Donna's Reading Passion: July - December

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Donna's Reading Passion: July - December

Editado: Jul 17, 8:28 pm

We started the second half of the year with a much overdue visit with our daughter Lori and family in Kansas City. Pictured from left to right: my DH of 55 years, Griffin (15), Hope from Denver (9), Audrey (19), Sadie (21), and a very happy Grandma.

Griffin got his first job at What-a-Burger this summer and he made 3 trips with his traveling Lacrosse team. Audrey completed her first year at University of Kansas with straight A’s and is working in the ICU at a local hospital this summer. She is working toward a Physician’s Assistant degree. Sadie completed her Junior year at Prague University in a study abroad program. She went right into her summer internship for Koch Industries in Wichita, KS. Her grandfather is happy to have another accountant in the family. She will graduate from Kansas State next May.

Hope and parents stayed a few days with us in Springfield, MO and then flew off to Cancun, leaving Hope with us for 10 days. She was a perfect houseguest and we had so much fun together. Here is one more picture of her with her Springfield cousins.

Haley is 12 and has found her sport…track. She set a city record for 6th grade girls in the 100 meter dash this spring. Molly is 10 and will be in 5th grade. Hope will be a 4th grader back in CO when school starts next month. My six grandchildren are my delights and biggest joys in life. Thanks for letting me share them with you. Now, back to books!

Editado: Ontem, 12:40 pm

My favorite books so far this year:
Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy
The Ride of Her Life by Elizabeth Letts
The Seed Keepers by Diane Wilson (Book Group)
The Postcard by Anne Berest
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Books Read in July:
53. The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrove 3.5 Stars
54. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 3.7 Stars
55. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy 3.5 Stars
56. The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan. 4.2 Stars
57. Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane. 4.4 Stars ❤️
58. The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore. 3.3 Stars
59. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. 3.8 Stars
60. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. 4 Stars.

I read eight books in July; one was mine. 2,502 Pages.

Books Read in August:
61. The Postcard by Anne Berest. 4.5 Stars ❤️
62. The Maid by Nita Prose. 3 Stars (Book Group)
63. Coventry by Helen Humphreys. 4 Stars
64. The Last Ranger by Peter Heller. 3.7 Stars
65. No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister. 4 Stars
66. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. 3.3 Stars
67. The Colony by Audrey Magee. 4 Stars
68. Dessert with Buddha by Roland Merullo. 3.8 Stars.

I read eight books in August; one was mine. 2,577 Pages.

Books Read in September:

69. Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry. 4 Stars
70. The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. 4 Stars (Group Read with Mark and others)
71: Victory City by Salman Rushdie. 3.8 Stars (Book Group)
72. Diary of A Tuscan Bookshop by Alba Donati. 3.5 Stars
73. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. 4 Stars
74. Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo. 4 Stars (Reread)
75. Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo. 3.5 Stars

I read seven books in September; one was mine. 2.519 pp.
Third Quarter Statistics: 23 Books Read; 7,598 pp.

Books Read in October:

76. Learned By Heart by Emma Donoghue. 3.3 Stars
77. Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. 4.5 Stars
78. Matrix by Lauren Groff. 3.5 Stars
79. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. 3 Stars (Book Group)
80. The Trees by Conrad Richter. 3.5 Stars
81. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolen. 4 Stars
82. Somebody's Fool by Richard Russo. 4.2 Stars.

Seven books read in October; 2,234 pp.

Books Read in November:

83: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. 3.8 Stars
84: Network Effect by Martha Wells. 3.8 Stars
85: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. 3.2 Stars
86: The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. 3.3 Stars (Book Group)
87: Windigo Island by Wm. Kent Krueger. 3.2 Stars
88. The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty. 3.5 Stars
89. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri. 4 Stars.

Seven books read in November; 2,434 pp.

Books Read in December:

90. The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt. 3.2 Stars
91. Island Home by Tim Winton. 3.5 Stars

Editado: Jul 31, 10:15 pm

Book No. 53: The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Library, 256 pp., 3.5 Stars.

Set in 16th Century France during a time of religious mania and superstition. In the middle of a heatwave women began gathering in the town square of Strasbourg and danced until they dropped. Lisbet lives in the country and just wants to tend her beloved bees and keep the baby in her womb alive after suffering numerous losses. Based on actual events, the author goes on a tangent to show just how little power women had back then.

I read this in bits and pieces which may have diminished my involvement and rating. While I liked it pretty well, others might love it.

Editado: Jul 19, 1:46 pm

Book No. 54: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Hoopla Audio, 336 pp., 4 Stars.

I don't know how I missed reading this classic in my childhood, but found it delightful listening to it with Hope over the course of 12 days and nights. Anne was a fun character with an overly vivid imagination. It was good to talk with her about how children were raised years ago to contribute to the household and not to just be the center of attention. Haha.

I'm glad she liked the book because listening to it gave me a chance to relax from the energy of a 9-yr-old and also a chance to talk about Anne's positive outlook on life despite her beginnings as an orphan.

Editado: Jul 19, 2:23 pm

Book No. 55: A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. Kindle, 416 pp., 3.5 Stars.

Pure comfort read. I picked this book for the title hoping to feel some relief from the brutal heat we're experiencing. The weather on the western coast of Ireland wasn't cold enough for me, although I did love the descriptions of the beautiful countryside. "Out by that ocean, you feel smaller, less important, somehow; it puts things into proportion.”

I was slightly disappointed that this was one of Binchy's character-centered novels that depended on separate vignettes about the disparate group of visitors to The Stone House in its first week of business as a recently refurbished country inn. I read it on my Kindle app so I was surprised when it just suddenly came to an end. I was looking for more interactions between the characters. I read that this was the author's last book before she died in 2012 so perhaps she didn't have time to weave the stories together. It was still an enjoyable read and makes me want to go back and read some of her other books.

Jul 17, 9:54 pm

Hello Donna and a warm congrats on thread July to December. What great pictures of your wonderful family! Thanks for sharing. It is always so good to see what you are reading. I have "favourited" your best reads.

Jul 18, 12:45 am

>1 Donna828: My how they have grown, and gloriously so!

Happy new thread, Donna. xx

Jul 18, 8:07 am

Happy New Thread, Donna. LOVE the family topper. Such glowing grandparents.

Jul 18, 10:29 am

Happy New Thread, Donna! I love the opening portrait!

I haven't read any of your favorites in >2 Donna828:, so I know I'll have some great reading ahead.

Jul 18, 11:52 am

Happy new thread!

Jul 18, 1:19 pm

Happy new thread, Donna!

Love all family pictures, especially the proud grandparents.

Jul 18, 8:14 pm

Happy New thread, Donna! What a lovely picture of you and your husband and your beautiful grandchildren!

Jul 19, 8:45 am

Happy new thread, Donna. How fast your grandkids are growing up!

Jul 19, 2:27 pm

So I got my last three books listed with some brief comments. I plan to read up a storm the rest of the month to make up for lost time!

>6 mdoris: Thank you for being my first visitor, Mary. I hope you also enjoy some of my best reads.

>7 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Kids grow up way too fast these days which you have experienced with your own children as you look forward to the next generation.

Jul 19, 2:35 pm

>8 msf59: Thanks, Mark. We were certainly glowing as we always do when around the grands. The older ones in Kansas City are very busy with their jobs making it difficult to find a time when we can see all three of them. It was worth the trip and getting those hugs in person.

>9 streamsong: Thank you, Janet. I do hope you get to some of my favorites. The Ride of Her Life is a true story about a cross-country trip on horseback and would be my first recommendation for you.

>10 drneutron: Thank you, Jim. I'm not the chattiest one in your group, but I'm still here. ;-)

Jul 19, 2:39 pm

>11 FAMeulstee: It's good to see you, Anita. I'll make a return visit soon.

>12 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah, thanks for that nice compliment.

>13 BLBera: You've experienced that rapid growth with Scout, Beth. Every stage of their life is precious, but I do miss the baby and toddler years.

Jul 19, 3:53 pm

I am just happy to see that even the older ones still like to spend time with Grandma. :)

Jul 19, 6:42 pm

Hi, Donna. I saw on Joe's thread, that you still had not read Gift of Rain. I also have a copy languishing on my Kindle. Would you like to do a shared read. Later next month? September?

Jul 20, 3:39 pm

Happy new one!

>1 Donna828: What a great family gathering!

Jul 21, 11:12 am

>17 BLBera: Me too, Beth.

>18 msf59: I would enjoy that, Mark. I will let you choose the time frame as my schedule is pretty much wide open the rest of the summer. Just let me know what works best for you. Maybe we can drum up some more slackers. ;-)

Jul 21, 11:14 am

>19 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, almost missed you there. Thank you for stopping by. I am slowly catching up on my starred threads and will pay you a visit shortly.

Jul 22, 7:03 pm

Book No. 56: The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan. Library, 244 pp., 4.2 Stars.

"Happiness was a strange notion, something that was wrapped neatly and packed into the closing scenes of television shows and daytime films, sharply relieved on the screen but blurry in real life, a vague ideal."

Donal Ryan's books are becoming a real treat for me. The Aylward women of rural Ireland were tightly bound together by hardship, heartache, and humor. Told in a regimented series of two-page chapters with one-word titles, the reader has to work out the connections between the four generations. Nana is the matriarch, who rescues her daughter-in-law from anguish after Eileen's husband and father of newborn Saoirse (Sir-sha) dies in a freak accident. Then there is baby Pearl who completes the family sharing their lives in a small home.

