Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Final pages

É uma continuação do tópico Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Page 4.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Beth's Books (BLBera) 2023 - Final pages

Editado: Nov 19, 6:58 pm

I am Beth, a recently retired English instructor. I read eclectically, mostly fiction, with essays and memoir and poetry also in the mix. I have certainly expanded my reading horizons here.

I generally don't plan my reading. I do belong to a real-life book club and have some shared reads with other LT members. I would like to read more from my shelves this year, but those shiny new library books are SO tempting.

Please feel free to lurk or post. It has been a great year of reading, and I hope to continue in 2024.

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” - Elizabeth Hardwick

Editado: Ontem, 11:30 pm

Currently Reading
I usually have a fiction, nonfiction, and poetry book going at once.

Editado: Nov 19, 7:01 pm

I don't tend to plan my reading, but I do belong to a book club and do some shared reads on LT.

Book Club Selections
January: Wintering ✔️
February: The Word Is Murder ✔️
March: The Stone Angel ✔️
April: The Constant Rabbit ✔️
May: A Ladder to the Sky ✔️
July: The Poisonwood Bible✔️
August: Agatha Christie month ✔️
September: Meeting Jesus for the First Time ✔️
October: French Braid ✔️
November: Silence ✔️
December: Small Things Like These

Shared Reads
January: The Candy House✔️, Your Duck Is My Duck✔️
February: Horse ✔️
March: Demon Copperhead ✔️
April: Stone Blind ✔️
May: Trespasses ✔️
July: A Children's Bible ✔️
September: 11-22-63 ✔️
October: Cat's Eye ✔️
December:The House of Doors
January: The Vaster Wilds

Editado: Ontem, 1:06 pm

Read 2023 - Q4
105. Deadline 🎧
106. The Windeby Puzzle*
107. The Whalebone Theatre* 💜
108. Escape Clause 🎧
109. The Art of the Wasted Day* 💜
110. The Fraud
111. The Best American Poetry 2013*
112. The Vaster Wilds 💜
113. The Puppets of Spelhorst*

October Reading Report
Books read: 9
By women: 7
By men: 2

Novels: 5
Young reader fiction: 2
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 4
My shelves: 5

114. Cat's Eye*
115. Deep Freeze 🎧
116. What You Need to Be Warm*
117. The Lost Library 🎧
118. Silence*
119. The Raging Storm
120. Tom Lake*
121. System Collapse 🎧
122. Not that Bad*
123. The House of Doors
124. Alias Emma
125. So Late in the Day*
126. Holy Ghost 🎧

*From my shelves

Editado: Nov 19, 7:07 pm

Read 2023 - Q3
72. Nefertiti*
73. Leave the World Behind*
74. The Poisonwood Bible* 💜
75. A Children's Bible* REREAD
76. Ghosts of Spain*
77. Nightbloom*💜
78. The Memory of Animals💜
79. The Secret Adversary 🎧
80. Portraits in Fiction*
81. The Midnight News

July Reading Report
Books read: 10
By women: 8
By men: 2

Novels: 8
Nonfiction: 2

From my shelves: 7!!
Library: 3

82. Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop
83. 33 Minnesota Poets*
84. Victory City 💜
85. El Viento Conoce Mi Nombre
86. Not the Ones Dead
87. The Sun Walks Down 💜
88. When I was A Child I Read Books*
89. The Last Beekeeper
90. Uncaged* 🎧
91. Outrage*
92. Rampage* 🎧

August Reading Report
Books read: 11
By women: 6
By men: 1
By couple: 4

Novels: 8
Memoir: 1
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 8
My shelves: 3

93. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time*
94. Shock Wave 🎧
95. Artemisia
96. In the Margins*
97. Mad River 🎧
98. Take What You Need
99. Fortune and Glory 🎧
100. French Braid REREAD
101. Break Blow Burn*
102. 11/22/63*
103. Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles
104. Storm Front 🎧

