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January -- the joy of books

Posted by woodnymph2 (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 13:50

I've just finished Lev Grossman's "Codex." This was a real page-turner, and I got little sleep last night, as I was enthralled in how it would end. For readers who enjoyed "The Name of the Rose" and "Club Dumas" and others of that ilk, I recommend this one highly. I learnt several new terms with regard to the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts and early bookbinding methods, not to mention medieval history. For any of you who worked in libraries (I did), this might be your cup of tea.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: January -- the joy of books

Pat, I just wanted to say that I agree with you on Divergent. I actually don't think it was a deliberate copy of The Hunger Games, but there is definitely a trend toward dystopic young adult fiction these days (when it isn't about vampires, werewolves, and zombies), Divergent was a readable story, but not nearly so well written as The Hunger Games. I read it, then donated my copy to a high school classroom library. THG I kept and have already read twice through.

Rosefolly


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished another early Carolyn Hart book, The Devereaux Legacy, which was her attempt at a Gothic romance and not very well done.

Now I've started Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert that Siobhan recommended a little while back. He is really very funny in his exploration of the ability of humans to think forward.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Finished at 2 am. "New Tricks" by David Rosenfelt. That qualifys as a Jan. read, right??

The dogs on the cover, plus being in the mystery section, prompted me to try it. Unless I saw it here? If his other books are as good, he goes on my top 10 list with Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, Stuart Kaminsky's Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov and Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Sheriz, I enjoyed reading all of Heyer's mysteries. I read somewhere that her solicitor husband suggested some of the plots.
Have you read her "Penhallow" which is unusual, that is all I can say!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Iris - David Rosenfelt is one of my favorite authors. As a dog lover myself, it is so obvious that he is also a dog lover and his books all reflect that and with humor.

I decided to work my way through all those books I downloaded last year 'cos they sounded interesting.
Amid the Shadows by Michael Grumley-a mystery/thriller with a little religious mysticism which I finished yesterday was an example of Good vs Evil.
I have now started By Any Name another English mystery by Katherine John-she is one of my new discoveries even though she has been writing for years!

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Good Sherwood, a Rosenfelt fan. I particularly enjoyed the dog presence without the maudlin_ness many authors slip into re: pets.

Looked for K. John. Blast our library. 2 titles, 1 copy each, and at another branch. Shall try the used book store.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Iris I stumbled across Katherine John only because Amazon was listing her books at either $1.99 or 99cents for the kindle. After reading the 1st one - Without Trace I went on and bought the others-all at the same low price.

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Inspired by the SF thread, I am working my way through a one-volume release of Roger Zelazny's series that begins with Nine Princes in Amber. Now I know where the series that goes on forever got its start. The stories are okay, not wonderful; but I am plugging away just so I can say that I have read the whole thing. Fortunately the individual novels are each fairly short. Alas, there are so many of them.

Rosefolly


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I have been absorbed in a Dorling Kindersley guide book of London - one of those fascinating pictorial guides that I am beginning to think are much more useful on the ground than regular guidebooks. As a rule I am not a fan of lugging around stacks of guide books - I prefer to read them at home to prepare for trips and then leave them behind - but this one has clear and concise maps (ones that Lonely Planet Publishing could learn something from) and little useful tidbits of information that can serve to jog one's memory about things covered more thoroughly in the big, thorough guide books.

I picked up three of these lovely little guides second hand recently (the others cover Croatia and Budapest) and think I may begin collecting them, especially as they don't become obsolete as quickly as regular guide books. (That said, I have made a few notes about things that have changed, like museums that have moved.

I also started reading The Observations by Jane Harris. I'm only three chapters in but I find myself alternatively entertained and baffled, the former because the narrator is funny and the second because I can't see where the story is heading.


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I have four requested mystery books come at once from the library so have chosen to read the newest Kerry Greenwood "Murder and Mendelssohn" first.
I saw the Christmas TV special of the "Miss Fisher Mysteries" a few weeks ago and it was good as usual. I read that some of the US viewers are uncomfortable about her sexuality. I have to agree that she does have a lot of lovers but Greenwood points out that James Bond also has a lot of lovers too.
Sauce for the goose!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

BEAUTIFUL RUINS a novel by Jess Walters

I picked this up because it takes place, for the most part, in Italy.....my genetic old sod .
Having never read any of his other novels I had no idea what to expect.
I have to say I am loving this book !
What a delightful surprise.


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I'm enjoying a quick re-read of Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins, which was one of my childhood favorites. I hope to squeeze in Rose in Bloom before I have to start Jojo Moyes' Me Before You for my book group meeting later this month.

Woodnymph, thanks for recommending Codex, I've requested it from the library. I read Grossman's The Magicians and The Magician King last year and was completely immersed in his worlds. I was thrilled to discover a third book coming in August of this year, The Magician's Land. I can't wait! In the meantime, I'm looking forward to Codex.

