mstrust's little yet fierce challenge- #2

É uma continuação do tópico mstrust's little yet fierce challenge.

Discussão2021 Category Challenge

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mstrust's little yet fierce challenge- #2

1mstrust
Editado: Fev 11, 3:56pm



Welcome to my second thread! This is Earl and he's watching you and judging.
I've been away from the Category Challenge for a few years but I'm back with a smallish challenge for myself. Five categories, five books each. One category is finished already but I'll keep adding finished reads. This challenge may finish early but I'll keep introducing us to small businesses.

Hi, I'm Jennifer and I live in Phoenix with my husband, Mike, and our boxer, Coral. I have thousands of books in the house, write short stories, love tiki, come up with baking and cocktail recipes, and we travel a lot. Well, we did. This March will mark my 13th Thingaversary. I've hit LT puberty.

My theme is based around small businesses and the industries that are struggling right now. Sounds fun, huh? I've matched an industry to a book genre and each book finished will include a link to a small business that is probably holding on by the skin of their teeth through online sales. I think we'll find some cool stuff.
With the "Live Entertainment" reads I'll provide a link to a play or concert, something that we can "attend" while so many performers are out of work.

If you order something from one of these businesses or watch a performance, come back and tell us what you think. Feedback is welcome.
My threads are politics-free and tend to dip into weirdness from time to time. Can't help it.

2mstrust
Editado: Jun 29, 10:19am


1. Restaurants- Cooking and Foodie books

1. Veg: Easy and Delicious Meals for Everyone
2. The Little Paris Kitchen
3. Essential Herbs
4. Fairytale Baking
5. Tiki Surf Witches Want Blood
Done!

6. The Beginner's Guide to Mushrooms
7. Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple

6mstrust
Editado: Jun 25, 2:52pm

8mstrust
Editado: Jun 9, 12:38pm



Welcome! Come, look, spend.

Businesses We've Visited So Far:
1. Economy Candy, NYC- https://www.economycandy.com/
2. Cerreta's Candy, Phoenix- http://cerreta.com/
3. The Fudge Pot, Chicago- https://thefudgepotchicago.com/
4. Black Rifle Coffee, Utah & Tennessee- https://www.blackriflecoffee.com/
5. The Mysterious Bookshop, NYC- https://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/
6. The Civil War Tails Diorama Museum, Gettysburg, Pa.- https://civilwartails.com/
7. Dog Mountain, Vermont- https://www.dogmt.com/home.php
8. Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor, MI.- https://cherryrepublic.com/
9. Memphis Rock & Soul Museum, TN- https://www.memphisrocknsoul.org/
10. The Vermont Country Store- https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/
11. The Jackson Hole Book Trader, WY.- https://www.jhbooktrader.com/
12. The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum, Gatlinburg, TN- https://thesaltandpeppershakermuseum.com/
13. Millican Pecan Company, San Saba, TX- https://millicanpecan.com/
14. Hemingway Birthplace Museum, Oak Park, IL: https://www.hemingwaybirthplace.com/
15. The Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, FL: https://www.hemingwayhome.com/
16. Slow Jams, Detroit: https://www.smallbatchdetroit.com/products/slow-jams
17. The Golden Bear Trading Company, Racine, WI: https://www.goldbeartrading.com/
18. Argosy Bookstore, NYC: https://www.argosybooks.com/
19. The Writer's Black, Las Vegas: https://www.thewritersblock.org/
20. Pen and Pink Vintage Bookshop, Indianapolis: https://penandpinkvintage.square.site/
21. Kasama Chocolate Bars, Vancouver, BC: https://kasamachocolate.com/
22. Yardi Gras, New Orleans: https://www.neworleans.com/blog/post/yardi-gras-houses-new-orleans/
23. Acme Books, Savannah, Ga.: http://www.acmesalesandbooks.com/index.php
24. I Don't Konform performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1rr9boFQg
25. Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC: https://www.quailridgebooks.com/
26. Zeb's General Store, N. Conway, NH: https://www.zebs.com/
27. ShakaTime, Honolulu: https://www.shakatime.com/
28. Intrabang Books, Dallas: https://www.interabangbooks.com/
29. Zeus Comics, Dallas: https://www.zeuscomics.com/
30. Rockin' AB, McKinney: https://rockinab.com/
31. Paws on Chicon, Austin: https://www.pawsonchicon.com/
32. Collin Street Bakery, Corsicano, Tx: https://collinstreet.com/
33. Texas Sweet Heat Salsas, Denison: https://texas-sweetheat.com/
34. Cooley Bay Winery, Van Alstyne: https://www.cooleybay.com/
35. Alamo Candy Co., San Antonio: https://www.alamocandy.com/
36. Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock: http://lhuca.org/
37. Texas Highways Mercantile, Big Sandy: https://shop.texashighways.com/
38. Fredricksburg Farms: https://www.fbgfarms.com/
39. Richards Maple Products, Ohio: https://www.richardsmapleproducts.com/

9DeltaQueen50
Fev 11, 3:31pm

OMG - is the opening picture of Coral? What a priceless expression. Happy new thread, Jennifer.

10mstrust
Fev 11, 3:36pm

So glad to see you here, Judy!
No, that isn't my Coral, that's Earl, who is known for his rather disgruntled expression. I thought he's the very picture of small but unwilling to be ignored. I wish I could hug him and give him a treat :-D

11DeltaQueen50
Fev 11, 3:39pm

He definitely looks like he needs a hug and a treat!

12quondame
Fev 11, 3:43pm

Happy new challenges!

13mstrust
Fev 11, 3:53pm

>11 DeltaQueen50: Not easily impressed, is he? Maybe we'll see Earl smile at some point.

>12 quondame: Thanks, Susan!

14MissWatson
Fev 12, 3:25am

Happy new thread and congrats on filling your first category!

15mstrust
Fev 12, 9:28am

Thanks! Good to see you!

16mstrust
Editado: Fev 12, 9:46am



19. Rez Metal by Ashkan Soltani Stone and Natale A. Zappia. A slender book focusing mostly on the popularity of metal on the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni reservations, and on the rise of Native metal bands. Musicians and club owners are featured, along with photos of performances.
I didn't really like the format of the book, which was primarily transcripts of musicians from different bands speaking without the context of a conversation, so I sometimes felt like it was the middle of the conversation, and it would have benefited from editing out filler words and phrases. 3 stars

This goes in my Entertainment category.

Here's a song by I Don't Konform, a band featured heavily in this book as one of the most popular Navajo metal bands. You'll note that their drummer is a bit older than the rest of the band. He's Ed Yazzie, who sits on the Navajo Council representing a big chunk of the tribal lands. His son is one of the guitarists. Their songs are available through Amazon streaming.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1rr9boFQg

17VivienneR
Fev 12, 10:53am

Just dropping in to say hello. I'm very far behind on reading threads so can't comment on all the fascinating books and topics you've posted so far, but I'm delighted that you've discovered Flavia. I loved the entire series but I Am Half-Sick of Shadows was my favourite.

18mstrust
Fev 12, 1:58pm

Hi, Vivienne!
I'm glad I discovered Flavia too! I've had two other people name different titles of the series as their favorites, so I think that's a good sign.

***
Mike gave me my Valentine's present yesterday, a year of Sirius. I've uploaded the app to the tv and have been adding my favorites. I've had it before so I know my favorite channel is The Underground Garage.
I'm off to order a few Bibliomysteries from The Mysterious Bookshop for Mom's upcoming birthday.

19rabbitprincess
Fev 12, 7:18pm

>16 mstrust: I read a book about the Toronto music scene, Any Night of the Week, that also had transcripts of conversations. As the book went on I found it harder to muster up interest in those, but the narrative bits were good.

>18 mstrust: Enjoy your Sirius subscription!

20mstrust
Editado: Fev 13, 12:07pm

I think the more focused a theme is, such as a music genre that is also about a specific area, the more likely that the interviewees will be saying essentially the same thing. So it becomes rather monotonous, and this is when a good editor is needed.
But I enjoyed seeing Ed Yazzie's drumming, he's really good. And for anyone familiar with the Navajo tribe, the name Yazzie is so well known, as it's an extensive family that has produced lots of artists. I know I have one or two Yazzie-made kachinas.
We've got Sirius playing right now, the limited run Miles Davis channel. I 'll be getting so much more use of it in the house than the car as I don't have a commute.
Have a good weekend!

21mstrust
Editado: Fev 13, 12:07pm

I made an order with The Mysterious Bookshop, having three of their bibliomysteries sent to Mom for her birthday.
Mystery, Inc. by Joyce Carol Oates- I liked this one so much and I think she will too.
Seven Years by Peter Robinson
The Pretty Little Box by Charles Todd.

https://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/

22mstrust
Editado: Fev 13, 6:51pm

Wishing you all a Happy Valentines Day!

23justchris
Fev 13, 9:56pm

Congrats on second thread with great but disapproving topper.

24mstrust
Fev 15, 9:45am

Thanks, Chris!

25mstrust
Editado: Fev 15, 9:47am


20. Hoodoo Harry by Joe R. Lansdale. Driving back from a day of fishing, Hap and Leonard collide with a bus driven by a terrified twelve year-old. The boy is killed on impact and the bus turns out to be a bookmobile that serviced the tiny towns along a backroads route, bringing books to impoverished kids. Why the boy was driving the bus is a mystery, but so is the fact that the bus and its proper driver, Hoodoo Harry, have been missing for fifteen years.
Number 38 of the Bibliomysteries. This is a really good one. 5 stars

26mstrust
Editado: Fev 15, 10:05am


The Lansdale was a ROOT, so here's a great indie bookstore. Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC was founded in 1984. They have a good selection of signed books, they're doing virtual author events and they have a podcast. In addition, they have mystery box subscriptions, and they adhere to a free speech policy that is stated on their site.
https://www.quailridgebooks.com/

27christina_reads
Fev 15, 11:20am

>26 mstrust: I grew up in Raleigh and have very fond memories of Quail Ridge Books! Thanks for the reminder -- I'll have to check out their website!