September Reading Report
Books read: 12
By women: 7
By men: 5

Novels: 7
Graphic novel: 1
Essays: 3
Biography: 1

Library: 8
My shelves: 4

Editado: Nov 19, 7:12 pm

Read in 2023 -Q2
35. Memphis
36. Who Owns the Clouds*
37. I Have Some Questions for You
38. Old Babes in the Wood 💜
39. A Killing of Innocents
40. The Constant Rabbit*
41. Just the Plague
42. The Great Enigma*
43. Quarrel & Quandary*
44. Stone Blind*
45. Trespasses 💜
46. The Dog of the North
47. The Faraway World 💜

April report
Books read: 13
By women: 11
By men: 2

Novels: 8
Short stories: 2
Young reader: 1
Poetry: 1
Essays: 1

From my shelves: 5
Library: 8

48. Pod* 💜
49. Homecoming
50. A Ladder to the Sky*
51. The Marriage Portrait*
52. Trace Elements*
53. Dark Angel
54. Cursed Bread
55. Blood Substitute*
56. The Last Remains
57. Devotions*
58. How to Live or A Life of Montaigne*
59. Black Butterflies* 💜
60. The Hero of this Book*
61. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret 🎧

May report
Books read: 14
By women: 12
By men: 2

Novels: 11
Poetry: 1
Nonfiction: 1
Young reader: 1

From my shelves: 9
Library: 5

62. Independence
63. Why Mermaids Sing*
64. Where Serpents Sleep*
65. A Town Called Solace*💜
66. Early Morning Riser*
67. Schooled in Death*
68. The Bookwanderers*
69. Death Comes Knocking*
70. Death Sends a Message*
71. Everything Under the Sky*

Books read: 10
By women: 10

Novels: 10

From my shelves: 9
Library: 1

Editado: Nov 19, 7:15 pm

Read in 2023- Q1
1. Portrait of an Unknown Lady
2. The Consequences of Fear*
3. Network Effect 🎧
4. Little Big Bully*
5. The Man Who Could Move Clouds
6. Wintering*
7. Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces*💜
8. A Dangerous Business
9. A World of Curiosities
10. Twenty and Ten
11. Super-Infinitive
12. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair*
13. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands 💜
14. Twisted Twenty-Six 🎧
15. Your Duck Is My Duck*

January Report
Books read: 15
By women: 14
By men: 1

Novels: 8
Short stories: 1
Poetry: 1
Memoir: 3 (1 graphic)
Biography: 1
Essays: 1

Library: 9
From my shelves: 6

16. The Light Pirate 💜
17. The Word Is Murder*
18. The Sacrifice of Darkness
19. Burn This Book*
20. Horse
21. Cold Cold Bones
22. The Inquisitor's Tale*
23. The Bandit Queens
24. Midnight at Malabar House
25. Notes of a Native Son*
26. Dinosaurs 💜
27. A Lethal Lesson

February report
Books read: 12
By women: 8
By men: 4

Novels: 10
Essays: 2

Library: 8
My shelves: 4

28. The Lions of Fifth Avenue*
29. A Field Guide to Getting Lost*
30. Sharks in the Time of Saviors* 💜
31. H Is for Homicide* 🎧
32. A Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands
33. Ex Libris*
34. The Alice Network*

March report
Books read: 7
By women: 5
By men: 2

Novels: 4
Essays: 2
Nonfiction (history): 1

From my shelves: 6
From a friend: 1

Editado: Nov 19, 7:17 pm

You must read this

98. Take What You Need
Idra Novey's novels are quietly thoughtful, and I have loved all of them, especially Ways to Disappear. Her latest, set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, is another good one.

Jean is Leah's stepmother. After Jean left Leah's father, he didn't allow Jean to see Leah, and they have become estranged. The novel is their story, told in alternating chapters. Jean has remained in the dying town of Sevlick, living on a street filled with deserted houses. Yet, she has never let her subscription to her art magazine lapse, and she has filled her house with sculptures, her "Manglements." She is inspired by Agnes Martin and Louise Bourgeois. Leah has left, spending her time trying to get over what she sees as Jean's betrayal.