Annpan, I'm enjoying the Heyer mysteries very much, and I did once start Penhallow but couldn't get past the first chapter it was so unlike any Heyer I'd ever read.

Yoyobon, I'm glad to hear you like Beautiful Ruins as it's on my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon.

January reading, here I come!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I started the new year with Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses, the Illuminated Adventures about Flora (the cynic) who rescues/revives a squirrel after it's been sucked into a vacuum cleaner. The squirrel's misadventure results in a 'super squirrel', and the sections with the squirrel's thoughts will keep you chuckling (frequently repeated thought: "Man, I am hungry!").

rosefolly, I plan to read Nine Princes in Amber after I finish Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, also on the 50 SFF list. I've read several of the Discworld novels (especially all the Tiffany Aching stories, which I like the best), but never this first one, which has been on my shelf for probably 20 years. I don't intend to read all of either series though!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood wasn't exactly a joy of a book.

Have you ever been to one of those Art Museums and stood before some enormous modern art painting, surrounded by those staring at it with beatific expressions and the only sounds are hushed, awed murmurs and the squelching of running shoes on polished marble? And there is a little sign on the wall that describes said work of art as:"man in agony reaching towards the meaning of the universe." And all you see is some amazing splotches of colour with a squiggly black thing in the middle and purple streaks on the sides.
Yep, I missed the boat on this novel. I am sure I am missing something deeply meaningful, but I did not like it, Sam I am. I realise that Atwood is being innovative in narrative forms lately (she won some kind of award for it in 2013) but this novel felt disjointed and just didnt work for me. I read the first two novels as well, they werent favs either, but at least I had some semblance of where she was going. There are numerous rave reviews out there but in my opinion Atwood doesnt do hard sci-fi speculative fiction very well. End of rant, just relieved I finally finished it and can move on.


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Annpan, I've read and liked several of the Phrynie Fisher mysteries. I stopped for a while as I needed a break. Thanks for reminding me about them; it's been long enough since I read the last one that they will feel fresh again.

Sheriz and Annpan, I'm another Georgette Heyer fan, her mysteries as well as her romances. In fact, I just finished listening to an audio version of The Reluctant Widow a few days ago.

I have a couple of nonfiction books to read, Grandfather by Tom Brown Jr. and Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.

I am eagerly awaiting the new Flavia De Luce mystery - The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches which is due out Jan. 14.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Rouan, thank you so much for the mention of Flavia de Luce! I love those books and had no idea there was a new one on the horizon. I just ordered it -- thank goodness for Christmas Amazon gift cards!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Who or what is Flavia de Luce? I like the name. Which book would you start with if you want to meet that character?


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Sheriz, I had trouble with "Penhallow" for years and couldn't get past the first sentence! However I tried later when I came across an aged yellow-paged copy in a book shop. I was able to enjoy it as I was past reading only her Regency romances which I had loved as a young girl!
The characters are so well drawn and the descriptions of life in the Penhallow menage make you feel you live in the place! The change after the war with the breakdown of classes in the younger generation and the discomfort felt by both upper and lower older people in the household was well depicted too. You might enjoy it now.


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Janalyn, it's a series by Alan Bradley set in 1950s England. The main character is an 11 year-old girl named Flavia de Luce who is fond of chemistry, her bicycle named Gladys, and solving murders. Some of the books are a bit meandering, but she's such an original character I've loved them all. The books in order are: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Red Herring Without Mustard, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, and Speaking From Among the Bones. The newest one is due out January 14th and is titled The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches.

Annpan, I'll have to see if I kept my copy, perhaps I will like it better. I've loved all her other books.

This post was edited by sheriz6 on Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 20:23


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I am reading D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. It is really a magnificent, dense book. I always thought it was about a young man, but so far his mother is clearly the main character. I don't know why I put off Lawrence for so long. But then again, maybe I wasn't ready for him.

With all the snow we've been having here in Niagara, it feels like I am in a Russian novel. Perhaps my first book of the year should have been Doctor Zhivago.

I keep hearing amazing things about the Flavia de Luce series. I think I will ask for the first one for my birthday in May.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I wish I might find more books like "Codex" this winter to keep me entertained in my insomniac periods. However, now, I am engrossed in the book that the film "The King's Speech" was based upon. It's written by a descendant of Logue, the speech therapist from Australia. What makes it interesting are the old photos and the parts taken from Logue's diaries, when he was coaching the King.


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I am still working my way through the TBR's on my kindle.
Last night I started The Burning Soul by John Connolly in his Charlie Parker series.

I did try the Alan Bradley book about Flavia...and it was not to my taste-we all enjoy different books, and I didn't care for it at all...might be something to do with precocious kids!

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I am continuing my mountaineering kick with Chris Bonington's Everest. The pictures are wonderful and the stories are compelling, but it is a little bit marred by some ethnic slurs which were apparently acceptable at the time of publishing. I am surprised they weren't removed for this printing from the early 00's. (Note to Sir Chris: white people aren't the only ones who can learn to use new technology.)

