lkernagh (Lori's) Book-ish Journey through 2020 - 3rd Thread

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

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lkernagh (Lori's) Book-ish Journey through 2020 - 3rd Thread

Set 5, 2020, 5:59pm

lkernagh (Lori's) Book-ish Journey through 2020 - 3rd thread

Sweet September. One of my favorite months as we transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer into the cooler (and for me, more productive) days of fall. Even though it has been decades since I was last in a classroom, I still get the urge at this time of year to go shopping for school supplies. Nothing makes me happier than new writing supplies and information organizers. With this in mind, I decided to start off my third - and most likely last - thread for 2020, with a picture of a local school I sometimes walk by. The building originally started out as an eight-room school back around 1909, and was expanded in 1913 with two new wings and an addition (probably including the white cupola at that time). If you look closely at the picture, you will see "Girls" in stonework near the top of the north wing. The south wing (not pictured) has "Boys" in stonework. Not sure when they stopped segregating the classrooms by gender, but given the stonework, it is a strong indication that this was very much the thing back in 1914 when the additions were built. With the heritage designation applied in 1990, these words will remain on the building, and will continue to peak my interest every time I walk by.

Hello everyone, I am back! For those who don't know me, I am Lori, a walking/kayaking/cycling enthusiast, bookworm, foodie 'gal' (age is a state of mind) who has happily called Vancouver Island home for the past 28 years. When I am not working or reading, my winter months are usually occupied with a craft project of some kind, while my spring and summer months are when I engage in my on-going attempts at container gardening.

2020 will be my eighth year as part of the 75 group. Given that I completely bailed on my reading plans half-way through 2019, I am not making any special reading plans or challenges. Going to take 2020 one (or two) books at a time and just see where my reading tastes take me. Having completed my virtual walking challenge back in February, I am taking things easy. Still walking, just not tracking it. With the whole pandemic thing, I have added a Shakespeare Side Challenge for 2020.

Posters and lurkers welcome!

Editado: Set 5, 2020, 6:10pm

Books Read:

1. Her Revolution by Gemma Jackson -
2. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers -
3. The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell -
4. The Unseen Bridegroom by May Agnes Fleming -
5. Still Life With Murder by P.B. Ryan -
6. A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi -

7. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers -
8. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel -
9. Father Briar and the Angel by Rita Saladano -
10. What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris -
11. The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan -

12. The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore -
13. Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman -
14. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray -
15. When Gods Die by C. S. Harris -

Set 5, 2020, 6:01pm

Books Read:

16. Threads: A Depression Era Tale by Charlotte Whitney -
17. Why Mermaids Sing by C.S. Harris -
18. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers -
19. Rainwater by Sandra Brown -
20. Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris -
21. The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick -
22. What Remains of Heaven by C.S. Harris -
23. Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris -
24. When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris -
25. Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson -
26. Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers -

27. What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris -
28. Fathers of Edenville by Corrine Ardoin -
29. Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris -
30. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers -

31. Who Buries the Dead by C.S. Harris -
32. When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris -
33. Where is My Mind? by Shirley Benton -
34. The Ghost in the House by Sara O'Leary -
35. Where the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris -
36. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers -
37. A Letter from Munich by Meg Lelvis -
38. Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen -

Editado: Out 1, 2020, 4:21pm

Books Read:

39. Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris -
40. Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers -
41. Bad Axe County by John Galligan -
42. Lifeline to Marionette by Jennifer Waitte -
43. Minding Miss Manners: In an Era of Fake Etiquette by Judith Martin -
44. Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers -

45. Crossings by Alex Landragin -
46. His & Hers by Alice Feeney -
47. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino -
48. Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers -

49. You by Joanna Briscoe -
50. Dead Man Dancing by John Galligan -
51. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco -
52. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers -
53. Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore -

Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 11:47am

Books Read:

54. The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu -
55. Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster - (review)
56. Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers - (review)

57. Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne by Linda Lappin - (review)
58. The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina -

59. A Red Door by Kathryn Jarvis -
60. Nowhere Near Goodbye by Barbara Conrey -
61. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers -
62. A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget, published under the pseudonym Vernon Lee -
63. The Willow Princess by Jeremy Neeley -
64. Nina Balatka by Anthony Trollope -
65. Queen Quail is Quiet: and other ABC Tongue Twisters by Erika Barriga -
66. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf -
67. King Leary by Paul Quarrington -

Editado: Set 26, 2020, 6:29pm

Shakespearean Play - 2020 Side Challenge: Inspired by all the plays being made available online for viewing (due to the pandemic) I have given myself a mini challenge to try and watch, in 2020, a production of every one of Shakespeare's plays. if I am unable to track down a production of a play, I reserve the option to read the play. Fingers crossed, at the end of 2020 I will be able to say I have experienced every one of Shakespeare's plays!

All's Well That Ends Well
As You Like It
Comedy of Errors
Love's Labour's Lost
Measure for Measure
Merchant of Venice
Merry Wives of Windsor
Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado about Nothing
Taming of the Shrew
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Winter's Tale

HISTORIES: - In Progress
Henry IV, Part I
Henry IV, Part II
Henry V
Henry VI, Part I
Henry VI, Part II
Henry VI, Part III
Henry VIII
King John
Richard II
Richard III

TRAGEDIES: - In Progress
Antony and Cleopatra
Julius Caesar
King Lear
Romeo and Juliet
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida

Set 5, 2020, 6:03pm

Thanks for stopping by. This 3rd thread for 2020 is now open for business. Come on in!

Editado: Set 5, 2020, 6:14pm

Shakespeare Side-Challenge - Update:

All's Well That Ends Well - Shakespeare's Globe, 2013 production ( - A fun romp in the traditional Globe Theatre style with lots of great audience engagement. Please note that this one is broken into three parts... the other two parts can be accessed through the hyplinks on the left of the viewing pane.

Twelfth Night - Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival, 2019 production ( ) - My first viewing of an outdoor production! So exciting! Now, I must admit that I always enjoy this play - such a fun romp and always enjoy the witty wordplay! - and I give kudos to the Festival for a wonderful stage/scenery, well acted play and really decent sound/video quality.

Julius Caesar - Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival, 2016 production ( ) - Another wonderful stage/scenery setup, well acted (Kudos to the actor playing Mark Antony - excellent speech before the citizens of Rome scene). Note: in some parts, the audio/video is slightly out of sync.

... Yes, I know. I don't seem to be making much progress with the Histories (only one viewed so far). The histories strike me as more fall/winter viewing so I will probably binge watch my way through the histories later in the year (unless I stumble across one that strikes my fancy before then).

Editado: Set 5, 2020, 6:16pm

Currently Reading:
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Eco Umberto - narrated by George Guidall - Why this? Well.... because it fits more than one option in Alphabet Challenge. Was I pensive about starting this one? Yes, given that I have attempted, three times - and failed each time - to read The Name of the Rose, which pretty much made me leery about approaching any Umberto Eco books. So far, I am pleasantly surprised how much I am enjoying this one!
Dead Man Dancing by John Galligan - Book two in Galligan's Bad Axe County series, I am happily ensconced in the dark and disturbing world that Sheriff Heidi Kick maintains law and order over.
The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers - This will be a year-long read. September read is Hangman's Holiday, a short story collection, but I think I will continue to read my omnibus edition in order so I plan to read Murder Must Advertise first.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Set 5, 2020, 6:05pm

Touchstones appear to be acting "fussy" at the moment, so I will come back later to tidy things up.

Set 5, 2020, 6:29pm

Happy new one!

Set 5, 2020, 6:57pm

Happy new thread Lori! You're doing great with the Shakespeare challenge!

Set 5, 2020, 8:50pm

happy new thread!

Set 5, 2020, 9:23pm

I'm early enough to wish you a happy new thread! :D

Set 5, 2020, 10:25pm

Happy new one Lori.

I agree with you about September. Selfishly because of my birthday but also the cooler winds of autumn.

Set 6, 2020, 2:09am

Happy new thread, Lori. I've been having a hard time keeping up with the threads this year but have finally caught up with you.

Editado: Set 6, 2020, 8:59am

Hi Lori. Interesting topper. Which school is that? At first I thought it was Vic High, but my husband (who went there) says not.

We just harvested as much as we could from the garden this last 2 days. We had lovely flowers on our new rose bush, but an Alberta clipper is due by Sunday night (rain, very strong winds, plunging temperatures and freezing conditions by Monday). A violent drop off the weather-precipice, for sure.

September blooms ~

Set 6, 2020, 9:39am

Happy new thread, Lori!

I find that I miss your descriptions of places, buildings, and history from your walking tour to Disneyland, and am glad to see a fascinating building with interesting history as your topper. I particularly like the bit about Girls and Boys, and how that magnificent edifice grew out of an 8-room school.

Set 6, 2020, 12:59pm

Happy new thread, Lori. I love the school! I live across the street from a big brick building that used to be a school.

Set 6, 2020, 3:54pm

Happy new thread!

Set 6, 2020, 4:11pm

Happy new thread, Lori!

Set 6, 2020, 5:47pm

>11 figsfromthistle: - Thanks, Anita!

>12 mstrust: - Hi Jennifer, my Shakespeare progress just looks impressive... not much work involved in watching productions. ;-) I am learning more about the various Shakespeare Festivals, so that is a bonus.

>13 banjo123: - Thanks, Rhonda!

>14 Ape: - Yes, you are and thanks, Stephen!

>15 PaulCranswick: - Thanks, Paul. I do like your reasons for loving September.... who doesn't love their birth month? ;-)

>16 Familyhistorian: - Thanks, Meg! I have given up trying to keep up with threads, so very happy to see you have made it over to my new one and caught up.

>17 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, it is a picture of Lamspon Street School in Esquimalt. Victoria High School is another lovely local historical building that was also built in 1914 (there seems to have been quite the school building boom going on back then!). Vic High is currently undergoing major renovations, which include seismic upgrades. Because of covid, the school district had to ditch their plans for in person final tours of the old building, but the good news is they have create a virtual tour which means they will now reach a larger audience to see the old school. Your hubby can enjoy a trip down memory lane!

Good job on getting in your harvest from the garden. I chatted with my dad this morning (he is in Alberta) and he mentioned that by 8 am the daily high had already been reached (and was just trending downwards from that point)! Apparently, that storm is large enough that the south island now has wind warnings for tomorrow. Stay safe! Best to just hunker down indoors with a good book. ;-)

Lovely blooms! I am a sucker for yellows, peaches and lavender coloured flowers.

>18 karenmarie: - Thanks, Karen! Happy to see you enjoyed the information. I find the history behind some of the buildings to be just as fascinating as the buildings themselves. You know, I kind of miss putting together those little "points of interest" posts. You have got me thinking about possibly adding to my posts with some local "virtual tour guide" content, focusing on historical buildings. Could be fun! Let me ponder...

>19 BLBera: - Thanks, Beth! Red brick does seem to be the material used to build schools, doesn't it? The three schools - elementary, junior and high - that I attended were all red brick but modern, devoid of all the wonderful "presence" an older school has.

>20 drneutron: - Thanks, Jim!

>21 FAMeulstee: - Thanks, Anita!


So, bit of sad news this long weekend. I have learned that one my aunts has passed. Now, she has had health issues for a number of years and apparently has spent a fair bit of time in hospital over the past 6 months, with a lot of 24-hour care. This particular arm of the family has always kept very closed about my aunt's health and health issues over the years, so the news came as a bit of a surprise. She will be missed. Due to covid, funeral (in the US) will be immediate family only. She was predeceased by her two sisters (my mom in 2016 and their younger sister in 2009) so I take comfort in the fact that the three sisters are now together once again, probably laughing and chatting over cups of tea - just like they used to do - and smiling down on everyone.

Set 6, 2020, 6:10pm

>22 lkernagh: Sending comfort re the passing of your aunt. A sad event, even if you weren't in the part of the country or visited much.

Thanks for the virtual tour link. I copied the link and e-mailed the hubby!
Lampson St! I went for math tutoring by a teacher there (coached us in the basement of his house nearby. I used to live on Esquimalt Rd). I forget his name now, but he was the only reason I passed first year Maths at UVic!

Set 7, 2020, 8:55am

I'm so sorry you've lost your aunt. Best wishes to you and your family.

Set 7, 2020, 8:37pm

>22 lkernagh: That's very sad news indeed, Lori. The older generation always seems to refer to *real* older people. Then I look in a mirror....

Set 8, 2020, 12:42pm

>23 SandyAMcPherson:, >24 mstrust: and >25 richardderus: - Thank you Sandy, Jennifer and Richard for the condolences. This pandemic does make it hard to connect with loved ones and collectively grieve.

>23 SandyAMcPherson: - So happy that the school has triggered that memory for you!

>25 richardderus: - Yes, we are all ageing.


Woke up this morning to a red sunrise and a strong smell of wood smoke. The high winds we experienced yesterday have brought the smoke and particle haze from the Washington State wildfires to our area. The wood smoke was so strong that I actually woke up with the taste in my mouth. The Air Quality Health Index is currently registering 10+ (it only goes up to 10, so that gives an idea of how poor the air quality is at the moment). Suffice to say, all windows are shut and I probably won't be venturing out for my usual lunch time walk for exercise and fresh air.

Set 8, 2020, 4:03pm

Sorry to hear you've got wildfire smoke. Hopefully it blows over soon!

This summer was blissfully smoke free for us. The last couple years we've had multiple doses of it from wildfires in the Rockies. Of course, I may not be completely wildfire smoke free this year. We're going to the mountains next week and there was a recent wildfire near Canmore so it'll depend on how well they do at fire control this week.

Set 8, 2020, 8:11pm

Happy new thread Lori. We have been blasted with the smoke too!

Set 8, 2020, 9:52pm

Sorry for your loss, Lori. That's a lovely thought that the three sisters are reunited sharing stories over a cup of tea.

I hope the wildfire smoke clears up soon for you, too.

Finally, happy new thread! Your Shakespeare challenge sounds like a lot of fun - it's one of my lifetime reading goals to read all of his plays, but I confess I haven't made much progress in this over the past several years.

Set 8, 2020, 10:10pm

>27 MickyFine: - Hi Micky! The smoke haze has more or less cleared (which is good). I did read about a wildfire north of Banff so I have my fingers crossed that your trip into the mountains will be wildfire and smoke haze free.

>28 mdoris: - Thanks, Mary and I hope the smoke is subsiding in your area!

>29 bell7: - Thank you for the condolences and the new thread wishes. I don't think I could motivate myself to 'read' every one of Shakespeare's plays - I never did very well when we had to read plays back in school - but watching various productions is a more relaxing way for me to immerse myself in Shakespeare's works. :-)


Good news is the current Air Quality Health Index is now 4, a huge improvement from the 10+ recorded this morning! I can now see blue sky if I look straight up but there is still quite the brownish/grayish haze over to the east. I feel for everyone closer to these wildfires or experiencing the smoke and haze due to weather currents.

Set 9, 2020, 4:43pm

Hi Lori. I'm sorry to read about the last of the three sisters passing.

