Ruth attempts refinement rather than fashion in 2023*second half

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Ruth attempts refinement rather than fashion in 2023*second half

Editado: Jul 4, 9:50 am

Welcome to the second half of my reading year.

I finished Thunderbird Falls - 81 in ebook just moments before it disappeared from Libby. It’s an aggrevating read. The author relies too much on Joanne’s stubbornness and deliberate ignorance to drive the plot and the crisis. But there are interesting situations and the secondary characters are very nicely drawn.
And there are a few memorable quotes which I’ve saved in CK. I do love a good phrasing.

Jul 4, 10:04 am

I’ve listened to 40% of Dead Man’s Hand and giving it up. Most people are praising this first work by the son of Jim Butcher, but it really hasn’t gotten going this far in. I’m not particularly interested in either of the main characters.

Editado: Jul 4, 12:26 pm

It’s too hot to be outside today. I go out to the deck and do little tasks and then back inside to catch up on the Libby pile.
Tossing The Christmas Postcards at 10% read. Cute premise, but uninteresting characters.

Returning Poverty, by America, also at 10% read. It’s fascinating, but in a very negative way.

Editado: Jul 4, 7:17 pm

I should know better than to get my recommendations from Instagram.
The Duke & I (18%) has a “hero” that twice now has admitted to the reader that he would have taken liberties if he didn’t know the young lady’s brother. That is a distinctly unsavory trait and I don’t want to spend further time with him or an author who thinks that’s acceptable.

Jul 4, 7:30 pm

>4 2wonderY: I can't remember if the lady in question was in favor of his taking such liberties or not, and that does make a difference. At least I don't remember that bothering me when I read it. But I haven't got around to another of the Bridgerton novels.

Jul 4, 11:27 pm

>5 quondame: He doesn’t consider her willingness. His first thought upon seeing her is wanting to back her up to a wall and kiss her.

Jul 5, 1:00 pm

I returned Demon Copperhead to the library today. I despise that I read only about 14% of it; but I’m a coward.

Jul 5, 5:03 pm

>6 2wonderY: But does he do it? Unacted upon urges aren't what I'd judge characters on. In fact a complete lack of desire to do dreadful deeds makes good behavior unimpressive.

Jul 5, 5:35 pm

>8 quondame: I didn’t hang around to find out. I doubt it’s a plot point and it was used the first time to indicate how much he was physically attracted to her at first sight. But the only reason he refrained had nothing to do with her, but who her brother was.
It was a cheap device and had echoes of “ If you’re famous, they let you do it.”

Editado: Jul 6, 5:37 am

Discontinuing The Wicked Bargain at 7% with no recall of the content.
Also, -Witch King at 12%, Martha Well’s new fantasy. It’s okay, but not grabbing me.

Jul 6, 7:59 pm

>10 2wonderY: I finished them both. I preferred Witch King by 2 whole stars. I think WK gains momentum as it goes, though I think I found it pretty compelling throughout.

Jul 6, 8:10 pm

I like the simplicity/sparseness of the Murderbot stories. Witch King seemed too busy/complex. I may visit it again another time.

Editado: Jul 7, 7:49 pm

I thought this week would be a good time to read Common Sense - 82. It was surprisingly economically based in some ways. Paine goes back to Samuel to prove that God doesn’t prefer kings, and so they don’t have any special claims. He thinks it’s absurd for a continent to be ruled by an island. He spends time discussing not only the potential trade market with the rest of Europe, but calculates the value and cost of the British navy and a theoretical US navy. He proposes a Congress and claims The Law should be king. He also advocates term limits for congress members so they don’t lose touch with their people.

Jul 11, 2:51 pm

Watched Frontline’s PBS documentary
Clarence and Ginni Thomas: Politics, Power and the Supreme Court

In a way, I feel sorry for them and how they shaped their lives.

Editado: Jul 13, 6:58 pm

The Firebrand and the First Lady - 83 exhaustively covers the life of Pauli Murray, black activist and poet. The relationship she maintained with Eleanor Roosevelt is the pretext and focus of the book, but wasn’t particularly necessary, as her life is worth telling.

Also 14 Cows for America because it was mentioned as being on a banned books list recently. Lovely story and the illustrations are stunning.