There is a very good story here about family ties, land disputes, and most importantly, a deep bond and tenderness between these four women.

Jul 23, 1:15 am

>22 Donna828: That one sounds good Donna. On to the list it goes!

Jul 25, 12:58 am

Those are all great family photos, Donna. Everyone looks so happy! It's so nice that you were able to spend some time with Hope.

I've never read Anne of Green Gables, not as an adult, anyway. I have a vague recollection of it being read to me. I should revisit it.

I'm glad to see you liked The Queen of Dirt island!

Jul 26, 2:22 pm

That's a beautiful family your daughter has!

Jul 28, 8:13 pm

>23 mdoris: Another Irish author. Can't go wrong...right? Hope you enjoy it, Mary.

>24 Copperskye: Joanne, it's good to see you here. We sure enjoyed our family time in early July. Hope was the perfect houseguest, and we hope to have a repeat visit whenever we get the opportunity. I think much of the allure of Anne of Green Gables had to do with listening to it with Hope.

>25 The_Hibernator: We like them, Rachel! All my grandkids are smart, talented, and kind...and I may be a bit prejudiced. Haha.

Jul 28, 8:35 pm

So it looks like I had another round of Covid. This time I got the variant with conjunctivitis for some extra torture. I've never had "pinkeye" but didn't enjoy having my eyelids matted together every morning. It cleared up faster than the headaches, sore throat, mucous onslaught, coughing, and extreme fatigue of Covid. I am recovering but still very tired on Day 8. It's been very hot here so taking naps in the air-conditioning hasn't been a terrible way to spend the week.

Jul 28, 8:50 pm

>27 Donna828: Oh dear Donna, sure hope you are feeling better very soon.

Editado: Jul 28, 9:52 pm

Book No. 57: Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane. Library, 299 pp., 4.4 Stars.

Lehane hasn't lost his touch for keeping me on the edge of my seat. I stayed up late to finish this because I knew I couldn't sleep until I got the whole story. This is a book about a mother and daughter living in Southie (Boston) in the summer of 1974 when their neighborhood was targeted to become part of the bussing project to desegregate the city's high schools. Jules will be a senior this year and does not want to be bussed out of her area, but this is the least of her problems when a young black man ends up in Southie under a subway car. She is implicated in the tragedy and turns up missing.

Lehane does a brilliant job of rendering the tumult of those times and captures the outrage of a mother who doesn't know where her daughter has gone and is willing to do what it takes to find out from the local hooligans what happened that unfortunate night when her daughter didn't come home. It's been a while since I've read anything this intense.

Editado: Jul 28, 9:22 pm

Book No. 58: The Lonely Hearts Book Club by Lucy Gilmore; audio by Angie Kane. Hoopla, 366 pp., 3.3 Stars.

I think I need to space my books about books out a little more because this one reminded me of some of my recent reads in this sub-genre. I was pretty loopy throughout the experience so perhaps my health was more of a problem than the book. I did really like that Anne of Green Gables had a prominent role in bringing these somewhat odd characters together. It was a decent listen and kept my mind off my woes so it was a success.

Editado: Jul 28, 9:54 pm

Book No. 59: Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. Mine, 179 pp., 3.8 Stars.

Four stars for a book I didn't understand? Well, yes, because I rather liked the head trip of time theory and it's such a cute little book that I've owned for years and finally took a chance on it. I'm still on my meds and floated along with the speculation of "time like a flow of water, occasionally displaced by a bit of debris, a passing breeze."

The book is set in 1905 when Einstein is a young patent clerk working on his Theory of Relativity. Each of the short chapters depicts a dream about time and gave me a lot to think about. Who knows, it might have even inspired me to read the Einstein biography sitting on my shelves.

Jul 30, 9:16 am

Happy Sunday, Donna. I am so glad to hear that Small Mercies was a hit and Lehane still has the chops. I will add it to my obese TBR. I scheduled us for September for The Gift of Rain. I will probably kick off the month with it. Glad you are up for doing a shared read with me.

Editado: Jul 30, 2:24 pm

Hi, Donna. Great pics up top! The grands are growing so fast! It’s wonderful that Hope was able to spend time with her cousins. Congrats to all of them on their accomplishments.

I’m looking forest to reading Small Mercies. You also got me with Einstein’s Dreams.

Hope your Sunday is peaceful and pleasant.

Edited to fix typo.

Jul 31, 1:38 pm

>22 Donna828: I added it to my list, too!

Jul 31, 8:45 pm

Wow! You've been getting a lot of reading in , Donna. The Queen of Dirt Island was a book I had out from the library, but did not get a chance to read as other books took themselves to the forefront. I look forward to it though. I think I'll try to read a few from the Booker Longlist, once it is announced at 8 am BST. Sorry about the latest round of Covid, and conjunctivitis is not pleasant either. I hope you are feeling much better soon.

Jul 31, 9:54 pm

>32 msf59: I'm looking forward to it, Mark. It will be good to read The Gift of Rain and hope it doesn't take us as long to read The House of Doors. It's great to always have new books to look forward to, right?

>33 Storeetllr: Hi there Mary! It's always good to see you here. Hope is an only child so cousins are important to her. We had such a good time and had a chance to bond. Our usual times together are short and surrounded with too many other people. Haha.

>34 Nancy618: This is a wonderful surprise, Nancy. Thanks for delurking and making my day! Pretty sure you will like The Queen of Dirt Island. I'm glad I could recommend a book to the one who keeps me informed on the latest new releases.

>35 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah. Thanks for the commiseration on my health woes. I am feeling better but still tire easily and think the cough will probably never go away... It's hard to keep up with all the books we want to read, isn't it? I am looking forward to checking out the Booker nominees for 2023.

Editado: Jul 31, 10:07 pm

Book No. 60: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Library, 406 pp., 4 Stars

I picked up this book on a whim to give me a breath of cold Alaskan air to moderate these hot humid Missouri temperatures in the upper 90s. I was expecting more myth and less realism. Granted, fantasy about a snow child was in the background, but a very real character emerged and charmed me. I love stories set in nature and this one did not disappoint.

Ago 2, 12:36 pm

I've seen The Snow Child around. It looks good.

Ago 4, 10:02 am

I also enjoyed The Snow Child, Donna. It's a good book to read in the summer heat. :)

Ago 4, 3:12 pm

>38 The_Hibernator: It was good, Rachel. I dismissed it when it came out because of the fantasy element but the true Russian story that inspired the book just added to the imaginative story.

>39 BLBera: You are spot on, Beth. The descriptions of the snow and cold were very refreshing.

Ago 4, 4:24 pm

Book No. 61: The Postcard by Anne Berest, translated from the French by Tina Kover. Library, 475 pp., 4.5 Stars.

"The characters in this story are only shadows now... There's no one left who can describe their lives in exact detail. Myriam took most of their secrets to the grave with her. But soon we'll have to pick up where she left off. And write."
(Pg. 196)

The Rabinovitch Family history is awakened in 2003 by the disconcerting arrival of a post card with only the names of four family members who died at Auschwitz on it: Ephraim and Emma, parents of Noemie and Jacques. It was 16 years later when the author's daughter related an incident on her playground where a child made a comment about Jews that jogged her memory and made her want to investigate the mysterious post card. The latter 2/3 of the book is about the mother/daughter team that revived the family history and delved into the only survivor's story. Myriam didn't talk about the past but she certainly lived it. We learn her story in the first third of the book which is intense and heartbreaking.

This is a powerful book. The Rabinovitch family had some tough times and lived in several places in Europe before settling in France where the children attended a prestigious school and won many awards. The situation changed so slowly that people didn't realize what was happening. When their liberties became obstructed, the family moved out of Paris and tried to assimilate into the countryside. They couldn't comprehend how dangerous their situation was until it was too late to flee. Such misery. That first part was difficult to read but the mood lightens somewhat as the mother/daughter duo decide to find out about the origins of that postcard. They learn a lot about each other and the author in particular learns to embrace her Jewish heritage.

Ago 4, 7:18 pm

Donna that sounds like a very interesting book. P's aunt wrote a book Hanna's Diary by Hanna Spencer. She had lived her adult life as a gentile having come to Canada after the war but her children discovered her diary in the attic and realized that she had a Jewish background and many stories to tell. I read it years ago and it was a powerful story too. There are so many personal stories to tell.

Ago 6, 1:52 am

Hi Donna, I hope you are feeling better. Great family photos up thread. There's a definite family resemblance.

Ago 6, 4:57 pm

>40 Donna828: Yeah, I like a little magical realism. Well, I flat out like fantasy, too

Ago 6, 8:56 pm

Small Mercies was intense, wasn't it! I raced through the ending. The casual racism of the time was shocking.

I have not one copy, but two copies (hardback and paperback) of The Snow Child. I'm not sure how that happened. Even better, the hardback is signed and I don't remember where it came from. I really should read one of them. :) Unlike everyone else, I prefer to read wintery books in the winter and summery books in the summer. I'm glad to see you liked it and look forward to getting to it, hopefully, THIS winter!

Ago 9, 8:30 pm

>42 mdoris: Your family history sounds so interesting, Mary. I'm glad you have a book (and diary) so that future generations can read and learn about the fascinating stories that would otherwise be forgotten.

