Laytonwoman - Reading for Pleasure in 2023 - Take Three

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Laytonwoman - Reading for Pleasure in 2023 - Take Three

Editado: Out 9, 11:59 am

A brief introduction, or reminder of who I am: My name is Linda, and I am a retired paralegal. I've spent most of my life in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with brief interludes for college, my husband's military service, and paralegal training, in Central PA, New Orleans and Philadelphia, respectively. Since giving up the legal grind, I have kept busy with volunteer work centered around libraries, cemeteries, and genealogy. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Scranton Public Library, and several of its committees. I am President of the Equinunk Cemetery Association, which is located in my home village along the Delaware River, and do as much grave-hunting and photographing as time and weather will allow for the website I also participate as I can in the reclamation and restoration of a long-neglected cemetery in the area where I now live.

LT has been an essential part of my life since I joined in 2005, after my daughter lycomayflower told me about "this site where you can catalog your books." My response was something like, "Why would I want to do that?" HA! I simply can't imagine life without it anymore. I never knew how much I needed a reading community, until I found one. There are links on my profile page to my earlier reading threads. My goal is always to read more of the books I already own, and to acquire fewer books than I remove from the house. In past years this has been a big joke, but it has become an absolute necessity due to space considerations, and the older I get the less stuff I feel the need to keep, so not only books, but a lot of "I-might-want-that-someday" nonsense is being deaccessioned these days.

I've been hosting an American Authors Challenge in the 75 Book Challenge Group for a few years, and details of this year's monthly challenges can be found down-thread.

And as some of you know, I'm averse to gifs and listserve-type greetings, but I LOVE visitors who comment on my reading, or on other topics introduced here. Everyone is welcome to lurk or engage, as you see fit.

Editado: Out 9, 12:04 pm

My ticker for keeping track of my total books read:

Editado: Out 22, 3:54 pm

Here will be a list of the books I read in the current quarter of 2023. (I usually have one thread per quarter, but it may only be three in some years.)
I use some shorthand to help me keep track of my reading trends:

ROOT identifies a book that I have owned for at least a year at the time I read it.
CULL means I put the book in my donation box for the library book sale after finishing it, or otherwise gave it away.
DNF means I didn't finish the book, for one reason or another, usually explained in the related post.
ER means I received the book from LT's Early Reviewer program.
GN refers to a graphic novel, GM a graphic memoir This is not a category I use much.
An * asterisk indicates a library book.
LOA means I read a Library of America edition;
SF means the book was a Slightly Foxed edition, (NOT science fiction, which I so rarely read);
VIRAGO means it was an original green-spined Virago edition from my own collection;
FOLIO indicates a Folio Society edition.
AUDIO and e-Book are self-explanatory, and probably won't appear very often.
AAC refers to the American Author Challenge.
NF indicates a non-fiction read.
TR indicates a work in translation
RR means it's a re-read for me

Clicking on titles in this post will take you to the message in which I reviewed or commented on that book.


62. Endangered Species by Nevada Barr
61. Seven Dead by Jefferson Farjeon
60. Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury
59. Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon AAC
58. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding AAC, ROOT
*57. The Trees by Percival Everett AAC
*56. The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye AAC
*55. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager


DNF Ravage & Sons by Jerome Charyn CULL, ER
54. Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
DNF Midnight Atlanta by Thomas MullenCULL
53. Bald Eagles, Bear Cubs and Hermit Bill by Ron Joseph ER, NF
52. Consolation by Garry Disher
51. The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker ROOT


DNF Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen CULL
50. Dinners with Ruth by Nina Totenberg NF
*49. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie
48. The Art of the Chicken by Jacques Pepin NF
47. Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher
46. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

Editado: Out 9, 12:06 pm

Second Quarter Reading:


45. Stonewall by Martin Duberman ROOT, CULL, NF, LGBTQ
*DNF. Gray Mountain by John Grisham
44. Memoirs of a Book Snake by David Meyer ROOT, NF
*43. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie
42. Alfred & Emily by Doris Lessing NF, ROOT
*41. A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
DNF. Pearl by Mary Gordon AAC
40. A Moment of Silence by Anna Dean ROOT, CULL
*39. All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie


38. Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire NF
37. Damballah by John Edgar Wideman AAC
36. Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman AAC, NF
35. Firestorm by Nevada Barr CULL
*34. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman


33. Love Songs From a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill ROOT
32. Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey NF, CULL
31. Willnot by James Sallis
30. The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich ROOT
*29. Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths
28. This is Happiness by Niall Williams ROOT
DNF Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
27. Trudi & Pia by Ursula Hegi, Ill. by Giselle Potter AAC, CULL

Editado: Out 9, 12:08 pm

Here is the list of my reading in the first quarter of 2023:

26. Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey AAC, ROOT
25. Owls and Other Fantasies by Mary Oliver AAC
24. Delaware's Forgotten Folk by C. A. Weslager ROOT
23. Scranton Lace by Margot Douaihy AAC
22. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
*21. The Carrying by Ada Limon AAC
*20. The Boys From Biloxi by John Grisham
19. Shore Road to Ogunquit by Harold Plotkin ROOT, CULL, AAC


18. Peace by Garry Disher
17. Night Came with Many Stars by Simon Van Booy ROOT
16. Sidewalk Saint by Phillip DePoy ROOT
DNF The Overstory by Richard Powers ROOT, AAC, CULL
15. The Judge is Reversed by Frances and Richard Lockridge ROOT
*14. Girl at War by Sara Novic
*13. Any Other Name by Craig Johnson
12. Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel ROOT, SF, NF
*11. A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson


10. The Bottom of the Jar by Abdellatif Laabi TR, ROOT, CULL
9. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum ROOT, AAC
*8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
7. Wreckage by Sascha Feinstein NF
6. Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai ER, CULL
5. Nineteen Reservoirs by Lucy Sante NF
4. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
*3. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi TR, ROOT
2. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo ROOT, AAC
1. 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman ROOT, NF

Editado: Out 9, 12:11 pm

Maybe not, but the list of new acquisitions is getting embarrassingly long, so I'll keep track here from July 1 on. The list for the first half of 2023 can be found here.

36. Fen, Bog & Swamp by Annie Proulx
37. Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen
38. Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan
39. Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead
40. The Way it is Now by Garry Disher
41. Consolation by Garry Disher
42. Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine by Garry Disher
43. A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (rec'd in March)
44. Day's End by Garry Disher
45. The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker
46. We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal
47. Bald Eagles, Bear Cubs and Hermit Bill by Ron Joseph
48. Ravage & Son by Jerome Charyn
49. The Bill of Rights by Learned Hand
50. A Living Bill of Rights by William O. Douglas
51. Appalachia in the Sixties by Walls & Stephenson
52. Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham
53. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
54. Songs of America by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw
55. The Appalachian Trail National Geographic
56. Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey

Editado: Out 9, 12:12 pm

There IS such a thing as not enough shelf here's where I'll keep track of the ones I give up for adoption (the cat is NOT available).

I am managing, so far, to remove a few more than I bring in. My list of culls for the first half of the year is here, on my previous thread. From July 1st, I'll keep track below:

45. Stonewall by Martin Duberman
46. Jane Austen; The Complete Novels
47. Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy (never catalogued)
48. Becoming by Michelle Obama
49. Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
50. Trudi & Pia by Ursula Hegi
51. Celia's House by D. E. Stevenson
52. Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen
53. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
54. 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

Editado: Out 9, 12:13 pm

I'm hosting an American Authors Challenge again this year.