Jul 15, 6:12 am

It appeared from recent references that I had missed out on an iconic film. So I watched My Cousin Vinny. It was mildly entertaining. I thought Marisa Tomei was much better than any of the other actors. And the judge was amusing.

Jul 15, 7:15 am

An Immense World is possibly too detailed for my patience level just now. I’ve listened for almost two hours and I’m still in chapter 1. Each chapter is devoted to a particular animal sense. I might enjoy more a couple of later chapters, particularly the one on vibrations. But Libby is set to take it back soon.

Jul 15, 3:30 pm

Editado: Jul 26, 12:02 pm

Listening to Austen’s The Watsons/Sanditon - 84 and being repulsed by either the obnoxious characters or the narrator’s rendition of them. Sanditon is the worse of the two.

Though I understand that Sanditon has been finished and that the appearance of the hero improves the whole situation. I will look for it.

Editado: Jul 25, 6:27 pm

The Murder of Mr. Wickham - 85 is a successful exercise in bringing characters from five Jane Austen novels together for an extended house party hosted by the Knightleys. An additional character is the offspring of the Tilneys of Northanger Abbey.

It’s been a while since I’ve read any of them, so I had to make up a cheat sheet to keep the Brandons and Bertrams and Wentworths straight.
It’s an absorbing murder mystery. A few facts remain obscure even while introduced. Besides Wickham, there is not one character I dislike. The various marital dramas are convincing. The one that stands out is Fanny’s theological discernment which is at odds with her husband, the cleric.

I’m only 2/3rds through; so I may have more to note later.

Finished it in good order. It’s a good story. Looking for a sequel.

Jul 25, 4:57 pm

>20 2wonderY: That sounds fun. I should look out for it.

Jul 26, 6:58 am

>20 2wonderY: I just posted in the MysteryKIT thread that I'm not much of a mystery fan, but enjoy recommendations.

I think this is one I will give a try. Thanks.

Editado: Jul 27, 11:56 am

Disposing of What the Hex and Go Hex Yourself with an “Ew!”

Jul 28, 12:28 pm

The library had a tea party birthday celebration for Beatrix Potter this morning. It was all ages; the youngest (but one) celebrating her third birthday today.
We were encouraged to dress up.
I was given credit for the original inspiration for the event, having had conversation with Shelley, one of the librarians.

I met Barb, a transplant from Baltimore who lives on Boone Street (where daughter lived). She’s retired and moved here with her husband 8 years ago after researching small towns. Also met Melissa and Cecilia, recently from Cambodia. They moved here a month ago and Cecilia will be attending Berea College. Her older sister is on staff at the college. Cecilia was dressed as Mister McGregor. She told about being in a Potter ballet in Cambodia.

The librarians are my kind of people. One of them brought her two extensive sets of tea china. They served rolls and other pastries and petit fours. They had a large fabric mural of McGregor’s garden on the wall and props for the children to have their photos taken.

The film Miss Potter was shown, but allowing the young ones to still party in their own way. I had not seen the film before. Beautiful film. Well done!

I sat on the floor and read The Tale of Miss Moppet to some little girls. Miss Moppet bangs her head on the cupboard, so I gestured to the bruise on one of the girl’s forehead. That led to a beautiful conversation about it being a birth mark and being her mother’s favorite color - blue.

My gardening acquaintance, Carol Ann, was also there with several friends and I was introduced to her quilting buddies.

I realized that the garden scene is basically what I am aiming for in my own yard. It’s nice to have it so usefully drawn out!

Editado: Jul 29, 6:20 pm

Trashy mystery novel Buried in a Good Book - 86. Not recommended. The main character is the last to know whodunnit. Her theories are silly, but the resolution is ludicrous.

Jul 29, 6:23 pm

I’ve been re-reading Network Effect - 87. For some reason, the plot is slippery for me in audio.

Jul 30, 2:57 pm

I had a decrepit Mrs. Pollifax volume left in the LFL, and tried it. Instead I decided to listen to the first story, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax - 88, and was rewarded with a good time. I’d like to think that good sense and friendliness win out over terrible circumstances every time.