>43 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. The recovery was slow but I'm finally getting back to my regular routine and very glad to do so. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures I shared.

Ago 9, 8:34 pm

>44 The_Hibernator: I enjoy fantasy in small doses, Rachel. I'm definitely more of a realistic fiction fan.

>45 Copperskye: I agree about the blatant racism in the 1970s. We've come a long way since then, thank goodness.

I think you have two good reasons to read The Snow Child, Joanne. It's funny that you have a signed copy and no memory of it. Enjoy your cold reading this winter. I'll be on the beach in my reading life trying to get warm!

Ago 9, 8:55 pm

Book No. 62: The Maid by Nita Prose. Library, Read for my Book Group, 336 pp., 3 Stars.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did but I couldn't overlook the multiple inconsistencies and loose ends in Molly the Maid's story. I thought the author did a pretty good job of portraying her main character as being neurodivergent, at least to the best of my knowledge. I liked the endearing beginning, but the repetition of Molly's belated grandmother's axioms got old quickly. I got very impatient with so many things that didn't make sense to me. I've been in some luxury hotels but have never seen a maid in the lobby with her trolley of cleaning equipment. The legal scenes in the police station and in the courtroom violated so many procedures that I lost all confidence in the author. I know many people overlook details but I'm unable to do so. There were 13 people at Book Club and most of them had thoughts similar to mine. A few others just looked at it as a "fun" read not to be taken seriously.

Ago 9, 9:09 pm

Book No. 63: Coventry by Helen Humphreys. My book, 180 pp., 4 Stars.

This is my third book by Ms. Humphreys, and I have enjoyed all of them. This opens on the roof of the Coventry Cathedral with Harriet doing a favor for a friend by filling in as a firewatcher during the nightly bombing raids by Germany during WWII.

It should be routine, but this is the night the Germans got serious, and fires broke out everywhere overwhelming the volunteers. Harriet joins forces with a young man half her age as they seek a safe place while also looking for Jeremy's mother.

It's a fast-paced harrowing story of an unlikely friendship in terrifying circumstances. My only quibble with Ms. Humphreys' books is that they are too short.

Ago 11, 1:12 am

>48 Donna828: I own The Maid, and I've read just few pages ,but haven't tried very hard to get into it. Maybe just as well, Donna. Thanks for the reviews. I did love Coventry. It was an excellent read and I think my first introduction to The Blitz. A very powerful read.

Ago 16, 12:44 pm

>22 Donna828: I read Ryan's From a Low and Quiet Sea several years ago and loved it, so I am definitely going to have to track down a copy of that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Donna!

>29 Donna828: >30 Donna828: Adding those to the BlackHole.

>31 Donna828: I get to dodge that BB as I have already read it.

>37 Donna828: I have owned that one for years now. I really need to get it read!

>41 Donna828: I went ahead and ordered a copy of that one because it sounds like it would be a great one for my Jewish Studies reading. Thanks, Donna.

>49 Donna828: Dodging. . .

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Donna! I hope to see you in Joplin in October!!

Ago 16, 1:26 pm

>31 Donna828: I'm just getting back to Einstein's Dreams, one of a quartet of books I had going as August began. (The others were The Dubliners, Our Woman in Moscow, and The Bone Clocks.) After finishing Joyce's marvelous short stories, I felt a bit bogged down, so I slipped in a Mary Roberts Rinehart mystery, The Haunted Lady, then focused on The Bone Clocks. And then, and then...James McBride's new one, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. , dropped out of the Amazon van onto my porch. Since McBride got some background about Pottstown from my brother, who's lived there 50 years, well, I was obligated to read it as soon as it became available. I did read it! It's excellent! So back to Einstein.

Sorry. I got carried away there. :-)

Ago 17, 3:02 pm

Happy Thursday Donna!

Ago 21, 4:17 pm

>50 vancouverdeb: Deb, a lot of people really liked The Maid and I tried to like it but just couldn't overlook the inaccuracies. I tend to do a close reading for my book group picks and came up with a long list of puzzling scenes. Thanks for stopping by.

>51 alcottacre: It's so good to see you here, Stasia. So glad that your life is returning to normal after some rough times recently. I do hope that our meetup works out whenever we decide to Do Joplin!

I'm glad I got you with some book bullets. I think The Postcard would be a very good acquisition for your Jewish reading. I know it helped me to understand some things better about how Jewish people got "trapped" during WWII. Such a horrifying time to read about, but so important to not forget what happened.

Ago 21, 4:36 pm

>52 weird_O: Hello Bill. I love that you got carried away with your reading update. It's easy to do and fun for others to see what catches your eye. I am eagerly awaiting your Einstein report. I don't know why I rated Einstein's Dreams as highly as I did (4*) because I didn't understand much of it. Of course I don't understand my own pedestrian dreams so why should I relate to a genius? Maybe hoping some of it will rub off on me? Anyway, I love the look and feel of the small hardcover book and my plan is to reread right after I read Isaacson's biography of Einstein. Don't hold your breath! I've owned His Life and Universe for over 15 years and it hasn't called my name yet!

>53 The_Hibernator: Happy Monday Rachel! We are having some very hot days here in Southern Missouri (Misery) so what better way to spend them than to update my reading and pay some visits around LT? Catch ya later...

Editado: Ago 21, 4:50 pm

Book No. 64: The Last Ranger by Peter Heller. Library, 287 pp., 3.7 Stars.

It's always a good thing when Peter Heller writes another book. This one is all about the wolves in Yellowstone which I find fascinating to read about. Unfortunatley, someone is trapping them and Ranger Ren Hopper is determined to find the culprit. The mystery was okay, but the descriptions of the animals and scenery of Yellowstone were amazing.

Ago 21, 5:15 pm

Book No. 65: No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister. Library, 314 pp., 4 Stars.

Books About Books is one of my favorite subgenres. I liked the little twist in this because it reminded me of Library Thing. We read many of the same books, but we all have our own experiences and opinions about them.

Alice wrote a book called Theo, inspired by her love for her brother. It ended up in the slush pile at a publishing house and was miraculously read by the right reader who pushed for publication. It was interesting to see how Theo came into the right hands at the right time and made some kind of impression on the various readers. It reminded me of Olive Kitteridge. although the connections were much looser as it reached a more disparate group of readers in various localities. It's a love story for book lovers, and I recommend it to my visitors. We need to get the word out!

Ago 21, 5:29 pm

Book No. 66: A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. Library, First in a series, 342 pp., 3.3 Stars.

The verdict is still out on this potential series. I ended up liking the book fairly well despite the grisly beginning in a Taxidermy lab. Not my thing at all. I'm also not crazy about putting pins in beautiful butterflies, and the protagonist, Veronica Speedwell, is a lepidopterist. Oh well, I got over it and rather enjoyed the Victorian mystery aspect and didn't terribly mind the little bit of romantic suspense. I must be getting soft in my old age. Ha! I will try the second book in the series before I make up my mind as to whether or not I want to continue. I miss Maisie Dobbs!

Editado: Ago 21, 5:48 pm

>54 Donna828: Right now, it looks like the Joplin meet up will be October 20th. Catey is planning on coming this year for the first time in a while.

I ordered The Postcard based on your recommendation and hope to have it soon. I agree - it is "so important to not forget what happened."

>57 Donna828: I am also a huge "book about books" fan, Donna, so into the BlackHole that one goes. Thanks for that recommendation!

Ago 21, 6:54 pm

Hi, Donna. Keeping cool? I also just finished The Last Ranger. I also liked it and had similar feelings that you did. Loved the wildlife stuff.

Editado: Ago 22, 12:59 pm

Hi, Donna! I’ve been lurking without commenting but have been enjoying your reading adventures.

>56 Donna828: Dog Stars is the only Heller I’ve read. Perhaps this is a good time to remedy that.

>57 Donna828: I too enjoy books about books. And bookstores. And libraries. Another one for the wishlist.

>58 Donna828: I have read this series. A couple of the books were a bit tedious or over-the-top imo, but, overall, I have enjoyed it.

Have a lovely rest of the week and rest of the summer!

Ago 24, 9:36 am

>56 Donna828: *sigh* I really need to get this one!

Ago 24, 12:47 pm

Hi Donna -- here I am catching up after having lost your thread somehow. Loved the photos and info about your grandkids up top. Grandchildren are definitely one of life's great rewards!

Also saw your comments about Maeve Binchy book you read. I would definitely suggest you continue with her. It's been long time but I've read all of her books and enjoyed them.

Ago 24, 2:11 pm

Happy Thursday, Donna!

Ago 26, 5:35 pm

>59 alcottacre: October 20 is now highlighted on my calendar, Stasia. It will be good to see Catey again.
I will be shocked if you don't love The Postcard.

>60 msf59: Today is a bit cooler than the upper 90s and tomorrow will be a blissful 85 degrees for a high, Mark. I haven't been suffering alone and, to be honest, I've just chosen to stay in as much as possible so I haven't been suffering much at all.

Peter Heller didn't disappoint us with his latest. I rather liked The River, but The Guide was not his best work. He always does a good job with nature descriptions, and I don't skip a book because of that consistency. They are quick reads.

