They make a great backdrop to your categories. I have been enjoying my reading of Keating's list which I first heard about on your thread, and I look forward to reading more of them this year.

Nov 26, 2022, 3:41 pm

Your Classics and Centuries categories should cover every possible book! Happy reading in 2023 and best wished to the kittens.

Nov 27, 2022, 8:47 am

>22 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! So glad you are enjoying Keating's list--I love reading your reviews of them.

>23 pamelad: Thanks, Pam! I like to know in advance I've got a slot for everything.

Dez 1, 2022, 1:22 pm

Lovely cats! I couldn't help smiling when I saw Charlie in >2 NinieB:, that's my sister's cat's favourite sleeping position.

Dez 1, 2022, 1:25 pm

>26 NinieB: Yeah, he's a real snuggler!

Dez 5, 2022, 4:39 pm

Awww, I lurve your cats. They are such sweethearts.
Looking forward to following along for another year's reading.

Dez 5, 2022, 5:13 pm

Your cats are delightful and I'm hoping for regular updates on their doings.

Dez 6, 2022, 2:10 am

>27 Helenliz: Thanks, Helen! They really are sweethearts too, even though they have very different personalities.

>28 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay! I will try to give regular updates!

Dez 6, 2022, 7:07 am

Good luck with your 2023 reading--may it bring you joy!

Dez 6, 2022, 7:12 am

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Dez 6, 2022, 1:56 pm

>30 Tess_W: Thanks for those warm wishes, Tess!

Dez 10, 2022, 2:15 pm

Hi there, how did I miss your thread? Dropping a star off now. Love the kitty pics! They are adorable and my two fur boys approve.

Dez 10, 2022, 2:34 pm

>33 LadyoftheLodge: Thanks, Cheryl! Happy to have you and the fur boys joining in the fun!

Dez 19, 2022, 12:33 pm

Stopping by with best wishes for your 2023 reading. Love the pictures of Buster and Charlie! They are so adorable.

Dez 20, 2022, 12:20 am

What beautiful cats. As you say, they are obviously endless delight!

Dez 20, 2022, 11:16 am

>35 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori! Glad you enjoyed the pictures!

>36 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne! I was on vacation recently and missed them and their antics so much!

Dez 20, 2022, 12:07 pm

Love looking at your kitty pictures :)

Dez 20, 2022, 3:16 pm

>38 whitewavedarling: I love looking at them too, Jennifer!

Dez 27, 2022, 9:20 am

I'm loving all the cats (and categories) for 2023. Happy reading!

Dez 27, 2022, 11:36 am

>40 thornton37814: Thank you, Lori! Happy reading to you as well.

Jan 1, 10:56 am

Jan 2, 3:51 pm

>42 NinieB: That is a delightful card! Looks like an antique post card.

Jan 2, 3:55 pm

Hi, Ninie - Happy New Year, Group and Thread!

Love your kitties (of course!). :)

Jan 2, 7:20 pm

Love the cat pictures.

Happy New Year.

Jan 3, 5:49 pm

>43 LadyoftheLodge: Hi Cheryl, it was the image I found that tickled my fancy for New Year wishes!

>44 lyzard: Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by!

>45 hailelib: Hi Tricia, Nice to see you!

The cats appreciate your visits, as well.

Jan 16, 4:19 pm

>1 NinieB: Such sweet kitties. Happy reading this year!

Jan 28, 8:11 am

I love stopping by your thread just to see the cat pictures. :)

Jan 28, 9:45 am

>47 beebeereads: Thank you! Happy reading to you too!

>48 mathgirl40: Oh, that's great! Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 31, 3:31 pm

I've been reluctant to write reviews this month, but the end of January (how did this happen?) is nudging me to catch up. So, a bit of a compromise . . . Here are the books I read in January, in order read, with a few comments. More reviews going forward, I promise.

1. Her Final Words by Brianna Labuskes. A thriller, set in Idaho, about murder in a religious cult.
2. A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway #5.
3. The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway #6.
4. The Draycott Murder Mystery by Molly Thynne. One of Dean Street Press's Golden Age mystery reprints.
5. The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway #7.
6. The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway #8.
7. The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway #9.
8. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden. A NetGalley review copy. I'll post a review in the next few days.
9. The Dancing Bear by Frances Faviell. Another great book by the author of Thalia, which I read and loved last year.

Jan 31, 3:47 pm

>50 NinieB: Ruth Galloway is everywhere in this group right now. Good to see another binge reader!

I also enjoyed The Dancing Bear. A lot of writers use WWII as a background, but I'd much rather read a book by a writer who was there.

Jan 31, 4:08 pm

>51 pamelad: My reading was way down in December, so when the chatter about Ruth Galloway sucked me in, I went with it!

As for The Dancing Bear, I found the setting of occupied Berlin sufficiently interesting that I picked up a copy of Two Women by Alberto Moravia, set in occupied Rome.

Jan 31, 5:21 pm

>50 NinieB: Thanks for the nudge on The Dancing Bear I read A Chelsea Concerto last year and really enjoyed it, so will get this on my library WL today.

Jan 31, 5:49 pm

>52 NinieB: Have you seen the film of Two Women? Directed by Vittorio De Sica, starring Sophia Loren. It's excellent. The book must be quite harrowing.

Jan 31, 8:09 pm

>54 pamelad: I have not seen the film; I should look for it. I haven't watched any from that period in a long time.

Editado: Fev 7, 6:54 pm

There's a Reason for Everything was E. R. Punshon's 21st book about English police detective Bobby Owen. In this installment, set during World War II, Bobby has recently become the Deputy Chief Constable of Wychshire (I didn't get a strong sense of where the fictional Wychshire is located).

The stately home of Nonpareil has been emptied, its contents sold. Two parapsychologists have permission to do some ghost hunting in the vacant mansion--Nonpareil has longstanding ghost stories. One of the stories is that a blood stain will appear on the floor when a member of the family is about to die. Bobby goes out to the mansion to investigate when the blood stain is spotted, only to discover that one of the parapsychologists is dead.

I found the mystery a bit rambling, with lots of characters I had trouble keeping straight. What I really liked was the strong sense of wartime Britain, with Bobby sometimes getting around by bicycle due to lack of petrol.

Fev 7, 6:42 pm

I read Oliver Twist quite a long time ago, but I discovered on a re-read that I had forgotten most of the major plot points!

The story starts with Oliver's birth in a workhouse. His unknown mother dies in childbirth. Oliver has a miserable upbringing, and finally at age 11 he runs away to London. There he gets mixed up with a group of thieves. When Oliver is separated from the gang, kind Mr. Brownlow takes an interest in his past--but the thieves also have a special interest in Oliver and are not willing to let him go so easily.

Coincidence and anti-Semitism mar the story but somehow, while the plot shouldn't hang together for a minute, Dickens makes it all work. Dickens's incredibly vivid portrayal of London in the 1830s is a special bonus for the reader.

Fev 8, 7:52 pm

>57 NinieB: I recall seeing a stage play version of "Oliver" when I was in junior high or high school and went to see it with my sisters. I have seen it many times since then and also watched various film versions of the novel.

Fev 8, 8:25 pm

Enjoyed catching up on your thread!

Fev 9, 6:57 am

>58 LadyoftheLodge: I have the sense that I saw "Oliver" the musical at some point, either on stage or on TV. Either that or I'm just familiar with the "Please, sir, I want some more."

>59 VictoriaPL: Welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

Fev 9, 8:10 pm

>60 NinieB: The tunes are catchy too. I like "Reviewing the Situation."

Fev 22, 5:41 pm

>61 LadyoftheLodge: "Food, Glorious Food" popped into my head out of nowhere the other day!

Fev 22, 5:58 pm

My very belated review of The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden:

It's 1850-something in England and Margaret Lennox, a widow, has accepted the position of governess to Louis Eversham, age 10, at Hartwood Hall. When she arrives, Margaret is struck by the Hall's isolation, both physical and social, from the nearby village. Also striking is how frightened Louis's mother--also a widow--is about his safety. As the title suggests, Hartwood Hall has its secrets, which increasingly mystify Margaret.

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall very strongly reminded me of the popular romantic suspense gothics of the 1960s and 1970s, such as those by Victoria Holt. The difference is that there's no lord of the manor for Margaret to reluctantly fall in love with. And, in fact, this flavor of gothic has been successfully updated to the 21st century. If you enjoy mysterious doings about a manor house in Victorian England, this will be a pleasure for you to read. Recommended.