Ago 1, 7:54 am

Just wanted to share this outstanding post:

Artist models

Editado: Ago 21, 2:24 pm

Ever since Earth Day, I’ve kept a library copy of The Fate of Food nearby, meaning to start it and never beginning. I see I also borrowed it in 2020 from Libby, also never starting it. Okay, I found it in audio, which ups my chances.
Cracking open the hard copy, I see (at least) two subtle literary references in the intro. A company making a vegan beverage called Soylent Inc. (ewwww!) and “…when I imagine a world in which my adult children… struggle to rig Mark Watney-style indoor cropping systems…”

Chapter 9 Water
Chapter 12 - New experimental food crops

Ago 14, 9:54 pm

There are several works that complete Austen’s Sanditon fragment. Marie Dobbs published hers in 1975.

Sanditon - 89 has a whole slew of unpleasant or silly characters. Charlotte spends a lot of time assessing them and trying to make conclusive assessments. She takes her time and is willing to change her mind and with generosity. She has a difficult time assessing Sidney Parker in particular. This did not really feel like an Austen novel.

Ago 16, 9:18 am

I think I became aware of We Deserve Monuments in the YA group, and borrowed from Libby because it has themes of racism and lgbtq+. It’s expiring and I’ve only been listening sporadically, not remembering the story in between times. At 35% read, it’s more about friendship. The town history aspect promised doesn’t appeal to me at all; but I do like the parts where Avery is working on getting to know her grandmother who has just been diagnosed with a non-treatable cancer. Cantankerous old woman has a decent story to tell. But I’m not captured enough to renew it.

Editado: Ago 21, 2:23 pm


Ago 16, 1:45 pm

My back has been spasming this morning, so I’ve been sitting against the heating pad. Good time to watch a film.

I saw a post on Instagram that alerted me to the documentary Reel Injun, so I ordered it through inter library loan. Wow! Powerful and discerning. I will watch it again and write down some names and film titles.

Who knew that silent films depicted American Indians so well?

Editado: Ago 20, 7:33 pm

Returning Black Boy Joy only partially read. If these short stories are outstanding or significant, I’m clueless.

Probably going to discontinue The Late Mrs. Willoughby at about half read. Disappointing, considering I liked the first book so well. This one is sloppy and repetitive. Did she vomit in her death throes or did she not? I clearly recall that she did; but the doctor says later that vomiting would have saved her life.

Confirming I quit this at 56%. Cringe!

Ago 20, 5:22 pm

Chinese science fiction. I thought I should give it a try. Well, I did. Doesn’t interest me. The Three-Body Problem. Don’t ask me to explain the plot, please.

Editado: Ago 25, 2:35 pm

Enchanted Streets - 90 is too self-referential. The author loses his journalist job and pursues employment half-heartedly for an entire year, but also finds himself examining and appreciating the lives of the little critters he finds in Chicago. Someone suggests he write a book, and this is the result. Way too self referential and not presented in an interesting manner. Deservedly obscure. Worth what I paid for it - $0.

Ago 30, 1:27 pm

Expiring on Libby today

We Should Not Be Friends at 26% read. It drags and I can’t find a reason to continue. Uninteresting life story.

Confessions of a Shopaholic briefly sampled. Eh. Ew.

Ago 30, 7:40 pm

This was a discard from the library that I brought home because of the beautiful paper cut artwork. It wasn’t what I expected. Too dense a story to be an Easy Reader, it was shelved with Junior books, but probably not attractive to that age group either.
The Invisible Kingdom - 91 is about a lonely prince. His father dies when he is 13, and he has just attained his majority at the end. There is a resolution, but also a cliff hanger. This is the first of a trilogy. The palace Bootman is a true friend, and wise.

Editado: Set 4, 10:38 am

Just a random book I picked off the free table because of the cover.

Deadline - 92 is an excellent YA story, not at all limited to its target audience.

My review:
What marvelous and well-rounded characters! Every one of them has a reason for being, and the author reveals them, sometimes through a dream character named Hey-Soos. Respect everyone’s journey.
There is also some side exposition about school curriculum, particularly in history and civics, that just now is in the news and general awareness. (Book was published in 2007.)
This is my first exposure to Crutcher, but I will read him again.
Also pleased to see the publisher, Greenwillow Books, still with the excellence I remember from when my kids were small.