Editado: Set 10, 2020, 5:29pm

Hi, Lori - Condolences on the loss of your aunt.

Glad the air quality is better now, but the horrible wild fires burning all along the west coast are scary and heartbreaking. I lived in SoCal for over 40 years and experienced a few fires firsthand. They were bad then, but they've gotten worse.

Edited to fix typo

Editado: Set 11, 2020, 11:19pm

>31 karenmarie: and >32 Storeetllr: - Thank you Karen and Mary for the condolences. Given my aunt's long-term health issues, the pandemic, and now the disastrous wildfires in the US (she lived in California), I think she is in a much better place right now.

>32 Storeetllr: - Sadly, the air quality has deteriorated again. Those fires are so large, I not surprised the smoke haze is back. Just means I am back to hunkering down indoors.


The improvement in air quality I reported back on Tuesday was short lived. We are now back in the hazy smoke. Air Quality Health Index has been back at 10+ for the day (currently 208 on the Air Pollution in North America: Real time Air Quality Index Map) and is not expected to improve before Monday. Air quality is so bad, I can hear the fog horns out in the strait, as if this was a fog bank and not a smoky haze. I feel for my American neighbours east and south... they are going through so much devastation with these wildfires, it is heartbreaking. Suffice to say, my brain is not up for any reading (cannot concentrate) so it looks like play watching this evening and probably through the weekend.

Set 12, 2020, 12:42pm

The smoke has drifted here to Phoenix. We've had overcast skies that are smoke instead of clouds. Yesterday was gray but the sun was bright orange. Looked rather sci-fi.

Editado: Set 12, 2020, 8:17pm

>34 mstrust: - Hi Jennifer - That smoke haze is drifting far and wide with the weather currents. I agree, it does make for some pretty "cool" imagery. I had a good laugh yesterday while out running errands during my lunch break. Cashier and I joked about how the masks are now doing double duty - covid and smoke haze. Mask wearing isn't mandatory here on the island, just in stores that have made it their policy, so kind of fun to see people who would not wear masks for covid, wearing masks for smoke haze. Yes, I live for irony.

Nothing earth-shattering to report. Smoke haze continues and, like with everything else in 2020, we are adjusting to even this hopefully temporary situation. Thanks to a comment >18 karenmarie: made about missing my walking tour posts, and given that I am spending more time indoors at the moment, I thought it would be kind of fun to, over the remainder of 2020, share with everyone some of my favorite local buildings. If you enjoy this post, you have Karen to thank for the nudge. If not, the posts will be easily identifiable for ignoring. Now for the first post!

Editado: Set 12, 2020, 9:38pm

Lori's "Guided Building Tour" - Victoria edition:

Victoria Conservatory of Music, as posted to Wikimedia Commons by Michal Klajban (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Have to rely on web-sourced photos (not my own) as the smoke haze at the moment is not the best for photo-taking (even if it would create a wonderful sepia effect).

Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite buildings. Located downtown, it was originally built as a church sanctuary (for the Metropolitan Methodist Church) in 1890 by local architect Thomas Hooper. Hooper was commissioned by the community to come up with what would be, at that time,the most modern and up-to-date of architectural designs. To accomplish this, the community sent him back east, where he discovered the new Romanesque Revival Style was the "in" thing.

The building facade and interior incorporate both "Richardsonian Romanesque" (named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson) and Scottish Baronial Revival influences. As you can see from this City of Victoria Archives photograph taken circa 1892 from the top of St. Andrew's Cathedral (a building I may include in a future building tour post), the newly built structure really stood out as an impressive focal point in the community:

image source: City of Victoria Archives, photograph taken by Robert Taylor Williams (1849-1934)

Today this building is owned by/home to the Victoria Conservatory of Music, a non-profit organization founded in 1964 that welcomes students of all ages and musical abilities, teaches all musical genres and is home to the Alix Goolden Performance Hall (named in honour of one of the Conservatory's original founders).

If you are interested, there are some amazing historical photos of the Metropolitan Methodist Church and its history that can be viewed at this Flickr album site.

Set 12, 2020, 9:11pm

>36 lkernagh: Fun pictures!

Hopefully we will get some rain in the Pacific Northwest soon, and we can all breathe more easily.

Set 12, 2020, 9:26pm

I always adored this church (on the corner of Pandora and Quadra streets). Attended musical presentations when it was still holding services and later, informational meetings on a variety of topics in the basement 'hall' back in the early '70's.

The rose window (see the circular window on the front) is one of its most famous features. Worth a visit if anyone is in Victoria someday.

Set 13, 2020, 12:49pm

>37 banjo123: - Hi Rhonda, happy to see you enjoyed the pictures! I love looking at old photos.... they really help put current life into perspective when we can see how things were "back when". I hear you and join you in hoping for rain. Stay safe!

>38 SandyAMcPherson: - Nice to see another fan of the building, Sandy! I have never set foot inside, but given the pictures I have seen of the rose window, it is a very impressive work of stain glass. Also, thanks for catching the location. Why I had listed it as being on Johnson street (post now edited), I just don't know. ;-)


September is proving to be the "sad news" month for me. Learned this morning that one of my uncles has passed away in his sleep. He was 92, and is now reunited with his wife (my dad's sister) who passed away in 2012. Immediate and local (Saskatchewan) family only for the funeral. Two deaths in two weeks is quite enough for 2020, IMO. Oh, and the smoke haze has not improved (current reading is 197). I don't think there will be any improvement until the wildfires in the US west coast regions are contained. Three days of heavy rain (no lightning) would be lovely right about now!

Suffice to say, I have been distracting myself with play watching.

Set 13, 2020, 12:49pm

Shakespeare Side-Challenge - Update:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Hofstra University, 69th annual Hofstra Shakespeare Festival, 2018 production ( - Another wonderful production! A traditional production. Great stage setup, LOVE the costumes, the added sound effects and the wonderful presentation of Shakespeare's word play and witticism (with extra fun of deliberate fumbles, exaggerated movements and perceived stage misdirections). the actor playing Sylvia has perfected the 'gliding walk', making it look like she is on wheels. Great nod to sisterhood during the 'Julia in disguise' reveal. As for the actor playing Valentine, first rate performance! Such wonderful facial reactions! Love the cheeky ending.

Richard III - Hofstra University, 70th annual Hofstra Shakespeare Festival, 2019 production ( - Again, a traditional production. I don't know much about the various histories, so Note to Self: Read the other history play synopses prior to watching them. Comments: Why is Richard portrayed as a hunchback (was he? I don't recall that). What is up with the one gloved hand routine (a la Micheal Jackson)? Wow, was Lord Buckingham really that conniving (probably shouldn't ask, given the portrayal in the Three Musketeers - or was that a different Lord Buckingham? More historical confusion for me). So many questions after watching this one! Kudos to the actor playing Richard III - an amazing actor with stamina to remain in character for near on 3 hours, portraying a physically crocked and limping individual.

Titus Andronicus - The Lawrenceville School, 17th Annual II Form Shakespeare Production, 2019 production ( - Emotional. Powerful. Dramatic. Excellent production put on by high school students (yes, you read correctly... a high school production!) of what is considered to be the Bard's bloodiest of plays. I love that Marcus and Titus are played as sisters in this production. Also, excellent use of minimal stage props and lighting. Really well done!

Set 13, 2020, 2:36pm

>36 lkernagh: What a gorgeous building! And, while walking outside is verboten, what a great way to "get outside" virtually. *smooch*

Editado: Set 13, 2020, 5:41pm

Happy newish thread, Lori. I look forward to seeing which of your current reads turns out to be your 50th book. Here in southern Missouri we aren’t getting the smoke smell or poor air quality from the wildfires, but there have been some magnificent sunsets.

Condolences on losing your aunt. What a comforting thought about drinking tea at the sister reunion. ❤️

Set 13, 2020, 6:03pm

Oh, no! First your aunt, now your uncle. I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

Set 14, 2020, 1:58pm

Sorry for the loss of your aunt, Lori. Take care. I hope the smoke clears up soon.

Set 14, 2020, 2:01pm

Hi Lori. I am so enjoying your Shakespeare side-challenge and may well borrow it for my first retirement year. I have Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare, purchased when we were still geographically close enough for regular summer excursions to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and it would be a fun companion to watching available filmed productions.

I am sorry to hear about the losses in your family. And I hope the smoke clears soon. We have it too. I was really pulling for that light rain that was "predicted" for Oregon today but the forecast has changed. Sigh.

Editado: Set 14, 2020, 2:03pm

Hi Lori, I hope your smoky atmosphere is blowing away. So sorry to hear of the loss of your uncle.

I am just *so* done with the smoky west coast situation - family is really suffering and there was a local fire near where my daughter lives in New West that added toxic smoke to the forest fire particulates.

Jeez, will 2020 ever stop loading on the calamities? (Not expecting an answer...)

Set 14, 2020, 3:47pm

Adding my condolences for the loss of your uncle. Yes, two in a short time!
Richard III is maybe my favorite of Shakespeare's plays but I've never gotten to see it performed live, only read it and saw the Ian McKellan movie. Yes, Shakespeare is pretty much responsible for the myth of Richard being an evil hunchback who killed the little princes. It may have been meant as just a character but it stuck. Up until maybe 20 years ago, I think nearly every production of this play had the actor using a hunch. It's only very recently that evidence to the contrary has been widely accepted.

Set 16, 2020, 2:28pm

Hi Lori!

>36 lkernagh: I’m excited to see the first in Lori's "Guided Building Tour" - Victoria edition:. I read with fascination, and went to the Flickr link to look at many of the photos there. Thank you!

>39 lkernagh: I’m very sorry to read about your uncle’s passing. My condolences to you and your family.

Set 19, 2020, 10:26am

Happy New Thread, Lori.
I wish you a wonderful weekend and hope you are doing well despite everything.

Set 19, 2020, 10:54am

Happy New Thread, Lori.

Condolences on the passing of your uncle.

I hope the smoke haze isn't too bad, and you're enjoying the weekend.

Set 20, 2020, 5:51pm

>41 richardderus: - Hi RD! Happy to see you approve of the design! I am not a big fan of boring buildings. I think architecture should be bold, expressive and make a statement (kind of like fashion).

>42 Donna828: - Hi Donna. My reading has pretty much taking a back seat because of the smoke (and heat, which I will get into in my general post to the group), but I am hoping to make some progress in the coming days. Many thanks for your kind words.

>43 Storeetllr: - Hi Mary, many thanks for your condolences. Just a weird double whammy, that would have most likely happened even without the pandemic, so I do take some comfort in the thought that normal still happens, even if it is sad.

>44 BLBera: - Thanks Beth. I am coping well and the smoke has finally cleared, so I am looking forward to fall. Gotta keep going with the positives!

>45 EBT1002: - Hi Ellen! I am having such fun with my Shakespeare side challenge, happy to see the interest! Your Shakespeare resource would be handy for the side challenge (I am starting to rely on summaries available on the web, but it would be nice to bookmark sections). I hope you and P are keeping well. Fingers crossed we are now finished for wildfires (or at least these really big ones!) for 2020. I think we could all use some time to just sit back and breathe.

>46 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, the good news is the weather has finally shifted. That pier fire in New West was a shock to watch on the news. Seriously, between the arsonist that started that fire (at least they have arrested someone!) and the one(s) that have vandalized the Sea to Sky Gondola again, I really want to know what is going on in this world we live in.

>47 mstrust: - Thanks Jennifer. Good news is Dad did not have further bad/sad news to report this weekend so fingers crossed the family is finished with sad news for 2020. Oh, very interesting about Richard III and Shakespeare. That makes sense... pretty easy to perpetuate a myth, especially if it has been the norm for previous productions.

>48 karenmarie: - Hi Karen, so happy to see you are already enjoying my virtual buildings tour! I am having fun with this as it makes me play tourist in my own backyard. Thank you for the kind works. Fingers crossed we have reached our limit for bad news this year, but always hard to gauge when age is a factor.

>49 SirThomas: - Hi Thomas, many thanks for stopping by and for your message! Yes, things are improving and well, with life, one must just carry one and accept that things are out of our control. This kind of thinking helps keep me sane in 2020. ;-)

>50 jnwelch: - Thanks Joe on your kind message. Smoke has cleared, so big YAY for that!

Happy Sunday everyone. It has been quite the week. The smoke haze hung around (no wind to push it anywhere) until Thursday evening/Friday morning. As with typical household disasters (furnace breaking down during a cold snap, roof leaks discovered during a monsoon downpour, etc) we discover during the height of the poor air quality that the thermostat for our radiant hot water heat system (not the wall control, but the thermostat in the system) was on the fritz and stuck in the "on" position. Nothing like having heat stuck while extreme unhealthy air quality ratings are happening outside. It took two days to get a repair technician on site to fix, so a couple of uncomfortable days and nights, which lead to smoke haze/sleep deprivation brain fog. Suffice to say, all my energy was put towards doing my job so reading has taken a back burner. Thankfully, after 8 days the smoke haze cleared Thursday evening/Friday morning. This weekend has been spent washing bedding, clothes and curtains (anything that smells of the smoke), so this afternoon I can finally relax and take things easy.

While I have not been reading, I do have another virtual building tour for everyone interested. Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!

Set 20, 2020, 5:53pm

Lori's "Guided Building Tour" - Victoria edition:

Some visitors to this thread will immediately recognize this week's building: Craigdarroch Castle


I was in the neighbourhood this weekend so I stopped by and took the above pictures (yes, the smoke haze is gone, just the usual overcast fall skies now).

A registered National Historic Site of Canada, this family residence was built for the 19th century British Columbian industrialist Robert Dunsmuir and his wife Joan. Robert, considered to be the wealthiest British Columbian during his time, made his fortune through coal mining, railways, shipping, lumbering and iron works. Like other 19th century industrialists, Robert asserted his social position through conspicuous displays of wealth (hence, the house). Why just build a big house/mansion when you can build a castle? Granted, this is not on the grand scale of most European castles, but still impressive for a private family residence, even by today's standards, and who doesn't want to have a turret, especially one with such an amazing view.

The house, both exterior and interior, is impressive and features exquisite detailing in stone (granite from British Columbia), stained glass, wrought iron and fine woods, including a very impressive oak staircase that was prefabricated in Chicago. I LOVE stained glass - I am so impressed with the skilled artisan work that goes into producing stained glass "anything" - but windows, with the light shining through, just takes my breath away. You cannot see by my pictures above, but a good number of the windows contain stained glass. Here are some close-up shots, courtesy of the internet:

First two images posted to wikimedia commons by Christopher Sibley (CC BY 2.0), Third image posted to wilkimedia commons by Steven Pavlov (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The initial architect for the castle was Warren Heywood Williams, an American architect who spend the majority of his career working in Oregon. Williams passed away before completion so his associate Arthur L. Smith completed the job. Sadly, Robert never got the chance to live in his castle. He passed away 17 months before the building was completed in 1890. It is said that the only family members to live in the residence was Joan and three of her adult daughters. Upon Joan's death in 1908, the estate (the house and its 28 acres of formal gardens) was sold to a land speculator for a mind-boggling $38,000 (mind-boggling as there are estimates that it cost $500,000 to build - a fortune by 1880s standards). Through failed speculations, ownership passed in 1919 to the bank. Over the years, the building has served as: a military hospital (1919-1921), the University of Victoria's predecessor Victoria College (1921-1946), the Victoria School Board Office (1946-1968), the Victoria Conservatory of Music (1969-1979) - Yes, the same conservatory in last week's building post - and since 1979, has been the Craigdarroch Castle museum.

