Bohemima’s 2020 Book Bag #3

É uma continuação do tópico Bohemima’s 2020 Book Bag #2.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Bohemima’s 2020 Book Bag #3

1bohemima
Editado: Out 1, 2020, 11:41am

Off again on the reading journey.

Just for myself, I think the third quarter was sad in the books area. I allowed far too many distractions to eat up my time, attention, and energy.

I hope I’ll be able to deal with those distractions in a more positive way this quarter.

Most of you know that my preferred genre is mystery. I don’t like a lot of gore, but I certainly dislike...um...treacly or sugary books. So I try to find a middle way if I can.

This quarter I hope to read more novels. But if I don’t, no one will care but me, so there’s that.

So, welcome aboard for books and book talk.

2bohemima
Editado: Fev 23, 12:40pm

Books Read Fourth Quarter
117. Old School Tobias Wolff
116. The Camomile Lawn Mary Wesley
115. An English Murder Cyril Hare
114. Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet? John Sutherland
113. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding Agatha Christie
112. Christmas at High Rising Angela Thirkell
111. Hercules Poirot’s Christmas Agatha Christie
110. Sacred Country Rose Tremain
109. Rest You Merry Charlotte Macleod
108. A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens
107. The Crabtree Affair Michael Innes
106. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
105. The Weight of the Evidence Michael Innes
104. The Last Viking Stephen R. Brown
103. The Case of the Famished Parson George Bellairs
102. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail David Miller
101. Slight Mourning Catherine Aird
100. Is Heathcliff a Murderer? John Sutherland
99. Henry Adams Louis Auchincloss
98. The Daffodil Affair Michael Innes
97. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Abbi Waxman
96. Printer’s Error Gladys Mitchell
95. The Doomsday Book Connie Willis
94. The Seven Dials Mystery Agatha Christie
93. The Ghost Road Pat Barker
92. Different Class Joanne Harris
91. Bellman and Black Diane Setterfield

3bohemima
Editado: Nov 16, 2020, 10:34pm

Books Read Third Quarter

90. St. Peter’s Finger Gladys Mitchell
89. Flower Confidential Amy Stewart
88. The Long Farewell Michael Innes
87. Dover One Joyce Porter
86. Middlemarch George Eliot
85. Come Away, Death Gladys Mitchell
84. Journeying Boy Michael Innes
83. The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman
82. Operation Pax Michael Innes
81. Death by Water Michael Innes
80. The Secret of Chimneys Agatha Christie
79. The Perfect Murder Case Christopher Bush
78. Have His Carcase Dorothy Sayers
77. Charity Ends at Home Colin Watson
76. One by One They Disappeared Moray Dalton
75. Louis Auchincloss: A Writer’s Life Carol Gelderman
74. The Smiler with the Knife Nicholas Blake
73. Castle Richmond Anthony Trollope
72. In the Bleak Midwinter Julia Spencer-Fleming
71. Gone Away Hazel Holt
70. Zanzibar to Timbuktu Anthony Daniels
69. A Rare Benedictine Ellis Peters
68. He’d Rather Be Dead George Bellairs
67. Calamity at Harwood George Bellairs
66. In the Kingdom of Ice Hampton Sides
65. Reading Henry James Louis Auchincloss

4bohemima
Editado: Fev 23, 1:39pm

Fourth Quarter Statistics:

TOTAL: 27

MYSTERIES: 11

NOVELS: 10

SHORT STORIES 1

NONFICTION: 5

MALE AUTHORS: 10

FEMALE AUTHORS: 12

LONGEST BOOK: Great Expectations 592 pages

SHORTEST BOOK Henry James 48 pages

AVERAGE PAGES PER DAY 75

AVERAGE PAGES PER BOOK 254

RECURRING AUTHORS 3
Agatha Christie 3
Charles Dickens 2
Michael Innes 2

Third Quarter Statistics:

TOTAL: 26

MYSTERIES: 18

NOVELS: 3

NONFICTION: 5

MALE AUTHORS: 8

FEMALE AUTHORS: 13

LONGEST BOOK: Middlemarch 804 pages

SHORTEST BOOK: A Rare Benedictine 130 pages

AVERAGE PAGES PER DAY: 89

AVERAGE PAGES PER BOOK: 316

RECURRING AUTHORS:
Michael Innes 4
Gladys Mitchell 2
George Bellairs 2

5bohemima
Editado: Out 1, 2020, 11:35am

Second Quarter Statistics:

TOTAL: 38

MYSTERIES: 20

NOVELS: 10

NONFICTION: 8

MALE AUTHORS: 15

FEMALE AUTHORS: 23

LONGEST BOOK: Mr. Scarborough’s Family, 542 pages

SHORTEST BOOK: War of the Worlds, 108 Pges

AVERAGE PAGES PER BOOK: 272

6bohemima
Editado: Out 1, 2020, 11:33am

First Quarter Statistics:

TOTAL:26

MYSTERIES: 15

NOVELS: 9

NONFICTION: 2

MALE AUTHORS: 16

FEMALE AUTHORS: 10

LONGEST BOOK: The Mirror and the Light 784 pages

SHORTEST BOOK: Literary Taste 72 pages

AVERAGE PAGES PER BOOK: 332

AVERAGE PAGES PER DAY: 94

7drneutron
Out 1, 2020, 12:25pm

Happy new thread!

8MickyFine
Out 1, 2020, 12:50pm

Happy new thread, Gail!

9bohemima
Out 1, 2020, 2:13pm

>7 drneutron: and >8 MickyFine:

Thank you, Jim and Micky! Seems like a good time to start one off.

Let’s hope it’s a good one.

10johnsimpson
Out 1, 2020, 4:06pm

Hi Gail my dear, happy new thread. I do hope you have a great 4th quarter with your reading as i am hoping to do the same as i only read one book in September but this was due in part to glorious weather and wanting to get jobs done in the garden by taking advantage of this weather.

Hope all is well with you and we both send love and hugs dear friend.

11bohemima
Out 1, 2020, 5:59pm

>10 johnsimpson: why, thank you, John, for those very kind words.

Uh-oh. One book in September? Yikes! I do understand the appeal of the warm weather and getting things done.

Sending love to you and Karen. xxoo

12bohemima
Out 1, 2020, 6:01pm

Another detriment to my reading has been the idea that somehow I must *force* myself to read certain books. Not classics, mind you, and not what anyone else might be reading; just certain things that I somehow got stuck in the “you have to do this” section of my brain.

Well, the heck with that because obviously it’s not working for me. At all.

13lkernagh
Out 2, 2020, 6:58pm

Happy new thread, Gail! I 'hear' you on the feeling of being forced to read certain books. I would suggest not giving in to that feeling and just read what you want, when you want. ;-)

14PaulCranswick
Out 2, 2020, 9:44pm

Happy new thread, Gail.

>12 bohemima: That surely applies to everything we buy. Sometimes I look at the 4,000 or so unread books on my shelves and ponder with some of them - "why did I buy that?!"

15FAMeulstee
Out 3, 2020, 6:41am

Happy new thread, Gail!

>12 bohemima: I have the same, some books don't appeal while reading, but I am not able to abandon. I wish my brain wasn't wired like that ;-)

16bohemima
Out 3, 2020, 9:10am

Random Book note:

Last quarter’s Flower Confidential is all about the profession cut-flower industry.

I love flowers. Truly. But like anything else, once something becomes a profit-making concern, things get warped.

The information about the business of providing flowers to the general public was new to me and held my interest pretty well. And learning about the process of developing new varieties for the market was eye-opening.

But overall the book is somewhat depressing in its depiction of the relentless pursuit of money that overtakes many growers. There were a couple of rays of hope regarding more ecologically sound growing practices (e.g. a reduction in the use of lethal pesticides).