I am burning up the ILL system with my requests for classic mountaineering books. The librarians are quite interested in my arrivals!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

So Siobhan....when are you actually going on a trek? I am serious, with that kind of interest YOU HAVE TO DO IT!! And we will want all the details.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Iris, as a fellow lover of Louise Penny and Margaret Maron, I've now added to my library wish list a whole bunch of books by your top ten authors. Thanks!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

My present book is The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris. It is set in London and Oxford in 1780 when we over here were rebellious colonists and the main character is from Philadelphia. That doesn't have anything to do with the plot, but it makes for some amusing comments.

I finished Stumbling on Happiness and really enjoyed the style of writing. Gilbert is a Harvard professor of psychology, and he is really funny, but I'm not sure I learned enough from the book to be any happier than I am (which is quite a lot). His premise is that our brains are wired to fill in holes with stuff that is not necessarily true when we are looking either back in the past or forward into the future.

Siobhan, are you improved after reading it?


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RE: January -- the joy of books

At Last. Couldn't get on all weekend.

Norar_Il.
Here is the rest of my top 10 list of mystery authors. Only once was I disappointed -- that was an extension of Pride and Prejudice by PD James.

Bruce Alexander - Sir John Fielding
Colin Cotterill - Dr. Siri Paiboun in Laos (gritty)
Robert van Gulik - Judge Dee in China
Tony Hillerman
P. D. James
Roderic Jeffries - Inspector Enrique Alvarez in Mallorca
Ellis Peters - Brother Cadfael
Georges Simenon


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I have vowed this year to read one 'real' book for every trashy kindle book :)
So I finished The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, a new author for me. It is easy to read, sort of middle aged lit rather than chick lit, but I enjoyed it. The story is about a young single mother, and her children and the dog are wonderful characters and for me, made the book. The adults are pleasant enough, but not memorable.

I am also reading Dominion by C S Sansom, author of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor mystery books. This one is set in 1950s England and begins with the premise that England surrendered to Germany in 1940. So far it is very interesting.

And my Kindle trash is actually quite good, Leave the Lights On by Karen Stivali. The author gave it to me when I answered her on Twitter on the weekend. Modern sexy romance, and well written.

Also listening to Wolf Hall while riding the exercise bike. At two hours a week, it is lasting a while, but this is a superb occupation. I have listened to Davina Porter read Diana Gabaldon's books, and thought her very good. But this narrator, Simon Slater, is absolutely brilliant.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I haven't been able to log in for the past couple of days - definitely gremlins on the loose here!

I finished Eight Cousins and I'm enjoying a re-read of Rose In Bloom. I'm finding that revisiting Alcott some 40 years later is both soothing and a bit annoying as Cousin Rose is almost too wholesome and moral. Still, I'm having fun re-reading. I used to have a book of Alcott's "thrillers" somewhere, I'll have to see if I can find it. I know she enjoyed writing more exciting things in addition to her best-known books.

Astrokath, I love the term "Kindle trash" -- I have quite a bit of that, as well. It's just too tempting to try things that are free or 99 cents. I've also found a few authors I like there: Bec McMaster's does a steampunk/vampire/romance series that starts with Kiss of Steel and goes on nicely from there. I've also liked Shannon Mayer's Riley Adamson stories, again with a full complement of vampires, witches and werewolves. Elizabeth Hunter is another one (again, vampires) I found in the Kindle freebies who I think is an excellent writer. Never know what you might find!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished The Breach last night by Patrick Lee, it is one of the kindle books that Amazon suggested I might enjoy-and I did. It is sci-fi and the 1st in a trilogy with an interesting concept and I do plan to read the next one called Ghost Country to see where it is headed.

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I've been working my way through the 10-short novel series of Amber stories by Zelazny. Two to go, then on to other reading.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn, I can't say I am improved after reading it, or any happier. It seems to me the takeaway is that basically people are happy. I'm quite happy although I have none of the things our culture and society thinks I should have. (I have books, cats, music, good health, and lots of leisure time, what more could I want?)

Despite my fascination with high-altitude mountaineering, I have no real desire to do any trekking and nothing would make me set foot on the Khumbu Icefall. Rather odd, isn't it? Yet I can't stop reading - now I'm halfway through Tom Hornbein's Everest - The West Ridge which is so good I can hardly put it down. My enjoyment grows as I begin to feel I know the people I am reading about - high altitude mountaineers are a rather exclusive club, and they all know and climb with each other, or are on the mountain at the same time.

One thing that is really striking me is that, unless they died in the mountains, a shocking number of these men lived very, very long and healthy lives. It would be interesting to do a survey. Again and again I read of men living into their 90's, and remaining hale and hearty right up until the end, hill-walking and so forth. Also they seem to be quite successful individuals outside of mountaineering. This adds to the interest of these stories, at least for me.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri very good writer. Waiting for my Nook to arrive.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Hornbein's Everest and immediately turned back to the first page and started reading again - the mark of a truly excellent book.