Jean is the star of the story. Her life shows that art can exist anywhere and be created by anyone. And despite the fact that she lives in such a dreary place, she finds fulfillment. As she says, "Why had it taken so long to figure out, what kind of careful work would bring a happiness so full and deep that doing it just one minute without falling off a ladder would feel like a gift?"

If you enjoy character-driven novels, you might want to give Novey a try. I think she deserves more recognition.

Editado: Nov 19, 7:18 pm

Nov 19, 7:07 pm

Happy new thread Beth!

Nov 19, 7:13 pm

Happy new one, Beth!

Nov 19, 7:18 pm

Welcome, Susan and Katie. You are too fast for me!

Nov 19, 7:21 pm

From my last thread:

Before starting The House of Doors, I decided to pick up a couple of Maughm short stories: "The Book-Bag," one of my favorites, and "The Letter," which Eng says inspired him.

"The Book-Bag" opens: "Some people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent, but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praiseworthy. Of that lamentable company am I...And like the dope-fiend who cannot move from place to place without taking with him a plentiful supply of his deadly balm I never venture far without a sufficiency of reading matter. Books are so necessary to me that when in railway train I have become aware that fellow-travelers have come away without a single one I have been seized with a veritable dismay."

Sound familiar?

Nov 19, 7:21 pm

Happy new one, Beth!

Nov 19, 8:49 pm

Happy new thread, dear Beth.

Nov 19, 10:44 pm

Happy new thread. >8 BLBera: sounds good.

Nov 20, 12:34 am

Happy New Thread, Beth.

Nov 20, 3:54 am

Oooh, new thread! I am in time to see the start of something :)

>8 BLBera: and a solid rec to start with! Colour me interested!

Nov 20, 5:33 am

Happy new thread, Beth!

Nov 20, 12:38 pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 20, 12:48 pm

>8 BLBera: I already have that one in the BlackHole or I would be adding it again. Unfortunately, my local library does not have any of Novey's books.

Happy New Thread, Beth! Have a marvelous Monday!

Nov 20, 2:50 pm

Welcome Shelley, Paul, Rhonda, Deborah, Megan, Anita, Jennifer, and Stasia. I hope everyone's week is starting strong.

Here's some reading for you:

The first "best-of" list I've seen.

Nov 20, 6:28 pm

Happy new one, Beth!

Nov 20, 10:00 pm

Thanks Jim.

Nov 21, 6:07 am

HAppy new thread!

Nov 21, 9:37 am

Happy new thread!

Nov 21, 2:27 pm

Happy new thread Beth. I love the range of your current reads.

Nov 22, 11:38 am

>1 BLBera: I have that Kenyon volume, need to nudge it up again, and The House of Doors is one of my books of the year Beth.

I'm currently reading the complete poems of Ursula K Le Guin, slowly.

Nov 22, 12:37 pm

Dear Beth:

I think of you and am very grateful for your outreach to me in sending such kind messages. I hope your Thanksgiving will be warm and wonderful!

Nov 22, 2:45 pm

>25 figsfromthistle:, >26 thornton37814:, >27 charl08: Thanks Anita, Lori, and Charlotte.

>27 charl08: I love the Kenyon poems, Caroline. I just read one this morning that I wanted to copy here, maybe because summer is over.

>28 Caroline_McElwee: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Linda.

Nov 22, 2:50 pm

"Camp Evergreen" by Jane Kenyon

The boats like huge bright birds
sail back when someone calls them:
the small campers struggle out
and climb the hill to lunch.
I see the last dawdler
disappear in a ridge of trees.

The whole valley sighs
in the haze and heat of noon. Far out
a fish astonishes the air, falls back
into its element. From the marshy cove
the bullfrog offers thoughts
on the proper limits of ambition.

An hour passes. Piano music
comes floating over the water, falters,
begins again, falters...
Only work will make it right.

Some small thing I can't quite see
clatters down through the leafy dome.
Now it is high summer: the solstice:
longed-for, possessed, luxurious, and sad.