Stewart has written several books about plants and gardens, booze and insects. Most of these are essentially light-hearted. This one, not really. If you’re interested in the subject it’s quite a good introduction. But I was left with a very different feeling about cut flowers than I had when I started the book.

17karenmarie
Out 3, 2020, 9:56am

Hello Gail, and happy new thread.

>12 bohemima: I’m sorry you think you should read certain books. I hope you can either become happy reading them or abandon them without guilt.

18LizzieD
Out 3, 2020, 1:55pm

Hi, Gail! Happy New Thread with best wishes for happy reading and commenting here!
Thanks to you, I found St. Peter's Finger at a bargain price for Kindle, and it's now among the books I'm reading. (That means that I've read 50 pages or so in 13 or 14 and am actually picking up and putting down two or three. Way to never finish anything!)

19bohemima
Editado: Out 6, 2020, 9:43am

>17 karenmarie: Hello, Karen! Good to see you here.

I’m not sure where all the “You should be doing X, Y, and/or Z. Right now!” I mean, I get it about housework, laundry, whatever. After all, those have an end, even if it’s only temporary. This other self-improvement...nonsense...Maybe it’s a wonky combination of growing up in New England and as a Catholic. More than enough guilt to last several lifetimes plus a dominant work ethic that could kill you if you’re not watching.

But I’m 71. I taught for 34 years. I’ve done tons of volunteer work. I’ve donated and still donate money to causes and people I believe in. I’m trying hard to just enjoy myself now. But sometimes that voice of duty whispers low, “Thou must.” I try to answer, “Not today.”

I hope your week is a wonderful one.

20bohemima
Out 6, 2020, 9:47am

>18 LizzieD: Peggy! I am right there with you on the 13 or 14 books going at once. And there with too on the not finishing any of them.

I’m finding it hard to get a book that just knocks me over. I did fall right into Bellman and Black (more on that later), so I know that it can still happen.

Maybe it’s the old idea of saving things for best. Best is right now, because right now is all we can count on. So I’m trying to just plunge into those books that look super intriguing and let the others wait for their moment in my particular sun.

Have a wonderful week, Peggy.

21bohemima
Editado: Out 7, 2020, 12:32pm

So: Bellman and Black

Not precisely a ghost story, this book is creepy, mysterious, and moody.

It seems as though everyone has a different opinion of what the book is about: what is the author trying to tell us, if anything? I think the book is about grief—about how it can be so overwhelming as to crush something inside us. I seem to be alone there, but we all know that every reader reads a different book.

A young boy unthinkingly kills a rook with a slingshot, not believing that he can do it. He becomes ill immediately and run a high fever. He recovers and goes on to a successful business life. His personal life, however, takes a very different turn.

I loved the book. It drew me in immediately—I’m a bird lover especially interested in the corvids; Victorian England is my emotional home (Um. I hate to think what that’s says about me. Never mind, we’ll just carry on.) I never lost interest; never wanted to skip ahead to see what happens later (a habit I’m deeply embarrassed by); never thought the characters were inane. It’s a wonderful read for October.

If the book has a fault, it’s that the character of Bellman’s daughter isn’t well-developed. The book is intensely, almost claustrophobically, focused on Bellman, but I think a bit more about the daughter would have made a better book. Perhaps the author intended us to see her through Bellman’s eyes, though, in which case the portrait is just right.

Four enthusiastic stars; highly recommended.

22lkernagh
Out 9, 2020, 11:27am

>21 bohemima: - Excellent review, Gail!

23tymfos
Out 9, 2020, 10:21pm

Hi, Gail! I'm just stopping by to say hello and wish you happy reading!

24richardderus
Out 11, 2020, 4:09pm

*smooch*

That is all.

25EBT1002
Out 11, 2020, 10:40pm

Hi Gail. It's great to see you here. And closing in on 100 books read this year! Way to go!

26Berly
Out 16, 2020, 12:06am

Hi Gail! Catching up here. Glad you are shaking off the Have-To's and reading what you want. Much more fun that way!

27bohemima
Editado: Out 25, 2020, 10:15am

>22 lkernagh: >23 tymfos: >24 richardderus: >25 EBT1002: >26 Berly: Thank you to my visitors!

Random Book Notes:

Different Class by Joanne Harris is set at the same school as the surprising Gentlemen and Players about a year after the events in that book. The school is rebuilding and is being run by a new headmaster and a sort of committee, all sent in by the government.

While it doesn’t pack the same stunning surprise at the end, D.C. has plenty of twists and turns. This isn’t as much of a mystery as it is a deep study of character. I did peg one of the villains, but it truly doesn’t matter; Harris is a versatile and able writer who can deliver a good deal of suspense while sidetracking the reader with some...odd characters.

A definite plus is humor that’s both snarky and quirky, and a delightfully flawed main character.
Highly recommended.
*Dont why touchstones didn’t work here

28bohemima
Editado: Out 25, 2020, 10:08am

Random Book Notes

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker is a worthy finish to her Regeneration series. This one is set in the very last months of World War One. The volume won the Booker Prize (the bloom’s gone off that particular rose, but that’s another story), I think in recognition of the trilogy as a whole.

The story here is mostly about Billy Pryor, Barker’s working-class soldier character. In Regeneration Pryor added some shadowing and roundness to a book that was essentially about the WWI poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. The Eye in the Door, volume two of the trilogy, was mostly about Pryor, his “talking cure” with Dr. Rivers, and his almost crushing ambivalence about his sexuality.

Here Billy still has deep-seated problems but is able to face them without a severe mental collapse.

And then he and Wilfred Owen (also “cured”) are sent back to the front. The scenes in France are vivid, horrifying, and deeply moving.

The sections about Billy alternate with chapters about Dr. Rivers and his study of some indigenous people who are committed headhunters. The comparison between the cultures of Western Europe and the islands is superbly done, all the more so because Barker leaves it up to the reader to draw those comparisons.

This is a really good book: not quite as good as Regeneration, but far better than The Eye in the Door. Another whole-hearted recommendation.

29bohemima
Out 25, 2020, 10:11am

Currently reading The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. This one’s been waiting for me to read it for quite a while. I had no idea how topical it would be.

30richardderus
Out 25, 2020, 10:24am

>29 bohemima: Other than placing the epidemic in 2054, she's spot on.

Spend a lovely week ahead!

31karenmarie
Out 25, 2020, 12:16pm

Hi Gail.

>19 bohemima: I didn’t grow up in New England or Catholic, but I grew up in a very conservative if not religious household. From about the age of 2 or so my paternal grandmother lived with us, a true Victorian born in 1882 and sternly Presbyterian. Dad was agnostic, though, and wouldn't let her take us to church. I’ve spent quite a bit of my adulthood getting rid of some of the ‘should’s. However, self-respect demands a certain level of being house-proud (dishes, laundry, cleaning, putting away). My work ethic was strong and I’m glad to see that my daughter absorbed it. Now my goals are to only be a 1-term President of the Friends and survive Covid. Abandoning books seems a relatively minor guilt trip. In fact, I’m seriously considering wiping the slate clean on December 31st with any books unfinished being declared abandoned and put back on the shelves for another year.

>21 bohemima: Onto the wish list it goes – my local branch of the Library has it but it’s currently checked out. I’ll be patient…

>27 bohemima: I loved Gentlemen and Players. Don’t remember much about it except that I loved it. I’ve also read Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange, both good but not as good as GaP.

>29 bohemima: A BB – just bought it for my Kindle. I’ve thought about buying it for quite a while, today’s the day.

32PaulCranswick
Out 29, 2020, 10:06pm

>28 bohemima: Good review of Ghost Road. Still a Booker I haven't got to yet. I did love her Silence of the Girls last year though.