I will tag this one “right living.” There was only one character without a redemption arc. I wonder about him.

Editado: Set 8, 12:55 am

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard volume three - 93

I saw this randomly at the library. I do like the illustrations in Mouse Guard, and this book features the illustrators and shows the variances between them. It’s a series of tales told by the characters competing to have their room and board bill forgiven by June, the June Alley Inn proprietor. The stories are abrupt and suffer from that. But the artwork mostly makes up for it.

Editado: Set 9, 8:11 am

In the post-Roe world, this book has important things to say. Ejaculate Responsibly - 94 is formulated in 28 arguments, each pointing out how little the male is held accountable for reproduction before, during and far after intercourse and its consequences. I am hoping this book doesn’t just flash by and be dismissed. It’s important.

Set 9, 7:58 pm

I have followed Pamela Terry on Instagram since I’ve been spending time over there. She has a keen sense of beauty. I’ve finally gotten around to reading her first book.

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines - 95 is lush with sensory descriptions. And though there is nothing exceptional about the story, it is well told and the characters are good people. Overall satisfying.

Editado: Set 20, 10:35 am

I’m not concentrating well and have let lots of audiobooks expire without listing my attempts.
The Moorchild is going to disappear and I will let it go for now. I’m finished with part 1.

Because I liked Chris Crutcher, I went looking for more. I downloaded a book and a short story called “The Meat Grinder.” I like his longer fiction better.

Editado: Set 22, 1:42 am

Soeur Angèle and the Embarrassed Ladies - 96 was mentioned in the TBSL group and sounded charming. So I ordered it and one sequel. Obscure it shall remain. I do like the Professor, her mentor.

Set 22, 9:25 am

I’ve been listening to Carol Burnett read In Such Good Company - 97 and it’s been very comforting. Those were good times in entertainment.

Editado: Set 24, 10:10 am

Leaving Chris Crutcher’s autobiography, King of the Mild Frontier at 25% read. Too mild. And embarrassing male adolescence.

Set 28, 10:09 pm

Soeur Angèle and the Bell Ringer's Niece - 98 was promised as like Father Brown, which I liked as an adolescent. This was really no fun at all. There is not much sleuthing going on and the villains are slimy and despicable. Not much in the way of resolution either.
And the cover is just awful !!

Set 30, 4:55 pm

I’m at 22% in Lessons in Chemistry, and I think I’m going to drop it. Elizabeth and Calvin have their charms, but I’m finding the story disjointed. And the flashbacks are painful. I don’t like painful.

Set 30, 7:07 pm

Counting Coup - 99 is short but informative.

Set 30, 9:20 pm

>48 2wonderY: Oh, it's such a good book (but everyone has their own tastes, right?). The tv filming scenes are worth a read even if you skip through the book. :)

Set 30, 9:39 pm

I nearly didn’t finish Thornhedge - 100 because the narrator irritated me so much. She read the entire book in a monotonous minor key.

Editado: Out 1, 12:46 pm

Jim Embry, in a seed saving workshop a few weeks ago, introduced me to the concept of organizing socioculturally and economically by watersheds rather than by state or nation.

Serendipitously, the same concept is at work in A Half-Built Garden, which I’m listening to. Here, in the 2080s, environmental groups have seized practical control and protection of their local watershed, and governments and corporations usually defer to them.
When an alien species lands in the Chesapeake watershed, NASA and corporate interests have to stand one step back while the local science team leads negotiations.
So far, this writer has turned the first contact tropes upside down. Love it!

Out 1, 6:56 pm

>52 2wonderY: Oh! Ruthanna Emrys has previously impressed me, so BB!

Editado: Out 1, 9:18 pm

For my print book of the moment, I started reading Devil’s Cub and I don’t like it. A hero that seems to have no redeeming traits.

Help me out here. I need encouragement to continue!

Out 1, 9:31 pm

>54 2wonderY: I'm not fond of any of the books featuring Leonie or her brood. This doesn't seem to be a majority opinion.

Out 1, 10:45 pm

I probably liked the female character Mary. I listened to it ages ago on cassettes.

Out 2, 2:29 am

>54 2wonderY: Bad 'boy' redeemed by the love of a good woman. Stay with it a bit longer. If you have read These old shades you will enjoy meeting up with those characters again a few decades on.

Out 3, 8:55 pm

Heyer certainly has a lot of work to do. He has no redeeming features that I can see. What filth.

Out 10, 9:13 pm

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich - 101 is a fun graphic novel. Nice characters, lovely art, silly story. LGBTQ theme right out of Shakespeare.

Out 12, 6:36 am

>57 MarthaJeanne: I agree with you.

>54 2wonderY: Devil's Cub was a little tough to get into but I found myself enjoying it.

Out 12, 8:01 am

>28 2wonderY: Checked it out! They look alike! Uncanny resemblance!

Out 12, 8:03 am

Esta mensagem foi marcada como abusiva por vários utilizadores e por isso não é mostrada (mostre)
Wanted to recommend His Lingering Perfume: A Raw Story of awkward love which you can easily find on Amazon. A wonderful light quick read. A book that you can finish soon

Link to the Kindle version:

Editado: Out 12, 9:26 am

>62 sarah_d_writer: Author spam. What a pain!

Her other spam message was removed by that group's admin.

Out 12, 6:46 pm

>63 MarthaJeanne: Did you message her?

Out 13, 7:50 am


Out 13, 9:20 am

Finally starting a most peculiar book, because it was the only thing in the car when I drove to my doctor’s appointment.

“Other texts fell by the wayside - some important, valuable even, but for whatever reason not quite up to sacred snuff.”

I like her!

Out 13, 10:22 am

>66 2wonderY: Do I need this?

Out 13, 11:44 am

Possibly? She’s entertaining and possibly thought provoking. I’m not far into the book yet.

Here is contents page:

Editado: Out 13, 12:17 pm

Sounds interesting. I just ordered it. (and four other books)

Out 15, 3:56 am

>69 MarthaJeanne: Incorrigible!

Little Bear’s Friend - 102 is a simple story, with a bit of a feel of the Hundred Acre Wood, but less interesting. Maurice Sendak’s illustrations are charming though, and pull the story up.

Out 15, 4:16 am

>70 2wonderY: I remember those charming illustrations from long ago, before I bothered to note the names of all but 1 or 2 authors and illustrators, and so didn't recall that Maurice Sendak was responsible for those delights.

Editado: Out 15, 6:05 am

>70 2wonderY: Well. Does it help that three of them are ones I have wanted for a long time? (A weaving book, and two recent additions to the Valdemar series. The third one of the new trlogy will wait until it is available in paperback.) The last one showed up in the recommendations. Embroidered Treasures: Birds I probably should not have bought it, but, but, but I want to see the pretty embroideries.

Out 15, 6:50 am

>72 MarthaJeanne: No criticism meant, dear! Ooh! I’d like a look at the embroidery book!

Editado: Out 15, 7:07 am

I’ve been slogging through Enough - 103, read by the author. She was given poor advice to make this a full biography. Her childhood is not interesting and her family relationships are cringe-worthy. It takes too long to get to the relevant part and it’s nearly 80% until she gets her head on straight. She credits Alexander Butterfield, the subject of The Last of the President’s Men, with finding her moral compass.
Her interactions with Mark Meadows and Matt Gaetz also induce cringing and retching. She does not present herself well.

Out 15, 10:32 am

It sounds as though you have had enough of her.

Out 15, 11:39 am

>75 MarthaJeanne: True. She’s not a writer even with a ghost writer. Neither is she a narrator.
There was a short section worth reading.

Out 15, 11:55 am

So the title fits.

Out 15, 2:01 pm

How to Keep House While Drowning - 104 is about cleaning. At first, Davis sounded whiny about how complex each household task really was; but when she buckled down, it was more about attitude and self-permission. I enjoyed her approach and her acknowledgement that she could not fathom the difficulties others might be dealing with in their own lives. But she tried to remove guilt and to break down functional pieces and worked on self-rewarding and also looking out for each other. Turned out to be a very generous book.

I listened while I was doing various productive tasks around my own out of control house. For instance, I realized that access to the eave storage did not have to be a squeeze through a set of studs today. So I removed a stud and more drywall.