I have a stack of books waiting for me at the library, where I will be when the doors open at 10 AM.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I'm back from Polynesian paradise that is called Hawaii. Wow. What a trip. It looks even better than it does in the pictures. :-)

Did lots of reading which was fun. I've been on an Agatha Christie binge (random titles off the library shelf) - now I understand her popularity! There's something nice about a world where justice is done at the end and lots of people have lots of cups of tea.

In preparation for Hawaii, read Tony Horwitz' "Blue Latitudes", a travel/history narrative as he follows the travels of Captain James Cook (including his rather violent demise on the Big Island). Fascinating to read about things and then to see them in real life (at least the HI things). The author had also stayed in the same hotel as we did, which added an immediacy to the read.

Read through an anthology of domestic suspense/crime stories edited by Sarah Weinman called "Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives" . She is a bigwig in the world of crime fiction, and in this volume, she has pulled together the pioneers of domestic crime short stories - the ones who started it all: Dorothy B. Hughes, Shirley Jackson, Helen Nielsen, Joyce Harrington, Patricia Highsmith... I was not familiar with quite a few of these authors, but there were some great short stories in here. Recommended. (Actually, if anyone wants a copy, I'm happy to send mine. I'm done with it now. Just let me know.)

The Best American Travel Writing for 2013 came along as well, this one edited by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Couldn't get into her Eat, Pray, Love venture, but she chose some good writing in this volume.)

And in between reading were swimming with turtles, traveling to a volcano, standing on the southernmost point of the U.S. (further south than Key West which I didn't know), and sitting on the beach. It's a tough life I lead at times.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Call the Midwife and really enjoyed it.

If you are reading it for the book discussion, please try to watch the first season of the TV series. Check your library DVD section or Netflix. It's a treat for the visual props and the music. There was a kid running around in saddle shoes in the background on one of the shows and it brought back all sorts of memories. I hated them, my mom bought all our shoes in several sizes too large and we jammed kleenex in the toes to make them fit...as your feet grew the kleenex got removed. Anyway, lots of nostalgia, even the ringer washing machines!

My sci-fi amazon books delivery has been delayed due to bad weather back east so I am reading Alice Munro's Dance of the Happy Shades. Normally I avoid short stories but these are great.


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I just started Call the Midwife, and it really is good. I missed the first TV season but have seen the rest.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I found a gem of a little novel by Milos Kundera: "Farewell Waltz". It was written about 197, when the author relocated to France after the "Prague Spring." The book is set in a spa town in Czechoslovakia (called "Bohemia" in this). The characters are complex and interesting, and the plot truly keeps one guessing. In contrast, I had never been able to get into Kundera's "Unbearable Lightness of Being", although I liked the film.


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On the recommendation of a fellow English Mystery Lover I am reading A Question of Guilt by Frances Fyfield-a new to me author. I am about 50% into the book and not enjoying it and trying to remember my N.Y's resolution!

Pat


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Pat, I don't remember that particular book, but I liked the Helen West books and have read some others by Fyfield.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn - I read a Fyfield book once and remember enjoying it, but can't remember the title.

In the spirit of new year resolutions, I am reading my way through Gretchen Rubin's Happiness at Home. She wrote The Happiness Project a few years back, and has a successful blog. Just enjoying being reminded of a few important tips about having a happy life and less stuff! (Books included.) She has an infectious enthusiasm about this way of thinking that I am enjoying.


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I skipped through a geezer-lit mystery and got quite annoyed at the constant self-denigration of the main character. Always calling himself names "fart" "poop" "old goat" etc. Most of the senior age men I know prefer to think of themselves as still quite young and rarely refer to their age or infirmities.
Should I write to the author and point this out? :-)


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I am trying to keep part of my resolution to read books already on my shelves untouched, before I reach out to all the vast temptations elsewhere. Thus, I am now reading a superb NF work by Melissa Greene: "The Temple Bombing." The book was meticulously researched and is basically a history of the Civil Rights movement and anti-Semitism in Atlanta, where I grew up. The lovely old Temple was bombed by a White Hate group in 1958 and I have bitter memories of that event. I cannot say this is a book to be "enjoyed" but it is interesting and well written.


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Being January, in miserable England, reading appears on the agenda even more than usual.....so rather thrilled to find the postie had delivered The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Not the most prolific of authors but able to draw you in with books which resonate for a long time in the memory. So, anyone else reading/read this one.
The second installment in the Wool/Shift/Dust trilogy arrived and I also did my usual thing of picking some unknown SF book......so unknown that I have forgotten what this is (unless I check with Paypal) so will have to wait till the postman delivers....but I expect to be engrossed in Tarttworld by then.


