VioletBramble's 75 for 2009

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2009

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VioletBramble's 75 for 2009

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:26 pm

I've been lurking around LT and various groups for a year and a half now. I've finally decided to join in. I read 71 books in 2008. That's a record high for me since I started keeping track of my reading in 2000. That's 20 books more than I read in 2007. I must admit that it helped that I was home sick for 3 weeks in November and did nothing but read books. I doubt I'll be able to reach 75 in 2009 but I hope to have fun trying.
Every January I write out a list of the books I plan to read that year- always from my large TBR pile. At the end of the year I usually find I've actually read only 30% of the planned books. 50% of the books I end up reading come from the rest of the TBR pile and 20% are newly bought books. Anyone who's interested in seeing my planned reading list can check out my profile page. I have the 2009 reading list tagged as "2009" (clever, eh?)

(1) 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. **** A quick read. The story and characters are engaging. The story is about a group of neighbors in a building of flats in Edinburgh. Each chapter tells the story of a different character and is relatively short -- initially the story was serialized in The Herald. I loved the illustrations at the end of some of the chapters. I'm a sucker for illustrations. I have 2 more books in this series on the TBR pile that I look forward to reading. For some reason I thought it was a mystery series. It's not.

Jan 3, 2009, 3:35 pm

Hi VioletBramble, Welcome to the group!
I am a newbie to the 75 books challenge aswell, i don't think i will get near to passing the challenge as my life is quite hectic, but like you i hope to have fun trying.
LittleWish x

Jan 3, 2009, 3:43 pm

Welcome and good luck to both of you.

Jan 4, 2009, 1:20 am

Welcome to the group! I hope you have a good time with us.

Editado: Jan 4, 2009, 3:25 am


You will get lots of encouragement from this group and lots of suggestions to add to your TBR. :-) Welcome--we look forward to see what you will be reading. I'm especially interested in the poetry you will read. I, also, try to read at least one poetry book a month. And remember--75 is a goal, not a requirement. Enjoy your reading. That's the "requirement!"

ETA--yes, Stasia. I know I should take my own advice!

Editado: Ago 13, 2020, 6:05 pm

Thanks for the welcome everyone. All these threads are going to be hard to keep up with. How do you do it?

#5 MusicMom - I'm currently reading poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Simple, eloquent, beautiful imagery. Have you read any of his poetry? This is the first time I've read his work.

(2) The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon. *** This is one of the books in the New York Review Children's Collection. This book contains 27 short stories most of which I would characterize as fairy tales or fables. Most of the stories contain some type of moral lesson. It would be a great book for bedtime stories, most of the stories are 4-6 pages long (a few are longer than 10 pages). Like a lot of children's literature there are too many princesses and princes, kings and queens in these stories. This book is suitable for both boys and girls.

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 2:30 pm

(3)Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley *****
An entertaining, quick read. Somewhat dated -- written in 1917. Loved it!

Jan 6, 2009, 12:59 pm

I agree that, although a bit dated, overall Parnassus on Wheels is a delightful read!

Jan 6, 2009, 4:50 pm

I read Parnassus on Wheels and was very charmed by it. It is a little dated, but that's part of the charm.

Jan 6, 2009, 9:41 pm

Welcome! Is there any chance your user name is a reference to the character in John Crowley's novel Little, Big?

Editado: Ago 18, 2020, 10:39 am

Hi Fog-struck. Thanks for the welcome. Yes, my user name is from Little, Big. It's one of my favorite books. When I joined LT I was tired of the user name I'd been using at other sites. I decided to pick a name from the book -- it was between Violet Bramble and Ariel Hawksquill.

(4) The Rebel's Silhouette by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. ****
Selected poems from the authors major works. A combination of poems about imprisonment, torture and execution written about (possibly during) his years as a political prisoner, interspersed with beautiful ghazals. The language is simple yet eloquent.

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 3:03 pm

(5) The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley ****
Sequel to Parnassus on Wheels. Also entertaining and quick. I didn't enjoy it as much as PoW though. Parts of the "mystery" didn't make much sense. I realize the suitcase needs to be placed at the bookshop to bring the bookshop and its staff into the story at the end , but ---if I was the person who made the thing in the suitcase, a thing which could implicate me in some serious criminal activities, I would want to make sure it was safely delivered to the right person. I wouldn't leave it in the care of the young heiress down the street. It did make me want to hop on the train to Brooklyn and check out the neighborhood. Not that 90 years later there would be anything left of that neighborhood.

Jan 9, 2009, 4:35 pm

#12: I did not even realize there was a sequel to Parnassus on Wheels. Thanks for the mention. I will see if I can track down a copy, even if it is not as good as the other. I would still like to read it.

Editado: Out 26, 2020, 1:43 pm

#13: I think you should be able to find a copy easily. Any decent library should have it. Also, there is a recent reprint available. I think you'll like it-- the part about the bookshop and books is as charming as PoW, but the mystery has some plot holes. Helen and Roger have opened a bookshop in Brooklyn - Parnassus at Home-- after WWI and inadvertently become involved in a plot, involving books, chefs and pharmacists,that targets President Wilson.

Jan 9, 2009, 7:23 pm


I just requested The Rebel's Silhouette from my library. Thanks for the suggestion. It may take a while to get here--there is only one copy in our entire multi-county California Central Valley library system. You wonder who picks the books! This one sounds like it would be very pertinent to the times we live in.

Editado: Ago 18, 2020, 10:56 am


I hope you like the poems. I can't imagine that your wait for the book would be too long. There's probably not a waiting list for that particular book. No one I know has even heard of Faiz. I can't even remember where I heard about him. Probably an Amazon recommendation. I'm looking forward to reading what you think about the book.

Jan 9, 2009, 8:42 pm

Parnassus on Wheels was a favorite of mine in high school - along with I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I think I must have read them around the same time, because when I think of one, I usually also think of the other. I took PoW audiobook out of the library recently. Now I have even more incentive to listen to it! I'm pleased to hear that so many others have enjoyed it as well.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:27 pm

#17 muddy 21
I really liked I Capture the Castle. I didn't read it until I was in my (late) 30s. It's the kind of book I would have loved if I had first read it as a teenager. How was the PoW audiobook? Who is the narrator?

I haven't done much reading in the last few days. Work getting in the way of my reading as usual. I have four books in progress-
The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
The Best American Travel Writing 2006
Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut!
The Thin Place

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 3:02 pm

(6) The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition - Caroline Alexander ***** NonFiction
In 1914 Shackleton and a crew of 27 set out to cross the Antarctic continent on foot. Before they reach land the Endurance becomes trapped in pack ice in the Weddell Sea and eventually is crushed by the pressure from the ice. The crew and sled dogs end up living on the ice floes for months. They eventually escape to land utilizing three small 22 foot open boats. The use of passages from the diaries of Shackleton and the crew help you feel invested in their survival. The photographs by expedition photographer Frank Hurley are amazing and add much to the story. The text is very good, but reading that they rode out storms in 22 foot boats didn't mean that much to me. Seeing the photographs of how small those boats were was more impressive and gave me a better sense of just how miraculous their survival really was.

(7) Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut! --Paul Feig. ***1/2
I wasn't exactly sure how to categorize this book so I'll just quote from the book jacket -- "Part comic adventure, part science fiction and part fantasy, this debut kid's novel is wholly entertaining"
12 year old Iggy is bullied at school. He dreams of being rescued from his life by extraterrestrials - who he thinks would be nicer to him.He builds a spaceship out of garbage cans and fire crackers. When he tests his spaceship for the first time the resulting explosion blasts him into another frequency. This frequency is inhabited by various bizarre creatures and its leader is a former English teacher from Iggys school. This teacher and a girl named Karen (also from Iggys school) have been living in this frequency since they were also involved in explosions. The teacher has become a dictator, even enslaving some of the inhabitants. Iggy and Karen become involved in a fight against him to free the creatures of this world.
I bought this book because the author, Paul Feig, is the creator of the tv show Freaks and Geeks -- the best tv show ever. Because of this I will buy anything this man writes. This book was okay, it was a cute story and I did really like the character Iggy. I prefer Feigs humorous memoir-like short stories though.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:27 pm

(8) The Thin Place -- Kathryn Davis **1/2 Fiction
The story centers around three young girls, Mees, Lorna and Sunny, who live in the small town of Varennes. Mees has the ability to bring the dead back to life. The story is told from multiple points of view -- of the people and animals of Varennes, plus some ancillary materials-- and mainly takes place in the spring and early summer of one year. It's the story of the life of a town and it's people for this period of time.
The book starts with multiple short chapters, 2-3 pages, that each introduce another character. At first it was difficlut to remember each of the characters and their relationships to other characters. I found the chapters about the three girls and the animal characters interesting. The rest of the story was boring and felt like padding around the story of the girls. In the chapters involving adult characters Davis would allude to information we readers haven't been given yet. I usually have no problem with this as a storytelling technique, but felt it was over used in this book. At the end there were still a few loose threads.
This book was recommended to me by a few people in my book club. I was really looking forward to reading it. Overall I found the book boring and couldn't wait to be finished.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:27 pm

(9) The Clue of the Missing Bagpipes. (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #41) -- Carolyn Keene **1/2
Mystery, Classic series.
Nancy travels to Scotland to find a missing heirloom and meet her great-grandmother.
I somehow missed reading this book as a child. The fact that it takes place in Scotland made me buy the book. I always preferred Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew. Nancy always seemed like a know-it-all. In this book she learns to play a song on the bagpipes "in a few minutes". Oy.

Jan 22, 2009, 10:19 pm

> 21
LOL on the bagpipe prodigy. I, too, preferred Trixie Belden and had an entire set of Trixie...until my mother gave them away while I was at college!

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:28 pm

#22 --I would be so mad at my mother if she gave my books away.I have the Trixie Belden books up to #28 or so. I think there are more after that I haven't read. I left them at my parents house also. My mother recently lent them to my 13 year old niece. My mother introduced me to the Trixie Belden books and she's hoping to do the same for my niece. However; my niece is the first non-reader in the family. Her recent discovery of the Twilight books and obsession with them has given my mother some hope that she can turn the niece into a reader.

Editado: Dez 31, 2017, 7:40 pm

(10) The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett **** Fiction
The Queen of England becomes an avid reader late in life. I saw this book reviewed on multiple threads here and it sounded like the type of book I'd enjoy. I'm glad I broke my "no new books added to the 2009 reading list" rule for this one. It was a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read.

(11) Chasing Kangaroos. A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature by Tim Flannery *** NonFiction, Science
This is basically a biology and ecology book, but is also part memoir. Flannery spends decades searching the Australian outback and outer islands for the fossil remains of now extinct species of kangaroo. He compares these remains to the anatomy of the over 70 species of kangaroo in existence in Australia. He's searching for the species that is the grandfather of all kangaroos. Flannery wants to determine the evolution of kangaroos , esp in regards to hopping and when kangaroos developed this unique form of locomotion. Flannery includes the biology of not just kangaroos, but walabys, quokkas, musky rat-kangaroos, euros, opossums and more. Kangaroo pregnancy and digestion (interesting but completely disgusting) are also discussed. The anatomy and physiology of kangaroos and their relationship to the flora and larger ecology of the land is the focus of the book. We learn almost nothing of the social aspects of kangaroo life apart from reproduction.
This is the first Tim Flannery book I've read. I have two of his books on my TBR pile -- The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers. I probably should have read The Future Eaters prior to this book. Throughout the book Flannery mentions how new discoveries fit in with his "Future eaters hypothesis". He neglects to mention what his hypothesis refers to until the last chapter. Some of the chapters felt like they came from other writings, they didn't flow with the rest of the book. Also ,-- and I say this as someone who reads scientific and medical journals for work -- he utilizes scientific nomenclature too frequently in a book that's meant for a general audience. In a nutshell -- educational with a few funny bits, but occasionally boring. It did make me interested in learning more about Australian ecology.

Jan 28, 2009, 7:03 pm

Oooh kangaroos! I love animal books. Looking forward to your comments!

Jan 29, 2009, 1:01 am

I like Tim Flannery's books, but have not read that one. I will be interested in seeing your thoughts on it, Violet.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:28 pm

I finally got around to posting reviews for the two books above. It's been a busy week at work.

Breakdown for January:
11 books read
13 books bought
This is pretty good for me. I normally would have bought twice as many books by now. I'd like to say that I've finally developed some willpower that stops me from buying large amounts of books. But, I'm fairly sure the low number is due to the frigid weather this month and a sprained ankle that kept me at home.

Next up:
Watchmen by Alan Moore For bookclub.
The Terror by Dan Simmons
Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

Fev 1, 2009, 9:50 pm

#27: Read two of your next reads and will be reading the third later this year. I cannot wait to see what you think of them!

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:28 pm

(12) Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel The Way You Do by James Thurber and EB White. ** Humor.
A humorous sex advice book using gender stereotypes - men feel trapped in relationships, women like to rearrange the furniture. With Thurber illustrations. I'm sure it was considered very funny and witty in 1929. I found it mildly funny.
In one thread people have been discussing racism in classic or older books. This book makes it clear in two different chapters that it was written for white people. It was jarring- yes, attitudes were different then, but -- EB White and James Thurber-- ?? I didn't expect it from them.

This was my favorite passage:

To prepare for marriage, young girls no longer assembled a hope chest -- they read books on abnormal psychology. If they finally did marry, they found themselves with a large number of sex books on hand, but almost no pretty underwear. Most of them, luckily, never married at all -- just continued to read.

Fev 8, 2009, 7:26 pm

#24, I have Chasing Kangaroos on one of my TBR lists. Thanks for the review. Maybe I can get to it this year. When scanning the news today I read about the fires in Australia and wondered how the kangaroos were doing and how they'll do after the fires burn out. The human death toll is over a hundred. Maybe I should read his global climate change book also because in some of the climate models Australia doesn't fare very well.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:29 pm

The fires in Australia are expected to burn for a few more days. So horrible. 700 homes lost already.
Prior to reading the book I didn't know much about Australia in an environmental sense.I knew how the introduction of rabbits was devastating to the country but I didn't know that irreparable damage was done by settlers introducing European farming techniques. Australias environment is pretty unique.

Editado: Nov 3, 2019, 3:29 pm

(13) Watchmen by Alan Moore. 2.5/5
Graphic Novel
I read this for my book club. This is the second Alan Moore graphic novel that I've read and been disappointed by. Possibly too much hype.
The basic story: masked and costumed crusaders in an alternate history future fight criminals and some work for the government. The world is heading for the next world war and total destruction. Meanwhile, someone is killing off the retired crusaders. While thought provoking -- Does the end justify the means? Who decides what is the greater good? -- I found this hard to get through. It felt like it took forever to read. I didn't like any of the characters. I particulary disliked how all the female characters were overly sexualized. Initially I didn't like the pirate comic that runs behind the main story and reflects the story happening there. At some point I found I was more interested in the pirate story.

(14) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Fiction, Gothic 4/5
After the rest of the family has been poisoned; Merricat, her older sister Constance and their Uncle Julian live in the large , isolated family home. The people of the village ridicule and fear them. Merricat performs multiple rituals to keep the family safe. An unexpected visitor changes everything.
I enjoyed this one. Interesting characters,a slightly creepy vibe, and a little bit of mystery.


Fev 11, 2009, 8:36 pm

Just out of curiosity, what was the other Moore graphic novel that disappointed you?

Editado: Fev 19, 2015, 8:11 am

That would be The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I liked it better than Watchmen. I'd give it 3.5/5. I think that one was over-hyped to me as well (a co-worker is a big Alan Moore fan). I think I'll stick with Neil Gaiman graphic novels, I like them much better.

Fev 11, 2009, 8:48 pm

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is the only one I've read, although I flipped through Watchmen at the bookstore. I was reasonably entertained by The League... but not enough to get me to read the second volume. As for Watchmen, I think I'll just see the movie and skip the book.

Editado: Jan 1, 2020, 3:13 pm

If Watchmen wasn't a book club pick I probably would have never read the book. I'll probably see the movie too. Just to see how it compares.


Fev 11, 2009, 10:17 pm

>32 VioletBramble:
I found We Have Always Lived In the Castle to be very memorable. I've reread it a few times over the years. I have several other Shirley Jackson's waiting in TBR.

Fev 11, 2009, 10:51 pm

Haven't read Watchmen yet, but I've heard a number of good things about it (and some not so good), and I think I'll give it a go before the film is released. As for LXG, I was pretty disappointed in that, and if I recall in some parts, slightly disgusted. I actually liked the cheesy film version with Sean Connery better than the graphic novel, LOL.

Fev 11, 2009, 11:16 pm

>#32, #37
Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House is decidedly creepy.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:29 pm

>38 dk_phoenix: If I remember correctly,(it's been awhile since I read LXG) both novels have a hero (for lack of a better term) that's a rapist. This fact is known by the other characters and just sort of passed over. I didn't like the movie LXG because the Sean Connery character was the leader instead of Mina Harker. The one positive female role model and she was just shunted aside.

>39 muddy21: I've been wanting to read The Haunting of Hill House but I was worried I'd have a hard time falling asleep afterwards. I'm sort of a big scaredy cat when it comes to haunted houses and vampires.

Fev 13, 2009, 12:49 pm

>40 VioletBramble: You have good reason to worry. I read it about 40 years ago and might have reread it once or twice - but it's definitely stuck with me all that time. But, scariness notwithstanding, it is a very good book.

Fev 13, 2009, 1:17 pm

I worked in a movie theater when the film version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen came out, so I had to see it millions of times, and I hated it, but I gave the graphic novel a chance after reading Watchmen, From Hell, and V for Vendetta, and I figured that if everything that I read by him so far had been masterfully written, then I might as well give it a try. And I loved it. I bought Volume II when it came out, and I bought The Black Dossier when it came out. And now I'm eagerly awaiting Volume III.