Nov 22, 8:08 pm

Dear Beth

Happy Thanksgiving from an appreciative non-celebrator.

Nov 22, 9:14 pm

>32 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Love it.

Nov 23, 7:56 am

Happy new thread! Grateful for my LT community.

Nov 23, 9:48 am

Thanks Karen. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Nov 23, 4:47 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Beth. Sigh, I checked out that "Best of the Year List" and I am coming to the realization that I will never get caught up in my reading. I'm still working on "new" books that are three years or older!

Nov 23, 7:09 pm

>22 BLBera: I love the list! Lots of books I have read, and more to read! Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 24, 9:31 am

Hi Beth, just a quick hello to say I love your book reviews, though nothing especially twigged me to add to the TBR pile.

Nov 24, 11:53 am

>36 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy. Yes, I think we would have to live forever.

>37 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deborah.

>38 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks Sandy. Maybe next time.

Nov 24, 12:52 pm

Happy new thread! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Editado: Nov 25, 7:58 pm

122. The House of Doors
I've always admired Somerset Maughm's stories, with their ability to immerse the reader in a certain time and space. The ones that have stuck with me are the ones set in Malaysia. Tan Twan Eng's new novel, The House of Doors has the similar quality -- as I read I inhabited Malaysia in the early 20th century, before WWII.

The novel is reportedly inspired by Maughm's story "The Letter, " which is in turn inspired by a true story. As Maughm says in The Summing Up, "Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can scarcely distinguish one from the other." I always enjoy seeing how artists take inspiration from life or other works and make something new. In this novel, Tan has taken ideas from "The Letter," and made something new.

Most of the story of the novel revolves around Lesley and Robert Hamlyn, who host "Willie" Somerset Maughm for a couple of weeks in 1921 in Penang. While Maughm is visiting, Lesley tells Willie stories about her marriage, about Ethel Proudlock, and about Sun Yat Sen, who also spent time in Penang. These stories show us the cultural divides present in Penang, and the societal restrictions on sex, race, class. They also show us the power of stories, how stories help us remember and make sense of our lives.

Recommended. Now I also want to revisit more of Maughm's work.

Nov 25, 2:23 pm

>40 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary.

Nov 25, 2:27 pm

>41 BLBera: I am slated to read that one in December and I am really looking forward to it. Glad to see you enjoyed it, Beth.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Nov 25, 4:31 pm

>41 BLBera: I am definitely going to get around to that one. Funnily enough, we frequently drive past a house with a little plaque to Sun Yat Sen. The first time I saw it I was very confused: why is there a plaque to a Chinese leader on a house in a small village in the English countryside? But apparently he was a regular visitor there whilst in exile.

Nov 25, 7:59 pm

>43 alcottacre: I hope you enjoy House of Doors as much as I did, Stasia.

>44 SandDune: It is really good, Rhian. I think you will like it.

Nov 26, 9:41 pm

Happy New (and presumably last for 2023) thread, Beth!

I loved The House of Doors and I don't know that I've read anything by Somerset Maugham since high school. I would love to read some of his stories, and perhaps most especially The Casuarina Tree (?). Maybe we could do some shared Maugham reading in 2024....

Nov 26, 11:35 pm

Sounds like a plan, Ellen. I love his stories.

Nov 27, 8:59 am

123. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
This collection of essays is heartbreaking and really hard to read, yet it is important that these stories be told and witnessed. As I read, I thought about how much we need to change our culture, and how we need to work harder to protect children; many of the writers were raped or assaulted as children by people they should have been able to trust. Any many weren't believed when they told their stories.

It is a good collection with writers who have had a wide variety of experiences. Just prepare yourself; it's not easy reading.

Nov 27, 9:21 am

>48 BLBera: - I've had that one on my shelf for a few years, Beth, but haven't been able to make myself pick it up (yet).

Nov 27, 9:24 am

>48 BLBera: Brave sharers of these tales.