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Listened to some of The Goldfinch on Radio 4's 'Book at Bedtime' but occasionally fell asleep so missed vital parts of the story. One minute in NYC, the next in Las Vegas and the characters a strange mixture of well-healed patricians and Russian mafia. All made extra enjoyable by the incidental music Tabula Rasa -Ludus by Arvo Part. Never heard it before, but it will stay with me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tabula Rasa


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I have The Goldfinch on my kindle to read, I grabbed it when it was on a 24 hr Amazon mark down, but I haven't got around to reading it -yet.

After reading A Question of Guilt by Frances Fyfield which was the 1st book in the Helen West series, I was ready for a total change of pace. I am now reading an American political thriller...can't recall the title off the top as I have just started it.

Pat


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I've started on the second of the Call the Midwife books, Shadows of the Workhouse. I just loved the first book; but this one, while quite as well written, has started off with the horrors of workhouses and is dread inducing.


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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Just finished Julian Barnes "The Sense of an Ending" which apparently won the Martin Booker Prize in 2011, I think. And yes, I refer to all Man Booker Prize books as Martin Bookers, simply because he was the one who introduced me to these years ago... I thought you might have a discussion on it, but couldnt find it if so, but the search engine doesnt work very well.

Anyway, this book was an afterthought, saw it as I was checking out other library books and it looked short and it WAS a Martin Booker winner so there you go.

I liked it, not rapturously, but enjoyed it a lot. Definitely not chick lit as its about adolescent boys and life. The book at one point uses a river as a metaphor...when the moon or gravitational pull or somesuch natural phenomenon occurs, the river goes backward. And this book is about memory, truth and history. How it all is recorded in our minds but when we go backward, sometimes we find things are not what we thought they were. Perspectives, viewpoints etc. I liked the way Barnes wrote and I think we can all relate to it....in his sixties he revisits a very important and disturbing point in his life during his university years. Short, easy read and one I will remember.

**playing around with the font color, just for fun *grin

This post was edited by janalyn on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 3:01


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Hmmm, backward running rivers - yep, the incessant worry of tidal surges pushing against the outward flow of riverine waters, meeting in a gigantic battle just on the oxbow where my woodland is situated. Those metaphors, hey....when they slap you hard in the face!.

I generally enjoy the unhurried genteel writings of Julian Barnes although they are never exactly riveting.


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annpan - I'd never heard the term "geezer lit" until you mentioned it in your post above. It made me smile. I do occasionally get irritated when an author writing about an elderly character feels they must mention or joke about the character's age incessantly. Okay, we get it. Now get on with the story and the interesting insights of a character who has more experience than most.


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I remember reading Donna Tartt's first book and not really caring for it too much. I had mentioned this to a patron at the FOL shop and she said I should read A Secret History which this gal said was quite good. Initially I liked it and do enjoy Tartt's writing, but I got bored with all the mention of drug-induced states, which, granted, plays a big part in the plot.

When I heard all the buzz about The Goldfinch, and I did enjoy her writing, I read it. I really did like the book and would say her writing gets better with each book, but still she manages to play the drug scenes up a bit too much for me. Nevertheless, I loved the book.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Looking for some insight into the minds of adolescent boys (mine is almost 15) I just finished Masterminds and Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman. Subtitled, Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World it covered all the subjects promised and was interesting, and in some places a bit alarming. I'd devoured her earlier books, Queen Bees and Wannabes about adolescent girls and Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads about dealing with other parents, and found them both very helpful when my daughter was younger.

This one was just as comprehensive, but I finished it feeling a bit panicked about my lack of comprehension of "boy world" rather than comforted that yes, I understood things and was prepared to deal with whatever came our way, which was the feeling I took away from the prior two books. All boiling down to, I suppose, that yes, boys are different and I have a lot to learn!

Lemonhead, thanks for mentioning Gretchen Rubin's Happiness at Home, that's been on my TBR list for a while and I like her take on things very much.


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15 yr old boys...I remember. That is about the period of time they turn into aliens. This will last for a few years then I guarantee they will revert to that sweet little boy you gave birth to. People say it's the hormones but I swear it was an alien. Good luck, mine is now 25, wouldn't change a thing about him! :)


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Aliens .... yes, that would explain a LOT. Thanks, Janalyn :)


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I've set aside The Observations in order to read the Call the Midwife trilogy. I find the stories Worth tells fascinating and the style and manner of storytelling reminds me of James Herriott.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I have started The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love but I know many people didn't like it. However one of my workmates rated this her favourite book of 2013, and we tend to like similar books, so I started it.
I am thrilled. Not only is the story the kind of history I like (set in the early 1800s) but the writing is wonderful. Much more literary than I expected and with lovely little turns of phrase that are drily funny.
I'll let you know when I finish :)


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I finished the last of the Call the Midwife books and feel bereft.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Recently finished The Blue Flower for the Century of Books project, reviewed there. Also City and the City which I discussed under the SFF thread.

Going to look for some lighter books just for a reading change.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn......

I felt that way when I finished the last Maisie Dobb's book.
Always hoping that she has another one ready to publish!