I thought that the movie was definitely hyped up, as well as the dreadful novelization of a film adaptation of a comic book by that hack of a fanfic writer, but I never experienced any hype with the graphic novel. In fact, all of my other fellow Moore fans had never heard of it, or had only heard of it in passing w.r.t. the film or some random recommendation.

I would not consider Hawley Griffin (the invisible man) a hero of the book by any means. Sure, he's enlisted by the league, and sure, he's a horrible criminal, but he is enlisted by the league at the request of Campion Bond, as Bond found a use of his condition in battling the Devil Doctor's devious plot. He offered both a pardon and a cure to Griffin for his compliance, to which Griffin acquiesced. Griffin is not a hero, nor a protagonist. He is closer to an antagonist in helper's clothes, as every chance he gets, he does something selfish to foul up the league. I doubt the intent was to have the league tacitly accept his crimes, and in fact, if you read Volume II, justice is served to Griffin by one of the league. The impression I got was that everybody was disgusted by Griffin, which, due to his behavior, I don't blame.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:29 pm

>42 aethercowboy: "antagonist in helper's clothes" is a great term. I knew that hero or protagonist were not the terms I was searching for to describe these characters. I too got the impression that everyone is disgusted by the actions of The Comedien and The Invisible Man, yet they're still allowed to remain as part of the group. Now that I'm thinking about it I guess it's just another part of the story to make you question if the ends justify the means. If you're representing yourselves as "the good guys", and you're employing criminals to attain your goals, does that tarnish your mission/ideals ?
I'm glad to know that The Invisible Man gets his in Vol II.

Fev 23, 2009, 9:20 pm

(15) Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke 5/5
Fantasy, Young Adult
Inkdeath is the final book in the Inkheart trilogy. Meggie and her father Mo both have the ability to bring characters in and out of books by reading aloud. Mo, Meggie and her mother Resa have been read into the world of Inkheart, a book by the author Fenoglio. Fenoglio is also in the Inkworld. Mo has taken on the identity of the Bluejay, a Robin Hood type character. In Inkspell (book 2) Mo had bound a book for the evil ruler, the Adderhead, which would grant him immortality. Now the Adderheads flesh is putrifying on his bones and he has sent The Piper and his men to capture Mo so that he can bind him a new book. The Adderheads daughter Violante hatches a plan with Mo to kill the Adderhead.
By this third book there are a multitude of characters, each with a story in progress. The multiple story threads eventually merge and by the end have reached satisfying conclusions. Because there are so many characters in the story, Meggie, who was the focus of the first two books, is almost a tertiary character in this volume. Mo and Dustfinger are the primary characters in Inkdeath.
While neither Inkspell nor Inkdeath have the magical feel of Inkheart I did really enjoy the conclusion to this series.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:29 pm

(16) Radio On: A Listener's Diary by Sarah Vowell.
NonFiction, Culture 3.5/5

A critical examination, in diary form, of the state of radio in 1995. Vowell listened to the radio daily for the entire year and described what she heard and what it meant to her. The topics she discusses include Rush Limbaugh, the anniversary of the suicide of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, the Oaklahoma City bombing, the opening of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, NPR, the NEA, Clinton era politics and much more.
This was Vowells first book. As usual her writing is intelligent, witty and insightful. While not as engrossing as her later works I'd still recommend this -- esp to music lovers and NPR listeners.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:30 pm

(17) Open Closed Open: Poems by Yehuda Amichai. Translated from the Hebrew by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld
This was my February poetry read.
According to the book jacket Amichai is Israels leading poet. This was his last book of poetry. Many of the poems in this collection are inspired by a small piece of stone that Amichai kept on his desk - a fragment from a Jewish tombstone from a cemetery that was destroyed a thousand years ago. The fragment reads "amen" Most of the poems are about or reference religion and Jewish culture/ history. Amichai has a unique style and the poems are lovely and funny. Here's an example:

When God packed up and left the country, He left the Torah
with the Jews.They have been looking for Him ever since,
shouting,"Hey, you forgot something, you forgot."
and other people think shouting is the prayer of the Jews.

Editado: Out 8, 2014, 11:04 pm

February breakdown for 2009:

Books read: 17
Books bought: 20
Books borrowed from library: 3 This is the first time in years I've borrowed books from the library. Kinda sad considering it's across the street from my apartment building.
Next up:
The Children of Green Knowe -- due back at the library soon
People of the Book-- for book club
The Terror-- on hold until after PotB
And I continue reading The Best American Travel Writing 2006.. still.

Fev 28, 2009, 9:23 pm


I bought People of the Book on sale this month and have been seeing many varying opinions of it. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say about it. I'm sort of planning on April for reading it--I'll wait to see what you say to decide if I should move it up" or "move it down" the TBR pile. I can put it off until summer if it's not a compelling read!

I love your review of Open Closed Open: Poems. Yehuda Amichai is a poet I don't know and he sounds like one I will want to add to my library! My poetry book for this month was Facing the River by Czeslaw Milosz which I thought was wonderful. I'll be posting my review this evening.

I'm enjoying your thread. :-)

Editado: Jan 4, 2022, 10:26 pm

#48 Music Mom
I'm expecting to like People of the Book. Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite writers. While the endings of her books can feel a little "off" she hasn't disappointed me yet.
I just posted on your thread about the Milosz books. Great review.


Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:30 pm

(18) The Children of Green Knowe by LM Boston
Fantasy, Children's Literature 4.5/5
Young Tolly moves in with his great grandmother Oldknow, while his father is in Burma. His grandmother lives in an old British manor (castle?) that is haunted by the ghosts of three young family members who died centuries ago. Tolly is very open to his new circumstances and magical things start happening.
This book was mentioned on numerous threads in the 75 Book challenge. I love childrens lit and fantasy but must confess that I had never even heard of this book. While reading, the book felt very familiar, as if I had read it before. I realized that many books I've read over the years seem to have borrowed ideas from this book. It was sweet and quirky and I'm going to look for the other books in the series.
Interesting to note that in 1955 (publication date) matches were considered an appropriate Christmas gift for a young child.

Mar 1, 2009, 11:48 pm

#50: I read The Children of Green Knowe earlier in the year and have the second one in the series home from the library now. I liked the first book quite a bit, so I am hoping the other books in the series are just as good.

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 4:41 pm

#51 I'll be checking your thread to see what you think of the second book in the series.

Mar 7, 2009, 6:11 pm

>50 VioletBramble:-52: I'm forcing The Children of Green Knowe on my eldest at the moment... he's not impressed and says it's the most boring book he's ever read :( I just keep telling him it's good for his development as a writer.

We're reading it together at bedtime, fortunately, so he can't escape.

Mar 7, 2009, 7:21 pm

>53 FlossieT:: Seek professional help for your son.

Editado: Mar 7, 2009, 7:44 pm

>54 TadAD:: I think once the stories-within-the-story kick in he'll get it. At least I hope so. Otherwise I'll be seriously concerned about our relationship.

I've been wondering whether it's a generational thing - reading aloud, you notice that there is a lot more 'scene-setting' than you remember when you read it to yourself. We've read 40 pages so far in 2 installments, and it has mostly been Tolly arriving at Green Knowe and meeting the people; nothing really "exciting" has happened yet.

Plus what there is of the scene-setting is noticeably from an earlier period in history.

edit to apologise for the threadjack, VioletBramble!

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:31 pm

No problem Flossie. And I agree with Tad. LOL. My niece, who's now 13, always loved to be read to, until she was about 11. She esp liked you to sit in the bathroom with her and read. Strange girl.

Mar 9, 2009, 7:27 am

>56 VioletBramble:: we had a long patch of not reading together when he first really got the hang of it, but have started up again recently, and it's soooo nice. He'll be 10 in May so I guess I don't have too many more years left of being able to read together like this (sigh).

Mar 10, 2009, 10:37 pm

(19) The Best American Travel Writing 2006 edited by Tim Cahill 3/5
Travel, Short stories, Essays
I finally finished this book! I've been reading it since November. I generally read travel writing to discover new places I'd like to visit, or learn about places I'd never want to visit. Taking that into consideration this collection was kind of boring. The only country added to my potential travel list after reading this book is Libya. And honestly, that will probably never happen. There were some good stories : XXXXL by Michael Paternitti, about his visit to a Ukrainian giant. Rediscovering Libya by Kira Salak about seeing Libya and climbing mountains that no one else has ever climbed. The George Saunders piece, The New Mecca, about Dubai, is probably the best thing I've ever read by him. Of course the subject of theme parks comes up as usual as he compares Dubai to a theme park and actually visits a water park. The David Sedaris and Calvin Trillin stories I had previously read in The New Yorker, but enjoyed rereading.
So, a bit disappointing. I don't think I'll read the Travel series again. I do like the Short Stories series so I'll stick with that.

Mar 10, 2009, 11:06 pm

(20) Chinese Painting: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth by Herbert Kohl
NonFiction, Teaching and Learning 4.5/5
I saw this book mentioned on kidzdocs thread and it sounded so interesting I immediately ordered it from the library. What a wonderful story. Herbert Kohl was a teacher his entire professional life. He taught grade school through college level students and was active in education reform. In his late sixties he decided to take a class in Chinese Painting at the Joseph Fine Arts School in San Francisco. He's placed in a class with other beginners -- 5-7 year old Chinese-American children. He takes classes for years and advances to classes with other adults. Along the way he observes the Chinese/Buddist teaching techniques of his art teachers Joseph and Janny and integrates them into his own teaching. The main lesson in this book is that learning should be non-competitive. The best way to learn anything is to forget about being judged and become fully engaged in your work.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:31 pm

(21) Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More To LIfe by Maurice Sendak
Children's Literature, Illustrations 5/5

Last September I saw the Sendak on Sendak exhibition at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. I was drawn to some black and white illustrations of a dog with a suitcase. Sendak wrote this book after the death of his sealyham terrier Jennie. In the book Jennie decides to pack up her belongings and leave home. Jennie had everything she wanted but thought there must be more to life than having everything. Jennie makes the acquaintance of various other characters, eats ALOT, gathers experience to become a baby nanny and eventually travels to The Castle Yonder. Jennie sends a letter home from the Castle Yonder to say "look for me when you get here". If you've ever lost a dog that you loved this book will touch your heart.
I gave this book five stars because of the beautiful black and white illustrations. They are unlike Sendaks other drawings.

Mar 11, 2009, 1:00 am

Hello and thanks for the great review of Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More To Life. I'll see if my local library has this one.

Mar 17, 2009, 7:09 pm

Thank you for a delightful read in Parnassus on Wheels. I have the sequel at home on my coffee table in a TBR stack for this week.

Saw you recommend The Endurance, which amazed me with how those men survived! The picture of the boat and the pictures from the last site were amazing examples of survival.

And have you read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery? It's technically a short story/novelette, but it set a very high mark for scary fiction for me.

Mar 17, 2009, 10:42 pm

Prop2gether..Shirley Jackson?.. Is this The Haunting of Hill House author? If so, I'll add The Lottery to the ever growing TBR pile.

Mar 17, 2009, 11:07 pm

With so many threads and not enough free time to read them all, it's taken me some time to find this one. I'm going to go back a few weeks to your review of Chasing Kangaroos. A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature by Tim Flannery. I haven't read this book but found the review very interesting.

I have a long and personal relationship with Kangaroos, having grown up in a National Park in Australia, caring for injured Kangaroos, as well as Koalas, Possums, Owls, Emus, etc... When I grew up I moved to the desert, and would often ride my motorbike across the empty plains surrounded on all sides by Kangaroos numbering into the hundreds - that is an amazing feeling. I also befriended a local Kangaroo hunter, and went out one night with him to watch him at work - not for the squeamish and I won't go into details, suffice to say that it is all very humane.

Anyway, will keep an eye out for this. Thanks!

Mar 17, 2009, 11:18 pm

a "local kangaroo hunter?" Why does one hunt Kangaroo's, and what does one do with them when they catch them?

What a remarkable and interesting life you have lived.

Mar 18, 2009, 2:45 am

#65 Linda - The Australian government has a yearly quota on the number of Kangaroos that can be culled. This is to preserve the environment and helps the Kangaroos by preventing overpopulation and subsequent mass starvation, etc... Only a few times in several decades has this quota ever been met. Hunters are given tags to mark each roo shot to count how many have been shot.

The Kangaroos are then skinned for souvenirs, handbags, etc...; whereas the meat is used for pet food. Only farmed Kangaroos (I believe) are used for human consumption. It's one of my favourite meats - very lean and tasty!

As for an "interesting life" - I don't know about that, but I've tried to do as much as I can!

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:31 pm

#62 Prop2gether You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it. I hope you enjoy The Haunted Bookshop.The Endurance is an amazing tale of survival.I think the presence of the carpenter- who was extremely competent at what he did- really helped them survive. I thought it was so sad at the end when Shackleton excluded him from the medal of honor. It semed a petty move from a man who was otherwise so honorable.
Yes, I"ve read The Lottery (story). A bazillion years ago in high school. One of those stories that stays with you forever. (the touchstone only worked if I added story after the title)

#64 petermc -- Tim Flannery should have taken some lesons from a kangaroo hunter.When he first begins to study kangaroos he gets specimens by collecting road kill.Unfortunately, he needs to transport them in a cooler strapped on the back of his motorbike. All I will say about that section of the book is "Eww" It was an interesting book , although I had hoped to learn more about the social/family aspects of kangaroo life than was presented.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:31 pm

(22) People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Fiction, Historical fiction, Judaism, Books about books 4.5/5

Hanna Heath, an Australian book conservationist, is hired to work on the Sarajevo Haggadah. The Sarajevo Haggadah is an illuminated Hebrew manuscript - a Passover prayer book- created in medieval Spain. While working on the book Hanna finds stains-- a mixed wine/bood stain and salt crystals-- on some pages. She also finds debris - a piece of butterfly wing and a white hair- in the books crevises.
Brooks alternates between chapters about Hanna in 1996 - repairing the book, having her findings analyzed, dealing with her mother -- and chapters that imagine the history of the Haggadah and how it managed to survive antisemitism, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the Crusades,the Holocaust and the civil war in 1990s Sarajevo. Brooks takes each of the found artifacts - wine stain, salt, butterfly wing and hair- and creates a story about how they came to be in the manuscript.
The chapters about the history of the Haggadah were the best part of the book. The characters and situations felt true. The chapters about Hanna were not as interesting. I enjoyed the parts about books and book conservation, but not the parts about her personal life.
Now, the ending. For me, Geraldine Brooks is one of those writers, like Stephen King, that writes really great books with not so great endings. While I didn't like the ending at least it felt plausible. Unlike the ending to Year of Wonders which made no sense for the main character of that book. (Year of Wonders is still my favorite Brooks book though) Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors. Highly recommended- despite the ending.

Editado: Mar 28, 2009, 1:26 pm

(23) The Book of Celtic Symbols: Symbols, Stories, Blessings for Everyday Living by Joules Taylor
Celtic Customs, Folklore 3/5

I read this for St Patricks day. A comprehensive guide to all things Celtic. Subjects include the Celtic Year, guides (animal, spiirt, god/goddess) and their symbols, Ogham, and the Celts relationship to the land and fauna.

(24) Midsummer: Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice by Anna Franklin
Folklore, Magic, Pagan 2/5

A book of rituals, spells and lore for Midsummer. The summer solstice is my favorite natural "holiday". For me that usually means I take the day off from work and spend "the longest day of the year" out in nature (as much as is possible in NYC). The chapter on rituals was informative and included recipes for food and beverages for solstice celebrations. I just skimmed the chapter on spells. To me spells = wishful thinking. a waste of resources and energy. I really enjoyed the chapter on wand lore. I compared the wands of Harry Potter characters to what the books says about the character of wands made from each type of wood. JK Rowling really did her research.

(25) Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for all Seasons by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette
Cookbook, vegetarian 4/5

A salad cookbook, featuring mainly vegetarian salads. Some recipes included various types of fish. Quotes about food and stories about the saints are sprinkled throughout the book.Normally I would not add a cook book to my books read list. However: this was a library book, so I actually had to read it - and photocopy parts of it - before returning it. Usually I just skim cookbooks and then put them in the cabinet where they're lucky to ever see the light of day again.
The book gives recipes for every month using the foods that would be available during that month. I haven't actually made any of these salads yet but the recipes all look great. I'm looking forward to trying the different salads in the summer.

Mar 18, 2009, 6:00 pm

#68 I'm glad to know that you enjoyed People of the Book since it's on my TBR pile. I'm eager to read it because I enjoyed Year of Wonders and agree that the ending kind of came out of nowhere. I also enjoyed March but thought Year of Wonders was the better story.

Midsummer: Magical Celebrations of the Summer Solstice sounds like it's my kind of book. I think I'm a pagan at heart!

Mar 18, 2009, 6:45 pm

Enjoyed your review of People of the Book. I read it last year and was quite taken with thoughts of the life of a book conservationist. A great premise for a work of historical fiction.

My enjoyment of the book came to a bit of a shrieking halt with the ending, though - felt like it was such a deus ex machina forced into the story. Your conclusion that this is the author's MO seems justified in this case, for certain.

Mar 18, 2009, 7:35 pm

re: Book # 25, Monastery Salads
Thank you so much for including this book in your list! My daughter and I are vegetarians and we are always looking for new salad recipes for our lunches. I am excited about taking a look at this cookbook! I love cookbooks that have text and stories included with the recipes.

Mar 18, 2009, 10:52 pm

#68: I am one of the people who loved People of the Book as well - in spite of the ending. She remains a favorite author of mine, too, despite her problems with the endings, lol.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:02 pm

# 70, 71, 73. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about her endings. I feel bad saying it because I really do love her books otherwise.

#72 You're welcome. The author actually has a series of monastery cookbooks, which are all mainly vegetarian.