Although the perpetrators of rape aren't exclusively male, the majority are and so our nations are falling down in relation to their education about sexual and emotional behaviour, in many respects because parents are often squeamish and don't want their children to be taught better or too early. The fact that from a young age children can now access online footage their parents may not even imagine means this could get worse! In the UK they say boys may have seen hard core porn by age 9 and girls by 12.

Nov 27, 9:59 am

>49 katiekrug: I read it over the course of a month, Katie, and at times, I wanted to stop, but in the end, I think that was a good way to do it. The writing is great, by the way.

>50 Caroline_McElwee: They are brave, and there are a variety of experiences here. Not all of the victims are women; a few men also share their stories of assault. The online stuff is abysmal, Caroline. One essay reminded me of Scout, and how she will be entering middle school next year. The writer talks about the culture of harassment that exists, making fun of girls as they develop breasts, slapping butts, etc. I talked a little to my daughter and said I hope that this is not condoned in schools now, but I am afraid that it still goes on. One thing about Scout is that she does talk about things and people that bother her at school, so I hope we can keep her safe...

Nov 27, 7:01 pm

Happy new thread, Beth. I hear you about those shiny new library books. They are my downfall! Not That Bad looks like something I should read.

Nov 27, 9:15 pm

It's an important book, Meg, but not easy reading.

Nov 28, 10:01 am

124. Alias Emma
Alias Emma is a thriller that introduces spy Emma Makepeace, and while it is an entertaining read, ultimately it reminds me why thrillers are not my chosen genre. Plot often triumphs over character, and that is certainly the case here. The plot is a familiar one; Emma must get someone to safety, crossing London before morning. The challenge is to avoid the CCTV cameras.

Glass keeps us turning the pages, making for an entertaining read, and fans of thrillers may like this one. So, if you are in the mood for a thriller, it is refreshing to see a woman spy. I probably won't remember much about this in a few months.

Nov 28, 10:11 am

I just started a collection of essays by Siri Hustvedt, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women. At 500 pages, it will probably take me into next year. The first section is a collection of essays about art exhibits, but she also is very interested in science and concerned that science and art don't always talk to each other.

A few quotes from the introduction:
"The fragmentation of knowledge is nothing new; but it is safe to say that in the twenty-first century the changes of a genuine conversation among people in different disciplines has diminished rather than increased."

"Two central claims I make in this book are that all knowledge is partial, and no one is untouched by the community of thinkers or researchers in which she or he lives."

"To one degree or another, every person on earth is both a beneficiary and a victim of scientific invention. It does not follow, however, that reading history, philosophy, poetry, and novels or looking at works of visual art or listening to music does not also transform people's lives, both for better and for worse. Although such changes may be less tangible, it does not render them less real or somehow inferior to the effects of technology. We are all creatures of ideas."

I will probably make notes on this collection as I read.

Nov 28, 10:17 am

>54 BLBera: - I have a copy of this on my shelf, picked up in a random sale, I think. I do enjoy the occasional thriller...

Nov 28, 10:20 am

It's entertaining, Katie. My mom recommended it to me. :)

Nov 28, 1:35 pm

>48 BLBera: I watched a recent interview of Bridget Phetasy on the excellent U.K. podcast Triggernometry. She discussed the rape that happened to her over 20 years ago with such emotional immediacy that it was deeply concerning. I will be reading Not That Bad even though it sounds like very difficult book to read and thank you for your excellent review Beth. .

Nov 28, 2:09 pm

>55 BLBera: I have been meaning to get to that for a while. I have her Mothers, Fathers and Others nearer to hand, and my eye settled on it only yesterday. I have her Shaking Woman on slow read among my non-fiction at the moment too. She's a writer I really like Beth.

Nov 28, 3:40 pm

>58 mdoris: I listened to that podcast and realized it was not from my pov at all. It very much sounds like there is a framing of parental support for trans youth as forced sterilization. I'm not sure of that because there was so much weaseling with words going on and certain terms always seemed to come out mumbled.

Nov 29, 9:44 pm

>58 mdoris: Thanks Mary.