Fev 22, 6:10 pm

Nicholas Nickleby was an enjoyable re-read this month. Nicholas, his sister Kate, and their mother have come to London after the death of the father leaves them impoverished. They hope that uncle Ralph Nickleby will help them, but Ralph turns out to be a cold-hearted usurer. Under his influence, Nicholas accepts a low-paying job at a Yorkshire boys' school, Dotheboys Hall, which turns out to be a ghastly sort of place. Kate meanwhile is a milliner's apprentice and then a lady's companion; Ralph invites her for dinner with the intention, it turns out, of pleasing some clients rather than Kate.

London is not quite as vivid as in Oliver Twist, and Mrs. Nickleby is tear-your-hair-out irritating, but Nicholas Nickleby has other compensations, including the Crummles theatre company and the wonderful Cheeryble brothers. I'm looking forward to revisiting The Old Curiosity Shop next month.

Fev 22, 6:23 pm

My second gothic historical of this year is The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy. But it's very different from The Secrets of Hartwood Hall.

It's set in the Ozarks, with two timelines--1881 and 1931. It increasingly becomes evident that the stories are closely connected, and both refer back to events that took place in 1831. It's also increasingly apparent that witches and demons are alive and well in Tin Mountain, with strange weather dominating in each time period. Witches and demons aren't normally my thing, but the plotlines did keep me engaged and at the end I was eager to know what would happen.

Fev 22, 8:23 pm

>64 NinieB: I find the secondary characters the most enjoyable part of NN; Kate & Nicholas are rather bland, but I love Newman Noggs, John Browdie, Tim Linkinwater, Miss LaCreevy and of course the Cheerybles. Even Mr Squeers is entertaining in his own way. The only person more evil than Sir Mulberry Hawk is Ralph Nickleby.

Fev 23, 4:09 am

>64 NinieB: >66 kac522: And Charles Dance brings him to life so creepily and scarily in the BBC miniseries. One of my absolute favourites.

Fev 23, 5:07 am

>63 NinieB: Great!!! This is the first review ever that I've seen of Katie Lumsden's novel.

>64 NinieB: This is one I wish to reread, too. I read it about twelve years ago, but in a hurry, and I feel like I didn't do it justice.

Fev 23, 7:22 am

>66 kac522: Yes, they all are compensations. Kate is definitely bland. Nicholas shows fire on occasion but he's rather perfect (which is a form of bland).

>67 MissWatson: I haven't seen that miniseries. Sounds like one to watch for--I just have a slight memory of one from the early 1980s.

>68 MissBrangwen: Are you a fan of Katie's, as well?

Fev 23, 7:57 am

>69 NinieB: I'm not really into YouTube, but I have watched some of her videos and think that they are fantastic! I plan to watch some of them after reading specific classic works. I do like her enthusiasm and her approach to literature. I only discovered her because she was mentioned in this group in connection to the Historical Fiction Challenge.
Do you follow her regularly?

Fev 23, 9:35 am

>70 MissBrangwen: Yes, I keep an eye on what she's posting and watch most of them. Since I like to read Victorian novels, I've discovered a couple of good ones that she's endorsed.

Fev 23, 12:28 pm

>70 MissBrangwen:, >71 NinieB: Katie was the first booktuber I started watching--not sure how I found her--and now I follow her regularly. I've branched out to a few more booktubers, but so far her reading of Victorian classics matches my tastes the closest. The only thing I differ with her is that she doesn't like George Eliot, but I can live with that. 😊

Fev 23, 1:35 pm

>72 kac522: Which reminds that one of these days I really need to read more Eliot!

Abr 6, 5:32 pm

I spent the month of March and moving into April binge-reading the Sharon McCone series by Marcia Muller and the Nameless Detective series by Bill Pronzini. Both series offer a private investigator based in a noirish San Francisco and northern California, although the book in which they both appear is set in San Diego (Double). Why do they inhabit the same universe? Because Muller and Pronzini are married to each other. Both series is longstanding; while Nameless ended his career a few years ago, McCone continues to detect. The portions of the series I read are set in the 1980s and 1990s.

Abr 6, 5:48 pm

>74 NinieB: Great series. I've read nearly all the Sharon McCone books but can't be exactly sure which ones because many of them were pre-LT.

It's always good to find an author you really like who wrote lots of books you haven't read.

Abr 6, 5:54 pm

>75 pamelad: Technically these were re-reads, but from a long-distant past, 10-20 years ago. For the most part, it was like reading them for the first time, which was awesome. The result was that I read about 24 books in March, a very high number for me.

Maio 28, 4:01 pm

Having acquired a number of books in May (book sale time), the disorganized state of my books could no longer go unaddressed. So I spent several hours today sorting through the unshelved, grouping some together (at last, all the Viragos, Persephones, old orange Penguins, and old gray Penguins each have their own home), boxing up others in labeled boxes, and generally wondering why I am such a sucker for so many books.

Editado: Maio 28, 4:11 pm

What books did I get at the book sale?

Charles Dickens, Hard Times
Vita Sackville-West, Knole and the Sackvilles
Georges Simenon, The Late Monsieur Gallet
Mariama Ba, So Long a Letter
Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
Rodney Hall, Just Relations
Farida Karodia, Daughters of the Twilight
Arnold Bennett, The Pretty Lady
Steve Hamilton, A Cold Day in Paradise
Susanna Gregory, A Plague on Both Your Houses
Michael Jecks, The Abbot's Gibbet
Alice Tilton, Dead Ernest
David Nobbs, The Reginald Perrin Omnibus
John R. Stilgoe, Alongshore
Storm Jameson, Women Against Men
Robertson Davies, Leaven of Malice
Nancy Mitford, Pigeon Pie
Edith Wharton, The Glimpses of the Moon

and some others.

ETA No, I don't know when I'll read all these books!

Maio 28, 6:06 pm

You definitely get better book choices at your library sales than we do around here.

Maio 28, 9:33 pm

>79 dudes22: We do get good books at our book sale. It is very large and well sorted, too.

Maio 28, 9:59 pm

>78 NinieB: That's a lovely haul and good for you for getting them organized. I am also a sucker for all the books.

Maio 28, 10:35 pm

>81 RidgewayGirl: Thank you! I'm happy to be more organized so now I can find what I want to read. I've been in a reading slump, so this should help.

Maio 29, 11:31 am

>77 NinieB: I am of the same mind--do not know why I am a sucker for book sales either, but I cannot seem to keep away from them. Ditto for my hubby. We always come home with sacks full of books, although we are both avid readers and get through them, but seem to acquire them more quickly than we read them. I weeded the collection when we moved two years ago but have again acquired a bunch of them and run out of shelf room.

Maio 29, 12:24 pm

>83 LadyoftheLodge: I should do some weeding as I'll never get through everything I have, but I enjoy organizing more.

Maio 29, 12:34 pm

Steve Hamilton's A Cold Day in Paradise is the first in a series about former cop and now private investigator Alex McKnight. Alex lives near Lake Superior on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. His sleep is disrupted one night when wealthy gambling addict Edwin Fulton calls him to the scene of a murder he has discovered. The scene throws Alex back to the shooting that killed his partner and ended his police career. Soon, it appears that the shooter has come back to stalk Alex. But how is that possible, when the shooter's in prison?

This Edgar-Award-winning first novel is slow to get started--despite the murder at the beginning--but picks up as it goes along. Complexities develop nicely. I'm looking forward to the second in the series, Winter of the Wolf Moon.

Maio 30, 1:46 pm

>84 NinieB: I also enjoy organizing my books. I guess it is more like "playing with my books."

Maio 31, 2:17 pm

>78 NinieB: Nice haul! I really liked The Glimpses of the Moon.

Maio 31, 10:11 pm

>86 LadyoftheLodge: Yes! it's the next best thing to reading them.

>87 christina_reads: I thought I remembered seeing some positive comments here about The Glimpses of the Moon!

Jun 1, 5:13 am

Excellent library sale collection!
I agree, reshelving books is almost as much fun as reading them in the first place.

Jun 16, 2:16 pm

>89 Helenliz: Thank you! Next sale is in October, and I'm looking forward to it already.

Jun 16, 2:24 pm

I may have started The Old Curiosity Shop as early as April. Even if it was May, I feel like I've been reading it forever. But I finally finished it last night! Not my favorite Dickens.

Nell Trent, a young girl, lives with her grandfather at the curiosity shop in London. Her life, however, is not trouble-free. Her grandfather mysteriously leaves every night. And he's in debt to the odious Mr. Quilp, who terrorizes everyone (including his wife and mother-in-law) for the fun of it. When Quilp takes possession of the shop, Nell and her grandfather flee London for refuge in the country. Meanwhile, their faithful employee, Kit Nubbles, finds another job with kind Mr. and Mrs. Garland. Quilp, convinced Nell's grandfather has money stashed away, continues to search for them. And a mysterious stranger is also desperately trying to find them.