Oct recap

Mar 19, 2009, 9:40 am

VB, I've been waiting for several weeks now for the Monastery Soups to land in. Will be very interested to hear what you think of the salad book.

BTW, Little, Big is one of my all time most favourite fantasies.

Editado: Mar 23, 2009, 3:18 pm

(26) Eat, Drink, and be Merry: Poems About Food and Drink
Poetry for March 3/5

This book is one of the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series. A poetry anthology devoted to meals, fruits, vegetables,delis, parties, feasts, picnics, liquors - all things food and drink related. The poets include Ovid, Emily Dickinson, WC Williams, Hafiz, Robert Frost, Cole Porter, DH Lawrence and many more. Favorite poems: Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath. Made me hungry for blackberries. Tangerine Eaters by Rainer Maria Rilke. Ode on a Jar of Pickles by Bayard Taylor.
Not the best book in the series out of the ones I've read. The fruit, vegetable and salad poems were good. Some of the longer poems were not worth the time spent reading them.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:32 pm

> #75 tiffin. I'll be sure to report about the salad book once I start actually making the salads. They look good on paper. I thought about getting the soup cookbook as well. Then I remembered I'm too lazy to make soup from scratch. Let me know what you think of the soup book.

Mar 29, 2009, 10:25 pm

(27) The Late Hector Kipling by David Thewlis.
Fiction 3/5

This is the story of Hector Kipling, a moderately sucessful artist. Hector has made a name for himself in the London art world by painting giant heads on large canvases. The first head he painted was that of a neighbor who had (supposedly) hung himself from the ceiling of the apartment next door. The painting is of the neighbors dead, blue straggled face - which right away tells you alot about Hector. He is obsessed with death. The story starts out normal - Hector lives with his girlfriend Eleni, visits his parents in Blackpool and hangs out with his two artists friends Lenny and Kirk. Kirks paints pictures of cutlery. Lenny is a visual artist who creates installations. As people around Hector become ill (Eleni's mother, his parents, Kirk) and he begins an affair with an American poet into S&M, his refusal to act or take any responsibility for his actions ( or usually his lack of action) causes his life to fall apart. He rapidly decompensates to the state where he is naked and bleeding, roaming the streets, contemplating murder. Thewlis writes Hectors thoughts as stream of consciousness so his progressive mental decline is evident.
This is the first book written by British actor David Thewlis. I will be honest and say that I only bought this book because I like Thewlis as an actor. He seems to be a talented writer. Hectors parents were well drawn and the stream of consciousness sections were really well done. This book is very dark. I have seen it described as dark humor and even "wickedly funny". The humor seems to have gone over my head. Maybe it's a Britsh thing? I do read a lot of British books and usually I do get the humor. As a "protagonist" I found Hector mean at first and then pathetic and ineffectual. As he became more unstable I didn't feel any empathy for him. There is alot of violence in this book. At least one character is a sociopath. If you like dark humor, esp art related dark humor I would recommend this book to you. If you don't like books that are violent and depressing you should avoid this one.

(28) Small Miracles. Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal.
NonFiction, Inspiration 3/5

Sixty true stories of miraculous coincidences. Some of them are well known and I'd heard them before.
This is not the type of book I usually read. This was recommended by the teacher of a Journaling class I took last month. The basic message: Show up (be present), do good things for others, notice the beauty around you and miraculous things will happen.

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:32 pm

I've had to put The Terror on hold. It was my bedtime reading book - hard cover, too heavy to carry to work/around- and every night just before I was thinking of putting the book down and going to sleep, something creepy would happen. Then I couldn't get to sleep. It's hard to work a 13 hour shift on 1 hour of sleep. I'm postponing this read until my vacation in May. It won't matter if I sleep then.
Up next:
The Neopolitan Streak. The 1st Inspector Peroni Mystery by Timothy Holme
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff. Short stories.

Mar 30, 2009, 6:24 am

#78: Coincidentally, I just finished Halberstam and Leventhal's Small Miracles of the Holocaust yesterday. I did not realize it had a companion.

Mar 30, 2009, 8:32 am

>#80. There's an entire series, 4 or 5 books that I've seen on amazon.
How was the Holocaust miracles book?

Mar 30, 2009, 8:45 am

#81: I thought it was very good. Most of the stories are told first hand, although some are told by a second party.

Editado: Set 22, 2009, 12:22 pm

(29) Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories by Lauren Groff
Short Stories, Fiction 4.5/5

Nine short stories from the author of The Monsters of Templeton. I enjoyed all of the stories: my favorites were: Lucky Chow Fun, set in the town of Templetown (from her novel, based on her hometown of Cooperstown, NY), about something illegal happening at the local Chinese restaurant, and Delicate Edible Birds about a group of journalists in Nazi occupied France. These stories are all straight fiction, without the supernatural elements she occasionally used in Monsters. Recommended.

I forgot to do this earlier --March recap:
Books read:28
Books bought: 37
Borrowed from library: 5 (already a new annual record)
Books read not on original 2009 list: 10

Abr 7, 2009, 3:38 pm

#83 Thanks for the review of Delicate Edible Birds. I've had my eye on that book because I really enjoyed The Monsters of Templeton.

Abr 12, 2009, 3:38 pm

(30) The Neopolitan Streak by Timothy Holme. The First Inspector Peroni Mystery.
Mystery, Series, Felony & Mayhem 2/5

The first book in a series about Achille Peroni, the Rudolph Valentino of the Italian police force. Peroni is a Neopolitan who has spent time working for Scotland Yard. Now back in Italy he is assigned to work in Verona. The case involves a missing general. The two families involved are descended from the Montagus and Capulets of Romeo and Juliet. They have secretly kept the feud alive all this time.
The mystery was okay. It's not one of those mysteries that the reader can solve with the clues provided. Peroni was a total stereotype. The only good parts were occasional lovely descriptions of the Italian countryside and food. I won't be reading any more in this series.

(31) Cherry Ames, Cruise Nurse by Helen Wells
(32) Cherry Ames, Camp Nurse by Helen Wells
(33) Cherry Ames, Island Nurse by Helen Wells
Classic series 2.5/5 (each)

A number of nurses I know and/or work with collect this series. I found these at an antique book store and decided to see what they're about. Turns out I actually read Camp Nurse when I was 10 or 11. The mysteries are lame. The descriptions of nursing in 1948-1960 are hysterically funny. I'm passing these on to a co-worker.

Abr 12, 2009, 7:03 pm

It looks like you've read a series of ho-hum books. I hope your next is much better!

Editado: Nov 17, 2019, 9:37 pm

Hi Lorie. > #83 Delicate Edible Birds was really good. I've been thinking about the stories since I finished reading the book. Now that I've had time to think about it I like this book better than The Monsters of Templeton. I may bump it up to a 4.5/5.
Yeah, my last four books were not very interesting. Now I'm reading The Summer Sherman Loved Me and The Rabbi's Cat which are both really good so far.

Abr 13, 2009, 8:32 am

I'm looking forward to reading Delicate Edible Birds and The Summer Sherman Loved Me is on the TBR pile as well. I will be watching to see what you think of it.

Abr 13, 2009, 4:00 pm

VioletBramble I've only just found your thread.

My mother had some of the Cherry Ames books when she was growing up in New Zealand in the 50s - I too read a couple when I was 10 or 11! I think I read the student nurse one. I'm sure they're in a box in Mum and Dad's garage waiting for me to liberate them.

Abr 14, 2009, 12:20 am

I read the Cherry Ames books when I was growing up. The one in which she was a flight nurse during WW II really frightened me.

Abr 15, 2009, 3:29 pm

>90 arubabookwoman: I wonder how many girls were frightened away from nursing by Cherry Ames. It looks like all the Cherry Ames books written during WWII are more serious. The ones I read were more light.

>89 cushlareads: I'm amazed that Cherry Ames books made it all the way to New Zealand.

Abr 15, 2009, 4:45 pm

(34) The Summer Sherman Loved Me by Jane St Anthony.
Fiction, Young Adult 4/5
I saw this book recommended on Whisper1's thread.
What a lovely, funny book. It brought back memories of my 1960s childhood. Recommended.

(35) The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar.
Graphic novel, Fiction, Judaism 4/5

A cat belonging to an Algerian Rabbi eats a parrot and discovers he has the ability to speak. He demands a Bar Mitzvah and to study kabbalah. It's also the story of keeping religious customs in changing times. The book is set in multicultural 1930s Algeria.
The art work isn't as good as other graphic novels I've read. The dialogue is written in various scripts, some of which are hard to decipher. (I had to use a magnifying glass to figure out some of the words) The story is poignant and funny. Recommended.

Abr 23, 2009, 2:25 pm

#92, now I have to add another book from your list! But I, too, enjoyed The Rabbi's Cat which I originally found in fannyprice's thread. I loved the cat!

Editado: Dez 8, 2019, 10:32 pm

Wow, I can't believe it's been 10 days since I've been here. And according to the groups page I have over 1600 posts to catch up on. Work has been insane the last two weeks and I haven't been able to find much time to read.

> #93 Prop2gether, LOL,blame Linda/Whisper1. I read the amazing review she wrote on her thread and immediately ordered the book from the library. I liked the cat as well. I thought he was a strange looking cat though. Then I saw the authors picture with his cat -- perfect likeness.

Editado: Fev 19, 2015, 8:13 am

(36) Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen
Poetry for April 3/5

A book of collected poems, prose and ink drawings by the Canadian singer/songwriter. Most of these poems were written during Cohens five year stay at a Zen monastery in California. The poems are about love and loss, aging, truth, anger, spirituality, sexuality and Buddist musings. The prose selections seem to be rants, except for one addressed A Note to the Chinese Reader where he talks about having his thoughts expressed in Chinese characters. I'm only familiar with two songs by Leonard Cohen. Some of these poems are probably destined to become song lyrics. I really enjoyed about a third of the poems in this collection. It seems like a small amount but I liked those poems enough to give this 3 stars. Recommended for fans of Leonard Cohen.

Editado: Maio 2, 2009, 10:35 am

Breakdown for April:
Books read in April : 8
Total books read: 36
Books bought: 46
Books borrowed from library: 7
Books read not on original 2009 list: 12
Fiction: 23
NonFiction: 9
Poetry: 4
Female authors: 16
Male authors: 18

I'm almost finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is up next for bookclub. After that it depends - if May is as horrible as April I'm going for FUN reads.

Maio 2, 2009, 3:44 am

#96: I hope you like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao more than I did - I forced myself to finish it and then wondered why I did. I am in the minority here on LT, though - most people think it is wonderful.

And what is wrong with FUN reads? Everyone needs those!

Maio 2, 2009, 8:16 am

It's true, everyone needs fun reads, and MORE of them! They work wonders when life is stressful. :)

Maio 2, 2009, 9:45 am

I've been focusing on fun reads too, and they are essential!!!

Maio 2, 2009, 5:59 pm

Oh, I know there's nothing wrong with fun reads. I was saving them for summer reading. So much for planning my reading list. I'm going to go through my book cases this evening and look for books that will make me laugh.

(37) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
Fiction 4/5

Renee is the 54 year old concierge at 7, rue de Grenelle, an exclusive apartment hotel for eight wealthy families. Paloma is a 12 year old resident of one of the apartments. Both of them are highly intelligent but hiding this fact from the world. Renee hides her intelligence to conform to the publics preconcieved ideas of a concierge. Paloma hides her intelligence because she doesn't want to stand out. The book starts slowly - not in a bad way -- with each of them telling their stories in alternating chapters. When a new resident, Kakuro Ozu, moves into the building the three are drawn together in friendship. The book is a character study, rich in little details. The fact that I had never heard of most of the philosophers discussed in the book didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book Recommended.

Maio 3, 2009, 1:21 am

#100: The Elegance of the Hedgehog resides in my personal library somewhere. I am definitely going to have to dig it out! Thanks for the reminder.

Maio 3, 2009, 10:31 am

#95 - Have you ever read anything else by Cohen? I own Beautiful Losers but I have tried unsuccessfully to read it about 5 times. I always get 40 pages in and become overwhelmed by his bizarro world and give up. One day I will force myself to finish it (I hate, hate, hate being defeated by a book!).

Maio 3, 2009, 1:41 pm

>#102 Book of Longing was the first Cohen I had read. It's full of the bizarre too. Some of the poems were really beautiful. It didn't inspire me to read any more poetry by him though. I have heard that Beautiful Losers was a better book. After five previous tries, if you do decide to pack it in, I doubt you'll be missing much.

Maio 7, 2009, 2:40 pm

Thanks for the great review of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. This book has been on my tbr pile for awhile. I hope to read it this summer.

Editado: Fev 23, 2021, 11:33 pm

(38) Unshelved Vol 1 by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
Comics, Libraries, Humor 3/5

I saw this on saraslibrary's thread. The first volume of the collected daily comic strip that takes place in the Mallville Public Library. Wackiness abounds. Recommended.

(39)The London Scene: Six Essays on London Life by Virginia Woolf
Essays, NonFiction 4/5

These six essays, written in 1931, were first published in Good Housekeeping in 1931-1932. The essays were inspired by Woolfs favorite walks in London. Her love of London is evident in all the essays. I found these essays more accessible than any of her novels that I've attempted. (I've started three, never getting very far before giving up).

(40)The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes
Humor, Books about books 3/5

A collection of book related humor from McSweeneys. Very funny. Particularly enjoyed Winnie-the-Pooh is My Coworker and The Recruitment of Harry Potter. Recommended.

(41)The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Fiction , May bookclub 4.5/5

This book tells the story of Oscar, an overweight, nerdy fanboy who lives in Patterson, NJ. Oscar spends his time playing video games and writing SciFi and fantasy. He dreams of being the Dominican JRR Tolkien. Oscar is the third generation of a Dominican family that has been cursed (the fuku) by Trujillo himself. Oscar is a guy that loves the ladies. He has a string of crushes throughout his life. Women have little interest in Oscar though, as his weight maxes out at over 300 pounds. Socially inept and desperate for someone to love him back, Oscar begins to act strangely and becomes even more isolated from his peers. The stories of Oscars grandparents,mother, and how the family became cursed are a large part of the book.
I really liked this book. It was funny and touching. I liked Oscar, such a wonderful main character. Liked all the cultural references. I will admit that the nerdy fangirl in me actually squeed at several of the LOTR and Doctor Who references. I was laughing out loud at several parts in the book. Highly recommended.

Maio 9, 2009, 6:00 am

#105: I am adding The London Scene to Continent TBR. Thanks for the recommendation, Violet!

Editado: Maio 14, 2009, 10:51 pm

(42) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Mystery, Young Adult, Series 4/5

Eleven year old Flavia de Luce lives on an English country estate with her father and two older sisters. It's sometime in the 1950s. She has a passion for chemistry-- she even has her own laboratory. Early one morning she discovers a dying man in the cucumber patch. She decides to investigate the murder on her own. She hides evidence from the police and ends up in way over her head.
I liked that the book was full of references to literature, music and stamp collecting -- three of my favorite things. I also liked the images of the English countryside circa 1950s that the book evoked.
Although I liked Flavia as a character I found her too precocious. Shades of Nancy Drew know-it-all ness. She knows more about chemistry, books, stamps and music than any 11 year old I ever met.
This is the first book in a planned series. I'd be interested in reading more books in the series. I first saw this book mentioned on Moomins thread. Recommended.

Maio 14, 2009, 6:52 pm

I'm interested in learning your comments regarding The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I finished this book last week.

Maio 14, 2009, 11:06 pm

>#108 Hi Linda. I read your review last week -- as I was waiting for my copy from Amazon to arrive -- and thought "Ut oh". I think I liked the book more than you did. While I did find the book slow in places it just added to the 1950s English countryside feel to me. I was never bored while reading the book. I'm sorry you didn't like the book more.

Maio 14, 2009, 11:34 pm

(43) French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Memoir, Travel, Graphic novel 3.5/5

Lucy Knisley is a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Lucy and her mother spend a month between school semesters renting an apartment in Paris. This is Lucy's travel diary from that time, told in drawings and photos. Knisley details every meal and every shopping experience. It actually made me want to travel to Paris -- a place I've had little interest in visiting peviously. I'd have to take this book with me so I could easily find the good food and good shopping. Besides food, shopping and sight seeing the book deals with Lucys upcoming graduation from college and her worries about having to soon become a self sufficient adult.
Prior to reading this book I thought it would suffer in comparison to my favorite graphic novel/ travel memoir Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson. While Knisleys drawings are not as good as Thompsons -- they are more along the lines of cartoons -- I really enjoyed this book. Recommended.

Maio 15, 2009, 6:17 am

ooh you should definitely visit Paris - it's an amazing city!

Maio 16, 2009, 4:03 am

#107: I have decided I am just going to have to read it and see which way I think about it, lol.

#110: That one sounds good, so I am going to add it to the Continent as well as the Craig Thompson book that you mentioned.

Maio 25, 2009, 10:01 pm

>#111 flissp -- I know Paris is probably amazing. There are just so many other places I'd rather go instead. I have thought of taking the "chunnel" train to Paris on one of my trips to London. Ride the train over in the morning, look around, and come back in the evening. Also, one of my good friends was sexually assaulted while on vacation in Paris. That puts Paris on the bottom of the list for me.

>#112 Stasia, the Thompson book is amazing. I wanted to rip out some of the pages and frame them on my wall. Esp the Morroco pages.

Maio 25, 2009, 10:56 pm

(44) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
History, Humor, Reread, June bookclub 4.5/5

I re-read this for my bookclub. Vowell travels around the USA visiting any historical sites that have to do with Lincoln, McKinley and Garfield -- the three assassinated Presidents.The sections on Garfield are the most interesting. Vowell is witty as always - esp liked the parts about Robert Todd Lincoln aka the Presidential Death Magnet/ Jinxy McDeath. Recommended.