The original gate posts to the entrance of what was the Dunsmuir estate still exist, now as the entrance to the neighbourhood:


For those interested, this 8 minute YouTube video gives you a visual tour of the castle and its interior (all set to some nice classical music). The museum society puts on an amazing Victorian style Christmas in December, with carolers in period costume, etc but that probably won't be happening this year, because.... you know. *sigh*

If you are like me and enjoy reading family saga histories, I can highly recommend Terry Reksten's The Dunsmuir Saga where she brings to life three generations of the Dunsmuir family: Robert building his fortune, his sons failure to keep the family fortune whole and the grand kids who squandered it. Rags to riches and back to rags in three generations. Excellent reading!

Set 21, 2020, 12:12pm

What an ordeal with your thermostat and then everything in the house smelling of smoke! Uncomfortable and so much work! I'm glad it's finally fixed and you have clean bedding and curtains that don't smell.
>52 lkernagh: Beautiful! I agree with you about stained glass. It takes such skill and the effect with the sun coming through is so amazing.

Set 22, 2020, 9:51pm

>53 mstrust: - Thermostats going seems to be one of those things that you just cannot plan for. At least we know that will not need to be dealt with again anytime soon, that is a positive.

Editado: Set 24, 2020, 12:04pm

Book #50 - Dead Man Dancing by John Galligan
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT "M" - Men; MysteryKIT - "Series"
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: Other
Source: Netgalley
Format: ebook
Original publication date: August 11, 2020
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 269 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"It’s a time for celebration in Bad Axe County as the town gathers for the annual Syttende Mai—or Norwegian Independence Day—festival. During this rollicking family-oriented event filled with dancing and food, Sheriff Heidi Kick discovers a dark and shocking event—a migrant worker has been savagely beaten but refuses to explain what happened. Then, a sudden murder of a band member shatters the festival. Something is deeply wrong in Bad Axe County.

As she looks for answers, Heidi plunges into a secret underworld where high-stakes cage fights double as combat training for the White Nationalist movement. Then all hell breaks loose for Heidi when her husband disappears and a secret he’s been keeping from Heidi is revealed."
A great sequel for what I hope will be a long-running series! Galligan skillfully provides readers with another well-paced suspense-filled story, this time tackling hot topics of racism, white supremacists, illegal fight clubs, gender identity and the always intriguing mystery of family secrets. Galligan's Bad Axe world is a gritty one. A world where some residents find it easier to not acknowledge the evil that lurks within the community. With Heidi, we get a heroine who does not turn a blind eye, does not back down and is determined to fight against insurmountable odds. Yes, she lets her heart drive her decisions to act, even if it means sometimes deciding to operate outside of her job's mandate as county sheriff. As with the first book in the series, Galligan brings us real complex characters, some facing internal struggles but each comes to the story with their own flaws, biases and problems.

This gritty, crime novel is not for the faint of heart. It is a story about a community with a heart where some disturbing, deep-seated tensions and prejudices are found simmering below the surface. I should note that there are some disturbing scenes that may trigger some readers. As the saying goes, "Forewarned is forearmed."

I received an unedited proof copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Editado: Set 24, 2020, 12:04pm

Book #51 - The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco - Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock; audiobook narrated by George Guidall
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT "M" - Mysterious; "E" - Eco
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: Author "U" - Umberto
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 2004
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 375 pages / 14 hours, 54 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"Yambo, a sixtyish rare-book dealer who lives in Milan, has suffered a loss of memory-he can remember the plot of every book he has ever read, every line of poetry, but he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, and remembers nothing about his parents or his childhood. In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws to the family home somewhere in the hills between Milan and Turin. There, in the sprawling attic, he searches through boxes of old newspapers,comics, records, photo albums, and adolescent diaries. And so Yambo relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and the life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to capture one simple, innocent image: that of his first love."
I approached this one with some trepidation. My struggles with The Name of the Rose had me a little worried I would struggle with this one, too. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a story that started out sharp and witty with accessible prose. Sadly, I found the story gets bogged down in the middle as Yambo is fixated on retrieving his childhood memories of growing up in Fascist Italy. For me, the best part of this story is the first part where we get to experience with Yambo everything from learning once again what tea is ("drink it slowly, don't gulp it") and other common place experiences that are suddenly new due to Yambo's episodic memory loss. Also, in the first part is some wonderful witticism and word play dialogue between Yambo and his wife (who is a psychologist - or psychiatrist - and seems grounded in helping Yambo deal with his memory loss). The extensive references to popular culture, and comic books in particular, reminded me a lot of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a book I appreciated for its literary merits but failed to be "wowed" by it as a reader. Same experience with this book: I can appreciate Eco's skill as a writer and a storyteller, but by the end I was quite happy to be finished and move on to something else. I think my lack of enjoyment is in part due to the abundant use of intertextuality (yes, I had to look this up), turning the story into more than just a story when all I want to do is read a story, if that makes any sense.

Overall, I have not completely given up on Eco - I did finish this one, so that is something! - so at some point I will either re-attempt The Name of the Rose or tackle something different of his, but not right away.

Editado: Set 22, 2020, 10:59pm

>55 lkernagh: Brave you, Lori. Gritty crime novel and all.
I quit asking for books on NetGallery for the time being. I am in that "faint of heart" population. I think I'm somewhat like that anyhow and Mr. Virus ramped up the octane rating!

Set 23, 2020, 1:05pm

>57 SandyAMcPherson: - I totally understand taking a break from requesting books on NetGalley, especially give where we are at right now with pandemic, politics, etc. I look at NetGalley offerings only after I have finished the NetGalley books I have, so I am sure I miss some goodies, but that is okay. I have a Kobo full of ebooks and the library system to keep me in reading happiness for years and years to come. ;-)

Set 23, 2020, 2:14pm

Hi Lori! Some good reading, at least to me...I liked The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana a bit more than you did, finding the Fascist Italy parts much more interesting (and not a little scary!) than you seem to have done.

Happy reading weekend to come!

Set 25, 2020, 6:05pm

Hello, the smoke was so horrible here, dealing with thermostat issues at the same time would be horrid. It's nice to have the air back to normal, isn't it?

Set 26, 2020, 6:27pm

>59 richardderus: - Hi Richard, I came away from Queen Loana with a new appreciation for Umberto Eco's writing, so that it a very positive. Who know, I will probably revisit Queen Loana at some point and may fully appreciate it on a second reading. ;-)

>60 banjo123: - Hi Rhonda, I agree! It is so lovely to have the smoke gone and back to fresh, clean air! The thermostat was just one of those bad timing events we had no control over so we just did what we could for the short time that it was very inconvenient. ;-)


Happy weekend everyone! This past week has been filled with rainy and overcast days, which has freshened things up considerably (and has done wonders for the earlier drought-like conditions). I am taking things easy this weekend, with books and plays lined up and not much else. No new book reviews yet, and I don't have a new building tour post prepared. did not feel like venturing out between rain storms to take pictures and I am still deciding what my building post will focus on. In the meantime, I can at least provide everyone with my Shakespeare plays and reading updates.

Set 26, 2020, 6:27pm

Shakespeare Side-Challenge - Update:

Measure for Measure - Walt Disney Modular Theater, 2010 production ( - This is one of Shakespeare's comedies??? *double checks the play list* Okay, I guess it is - yes, there are the odd comic moments - but under the direction of Robert Cucuzza, this is more of a bleak, dystopian-styled play. Not a lot to laugh about happening in this production. Not complaining, just not what I was expecting. If anything, this production speaks to the versatility in interpreting Shakespeare's plays. Love the derelict abandoned factory setting for effect. Of course, now I want to watch a completely different production, just to see another interpretation of the play. LOVE the musical interlude at the halfway mark (1:25:00 in the video)... actually, all the music is great in this production (I am a big fan of minimalist music, in this case, a single guitar with lone vocal accompanist). And OMG, poor Juliet... in this production she is portrayed as a woman in labour... all the way through the play (you get the idea, a lot of moans, etc). Finally, I was not expecting THAT ending.... need to go read a play summary and see if this was one of those artistic license thingees. Overall, a very good production.

QUESTION: What is up with Shakespeare and all these "lost at sea" stories incorporated into his various plays? This theme seems to crop up in a lot of the plays. Thankfully, this is usually used to assist in his stories with confused identities, but still... why the fixation? Writer's block? Use what is readily available? Just wondering...

The Comedy of Errors - Shapespeare's Globe, 2015 production ( ) In 3 parts - Without a doubt, the silliest of Shakespeare's plays. A lot of fun and great entertainment!

... and with this, I have finished watching all the Comedies!

Set 26, 2020, 6:28pm

Currently Reading:
Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore - narrated by Danny Campbell - Why this? Because it fits the "Z" Title for my Alphabet Challenge. I don't usually venture into horror or zombie books, but this is proving to be rather fun as the lead character is a recently turned zombie, and kind of in denial about the whole situation. Okay, it has its "gross" moments because - you know, zombies - but not a full on horror novel.
The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers - This will be a year-long read. Currently 3/4 the way through Murder Must Advertise, a fun mystery set in an ad agency. Fun in that the characters and the dialogue are making me think of the Muriel Sparks stories I have read (love her snarky witticism!). I am a little behind with the September Group Read of Hangman's Holiday, a short story collection, so that will probably roll over into October.
Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne by Linda Lappin - Yes, I was lured back into the NetGalley offerings and this one, billed as a ghost/mystery/thriller intrigued me. Will start this one once I am caught up with my Sayers reading.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Set 27, 2020, 9:55am

Zombie, Ohio sounds great! Got me with that one. 😀

Set 28, 2020, 11:16am

>62 lkernagh: The technical definition of comedy, if I remember correctly from my Shakespeare class in undergrad, is that it simply has to end with a wedding. So actual comic moments may be pretty thin on the ground - The Merchant of Venice springs to mind.

And while I don't have a supported answer for your shipwreck question, I would assume that given the technology and types of boats available in the 1600s being shipwrecked wasn't that uncommon and contemporary audiences wouldn't have perceived it as quite so contrived as we might. :)

Set 28, 2020, 1:39pm

>65 MickyFine: That's exactly what I was thinking, that shipwrecks were the plane-crashes-on-a-desert-island of their day, so it was normal for someone to leave on a ship as a boy and not return for twenty years. Also, Lori, you're probably right in seeing it as an easy plot device ;-)

>62 lkernagh: Congrats on finishing the comedies! While I too have a hard time seeing Measure for Measure as a comedy.
>63 lkernagh: Zombie, Ohio sounds good, so I'll put that on my WL. Sounds a bit like Breathers and I liked that.

Set 28, 2020, 2:38pm

Getting my horror novel list ready for October, so glad to know about Zombie AND Breathers.

Interesting conversation about whether a shipwreck is a contrivance and further to mstrust's comment about it being normal in those days for a boy to leave and a man to return 20 years later, I just finished Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. In it, he tells about a French astronomer, Le Gentil, who set out a year early to observe the 1761 Transit of Venus from India. Due to setbacks, he was still at sea when it happened so he missed it. Continuing on, he waited in India to observe the next transit, which happened in 1769 (he missed that one too, poor guy). On the way back home, he contracted dysentery and was laid up for a nearly a year recovering. The ship he took was nearly shipwrecked off the African coast. When he finally returned home almost 11-1/2 years later, he discovered that his relatives had had him declared dead and had plundered his estate. You can't make stuff like that up.

Editado: Out 2, 2020, 10:00pm

I’m enjoying the historic buildings, Lori. Waiting to see what comes next. About Richard III being portrayed as a hunchback, he had scoliosis which is one of the ways that they knew they had the right skeleton when they found it under a car park in Leister. The best book to read about his reputation re his nephews is The Daughter of Time.

Out 1, 2020, 4:17pm

>64 drneutron: - It was a rather fun read, Jim so I hope you enjoy it!

>65 MickyFine: - Really?! It just has to end with a wedding??? Okay, then. I do see what you mean by mentioning The Merchant of Venice.... that one wasn't all that funny, either.

Good point about seafaring risks of the time period! Many probably really did think that they were saying goodbye to their loved ones when they embarked on a trip across water.

>66 mstrust: - Glad to see you chiming in as well, Jennifer! True, a trip would take years, not days or weeks. Must have made for some interesting homecomings after being away for 20 years!

I am quite excited as I can see that I should be able to complete my Shakespeare side challenge. I was a little concerned when I took this on, wondering if it would be a challenge to find plays that I can watch (either online or borrowing DVDs from the local library). Thankfully, I did discover that I can "rent" for streaming Shakespeare Globe productions, so I have that as my back-up plan. ;-) I am also really appreciating the creativeness of production directors!

Well, darn.... now I need to go investigate Breathers. ;-)

>67 Storeetllr: - Hi Mary! It is that time of year for horrors and stories that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

Very interesting story about the astronomer, Le Gentil. As you have noted, you just cannot make this stuff up! Poor guy, to have his family declare him as dead and plunder his estate. Didn't he think to write them? I am pretty sure he probably could have gotten a message home, I would like to think so, anyways.

>68 Familyhistorian: - Hi Meg! Still pondering which building to showcase next. This may depend on what my plans are this weekend and if I can get any decent pictures.

I remember reading about the skeleton found under the car park! Thank you for the recommendation. I will keep The Daughter of Time in mind.


Hello everyone and Happy October! It is starting to feel a little more like fall/autumn so I am finding it easier to spend more time indoors. I managed to finish two books before we said goodbye to September, so I have a couple of reviews and a Currently Reading update ready for posting.

Out 1, 2020, 4:18pm

Book #52 - Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT "M" - Murder, Must; MysteryKIT "Series"
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: Other
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1933
Acquisition date: January 6, 2020
Page count: 314 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"When copywriter Victor Dean falls to his death on the stairs of Pym’s Advertising Agency, everyone assumes it was an unfortunate accident. His replacement doesn’t think so and begins asking a lot of questions. The new man is something of a mystery to his colleagues, and he certainly dresses well considering his meager writer’s salary. Of course, the new copywriter is none other than Lord Peter Wimsey, working incognito to discover the truth. In between writing catchy slogans, Wimsey sets out to catch the murderer and finds a network of blackmailers, drug pushers, and killers. But the deeper he gets into this criminal underworld, the more his own life is in danger—and as the murders increase, he must work to a tight deadline if he’s to solve the case before it’s too late."
My favorite Lord Peter Wimsey story so far. Why? Reading this made me think of the intelligent, sarcastic wit found in Muriel Spark stories, aided by the wonderful busyness of a bustling ad agency. I will admit that the mysterious harlequin role Wimsey assumes to infiltrate the notorious de Momerie crowd seemed a bit strange to me - not understanding the significance - but luckily the majority of the story is set squarely within the ad agency. As with the other books in this series, I delight in the details (no train time tables this time, so big YAY for that!), the social commentary and the word play Sayers brings to her stories. Happily, very few red herrings or misdirection this time! Just a solid intricate mystery to unravel, which is easy to do so long as the reader pays close attention to all the clues provided. On a slight downside, I found the chapters with the running commentary of the annual cricket match less appealing, but only because I do not understand the game, so I was a bit lost in following all the details in those chapters. There is even a nice balance with only occasional appearances by Wimsey's Scotland Yard chief inspector friend, Charles Parker.