On the bright side, while this was technically a re-read, I didn't really remember any of it, so it was like reading it fresh.

Jun 16, 2:26 pm

June has brought technology woes with it. My personal laptop is best used as a paperweight at the moment. Tonight I'm going to try to do a fix recommended on the Dell website--if that doesn't work I'll need to find a computer repair person!

Jun 16, 3:01 pm

>91 NinieB: Not my favorite Dickens, either. And frankly, I have no incentive to re-read it, either. I did finish re-reading Barnaby Rudge (which I also started in April and finished in June) on audiobook. Although not perfect, I found the riot scenes some of Dickens' best writing.

Jun 16, 3:37 pm

>93 kac522: I have never read Barnaby Rudge, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I think I should wait a week or two, though.

Jun 16, 5:06 pm

>94 NinieB: It's Dickens' "other" historical fiction; it's not as tightly written as A Tale of Two Cities and there are parts that drag. But as portrayal of the specific events of the 1780 Gordon riots, I think it is well done.

Jun 16, 5:11 pm

>95 kac522: I was encouraged by Katie liking it. A Tale of Two Cities is another one I haven't read. I'm not surprised by the differences you've observed, though, given their points in the chronology.

Jun 16, 6:48 pm

>96 NinieB: She did love it, didn't she?? Her enthusiasm is so infectious!

Jun 19, 4:23 pm

>90 NinieB: October must be a book sale month! We annually attend one that goes on for a week. There are different books put out every day, so we try to go at the beginning and then at the end for the "$5 per bag sale."

Jun 19, 5:17 pm

>98 LadyoftheLodge: Definitely want to get a look at the new books. Bag sales are fun, too!

Jun 24, 7:21 am

The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie Jr. is a serious novel about the early 19th-century West. 17-year-old Boone Caudill of Kentucky leaves home abruptly when he has beaten up a couple of people, including his father, and heads West. Along the way he meets up with Jim Deakins, a redhead whose personality complements Boone's. While Jim has a smile and a friendly laugh for most situations, Boone is silent, sullen, tough. together they become mountain men, trapping beaver for a living, in the company of Dick Summers, an experienced mountain man that they meet on a long boat ride up the Missouri to present-day Montana.

this is one of those books that had things I really liked and other things I really didn't like. Guthrie's writing about the scenery of the West is outstanding. the plot and the structure were also outstanding. My copy had a foreword by Wallace Stegner that really helped me understand what Guthrie was saying about the West. And I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of mountain-man life.

On the other hand, viewing life from a mountain man's perspective means that the novel portrays a contemptuous view of Native Americans ("injuns") and women, particularly native women ("squaws"). And for reasons I cannot explain, these mountain men frequently referred to themselves and others using a certain racial slur (although they are definitely not Black). While I would recommend the novel for the reasons I gave above, only those prepared for these downsides should proceed.

Jun 24, 4:41 pm

>100 NinieB: I had read all of Guthrie's Western Sequence when I was much younger and recently re-read The Big Sky. I don't know why but I hadn't remembered just how sullen, jealous and short-tempered that Boone could be. I have regathered the rest of the books from this collection and look forward to reading them all again. Guthrie was certainly a masterful writer!

Jun 24, 7:28 pm

>101 DeltaQueen50: Glad to hear you liked it too, Judy. I have the next one, The Way West, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Jun 25, 8:45 am

The novel Poor Cow by Nell Dunn can be read in a couple of hours. Joy Steadman of South London walks down the high street, heading home from the hospital, her maternity dress belted in, her week-old baby in her arms. So begins her story of her life with her husband, Tom, who after a run of good luck as a thief has a run of bad luck and is sent away for two years; with her lover Dave, who has similar good and ill luck; working in a pub and also as a model; discovering her sexuality with Dave and many other men.

I wasn't sure what to think of this one. It was controversial when it appeared in 1967, because women in novels didn't have unjudged active sex lives. (there's no graphic sex, for which I was grateful.) Now, of course, this is old hat. Its length did seem just right.

Jun 25, 5:52 pm

I very much enjoyed The Body in the Billiard Room by H. R. F. Keating. Inspector Ghote has been sent to the resort town of Ootacamund in south India to investigate the murder of a billiards marker at a private club. Why? Because His Excellency Surindar Mehta has read all the Golden Age detective novels and wants a Great Detective to solve the mystery. His Excellency particularly loves Poirot and Holmes, and he sees himself as Ghote's Watson (even though he's really the boss). He nearly drives Ghote crazy with his expectation that detective fiction tropes will solve the real life mystery. So, this book is something of a love letter to classic mystery fiction.

Jun 26, 10:50 am

>104 NinieB: That does sound fun! Is the Ghote series one that ought to be read in order, or can you jump in anywhere?

Jun 26, 5:23 pm

>105 christina_reads: There's no need to read in order. I've been doing so but honestly some of them aren't very good. Hope you enjoy when you get to it!

Jun 27, 9:33 am

>106 NinieB: Thanks, that is good to know!

Jun 27, 6:29 pm

I was never big on animal stories when I was a kid, but I did enjoy The Muddleheaded Wombat, a collection of children's stories by Ruth Park. The main characters are Wombat (of course), Mouse, and Tabby (a cat). Wombat can't count past four, Tabby is easily flattered, and Mouse is highly competent.

Jun 28, 4:59 pm

>104 NinieB: I read most of the Inspector Ghote books pre-LT and used to enjoy them, but I don't know if I would now because it seems so patronising for Keating, an Englishman who can only observe from the outside, to write from the perspective of an Indian policeman. I feel the same way about Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana novels.

Jun 29, 3:28 pm

>104 NinieB: I just snagged a used copy of this one. Thanks for the BB.

Jun 29, 5:16 pm

>109 pamelad: I was definitely conscious of that issue but I guess you could call this a guilty pleasure.

>110 LadyoftheLodge: Hope you enjoy it, Cheryl.

Jun 30, 2:09 pm

I guess I do not have that problem with Alexander McCall Smith because he was born in and lived in Africa. (Although he writes about women detectives and is not female, was that what you meant?) I like Mma Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi and the other characters.

Jul 4, 9:48 am

Dropping by to say "hi" on my way around the threads.

Jul 4, 2:06 pm

>113 thornton37814: Hi Lori! *waves*

Jul 24, 8:41 am

I finished Barnaby Rudge yesterday. It took me about a month to read, including a week when I didn't read it at all because I was on vacation. Again, not my favorite Dickens. If I'm honest with myself, all this Dickens isn't really working for me. I started reading The Claverings by Anthony Trollope last night and I immediately started enjoying my reading so much more.

Editado: Jul 24, 10:13 am

>115 NinieB: I hear you. Barnaby Rudge was just OK on my first reading; it was listening to it on audiobook some years later that made the difference for me. Or maybe it was because I enjoyed the reader (Simon Vance).

Right now I'm muddling through the audio of Martin Chuzzlewit with a so-so reader (I don't think Vance recorded this one), so I know what you mean about too much Dickens. I'll finish it, but whether I'll re-read Dombey is up in the air.

And yes, last week I, too, flew through The Claverings!

Jul 24, 10:49 am

>116 kac522: I can see where a reread of Barnaby Rudge might help, since I was struggling with the many characters and plot lines. My life doesn't really work for audio right now, and when I used to do audio I found that mysteries worked best, rather than more complex books.

Editado: Jul 24, 11:14 am

>117 NinieB: Yes, I only use audio for re-reads where I already have a sense of the plot and characters. Also sometimes for easier non-fiction (memoirs, humor, etc.)--sort of akin to listening to a radio program, I guess. And I'm very, very picky about narrators. So my audiobook listening is limited, too.

Editado: Jul 27, 7:32 pm

I finished The Claverings by Anthony Trollope this evening. I read it for a group read over in the 75ers with Liz. I started very late but am happy I did--start, I mean. I (almost) always enjoy Trollope.

Editado: Jul 29, 6:13 pm

Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay actually has nothing to do with trains; the title refers to a once-popular music hall song by that name:

Oh, Mr. Porter, whatever shall I do,
I want to go to Birmingham, but they've sent me on to Crewe!

Denham Dobie has to find her way in the unfamiliar world of London society when she would rather be, say, exploring along the Cornwall coast in a rowboat. Further complicating matters is that she has fallen in love with a young publisher who quite likes London literary society.

Macaulay's writing style is witty and satiric. I would very happily read more by her (and fortunately I have a copy of The Towers of Trebizond waiting on the shelf).