(45) Figure Studies: Poems by Claudia Emerson
Poetry for May 4/5

This book is divided into four sections. All Girls School features 25 poems about various aspects of an all girls school, Gossips - poems of women talking about other women, Early Lessons - poems of children talking about women, and a fourth section about gender issues. All the poems explore the way the girls are "trained" to be female. Recommended.

(46)Eat This Not That Supermarket Survival Guide by David Zinczenko.
Food and Drink, Nutrition 4/5

I saw this on Stasia's thread. As a vegetarian I found the produce sections pretty good. I've already changed a couple of the brands of frozen foods that I normally buy. Recommended.

(47) The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay
Children's Literature, Humor 3/5

This book from the New York Review Children's Collection is a classic in Australia. The story is about Bunyip Bluegum (a Koala), Bill Barnacle (a sailor), Sam Sawnoff (a penguin) and their magic pudding, Albert. Albert is an ever-lasting pudding of whatever type of pudding you desire . Most of the time he's a steak and kidney pudding. The trio fend off pudding thieves and sing alot of songs. Some of the songs were funny. There was ALOT of fighting in the book.

(48)Vegetarian Sandwiches. Fresh Fillings for Slices, Pockets, Wraps and Rolls by Paulette Mitchell
Cookbook, vegetarian 5/5
The title says it all. For brunch today I made the Croissants stuffed with herbed scrambled eggs, spinach, apples and brie. Yummy. Recommended.

(49)Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
Fiction 4/5

The second book in the 44 Scotland Street series. The characters from the first book are all present. Bruce opens a wine store. Things start to change for Bertie. Recommended.

Maio 26, 2009, 7:20 am

#114: Glad you liked the Eat This, Not That Supermarket Survival Guide and could find some helpful hints in it.

Maio 29, 2009, 7:56 am

#113 I know what you mean - my list of places I want to go next is almost as long as my TBR pile - so many places to see, so little time! I'm so sorry about your friend, I can see why that might put you off, but your chunnel idea sounds like a good one - get a small flavour of the city.

If you ever do, I'll recommend the Musée d'Orsay ( if the queue isn't too hideously long, if it is, then the Musée Carnavalet, (, ambling around the Rive Gauche and the Marais and then up to Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre, which has an amazing view over Paris (and doesn't involve the terrifying Tour Eiffel!).

...pause. It's been a few years since I was there. I think I may be having withdrawal symptoms...

Maio 31, 2009, 10:12 pm

> #116 Thanks for the links. I do love to check out museums. Are the lines shorter than the line for the Louvre (spelling?)? I will have to see the Eiffel Tower though. You can't go to Paris and not visit the tower. Why is it terrifying? The height? The wind? I hope you get to visit Paris again soon.

Maio 31, 2009, 10:59 pm

(50) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Fiction, Young Adult 4.5/5

I first saw this book mentioned on Visible Ghosts thread. I've since seen it on many, many threads here. Thanks to everyone who recommended this book on their threads. I'm not going to write anything about the plot of the book-- other people have done a better job than I ever could. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this book. I didn't want to put it down. I had to stop 70 pages before the end to get at least a few hours sleep before work. All day at work I kept telling my co-workers that I HAD to get out on time so I could get home and finish my book before bed. Now the waiting for the second book in the series begins....

(51) The Alchemist's Kitchen: Extraordinary Potions and Curious Notions by Guy Ogilvy
Science, History, NonFiction 3/5

If you ever wanted to do alchemy in your own kitchen this is the book for you. This book covers a variety of alchemical subjects. Distillation of chemical elements is the focus. The book has extensive (quite a feat for a 58 page book) appendixes with "recipes" for elixirs, balms, perfumes. If you want to distill water until it is so pure it will eat through metal or you want to make your own charcoal, I recommend this book to you.
This book is one of the titles in the Wooden Books series. They're small books packed with lots of information. I bought a few of these books last year and saved this one for last because I thought it would be my favorite given the subject. I was so disappointed. It reminded me of Organic Chemistry class -- which I hated.
I will recommend another book in the series: Symmetry: The Ordering Principle by David Wade. Very interesting -- I'll never look at pineapples the same way again.

Maio 31, 2009, 11:57 pm

Breakdown for May:
Books read in May: 15
Books read in 2009: 51
Books bought: 77
Books borrowed from the library: 8
Books read not on original 2009 list: 18
Fiction: 31
NonFiction: 15
Poetry: 5
Female authors: 22
Male authors: 25

Jun 1, 2009, 3:55 am

#119: Nice summary. Looks like you had a good month!

Jun 1, 2009, 12:41 pm

Book # 50 The Hunger Games

You've convinced me! I bought it for my son when Stasia recommended it (intending to read it myself eventually if he thought I would like it) but he's got a heavy load this summer in graduate school so he won't get to it until August. I'm planning to read some fun stuff to clear my head this month so I''m grabbing it back to read in June. You really made it sound irresistible.

Jun 2, 2009, 7:59 am

I liked The Hunger Games as well, and plan on reading the second book in the series when it comes out.

Jun 2, 2009, 10:49 am

#117 I think that probably any museum queue in the world is shorter than the one for the Louvre! ...that said, last time I tried to go to the Musée d'Orsay (which is really a gallery - mostly impressionist art - I love it), the queue was ridiculous, but I think that they were doing some re-vamping at the time.

There's virtually no queue for the Musée Carnavalet - mostly because people don't seem to be aware that it's there - I've no idea why, because I thought it was fantastic (as did others I've recommended it to) - they've got a particularly interesting section on the French Revolution (letters written from the Bastille etc), which somehow brought it much closer to reality for me.

Re The Eiffel Tower, yep, I'm not good with heights and the wind doesn't help! You're quite right, it would be wrong to go to Paris and not at least take a look at it, then run away screaming ;) You should probably amble from the Louvre, through the Jardin des Tuileries and up the Champs-Élysées (touristy shopping haven that it is) to the Arc de Triomphe as well...

...this is all assuming you ever actually go there!!

... The Hunger Games sounds intriguing...

Jun 2, 2009, 1:37 pm

OOOhhh Paris!! I'm going to add that the Musee de l'Orangerie is a must, especially if you like Monet. It was so amazing that I went two days in a row! LOL

To anyone who wants to skip the lines, buy the Paris Museum Pass, which often gets you preferencial entrance to museums. It is available for 2, 3, or 4 days, and totally worth it if you are planning on seeing the major sights. The line at the Rodin Museum (another great museum) was huge, and an employee saw that I had the pass, and so she called me out of the line and walked me right in - the same thing happened at Versailles, where the line was about 3 hours long - boy, were the rest of the visitors angry!!

Jun 3, 2009, 12:53 pm

> #121 MusicMom, Hunger Games is really, really good, but it is not a 'fun' read. You know the basic plot, right? It's unputdownable but it's not a book that'll make you feel good about other humans. Def get the book from your son and read it first. Don't wait.

> #122 Hi Lorie!

>#123, #124 flissp and Cait86 -- Wow, with all these good recommendations I might HAVE to go to Paris. All of these suggestions are going into my travel book.Thank you both. You both make it sound so great.

I better get back to work now...

Jun 3, 2009, 4:44 pm

LOL, if there is one thing I love almost as much as books, it is traveling! Have you been to London, Marseilles, the Cinque Terre, Rome, Florence, Naples, or Venice? Cuz I could really sell those places to you too! It is best not to get me started on travel, LOL.

Jun 4, 2009, 11:42 pm

> #126. Cait86, Ooo, I never heard of the Cinque Terre before. Which is strange because my sister is obsessed with Italy. I just googled it .. it looks gorgeous. And since it's only reachable by train or on foot it's do-able for a non-driver such as myself. Cool! Thanks for the mention. So, what things are good to do in the Cinque Terre?

Editado: Jun 5, 2009, 9:38 am

Oh boy, the Cinque may be the most beautiful place I have ever seen. There really isn't much to do there, but that is part of its charm. As I am sure you saw, it is five very small villages along the Italian Riviera. The smallest, Corniglia (pronounced Cornelia), is only home to about 150 people, and the others are not much bigger. There is a trail that connects all five villages, so you can hike that. It is quite easy in places, and a bit tough in others, so you can work up to the difficult spots. Each town is right on the water, except Corniglia, so swimming is popular. Most of the towns don't have beaches, they just have a harbour with rocks, but the largest town, Monterosso, has a really nice beach with chairs and umbrellas that you can rent. It is so much fun to just walk through the villages, shop in the little stores, etc. Plus there is a train that connects the five villages, and you can buy a Cinque Terre pass that covers entrance to the trails and rides on the train.

I was there this past summer for four days. I stayed in Manarola, which is the second smallest village, and the prettiest, IMHO (though most people would say that Vernazza is the best, and it is certainly the most popular). Manarola is very small, just one main road that winds up the side of the cliff. The Cinque Terre is all car-free, except for these little three-wheel vehicles that carry supplys to the restaurants and markets. The food is amazing - the Cinque Terre is the birthplace of pesto, so it is EVERYWHERE, and it is also famous for foccacia bread and anchovies. There is this cute place in Manarola that sells foccacia bread with different toppings on it - everything from onions to anchovies to sun-dried tomatoes - it was my lunch stop every day! I stayed in a hostel in Manarola, and it was perfect, though it was at the very top of the village, so it was a loooong walk from the train station with my heavy backpack!

LOL, like I said, I really love travel :) If you get the chance, visit the Cinque Terre - it is the perfect place for some down-time during a busy vacation. It can be packed with tourists during the day in the summer (I was there in early July), but in the morning and evening it is very quiet, just the villagers mostly. Plus, it is much less expensive than Rome or Florence, especially for food - and gelato!!

Let me know if you would like more info :P

Jun 6, 2009, 4:18 pm

I went to Florence last summer for 4 glorious days (big anniversary - wanted to go for honeymoon but couldn't for various reasons). It is incredible - but as Cait says, extraordinarily expensive :(

Jun 6, 2009, 9:55 pm

Mmmm. Florence is one of our favorite places!

Jun 6, 2009, 10:47 pm

Cait86, Thanks for all the info. I'll have to mention the Cinque Terre to my sister the next time I speak to her -- see if I can convince her to go with me. I'm not planning any trips outside the US this year thanks to the current economic situation. Being a vegetarian who's allergic to seafood I'm always a little wary of traveling to seaside towns. (food contamination issues) But I could live on foccacia and pesto for a week if necessary.

Editado: Jun 21, 2017, 10:49 am

(52) To The Shore Once More: A Portrait of the Jersey Shore: Prose, Poetry, and Works of Art by Frank Finale.

(53) To The Shore Once More Volume II: A Journey Down the Jersey Shore: Prose, Poetry, and Works of Art by Frank Finale.

In my family vacation always meant the Jersey shore. We never went anywhere else. Even when we lived only 30 minutes away from the shore, we went there for vacation. Usually we stayed at the Coast Guard beach house in Barnegat. I love the Jersey shore.
Both these volumes feature the poetry and prose of Frank Finale. The essays in the first volume were originally printed in Coast magazine from 1984-1992. The book is divided into chapters for each season; Christmas has it's own chapter and all the poetry is together in the final chapter. The essays in the second volume were written for the book and take you on a "journey" from Sandy Hook down to Cape May. All the essays feature Finale's family, friends or students and recall incidences that happened at the Jersey shore. I enjoyed most of the essays and about half the poetry. The second book contained essays about Barnegat, Point Pleasant and Cape May - the shore areas I'm most familiar with- so that book was my favorite. Both vols contain works of art by multiple artists in multiple styles that feature the Jersey shore. I actually bought the books because of the beautiful art work. I'd give both these books 4/5 stars.
Here's one of my favorite poems:

Jersey Shore Vacation Again

The same "Don't Wanna Go
Home" crowds walk the boards,
breathe in hot dogs, suntan lotion,
saltwater taffy,creosote. At night
bands vibrate floors with fifties
revival songs, hard rock, country.
Bartender rings up change
to the clink of empty bottles.
In the corner, the silent TV.
Morning surf roar. Water and air.
Breathe in crystals of mica-glinting
sea, till salt speckles lungs
and mind becomes clear
as a gull's sweep over the jetty.
It's the summer solstice.
Step up. Take a chance.

Jun 8, 2009, 12:06 pm

#125 & 126 - I'm going to second Cait86 on the travelling theme - one of my favourite things (sadly depleted over the last couple of years, due to mortgage etc...)

Actually, surprisingly (to myself anyway), I've never been to Rome - and I'm going for the first time in July for a conference. The plan is to hang around a few days afterwards - very excited. One of my colleagues, who is coming along for the conference is actually Roman and definitely a foody, so I'm looking forward to lots of good recommendations, but any anyone else has welcome (maybe on my own thread, so as not to waylay VioletBramble's!)

Jun 8, 2009, 1:04 pm

> 114 Ordering Vegetarian Sandwiches in time for packing my daughter's lunch for summer dance camps. Thank you so much for posting about the wonderful cookbooks you discover.

Jun 8, 2009, 10:19 pm

>#133 flissp: I love to travel. This year my traveling will be limited to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. I'm hoping to have the opportuniy to buy my apartment next year so I'm limiting my spending this year. Have fun in Rome.Traveling with a local you should get some good recommendations. When you get back you'll have to give us the travel scoop.

>#134 profilerSR - You're welcome. I hope you get some good, packable sandwich ideas from the book.

And.. I've finally posted a description of the two books about the Jersey shore up in post #132.

Jun 9, 2009, 12:58 pm

The Albuquerque Balloon Festival? That sounds intriguing!

I went through Albuquerque about 10 years ago towards the end of my gap year travels following university. I remember finding it initially bizarrely clean and empty ...and then found the lively bit. It was a very odd experience! It has a cool Rattlesnake museum doesn't it - will you go? ;)

I definitely sympathise with the transfer of travel money to apartment purchasing - I've got VERY itchy feet at the moment... That must be the fantastic thing about living in the US though, you can just get in a car and keep going for ages...

...and sounds like I should add the Jersey Shore to my list of places to go!

Jun 9, 2009, 11:00 pm

Apparently it's the biggest balloon festival in the US. It lasts more than a week. I've never been to New Mexico. I sort of expected it to look like it's neighbor Arizona, but, I have two NM guide books and there is not even one picture of a cactus. The Rattlesnake Museum sounds cool. We will probably check out all the museums in town. I can't imagine that we'll just be looking at hot air balloons for a week.
LOL, I always think that one of the great things about England is that you can be anywhere in the country within a day.
There are places at the Jersey Shore that you can do as a day trip from NYC or Philadelphia so a visit there doesn't have to be a big time commitment.

Jun 10, 2009, 11:48 am

#137: New Mexico is beautiful country, very dry and hot. Take lots of sunscreen and be prepared to drink more water than you think is physically possible, VB.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Jun 11, 2009, 12:49 am

#138 Thanks Stasia. I'm not actually going until October. I was hoping it wouldn't be quite so hot then. And that there would be misters in town, like they have in Phoenix and Sedonna. Oh well, 50 SPF and big hats are my friends.

Off to add my wish list to collections...

Jun 11, 2009, 1:50 pm

#137 Sounds like fun - hope you have a fantastic time! I think that October's my favourite time to go on holiday - a lot less busy and still warm, but not too hot (in most places - I can safely say that Sweden wasn't - particularly in the North...)

Ah, there are travel pluses to such a small country as England as well as the minuses, it is true... My first time in the States, I only hired a car for a few days (mostly went by bus - the journey between San Francisco and Las Vegas was something quite special - ugh) and it took me a long time to realise that if I took a wrong turning, I couldn't just drive a little bit further up the road, take the next turn and double back on myself! Foolish, foolish girl! Still, driving through Arizona was something that I'll never forget - truly amazing...

Jun 13, 2009, 5:51 pm

Thanks, flissp. September and October are my favorite months to go on vacation. The weather is usually nice and there are fewer tourists around.
Driving in areas that are less populated can be a real adventure. You can get stuck on roads without exits for hours. Arizona is amazing. My worst road trip was in Arizona though. My friends and I had initially planned to drive on the highway from Phoenix to Sedonna-- probably around a 90 min drive. One of my friends had a guide book that recommended a scenic route, so, on the spur of the moment we decided to take that route. It was pretty, a mountainous, winding road that went up hill and down hill -- but there were no exits -- and it started getting dark and we became afraid of accidently driving over the side (there were no guard rails). It took 6 1/2 hours. This was after we had spent 6 hours on a plane. We got to see a lot of cacti though.

Jun 13, 2009, 6:21 pm

(54) Somewhere Towards the End: A Memoir by Diana Athill.
Memoir, NonFiction 3.5/5

The latest in Athill's series of memoirs. She wrote this when she was 89 years old. Basically it's about her experience of aging and living as an older person. I found the tone to be smug at times. In the last chapter Athill actually asks "Does this sound smug?" She decides that it does not. I often felt differently. Athill, who was a professional editor, writes well.

(55) The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Illustrations, Graphic novel. 4.5/5

This book uses illustrations, (there is no text) to show us the immigrant experience. The sepia toned illustrations are beautiful and imaginative. Some of the illustrations, esp the end papers with their reproductions of passport photos and the scenes where characters reminisce about their homelands are haunting. Recommended.

(56)Book Crush: For Kids and Teens- Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Interest by Nancy Pearl
Books about Books, NonFiction 4/5

Librarian Nancy Pearl once again suggesting books to add to my wishlist. This time she recommends books for young children, middle school aged kids and teens.

Jun 14, 2009, 1:10 am

I did not realize that Nancy Pearl had written a book with kids in mind. I will have to look for it so add more young adult/juvenile books to my list. Thanks for the mention, VB!

Jun 16, 2009, 9:59 pm

>#143 Stasia, you're welcome. I think I actually put more titles on the wishlist from Book Crush than from both Book Lust books combined. I'm a big YA fan and she mentions a lot of series I haven't read yet.