What other books have you enjoy so much that you hated to see the book end?

Yvonne


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Just finished a good read of a collection of short stories: The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories by Lavanya Sankaran (2005). Historically, I've not been such a big fan of short stories, but I enjoyed this collection very much. It's set in the Silicon Valley of India - Bangalore (in south India) and the short stories, although all separate and stand-alone, have a thread of characters and places that interlink them. Perhaps this was what made me like these short stores - the linked narratives made them not like short stories?

Who knows how the human mind works. It was a good read.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Nailed by Joseph Flynn yesterday, he has written a lot of good thrillers and has fast become one of my favorite authors, especially since his books are available for the kindle at very reasonable prices.

I finally got a library book yesterday, the new Mark Billingham-From the Dead in his Insp Tom Thorne series. It has been so long since I read a 'real' book it felt strange to actually have to turn the page!

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Yoyobon, I feel that way about a few books but not many. I really like Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books and always want more about her family. I think Ms. Maron has southern family down pat--the best of anyone I've read--as far as conversation among the kinfolks and food on the table are concerned. It's like a visit home for me.

I wait impatiently for more of Simon Serrialler by Susan Hill, but I do wish she would let the poor man have a bit of happiness. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles' long, long Morland Dynasty series, which I understand has come to the end with the last book which isn't available here in paperback yet, has kept me enthralled with her take on English history. More, of course, that will come to me when I post this.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn, like you, I really got caught up in the Simon Serrialler series by Susan Hill. I've read all of them, some more than once. Do let me know when the next one comes out.

I also would like to see another of the Alexander McCall Smith set in Edinborough series forthcoming.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Abandoned The Goldfinch 2/3rds through - frankly tedious. I enjoyed The Secret History, less so The Little Friend but this is turgid drivel with a cast of unlikeable, implausible characters, going about their ridiculous non-lives.
Back to SF world with Alister Reynolds 'On the Steel Breeze' and dipping into Guns Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond) which I left for a while because the type was so tiny and I had broken my specs.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Mary, the Stop You're Killing Me site says that the next Simon S. book, The Soul of Discretion, is due May 1.

Speaking of Edinburgh, I can't remember if you like Ian Rankin, but he has a new Rebus book due out soon. He had Rebus retire a couple of years ago, and now he is to come back in another job working with the new character in investigating corruption in the police department.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I stayed up late last night reading Lexicon, a science fiction novel by Max Barry. It is about the immense power of words, literally. I was enthralled, which is a demonstration of that power!

Rosefolly


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Woodnymph, do you mean the Scotland Street series? I have just caught up with a couple. He is getting a bit preposterous IMHO with the story lines!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Continuing my glut of mountaineering books with Robert Roper's Fatal Mountaineerwhich I am enjoying immensely. It is about Willi Unsoeld, the legendary mountaineer who took his daughter, named after the mountain, to climb Nanda Devi where she succumbed to illness. He died on Rainer less than three years later.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn, thanks for the info. I do not know Ian Rankin. Is he as interesting as Susan Hill's creations?

Annpan, I was referring to the series which has characters named Jamie and Isabel. The latter is a philosopher who was the lover of a younger man, Jamie. She has a child by him, and they belatedly married in the last novel. Is this the Scotland Street series, or is that separate?

I almost forgot: because I am presently taking a course on Gothic Art and Architecture, I am re-reading Cahill's wonderfully descriptive work " Mysteries of the Middle Ages."


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes for my book group meeting tonight, and it was very good, far better than I expected as Moyes was an unknown quantity to me.

I'm half way through The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, and it's wonderful to be reading about Flavia's adventures again. I'm hoping many of the long-running mysteries regarding her mother are going to be cleared up in this story.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Just finished up "Happiness at Home" by Getchen Rubin. (She wrote a nonfiction book called "The Happiness Project" a few years ago that was a NYT bestseller.) Fun read, as always, with lots of good (old and new) suggestions to make little changes in your world for the better.

Sometimes these books can get a bit bossy - I don't get that feel from Rubin, and I really like her attitude towards life. (She's also very honest which I admire. Pretty brave if it's true.)

Sheri - you might like this. I haven't read her first book (THP) so I don't know if this one is repetitive or not. I enjoyed it, though, and I have cleaned out a few things in the house due to this read!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Happiness Project blog


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Mary, the Inspector John Rebus books by Ian Rankin are focused on Rebus, with the point of view sometimes shifting to colleagues, petty criminals, or suspects. They are hardboiled police procedurals set in Edinburgh and involve murders, suspicious deaths, and disappearances, and depict a stark picture of Scotland characterized by corruption, poverty, and organised crime. Along the way, Rebus has to struggle with internal police politics and his troubles because of his tendency to bend the rules and ignore his superiors. He also has to deal with his own personal issues dealing with his daughter, his divorced wife, and his girlfriends.