>61 Storeetllr: Mary, you definitely need to read The Dog Stars. After all, you know the author after meeting him in Boulder. I may still have a crush. *Blush*

Thanks for sharing your experience with Veronica Speedwell. I think I will enjoy the continuing story. I mostly read series books for a break between heavier books and enjoy the character development. The relationship between V and Stoker is an odd one and will provide some smiles I'm sure.

Ago 26, 5:49 pm

>62 drneutron: Hi Jim. I hope you get to The Ranger soon. It's a quick read and makes one feel like they are in Yellowstone. A free vacation!

>63 RebaRelishesReading: What a pleasant surprise, Reba. I've been pretty silent on some of the threads but try to keep up with you. I do so agree on Grandchildren being "one of life's great rewards". I've read six of Maeve Binchy's books, but will look up the ones I've missed and keep them on tap as comfort reads. She certainly can transport a reader to a soothing time and place.

>64 alcottacre: Happy Saturday, Stasia!

Ago 26, 8:39 pm

Book No. 67: The Colony by Audrey Magee. Library, 376 pp., 4 Stars.

A small island off the west coast of Ireland is the setting for this atmospheric novel set in the late 1970s when The Troubles came to a head in Ireland. Lloyd, an English painter arrives for his summer retreat somewhat seasick and demanding of his neighbors. Very little English is spoken on the island making it the perfect place for his neighbor the French linguist to do his research on dying languages. These two grumpy men get along about as well as the Catholics and Protestants whose bickering has turned into open warfare which is reported in short brutal news accounts in between the mundane events on the island.

The bleakness of this book was lightened by James, the teenager who helped keep the two boarders fed and cared for while exploring his natural talent for painting and hoping for the chance to leave the island. Always in the background is the history of the cost of imperialism which is as desolate as the cliffs, the cold damp weather, and the boring meals of fish and potatoes with an occasional rabbit for excitement.

This is a book that will stay with me for a long while.

Ago 26, 9:27 pm

>67 Donna828: I really need to get to that book soon, Donna.

Excellent review as always.

Editado: Ago 27, 2:13 am

>67 Donna828: I own The Colony and I need to read it! Mary has told me so, as has Mark and others. So many books, sometimes not enough time! Great review, Donna.

Ago 28, 6:37 pm

Happy Birthday, my friend. I hope you are having a great day. I also recently read The Colony and I am so glad that you loved it. This will be one of top reads of the year.

I hope you are still up for reading The Gift of Rain in September. I plan on starting it in about a week. We will have a couple others joining us too.

Ago 28, 10:37 pm

Happy Birthday, Donna! I'm glad to hear you will be going to Joplin on Oct. 20. It will be good to see you again.

Ago 29, 12:54 am

>57 Donna828: No Two Persons has made it onto my library hold list from your description, Donna. Thanks for the recommendation although I had to think twice when you referred to Olive Kitteridge.

Ago 29, 12:57 am

Happy Birthday, Donna!

Ago 29, 1:11 pm

Happy birthday, Donna (even if late).

Ago 31, 3:53 pm

Happy belated birthday, Donna. Many happy returns. I also loved The Colony.

Editado: Ago 31, 10:07 pm

>68 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. The Colony is one of those books that need to be pondered. I hope you like it as much as I did.

>69 vancouverdeb: Yes indeed, Deborah, you need to listen to your friends. If you like Irish literature you will relish this book.

Ago 31, 9:55 pm

Ah, thanks to Mark, Roni, Deborah, Reba, and Beth for the birthday wishes. The older I get, the more I'd just like to forget about the celebration. My family and local friends made sure that I couldn't do that. It's been a fun few days but I'm ready to move on with my life which will always include reading and this group.

>72 Familyhistorian: I'm glad you are planning to read No Two Persons, Meg. The main thing it has in common with Olive Kitteridge are the short chapters from different points of view. It is more of an homage to books and reading than anything else.

Ago 31, 10:05 pm

Book No. 68: Dessert with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Library, 270 pp., 3.8 Stars.

I may have rushed through this one in order for it to make my August count, but since I plan to read the entire quartet someday, I can take more time with it the next time around. As usual, Merullo focuses on the two brothers-in-law, Volya Rinpoche and Otto Ringling, as they take a road trip and ponder the meaning of life. There is much food for thought in this series with lots of smiles along the way.

Set 4, 7:54 pm

Book No. 69: Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry. Library, 261 pp., 4 Stars.

"Enough time goes by and it is as if old things never happened. Things once fresh, immediate, terrible, receding away into old God's time..."

Tom Kettle is a retired police detective living the good life on the Irish coast. Or is he? Tom has experienced more than his share of losses and his state of confusion is understandable. One must read closely to separate truth from delusion.

There are hidden depths to Tom's story of a phenomenal marriage and family after both he and his wife have experienced hideous childhoods. It's a dark tale that is softened by their love and the compassion shown by others for those undergoing grim circumstances.

Barry's writing is beautiful however the story is oh so bleak. This is the 4th book I've read by this wonderful Irish author. All have been solid and thought-provoking reads.

Set 4, 10:27 pm

Great review of Old God’s Time , Bonnie . I really loved it , but yes , a harrowing read . I’ve ordered another likely bleak book from the Booker Long List , Prophet Song . I listened to a couple of very good reviews of it on book tube , so fingers crossed .

Editado: Set 13, 8:14 pm

>65 Donna828: Senior moment, maybe, but I don’t recall meeting Peter Heller. I do remember loving The Dog Stars, so not all is lost.

>79 Donna828: Sounds interesting, and I’ll add it to the TBR pile for future consideration, but I’m not reading bleak this year. Too much real life bleak for that.

Hope you have a lovely week!

Edited to correct the Touchstone.

Set 6, 8:14 pm

>80 vancouverdeb: Deborah, I’m glad I read Old God’s Time, but now I’m ready for some lighter books. I am following your Booker reading with interest.

>81 Storeetllr: My shaky memory tells me that you and Anne missed those afternoon events and drove up from Denver for dinner with us and the evening activities. Here’s a picture of my joy at meeting one of my favorite authors.

Set 9, 7:11 am

>82 Donna828: Love the photo! Hooray for Peter Heller! I was fortunate to have met him in person too. Good guy.

Happy Saturday, Donna. I finished The Gift of Rain yesterday. It is a terrific debut and highly ambitious. How are you coming along?

Set 9, 7:22 am

>37 Donna828: Happy Saturday! As always, I enjoy the photos of your grandchildren. Can it be that Hayley is 12? I remember the photos of her when she was younger!

I checked my library and found that I also read Snow Child back in 2012. I gave it five stars! Thanks for your lovely review.

Set 9, 11:25 am

>82 Donna828: Oh, nice! Yes, it very well might have happened that way.

Set 11, 8:00 am

>82 Donna828: That is a great shot, Donna. I don't know why but he doesn't look as I would have pictured him.

Set 13, 5:11 pm

>83 msf59: I'm glad you got to meet Peter Heller, Mark. Did you get a hug??? As I mentioned on your thread, I finished The Gift of Rain and liked it a lot but was overwhelmed by the violence in Part 2. I know, it was war...and I'm a wimp.

>84 Whisper1: What a nice surprise, Linda. Haley will be 13 this Sunday! It doesn't seem possible. I don't know why it took me so long to read The Snow Child. Such a good book. Hope all is well with you. I've been a stranger on the threads recently. I'll try to get by to see you soon.

Set 13, 5:15 pm

>85 Storeetllr: Hi Mary. We will just call our Boulder meetup "ancient history" and hope we get a chance to meet up somewhere else while we still can. In the meantime, exchanging pictures and memories will have to do.

>86 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. I think I must have seen a picture of Peter Heller before we met because he was just what I expected. A very personable man and a good author. I hope to run into him when I'm in Colorado the next time. You never know...

Set 13, 7:17 pm

Book No. 70: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. Mine (Kindle), 450 pp., 4 Stars.

"You were born with the gift of rain. Your life will be abundant with wealth and success. But life will test you greatly. Remember--the rain also brings the flood."

Phillip Hutton was born to a wealthy Malayan family, but his life wasn't easy. He was half-Chinese and felt like an outsider. When Philip was a teenager, he discovered the world of aikijutsu from his new neighbor, a mysterious Japanese man, and found a sense of purpose and belonging. Endo-San was a gifted teacher of martial arts, but as it turns out, he was also a big wheel in the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

The first section of the book had a meandering pace with the slow buildup of tensions about the spreading war and some eloquent descriptions of the beauty of Penang, "an island so vulnerable, so easy to pluck, like a child awakened by kidnappers at night from his bed." I loved learning about Malaysia before WWII. The second part was brutal, and I had to take frequent breaks for relief. (I deducted half of a star for mental anguish.)

As the war crept closer, Phillip slowly realized he had been betrayed and tried to undo some of the damage by examining his loyalties and making moral decisions about his limited choices. It was hard for his family to know whose side he was really on. Ultimately, he suffered much guilt and spent his last years trying to make sense of those years of Japanese occupation of his beloved island.

Set 13, 7:40 pm

You've read some good ones recently, Donna. Luckily both The Gift of Rain and Old God's Time were already on my wishlist.

Set 13, 8:15 pm

Book No. 71: Victory City by Salman Rushdie. Library, Book Group, 350 pp., 3.8 Stars.

Best Ending Line Ever: "Words are the only victors"

This was one of the most divergent books our little group of ten has read. One member could only read the first four pages before quitting while another said it was the most moving book she had ever read. I'm kind of in the middle somewhere. I had to force myself to keep going and was glad that I did. Once I got past the difficult names and got into the retelling of an actual lost civilization in 15th Century India, I was hooked.

I could write pages, but briefly this was a retelling of an epic poem buried in the ruins of Victory City, also known as Bisnaga in the book. The city emerged from the magic seeds given to a young girl, Pampa Kampana, after her mother walked into the pyre with many of the other women in their village who had lost their husbands in war. Pampa was favored by a goddess and was given wisdom and a long life of 247 years. There was lots of magic realism here and themes of creation, empire building, reincarnation, feminism, Hindu mythology, religion, greed, etc.

I liked Rushdie's Midnight's Children better, but he is definitely a talented author. I am looking forward to the brief memoir he is planning to write about last year's Chautauqua experience.

Set 13, 8:26 pm

>90 BLBera: And I know you've also recently read Victory City. It was a great book for discussion last night.

Set 13, 9:24 pm

>82 Donna828: Yes, I think that's right. Fun day and a great souvenir! Did I take that photo? (My memory is pretty bad...)

I actually met him two more times after that - shortly after in Ft Collins when he was at CSU for a reading when Chris was a student (an excuse for a mid-week visit), and again at the Tattered Cover on Colfax a couple years later. Since he lives here, there are more opportunities.

I had Old God's Time checked out from the library several weeks ago but I don't think I was in the mood for something that threatened to be dark. I'll definitely give it another try, though.

Set 14, 1:41 am

Great picture of you and Peter Heller! How exciting! Nice review of The Gift of Rain. I an wondering whether I should order The House of Doors as part of my attempt to read a few of the Booker Longlist, but I think I will wait until the Booker Shortlist is announced September 21.

Set 15, 2:40 pm

>56 Donna828: Peter Heller has been on my radar. I'm glad that you enjoy his work. I might give his books a try.

>82 Donna828: Very cool meeting him!

Set 16, 11:40 am

Good to know that Victory City is a good book club book, Donna. I'll keep it in mind for future choices.

Set 16, 8:49 pm

>93 Copperskye: You sure did take that picture, Joanne. And you did a good job! Lucky you living in Heller Country. I doubt I'll run into him when I visit Hope and family in Brighton.

I sure understand about mood reading. And, yes, Old God's Time is definitely sad and dark at the same time. I probably should have held off on following up with The Gift of Rain...another downer. But both were very good books.

>94 vancouverdeb: Deborah, I think Tan Twan En's book will be on that Booker Shortlist. He is a gifted author for sure. I will let a little time go by but will definitely read The House of Doors. It's almost time for the shortlist to be released. September is flying by!

Set 16, 9:08 pm

>95 thornton37814: Hi Lori, I do hope you get to the Heller books. I've enjoyed all that I've read. He writes mostly adventure stories set in the western mountains with lots of good descriptions of nature. I was very excited to meet him at a writer's event in Boulder, CO. I also met up with some other LT friends. Good times!

>96 BLBera: Victory City made for an excellent discussion, Beth. I think when we all love the book, there isn't nearly as much to talk about. I hope we convinced the one who gave up on page 4 to give it another go.

Set 16, 9:24 pm

Book No. 72: Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop by Alba Donati. Library, 192 pp., 3.5 Stars.

"People want stories. It doesn't matter who wrote them; they need stories to take their mind off things, stories to identify with or take them elsewhere. Stories that won't hurt, that will heal a wound, restore trust, instill beauty in their hearts."
(Page 85)

This was such a pleasant book after the heavy ones I've been reading. I almost feel like I've been to Alba Donati's snug little bookstore that serves her village of 180 inhabitants in beautiful Tuscany. As promised, it is a memoir and does give a detailed look at the author's life over a 6-month period. It included details about her childhood and family along with the difficulties of opening a bookstore at the beginning of the Covid restrictions. Of course, my favorite parts were the everyday details of bookselling and all that wonderful book talk.

Set 16, 10:31 pm

>99 Donna828: I also enjoyed this one, Donna. :)

Set 20, 2:23 pm

You know, I've never read a Salman Rushdie book. Something he said was off-putting once - can't remember what anymore. I usually don't skip an author just because I don't like him as a person, but it makes me less likely to pick up a book, apparently

Editado: Set 26, 2:06 pm

Book No. 73: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Library, 390 pp., 4 Stars.

"Courage is the root of change, and change is what we're chemically designed to do."

Elizabeth Zott is not your typical housewife of the early 1960s. She just happens to be a mother and portrays a chef on afternoon television, but in her heart she is a chemist, and a very talented one at that. This was an interesting concept for a book, but I'm not sure that the juxtaposition of misogyny in the workplace and a dog with a working vocabulary of 500 words worked (although I did love the dog). This was a mixture of tragedy and fun that was a bit of a roller coaster ride. I managed to relax and enjoy what the author was attempting. My takeaway? Like science, life is unpredictable.

Set 26, 2:14 pm

>100 BLBera: I know, Beth. I appreciated your review and immediately requested it from the library. You never let me down.

>101 The_Hibernator: His books are not easy to read, Rachel. I also suspect that he might be off-putting in person. I think he has been divorced 4 times. Maybe not the easiest person to be around? I do like the two books I've read by him, though.

Set 26, 3:50 pm

>67 Donna828: I loved that one when I read it, Donna. I am glad to see you enjoyed it as well.

>78 Donna828: Weird Bill gave me that one last year for Christmas and I really need to get it read!

>79 Donna828: I am slated to read that one in October. I hope I like it as much as you did.

>89 Donna828: Dodging that BB as I have already read it.

>91 Donna828: Already in the BlackHole or I would be adding it again!

>99 Donna828: I own that one and need to read it.

>102 Donna828: Loved that one!

I hope to see you in Joplin, Donna!

Set 27, 12:05 pm

>103 Donna828: Thanks Donna. I am happy that you have liked the same books I liked. No pressure. :)

Set 30, 12:49 pm

>104 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, I am planning on the Joplin trip on October 20. You threw me off on your thread when you mentioned you would be traveling during that time. Well, it is a trip I guess. Where else will you be going?

>105 BLBera: On a very rare occasion we might disagree about a book, Beth, but you and I tend to enjoy the same types of books. Thanks for being such a dependable resource.

Set 30, 1:00 pm

Book No. 74: Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo. My copy, 549 pp., 4 Stars.

“Throughout his life a case study underachiever, Sully—people still remarked—was nobody’s fool, a phrase that Sully no doubt appreciated without ever sensing its literal application—that at sixty, he was divorced from his own wife, carrying on halfheartedly with another man’s, estranged from his son, devoid of self-knowledge, badly crippled and virtually unemployable—all of which he stubbornly confused with independence.”

This is my second go-round with this book. I entered it on LT in 2017 when I read #2 in the "New Bath" series, but I actually read it back in the 1990s before I was on LT. It was fun to revisit the quirky and generous Donald Sullivan (Sully) who has many personal flaws and makes questionable life choices. He is in his 60s and still struggling to overcome a pathetic childhood. There is lots of humor in these books, along with colorful characters and even some scenes that made me blush.

Set 30, 2:00 pm

Book No. 75: Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo. Library, 527 pp., 3.5 Stars.

I enjoyed this sequel when I read it in 2017 but not so much when I reread it this week. I didn't like that the main focus was on one of the secondary characters in the original, Chief of Police Doug Raymer, who played a clueless cop in Nobody's Fool. He is now bordering on insanity after his wife dies and he spends most of his time trying to find the man with whom she was in the process of joining forever when she fell down the stairs and died. Sully is a decade older (now 70) and given only a year or two to live. He's still quirky but is in his right mind and still my favorite character.

There is still plenty of humor in ludicrous situations, but the overall tone was darker and even depressing in some parts. I am almost afraid to read the newest installment which is waiting for me at the library. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to read the three books so close together? Stay tuned...

Set 30, 8:43 pm

>106 Donna828: I am heading to Longview to visit my mother on 10/14 then on the 19th (after Catey gets off work) I will be heading to Joplin with Catey in tow and will be returning with her to Longview on the 21st. I will not be heading home to Sherman until the 29th.

>107 Donna828: I still have not managed to read that one. My local library has the following 2 books, but not the first one! Arg.

Out 1, 7:41 pm

>108 Donna828: Are you moving on to Somebody's Fool now?

Out 2, 4:07 pm

I'm reading one now that might be one you would like, Donna. It's The Whalebone Theatre, and while I am only halfway through, I am loving it. It is wonderful historical fiction, starting in 1914, the beginning of WWI. Cristabel, the daughter of the house is a great character.

Out 6, 8:10 pm

>109 alcottacre: Got it, Stasia. I'm looking forward to Joplin, but if it is raining or (heaven forbid) snowing, I may opt out at the last minute. I hate driving on 1-44 with the truck drivers, especially when the roads are unpredictable. Crossing my fingers for decent weather on the 20th. I'll be glad to pass on my copy of Nobody's Fool to you. The print is tiny but it's the same edition that is in our library so I guess that's just the way it is.

>110 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I'm taking a short break before I read Somebody's Fool. I seem to have too many library books checked out right now. I'll get to it later this month. Have you read it?

>111 BLBera: I'm not familiar with that title, Beth. I'll wait to hear your final verdict before I reserve a copy. Our library has several copies available. I do love me some good historical fiction so I am intrigued. Thanks for thinking of me.

Out 6, 8:22 pm

Book No. 76: Learned By Heart by Emma Donoghue. Library, 323 pp., 3.3 Stars.

All of the Donoghue books that I have read have been eloquently written about suffering in one form or another. Her latest is about two teen-age girls in a boarding school in York, England in the early 1800s. The topic is first love, something we have all experienced in differing ways. It's a personal and emotional lasting memory that shapes our lives to different degrees.

This is a true and well-researched story that was well executed but one that I couldn't personally relate to, so all the pathos was wasted on me. Apparently, I wasn't the intended audience, although I'm glad I read it and will keep on reading this talented and versatile author's books.

Out 6, 8:54 pm

Congratulations on reaching 75 books, Donna.

Out 7, 3:00 pm

>108 Donna828: Congratulations on reaching 75, Donna!

Out 7, 3:57 pm


Out 7, 4:19 pm

Congrats on getting to (and passing!) 75, Donna.

Out 7, 5:57 pm

Happy Saturday, Donna. Congrats on hitting #75! The reviews on Learned By Heart have been a bit lackluster. She is usually quite reliable. May your next read be a fine one.

Out 7, 6:22 pm

>112 Donna828: Well, that gives you something to look forward to :). Congratulations on reaching 75!

Out 7, 8:19 pm

Congrats on reading 75 books!

Out 7, 10:31 pm

Congratulations on reading 75 books , Donna ! I purchased Learned By Heart , so I hope I will enjoy it .

Out 8, 1:28 pm

Congratulations on reaching 75, Donna. I will probably give the new Donoghue a try at some point.

Out 8, 4:14 pm

So many visitors! Thanks for the congrats from Paul, Anita, Jim, Mary, Mark, Reba, Anita (in Canada), Deborah, and Beth.

>118 msf59:: I have like all of Donoghue's books to different degrees, Mark. They can't all be home runs!

>119 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I'm definitely looking forward to the third book in Russo's North Bath Trilogy. I just needed a change of pace before I head back there.

>121 vancouverdeb: I was fascinated by the historical aspect of the story, Deborah. It just didn't turn out to be a favorite of mine. I hope you love it.

>122 BLBera: Beth, I will be looking forward to your comments after you read Donoghue's latest. It is definitely a worthwhile read.

Out 8, 4:41 pm

Book No. 77: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. Library, 340 pp., 4.5 Stars.

"Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?"
Epigraph by Pema Chodron.

I don't usually love books about teenagers (maybe I'm still recovering from raising three of them?) but this one resonated with me. I remember the true event of the young girl being the sole survivor of an airplane crash years ago. I often wondered how someone survives something this devastating. I thought Napolitano did an adequate job of portraying Edward's shock and slow rehabilitation back to functioning in society. But even more I loved the strong friendship that developed between Edward and the special girl next door. This is a great book about compassion and devotion. I think I need to read more of Ann Napolitano's earlier books.

Out 9, 1:13 pm

Just a quick visit to say hi and congrats on hitting (and passing) the 75 book mark! Have a lovely week!

Out 9, 1:25 pm

Adding my congratulations on reaching the magic number 75, Donna!

Out 13, 1:50 pm

Congratulations on 75!

Out 16, 4:20 pm

A big hello to Mary, Joanne, and Rachel. Thank you for more congratulations on attaining "the goal". My unofficial goal is 100 books. That number just seems to work out well for me. When I try to read more than that, I feel rushed. I like to take the time to savor a book I'm loving and then let it "rest" a day or two before I write about it. We all have different styles which I why I enjoy LT so much.

Out 16, 4:37 pm

Book No. 78: Matrix by Lauren Groff. Library, 260 pp., 3.5 Stars.

Set in 12th Century England, 17-year-old Marie is informed by her beloved Queen Eleanor that she is to become a prioress at a rural abbey. She is the illegitimate half-sister of the queen and has never fit into the court scene that she loves. The abbey is dark and cold, and she finds the nuns in a state of starvation, with too many fresh graves in the graveyard. After a period of grief and self-pity, Marie taps into her inner strength and starts making the changes that slowly transform the abbey to prosperity.

The book was both bleak and atmospheric with strong feminist leanings. I found it to be a mixture of faith and fairy tale with elegant writing that borders on being too ostentatious for my brain, although the words I had to look up were probably appropriate to the times. Sometimes I can be a lazy reader, but I took the extra time with this book.

Out 20, 11:02 pm

Thank you for coming to the Joplin meet up today, Donna! It was great to see you again!

Editado: Out 22, 1:49 pm

It was a fun day for sure, Stasia. It was good to see everyone after missing last year. We could not have had a more beautiful day for driving and taking a little walk after our book buying. I didn't make a big haul, but am so happy with my two new acquisitions:
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett which I have not read for some crazy reason and Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf. I've been searching for that one for some time now. It completes the books set in Holt, Colorado by Haruf that I've been collecting. I will do a reread of the series in the next year or so.

Editado: Out 22, 1:46 pm

Here is the picture taken by our lovely server.

Starting on the left and working around the table: Stasia, Catey, Me (Donna), Terri, Vickie, and Roni. Catey is Stasia’s daughter (who had the biggest haul) and Vickie is Roni’s friend from Kansas. We had three states represented this year: Missouri, Texas, and Kansas. We’re hoping to get more participants next year. ALL are welcome!

Editado: Out 22, 2:26 pm

Book No. 79: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Library, Book Group, 146 pp., 3 Stars.

This was my book group's October selection. I chose my son's birthday dinner over the meeting and was going to skip the book because I don't do "horror" but this one was pretty tame. I'm calling it a "Creepy Classic" and think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been at the discussion.

Two sisters live with their disabled Uncle Julian in a mansion that has seen better days on the outskirts of a small town. Constance takes care of the little family while teenager Mary Katherine (Merricat) buries objects on their property and hangs out with her cat Jonas. It's been five years since they lost the rest of their family members to arsenic poisoning. Constance is accused but exonerated. Since that time the townsfolk have been harassing them in big and small ways, so they live mostly in isolation...until Cousin Charles comes to "help out".

It was a small book but very putdownable. I'm not a gothic fan and mainly found the book to be bleak and more weird than spooky.

Editado: Out 22, 10:42 pm

Book No. 80: The Trees by Conrad Richter. Library, 312 pp., 3.6 Stars.

It's the late 1700s and The Luckett family is having a hard time surviving in Pennsylvania, so they decide to head west...all the way to Ohio. Food (deer, etc.) is more prevalent here however there are few people and other resources. I've always loved pioneer stories, so this modern classic (published in 1940) worked out better for me than the last one. Sayword is the oldest daughter, and we experience most of the hardships through her eyes.

The language is on the archaic side though I got used to it fairly quickly. Here is a short passage to give an idea of the old-fashioned writing. I loved Richter's description of autumn:

"Sayword went about her business. If her mother and father didn't care how soon the snow flew and them living in a half-faced leanto, it was nothing to her. The gums along the river flew their colored rags. Sassafras mittens hung a kind of red-yellow and the dogwoods flushed up like the wattles of wild turkey gobblers. Of a morning the pinch of frost nipped your legs, and acorns in the deer paths were mighty hard on bare feet. The woods air smelled fermented as cider. And the hill hooters of a night tried to raise the dead."

Out 22, 5:47 pm

>132 Donna828: Great pic! Looks like you all had a wonderful time! Meetups are such fun! I miss out Colorado meetups.

Out 22, 6:03 pm

>132 Donna828: Lovely to see you all got together in Joplin again. Thanks for sharing, Donna!

Out 22, 10:48 pm

>135 Storeetllr: Oh me, too, Mary. Those were special times.

>136 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. We are trying to put a small town in Southern Missouri on the LT map! None of us live there. Stasia and Terri determined many years ago that it was halfway between their homes in Sherman, Texas and St. Charles, MO. The rest is history. ;-)

Out 23, 8:31 am

Great Meet Up photo, Donna. So far, I have only met Roni in person but would love to meet the rest of you. It is an 8 hour drive from here. Doable, but still far. We will see.

I am assuming Benita couldn't make it, because of her Mom?

Out 23, 12:10 pm

Great meet-up photo, Donna! I'm glad you were all able to get together this year.

Where You Once Belonged is the one Haruf book I haven't read. I have it on the shelf but I seem to be saving it. Probably because it'll be my last of his.

Out 24, 1:18 pm

>132 Donna828: Great photo, Donna. It sounds like you had a great meetup.

Out 26, 5:46 pm

>138 msf59: Mark, you could visit Branson while you're in the area. Now you want to come, don't you? Yee-haw!

I was sorry that Benita couldn't make it this time. Yes, there were some things she had to take care of regarding her mother. Family comes first.

>139 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. The Haruf books are so good. I'm looking forward to reading them in close proximity. I'm sure I will fall in love with his writing and Holt, Colorado all over again.

>140 BLBera: Yes, it was another great time in Joplin. We are hoping you can come south one of these years. Maybe you and Julia could carpool. She knows the way!

Editado: Out 26, 6:40 pm

Book No. 81: The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan. Library, 400 pp., 4 Stars.

This is a non-fiction book, but it reads almost like fiction because it is so personalized. Bashir is a Pakistani Muslim who goes to the house he lived in until his family was driven away when he was only 6. He's in his early 20s when the borders reopened 19 years after the 6-Day War in 1967. What a surprise to find Dalia, a young Jewish woman close to his age who welcomed him into the house that they have in common. This is just the beginning of a long-term friendship of two families who are supposed to hate each other. Both the Israelites and the Palestinians are victims, and both are capable of brutality.