Jun 16, 2009, 10:43 pm

(57) Shadow Castle by Marian Cockrell
Children's Literature, Fantasy 3.5/5

Thanks to dk.phoenix for mentioning this book on her thread.
A young girl, Lucy, follows a dog through a tunnel and enters an enchanted valley.She meets a man called Micheal. He takes her to a castle where you can see the shadows of people living in fairyland. Michael tells Lucy the story of Prince Mika, a fairy who married a mortal woman.

(58) Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman. Illustrations by Charles Vess.
Children's Literature, Illustrations 4/5

The text is a poem written by Gaiman for a friend who was about to become the mother of a daughter. The beautiful illustrations by Vess are what makes this book a 4/5.

(59) Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith
Fiction 4/5

The third book in the 44 Scotland Street series. As good as the first book in the series. Pat falls in love. Domenica is in the Malacca Straits studying pirate households. Bertie goes to Paris without his mother. Big plus for me- the character I found the most boring and whose chapters I actually only skimmed in the second book, dies in this book.

Jun 17, 2009, 12:10 am

#145: VB, I was wondering how McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series compares to his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I have given up on that one - I re-read the first book recently (still did not like it) and gave up midway through the second.

Jun 17, 2009, 5:10 am

#145 no. 58, VB did you know that the friend was Tori Amos? ;)

Jun 17, 2009, 9:57 am

Ooooh you found it and read it!!! That gives me the warm fuzzies... I know it's probably not the best written book in the world, but my memories of it are so positive that I just can't help but love it to death... so happy to see you were able to find it and give it a chance! :)

Jun 21, 2009, 8:29 pm

>#146 Stasia, I haven't read the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books so I can't compare them to 44 Scotland Street. That series is entertaining and I like all the little inside information about Edinburgh. I'm thinking of trying his Dahlhouse books solely because I like the titles.

>#147 flissp -- I saw the dedication to Tori and I know that they're friends, but I wasn't sure if the Tori was Tori Amos. I guess I missed that info on his blog.Thanks.

>#148 dk-phoenix - I did like the book. True it's not the best writting but I could see how it would be a much loved book when you were younger. I thought everyone fell in love and got married way too quickly. Maybe that's what faries do. I really liked Branstookah.

Happy Solstice everyone !!

Jun 21, 2009, 9:00 pm

Message 132

What a delightful book and wonderful way in which you described it.

We recently took our six year old grand daughter back to Ocean City, NJ. It was so beautiful. Unlike Atlantic City, everything seemed safe, clean and family friendly.

She loved it and we now have more great memories of time spent together.

Jun 22, 2009, 1:40 am

#149: OK, thanks.

Jun 22, 2009, 2:53 am

#132 VB

I trying to catch up on the threads and caught up with yours today--June 21, summer solstice.

Coincidentally I got to read the poem about the Jersey Shore which I loved! Even though I've never been to the Jersey shore I've spent a lot of my life on shores--especially Pacific shores -- both in the US and over seas.

from the poem:

Morning surf roar. Water and air.
Breathe in crystals of mica-glinting
sea, till salt speckles lungs
and mind becomes clear
as a gull's sweep over the jetty.
It's the summer solstice.
Step up. Take a chance.

Wonderful! ;-)

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 4:42 pm

>#150 - Linda, is Ocean City beach nice? I've gone through town on a bus while on the way to visit my sister in Cape May but I've never even seen the beach there. Atlantic City ...eww. Do people even use the beach there? Everyone I know who goes to AC goes for either the casinos, the spas or the outlet shopping. It seems like it's been raining every day in NJ/NY-- all those potential beach days lost.

>#152 MusicMom-- LOL. Perfect timing. Solstice luck? I actually copied that poem over in my journal entry for the 21st. Glad you liked it.

Jul 4, 2009, 9:31 pm

(60) What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems by Mary Oliver
(61) Why I Wake Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver
Poetry for June
Thanks to MusicMom for recommending Mary Oliver on her thread. Both these vols contain amazing, beautiful poetry inspired by nature. I'm going to be looking for all of Olivers work now.

(62) Gardener's Nightcap by Muriel Stuart.
Non-fiction, Gardening
One of the Persephone books that had been sitting on my shelves. I'm not sure why I bought this one. I don't garden and know nothing about gardening. There's a lot of useful gardening information in this book. All I took away from the book was that crickett bats are made from female willow trees.

(63) No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Young Adult
I saw this on Roni's thread. A quick, fun read.

(64) Kindred by Octavia E Butler
Fiction, SciFi, July bookclub
Dana is a young African- American woman who lives in California in 1976. She finds herself repeatedly pulled through time to a plantation in the early 1800s. Each time she must rescue a boy named Rufus and each time becomes more violent and dangerous for Dana. The book deals with the issues of race and gender and asks the question "How easy is it to adapt to slavery?"
This book was amazing! Highly recommended.

Jul 4, 2009, 11:53 pm

#154: I am adding Kindred to the overpopulated Planet. Thanks for the recommendation!

Jul 6, 2009, 12:05 am

154 VB

re books 60 & 61: I'm so glad you liked them! Mission accomplished--another convert!

"All I took away from the book was that cricket bats are made from female willow trees." That's a piece of trivia I probably will never forget--fascinating. So glad your time with that book wasn't wasted. :-)

I've added Kindred to my wishlist. That one really sounds great and sort of fits in with a couple of areas I reading in thi year. Thanks for the good review.

Jul 6, 2009, 8:24 am

Why not male willow trees?

Jul 6, 2009, 9:13 pm

>#156 Carolyn, if I knew anyone else who read poetry I would spread the word on Mary Oliver. I have a friend who lives on Cape Cod, I plan to ask her if she's heard about Mary Oliver or has visited those parts of the island. Although, since it's not Nascar or baseball, I'm guessing she'll say no.
LOL, it's trivia like the crickett bat info that makes some people at work think I'm smarter than I actually am. They ask "How do you know all this stuff?" I say "I read" I can't remember important things, but trivia stays in my brain forever.

>#157 lunacat--- Stuart never explains why the bats are made from female willows and not from male willows. I guess she thought her readers already knew that information. More importantly, to me,---how does one tell a male willow tree from a female willow tree?

Jul 6, 2009, 9:28 pm

Didn't have time to do this earlier.
Breakdown for June:

Books read in June: 13
Books read in 2009: 64
Books bought in 2009: 97 (I have no self control)
Books borrowed from the library: 10
Books read not on original 2009 reading list: 27
Fiction: 38
NonFiction: 20
Poetry: 9
Female author: 29
Male author: 31

Presently reading:
A City of Bells and The Sex Lives of Cannibals.

Jul 7, 2009, 1:53 pm

You have bought 97 books this year already!! And I thought I was bad....

Jul 7, 2009, 2:38 pm


That made me mother and I each bought about 110 books over a three day weekend in march :)

Jul 7, 2009, 2:51 pm

I hope you enjoy The Sex Lives of Cannibals. I thought it was hilarious, but even if you don't, the title alone gets attention from guests seeing it on your shelves.

Jul 7, 2009, 7:10 pm

Hmmm? I wonder if there is any resemblance to the sex life of a praying mantis? For those of you who aren't entomologists or married to one--after sex the female eats the male. Doesn't bode well for a long term relationship. :-)

Editado: Jul 8, 2009, 7:13 am

#163 - Trivia: Another animal that engages in sexual cannibalism is the Redback Spider, which is native to Australia.

As for The Sex Lives of Cannibals - I have a dog-eared paperback copy of this by the bed. Although I'm not sure why I have it by the bed, since I'm not reading it and have no plans to read it in the near future. Oh well...

Jul 8, 2009, 12:37 pm

The irony of its placement peter :)

Jul 8, 2009, 10:21 pm

> #160 Cait, I usually buy 2-3 times as many books as I read. So, put in perspective, 64 books read and 97 books bought is not bad.

>#161 lunacat -- 110 in three days!! I bow down to you. Last fall I spent a week of vacation visiting all my favorite bookstores. I bought less than 50 books. You must have a car because I can't imagine hauling all those books around.

>#162 mstrust - So far I've only read through The Great Beer Crisis, but I'm finding The Sex Lives of Cannibals both funny and sad. The history of abuse of these small Pacific islands by the larger nations of the world is very depressing.

> #163 & 164 - Carolyn and Peter-- according to the reviews I've read there is no sex in this book, specifically not cannibal sex. I don't know about insect sex though. I'll let you know.

Jul 9, 2009, 7:04 am

>163 MusicMom41:, 164, 166: No sex. Hysterical. Read aloud during a 12 hour car trip made the miles fly.

Jul 15, 2009, 8:32 pm

(65)A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge
Fiction 4/5
A charming book set in a British cathedral town. Published in 1936 but set in an earlier time. It was easy to see where the narrative was headed, but it didn't matter. The book gets bonus points for using two of my favorite words -- gargantuan and portcullis-- within the space of two pages.

(66)The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost
Travel, Humor, NonFiction 4/5
Maarten and his girlfriend Sylvia move to the remote island of Tarawa. They learn to deal with the lack of water, elctricity, edible food;people using the lagoon behind their house as a toilet and the quaint island customs-- couples who bite each others noses off when jealous, and the system of bubuti. The bubuti system means that anyone can go up to anyone else and say "I bubuti you for whatever" and you are obliged to hand over whatever. Hilarity ensues. Favorite parts- when the author muses over the thought that England seems to have sent their entire athletic gene pool to Australia on convict ships, and how he would spend his perfect day --- ending with "Also it would be fall. I would be wearing a sweater". I love guys who love sweaters. The history of abuse in the Pacific islands by the larger nations of the world is depressing and makes up about 20 % of the book.

Currently reading: The Cry of the Icemark, Dancing Girls and poetry by Robert Frost.

Jul 15, 2009, 9:21 pm

Hi Kelly

You are reading some very interesting books! I like your description of A City of Bells!

Jul 15, 2009, 11:31 pm

#158: the flowers are different on each...stamenate and pistillate (I think...grade 13 biology was over 4 decades ago).
#168: those are two splendid words. If she had defenestration in there, it would be just about perfect.

Jul 16, 2009, 10:24 am

Dancing Girls looks really good.

Your ratio of books purchased to library books is opposite of mine! I think the librarians love to see me on a low circulation day because I boost their numbers. I still have too many books because I can't stay away from library book sales and I have a hard time parting with any book even after it is read.

Jul 16, 2009, 10:45 am

>>>>158 VioletBramble:. Wikipedia says the white willow has male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are 4–5 cm long, the female catkins 3–4 cm long at pollination, lengthening as the fruit matures. When mature in mid summer, the female catkins comprise numerous small (4 mm) capsules each containing numerous minute seeds embedded in white down which aids wind dispersal

So now I know more about that than I ever thought I would! :-)

Jul 16, 2009, 6:49 pm

Glad you enjoyed A City of Bells!

Jul 18, 2009, 12:16 am

#169 - Thanks Linda.

#170- tiffin, that sounds sort of familiar. I don't like the word defenestration though -- reminds me of work. LOL. I read to forget about my job -- which lately I really hate.

#171 Amy-Sue This is the first year I'm using the library since university. And that was a very long time ago. I'm starting slow for a few reasons. Most importantly,I have over 300 books in my apartment waiting to be read. I feel guilty looking at my bookshelves every time I read a library book. Also, most of my 10 request spots at the library are taken up by Doctor Who and Torchwood DVDs. They are taking forever to get to me. But once those are obtained and watched that will free up spots to request more books. I'm hoping to use the library more in the future. Hopefully the library and curbing my book buying will help me save money. Esp as I pass on most of the books I buy after I've read them.

#172 - nancyewhite - Thanks for the info. I just went and looked that up too. Stuff about nectar glands and other things I never wanted to know. No info on why the female trees make better bats though.

#173 Hi Roni!

Oh, I forgot to add upthread that I first saw A City of Bells mentioned on Stasia's thread. Thanks Stasia! And thanks to Richard for all his help in the kitchen with interpreting the customs of the time.

Jul 18, 2009, 6:08 am

#174: Since Roni initially recommended it to me, we have now come full circle. I am glad that you enjoyed it - a cool thing about your favorite words being found on 2 pages. I rarely see my favorite word mentioned in books.

Jul 18, 2009, 10:28 am

ok VB, I just have to ask: you defenestrate people as part of your job? I admit that it was a sore temptation in mine but I never gave in to it.

Editado: Jun 20, 2015, 1:21 pm

#176 - tiffin- if I was ever tempted to defenestrate people at work it would be impossible -- the windows don't open or break. Sadly I have taken care of people who have jumped or been thrown out of windows. But, what I was thinking of when I wrote the above was; a surgeon at work uses the word defenestrate in his notes and patient hand-off summary to refer to the closing of any long term surgical opening/window. For example the closing of a colostomy stoma.

Jul 20, 2009, 9:03 pm

I never got back to say thanks for the review on the Troost book. It's still sitting in the bedside pile and I look forward to reading it since you seemed to enjoy it so much.

On the topic of windows... I wish I had windows, but there are none in our office! But, perhaps given the nature of our work, it is safer not to have them ;) We did hear of one chap (not from our office) who went up to the roof of this building and chucked himself off! In response, the building supervisors have removed the ROOF button from all the elevators.

By the by, thanks for the new word - "defenestrate" :)

Jul 20, 2009, 9:46 pm

Hi Peter. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it. I have the sequel, Getting Stoned With Savages, set aside for September reading.
No windows? At all? That's not good. What happens if people need to get to the roof? We once had a doctor commit suicide by throwing herself off the roof of one of the residence buildings. They responded by taking away roof privledges from all the hospital residence buildings. Everyone had to find a new place to watch 4th of July fireworks and to have BBQs.

Jul 20, 2009, 9:47 pm

#175 Stasia -- what is your favorite word?

Jul 21, 2009, 10:37 am

#180: polyglot

Do not ask me why because I have no idea. I have loved the word ever since I was a kid.

Jul 24, 2009, 4:55 pm

I was reading somewhere that at the recent Ledbury Poetry Festival, a panel of poets were asked to name their least favourite words - "defenestrate" was in there :-)

Jul 26, 2009, 1:28 am

#180: No sooner do I say that I never see 'polyglot' in a book when I come across it in the book I am reading now, The Serpent's Tale, lol.

Ago 5, 2009, 5:06 pm

#183 Stasia -- isn't that the way these things always work? LOL.

#183 Flossie -- thanks for the info. Defenestrate is not a very poetic word.

Ago 5, 2009, 5:15 pm

#182: That's funny, Flossie. It's a very Monty Pythonish word to me, for some reason - I know the defenestration of Prague wasn't funny but I can see the Python crew doing something ridiculous with it. Usually people don't like words which sound like what they mean, like unctuous or bloated, or like them if they sound like pleasant things (can't think of an example).

Ago 5, 2009, 5:19 pm

>185 tiffin:.

In the computer world, "defenestration" describes the action in which somebody drops Microsoft's operating system for another (usually Linux) operating system.

Ago 5, 2009, 5:22 pm

I love it! Thanks, aether. Sorry, I'm threadjacking, VB!

Editado: Ago 12, 2009, 11:25 am

July was a very bad month for me. I'm so far behind in everything that is not work related. I will try to catch up with everyone's threads later this evening. To catch up on my reading list:

(67) Notes From the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life by Quinn Cummings
NonFiction, Essays, Humor 4/5

Humorous essays about home-ownership, motherhood, living in LA and being a former child star. Even though none of the above applies to me I still found this book witty and often hilarious. Recommended.

(68) Dancing Girls and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood
Fiction, Short stories 2/5

I normally like Atwood. This collection of stories ate up most of my reading time this month. I was determined to finish it despite not liking the stories. I hoped it would get better. It didn't. Reading this book was like walking through waist high molasses. These stories were written at the beginning of Atwoods career. Each story featured a young woman who was either hopeless/depressed, confused or ineffectual. Blah!

(69)You Come Too: Favorite Poems for Readers of All Ages by Robert Frost
Poetry for July 5/5

Highly recommended. This collection of poems is suitable for all ages, easily acessible, appropriate for reading aloud, lovely and funny. I choose this for my July poetry book because it contains my favorite poem by Frost:

Fireflies In The Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That, though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart),
Achieve at times a very starlike start.
Only, of course,they can't sustain the part.

Breakdown for July:
Books read in July: 5
Books read in 2009: 69
Books bought in 2009:105
Books borrowed from library:11
Books not on original 2009 reading list:29
Female author: 32
Male author: 33

Ago 5, 2009, 6:54 pm

#187 No problem tiffin

(70)Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
Fiction 4/5
A woman reminisces about her wild teen years in the early 1970s. Recommended. As always I love the way Moore uses words and imagery. Favorite bit: " cruelty toward her now in me like a splinter, where it would sit for years in my helpless memory, the skin growing around; what else can memory do? It can do nothing:It pretends to eat the shrapnel of your acts, yet it can not swallow or chew".

(71)Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright
Poetry for August 3/5
This book won the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 2004. I didn't like Wright's style - too choppy, most of the poems were in little bits. Also; too religious for my taste. Here's my fav:

Walking to Martha's Vineyard

And the ocean smells like lilacs in late August - how is that?

The light there muted (silver) as remembered light.

Do you have any children?

No, lucky for them.

Bad things happen when you get hands, dolphin.

Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing?

There is no down or up in space or in the womb.

If they'd stabbed me to death on the day I was born, it would have been an act of mercy.

Like the light the last room,the windowless room at the end,must look out on. Gold-tinged, blue

vapor trail breaking up now between huge clouds resembling a kind of Mount Rushmore of your parents' faces.

And these untraveled windy back roads here --cotton leaves blowing past me, in the long blue horizontal light--

if I am on an island, how is it they go on forever.

This sky like an infinite tenderness, I have caught glimpses of that, often, so often, and never yet have I described it, I can't, somehow,I never will.