The overall effect is a story where Wimsey spends most of his time assuming other personas (which makes for a nice change of pace) in the wonderfully intriguing world of advertising.

Out 1, 2020, 4:19pm

Book #53 - Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore - audiobook narrated by Danny Campbell
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "Z" Title - Zombie
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: February 8, 2011
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages / 10 hours, 55 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"When rural Ohio college professor Peter Mellor dies in an automobile accident during a zombie outbreak, he is reborn as a highly intelligent (yet somewhat amnesiac) member of the living dead. With society crumbling around him and violence escalating into daily life, Peter quickly learns that being a zombie isn’t all fun and brains. Humans — unsympathetic, generally, to his new proclivities — try to kill him at nearly every opportunity. His old friends are loath to associate with him. And he finds himself inconveniently addicted to the gooey stuff inside of people’s heads.

As if all this weren’t bad enough, Peter soon learns that his automobile accident was no accident at all. Faced with the harrowing mystery of his death, Peter resolves to use his strange zombie “afterlife” to solve his own murder."
Billed as "Skillfully combining the genres of horror, humor, and film noir", along with the detective aspect of our lead protagonist wanting to solve his own death, there is a little bit of something for a wide range of readers to appreciate. Now, I admit I am not a fan of the zombie stories. They are usually creepy and gross and not something I want to spend time reading. This story is different. While still maintaining the gross factor - because zombies like to eat human brains, etc - this story, told from the POV of our recently turned zombie protagonist, has more of an introspective aspect, and it is this that really makes this a different kind of zombie story. Still dystopian with shades of Mad Max societal unrest/chaos with vigilante groups out to protect their own and ruthless biker gangs taking advantage of the zombie uprising and some tragic moments, but Kenemore manages to keep this on the lighter side with witty and humorous dialogue/internal musings while the typical zombie/human action is going on. In Peter, we have a zombie who still remembers what it means to be human, so some interesting dynamics at play here, especially when he assumes the anti-hero role (and that is all you are going to get out of me in the way of spoilers).

Overall, a "fun" read, and the first book where I have actually found myself cheering for the zombie. I do like an author who likes to present readers with a different perspective on the horror/zombie genre. If you are looking for a full on action-packed horror story, this one will seem light-weight and slow-paced for you. Just a heads up.

... Oh, and apparently, this is the first book in what is currently a three book series.

Out 1, 2020, 4:20pm

Currently Reading:
The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu - narrated by Angela Dawe - A search of my local library digital collection found this audiobook... a perfect fit for the "X" Author slot of my Alphabet Challenge.
The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers - This will be a year-long read. Have started the first short story in Hangman's Holiday, the September Group Read. Fingers crossed I will catch up with the year long group read this month.
Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne by Linda Lappin - Yes, I was lured back into the NetGalley offerings and this one, billed as a ghost/mystery/thriller intrigued me. Will start this one once I am caught up with my Sayers reading.
Physical books:
Nothing at the moment.

Editado: Out 1, 2020, 4:48pm

>69 lkernagh: Still pondering which building to showcase next.
If you're looking for ideas...
Have you ever been out to Hatley Castle and enjoyed the gardens? I especially love the Japanese Garden setting.

Some Horror and thriller movies have been filmed there over the years, very Hallowe'en chills suitable!

(Edited to mention that their website is really slow loading and doesn't employ https, so your browser may flag it as "Not Secure").

Out 2, 2020, 2:07pm

>73 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, yes I have been to Hatley Castle and have toured the Japanese Garden. While Hatley would be fun to showcase, my plan is to mix things up so that I don't showcase the same type of building back to back (like two 'castles' in a row). :-) We are back to some smoke haze in the region (not as bad as two weeks ago, thank goodness!) so my decision for the next building will be taking into account air quality impacts on photo opportunities and what my plans are over the weekend.

Out 2, 2020, 2:51pm

Hi Lori, happy weekend ahead. Read hearty!

Out 2, 2020, 9:57pm

>74 lkernagh: Good on 'ya. I didn't even think of that (2 castles in a row thing). Probably because to me, Hatley isn't a castle.
I went to Navy dances and reception there as a 'young person'. No it wasn't all that fabby. It was very formal and rather boring. But the interior is beautiful (make that, maybe, 'was').

I know you can choose something of course. I'm just being nostalgic tonight.
I hope your smoke haze doesn't worsen.

Out 2, 2020, 10:09pm

Sorry to see that you have smoke, Lori. I haven't noticed it over here. I'm enjoying the summer like weather. I went to Victoria once and saw Emily Carr House which is a nice historic building, if you're looking for something that's not a castle.

Editado: Out 3, 2020, 9:36am

Hi Lori!

>52 lkernagh: Wonderful! Rags to riches and back to rags, a sad tale. Thanks for the video link, too. The mahogany in the Library... I'd love to be rich enough to afford that kind of Library.

>56 lkernagh: I read your review with interest, since I read this book in November of 2017 and reviewed it on one of my threads. I rated it 3.5 stars, too, but I think I liked it more than you did.

>70 lkernagh: Absolutely one of my favorite Wimseys, especially the Whifflets campaign..

Out 5, 2020, 12:10am

>75 richardderus: - Lovely to see you stopping by RD, especially given that I have not made it back to your thread. I hope all is well and that you had a lovely weekend!

>76 SandyAMcPherson: - No worries, Sandy, just have to get creative sometimes times, what with seasonal fog, etc and personal priorities managing my local travels and photo opps. I love that you were able to enjoy events at Hatley Castle! Jealous. I hope my choice for this week is one that you will enjoy. If not, never fear, there will be more posts between now and the end of the year. Good news is that the milder smoke haze did clear. Sadly, it was replaced with the island's seasonal foggy mornings.... not the best for picture taking. ;-(

>77 Familyhistorian: - Hi Meg, yes the milder smoke haze cleared, to be replaced with fog. I don't mind the fog, in fact I kind of like waking up to the sound of ship horns out in the pass. I get a comfortable feeling from that sound.

... and no worries, Emily Carr's house is on the list!

>78 karenmarie: - Hi Karen! Yes, the Dunsmuir family saga is a sad story. One would think that a family would do all it can to retain hard earned cash but that did not happen for this family. Okay, they were not destitute, but still to go from the richest family in the province to 'average' speaks volumes.

re: >56 lkernagh:, it is possible that I was distracted at times while listening to the audiobook (it happens). I think Eco is like Robert Bolano, and other similar writers - more attention should probably be paid to their works than the run-of-the-mill fluff of the moment, something I failed to do while listening to the Eco novel.

re: Murder Must Advertise and your comments >78 karenmarie: - I know! S0 perfect and yet, speaks volumes about advertising and that particular industry.

Another weekend gone and not a whole lot to show for it. Not a huge concern. Not a lot of reading done but I do have a Shakespeare side-challenge update and a new buildings post, so that is something. ;-)

Editado: Out 5, 2020, 12:23am

Lori's "Guided Building Tour" - Victoria edition:

This post's featured building: St. Ann's Academy

From L to R: My photo. West entrance to the grounds (foggy morning shot); main drive way, posted to Wikimedia Commons by lota 9 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Occupying approximately 6.25 acres of land within Victoria's original urban core, St. Ann's Academy and its grounds were designated in 1989 as a National Historic Site of Canada. Built by the Roman Catholic Congregation of the Order of the Sisters of Saint Ann (founded in 1850 by Esther Blondin - Mother Marie-Anne, in Lachine, Quebec), the building history can be traced as far back as the mid-19th century. The Academy was built in three stages between 1871 and 1910 (resulting in a composite of styles).

Two styles of St. Ann's Academy as posted to Wikimedia Commons by lota 9 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The oldest part of the academy is the chapel which was designed by Father Joseph Michaud and built in 1858 as St. Andrew's Cathedral (version #1 - current cathedral is version #3) comprised of Vancouver Island cedar and Californian redwood, before it was offered as a gift to the Academy and moved in 1886, became St. Ann's Chapel. Seriously, I have seen some of the logistics involved today to move a house from "A" to "B", so I am just stunned that they accomplished a building move in 1886 (maybe they took it apart and rebuilt it... not sure). Still, quite a feat, IMO. Anyways, the chapel:

From L to R: My photo. East rear of building (exterior of chapel extending to the left); Chapel interior circa 1910s?, City of Victoria Archives

From L to R: Chapel interior and Chapel organ, both circa 2010, as posted to Wikipedia Commons by lota 9 (CC BY-SA 3.0);

The pipe organ in the above right image was made by Casavant Brother in Saint Hyacinthe (Quebec) and was acquired for the chapel in 1913.

I would be remiss if I did not include the grounds in this post. The grounds consist of a formal processional allée created with tree rows and hedges (see main drive way picture above), an orchard containing approximately 100 original fruit trees, a novitiate garden (hidden behind the hedge in my photo above of the East rear building), a formally landscaped area containing several historic trees, structural remnants (modern picture with explanation to follow), formal gardens, hedges, historic paths and walkways, and additional plantings established by the Sisters of St. Ann around the Academy building and along sections of the site perimeter, and a perimeter wall and gates. The one obvious structural remnant that remains today is this:

My photo

This is a picture of the remnants of a fountain located within the arboretum/meditative garden on the grounds, where an unusual battleship fountain (moat included) was added by Father Vullinghs to his garden design of 1911. The moat was filled with water from a stream bed and encircled a large, jagged rock atop which a concrete and stone man-of-war rested. Complete with cannons that shot water (not exactly what one would expect to find in the meditative gardens of a Roman Catholic academy!)

Something I do need to point out is the French Canadian origins and influence behind St. Ann's Academy. A lot of people don't know/realize that the population of Fort Victoria (for those not in the know, British Columbia did not join confederation until 1871) was largely French speaking, due to the presence of the French Canadian employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and their families, so it is no surprise that the architecture of the academy has French Canadian influences and is considered to be an architectural jewel constructed in a classical style evocative of a Quebec convent.

During its 115 years history, the Academy served as: the major female Roman Catholic teaching and nursing order in British Columbia (with St. Joseph's Hospital located next door); a girls Catholic boarding and day school from grade 3-12 (K - 3 was in a separate building) and boys K - 3, as well as serving as the Provincial House, convent and novitiate as the regional motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Ann. I also need to mention in this post that Academy was never an Indian Residential School (more information, as a mere backgrounder regarding the Canadian Indian Residential Schools can be found here: )

The Academy did face some challenges, in particular due to the fact that it welcomed students of all faiths from around the world including Holland, El Salvador, England, Scotland, China, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Mexico, Iceland, Japan, Italy and Poland, as well as all parts of Canada and the United States. Due to lobbying of parents from the United States, some parents demanded that there be separate classrooms for dark skinned students (just mentioning that this happened, not saying it was right). Keep in mind, the Academy ceased operating as a teaching institution in 1973 and sold the property to the Public Works Department of the BC government in 1974, at which time the Sisters deconsecreated the chapel. Eventually condemned and then closed for a decade, $16.2 million was spent in restoration of the building, creating the Interpretive Center for visitors as well as converting the 1910 wing into modern office space (currently leased by the BC government Ministry of Advanced Education, including the restored 1910 auditorium). Nothing overly special about the auditorium (I have no pictures to share) but I can mention that while the wooden chairs backs are curved to provide some comfort, one really cannot sit comfortably in the chairs, with their drop-down wooden seats, for longer than 1 hour without getting really uncomfortable in the derriere region (not to mention the back). The inconveniences of being able to sit in history). ;-)

More details about the history and building can be read in these downloadable self-guided tour pamphlets".

Given that it is October and Victoria is known for its haunted sites, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the Academy is a hotspot for ghost sightings and a popular stop on local ghost tours. The early mornings have seen reports of nuns witnessed wandering their convent’s grounds (not by this early morning photobug). Possibly this is because nuns originally buried on the property were exhumed and moved to the Sisters’ new plot in the Ross Bay Cemetery in 1974. Another notable figure seen at St. Ann’s Academy is the ghost of Emily Carr, a famous Canadian painter and author. Her birth house, where she has also been spotted (and will be a future building post), is reasonable close to the Academy site (which leads me to wonder, how far can spirits travel?).

Out 5, 2020, 12:12am

Shakespeare Side-Challenge - Update:

Cymbeline - Shakespeare by the Sea traveling actors troupe, 2016 production (performed in Rossmoor) ( - Starting off with a comment that I am impressed that the actors in the traveling troupe are the ones who assemble the stage before performing. Wonderfully performed, but another example where I am baffled - this time - as to why this one is considered to be a tragedy. At least modern critics join me in thinking that this would be more appropriately classified as a romance. I know, we don't seem to have a "Romance" category for Shakespeare plays, so I lean towards this being a comedy, this time with Cloten, the son of Imogen's step mother, playing the fool, and not the typical court jester as in other plays.


... I am having an awful time trying to locate a recorded production of Troilus and Cressida, the last play to compete my Tragedies in this side challenge. I was stunned.... Yes, STUNNED! .... to discover that Shakespeare's Globe does not make a production of Troilus and Cressida available for rent for online viewing. Am I missing something? I swear they have every other Shakespeare play available for purchased online viewing, so What. The. Hay.??? Good grief, I may have to resort to an audio version to complete this section of my side challenge. Was not expecting that. Hum.

Out 5, 2020, 3:26pm

>81 lkernagh: Does your library have Theatre in Video, Lori? It's a film database from Alexander Street Press and I know they have a pretty exhaustive collection of Shakespeare play recordings. Might be worth checking. :)

Editado: Out 7, 2020, 12:15am

>82 MickyFine: - Sadly, no. That is not one of the library system’s digital offerings. I miss the good old days when the various library systems in BC banded together for digital collection offerings. Now that the Greater Victoria just subscribes to services for their region, they probably have to pick and choose which offerings will get the most use. No worries... worst case, I can resort to an all cast audiobook, or I could just read the play. ;-)

Editado: Out 8, 2020, 6:04pm

>80 lkernagh: I loved this. A great retrospective. Thanks, Lori.
Lots of great history here.

For me, the chapel interior photo is that irritating blue square with a question mark. I use Safari and alternatively, Firefox as browsers, might it be a different reason (ie. not the browser) that nothing shows in that photo?

Edited Oct. 8 to say, image restored. No more blue-square of nothingness.

Out 7, 2020, 11:26am

>83 lkernagh: Bummer. If it makes you feel better, Troilus and Cressida is pretty meh. ;)

Out 8, 2020, 12:52pm

>81 lkernagh: I saw the movie version starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. I know you're looking for a stage production but if all else fails, that was a well done movie. But very brutal. That, along with it's questionable authorship, may be why it isn't performed live so often.

