Kathy's (kac522) 2020 Reading

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Kathy's (kac522) 2020 Reading

1kac522
Editado: Jan 2, 2020, 6:43pm



Welcome to another year of reading in 2020. On this thread I'll be keeping track of my books in order as I read them, and hoping to get to #75 before year-end.

My goal again will be 75 books, with at least 45 of these to be books that are on my shelves as of Jan 1, 2020, or "Roots." I'll be keeping track of these TBRs here:




And again this year I'm embarking on a number of personal "projects", which include reading books of favorite authors and series. I'll be reading Austen, the Brontes, Christie, Dickens, Eliot, Miss Read, D. E. Stevenson, Trollope, among others. I'll dip in and out of the AAC, BAC and Nonfiction Challenges hosted in the 75ers group. My progress on these projects are tracked on my Challenge Thread:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/314431

My other challenges include:

John's "Big Fat Books" Challenge: https://www.librarything.com/topic/314590

Andrew's 2020 "Separated by a Pond Tour"--keeping track of books set on both sides of the Atlantic: https://www.librarything.com/topic/314751

A Two-Year Challenge: a Century (+1) of books--reading by year 1920-2020: https://www.librarything.com/topic/303114

And we're off, with 2020 vision....

2kac522
Editado: Jan 4, 2020, 1:40am

2019 Favorites (in order read):

FICTION

The Chosen, Potok
The Things They Carried, O'Brien (short stories)
So Big, Ferber
The Kellys and the O'Kellys, Trollope
The Three Clerks, Trollope
David Copperfield, Dickens--audiobook read by Simon Vance
Mr Skeffington, von Arnim
Little Boy Lost, Laski
The Enchanted April, von Arnim
Celia's House, Stevenson

Honorable Mention--these books were almost as good, or made me think in a new way

Dandelion Wine, Bradbury
Fathers and Sons, Turgenev
Good Evening, Mrs Craven, Panter-Downes (stories)
Quicksand, Larsen
Mister Pip, Jones
Scenes from Clerical Life, Eliot

NONFICTION

The Best We Could Do, Bui (graphic nonfiction)
The Infinite Variety of Music, Bernstein (essays)
Becoming, M. Obama
Diary of a Bookseller, Bythell, audiobook
Letters from Lamledra 1914-1918, Williams
The Cut Out Girl, Van Es

In 10 years, I hope I remember all of these books.

3kac522
Editado: Jan 2, 2020, 6:42pm

2019 FINAL STATS

Total books read = 89

Fiction = 56
Nonfiction & memoirs = 24
Poetry & plays = 9

From the library = 29
From my shelves: Roots = 47; surpassed my goal of 40!
From my shelves: Purchased & actually read this year = 13 (out of too many purchased to admit to here)

Audiobooks = 3

47 Male authors
42 Female authors

Across the centuries:

pre 1800 = 3 books
1800 - 1899 = 12 books
1900 - 1939 = 17 books
1940 - 1999 = 32 books
2000 - 2019 = 25 books

4kac522
Editado: Mar 25, 5:03pm

2020 READING

R=ROOT--a book languishing on my shelves since before January 2020; when available, I'll list the year ("R from ") it walked into this house, with publication year in parentheses. These books are included in my Roots ticker in >1 kac522:.
-- loved it.

January

1. Three Things You Need To Know About Rockets, Jessica A. Fox (2012)
2. Sanditon, Jane Austen (1817); R from bef 2009; re-read
3. This America: The Case for the Nation, Jill Lepore (2019); R from 2019
4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte; (1848); R from 2015
5. England and Other Stories, Graham Swift (2015); R from 2015
6. The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander (2015); R from 2019
7. The Mystery of the Blue Train, Agatha Christie (1928); R from 2018
8. Alexander's Bridge, Willa Cather (1912); R from 2016

February

9. Listening Valley, D. E. Stevenson (1944)
10. Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys (2016)
11. Partners in Crime, Agatha Christie (1929); R from 2019
12. They Called Us Enemy, George Takei (2019)
13. Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope (1860); R from 2015
14. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison (1970); re-read; R from 1992
15. Lincoln Reconsidered, David Herbert Donald (1956); R from 2018
16. Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean (1992); R from 2017

March

17. The Mysterious Mr Quin, Agatha Christie (1930, stories); ebook
18. The Young Clementina, D. E. Stevenson (1935)
19. The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle (1974); R from 2015
20. Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, Jane Austen (1811); annotated by Patricia Meyer Spacks; R from 2014
21. The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson, Anthony Trollope (1861); R from 2015

April

22. Smouldering Fire, D. E. Stevenson (1935)
23. Lady Audley's Secret, Mary E. Braddon (1862); R from 2017
24. What to Read and Why, Francine Prose (2018), ebook, essays
25. Howards End, E. M. Forster (1910); ebook
26. Farther Afield contained in Fairacre Roundabout, Miss Read (1974); R from 2018
27. Fences, August Wilson (1986); play R from 2019
28. Rosabelle Shaw, D. E. Stevenson (1937)

May

29. The Johnstown Flood, David McCullough (1968); R from 2017
30. A Wreath of Roses, Elizabeth Taylor (1949); R from 2018
31. A Tale of Beatrix Potter, Margaret Lane (1946); R from 2019
32. Paper Love, Sarah Wildman (2014); ebook
33. Peril at End House, Agatha Christie (1932); R from 2019
34. Jane Austen: Bloom's Major Novelists, ed. Harold Bloom (2000); R from 2019
35. The Silver Box and other plays, John Galsworthy (1912); R from 2019
36. Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens (1848); R from 2008
37. Village Affairs, Miss Read (1977); R from 2018
38. Mansfield Park: an Annotated Edition, Austen (1814/2016); R from 2016
DNF The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, R from 2013
39. Marriage and Morals among the Victorians, Gertrude Himmelfarb (1986)
40. The White Robin, Miss Read (1979); R from 2018

June

41. Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood (1976); R from 1990s?
42. A View of the Harbour, Elizabeth Taylor (1947); R from 2017
43. Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico (1958)
44. The Great Irish Famine, ed. Cathal Poirteir (1995)
45. The Pastor's Wife, Elizabeth von Arnim (1914); R from 2018
46. The Crossing Places, Effy Griffiths (2009); ebook
47. Fighting France, Edith Wharton (1915); 2010 edition with intro by Colm Toibin; R from 2018
48. Hiroshima, John Hersey (1985); R from 2017

July

49. The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie (1931)
50. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, Herman Melville (1846); R from 2019
51. Lord Edgware Dies, Agatha Christie (1933) ebook
52. The Gate of Angels, Penelope Fitzgerald (1990)
53. Emily of New Moon, L. M. Montgomery (1923)
54. A View of the Empire at Sunset, Caryl Phillips (2018)

August

55. Village Centenary, Miss Read (1980); R from 2018
56. Letters from an Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson (2019)
57. Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope (1860); audiobook re-read by Simon Evers
58. Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens (1841); R from 2011
59. Summer at Fairacre, Miss Read (1984); R from 2017
60. Lady Susan, Jane Austen (post. 1871; possibly written 1794); audiobook re-read R from 2016
61. Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks (2001); R from 2015

September

62. Plagued by the Nightingale, Kay Boyle (1931); R from 2017
63. The Geometry of Holding Hands, Alexander McCall Smith (2020)
64. Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, Christoph Wolff (1991); R from before 2009
65. One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes (1947); R from 2019
66. The Baker's Daughter, D. E. Stevenson (1938)
67. The Doctor's Family and other Stories, Margaret Oliphant (1861)
68. Three ebook stories by Alexander McCall Smith: The Perils of Morning Coffee, (2011); At the Reunion Buffet, (2015); Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine, (2016).
69. Elizabeth and her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim (1898)

October

70. The Wright Brothers, David McCullough (2015)
71. Orley Farm, Anthony Trollope (1862); R from 2013
72. The Boomerang Clue, Agatha Christie (1934)
73. Scales to Scalpels, Lisa Wong, M.D. (2012)
74. The Misses Mallett, E. H. Young (1922)
75. Still Life, Louise Penny (2005); R from 2015

November

76. Mrs Pringle of Fairacre, Miss Read (1989)
77. Great Expectations: the Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens, Robert Gottlieb (2012); R from 2015
78. The Education of a British-Protected Child, essays, Chinua Achebe (2009)
79. Letters to Alice, Fay Weldon (1984)
80. Country Place, Ann Petry (1947); R from 2020
81. Green Money, D. E. Stevenson (1939)
82. Rebecca West, Fay Weldon (1985)
83. Confessions of a Bookseller, Shaun Bythell (2020)
84. James Joyce, John Gross (1970); R from 2013
85. Jane Austen, Carol Shields (2001); R from 2019

December

86. The Moorland Cottage, Elizabeth Gaskell (1850)
87. The Hound of Death and other stories, Agatha Christie (stories) (1933)
88. Passing, Nella Larsen (1929); R from 2018
89. Rachel Ray, Anthony Trollope (1863); R from 2015
90. Anderby Wold, Winifred Holtby (1923); R from 2020
91. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell (1855); audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson; R from 2015; re-read
92. "Major Barbara" from George Bernard Shaw's Plays, GB Shaw (1907); R from 2011
93. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor (2013); R from 2016
94. Three Act Tragedy, Agatha Christie (1934)
95. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813) R from childhood

And after reviewing all my listed books, I realized I did not list these Audiobook reads:

96. Audiobook January: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte (1848); read by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter
97. Audiobook March: Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen, (1811) read by Juliet Stevenson
98. Audiobook May: Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, (1814) read by Juliet Stevenson
99. Audiobook June: Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen (1817); read by Juliet Stevenson
100. Audiobook October: Persuasion, Jane Austen (1817); read by Juliet Stevenson

5PaulCranswick
Jan 2, 2020, 9:00pm



Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!

6drneutron
Jan 3, 2020, 12:55pm

Welcome back!

7lyzard
Jan 3, 2020, 4:38pm

Hi, Kathy - Happy New Reading Year!

8johnsimpson
Jan 3, 2020, 5:18pm

Hi Kathy my dear, I have starred you and will be following what you are reading and doing dear friend.

9FAMeulstee
Jan 3, 2020, 5:53pm

Happy reading in 2020, Kathy!

10kac522
Jan 3, 2020, 10:15pm

>6 drneutron:, >7 lyzard:, >8 johnsimpson:, >9 FAMeulstee: Thank you all for visiting and for the 2020 encouragement...I hope I can do as well as I did in 2019, and will be following all of you as well.

11kac522
Editado: Fev 2, 2020, 7:25pm

January tentative reading plans:

Updated--it's only January 6 and I've already changed my plans:

DONE: Three Things You Need to Know about Rockets, Fox
DONE: Sanditon, Austen
DONE: This America, Jill Lepore

Castle Richmond, Trollope replacing with The Absentee, Maria Edgeworth--for Reading thru Time--Jan--19th cen. Ireland

DONE: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, A. Bronte--for my RL Book club, RandomCAT and my Bronte Project
DONE: England and Other Stories, Graham Swift--for January BAC
Whose Body?, Sayers have decided not to participate in this group reading of Lord Peter Wimsey
DONE: Alexander's Bridge, Cather--for My Cather project
DONE: The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander OR Jane Austen, Carol Shields--for January 75ers Non-fiction Challenge--Prizewinners
DONE: The Mystery of the Blue Train, Agatha Christie

12jessibud2
Jan 5, 2020, 3:31pm

Happy new thread, Kathy, and new year and decade too, while I'm at it!

13kac522
Jan 5, 2020, 3:43pm

>12 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. All the best to you (and your mother, too).

14thornton37814
Jan 5, 2020, 8:53pm

Hope you have a great reading year in 2020!

15kac522
Editado: Maio 2, 2020, 6:46pm

I'm pretty satisfied with my January reading; I met all of my goals in >11 kac522: except for one. AND 7 of the 8 books were "Roots" (off my shelves and acquired before 2020).



1. Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets by Jessica A. Fox
Year Published: 2013
Type: memoir
Acquired: Chicago Public Library

Interlibrary loan. Disappointing book written before Bythell's Diary of a Bookseller. The author becomes Bythell's extremely needy and annoying American girlfriend. I am so glad I read Shaun's book first because 1) if I read her book first I would have hated him and 2) they break up at the end of his book anyway. I only gave it as high as 3 stars because of her descriptions of Scotland. Also thinking back to his book, except for jabs about being American, I felt he treated her fairly in his book, whereas she seemed to be constantly complaining about him in her memoir. I suppose he felt he needed to write his memoir in response to hers. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with rockets.



2. Sanditon by Jane Austen
Year Written: 1817
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from my shelves since before 1989.

I read this back in 1989, and I wanted to re-read it before the Masterpiece Theater presentation in January 2020. In January 1817, Austen began work on a new novel she called The Brothers, later titled Sanditon, and completed eleven chapters before stopping work in mid-March 1817, probably because of her illness. The main characters and the village of Sanditon are introduced, but very little happens, except for our heroine Charlotte being invited to the up and coming seaside resort of Sanditon. Not much to review or comment upon, except that the TV presentation has gone way beyond the book (and Austen's) usual comfort zone.



3. This America: the Case for the Nation by Jill Lepore
Year Published: 2019
Type: nonfiction; political essay
Acquired: hardcover from my shelves acquired 2019.

Small but powerful. Liberalism and nationalism are not mutually exclusive. We cannot let the "nationalists" define what our nation is, was or can be.



4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Year Published: 1848
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired in 2015; several weeks after reading the book, I listened to the Audiobook, read by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter (better known as Sister Julienne in "Call the Midwife")

Anne Bronte (writing as Acton Bell) was the youngest of the Bronte clan. This was her second (and final) novel which startled her better known sister Charlotte--so much so that Charlotte did not allow the book to be re-published for some years after the second edition. The story is rather clumsily told between a gentleman's letter to his brother-in-law, and inserted in the middle is "the tenant's" personal diary. It was hard to follow the timeline and figure out what happened when; it dragged in spots and was often melodramatic (as only the Yorkshire Brontes can do). Finally the religious overtones made it a tough one to swallow.

BUT--now that I'm done with the drawbacks, the positives were many. Some have called this the first "feminist" novel. Anne raises questions about how boys are raised; how girls and boys are raised differently; on what makes a "good" marriage; on the inequality of marriage (and divorce) in the Victorian age; on constantly avoiding unwanted advances by men (#MeToo in 1848); on alcoholism, drug abuse, infidelity and domestic abuse in the 19th century; on the overwhelming odds that a woman had to overcome to be independent of a man. Some of the scenes are based on Anne's own experiences with her sad brother Branwell and her experiences as a governess. To me the religious overtones were a bit much, yet I can understand how Anne used this moral basis to justify her commentary on inequality, marriage, and temperance; this is not unlike what the Abolition movement was doing during those years. And told under the grey skies of Yorkshire in a small and gossipy village.

Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre may have smoother plot lines and more refined writing styles, but Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a social commentary way ahead of its time, unlike the other more famous books of her two sisters.

16kac522
Fev 2, 2020, 8:57pm



5. England and Other Stories by Graham Swift
Year Published: 2015
Type: short stories
Acquired: gift from my husband in 2015; signed hardcover

I hadn't abandoned a book in quite a while until England and Other Stories. I stopped reading half-way through, and only made it that far because I had really wanted to complete the book for Paul's British Authors Challenge. But the stories were, frankly, boring, and the characters were not sympathetic or likeable. It just seemed like a chore to go to the next story.

I flipped through the second half of the book, and the only one that I read in the second half was the last story (from the title) "England", which had a bit of a plot to it and a couple interesting characters. Best of the lot. I'm not sorry I didn't finish it. And I even have a signed first edition. Off it goes to the library sale.



6. The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander
Year Published: 2016
Type: memoir
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired 2019

I finished in one sitting The Light of the World, a memoir by the poet Elizabeth Alexander, which was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2016 for biography. Alexander's husband died suddenly in 2012, and this little book is about love, loss and finding light. It is poetic prose, full of family, food, friends, flowers, cultures, grief and love. I couldn't put it down.



7. The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
Year Published: 1928
Type: mystery
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired 2018.

Interesting characters and typical crazy Christie/Poirot twist at the end. First reference to the village of St Mary Mead, future home of Miss Marple, who won't appear until 1930.



8. Alexander's Bridge by Willa Cather
Year Published: 1912
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from my shelves acquired in 2016

This novella was Cather's first piece of fiction, heavily influenced by Henry James and Boston, where she was living. Long reflective passages are interspersed with Cather's beautiful descriptive prose. Loosely based on the collapse of a real bridge in Quebec in 1907; or perhaps, more of a "jumping off" point for her story.

This edition is a lovely over-sized hardcover with photographs of early 20th century Boston; published by Simon & Schuster and produced by CommonPlace Publishing, I snagged it at a library sale where it had been withdrawn from circulation.

17jessibud2
Fev 2, 2020, 9:05pm

>15 kac522: - Thanks for these reviews, Kathy. I also read Blythell's book and quite enjoyed his writing and his humour. So, a bit disappointing to see that his ex was so unkind. And why on earth would she give it a title if it had no relevance? Odd, that.

Your book #6 sounds lovely. BB caught!

18kac522
Editado: Fev 2, 2020, 9:15pm

>16 kac522: Well, I *think*, but can't be sure, that the "relevance" was that Fox worked for a time for NASA, making films and recording experiences of employees in the department, and she therefore learned a lot about rockets. Or something. But the title had nothing to do with Scotland or books or Blythell, as far as I could tell.

19kac522
Editado: Fev 29, 2020, 6:27pm

February reading plans:

--The Absentee, Maria Edgeworth (carry-over from January)*
DONE Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope (carry-over from January)*
DONE Young Men and Fire, Norman MacLean (for 75ers Nonfiction Feb--Heroes & Villains)
--The Book Thieves, Anders Rydell (for Reading Through Time Feb--Mystery & Crime)
DONE Listening Valley, D. E. Stevenson (1944) (for RandomCAT Feb--book published in a Leap Year)
--England, England, Julian Barnes (1998) (Paul's BAC Feb--the 1990s)
DONE Partners in Crime, Agatha Christie (my Project Christie)
--Farther Afield, Miss Read (my Project Miss Read)
DONE The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison (my RL book club--and a re-read for me)
--Old Filth, Jane Gardam (Monthly Author Reads--Gardam) https://www.librarything.com/topic/314996
DONE They Called Us Enemy, George Takei, library book
--Volume Control, David Owen, library book
DONE Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys, library book
DONE Lincoln Reconsidered, David Herbert Donald
DONE Partners in Crime, Agatha Christie

*The January challenge I didn't meet was for the Reading through Time challenge: 19th century Ireland. I had planned either The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth or Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope. So I'm putting both of these books on my February list--hey, there's an extra day in February this year, right?

20PaulCranswick
Fev 2, 2020, 9:45pm

You missed me in >5 PaulCranswick: above, Kathy.

>19 kac522: Barnes is a good pick for the BAC, I think.

21kac522
Fev 2, 2020, 9:51pm

>20 PaulCranswick: Oh, sorry, Paul...you're having your challenges this year, and all I can say is you are in my thoughts...your thread is the first one I check to see how you're doing...consider me a silent partner.

Yes, I've read The Sense of an Ending and The Noise of Time (fiction loosely based on Dmitri Shostakovich). I was moved by the first one, but the second one was outstanding for me. From what I gather, England, England is a bit different, but we'll give it a go.

22jessibud2
Fev 2, 2020, 9:53pm

>19 kac522: - I just finished (and reviewed) Volume Control and thought it was very good. I read and really loved They Called Us Enemy last year. I think I also have England, England on the shelf (I have a few unread Barnes on my shelves). I never even managed to finish one of the 2 books I chose for the January NF Challenge but am hoping to get to at least one of them in Feb to catch up. I'm off to a dismal start but hopefully, once the darn library holds stop showing up, I can do a bit of catch-up.

23kac522
Fev 2, 2020, 10:00pm

>22 jessibud2: Yes, Volume Control was a BB from you! As I've had tinnitus for as long as I can remember, and am increasing the volume on the TV and car radio on a daily basis, it's probably something I should be reading. I've read the first few pages, but I'm not sure I can agree that deafness would be worse than blindness. And I'm a classical music lover and choral singer, so that would be gone for me. But at least I feel I could function as an independent person in many ways while deaf, but it would be impossible to function blind without lots of help and intervention, seems to me.

Have you read Barnes' The Noise of Time, loosely based on composer Dmitri Shostakovich? That book has stayed with me for a long time.

24PaulCranswick
Fev 2, 2020, 10:20pm

>21 kac522: Kathy, Barnes is a writer who is either hugely admired or manages to leave his readers cold. I am a fan.

25jessibud2
Editado: Fev 2, 2020, 10:27pm

I haven't read that one, Kathy, but I have read The Sense of an Ending. Oddly, I can't remember much about it but I remember that I did like it. As I mentioned, I have at least 2 or 3 more of his works, waiting their turn....

Once, many years ago, when I lived in an apartment building, on the basement level, I had a neighbour who was from Russia. I believe he was a concert pianist and must have worked at night because he practiced all throughout the day. I think his wife told me he only played Shostakovich. To listen to someone play an instrument all day might be, could be, very annoying (or worse) but I truly loved it. I know nothing about classical music except that either it hurts my ears (opera, for example), or I love the sound, melody and drama of it. Unsophisticated, I know, but it is what it is. :-)

26kac522
Fev 2, 2020, 10:54pm

>24 PaulCranswick: Well, I'm willing to try England, England. I also have Arthur & George on the shelf, but for whatever reason, that one doesn't appeal to me. I think my husband bought it. A few years ago there was a TV show (from the BBC?) with Martin Clunes playing Arthur. It was OK, kind of creepy, actually.

>25 jessibud2: The Noise of Time isn't so much about music as a fictional imagining of Shostakovich's constant fear for his life (and his family's lives) from Stalin's regime. There are conflicting views about Shostakovich: one side says he was a willing and cooperative participant in the regime and others view him as a man who went along only to save his life, while surreptitiously "rebelling" against the regime within his music. Fascinating character, and Barnes does a great job with it.

27lyzard
Fev 3, 2020, 12:58am

>19 kac522:

Or, ahem, you could save up Castle Richmond for the middle of the year. Just sayin'. :D

I think with The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall the heavy-handed religious stuff was her way of warding off criticism of Helen: she couldn't afford to have her realistically flawed, she had to be annoyingly perfect in order for Bronte to get away with her central premise. (Not that she avoided controversy!)

28kac522
Fev 3, 2020, 10:09am

>28 kac522: re: Castle Richmond: I was thinking of reading it ahead, and then if I enjoyed it, it would be a re-read in the summer. Trollope is always worth the re-read when good.

Yes, I'm sure she had to make Helen perfect, but I can see how it also was a larger trend of reform by devout and religious people: besides the abolition of slavery, there was also the temperance movement and the women's rights movement (coming out of the temperance movement) later in the century.

29lyzard
Fev 3, 2020, 4:01pm

>28 kac522:

Well, okay then. :D

Yes and no. Remember that Bronte was writing in the 1840s, a good twenty years before the idea of "women's rights" began to get any real traction in Britain.

The temperance movement as such was really an American thing---where, as you note, it was very much tied in with the women's movement. Anti-drinking campaigns in England were aimed exclusively at the lower classes---aggrieved employers feeling they weren't getting enough out of their workers. :)

So at the time she was writing none of her themes were mainstream or acceptable; and I think, as I say, that the overtly religious framework was a defence against an attack on material that was considered highly controversial (particularly when it was known to be coming from a woman).

30PaulCranswick
Fev 23, 2020, 6:52pm

Stopping by to wish you well, Kathy.

31kac522
Fev 23, 2020, 10:42pm

>30 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Happy reading...still amazed at your mum's progress.

32kac522
Editado: Fev 29, 2020, 8:52pm

Read & finished 8 books this month; started another but couldn't finish.



9. Listening Valley by D. E. Stevenson
Year Published: 1944
Type: fiction
Acquired: library paperback

Lovely but realistic story of WWII, set in Edinburgh, London and the fictional border town of Ryddelton. Even has a mystery aspect. Continues some family members from Celia's House. I am slowly making my way through Stevenson's books (the ones that I can find), and I've enjoyed them all.



10. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Year Published: 2016
Type: YA fiction
Acquired: library hardcover

This YA fiction book is set during WWII, and is told from 4 different first person accounts, switching from one to the next. It tells the story of the evacuation of Eastern European refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion in Prussia, Poland and Lithuania, and the story of the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. This piece of WWII history was completely new to me. In the beginning I found the 4 accounts confusing, and had to reference back to be sure I had the history of each one straight in my head. Eventually it made sense, although I didn't always find that the separate accounts "felt" separate--that is by language or style, with the exception of Alfred. Well worth it just to learn this overlooked event in history.



11. Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
Year Published: 1929
Type: mystery
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired 2019.

I love the banter in the Tommy & Tuppence books. In this book T&T solve multiple cases, most are 2 chapters long. And in homage to great detectives, they take on their characteristics, like Holmes & Watson, Father Brown, and Poirot. I wasn't able to identify all the famous story detectives of the time, but it was still great fun!



12. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
Year Published: 2019
Type: graphic book, nonfiction, memoir
Acquired: library paperback

Takei, most famous for his role as Sulu on Star Trek, was born in California, but spent 4 years of his early life in Japanese "internment" camps in Arkansas and California during WWII. The story is very powerful and one that every American should read and know. The graphics are good, but didn't knock me out the way some recent graphic books have.

And one DNF:

Did Not Finish: for the February AAC I read 5 stories from Grace Paley's Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974). I didn't understand much, and what I did understand felt like one of her character's quotes: "she was a woman with a bag of spitballs for the world." Spitballs of spite is how each sentence felt. So I stopped; I think we have enough spitballs being fired around in this world right now, so I didn't need more in my reading.

33kac522
Editado: Mar 31, 2020, 6:35pm

And Books 13 through 16:



13. Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope
Year Published: 1860
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since 2015; RandomCAT published in a leap year; Reading through Time (Jan): 19th century Ireland

I love Trollope, but this book had some troubling aspects. Let us begin to say that it is set during the Irish Famine, and the years covered in the book are approximately 1846-7. Trollope wrote this in 1860, and he was living and working in County Cork, Ireland during these famine years. The story concerns itself mostly with two Protestant land-owning families, their fortunes (or lack of them), blackmail, inheritance, and young love. These are all themes that are familiar to Trollope readers. I enjoyed the characters and the main story, and although Trollope was unsatisfied with the book, it still makes a great read. Plus, the story is set only about 40 miles from the small village where my own Irish Catholic ancestors lived in County Cork; they left for America in 1852, so would have been living in their village during the timeframe of this book.

Although most of the book is dedicated to the blackmail/inheritance/love stories, Trollope does describe the real poverty and hunger of those less fortunate, and there are some devastating scenes that are hard to forget. It is perhaps because of this realistic portrayal of "the Hunger" that this book, although not one of Trollope's popular or literary successes, graces the 1001 book list.

Troubling, however, is Trollope's own attitude toward the famine--he feels the British government did everything that it could do, and that the famine was an act of "Providence." He does show our characters working and organizing to help their poor neighbors, but it is only a minor thread in the story. My own fuzzy historical knowledge tells me that I can't accept "Providence" as the perpetrator of millions of deaths and the British as completely blameless. What it has prompted me to do is read a 20th century nonfiction account of this disaster, and I hope to get to that book in March.



14. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Year Published: 1970
Type: fiction
Acquired: re-read of a paperback on my shelves since 1992; read for my RL book club and Black History Month

This is Morrison's first novel set in her home town of Lorain, Ohio. It is difficult; it is complex and uncomfortable; it takes time to understand; and it is heart-breaking. I am sure I got more out of it on this re-read, and from our book club discussion. I will leave summaries of the book to others, but one reading is not enough.



15. Lincoln Reconsidered by David Herbert Donald
Year Published: 1956
Type: nonfiction; essays on history
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired 2018; 75ers Nonfiction Feb Challenge: Heroes and Villains.

These were interesting and varied essays written by Donald in the 1950s, to (as he says) "solve problems" in preparation for his 1995 epic biography Lincoln. There were 12 essays in the book, ranging in topic from Lincoln as myth, Lincoln's education, Lincoln and abolition, Lincoln and Mary Todd, Lincoln and War. Each essay was a in-depth look at the topic in a dozen or so pages, and they were interesting and well-written. Highly recommended if you want a readable book about Lincoln that's not a tome. (228 pages)



16. Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
Year Published: 1992
Type: nonfiction, firefighting
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since 2017; 75ers Nonfiction Feb Challenge: Heroes and Villains

Maclean tells the story of the August, 1949 Mann Gulch forest fire in Montana, in which 13 young parachuting firefighters ("Smokejumpers") perished and only 3 men survived.

Maclean, a retired university professor of English literature at the University of Chicago, is perhaps best known for his little book A River Runs Through It, which was made into a movie with Robert Redford. Maclean grew up in Montana and worked as a forest service firefighter as a young man before pursuing writing and an academic life. It is obvious that he was completely immersed in this story: he spent his retirement in the 1970s and 1980s gathering interviews, documents and re-visiting the site of the fire with 2 of the survivors. He had written most of the book before his death in 1990, and in 1992 with the help of his children, the University of Chicago Press published the available manuscripts. This means that there is some duplication of content that Maclean may have edited out in a final version, but overall the chapters work well.