28mstrust
Fev 15, 11:42am

That's great to hear! I'm happy to remind you of home.

29mstrust
Editado: Fev 15, 2:30pm

I'm amazed! The books I ordered from The Mysterious Bookstore in Manhattan on Friday for Mom's birthday (>21 mstrust:) arrived on her doorstep today. Were they delivered by The Six Million Dollar Man?


Deliver those books, Steve.

30mstrust
Editado: Fev 16, 9:10am


21. Bibliotheca Classica by Simon Brett. Unbearable snob Derrick is pulled away from his research on the Pre-Raphaelites when his wife, young Harriet, who had been a graduate student when Derrick was a professor, gifts him with a copy of an eighteenth century encyclopedia. Derrick is intrigued by the fact that the whole book has been bowdlerized and sees researching it as a good way to keep Harriet busy while he does his own important work.
Brett has created a fun story about academia and researching obscurities. I wish the very ending had been drawn out a little more but I still recommend this. 4.5 stars
This series is like popcorn.

31mstrust
Editado: Fev 16, 9:21am

This seems to be my first Simon Brett, so it goes in my Retail (New To Me) category.


Zeb's General Store is located in North Conway, NH. They carry everything New England, like jams, bar soap, and maple syrup, but they also have their own spicy Bloody Mary mix. And if you're a fan of Moxie soda, this is your place, as they carry the soda and more Moxie merch than anyone.
https://www.zebs.com/

32Tess_W
Fev 16, 10:21am

>30 mstrust: goes on my WL!

33thornton37814
Fev 16, 10:31am

>26 mstrust: I've been there!

34mstrust
Fev 16, 1:02pm

>32 Tess_W: I hope you get a chance to read it, I really liked it!
>33 thornton37814: Oh, yay! Did you enjoy your visit?

35thornton37814
Fev 16, 5:27pm

>34 mstrust: Yes. It was back when I was dating someone who lived in Raleigh. I'd searched out bookstores because I knew I was going to have some time to myself on weekends, so I made trips to different ones.

36mstrust
Fev 17, 12:57pm

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like a good store, and I think I'll make an order in a month or so. I hold off on ordering when I'm within weeks of being away from home. I don't want a box sitting on my porch while I'm gone.

37mstrust
Editado: Fev 19, 10:28am


22. Selected Poems of W.H. Auden, selected and edited by Edward Mendelson.
Keep in mind that I haven't studied any poetry since high school, where my teacher was into Shakespeare and the Cavalier Poets, very different from Auden. And I think he needs to be studied to fully grasp his work. There are some, like "Stop the Clocks" that can be appreciated from the first read, but so much of his poetry is dense and personal with meaning, with each line needing to be picked through, that the reader would benefit from having some instruction along the way.
I guess that's all I feel qualified to say, because I know there are people who spend their lives studying Auden, and he left plenty of work to study if this book of selected poems is any indication of how much he wrote. 3.5 stars

This has sat on my shelf for more years than I can say, so it's a ROOT, but as this is the first I've read of Auden, I'm putting it in the "New To Me" category, which finishes off that category.

38mstrust
Editado: Fev 19, 10:44am


For anyone who's freezing right now, I hope this gives you a little hope.
ShakaTime's storefront is located in Honolulu, but you can shop for Hawaiian clothes and accessories right from your snowbound home. They carry men's, women's, children's, and even Hawaiian-style wedding clothes. Their merch includes Hawaiian-made face masks starting at $6.95, so you can get a little of the tropics for a low price.
https://www.shakatime.com/

39christina_reads
Fev 19, 3:33pm

>37 mstrust: I don't always (or even often) understand Auden -- I agree that he's someone who benefits from having a lot of context and a lot of literary knowledge. But I consider him my favorite poet anyway!

40mstrust
Fev 19, 6:31pm

I have no doubt that I would have gotten much more out of this book if I'd had someone who knew his work well enough to decipher some of it. So many of his poems are intensely personal.

41mstrust
Editado: Fev 20, 11:31am


23. Confess: The Autobiography by Rob Halford. Halford, the singer and lead lyricist for Judas Priest, doesn't do an autobiography halfway, and the title is spot on. Would we have ever known that he's been banned from Camp Pendleton for lewd behavior?
He tells the reader all about it.
He has chapters about growing up in an industrial Northern town with loving parents whose arguments sometimes included his father slapping his mother. He remembers the exact moment in school, when asked to sing on his own, that the music teachers realized he had talent, and that his family was always behind him as he first pursued an acting career before returning to music.
And he recounts how he joined a band called Judas Priest that needed a singer, and their long career together. He discusses the making of each album and gives his honest opinion of any shortcomings, even with his own performances. He also discusses the dynamics within the band, such as the decades long friction between guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, and the reasons why they've gone through as many drummers as Spinal Tap. He also explains how he accidentally quit Priest and why his absence from a band he loved dragged on for so long.
Throughout the book is Halford's stress in hiding his homosexuality. First from his family, then from bandmates and the fans, Halford describes the intense loneliness in being unable to openly pursue romance, and he speaks very intimately of how gay men in the 70's and 80's found each other, and of how often he pursued relationships with straight men, which always ended in unhappiness.
The book concludes right now in the pandemic, with plans for what fans can expect from the band once this is over. 4.5 stars

This goes in my Live Entertainment category.

42mstrust
Editado: Fev 20, 11:31am


Here's Judas Priest, early 80's, performing "Diamonds and Rust". In his book, Halford recounts meeting Joan Baez backstage and being apprehensive about how she'd react to a metal band covering her song, but she loved their version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se9-HI_VjwE

43mstrust
Editado: Fev 23, 11:13am


Gonna buy from any of the small businesses I feature? The small Texas businesses could really use some help right now. As some will state on their sites, snow and ice are a factor right now so your package may be delayed a bit, but it'll get to you.
Today we're traveling all over the state to feature all kinds of Texas-made products and businesses that are awesome. As always, I'd love to have anyone who makes a purchase to tell us about it.

Intrabang Books in Dallas is located on Lovers Lane. They have a virtual book club and many signed first editions.
https://www.interabangbooks.com/
Zeus Comics and Collectibles, also in Dallas, has all the graphics novels, along with a comic book club exclusively for women. https://www.zeuscomics.com/

Have a little kid in your life? Rockin' AB in McKinney is the cutest friggin' store ever, and they have toys, clothing, books and shoes that you'll have fun picking out. https://rockinab.com/

Paws on Chicon in Austin is a store for cats and dogs that sells healthy food, has grooming and products, and their site has a pet health blog. https://www.pawsonchicon.com/



44mstrust
Editado: Fev 23, 11:34am


Collin Street Bakery is located in Corsicano, TX. They opened in 1896 and have fed people such as Will Rogers and the opera singer Caruso. They make and ship their famous fruitcake, along with Texas Cake, cheesecake, fudge pie, coffee, pickles and dog treats. https://collinstreet.com/

Practically unknown outside of the state is Texas Sweet Heat Salsas from Denison. They've won lots of awards and come in many varieties and heat levels.

If you didn't know, Texas has a wine region now. Cooley Bay Winery in Van Alstyne has a tasting facility, and they produce many varieties, including fruit wines (Herb Erlinger!). https://www.cooleybay.com/

The Alamo Candy Company in San Antonio has been around for decades. Still run by its founding family, they specialize in Mexican candy, with many products being homemade. If you're unfamiliar with Mexican candy, you'll have an enormous choice of sweet & spicy, like chili coated mango flavors (delicious!), or sweet & salty. https://www.alamocandy.com/

45mstrust
Editado: Fev 23, 11:54am

You need some new art, don't you? Check out the offerings at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock. Click on the "art Market" tab and see all the paintings, sculptures, leatherwork, pottery and jewelry for sale.
http://lhuca.org/

For merch that screams Texas, there's the Texas Highways Mercantile, based in Big Sandy. It's a cooperative put together by Texas Highways Magazine of artists producing lots of unusual and cool stuff. https://shop.texashighways.com/


Finally, to a Texan, nothing says home than the bluebonnet flower. Drive around the Hill Country in Spring and you'll see fields of waving bluebonnets. They have a fresh scent too.
Fredricksburg Farms has scented soaps, lotions, candles, plus more. You can find bluebonnet products and bbq sauce too, along with recipes. https://www.fbgfarms.com/

I hope you'll check out these or any other small Texan business. Fun road trip, huh?

46quondame
Editado: Fev 24, 8:27pm

>43 mstrust: At the beginning of February I ordered my usual fibers from Lone Star Loom Room. They have a yearly linen sale. Other sales too, but they've the best prices and selection for my linen stash.

47mstrust
Fev 24, 11:11am

Thanks for letting us know about that shop, Susan!

48mstrust
Fev 28, 7:36pm

I was able to visit The Writer's Block while I was in Vegas this weekend. It's wonderful! Lots of greenery, a real bunny, unusual stock and a coffee bar staffed by really nice people. Oh, and they have a huge series of books called "A Very Short History of... that covers topics both big and little. I brought home:

The Bird's Nest
Elizabeth by Ken Greenhall
Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction
Animal Behavior: A Very Short Introduction.

49Tess_W
Mar 1, 5:25am

>48 mstrust: I love Shirley Jackson!

50mstrust
Mar 1, 9:00am

Me too!