Jul 29, 6:15 pm

>120 NinieB: I really liked Crewe Train and very much sympathise with Dorcas's small-talk ineptitude. The Towers of Trebizond is even better.

Jul 29, 10:27 pm

>121 pamelad: I sympathized as well! Denham frustrated me at some points in the story, but I felt sorry for her with all those social engagements--six nights a week, yikes!

Jul 30, 1:16 pm

I was the host this month for ClassicsCAT, with the theme being the classic you always wanted to read. I struggled myself with this theme because mostly I've not read the doorstop classics, and I didn't want to read a doorstop (having already spent most of July reading one that didn't qualify for this theme). Finally I realized that I've wanted to read Balzac's Human Comedy for some time but had failed to read even one of its many volumes. Eugénie Grandet (1833) is quite short (my Kindle ebook says only 105 pages) and is considered one of the best in the series. I was able to read it in just a few hours.

Eugénie is the daughter of Monsieur Félix Grandet, a miserly, avaricious, businessman who does not hesitate to use shady business practices to build up his fortune. He, his wife, and his daughter live under penurious conditions as he pretends to have little money to spare. When Monsieur Grandet's brother commits suicide in the belief that he has failed in business, Monsieur sees an opportunity to benefit financially while sending the brother's son Charles abroad to the West Indies to try to recoup his fortunes. Eugénie, however, falls in love with Charles.

Overall I found this 19th century French classic quite interesting and with plenty of plot despite its brevity. I had some trouble understanding Monsieur Grandet's business dealings, which Balzac explains in some detail, but I think I got enough to make sense of the story. I'll probably try to read a couple more stories in the Human Comedy before I decide whether I want to take on the whole thing.

Jul 31, 9:11 pm

I managed to squeeze one more book into July. A Thief of Time (1988) is one of Tony Hillerman's mysteries featuring Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. Leaphorn is investigating the disappearance of an archaeologist, while Chee has stumbled upon the murder of two men illegally digging up pots at an archaeological site. Their investigations merge.

I had read this way back when it was relatively new. Not long ago the book crossed my mind, and when I ran across a copy that was being discarded I took it as a sign it was time to reread it.

Ago 1, 2:34 pm

>124 NinieB: I have found a few books in that same way. Most recently I came across at a library sale I Am the Only Running Footman which I read years ago. Time for a re-read!

Ago 5, 5:50 pm

>125 LadyoftheLodge: I have never read anything by Martha Grimes. I hope your re-read is enjoyable!

Ago 6, 8:50 am

I never would have expected that a book on the Keating 100 list would also have been republished in the Virago Modern Classics line. But A Death in the Life (1976) is on both lists. Julie Hayes is dissatisfied in her marriage and in search of something to do, so she sets up shop as a tarot reader in New York City's theatre district. When her friend Pete Mallory is murdered, and a teenage hooker she'd taken an interest in disappears, she finds herself investigating. While I can't put my finger on what was wrong with this book, I can't say I really liked it--there's something about Dorothy Salisbury Davis's writing that just doesn't agree with me.

Occasionally I luck into a very old book that's been discarded because of its condition. That was the case with the children's book Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College from 1914. It's part of a series for girls in which the popular, smart, and athletic Grace Harlowe goes first to high school and then to college. The college experience here is a social experience, with heavy emphasis placed on not being a tale-teller and having the true "college spirit." Fun reading about another world for one evening, but not a series I'll seek out.

Ago 9, 9:22 pm

Usually I end up panning historical mysteries. But so far I have really liked the Glynis Tryon series by Miriam Grace Monfredo. North Star Conspiracy is the second in the series. Glynis, a librarian in Seneca Falls, New York, in the pre-Civil War years, comes face-to-face with the cruelty of the Fugitive Slave Law. This federal law not only allowed runaway slaves to be pursued in the Northern states but also made criminals of those who helped the slaves. Monfredo gives us well-researched history, some thrilling scenes of pursuit, more thrilling scenes of courtroom drama, and a murder mystery to boot. Admittedly, the murder mystery is the weakest link in this story, but I'm hooked on Monfredo's books and am looking forward to the next in the series, Blackwater Spirits.

Ago 9, 9:25 pm

To make sure I read the ClassicsCAT this month, I picked a novella, First Love by Ivan Turgenev. It's the first-person story of a 16-year-old boy's love for the young woman next door. Turgenev's writing is beautiful, and I must give credit to the translator, Isaiah Berlin, as well.

Ago 9, 11:20 pm

>129 NinieB: I'm reading Love and Youth: Essential Stories by Turgenev (and published by Pushkin Press, London), which includes "First Love" as the first story. My edition was translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater. I'm enjoying these little stories, and, like "First Love", they are all told in the first person. Besides "First Love", the story "The District Doctor" is especially good, too.

Ago 10, 7:55 am

>130 kac522: Does it have The Song of Triumphant Love? I enjoyed that one a year or two ago.

Ago 10, 1:40 pm

>131 NinieB: No. Besides "First Love" and "The District Doctor", the other stories are "Bezhin Meadow", "Rattling!" "Biryuk" and "The Lovers' Meeting".

Ago 27, 1:26 pm

I have finished reading The Iliad. I've wanted to read this (and its partner, The Odyssey) for a very long time, but when I tried before I could not get through it. This time I chose the Richmond Lattimore translation, which is annotated in A Companion to the Iliad by Malcolm Willcock, and I succeeded. Willcock's book was extremely helpful; absolutely no doubt I took away much more than I could have on my own.

Ago 27, 9:30 pm

To my surprise I got an LT badge today for having been on the site for 10 years. And indeed, my 10th Thingaversary is today, August 27.

I acquire books on a rolling basis (i.e. all the time), so here are 11 I've picked up over the summer:

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
Royal Escape by Georgette Heyer
The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary
The Longest Journey by E. M. Forster
Recalled to Life by Reginald Hill
A Shot in the Dark by David Garnett
The Bush Undertaker and Other Stories by Henry Lawson
The Sound of Waves by Mishima Yukio

Ago 28, 12:07 am

>134 NinieB: Happy Thingaversary! And congratulations on completing your read of The Iliad.

Ago 28, 7:09 am

>135 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy. The Iliad was something of a time and energy commitment! But now I'm looking forward to tackling The Odyssey.

Ago 28, 11:33 am

Happy 10th Thingaversary! Looks like you picked a great haul -- The Convenient Marriage will always have a special place in my heart, as it was my first Heyer!

Ago 28, 2:17 pm

>134 NinieB: Happy Thingaversary! You have a nice list of titles.

Ago 28, 2:45 pm

Happy thingaversary. I like the inclusion of the Heyers on the list. >:-)

Ago 28, 3:14 pm

>137 christina_reads: Thank you, Christina. I am behind on my Heyer reading but I will try to prioritize The Convenient Marriage!

>138 LadyoftheLodge: Thank you, Cheryl. These were all headed for recycling so I rescued them to be read one more time.

>139 Helenliz: Thank you, Helen. Glad to see the Heyer love!

Editado: Ago 28, 3:24 pm

Happy Thingaversary! Does it feel like ten years?

Ago 28, 4:29 pm

Happy Thingaversary! I noticed the David Garnett book in your recent acquisitions and will be interested to hear what you think of it. Lady into Fox and A Man in the Zoo are intriguingly strange.

Ago 28, 6:04 pm

>141 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. It doesn't, in part because my first few years on LT I just used the catalog. It feels like I really joined when I became active in the 2019 Category Challenge.

>142 pamelad: Thanks, Pam. It's a short one so should be easy to fit in sometime soon. It has terrible reviews, though, so I'm moderating expectations.

Ago 28, 6:12 pm

>143 NinieB: It looks awful. Thirty-six years after his big success with Lady into Fox, so perhaps he'd run his race.

Ago 28, 6:16 pm

>144 pamelad: Indeed. I think I'll read it first and then I will appreciate Lady into Fox all the more.

Ago 28, 10:20 pm

Happy Thingaversary

Ago 29, 6:05 am

>146 lowelibrary: Thank you, April!

Editado: Ago 30, 5:55 pm

After grumbling about Dickens two months in a row, I nonetheless picked up the next one, Martin Chuzzlewit, and I've been gradually working my way through this month. The good news is that it did not induce grumbles, and there's really no bad news. In Dickens's usual way, the plot meanders through events in the lives of the Chuzzlewit and related Pecksniff families. This was technically a re-read for me, but I had forgotten most of the plot. What did stand out in my memory, correctly, is the scathing treatment that the US gets in this book.