Here's a link to the General Discussion Thread for that challenge. Links to individual monthly threads will be posted there (and maybe here, if I remember) as the year progresses. I'll also keep track of my own AAC reads in this post.

This is what we'll be reading in 2023:

JANUARY: Children’s classics
The thread is here.

Finished The Tale of Despereaux and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

FEBRUARY: Richard Powers
Here is February thread for Powers.
DNF The Overstory

MARCH: Poetry
The March Poetry thread is here.
Finished The Carrying by Ada Limon
Finished Shore Road to Ogunquit by Harold Plotkin
Currently reading Old Poets by Donald Hall, and sampling the work of the American poets he writes about (so far, Frost and Eliot)
Finished Scranton Lace by Margot Douaihy
Finished Owls and Other Fantasies by Mary Oliver
Finished Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
Read selections from James J. McAuley's New and Selected Poems as well as some Billy Collins

APRIL: Ursula Hegi
Here is the APRIL thread, for Ursula Hegi
Finished Trudi & Pia
DNF Sacred Time

MAY: John Edgar Wideman
finished Writing to Save a Life and Damballah

JUNE: Mary Gordon
The Mary Gordon Thread
DNF Pearl

JULY: US Presidents as authors
Discussion thread for July
Read portions of The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt

AUGUST: Percival Everett
The August Thread
Finished The Trees

SEPT: American Ladies of Crime
Here they are.
Finished The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye, and The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

Finished Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon, and Endangered Species by Nevada Barr

OCT: Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Here's the Dorothy Canfield Fisher thread.

NOV.: Canadian authors
DEC.: Benjamin Alire Saenz

WILD CARD: AAC 2014 REDUX (A list of what we read in 2014 can also be found at the above link) Here's a thread for discussing these Wild Card choices.

Editado: Jul 4, 4:16 pm

Come on in, join the party.

Jul 4, 5:37 pm

Happy new thread, Linda!

Jul 4, 6:56 pm

Happy new thread Linda!

Jul 4, 6:57 pm

Happy new thread, Linda.

>9 laytonwoman3rd: Made me smile.

Jul 4, 7:16 pm

Happy new one, Linda!

Jul 4, 7:18 pm

Happy New Thread, Linda!

Jul 4, 8:22 pm

Anita, Susan, Paul, Jim, Deborah!! Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

Jul 4, 11:33 pm

Happy new thread, Linda!

Jul 5, 12:27 am

HAppy new one!

Jul 5, 9:20 am

Happy new thread!

Jul 5, 10:11 am

Keep on keeping on. Yah?

Jul 5, 8:45 pm

Hi, Lavinia! Good to see you here.

Figs, and Foggi (should you start a band?)...welcome!

Bill---as long as I don't stop moving....

Editado: Jul 6, 9:59 am

47. Under the Cold Bright Lights A stand-alone (at least so far) from Garry Disher, who is just. so. darned. good. I really tore through this one. Acting Sgt. Alan Auhl has returned to work after a brief retirement, and is now assigned to Cold Cases and Missing Persons. Nevertheless, he seems to run across a lot of pesky recent crimes, which he'd much rather be working on. And then there are the domestic troubles of the tenants who share his three-story house in the Melbourne neighborhood of Carlton. Auhl has been hosting a sort of safe house for "waifs and strays"--friends or family members between jobs, women escaping abusive relationships, his own underemployed daughter, troubled teenagers needing a time-out, and since his wife moved out, the occasional overnight visit from her as well.

As a procedural, this was pretty good, my only quibble being that everyone in Auhl's work circle seems to be a bit too snarky and uncooperative just for the hell of it. But Auhl's personal set-up is the most intriguing part of the story; he has a bit of a messiah complex, and can't resist trying to help "fix" things for people who he sees as having got a raw deal. This leads him into some murky moral dilemmas, and left this reader slightly discomfited about her own reactions. Auhl is a very interesting character, and I hope Disher isn't through with him.

Unfortunately, some of Disher's books are very hard to come by in the U.S. I'll read everything I can get my hands on.

Jul 6, 9:54 am

>212 OK, that's a recommendation. A new to me writer Linda. I'll start with the first in his Hirsch series.

Editado: Jul 6, 10:01 am

>22 Caroline_McElwee: I love the Australian setting of these books, Caroline. Lois put me on to them originally. I've read all of the Hal Challis series, and the first two Hirschausens.

Jul 6, 3:15 pm

Happy new thread, Linda!

>21 laytonwoman3rd: Adding that one to the BlackHole. It looks right up my alley.

Jul 6, 5:24 pm

>21 laytonwoman3rd: Unfortunately, some of Disher's books are very hard to come by in the U.S.
As luck would have it, my local library has all 7 of the Hal Challis books. That's all they have from Garry Disher, but I'll take it. Thanks for the rec, Linda.

Jul 6, 10:34 pm

>24 alcottacre:, >25 lauralkeet: I'm glad to see I'm stirring up so much interest in Disher! I'd love to see more of Hal Challis, but the author seems to be done with him. He has written literary fiction, YA, and children's books, but it's the crime fiction that is most easily acquired in the US, it seems.

Editado: Jul 31, 10:04 pm

48. Art of the Chicken by Jacques Pepin What a treat this was! Part professional memoir, part art book, and part foodie fodder in a handsome volume that will stay in my permanent collection. I have always enjoyed watching Jacques Pepin cook, but I never realized that for several years during my childhood, I was the beneficiary of his craftsmanship in the kitchen. For most of the 1960s, shortly after coming to the US, he was assistant to another French chef, Pierre Franey, working in the industrial kitchen of Howard Johnson's, developing the recipes that would be used in HoJo's restaurants around the country. Whenever my family traveled on vacation, we stayed and ate at Howard Johnson's motels and restaurants a LOT. I fondly remember the fried clams, Southern fried chicken, and chicken pot pies...well, thank you Jacques and Pierre, because their skill and talent perfected those items and more, making HoJo's consistently, reliably, palatable fare for ordinary folks like us. Incidentally, Pepin turned down an opportunity to cook for the Kennedy White House to take that job--having already served as chef for General and Madame DeGaulle, he felt he'd done the "presidential routine", and wanted a new challenge! Along with the fascinating stories of his professional cooking adventures, Pepin gives us general descriptions of innumerable ways to prepare chicken (including ALL its parts) and eggs, but no actual recipes. He maintains that for much of his career (industrial kitchen duties excepted) and most of his home based food preparations, he did not use them...hence one definition of the "art". The other aspect of the art of the chicken is...well, real Art. That is, painting. Pepin's chicken portraits are simply delightful, and this book is full of color plates of his imaginative renderings, from the fairly representational

to the abstract

to the downright whimsical.

As I said, the whole thing is a treat.

Jul 9, 4:30 pm

>27 laytonwoman3rd:- Sounds fun! And creative

Jul 9, 5:54 pm

Oh I love Jacques Pépin. I knew he worked with Franey but didn't realize it was for HoJos. That's wild. We have at least one of his cookbooks and my trusty NYT Cooking subscription includes a number of his recipes (as well as Franey's), which are part of our rotation. That book sounds great.

Editado: Jul 10, 9:07 pm

>28 jessibud2: Lots of fun.

>29 lauralkeet: I know I've seen Franey and Pepin together on TV, and obviously they were old buddies. But I really enjoy the mental image of them in front of 50 gallon kettles of boiling chicken!

Jul 10, 5:33 pm

>27 laytonwoman3rd: that looks like a perfect present for a friend of mine Linda.

Jul 10, 9:07 pm

>31 Caroline_McElwee: It would make a very nice gift indeed!