I recommend this book for greater understanding of this culture clash in the Middle East. It seems that the U.S. news media promotes more sympathy for Israel, a small country surrounded by a large population that does not recognize their right to exist. On the other hand, the Palestinians were driven from their homes when Israel was established in 1948. Can two different cultures with such different beliefs and both victims of unfair treatment abide in such close proximity? Is there a middle ground? Probably not. It's an impossible situation because there is so much hate on both sides. My heart aches for these people.

Out 28, 12:41 am

Hello Donna. Great to see the photo of your meet up. I bet a wonderful time was had by all! And great choice of books for your mini haul. I must read more of Haruf and you can never go wrong with A. Patchett I think! Hope all's well!

Out 28, 10:51 am

>141 Donna828: Great idea, Donna. Now that I am retired...

Out 28, 12:36 pm

>142 Donna828: So very well said, Donna

Out 30, 4:01 pm

>143 mdoris: All is well in my little world, Mary. I hope you are recovered from your illness by now.

>144 BLBera: Exactly. No excuses! Haha.

>145 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba. It was an eye-opening reading experience for me. So many grievances on both sides with no solution in sight.

Editado: Out 30, 4:40 pm

Book No. 82: Somebody's Fool by Richard Russo. Library, 453 pp., 4.2 Stars.

"Try something. If that doesn't work, then try something else."

Although it has been nearly two years since Donald Sullivan (Sully) died, he is still an influencer in the small town of North Bath, New York which is in the process of being incorporated into the more prosperous nearby town. Hard times may have come on this community, but the inhabitants are persistent and eke out their livings and try to enjoy their lives.

We see a lot of Sully's kindness through the eyes of his son Peter, who is a college professor and entrepreneur of an alternative newspaper which highlights the trendiness of their neighboring community of Schuyler Springs. He has even taken Rub, Sully's oldest and neediest friend, under his wing. The alternate story is about the law enforcement (or lack thereof) in the blended villages.

While change is inevitable, there remains the small town feel to this book and its two predecessors. The characters are mostly pretty messed up, but they certainly are memorable. I really enjoyed my recent visits to North Bath and highly recommend this trilogy that is guaranteed to make you laugh and/or cry, sometimes both at the same time.

Out 30, 7:52 pm

>147 Donna828: I am a big fan of Russo and I too thoroughly enjoyed all three books in the trilogy.

Out 31, 6:34 am

>147 Donna828: Excellent review, Donna, and it makes me happy that you enjoyed the whole trilogy. Like Reba, I'm a Russo fan.

Nov 5, 7:12 pm

>148 RebaRelishesReading: and >149 lauralkeet:: Hi Reba and Laura, my fellow Russo fans! I was sad to finish the trilogy but am so glad I took the time to reread the first two so I could read them all fairly close together. I am going to miss North Bath, New York and the memories of Sully. I thought Russo did such a good job with keeping his spirit alive in the third book.

Nov 5, 7:52 pm

Book No. 83: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Mine, 322 pp., 3.8 Stars.

I am a big Ann Patchett fan but passed on this one when it came out seven years ago. I think I had read too many "messy family" stories and couldn't bear the thought of another one. I'm glad I saw it on the shelf in the Joplin bookstore and remembered recent talk on LT about it. Thank you, Joanne!

It was still a big mashup of two families, a divorce and second marriage of the father of four children to the mother of the other two, a move across the country which confuses the family lines even further. I ended up having to make up a "cheat sheet" of the six children, their original parents, and then the step-parents. In the end, it was worth the confusion and concentration to keep everyone straight. If you like solving puzzles, this is the book for you!

Nov 5, 8:13 pm

Book No. 84: Network Effect by Martha Wells. Hoopla Audio, 352 pp., 3.8 Stars.

I enjoy this zany series about a lovable cyborg (I think)...whatever Murderbot is or whatever gender he/she is makes no difference. I'm not even sure if the stories are fantasy or science fiction, but I don't care, because they are pure entertainment.

I started listening to this on my trip to and from Joplin a few weeks ago and finished it yesterday while raking leaves. I think I could have followed the story line better if so much time hadn't elapsed. I was also surprised that this was a full-length novel rather than the shorter versions I had been listening to. I am looking forward to more adventures with my favorite sentient robot in outer space. ;-)

Nov 6, 1:53 pm

I read Commonwealth back in 2017 and don't remember much about it other than I liked it (checked and found I gave it 4 stars). I do like Patchett's work though and you make me wonder if there is something of hers I should add to the pile by my chair.

Nov 6, 2:11 pm

>131 Donna828: Patchett is always good, Donna, although Commonwealth was not my favorite. I am jealous of you getting the Haruf book! I am going to have to pick up a copy of that one.

>142 Donna828: Adding that one to the BlackHole.

>152 Donna828: Glad to see you are still enjoying the Murderbot series. I love it too and am very much looking forward to the new one being released soon.

Thank you for coming to Joplin! Please give my regrets to Nancy that she could not come!

Nov 6, 2:55 pm

I really liked Commonwealth, and if I remember right, I think there are autobiographical elements in it. I realized that after reading her collection of essays.

I love Murderbot. I think there's a new one coming soon.

Nov 7, 6:28 am

Just chiming in with love for Commonwealth. It was a 5-star read for me, back in 2016. I have a similar memory as Beth about autobiographical elements.

Nov 13, 9:31 pm

>153 RebaRelishesReading: I've loved most everything Patchett has written, Reba, with the exception of Patron Saint of Liars (read in 2003 and Run which just didn't set well with me for some reason. I read it in 2008 and actually wrote a review which used the word "bland" and ended with "pleasant but easily forgotten". Most of the others (I've read 10) got 4 stars with the exception of the wonderful essays in These Precious Days which got 4.5 stars. This is probably way more than you wanted to know! I am patiently waiting for Tom Lake from the library.

>154 alcottacre: Hi Stasia, Murderbot is a lot of fun. It made a good listen to Joplin and back home. Nancy is still settling into her new home, which she will leave early in December to spend 3 months in South Texas for some warmer weather. Her youngest daughter and family live in The Woodlands so they bought a home there several years ago. She wanted to hear all about the Joplin trip and loved the picture and your short hair.

Nov 13, 9:47 pm

>155 BLBera: and >156 lauralkeet: You are both correct about the similarities between Ann Patchett's childhood and the six children in Commonwealth. In These Precious Days she shares some personal stories about her parents' divorce when she was 3 and how she was shuttled between the two families in her formative years. It certainly gave her credibility in writing about those kiddos in Commonwealth, although I got the impression that Ann wasn't traumatized about the situation.

Nov 13, 9:57 pm

Book No. 85: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. Library, 375 pp., 3.2 Stars.

The new teenage girl in town is murdered and the inhabitants of this Shetland Island village immediately recall another murder of a younger girl 10 years ago. They suspect the same man who lives alone and is mentally challenged.

The chief detective, Jimmy Perez, is going by the book and looking into all possibilities. He is very methodical. I rather liked the slow pace so I could revel in the descriptions of the island and its interesting citizens while he ponders the case. I'm looking forward to book No. 2 in the series.

Editado: Nov 13, 11:20 pm

Hi Donna, Hope that you had a great weekend and have some wonderful books on the go!
I really liked A Patchett's essays too These Precious Days. I think I'll read the Ann Cleeves the Matthew Venn series. Have you read those? I think there are now 3 of them.

Nov 14, 12:35 am

I can't believe I've not visited your thread in so long, Donna. I love the picture of the meetup , and I think maybe I saw it on Stasia's thread. You all look great! I think Beth also recommended The Lemon Tree. so that is one I hope to get to in January, perhaps. My library does have it, so that's good.

Like Mary, I am also enjoying the Matthew Venn series by Ann Cleeves. I did enjoy the Jimmy Perez series,though I did not read all of them. I've been watching Ann Cleeves Vera Stanhope series on Britbox lately, and I've also read some of that series.

Nov 14, 5:54 am

>151 Donna828: That is a read that I originally picked because of the cover. Patchett knows family dynamics!

>152 Donna828: I really want to start this series soon. It sounds excellent

Hope you have a great Tuesday.

Nov 14, 6:24 pm

>157 Donna828: I haven't read all that many of Patchett's novels but I am going to make a conscious effort (well it really doesn't take much effort) to do so because I like what I've read.

Nov 15, 5:18 pm

>160 mdoris: I have only read the one book by Ann Cleeves so far, Mary. I will continue to chip away at the Shetland Series and then might move on to one of the others. I'm in kind of a reading lull right now with Thanksgiving prep going on. It's not so much the cooking (which hasn't started) but the cleaning that is so slow for me. It doesn't help that we will be kid and dogsitting this weekend, although I do love to see them spend time with us.

>161 vancouverdeb: Deb, no worries about not visiting. Mine is one of the quieter threads in the group so you can usually get caught up in a hurry. I simply don't have much time for LT anymore. It's good to know that the other Ann Cleeves' series are good. I think you will enjoy The Lemon Tree. It gives some great background about the Jewish/Muslim difficulties. I liked having the perspectives of both sides.