Out 9, 2020, 10:14am

>84 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, so happy you enjoyed the most recent 'building tour'! And also glad the photo problem fixed itself. I have to admit, when I look at the post on my computer, I can see all the images, but when I looked at it on my smartphone (through Safari) one of the web-sourced images just displayed as an empty box. The joys of technology, I guess, ;-)

>85 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky, I will keep that in mind and won't feel so bad if I am tempted to speed read my way through the play. ;-)

>86 mstrust: - Hi Jennifer, Always good to know that there is a good movie version out there! You have caught my interest with the questionable authorship. I know I have heard mention of this but I have never really delved into learning more. I think I will before I settle in to Troilus and Cressida.


It is Friday and the first day of a lovely 5-day long weekend for me! I have to admit, working from home, the days off from work are not as 'special' as when I was working in the office, but that will start to change next week as I transition to a partial return to working out of the office 2-days a week. Yes, I have already checked that I can still fit into my office wardrobe, so no need to do any panic clothes shopping. ;-)

Out 9, 2020, 12:07pm

Enjoy that 5-day weekend, Lori, and happy Thanksgiving!

Out 9, 2020, 12:48pm

>87 lkernagh: Good to see you back online LT. I think my anxiety was ramping up!
I have to confess to *not* fitting so comfortably in some of my less-forgiving trousers. Glad no panic clothes-buying is required.

Have a lovely weekend. Hope the weather is glorious.

Out 9, 2020, 10:28pm

Hi, Lori! I like your thread topper. One of the elementary schools I attended had 2 back entrances facing the playground with "GIRLS" on one and "BOYS" on the other. I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for using the other gender's entrance, but everyone seemed to still honor it. (This was in the 1960's.) Unfortunately, the "GIRLS" entrance was at the other side of the playground from the street where the entrance to the playground was. So the girls had to navigate the width of the playground to get to the door to go in when the bell rang. I was young and small for my age, and the older boys seemed to be so big, and to always be running so quickly; I was always afraid I would get run over, and a few times older kids did collide with me!

Out 10, 2020, 10:21pm

Happy thanksgiving weekend, Lori.

Out 11, 2020, 9:42am

Hi Lori! First of all, happy Thanksgiving!

>80 lkernagh: Fascinating as always. I didn’t read the complete self-guided tour pamphlet, but I loved reading that the students had a baseball diamond in the 1960s and there are two California Sequoias planted there. As always marvelous information and pictures. Thank you.

Out 11, 2020, 1:04pm

>88 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky! I hope you are having a lovely Thanksgiving!

>89 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, yes the months of sheltering in place and other more dormant behaviors had me a little worried about the whole "do the clothes still fit" thing. I have been wearing my work tops while working from home, but took advantage of the warm spring/summer months to wear shorts and capris so I wanted to make sure that skirts and dress pants still fit. :-)

The skies have been off and on overcast with rainy periods (saw a lovely double rainbow yesterday evening!) but I see that the forecast for Monday is sunshine, so happy about that.

>90 tymfos: - Hi Terri, happy to see you stopping by. I love the story about your own elementary school experience with separate entrances! Interesting the setup to the entrances from the playground area... I would probably duck in through the boys entrance as well, especially if it was a rainy day!

>91 PaulCranswick: - Thanks Paul for the holiday wishes! Holidays that involve food are always good holiday, IMO. ;-)

>92 karenmarie: - Thank you for the holiday wishes, Karen and glad to see you enjoyed the latest building post. I am having a lot of fun researching and learning more about the local history.


Happy Sunday everyone! Even though Monday is the official Thanksgiving Day holiday here in Canada, we typically do the 'big dinner' in my family on the Sunday (Monday then becomes a happy lazy day for leftovers). It will be just the two of us this year. I was happy to discover a few years back that one of the local grocery stores has local fresh turkey breast roasts and that has been our go to for the past three years - no large bird to cook, no carcass to deal with (although, now that I am making soap stock from scratch, that will be missed this year). That, and all the usual fixings will be the menu this evening. I am not a big pumpkin pie fan - hard to find a decent commercially baked one (and I am crap at making pie pastry) - so it will be carrot cake for dessert. ;-)

Out 11, 2020, 3:53pm

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a lovely transition to split-time when the holiday is over.

Out 11, 2020, 4:53pm

>94 richardderus: - Double thanks, RD! It is pouring rain out and weather forecast is for high winds later today/tonight, so here is hoping we don't have a power outage... those have a nasty habit of coinciding when a festive meal is being prepared. ;-)

Out 11, 2020, 6:06pm

Happy Thanksgiving!
>81 lkernagh: > 87 Oops! Disregard my comments completely, as I was thinking of Titus Andronicus the whole time. Proof of how easily confused I am.

Out 11, 2020, 9:23pm

LOL, it all becomes a blur after a while, doesn't it? I find that Shakespeare tends to re-harsh certain themes so it is easy to mix the plays up.

Out 12, 2020, 1:45am

Happy Thanksgiving, Lori. I'm with you on the smaller turkey fare. Save On carries turkey breast rolled like a roast and that's what we use for turkey dinner. I discovered them a while back. The leftovers are great for turkey pot pie too.

St Anne's Academy looks like an interesting building. Nice that they restored it.

Out 12, 2020, 7:32pm

Thanks Meg! We had a lovely dinner yesterday (translation! ate too much food!) even with the smaller turkey. Glad to see you also enjoy the turkey breast rolled roast. Makes meal prep so much easier, with less fuss. I have found that the roast is the perfect size to fit in my stoneware covered casserole dish, and takes up considerably less room in the oven (more room for roasted veggies, etc).

I am glad you liked the St. Ann's Academy building post.

Out 13, 2020, 9:20am

Hi Lori. I love the opening image of the school.

I am sorry for the loss of your Aunt. I lot of partner of 20 years in April of 2019. I am still grieving, probably will be for a long time. But, thinking of the good memories helps.

Your thread is a wealth of information. And, you read quite a few good books. For now, I've added His & Hers by Alice Feeney. I'll be back to add more!

Thanks for taking the time to post your virtual tours. Craigdarroch Castle is incredible.

Out 13, 2020, 11:02am

Hi, Lori.

Thanks for your post on Craigdarroch Castle. Like you, I'm a fan of stained glass, and those are beautiful.

Out 13, 2020, 11:45am

>100 Whisper1: - Hi Linda, lovely to see you stopping by. I do find old schools to be interesting to look at and learn their histories. I am so sorry for you loss, Linda. Grieving is a combination of sadness and wonderful memories. I hope the wonderful memories are helping you. Glad you enjoyed the virtual building tours! I have a lot of fun putting them together, and learn a lot in the process.

>101 jnwelch:- Hi Jim, stained glass is a wonder to behold, isn't it? So glad you liked the Craigdarroch Castle post.

Last day of my 5-day long weekend and it is pouring buckets outside! A good day to stay indoors, get some housework done and make a casserole out of the leftover turkey from Sunday's dinner. I know that not everyone is a casserole fan, but I find them to be fantastic cold weather/winter meals. Today's casserole will be wild rice, sweet potato, asparagus and turkey with a seasoned bread crumb topping.

Out 13, 2020, 1:22pm

Casserole is the only way I'll eat turkey. Stuffing and gravy and the smallest amount of dark meat for the feast day...but casserole? Yes, please!

Out 16, 2020, 4:24pm

>103 richardderus: - Yes, I hear you on the love for stuffing and gravy. RD. Add the roasted veggies (I love veggies) and I can do without the roasted bird meat as well. :-)

Out 16, 2020, 4:25pm

Book #54 - The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu - audiobook narrated by Angela Dawe
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "X" Author - Xu
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: October 12, 2010
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 352 pages / 10 hours, 55 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"Li Jing, a successful, happily married businessman, is dining at a grand hotel in Shanghai when a gas explosion shatters the building. A shard of glass neatly pierces Li Jing's forehead — obliterating his ability to speak Chinese. The only words that emerge from his mouth are faltering phrases of the English he spoke as a child growing up in Virginia. Suddenly Li Jing finds himself unable to communicate with his wife, Meiling, whom he once courted with beautiful words, as she struggles to keep his business afloat and maintain a brave face for their son. The family turns to an American neurologist, Rosalyn Neal, who is as lost as Li Jing--whom she calls James--in this bewitching, bewildering city, where the two form a bond that Meiling does not need a translator to understand."
I struggled with this one on a couple of levels. One, I was baffled that RBDigital (the library service I borrowed the audiobook through) includes this one under its "Suspense/Thriller" genre filter. The "General Fiction" category I get, but no, this is not a suspense/thriller. Not even close, unless you count two chapters near the end. Two, I just do not understand the choice of the title. Usually the title of the story makes sense in the context of the story. This time, I am just not getting the connection.

One one level, this is a story about love, family and how important the ability to communicate (language) is for our relationships and our understanding of the world around us. The writing is eloquent and the depiction of Shanghai is well drawn. I admit to be intrigued by the medical aspects of the story - the bilingual aphasia Li Jing's suffers from that whips out his ability to speak Chinese (his second language) and leaves him with only broken fragments of his first language, English - but that is not enough to save this story. While I found the American neurologist Rosalyn's foreign perspective of Shanghai interesting (and the community of expatriates she encounters was not a big surprise), I found the whole relationship quagmire to get tedious, really fast. I might have enjoyed this story more if Rosalyn had been more professional in her interactions with her patient. Of course, that would have meant a completely different kind of story, so I guess I will just have to chalk this one up as not for me.

Out 16, 2020, 4:36pm

Catching up here and glad to hear you had a scrumptious Thanksgiving with a lovely leftover casserole. I was doing really well with workouts and stuff so I was actually losing weight at the beginning of this whole pandemic thingy, but this past month has been abysmal, so let's not talk about how clothes fit, okay? ; )

Editado: Out 17, 2020, 5:42pm

>106 Berly: - Hi Kim, lovely to see you stopping by! I am a fan of any holiday that has food at its core offering, so Thanksgiving pretty much tops the list. I totally understand the pandemic has shifted everyone's 'balance' so lets just ride with it and be thankful that we are approaching the end to this crazy 2020.


I have had one of those productive/frustrating mornings. Productive in that: 1) I got the shopping done, and 2) I did my civic duty and did my in-person advanced voting for BC's October 24 provincial elections. Armed with my face mask, my voter's card, ID and a pen to mark the ballot, I was expecting a quick "in and out" for voting. I am a morning person so I was at my local advanced voting station five minutes after it opened (three voting stations available for me and the one other voter there at the time), so it should have been quick but, of course, every time I vote, something goes wrong. This time, when they scanned the bar code on my voter card, my details did not "pop up". They had to manually enter my ID (same used to register to vote) before they had the information to process me. ;-)

That was not the frustrating part of my morning. Silly me, I thought I could just go shopping for a replacement tension pole shower caddy for the bathroom. Yah. Good. Luck. With. That. I don't like being in a "must shop online" world for products because I want to support local businesses, or at least Canadian businesses, not Amazon. (Don't get me started on Amazon. That is a rant you do not want to be subjected to). I do still have a couple of local options and if I have to resort to ordering online, I will be giving preference to those businesses that allow for 'ship to store' for pickup, because in the end, at least that supports that local store and its employees. Yes, I have taken my shopping to that kind of local strategic level to support the local economy first. It is the least I can do.

As for the rest of today, laundry is now done and dinner is just 'heat and serve' tonight as it will be the leftovers from last night's takeaway (Chinese food from the restaurant down the street, washed down with a growler of lager beer from one of the local breweries).

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Out 18, 2020, 12:33am

Hi Lori. I totally relate to your shopping angst and trying to stay local.

Did you find the tension pole you were after? If not, here's a hint that *might* work: Fabricland. Not all stores stock the same notions, but our store goes in for a lot of drapery hardware.
If what you want is a straight, spring-loaded tube that pops out to fit either a vertical or horizontal orientation, maybe Victoria's shop has one (phone ahead!).
Sorry, did that sound bossy?

Your book review was good because it was beautifully candid. Thanks for the wonderful sentence: I found the whole relationship quagmire to get tedious. While there was never a chance I'd pick this story, I admired your telling of why it didn't suit. And I bet I'll borrow that quagmire phrase, because I've struggled with how to describe a few books that were just like that.

Out 18, 2020, 4:42pm

>108 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, yes, I was successful in finding a new tension pole shower caddy. I am blaming "pandemic brain" for forgetting that we actually still have a Bed Bath and Beyond store in town. Your suggestion was a good one. I do spend a fair bit of time in our local Fabricland and have looked at their drapery hardware (more because I am nearing completion of a 3' X 3' cross stitch that I hope to mount on shortened drapery rods (as opposed to framing it). I don't recall seeing any spring-loaded tubes there, but I also wasn't looking for any at the time. ;-)

Glad you found the Xu review helpful!

For those who missed my response to Sandy above, I am reporting success on the new tension pole shower caddy purchase. Project this afternoon is to make some Scottish Oat Shortbread and start thinking about possibly making Christmas cards this years (after a two year break from doing so).

Out 18, 2020, 9:19pm

>109 lkernagh: Re Christmas cards... we slacked off sending cards because we liked to write personal letters but fewer people replied and rarely did anyone give us any news.

However, this is perhaps a year to ramp up being in touch with people. Myself, I'm starting to feel starved for human contact. The retail staff are not a substitute! And so many of my friends are too involved with their own family cohorts, so I'm down to only 2 people that I see from time to time. Good thing my Man is a good friend!

Out 19, 2020, 11:26am

Glad to see you found your shower caddy, Lori. I've been doing the same in terms of shopping local or at the bare minimum Canadian when I have to go online. Largely successful and I've found some cool companies. :)

Out 22, 2020, 10:00pm

>99 lkernagh: I used to use the left overs to make a turkey pot pie, Lori. That always went over well but when it's just for me, I would be eating turkey pie for a long time.

Good for you for trying to buy local. I should do that more often.

Out 23, 2020, 11:08am

Hi Lori - I am woefully behind here. I love your Victorian building photos! Your Shakespeare challenge looks like fun.

Stay well.

Out 23, 2020, 2:23pm

I am also thinking about making holiday cards this year, after years of not doing so. But I have done so little arty stuff lately, not sure how they will come out.

Editado: Nov 11, 2020, 1:38pm


>107 lkernagh: I agree with trying to shop local. I try to do that as much as possible. In a rural area, though, it can be tough to find anyone who has what is needed, even via ship-to-store from online.

Nov 11, 2020, 1:56pm

Lori? Are you in hiding? Did the Mob finally see through your witness protection identity?

Nov 11, 2020, 2:00pm

>116 richardderus: It's been awhile, hasn't it RD? I have been checking back periodically on a few threads including Lori's. Deb (vancouverdeb) hasn't been evident for a really long time.

One does feel concern in these times of a coronavirus pandemic. So many sad outcomes in families. I can understand simply not being able to read any of the threads.