Jul 11, 6:28 pm

49. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie The next installment of the Kincaid/James detective series. The victim this time is a high ranking police officer, bludgeoned in his own kitchen in Holmbury St. Mary. Both Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James knew him in the past; no one seems terribly sorry he's gone, but no one seems to have hated him enough to kill him either. Meanwhile, our principals are working through some personal STUFF that isn't making the investigation go any smoother. Not quite as engaging as the first three in the series, and some side stories were not resolved to my satisfaction. But the characters are friends of mine now, and I'll follow them a while longer.

Jul 11, 6:45 pm

Happy New Thread, Linda. I hope those books are treating you well and I hope your summer has been humming along in a pleasant fashion.

Jul 11, 7:33 pm

Happy new thread, Linda. You can count me as another one who was intrigued by your review of the Garry Disher book. I've never heard of this writer before and my library has a lot of his books.

Jul 11, 8:51 pm

>34 msf59: Thanks, Mark.

>35 Familyhistorian: I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that West Coast Canadian librarians stock Disher better than East Coast USA librarians do! Hope you enjoy him, Meg.

Jul 20, 10:16 am

>27 laytonwoman3rd: I love this! Thanks for calling out the art work and memoir of this amazing foodie artist. I had no idea that Pepin was also known for this painterly talent.

Jul 20, 10:22 am

>27 laytonwoman3rd: Ooh, Art of the Chicken looks great! I just requested it at my library. Thanks for the reccie!

Karen O

Jul 20, 11:08 am

>37 SandyAMcPherson:, >38 klobrien2: Yep, Jacques has given me one of my best between-the-pages experiences of 2023. Hope you both enjoy the book if you get your hands on it.

Editado: Jul 20, 11:45 am

50. Dinners With Ruth by Nina Totenberg

This is subtitled "A Memoir on the Power of Friendships", and all I can say is, everyone should have such friends as Nina Totenberg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cokie Roberts and a few other high-powered Washington women who I would happily welcome as next-door neighbors. Their husbands were no slouches in the “friend in need” department either. I was moved to tears more than once reading this lovely tribute to the “Notorious RBG”, a role model for women...for all humanity, so many aspects of her life. I learned a lot about how journalists interact with their sources, and how tough it can be to stay on the proper side of an amorphous and invisible “line” when those sources turn into friends. Complicating Nina Totenberg’s situation with Justice Ginsberg was the fact that in later years, her own husband, Dr. David Reines, became a consultant to RBG in connection with the cancer and other health issues she dealt with. His commitment to confidentiality meant that he knew things about the Justice’s condition that he could not share with Nina. I realize the reader is getting a very personal and subjective picture of these relationships, but I marvel at the compassion, wit, integrity and mutual understanding that allowed for such deep friendships in spite of so many potential pitfalls. I will also note that there were at least 4 incredibly strong marriages (two of them Nina’s, as she was widowed in 1998, and subsequently remarried) highlighted in this book, and that is heartening to read about. There’s a lot of sadness even in what seem like privileged lives...the ravages of cancer, traumatic brain injury and dementia; the complications of the COVID pandemic; the loss of beloved spouses. On a less personal level, there is plenty of information in here about politics, the legal system in general, and naturally the Supreme Court in particular. A highly satisfactory and solidly recommended read. AND there are pictures!

Jul 20, 11:16 am

>39 laytonwoman3rd: " Hope you both enjoy the book if you get your hands on it."

I reserved it and was delighted to see there are several copies in our PL system, so won't be too long before I can snag a copy.

Jul 20, 11:42 am

>40 laytonwoman3rd:- I bought that one last I was in Mtl but I didn't bring it this time because it's hard cover and when I pack books in a suitcase, I have keep it (relatively) light. I am looking forward to it

Jul 20, 11:44 am

>41 SandyAMcPherson: Excellent!
>42 jessibud2: I think you'll love this one, too. My review is now up there and on the book page.

Jul 20, 11:49 am

>40 laytonwoman3rd:- Excellent review! And I love a good memoir with pictures! :-)

Jul 20, 1:17 pm

>44 jessibud2: I subtract a star immediately if there are NO pictures in memoirs and such.

Jul 20, 2:44 pm

>45 laytonwoman3rd:- You are a girl of my own heart. I completely agree 👍

Jul 21, 6:48 am

>40 laytonwoman3rd: Ooh, that sounds like an excellent book, Linda. I've added it to my library wish list.

Jul 21, 1:21 pm

>40 laytonwoman3rd: My copy landed yesterday Linda, and may get started tonight.

Jul 21, 1:47 pm

>40 laytonwoman3rd: My local library has a copy of that one and I put it on hold. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jul 22, 12:21 pm

Hi Linda, Mr. SM picked up a PL-hold for me today: the wonderful Pepin book!

I've quickly glanced at it, already slipping in a bookmark at p.170 (The Ultimate Meal), because that recipe was very intriguing. I would try it in winter when I don't mind adding a lot of heat to the house. And when I feel like faffing around with extensive manipulations.

Editado: Jul 22, 12:37 pm

I'm very glad to have ignited so much interest in the Totenberg memoir. And the Pepin book as well...and of course, >50 SandyAMcPherson:, I had to go look at my copy to see what's on page 170! I love a nice roasted chicken, and think it's one of the easiest "special" meals to prepare. I don't think I'll actually try Pepin's fussy method (although who am I to argue with him!), since I'm quite happy with my way. (No pre-browning, no turning in the oven, much less basting.) But I do already fix potatoes very much as he suggests there.

Jul 22, 2:49 pm

>51 laytonwoman3rd: I agree his method requires a lot of attention. However, I rarely manage to produce a moist chicken that also has a crispy skin. So might be worth the effort for me, at least occasionally!

And yes, the potatoes are interesting with the addition of parsley (young, not bitter leaves, which we grow in our summer herb garden). I can never figure out why cooks use "sweet" butter and then go ahead and add salt as well. Where I live there's usually a higher price for unsalted butter.

Editado: Jul 22, 4:39 pm

>52 SandyAMcPherson: When my mother switched from salted butter to sweet in her baking the cookies became wonderfully light and sweet in a non-sugary way.
Amusingly, that was when our family had more money to lavish on groceries, so I guess the sweet butter had been considered too expensive before.

And salt added at different times to meat dishes has different effects. Salting steaks the night before really does result in better results of taste and texture.

Jul 22, 5:24 pm

>52 SandyAMcPherson: I never knew there was such a thing as "unsalted butter" in the grocery store until the 21st century. I'm sure my mother made cookies with salted butter. When I was a kid, my grandmother had a small glass paddle churn, and made her own butter, so I suppose she may have left it unsalted. I really don't know.

Editado: Jul 24, 9:07 am

>53 quondame: sweet {butter} in her baking the cookies became wonderfully light and sweet in a non-sugary way; salt added at different times to meat dishes has different effects.
Cool to learn those two facts. I didn't know! Am grateful for the insights.

My European friends have said that Canadian dessert-cooking is strange ~ they've never seen recipes with salt added in cakes and biscuits.

>54 laytonwoman3rd: My grandmother also used to make her own butter because the heavy cream was surplus when she bought milk. I don't know about whether she used salt in the butter but I do know adding salt slows the product turning rancid.

Jul 23, 8:24 pm

>55 SandyAMcPherson: My grandmother had her own cows, and fed, at least in the summer and fall, three men on a daily basis (her husband, her stepson and a hired man), so I would think she went through a fair amount of butter, and didn't have to worry about it spoiling. Of course, she did have refrigeration by the time I was aware of things, but there was no electricity on the farm until 1950. Before that they relied on a cement cistern filled by a mountain spring to keep things cold in warm weather.