Editado: Ago 30, 9:50 pm

>148 NinieB: I am having the opposite experience! I've been slowly listening to old Martin since June and I'm barely half-way through. Also a re-read for me, but I had forgotten most of it, too. The story isn't keeping my interest--we spend so much time with unlikable characters (Jonas and the Pecksniffs--yuck). At this point I'll push on to finish, but the side stories just bore me, even Mrs Gamp.

What little I remember makes me think it picks up some at the end. I hope so.

Ago 31, 7:56 am

>149 kac522: Oh, I'm sorry, Kathy. Dickens does meander a lot but it will pick up at the end. Mrs Gamp's nattering irritated me, if only because in print it's hard to figure out what she's saying!

Ago 31, 10:39 am

>150 NinieB: Yes, it's been a disappointment, as in general I love Dickens.

Ago 31, 10:59 am

>151 kac522: I am looking forward to Dombey and Son since I haven't read it previously. I might even catch up with the schedule! Have you read Dombey?

Editado: Ago 31, 10:15 pm

>152 NinieB: Yes, and I didn't like it much, except for the beginning chapters with Young Paul Dombey. But it's been awhile and so many people enjoy the women characters in it, that I do want to re-read it. It is very long; whether I'll finish Old Martin before I get too far behind, I'm not sure....

Set 15, 12:45 pm

I used to enjoy starting the new year with a Dickens novel back when we had an organized January group read of one. I guess I'll just have to pick one and read it myself.

Set 15, 10:24 pm

>154 thornton37814: The readalong I'm participating in will be reading Bleak House in December and January, if you want to pick that one!

Editado: Set 16, 10:33 pm

>150 NinieB: Just checking in to report that Martin Chuzzlewit has taken a blessed turn for the better...once young Martin & Mark come back from Australia, the plot has been moving with lightning speed, mystery and intrigue. I've got about 100 pages left to listen to, and it has gotten SO much better, even Mrs Gamp has cut her ramblings down to a manageable level.

Set 17, 9:47 am

>156 kac522: So happy to hear Martin Chuzzlewit is working better for you!

Coincidentally, I finished Dombey and Son yesterday. This lesser-known Dickens seems to divide readers, judging from the variety of reviews I have read. It's the story of a spectacularly dysfunctional upper middle-class London family, the Dombeys. Mr. Dombey runs the business called Dombey and Son and at the beginning of the book is over the moon when his wife has a son to carry on the business. Sadly the wife dies soon after the birth, leaving the baby, Paul, and his older sister, Florence, to be raised by nurses, an aunt, and a friend of the family. Raising children is not something Mr. Dombey knows how to do. We also get the story of Walter Gay, a young clerk at Dombey and Son; his uncle Sol Gills; and his friend Captain Cuttle. Other Dombey and Son employees are James Carker, the manager, and his disgraced brother John. Much later in the book we meet Edith Granger, a widow, and her horrible mother, Mrs. Skewton.

I did not find this one of Dickens' weakest novels, as some claim. But I'm also not sold on the claims of some that Dickens did an impressive job of writing women in this book. Florence and Edith, the two main women characters, both are not much beyond one-dimensional. Getting deeper into the Victorian mindset might help me understand these characters and the ending better.

Set 17, 9:55 am

I see I never commented on The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, which I read in August. This is the one where British schoolboys are plane-wrecked on a deserted South Pacific Island during a future war. Some others have read this recently and didn't like it. I found it fascinating, both for what Golding was saying about "civilization" and for what it said about Golding's society. I'm rather sorry that I've only now read the book, although I'm not sure I would have appreciated it at a younger age.

Editado: Set 17, 11:20 am

>157 NinieB: When I'm done with Martin, I'll move on to Dombey. On my first reading of it some years ago, I had the same reaction as you--I felt the women were one-dimensional and Mr Dombey unlikeable. I want to re-read it, only to see why some people think so highly of it. I haven't decided if I'll do it on audio or re-read the physical book.

>158 NinieB: We read Lord of the Flies in high school (many, many years ago!) and I didn't like it at all. I suppose reading it as an adult would give a different perspective, but I'm not sure I'm up to it.

Set 17, 2:38 pm

>159 kac522: I did think Dombey was better than The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge. And definitely a change in direction. Now I'm looking foward to David Copperfield and Bleak House, my two favorite Dickens books.

I'm sure I would have hated Lord of the Flies in high school! I totally understand not wanting to read it again. I will say that its shortness was a plus after all the long books I've been reading.

Set 17, 3:36 pm

>160 NinieB: Yep those are favorites for me, too, and I'll add Little Dorrit. I'm actually looking forward to re-reading Hard Times, too, which I've only read once. Not a favorite, but I know I didn't hate it and I've forgotten a lot of the details.

Set 18, 7:13 am

>161 kac522: Agreed on both Little Dorrit and Hard Times. I'm also less familiar with Great Expectations. And I haven't read A Tale of Two Cities or Our Mutual Friend.

Set 18, 9:53 am

>162 NinieB: I've read Great Expectations several times and am in the minority, as it's not a favorite of mine. A Tale of Two Cities probably has the best ending of any Dickens novel. Our Mutual Friend can be a struggle, but I found it rewarding when all the various plots converge at the end. It has the one lead female character in Dickens who we don't like much at the beginning, but shows real growth by the end.

Set 18, 6:07 pm

>163 kac522: Mostly I remember seeing both the old movie and a more recent TV adaptation of Great Expectations. I don't have much memory of actually reading it.

Set 18, 6:47 pm

A Rolling Stone (1911) by B. M. Croker is a light British romance. Owen Wynyard, in his mid-twenties, has been an officer in the Hussars, a London businessman, and a horse-breaker on an Argentine ranch. Now he's back in England, broke, but hoping that his uncle Richard will bail him out again. Uncle Richard sets new conditions: Owen has to support himself in England for the next two years, without any matrimonial entanglement. To support himself, Owen becomes a chauffeur for an old lady, Miss Parrett, in a sleepy English village; she's afraid of riding in her car and instead Owen finds himself doing household and garden duties much of the time. But he doesn't want to throw up the position because he's fallen in love with Miss Parrett's beautiful niece Aurea Morven. Working as John Owen, he can't reveal his true identity to Aurea for fear of violating his uncle's terms. For much of the book, the reader has little doubt that Owen and Aurea will end up together; the question is how he will be revealed in his true character to Aurea.

My favorite part of the book was the character of the village, which Croker paints in attractive colors. The wide class divide that Croker depicts is less attractive, but I'll admit that it's easy to enjoy the story nonetheless.

Set 20, 6:41 pm

I'm trying to get some of those Keating mysteries (the ones on his 100 best list) read. So I turned to Death in a Tenured Position (1981) by Amanda Cross; it fits this month's MysteryKIT (academic setting) and SeriesCAT (series began more than 50 years ago). After I started it, I recognized it as a mystery I had read many years ago and disliked. This time around, though, I got along with it much better.

Harvard University's English Department is forced to accept a woman tenured professor because of a $1 million endowment. They choose Janet Mandelbaum, a scholar with a strong academic reputation, who is also known for not being a feminist. When things don't go well for Janet, she indirectly calls on Kate Fansler, also an English professor at another university, to help her out.

This mystery reminded me just how far women in academia have come. That's probably what will stick with me the most, as the mystery itself is so-so.

Set 20, 8:15 pm

It's amazing how much "right time, right book" applies! I've often found that a second reading brings a different opinion. Maybe it's a different understanding.

Set 20, 9:12 pm

>167 VivienneR: Oh, definitely! This time, it helped that I was willing to look beyond the mystery aspect of the book.

Set 25, 5:00 pm

Nightingale Wood (1938) by Stella Gibbons is a delightful novel of manners set in rural Essex. Gibbons is most famous for Cold Comfort Farm, but on the evidence of this novel it's a mistake to write her off as a one-hit wonder. Viola Wither, a very young widow, goes to live with her in-laws at their country home. The elder Withers are stuffy and boring; their daughters, Madge and Tina, are frustrated at life passing them by. At a charity ball, Viola meets Victor Spring, who lives on the other side of the wood called Nightingale Wood in the title. Victor brings all kinds of assumptions about Viola to their relationship, which develops slowly. Meanwhile Tina Wither is dreaming of an affair with the chauffeur, Saxon Caker. I really enjoyed Gibbons's lightly satiric tone throughout the book. Perhaps the most affecting part of the story, though, is what Gibbons could not have known, that the way of life she describes so lovingly would be utterly disrupted in a few years by World War II.