How is it that I didn't spend my whole life being happy, loving other human beings' faces.

And wave after wave, the ocean smells like lilacs in late August.

Ago 5, 2009, 10:57 pm

I love that line from Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's one of the bits I underlined when I read it a few months ago.

Ago 6, 2009, 3:33 pm

#190 wunderkind - she uses imagery and word games much less in this book than her others. The only things that stood out for me were the above section and the part where she remembers "our hands quacking at our sides" when having to listen to adults talk.

#186 aethercowboy -- Interesting. Is that because it's a "Windows" application?

Ago 7, 2009, 9:50 am

>191 VioletBramble:.

Yes. You're "throwing out the Windows," so to speak.

Ago 8, 2009, 5:02 am

#188: I remember when Quinn Cummings was on the television show Family. I will have to look for her book! Thanks for the recommendation, VB.

Ago 12, 2009, 11:36 am

#193 Hi Stasia. I never missed the show Family. I was a big Kristy MacNichol fan back in the day. I always forget that Cummings was on that show.(She does talk about it in the book) I just remember her from The Goodbye Girl.

Not much reading going on these days. I'm catching up on watching DVDs. Presently reading:
The Cry of the Icemark (still)
and re-reading Dandelion Wine in prep for reading Farewell Summer.

Ago 13, 2009, 12:53 am

#194: I loved Dandelion Wine! I hope you are enjoying it, VB.

Editado: Ago 16, 2009, 8:52 pm

#195 I'm enjoying Dandelion Wine so far. I don't remember any of it from my previous reading -- way back in the 1975-76 school year. I always like the way Bradbury describes small towns. I find I read those bits really slowly to savor them.

Just finished listening to The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare. The package says it's an audiobook so I will add it here but not count it in my numbers. It's actually a fully dramatized recording in the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare series. This one is read by David Tennant, Brendan Coyle and others.

Okay, I'm editing to add this audiobook to my numbers.
(72) The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare.

Ago 13, 2009, 9:59 pm


Why not count the Shakespeare? That would be the best way to listen to it rather than one narrator trying to do all the voices. Give yourself credit--it would be better than reading it also! :-)

Ago 14, 2009, 10:43 am

>197 MusicMom41:. That would be the best way to listen to it rather than one narrator trying to do all the voices.

Clearly you've never heard Kenneth Branagh do all the voices for Midsummer Night's Dream.

Ago 14, 2009, 1:55 pm


You're right--I haven't. And I'm willing to admit that Branagh might even be able to pull it off. :-) I'll be on the look out for it. I love audio books when we are traveling. And it's been quite awhile since I've "read" any Shakespeare--although last year I read Will in the World which pretty much took us through the plots of his most well known plays. But without the language you really don't get the feel for him.

Ago 16, 2009, 9:27 pm

#199 MusicMom- you should see if your library carries the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare series. It looks like they've recorded the majority of the plays.

(73) The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
Fantasy, Young Adult 3.5/5

This book was recommended in Book Crush: For Kids and Teens by Nancy Pearl. Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield, 13 year old princess of the Icemark becomes Queen when her father is killed in battle. To save her country she forges an alliance with Werewolfes, vampires, giant snow leopards, witches and the soldiers of the Holly King and Oak King. A decent fantasy novel, somewhat formulaic. Thirrin was a strong main character. The author randomly renamed certain objects- glasses, binoculars - to make the Icemark society seem ancient, but then also randomly dropped in lines such as "I didn't know you were the Goddesses private secretary" Extra points for the use of the word portcullis. (second book this year)

Ago 17, 2009, 1:47 am

#200: That one is on Planet TBR already or I would add it again since it looks like it is going to be fun!

How many extra points for using portcullis?

Ago 18, 2009, 1:49 pm

I liked the look of The Cry of the Icemark and went to put it on my BM wishlist but it couldn't be found...........not anywhere!! not on or non existant book!

Ago 19, 2009, 2:24 am

#202: I found in on The Book Depository website, lunacat. You might check there.

Ago 19, 2009, 2:46 am


Thanks. I discovered it wasn't that it didn't exist, but that the search function on the BM website has got a glitch, so it won't come up with results if you're searching amazon to add it to your wishlist. I've just got to remember the books I want to add to it for when it comes back!

Ago 19, 2009, 2:56 am

#204: Good luck with the remembering!

Ago 20, 2009, 9:12 pm

#201- Stasia- Well, no actual points, but, a few words from my favorite words list in any book could for instance get a book a 3.5 if I'm wavering between a 3 and a 3.5.

#204 lunacat - glad you found the book.

(74)Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
SciFi, Fantasy 4.5/5

12 year old Douglas Spalding recalls the summer of 1928. A summer of final trolley rides, danelion wine, best friends moving away, new sneakers, reading by firefly light, a serial killer, old people that were never children, a wax witch, grandma's great dinners, a happiness machine and much, much more. I love the way Bradbury describes small town America. Recommended. On to the sequel..
This book gets extra points for using not only portcullis (third time this year), but another word from my list -- langorous.

Ago 21, 2009, 10:15 am

oooh yes, langorous is a good word!

Ago 21, 2009, 1:18 pm

Hang in there! One more book to go and you met the challenge!

Ago 21, 2009, 4:15 pm

#206: Glad to see you liked Dandelion Wine! IMO, the sequel is not nearly as good.

Ago 21, 2009, 7:34 pm

I remember my mom reading that when I was a kid. I've added it to my Want list, thanks!

Ago 22, 2009, 3:14 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by my thread.

(75) Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury
SciFi, Fantasy 3/5

Sequel to Dandelion Wine. Douglas Spalding, now aged 13, and his friends, find themselves at war with Mr. Quartermain and his "gray army" of octagenarians. The winning army hoping to stop/control time, stop ageing and death. A coming of age story. Not as good as Dandelion Wine, mostly because it's devoid of all the lovely descriptive paragraphs that filled that book.
So happy I finished this book today. Today is Ray Bradbury's birthday. It's also my birthday. The lousy thunderstorms have ruined my plans of birthday biking and picnicing. Or at least postponed them until Friday. Blah! Going to CPK later for some asparagus spinach spaghettini. Yum!

Ago 22, 2009, 7:05 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! And congratulations on finishing the 75 challenge.

I have Dandelion Wine and plan to read it this year. I can't remember if I bought Farewell Summer yet. If not, I think I'll get it from the library, now. :-)

Ago 23, 2009, 3:25 am


Ago 23, 2009, 9:34 pm

Thanks Carolyn and Stasia. I love that Pooh and Piglet have a picnic basket.

(76) The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Illustrations by Beth Krommes (that's the wrong touchstone)
Children's Literature, Illustrations.

Linda mentioned this book and the illustrations on her thread. I collect children's books for the illustrations;so, I checked this out of the library to give it a look. The text is a cumulative pattern poem. I liked the black, white and yellow illustrations so much I've requested from the library another book,Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow, that's also illustrated by Krommes.

Ago 23, 2009, 10:17 pm

Happy Birthday! Many happy returns of the day!

I'm a big fan of Dandelion Wine. I've had the sequel sitting here for over a year and have not read it because I'm afraid of the letdown.

Ago 24, 2009, 1:05 pm

Bah to rainy birthdays! That happened to me on my 30th (similar plans). I hope you found alternative fun and had a lovely day. Oh and congratulations on the 75!

Ago 24, 2009, 2:01 pm

Happy Birthday and congratulations on reaching (and surpassing) the 75 challenge goal!

I'm glad you liked the House in the Night by Susan Marie SwansonIt really was delightful.

Editado: Jun 20, 2015, 1:32 pm

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. My postponed plans were rained out again today. I hope this hurricane passes quickly. Then again, I have to work all weekend so it might as well rain.

(77) Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman. Illustrations by Beth Krommes
Children's Literature, Poetry, Illustrations

A book of children's poetry about insects, plants and animals of the meadow. All the poems are in the form of a question and the reader has to guess the poems subject. The illustrations are by the same artist as book #76 and are in the same style. For this book Krommes used a muted, natural color palette. This book would be great as an introduction to poetry , esp for children who are interested in insects. Recommended.

(78)The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Young adult, fiction, mystery.

Sixteen people are gathered for the reading of the will of Samuel Westing. Separated into pairs, they find themselves involved in a game, utilizing word clues, to find Westings murderer and inherit millions of dollars. The mystery and word games were inventive. I would never have figured out the final clue. Recommended.

Ago 29, 2009, 12:39 am


I read Westing Game earlier this year. I agree--it's a great YA that can also appeal to adults.

My husband is an entomologist (insect man!) and I love poetry--I'm going to look for Butterfly Eyes--it would a nice one to share with our young grandsons when they come here for Christmas.

You've had some great books this year!

Editado: Set 4, 2009, 9:38 pm

Thanks Carolyn. I hope you find the book.

I've been on an illustrated children's book jag this week. Three more:

(79) The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
Children's Literature, Illustrations 4.5/5
This book contains 14 really beautiful black and white illustrations. Each picture has a title and a caption. It's up to the reader to imagine the story that goes with each picture.

(80) Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. Illustrations by Kevin Hawkes.
Children's Literature, Illustration 4/5
One day a lion enters a library and attends story hour. He returns every day and begins helping out in the library. One day he breaks the library rules and is told to leave. Cute story. Lovely illustrations.

(81) Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
Children's Literature, Illustrations 4.5/5
This book is beyond adorable. Someone leaves the library window open one night and the bats enter. They study guides to fancy foods (moths), play in the water fountain, photocopy themselves and have story hour. The illustrations of bats hanging upside down from the lamps and chairs reading upside down books are really great. Apparently this is the autumn book in the series. There is a summer book, Bats at the Beach that the cashier who rang up my purchases said was really great. i'll have to look for that one as well.

Breakdown for August:
Books read in August : 12
Books read in 2009 : 81
Books bought in 2009: 126
Books borrowed from the library:15
Books read not on original 2009 list: 37
Fiction: 51
Poetry: 12
Audiobooks: 1
Female author: 37
Male author:40

Set 1, 2009, 6:35 am

oooh, I like the sound of the Westing Game!

Sorry your birthday plans got rained out again - maybe it'll make them all the more enjoyable when you do get to them?! ;) ...boooo to working all weekend...

Set 1, 2009, 12:49 pm

#220: Nice summary, VB!

Set 2, 2009, 11:32 am

Congratulations on the 75! It seems to have been a good week for it :-) (and happy birthday too).

Set 7, 2009, 9:59 pm

#221 flissp- Thanks, I finally got to carry out my birthday plans on Saturday. I over did the biking and hiking and spent most of Sunday napping. I did have a great day though.
#222 Hi Stasia!
#223 Thanks Flossie.

(82) Arkangel Complete Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet.
Audiobook. I'm starting to like these audiobooks. This one was better than the last. Read (performed) by Joseph Fiennes, Maria Miles, Trevor Peacock and David Tenant, plus many more.

(83) An Incomplete Revenge: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear.
Fiction, Mystery
The fifth book in the series.During hops-picking season Maisie investigates a brickworks in a small village in Kent. The residents of the village are hiding a terrible secret. This series gets better with every book.

(84) Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
Children's Literature, Illustrations.
Companion book to Bats at the Library. The bats have a night of fun at the beach. Once again the illustrations are adorable. I liked the library book better.

Set 7, 2009, 10:44 pm

I have one more post 1980 mystery to read in my 999 challenge thought I might do The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but I forgot I also have An Incomplete Revenge waiting for me. That one I know I will like. I'll be on a mini vacation the end of this week and wanted to take something I would really enjoy--thanks for reminding me!

All the talk about Shakespeare on your thread has inspired me--right now I'm reading The Tempest in preparation to reading about the incident that inspired Shakespeare to write the play.

I read Bats at the Library last year when I bought it for my grandson. I loved it and so did my grandson!

Set 9, 2009, 4:34 am

I am a big fan of the Maisie Dobbs series, too!

Set 9, 2009, 11:05 pm

#225 Carolyn- you should read An Incomplete Revenge.It's not only a fun read, it's also shorter than The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The incident that inspired Shakespeare to write the Tempest? Can't wait to find out what that's about -- I'll be checking your thread.

#226 Stasia- I like how Winspear reveals new information about Maisie with each book. Plus, I like to read books set in England between the wars.

Editado: Set 9, 2009, 11:27 pm

(85) Facts About the Moon: Poems by Dorianne Laux
Poetry for September
Simple, lyrical poems, some are about everyday events and regular people. Some are about children or adults dealing with childhood abuses. I'll share this poem for all the LTers who spent their childhoods taking shelter in books :

Moon in the Window

I wish I could say I was the kind of child
who watched the moon from her window,
would turn toward it and wonder.
I never wondered. I read. Dark signs
that crawled toward the edge of the page.
It took me years to grow a heart
from paper and glue. All I had
was a flashlight, bright as the moon,
a white hole blazing beneath the sheets.

(86) Arkangel Complete Shakespeare King Lear by Shakespeare.
Audiobook, Play
This was the best audiobook in the series so far. Trevor Peacock as Lear and David Tenant as Edgar were both amazing. (they both acted in the other two audiobooks in the series that I listened to and they are much better here)

Set 9, 2009, 11:53 pm

#228 VB

LOL I love your poem abut the moon. I was that child. I read the poem to my husband and he said that what I didn't know was that when my parents looked in on me they would be able to see a glow from the foot of the bed and knew I was reading! (I put my head at the foot so the light wouldn't "leak out" from under the covers. He said it would "leak through.")

I'm going to have to find those Shakespeare audio books! They sound like they would be really fun.

Set 10, 2009, 10:58 am

#228/9 I was both children!

The King Lear audiobook sounds good - I'm not much of an audiobook person, but it must be an ideal medium for plays - I must investigate!

Set 10, 2009, 12:36 pm

Thats a lovely poem, and I was that child as well.

Set 10, 2009, 6:37 pm

I saw this on Wunderkinds thread:

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe yourself:
Blueberry Girl (Neil Gaiman)

How do you feel:
Higglety Pigglety Pop! (Maurice Sendak)

Describe where you currently live:
The Little Bookroom (Eleanor Farjeon)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
To The Shore Once More (Frank Finale)

Your favorite form of transportation:
Parnassus on Wheels (Christopher Morley)

Your best friend is:
Ignatius MacFarland: Frequenaut! (Paul Feig)

You and your friends are:
People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks)

What’s the weather like:
Farewell Summer (Ray Bradbury)

You fear:
The Haunted Bookshop (Christopher Morley)

What is the best advice you have to give:
Eat, Drink and Be Merry (collected poems)

Thought for the day:
Is Sex Necessary? (EB White and James Thurber)

How I would like to die:
Inkdeath (Cornelia Funke)

My soul’s present condition:
Open Closed Open (Yehuda Amichai)

Editado: Set 11, 2009, 7:47 pm

>228 VioletBramble: I'd read the poem you posted but not really read it previously... it is lovely. Thanks for sharing it.

(Also, after I turned all the lights out last night, my eldest opened his curtains and tried to read by moonlight. Nature or nurture? Who can tell?)

Editado: Set 13, 2009, 2:26 pm

I saw this on Tads thread. I'm upset I didn't score higher in science and math. Never having used a slide rule must have cost a lot of points. And no biology on this test. Boo!

Set 23, 2009, 9:17 pm

(87) Connections From Ptolemy's Astrolab to the Discovery of Electricity: How Inventions are Linked - and How They Cause Change Throughout History by James Burke

Based on the PBS series. Burke examines how inventions throughout time have caused changes in manufacturing, mining and methods of warfare.

(88) Getting Stoned With Savages by J Maarten Troost

A sequel to The Sex Lives of Cannibals. Maarten and his wife Slyvia decide to head back to the South Pacific. They live in Vanuata and Fiji. Maarten spends much of his time stoned on kava. Unlike the first book this second book actually delves into cannibalism and the sex lives of cannibals. I wanted to give extra points for the use of the word langorous. After coming across the word at least a dozen times I may have to subtract points. Funnier than the first book.

Time to catch up on threads while I watch Glee.

Set 24, 2009, 7:23 pm

#235: The Connections book looks like one I would like. Thanks for mention, VB!

Set 24, 2009, 7:57 pm

>235 VioletBramble:: Did you ever watch Burke's TV show? Same type of material. Fascinating.

Set 27, 2009, 4:08 pm

> 237 -Tad, No, I've never seen the series. Someone mentioned the series to me and that's how I discovered the book. I heard that the material covered on the TV series is more interesting than the material in the book. I'm sorry I missed the series.

Set 27, 2009, 4:44 pm

>238 VioletBramble:: I wouldn't say more interesting...I liked both. There was just more time in the TV series.

Set 29, 2009, 10:40 pm

(89) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Young adult, fantasy

Almost as good as The Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta go on their victory tour. They discover that some of the districts are rebelling against the capital and that Katniss' acts in the Hunger Games are the catalyst. I won't say more because I know a lot of people are still planning on reading this book. The cliff hanger ending will make the wait for the third book seem so long.

September has been so busy I've only finished 8 books. Vacation starts tomorrow. I'm going to New Mexico with my sister. Her idea of vacation involves afternoon naps. I should return well rested and ready to read the thousands of posts I'll have to catch up on.

Out 2, 2009, 11:35 am

I hope you have a wonderful vacation,VB! Afternoon naps sound like heaven to me.

Out 2, 2009, 11:51 am

Yep, have a fantastic time!

Out 3, 2009, 6:35 am

Have a great time with your sister in New Mexico!

Out 4, 2009, 2:17 pm

Have a great time in New Mexico. I just spent a week of my vacation in your exciting city of New York. Loved all the museums.