Jul 24, 12:17 pm

Taking my thread title to heart, I have to report another DNF, because despite urging from lycomayflower, I just could not spend another moment waiting for something to happen in Northanger Abbey. It wasn't giving me pleasure. In fact, I found the first 80 pages perhaps the most tedious reading experience since The Last of the Mohicans. Sorry, Sprout.

Jul 24, 12:40 pm

>57 laytonwoman3rd: You are not alone, Linda. I read Northanger Abbey in 2007, when I was reading my way through Austen's novels. I'm happy to have achieved that goal, but I rated NA a measly 2 stars. My review concludes, "Unfortunately, as much as I love Jane Austen, this is not a work I'd recommend to someone wanting to discover her talents."

Editado: Jul 24, 2:36 pm

>57 laytonwoman3rd: Your soul is in mortal peril. One reread of Pride and Prejudice and 3 Supernatural episodes.

Jul 24, 2:30 pm

>58 lauralkeet: SURELY you liked NA better than Mansbore Park?

Jul 24, 2:41 pm

I will stan for NA and MP over Obnoxious Emma (tm) anyday :)


Jul 24, 2:43 pm

Can I start a conversation or what?

Jul 24, 3:46 pm

>60 lycomayflower: Well ... not really. I remember being bored by MP the first time I read it. Yes, the first time. I don't recall why, but I decided to reread it, and the 4-star rating & associated review are what survive in LT.

I liked Emma well enough, but P&P and Persuasion are my faves.

Jul 24, 4:58 pm

>57 laytonwoman3rd: Northanger Abbey ranks lowest among Austen's novels for me, though certainly higher than a 2.

Jul 24, 5:23 pm

Couldn't get into Mansfield Park, don't remember NA as read as a teen. Persuasion is my fave with P&P and Emma due rereads.

Editado: Jul 25, 12:44 am

>61 katiekrug: I'm with ya. I've just started a re-read of NA and I'm laughing out loud at the playful mocking of the gothic novel. Emma, OTOH, makes me want to throw the book across the room.

Jul 25, 8:50 am

>66 kac522: " I'm laughing out loud at the playful mocking of the gothic novel" I confess that did get a chortle or two out of me as well. I remember one of my irreverent college professors making jokes about The Castle of Otranto in a course that did not include reading it.

Editado: Jul 25, 9:22 am

Dear All,
At risk of being banned from the group... ALL of Jane Austen's novels are worthy of being thrown down in frustration. Yes, even P&P and the apparently much-loved Persuasion.

This morning, I decided to abandon The Plot (so not an Austen novel) but just saying. I guess we're an eclectic lot, which adds to the richness of being on LT. I had such great hopes of the Korelitz book, too.

Editado: Jul 25, 9:39 am

>68 SandyAMcPherson: I get Austen's importance in historical context. I just don't find her particularly engaging to read in the 21st century. And all opinions as to books, authors and reading are welcome here. I hadn't heard of The Plot, and its description is intriguing...what made it a Nope for you?

Editado: Jul 25, 10:21 am

>67 laytonwoman3rd: In fact, I just finished The Castle of Otranto to get myself in the mood for NA. Not that I really needed it, but it was fun.

Editado: Jul 25, 10:24 am

>69 laytonwoman3rd: its description is intriguing...
I thought so, too. There was a similar theme in a film (A Murder of Crows) which I quite enjoyed, so I was predisposed to an unrealistic expectation. Much to my surprise, the film, was not apparently based on a book, but I did feel as if I had read a novel with the purloined manuscript that results in a massive success.

what made it a Nope for you?
Linda, it was just SO dreary! The narrative simply never seemed to take off. I read less than a quarter of the book and abandoned it. The author's protagonist was a whiny, boring character. Unrated, since obviously I simply couldn't be bothered to finish the book.

Others seemed to have loved it, so there it is: reminiscent of our conversation about Jane Austen's work!

Jul 25, 5:35 pm

>68 SandyAMcPherson: I didn't give The Plot that long Sandy, and it went out the door.

Jul 25, 9:21 pm

>72 Caroline_McElwee: Heh! Did you throw it out the door?
Just kidding. Always gratifying to see I have company in the DNF graveyard.

Editado: Jul 25, 9:34 pm

>59 lycomayflower: BTW, I refute the implication that you are entitled to impose penalties...or penances...

Jul 25, 10:04 pm

>74 laytonwoman3rd: Ha! I am the Great Rectifier of Austenian Wrongs! The Juvenilia and 7 Supernatural episodes for questioning my authority!

Jul 26, 12:32 am

I know that there are many Austenites but I'd never read one of Jane's novels or watched one of the productions of the same until a few years ago when I read Pride and Prejudice in tandem with Longbourn which was a great introduction giving me two views of the same situation. Since then I haven't been tempted to read another book by Jane Austen.

Jul 26, 7:49 am

>75 lycomayflower: I take issue with the fact that you're setting SPN episodes as a *punishment*...

Also, I *adored* The Plot, but I think the key is that you must stick with it. The twists (there are multiple) come more toward the end, of course...

Jul 26, 8:51 am

I also enjoyed The Plot. I thought it was sly and (mostly) well done.

Editado: Jul 26, 10:36 am

>77 scaifea:, >78 katiekrug:, I don't know Sandy's age group, and Caroline is a bit younger than I am, but up here in "I could be your mother" territory, I guess maybe I just feel I don't have time to wait for the author to get around to the good stuff. I think it should be engaging from the get go, even if it doesn't get REALLY twisty and exciting until the end. I have less patience with a lot of things than I used to.

>76 Familyhistorian: Some of us just weren't destined to fall in love with Jane, I guess.

>75 lycomayflower: You, I'll talk to later.

Jul 26, 10:00 am

>79 laytonwoman3rd: - Oh, you cracked me up! These days, everyone I look at or come into contact with, I say (in my head, to myself), I could be your mother. And the older I get, the truer it is. When I was young, because I have a young mother (I was born a week after she turned 20!), people used to ask us if we were sisters. I always said that as long as they don't think I'm the mother, all was good. Of course, nowadays that never happens.

And I am so with you on the lack of patience with some books these days. My patience is diminishing for many reasons lately but honestly, in my house alone (we won't even talk about libraries or bookstores), I own more books than I have years left to read them, so, yeah, I am getting pickier about how much time I am willing to give a book that isn't grabbing me quickly. They used to say the young are all about instant gratification. I'm no longer young but I want the good stuff NOW!

Jul 26, 12:18 pm

>77 scaifea: It's not punishment! It's soul restoration!

Jul 26, 4:25 pm

>81 lycomayflower: Uhhuh. Soul restoration.

Jul 26, 7:47 pm

>80 jessibud2: Heh, I'm too old to be the mother of some adults I know - I'm certainly old enough to be my daughter's grandmother.

Jul 27, 9:46 pm

What a hoot this thread has going on here.
Loving the 'tude of no patience for crap writing.

Of course we all define what is/isn't worth finishing according to the mindset in choosing a read, likely based on what interests us, flavoured with how we're feeling in the moment, and whether we simply want to veg out, no?

>79 laytonwoman3rd: I don't know Sandy's age group
Heh, "Well, back in the day, us mastodon hunters used to read off the cave walls" (silly commenting from a remark I made on an old thread of Richard's).

All this is to say I am much like >80 jessibud2: Shelley and >79 laytonwoman3rd: Linda in that life is (and *always* was) too short to waste on reading anything not up to my expectations for at least satisfaction.
I get that Amber was willing to soldier through the beginning chapters, to the twists etc. in The Plot. For me, Nope, I've seen a lot of much better engagement at the start of books with a promise of great writing to hope Korelitz was going to improve with such a turgid and whiny start.