33LizzieD
Out 29, 2020, 11:19pm

Hi, Gail! I can almost always talk about what you're reading, which makes me happy!

I love Doomsday Book! I think it may be CW's best. It's certainly my favorite.

I also enjoyed *G&P* and didn't realize that Harris had followed it with another. I'm off to see about that. Thank you!

I read Regeneration quite some time ago and never got back to the other two. Now I'll need to reread #1 before moving on. I think it was not a good time for me and that book, but I remember enough to know that it deserves better attention from me.

And, I've started and not made much progress in *SP's Finger*. I'm pretty sure that it's my problem more than the book's, and I may decide to let it rest.

34richardderus
Out 30, 2020, 4:01pm

Howdy do, buckaroo. *smooch*

35bohemima
Nov 4, 2020, 1:14pm

>31 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! Yep, I’ve set my reading goal for next year: No goals, no challenges, no Must Reads, none of that. Just read the way I did from childhood through most of my life: pick appealing books, and let those books lead me to other books. Maybe take a really deep dive into an author (Auchincloss, I’m looking at you), or subject that strikes my fancy (sea life? lives of favorite artists?) or maybe a historical period will call to me.

Whatever happens, next year I’m flying by the seat of pants. There is so very little I can control in life; at least I can control my reading. Or wait...maybe I mean refuse to control it.

36bohemima
Editado: Nov 4, 2020, 1:15pm

>32 PaulCranswick: Nice to see you, Paul. I haven’t read Silence of the Girls yet. I do like Barker as an author. Her books are quite different from one another.

37bohemima
Nov 4, 2020, 1:22pm

>33 LizzieD: Hi, Peggy! I love being able to chat with someone else about what I read. I haven’t discovered a lot of people who read the same things I do.

I was of two minds about Doomsday Book, but I’ll talk about that later.

I’ve become a firm fan of Joanne Harris. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the three books I’ve read so far, and have a couple more lurking on the kindle.

The funny thing about St. Peter’s Finger: it’s probably the most traditional of Mitchell’s books that I’ve read to date. And I like it the least! I’ve truly settled into her crazy characters and odd plot lines, so a more “normal” or “usual” book from her is a disappointment! Go figure.

38bohemima
Nov 4, 2020, 1:23pm

>34 richardderus: Hello, Richard. When I arrived for breakfast this morning, my brother said he’d ordered hemlock for three.

Sigh.

It’s not over, but I surely hoped for better than this.

39bohemima
Nov 4, 2020, 2:17pm

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie is one of those “bright young things” spy/mystery stories that aren’t my favorite entertainment.

That said, though, this one worked a bit better for me than it has in the past. Although the plot is, of course, wildly improbable, it’s still amusing, and there are plenty of bends in the story line.

I did think the main culprit was a little too obvious, but I’m sure that comes from years of reading all sorts of mysteries. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a light mystery with some suspense thrown in.

40richardderus
Nov 4, 2020, 2:17pm

>38 bohemima: a-WOMEN.

41LizzieD
Nov 4, 2020, 2:49pm

>37 bohemima: That's helpful about *SP'sF*, Gail. I kept expecting something different at every page turn, and kept being disappointed. Now maybe I can just read it, chalk it up, and move somewhere else. I'll be interested to see what you have to say about *Doomsday*. (I hate to even type that word today. So glad that I'm not superstitious.)

42johnsimpson
Nov 4, 2020, 4:26pm

Hi Gail my dear, i see you have already decided what you are doing on the reading front next year, i will be back to more normal sized books next year as Karen is desperate for me to read some of the books she has read this year so that she can talk to me about them. Karen has been badgering me for most of this year about the books she has read while i have been tackling the Big ones.

I hope that you are well my dear and we send love and hugs to you dear friend.

43bohemima
Editado: Nov 5, 2020, 7:38am

>40 richardderus: I retain hope.

>41 LizzieD: Although it’s certainly not essential, as each of these stories stands on its own crazy feet, I can highly recommend the first one, Speedy Death. This introduction to Mrs. Bradley is marvelous. However, if you decide to buy it, don’t by any means read any of the blurbs or reviews. A vital and bizarre plot twist is given away.

I don’t know if you have Kindle Unlimited, but many of her books are available to borrow through that.

I read Laurels Are Poison first, if that’s any help. I loved it.

Doomsday is up next for Random Booknotes.

44karenmarie
Nov 5, 2020, 7:51am

Hi Gail!

>35 bohemima: Great idea to NOT have goals, challenges, or Must Reads. I finally gave up on group challenges except for Julia’s Dick Francis shared read, and anticipate more of the same for next year - no group reads unless Julia is kind enough to give us another Dick Francis shared read.

>39 bohemima: I did think the main culprit was a little too obvious, but I’m sure that comes from years of reading all sorts of mysteries. Bill and I watch mystery/suspense/thriller series mostly, and I frequently use my ‘book learning’ to figure out who the culprit is.

45PaulCranswick
Nov 6, 2020, 10:00pm

>35 bohemima: I could type that today and change tomorrow, Gail - I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure.

Seriously though, I do need challenges to keep me ticking along.

46bohemima
Nov 7, 2020, 8:28am

>42 johnsimpson: John! Hello!
Yes, I’ve decided next year is a No Rules Reading year. I do love a big, absorbing book, but I also like wee books that I can flash through in a day and night.

I have given some thought to subjects that I might be interested in exploring, but it’s been in the most inconsequential way possible.

I’ve been reading your thread and I must say that Karen has some interesting books on her list.

My very best and a hug to each of you, and lots of petting for Felix, the Handsome Cat.

47bohemima
Editado: Nov 7, 2020, 8:37am

>44 karenmarie: Hi, Karen!

Yes. The surest way to make me not want to read a book or a series or some sort of challenge is to write down that I’m going to do it. I immediately lose both interest and enthusiasm for any or all of it.

The single exception, for me, would be Lyzard’s various Victorian/whatever group reads. Even if I fall way, way behind or read it three months later, I’ll still go back to the thread and bask in all the love and chat about those books. I’ve read some fascinating books with her—and she has scores of old mysteries that I note and try out as well.

Which leads me to your other comment. I do this constantly—theorize about something I’m watching based on the (literally) couple of thousand mystery stories I’ve been reading since I was a child. Sometimes I’m very far off the mark, but not usually. It’s a lot of fun.

48bohemima
Nov 7, 2020, 8:43am

>45 PaulCranswick: LOL, Paul, I’m with you on the (in)decisiveness.

As above, I immediately lose interest in any challenge which I say publicly that I’ll participate in. Embarrassing.

I’m going to read no matter what—I can’t imagine a circumstance in which I wouldn’t avidly consume books. I’d rather do it without the guilt, though, which is why I’m opting out of the challenge/plan/goal sort of thing.

I’ll be following your challenges and goals because, hey, it’s a great way to get inspired. Silently inspired.

49bohemima
Editado: Nov 7, 2020, 9:32am

So, Random Book Notes

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis was an odd book for me.

I love the premise: an Oxford University time travel experiment back to the Middle Ages goes wrong. Of course it goes wrong: it’s time travel, people! That’s the fun of it!

So far, so good.

The dual settings: Oxford in 2054 and a 14th-century village quite close to Oxford, were perfect for me.

I loved two of the characters: Kivren and Father Roche. Kivren is fully realized as a person and completely believable. Father Roche is a more simple character but still believable. And the adolescent boy (cannot remember his name) was truly special to me. If you’ve ever been loved and cared for by a teen, just when you need it most, you’ll fall in love with him just as I did.

I frequently became totally absorbed in the medieval sections, so that I was with the characters, inside the book. I love it when this happens, when my surroundings disappear, time goes by without me noticing...nothing is better than that for a reader. The immediacy of Kivren’s predicament is wonderfully told.