>59 Caroline_McElwee: Hustvedt is one of my favorites, Caroline, both her essays and her fiction. I just finished her essay on an exhibition of Picasso and a couple of other artists and their paintings of women, the titular essay.

>60 quondame: Hi Susan.

Ontem, 10:26 am

From A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women
First two essays are good ones:

"A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women" is the first essay in Hustvedt's collection and describes an exhibition of Pablo Picasso, Max Beckman and Willem de Kooning and their paintings of women. I really like how she begins with her feelings as she looks at the painting.

"Balloon Magic" starts with the sale of a Jeff Koons orange balloon dog for $50 million plus. But mostly it is about context and how we don't view things in a vacuum: "There is no pure sensation of anything, not in feeling pain, not in tasting wine, and not in looking at art. All of our perceptions are contextually coded, and that contextual coding does not remain outside us in the environment but becomes a psycho-physicological reality within us, within is why a famous name attached to a painting literally makes it look better." There's also a bit about how men artists always sell for more than female artists, also related to context.

Ontem, 12:57 pm

125. So Late in the Day is a great collection of three stories by Claire Keegan. As far as I am concerned, she can keep writing short stories and novellas forever.

In these stories, she manages to reveal character and show us one moment in his or her life. In "So Late in the Day," we meet Cathal, and though the story is told from his point of view, we get a pretty accurate view of him as he considers various life events. "The Long and Painful Death" provides us with a wonderful, tongue-in-cheek view of the writing process, while "Antarctica" takes a very dark turn.

I love the cover, but it doesn't really reflect the various settings of the stories. Still, it is striking.

Ontem, 1:04 pm

126. Holy Ghost
This is another good audiobook in the Virgil Flowers series. In this one, Virgil goes to the town of Wheatfield, Minnesota, to investigate a shooting. The small town had been dying until a recent sighting of the Virgin Mary in the local Catholic church. Virgil has to discover whether the shootings are related to the sighting and what the motive is. I liked this one because the culprit isn't revealed until close to the end. It kept me guessing.

Ontem, 2:38 pm

>63 BLBera: Hi Beth - I loved this too! I've never been a short story fan, mostly because I worry that I'll never remember plot/characters, etc. But I think Cathal will stay with me for a long time

Ontem, 3:43 pm

Yes, Vivian. He will stick with me as well, especially the story about his mother. I don't often read story collections but usually like them when I do. Margaret Atwood's Old Babes in the Wood will be one of my favorite books this year, I think.

Ontem, 5:16 pm

Hi Beth, I just finished two of Claire Keegan's short story collections and was riveted. i look forward to reading So Late in the Day.

Hoje, 1:22 am

Hoje, 1:53 am

>63 BLBera: I've held off buying / reading this as the story So Late in the Day is just published alone here. Your review has given me a nudge though, hopefully the 15 people ahead of me in the library queue will read a shorter book faster?

I love the cover on your edition - the UK one is a completely different style.

Hoje, 2:17 am

nice book

Hoje, 9:34 am

>68 quondame: Enjoy, Susan.

>69 charl08: I'll have to check out the UK cover; this one matches, in style, the cover for Small Things Like These, which I am rereading for this month's book club. One would think that shorter books would be returned faster, but good luck with that.

>70 amanaggarwal1: Thanks.

Hoje, 9:40 am

Today's essay in Women Looking at Men Looking at Women is "My Louise Bourgeois." Bourgeois is a sculptor who I had not heard of before reading Take What You Need. Novey credits her for inspiration for the character of Jean. Well, Hustvedt is a big fan, and it turns out that Harry from The Blazing World is also inspired by Bourgeois.

Hustvedt also points out (again but it bears repeating) that women artists' work earns much less than male artists' work.

She also points out that the experience of art is very personal, but influenced by other experiences: "In other words, we bring ourselves with our pasts to artworks, selves and pasts."

And: "But good art surprises us. Good art reorients our expectations, forces us to break the pattern, to see in a new way."