The books are gritty and some are dark (e.g., Black and Blue), but I like him a lot.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Johnny Cash, The Life yesterday. (I know, I know.) And last night began The Book Thief, which I must say is going faster than Johnny did, in spite of his amphetamines. I grew up on country music and did like JC's early songs. My brother-in-law who was a good singer said Johnny Cash was the only person he knew who could speak off key.

The biography is by Robert Hilburn, very thorough, and differs considerably from the movie I Walk the Line which I loved.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Carolyn I read The Book Thief a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. I read a review of the movie that said the film strayed from the book and didn't really show the real events, more a glamorized version.

I just started the new Lisa Black in her series about Theresa MacLean-this one is The Price of Innocence.

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Woodnymph, that series is the Sunday Philosophy Club and is a different series from the Scotland Street one which mainly features Bertie, a small boy and various other characters.
I like the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and found he has also written a couple of junior books about Precious as a child.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

My next mountaineering adventure as experienced through the written word is on the Eiger. The White Spider is a classic by Heinrich Harrer and I can hardly put it down.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Oooh, I'll have to put "The White Spider" on my TBR list! I see that it is not in my library system, and Amazon has no copies at the moment. Apparently it has been out of print for years.

I got the Margaret Atwood trilogy as a Christmas gift, and made short shrift of "Oryx and Crake," which was mesmerizing. The next in line, "The Year of the Flood," is a bit more work, jumping around in time, and the narrative is interrupted by "sermons" and "hymns." But, still, an amazing tale.

I'm on the waiting list at the library for "Someone" (McDermott) and "The Round House" (Erdrich), both for my book groups.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I will be interested to hear how your read of the 3rd Atwood book is - I'm up to that point as well, and looking forward to the experience as I've enjoyed the other two. I know that she's not everyone's cup of tea though...

I am reading Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman" which is really interesting so far. Krakauer is such a good journalist.

And then pulled a book from my own TBR shelves (unheard of, I know): "Felicia's Journey" by William Trevor. Irish book about a young rural girl who gets pregnant by a no-good boy and who travels to England to see if she can track him down. She ends up mixed with someone who might not be who she thinks he is. Psychological thriller type of thing, and extremely well written. Trevor seems to have a large back list so if I enjoy this one, there's more to choose from.

(However, one problem I seem to never have: Lack of titles to read.)


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Siobhan - I'm always interested to read your posts about mountaineering books. I have lots of questions. What got you started on this topic? Are you reading these exclusively now? How many have you read so far? Where do you get your titles? Are you keeping a journal or blog about them? I think it would be interesting to see a full list of them. -- Kathy


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished The Book Thief, which I loved, and have begun Ruth Rendell's No Man's Nightingale. I have always liked the Inspector Wexford books best of Ms Rendell's writings. I dislike her darker books. Wexford is now retired and reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but is glad to be of assistance when asked by the Police Department to go along to the scene of the murder of a female CoE priest (which several of the members don't approve of).

I am glad to say I'm having too much fun in retirement so far to think of reading Decline and Fall.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I've been on reading binge but had to stop because my eyes feel like there is sand in them. This is what happens when you have the house to yourself for a couple of weeks, and no schedules that you need to follow.
I have always been a fast reader but I was reading a book a night (some, I have already talked about here), often staying up to 3 am and really regretting it the next day. .Sorta, maybe, not really. I read some great books.
The Rose Garden book which I picked up after the dismal modern Jane Eyre was what you expected: light, fluff but enjoyable. I then read Kindred by Octavia Butler, a writer I respect a lot. It's technically SFF due to the time travel element, which also appeared in The Rose Garden btw. Kindred was on a much higher level though, thought-provoking, memorable and one of the best books I have read in a while. I'll review it on the SFF thread when I have time. I made an attempt at The Midwife of Venice but just couldn't get into it, so it went back to the library. Currently, I am reading The Dead Zone by Stephen King, just for a change of pace. Also, dipping into a novel of short stories by Alice Munro, when I am in the mood for something quick. Normally I don't read collections of short stories, but these are quite good.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I just finished Unaccustomed Earth and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. I started the Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I am reading and loving Christiane Ritter's 1934 memoir A Woman in the Polar Night, about her year-long stay in a tiny hut in the Arctic island of Spitsbergen. By no means is it an arctic The Egg and I, as Ritter quickly learns how perilous human existence can be in the arctic. It must be something about this particularly brutal winter which makes me want to read about the arctic. I recommend it to readers interested in women explorers and adventurers of the past.
The book was a best seller in Germany, and apparently has never been out of print there. Ritter lived until 2000, dying at the remarkable age of 103.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Racing to finish The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down for my book club in three hours. I might make it. In any case, fascinating book, a vivid and balanced presentation of cultural misunderstanding.

...and finished it in time. It ended up being the most popular book we've read in a long time. The last time I liked a book our book club has read this much was Undaunted by Laura Hillenbrand.