Editado: Out 15, 2009, 5:42 pm

>241 alcottacre:-244 Hi everyone. Thanks for the vacation wishes. New Mexico was beautiful but much colder than expected. Also there were a number of balloon related injuries at the Balloon Fiesta. Seems that people are severly injured on a yearly basis in NM. My sister and I decided we'll stick to the injury free yearly balloon festival in NJ. The museums and galleries were plentiful and very nice. Actually dragged my sister to the International Rattlesnake Museum. I'd recommend giving that one a pass unless you're really into looking at rattlesnakes in aquariums. A co-worker said she remembered it as having a pit full of rattlesnakes. It didn't- but that would have been cool and slightly frigthening.

On to book related business- September recap:
Books read in Sept: 8
Books read in 2009: 89
Books bought in 2009: 139
Books borrowed from library: 17
Books read not on original 2009 list :42
Fiction: 56
Poetry: 13
Audiobooks: 3
Female author: 40
Male author: 45

(90) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.
Memoir, NonFiction, Humor
Bryson's memories of growing up in middle America in the 50s and 60s are hysterical. Even though I'm a decade younger and grew up on the east coast I could relate to many of the chapters in this book. Recommended.

(91) Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
This is a book club book from a few years ago -- I just didn't feel like reading the book that month and have put it off until now. I figured October would be the perfect month to read it. I'm counting this as Samhain reading. It's a re-telling of the Scottish ballad Tam Lin, set in a mid-western American college in the early 1970s. This is a long book, 468 pages, and most of the book - the first 400 pages , at least- feel like a forward to the actual story that starts near the end of the book. The characters speak in quotes from Shakespeare and other works of English literature. Sometimes the characters would say things that didn't make any sense to me and I couldn't tell if it was an unknown quote , colloquial speech for the mid-west or just the way Pamela Dean writes. Despite these annoyances the book is an easy, enjoyable read.

(92) Frommer's Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque
(93) Eyewitness Top 10 Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque
Since I actually did read these - the Frommer's three times - I'm counting them.

(94) Picnic, Lightning by Billy Collins
Poetry for October
The majority of these poems read like stream of consciousness prose. Not as good as the Collins poetry that MusicMom has posted on her thread but okay.

Out 12, 2009, 1:22 pm

#245 Tam Lin - I think it's the way Pamela Dean writes ;)

Out 12, 2009, 6:42 pm

Nice summary--you've been having a productive year! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who buys more than I actually read in a year! :-D The Bryson book sounds like a winner--I like memoirs.

Out 13, 2009, 5:57 am

#247, MusicMom, I've a suspicion that there are a lot of us out here on LT with the same problem! ;) (and I'll second the Bill Bryson recommendation)

Out 13, 2009, 2:25 pm

Glad to see that you made it back safe and sound from NM, VB, and that you are not among the injured :)

Out 15, 2009, 6:14 pm

#246, flissp, I think you're right about Pamela Dean. I wonder if she does that in all her books. I have the first book in her Secret Country trilogy on the TBR pile.

#247 LOL. I've actually been pretty good with the book buying this year. It's usually much worse - 2-3 times as many books bought as read. I still have a week of vacation in November and since I have no other plans I will most likely visit all my favorite book stores in the city and add to my current numbers. And I'll have to add Book Court in Brooklyn to my list of stores to visit after reading kidzdoc rave about the place earlier this year.

#249 Thanks. Yes,we very quickly cancelled all plans to ride in a hot air balloon after seeing all the horror stories from previous years on the news.

Currently reading:
Abarat by Clive Barker
House of Arden by E Nesbit

Out 22, 2009, 11:17 pm

(95) Abarat by Clive Barker
Fantasy, Young adult
Candy Quackenbush is an unhappy teenager from Chickentown, Minnesota. One day she meets a man -- well, eight brothers in one body, all named John. She calls an ocean to Minnesota and is transported to the land of Abarat. Abarat is a land of 25 islands - one for each hour of the day or night and one for The Time Out of Time. " And on each island you'll find all the things that our hearts and souls and minds and imaginations connect with that Hour."Candy draws the attention of Christopher Carrion,the Lord of Midnight. He sends various minions out to abduct Candy. Candy spends the book escaping her would be captors with the help of people she meets along the way. The book ends with a cliff hanger as Candy is escaping from Carrion yet again. Barker included dozens of paintings depicting the characters and islands of the Abarat. Recommended.

(96) The House of Arden by E. Nesbit
Children's Literature, Fiction
One of the titles in the New York Review Children's Collection. Edred and Elfrida Arden live with their Aunt Edith. Upon hearing the news of their fathers presumed death Edred attains the title of Lord Arden. The children begin a search for the Arden family treasure which has been lost for generations. With the help of a Mouldiwarp -- an albino mole - they travel back in time to solve the mystery of the missing treasure.
This was my first Nesbit. It was okay. A little boring. I do plan on reading some of her fantasy books - maybe I'll like them better.

(97) City of Snow: The Great Blizzard of 1888 by Linda Oatman High. Illustrations by Laura Francesca Filippucci
I collect illustrated children's books and books about New York City -- this book is both. The story of the blizzard of March 11, 1888 , "the great white hurricane", which took New Yorkers by surprise and shut down the entire city. Actually, the entire east coast of the US was shut down for days. In those days the National Weather Service didn't work on weekends so nobody was prepared for this storm. The lack of preparedness contributed to the devastation. The illustrations are gorgeous.

(98) Probuditi! by Chris Van Allsburg
Children's literature, Illustrations
Another children's picture book. Calvin and his friend invent a hypnotizing machine. He hypnotizes his sister Trudy into believing she's a dog. Or does he?
Chris Van Allsburg is one of my favorite illustrators.

(99) Snow Moon by Nicholas Brunelle
Children's literature, Illustrations
Another picture book. I got this one for free at Books of Wonder because I had spent a certain amount of money. (which is really easy to do there - they're a fabulous childrens book store)
A child wakes in the night to find a white owl peering in the window at him. He follows the white owl into the snowy night. The illustrations of the blue, snowy night are - to quote the book jacket - "luminescent" A beautiful book.

Currently reading:
Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
Girl Sleuth
The Geography of Bliss

Out 23, 2009, 12:37 am


I read Girl Sleuth a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. I have Geography of Bliss on my "To Read" list--I won it but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.. I'll be watching to see what you have to say to see if I should go ahead and get started on it!

Enjoyed your reviews.

Out 23, 2009, 7:00 am

Nesbit's The Phoenix and the Carpet was the first book I ever read independently, so I have a very soft spot for her. I do love the Psammead books, but I haven't really read much of her other stuff.

Out 23, 2009, 1:55 pm

I have several E. Nesbit books that I bought and haven't gotten to yet, including The Phoenix and the Carpet. They are up at our house in Vallejo where we will be over Christmas. That might be a good time to try one! Would it be suitable to read to a 2nd grade boy? Our family from Chicago will be with us for nearly two weeks then and I love to read to both boys. Even though the younger one isn't always ready for what I read to the 2nd grader, he will often play quietly on the floor next to us and listen.

Out 23, 2009, 4:27 pm

Carolyn, I was 5 when I read it, so it should be OK if you're reading aloud! Plenty of options for question-asking. I can't remember if Phoenix is the first one though - I have a feeling that The Story of the Amulet may be first...

Out 23, 2009, 4:52 pm

#255 Flossie -The Phoenix and the Carpet was the book I was thinking of reading. Amazon keeps recommending it to me. I didn't realize that it was the second in a series.

#252 Carolyn - I'm enjoying The Geography of Bliss so far - it's funny and informative.

Out 28, 2009, 8:54 pm

(100) Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
The story of Harriet Stratemeyer Adams and Mildred Writ Benson; the women who wrote the majority of Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. The women wrote the books based on a formula developed by Stratemeyers father, Edward Stratemeyer. Edward Stratemeyer founded the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a company responsible for writing multiple juvenile book series - The Bobbsey Twins, The Rover Boys, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
The book delves into the history of the syndicate, the history of publishing and the effect that Nancy Drew had on girls from the 1930s onward, esp in regard to feminism. Recommended.

(101) The Geography of Bliss: One Grumps Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
Weiner, a correspondent for NPR, visits some of the happiest places on earth, and one of the unhappiest (for comparison) for insight into what makes people happy. He visits India, Iceland, Bhutan, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.
The stories and examples are very funny. I liked Weiners dry humor. The Iceland chapter was the best. Also, I agree with the woman from the UK - Dogs are the key to happiness.

Out 28, 2009, 11:10 pm

#257 - I remember discussing the Stratemeyer-factor in a now long lost post earlier this year. I didn't realize that there was a book on the subject, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Sounds interesting.

I have The Geography of Bliss in my collection, and will read it one day. Maybe.

Out 29, 2009, 7:46 am


I disagree with The Geography of Bliss even though I want to read it. Cats are the key to happiness ;)

Out 31, 2009, 2:29 am

#257: Congratulations on hitting 100 books, VB.

I have Girl Sleuth home from the library now and hope I enjoy it as much as you and MusicMom did.

I read The Geography of Bliss last year and liked it very much. I really wish I could visit Iceland some time :)

Out 31, 2009, 10:13 am

Definitely putting Girl Sleuth on the wishlist. And what a great book to hit 100 with! Congratulations.

Out 31, 2009, 10:52 am

Congratulations! Let's see how many you end the year with!

Editado: Out 31, 2009, 4:08 pm

I bought The Geography of Bliss for a friend last year to read for a reading group he belongs to and the last time I saw him he gave it back to me so I could read it. I guess I'd better hunt it up and put it on the "short shelf" that is getting pretty full right now! (That's the shelf where I put my TBR "next" books. :-D ) It sounds like a good book for those long winter months--when we need a "happy place!" :-)

edited--Hopefully the touchstone will work now!

Nov 6, 2009, 10:48 pm

#258 Peter - Oh, go ahead, read it. It's a fun book.

#259 lunacat - LOL, it's not the book that says dogs are the key to happiness. It's just a woman from the UK. The book says the key to happiness is to take the middle path in all things.

#260 Stasia- Thanks. I hope you're enjoying Girl Sleuth. I hope you get to visit Iceland. It's amazing. In The Geography of Bliss I liked that a couple of the people interviewed in Iceland talked about how they loved being able to swim during snowstorms. The highlight of my first trip to Iceland was swimming in the Blue Lagoon during a hail storm on a day that was 32F degrees. Oddly thrilling and easily one of the Top 5 fun days in my life.

Thanks Flossie and mstrust.

#263 - Carolyn-Yes, put it on the short shelf for winter!

Editado: Nov 6, 2009, 11:48 pm

Catch up time.
Recap for October:
Books read in October: 13
Books read in 2009: 102
Books bought in 2009: 150
Borrowed from library: 17
Books read not on original 2009 list: 48
Fiction: 61
Poetry: 14
Female authors: 44
Male authors: 51

(102) Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker
Young adult, Fantasy, Horror(?)

The second book of Abarat. Candy Quackenbush and friends continue to travel around the islands of the Abarat. Christopher Carrion, the Lord of Midnight, continues his attempts to abduct Candy while he also plans a war that will result in endless night. His grandmother, who has sewn an army of mud stuffed cloth beings, has her own plans for Abarat. When those around her are injured or killed Candy decides it would be safer for all involved if she were to return to Minnesota.
Her decision to return has dire consequences for both the Abarat and the real world.

(103) Teachings of the Buddha edited by Jack Kornfield
Religion, Meditation
A collection of Buddist writings from Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese literature. Topics covered include freedom,wisdom, enlightenment and meditation. Compared to similar books I've read on the subject I found this book to be repetitive (within the book, not compared to the other books). There was some lovely verse scattered throughout the book.

(104) Triskellion by Will Patterson
Young adult, Fantasy

New York twins Rachel and Adam are sent to the English village of Triskellion to spend the summer with their grandmother.They're sent away because their parents are divorcing. Immediately they note that they are not welcome in the village. They are beaten, shot at and almost killed. There is a mystery involving the ancient chalk triskellion from which the village takes its name. There is also a mysterious young man with whom the twins are able to communicate psychically. There are psychic bees. Possibly aliens - it's really hard to tell.They uncover secrets about their family and the village that put them in danger.
The book was okay. There were too many elements, the characters had little depth and the writing was just fair. I'm not sure if I'd read the second book in the series.

Nov 11, 2009, 10:08 pm

(105) Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter
NonFiction, Politics, religion

The former President discusses changes in US policy during the first George W.Bush administration (the book was written in 2005) and the attendant changes in the perceived morals of the US both at home and abroad. Topics include religious fundamentalism (Christian and Muslim), separartion of church and state, divorce, homosexuality, abortion, subservience of women, human rights, torture, nuclear proliferation, global warming and pollution. Carter bases his opinions on his Baptist faith, but is open minded and thoughtful when discussing topics that go against his beliefs. Recommended,

(106) Carol Ann Duffy. Selected Poems 1985-1993 by Carol Ann Duffy
Poetry for November, Audiobook
The award winning Scottish poet reads selections from four of her books.The selections from her 1993 Whitbread winning book Mean Time were my favorites. Recommended.

Nov 12, 2009, 10:48 am

#264 Oh wow - that Blue Lagoon memory sounds amazing. Jealous, jealous, jealous. Iceland has been very near the top of my list of places to go to next for a very long time, but it always seems like such an expensive holiday (my ideal would be to hire a car and basically drive around the ring road for a couple/few weeks). When was it you were there?

Book 104 sounds like one to miss!

Nov 13, 2009, 7:12 am

#266: I will add the Carter book to the BlackHole. It should make for interesting reading - I will be interested in seeing how our opinions line with each other's. Thanks for the recommendation, VB.

Editado: Nov 26, 2009, 5:35 pm

Sorry for the delayed responses: I'm having computer issues at home. Now I'm on the computer at work while I try not to fall asleep from the Thanksgiving carbs.

#267 flissp- You would probably love Iceland. It is extremely expensive though. The last time I was there was November 2005. I'm not sure how things are there now post bankruptcy. I've been lucky to go as part of a tour group. There is a very small travel agency near my mother that does a tour every November during the week of teacher conferences. The hotel and airfare are a fraction of what I would spend to go on my own. But having paid my hotel and airfare months in advance I still almost fell out of my chair when I got my credit card bill. It's crazy expensive, but worth it. The places where you can see the tectonic plates separating are a must see. And the Blue Lagoon. I would love to see Iceland in the summer - they say the weather is perfect.

#268 Stasia - it was an interesting read. Even when his opinion on a subject was different than mine he didn't make me want to throw the book at the wall.

Nov 27, 2009, 9:47 am

Argh! Now I want to go to explore Iceland straight away! I shall resist, I shall (for at least a couple of years anyway). Last time I gave in to temptation (and credit card) was to go to Egypt and it was the most amazing holiday - but it was also one of my not cheap - it took a very long time to pay off and the exchange rate for Egypt is/was very good... Hmmm. That actually sounds like an argument for just going for it...

I've always been a bit nervous of doing the tour group thing, but I'm coming round to it (Egypt again) - I suppose the keyword there is "small" - sounds like you found a good operator?

Editado: Nov 27, 2009, 8:58 pm

(107) A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes (aka Mary Vivian Hughes)
Memoir, Persephone Books
The first in a series of three memoirs. This is the only one re-published by Persephone.
Molly Hughes writes of her suburban London Victorian family in the 1870s. In this first book she describes her happy childhood, growing up with her 4 brothers. She describes outings in London and holidays with her mothers family in Cornwall. Hughes notes details when describing people, places and things that make the story come alive.
The foreward by Adam Gopnik tells the real, not so happy, story of what happened to her family. Recommended.

(108) The Hopkins Manuscript by RC Sherriff
Fiction, SciFi, Satire, Persephone Books
Edgar Hopkins, a gentleman, retired school master, poultry breeder and amateur astronomer left this manuscript/journal behind so that future generations would know about the cataclysm and the disaster that followed. The cataclysm refers to a time when the moon crashed into the earth, landing in the Atlantic ocean. The floods and weather changes that followed killed a large percentage of the population of Europe. Hopkins and three other survivors from the English village of Beadle rebuild their little village and their lives by farming, hunting and eventually trading with a nearby town. After a few years of rebuilding things seem to be looking good for the future. However, men who are greedy for power and wealth manage to gain positions of leadership and the man made disaster that follows may accomplish what the cataclysm did not - the end of life as we know it.
This book was written in the late 1930s. It is a political satire about the situation in Europe at that time and what Sherriff ( who fought in WWI) thought of as complacency and the same old attitude of the British government and people. This book was a compelling, easy read. Highly recommended.

(109) The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Brett Helquist
Humor, Holiday
A companion piece, I guess, to Snickets other holiday book, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming. This one is a Christmas book and more child friendly. The lump of coal dreams of being an artist or a cook. With a little help from Santa Claus the lump of coal realizes his dreams.
The illustrations by Helquist are similar to those he did for The Series of Unfortunate Events books.

Nov 27, 2009, 9:24 pm

Simply stopping by to wave hi!

Nov 27, 2009, 9:26 pm

#270 flissp - I would resist until Iceland gets their financial situation sorted out at least. I'm so jealous that you got to go to Egypt. A retired co-worker who's from Egypt promises to take me with her some day when she goes to visit family.
Group tours are not bad. Like many New Yorkers; I do not know how to drive. So, if I travel anywhere outside of cities - make that cities with public transportation - I either need to find someone who drives to go with me, or I do a group tour. You have to find a good company though. One where you stay in hotels in the city/town you're visiting and not outside of the city/town. And expect to be one of the youngest on the tour.Group tours are popular with seniors. One three week tour of the UK I took actually had a number of college age travelers. I've met people from all over the world on group tours. I still correspond with people I traveled with on various tours since 1993. Mostly Australians.

Nov 27, 2009, 9:28 pm

#272 Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you're doing well and had a good Thanksgiving.

Nov 27, 2009, 9:33 pm

Your trip to Iceland sounds like it was fantastic!

Nov 28, 2009, 4:25 am

Adding both the Hughes and Sherriff books to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendations, VB.