The story is told in alternating sections, which works well for time travel stories. But that’s where the difficulty comes in.

The repetitive conversations, especially in the Oxford sections, nearly drove me mad. It seemed that the characters said the same things a hundred times. This happened in the medieval sections as well, but could (almost) pass as stream of consciousness narration. The modern characters were mostly stereotypes which while slightly comical, are still stereotypes. Some of the medieval characters were shells as well, but some of them are deftly portrayed.

There’s a flu-like plague going on in 2054 which adds interest and complications to the plot. There are also references to “the pandemic” which occurred sometime before our story begins. It made the book more realistic in an eerie sort of way.

While I was often dissatisfied while reading Doomsday Book, the engaging parts more than made up for it. And the last sentence made up for almost everything.

Recommended if you’d like to see what the Middle Ages was really like, or if you like time travel in general. A cautious 3.9 stars..

50johnsimpson
Nov 7, 2020, 3:28pm

Hi Gail my dear, hope you are having a good weekend, a lot of the books Karen has read are now on my reading pile and she is urging me to get on with them, not long to go before i start reducing my pile. Sending love and hugs from both of us and the cute Felix, dear friend.

51LizzieD
Nov 7, 2020, 4:05pm

On this day of days, I agree with your comments on *Doomsday*. C. Willis does repeat and go on and on. (Have you read Blackout and All Clear? They drove me completely nuts, and I still read them. I can forgive a lot if I decide to.)
Oh, that last sentence!

52bohemima
Editado: Nov 9, 2020, 8:19am

>50 johnsimpson: A good afternoon, John! We had a nice cool weekend here. Today will be warmer and cloudy and humid, though. Looking forward to seeing some of your reactions to books on Karen’s list!

I’ve just started another Big Book today.

I hope this will be a good week for you.

Love to all of you!

53bohemima
Nov 9, 2020, 8:20am

Peggy, this was quite a weekend, wasn’t it?

Doomsday was my first Willis. I have a couple more on the kindle and will probably read them. When she’s good she’s really good, so certainly worth another try. I guess the wordiness is her “style”, but I could have wished for a firm editor.

54bohemima
Nov 9, 2020, 8:22am

Currently reading Who Killed Society by Cleveland Amory and His Burial Too by Catherine Aird. Somehow that one got left out in my Series in Order reading. But I only read the book right after it before realizing my error, so not much, if any harm done.

55richardderus
Nov 9, 2020, 1:38pm

>54 bohemima: The Calleshire books aren't terribly sequence-sensitive reads. It adds very little to the reading experience to read book four after book five, for example; it's after book ten (Last Respects) that order matters more, though still not a huge amount.

So sorry your boy lost on Saturday.

*flees cackling*

56bohemima
Editado: Nov 9, 2020, 4:35pm

>55 richardderus: You tread dangerous ground, Young Man.

While it wasn’t as much as I had hoped, nevertheless, it’s a welcome victory.

ETA is there anything you haven’t read?

57richardderus
Nov 9, 2020, 7:23pm

>56 bohemima: Remembering that Mama got me my own library card at 9, my older sister had a bookstore for all the 1970s, I was a production manager for 8 years and a literary agent for eight more, and I finished a book a day for almost forty years...not by a long shot! I'm still catching up on the 1980s.

58humouress
Nov 15, 2020, 3:30am

Hi Gail! I'm just returning your visit to my thread. I used to read mysteries in my teens - mainly Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie - but I only pick them up occasionally these days. I did get hit by a BB recently for the first Amelia Peabody and I may continue with the series. I looked up Agatha Christie, since Richard mentioned her disappearance, and was reminded that I quite liked Tommy and Tuppence although I gather that goes agains the general consensus.

>38 bohemima: >55 richardderus: No idea what you two are going on about, though I am intrigued.

>57 richardderus: So you know what a book looks like then?

59PaulCranswick
Nov 15, 2020, 5:09am

>48 bohemima: My intentions are always better than my achievements, Gail.

Have a lovely Sunday.

60bohemima
Nov 15, 2020, 8:36am

>58 humouress: Hello, Nina! Mysteries have been my go-to fiction genre, perfectly suitable for all times and (nearly) all moods, since I was very young. We had those kids’ series: Nancy Drew, Dana Girls, Trixie Belsen, Hardy Boys, etc. Even the Bobbsey Twins books, which were for really young children, had elementary mysteries in them.

Richard and I were referring to the day immediately after the election, when it appeared that Mr. Trump might yet win. Hence the hemlock. Thank goodness that’s all sorted now, except for the whining.

Very glad to see you here.

61bohemima
Nov 15, 2020, 8:38am

>59 PaulCranswick: I’m with you there, Paul and not just in the reading area, either. We must continue to strive.

I hope your week is a wonderful one.

62bohemima
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 8:51am

I need to use this space to work on my series reading.

Agatha Christie
Poirot:Complete
Marple:Complete
Tommy and Tuppence: Due for a reread attempt

Dorothy Sayers
Peter Wimsey: Complete

Catherine Aird:
Sloan and Crosby: 6 of 24 novels
Next up: Parting Breath
0 of 3 short story collections
Next Up: Injury Time

George Bellairs
Inspector Littlejohn: 14 of 80
Next Available: The Case of the Famished Parson
Unavailable: Littlejohn on Leave #1
Four Unfaithful Servants #2
Murder Will Speak #4
The Case of the Scared Rabbits #9

63bohemima
Nov 15, 2020, 8:55am

And I have many, many more series to list. Im going to include those I’ve abandoned for whatever reason, so I don’t go down those murky, unsatisfactory (to me) paths again.

I’ve wanted to do this for a long, long time, in a concise fashion, here in my LT threads. I have much more extensive work in my commonplace or reading notebook, otherwise known as that mess of ideas, lists, quotes, memoranda, loves, hates, etc.

64humouress
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 9:12am

>60 bohemima: Yup, I started with Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, Hardy Boys, Lone Pine and a heap of Enid Blyton ones.

>62 bohemima: You might want to do that as a personal LT wiki page so it's easy to find - just make sure you keep the link somewhere safe so it's not lost in the ether.

65bohemima
Nov 15, 2020, 2:09pm

>64 humouress: That sounds wonderful, Nina. But it might be beyond my skill set. Could you give me a link that shows how to do it?

66humouress
Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 3:21pm

>65 bohemima: Oh. Um ... ah. Hang on; I'll have to look it up again ...

ETA: I'm back. Question - if you go to a wiki page (like https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/Main_Page) do you see 'My pages' and your username in the left-hand bar? If so, that's your LT wiki page.

This is what SqueakyChu wrote for me the first time I wanted to create a wiki page called 'Series and Sequels' so she created and titled it for me:

Series and Sequels --This is the title of your new page. Click edit to see the double brackets. There change the title to what you want. When you save this page, you'll see this in red on your main wiki page. That's the link to your new page with the title you want.

67bohemima
Nov 15, 2020, 4:03pm

Thank you, Ma’am!

68humouress
Nov 16, 2020, 12:53am

>67 bohemima: You're welcome. The test, though, is did you try it? and did it work?

69bohemima
Nov 16, 2020, 8:38am

Yes! Success!

Truly, thank you, Nina. This is a tremendous help, because I was dreading cluttering up my current thread with all this rather boring claptrap. And then the tedium of C P over and over and over...

70humouress
Nov 16, 2020, 8:50am

>69 bohemima: Oh good. Glad I could help :0)

71Caroline_McElwee
Nov 16, 2020, 2:30pm

>63 bohemima: My Common Place books sound exactly like yours Gail :-)

72richardderus
Nov 16, 2020, 3:22pm

>71 Caroline_McElwee: One major reason I keep my Goodreads account is that it has a version of the commonplace book built into it. I can copy things from my Kindle and directly send them to my Quotes tab, relatively easily find quotes I otherwise have to cudgel my brain for, type in paperbook quotes and then organize them to be found later, etc etc. And I won't lose them, the way I have so many other paper versions.

73bohemima
Editado: Nov 22, 2020, 6:29pm

I cannot get touchstones to save here no matter what I do. Phooey
1. Name any book you read at any time that was published in the year you turned 18:
(I couldn’t choose among these three; each has been important important my life:)
The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton Fawn Brodie
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Chosen Chaim Potok

2. Name a book you have on in your TBR pile that is over 500 pages long:
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

3. What is the last book you read with a mostly blue cover?
Death by Water Michael Innes

4. What is the last book you didn’t finish (and why didn’t you finish it?)
The Martian Andy Weir This was my second attempt, bout it just doesn’t hold my interest.

5. What is the last book that scared the bejeebers out of you?
Books don’t do that to me anymore. The last book that actually scared me a lot was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. And that was about 758 years ago, in terms of books read.

6. Name the book that read either this year or last year that takes place geographically closest to where you live? How close would you estimate it was?
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail David Miller (Starts about 700 miles from my front door) *Note to self: Read some books about FL, for Pete’s sake!*

7.What were the topics of the last two nonfiction books you read?
Hiking the Appalachian Trail and Obscure but interesting questions about classic novels

8. Name a recent book you read which could be considered a popular book?

9. What was the last book you gave a rating of 5-stars to? And when did you read it? Middlemarch George Eliot Read in July, I think. This was my fourth read of the book, so I feel pretty sure that my rating is solid, for me.

10. Name a book you read that led you to specifically to read another book (and what was the other book, and what was the connection)
In the Kingdom of Ice Hampton Sides It’s about polar exploration and so prompted me to restart on The Last Viking by Stephen Brown, about Ronald Amundson. I’ve returned to this now and am currently reading it.

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

12. What is the setting of the first novel you read this year?
Tudor England (Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel)

13. What is the last book you read, fiction or nonfiction, that featured a war in some way (and what war was it)?
The Ghost Road Pat Barker WW I

14. What was the last book you acquired or borrowed based on an LTer’s review or casual recommendation? And who was the LTer, if you care to say.
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Abbi Waxman, recommended by McKait (Kath)

15. What the last book you read that involved the future in some way?
The Doomsday Book Connie Willis (some parts take place in 2055)

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

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

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

19. Who was the most recent dead author you read? And what year did they die?
Louis Auchincloss; January 26, 2010 RIP

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

21. What was the name of the detective or crime-solver in the most recent crime novel you read?
Inspector Sloane and Constable Crosby in Slight Mourning Catherine Aird

22. What was the shortest book of any kind you’ve read so far this year?
Henry Adams Louis Auchincloss
23. Name the last book that you struggled with (and what do you think was behind the struggle?)

24. What is the most recent book you added to your library here on LT?
His Burial Too Catherine Aird

25. Name a book you read this year that had a visual component (i.e. illustrations, photos, art, comics)
Fun Home Alison Bechdel

74humouress
Nov 16, 2020, 11:57pm

>69 bohemima: Just a note to say that if you're creating a new wiki page after this (edit the title, as SqueakyChu said) remember to copy the link and put it somewhere like your homepage where you can easily find it again. Your first page should still be linked to your username in the lefthand bar, as before.

>72 richardderus: I use Litsy for keeping quotes and blurbs so that I don't have to go searching all over my thread for partial reviews.

75richardderus
Nov 17, 2020, 3:33pm

>74 humouress: I gave up on Litsy very soon after putting it on my phone because that was the only way to access it. Like Instagram, if I *MUST** use the phone to post on it, I won't do so.

76humouress
Nov 18, 2020, 1:52am

>74 humouress: Oh. I use the website to post on as well as the app on my tablet.

77bohemima
Nov 18, 2020, 8:33am

>74 humouress: >75 richardderus: >76 humouress: I tried Litsy but soon found it cumbersome for my needs. It’s a good thing we’ve got a ton of different sites to use.

78richardderus
Nov 18, 2020, 10:11am

>76 humouress: Oh, you can access it by computer now? That wasn't the way of it early on, I guess.

>77 bohemima: Ain't it just. I've used both Goodreads and LT for years.

79PaulCranswick
Nov 20, 2020, 9:50pm

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Gail.

80bohemima
Nov 22, 2020, 6:29pm

>78 richardderus: I do use the same, GR and LT, but lately I’m finding GR very clunky for what I want to do. LT is a perfect fit.

>79 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! I hope yours was great and the coming week will be a productive one.v

81bohemima
Nov 24, 2020, 9:08am

I realized this morning that I’ve been to 46 of 50 states.

Haven’t seen, and probably won’t see, Alaska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Alaska.

It’s not because I don’t want to see those states; I’d love to. But my traveling companion is gone.

Although I have traveled quite a bit in the Southwest with my eldest.

82richardderus
Nov 24, 2020, 9:58am

>81 bohemima: Alaska's big, Gail, but counting it twice is cheating. :-P

*smooch*

83bohemima
Nov 24, 2020, 10:43am

>82 richardderus:. Oopsie.

See what happens with too little coffee?

xxoo

84humouress
Nov 25, 2020, 12:25am

Would this help?

85bohemima
Nov 25, 2020, 7:13am

>84 humouress: Ooooo

A coffeetini?

Yum.

Although I’d have to base it on vodka. The combo of gin with coffee might be more than a little sick-making.

86bohemima
Editado: Nov 25, 2020, 7:43am

Finally, finally finished The Last Viking Completely on me, as I allowed a million distractions of all sorts to get in the way.

Now reading Sacred Country by Rose Tremain

87bohemima
Editado: Nov 25, 2020, 7:48am

Also reading The Weight of the Evidence by Michael Innes, which is a delightful return to his more humorous side, plus a school (university) setting, so clearly right up my street.

Abandoned The Duke of York’s Steps by Henry Wade. Some books are obscure for a reason, and should remain so.

88richardderus
Nov 25, 2020, 12:12pm

>87 bohemima: Some books are obscure for a reason, and should remain so.

Heh. Awomen, Sister Lady. Awomen.

89bohemima
Editado: Nov 25, 2020, 1:35pm

>88 richardderus: Yeah, that was an unfortunate choice on my part. The premise looked good, the era is my favorite, but just...nope.

It was only $1.99 so no big loss, but rather a disappointment.

Never mind. Plant of books out there. Have you read Cyril Hare? Delightfully funny.

90richardderus
Nov 25, 2020, 1:55pm

>89 bohemima: Y'know Edmund Crispin? Same era, similar schtik? I'm a big ol' NOPE on that. Which is weird since, on the face of it, I should *love* them. I like Ronald Firbank, forevermore!

I do not. At all. Like, 180° from love. *shrug*

91bohemima
Nov 25, 2020, 4:53pm

I *hate* Edmund Crispin and his repulsive creation, Fen.

Anyway. I meant Frances Vivian above, although I do like Cyril Hare.

So many authors, so few brain cells.

92humouress
Nov 25, 2020, 11:18pm

>85 bohemima: They call it an espresso martini in these parts. You're welcome to try it with whatever alcohol you wish. :0)

93johnsimpson
Nov 26, 2020, 4:14pm

Hi Gail my dear, Happy Thanksgiving Day and hope you are having a good day dear friend.

94PaulCranswick
Nov 26, 2020, 9:42pm



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

95bohemima
Dez 3, 2020, 7:12am

>92 humouress:
Speaking of alcohol, dined out last night (the restaurants we go to now have careful limited seating and cleaning between customers) and ordered a sangria. Extremely strong, lots of blueberries, plenty of brandy with the wine. But it came in a glass that was as big and heavy as a bowl. Yummy, though.

96bohemima
Dez 3, 2020, 7:15am

>93 johnsimpson: and >94 PaulCranswick: Thank you very much, John and Paul (note ancient music reference). We were five for a delightful meal with three scrumptious desserts! My only task was to make the turkey gravy, somehow that’s become my tiny specialty.

97bohemima
Editado: Dez 3, 2020, 7:20am

And here we are in December. I’m hoping for a better year in 2021, especially with regard to health. This has been a rough one. The serious issues are completely resolved; less serious ones are in progress. I thought I might be sinking back to spend some time with the black dog, but it turns out I needed an upgrade to one of my thyroid meds. So that’s a good thing.

98DianaNL
Dez 3, 2020, 7:31am

I hoe your health will improve, Gail.

99bohemima
Editado: Dez 3, 2020, 9:50pm

So next year:

I’ve already talked about freeing up my reading to simply suit myself. The martinet teacher in my head finally said, “Hey! 71! Why not just have fun with whatever’s left?” So perhaps a load of mysteries (like that’s new) and some graphic novels I’ve had hanging around and maybe those books about Frieda Kahlo...or whatever appeals.

I’ve left both FB and Twitter—the aggravation now outweighs the benefits of satisfying my nosiness. Er, I mean my natural friendly curiosity. While I love the tiny parts of TikTok that I’ve ventured into, I’ve left that as well; it’s an enormous time suck and very repetitive. I’ve deleted all games from the tablet except a nice set of crossword puzzles and another set of solitaire games.

I envy those who can manage all the above, but I’m somewhat OCD so they just aren’t, I think, good for *me*.

I don’t like to talk politics here, so I’ll just say that my stress level has markedly decreased. And that’s helped me to get away from that sort of obsessiveness as well.

Gee. 2021 might work out after all.

100bohemima
Dez 3, 2020, 7:39am

>98 DianaNL: Thank you, Diana! I’m so much better than I was in February that it’s amazing. Now I’m working on tidying up some of the smaller issues that need attention.

101bohemima
Dez 3, 2020, 11:45am

December marks the month when I truly “let my hair down”, reading and rereading Christmas mysteries and ghost stories to my heart’s content.

So last night I took up The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, one of those enormous collections of short stories edited by Otto Penzler.

I got about half-way through this over the last two years and read two stories last night.

The best by a very long way is Peter Lovesey’s “The Haunted Crescent.” This is a delightful little mystery with a ghostly element. Yet again Lovesey manages to add a surprise twist. And not only is the twist believable, there’s a clear clue presented fairly.

Lovesey is one of my go-to authors for intelligent, unusual mysteries. I’ve enjoyed everything of his that I’ve read so far, with The False Inspector Dew as my favorite stand-alone, and Wobble to Death as my favorite series entry.

So that was a really pleasant surprise.

102humouress
Editado: Dez 3, 2020, 12:03pm

>95 bohemima: Blueberries in sangria? I don't think I've had that yet, but then my husband isn't a fan of sangria. I'm quite happy to have my wine adulterated by fruit but the last time I had a glass it came with ice in which may be taking things too far.

>97 bohemima: I'm glad things worked out, health-wise.

>99 bohemima: >101 bohemima: I've never been able to read to plan so I just pick my next book by what appeals most at the time - or what e-library book will expire next. Even if I've committed to a book for a group read, I might not get to it in time and as for series reads, I have to string them out. I'm still reading books for a couple of group series reads from a couple of years ago; mind you, one of them was the Vorkosigan saga which I'm trying to postpone getting to the end of because it's one of my favourites and there won't be any more after that. So I say read whatever, whenever.

103laytonwoman3rd
Dez 3, 2020, 1:45pm

>100 bohemima: "I’m so much better than I was in February that it’s amazing." Well, that's worth celebrating. May the trend continue!

104richardderus
Dez 3, 2020, 2:45pm

I got a tweak-up on my thyroid meds too! It's such a joy that something both cheap and simple can make such a huge positive difference to one's life.

*smooch*

105FAMeulstee
Dez 3, 2020, 4:44pm

>97 bohemima: Right thyroid levels can make such a difference, Gail.
I need a bit more of the thyroid meds in winter and a bit less in summer.

>99 bohemima: I did the same, leaving FB. I never was on Twitter.

106PaulCranswick
Dez 4, 2020, 10:36pm

>97 bohemima: I think that is something of a universal plea, Gail. xx

Starting with a wonderful weekend, I hope.

107LizzieD
Dez 5, 2020, 12:00am

GLAD to hear that things continue to look up for you, Gail!!!!!

Crispin? I was just looking at my holdings and thought I had read more than one of them. Is he the "Oh my paws!" guy? I seem to be doing well without him. I also thought I had some Cyril Hare, but I haven't catalogued him and don't remember one. Seem to be doing well without him too. What about Leo Bruce? I've read one of those and have no recollection of it either.

I usually love Rose Tremain but haven't read Sacred Country. I'll be eager to see whether it's one of her good ones.

108bohemima
Dez 5, 2020, 7:27am

>102 humouress:
I only drink sangria at restaurants as I’m far too lazy to fuss with a fancy drink just for myself at home; an occasional glass of wine with my brother-in-law is about it. My husband used to make frozen daiquiris and an outstanding Bloody Mary for me, but those days are sadly gone. And much family history dictates limiting my drinking.

The only Group Reads I’ve ever had success with are those led by Lyzard here on LT. They’re almost exclusively Victorian novels, with a concentration on Anthony Trollope, so certainly in my main area of interest. But even there, I’ve let some of them lapse and then go back months later. I *think* I’ve finished all I’ve started, but maybe not. The latest was The Yellow Wallpaper for the Virago Group, which I finished a little late but still managed to contribute to the discussion. Or maybe “partake in” would be more accurate.

Other than that, I mostly follow my own drummer. I rarely read books published recently; I’m an inveterate back-lister. And like you, series reads (almost, but not quite all, mystery series) have to be strung out, to avoid the boredom factor. I do try my best to read a series in order of publication as much as possible.

109bohemima
Dez 5, 2020, 7:36am

>103 laytonwoman3rd: Yes, it’s marvelous, Linda. Things got very, very dicey for a while. But they’re fixed (we all think permanently) now. And I do feel so very much better.

>104 richardderus: Amazing what a little adjustment can do, isn’t it? My dose of the one medication has very slowly crept up over the years, and occasionally slipped back down, but I’m comfortable with it. It’s good to have some energy again.

And a smooch right back to you, Good Sir.

110bohemima
Editado: Dez 5, 2020, 7:44am

>105 FAMeulstee: It’s good to see you!
I never would have dreamed how important one’s thyroid level is to one’s overall health and general sense of well-being.
I’m one of those who can drown in social media, Anita, so it’s best just to not bother with it.

>106 PaulCranswick: Yes, Paul, this has been quite a disaster of a year pretty much world-wide, hasn’t it? And things are fairly dire here in the US right now. The California kids are under stay-at-home orders again, which is of course very stressful for them. And we certainly don’t go out much here. And (no surprise) it’s just been revealed that our state governor, who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed by any measure, has been consistently lying to the population about the spread and severity of the virus here.
Nevertheless. Things are slowly looking up.

I hope the rest of your weekend is peaceful and pleasant.

111Aimee01
Dez 5, 2020, 7:54am

This user has been removed as spam.

112bohemima
Editado: Dez 5, 2020, 9:14am

>107 LizzieD: Hey, Peggy!

Yeah, Crispin is that incredibly insipid author. I don’t know when I’ve taken such a dislike to a fictional lead character. “doing well without him,” expresses it perfectly. I kept reading them, hoping to see what the fuss was about, but his appeal remains invisible to me.

I do (mostly) like Cyril Hare, although his work is wildly uneven IMO. But I was thinking of Francis Vivian (don’t even ask about that confusion) in my post to Richard. I find his books to be much more...adult, with much less of the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” obvious and juvenile humor that just grates on my last nerve.

Leo Bruce is on my radar, but I just haven’t got to him yet. Sergeant Beef seems like an interesting, fun character; I might just possibly have the first one on the kindle. Maybe.

My newer (to me, that is) series authors include George Bellairs and, as you know, Gladys Mitchell. I’ve liked them well enough to continue on—and the beauty of it is that huge swathes of their work are available as Kindle Unlimited offerings.

Nicholas Blakeand Michael Innes are among my rather desultory list of mystery authors I keep reading because something about their books pleases me: usually the humor.

Newer are Catherine Aird (quite good) and a few others whose work I’ve just started. I’m sure it seems that I’ll read nearly any mystery in print, but that’s just not so. Many have been one-book-only authors, or perhaps two, just to give them a fair chance.

Have a wonderful weekend, Peggy.

113humouress
Dez 5, 2020, 10:06am

>107 LizzieD: Oh dear?

>108 bohemima: I like cocktails but my husband prefers beer or wine or whisky so anyway we don't have the additional ingredients. I suppose I could go to the effort of chucking some fruit in the wine if I wanted to.

I've been meaning to follow one of lyzard's 'tutorials' but somehow never got around to it. If I pick up a classic one day I'll definitely look for them.

Actually, the reason that I don't usually read series back to back is that I start 'living' in that world and start seeing similarities in situations in real life. I also do something similar if I've been watching a lot of BBC, say, and have to re-align my brain to remind myself I'm not living in England.

>109 bohemima: I'm glad everyone's thyroid levels have been sorted out.

>112 bohemima: That's all just a mystery to me.

114LizzieD
Dez 5, 2020, 1:02pm

>113 humouress: Oh Dear!

Happy Weekend to you too, Gail. I'm still haunted by Cyril Hare. If I ever get a minute at home, I'll look through my mystery shelves. I think he's there.

Meanwhile, I love Nicholas Blake and like Michael Innes a lot, or not, depending on the book. For some reason I've never been attracted to Aird, and I'm not sure why.

115bohemima
Editado: Dez 5, 2020, 11:21pm

>113 humouress:
LOL
I can get just a wee bit carried away when discussing mysteries and their ins and outs.
I see what you mean about series. I get quite caught up in Trollope’s England, among other places.

>114 LizzieD: I’ve often had that feeling (he/she must be here somewhere) and also, “I didn’t read that! Wait. Did I read that? Um. I may have read that.” Sheesh.

116bohemima
Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 9:05am

I think a big part of a satisfying life is to recognize one’s limitations.

And Lord knows I have many.

Moving on:

I’ve been getting a lot of books read. Still reading Tremaine’s Sacred Country. It’s a wonderful book, beautifully written, but a little episodic. I’m wondering if the separate threads will somehow tie up at the end.

117karenmarie
Dez 8, 2020, 11:58am

Hi Gail!

>99 bohemima: Books that appeal, less social media time, better health, reduced political stress. All good things, and I admire you for taking stock and actions that will lead to a less obsessive and less stressful life. Brava!

I’ve never been on Twitter but have FB. I can’t think of the last time I went there beyond changing my e-mail address recently. I got tired of Class of 1971 high school friends endlessly bragging and stressed that family members put way too many photos of their young children online.

118bohemima
Dez 8, 2020, 2:14pm

>117 karenmarie: Karen! Thank you for visiting!

It seemed to be time to look things over to see what was working—and what wasn’t. We’ve all had a quite a year, and I for one hope that it’s going to be the last one like it. And I’ve got to say that after a week or so I didn’t miss FB at all. And not for one minute did I miss Twitter.

119bohemima
Dez 8, 2020, 2:46pm

Any Charlotte Macleod fans around? I’m doing a Christmas Mystery for myself this year, and noted that I have Rest You Merry on the virtual shelves, so decided to give it a go. It’s charming with flashes of humor here and there, but it’s got to be one of the slowest mysteries, even of the cozy/academia type.

Are all her books like this? I know this her first in this series.

120richardderus
Dez 8, 2020, 3:08pm

>119 bohemima: I read more of the Kelling & Bittersohn books than the Shandy ones, but all of her books are...magisterially paced, shall we say. It's not a good idea to gobble them because the stodge moves as slowly through the brain-gut as one would expect.

121bohemima
Dez 9, 2020, 7:51am

>120 richardderus: “magisterially paced” is kind. The second murder victim appeared and I was actually relieved: something has happened!

I don’t hate or even dislike the book. But this author isn’t one I’d immediately turn to for an entertaining little mystery. I do like the setting and the characters. The story is good, too, what there is of it.

122richardderus
Dez 9, 2020, 2:03pm

>121 bohemima: That's the problem! Can't hate the things...too well made...not exciting, not surprising...not poorly executed, either.

But certainly not reach-for-this-firsters.

123bohemima
Dez 12, 2020, 9:01am

>122 richardderus: Right? I wouldn’t cry if I was stuck with one of these for a night, but I wouldn’t swoon with delight either.

124bohemima
Editado: Dez 27, 2020, 10:26am

Random book notes:

I enjoyed reading Rose Tremain’s Sacred Country. I tried to take it slowly so that I could appreciate everything that was going on.

That plan worked, mostly. Sacred Country reminded me of Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in that the author delves deeply into the minds of her characters, especially Mary/Martin and Estelle.

The central character, Mary, realizes at age 6 that she’s not a girl.

“And then, hearing the familiar screech of her guineafowl coming from the farmhouse, she thought, I have some news for you, Marguerite, I have a secret to tell you, dear, and this is it: I am not Mary. That is a mistake. I am not a girl. I’m a boy.”

Since this happens in 1952, Mary’s life is deeply difficult. Her complicated path forms the center of the story, but nearly every character has a long and lonely journey.

This is a wonderful book, but a very sad one.

Recommended

125richardderus
Dez 12, 2020, 10:07am

>124 bohemima: That book is 27 years old! I'm fairly sure I've never heard of it until this good moment. Such a lot of good work that slides past me...a bit depressing.

126bohemima
Dez 12, 2020, 11:45am

>125 richardderus:
I can’t remember how this one came to my attention, but it’s almost a five-star read.

Yes, I feel the same about missing some excellent books out there, but one does one’s poor best.

A good weekend to you!

127bohemima
Dez 12, 2020, 11:54am

More random notes:

Book #98, The Daffodil Affair was, er, daffy. An incredible plot, a little reminiscent of The Island of Dr. Moreau, far too many coincidences, just a lot of silliness added up to a book not to my taste.

On the other hand, #107, The Crabtree Affair, also by Michael Innes, was a good mystery with some humor and well-developed characters. The culprit was a bit obvious but that didn’t hurt my enjoyment of the story. An old village resident returns home after a long and mysterious absence and of course turns up dead. The unwinding of many secrets is leisurely but holds the reader’s interest.

I never know what to expect from Innes, and so I keep reading him, hoping for a good one.

128CDVicarage
Dez 13, 2020, 3:28am

>127 bohemima: I've read through the first fifteen of the Appleby series and agree with you, Gail. They are so different from each other but there are some good ones!

129Caroline_McElwee
Dez 13, 2020, 7:03pm

>124 bohemima: Years since I read that Gail. I've got her new one, Islands of Mercy in the pile.

130bohemima
Dez 14, 2020, 8:18am

>128 CDVicarage: Hi, Kerry! Wonderful to see you here.
Innes drives me a little mad as I never know what to expect: will it be great? Will it be just not for me? But I think that’s what keeps me reading. My next one up is Malice in Wonderland, which I think is a great title.

>229 Caroline, hello! I’d never read a Tremain book, but I certainly was impressed by this one. I’ll be looking for more of her work.

131bohemima
Editado: Dez 15, 2020, 2:36pm

Book notes:
Henry Adams by Louis Auchincloss is a very short biography. Like all of Auchincloss’s work, its beautifully written without being either flowery or overblown. It’s clear that Auchincloss is fascinated by this odd man of American letters, but he’s not overawed.

There isn’t any new or startling material here, yet the different perspective, by a member of Adams’s social class, is very fresh.

In a bit of serendipity, a book I read years ago, All that Glitters by Frances Parkinson Keyes, came to mind. One of the minor characters in that book is obviously based on Adams. And her perspective, too, is different. And not in a good way.

Anyway, 4 stars for this little number.

132richardderus
Dez 14, 2020, 12:03pm

The Education of Henry Adams is one of the weirdest books I've ever attempted. I was too young to get it, so it made less than zero sense; and it rather put me off Mr. Adams, I must say. I can imagine Auchincloss would do a lot to repair the damage. He sorta-kinda *was* Henry, after all.

133bohemima
Dez 15, 2020, 2:43pm

>132 richardderus: I think LA was a much warmer, more broad-minded man than Henry. Henry was so stuck on himself, while at the same time thinking he had let the side down by not achieving the political/diplomatic success he thought was expected of him.

LA had the attitudes of his class, certainly, but he did know that those attitudes, and his class, were rapidly becoming both passé and déclassé.

I’ll never warm up to Adams, and probably never again tackle his “Education.” But I love to read about him, and about his friends. There’s a marvelous group biography called Five of Hearts by Patricia O’Toole (how he would have shuddered) all about them. I found it fascinating.

134richardderus
Dez 15, 2020, 2:59pm

>133 bohemima: *ow*ow* Darn you!

*trudges off to Ammy it up*

135tymfos
Dez 19, 2020, 10:42pm

Hi, Gail! Just a quick hello. *waves*

136richardderus
Dez 21, 2020, 2:44pm

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

137bohemima
Dez 22, 2020, 11:50am

>135 tymfos: Hi, Terri! Good to see you here!

>136 richardderus: Yes, indeed. I’ll be delighted to see the end of this misbegotten year.

138bohemima
Editado: Dez 27, 2020, 10:29am

I’ll just address a couple of books out of order:

Somehow, in what used to be my mind, I conflated Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, a novel, with The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, a short story. No matter. I read both this season.

The novel presented an interesting read for me. In the second chapter a telling phrase reminded me of the murderer’s identity. I didn’t cate, because now I read Christie for other things than seeing if I can outguess her. This time around I concentrated on identifying the clues, just to see if they were plentiful and obvious.

They certainly are. Various signs pointing to the solution are repeated frequently. That is, they point to the perpetrator. The method, as always in Christie, remains obscure and rather convoluted. This was a fun and relaxing reading experience.

Christmas Pudding was quite similar. I read it for the pleasant ambience and not for the puzzle. It had been quite a while since I read either of these, so they remained entertaining without in any way exercising what few brain cells I have left.

139DeltaQueen50
Dez 22, 2020, 12:17pm

Hi Gail, I came by to wish you all the best of the season and was delighted to find that you are reading plenty of vintage mysteries. I have the same relationship with Michael Innes as you, some of his books are pure magic - while others are disappointing. My gold standard for Innes is his The New Sonia Wayward, I really liked that one! I also loved Wobble to Death when I read it and have become a big fan of Peter Lovesey!

140richardderus
Dez 22, 2020, 2:05pm

>138 bohemima: The best way, and reason, to read Christie at this point...the pleasure of unpicking the story. Less urgent, more fun. Like grandchildren vs children.

*smooch*

141johnsimpson
Dez 22, 2020, 4:06pm

142karenmarie
Dez 22, 2020, 9:29pm

Hi Gail!


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

143lkernagh
Dez 24, 2020, 12:50pm

Hi Gail. Wishing you peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and best wishes for the New Year!

144Caroline_McElwee
Dez 24, 2020, 4:49pm



I hope there are some treats, some relaxation, and some reading over the festive season, and that 2021 is a kinder year to everyone.

I hope the New Year has some joys in it for you Gail.

145Berly
Dez 24, 2020, 6:25pm



Gail--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!

146humouress
Dez 25, 2020, 1:49am



Wishing you and yours the very best of the season.

147PaulCranswick
Dez 25, 2020, 2:28am



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

148bohemima
Dez 25, 2020, 8:34am

Look at all the Christmas wishes! Thank you so much!

In company with so many other people, I’ve had a difficult year, what with one thing or another. I don’t want to focus on that, though.

You know what? I wish I could be more like a cat. In this way: Cats don’t worry about tomorrow. They’re pretty well fixed on the “right now.”

Have you ever watched a cat take a bath? They are methodical and thorough. Each step is completed to Kitty’s satisfaction before she moves on to the next section. If Kitty is washing her tum and she’s distracted or startled or has a secret thought for a moment, she stares at whatever it was and immediately returns to her present, and pressing, task.

I want to be more like that.

And a Merry Christmas to all of you.

149bohemima
Dez 27, 2020, 10:03am

I’m going out into lonely territory to say that I think The Camomile Lawn is a great book. Not up to five stars, but still...

Most of the characters here aren’t likable. I know that stops a lot of people dead in their tracks, but honestly it doesn’t bother me, at least not in a book like this, which seems to be part Virginia Woolf, a of bit Rose Tremain, and some Jeanette Winterson thrown in for good measure.

The slim framing story is the funeral of one of five cousins (plus a set of twins from the local rectory). There’s some reflection here and there from the aging characters, but mostly the book is about the shifting relationships within the group immediately before and during WWII.

The mysterious tale of one fateful night and how it reverberates down the years makes up the bulk of a very odd story. It’s all about sex (and love), but it isn’t in the least graphic. Frustrated longing, concerns with self-image, and the terrible pain of crossing that threshold from not understanding the adults to suddenly comprehending all those subtle undertones: author Wesley explores all of it.

I loved this book, but it’s a little tricky and complicated; not precisely a relaxing read.

150Caroline_McElwee
Dez 27, 2020, 10:08am

>149 bohemima: It is years since I read it Gail, but I remember enjoying it. And the BBC did a fine dramatisation too.

151karenmarie
Dez 27, 2020, 10:45am

Hi Gail!

>148 bohemima: I also like it when my two newest kitties, a mom and son, groom each other. That doesn't last as long as a kitty grooming her/himself, but it gives me a good feeling watching them.

>149 bohemima: A BB! Sounds wonderful.

152richardderus
Dez 27, 2020, 11:13am

>149 bohemima: I don't remember that being a bad read, but I remember very little about it because I think I must've Pearl-Ruled it before I got far. One of the characters dies in Dachau, and that sticks in my mind...must be where I said "good night, and good luck."

153bohemima
Dez 29, 2020, 8:35am

>150 Caroline_McElwee: I’ve seen many favorable reviews of the series, Caroline. But I’ve seen lots of unfavorable reviews of the book.

>151 karenmarie: Hi, Karen! I find ATC’s both relaxing and highly amusing. And occasionally frustrating.

I hope you enjoy the book. I was pleasantly surprised.

>152 richardderus: It’s too bad you didn’t carry on, Richard. No one dies in the camps. WWII isn’t one of my go-to time periods any more, since I’ve read so very many books set in that era, but this one is exceptional.

154johnsimpson
Dez 30, 2020, 4:27pm

Happy New Year Gail.

155PaulCranswick
Jan 1, 12:08am



Gail

As the year turns, friendship continues