Rosefolly

This post was edited by rosefolly on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 1:01


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I have almost finished Tragic by Robert Tanenbaum, I really enjoy the Butch Karp books, and I am behind in the series.

Next up the library came through with the new Sophie Hannah - The Orphan Choir. I have read most of her books and really enjoy her imagination and style-always keeps me guessing.

Pat


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I finished Dominion by C J Sansom, he of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor mysteries.
This is, however, something completely different. It is an alternate history book, taking as its premise that the UK surrendered to Germany in 1940. Set before and during the Great London Fog of 1952, it has an England which is somewhat less than an ally and somewhat more than a province of Germany. There are German troops in England, but their army is mostly engaged in a long, blooody war with Russia. Hitler is still alive, and the Resistance in England is stirring up trouble.
In this setting Sansom gives us a story of a few people willing to fight the system, and it is very well written and engrossing. One I can recommend.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

Felicia's Journey - William Trevor (1994)

A title that was picked rather randomly off the TBR shelf, this was a great surprise read for me. William Trevor, described by Wiki as “one of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world,” is famous for his short stories, but his back list is HUGE and so there are loads of different books to choose from. He’s won loads of prestigious literary prizes (including the Whitbread Prize and five nominations for the Booker Prize.) Irreverent sidenote: He sounds a bit like the Snoop Dogg/Lion of the Booker World.*

So - to the plot of this fast-moving and short book: Felicia is an unmarried and naïve Irish girl who ends up getting pregnant by a visiting no-good lad from her village and who has moved away to England. In Felicia’s impoverished family, there are few options for her to follow, so she leaves Ireland to go to the Midlands to chase down this boy who, she is certain, would like to know she is pregnant and would do the right thing. Her family is against this lad from the get-go as her father believes that the guy has run off to join the British Army, and as they are extremely wound up in Irish Independence activity and history, and so to them, this act means he has joined the enemy.

Along with this is the fact that the family is Roman Catholic and his father works at a convent in the garden, so options for her pregnancy are not available either. Poor thing - it’s no win for her all around, it seems, and so she visits England for the first time - a foreign country for her as she has not traveled much before.

Aside from the facts that Felicia has little money, no friends, no housing, and a fake address for this boy of hers, it doesn’t look very hopeful. Then she meets Mr. Hilditch (always used with that title) who is a quiet non-descript middle-aged catering manager for a local factory near where Felicia is staying. He presents himself as a kind and rescuing father figure for her, but in his thoughts, the reader can see that there is a history of something weird. He has “rescued” girls before, but what has come of them? And will he do the same with Felicia?

This is a taut psychological novel about the hunter and the hunted: Mr. Hildich is the predator and naïve girls “who won’t be missed” are the prey. At the same time as this is happening, you also follow Felicia’s thoughts as she is scared and confused. She lives on the street for a few days, gets in with a rather strange religious group who can give her a place to sleep, and she keeps being circled by Mr. Hildich, as a shark does bleeding seals. You just know that something is going to happen…. But what?

The ending comes quite quickly and it’s not what I had thought it would do. (I love this unpredictability in a plot.) There are a few major twists and in the end, things are left hanging unsolved really. (You’ll get the hanging ref when you read it. The plot also tightens as a noose would… )

Again, not sure where this title came from but thanks for the heads-up whoever it was. I loved its taut plot and believable characters. There will be more Mr. Trevor reads in the future.

Also - gave up on the Krakauer/Pat Tillman book. Good story, but I'm not sure that I'm the target audience for this one.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I'm splitting my reading time between Call the Midwife (excellent so far) and Gretchen Rubin's Happiness at Home. Lemonhead, thanks for mentioning it, I'm enjoying this very much.

Rosefolly, I loved both Lexicon (quite an original, I thought) and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Anne Fadiman is an incredible writer and if you haven't already read her book of essays, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, I heartily recommend it.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I have Julia Spencer Fleming's latest, Through the Evil Days, waiting for me to get off the computer. Oh, fabjous day.


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I am reading a reprint of The Mysterious Affair at Styles as there is an alternative ending in it as well, from AC's notebook.
I have been meaning to request the books about the notebooks by John Curran from the library. A mental TBR!


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RE: January -- the joy of books

I went to the library a couple of days ago to find something new to read. None of the new fiction titles appealed to me at the time so I looked at the new non fiction and came home with 6 non-fic books instead of the 1 or 2 fiction one I wanted. So far I've finished two of them.

The first one was Big Daddy Rules by Steve Schirrupa (an actor from The Sopranos) who wrote about how he and his wife raised their daughters.

The next one I finished a few minutes ago. Wear Your Dreams by Ed Hardy is the story of how he came to be a tattoo artist and the path he took to try to bring tattooing as an art form more into the mainstream. At times I felt a little confused as he talked about all the different people he met who influenced him along the way but overall I found it to be an interesting story.

Now I have to decide what to read next as there are 4 more library books awaiting my attention.


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