51mstrust
Editado: Mar 1, 9:02am


24. The Murder of Dr. Chapman by Linda Wolfe.
Dr. Chapman worked to cure stammering, creating a method lost to time as he made patients promise to never reveal how he treated them. His wife, Lucretia, was a self-made successful businesswoman, a teacher who founded the first boarding school for girls in Philadelphia. Eventually the Chapmans moved miles outside the city to a large house in order to give the students and their own five children a healthier environment. They had a reputation for giving people in need a place to stay for a night or two. It was because a young man named Lino Espos y Mina was directed to their home for free shelter in 1831 that the following events occurred.
Mina was a fraud, a thief and compulsive liar, and likely a sociopath. He was from Cuba, and at twenty-one, had already served more than a year in prison for taking part in robberies with a gang. When he arrived at the Chapmans he had nothing but told them he was the son of a famous Mexican general in San Francisco, he just needed to get in contact with his father in order to get money. This was a story, with many variations, that he told throughout the States, always that he was the son of a rich, powerful man and that anyone who was nice to him now would be rewarded with riches once his father was around. Plenty of trusting people fell for it, but only Lucretia went this far in her gullibility.
Others in the household recognized that Lucretia was increasingly frustrated with her husband, likely bored and angry that the bigger responsibility of their income fell to her while her husband became less ambitious. When the stranger with an exotic appearance and promises of a wealthy family arrived, Lucretia seems to have lost all propriety, fawning over the stranger who was half her age, and a servant reported that she soon was seeing signs that her mistress and the stranger were sleeping together. Lucretia paid for Lino to have new suits, openly doting on him and spending afternoons away from home with him. Within weeks of his arrival, Dr. Chapman was dead and Lucretia and Lino were married just days later. Was the death natural or was Dr. Chapman poisoned? The resulting trials were infamous. 4 stars

52mstrust
Editado: Mar 1, 10:20am


25. The Pretty Little Box by Charles Todd.
A bibliomystery published by The Mysterious Bookshop. This is the story of a small 14th Century jeweled and illustrated prayer book and the many hand it passes through, usually bringing terrible luck to the current owner. 4 stars

53Tess_W
Mar 1, 3:14pm

>51 mstrust:
>52 mstrust:

A couple of BB's for me!

54mstrust
Mar 1, 4:59pm

Happy to hit you with two good books!

55mstrust
Editado: Mar 2, 9:32am


26. Fairytale Baking by Christin Geweke. My sister gave me this very pretty German-made baking book. Its chapters are headed by tellings of famous fairytales, like Snow White and Hansel and Gretel, and includes many recipes accompanied by gorgeous Old World-styled photography. The recipes are for modern bakers though, with chocolate and espresso biscotti, white chocolate caramel cake, blackberry ganache tartlets and a berry marbled cheesecake. There are spins on traditional German desserts, such as mini marbled kugelhopfs that have dark chocolate swirled into the batter.
Though many of the recipes call for ingredients I don't keep on hand, like gelatin sheets, others are made with things I always have and I'll give them a try. 5 stars

56MissWatson
Mar 3, 4:19am

>55 mstrust: Oh, this sounds interesting! I need to ask my sister if she knows this, she's the family baker.

57mstrust
Mar 3, 9:24am

It's well worth seeking out!

58mstrust
Mar 3, 9:34am



27. Seven Years by Peter Robinson. A bibliomystery from TMB.
A retired Cambridge classics professor enjoys his days driving to small villages to see the historical sites and rummage through old bookshops. In one such shop he purchases a few books, then later when going through the Browning book of poetry, he finds an inscription he hadn't seen before buying, a rather sinister and threatening inscription to someone named "Miss Scott".
His concern for this woman's safety, and his interest in knowing what that inscription was all about, leads the professor into sleuthing. 4 stars
And now I have to read Browning's "Porphyria's Lover", as it figures prominently in this story.

59Tess_W
Editado: Mar 4, 12:33am

>55 mstrust: Sounds delightful!

60mstrust
Mar 4, 12:35pm

It really is!
I've tried one recipe so far, the Quick Nut Cake. Now I know that the "ground hazelnuts" that I took to mean finely chopped nuts, would have been written as "nut flour" in an American book. The result still tasted delicious but didn't have enough body to release from the pan as a cake should. It came out more as a very buttery crumble.

61charl08
Mar 4, 12:47pm

>51 mstrust: Sounds intriguing, what a story! Were there ever any hints on how he cured the speech problems?

62mstrust
Mar 4, 1:04pm

No, as he did make the patients promise not to reveal exactly what they were taught but I believe there were mentions of the type of practice of repetitive sentences used today. The book actually made him seem somewhat sketchy about his methods, as he had testimonials from patients but not concrete results, other than curing his own stammering.

63mstrust
Editado: Mar 6, 2:46pm


28. The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. In 300 pages of iambic pentameter, this is the story of John, who is desperately lonely and calls up a former girlfriend, Jan, to help him figure out how he can find love. Jan jumps right in and places an ad, then sorts through to find good matches for John, which ends with him meeting and falling for attorney Liz. They're very happy together, but their relationship angers Liz's old cat, Charlemagne, who takes great pleasure in destroying John's things and peeing on his pillow.
This is also the story of John's best friend, Phil. His wife left him and their young son a while ago, something they are still dealing with, but Phil finds an unexpected love in Ed, Liz's brother. Keeping their relationship hidden to their family and friends, there is also the issue of Ed's Catholic guilt, which seems to come up when Phil believes they should be at their happiest.
Remarkably fleshed out, these are characters that have hidden sides and the ability to evolve. They deal with parenthood, illness, government and corporate pollution, and religion. Yes, it's hard to read a poem this long, yet it's filled with humor. 4.5 stars

This is a ROOT, as I bought it two years ago.

64Tess_W
Mar 6, 7:36pm

>63 mstrust: I love that author, but the 300+ pages of poetry scares me. I've read Gilgamesh and loved it, so maybe I will put this one on my wish list!

65mstrust
Mar 7, 11:07am

I've read Gilgamesh too and I think you'll find this one a lot funnier.
The hard part I mentioned is just keeping up the beat of the verses for that long, but it's enjoyable throughout. Well, I thought the speeches about environmental causes to be quite preachy, but I really liked Charlemagne the angry cat and John's reactions.

66mstrust
Editado: Mar 7, 5:07pm


29. Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. A fantastical reassurance to children that they will be successful as long as they have the courage to try new things. I like that Seuss doesn't just speak about winning. He points out that life is also about failing and sometimes being left behind, but everyone can find their own path. His prose is simple but remarkably profound. 5 stars

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

67mstrust
Editado: Mar 12, 9:44am


30. A Likely Story by Jenn McKinlay.
Part of Library Director Lindsay Norris's job is to deliver books to the residents scattered across the Thumb Islands, off the coast of Connecticut. She does this every two weeks, the boat captained by her ex- boyfriend Sully.
Star Island is inhabited by two elderly brothers who never leave, with one brother being in a wheelchair and the other his caretaker. When Lindsay and Sully arrive and Stewart isn't waiting for them at the dock, they have no choice but to make their way to the grand old house, which isn't easy because the paranoid brothers are known to have booby trapped the whole island. Once inside the hoarder home, they find what they were afraid of, one of the brothers is dead, and the other is missing.

This wasn't so great for me. It turns out to be the sixth in a series, so the references to past experiences crop up, especially the past relationship between the main characters Lindsay and Sully.
What really didn't work for me was the character of the library employee who does the toddler story time. The whole town, including this employee, knows that Lindsay discovered a dead body that day, but Beth comes up to Lindsay and sobs because her regulars aren't coming in to listen to her read. Then they put on disguises to check out the competition. After finding a murdered man. 2.5 stars
I liked the author's bakery series.

68thornton37814
Mar 12, 4:04pm

>67 mstrust: I need to read On Borrowed Time before I get to that one. It's not my favorite series, and I'm sad this one doesn't measure up very well.

69mstrust
Mar 12, 5:47pm

I just wasn't into the dumb problems of Beth, which I felt took away from the murder part of the book. But I wasn't very interested in the romance of the main characters either, even though that's a given for a cozy of this nature. I thought the most interesting part was the dangerous booby-trapped house. Maybe I'm not being as kind as I could be because I'm sick, but I think this series just wasn't for me.

70mstrust
Editado: Mar 14, 2:10pm


31. Animal Behavior- A Very Short Introduction by Tristram D. Wyatt.
Wyatt is a member of an animal behavior research group at Oxford. This book was written for the layman to understand why animals, birds and insects do what they do, whether this is hunting, nesting, protecting the group or choosing a mate. There are discussions of how honeybees find and direct their hivemates to the best flowers, how young vervet monkeys learn when to give alarm calls through trial and error, and that both paper wasps and Harris's sparrows will attack low-standing individuals who attempt to pass themselves off as high-ranking. There is a discussion of tool usage, how songbirds learn their songs and how parenting skills are acquired.
There are many really interesting, meaty passages of information in this book, but as it is a short introduction to animal behavior, it covers too many types of behavior to satisfy the reader who is familiar with the subject. This is a jumping-off point though, and the novice would be able to come away with the names of researchers and studies to further explore. 4 stars

71charl08
Mar 14, 3:12pm

>63 mstrust: I loved this book, I was a bit wary of a long poem (school memories of Beowulf), but found it wonderful. I am tempted to pick it up again, so thank you for reminding me of a favourite.

72mstrust
Mar 15, 1:34pm

I'm hosting April's ScaredyKit. The theme is "possessed". Join us: https://www.librarything.com/topic/330597#unread

73mstrust
Mar 15, 1:35pm

>71 charl08: You're very welcome! It's worth re-reading.

74mstrust
Editado: Mar 18, 5:03pm


32. Grateful American by Gary Sinise. An autobiography by the actor/director, best known as Lt. Dan from the film Forrest Gump. Most of this book is his personal life and career, childhood and family, how he started acting, and then how he co-founded the famous Steppenwolf Troupe of Chicago. There are anecdotes about the famous actors he's worked with and about the making of Forrest Gump. He also discusses his wife's alcoholism and treatments.
Bookending this are discussions of Sinise's work with the USO and veteran's groups, which has taken him to performing in war zones, visiting wounded soldiers and acting as an ambassador for Vietnam Vets groups. He speaks of his gratitude to the people who have fought for America. 3.5 stars

This finishes my Live Entertainment Category!