The book is intense, as a book about fire and death should be; I had to stop reading several times and take a break. And even though much of the technical talk of fire, winds, slope and terrain was beyond me, Maclean frames the story as a kind of Shakespearean tragedy. The writing was more like a novel than a book of non-fiction. I will be thinking about those young men for a long, long time.

34kac522
Editado: Mar 31, 2020, 6:34pm

March reading plans:

I read a lot of good books in February, but I still have some left overs that I hope to read in March, and are all on my shelves:

CURRENTLY READING--The Book Thieves, Anders Rydell (Feb Reading through Time)
--England, England, Julian Barnes (Feb BAC)
--Old Filth, Jane Gardam (Feb monthly author)

for March:
DONE--Young Clementina, D. E. Stevenson (library book)
--The Wright Brothers (library book) and The Johnstown Flood, David McCullough (on my shelf), for Mar AAC and my RL book club
--The Great Irish Famine, essays and lectures edited by Cathal Poirteir (1995), library book
DONE--Summer of the Great Grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle (Mar RancomCAT: seasons; and Mar Reading through Time: mothers & daughters)
--Waverley, Sir Walter Scott (on my shelf), Mar BAC
DONE--The Mysterious Mr Quin, Agatha Christie (library ebook)

and if I have time left:
DONE--Sense and Sensibility: an annotated edition, Jane Austen, annotated by Patricia Meyer Spacks (on my shelf); book is a re-read, but the annotated edition is new to me.
Also:
DONE--The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson, Trollope

35arubabookwoman
Mar 2, 2020, 12:34pm

Thank you for the informative and interesting reviews!!

36kac522
Mar 2, 2020, 2:52pm

>35 arubabookwoman: Thanks for stopping by. All of my books were enjoyable this month, except for the one I didn't finish, so dreary February really flew by!

37kac522
Abr 1, 2020, 1:53pm

My March reading has been abysmal. I have picked up & stopped several books; finished a meager five, and spend most of my time online.

Here are the books I've finished:

17. The Mysterious Mr Quin, Agatha Christie
Year Published: 1930
Type: mystery stories
Acquired: Chicago Public Library ebook

This is the next book in my Agatha Christie chronological reading challenge. These are a set of stories published in magazines between 1923 and 1930 which feature Mr. Harley Quin, a semi-supernatural character (harlequin?) who mysteriously "comes and goes" and seems to bring "drama" with him. The stories are told from the point of view of Mr. Satterthwaite, an acquaintance of Mr. Quin. There are many references to harlequins in the stories, and these are not so much crime-solving stories as curiosities. Sort of reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock type tales.

18. The Young Clementina, D. E. Stevenson
Year Published: 1935
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback, Chicago Public Library

This is the first serious (non-comic?) Stevenson novel for me. It was good, and I liked the story and characters, but the ending was unbelievable, as well as some aspects. Without giving away spoilers, certain complexities of relationships were ignored.

19. The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle
Year Published: 1974
Type: memoir
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2015

This is volume 2 in the "Crosswicks Journal" memoir series by L'Engle. In this book, L'Engle recounts the summer that L'Engle's mother come to live with L'Engle and her family. Her mother has recently taken a steep decline into dementia, friends of the family are hired to help care for her. The book explores her mother and father's lives, L'Engle's childhood memories, and her complicated relationship with her mother. As the summer goes on, we also get glimpses of daily life at the big house in Connecticut, about L'Engle's own daughters and son, and their children. I found this very moving, and very much a critical self-examination of complex relationships, and well as forgiveness and love.

20. Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, Jane Austen; annotated by Patricia Meyer Spacks; read the annotations along with listeneing to the Audiobook, read by Juliet Stevenson
Year Published: 1811
Type: Fiction, with literary annotations
Acquired: Hardcover book acquired in 2014; a lovely coffee-table book, that includes the entire text.

Read the annotations while listening to the Juliet Stevenson audiobook. The notes were very helpful, and I particularly appreciated where Meyer Spacks pointed out the various instances of "sense", "sensible" and "sensibility." Also where Elinor and Marianne seem to reverse roles. Took me a bit longer than expected to finish, but was worth it.

21. The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson, Anthony Trollope (1861); R from 2015
Year Published: 1862 in serial form; first published book form was in 1870
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2015

This is a satirical look at "business" and specifically, advertising. It's not long, it's a bit atypical Trollope, in the sense that one can see this as a "side" story to a larger work. I can't say I'll remember this one down the road, but I'm not sorry I read it. I've been trying to read Trollope novels (that I haven't read before) in chronological order, but I did jump ahead into this one, just because I thought it might be a bit comical. Also it is under 200 pages; I'll need to backtrack to Orley Farm, which is over 500 pages, but I don't have the stamina for it right now.

I'm not making any plans for April, and I don't even want to look at all the books left unread in March. Whatever I do read will be easy-peasy.

38kac522
Editado: Abr 2, 2020, 2:39am

I have one thing to get off my chest:

Around LT I've seen a person use the term panicdemic in reference to the current COVID-19 crisis. As if this were all a big hoax, made-up, we're running around like crazy people, and way over-reacting. This just makes me boil.

Maybe it's not affecting this person's city right now, but it will. In New York City, someone is dying every 5 minutes of COVID-19. Here in Chicago a 2 month old infant died of COVID-19. More people have died from this virus than died on 9/11. The world will be hitting one million confirmed infected people by this weekend. All of the grocery stores I visit have had at least 1 person sickened with the virus.

Hang in there you heroic people working on the frontlines. It's VERY real, but we'll get through it, despite the sceptics.

End of rant.

39PaulCranswick
Editado: Abr 5, 2020, 10:25pm

Have a lovely, peaceful, safe and healthy weekend, Kathy

>38 kac522: After nearly three weeks of lockdown and being unable to have all my family together, I can confirm that this terrible thing is no hoax.

40kac522
Editado: Abr 6, 2020, 12:00am

>39 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul.

I just finished watching a film on PBS from the BBC, "The Windermere Children", based on 300 children who survived the Holocaust, and were taken in by Britain in August 1945.

What is happening now is terrible, but this film reminded me that we have overcome far, far worse.

41PaulCranswick
Abr 6, 2020, 12:22am

>40 kac522: Not only that, Kathy. I think that the world is a far, far better place now than then. I was born in the mid 1960s when the terrible events of the last war was fresh in the minds of my teachers and the adults around me and the older people still well aware of, in some ways, more senseless slaughter of the misnamed Great War.

As such it was inculcated in me from very early on that people not being all the same was actually a good thing. My family doctor was a Holocaust survivor - a wonderful, wonderful man with a great sense of humour and a place in our small community way beyond that of a "mere" GP. Our village was fortunate to have a black resident who was an extremely popular TV comedian and a great personality - much loved in the local area.

Our love of sports also helped the black community meld as such stars as Daley Thompson were cheered to success. My own club, Leeds United, for all their detractors, were the first club to welcome non-whites and Albert Johanneson was a star for us in the 1960s and our full-back, Paul Reaney, was the first black man to play for England (most people wrongly state this as Viv Anderson). Indian food is beloved by the British and this also helped assimiliation.

These things may all be sneered at by some as racial stereotypes but the assimilation of different cultures has made the UK a much better place than it used to be. There is still a lot of racism but it is not systemically tolerated as before.

We will all come through this.

42kac522
Abr 6, 2020, 12:52am

>41 PaulCranswick: The most moving part of the film is at the end, when 5 of the real boys, now elderly, say a few words about their lives in Britain. Like your GP, these men had families, started businesses and were successful British citizens. One (Ben Helfgott) represented England in the 1956 Olympics and later knighted. Another was made MBE for his work in Holocaust education.

It was inspiring and humbling. There are millions of people, even today, who are running FROM the danger of their war-torn homes.

To remain safe all we have to do is simply STAY HOME.

43PaulCranswick
Abr 12, 2020, 8:09am



I wanted my message this year to be fairly universal in a time we all should be pulling together, whatever our beliefs. Happy Celebration, Happy Sunday, Kathy.

44kac522
Abr 12, 2020, 2:17pm

>43 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul, all the best to you as well.

45kac522
Editado: Maio 2, 2020, 11:16pm

April reading:

22. Smouldering Fire, D. E. Stevenson



Year Published: 1935
Type: fiction
Acquired: Chicago Public Library paperback
Project Stevenson
A wonderful portrait of Scottish life post WWI. But the ending was disturbing, not unlike a sad Scottish ballad. Enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith's introduction, which captured why Stevenson is so appealing.

23. Lady Audley's Secret, Mary E. Braddon



Year Published: 1862 (Virago)
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback R from 2017
Virago chronological read project
A 19th century page-turner. Kept my mind off the coronavirus. Seemed a bit unnecessarily long. Many thanks to Liz for leading the discussion on this book, and pulling back the layers to reveal Braddon’s insights and contribution to the genre.

24. What to Read and Why, Francine Prose



Year Published: 2018
Type: essays on literature
Acquired: ebook from Chicago Public Library
Read for the AAC

I mostly finished What to Read and Why, a 2018 collection of 32 book reviews, book introductions, and a few literary essays. I like Prose's prose. And I especially enjoyed those essays that were about works and/or authors I have read: Austen, Great Expectations, Middlemarch, Little Women, Frankenstein, Charles Baxter, Rebecca West, Mavis Gallant, to name a few. They were insightful pieces, and gave me new light on authors and works I thought I knew well. I'd say I was familiar with about half of the works and/or authors mentioned. There were several literary essays (on short stories, writing clearly and a couple others), that helped me to understand the process of writing and the writer.
But I skimmed about half of the essays featuring authors and works I didn't know. There wasn't a single "new" author that I've added to my "Wishlist" or that I have any desire to pursue. Still it was worthwhile to spend the time to read her perspective on some of my favorites.

25. Howards End, E. M. Forster



Year Published: 1910
Type: fiction
Acquired: ebook from Chicago Public Library

A look at class and gender in pre-WWI Britain. I loved this book, and can’t really say why. I wanted to go back and read it all over again. I wanted to be in the middle of it, and in the middle of the Schlegel household, to listen to the conversation fly across the room. The dialogue is more like a play than a book; I love that the old house is a main character; and I appreciated the discussion of class and gender from that time period. The movies are excellent as well.

26. Farther Afield contained in Fairacre Roundabout, Miss Read



Year Published: 1974
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2018
Project Miss Read

Lots of accidents and illness in Fairacre, including measles; Miss Read goes to Crete; and Miss Read contemplates the pros and cons of marriage vs. the single life. Rather introspective for Miss Read.

27. Fences, August Wilson



Year Published: 1986
Type: drama
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2019

About the boundaries we make: in our communities, in our families, in ourselves.

28. Rosabelle Shaw, D. E. Stevenson (1937)



Year Published: 1937
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover; ILL via NEIU library
Project Stevenson

Warning: Spoilers ahead...just had to make these comments, as some things about this novel just bothered me.

Overall I enjoyed this next entry in D. E. Stevenson's work, but I have some reservations. So beware of the spoilers...it's rather impossible for me to talk about what bothered me without them.

The novel begins in 1890s rural lowlands of Scotland on the North Sea coast, where the John and Fanny Shaw have begun their life together. Shaws, John's estate, occupies much of his time. Their first child, Rosabelle, is named after a strong independent ancestor of John's. When Rosabelle is a toddler, a terrible storm throws a wayward ship against the rocky coast. As John and others go to help any survivors, John pulls out a 3 year old boy out of the sea, barely still alive. The Shaws raise this child, called Jay, as their own; his frail, fussy and spoilt by Fanny. He will bring sadness and turmoil to the family. He grows up to be charming, but deceitful. In fact he nearly seduces Rosabelle and later gets a poor teenaged Irish lass in "trouble." The story ends as World War I begins, Jay flees to escape his responsibility, and Rosabelle marries "the boy next door", a solid farmer of the neighboring estate. The story in general is a good one, and entertaining, but....(feel free to bail out here)...I had three main problems with this novel:

1) The portrayal of bad-boy Jay reveals that it's obvious Stevenson believes that some people are just inherently "bad", no matter what--today we'd say it's in his DNA. He is "dark"; his parentage is never known; he must come from evil beginnings and will never be like the rest of the Shaws.
2) There is an overtone of anti-Irish sentiment; the young Irish girl is the daughter of a belligerent Irish laborer who has been fired from Shaws, and who John Shaw suspects of luring the wrecked ship into the rocks years ago. I found this troubling.
3) My last objection is a major scene near the end of the novel. Bad boy Jay has wronged (and left) both Rosabelle and the poor Irish lass Reena (who has lost her baby). A year or so later Reena brings a necklace to Rosabelle. This necklace had been "lost" by Rosabelle, but actually Jay had stolen it, and given it as a gift to Reena. Reena takes the initiative to return the necklace to its rightful owner.

This whole encounter, as Stevenson relates it, was very unsatisfying; almost wrongful, in my opinion. Here are two girls who have been wronged by the same jerk, and yet Rosabelle, the daughter of an estate owner and supposedly our heroine, cannot show proper empathy or compassion for a poor girl who has suffered greatly at the hands of her "brother" Jay. She barely accepts the necklace back, and hardly acknowledges the girl's presence.

This seemed so wrong to me, and I compared it to Austen's Sense & Sensibility, where Willoughby has wronged both Marianne and Col. Brandon's ward, Eliza Williams. Although there is no scene of the two young women meeting, we know that Marianne has great sympathy for Eliza. So if Austen can portray her heroine with a better nature, why not Stevenson, who, coincidentally, was a great admirer of Austen?

I've made it a project to read Stevenson's works, and so far, have not encountered anything so lacking real feeling. I think I'm going to take a break from Stevenson for a while, and hope that her next novel will not disappoint me as this one has.

46kac522
Maio 2, 2020, 9:57pm

Not making plans for April, but here's what I'm currently reading:

--Mansfield Park, Austen--audiobook and annotated edition
--Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind, Wildman
--A Wreath of Roses, Taylor (re-read)

47johnsimpson
Maio 3, 2020, 3:32pm

Hi Kathy my dear, hope you and your family are having a good weekend despite the Covid-19 pandemic, it looks like you have read some good books. Sending love and hugs to you and the family dear friend.

48kac522
Maio 3, 2020, 3:58pm

>47 johnsimpson: Hi John, doing well, sir! Most of my books have been short, but by annotated Mansfield Park is 500+ pages, and I plan to tackle Dombey and Son, so hope to add to the BFB total. My highlight of every day is watching Dr. John Campbell's virus update on youtube. He's a professor of nursing and I think he's from Lancashire, but I'm not sure.

49PaulCranswick
Maio 10, 2020, 1:01pm

50kac522
Maio 14, 2020, 6:38pm

Thank you, Paul. Our internet went down a week ago, and we're just back to normal today. Mother's Day was quiet. Hope you and yours are doing OK.

51PaulCranswick
Maio 24, 2020, 7:57pm

I am celebrating the end of Ramadan, Kathy, a time of thanks and forgiveness and I want to say my thanks to all my LT friends for helping keep me somewhat sane these last few years.

52kac522
Jun 1, 2020, 1:17am

Well, I was really looking forward to our libraries opening on June 8, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen after this weekend of looting.

53kac522
Editado: Jun 28, 2020, 12:36pm

I read 12 books this month and DNF 1 book--reviews coming one of tbese days.

June reading plans:

DONE--Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood (currently reading)
DONE--The Great Irish Famine, essays ed. by Poirteir
--How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis, for 75ers Nonfiction challenge--books by journalists
DONE--A View of the Harbour, Elizabeth Taylor, for June RandomCAT "by the sea"
--I, Claudius, Robert Graves, for Reading through Time Quarterly
DONE--The Pastor's Wife, Elizabeth von Arnim, for Reading through Time June
--The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

maybe Orley Farm, Trollope

and if the library opens this month:

--the next Agatha Christie on my list
--a Caryl Phillips book and a Penelope Fitzgerald book for May & June BAC

54kac522
Editado: Jun 1, 2020, 3:42pm

May reading, part 1:

29. The Johnstown Flood, David McCullough



Year Published: 1968
Type: nonfiction, history
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since 2017
Project: AAC May

This was McCullough's first book, published in 1968. McCullough used archival material, many newspaper accounts, court records and personal memoirs of townspeople to write this history of the disastrous May 1889 flood in western Pennsylvania.

But most interesting were the stories told to him first hand from living survivors, because McCullough worked on this project for many years before it was published. These stood out from the hundreds of names and stories in the book. So many people, in fact, that it became hard to keep them all straight. This is where McCullough's later books shine--when he can focus and zero in on a handful of characters to tell a story. And where this book got a bit muddled.

Still, it gave me perspective to read about such a massive disaster--2200+ lives and several whole towns--completely wiped out in a matter of minutes. And to get a close-up look at the contrast between the struggling townspeople, railroad workers, and mill workers versus the railroad owners and wealthy Pittsburgh elite as a microcosm happening all across the country at the end of the 19th century.

30. A Wreath of Roses, Elizabeth Taylor



Year Published: 1949
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2018
My Project: Elizabeth Taylor

This was a re-read, which I read in 2013, and didn't always understand what was going on. But the book evoked much the same tense feeling, as if something bad is going to happen, although I think I understood more of the dialogue. It is like a play.

31. A Tale of Beatrix Potter, Margaret Lane



Year Published: 1946
Type: nonfiction, biography
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2019
Read for 75ers Nonfiction May--comfort reading

A charming comforting read, in an easy conversational style. Impressed with Potter's great energy in her later years and her commitment to the National Trust.

32. Paper Love, Sarah Wildman



Year Published: 2014
Type: nonfiction, memoir, Holocaust
Acquired: ebook from Chicago Public Library
Read for 75ers Nonfiction April--Migration

Sarah Wildman, a journalist, discovers a box of letters after her grandparents' deaths. Through these letters and much research, Wildman discovers a different man from the stories she had heard of her successful grandfather, who appeared to have no worries or hurdles in his life. Her grandfather, a young Jewish doctor, had fled Vienna in 1938 to come to Massachusetts.

The book becomes Wildman's research about her grandfather's life in Vienna and in the US; the life of young Jews in Vienna, Berlin & Prague in the 1930s; and a desperate attempt to find a woman who has signed many of the letters in the box. Her letters, along with many others, beg her grandfather to help them get out of Europe and to America before it's too late.

As a journalist, Wildman appears to have access to European archives and people that most of us don't have, so she tells a large story, often taking the reader far from her search. I tended to skim through these parts, wanting to get back to the story, since I've read a fair amount of Holocaust books and memoirs. Also Wildman inserts herself often in this book, which got annoying after a while (how tired she is--she is pregnant; her critiques of people's dress, makeup & hair; her musings about her grandfather that seem to get way off-track).

If you've don't know a lot about life for Jews in German-occupied lands in the 1930s and 1940s, you will learn much from this book. But the story itself seems to get muddled, and often just feels like a very, very long NY Times Magazine article, getting in as many deadline-required words as possible, rather than a polished, focused book.

33. Peril at End House, Agatha Christie



Year Published: 1932
Type: mystery
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2019
My Project Agatha Christie

I followed along until the end, when everything changed. But that's nothing new. Good diversion during COVID-19 AND no internet/phone.

34. Jane Austen: Bloom's Major Novelists, Harold Bloom, editor



Year Published: 2000
Type: nonfiction, literary criticism, Austen
Acquired: hardcover on my shelves since 2019

Good comfort read during COVID-19 and no internet/phone week. Bloom does a good job of summarizing the action and providing a short intro to the major characters. But I can't say that many of the essays were that insightful, except for Sir Walter Scott.
Book indicates published 2000.

35. The Silver Box and other plays, John Galsworthy

Year Published: collection published 1912
Type: drama
Acquired: hardcover on my shelves from 2019
BAC Wildcard--British drama

All three plays involved questioning 19th century values. "The Silver Box" (1906) questions whether justice is the same for the haves and the have nots. "Joy" (1907) questions the role a woman must play when she is married and has a child--who comes first: the husband, the child, one's friends, or one's self? "Strife" (1909) is a confrontation between workers, union and management during a workers' strike. All three had something to say about society and much applied to today, more than a century later. I have to make reading more Galsworthy on my priority list.

55kac522
Editado: Jun 1, 2020, 4:41pm

May reading, part 2:

36. Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens



Year Published: 1848
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since 2008
Read for: My Project: Dickens; Big Fat Books challenge

This will not be my favorite Dickens. The middle seemed to drag a bit. As with any Dickens there are all kinds of mysterious side stories that don't seem to be related, but in the end, they all come together. The first third (from the point of view of little Paul) & last third (lots of action) of the book were the best.

37. Village Affairs, Miss Read



Year Published: 1977
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2018
My Project: Miss Read

Dwindling enrollment puts the future of Fairacre school in doubt; Mrs Pringle's niece and poor Mrs Coggs have multiple issues. OK, not her best.

38. Mansfield Park: an Annotated Edition, Jane Austen, Introduction and annotations by Deidre Shauna Lynch; accompanied by listening to the audiobook, read by Juliet Stevenson



Year Published: 1814; this edition published 2016
Type: fiction, literary criticism
Acquired: beautiful over-sized hardcover (Belknap Press) purchased in 2016
Read for Big Fat Books challenge

I've always enjoyed Mansfield Park, perhaps because I can relate to young Fanny. I listened to the audiobook (read by Juliet Stevenson), and then every few chapters read the annotations in this edition. This annotated edition is a treasure, as is the whole series. I especially appreciated Lynch's introduction, where she talks about the concept of Mansfield Park and "home." There is a particular section somewhat early in the book where Fanny notices all the particular objects in her attic room and their meanings for her, which Lynch points out is something Austen only does in this book. Fanny has to adapt to Mansfield Park at around age 10; she has been wrenched from the only home she knows. Then, as a teenager, she looks forward to her first visit back "home" to her parents in Portsmouth. But this is no longer "home" and she longs for Mansfield Park.

But Fanny isn't the only one who wrestles with the concept of "home." Sir Thomas doesn't appreciate his family, Fanny or his home until he's been away for a year. Mary and Henry Crawford have no real "home"; they flit from one relative or friend to the other. Tom Bertram doesn't appreciate home until he's close to death and nursed to health at Mansfield Park. So what is home, really? Interesting thoughts to ponder on this reading.

39. Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians and Other Essays, Gertrude Himmelfarb



Year Published: originally published 1986; this paperback edition published 2001
Type: nonfiction, essays, literature, philosophy, social criticism
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library

This collection of 11 essays by Himmelfarb, a noted Victorian scholar, includes topics that span pre-Victorian times all the way into the mid-20th century. Besides the title essay on marriage, there are essays on the Bloomsbury group, Social Darwinism, 2 on Jeremy Bentham, William Godwin, Disraeli, Fabianism and the Webbs. The Social Darwinism essay went a bit above my head, but I very much enjoyed the essays on the Bloomsbury group, Disraeli and the Webbs. These are complex essays that are thoughtful and require the reader to actively engage in the thought process.

40. The White Robin, Miss Read



Year Published: 1979
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2018
Read for My Project: Miss Read

This is the next in my Miss Read Fairacre reading. Just a little over 100 pages, this was shorter than most of Miss Read's books. But I thought she carried the theme well, and it was tighter in construction and plot, making it one of the more satisfying reads in the series.

...and one DNF:

The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger--read about 60+ pages and decided it just wasn't for me, even with all the interesting Chicago bits.



56kac522
Editado: Jul 2, 2020, 4:00pm

June reading, part 1:

41. Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood



Year Published: 1976
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since the 1990s
My Project: Another "Root" completed

An early Margaret Atwood, with lots of good lines about girls and women, relationships and romance writing. I found the early background chapters went on too long, especially the relationship between Joan and her mother. Once that was over, the book quickly improved, and had quite a few funny lines and scenarios.

42. A View of the Harbour, Elizabeth Taylor



Year Published: 1947
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2017
My Project: Elizabeth Taylor; another "Root"

This was a little more difficult to get into and to keep the characters straight at first, but it grew on me as the book progressed. Another of Taylor's books that seems to have a barely perceptible, but edgy tension under the surface. Nothing much happens in this dead seaside fishing village, but we get the perspectives of various characters and their relationship to each other, and in the end, their view of the harbor and that life. Lots of perceptive dialogue; you have to read it slowly. It is like a play.

43. Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico



Year Published: 1957
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: comfort reading

A charming 1950s fairy tale about a London charwoman; perfect reading to take one's mind off a pandemic.

44. The Great Irish Famine, Cathal Poirteir, editor



Year Published: 1995
Type: nonfiction, essays/lectures, Irish history
Acquired: paperback Chicago Public Library
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction March--Food

This book is a series of academic lectures in 1995 given in Ireland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the famine. Given the intensity of the topic, I could only read 1 essay at a time; hence it took months to finish. But I think it was easier to take in pieces.

Some of the essays were a bit hard to understand, as they were given as academic topics and used colloquial language to describe Irish agricultural and economic terms. Later essays in the book were more accessible; I enjoyed the essay on the famine through literature, an essay on the famine in cultural memory, and a comparison of the Irish famine to more recent famines.

Three major points for me: 1) an estimated 1 million died, and 2 million emigrated during the famine years; I had not realized that emigration reduced the population more than the famine; 2) that most people died of disease (fever, dysentery, typhus, diphtheria, cholera, etc.), with malnutrition/starvation as the "co-morbidity" (to put it in COVID-19 terms); 3) the prevailing British idea that the famine was an act of "Providence" and therefore nothing could be done about it. Imagine today if our governments thought that corona viruses were acts of God to be endured....

57kac522
Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 6:03pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

58kac522
Jul 2, 2020, 4:27pm

June reading, part 1:

41. Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood



Year Published: 1976
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since the 1990s
My Project: Another "Root" completed

An early Margaret Atwood, with lots of good lines about girls and women, relationships and romance writing. I found the early background chapters went on too long, especially the relationship between Joan and her mother. Once that was over, the book quickly improved, and had quite a few funny lines and scenarios.

42. A View of the Harbour, Elizabeth Taylor



Year Published: 1947
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2017
My Project: Elizabeth Taylor; another "Root"

This was a little more difficult to get into and to keep the characters straight at first, but it grew on me as the book progressed. Another of Taylor's books that seems to have a barely perceptible, but edgy tension under the surface. Nothing much happens in this dead seaside fishing village, but we get the perspectives of various characters and their relationship to each other, and in the end, their view of the harbor and that life. Lots of perceptive dialogue; you have to read it slowly. It is like a play.

43. Mrs 'Arris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico



Year Published: 1957
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: comfort reading

A charming 1950s fairy tale about a London charwoman; perfect reading to take one's mind off a pandemic.

44. The Great Irish Famine, Cathal Poirteir, editor



Year Published: 1995
Type: nonfiction, essays/lectures, Irish history
Acquired: paperback Chicago Public Library
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction March--Food

This book is a series of academic lectures in 1995 given in Ireland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the famine. Given the intensity of the topic, I could only read 1 essay at a time; hence it took months to finish. But I think it was easier to take in pieces.

Some of the essays were a bit hard to understand, as they were given as academic topics and used colloquial language to describe Irish agricultural and economic terms. Later essays in the book were more accessible; I enjoyed the essay on the famine through literature, an essay on the famine in cultural memory, and a comparison of the Irish famine to more recent famines.

Three major points for me: 1) an estimated 1 million died, and 2 million emigrated during the famine years; I had not realized that emigration reduced the population more than the famine; 2) that most people died of disease (fever, dysentery, typhus, diphtheria, cholera, etc.), with malnutrition/starvation as the "co-morbidity" (to put it in COVID-19 terms); 3) the prevailing British idea that the famine was an act of "Providence" and therefore nothing could be done about it. Imagine today if our governments thought that corona viruses were acts of God to be endured....

59kac522
Jul 2, 2020, 4:28pm

June reading, part 2:

45. The Pastor's Wife, Elizabeth von Arnim



Year Published: 1914
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelves since 2018
My Project: Virago reading; another "Root"

I love von Arnim's writing. Ingeborg, the daughter of an English bishop, finds herself the wife of a German pastor. Her struggles to be good and obedient to her father and husband, and yet to be herself, collide. When I finished, I wanted to go back and read it all over again.

46. The Crossing Places, Elly Griffiths



Year Published: 2009
Type: mystery
Acquired: ebook from Chicago Public Library
My Project: BAC July--comfort reading

Mystery with middle-aged archaeologist Ruth Galloway of Norfolk. Interesting comfort read, but not sure if I will continue the series. I did figure out the "who done it" early in the book, although there were a few twists and turns. At least everything a reader would need to "solve" the mystery was in the book, rather than thrown at you in the last few pages, which was satisfying.

47. Fighting France, Edith Wharton



Year Published: 1915; my edition from 2010 with intro by Colm Toibin
Type: nonfiction; WWI journalism
Acquired: paperback on my shelves from 2018
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction June--books by journalists

Wharton was living in Paris and asked by the French Red Cross to report on the needs of their hospitals in early 1915. She made 6 expeditions through small towns and to the front line trenches in 1915. These became essays that were published in 1915 in Scribners and eventually re-published as the small book Fighting France. Wharton describes the devastation of the small towns and the make-shift hospitals to care for the wounded civilians and soldiers. Here she describes Dunkerque after a bombardment:

We wandered down the street behind the hotel to the graceful Gothic church of St Eloi, of which one aisle had been shattered; then, turning another corner, we came on a poor bourgeois house that had had its whole front torn away. The squalid revelation of caved-in floors, smashed wardrobes, dangling bedsteads, heaped-up blankets, topsy-turvy chairs and stoves and washstands was far more painful than the sight of the wounded church.


Wharton also describes life in abandoned Paris, all empty except for the streaming refugees from the smaller bombed towns; churches turned into hospitals with only beds of piled straw for the rows of wounded; life in the trenches and the sight of real battles. My 2010 edition includes an introduction to Wharton and her war work by Colm Toibin.

48. Hiroshima, John Hersey



Year Published: 1985
Type: nonfiction, WWII journalism
Acquired: paperback from my shelves from 2017
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction June--books by journalists

John Hersey takes a different approach to war journalism. While Wharton focused on the towns and the buildings and the life and general livelihoods of the people and soldiers, Hersey follows 6 individuals who survived the August 6 atomic bombing. He tells the story of the bombing day-by-day, going back and forth between the survivors to tell their stories. Included are a mother, a German priest, a young woman, a businessman and 2 doctors. The first four chapters are from Hersey's original reporting for the New Yorker in 1946; my edition included a fifth "Aftermath" chapter from 1995, the 40th anniversary of the bombing. Hersey goes back and follows the lives of the 6 survivors since 1946 and up to 1995. This book is written in a simple, newspaper style, but is never hyped or over-emotional.

60kac522
Editado: Jul 2, 2020, 4:57pm

Mid-year stats:

Well, staying at home has been a help to my bulging shelves: so far I've read 33 books off the shelves. Also read 15 library books, 5 of these were ebooks downloaded while the library was closed.

Total books read: 48; 1 did not finish
Total "Roots" read: 33
Total library books: 15
Total ebooks: 5 (from the library above)

Total male authors: 15
Total female authors: 33

Total fiction: 32
Total non-fiction: 16

Breakdown by years published:

before 1900: 8
1900-1939: 12
1940-1999: 18
2000-2020: 10

So feeling pretty good about my reading overall. Notably, I have stayed away from "current events" type books; I feel that I'm reading about that all day, every day, when I check the news each morning and evening. So somewhat escapist reading, but there you go.

61kac522
Editado: Jul 2, 2020, 5:06pm

Some possibilities for July reading:

--The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie (currently reading)
--Northanger Abbey: an annotated edition, Austen (currently reading)
--Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, Christoph Wolff--for the 75ers Nonfiction July--the 18th century
--Typee, Melville; for Reading Through Time July--By the Shore
--William Morris, Linda Parry; for RandomCAT July--picture books
--A View of the Empire at Sunset, Caryl Phillips--for BAC
--The Gate of Angels, Penelope Fitzgerald--for BAC
--How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis--leftover from 75ers Nonfiction challenge--books by journalists
--The Land of Green Ginger, Winifred Holtby--from my Virago collection
--The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather--for my Cather project

62PaulCranswick
Jul 4, 2020, 11:24pm

In this difficult year with an unprecedented pandemic and where the ills of the past intrude sadly upon the present there must still be room for positivity. Be rightly proud of your country. To all my American friends, enjoy your 4th of July weekend.

63kac522
Jul 5, 2020, 1:00am

>62 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Too much enjoyment for my taste. Because all the legal fireworks have been cancelled, we've had "amateur night" all day. Gets on one's nerves. Best part of the day was watching the last episode of the last season of Lark Rise To Candleford; we've slowly re-watched all the episodes during the shut-down. Nothing like 1880s rural Oxfordshire to take your mind to a different time and place.

64PaulCranswick
Jul 5, 2020, 1:35am

>63 kac522: "The past is a foreign country : they do things differently there."

Leslie Poles Hartley was a smart Alec. xx

65kac522
Jul 5, 2020, 2:13am

66kac522
Editado: Jul 5, 2020, 2:18am

Currently reading:

Typee, Melville -- 20 pages into Melville's most famous work during his lifetime
Bach: Essays on his life and music, Wolff -- great stuff

67kac522
Editado: Jul 20, 2020, 2:30pm

The smallest things can give one such pleasure!

Last night after dinner my husband and I took a stroll through the neighborhood. We stopped at the Little Free Library near us (only 2 blocks away). I occasionally look in here, but not always, since most of the books are usually for children.

But this time I found FOUR Virago Modern Classics paperbacks, all by E. H. Young:

The Curate's Wife
William
Miss Mole
The Misses Mallett

I've read lots of good things about this author on LT, and currently I own 1 book of hers, Jenny Wren, which I have not yet read. And after reading the blurbs on the back of the books, I have learned that the author, Emily Young, lived in Bristol and set most of her books there--she calls the city "Radstowe" in the novels. I'm so excited, because my grandfather was born in Bristol, and I have yet to read a novel set in Bristol!

To share my good fortune, today I left 3 Viragos I've read and completed in the LFL; hope it catches the eye of the person who donated the E. H. Young novels.

68kac522
Editado: Ago 1, 2020, 1:07pm

More good fortune! Fellow Chicagoan Elaine (Liz1564) offered me any Virago books from her collection that I'd like! So I ended up with 19, including authors Mary Hocking, von Arnim, Winifred Holtby, Dorothy Richardson, E. M. Delafield, Pamela Frankau and more E. H. Young, so I am well set for All Virago/All August!

Many thanks again, Elaine.

69kac522
Ago 1, 2020, 12:55pm

July's reading:

49. The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie



Year Published: 1931
Type: fiction, mystery
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Project Christie

This was rather whimsical, although a lot of characters to keep straight. Everyone does a lot of dashing about on trains. This is a stand-alone (not Poirot or Miss Marple) and I wasn't overly thrilled with the heroine investigator, Emily. But it was still fun.

50. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, Herman Melville



Year Published: 1846
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my library
My Project: Reading through Time for July: On the Shore; R from 2019

This was Melville's first successful book, and his most popular during his lifetime. Written as a memoir, it describes his life after jumping ship with a mate on a small island in the Marquesas in the South Seas, where they are taken captive by a supposedly cannibalistic tribe and their eventual escape. Twentieth century research has shown that the events may have been partly based on Melville's experiences, but that much of the book was lifted from other travel books and some just pure invention by Melville. The beginning and endings of the book were exciting, but I found the middle sections with descriptions of the life of the natives lagged for me. I was expecting it to be more racist and paternalistic, but Melville surprised me with his mostly objective observations of the natives and their culture.

51. Lord Edgware Dies, Agatha Christie



Year Published: 1933
Type: fiction, mystery
Acquired: ebook from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Project Christie

Almost didn't continue with this next Poirot case, as there was some blatant anti-Semitism and the "n" word and other ethnic stereotypes in the beginning; fortunately it didn't continue, except that the Jewish character, of course, was motivated by money. I did finish and Christie kept me off-balance as usual Included was an actress who does imitations, which made a nice twist to the story.

52. The Gate of Angels, Penelope Fitzgerald



Year Published: 1990
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: BAC June author

This book would make a great movie: I can see the opening sequence being the bicycle crash in Cambridge of Daisy & Fred (our heroine & hero, who at this point are unknown to each other). Next scene they are unconscious after the crash and wake up in the same bed, courtesy of the family who rescued them and live nearby. Then we have flashbacks to fill in Fred's (a Fellow at Cambridge in physics) and Daisy's (a poor London nurse's aide student) backgrounds up to the crash, and how they came to be on the same road at the same time.

I found Fitzgerald surprising, sometimes not accessible, other times very lucid. Meticulous detail on 1912 Cambridge, London, physics, working women, and always the smallest details without over-kill. I've been thinking a lot about this book since I've finished reading it.

Other random thoughts: our Daisy goes to the local Borough Library:
The Library was connected with the public wash-house by the municipal fumigation rooms, where books could be disinfected after an outbreak of disease and old clothes could be boiled before redistribution to the needy. The three long low buildings, lettered in white on their grey and red brick, were a powerful image of compulsory cleanliness, inner and outer.
Seemed not unlike our COVID-19 world.

Also loved the scene where Daisy goes to the newly opened Selfridge's department store, because she CAN; no longer was it just for the wealthy, and she is amazed at all the goods out and available for customers to see and touch, no longer hidden from view.

There is an arc to the story--Daisy meets Fred in a bike collision; the book ends on their "accidental" meeting. It's about the very different classes colliding in ways they could not before. There is mention of women's rights and suffrage; but unmarried Daisy wears a wedding ring on transport to discourage unwelcome advances from men. Throughout the book the men are talking a lot about "important" theoretical work, but in the end, it is always women who do the caring work, the real day-to-day living.

Reminds me in some ways of the clash of the classes in Howards End. A lot to ponder in this book, and yet the story itself is still good romance, with a fun ghost story along the way. As far as I can tell, it's never been made into a movie; I hope it will someday.

53. Emily of New Moon, L. M. Montgomery



Year Published: 1923
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
My Project: none

We meet young motherless Emily as her father is dying; after his death she is entrusted into the care of 2 aunts, one kindly, one very difficult. I didn't like Emily too much at first, but she improved as the book went on, especially as she works on her writing. L. M. Montgomery has said there is more of herself in Emily than in any of her other characters. I have to admit I prefer Anne of Green Gables as a character and as a book.

54. A View of the Empire at Sunset, Caryl Phillips



Year Published: 2018
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: BAC April author

Fictionalized story of the writer Jean Rhys, from her youth in the West Indies, through her visit back to her island home as an adult after decades in England. The writing is very good, but I never felt that I got to know who "Gwen" was until the very end. The first 2/3 of the book Gwen rarely speaks; we only hear from everyone around her. The narrative only refers to her as "she" or "her"; she is never called Gwen, except by others speaking TO her. I felt like I knew the other characters (her parents, her friends, her teachers, her husbands, etc.) better than I knew her. Another aspect of the writing that annoyed me is that the narrative flipped back & forth between the present tense to the past tense--I couldn't figure out the significance of these changes.

The parts in the West Indies--her childhood and her short return as an adult--were the most interesting and readable. The large middle section in England dragged and I had to force myself to continue reading. Amazingly, there is only passing mention of Jean Rhys as a writer--we never see her reading or writing or even thinking about books. This was a disappointment to me because I read Cambridge years ago and enjoyed that novel. I may or may not try another Phillips novel.

70kac522
Editado: Ago 30, 2020, 8:29pm

Currently reading:

--William Morris, Linda Parry, ed. -- July RandomCAT -- books with pictures
--Bach: Essays on his Life and Music, Christoph Wolff -- Jul 75ers Nonfiction: the Long 18th century
DONE Village Centenary, Miss Read my Miss Read project

Possible reads for August:
DONE Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks -- Aug Reading Through Time: Disasters
--Shirley, Charlotte Bronte -- BAC August
DONE Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens -- Monthly Author Read -- Dickens
IN PROGRESS--Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers A. S. Byatt -- Aug 75ers Nonfiction--books about books
--The Misses Mallett, E. H. Young -- All Virago/All August
--Anderby Wold, Winifred Holtby -- All Virago/All August
--One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes -- All Virago/All August
--Song of the Lark, Willa Cather -- Aug RandomCAT: Music

Rather ambitious; we'll see...

71kac522
Editado: Set 3, 2020, 1:26pm

August's reading:

55. Village Centenary, Miss Read



Year Published: 1980
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Project Miss Read; R from 2018

I found this book in the series delightful and well-structured. The chapters span one year from January to December. The focus was on the 100th anniversary of Fairacre school and preparations for a celebration at the end of the year. It also gives Miss Read an opportunity to describe the changing seasons and country nature over a year's time, and a look back by locals at school life over the century. One of the better books in the Fairacre series.

56. Letters from an Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson



Year Published: 2019
Type: nonfiction, science, letters
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: 75ers Non-fiction: Science/Technology

Entertaining little book of letters from children and adults to deGrasse Tyson and his usually lengthy and respectful responses. Covers a wide range of science and thought.

57. Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope



Year Published: 1860
Type: fiction
Acquired: audiobook from Librivox, read by Simon Evers
My Project: Project Trollope; re-read

This was a re-read for me via audiobook. My original take on the book last February was mixed--loved the story, disliked Trollope's finding the British had done "all they could." Since I knew the story, I think this audiobook re-read brought out more for me Trollope's sympathy with the Irish people, despite his Providential view about the famine. And after reading more about the famine since my first reading, I have learned that Trollope's view was quite the accepted official British view for the times. What Trollope tried to do was show more compassion for the people, but it gets lost in the story, especially on the first reading. I appreciated his effort more on this second reading, but it still didn't quite satisfy in terms of weaving the personal stories in with the historical event of the famine.

As for this audio recording from Librivox, the reader, Simon Evers, wasn't bad, but there was a lot of annoying background sounds (birds, pages turning, someone knocking).

58. Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens; edited, with an Introduction and notes by John Bowen



Year Published: 1841
Type: historical fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Project Dickens; Monthly Author Read; R from 2011

Where Trollope fails to mesh a fictional story within historical events in Castle Richmond, Dickens triumphs in Barnaby Rudge. Dickens' least known and least liked novel was a great read for me. The story is set just before and during the Gordon Riots in London in 1780. These were anti-Catholic riots urged on by the actions of Lord George Gordon. Gordon is one of the few characters from life in the book; the rest are all from Dickens' imagination. Dickens skillfully weaves the stories of several families during this time period and how they are impacted by the growing unrest and riots. There are quite a few characters to keep straight and none really get developed completely, except for our unlikely hero, Barnaby Rudge. I found the book exciting, and Dickens especially shines in describing the riots and the atmosphere of London during the riots, some of which rings true even today. I can understand why it's not popular, as it doesn't have a particularly convincing romantic interest, but it is mysterious and a page turner. And, of course, the essential Dickens plot twist: a character's secret biological parent is revealed near the end. Also critical to understanding the background to the time and events was my 2003 Penguin Classics Edition, with an Introduction, notes and additional material by John Bowen.

59. Summer at Fairacre, Miss Read



Year Published: 1984
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Project Miss Read; R from 2017

This was a good break after Dickens. Miss Read is always a delight, and this tale of summer fits right in with our very warm weather this year. I am ready to go "back to school" any day now.

60. Lady Susan, Jane Austen



Year Published: 1871, post.
Type: fiction, letters
Acquired: my audiobook; various readers for the several letter writers
My Project: re-read; R from 2016

Needed some good humor, and this short audiobook presentation was perfect. Two memorable quotes:

Letter of Lady Susan to her friend Mrs Johnson, about Mrs Johnson's annoyingly ill husband: "My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age!--just old enough to be formal, ungovernable & to have the gout--too old to be agreeable, & too young to die."

Letter of Mrs Johnson to Lady Susan, when Mrs Johnson tries to cover for Lady Susan, but gets caught: "What could I do? Facts are such horrid things!"

61. Year of Wonders: a novel of the Plague, Geraldine Brooks



Year Published: 2001
Type: historical fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Reading through Time: August; R from 2015

This novel is based on the Plague in 1665-66 in which an English village with plague decides to quarantine for the duration (a little over a year), in order not to bring the disease to those outside their village. It is based on a true event in the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England.

For the most part, I enjoyed this novel. Several of the characters are based on known residents of Eyam, and for other characters Brooks used names of persons known to be in the village at the time. It was well-researched, especially in period detail; the writing was excellent and historically accurate; and the main thrust of the book was good. There were several scenes that seemed unbelievable to me (Anna's first midwife experience; Anna in the mine). I thought the ending just didn't fit with the rest of the book, but it didn't bother me, so much as, again, seem unbelievable and/or out of left field, so to speak.

What did bother me about the book is at no point does Anna, our narrator, ever question or try to understand in a practical sense why she and the Rector and his wife never get the plague, despite the fact that they seem to spend 24/7 taking care of others with the disease. Why? Why did 2/3 of the town die and they survived? Not even a religious justification.

And I had to laugh at this: my copy (from 2002) is a paperback with "Questions for Discussion" at the back. The last question is:

9. "Can we relate the story of this town's extraordinary sacrifice to our own time? Is it unrealistic to expect a village facing a similar threat to make the same decision nowadays? What lessons might we learn from the villagers of Eyam?"

Oh, boy, little did this editor realize.....

72kac522
Editado: Set 15, 2020, 3:25am

Plans for September:

STILL reading...

--William Morris, Linda Parry, ed. -- July RandomCAT -- books with pictures
DONE--Bach: Essays on his Life and Music, Christoph Wolff -- Jul 75ers Nonfiction: the Long 18th century
--Imagining Characters: Six Conversations about Women Writers A. S. Byatt -- Aug 75ers Nonfiction--books about books
DONE--Plagued by the Nightingale, Kay Boyle, Virago

Possible other reads:

--The Wright Brothers, David McCullough -- Sep 75ers Nonfiction: Science & Technology
--A Conspiracy of Paper, David Liss, Sep Reading through Time: Economics
DONE--One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes -- Sep BAC-- WWII
--Elizabeth and Her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim --Sep RandomCAT--Recs
--Shirley, Charlotte Bronte -- Aug BAC--Brontes

and a host of Virago titles on my shelf, that I never got to in All Virago/All August.

73kac522
Editado: Out 4, 2020, 2:00pm

September reading:

62. Plagued by the Nightingale, Kay Boyle



Year Published: 1931
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Virago; R from 2017

A book doesn't need to be happy for me to enjoy it, but this book had nothing positive for me. Bridget, an American, has married a man from a French family. Her husband has a degenerative genetic disease and they move back to Breton country to live with his smothering family. From beginning to end this story was just oppressive and negative, as Death hangs over all with little hope or light. I'm glad I'm done with it.

63. The Geometry of Holding Hands, Alexander McCall Smith



Year Published: 2020
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: next in the Isabel Dalhousie series

McCall Smith is always gently reminding us to be kind, to think the best of others, to apologize for wrongs in all the small things of life, to be our best selves. A gentle break during difficult times. And I love the cover, even though it has nothing to do with the book.

64. Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, Christoph Wolff (1991)



Year Published: 1991
Type: nonfiction, essays, music
Acquired: paperback on my shelves
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction Challenge for July: The Long 18th century; RandomCAT August: Music R from before 2009

Included here are 32 essays by Wolff from 1963 to 1988, most published previously, some in German, some in English. The beginning and ending essays were very enlightening on Bach’s family, life and legacy. Many essays in the middle were more technical and more appropriate for Bach scholars; it was sometimes difficult to absorb their content in print, without hearing the music. Several essays, for example, examine minute details in the original scores, to determine when and where they were written. What comes across in every essay, however, is that nothing Bach wrote was by chance, by fluke. Every note was carefully and precisely placed. And how more than any other composer of his time, Bach studied and incorporated the music of other great composers, both those before him and his contemporaries.

65. One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes



Year Published: 1947
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: BAC August: WWII; Project Virago; R from 2019

It's 1946 in a small village in southern England and this little book is one day in the life of Laura, married to Stephen, mother of Victoria. In an almost stream of consciousness style, Panter-Downes shows a marriage, a village and a way of life that have all changed drastically after the war. Very good--but need to read it again to really appreciate, I think.

66. The Baker's Daughter, D. E. Stevenson (1938)



Year Published: 1938
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Project D. E. Stevenson

Except for a rather rushed ending, I enjoyed this story of Sue, simple baker's daughter, who slowly opens up with an iconclastic artist. I thought the story had a good arc to it, characters I liked and a happy ending. There were a few questionable lines about Franco and racial purity that gave one pause, as it was unclear from the context how these were meant to be taken. On the other hand, a 20-something woman marrying an older divorced man no doubt had its naysayers in 1938.

67. The Doctor's Family and other Stories, Margaret Oliphant (1861)



Year Published: 1861
Type: fiction, 2 stories and a novella
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Virago

This edition contains the first 3 stories of Oliphant’s Carlingford series: "The Executor", "The Rector", "The Doctor's Family" (novella). Carlingford is probably based on Birkenhead, formerly in Cheshire, now part of Merseyside.
These were interesting stories of life from a woman's perspective; much of Oliphant's life appears in these stories. “The Executor” centers around a will; not particularly effective, but does give an introduction to the doctor. “The Rector” is a study of a man doing the wrong kind of work and feeling out of his element. “The Doctor's Family” returns to the doctor as he encounters the strong and almost martyr-like Nettie. Not sure I loved any of the characters, but they were all interesting. Oliphant is clearly writing much about herself in Nettie. I will continue with this series, but probably won't read other of her books unless they are stand-outs.

68. Three ebook stories by Alexander McCall Smith: The Perils of Morning Coffee; At the Reunion Buffet; Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine



Year Published: 2011, 2015, 2016
Type: fiction, short stories
Acquired: ebook stories from Chicago Public Library
My Project: completing my read of the Isabel Dalhousie series

To complete my reading of this series, I read the 3 stories issued only as ebooks that are now available from my library. The first story was OK but I didn’t find it outstanding; the second story was good and about forgiveness; the last story, the best of the 3, focused on promises—breaking and keeping them—and doing the right thing when that promise puts one in a moral dilemma.

69. Elizabeth and her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim



Year Published: 1898
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Virago

The book that started a successful writing career for von Arnim. At once it is lush and humble, funny and sometimes biting. Although the garden plays an important part, it’s also about Elizabeth’s new life in Germany, her husband (“the Man of Wrath”), her children, her friends, her books. Read in one evening.

74kac522
Editado: Out 27, 2020, 8:12pm

Looking ahead to October reading:

Currently reading:
--Imagining Characters, A. S. Byatt and Ignes Sodre
DONE: The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

Possibilities:

--Rules of Civility Amor Towles
--A Game of Hide and Seek, Elizabeth Taylor
Currently Reading: The Misses Mallett, E. H. Young
--The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner
--How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis
DONE: Scales and Scalpels, Lisa Wong, M. D.
DONE: Orley Farm, Anthony Trollope

and perhaps the next Agatha Christie or Miss Read or both to lighten the load.
DONE: The Boomerang Clue, Agatha Christie

75kac522
Editado: Out 28, 2020, 4:51pm

Recent questions from Club Read's

See my answers in >77

1. Name any book you read at any time that was published in the year you turned 18:
2. Name a book you have on in your TBR pile that is over 500 pages long:
3. What is the last book you read with a mostly blue cover?
4. What is the last book you didn’t finish (and why didn’t you finish it?)
5. What is the last book that scared the bejeebers out of you?
6. Name the book that read either this year or last year that takes place geographically closest to where you live? How close would you estimate it was?
7.What were the topics of the last two nonfiction books you read?
8. Name a recent book you read which could be considered a popular book?
9. What was the last book you gave a rating of 5-stars to? And when did you read it?
10. Name a book you read that led you to specifically to read another book (and what was the other book, and what was the connection)
11. Name the author you have most recently become infatuated with.
12. What is the setting of the first novel you read this year?
13. What is the last book you read, fiction or nonfiction, that featured a war in some way (and what war was it)?
14. What was the last book you acquired or borrowed based on an LTer’s review or casual recommendation? And who was the LTer, if you care to say.
15. What the last book you read that involved the future in some way?
16. Name the last book you read that featured a body of water, river, marsh, or significant rainfall?
17. What is last book you read by an author from the Southern Hemisphere?
18. What is the last book you read that you thought had a terrible cover?
19. Who was the most recent dead author you read? And what year did they die?
20. What was the last children’s book (not YA) you read?
21. What was the name of the detective or crime-solver in the most recent crime novel you read?
22. What was the shortest book of any kind you’ve read so far this year?
23. Name the last book that you struggled with (and what do you think was behind the struggle?)
24. What is the most recent book you added to your library here on LT?
25. Name a book you read this year that had a visual component (i.e. illustrations, photos, art, comics)

76kac522
Editado: Out 28, 2020, 4:50pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

77kac522
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 3:11am

Answers:

1. Name any book you read at any time that was published in the year you turned 18:
Found 4:
Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
Emily Davis, Miss Read
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, Elizabeth Taylor
Boss: Richard J Daley of Chicago, Mike Royko

2. Name a book you have on in your TBR pile that is over 500 pages long

The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy 800+ pages (3 novels plus interludes)

3. What is the last book you read with a mostly blue cover?

The Boomerang Clue, Agatha Christie

4. What is the last book you didn’t finish (and why didn’t you finish it?)
The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Didn't finish because the time travel didn't make sense and felt very contrived.

5. What is the last book that scared the bejeebers out of you?

Don't read many scary books, but read this one in 2019 for book club: The Night of the Hunter, Davis Grubb

6. Name the book that read either this year or last year that takes place geographically closest to where you live? How close would you estimate it was?

Quicksand, Nella Larsen which takes place (partly) in Chicago, where I live.

7.What were the topics of the last two nonfiction books you read?
Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine, Lisa Wong, M.D.--about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in Boston, an all-volunteer orchestra made up of healthcare professionals
The Wright Brothers, David McCullough, biography of the aviators

8. Name a recent book you read which could be considered a popular book? Not sure if the "recent" is for the book, or when I read it, but I think both McCullough's biography of the Wright Brothers (see #7) and Agatha Christie (see #2) would be considered popular.

9. What was the last book you gave a rating of 5-stars to? And when did you read it?

Besides some re-reads of Jane Austen, the last book I gave 5 stars to was:
The Light of the World: A Memoir by the poet Elizabeth Alexander. I read it in January 2019. I do have a lot of 4's & a couple 4 1/2 stars.

10. Name a book you read that led you to specifically to read another book (and what was the other book, and what was the connection)

The Pastor's Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim led me to read her first book, Elizabeth and her German Garden

11. Name the author you have most recently become infatuated with.

1) Elizabeth von Arnim (see #10)
2) almost done with my first novel by E. H. Young (The Misses Mallett), which is brilliant. I know I will read more by her.

12. What is the setting of the first novel you read this year?

My first novel this year was Sanditon by Jane Austen, which is set in West Sussex, England.

13. What is the last book you read, fiction or nonfiction, that featured a war in some way (and what war was it)?

One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes; fiction, set in 1946 in the south of England on the coast, and concerns one woman, her family and her small village as they adjust to post WWII life in Britain.

14. What was the last book you acquired or borrowed based on an LTer’s review or casual recommendation? And who was the LTer, if you care to say.

I was generously gifted about 20 books published by Virago by LTer Elaine (Liz1546) and it included several books by the author I am now reading, E. H. Young (see #11).

15. What the last book you read that involved the future in some way?

The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (did not finish--see #4)

16. Name the last book you read that featured a body of water, river, marsh, or significant rainfall?

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough featured the Atlantic coast of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

17. What is last book you read by an author from the Southern Hemisphere?

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, born in Australia.
Elizabeth von Arnim was also born in Australia, but spent most of her life in England and Europe.

18. What is the last book you read that you thought had a terrible cover?

One Fine Day: I wouldn't call it terrible, but I didn't see this cover's connection to the book, and the picture doesn't look very 1946 to me:



19. Who was the most recent dead author you read? And what year did they die?

The author of the book I'm reading now: E. H. Young (1880-1949).
The most recent book I finished was by Agatha Christie (1890-1976).

20. What was the last children’s book (not YA) you read?

A Cafecito Story by Julia Alvarez, read in 2019

21. What was the name of the detective or crime-solver in the most recent crime novel you read?
The dynamic duo of Bobby (Bobby Jones) and Frankie (Lady Frances) in Agatha Christie's The Boomerang Clue (aka Why didn't they ask Evans?)

22. What was the shortest book of any kind you’ve read so far this year?

Sanditon, Jane Austen, 65 pages

23. Name the last book that you struggled with (and what do you think was behind the struggle?)

Bach: Essays on His Live and Music, Christoph Wolff. Some of the essays were very dry and not very accessible without actually hearing the music.

24. What is the most recent book you added to your library here on LT?

Last book added was to the Wishlist: The Half-Sisters, by Geraldine Jewsbury

25. Name a book you read this year that had a visual component (i.e. illustrations, photos, art, comics)
McCullough's The Wright Brothers had some awesome archival photographs.
I also read a powerful graphic book this year: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, about his family's experience in the Japanese internment camps.

Hope the touchstones get fixed...

78kac522
Nov 3, 2020, 2:09pm

October reading:

70. The Wright Brothers, David McCullough



Year Published: 2015
Type: nonfiction, biography
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction for September

There seems to be a wide variety of opinion about this book. For me, it was perfect. It was just technical enough to explain the concepts, but not too technical to lose the casual reader. As always McCullough concentrates on the men, who they are, where they came from, what forces influenced them and how character played the most important part of their achievements. I loved the descriptions of Dayton, the family, the house, their family and most especially how the two brothers were self-taught and how they worked together. I feel I got to know the men as hard-working inventors who were inspired by the flight of birds.

71. Orley Farm, Anthony Trollope



Year Published: 1862
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: Trollope; R from 2013

The next in my quest to read all of Trollope's novels, this was just the perfect Trollope novel. There's all sorts of different people, some with rank, some not. There's a moral question at the heart of the plot; there's a love story or two; there are lots of lawyers and a court scene near the end; and an eye on British justice, or lack of it. I was completely immersed in the story and characters throughout the book.

72. The Boomerang Clue, Agatha Christie (also known as "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?")



Year Published: 1934
Type: fiction, mystery
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Christie

So-so. For once I had a clue about the possible suspects. However as newbies, Frankie and Bobby were too good to be believed. And not as appealing as T & T.

73. Scales to Scalpels, Lisa M. Wong, M.D.



Year Published: 2012
Type: nonfiction, medicine, music
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: October RancomCAT: Healthcare heroes

I learned about this book in a short piece on the PBS NewsHour featuring the author and her group: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/search-results?q=Longwood%20Symphony

Dr. Wong gives us the history and mission of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, located in Boston's medical district. Founded in 1982, it began when a group of medical professionals realized that many of their colleagues were also musicians. It is a volunteer group where medical professionals can release their emotions at the end of the day. Additionally, the group's mission is to serve the community by putting on fundraising concerts for medically-related non-profit groups in the community (like local health centers, food banks, and other organizations that meet the critical medical and humanitarian needs of the community).

The book itself is not quite as focused as I would have liked, going over all different ways that medicine and music interact. She does this mostly through stories of orchestra members.

The orchestra is an interesting idea, but the book seemed like it has not been edited--duplicate paragraphs, often repetitive, uneven writing and typing errors. But the mission of the group is very admirable. There's also a list at the back of the members' favorite pieces to deal with stress, grief, etc.

74. The Misses Mallett, E. H. Young



Year Published: 1922
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves acquired this year
My Project: Virago

Originally titled "The Bridge Dividing" this book is based on the Clifton area of greater Bristol. The "bridge" that figures prominently in the book is clearly the Clifton Suspension Bridge. I enjoyed the setting because my grandfather was born in Bristol. The bridge comes to represent the divide between city and country life, the divide between classes and the divide between generations in the early 20th century. I'm not sure any of the characters were entirely likeable, but they were all interesting. This is my first E. H. Young novel, and I look forward to reading the others on my shelves.

75. Still Life, Louise Penny



Year Published: 2005
Type: fiction, mystery
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
My Project: R from 2015

I wanted so much to love this author, but I was underwhelmed with this mystery. It seemed to drag on for me. I know lots of people love Louise Penny, but she just didn't click for me. Plus, she randomly throws in pop culture phrases and asides, as well as random poetry quotes, that didn't seem to fit the characters of a small town in Quebec. Or at least, she hadn't filled out the characters enough in this book for these asides and quotes to feel authentic. I think it was when somebody quoted Abbie Hoffman (spelled incorrectly, by the way) that seemed entirely out of context, that I just pushed through to the end. And I had guessed the correct suspect nearly from the point of the crime. Oh well--here's one series at least that I don't feel compelled to read.

79kac522
Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 5:43pm

So far, I'm fairly satisfied with my reading. I've hit my 75 books goal and my 45 Roots goal, so it's all icing on the cake from here on.

November reading possibilities:

DONE: Mrs. Pringle, Miss Read--next in my Project Miss Read
DONE: Country Place, Ann Petry, for the November AAC
DONE: Great Expectations: the sons and daughters of Charles Dickens, Gottlieb for 75ers Nonfiction November Group biography
--The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner
DONE: biography of Jane Austen, James Joyce or Anthony Trollope; for Reading through Time author biography
DONE: Letters to Alice, Fay Weldon, for BAC
DONE: Green Money, D. E. Stevenson, next in my Project Stevenson
DONE: Monthly author read group: Chinua Achebe: The Education of a British-Protected Child
Currently reading: The Hound of Death and other Stories, Agatha Christie--next in my Christie project

and a few bits and ends.

80drneutron
Nov 3, 2020, 3:21pm

Congrats on hitting the goal!

81johnsimpson
Nov 3, 2020, 3:30pm

Hi Kathy my dear, congrats on hitting 75 books read for the year.

82FAMeulstee
Nov 4, 2020, 3:04pm

>78 kac522: Congratulations on reaching 75, Kathy!

83kac522
Nov 4, 2020, 10:54pm

84johnsimpson
Nov 7, 2020, 3:50pm

Hi Kathy my dear, i hope that you and the family are having a good start to the weekend and send love and hugs from both of us and Felix, dear friend.

85kac522
Editado: Nov 7, 2020, 5:00pm

>84 johnsimpson: We're exhaling now that the election has been called, John. Biden would not be my first choice as a candidate, but I voted for him. That said, he might just be the right person at the right time--he is kind, compassionate, humble and he listens--all qualities we need in a leader right now.

On another note, we've had lovely weather (72F/22C), but it was a little odd to hear Christmas music in the grocery store today. Just didn't fit.

86PaulCranswick
Nov 15, 2020, 1:00am

Well done on reaching 75, Kathy.

87PaulCranswick
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 1:56am

1. Name any book you read at any time that was published in the year you turned 18:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
2. Name a book you have on in your TBR pile that is over 500 pages long:
Dhalgren by Samuel R Delany
3. What is the last book you read with a mostly blue cover?
The Dark Film by Paul Farley
4. What is the last book you didn’t finish (and why didn’t you finish it?)
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook; didn't suit my mood
5. What is the last book that scared the bejeebers out of you?
The Drought by JG Ballard; because it could happen
6. Name the book that read either this year or last year that takes place geographically closest to where you live? How close would you estimate it was?
We the Survivors by Tash Aw - Same city
7.What were the topics of the last two nonfiction books you read?
Somalian piracy and the Native Americans
8. Name a recent book you read which could be considered a popular book?
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga; it was nominated for the Booker
9. What was the last book you gave a rating of 5-stars to? And when did you read it?
I don't really give those ratings but I might have given to The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
10. Name a book you read that led you to specifically to read another book (and what was the other book, and what was the connection)
I suppose The Corners of the Globe by Robert Goddard as it continues a story
11. Name the author you have most recently become infatuated with.
Chris Bohjalian
12. What is the setting of the first novel you read this year?
England between the Wars
13. What is the last book you read, fiction or nonfiction, that featured a war in some way (and what war was it)?
The Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall - World War II
14. What was the last book you acquired or borrowed based on an LTer’s review or casual recommendation? And who was the LTer, if you care to say.
Witness : Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom by Ariel Burger - Stasia
15. What the last book you read that involved the future in some way?
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
16. Name the last book you read that featured a body of water, river, marsh, or significant rainfall?
A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips - the Indian Ocean
17. What is last book you read by an author from the Southern Hemisphere?
This Mournable Body by Tstisi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe
18. What is the last book you read that you thought had a terrible cover?
The Ditch by Herman Koch
19. Who was the most recent dead author you read? And what year did they die?
Selected and Last Poems by Czeslaw Milosz - 2004
20. What was the last children’s book (not YA) you read?
The Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall
21. What was the name of the detective or crime-solver in the most recent crime novel you read?
Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths
22. What was the shortest book of any kind you’ve read so far this year?
The Waste Land by TS Eliot - 42 pages
23. Name the last book that you struggled with (and what do you think was behind the struggle?)
This Mournable Body - because it is written in a second person style .
24. What is the most recent book you added to your library here on LT?
The Turncoat by Siegfried Lenz
25. Name a book you read this year that had a visual component (i.e. illustrations, photos, art, comics)
A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips

88kac522
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 3:30am

So interesting, Paul. Haven't read a single one of the books you name, although I have
a vague memory of attempting to read the Kundera decades ago. Plus I've only read 2 of your authors--Albom and Griffiths, but diiferent books. I know part of my problem is that I read very few recent books, and not enough from around the world. Plus I read a lot of female authors, where I see your list is mostly male.

I recently finished and enjoyed The Education of a British-Protected Child, a small book of essays by Chinua Achebe, which you might enjoy. I loved Things Fall Apart, and I thought his essays (mostly lectures) were very insightful.

I also just finished a short Fay Weldon (Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen) for the BAC and hope to read Weldon's biography of Rebecca West.

89PaulCranswick
Nov 15, 2020, 5:06am

>88 kac522: I bought that one by Weldon earlier this year and hope to read it this year too.

I am trying to read more female writers, honestly!

90johnsimpson
Nov 26, 2020, 4:32pm

Hi Kathy my dear, Happy Thanksgiving Day and hope that you and the family are having a good day dear friend.

91jessibud2
Nov 26, 2020, 4:50pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy.

92PaulCranswick
Nov 26, 2020, 10:44pm



This Brit wishes to express his thanks for the warmth and friendship that has helped sustain him in this group, Kathy.

93kac522
Nov 28, 2020, 9:18pm

>90 johnsimpson: Thank you, John. We had a quiet Thanksgiving: just my husband, me and our second son. We had turkey, dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (a family favorite), with dessert from a local restaurant. We had left-overs yesterday and today and still have more.

94kac522
Nov 28, 2020, 9:23pm

>91 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. I tried to keep the news off and concentrated on cooking and visiting with second son. He lives alone, about a mile away from us, so I was not too worried about him being sick, as he is not a particularly social guy. He is a pastry cook at a fine dining restaurant in Chicago, and as all of our restaurants now are closed for indoor dining, he was laid off a few weeks ago. He's been told there may not be work for him until next summer, and he may have to move back in with us. It will be much harder for him to adjust to living with parents again than it will be for us, I'm sure.

95kac522
Nov 28, 2020, 9:30pm

>92 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. Son #1 in Sheffield was planning on celebrating tonight--had to put in a special order for the turkey, since they're not normally available until Christmas. He's been doing this ever since he moved permanently to Italy in 2005 and now in England since 2016. The last few years they've invited 2 or 3 families over who have at least one spouse originally from either Italy or the U.S. to celebrate. But only their own household this year will be enjoying the turkey and cranberries, and one of my daughter-in-law's amazing desserts.

96kac522
Dez 2, 2020, 4:30pm

November reading, Part 1:

I had a good month of reading (for me) and met most of my goals, so I am pleased with my progress.

76. Mrs Pringle of Fairacre, Miss Read



Year Published: 1989
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
Read for: My Project: Miss Read

Next in the Fairacre series, and one of the few I don't own. All about Mrs Pringle. The beginning background I didn't remember, but much of the book was re-telling prior bits. Still enjoyable to have in one place about this curmudgeonly school cleaner.

77. Great Expectations: the sons and daughters of Charles Dickens, Robert Gottlieb



Year Published: 2012
Type: non-fiction, biography
Acquired: hardcover on my shelves from 2015
My Project: 75ers Nonfiction Challenge: Group Biography

Very readable, but not scholarly. In fact, it appears the author did no original research of his own, but rather compiled information about each of the children from previously published books and letters. The book is divided into two sections: the lives of each of the ten children until Dickens' death in1870 and their lives after 1870. In retrospect, I think I learned just as much about Dickens himself through his relationships with his children, as I did about his children.

78. The Education of a British-Protected Child, Chinua Achebe



Year Published: 2009
Type: nonfiction, essays
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library
Read for Monthly Author Reads

A collection of essays and lectures from 1988 through 2009. These are on a wide variety of topics, but almost all include some thoughts on Africa. A few are personal (the title essay, one on his daughters), there's an essay about his book Things Fall Apart, reflections on other writers, on language and on his people. All very interesting and engaging. I'm glad I chose this example of Achebe's writing for the monthly read.

79. Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen, Fay Weldon



Year Published: 1984
Type: ?? fictitious letters to a fictitious niece about reading Austen and writing novels
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
Read for: November BAC author

Despite that these letters are made-up letters to a made-up niece (a la Austen's real letter of advice to her real novel-writing niece), this book actually worked. Weldon gives us background on Austen and her times; on reading Austen; on writing and techniques that Austen used in her novels; and interesting looks at Austen's books and characters. This isn't the best book I've read about Austen, but it was readable and chatty and gives a sense of the whole person/writer. Probably geared to a YA audience.

80. Country Place, Ann Petry



Year Published: 1947
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback on my shelf from 2020
Read for November AAC

Set in post-WWII Lennox, Connecticut, a small-town similar to Petry's home town, the novel starts with the narrator, the town pharmacist. He admits to being an unreliable narrator. The story begins with soldier Johnnie Roane returning home with much anticipation to see his wife for the first time in 4 years. The novel follows various characters in the town, with the narrator dipping in and out--sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.

The writing was good, the descriptions of the town and the New England weather were wonderful and the plot moved briskly, as each character brings a part of the story. All of the major characters in the book are non-ethnic whites, with the exceptions of a Black maid, a Portuguese gardener, and a Jewish lawyer, all with minor roles in the story. I believe this may be the only book that Petry, an African-American, wrote without a major character of color.

Although well-written, I had a hard time liking this book, probably because I couldn't come to like any of the main characters. Some were downright evil, others irritating enough to not get my sympathy. I need to like or at least feel sympathetic about someone in the book, and none were appealing to me.

I will say that the end of the book brings some humanity and "justice" to the town, and indeed the town itself is probably the real main character. In that sense, it is probably an interesting piece to compare with The Street, which I have not read, but I understand is also about "place."

97kac522
Editado: Dez 2, 2020, 5:34pm

November reading, Part 2:

81. Green Money, D. E. Stevenson



Year Published: 1939
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
Read for: My Project: D. E. Stevenson

Next in my reading of D. E. Stevenson's novels (that I can find). This would have made a typical 1930's movie and the theme reminds me of one: finding your heart's desire in your own back yard (a la Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz"). Our hero George, a likable twenty-something, has a series of small adventures and meets a few interesting characters along the way. Not much of a plot, and what "intrigue" there is becomes pretty obvious right away. It's the characters that are front and center here. A gentle read, but not one of Stevenson's best for me.

82. Confessions of a Bookseller, Shaun Bythell



Year Published: 2020
Type: non-fiction, memoir, humor
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

More entertaining reading about a year (2015) of trials and tribulations of a used bookseller in rural Scotland. Easy to dip in and out (I read one month per day), and it provided a much-needed chuckle during the post-election day drama here in the U.S.

It made a good alternative book while reading these 3 short author biographies to end out the month:

83. Rebecca West, Fay Weldon



Year Published: 1985
Type: fiction, but labeled as "biography"
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library
Read for November BAC: Fay Weldon and Reading through Time: November Author Biographies

Disappointing read, because despite its label in the catalog, it was not a biography at all. Structured as letters to Rebecca West around the time she gave birth to her son, the letters deal mostly with West's relationship to H. G. Wells. Conversations are completely made-up between West and Wells, her mother, and her sister. Weldon mostly analyzes their relationship and attempts to give West encouragement. Where Weldon's made-up letters to her made-up niece about Austen worked well (see book #79, above), this is just completely speculative and got more irritating as the book wore on. Particularly irksome is that this was written only 2 years after West's death.

Here is Weldon's introduction/justification:
"I have no shame, though, in what comes next, of having simple made a lot up, of having invented conversations, of being a fly on the seaside boarding-house wall -- on the grounds that what is made up, invented, is often truer than what happens in reality: the latter, drifting, chaotic, without shape or form, and usually open to so many interpretations as to make nonsense of any attempt to understand or define from the outside what was actually going on in the inside.....Better, if the biographer has a glimmer of the single thin consistent thread that runs through a life, to give up fact and take to fiction. It is as honourable a course as any."


When I was finished, I realized it would have made an interesting play, where imagined dialogue and speculation are acceptable. But biography it is NOT.

84. James Joyce, John Gross



Year Published: 1970
Type: nonfiction, literary biography
Acquired: paperback from my shelves R from 2013
Read for: November Reading Thru Time Author biographies

Small book (89 pages) that covers a lot of ground. Although biography is only one chapter, the events of James' life surface in the 3 chapters about his works. I can't comment on how well or thorough the writer is, but it did give me a good sense of what Joyce was about, what literary techniques and references he uses, and made him seem a little less obscure. Would have been good if there had been a final chapter summing up Joyce's influence on the 20th century.

85. Jane Austen, Carol Shields, part of the "Penguin Lives" series



Year Published: 2001
Type: nonfiction, literary biography
Acquired: hardcover on my shelf R from 2019
Read for Reading Through Time Author Biographies

Fairly decent and short biography. I enjoyed the way Shields weaves Austen's life through the works, although I can imagine if you have not read any of the novels, you would be missing quite a bit here. This is not a scholarly work; it relies heavily on Austen's surviving letters. Shields makes quite a few assumptions, but usually tells us when she is doing that. Overall an informative read for those who have read an Austen novel or two and would like a quick read about her life. The end of the book deals with Austen's illness. Shields wrote this book after her own cancer diagnosis, and just a couple of years before she died, and I think that struggle and sadness come through in the ending section.

98kac522
Editado: Dez 19, 2020, 2:53am

Books to end the year:

Currently reading:
DONE: North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell, audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson (re-read)
DONE: The Moorland Cottage, Elizabeth Gaskell
DONE: The Hound of Death and other Stories, Agatha Christie

For the challenges:
RandomCAT:
--Dean's December Death of the Heart, Bowen
--Two-Part Invention The Hundred Secret Senses, Tan
--My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor
--His Excellency: George Washington, Joseph Ellis

Monthly Author Reads:
DONE: Passing, Nella Larsen

BAC catchups:
--Mrs Robinson's Disgrace, Kate Summerscale (2010s)

On the TBR that I've been wanting to read in 2020--we'll see:
--The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner
--How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis
--The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather
--A Game of Hide and Seek, Elizabeth Taylor
DONE: Rachel Ray, Anthony Trollope
DONE: Anderby Wold, Winifred Holtby

Should keep me busy....

99PaulCranswick
Dez 5, 2020, 11:29pm

I hope you can make it to 100 books this year, Kathy.

It would be nice to meet up with your son and his family the next time we are back in Sheffield - they have obviously settled in nicely.

100kac522
Dez 5, 2020, 11:51pm

>99 PaulCranswick: Thanks for stopping by, Paul--even if I don't get to 100 books you've helped me get to 100 posts!

I think my son & family are doing fairly well. They would like a bit larger place, but they haven't found one in their budget. They did take advantage of traveling around the area when things were open, and I'm sure they'll resume their excursions when it's safe to do so. Also my son is working on teacher certification for secondary school (in French and German) through Sheffield Hallam, which I hope works out for him. Apparently, at age 40, he's one of the oldest students in his classes.

101johnsimpson
Dez 22, 2020, 4:16pm

102jessibud2
Dez 22, 2020, 4:31pm

Happy everything, Kathy. Here's to good health, above all, and of course, good books.

103PaulCranswick
Dez 25, 2020, 11:14am



I hope you get some of those at least, Kathy, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

104kac522
Dez 27, 2020, 3:35pm

Thank you Paul, Shelley and John; our holiday was very quiet, much like the rest of the year. Following all 3 of your threads has made this year a bit more tolerable, and a respite to visit.

105kac522
Editado: Dez 27, 2020, 3:52pm

I have 3 books that I'm trying to finish before the end of the year:
--My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
--His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis
--Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, my zillionth re-read

When I picked up Pride and Prejudice a few days ago, it was to end the year on a positive reading experience. I started to look back at my reading this year, and without intending to, I will have re-read every major Jane Austen this year, except Emma: Sanditon and Pride and Prejudice were re-reads of physical books, and Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Lady Susan and Persuasion were on audiobook.

I fell back on these favorites as my comfort reads in 2020, without any realization that I was doing so, until now. These were not my only comfort reads in 2020, but it's still somewhat of a wonder to me that I come back to Austen again and again.

106johnsimpson
Dez 27, 2020, 4:28pm

Hi Kathy my dear, i will be following your thread next year when it is up and running, sending love and hugs dear friend.

107kac522
Dez 27, 2020, 5:39pm

>106 johnsimpson: Hi John--I'm setting up my Category Challenge thread right now, while enjoying my daily London Fog. I will probably set up my 75ers thread after Jan 1, when I am officially DONE with this year. Can't come a moment too soon.

Hope you had a lovely holiday. My son & family had a traditional Italian Christmas dinner in Sheffield, since they could not travel to Milan this year. Homemade ravioli, duck, and lots of other good stuff, from what I could see in the pictures.

108johnsimpson
Dez 28, 2020, 3:14pm

>107 kac522:, Hi Kathy my dear, we had a nice day with the family with us, Amy's bump is now very pronounced and Hannah was very happy apart from the fact that they don't know what sex the baby is and don't want to know. We had a traditional Christmas lunch and the various puddings and desserts as only myself and Karen like a traditional Christmas pudding and for the second year Karen made it.

Sending love and hugs dear friend.

109johnsimpson
Dez 30, 2020, 4:30pm

Happy New Year Kathy and family.

110PaulCranswick
Jan 1, 12:15am



Kathy

As the year turns, friendship continues

111kac522
Jan 1, 3:06pm

>108 johnsimpson:, >109 johnsimpson:, >110 PaulCranswick: Thank you Yorkshire friends. I hope there will be a day when I can meet both of you on your home turf.

112kac522
Jan 1, 3:09pm

After reviewing my list of books for the year, I realized I had failed to count 5 audiobooks that I listened to (unabridged) in 2020. Although these were all re-reads, they were particularly meaningful and comforting in this very stressful year.

With these 5 audiobooks, my total reading comes to 100 books, and that is my highest reading total ever. In a day or two I will post my final reviews and start my 2021 thread.

113kac522
Editado: Jan 3, 4:18pm

December was a very good reading month. My reading, Part 1:

86. The Moorland Cottage, Elizabeth Gaskell



Year Published: 1850
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from Chicago Public Library, interlibrary loan

One of Gaskell's earliest works that is novella length. Maggie is the dutiful daughter and younger sister who is ignored by her poor widowed mother and is devoted to her selfish older brother Edward. Her chance for happiness is threatened by her brother's selfishness. Good until the two ending crises of the story, and the outcomes seemed improbable, transforming Maggie from a gentle human being into a not-so-believable martyr.

87. The Hound of Death and other stories, Agatha Christie



Year Published: 1933
Type: fiction, mystery short stories
Acquired: hardcover from Chicago Public Library

These stories, with one exception, all dealt with the "occult": haunted houses, visions, seances, voices, etc. and were ho-hum. The one exception was "The Witness for the Prosecution" which was the best story, and which led me to watch the famous movie with Greta Garbo (re-set in the 1950s, with a more dramatic ending). Also interesting was that the edition from the library is probably a first edition from 1933, only published in Great Britain, and not available for sale. So how the library got it, is unclear.

88. Passing, Nella Larsen



Year Published: 1929
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
Read for November AAC

This is a complex look at race, social class, sexuality and even marriage in the 1920s; way ahead of its time on so many levels. Larsen builds a tension in the book to the final crisis, which I found compelling--I read the book in one evening. By making all the main characters of the same "class", Larsen can focus on the issue of race. One important scene includes the 2 main female characters plus a friend, and a compare/contrast with their situations. All 3 are light-skinned enough to "pass." Irene, the main character, has married a black (dark-skinned) physician. Gertrude has married a white man who knows she is black, but doesn't care, and has known her since school days. Clare has married a white man, a virulent racist, who does not know his wife is black. It's an interesting contrast of situations. I was most surprised in this book at the look at marriage, which was a larger part of the story than I anticipated.

89. Rachel Ray, Anthony Trollope



Year Published: 1863
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
Read for my Trollope Project

This is a very sweet story about young Rachel Ray, of a small village, who falls in love with Luke Rowan, but as usual, true love does not run smooth (or we wouldn't have a Trollope novel, would we?). I found our hero and heroine less interesting than many of the people around them, especially Rachel's mother, Mrs Ray, and the brewer's wife, Mrs Tappitt. Both of these women are women who do speak truth when required, and it is the female characters that shine in this book. Mrs Tappitt's 3 daughters remind me of the Three Little Maids from School--with varying opinions on the action. There are many funny lines and scenes; probably the funniest of Trollope's novels to date for me. The setting of the country and its village and inhabitants are the true main characters of this story, and the book is as slow-paced as a small town. There are no Trollope fox hunts or horse races, but there is an election. Trollope also doesn't hide his feelings about the church, especially so-called "low church." There's also some uncomfortable anti-Semitism, but it's hard to tell where Trollope ultimately ends up in this debate. Overall a lovely read during stressful times.

90. Anderby Wold, Winifred Holtby



Year Published: 1923
Type: fiction
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
Read for my Virago Project

Holtby mixes rural farm life with issues of labor vs. master in this fictional tale set in pre-WWI Yorkshire. None of the characters are particularly endearing, including the "heroine", Mary Robson, who seems to feel uncomfortable in every setting: at home, with neighbors, with her husband. The village (and farms) are turned upside-down when a "socialist" comes to town, attempting to organize the farm laborers. Complex, not completely satisfying, but deserves a re-read to fully understand Holtby's intentions.

114kac522
Jan 3, 5:03pm

End of the year reading, Part 2:

91. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell, audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson



Year Published: 1855
Type: fiction; audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson
Acquired: Evanston Public Library
Read for: prompted to re-read after watching the movie last summer.

This is the story of Margaret Hale, born and raised in the rural south of England and London, who moves with her parents to the industrial northern town of Milton (based on Manchester), and the family's adjustment to the ways of the north. It is a love story, a story about masters and laborers, and even a look at faith. When I first read this in 2009, I wrote: Good, but I didn't always believe the "love" story. Nor that Mr. Thornton will ever really be a benevolent master. But I'll wait for the movie...

What a difference an audiobook re-read makes! This is why I love re-reads, and especially audiobook re-reads. Since I knew the story, listening to the audiobook I focused in on the dialogue, the foreshadowing, the change in characters over the book, the discussion on trade, politics and labor. When I first read this novel in 2009, I was unimpressed and didn't quite believe the transformation of the two main characters, Margaret and Mr Thornton. Now after this re-read, I can't stop thinking about the book: how Gaskell leaves so much unresolved (just like life); how imperfect humans can be, and yet so complex; and how messy the worlds of masters and laborers and trade and economics can be. I just loved this audiobook--I felt completely immersed in the story and the times. My best read all year.

92. "Major Barbara" from George Bernard Shaw's Plays, G B Shaw



Year Published: 1907
Type: drama
Acquired: paperback from my shelves
Read for: BAC

Social, political and religious commentary that sometimes was beyond me. Definitely requires a re-read.

93. My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor



Year Published: 2013
Type: memoir
Acquired: hardcover from my shelves
Read for December RandomCAT: published during the Obama years

Excellent memoir. Born a year after me, her early years (through college) were especially interesting for me. Her love for her family and community, and her hard work and drive to overcome numerous obstacles is amazing.

94. Three Act Tragedy, Agatha Christie



Year Published: 1934
Type: fiction, mystery
Acquired: paperback from Evanston Public Library
Read for December RandomCAT: Title has a number

Fun to follow this one. Poirot doesn't become prominent until the last half of the book. And I actually figured out the murderer quite early in the book (for once!), although I didn't understand how or why.

95. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen



Year Published: 1813
Type: fiction
Acquired: hardcover from my shelves

My ultimate comfort read to end 2020 and begin 2021.

And I realized that I did not record these unabridged Audiobooks that I listened to throughout the year, to round out to 100 books:

96. Audiobook January: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte (1848); read by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter
97. Audiobook March: Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen, (1811) read by Juliet Stevenson
98. Audiobook May: Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, (1814) read by Juliet Stevenson
99. Audiobook June: Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen (1817); read by Juliet Stevenson
100. Audiobook October: Persuasion, Jane Austen (1817); read by Juliet Stevenson

115kac522
Editado: Jan 3, 5:10pm

Final 2020 reading stats:

Total books read: 100
Total "Roots" read: 56
Total library books: 35
Total ebooks: 7

Total male authors: 31
Total female authors: 69

Total fiction: 73
Total non-fiction: 27

Breakdown by years published:

before 1900: 24
1900-1939: 25
1940-1999: 28
2000-2020: 23

116kac522
Editado: Jan 3, 5:34pm

Favorite reads of 2020:

Fiction(in order read)

Howards End, E. M. Forster
The Pastor's Wife, Elizabeth von Arnim
The Gate of Angels, Penelope Fitzgerald
Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens
One Fine Day, Mollie Panter-Downes
Elizabeth and her German Garden, Elizabeth von Arnim
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell; audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson
Rachel Ray, Anthony Trollope

and finally my comfort re-reads of all Jane Austen throughout the year (except Emma)

Honorable Mentions--fiction:

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
Orley Farm, Anthony Trollope
The Misses Mallett, E. H. Young
The Moorland Cottage, Elizabeth Gaskell

Best Nonfiction (in order read)

The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander, memoir
They Called Us Enemy, George Takei, graphic memoir
Lincoln Reconsidered, David Herbert Donald, essays on Abraham Lincoln
Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean, forest fire fighters in Montana, 1948
A Tale of Beatrix Potter, Margaret Lane, biography
The Wright Brothers, David McCullough, biography
The Education of a British-Protected Child, Chinua Achebe, essays

Honorable Mentions--Nonfiction:
My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor, memoir
Bach: Essays on His Life and Music, Christoph Wolff, essays
Hiroshima, John Hersey, journalism
Fighting France, Edith Wharton, memoir
The Johnstown Flood, David McCullough, history

117thornton37814
Jan 3, 6:15pm

Congrats on 100!

118kac522
Jan 3, 7:31pm

>117 thornton37814: Thanks! A lot of time on my hands this year.

119johnsimpson
Jan 4, 4:13pm

Hi Kathy, congrats on hitting 100 books read in 2020 dear friend.

120kac522
Jan 4, 4:15pm

>119 johnsimpson: Yes, I had totally missed recording some of the audiobooks. Most were re-reads, but a book is a book, right?

121kac522
Editado: Mar 16, 5:23pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

122Lisa1812
Mar 18, 6:14am

This user has been removed as spam.