Nov 11, 2020, 11:28pm

>110 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy. I hear you on the slacking off of Christmas cards via regular mail. I am a big fan of creating my own Christmas cards - I do like to give a personal touch - but it is not always reciprocated in kind with physical cards. Here is hoping that there is a revival in the printed card greetings!

Yes, retail staff, as much as we may know them as regular customers, etc, are not the replacement for in-person human contact. Now, this is where I admit to being one of those people that can be both happily gregarious in a gathering and equally happy shut in without human contact (a chameleon). Of course, my gregarious personality has limits. after a day interacting with people, I am drained and admit to getting a tad short with my other half (who is a full bore extrovert). Our relationship works in that we communicate well - when I am not in introvert mode - and he has his safe bubble of friends for when I want alone time.

>111 MickyFine: - Hi Micky, that is one positive out of this pandemic that I am enjoying: Finding new companies to shop. For example, I recently was in the market for loooong zippers to replace the button/snap closures on two duvet covers. Discovered the most amazing sewing manufacturer online storefront (CA arm based in Ontario but parent company is in USA) with customer service that had me dancing for joy!~ I will happily make future purchases through them for the sewing needs I cannot source locally!

>112 Familyhistorian: - Turkey pie sounds heavenly to me, Meg! I am terrible at making pie crust. I have mastered scones but pie crust from scratch continues to allude me. Which segues to the buy local topic. This pandemic, my other half and I 'discovered' the most amazing savory (and sweet) pie company (, which has become our go-to place every time I do curbside pickup for our coffee beans (the roastery is a mere 3 blocks away from Saltchuck ... very convenient!). The best savory pies and crust I have ever experienced so we happily support them on a rather regular basis. :-)

>113 BLBera: - Hi Beth, I am probably woefully behind all threads right now and will be so for probably the remainder of 2020 so I am just really happy you stopped by! We are keeping well. Luckily the covid numbers here on the island remain really low (we have yet to have daily double digit numbers - fingers crossed that continues). I hope you and your family are keeping safe.

>114 banjo123: - Hi Rhonda, the good news about homemade cards is you can be as free-hand artsy or pre-designed scrapbook as you like. The end result will still be a composition that you came up with on your own and unique for you. I am sure your cards will be lovely and appreciated by those who receive them. This year I am going less free-hand artsy and more pre-designed with my holiday card design. I think this year, more than previous years, the personal card in the mail will bring joy, especially to family members I will not be able to visit in December like I usually do.

>115 tymfos: - Hi Terri, I agree, it is hard to shop local when you are located in a rural area, with limited stores/businesses to access. Sadly, I have even noticed that ship-to-store can have its limitations. Something tells me the big businesses want us to buy online (do you hear me Amazon?) and don't care if that impacts the local community. Very sad.

>116 richardderus: - Hi Richard. No, not hiding and no, the Mob did not find me LOL! It is just Real Life taking over (Damn RL!) More details in my post below. *smooch!*

>117 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy, lovely to have you and RD checking in. I do hope all is well with vancouverdeb (lower mainland is a bit of a covid hotspot at the moment based on daily numbers). Please see my post below re: absence.

Nov 11, 2020, 11:29pm

Hello everyone. My apologies for being absent from my own thread. The short story is that even in these times of Covid, other real life (RL) events continue to happen. A work colleague has gone out on medical leave so I am kind of doing double duty and will be for the immediate future. We all hope for good treatment outcome for the colleague. I love you all to pieces and wish I had the time to visit threads and see how everyone is doing, but my reading has been curtailed and my LT time is and will be next to zero for most likely the rest of 2020. If I catch a breather, I will pop in and maybe visit some threads, but it will be skim reading at best. That being said, I did take advantage of the Remembrance Day holiday to get caught up on a couple of reviews.

Wishing everyone well and I will pop back in, as time and RL demands permit.

Nov 11, 2020, 11:29pm

Book #55 - Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster - audiobook narrated by the author
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "X" Title - X
Source: GVPL
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: May 1, 2012
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 361 pages / 7 hours, 56 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the book listing webpage:
"Jen Lancaster gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age.

Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable — if probably humiliating — life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood."
I had no knowledge of Jen, or her previous books, before I picked this one up. This was a fun, pop-culture, reality-check kind of read. It helps that Jen and I are almost the same age, so her references to things like Rick Springfield, Teen Beat, etc were strong teen memory twigs for me. She is also a very relatable type of writer. She calls a spade a spade (politely) and is the first to admit her own short-comings, so a breath of fresh air to follow her as she goes through a number of "must grow up" rights of passage covering everything from mortgage applications and buying your first home to the necessary task of setting up a will. She still covers some frivolous fun topics, my personal favorite being the outcome of her decision to take the plunge with a skirted bathing suit (cute and figure flattering can have a downside!). I also took away some great travel advise from Jen who proudly admits she can pack for a book tour with just carry-on luggage.

Overall, a fun book filled with some really good advice for Generation X, and Generation Y.

Nov 11, 2020, 11:30pm

Book #56 - Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: Other
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1933
Acquisition date: January 6, 2020
Page count: 183 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: derived from multiple sources:
"In this collection of short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Montague Egg, the two amateur detectives encounter everything from Poisoned port to pet cats in peril to purloined pearls to the mysteries of the fourth dimension and a murder in fancy dress. Wimsey pursues miscreants across several countries and into unexpected hiding places while Sayers' other detective, travelling salesman extraordinaire Montague Egg, solves puzzles with a unique combination of matter-of-fact practicality and brilliant deduction, including a fugitive murderer and a killer in an Oxford cloister."
As with the previous Sayers short story collection, this review will comprise of flash reviews of the twelve detective stories in the collection.

Lord Peter Wimsey stories:
The Image in the Mirror - Sayers proves that she does not shy away from dipping into the horror and speculative fiction genres with this intriguing tale of murder and the fourth dimension. I love that I got to learn something about the medical condition called "Situs inversus" while reading this one!
The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey - Another creepy tale with shades of the gothic to it. A bit uneven/choppy in places but a satisfactory ending, for me anyways.
The Queen's Square - I love the festive fancy dress ball setting. A tricky little mystery (trying to keep track of the various characters and their costumes). the story gets a bit bogged down with details of the Sir Roger de Coverley dance, IMO, but leave it to Bunter to provide the key piece of information to solve the mystery!
The Necklace of Pearls - A short Christmas-themed mystery that hit all the right notes with me: Good setting, intriguing mystery and one where Sayer provided enough subtle (and not so subtle) clues that I was able to figure out "who" and the "where" rather easily.

Montague Egg stories:
The Poisoned Dow '08r - A wonderful introduction to Montegue Egg! An informative little mystery around wine/port. Sayers does write a decent "locked room" mystery.
Sleuths on the Scent - While I thought Sayer was making it a little too easy to guess the murderer, I still found this to be an enjoyable mystery with a cozy pub setting.
Murder in the Morning - A quaint mystery but I am really baffled by the outcome... everything seems to turn on a British 'thing' of the time period that is alien to me. *shrugs*
One Too Many - Dear me, Sayers does have a fascination with trains and time schedules! *groans* Putting aside my distaste at yet another train-related mystery, I do have to give Sayers kudos for the ruse uncovered. Well played and I love the cheeky ending!
Murder at Pentecost - Love the Oxford setting. Young undergraduate Radcoot is an refreshing and entertaining character. Yes, I found myself following a red herring but still, what an odd mystery!
Maher-Shalal-Hashbaz - London, cats and the evil that lurks in some individuals. An okay mystery... definitely easy to fathom out, so more for the horror factor? I don't know.

Other stories:
The Man Who Knew How - My favorite mystery in this book. I do love psychological thrillers and Sayers provides a goodie, right down to the mysterious identity of Pender's evening train ride companion.
The Fountain Plays - As Sayers shows with this one, the devil is in the details.

Overall, It was fun to be introduced to Montague Egg and to encounter other short stories that do not include Wimsey!

Nov 11, 2020, 11:31pm

Book #57 - Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne by Linda Lappin
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "J" Title - Jeanne
Source: Netgalley
Format: ebook
Original publication date: December 15, 2020
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 263 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the book listing webpage:
"Amedeo Modigliani, embittered and unrecognized genius, dies of meningitis on a cold January day in Montparnasse in 1920. Jeanne Hébuterne, his young wife and muse, follows 48 hours later, falling backwards through a window. Now a ghost, Jeanne drifts about the studio she shared with Modigliani—for she was not only his favorite model, but also an artist whose works were later shut away from public view after her demise. Enraged, she watches as her belongings are removed from the studio and her identity as an artist seemingly effaced for posterity, carried off in a suitcase. Thus begins Loving Modigliani, retelling the story of Jeanne Hébuterne’s fate as a woman and an artist through three timelines and three precious objects stolen from the studio: a diary, a bangle, and a self-portrait of Jeanne depicted together with Modi and their daughter. A century later, Jeanne Hébuterne’s artwork will be rescued from oblivion."
I will start off this review by mentioning that I had never heard of Jeanne Hébuterne or Amedeo Modigliani prior to reading this novel, so I cannot speak to any historical accuracies. Part fantasy, part historical fiction, part romance and part mystery/suspense, Lappin gives readers a tantalizing fictitious glimpse into the life (and afterlife) of Jeanne Hébuterne - a young aspiring artist from a bourgeois Parisian family. Jeanne's love for Modigliani is heartbreaking in the sacrifices she is prepared to make to be with Modi. This story spans four timelines: Jeanne's early 1900s life (the historical fiction part), Jeanne's immediate afterlife as a ghost/spirit (the fantasy part), 60 years after Jeanne's death (the mystery/suspense part) and the year 2021 (where the story concludes).

I am a huge fan of historical fiction so I was enthralled with the rich details of the World War I/early 1900s Parisian Montparnasse 'art scene'. I particularly loved Lappin use of the three diaries to communicate Jeanne's thoughts and emotions. The depiction of the afterlife pulled me right in. It is in fact my favorite part of the whole story, so I was a little saddened when the story suddenly shifting gears to 1981 and takes the reader down a rather predictable mystery/suspense plot of an art scholar who finds herself involved in a fanciful hunt for a rumored Modigliani/Hébuterne painting. This novel could be parsed into three separate novels, which makes this one a bit challenging, at least for me. If you are looking for a straightforward story to sink into, this isn't it. I think this story may have widest appeal with fans of stories that have a strong art focus. For me, I would have preferred if this had been either a solid historical fiction or a delightful fantasy to escape into, but no matter. Lappin has proven with this genre-bender that she is an author who cannot be defined by just one particular genre.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Serving House Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Editado: Nov 12, 2020, 10:42am

>118 lkernagh: Hi Back Lori.
Your update was very fine and I was relieved to hear what's doing in your life. Thank you. I'm sorry about the workplace issues and hope the best for your colleague.

Re your answer to Micky, I have been looking for lighter weight duvet zippers for ages, and your saying " the most amazing sewing manufacturer " in Canada had me excited, until I realised ~ NO LINK, NO NAME ~ *whine*.

I have access to an outdoor camping supply website where I hoped to find a suitable zipper, but there's nothing sold separately from the tents. I don't want a heavy-weight one, either...

When you surface here again, could please you PM me the company website?

PS. The book reviews were interesting. The NetGallery one might be worthwhile, since one of my fave reads these days are the historical mysteries.

Nov 12, 2020, 1:00pm

Hi Lori!

I’m sorry to hear about your work colleague’s being out on medical leave, both for her/his health and for your having double duty. Best wishes for her/him and you.

>121 lkernagh: I love Montague Egg and his witty rhymes and love of his job. The Wimsey and other stories in this collection were also pleasing to me.

Nov 12, 2020, 1:54pm

Hi Lori! I'm also chiming in to demand that you name names on this sewing supplies company.

Nov 12, 2020, 1:56pm

>125 norabelle414: So Lori, I guess PM-ing is not on!
There is more interest... I'm happy that 'Nora Belle' chimed in.

Nov 12, 2020, 9:07pm

Well, just to help out, mrsdrneutron would definitely be interested, but I may not tell her since that would mean more stuff in her quilting studio... 😀

Nov 12, 2020, 10:09pm

>127 drneutron: Under the circumstances (editing the spouse's acquisitions for creative activities),
I wonder if this is applicable... ?

Editado: Nov 12, 2020, 10:45pm

I am taking advantage of a rainy night and settling in with this evening's virtual Victoria Symphony concert (Angela Hewitt playing Bach. Session will be available for playback for the next 30 days here:

Quick responses to my visitors' posts:

>123 SandyAMcPherson:, >125 norabelle414:, >127 drneutron: - Sandy, Nora, Jim, and anyone else interested, the sewing supplies company is Wawak ( for Canadian shoppers and for American shoppers). Great company. Fabulous customer service. No order is too small. Love them! I note that the website tends to fluctuate in its offerings so this is probably a site to visit (and revisit) to see what stock is available. For example, When I ordered my 3K 80 inch zippers I had a choice of metal or plastic teeth. I noticed this evening that only the 5K (larger teeth size) metal teeth zippers in the 80 inch length are currently available.

>123 SandyAMcPherson: - LOL, I made the mistake of buying a larger and more heavy weight 10K zipper size (advertised as for 'sleeping bag') so I can sympathize. Happy to see you found the book reviews interesting!

>124 karenmarie: - Hi Karen, it is what it is. I put my foot down when support was offered. We went through that gong show a few years back and realized that there is just too much of a learning curve to try and bring in someone from within our division to temporarily fill in. It is less stressful and less work if I do two jobs than try and babysit a fill in. Yes, we are hopeful that the treatments are successful!

Montegue Egg is a delight! One of the many characters I would love to meet in person. ;-)

>128 SandyAMcPherson: - Ha! Love it!

Nov 12, 2020, 10:45pm

>128 SandyAMcPherson: Oh, I definitely know better than to make that mistake! 😀

Nov 12, 2020, 10:46pm

>129 lkernagh: Oooh, I favourited the post so I can check out Angela Hewitt. Awesome.
And the Fabby notions website! Thanks for the zipper link.

Glad the funny amused you.
Ya think Jim will "talk" to me after seeing that?

Nov 14, 2020, 10:41am

I hope you're staying well, Lori. Loving Modigliani sounds good. I also like historical fiction.

Nov 19, 2020, 3:04pm

>118 lkernagh: Hi Lori, I'm way behind on threads too. Since yours was on the short side I popped in. The recipe I have for turkey pot pie has crust on top only so I make it in a square casserole dish and cobble some crust on top as best I can. It doesn't have to look pretty just taste good!

Sorry to see that you are now doing double duty at work. I hope that eases up for you soon.

Nov 19, 2020, 3:06pm

>128 SandyAMcPherson: Ha!

Hope you're well, Lori!

Nov 28, 2020, 11:07am

>130 drneutron: - :-)

>131 SandyAMcPherson: - I am sure Jim will still "talk" to you. ;-) Glad you like the sewing notions website and I hope you enjoyed the virtual concert.

>132 BLBera: - HI Beth, Loving Modigliani was a different kind of story. I hope you enjoy it!

>133 Familyhistorian: - Your turkey pot pie sounds fabulous, Meg!