Nov 15, 5:22 pm

>162 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita. I need to get over to your thread to see what's happening in your world. You are spot on about Patchett's experience with family dynamics. I find it sad when kids' lives are disrupted, but i suppose it does make them resilient. The Shetland mysteries are very atmospheric. I'm looking forward to reading more.

>163 RebaRelishesReading: Reba, I don't think you can go wrong with Patchett. Even the ones I rated lower were pretty good. The subject matter just wasn't that appealing to me.

Editado: Nov 15, 5:42 pm

Book No. 86: The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. Library, Read for Book Group, 436 pp., 3.3 Stars.

Most of the members of my book group liked this one better than I did. I loved parts of it, but I tend to think Ms. Quinn's embellishments to the history part of historical fiction are too much. She takes an interesting story and turns it into a romantic suspense book. As my leader pointed out, most people love that idea. I'm more of a "let's stick to the facts" which were pretty intriguing to me.

Basically, the story is about a female Russian sniper who left her son with her parents and volunteered for the army on the day of the German invasion. She was a skilled marksman and worked her way up to becoming a sniper known as Lady Death with 309 confirmed victims. After her fourth serious injury she was sent on a propaganda tour of the U.S. and became close friends to Eleanor Roosevelt. To me that was enough for a very good read. I downgraded my rating because of the implausible ending.

ETA: To the author's credit, in her notes at the end of the book, she separated the fact from fiction.

Nov 15, 6:09 pm

Happy Wednesday, Donna. How are you doing? I see the books are treating you fine. I gave Commonwealth 5 stars. It may be my favorite Patchett. I am glad that you enjoyed it. She has been on quite a roll. So, is Raven Black worth my time? (3.2 stars). I am looking for another audio mystery series.

Nov 15, 6:49 pm

>157 Donna828: Please tell Nancy whenever you can "Thank you" for her comments regarding my short hair. I really like it too!

>159 Donna828: I just finished that one too and liked it slightly more than you did. Like you, I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

Nov 16, 2:09 pm

>167 msf59: Hi Mark. I am too busy these days. Both my reading and time on LT have been suffering. Looking forward to the cold winter months and wallowing in my books.

I usually rate series books lower than stand-alones for some reason. I think Stasia gave you the green light in her comment below yours. I also will gladly continue this series.

>168 alcottacre: I’m glad you will be reading the Shetland series, too. I liked it but am trying to be more conservative in my ratings.

I also like your short hair, Stasia. I see or at least talk to Nancy frequently and will pass along your message. I have to keep my neck warm in the winter so I am letting my hair grow. ;-)

Nov 19, 6:10 pm

Hi Donna, I'm glad you enjoyed Commonwealth!

Also glad to see that the Shetland series has a new fan! I've read them all it's my favorite of her series. I loved the setting. And Jimmy Perez. It was originally supposed to be a quartet but thankfully, she added a few more.

Have fun with the kiddos and the dogs and a great Thanksgiving!

Nov 21, 6:36 pm

>169 Donna828: Hi Donna, That made me laugh, growing hair to keep your neck warm in winter. I use scarves, sometimes two at a time, always wool.

Nov 22, 7:29 pm

Dear Donna,

Happy Thanksgiving from an appreciative non-celebrator.

Nov 22, 9:30 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Donna.

Nov 23, 7:56 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Donna. Enjoy the holiday with the family. I will give Raven Black a go.

Nov 27, 8:27 pm

Time sure flies by, especially this time of year. I hope my U.S. friends had a good Thanksgiving. Leftovers are still being served at the Henderson Hacienda! One more day and out they go...

A little reading has gotten done in between preparing the feast and raking leaves...and cleaning this beast of a house. But first I will say hello to my visitors.

Nov 27, 8:35 pm

>170 Copperskye: Thanks for the Thanksgiving greetings, Joanne. It was a fun day around here. We managed to get outside to take some pictures with a few fall leaves floating around. I am looking forward to reading some more in the Shetland series. I have been wanting to give it a go and was not disappointed.

>171 mdoris: Mary, a wool scarf and fuzzy neck gator are part of my morning walk-the-dog gear. Along with 2 to 3 layers, I have been staying warm and toasty.

>172 PaulCranswick: Thank you for the smile, Paul. I love my book group! And I also love my book community on Library Thing. I need to get caught up with you again. You don't make that an easy task, Mr. Popularity!

Nov 27, 8:41 pm

>173 BLBera: Thanks so much, Beth. I hope yours was great as well. We had 11 here and we all managed to squeeze around one table. We will have 14 at Christmas and will have to split up into two adjoining rooms to eat. Fun times ahead!

>174 msf59: I hope you enjoy Raven Black, Mark. Did you see that it is Joanne's favorite series by Cleeves? I'm looking forward to my next "trip" to The Shetland Islands of Scotland. I'm sure Jackson kept your Thanksgiving celebration lively. I miss having a little one around. Our youngest grandchild (Hope in Denver) turned 10 on Thanksgiving Day. We will be together for Christmas so I'm looking forward to that.

Nov 27, 8:59 pm

Book No. 87: Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger. No. 14 in the Cork O'Connor Series. My copy, 352 pp., 3 Stars.

Maybe it's because I was tired with all the holiday prep, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as the other books in the series. I didn't engage with the characters. Even Cork sounded old and tired to me. Haha.

I kind of get the feeling that daughter Jenny will be featured in more of the books. She isn't my favorite character and needs to stay home with her young adopted son. I admired what Krueger tried to achieve by calling attention to the human trafficking of young Native American girls, but overall, the book felt rushed and the writing didn't flow. I sure hope the next one is better.

Nov 27, 9:24 pm

Book No. 88: The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty. Library, 320 pp., 3.6 Stars.

I really enjoyed this fast-paced police procedural set in Northern Ireland during the time of The Troubles. This is a fascinating part of history and the author did a good job of describing the uncertainty of living with car bombs, hunger strikes, and stealth assassinations. The protagonist is Catholic and kind of an outsider who has definite ideas about solving crimes. I'm looking forward to reading more about this period in the late 1900s that I never really understood. Why is there so much animosity between the Catholics and Protestants? I hope to find out...

Nov 27, 9:34 pm

Book No 89: Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri. Library, 176 pp., 4 Stars.

I can understand why this book has such mixed reviews. It is short and doesn't really go anywhere. The narrator lives alone in an unnamed Italian city and writes about her meanderings around her neighborhood. I tend to love introspective writing and Lahiri is one of my favorite authors. She can make a trip to a stationery store sound fascinating. I almost cried when she went back and found that it had turned into a luggage store. The vignettes were on the short side and tell the story of a lone woman who isn't lonely. It was just the thing I needed to unwind after a houseful of hungry family members left and we returned to our own quiet little lives.

Nov 27, 9:40 pm

I am happy to see that you got some reading in over the holidays, Donna, and were not just cooking!

>180 Donna828: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for the recommendation.

Ontem, 11:13 am

Hi Stasia. I did plenty of cooking for Thanksgiving which was good practice for Christmas. The whole family (all 14 of us) will be here. Happy Days!

I hope you like Whereabouts. Save it for when you need a quiet read...very quiet. ;-)

Ontem, 11:24 am

I came here to post my latest two books and got sucked into a rabbit hole. Apparently I can't even keep up with my own thread. I had quite a few books where I didn't add any Tag comments. I even forgot to rate two of them! It's a good thing I also keep a written reading journal to jog my memory.

My DH keeps telling me I try to do too many things...and I think he is right. I have to remember that I am an introvert and I don't have to have something planned for every day. Haha. I'm committed until Summer on several of the groups I'm in so I have time to ponder which ones give me the most joy.

My two biggest time suckers are Duplicate Bridge and Bible Study Fellowship, which is equivalent to a college course in terms of study and preparation for the weekly 2-hour class. Sigh...big decisions ahead. Both of those are stress-inducing every single week. Bridge is year-round and the bible study lasts 9 months.

Ontem, 11:43 am

Book No. 90: The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt. Library, 342 pp., 3.3 Stars.

Opening Line: "The morning of the day Bob Comet first came to the Gambell-Reed Senior Center, he awoke in his mint-colored house in Portland, Oregon, in a state of disappointment at the fact of a dream interrupted."

I loved the beginning of this book. Bob was a likable man in his 70s who reminded me of the protagonist in my last book in that he enjoyed walking around Portland looking for interesting things. He found a lost woman in a convenience store and promptly returned her to the group home where he ended up as a volunteer. All well and good until the author decided to ramble through 200 or so pages of backstory that didn't engage me. Too much! It was mildly interesting, but I wanted more of the story about the old folks. ;-)

Editado: Ontem, 12:05 pm

Book No. 91: Island Home by Tim Winton. Mine, 241 pp., 3.5 Stars.

This book is subtitled "A Landscape Memoir" but I would have called it A Love Letter to Australia. Tim Winton is one of my most dependable authors. I've read three of his books and he has made me fall in love with his native country.

In his memoir he expands on the uniqueness of the Australian continent or "island" as he calls it. He relates the influence his upbringing on the wild side has had on his life and writing. It's not a book everyone will enjoy but if you want to learn more about 'the land down under" this is a good one to read. He even throws in a chapter about how he became an author shares a bit about his writing process. Good stuff.

Editado: Ontem, 12:43 pm

Somehow I ended up with my Favorite Books of the Year posted here instead of the top of my page... It's fixed. I think I need a nap!