Set 25, 5:19 pm

Nightingale Wood spoiled me a bit for The Lady Vanishes (1936) by Ethel Lina White. Psychological thrillers are not written in a lightly satiric tone, and oh how I missed it. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this story. This is the book on which Hitchcock's famous 1938 movie starring Margaret Lockwood is based, so the plot may seem familiar. Iris Carr, part of a shallow, selfish London set, has been vacationing with her friends in a remote part of Central Europe. When the time comes to return, she is on a train a few days later than her friends. Just before the train, she suffers from sunstroke. On the crowded train she meets Miss Froy, a middle-aged British governess on her way home for a visit. When Iris wakes up from a sunstroke-induced nap, Miss Froy is gone . . . and no one else will admit that she was ever on the train.

This thriller is pleasantly short and zippy. Recommended, even without the lightly satiric tone.

Set 25, 5:42 pm

>170 NinieB: Loved the book and the Hitchcock movie!

Set 25, 5:53 pm

>171 christina_reads: Yes, I think they're equally good in their own way.

Set 25, 7:02 pm

I just spent some time poking around among the books looking for my little illustrated copy of Oscar Wilde's Epigrams. And I couldn't find it. This is really disappointing as my books have never been better organized . . .

Set 27, 8:42 pm

Letters of a Woman Homesteader (1914) by Elinore Pruitt Stewart is her letters to a friend about her life homesteading in Wyoming, beginning in 1909. Stewart delighted in many aspects of her life: the hard work, the beauty of the mountains in which she lived, the interesting stories of her neighbors and friends. The book is an easy read (it took me two evenings). I just wish a certain racial slur hadn't appeared a few times.

Set 27, 8:56 pm

Not such an easy read: 1984 by George Orwell. I had convinced myself that I had read this when I was in high school, but having read it now, I don't think I did.

Winston Smith is a Party member in dystopic London, post Revolution and massive purges. Life is exceedingly dreary, with severe rationing, continuous war, and more. Winston works for the Ministry of Truth rewriting past news articles so they agree with the current Party version of the truth. And Winston is a thought criminal, in that in his mind he questions much of what happens around him.

It's easy to see why this book is so famous. I found it tough sledding in places, since there are extended torture scenes. Lots of food for thought, though.

Set 29, 10:36 pm

Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley is a 1938 mystery set in East Africa in a luxury safari camp. Huxley had grown up in Kenya and writes with intensity and feeling about the African wild. The first-rate mystery depends upon the setting--it's not a cookie-cutter plot that happens to be set in Africa.

Out 1, 6:13 pm

It's library book sale time! I bought 9 books and will acquire more as the sale continues (prices go down and shelves are restocked):

From This Dark Stairway by Mignon G. Eberhart. A Sarah Keate mystery.
Slow Horses by Mick Herron. I have to try this series.
The Karamazov Brothers by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dipping my toe into Dostoevsky long after a bad high school experience.
The Provincial Lady in London by E. M. Delafield. I can't wait.
Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood. Australian baking mystery.
Letters of Marque by Albert Payson Terhune. An old mystery by an author known for dog books.
The Blackbirder by Dorothy B. Hughes. A vintage paperback of a wartime thriller.
Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer by Dorothy Gilman. I was already planning to read this for November's MysteryKIT.
Feminine Knits by Lene Holme Samsøe. Very happy to finally have my own copy of a book with great knitting patterns.

Editado: Out 1, 8:24 pm

>178 lowelibrary: My local library book sale is next weekend, I can not wait.

Out 1, 9:55 pm

>177 NinieB: Great haul! I have The Blackbirder on my shelves, as yet unread.

Out 1, 10:07 pm

>178 lowelibrary: I totally get that! Library book sales are so much fun.

>179 rabbitprincess: Thanks! Check out the cover on my copy:

Editado: Out 1, 10:56 pm

>177 NinieB: I love the Provincial Lady series! Read them years ago--time for a re-read.

Today I went to a library that has a roomful of sale books (which is always open whenever the library is open) and I found Music in the Hills by D. E. Stevenson, in a recent edition by Dean Street Press in excellent condition for $2. I was thrilled! I'm working my way through Stevenson (as I can find her books at the library & at sales).

>180 NinieB: LOL! Liz (lyzard) would love it!

Out 2, 6:14 am

>181 kac522: I loved the first of the Provincial Lady when I read it. I'm ready for the next installment!

DSP is a score; those hardly ever show up!

Yes, she would.

Out 2, 10:56 am

>177 NinieB: Hooray for library sales! I hope you enjoy Dostoevsky a bit more this time around!

Out 2, 11:31 am

>173 NinieB: I had that frustration earlier this year in looking for a book that absolutely should have been on a specific place on the shelf. It took me a few days to remember that I had put all my signed hardcovers on their own shelf and that book had been signed. Hoping you'll suddenly remember placing it somewhere specific.

>177 NinieB: Nice haul! Enjoy your trips back.

Out 2, 2:22 pm

>183 christina_reads: Thank you for the good wishes. Looking at the size of the book, it's really more like jumping in at the deep end!

>184 RidgewayGirl: I still haven't found it, but everything else has been exactly where I expect it to be. It's an outlier! And I most definitely will enjoy my trips back!

Out 2, 4:13 pm

>177 NinieB: From this Dark Stairway is the only Sarah Keate book I haven't read. Can't find a copy. Well done!

And on Mignon G Eberhart, the heroine in The Blackbirders is so dopey that she could easily have fit into an Eberhart book. Women have become more intelligent since then!

Out 2, 5:09 pm

>180 NinieB: Ahaha that is an amazing cover!

Out 2, 5:44 pm

>186 pamelad: It's funny, Nurse Keate is a great character, and then Eberhart started writing these as you say dopey women.

Hughes was hard to find until a few years ago. I'm still in the mindset of, if you see a Hughes book, pick it up.

Out 2, 5:45 pm

>187 rabbitprincess: I am a sucker for a vintage cover like this.

Editado: Out 3, 5:02 pm

From This Dark Stairway is in the Internet Archive. I hadn't realised that some of the books it contains aren't available from the Open Library. I've read it already because it's short and because it's only available an hour at a time (it's terrible when someone else borrows the book you're reading). Very atmospheric.

Out 3, 5:26 pm

>190 pamelad: Congratulations on finding a copy to read! I read your review on your thread and, while I do think I read it in the distant past (the heat wave sounds familiar), otherwise I've forgotten the story.

Out 5, 1:05 pm

>177 NinieB: Good haul! Our local library has a $5 a bag sale on October 7, last sale of the season. Then the huge book sale for charity happens October12-16.

Out 5, 1:11 pm

>192 LadyoftheLodge: Ooh, so you have some book sale fun coming your way!

Out 5, 1:31 pm

>193 NinieB: Probably spending too much on too many books, but I fear it is an addiction! I have had the "book fever" since I was a kid.

Out 5, 1:52 pm

You've had some excellent reading recently! And congratulations on a great book sale haul. Mick Herron is one of my favourites.

Out 5, 2:47 pm

>194 LadyoftheLodge: I know it's an addiction!

>195 VivienneR: Thank you, Vivienne! And your recommendation of Mick Herron is a very good sign that I will like his books!

Out 14, 11:23 am

I finished The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope last night. This large book (mine was exactly 800 pages) takes us back to Barsetshire, where we follow characters from all the books in the series and a few new characters over an eventful few months. The main plotline is the apparent theft by poverty-stricken Mr Crawley, perpetual curate of Hogglestock, of a 20-pound check. (In today's money, that would be close to 2,000 pounds.) This scandal plays havoc with the hopes of Major Henry Grantly, son of Archdeacon Grantly, to marry Mr Crawley's daughter Grace.

This book is wonderful. It must, however, be read after the other books in the series. My only caveat is that the London story line about Conway Dalrymple feels like filler that the book did not need.

Editado: Out 14, 7:51 pm

>197 NinieB: Totally agree, especially about the London story line. Here's what I wrote when I first read it in 2012: I was bored with the Dalrymple/Van Siever side plot. Seems like its only purpose was to provide a contrast between the demise of Mr. Dobbs Broughton and Mr. Crawley.

I re-read it in April on audiobook, had completely forgotten this side plot and felt exactly the same this time around. But I do love Trollope's portrayal of Mr Crawley. He is exasperating and yet you care about him all the same. And the way Dr Grantley responds when he first meets Grace Crawley--he's all set to hate her--only Trollope could make me tear up.

Out 14, 8:16 pm

>198 kac522: I had not read it for 15 or 20 years, so I had only the vaguest recollections of any of the plots!

Editado: Out 14, 11:09 pm

My evening read was The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest by Peter Dickinson. This 1968 detective story is not the smoothest of reads, what with short flashback chapters interspersed among longer chapters describing Superintendent Pibble's investigtion of a death of a New Guinean man. The dead man's tribe live in a house in London with an anthropologist who has married into the tribe. Pibble's investigation becomes highly anthropological.

My interest in the story ebbed and flowed. A highlight was the tension that develops around Pibble's plan to observe the drum circle.

Out 15, 9:19 pm

Another evening, another book. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins is a crime novel (as opposed to a mystery). Set in Massachusetts, it's about Eddie's efforts to avoid jail time for transporting stolen goods. I found it a little hard to follow because it is mostly told through dialogue. Definitely interesting, even though not really my usual cup of tea.

Out 15, 9:40 pm

>200 NinieB: I remember being quite disappointed with The Glass-Sided Ants Nest finding it very disjointed and confusing.

>201 NinieB: I have been avoiding reading The Friends of Eddie Coyle as I loved the movie so much and I can't believe that the book could be as good but I do have it on my Kindle so one of these days ....

Editado: Out 15, 10:19 pm

>202 DeltaQueen50: I saw your review of The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest! One additional thing that I didn't like was the solution, since all the anthropology was a diversion. I would have preferred the anthropology to be integral to the solution.

If you loved the movie of Eddie Coyle then you may well love the book as well. In the reviews several people loved both. I haven't seen the movie, although now I'm curious.

Out 17, 12:32 am

>197 NinieB: I hope to start The Last Chronicle of Barset soon - but then I've been saying that for a while. No matter when it is read, I know I'll love it.

Out 17, 8:36 am

>204 VivienneR: It's hard to fit in because of its length, but it is worth the effort!

Out 17, 5:41 pm

Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym is a comic novel written in 1939-40 but never published until 1985, after the author's death. It's set in North Oxford where Miss Doggett and her nephew Francis Cleveland, an Oxford fellow, live down the road from each other. A curate comes to board with Miss Doggett, while Francis falls in love with his female student. It's a very funny tale of unsuitable attachments.

Out 18, 3:35 pm

>206 NinieB: In the days before Amazon and online book sales (remember those days?), I visited my local used book store to request that the owners do a book search for a copy of Crampton Hodnet. I recall the fellow looking at me with a puzzled expression and repeating the title with a questioning look? And asked me to "spell it." He did find me a copy.

Out 18, 4:42 pm

>207 LadyoftheLodge: I really enjoyed it. And the story in the book of how Crampton Hodnet came to be was classic!

Out 18, 5:26 pm

>206 NinieB: Perhaps it's time for a re-read. All of Barbara Pym's books are sitting on my shelf. Some of them were quite hard to find and all but one are second-hand.

Out 18, 6:37 pm

>209 pamelad: I have all but two, and many still to read. Crampton Hodnet made me want to just keep reading them.

Out 20, 11:47 am

>209 pamelad: I have quite a few of them too, mostly second hand. It has been awhile since I read them all, so it might be time for a re-read. I also have a biog of Barbara Pym.

Editado: Out 20, 5:28 pm

>211 LadyoftheLodge: What's your favorite? Out of the five I have read so far, I think my favorite is Excellent Women, but Crampton Hodnet came very close.

Out 20, 8:14 pm

>212 NinieB: I've read and enjoyed them all. My favorites are Excellent Women and Quartet in Autumn, followed by Some Tame Gazelle, No Fond Return of Love and Less Than Angels. But there really isn't a bad one, although I would say An Academic Question was only so-so for me.

Out 20, 8:58 pm

>213 kac522: Less Than Angels was the first one I read; I really didn't know what to expect, so it's probably one I will need to reread some day.

Out 21, 2:30 pm

>212 NinieB: I like Quartet in Autumn and Excellent Women, but it is a hard choice to make as I enjoy all of them.

Out 22, 9:26 am

>215 LadyoftheLodge: it is a hard choice to make as I enjoy all of them.

That's good news for all of us who like her books!

Out 22, 8:41 pm

I read Ellery Queen's The King Is Dead for MysteryKIT this month, locked room mysteries. This one is on the bizarre side in setting--an island on a long term lease to a global corporation--and does indeed have a crime in a locked room. I realized who must have committed the crime, but not how it was done. All in all, not bad, if a bit slow in places.

Out 22, 8:45 pm

Also finished Dead on Time by H. R. F. Keating, an Inspector Ghote novel for SeriesCAT (Asian setting). Time is the theme, from first to last sentence and in the plotting of the mystery.

Out 22, 11:49 pm

Some more book sale purchases:

The Garston Murder Case by H. C. Bailey
A Dying Fall by Henry Wade
The Judge and His Hangman by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
The Maltese Manuscript by Joanne Dobson
Watson's Choice by Gladys Mitchell
Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm by Gil North
The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards
With Intent to Deceive by Manning Coles
Snowdrift by Helene Tursten
The Crimson Patch by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
The Mountains Have a Secret by Arthur W. Upfield

Some Everyday Folk and Dawn by Miles Franklin
Maurice Guest by Henry Handel Richardson
Seven for a Secret by Mary Webb
The Three Sisters by May Sinclair

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless by Eliza Haywood
A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald
Roxana by Daniel Defoe
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Old Manor House by Charlotte Smith
Rural Hours by Susan Fenimore Cooper
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Niels Lyhne by Jens Peter Jacobsen
Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac

Out 23, 12:08 am

>219 NinieB: Oooh, nice Virago haul...where'd you find them?

Sylvia's Lovers and Wives and Daughters are the last 2 Gaskell novels I haven't read--I just finished Ruth this month. I hope I can get to the other two sometime soon.

Out 23, 5:28 am

>219 NinieB: - You get some great books at the sales you go to.

Out 23, 7:41 am

>220 kac522: I got all these at a large friends of the library sale. And same here on the Gaskells. I've heard really good things about these, so looking forward to them.

>221 dudes22: It is a great sale, indeed!

Out 23, 12:18 pm

>222 NinieB: Wow those Virago editions are so hard to find--that is awesome!

Out 23, 12:27 pm

What a terrific haul of books! The FOL book sales I go to don't even come close to those offerings! A disadvantage of living in a small remote town.

Out 23, 12:44 pm

>219 NinieB: Nice haul! I have to enjoy book buying vicariously from now until Christmas and so reading about other people's discoveries is delightful.

Out 23, 5:05 pm

>223 kac522: In the past I have even found Persephones, but not this time.

>224 VivienneR: Our local industry is higher education, which helps, I think.

>225 RidgewayGirl: Vicarious book discovery is nearly as good as the real thing! Happy to provide some delight in your day.

Out 25, 7:24 pm

I read the first in the Sandhamn murder series, Still Waters by Viveca Sten. This is an undemanding Swedish police procedural, with the murders taking place on a Swedish island about an hour's ferry ride from Stockholm. During the height of the summer vacation season, bodies start showing up on Sandhamn--first the long-drowned body of Krister Berggren washes up, then his cousin Kicki is found dead in a B&B. Police detective Thomas Andreasson gets help from his lifelong friend, lawyer Nora Linde, who has a summer home on Sandhamn. Both Thomas's and Nora's personal lives are developed in a fashion that makes me want to read the next in series.

Out 28, 6:32 pm

Curious, If True: Strange Tales by Mrs. Gaskell includes three novellas and two short stories. It had been quite a while since I read any of Elizabeth Gaskell's writing, so this was a real pleasure. The first story, The Old Nurse's Story, is a ghost story, while the other four are gothic in atmosphere. I was perhaps most surprised by Lois the Witch, which is set at the Salem witch trials in 1692. The other included works are The Poor Clare, The Grey Woman, and Curious, If True.

Out 28, 6:39 pm

Where Nests the Water Hen by Gabrielle Roy was not exactly what I was expecting, but that did not lessen my enjoyment of it. It's set in the lake and river country of Manitoba, north of Winnipeg, during the interwar period. The family of Hippolyte and Luzina Tousignant live on an island between two rivers. It's very remote and difficult to get to, with their main contact to the outside world being the postman.

I had been curious about Gabrielle Roy for quite a while and am glad that I finally got around to reading her, as her writing is beautiful. I also have The Tin Flute, which I understand is quite different; I'm looking forward to it.

Out 30, 10:39 pm

Post Mortem by Guy Cullingford is a British murder mystery set in a middle-upper-class family in suburban London. I don't want to say more than that because a most excellent twist happens quite early in the story, and I would hate to spoil it for anyone. Just avoid all descriptions and reviews like the plague until you have read the first part of the book!

Out 31, 9:44 am

>230 NinieB: Ooh, intriguing!

Out 31, 5:58 pm

>231 christina_reads: You might like it!