Ago 5, 10:17 am

Hey Linda, hope all is well with you.
Are you on a VayCay?

Ago 5, 10:21 am

>85 SandyAMcPherson: Hi, Sandy! No, no vacation. But I have been extremely busy over the last couple weeks. I had one of my grandnieces for a "sleep-over", and was keeping both her and her sister amused for most of two days on either side of that while their mother was accompanying her mother through cataract surgery. We've also had some work going on inside and outside the house---a generator and gas hook-up installation, and a new dishwasher. All important (and some of it fun), but reading and posting time have been curtailed.

I did finish a book last night, The Golem and the Jinni, which was a very good read. I'll gather some thoughts later. I'm off to the farmer's market and a big annual flea market right now.

Thanks for checking in!

Ago 5, 10:25 am

>86 laytonwoman3rd: Yay! Looking forward to hearing more about the annual flea market and also your book review.
Thanks for the reassuring message.

Editado: Ago 7, 12:06 pm

Well, the flea market was fun. It's in the parking lot and community room of the Methodist Church near us. (Their community room is also where the local branch library conducts its book sales twice a year.) One of my college roommates is always there volunteering at a booth raising money to support a non-profit that provides scholarships to women. So we had a good catch-up. I also had a chat with one of the attorneys from the firm I used to work for, and got his life-update (FOUR grandchildren since I last spoke to him). One seller had tubs of US history books culled from Catholic high schools that were consolidated recently, so I came home with a bag full of those. I'm particularly interested in reading two slim volumes on the Bill of Rights, each written by a distinguished jurist (Learned Hand and William O. Douglas) decades ago. I also picked up Songs of America by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw, which has been on my wishlist for a while, and a few other interesting volumes, as well as some hand-made doll clothes for the grand-nieces and two blue willow saucers for my not-at-all spoiled kitteh to eat from.

Ago 7, 11:35 am

Linda, You really made some great purchases! It's so much fun to find good books. I haven't been to the Bethlehem library book sale in a few years. My all-time high was spending $75 for a huge book haul.
Their books are good quality and well priced. I am trying not to accumulate as much. I have so many books to be read. I know that if I attend the sale, I will not be able to control myself.

Happy Monday to you. We are due for rain, so I'm making this a good reading day.

Ago 7, 11:39 am

51. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker I really enjoyed this realistic fantasy about two supernatural beings with very different origins (one with a long history and the other with none at all) finding themselves adrift in the Lower East Side of New York around the turn of the 20th century. How they learn to exist in human society without revealing their true natures, how they eventually find one another, and how they ultimately avoid destruction when it seems inevitable, make a wonderfully engaging tale. The historical setting is irresistible, the characters fascinating, and the storytelling would have kept Scheherazade alive for a long, long time.

Ago 7, 12:10 pm

>89 Whisper1: I have that problem too, Linda. I'm trying very hard to move books out of the house, and I have skipped several library book sales because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed now with too many choices for "what's next" when I finish a book. But these were 50 cents each, and I decided I will give them priority in the rotation, so that if they don't appeal to me I can re-donate them, and not clutter up my shelves. I'm trying to select a book I feel iffy about every third time...and if it isn't working for me, out it goes. No more guilt about what I should read.

Ago 10, 12:22 pm

>88 laytonwoman3rd: That sounds like a really enjoyable outing, Linda, and your book haul sounds excellent. I'm also glad you're making sure your kitty eats off of elegant dinnerware. 💜😊

Ago 10, 12:37 pm

>57 laytonwoman3rd: >58 lauralkeet: I rated Northanger Abbey lower than any of Austen's other books when I read through her ouvre last year, so you are not alone, either of you :) I did not rank it at 2 stars though. I gave it 3.5 stars which is "Guardedly Recommended" in my world. Good thing we have lots of great Austen to read!

>77 scaifea: >78 katiekrug: Adding The Plot to the BlackHole!

>86 laytonwoman3rd: I loved The Golem and the Djinni when I read it. Glad to see you liked it too, Linda. The follow up book I did not enjoy nearly as much.

Ago 10, 5:23 pm

>92 PlatinumWarlock: It was a very good day, Lavinia. And nothing is too good for my wee Molly Cat, of course. If a piece of kibble falls onto her placemat, she declines to eat it, as a good princess should.

>93 alcottacre: I don't think I'll be tempted to pick up the sequel to The Golem and the Jinni. I did really enjoy the story, but I feel I'm done with it now.

Ago 10, 5:31 pm

52. Consolation by Garry Disher This entry in the Constable Hirschausen series has Paul running all over hell's half acre trying to hunt down a father and son gone rogue, as well as the man they are presumably hunting, who owes money to everyone in the district, and may have been responsible for a couple deaths as well. The usual good story-telling, but I do think the antipathy of the CIB and its agents, and their disdain for local policing is a bit overdone. It may be totally accurate, for all I just gets monotonous and doesn't help the narrative. I have praised Disher in the past for replacing Hirsch's original dimwit mean-spirited Sergeant with an intelligent woman who appreciates his abilities and treats him with respect. Time for him to do the same with the CIB people, methinks.

Ago 10, 5:43 pm

>94 laytonwoman3rd: I am not sorry I read it, but I think the original novel was so much better. However, Mary (bell7) liked the follow up book a lot more than I did so I could be wrong. It does, on occasion, happen :)

Ago 12, 1:43 pm

>90 laytonwoman3rd: I added The Golem and the Jinni to my e-book WL when I first saw your review.
>94 laytonwoman3rd: Taking this caution into account when I've read book 1. Always good to know about follow up stories.

Maybe it is just "me", but I often find book 2, after an awesome book 1, falls flat. Fortunately, if I love the MC, I'll persist reading the series a little further. Maybe Helene Wecker will write a 3rd if the publisher is satisfied with the sales. I'm never sure what dictates the continuation of a series (or not).

Ago 12, 1:58 pm

I own Golem and the Jinni. I want to read it, but have no idea where it is located. I think that I need to go through my books and start to note where I have them. It will be an arduous task, but worth the effort if I don't obsess and feel that I need to do huge amounts of books each day.

I hope your Sunday is a good one. The sun is shining here! I had a pump infusion yesterday and feel tired, but need to get a few groceries. It will be good to get out of the house for a bit.

Ago 15, 11:17 pm

>98 Whisper1: I hope you find The Golem and the Jinni soon, I enjoyed it. The second is really quite different, so while it's good it isn't the same good.