75mstrust
Mar 19, 12:24pm

The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC sent out an e-mail to their customers a few days ago listing books they had bought from an estate, so first come, first served and just one copy of each. To make it even better, they were doing a buy two, get one free deal on them. So I have a box of nine books on their way to me. I missed out on the signed, limited edition of Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons, and the 1939 edition of The Big Sleep by Chandler.

76Tess_W
Mar 19, 1:17pm

>75 mstrust: Sounds so awesome!

77mstrust
Mar 19, 5:27pm

I'm calling these my "official" Thingaversary purchases. Never mind all the books I've been buying lately.

78rabbitprincess
Mar 19, 10:38pm

>75 mstrust: Sweet! Looking forward to the list when they arrive :)

79mstrust
Mar 21, 12:04pm

I'll post the titles when they arrive. I've been happy with TMB's friendly service but they don't ship every day and they don't notify me when my order ships.

80mstrust
Editado: Mar 23, 1:24pm


33. Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton.
A collection of short stories published by Blumhouse Books, part of Blumhouse Productions.
Here are stories that feature traditional horror tropes, such as the haunted house or secluded cabin, but each story has an unexpected twist that brings a freshness and true creepiness. These are character driven stories rather than gory, in fact there's little blood. All the stories have at least a part that takes place on Halloween.
In "We're Never Inviting Amber Again" by S.P. Miskowski, a jerk who hates his sister-in-law is given proof that she isn't just an attention-seeking weirdo. In "The Seventeen Year Itch" by Garth Nix, the long-time employees of a psych ward try to convince a new doctor that they need to take special precautions on Halloween with a certain patient.
Well-chosen, well-written and highly recommended. 4.5 stars
I've had this one my shelf for two years so it's a ROOT. I read it for the March ScaredyKit.

81thornton37814
Mar 24, 8:26am

>77 mstrust: I've purchased the first book for my Thingaversary which comes in less than a week, but it cost a lot. I'll tell more about it when I report on my haul (when I've gotten most or all of it).

82mstrust
Mar 24, 1:17pm

Hooray for Thingaversaries, they give us permission to splurge! Mine is tomorrow and I hope my box arrives by then.

83mstrust
Editado: Mar 24, 5:47pm


34. Miao Doa by Joyce Carol Oates.
Thirteen year-old Mia doesn't know how to handle her situation. The boys at school seem to have formed a club dedicated to touching and body-checking the girls who are developing, and right now, that means Mia is being harassed daily. Things get worse when her parents divorce and her mother marries a creepy guy who is clearly watching Mia.
Her one bit of happiness is the feral cat who Mia sneaks into the house, a cat that grows big and still maintains the ability to hunt prey. 4 stars

A novelette available on Kindle.

84DeltaQueen50
Mar 25, 2:13pm

>83 mstrust: That one sounds good!

85mstrust
Mar 25, 2:59pm

Hi, Judy! It's Oates, so you know it's good.

86RidgewayGirl
Mar 25, 5:25pm

>85 mstrust: JCO does creepy uncomfortable so well!

87mstrust
Mar 26, 1:09pm

She does. She's adept at building a tense atmosphere.

88mstrust
Mar 27, 10:42am

My box of books from The Mysterious Bookshop arrived. These are my official Thingaversary purchases. The store e-mailed with a list of recently acquired purchases, must have been an estate sale, and they were Buy 2, Get 1 Free. So I jumped. There weren't any pics and now I see that most of them aren't in a condition that would have tempted me. I need to slow down and really read the descriptions, but I was in a snatchy mood.
Cocktail Time by P.G. Wodehouse. 1958 First printing. But ex-library and very used.
Nightshades by Bill Pronzini. 1984 First Edition, good condition.
Blowback by Pronzini. 1977, discolored cover, not bad condition.
The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott. 2013, good condition.
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block- this was supposed to be the First Edition but it's not.
Burglars Can't be Choosers by Block. 1977. Cover is pretty worn, pages good.
And the three Bibliomysteries that I ordered at the same time weren't included, but I wasn't charged for them either. I'd had to call the store to place my order because these books were "first come, first served" so the stock was constantly changing. I guess the employee didn't note the additional books I wanted.

89mstrust
Editado: Mar 31, 12:23pm


35. Welcome to the United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster. Based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Lancaster explores the needs of the modern American and why these are making us unhappy. Topics are personal appearance, parenting, crime and police, politics and division, and the internet, which figures prominently in many of the other topics. The author looks at the differences between what used to be a situation that only a few people would know about and would be forgotten, versus now, when a stranger can take a pic or video, post it, and your mistake will live forever.
Most surprising to me, as this is the first I've read by the author so knew nothing about her personal life, was the author's discussion about cutting her parents out of her life because of her mother's outlandish and manipulative behavior, which included contacting the author's publisher to make claims of libel.
An interesting and often humorous look at modern life, and sometimes she has advice for lessening stress. 3.5 stars

90thornton37814
Abr 2, 9:19pm

>88 mstrust: Nice haul there!

91RidgewayGirl
Abr 3, 12:32pm

>88 mstrust: Haha, a "snatchy mood" describes me at the moment of many a large book purchase!

92mstrust
Abr 3, 3:42pm

>90 thornton37814: Thank you!
>91 RidgewayGirl: I definitely didn't need them!

93mstrust
Abr 3, 3:42pm

Happy Easter to you!

94mstrust
Editado: Abr 5, 10:54am


36. Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police, are working the homicides of a couple of older men on the reservation, men who didn't seem to know each other and had few acquaintances, so the officers can't find a connection, especially when they might have to include in the death count a young health services woman who was so disliked that there could be any number of people who would be glad she was dead. When Chee turns out to be an intended victim and he finds indications of Navajo witchcraft, the officers are even more confused.

This was my first Hillerman, and I believe it's something like the seventh of the series, so it's interesting to find that Leaphorn and Chee aren't partners or even friends. The relationship is very much boss and subordinate, and they don't even work at the same station, so an unusual investigative team situation. The location covers the vast Navajo Nation, with the characters going to remote villages and Gallup. I'm familiar with some of these places and that makes it enjoyable, being able to picture the locales. I figured out whodunnit early on but that didn't stop it from being a good read. 4 stars
I read this for the April ScaredyKit group, this month's theme being "Possession", but there's no possession in this story, it's witchcraft.

95thornton37814
Abr 6, 7:06pm

>94 mstrust: It's been a long time since I read any of the ones written by Tony. It's one of the series I would consider re-reading at some point in the future.

96mstrust
Abr 6, 9:01pm

The Hillerman series is so ubiquitous, at least here in Arizona, that I'd pretty much stopped registering them when I saw them, even though I like finding books that are set here. I was surprised to find this one on my shelf.

97NinieB
Abr 6, 10:19pm

>88 mstrust: Nameless and the Burglar! Even if the condition wasn't what you hoped, those are all great books!

98mstrust
Abr 7, 11:03am

Great reads, for sure. I'm looking forward to the Blocks especially. I believe these will be the most recent I'll have read of his work, as I've been going for his 1960's stuff.

99NinieB
Abr 7, 11:08am

>98 mstrust: I really like Block's 70s and 80s work. Bernie the burglar is a delight. The Matthew Scudder books are much, much darker and heavier, but I found them fascinating, intense, and powerful. I could see doing a reread of both series for this time period--Bernie for light reading and Scudder for the power.

100mstrust
Abr 7, 11:17am

Very high praise! Thanks for that!
I sort of ignored Block for years because he seemed to be in the grouping of what I call "airport reading", but I just happened to acquire A Diet of Treacle, and then Grifter's Game and really liked his style.

101NinieB
Abr 7, 11:47am

>100 mstrust: I haven't read either of those so I'll have to check them out!

102mstrust
Abr 7, 2:21pm

A Diet of Treacle is especially early and deals with beatnik culture. Jazzy.

103mstrust
Editado: Abr 8, 5:53pm


37. Miss Marple's Final Cases by Agatha Christie. A collection of short stories, some of which don't feature Miss Marple at all. There are some good ones though, like "The Case of the Caretaker", in which a local bad boy who had to leave the village due to his behavior returns years later with a new, wealthy bride. The couple is relentlessly harassed by an old woman but no one can figure out why.
My least favorite was "Strange Jest", which features one of Christie's rich old uncles who enjoys playing games with his will. There are two stories in the collection that involve the supernatural rather than criminals, and one story in which Miss Marple is the narrator, which I don't remember her doing elsewhere. I was worried by the title of this book that she'd be killed off here but it didn't happen. I read this for the MysteryKit and it's a ROOT. 3 stars

104mstrust
Editado: Abr 12, 5:53pm


38. The Factory Witches of Lowell by C.S. Malerich. Set in the 19th Century, this is the story of a group of teenage girls, all cotton mill workers living at a mill boardinghouse. All the girls living in Mrs. Hanson's house agree to take part in witchcraft to protest their low wages and unsafe conditions. The leaders, Judith and Hannah, who possesses the gift of being a Seer, are in charge of making sure each girl is loyal, and they do this by braiding a lock of the girl's hair into wristbands. Their goal is to control the capitalists who run the corporation.
Meh. Started off promising, then it seemed like all our current social issues were thrown in, stirred around and dressed in ringlets. 2.8 stars

105mstrust
Editado: Abr 15, 12:19pm


39. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Thursday Next is a war veteran who came back while her brother didn't. Her father, whose work with the mysterious ChronoGuard outfit made it necessary for him to leave his family and go skipping through time, occasionally appears for a minute or two. She also lost the love of her life ten years ago and hasn't gotten over it.
After a chance at a huge promotion goes very wrong, Thursday chooses to transfer to a smaller office in her hometown of Swindon, a move that has everyone in SpecOps confused. Thursday's choice is proven to be a good one when Acheron Hades, the worst villain in the U.K., begins kidnapping characters out of famous novels and holding them for ransom. Making things worse, the Goliath Corporation, the largest and most influential company in the world, has bought itself control over SpecOps, so is there to figure out a way to make money off the whole situation.
The plot is about espionage but along the way we meet Rochester and Jane, Pickwick the Dodo, Spike, the SpecOps agent who hunts vampires, and Thursday tries to sort her love life. I haven't read this in 20 years (this year is it's anniversary) but I loved it as much as I did then. 5 stars