>132 BLBera:, >133 Familyhistorian: and >134 richardderus: - Thank you Beth, Meg and RD for the hopes that I am staying well. Work colleague's medical treatments are going well, but there is still a long road ahead - we anticipate it will be 4-5 months before they even start a partial return to work - so we are just taking things day by day, hoping for good health outcomes and not letting everything overwhelm me. Good thing I have always been a stickler for not working beyond my normal work hours, so I am still maintaining that work-life balance.


Peeking in to say that all is going as well as can be expected, given the rising Covid case number and province-wide restrictions now in place to try and stem the growing numbers. Back working from home full time and will be for the foreseeable future. Reading has slowed to a trickle as I find I am spending more evenings now either passively watching movies/shows (I can highly recommend The Hour if you like period pieces like Foyle's War, etc) or listening to music. I did finish making my Christmas cards (still need to mail them out) so that is an accomplishment. Other than that, Just focusing on staying healthy, getting in daily walks for exercise and fresh air and trying to not spend too much time baking in the kitchen. ;-)

I hope everyone one is staying safe and keeping healthy, both mentally and physically.

Nov 28, 2020, 11:08am

Book #58 - The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: Other
Source: Netgalley
Format: ebook
Original publication date: June 2020
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 233 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain. Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around. Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death."
This is one of those "right book, right time" kind of reads, especially in these days of pandemic. It is a quietly contemplative, hopeful story of family, loss, grief, love and hope. At the heart of this story is a simple premise: that every person will find a place - be it real or somewhere deep within themselves - where they can tend to their emotional pain, loss, suffering and heal their wounds. This place can take on a different meaning and purpose for each person, but the end result is the same: the ability we all have to go from a place of darkness, pain and suffering to one of sunlight, healing and hope. Beautifully written, I love the idea of a Wind Phone to connect with our loved ones, when normal communication channels are not available, or not working. This book, for me anyways, really was a balm for my soul... soothing and nurturing with a calming, meditative pace. A place of solace in these crazy times.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Overlook Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nov 28, 2020, 12:04pm

>136 lkernagh: Perfect fit books are so deeply delightful! Spend a lovely weekend, Lori.

Nov 30, 2020, 1:39pm

Hi, Lori! Good to hear you're staying healthy and getting out to walk.
Mike and I have a few tv series that we watch between Prime and Netflix. We just finished up "Life In Pieces" on Prime and really liked that. On Netflix we just finished "American Horror Story: 1984", which has far more humor than the other seasons. We're still watching "Community" and "Schitt's Creek".
I'll be starting my Christmas baking in a week. I'll have two weeks to make and freeze the many batches of cookies I need, so I end up making a different cookie nearly every day of those two weeks.

Dez 2, 2020, 11:40pm

>137 richardderus: - I agree. I just wish it was so much easier to find perfect fit books these days! I have promised that I would get through my LTER batch of books before year end, so that is where my focus is right now. That and baking. Tis the season. ;-)

>138 mstrust: - Super excited to see that you are in "baking mode", Jennifer! I am so far behind on TV shows - would you believe this Canadian has never watched an episode of "Schitt's Creek"??? Something I hope to address over the holiday season (yes, days of pajamas and binge TV are the plans for this year's scaled down holiday plans).

Dez 2, 2020, 11:41pm

Book #59 - A Red Door by Kathryn Jarvis
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "K" Author - Kathryn
Source: LTER
Format: ebook
Original publication date: September 3, 2020
Acquisition date: October 9, 2020
Page count: 251 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"A Red Door is an honest and moving story about the unraveling of a marriage and the breakup of a young family during the late 1980s AIDS crisis, a time when most people who had the disease kept it a secret for as long as possible. Seemingly, happily married, and mother to two young children, Kathryn is confronted with the possibility of infection and later the knowledge that her husband, who is diagnosed with HIV has been untruthful for a number of years, risking hers and their children’s lives. As the story unfolds, we see the anger and destruction brought about by betrayal and loss of trust in a time of crisis, but also the resilience and love that ultimately holds us together."
Hard not to approach this story without expecting to experience some level of emotional response. The author writes from the heart and is very candid in her portrayal of events. While there is an enormous emotional/physical toll and social stigmatism associated with a medical diagnosis of HIV-positive - especially during the 1980s setting for this autobiographical story - it is the secret life her husband had lead and his controlling behaviour, even as the disease was taking over, that makes this such a one-two gut punch. To properly appreciate this one and why the low rating from me, I have to break this review down a bit. This story gets a solid 4.5 stars for capturing the medical information and the social stigmatism of the era. The author nails this. Where I rip my hair out in frustration is the portrayal of their marriage in crisis. It was definitely in crisis, but I point the finger at both parties for creating such an emotionally charged marriage meltdown. Yes, her husband wasn't a saint but she made some decisions that fueled the flames on their imploding marriage (which I won't go into here as that would require some spoiler alerts). I really struggled to feel sympathy for either of them (outside of the very sad medical diagnosis). At one point, I almost abandoned this book, I was that annoyed with what was playing out. My sympathy lies squarely with their two children.

Overall, this book might make for a good book club choice given that there are so many ethical topics to examine and discuss.

Dez 3, 2020, 5:52pm

>135 lkernagh: Good job getting those cards out Lori! I know how much work that can be. :) Hope you are doing well.

Dez 3, 2020, 6:13pm

>139 lkernagh: ...would you believe this Canadian has never watched an episode of "Schitt's Creek"???
I believe you've just admitted to a crime. ;-)

Dez 3, 2020, 6:31pm

>142 mstrust: What is (where is) "Schitt's Creek"?

Dez 4, 2020, 10:21am

>139 lkernagh: No judgment here, Lori, I haven't got around to Schitt's Creek yet either. Too busy watching Kim's Convenience. ;)

Dez 5, 2020, 11:42pm

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Lori.

Dez 13, 2020, 4:41pm

Hi, Lori! Just a drive-by hello. Best wishes to you. Stay safe and well!

Dez 13, 2020, 6:41pm

>143 SandyAMcPherson: "Schitt's Creek" is a very funny Canadian show that was first shown in America on POP, then went to Netflix and became huge and is now in regular syndication on maybe three different networks in my area.
It stars Catherine O' Hara, Chris Elliot and Eugene Levy. It's about an ultra wealthy family who lose everything through embezzlement. So mansion, bank accounts and friends are gone and they are left with one asset, a tiny town called "Schitt's Creek" that the father had bought years before as a gag gift for the son, so they move into the Schitt's Creek motel.

Dez 18, 2020, 10:28pm

>141 The_Hibernator: - Thanks Rachel! I haven't reach the point of printing and inserting mass mailout letters into my cards, yet, but as you say, cards do take time, even if all I am doing is writing a quick note and addressing the envelopes. Keeping busy but not overwhelmed, just getting better at deciding what needs to be done and what can wait. ;-) I hope you and your family are keeping well!

>142 mstrust: - I probably have, Jennifer!

>143 SandyAMcPherson: - Hi Sandy!

>144 MickyFine: - Oh, good. I sometimes feel as though I am the last person to get around to watching a "hit" series. Kim's Convenience is a great show!

>145 PaulCranswick: - Thanks Paul. I hope all is well with you!

>146 tymfos: - Hi Terri! Drive-by hellos are always welcome!

>147 mstrust: - Thanks for providing the explanation!

Wow, hard to believe that it is holiday "crunch" time! I hope everyone is keeping well. We have plans for a low-key, stay at home Christmas. The nice thing about low-key is that everything is done. Tree is up, cards are mailed out, gifts are under the tree or with the recipients. Only thing left to do is one more grocery store trip. I am not usually this organized, so it feels pretty good.

I have been checking my various challenges. I have bailed on my Shakespeare plays challenge for now. May pick up where I left off next year. I just have 6 more books to fill my two Alphabet Challenges, which I still think is do-able. Not sure I will make it to 75 books read this year. Oh well.

In the meantime, I do have two more book reviews ready for posting.

Dez 18, 2020, 10:29pm

Book #60 - Nowhere Near Goodbye by Barbara Conrey
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "N" Title - Nowhere, Near
Source: LTER
Format: ebook
Original publication date: August 2, 2020
Acquisition date: October 19, 2020
Page count: 252 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"A mother’s love vs. a doctor’s oath. Oncologist Emma Blake has dedicated her life to finding a cure for a rare brain cancer. Twenty-five years ago, Emma’s childhood friend Kate died of glioblastoma, and Emma vowed to annihilate the deadly disease. Now, Kate’s father, Ned, is pushing her to work harder to fulfill that promise. When Emma discovers she’s pregnant, she’s torn between the needs of her family and the demands of her work. While Ned pressures her to do the unthinkable, her husband, Tim, decorates the nursery. Unwilling to abandon her research, Emma attempts to keep both sides of her life in balance. Emma knows she needs to reconcile her past with her present and walk the fine line between mother and physician. But Ned has a secret, and when Emma discovers what he’s been hiding, the foundation of her world cracks. Nowhere Near Goodbye is a story of family, failure, and second chances."
As a general observation of my reading lately - and an indication of the type of story this is - I really need to find more cheerful books to read.

Some might call this a thoughtful women's fiction. Yes, at its core this is one of those "career versus family" dilemmas the lead character faces, but there is more to it than just that. Toss in huge amounts of childhood-inflicted guilt, a manipulating mentor with a singular focus and it is no surprise that some of the events in this story play out the way they do. If anything, this is a story about the importance of being truthful with yourself and of open, honest communication in relationships.

I will admit that I requested this one for its medical angle. Conrey does a great job capturing the devastating impact of glioblastoma multiforme (GMB) - an incurable brain tumor with a short life expectancy - and the still growing body of research/treatment being pursued by the medical community. As a character, I found Emma to be very frustrating. She is too "closed in", exhibiting a veneer of emotional detachment that - well - really does not help matters, IMO, and is not completely reflective of what she is experiencing beneath the surface. Unfortunately, the story takes a more 'telling' than 'showing' approach, with some explanations being repeated, so I found it hard to invest myself in this one.

Overall, this is a story about motherhood and second chances. Great from a medical research angle but less so for the plot and the characters. This may not appeal to all readers, especially if you are like me and find characters that come across "kind of extreme" as frustrating. The raw emotions also got to be a bit much, for this reader anyways. Big on drama. I did like the ending, if that helps any.

Dez 18, 2020, 10:29pm

Book #61 - The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: N/A
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1934
Acquisition date: January 6, 2020
Page count: 313 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"Chance car troubles leave Lord Peter stranded in the small town, and when he discovers that a theft of emeralds from a family twenty years earlier was never solved, his detective’s curiousity is piqued. But unsurprisingly, things turn out to be more complicated as Lord Peter could have suspected, as he begins to uncover a web of murder, conspiracy, and false identity."
My favorite Lord Peter Wimsey story! I whole-heartedly agree with the description that this story is "steeped in the atmosphere" and "a tale of suspense, character, and mood". Now, I do admit, I am fascinated with campanology and bell ringing, thanks to the Midsomer Murder Mystery episode "Ring Out Your Dead". Add to that the bleak, unforgiving environment of the fen-country of East Anglia - an area of England I have sadly not visited in person - and a cracking good mystery (where we don't have Wimsey playing the fool or the dramatist as encountered with the earlier stories in the series) and I am a happily enthralled reader. Definitely a 'stormy night, curled up before the fireplace" kind of read.

Of course, I would be remise if I did not acknowledge that this was also a lovely change of pace from my last couple of books. A perfect palate cleanser, IMO and I appreciate Sayers depth of research - I learned a lot more about mathematical 'science' behind bell ringer while enjoying this story. Informative and entertaining.

Dez 19, 2020, 9:07am

Hi Lori!

>148 lkernagh: I admire you for writing notes in cards. I just couldn’t do it any more and started writing a Christmas letter in 1998 when my daughter was 5 and I was going absolutely crazy trying to write notes in Christmas cards. It works for me for two reasons – it keeps folks informed that I’m not normally in touch with and it is fun to write about what’s been happening over the last year. This year, not so much, of course, but I’m pleased with my letter anyway.

Congrats on being so organized so early.

>150 lkernagh: I’m so glad you liked The Nine Tailors.

Dez 19, 2020, 9:08am

Glad to hear you're happily anticipating your holidays, Lori. Hopefully there's a few more good reads left for you this year.

Dez 19, 2020, 4:47pm

>151 karenmarie: - Hi Karen! I will admit that I only write quick notes, that can fit on the inside of the card. I am sure in the next few years I will find myself doing the form letter insert, and nothing wrong with that. I just find that I feel I am under more pressure to provide a more complete "year in review" synopsis with the form letter approach. Not sure which would be the time saver, at least for me. :-)

The Nine Tailors now makes me fully appreciate Sayer's writing chops. The earlier Wimsey books came across a bit slap dash in some areas, or at least I felt they did.

>152 MickyFine: - Hi Micky, yes I am happily anticipating the holidays. I think the reason that I am feeling more relaxed and less stressed this year is because I won't be traveling this holiday, so I won't have the round of family visits to make, etc. I am usually really drained by the end of a full-blown family Christmas. I am more of a home-body. ;-)

As for the reading front, my latest read was fabulous! Hoping to unearth more hidden gems as I wrap up my Alphabet challenge. ;-)

Since I am all ready - for the most part - for the holidays and given that it is another grey rainy day, I will spend a little bit of time this afternoon visiting some threads on LT. There is NO WAY that I will be able to get caught up so apologies if I don't make a stop at any of your threads.

Dez 19, 2020, 4:47pm

Book #62 - A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget, published under the pseudonym Vernon Lee
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "V" Author: Violet, Vernon
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1886
Acquisition date: August 24, 2020
Page count: 64 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"My Dear Boutourline, Do you remember my telling you, one afternoon that you sat upon the hearth stool at Florence, the story of Mrs. Oke of Okehurst? You thought it a fantastic tale, you lover of fantastic things, and urged me to write it out at once, although I protested that, in such matters, to write is to exorcise, to dispel the charm; and that printers' ink chases away the ghosts that may pleasantly haunt us, as efficaciously as gallons of holy water. But if, as I suspect, you will now put down any charm that story may have possessed to the way in which we had been working ourselves up, that firelight evening, with all manner of fantastic stuff -- if, as I fear, the story of Mrs. Oke of Okehurst will strike you as stale and unprofitable -- the sight of this little book will serve at least to remind you, in the middle of your Russian summer, that there is such a season as winter, such a place as Florence and such a person as your friend, Vernon Lee, Kensington, July, 1886."
Oh, YES! As a huge fan of gothic horror, this sublime novel hits all the right notes. Beautifully written with an artist's eye for descriptive detail, the story has that deliciously slow building suspense I love to find in old stories of this genre. Add in a mysterious family history and the hints of a spectral being lurking the halls and grounds of a marvelous Kentish manor house and this reader was left deeply satisfied by a story well told. My only regret: as a novella (a mere 64 pages in length), this story ends all too soon. Not in the context of the story itself - that is complete in its character/plot development and unrushed in its delivery - but in that I was enjoying the story so much I did not want it to end. Yes, I am gushing about this one.