Ago 17, 10:01 pm

53. Bald Eagles, Bear Cubs and Hermit Bill by Ron Joseph (An LT Early Reviewers selection.)

My father always subscribed to the Pennsylvania Game News, a magazine comprised of informative articles about our state's hunting laws, wildlife management programs, annual deer, bear and turkey harvest numbers, and stories contributed by Game Commission employees about their experiences---often amusing or downright hilarious--in dealing with critters, four-legged, two-legged, or winged. Some of these were no more than a paragraph (think "My Most Embarrassing Experience" from the good old Reader's Digest), others were full length pieces of journalistic quality. As a kid I looked forward to the arrival of that little magazine as much as Dad did, and often got to it first, as I picked up the mail before he got home from work. Once or twice, there was a small contribution from someone we knew--there were Game Wardens in our family-and-friends circle. Ron Joseph would have fit comfortably into that circle. Although his formal education in zoology and conservation exceeds anything those men could claim, his love and respect for the natural world, and his understanding of his own place in it, would have created a common bond. Over the course of his 30+ year career as a state or federal wildlife biologist in Maine, New Hampshire and Utah, Joseph published many reminiscences of his childhood growing up on his grandparents' farm, as well as stories arising out of his work with endangered creatures from eagles to whales. In retirement, under COVID restrictions, he decided to compile those stories and more into book form. The result is this marvelous memoir in which we meet a puny border collie pup suckled with a litter of pigs; a lumber camp full of French Canadian woodcutters each of whom might typically consume a mid-day box lunch including half a pie, three sandwiches, several bananas, and two quarts of tea or fruit juice; and a hermit named Bill who helped apprehend escaped German prisoners of war in the back woods of Maine in 1945. Not all of the stories are light-hearted or uplifting, however. Joseph's heart was broken and his conscience badly wounded when the results of a deer population count he performed as part of his duties early in his career led to the removal of protection for acres of old-growth cedar once considered a vital wintering haven for white tailed deer. Some of those trees were over 300 years old, 80 feet high, with a circumference that three grown men could barely span with their arms outstretched in a gigantic hug. His job provided him with multiple examples of the damage humans have inflicted on the environment, as rising temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels change wildlife habitat in ways that could spell the end of the Maine moose, the Canada lynx, Maine's spruce fir forests and the wild brook trout, all within the next 75 years. And yet Joseph's optimism has not left him, as he takes encouragement from successes such as the recovery of the American Bald Eagle once near extinction, the reintroduction of wild turkeys to Maine after an almost total population collapse in the first half of the 20th century, and the herculean efforts of volunteers who risk their own lives attempting to rescue right whales entangled in fishing gear, nets and marine debris. The North Atlantic right whale is predicted to face extinction in the next 20 years, unless something can be done to minimize such entanglements and collisions with ships. Ron Joseph's memoir is not primarily an alarm bell warning of impending losses, but the message is clear...we've caused a lot of harm to the planet and its inhabitants, and unless we get smart real fast, much of it will be irreversible.

Editado: Ago 18, 12:36 pm

DNF Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen I read the first two of Mullen's Darktown series, and the stories held my interest, but I was ambivalent about the writing style, and for a while thought I wouldn't go further. But I re-read my own reviews, and decided to give the third book a try. Unfortunately, this time I couldn't get past the style issues, the fact that the characters simply don't come alive for me the way, say, Walter Moseley's do, AND some editing failures that made me sadly aware that this story about black police officers in Atlanta in the 1950s was written by a white man. Steven King called the first book in this series a "brilliant blending of crime, mystery and American History". In the first 80 pages (which is where I stopped) of this one, the "blend" doesn't seem to be working. The history feels like it was slapped in for relevance, and I'd rather just read some non-fiction---or a better crime novel.

Editado: Ago 18, 12:42 pm

>100 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for the recommendation of that one, Linda. I will try and track down a copy when it is officially available.

>101 laytonwoman3rd: Too bad. I bought the first two of Mullen's books (although I have not yet read them) based on your recommendations. Sounds like book three can be skipped!

Have a wonderful weekend, Linda.

Ago 18, 1:23 pm

>100 laytonwoman3rd: Robert Michael Pyle's book Wintergreen would be a strong followup to Ron Joseph!

Editado: Ago 25, 4:43 pm

>102 alcottacre: I wouldn't discourage you from trying the first two, Stasia. The concept is so good; I just wish the execution had been better.

>103 m.belljackson: Thanks for that recommendation, Marianne. When I shelved the book I realized how many others in the same vein I have, and I haven't read half of them. A couple by Robert Macfarlane and at least one by John McPhee.

Ago 18, 3:19 pm

>101 laytonwoman3rd: I enjoyed Mullen's Last Town on Earth a few years ago but wasn't rah rah over it. Too bad this one disappointed.

Ago 19, 8:35 am

>101 laytonwoman3rd: I read Darktown a couple of years ago and thought it was just okay. Ambivalent like you, I guess. Thanks for confirming my decision not to continue with the series. I hope your next read is better, Linda.

Ago 25, 12:08 pm

Have a wonderful weekend, Linda!

Ago 25, 4:44 pm

>105 RBeffa:, >106 lauralkeet: Well, then, I guess we've settled Thomas Mullen, haven't we?

>107 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia. Right back atcha.

Ago 25, 4:45 pm

>108 laytonwoman3rd: Appreciated! :)

Editado: Ago 26, 6:16 pm

54. Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey Discussion on another thread about McCloskey's other wonderful works prompted me to purchase a copy of this one, which I had never read, or seen to my knowledge. It features our lovely young friends, Sal and Jane, from Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine, although they are never named here. It's a poetic homage to summer on an island off the coast of Maine, briefly marred by a visit from the weather gods. The illustrations are not the clear detailed renderings so delightful in many of his other are no spitting clams, no loose tooth, no waddling ducks, no old coot sucking on a lemon, no complicated machinery. Instead we have hazy water-color visions of shore, and water, rocks, storm clouds and trees uprooted. No less appealing, just very different. The girls are easily recognizable, even at a distance as seen here, if you are familiar with their earlier adventures.

Ago 26, 6:50 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: - You got me! I've just requested One Morning in Maine and Time of Wonder from my library!

Ago 26, 7:38 pm

>111 jessibud2: Excellent!

Ago 27, 7:23 am

>110 laytonwoman3rd: This book was on my childhood shelves, along with Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal. I know I liked all of them, but remember Time of Wonder affected me differently. I can picture myself sitting cross-legged on the floor, turning the pages slowly to take it all in. It had a different sort of sensory and emotional impact that's hard to put into words, but came back to me all in a rush when I read your comments.

Ago 27, 10:52 am

>113 lauralkeet: I think I'm probably going to have to seek out all the McCloskey I can find, now.

Editado: Ago 27, 11:07 am

>110 laytonwoman3rd:, >111 jessibud2:, >112 laytonwoman3rd:, >113 lauralkeet:, >114 laytonwoman3rd: I had a “McCloskey Fest” this weekend, and I only had three of them in hand. Loved them! I’ve got another requested from my library, Make Way for McCloskey, which has the shorter books in their entirety, and selections from his longer “chapter” books. Can’t wait to get my hands on this treasure!

So nice to hear I’m not alone in my McCloskey-love!

Karen O

Ago 27, 12:00 pm

Bluberries for Sal was a much-loved book in our house when I was little...

Ago 27, 3:55 pm

>116 katiekrug: Like Katie and others, Bluberries for Sal is such a good early reader story.
I think it was a ubiquitous book on children's shelves when we were growing up, along with Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

Ago 28, 5:42 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, I love that one. Charlie has a full set of McCloskey on his picture book shelves and we (I, at least) have some very happy memories of reading through them with him many, many times. Plink, Plonk, Plunk!

Ago 28, 7:26 pm

>110 laytonwoman3rd: Well, somehow or another that McCloskey book has escaped me. I will have to read it!

Ago 29, 6:52 pm

Linda, what goes around, comes around. Is this karma or what? I just clicked on this article in the NYT books review, from my online subscription. How I would have loved to be there!

If you can't open it, let me know and I will copy and paste the whole thing.

Editado: Ago 30, 7:05 am

>120 jessibud2: What a great article. Here's a no-paywall link so everyone can enjoy it:
One Morning in Maine, 225 People Went to the Library.

Ago 30, 12:20 pm

It's great to see all the love for McCloskey! And thanks >120 jessibud2:, >121 lauralkeet: for the link to that was a treat too.