106mstrust
Editado: Abr 19, 6:51pm


40. And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. Written in 1945 but unpublished until 2008, this story is set in NYC and has two narrators. Kerouac wrote the chapters told from the view of Mike Ryko, a sometimes merchant marine who has lived on and off with Janie for a year. She wants to marry while Mike seems to be indifferent to the idea and runs out the door with his friends whenever given the chance.
Burroughs writes the chapters labeled "Will Dennison". Will is from Reno, has some family money and a wife he visits once a year. He is unflappable whether being hit up for money or listening to a murder confession. He helpfully gives a detailed tutorial on how to prepare morphine for shooting up. Dennison is the only person who seeks out the company of Al, an older creepy stalker who is obsessed with good-looking teen Phillip, who is himself the most horrible of the bunch.
They move as a group; Mike, Will, Al, Phillip, Janie and Barbara, always asking each other for money, cigarettes or dinner, and though they're broke they manage to always be guzzling liquor. Aside from Mike and Phillip repeatedly sleeping too late to get chosen for a freighter, not much happens until near the end when Phillip snaps. This is still a worthwhile read if only to experience a very early Beat novel. 3.5 stars

107mstrust
Editado: Abr 24, 5:38pm


We attended the Tiki Oasis Friday and Saturday. We attended two seminars, shopped and had some cocktails. Good time.

108mstrust
Editado: Abr 24, 5:32pm


41. Redshirts by John Scalzi. When Dahl is assigned to The Intrepid, he joins the spaceship crew along with a handful of new recruits, who quickly form a tight bond. They realize that each of them is replacing a crew member who was recently killed in some horrible and weird way, like ice sharks, and that it can't be just bad luck that makes the lower level crew members pretty much guaranteed death while a small core of long-time crew are guaranteed to survive anything. Dahl and his friends know they each have an expiration date unless they figure out what's going on.
What would happen if the expendable redshirt crew members of Star Trek knew they were slated to die just to show that crew members could die, and what if they very much wanted to live. I really liked this sci-fi comedy. 4.5 stars

109mstrust
Editado: Abr 25, 5:13pm


42. Tiki Surf Witches Want Blood by Will Penny and Nik Poliwko.
Surfers Marty and Dennis have heard about the great waves around the Isle of Diablo, so they fly a small plane and land on the beach. They expect the rumors about the island being haunted to be a joke, but when they immediately discover a forest of talking shrunken heads they're somewhat worried. The locals turn out to be a tribe of beautiful female cannibals but the guys don't want to leave and instead have a surfing competition with a god to be able to stay. Probably something to do with the women all looking like topless Hedy Lamarrs.
A 1940's style graphic novel that includes ten cocktail recipes with a couple being created just for this book.4 stars

Because of the cocktail recipes I've added this one to my Foodie category, which completes that category. I need just one more travel industry book and my categories will be complete.

110rabbitprincess
Abr 25, 10:08pm

>108 mstrust: Yay! That book was so fun. I might have to dig it out for a re-read.

111mstrust
Abr 26, 12:39pm

Wasn't it a good one? Definitely one I'll re-read in the future, and I think I'll get a copy for my mom as she's always been a Star Trek fan. Don't tell anyone but I'm certain she's always had a crush on Spock.

112mstrust
Editado: Abr 28, 6:25pm


43. Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay. A virus has spread and people are buying any food and necessities they can. It's here, on the edge of society's collapse, that Natalie and her husband have an infected man enter their home and destroy their lives. Natalie is left to beg her old roommate, Ramola, for help, as she is near her due date and was bitten. Rams is a pediatrician with connections at the local hospital. She knows that getting Natalie vaccinated is a race against time and it may already be too late, but she does everything she can to get Natalie medical care.

I do like zombie tales, but this one annoyed me. Natalie is a truly aggravating character, one that I'd have drive away from and left on the roadside. She's foul-mouthed, argumentative and angry even before her husband is killed, and the reader isn't given a good enough explanation for why Ramola is so attached to her. The author also brings in a political slant and gets pretty heavy-handed with it, which really took me out of the story. There's also a lot of very long and confusing descriptions of fights that go into minute detail that I couldn't follow.
I'd really liked A Headful of Ghosts but this one was pretty much a miss for me. 2.8 stars

113DeltaQueen50
Abr 30, 4:43pm

>112 mstrust: Oh, sounds like this one might be one to miss. Too bad, as I also really liked A Headful of Ghosts.

114mstrust
Maio 2, 9:36am

I'll try another from him in the future. Maybe this one just wasn't right for me, but I did see another review in which the reader noted that they also didn't like Natalie, and she's a big part of the story.

115mstrust
Editado: Maio 2, 9:38am


44. Not Taco Bell Material by Adam Carolla. Carolla's look at his life of growing up in North Hollywood in the 70's and 80's, and his years of manual labor before getting into radio at L.A.'s KROQ.
The chapters are headed by pics of each of his living spaces throughout his life, whether his childhood home, a garage or the homes he was able to buy when he became successful. A too large part of the book is given over to his group of gross high school friends, then to how gross he and Jimmy Kimmel were when they were working together. The whole book is fast paced and the most interesting parts to me were when Carolla's discussing his family, his tangents about general bad behavior, and the random people who pop into the story, like Grandpa Munster slapping elementary school-aged Carolla across the face for getting mouthy. 3 stars

116mstrust
Maio 2, 9:44am

I made an order with Black Rifle Coffee that arrived quickly. Two bags of their "Fit to Fight Blend" coffee, a t-shirt for Mike and an enamel pint glass. The glass and a bag of coffee were sent on to my nephew.
I think I'll be sending a box of the Cherry Republic salsas as a side gift for my sister's birthday.
>8 mstrust: to see the companies I'm blathering about.

117VivienneR
Maio 4, 3:26pm

I lost your thread for a while – had to follow the scent of sweet sugar!

Black Rifle coffee sounds terrific. I drink Grizzly Claw from https://www.kickinghorsecoffee.com.

118mstrust
Maio 4, 6:42pm

I'm so glad you found me again!
I've bought several bags of Black Rifle "Smooth Silencer" because it is an incredibly smooth cup, but I'm happy to try another of their roasts now.
Kicking Horse is sold in a specialty store we shop in but I've never tried it. Thanks for the rec, now I'll know to pick up a bag.
I'm going through a bag of Zabar's right now, the "Specialty Blend", and it's very good, but one of my all-time favorite coffees is their "Royal Blend". It's fantastic, lots of real roasted flavor without the bitterness or acidity.

119VivienneR
Maio 5, 3:03am

I must look around for Zabar's. Sounds delicious! Besides water, coffee is my only drink so it has to be good.

>105 mstrust: I've had The Eyre Affair on the shelf for a while and had just decided to trade it at the used book store that opened here recently. Your review is making me reconsider. I've already pulled it out of the book bag.

120mstrust
Maio 5, 12:57pm

I have two to three cups a day, or in the summer I'll have a hot cup in the morning and an iced in the afternoon. I drink flavored seltzer waters throughout the day.
I should have put a link to Zabar's up. Here you go: https://www.zabars.com/coffee-by-roast-2/
They will grind the beans for you and mail it in the regular coffee bag that is then in plastic bags.

Uh-oh, didn't mean to give you such pause about your weeding, but if you haven't read The Eyre Affair, give it a few chapters and see if you're hooked.

121VivienneR
Maio 5, 5:06pm

Thanks for the link, Jennifer. Much appreciated.

My copy of The Eyre Affair is my most-travelled book. It's been in and out of the weeded bag more times than I can count. :) Maybe it's time I actually read some of it.

122mstrust
Maio 5, 7:16pm

I'm always glad to give a shout for Zabar's.
Ha, your copy of The Eyre Affair must have an inferiority complex by now ;-D

123mstrust
Maio 5, 7:26pm



45. Maigret Goes to School by Georges Simenon. The Inspector is visited by a schoolmaster who believes he's about to be formally accused of murdering his village postmistress, who was found in her home with a bullet through the eye. He's right.
It seems that the only reason the schoolmaster is arrested is because one of his pupils placed him in a location to have committed the crime, while the man says he's been accused because he's a hated newcomer to the village. Maigret doesn't know what to think about the crime, but a little excursion to the country for oysters and wine sounds good, and he might look into the murder. 3.5 stars

124pamelad
Maio 5, 7:34pm

>123 mstrust: a little excursion to the country for oysters and wine sounds good It does indeed, and all the better to solve a crime while you're there.

125mstrust
Maio 5, 7:39pm

You'll never believe this, but Maigret does solve the crime!

126mstrust
Editado: Maio 9, 5:50pm


46. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. The epic story of life on a whaling ship. The narrator, Ishmael, tells of his friends and crew, the weird, one-legged captain, and how they find and kill whales while keeping a lookout for one whale in particular. There are chases and fights with the whales and between rival ships. Most of the story is expository and some of these topics are really interesting, such as a discussion of the family dynamics of whales, the mythology of whales, the varieties of whales and even English law regarding whales. He is a highly intelligent guide with many areas of expertise, while in lots of other chapters he's a dull gas bag, discussing the merits of different types of rope or complaining about how he'd have a harpooner do the job if he were in charge. The scenes of the whale killings are so disturbing, even 170 years later, and the chapters of the parceling out of the whale body is revolting. Yet the writing is eloquent and can be fast-paced.
I've spent a year and a half dipping in and out of this book, reading it for a day or two, then not touching it for two weeks. It was my Doorstop of the Year for 2020 that became my Doorstop for 2021. I'm glad I read it, it deserves to be considered a Great American Novel. 4.5 stars

127mstrust
Maio 9, 5:51pm

And with that, all my official categories are finished.

128quondame
Maio 9, 8:14pm

>126 mstrust: Congratulations on your completion of this tome. >127 mstrust: And this too!

129RidgewayGirl
Maio 9, 8:42pm

>126 mstrust: Congratulations! This is the one book I'm most happy to have read - it comes up more often than you'd think.

130DeltaQueen50
Maio 9, 8:46pm

Congratulations on completing Moby Dick, I have it sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for me to give it go.

131MissWatson
Maio 10, 5:09am

Congrats on finishing all your categories. And Moby Dick, too!

132mstrust
Maio 10, 12:06pm

>128 quondame: Thanks & thanks! It was a journey :-D
>129 RidgewayGirl: Thanks! It's nice to have joined the club!
>130 DeltaQueen50: Thank you. I know what you mean, it's just sitting there on the shelf for years, daring you.
>131 MissWatson: Thank you! Clearly I didn't challenge myself with this challenge, as it's only May. Still, I'll take the win.

133christina_reads
Maio 11, 10:50am

Congrats on completing your challenge so early! And what a great book to end on. I'd like to try Moby Dick sometime...maybe that'll be my next big read.

134mstrust
Maio 11, 12:01pm

Thanks, Christina! For the last few years I've picked out a doorstop book to read through the year, as I'm a super slow reader and it gives me a smug little sense of accomplishment. For me, a doorstop is 500 pages or more.
Moby Dick grabbed me pretty quickly as I thought the meeting of Ismael and Queenog (?) was funny. The book has some slow, long-winded sections but for the most part it's very interesting and reads almost like non-fiction.

135mstrust
Maio 12, 12:18pm



47. Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. The creators and hosts of the "My Favorite Murders" true crime podcast discuss how they met and started the podcast, and through interchanging chapters they pretty much write their autobiographies. The chapter by Karen of what it was like to be a latchkey kid in the 80's is hilarious. The majority of the book is about their emotional problems and substance abuse and what they've learned through years of therapy. They do go into their problems at length, with Georgia even providing direct quotes from her therapy sessions and providing a list of her diagnosed issues.
This is a lot of self help for a reader who thought that the book would be about putting together a true crime podcast. Not sorry I read it because it was entertaining, informative and sometimes funny, just a completely difference book from what I was expecting. 4 stars

136mstrust
Editado: Maio 13, 2:47pm



48. The Beginner's Guide to Mushrooms by Britt A. Bunyard and Tavis Lynch. Just published, this is a large paperback of mushroom and fungi identification. Nearly every mushroom includes color photos of that mushroom as it is found in the wild, and some photos show the root or the sliced mushroom, as identifying it correctly often includes seeing what happens when the mushroom is damaged. Information includes the most likely place to find each variety and best circumstances for their growth, whether or not it is edible, and its particular characteristics.
There is a detailed section about home cultivation, with photos, and a recipe section.
I know, it's difficult to choose between all your mushroom and fungi books, but I think if you need just one, it's this one. The only thing that keeps it from 5 stars is the large size that would make it difficult for a backpack. 4.5 stars


Clatherus archeri (devil's fingers)


Turkey tail

137mstrust
Editado: Maio 16, 9:55am


49. Elizabeth by Ken Greenhall. The story of the depraved, wealthy family of Cuttners, as told by their most twisted member, fourteen year-old Elizabeth, who instigates most of the craziness. In the first chapter she tells the reader that she's living at her grandmother's because she's killed her parents. In the second chapter she tells the reader that her uncle is her lover. There's a long list of personality disorders with Elizabeth and Uncle James, but it's impossible to guess what's going to happen next as Elizabeth is getting instructions from Frances, the 400 year old witch in the mirror.
Take The Bad Seed and mix it with Lolita, then add in the urban legend of Bloody Mary. This book is called a "forgotten classic". It should be as well-known as The Bad Seed as the writing is just as good and the story as scary. The bizarre atmosphere the Cuttners live in shadows everything they do, even when we first meet James, who comes knocking on the locked cabin screen door when Elizabeth's parents are at the lake.
I stepped back from the door and waited to see what James would do. I suppose you think I was being childish, but it was more than that. James liked to perform little desperate acts. The circumstances of his life were purposely odd and messy, and they forced him to behave desperately. That pleased him and I liked to add to his pleasure.

I would guess this will be the craziest story I read all year. 4 stars
I read this for this month's ScaredyKit.

138mstrust
Editado: Maio 20, 3:00pm


50. High Tech and Hot Pot: Encounters and Escapades Inside China by Stephan Orth. Orth is a German travel writer. For this book he used the Couchsurfing app to meet most of the people who became his travel guides, logging in and looking for people who would give him a bed for a couple of nights and show him their neighborhoods. The variety of people he bunked with varied, from a female artist whose newly built studio was razed by the government in what she believed to be a plot to silence her controversial work, to a car dealership trainee whose apartment was so small that he and the author had to share the one bed. He stayed in a rural village with a family and was horrified to learn that they had cooked a dog to give him an honorable dinner, and he stayed in a city of nearly 10 million with a young man who was addicted to the internet and video games.

Orth had to lie in order to take this trip across the country, telling the Chinese Consulate that he had no intention of writing a book about China, that he was just visiting a friend and would see just two cities. He knew that if he admitted to his plans for a book, to meeting strangers all across the country and to informing the official about an app that allowed foreigners to sleep in Chinese homes and see ways of life the government hid from the outside world, he would be denied entry.
His journey was one of constant juxtapositions, going from modern metropolises to villages that seemed unchanged for a century. One of his app hosts turned out to be a tv host who drove Orth to a poor village in order to exploit him for her show, another turned out to be fascinated by Nazis, and another was a married policewoman who had a brief fling with the author. He also secretly interviewed probably the last person the Chinese government would want a foreign writer to meet, a government official who is also a Uyghur, the ethnic group who is currently enslaved in reeducation camps. Along the way he met many regular people who just wanted to meet a tall European.
The "tech" part of the title figures prominently in his travels as he was shocked by the level of surveillance the citizens live under, with pretty much their every move being monitored through street cameras and online monitoring of their phones and computers. One of his hosts pays for their dinner with a phone app called Sesame Credit, which is connected to Alibaba. Orth explains that the app holds all her financial records, which is translated into a point system that follows the customer throughout her life and that the government has access to it. Having high points can get you a line jump when seeing a doctor or a better response in online dating. Orth's friend knows her every move online is being watched, she's had proof and it creeps her out.

The development of Sesame Credit, and other such apps, will soon enable an almost complete surveillance of the population...
Here you can lose points by failing to pay you debts on time, for example, or driving through red traffic lights of visiting online porn sites. Conversely, those who pay rent punctually, save a child or report a crime are rewarded with points. It is almost as if somebody is sitting somewhere judging every living moment, then rating it with: good, medium or bad...A number of cities are already running pilot schemes where even political opinions are incorporated into the ratings. "It's all about what you have posted online and how your friends respond," says Simone. "...if a friend of mine criticizes the government on Weibo, it will also affect my points in the future. It's crazy that such plans haven't caused an international outcry, isn't it?"


It gives an extensive look at the wide variety of people living across China, and while some of the people he met had remained in their hometown, many he met had lived abroad and returned, out of a sense of duty to their family or the hope they could improve lives, but what they had in common was a knowledge that their government had too much control of their lives. This was an LT ER. 4 stars

139mstrust
Editado: Maio 21, 1:03pm


51. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Told by young Esperanza in short, deceptively simple chapters. Her family lives in a rundown section of Chicago and one of the first things she tells the reader is about a nun from her school making Esperanza feel ashamed of her family's rental. When her family moves to a better home she has to make new friends in the neighborhood, meeting domineering sisters Lucy and Rachel, and pretty but doomed Sally. Esperanza takes the reader around her neighborhood to introduce the residents and witness flashes of their lives. The reader begins to see, through her narration of the goings-on, that Esperanza isn't as mature as the kids her own age, and while she doesn't get through her childhood unscathed, she may ultimately be better off. 3 stars

140mstrust
Editado: Maio 26, 2:39pm


52. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Just before her ninth birthday, Rose discovers a terrible talent, that she can taste the feelings of whoever made the food she's eating. That she learns this while trying to eat her own mother's cooking teaches Rose that her family isn't what she thought. Her parents are kind and loving to her and her older brother, but this weird ability with food is unbearable and it extends to food she eats in school or restaurants.
But just as Rose learns to cope with her own problem, her brother, who has always kept people at a distance, begins to exhibit even stranger behavior.
A story of what goes on underneath the surface. With each chapter I thought this would be the one where the parents quietly split up. 3.5 stars

141mstrust
Editado: Maio 28, 3:56pm


53. Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones. A few summers ago, Sawyer and his group of friends discovered a discarded mannequin in a creek. Naming it Manny, they dressed it up and pranked each other all summer. When they outgrew Manny he was left in Sawyer's garage. Now that they're in high school a couple of them decide to use Manny again to prank Shanna at her new job at the movie theater. What was supposed to be harmless fun turns into something else when Manny gets up at the end of the movie and walks out on his own. Making things worse, Sawyer decides that Manny must be angry and vengeful, and Sawyer doesn't blame him.
A short book that begins looking like it will be one type of horror, then changes to another kind. Because it's written in the voice of a high schooler sometimes the cadence can seem confusing or backwards. 3 stars

142mstrust
Editado: Jun 4, 3:57pm



54. Face It by Debbie Harry. The autobiography by Harry and rock journalist Sylvie Simmons. If you're a Blondie fan, as I have been since elementary school, you'll love this. Harry's childhood, discussions about her adoption, and growing up in the 50's and then the hippie era. She talks about spending years trying out this and that, looking for something that made her happy while knowing she didn't want to get married and be normal. Harry's natural weirdness comes through even when she isn't talking about music, something that I find endearing.
She discusses meeting Chris Stein, her Blondie co-founder, co-writer and longtime boyfriend, Blondie bandmates, the infamous Hall of Fame induction and the managers who ripped them off, along with discussing the tours and meeting lots of famous people, and the start of punk at CBGB's. She is candid about drug use and rape, and her looks and aging.
This is a heavy book, both because Harry has a lot to say and because it's made with heavy cardstock. It's really heavy. There are photos, of course, but not an excessive amount, and probably even more drawings of Harry from fans that she's saved over the years. I would have given this 5 stars if not for the still unanswered questions about the band's fracturing. 4.5 stars

143mstrust
Editado: Jun 7, 11:47am


55. England As You Like It by Susan Allen Toth. Toth has written several books about traveling around England, part travel guide, part memoir, they are books of slow, calming travel with lots of manor houses and gardens, usually with her husband James.
This book is geared towards the first-time traveler to England, and as it was published in 1995, much of the travel advice can be skipped as the internet has made things like writing to a historical society for pamphlets obsolete. But these first few chapters can also be read to remember how much effort had to be made back then.
Toth travels by her "thumbprint theory" which is trying to spend a week at a time in an area that covers no more than the size of her thumb on the map. While this is a good way to get to know a place better than moving around, it works best for someone who knows they will be returning often.
My favorite chapter was one about Daphne Du Maurier's area of Cornwall, seeing Menabilly, Du Maurier's home and the inspiration for Manderlay, and exploring her neighborhood. But there is also a fun chapter about shopping for biscuits and sweets at Sainsbury's and another chapter explaining why she and her husband prefer packing their own food rather than eating in restaurants. 3 stars

144mstrust
Editado: Jun 8, 10:40am

Just dropping in Richards Maple Products of Ohio, "The Largest Variety of Maple Products in the World".
https://www.richardsmapleproducts.com/

145quondame
Jun 8, 7:20pm

146mstrust
Jun 9, 12:36pm

Ha! I've been researching maple for about a year now, and they do have more products than any other I've come across.

147mstrust
Editado: Jun 10, 1:03pm


I received two big boxes yesterday from Mike's Aunt Kath in Vermont. She's given me her mother's china collection for my birthday, pretty things that are bits from three or four sets. Mike believes these things belonged to his great-grandmother originally. Some are marked "Bavaria" and "Nippon", so I assume pre-war. Others are marked "Germany" and "Japan", and have a very post-war look. The prettiest are the five or six pieces marked "Hand Painted Nippon" with a maple leaf. The raised design seems to be real gold.

I'm asking if anyone knows about antique china because I've shown this Japanese container with the manufacturer's hole to a couple of people who have had some involvement in antiques, but not in china, and nobody knows what it's for. I worked in an antique store as a teen and have never seen this.

149mstrust
Jun 10, 3:16pm

Thank you so much! I would never have guessed that's what it's for as I didn't even know something like that existed!

150mstrust
Editado: Jun 12, 1:17pm


56. Middle Men: Stories by Jim Gavin. A collection of short stories about young men who are struggling to achieve but find themselves coming up short. That might sound like a depressing premise but Gavin gives each story a little dose of oddity mixed in with the reality of underachieving. The stories take the reader all over California, from San Francisco, Hollywood, Riverside, and on the freeways.
In "Play The Man" a highschooler gets kicked off his basketball team because he's an average player on a team of future greats, which leads to him transferring to a mediocre school with a mediocre team where he can be the star player.
In "Elephant Doors", Adam finally gets a good job in show biz as an assistant on a long-running quiz show with a legendary host. He's been pursuing stand-up for years and getting nowhere, so he's happy to finally have a paycheck, a cool new friend and some tiny status, but he is always taken aback by the famous host's weird conversations.
The title story was what I was hoping for. Gavin was the creator of one of the best shows ever, Lodge 49, and in this story there's a lot of the surreal quality and unique personalities that ended up in the show a few years after this book was published. It's about Matt, who was adrift and depressed after his mom's death until his father pulled strings and got Matt a sales position in the plumbing supply industry. After a year in this job he has no interest in or talent for, Matt meets old-timer Larry, who pulls back the curtain to show Matt the movers and shakers in the toilet racket and explains how deals get done in such a cutthroat trade.
4.2 stars

151mstrust
Editado: Jun 16, 4:12pm


57. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor. Published in 1971, this is the story of the residents at the Claremont Hotel in London, a long-term residence for elderly people who, for one reason or another, find themselves in the hotel's shabby elegance until it's time to go to a nursing home. Mrs Palfrey is widowed with one daughter living in Scotland who has never invited her mother to live with her because, as they both know but don't say, they don't really like each other. Mrs Palfrey's grandson lives in London and works at the British Museum, but can't be bothered to visit. These hotel residents have sharp eyes, and some have sharp tongues. The constant badgering of Mrs Palfrey to explain why her grandson hasn't visited is recognized as a humiliation to the elderly group of regulars, and leads her to a small deceit to save face.
While the story rests mostly with Mrs Palfrey, each resident is dealing with their loneliness and exclusion from families that find their age an inconvenience. 4.5 stars

152mstrust
Editado: Jun 19, 12:31pm

Noting this but not counting as it's a short story.



If You Are Lonely And You Know It by Yiyun Li. Gordon lives in a back house on Iris' property. At sixty-two years old, retired and twice divorced with no children, Gordon finds himself looking after his former stepdaughter's pitbull, who turns out to have some aggression towards other dogs. The situation makes Gordon contemplate his isolation. 4 stars
This is a Prime read on Kindle.

153mstrust
Editado: Jun 23, 5:01pm


58. Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii by Lee Goldberg. Unwilling to let his assistant Natalie get away to Hawaii for her best friend's wedding, which would leave him without anyone to drive him and hand him disinfectant wipes, Monk drugs himself up and gets on the plane to Hawaii. They're halfway through the flight before Natalie realizes he's onboard and that her vacation is ruined.
Monk also manages to ruin the wedding, drive the hotel staff up the wall, solve a string of burglaries and a murder, and is determined to expose a tv psychic as a fraud. He visits many famous Hawaiian spots and a luau too, all against his will.
This series of Monk novels, mostly written by Goldberg, are really fun, and since the author was also a writer for the show he voices the characters perfectly. 4 stars

154mstrust
Editado: Jun 24, 11:00am


59. Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. That's right, I'd never read this before even though it was around when I was a kid.
It's fantastic! Poems about a guy who refuses to bath, pirate captains, a boy with hair so long it sends him flying, a girl too sick to go to school until she's reminded that it's the weekend. Whimsical, clever and fun. 5 stars

155mstrust
Editado: Jun 25, 2:52pm


60. An Accidental Bookseller: A Personal Memoir of Foyles by Bill Samuel. Samuel is a Foyle on his mother's side, and he's the grandson of William Foyle, co-founder of the London bookstore company that is now over 100 years old. The title of this book comes from the fact that Samuel never had an interest in being in the family business, not because he didn't love books, but because when he reached adulthood Foyles was being run by his Aunt Christina and they mutually loathed each other.
Samuel became an accountant, but if the term "adventurer accountant" has ever been used, it was to describe this man who worked in advertising in Nairobi, owned a construction company in Portugal and became the Director of Tourism for Turks and Caicos. His memoir of finally joining the board of Foyles and working in the family business, after Christina's death, is also part autobiography of his world travels.
But what a juicy business memoir. He truly disliked his aunt and really slings some mud about what he found as the board member, and accountant, who dove into the non-existent record keeping, billings, and fraud that had been Christina's system. He gives specifics as to how employees were able to defraud the business for years, and he discusses the years of poor customer service and bad treatment of the employees that was allowed to ruin the shop's reputation. He also discusses the steps that were taken to rectify these things, like finally bringing in computers, once the rest of the family was able to step in. 4 stars

156mstrust
Editado: Jun 28, 6:03pm

I'm lumping these two short ones together.


61. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Could this metaphor for motherhood be any sadder? This book is another that I'm reading for the first time. 4 stars


The Empire of the Ants by H.G. Wells. I'd wanted to read this one for a long time as I'm a fan of the 70's horror movie version with the actors fighting off huge animatronic ants. Love it. This story started out promising, with a new man aboard a boat in the jungle describing the infestation of aggressive ants that seem more organized than usual, but the ending was disappointing, as if Wells tired of the whole thing. 2.5 stars

157mstrust
Jun 28, 6:06pm

We spent the weekend in Vegas. Among lots of things, I managed to acquire some books:

From The Writer's Block downtown:
Hangsaman
On the Wrong Track
Psychiatry: A Very Short Introduction

From the Summerlin library bookstore:
The Giver
Kon-Tiki -a smaller copy than the one I have
Thames Valley Teashop Walks
Chocolate Wars

Gifts from Mom:
Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple
Two books of a series I'd never heard of, The Book of All Flesh and The Book of Final Flesh, It's a twenty year-old zombie anthology series. I flipped through and there are stories from Paul Trembley and Tim Waggoneer.

And in my mailbox was an order, Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins, one of my favorite non-fiction authors.

158pamelad
Jun 28, 6:34pm

>157 mstrust: You can never go wrong with Shirley Jackson.

159mstrust
Jun 29, 8:48am

Wise words that should be stitched on a pillow!

160mstrust
Editado: Jun 29, 10:21am


62. Mocktails & Cocktails Made Simple by Judith A. Pearce.
I guess this book is so new that I'm the only one who owns it so far. I've entered as much info as I can.
A slim book of classic and original recipes along with instructions for making them alcohol-free. Nice color pics of each cocktail. And eight different sangria recipes. 3.5 stars

161thornton37814
Jul 2, 8:56am

You've had some fun ones -- Mr. Monk and a couple of children's classics!

162mstrust
Jul 2, 9:01am

I have, and I've had two more fun ones arrive yesterday, Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants and Your Inner Hedgehog, the latest in the Dr von Igelfeld series.

163mstrust
Jul 2, 9:08am



63. Murder on Tap by Emily James. The fourth in the Maple Syrup Mysteries series, this one has new sugar shack owner Nicole discovering the body of her young photographer while leading a tour group through the sugarbush. Drew had been getting shots for the new tourism brochure when someone decided to tap him like a maple tree. Nicole is convinced that the killer was one of the tour group, maybe even Drew's annoying girlfriend.
Has some big leaps in logic, but still enjoyable. 3.5 stars

164mstrust
Jul 4, 8:57am

Happy 4th!

165mstrust
Editado: Jul 4, 9:16am


64. The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger. Maddie is in the middle of nowhere, driving an old beater that is about to breakdown. She's trying to outrun Erik, her scary boyfriend, who is maybe a day behind her but gaining fast and sending threatening text messages that tell her she can't escape him. As her gas tank is nearly empty and she's exhausted, Maddie pulls into the Sleep Tight Motel, a little place along the interstate run by Drew, a lonely man who couldn't be nicer. But between the two of them they can't figure out why Maddie keeps hearing screaming and scuffling in the empty room next door.
A kind of re-imagining of Psycho, but with a big twist at the end. I read this on Kindle, it's part of their Dark Corners collection. I don't know if this is considered a novella or a long short story. It's the first I've read by this author. 4 stars

166DeltaQueen50
Jul 4, 12:02pm

Happy 4th, Jennifer. Enjoy your holiday!

167mstrust
Jul 5, 9:42am

Thanks, Judy, I did!
We went shopping for my book photo shoot, which I'm expecting to happen in a few weeks. We picked up some props at At Home, where they were putting up Halloween stuff. Not much out, but it was the first Autumn sighting.
We went to JoAnn Fabrics and bought a couple of different fabrics for table settings. They had lots of Halloween fabric designs out.
We were supposed to grill the pork chops I'd been marinating, but had pizza for dinner instead.
And the neighbors set off fireworks, some were small fountain style, but we were pretty much surrounded by big rocket fireworks too. We're lucky that Coral doesn't freak out, she just looks at us and sees we don't mind, then goes back to sleep.

168mstrust
Editado: Jul 5, 9:43am


65. I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. Bogel is best known as the host of the What Should I read Now podcast, so I heard her soothing voice as I read this.
In this book she discusses so many aspects of being a reader, from packing a stack of books for vacation to having an acquaintance, someone you hardly know, ask for book recommendations, to the danger of looking at a good friend's bookshelf and being surprised. She discusses the many ways a reader can track their reads, and she reminisces about the many years, as a young family, that she lived next door to a library and would drop in multiple times a day.
This book, with it's lack of a plot, just booky topics, would be a great palate cleanser between more intense reads. 3.5 stars

169DeltaQueen50
Jul 5, 11:50am

>168 mstrust: I've got I'd Rather Be Reading in the stacks and will save it for when I need a booky read. :)

170mstrust
Jul 5, 3:04pm

I love books on books, I often end up with a list of books to track down. In this one, Bogel talks about author Wallace Stegner quite a bit and I've never read him.

171christina_reads
Jul 5, 4:31pm

>170 mstrust: I put Crossing to Safety on my TBR list soon after I started listening to the What Should I Read Next podcast! :)

172mstrust
Jul 6, 10:01am

And that's the book she goes back to several times in this book. It's one of her favorites. I'll WL it so I don't forget.

173mstrust
Editado: Jul 8, 12:35pm


66. Uncle Dysfunctional: Uncompromising Answers to Life's Most Painful Problems by A.A. Gill. Gill had a column in British Esquire for several years answering questions from readers, and when he was bored, questions from himself. Often, the questions were of the most hilariously raunchy sort, and Gill, sharp-tongued and brilliant, would give his reply. Sometimes his advice was obscene, sometimes profound, such as speaking about the value of freedom or feminism, or the pain of being dumped.
I enjoyed the forward by Esquire's editor, who discusses working with Gill. I've liked everything I've read from him, he was often shockingly funny and fearless. 4 stars

174mstrust
Editado: Jul 11, 11:21am


67. Candy Coated Murder by Kate Bell. Mia has moved home to Pumpkin Hollow, the Halloween town where she grew up and where her family has owned a candy store for generations. She hadn't planned on moving back in with her parents and working at the candy store, as she'd left ten years ago for college, where she earned several degrees but still came away with no idea of what she wants to do with herself.
Normally she wouldn't have dared to go up to next door neighbor Hazel's porch, but Mia was so surprised to see that Halloween hating Hazel had actually made a scarecrow and put it on the bench at her front door. This is so out of character, and when Mia takes a good look, she notices the scarecrow is wearing the same clothes Hazel had been wearing that day.

This is a good Halloween cozy. Pumpkin Hollow has Halloween themed stores and activities from Labor Day to November, and the climax of this murder mystery takes place with Mia dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She's a little annoying with her constantly being offended by the townspeople openly cheering for whoever killed Hazel, but I'll likely continue the series and maybe Mia will stop telling people they aren't very nice. 3.5 stars

I suspect that Suzette is also Emily James, author of the Maple Syrup Mysteries, as James is the only author I've come across who uses the word "anymore" to mean "now" or "when".

175DeltaQueen50
Jul 11, 12:23pm

Your thread is now my official "first" sighting of Halloween for 2021! For that you deserve a Halloween fruit tray:

176mstrust
Jul 11, 8:33pm

That's a beautiful platter of scary fruits, thanks!
I was in Michael's this morning, standing there all disappointed because they didn't have the Halloween banner I'd been looking for, and no non-melting powdered sugar either. They were just getting some Autumn things out, but not much.

177mstrust
Editado: Jul 13, 9:56am


Treasure (Hush Collection) by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Treasure lives in an exclusive neighborhood of Lagos and is on her way to being a real social influencer. She posts lots of pictures of herself in designer clothes, laughing and being happy, hashtagging "blessed" because it's important to be seen as down-to-earth. She will sometimes reply to her fans, just some superficial interaction, like thanking them for the money they send her. And then one day she posts a pic and, just for a few seconds, forgets to hide her location.
A short story from the author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, this is about obsession, a man obsessed with the image of a woman and the woman who is obsessed with herself. I'm not counting it as it's short enough to be read in less than an hour. 3 stars

178mstrust
Editado: Jul 14, 7:09pm


Check These Out by Gina Sheridan. A collection of Sheridan's favorites, organized in chapters such as high school reading, Southern, con artists. Sheridan is a librarian who has read across a vast range of genres, and while I wouldn't agree with many of her choices of the "best", she recommends Jim Thompson and I ended up with a long list of recommendations to track down, so I'm not complaining. 3.5 stars

179pamelad
Jul 14, 10:19pm

>173 mstrust: I've just started this and you're quite right. He's shockingly funny.

180mstrust
Jul 15, 10:15am

I'm glad you're liking it. I can also highly recommend his book of essays about the English called The Angry Island. His description of watching painfully bad stand-up at a pub is priceless.

181mstrust
Editado: Jul 20, 10:10am


69. Deadly Arms by Emily James. The fifth in the Maple Syrup Mysteries, this opens with Nicole, the lapsed lawyer and new owner of a Michigan sugarbush operation, being surprised by a visit from her mother. As her harshest critic, Nicole and her mom have never been close, but if there were plans to talk Nicole into coming back to DC they are derailed by a big pool of blood in the bathroom of the room next door to Nicole's mom. Because the majority of the police station is out sick, the investigation is headed by Officer Elise, who has never led a murder investigation, and Nicole and her mom, who have had some run-ins with murderers before. 3 stars

182mstrust
Editado: Jul 21, 10:35am


70. I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan. A collection of conversations Sheridan, a librarian in California, has had with patrons or overheard at her library. Most involve people who are strange, such as Cuckoo Carol, the belligerent regular who snaps at everyone but tells Sheridan to get a better attitude, or the man who demanded to know why the library didn't have typewriters for public use anymore. Some of the stories were about the children discovering a love of books or the gratitude patrons can show to their librarians. I think the funniest story was when she overheard two co-workers trying to figure out which of their older female regulars, all having exhibited very strange behavior, was Sheila.
This is a quick read. 4 stars

183mstrust
Editado: Jul 25, 11:28am


71. Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg. When the local firehouse dog is found murdered, Natalie's twelve year-old daughter is so upset that she asks Natalie's boss, San Francisco's consulting detective Adrian Monk, to investigate. There's no doubt the dog was murdered, and it happened while the entire crew was working on a house fire in which the resident died. Well, Monk just has to investigate that too, and learns that the whole street is overjoyed that the nosy old lady is dead, because she was the one keeping them from a huge payday. Which means there are lots of people with motives.
The first of the Monk novels, he's as funny and aggravating as you'd find in the tv series. 4 stars

184mstrust
Editado: Jul 27, 11:52am


72. Murderously Sweet by Kate Bell. The second book in the Pumpkin Hollow series.
Just months after finding her next door neighbor dead and dressed as a scarecrow, Mia and Ethan literally stumble upon a body in the corn maze. It's the mayor, a man who hated the town's Halloween theme and was working to end it. There's a long list of suspects from that angle, but his widow wasn't happy with him either.
Yes, lots of Halloween and candy talk, as Mia's family owns the candy store in the Halloween section of town, where they make homemade candy. 4 stars

185mstrust
Editado: Jul 28, 2:10pm


73. Just Another Day at Your Public Library by Roz Warren. Warren has been a librarian at a busy Pennsylvania library for twenty years. This is a collection of topics that librarians deal with daily, such as confused computer patrons, patrons who try to get out of paying late fines, whether or not shushing is appropriate and how quiet should a busy library be. She uses her Facebook page to ask other librarians questions, such as "What's the strangest thing put through your book drop?" Mostly humorous, but she does touch on the topic of the mentally ill who spend the day at public libraries because they have nowhere else to go. 3 stars