Editado: Out 18, 6:54 am

A Half-Built Garden - 105 combines a couple of science-fiction themes. First contact, with two species landing quietly on Earth on the US east coast. Time period in the 2080s with the federal government present, represented by NASA, but less powerful. Regions are governed by ecology groups that decide by member consensus and the priority is the health of the waterways. (They note and analyze materials the aliens evacuate from their ship.) Corporations still operate, but reluctantly within bounds of ecological interests.

Complex dance of interests represented by individuals of the various groups. New family structures and a variety of genders.
Absorbing. Successful.

Solarpunk art:

Out 16, 8:51 pm

>79 2wonderY: That is about to fall off my Kindle, and I've had slow going with my chosen saga.

Editado: Out 17, 1:48 pm

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine - 106 was thankfully only an hour’s listen. It was atrocious.

The Octopus Scientists is a waste of time. Determined at 38% read.

Out 17, 5:44 pm

>81 2wonderY: My Octopus Teacher was a good film about an octopus.

Editado: Out 18, 11:15 am

For the Halloween season, I listened to A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon - 107. Cheesy, but okay. She has plant magic, which was a plus.

Out 26, 6:18 am

I’ve read a lot of Ruritanian romances over the years, but never had hands on the original till now. I was not particularly enamored with The Prisoner of Zenda - 108. I will follow up and give Hope another chance.

Editado: Out 30, 7:09 pm

I listened to the author read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - 109. It was a good experience. He remembers the wretched wonderfulness of adolescence.

There was another audio version read by someone else. That one rated 8 hours. This one was 5 hours. Scratching my head.

Nov 20, 9:19 pm

I’ve been sampling and discarding bunches of books on Libby. Some really bad stuff, like two compilations of famous authors’ junk stories.
Women Who Wrote and Classic Love Stories Volume 1.

I went back to a seasonal favorite, Winter Solstice 110. Next time I will skip the first 5 hours, as I’m already acquainted with the characters. The remaining 12 hours will do for me.

The next book has already irritated me; the narrator pronounced ‘gibbous’ with a soft G.

Nov 20, 10:03 pm

>86 2wonderY: Is it a regional thing? Merriam-Webster has both pronunciations:

Editado: Nov 23, 12:29 pm

I’m still not happy with my Libby choices.

and then you’re dead has annoyingly cheerful narration. But the content is grim. No thanks.

Also, Graceling is a boring fantasy adventure.

Nov 24, 9:33 am

An hour and a half into Mrs. Dalloway, and I can see it isn’t for me. I’m finding the language too precious and the mullings in her head tedious.

Nov 26, 5:28 am

I grabbed my copy of My Friend the Chauffeur to bring with me. I know I’ve read it partway; not sure I ever finished it.
This time, I’m pausing to Google the places they travel through, and so appreciating more the descriptions and history elaborated in the story. Yes to the “lapis lazuli sea!”

Dez 3, 12:53 pm

I’ve been listening to All the Light We Cannot See - 111 for a week now, and I’m still short of 40%, and it will disappear from my queue tomorrow. Taking credit for the effort, but won’t renew it this year. Perhaps I’ll finish it next year. It is absorbing. But too long.

I had also gotten through most of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm -112 but paused to consider a bit of wisdom from Aunt Jane, about how pretty smooth rocks are on the shore, but it’s the rough tumbling in the water that gets them to their beauty. I will switch back today and finish it. I think I’ve resisted reading it just because of its popularity. I have loved all of the Wiggins books I’ve read.

Dez 3, 5:38 pm

>91 2wonderY: I didn't take to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. It seemed all tell and no show after reading the Anne of Green Gables books.

Dez 3, 7:10 pm

Yes, I thought it was just okay. My favorite of hers has been Rose o' The River and the two in this thread -

Dez 4, 3:10 pm

Two short stories by Louis L’Amour - Desert Death Song and Trap of Gold - 113

Dez 4, 7:49 pm

Accidents May Happen - 114 has been lying around for a while. It was a simple read and I learned some interesting facts. Published in 1996, at least one invention is now obsolete - Liquid Paper.

Ontem, 6:25 pm

>94 2wonderY: I really like Trap of Gold. Every time I reread it I find myself holding my breath, afraid of the outcome even though I've read it several times!