Set 2, 3:15 pm

DNF Ravage & Son by Jerome Charyn Another one that I couldn't be bothered to finish. And this was an ER win, so I owe the site a few words about why. I'll get around to it, but for now, "distasteful" about sums it up in one.

Set 2, 10:31 pm

>123 laytonwoman3rd: OK, one more I do not ever have to read.

I certainly hope your next read is better for you!

Set 4, 1:00 am

>123 laytonwoman3rd: I have not requested and won an er book for over 4 years. It seems like the major publishers slowly left LT. I dropped out of er. Years ago there were multiple books every month that I wanted. C'est la vie . Sorry that this book was such a bummer for you.

Set 4, 10:25 am

>125 RBeffa: I had a long dry spell too, Ron. Then I won 2 in a row. The first, reviewed in >100 laytonwoman3rd: above, was a good read, but not one likely to make any lists. I think you're right about the major publishers. I can remember winning books by some pretty well-known names, and a couple of up-and-comers who are now pretty well known.

Editado: Set 4, 4:08 pm

55. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager Ummm...well....this is a suspense thriller sort of story, told in first person present tense "Now" sections, and first person past tense "Before" sections. It includes a fair amount of misdirection and convenient omissions by our unreliable narrator, an actress who has been banished by her mother to the family's house on a secluded lake in Vermont, where she's supposed to stay out of the public eye and get a handle on her drinking. Her husband drowned in this lake a little over a year ago, and it seems an extremely cruel and probably hopeless situation she's been railroaded into. Still, she has no intention of giving up the booze, and routinely lies to her mother about it. In fact, she lies a fair bit to other people too, so it's no surprise to discovery she's lying to the reader...but what's the TRUTH, then? I had several quibbles with the writing style here--a lot of repetition and belaboring the obvious. There's a decent psychological mystery embedded in there, though, and a few quite clever bits of clue-dropping, but the whole thing just didn't work well for me. I never got lost in the story the way one really should with this kind of tale. lycomayflower had quite a different reaction, so clearly YMMV.

Set 4, 2:43 pm

>127 laytonwoman3rd: The latest reviews on LT are rather underwhelming. I'm in the mood for a new mystery/suspense thriller, but it won't be this one! Your reaction is more detailed than most. thanks

Set 10, 12:27 pm

56. The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye A grand historical novel set in Harlem, NY, and Portland, OR, in the early 20th century, amid Italian immigrant communities coping with the tyranny of their own brutal criminal element, and a black hotel in the heart of a state where people of color were forbidden to live. Our heroine, Alice James (or "Nobody", as she often refers to herself) has escaped with her life, barely, from a Mafia war set in motion by people she loved. Through the insight and compassion of a Pullman porter she has landed at the Paragon Hotel, a refuge for black travelers with a no-damned-nonsense matron who isn't keen on the presence of a white woman in their midst. When a young boy goes missing from the hotel, Nobody uses her talent of disappearing in plain sight to assist the search, and finds herself enmeshed in more than one tangled and mysterious web of relationships. Recommended.

Set 11, 2:03 am

>127 laytonwoman3rd: Sounds like one that I can live without!

>129 laytonwoman3rd: On the other hand, that one sounds more to my taste. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.

Set 11, 2:06 am

>128 RBeffa: The oldies are often the best, Ron. I read In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B Hughes for Linda's AAC this month and can heartily recommend it!

Set 11, 5:29 pm

57. The Trees by Percival Everett A little late, but this was for the August AAC. Baffling murders, gruesome and apparently vengeful, are troubling the small town of Money, Mississippi---two White men, found separately, each strangled with barbed wire, each emasculated, each with a battered and dirty Black corpse nearby. Both White men have a family connection to the men believed to have murdered Emmett Till 60 years before. Then, the decrepit old White woman who first accused Emmett of whistling at her, and later recanted her story, is found dead of natural causes...but also accompanied by the same--or a very similar--Black corpse. It all proves too much for Sheriff Red Jetty and his force. Enter two special agents from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation...two Black special agents from the MBI. They don't make a lot of progress in figuring out what the devil is going on either...but for a while they, and the reader, have a hell of a lot of fun trying. There are some of the darkest bits of humor I have ever encountered in the first two hundred pages of this book, and I could not put it down. Everett's characters are drawn with wicked accuracy, and named with a whimsy that defies description. As deaths multiply all across the U. S., the mysterious unidentified unmutilated companion corpses begin to include Chinese and Native American men in addition to Black men. The situation gets less amusing, more profound, more bewildering and even the instigators of the original retributive killings do not understand what they have set in motion. There is no subtlety here, and ultimately not the slightest suggestion of hope for a resolution of either the burgeoning Rising, or the historical atrocities that brought it all into being. Unforgettable.

Set 12, 9:57 am

>132 laytonwoman3rd: Completely agree with your last statement. The book is 'unforgettable.'

Have a terrific Tuesday, Linda!

Set 12, 8:25 pm

>129 laytonwoman3rd: >132 laytonwoman3rd: Both were good reads for me as well. The Trees is definitely unforgettable.

Hope the rest of your week is full of wonderful.

Set 12, 9:19 pm

>133 alcottacre:, >134 figsfromthistle: Thanks, friends. I am very glad I didn't let The Trees slip away from me, and I usually enjoy Lyndsay Faye.

Set 13, 12:54 pm

>131 PaulCranswick: my library has exactly one Dorothy Hughes novel. I may give her a try. Started on Ann Patchett with State of Wonder. My sil dropped it off for me some time ago with a big recommend. Someone on LT heartily recommended it but i cannot remember who. I have only read about 35 pages but I am hooked.

Set 13, 2:18 pm

>136 RBeffa: Do they have the Library of America Women in Crime volumes? Because her In A Lonely Place is in that. I might get to it this month. I'm currently reading another one from that set, The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding.

Set 13, 2:45 pm

>137 laytonwoman3rd: unfortunately they don't seem to have that LOA series. They do have several Elisabeth Sanxay Holding books or anthologies with her in it. I did not check ebooks for Hughes however. I should do that.

Set 13, 3:40 pm

>136 RBeffa: I share your pain, Ron. My local library does not even have one. I have In a Lonely Place on its way to me, but I am not sure it will get here in time for me to read it this month.

Set 13, 5:48 pm

>139 alcottacre: Our Friends of the Library surprises me sometimes so maybe I'll get lucky soon.

Editado: Set 15, 6:08 pm

58. The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding I pulled this out of a Library of America collection of Women in Crime, for the September AAC. I had never read this author before. The protagonist, Lucia Holley, is the wife of a WWII Naval officer, mother of two teen-agers, coping well with domestic wartime challenges until her daughter becomes involved with an unsuitable young man. Both of her children treat her as if she were clueless, in need of protection, and a bit tiresome. Her elderly father, who also lives with them, is her champion, however. He also offers protection, but treats her with a good deal more respect. When Father accidentally, and unknowingly, causes the death of Unsuitable, Lucia discovers the body and takes matters into her own quaking hands. Alternately dithering and decisive, she sets off a chain of events altogether more sinister than even her agitated imaginings had concocted. This was a nifty piece of psychological suspense...not thrilling, exactly, but certainly not predictable. A couple elements don't quite stand up to scrutiny by anyone who's read much crime fiction, but The Blank Wall would have made a decent Bogart film.

Set 15, 5:55 pm

>142 laytonwoman3rd: Time for me to scrounge around for some 40's novels!

Set 16, 4:45 pm

>143 RBeffa: Sometimes you're just in that mood..

Set 16, 5:19 pm

59. Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon Another AAC selection, and another new-to-me author.

Cash Blackbear is a 19-year-old woman who has spent most of her life being moved from one white foster family to another. It is now 1968; she is independent, almost as tough as she thinks she is, and spends her days doing field work for wheat and sugar beet farmers in her Northern Minnesota homeland. Her nights, she spends mainly drinking beer and playing pool, at which she is good enough to rely on it as a secondary source of income. She also occasionally "helps out" the local sheriff, a man who has taken an interest in her welfare since she was abandoned by her mother at the age of three. A good first entry into what is now a 3 book series featuring this Ojibwe amateur sleuth.

Set 16, 6:07 pm

>144 laytonwoman3rd: I enjoyed my recent 1940 Nevil Shute novel and it had already gotten me in the mood for more. I've had mixed reactions to the hard-boiled crime novels of the 30s-50s era when I've read a few in the past. Some like The Postman Always Rings Twice really grab me. Some do not. When I was much younger half the reason I went to library sales was to find the old detective etc novels for my elderly grandfather who was a voracious reader until his late 80's. He would hand me back a few now and then that he thought were good ones. And recommend others like George Higgins. I still remember him intensely disliking one of Pat Conroy's novels. (Maybe the Prince of Tides)

Set 17, 12:23 pm

>146 RBeffa: Mmmm...Prince of Tides would probably be a tough sell for that generation. I enjoy the "classic" crime novels too, and Postman is one of the best.

Editado: Set 17, 4:19 pm

60. Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury Pure pleasure...elegant ink drawings illustrating simple life lessons...

and occasionally poking fun at them as well...

In the same spirit as Charlie Mackesy's The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.

Editado: Set 17, 3:56 pm

No one should read The Prince of Tides *grumps*

Set 22, 10:24 pm

>127 laytonwoman3rd: Hello, Linda! I generally enjoy reading Riley Sager's stuff. His latest one, The Only One Left, had its implausible elements, but kept me turning pages. I thought I had read The House Across the Lake during vacation last year, but if I did I never logged it in LT. The description sort of sounds familiar, but not really. Since lycomayflower had a different reaction to it than you, well maybe I'll look at it and try to figure out if I read it . . .

Set 24, 6:25 pm

Hmmm, I'm thinking Murder on the Red River looks familiar. Yep, I read it last year and gave it 4 stars. Good reminder to return to that series.

Set 25, 2:21 pm

61. Seven Dead by Jefferson Farjeon Another author new to me, although I have a vague recollection of his name having come to my attention sometime or other in the past. This is a 1930s sort of mystery, with an amateur sleuth and a damsel-in-distress. A mass murder situation with few clues--all of them puzzling--leads to some seriously brainy deduction. Quite entertaining, although a couple holes in the time line are bothering me. I may try another seems he wrote a LOT.

Set 25, 3:51 pm

>142 laytonwoman3rd: Hey, any book that would make a decent Bogart film is one for me. Bogie being my all-time favorite actor :)

>145 laytonwoman3rd: Adding that one to the BlackHole too!

Set 25, 3:54 pm

>149 lycomayflower: OK, now...

>150 tymfos: I'll probably give Sager another try one day; a page-turner, even with some quibbles, is just what's needed sometimes.

>151 EBT1002: I'm eager to go on with this series, and I hope the author writes a few more.

>153 alcottacre: You would enjoy both, I'm fairly sure, Stasia!

Set 25, 10:20 pm

>151 EBT1002: Ha, I was adding Murder on the Red River to my BB list and see that I already had it there from Familyhistorian as where I saw this series described.
Guess I better see if I can borrow it at my local PL, or maybe get it through a request. Canadian author (BC) and all.

Editado: Set 28, 10:24 pm

62. Endangered Species by Nevada Barr The fifth Anna Pigeon novel. Here Anna is on temporary assignment on Cumberland Island, Georgia, where the loggerhead turtles are in the process of laying eggs; heat, humidity and insects plague her existence; drought is making fire watch a necessary function of the National Park Service, and something sinister is afoot. (Shocking, I know.) Anna takes her usual tack of ignoring protocols and even some legal restraints, to do her own sleuthing when a drug interdiction surveillance plane crashes, killing two of their crew. She craves solitude, and never seems to learn that going it alone is how she gets into trouble, personally and professionally. This one had a bit more fun in it than some---more humor, and some amusing banter between Anna and her colleagues.

Editado: Set 28, 10:30 pm

>155 SandyAMcPherson: I don't think Rendon is Canadian...most references list her as residing in Minnesota, I think.
ETA: Had to go look her up again. OK..she was born in Winnipeg. Well, good...then I can read another of her books in November when we concentrate on Canadian authors in the AAC!

Set 28, 10:48 pm

>156 laytonwoman3rd: even though we both gave this three stars I think you liked it more than me. One thing I liked here was the sidestory with sister Molly and Stanton.

Editado: Set 29, 9:59 am

>158 RBeffa: Yes, I really liked the way that bit was handled. When I give three stars to a piece of series fiction like this, it means it was exactly what I expected it be, nothing more, nothing less and that I enjoyed the read. I liked this one more than, say A Superior Death, which just had too much tension in it for my taste. Lots of room for personal preference in these things. I could never dive into dark waters, so I didn't enjoy spending time with Anna while she did that, but I gave the book an extra half star because it was SO well done.

Out 3, 12:02 am

>157 laytonwoman3rd: Perfect. 🇨🇦

Out 3, 10:53 am

>161 SandyAMcPherson: I never trust myself! Thanks.

Out 4, 12:23 pm

My Fellow Amurricans:
In case you missed it (like I did until about 30 minutes ago)

Out 4, 12:26 pm

>154 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. I hope so!

>156 laytonwoman3rd: I really need to get back to the Nevada Barr series at some point.

>163 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks for posting that!

Out 5, 11:11 am

63. The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich I have to admit that I struggled with this one, especially at first. Too many characters were referred to generally by their relationship to others, rather than by name (my uncle, my father, his sister, etc.). With multiple points of view on top of that, it took me an age to get grounded. This is a complex, highly structured generational novel that casts the reader backward and forward in time, again with tricky references to events and people that I found somewhat difficult to keep straight. I don't usually have this trouble with Erdrich's work, even though I often find her challenging in a good way. I hit my stride about half-way through, and now I am keen to re-read The Round House, which "goes with" this one, to see if that helps to internalize some of the connections. I will probably revisit Doves, at least in part, at some point. I think I was possibly trying too hard at the beginning, and should have followed my own advice about reading Faulkner---just let the story flow over you until it begins to gel. But if you're looking for a place to start with Erdrich, this may not be the one.

Out 5, 12:17 pm

>165 laytonwoman3rd: Good review, Linda. I like how candid you were with the "Too many characters". I dislike being thrown into a milieu of characters when the narrative is not yet grounded. So not an engaging way to hook the reader.

Out 5, 12:38 pm

>165 laytonwoman3rd: I found it really confusing at first too Linda, and it took me a while to get into it. I ended up liking it though, maybe a bit more than you did. I agree it's not a good starting point if you're new to Erdrich.

Out 5, 12:40 pm

>165 laytonwoman3rd: and >167 lauralkeet: - I agree with both of you about the confusion at the beginning. I ended up really liking it after the difficult start.

Out 5, 4:49 pm

>166 SandyAMcPherson:, >167 lauralkeet:, >168 katiekrug: Thanks, all. I'm glad it isn't a sign of senility setting in. I did get invested more in the story as I passed the middle...but it still didn't rise to the level of appreciation I usually have for Erdrich.

Editado: Out 9, 12:27 pm

Gonna make a new thread....stand by for location. And here it is.