Editado: Nov 1, 10:23 pm

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl satisfied the last square on my BingoDOG card, a bestseller from 20 years ago. I had picked this up a few years ago, intrigued by the literary setting just after the Civil War among several Boston-based poets--Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes--with a focus on Dante's Inferno. And in fact I learned a lot about the poets and about Dante. It's a mystery-thriller, so I was also hoping for something along the lines of Caleb Carr's The Alienist. Unfortunately, it just wasn't as good a novel as The Alienist, and the writing didn't really work for me. It was so very wordy, and the book was quite lengthy (420 pages), even though the basic thriller plot was quite simple. Judging by the LT reviews, though, a lot of people love this book, so YMMV.

Nov 2, 5:57 am

Congratulations on finishing your card. I'm beginning to think I might not make it this year.

Nov 2, 7:15 am

>234 dudes22: Thank you! I ended up not finishing last year, and I was OK with that. But it's nice to finish this year's after the gap.

Nov 2, 6:59 pm

>235 NinieB: - I have books planned for the 4 squares I have left - it's just a matter of getting them read along with everything else I want to read. (One is the "read a Cat" square which I was saving for last, so actually I only need 3)

Editado: Nov 2, 10:25 pm

>236 dudes22: So many books, so little time. Last year I had two squares left, but my mind was elsewhere, vacation and other things, so I just didn't. (I end up saving the "Read a CAT" square, too.)

Editado: Nov 3, 4:11 pm

The strongest element in The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham is its atmosphere. The notorious London fog has covered London: "The fog was like a saffron blanket soaked in ice water." War widow Meg Elginbrodde, now engaged to Geoffrey Levett, has been sent photographs purporting to show her deceased husband walking the streets of postwar London. Why would someone try to stop her marriage? Albert Campion, Meg's cousin, is on the case. By the time murders take place, there's no mystery about who the murderer is; this is a thriller. I liked it all right. Allingham's writing is quite good.

Nov 4, 4:09 pm

Anthony Trollope wrote short stories in addition to novels. I read one of these collections in one day: Lotta Schmidt and Other Stories. Trollope seemed to enjoy setting his short stories in various parts of the world. The title story is set in Vienna, "The Two Generals" in Kentucky, "The Last Austrian to Leave Venice" in Italy, "Miss Ophelia Gledd" in Boston, "Father Giles of Ballymoy" in Ireland, "The Journey to Panama" on the Atlantic and in Panama. Another story has an American connection ("The Widow's Mite"). The strength of the stories varies. I think I liked "Malachi's Cove" (set in Cornwall) best, although "Father Giles" is quite funny.

Nov 4, 4:14 pm

It has a lowish LT rating, but I nonetheless enjoyed Portrait of Lilith (original title To Make a Killing) by June Thomson. Despite talent, Max Gifford never was a success as an artist. Now, old and bedridden, he has a second shot at fame when dealer Eustace Quinn proposes an exhibition of his work. His wife Nina hopes this will solve their financial worries, not to mention those of her brother. Thomson writes well, much of the story being told from Nina's perspective, some from Chief Inspector Rudd's perspective. (In the original British publications, the inspector is Chief Inspector Finch.)

Nov 9, 3:47 pm

It's 1857 in Seneca Falls, New York (the setting of Blackwater Spirits by Miriam Grace Monfredo). Glynis Tryon, the village librarian, meets the new village doctor, Neva Cardoza. Neva really wants to be in New York City but she's doing some training in Seneca Falls after receiving her medical degree in Philadelphia. Glynis and Neva find themselves examining the apparent murders by poison of several residents. Glynis is faced with the unpalatable possibility that her friend Jacques Sundown, who is part Iroquois, has something to do with the murders. Highlights of this book include views of Iroquois life in the mid-19th century, and extended courtroom scenes towards the end of the story. The story was a wee bit long. Characters and story arcs recur from earlier series entries, so it's best to read this series in order.

Editado: Nov 12, 6:18 pm

I read two unusual novellas by George Eliot (in one book), The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob. The Lifted Veil begins with the narrator describing his forthcoming death and gets stranger from there. Brother Jacob is a humorous tale of the biter bit. It had been a while since I read anything by Eliot, so glad to return to her, but I did find The Lifted Veil rather challenging.

Nov 12, 6:22 pm

I also read Anita Desai's beautiful novel Clear Light of Day. It's the story of the Das family, a Hindu family living in old Delhi. In the present day (about 1980), sister Tara and her husband are visiting sister Bim and brother Baba at the family home. Another brother, Raja, married a Muslim woman and moved to Hyderabad many years since. Desai's writing is lovely and evocative; she creates such full-blooded characters. I'm looking forward to reading more by her.

Nov 12, 6:25 pm

Finally, I read something light--Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer, in which the sometime CIA spy heads back to Ubangiba (a fictional sub-Saharan country) to help Kadi Hopkirk again. Kadi was featured in the previous series entry, Mrs. Pollifax Pursued.

Editado: Nov 19, 11:40 pm

I spent most of my time while reading Pavilion of Women, by Pearl S. Buck, in a conflicted state of mind about the novel. On the plus side, it has a strong female character (Madame Wu), it reads very smoothly, and the setting--a wealthy family's compound in a provincial Chinese city in the first part of the 20th century--is phenomenally vivid. Buck had much of interest to say in this novel about relations between men and women, as well. On the minus side, I was uncomfortable with Madame Wu's embrace of Brother André's philosophy, which was much less interesting than Madame Wu herself, and the fact that Buck was a white woman writing about a Chin.ese setting from a Chinese perspective. I also wish Buck had written an author's note explaining even briefly the historical context.

Nov 19, 11:49 pm

David Copperfield is one of my favorite Dickens novels. So I was more than happy to reread it as part of reading through his novels in publication order. I spent 6 weeks reading it, slowly, until finishing up the last quarter or so this weekend. The retrospect chapters are simply brilliant, as is the novel as a whole.

Editado: Nov 20, 12:41 am

>246 NinieB: I'm re-reading on audiobook (slowly) and just finished the part where Mr Pegotty confronts Mrs Steerforth. It is so good, I'm going to listen to it again next time. (So many good parts that are read brilliantly by Simon Vance--I end up re-listening to a lot of the book!)

Nov 20, 5:52 pm

>247 kac522: I keep hearing such good things about Simon Vance, and a couple other narrators. Makes me wish I had an excuse to listen to audiobooks!

Editado: Nov 20, 7:37 pm

>248 NinieB: I only listen when it's a re-read, so that I already know the basics. Particularly with Dickens, it's like a completely different book when you have a reader who can do various voices and give each one a distinct personality and accent. In the hands of Vance, Mr Murdstone's voice and accent and timing is completely different from Mr Pegotty, for example. I've heard that there is a newer version of Copperfield read by Richard Armitage, which is supposed to be outstanding. But I'd probably just think John Thornton (who Armitage played in North & South) was reading to me, and I kinda want to keep him in my mind with Margaret Hale.

I love Juliet Stevenson, too. She does an awesome Persuasion--you feel some of Anne's melancholy in her voice. She also reads North & South and can make the dialect of Higgins understandable, where it seems a bit like gibberish on the page.

Nov 20, 7:46 pm

>249 kac522: Many years ago, when I had a long car commute, I listened to audiobooks. I did quite well with mysteries but when I tried to branch into classics, not so well. And I remember being quite taken with the innovative structure of Ruth Rendell's The Lake of Darkness, until I discovered I had mixed up the order of the tapes!

Nov 20, 8:03 pm

>250 NinieB: Right, that's why I only listen to re-reads for classics. I need print on the first time around.

Nov 20, 9:17 pm

>251 kac522: Maybe I'll try to listen to something short--just to try it out again!

Editado: Nov 20, 10:27 pm

>252 NinieB: Vance reads The Warden and all of the Barsetshire books. Stevenson reads Northanger Abbey as well as Persuasion.

Nov 20, 10:34 pm

>253 kac522: The Warden is the right length . . . !

Nov 22, 9:29 pm

>229 NinieB: I'm glad to hear that you liked Where Nests the Water Hens. I love Gabrielle Roy's writing. Her book The Tin Flute was on our high-school syllabus when I lived in Quebec. (This was many years ago, so I'm not sure it's still required reading.)

>247 kac522: >248 NinieB: Count me as another huge fan of Simon Vance's work! I love most of all his narration of Guy Gavriel Kay's books.

Nov 22, 9:44 pm

>255 mathgirl40: I'm tentatively planning to read The Tin Flute in January for PrizeCAT! In English, I'm afraid, my French is minimal.

Nov 27, 5:42 pm

>256 NinieB: Oh, The Tin Flute is fantastic!

Nov 27, 10:28 pm

>257 RidgewayGirl: Yay! Something to look forward to!