Nov 28, 2009, 2:26 pm

That Hughes book sounds interesting-I'll be looking for it.
I'm another one who has always thought Iceland would be great. Probably because I hate hot weather so much and live in a place that broils. It's enchanting to know there's a country called ICELAND.

Nov 28, 2009, 7:53 pm

I love The Lump of Coal - my sister-in-law bought my son a copy last Christmas. Somehow manages to be nice and Lemony all at the same time.

Editado: Dez 31, 2017, 7:39 pm

nice and Lemony - LOL

Nov 29, 2009, 6:45 am

I had the same reaction to my first - and only - E Nesbit: The Story of the Treasure Seekers. I was a bit underwhelmed. A bit meh. Like you though, plan to try some of her fantasy books as well.

Editado: Nov 30, 2009, 8:00 am

Like the sound of all of your last 3!

Re the tour group thing, yes, I think I'm slowly coming round to them - it's a silly prejudice really. In the past, I've always preferred to make my own way about, because then you can chop and change much more, you can be independent and you get to more places off the main circuit - but then most of the places I've travelled to have had pretty good public transport systems, which makes life a lot easier...

However, I did join a very small tour group to go to Egypt (there were 11 of us - actually mostly of a similar age with me) as I thought it probably wasn't the best place to go around as a single female. I'd feel happier doing that now I have an idea of where to go and what to avoid, but it was definitely the best thing to do at the time - and I had a fantastic time and met some great people - so, as you say, it's probably all about picking the right tour company.

I also did the traditional Oz Experience/Kiwi Experience thing years ago and had a fantastic time. They're particularly good as there are always several buses going round at the same time, so you can hop on and off whenever you like, for as long as you like, which is what appealed to me.

Their routes also try to go off the beaten track as much as possible (particularly on the less busy routes), and they have really enthusiastic drivers/tour guides, however... particularly on the Kiwi Experience, it can just turn into a bit of a party bus - which is good fun for a little bit, but I can't see how the people who stayed on the same bus the whole time actually saw much of the country at all - so in that respect, I imagine a more traditional tour company would probably be better.

Anyway, as you say, it's a great way to meet like-minded people!

Nov 30, 2009, 1:02 pm

#281 flissp - I've never heard of those Australian/NZ hop on/ hop off tours. They sound fun (barefoot bowling and mini goat rodeos). I have seen other party tours designed for people under 30 (or 32). Australia/NZ is my dream vacation. I want to do the ultra-touristy snorkling the Great Barrier Reef and climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. In NZ I want to visit the places my father used to write home about. (He was stationed in the Antarctic and they used to go to NZ for supplies)
Egypt is a place I would never visit alone. Although it seems perfectly lovely on The Amazing Race.
If you find a tour company where you stay in major cities you can always go out and do your own thing once they drop you off at the hotel. One tour I took we stayed so far away from things the only options after dinner were to hang out in the hotel lobby with fellow travelers or repack your suitcase while watching telly.

#277 mstrust - You should try vacationing at one of those Ice hotels. I hear they're nice and cold.
A friend of mine moved to Arizona - he loves the heat. When we have a blizzard or snow storm here in NY he'll always say something smart like ; I never have to shovel the sunshine out of my driveway. Ha ha ha.

Nov 30, 2009, 1:23 pm

#282 VB, If you ever get the chance to do the Australasian holiday, I'd definitely recommend the Oz/Kiwi Experience for first time round - both for ultra touristy & for out of the way stuff (although it is true, it's definitely geared at students/ex-students) - the hop on/off thing just makes it so flexible. When I go back (some day - hopefully in the not tooooo distant future), I'll probably do my own thing, but it was a great introduction to both countries. I'm longing to go back... Which places did your father used to write home about, I'd love to know? Stationed in the Antarctic. Jealous.

Re Egypt, I went with Intrepid Travel who I'd also recommend, unreservedly. Not cheap, but definitely worth it...

The major city tip's good to know. I imagine that whenever I eventually make it to South America or Africa, I'll probably do the tour thing...

Ahhh, imagine being able to spend your life travelling...

Editado: Dez 31, 2017, 7:38 pm

#283 flissp - I'd love to be able to travel more. I do love coming home though.
I don't know about being stationed in the Antarctic. I'd love to visit but not stay. My father spent two years on a cutter ship (ice breaker). I got the feeling that once you get used to your surroundings things become a little boring. He come home with hundreds of pictures (slides, actually) of ice bergs and glaciers. They all looked the same to the rest of the family. The places the ship docked in New Zealand that I remember off the top of my head are Timaru and Christchurch in the south island and Wellington in the north island. There are more places mentioned in his letters - which are at my mothers house.
I'll have to look up Intrepid Travel and see if they have tours from the US.

Dez 6, 2009, 11:07 pm

flissp and VioletBramble, one of my friends from university met her (English) husband on the Kiwi Experience bus so i always smile when I see them around town!

I loved The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit when I was little but can't remember it at all now. Might do a re-read when the kids are a few years older.

VB being stationed in Antartica sounds really interesting (at least when he was there, not stuck on the boat).

Editado: Dez 14, 2009, 5:23 pm

Reacp for November:
Books read in November: 7
Books read in 2009: 109
Books bought in 2009: 165
Books borrowed from library: 17
Books read not on original 2009 list: 51
Fiction: 65
NonFiction: 33
Poetry: 15
Audiobooks: 4
Female author: 46
Male author: 57

(110) The Moon is Always Female by Marge Piercy
Poetry for December
Piercy is one of my favorite poets. I'd categorize her as a feminist poet. Most of her poems feel very personal and I'm left feeling as if I know something about her and her life. The first section of the book is this type of personal poetry and the second section is poems inspired by the moon and lunar cycle, many about menstruation and the influence of the moon on women.

The first un-finished book of the year: Tumbling After by Paul Witcover. 11 year old twins Jack and Jilly are staying at the family beach house with their 16 year old sister and their Uncle Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy works for a gaming company and has invented a D&D type game called Mutes and Norms. (the story takes place in the mid-70s) Chapters alternate between the real world and the Mute world, and certain characters in the real world are somehow linked to characters in the mute world - when something happens physically to a character in one world it also happens to the linked character in the other world. Jack and Jilly discover that their uncle and sister have an incestuous relationship. Jack also discovers that he has the ability to do "do-overs" - he can alter reality so that what he wants to change actually happened and no one else remenbers the first reality. The gaming aspect was interesting but the story lines became confusing with all the different worlds and realities to keep track of -- and then -- Jack and Jilly, the 11 year old twins, have sex -- in three different realities -- all in the space of a paragraph. I decided then and there to stop reading this book. I was 3/4 of the way through the book, but nothing, not even finding out which character is the traitor, could make me continue reading. Avoid this book.

Editado: Dez 31, 2017, 7:38 pm

#285 cmt - nice story.
I liked the movie version of The Railway Children when I was younger. Maybe I should try that as my next Nesbit.
Unfortunately, I think my father spent the majority of his time on the ship. The whole purpose of an ice breaker is to be sailing around, breaking the ice, so that other ships can pass through the ice. There was some time spent in scientific research in the Antarctic and in getting supplies and R&R in New Zealand and Australia.

Dez 7, 2009, 12:39 am

#287: My father was at the South Pole when I was born - he was in the Navy at the time. Not sure what he was doing down there, though.

Dez 7, 2009, 6:19 am

Good going to get all the way to November before abandoning a book! I think I'd have felt the same - ugh.

Editado: Dez 7, 2009, 11:38 am

#286 ditto what Rachael said on both counts.

#284 me too - travel bit and the coming home bit. I definitely need a base in my life, but I'd love to just get in my car and drive as far as I can across Europe for a year or two one of these days. Unlikely unfortunately...

I'm pretty sure that Intrepid will do tours from the US - we had people from all over the place on our bus. In fact, I can't remember if the flights were included in the price of the tour or not - I know that everyone stayed different lengths of time either end of the tour.

Re long term stay in Antarctica, you're probably right. I've a couple of mates who've been there for work and said similar things. Still jealous though! It's a place I'd love to visit, but would hate to see become a proper tourist destination (I know that there are touristy trips, but they're not common).

#288 How random!

#285 cmt. Probably one of the few locals to do so! ;o)

Dez 14, 2009, 10:59 am

#288 Stasia - My father was in the Coast Guard. Your father was probably doing the same kinds of things with the Navy that my father was doing with the Coast Guard - support for research in the area and keeping the shipping lanes open. There wasn't alot more than that going on in the Antarctic in those days.

#290 flissp - If I ever become independently wealthy I'll spend a few years traveling. A former co-worker and her husband sold their Fifth Ave apartment and spent the next year traveling around the world. They did some volunteer work in some countries along the way. (she's a nurse)
In 2008 I had planned to go on a cruise from Iceland to Greenland and parts of Arctic Canada. It was cancelled due to lack of interest. I think most people like to avoid the extreme cold and hopefully that will keep both the poles from becoming tourist destinations. Although I have noticed people saying they'd like to visit before the polar ice caps melt.

(111) The Planets by Dava Sobel
Science, NonFiction
Each planet in our solar system gets a chapter in this book. Even Pluto, which was still a planet (as far as the public was concerned) when this book was published. Each chapter has a different angle - mythology, astrology, fan letter, a poem, etc. Recommended

Dez 14, 2009, 5:24 pm

#288: You are probably right.

Been a while, VB. I hope you are going to join us again in the 2010 group - now up and running!

Editado: Jan 10, 2019, 12:39 pm

Hi Stasia - Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I have already joined the 2010 group. No, I haven't been around here alot lately -- work is always insane this time of year with RSV and influenza. I'm exhausted. Both of my threads will probably be mostly ignored through the end of the year. Unless all the patients go home - then I can read and post. They predict H1N1 admissions to continue to increase until Feb. I'm just trying to make it through to the end of Jan when I have 10 days off.

Dez 15, 2009, 5:04 pm

#293: I sincerely hope work slows down for you soon!

Dez 17, 2009, 10:55 pm

#294 Thanks Stasia.

(112)The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff
Fiction, Persephone Books
The Stevens family takes a yearly fortnight holiday in the seaside town of Bognor. Mr Stevens is a clerk in Dulwich. Mrs Stevens is a friendless housewife. They have three children. Mary and Dick are young adults who both work and will soon be out on their own. Eric is still in school. During their holidays they always stay at "Seaview", a house which has seen better days, but which they continue to return to out of loyalty to the owner and family tradition. Even on holiday they stick to a strict schedule of activities and meals -- they plan their food down to the precise number of bottles of ginger beer or glasses of port. Nothing much happens in this book; the family goes swimming, to the arcade, to listen to the band and for walks on the beach. Mr Stevens, Mrs Stevens and Mary each have clandestine activities. The sense that this is the last time the Stevens will make this trip as a family, although unspoken, is the emotional thread that runs through the story. Recommended.

(113) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
Humor, Audiobook
The audiobook is read by David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris and Ann Magnuson. I read the paper version in 2004, so this is actually a "reread". The audiobooks includes not only all the stories from the paper version but all of Sedaris' holiday themed stories. SantaLand Diaries and Jesus Shaves (an Easter story) are my favorites.

Dez 18, 2009, 1:25 am

#295: The Fortnight in September looks very good. I will see if I can locate it. Thanks for the recommendation, VB.

Dez 18, 2009, 2:50 pm

Ooh, I didn't know Amy Sedaris is part of the audio. I've just heard David Sedaris reading The SantaLand Diaries, not the whole book. I'll bet the two Sedaris siblings are hilarious together.

Editado: Dez 23, 2009, 7:56 am

#297 mstrust - The Sedaris siblings are hilarious and Ann Magnuson is fantastic.

(114) The Box of Delights by John Masefield
Children's Literature, The New York Review Children's Collection.
This is the fourth book I've read from the NY Review Children's Collection. I've been disappointed in all of them so far. They were okay but I can't figure out what it is about them that makes them classics. With this book I got the feeling that if I had read it when I was younger or was reading it while I was in a better mood than I'm in these days, I might actually like the book.
Kay Harker, home from school for the Christmas holidays, finds himself involved with a mysterious stranger with a magic box. The box allows the holder to shrink in size and travel in time and space. A gang of criminals is out to steal the box and the valuables of the entire town.The leader of the gang is Abner Brown, a wizard. There are also a group of pirates and a Roman army involved. At one point a large number of the characters in the book are being held by Brown. Kay, who has shrunk himself to the size of a thumb (and then lost the box so that he is stuck being small) must save everyone.
The best parts were when the magic box would create fantastical illusions. Masefield described these very well and these are the parts I thought I would have loved if I had read this book as a child.
One of the characters, Maria, says: Christmas ought to be brought up to date. It ought to have gangsters, and aeroplanes and a lot of automatic pistols, This Christmas story has all of these and more.

I also re-read, for the hundreth time, Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. This is one of my top 10 of all time books for sentimental reasons. I have loved the illustrations in this book since I was seven years old. My mother - an atheist- woiuld take me to the library numerous times a year, throughout the year, just to check out this book. I loved looking at the illustrations of a Swedish Christmas - gingersnaps, sheaves of oats for the birds and fastening presents with sealing wax.

Dez 23, 2009, 6:59 am

Re The Box of Delights, I can't remember if I ever read it, but I do remember a wonderful TV adaptation of it when I was small - it's one of the things that I'll now forever associate with Christmas, even though I've not seen it since... Hmmm, must see if I can find that...

Editado: Dez 23, 2009, 2:36 pm

#298: That one looks fun! I will look for it.

Editado: Dez 31, 2017, 7:38 pm

(115) Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
Fiction, Persephone books
The Wiltshires are a middle class English family. They are happy and comfortable living in London just prior to WW II. Mr Wiltshire is an industrialist whose factories are taken over by the government for military needs. The four Wiltshire children, aged 1 through 11 are sent to live with their grandparents in the country once London is threatened. Mr Wiltshire is killed when a bomb is dropped on their home. Mrs Wiltshire, always pampered and more interested in being a wife than a mother, is unable to cope. The children are sent to boarding schools and placed with various relatives for the holidays. The book is primarily told from the point of view of the children. Streatfeild shows the psychological impact that war has on the children.

Dez 31, 2009, 5:42 pm

(116) The Tower of Shadows by Drew C Bowling
Fantasy (that's the wrong touchstone for the book)

The two Starcross brothers are orphaned when a coven of witches attacks their home and burns their village in an attempt to raise a demon imprisoned for eons in the depths of the earth. Corin Starcross was raised as the son of a village baker. Cade Starcross, abandoned, made his own way and studied the black arts. Cade devises a plan to raise the demon responsible for the murders of his parents so that he can destroy it. The plan requires the blood of his long lost brother Corin.
The story mainly centers on Wren Tident, a former adventurer who helped save Corin as an infant, and his daughter Kayla. They meet up with Adriel, a wizards apprentice who is charged with saving Corin and the world. The worlds remaining wizards are sure that Cade will fail at killing the demon and that darkness will spread throughout the world. Darkness has already begun spreading, manifesting as weather changes and the strange overgrowth of red vines that take over entire villages.
This book is the first in a series. It was written when the author was a college sophmore. It was entertaining and a quick read. The writing was fair. I got the impression that the author had watched The Lord of the Rings and the 5th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer too many times as many of the plot points and images seem familiar.

Breakdown for 2009:
Books read in December: 7
Books read in 2009: 116
Books bought in 2009: 165 (0 in December. Yeah!)
Books borrowed from library: 17
Books read not on original 2009 list: 51
Fiction: 69
Poetry: 16
Female authors: 49
Male authors: 61

Happy New Year! See you in the 2010 group.

Dez 31, 2009, 6:03 pm

Happy New Year! Congratulations on reading 116 books in 2009.

Jan 1, 2010, 4:17 am

Happy New Year, Kelly! Nice summary.

Jan 2, 2010, 6:09 pm

Happy New Year!

Re Saplings - would you recommend it? I loved Noel Streatfeild when I was growing up, but I've only read a few (White Boots probably being my favourite - have you read it?)

Editado: Abr 7, 2016, 8:43 pm

Fliss - Saplings was my first Streatfeild. It's considered her "adult" book. I would recommend it - it was a quick and easy read for a book over 400 pages and most of the characters seem real.

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For most of us this time of year is busier than usual. We're also trying to finish up our challenge for the year and thinking about next year's challenge. I know my reading time will be very limited in December. So I want this challenge to be easy. For this month's RandomCAT the challenge is to read a book that you can complete in one day. You don't have to read the book in one day, it should be a book that you could read in a day if you had the time.

I don't have any examples of books for this challenge. I'm planning to maybe read 1 or 2 short children's books about time travel or a few graphic novels.

Editado: Jan 7, 2021, 10:56 pm

Sylvie is a graphic memoir by French illustrator, Sylvie Kantorovitz. Kantorovitz shows her childhood in 1960-1970s France. Her family lives in the school where her father is Principle. She wants to be an artist but she and her parents don't think she'll be able to support herself. Sylvie visits museums and continues to advance her skills as an artist, even as she plans another field of study. Eventually she decides to take a chance and go for her dream - art school.
I think this book would be educational or inspirational for children interested in art or art careers.
Normally when reviewing a graphic novel I base most of my "score" on the graphics. I read an ARC of this book. The illustrations were unfinished. The illustrations in the first half of the book appear complete or near complete. The palette is shades of grey. I don't know if the completed published version will be in gray scale or color. The illustrations in the first part of the book are fine and remind me of the quality of art in comics aimed at children. Based on the illustrations I give this one 3 stars.

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The stars used in the LT rating system are just a series of gif images, numbered 1 through 10.

To make a , you use this basic html code - {img src=""} - replacing the {} with the pointy brackets.
To make a , replace the 1 in the code with a 2, to make a , replace the 1 in the code with a 3, and so on up to 10 which will give you .

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