I downloaded this ebook as part of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction "Reclaim Her Name" series of books by women authors originally published under male pseudonyms. I am now on the hunt for more Vernon Lee/Violet Paget stories to fill my ereader with.

Dez 19, 2020, 5:53pm

>154 lkernagh: Oh, what a wonderful thing to do! Reclaim Her Name is excellent.

Happy weekend's reads!

Dez 20, 2020, 11:25am

>154 lkernagh: A BB! A free Kindle BB! Thank you. At least here in the US, her complete works are available on Kindle for $2.99. And, on for CDN$3.72.

Dez 20, 2020, 3:36pm

>155 richardderus: - I know, right! Also, a great way to dip into books I probably would not normally find on my radar screen. :-) Thanks RD. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

>156 karenmarie: - Oh, that is good news about the Violet Paget/Vernon Lee books, Karen! I will have to check that out!

One day closer to Christmas and another book finished. Yes, I am stacking my end of year reading with shorter novellas to help me complete my challenge. ;-)

Dez 20, 2020, 3:37pm

Book #63 - The Willow Princess by Jeremy Neeley
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "N" Author: Neeley
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: September 23, 2017
Acquisition date: September 23, 2017
Page count: 116 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.65 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"In the dying land of Tora, a newlywed couple’s union is a source of hope for the future. But when deception and jealousy threaten to shatter that bond, a young princess is forced to undertake a perilous journey in order to save the man she loves. Confronted by savage creatures and perilous terrain, she races against time to obtain a cure once thought lost to the ages."
An enjoyable quest-styled fantasy/fable. While this one follows the typical trajectory of a quest-styled fantasy/fairy tale, I do love the fact that it is the husband who is hovering on the verge of death and it is the princess who embarks on a perilous time-sensitive quest to save his life. Some good world build in this story where love and peace are enduring themes. While I believe this story can probably be enjoyed by most age groups, a couple of scenes may be a little disturbing for younger children, so would recommend you read the story before sharing with pre-teens.

Dez 21, 2020, 5:28pm

Tachyon Publications, an SFF house, posted this on Twitter. Says it all, no?

Dez 22, 2020, 3:23pm

Wishing you a great holiday!

Dez 22, 2020, 9:39pm

... and here's to a better 2021!

Dez 24, 2020, 3:29am

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful time, remain healthy and full of hope.
I took this picture 2 years ago when we were on our pre-Christmas vacation.
Last year there was no snow, this year we were not allowed to go. Therefore, we revel in fond memories and look forward to next year.

Dez 24, 2020, 8:32am

Or in other words, Happy Christmas! And have a great New Year as well. Here’s hoping 2021 is better than 2020.

Dez 24, 2020, 8:40am

Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season and a joyous 2021!

Dez 24, 2020, 12:07pm

>159 richardderus: - I love the sentiment, Richard! I would love to claw 2020 to shreds. ;-)

>160 mstrust: - Thank you Jennifer! A very classic card that is!

>161 karenmarie: - Beautiful card, Karen and yes, here is to a better 2021!

>162 SirThomas: - What a lovely picture, Thomas! What a beautiful place to visit. Here is hoping that we can return to travel in 2021, but in the meantime, virtual memory travel sounds lovely.

>163 SandDune: - Thank you for the Happy Christmas wishes, Rhian! Yes, here is hoping that 2021 is better than this past year has been.

>164 Carmenere: - Thank you Lynda. I love the book tree! Wishing you an equally lovely holiday season and a positive 2021!


Christmas eve morning, and a rather frosty one, at that! I hope everyone has a safe, relaxing, stress-free holiday season. Our low-key Christmas eve plans are to watch National Theatre's Dick Whittington ( ) and take in the classic It's A Wonderful Life.

For all my visitors, below is the inside message of my 2020 Christmas cards (I went with a vintage motif this year):

Dez 24, 2020, 5:14pm

Lori--Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May 2021 bring you less need for masks, loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

Dez 24, 2020, 5:53pm

Dez 25, 2020, 11:23am

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

Dez 25, 2020, 4:02pm

Hooe you had a Merry Christmas!

Dez 25, 2020, 8:10pm

Happy Holidays to you and yours, Lori!

Dez 27, 2020, 12:27am

>166 Berly: - Thank you, Kim! Yes, everything you mentioned would be lovely for 2021!

>167 AMQS: - Thank you, Anne!

>168 PaulCranswick: - Thank you, Paul! 4/5 isn't too bad from that list. ;-) There is always next year for a full 5/5.

>169 ChelleBearss: - Thank you, Chelle!

>170 Storeetllr: - Thank you, Mary!

We survived a low-key Christmas. Ate too much, slept plenty and enjoyed a bunch of classic holiday movies. For those wondering, yes, we did a traditional turkey dinner. We are both huge fans of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy with roasted veggies. We could have probably swapped out the bird with something different, but why bother. I don't buy the whole bird. I prefer the turkey breast trussed up like a roast. So much easier to cook and less mess to clean up! I only made one Boxing Day purchase this year: New rain boots for the wet winters we get. Seriously, there is no such thing as having too much rain gear here on the West Coast. ;-)

I don't go back to work (meaning log onto the work computer from home) until Tuesday so plans for the next couple of days involves sleeping in late and reading. I have managed to finish three more books - just one more book to go and I will have completed my Alphabet Challenges, - so I am happy about that.

Now for some quick reviews.

Dez 27, 2020, 12:27am

Book #64 - Nina Balatka by Anthony Trollope
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "T" Author: Trollope
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1867
Acquisition date: May 2, 2019
Page count: 117 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the synopsis:
"Set in the old Bohemian capital of Prague, Nina Balatka tells the story of the burgeoning relationship between the beautiful Nina Balatka, daughter of a bankrupt merchant and Anton Trendelssohn, son of the merchant's former Jewish partner. When the growing love between Anton and Nina becomes apparent, Nina's wealthy and relatives do everything within their power to prevent the marriage. Also ranged against the couple are both their fathers, who are equally set in their ways and absolutely certain that no good can come of such a union."
This is my first foray into Trollope's works, so I don't know if this is a good one to start off with, especially as it appears Nina Balatka was published anonymously in Blackwood's Magazine by Trollope as an experiment and a departure from his usual style. First lesson I learned: skip past the Introduction. If you are like me and hope to experience Trollope's works at your own leisure, the spoiler for his "Barsetshire" books in the second paragraph of introduction was a bit frustrating to encounter. Oh well, as I said, I have now learned my lesson once again to avoid Introductions unless I am well read of the author's works.

At first blush, this is a love story. Not quite Romeo and Juliet but our lovers - Nina and Anton - face their own hurdles for the love match. Trollope presents Prague of the time period and there is a lot of focus in this story on Christian/Jewish relationships and societal prejudices against such inter-faith marriages. Hard when not just the immediate families but their religious communities are set against such a match. Add to this a complication: Anton's family owns the house Nina and her ailing father live in. Anton's request for the deed to the house leads to much misinformation and lack of trust issues. Themes of poverty, antisemitism, societal pressures and isolation flow through this story. While this is my first Trollope read, I get the impression from some searches that Trollope's more popular stories have a lighter, humourous aspect. Trollope presents readers to a strong female lead in Nina. While we get to see inside Nina's thoughts and tumultuous emotions, I felt that the characterization and plot took a bit of a back seat to Trollope's social-religious-economic critique. Overall I found it interesting to see 17th century Prague through Trollope's pen.

Dez 27, 2020, 12:27am

Book #65 - Queen Quail is Quiet: and other ABC Tongue Twisters by Erika Barriga
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "Q" Title: Queen, Quail, Quiet
Source: GVPL
Format: ebook
Original publication date: May 13, 2013
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 56 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
"The Alphabet is Amazing! Explore the letters and their sounds in this collection of illustrations and alliterations from Erika Barriga. Younger children will learn to associate the colorful letter with the sound and older children will enjoy wrapping their mouths around the funny, tongue-twisting text."
I do love tongue twisters! Barriga has come up with 26 delightful and fun tongue twisters, one for each letter of the alphabet and each one illustrated by the author. I read the ebook version but apparently the print version includes pop-up text, which would bring added fun for young children readers. Some of the tongue twisters are quite clever - like "House wears a hat while hearts lover high" and "Jester juggles jellybeans" - while two left me somewhat puzzled - "Duck will take a dip with a donut" (illustration shows duck wearing a floatation device) and "Koala cuddles his kosher ketchup" (does kosher ketchup exist?). An amusing little book that may be a springboard to some interesting conversations with young children readers.

Dez 27, 2020, 12:28am

Book #66 - A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "O" Title: One's, Own
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: September 1929
Acquisition date: May 2, 2019
Page count: 141 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the book listing webpage:
" A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf, and is based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled "Women and Fiction", and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction. The essay is generally seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy."
So happy to discover that Woolf, like Margaret Atwood, can give an essay the wonderful cadence and flow (and lively presentation) akin to a witty work of fiction! The title for this book comes from the premise of Woolf's thesis that “… a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf proceeds to present a compelling argument, using author examples pulled from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Making use of the literary voice to communicate her arguments, Woolf alludes to three of the four Marys found in the 16th century Scottish ballad "The Fower Maries", with Mary Beton serving as the main narrator. While Woolf's focus is on women and fiction, she reaches some interesting conclusions, which I won't go into here. For me, I find the essay is most powerful in that it leads the reader (or at least this reader) to examine the arguments presented, arrive at one's own conclusion, possibly further research the topic in the context of the current literary landscape and keep the conversation going.

Dez 27, 2020, 12:28am

One book to go - "Q" author - and both of my Alphabet Challenges will be completed. As a teaser, the book I have chosen is a Canadian literary work, winner of a Canadian literary award and incorporated many Canadian themes, including ice hockey. ;-)

Can you guess the book (understanding that Canadian visitors to this thread may have an edge, but Google is everyone's friend).

Dez 27, 2020, 1:24pm

Traditional End-of-Year meme with the answers all being titles of books I've read this past year (not including the one or two books I may finish before year end). A bit challenging with a year of a lot of murder mysteries read. Oh well, here goes:

Describe yourself: The Companion

Describe how you feel: Where is My Mind?

Describe where you currently live: A House Without Windows

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: What Remains of Heaven

Your favorite form of transportation is: The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

Your favorite food is: Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies

Your favorite time of day is: When Maidens Mourn

Your best friend is: Sophia of Silicon Valley

You and your friends are: Nowhere Near Goodbye

What’s the weather like: Rainwater

You fear: Where Serpents Sleep

What is the best advice you have to give: Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner

Thought for the day: Why Kill the Innocent

What is life for you: What Angels Fear

How you would like to die: Where the Dead Lie

Your soul’s present condition: The Ghost in the House

What was 2020 like for you? Why Mermaids Sing

What do you want from 2021? Her Revolution

Editado: Dez 30, 2020, 3:03pm

Love them! Especially "You and your friends are: Nowhere Near Goodbye"

Dez 30, 2020, 8:40pm

I discovered the turkey breast dressed up like a roast a while back, Lori. It's good, especially when there are just two people to feed. They had more than usual at Save On about a week before Christmas probably thinking there would be less demand for full turkeys due to the ban on family gatherings. I guess they were right because there were no turkey roasts left when I went in to pick up some last minute items on December 23.

All the best for the New Year!

Dez 31, 2020, 11:43am

>177 Berly: - Thanks, Kim!

>178 Familyhistorian: - I feel for the stores this year, Meg. Very challenging to try and gauge what the demand will be for certain items. We had a larger than usual turkey roast this year, but the left overs were quickly consumed as pasta, loaded nachos and, of course, turkey wraps. ;-)


Here we are.... the last day of 2020. Our New Years Eve plans have always been low-key (other half would typically do some online gaming with his buddies and then join me in toasting the New Year while watching recordings of fireworks displays in other cities/countries (one of the joys of being one of the last time zones to celebrate). Obviously, our plans will be pretty much the same this year. ;-) I am more of a New Years Day celebrator.... my thing is to use the left over champers from the night before and enjoy a mimosa (or two) as the sun rises while the other half sleeps. ;-)

I did finish my last book for 2020 - which means I have completed my Alphabet Challenges. Quick review to follow.

Dez 31, 2020, 11:44am

Book #67 - King Leary by Paul Quarrington
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2020 Category
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "Q" Author: Quarrington
Source: GVPL
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 1987
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book listing webpage:
" Percival Leary was once the King of the Ice, one of hockey's greatest heroes. Now, in the South Grouse Nursing Home, where he shares a room with Edmund "Blue" Hermann, the antagonistic and alcoholic reporter who once chronicled his career, Leary looks back on his tumultuous life and times: his days at the boys' reformatory when he burned down a house; the four mad monks who first taught him to play hockey; and the time he executed the perfect "St. Louis Whirlygig" to score the winning goal in the 1919 Stanley Cup final.

Now all but forgotten, Leary is only a legend in his own mind until a high-powered advertising agency decides to feature him in a series of ginger ale commercials. With his male nurse, his son, and the irrepressible Blue, Leary sets off for Toronto on one last adventure as he revisits the scenes of his glorious life as King of the Ice."
This story screams Canadiana and hockey history. While I enjoy watching hockey, I have no historical knowledge of the greats of yesteryear, so the name dropping meant nothing to me. What I did enjoy is the first person narrative, Percy's florid perspective (and hazy memory) as the King of the Ice, and how Quarrington tells what is in essence a rather bleak story in a poignant, entertaining way with wry humour. I did not find the characters overly loveable, but I do appreciate Percy - now an aged and infirm resident in a senior's nursing home - and how his hazy memories stir up emotions of both pride and regret. My favorite parts of the story include the monks who taught young Percy about hockey while he was in reformatory school. When they show up unexpected at his hotel room in New York... well, you will just have to read the book to find out more.

Overall, an interesting and entertaining CanLit story told with humour and pathos.

Dez 31, 2020, 11:46am

And that is a wrap for my 2020 reading. I have not decided yet if I will set up a 2021 thread in the new 75ers group, but it is early days yet. In the meantime, I do have a thread set up over on the Category Challenge, where you can follow my 2021 reading:

Wishing you all a safe and fabulous New Year's Eve and a

Dez 31, 2020, 1:36pm

Happy New Year, Lori!

Dez 31, 2020, 9:14pm

Happy New Year, Lori!

Dez 31, 2020, 9:18pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

Jan 1, 6:21pm

>183 Storeetllr: and >184 PaulCranswick: - Thank you Mary and Paul for the New Year wishes!

Jan 4, 12:46am

Happy New Year, Lori - I hope you do decide to set up a thread. I can certainly come visit you on your already popular thread, but as you know I have trouble keeping up when I'm in school and I tend to stay "at home" which is to say in the 75-ers group. I will definitely come visit, though!

Jan 4, 6:15am

Just dropping my star here. Happy new year.

Jan 4, 5:30pm

>186 AMQS: - Happy New Year, Anne! Yes, I have decided to set up a thread in the 2021 75-ers group. Not sure how active I will be, but you will be able to find me here:

>187 sirfurboy: - Lovely to see you stopping by! I have set up a new thread over in the 2021 75-ers group. You can find me here: