rosalita (Julia) ROOTs around again in 2023-Chapter 1

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rosalita (Julia) ROOTs around again in 2023-Chapter 1

Editado: Jan 1, 2:00 pm

My name’s Julia, and I have too many books. Well, that’s not really possible but it’s fair to say I have too many books I haven’t read yet. I’ve participated in the ROOTs group for two years, and have met my goal of 48 ROOTs each year. I’m going to aim for that same target this year, just 4 per month. Under-promise and over-deliver is the motto for 2023!

I work at my alma mater, the University of Iowa, so my thread topper will usually feature seasonal images from the campus, but this year we've also got a message from the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States.

That’s enough of the blather — on to the books!

Editado: Jan 1, 1:36 pm

I read 60 books in 2022 (54 were ROOTs) and acquired 66 more. Adding more than I subtract from my TBR is ... not how it's supposed to work! I'll try to reverse those numbers in 2023.

Keeping Score


Total books read


Editado: Maio 4, 5:37 pm

ROOTed in 2023
January through June

1. My Policeman by Bethan Roberts.
2. The Bone Is Pointed by Arthur W. Upfield.
3. The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang.
4. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke.

5. Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout.
6. Exiles by Jane Harper.
7. A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie.
8. The Dry by Jane Harper.
9. Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout.

10. The Mystery of Swordfish Reef by Arthur W. Upfield.
11. Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout.

12. Murder in the Ball Park by Robert Goldsborough.
13. Force of Nature by Jane Harper.
14. The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths.

KEY: Italics = non-ROOTs. Bold = Favourite book of the month.

Editado: Maio 4, 5:42 pm

Added to the shelf in 2023
January through June

1. Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past edited by Kevin M. Kruse and Julia E. Zelizer. ($18.99 ebook/Kobo)
  * NOTE: I also have the audiobook version, won in a Twitter giveaway by Professor Kruse.
✔︎ 2. The Bone Is Pointed by Arthur W. Upfield. ($5.66 ebook/Kobo)
3. Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do edited by Gerald Gross. ($1.70 ebook/Kobo)
4. Wish You Were Here by Stewart O'Nan. ($1.79 ebook/Kobo)
5. The Chicago Guide to Usage, Grammar and Punctuation by Bryan A. Garner. ($1.79 ebook/Kobo)
✔︎ 6. Exiles by Jane Harper. ($14.99 ebook/Kobo)

7. Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay by Erik S. Gellman. (free ebook/University of Chicago Press)
✔︎ 8. A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie. ($14.99 ebook/Kobo)
✔︎ 9. The Mystery of Swordfish Reef by Arthur W. Upfield. (free ebook/Kobo)

10. This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom by Martin Hägglund. ($4.99 ebook/Kobo)
11. Caramel Pecan Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke. (89 cents ebook/Kobo)

12. Bushranger of the Skies by Arthur W. Upfield. ($5.66 ebook/Kobo)
13. Down Cemetery Road by Mick Herron. ($1.99 ebook/Kobo)
✔︎ 14. The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths. ($14.99 ebook/Kobo)
15. Deliver Me From Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska by Warren Zanes. ($28.00/hardccover)

KEY: ✔︎ indicates books that I have read, either this year or previously.

Jan 1, 1:40 pm

reserved for 2022 stats

Jan 1, 2:09 pm

Hooray, welcome back! I'll join you in the trying to bring fewer in than I read (maybe I should do a January book detox! Although anything diet-related never works for me with food, so why I think it would with books I really don't know!).

Jan 1, 2:14 pm

>6 Jackie_K: If a book-buying diet turned out the way my food diets do, I'd end up with 100 books bought and 50 books read!

We'll both just have to do the best we can and let the self-criticism go — one of my mantras for 2023.

Jan 1, 2:20 pm

Thanks for the invite to your new thread, Julia :)

Here's to a great new year!

Jan 1, 2:25 pm

>8 katiekrug: Thank you for wanting to be invited!

I'm ready for 2023 — did you know there are only 78 days until spring? I just might make it ...

Jan 1, 2:33 pm

Happy New Year, Julia. I have your thread starred and look forward to your futile effort to read more books than you acquire. ;)

Editado: Jan 1, 5:42 pm

>10 BLBera: I think it will be a task akin to shoveling smoke, but a woman's reach must exceed her grasp and all that jazz. :-D

Jan 1, 3:04 pm

Thank you kindly for the invite to your new digs, Julia. I am thrilled to be here. I will try to behave, but I can't make any promises.

Jan 1, 3:12 pm

>12 Crazymamie: I'm so glad you're here, Mamie. And remember: It's a Talk thread, not a library. Behaving oneself is not a requirement for entry. Shenanigans are always encouraged!!

(Editorial comment: Who the heck fills their glassware with tissue paper instead of booze?!)

Jan 1, 3:12 pm

I am also thrilled to be here! Happy new year, Julia.

Jan 1, 3:15 pm

Right, then. And thank you for the editorial comment because now I don't have to ask.

Jan 1, 3:47 pm

>14 lauralkeet: And I am likewise thrilled to have you here, Laura!

>15 Crazymamie: I just said what I knew we were all thinking. :-)

Jan 1, 5:29 pm

Thank you for the invitation, Julia, last year it took several months before I found your thread!

Jan 1, 6:30 pm

>17 CDVicarage: I'm glad you're here, Kerry!

Jan 2, 7:45 am

>7 rosalita: Oh same here! Ditching the self-criticism is a great idea.

Jan 2, 1:23 pm

Welcome back!

Jan 2, 1:55 pm

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Jan 2, 4:20 pm

>20 cyderry: >21 rabbitprincess: Thank you, Chèli and RP. I'm very happy to be here.

Jan 2, 4:22 pm

I found you! Woot!

Jan 2, 4:35 pm

>23 scaifea: Hooray!

Jan 2, 4:54 pm

2023 Reading Plan

I've mentioned previously and elsewhere that I don't like to do much planning for my reading each year. I have learned over the years that I am allergic to being told what to read and when, even when the person doing the telling is myself! Having said that, I am going to adopt some *very* loose guidelines for 2023.

  • Read 48 books off my own shelves (physical and virtual)
  • Buy fewer books than I read off the shelf
  • Don’t read more than two mysteries in a row
  • Make meaningful progress on the 31 (gulp!) series that I am actively reading.

About those series ...

Many thanks to Laura for the template for this spreadsheet.

Editado: Jan 2, 5:20 pm

Currently Reading
(as of January 2)


I didn't originally have much interest in reading The Family Chao when it was published last year, but the University of Iowa has begun an online book club for alumni and this is the first selection. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that they are starting with a book written by the director of the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop.

I was on the library holds list for My Policeman for so long I no longer remember who recommended it or why I thought it sounded interesting. And then after it finally came in, I completely forgot it was there because it's an audiobook and I never remember to open the Libby app since I read my ebooks on my Kobo. So I've got 6 days to read the whole dang thing, and if you're a betting man or woman, I'd bet the under on whether I finish it in time. :-)

Jan 2, 7:13 pm

Happy "Off the Shelf" reading in 2023. Cheers!

Jan 2, 7:52 pm

Hi Julia, I will be following along in 2023. I love the idea of an alumni reading group, would like to hear more about that if you have the chance.

Jan 2, 9:00 pm

I love it, and I'm so glad it worked for you.

Jan 2, 9:20 pm

That is a very cool spreadsheet.

Jan 2, 10:47 pm

>25 rosalita:

31!? Feh! :D

Jan 3, 8:45 am

>27 rocketjk: Thanks, Jerry! Do you have a 2023 thread? I looked but didn't see one, but things are always a bit frantic at the start of the year.

Editado: Jan 3, 9:28 am

>28 charl08: I will be happy to post a bit more later, Charlotte. I'm interested to see if it will get a big response.

>29 lauralkeet: I love the spreadsheet, even though seeing them all laid out like that is a bit daunting!

>30 BLBera: That Laura is a clever cookie, Beth.

>31 lyzard: I know, right? I'm such a piker compared to you. :-D

Jan 3, 9:20 am

>25 rosalita: Love the spreadsheet! Is the template something you/Laura would be happy to share? I would love to have something similar.

Jan 3, 9:37 am

>34 Caramellunacy: I would be happy to share my version — just send me a PM with your email address. Do you use Windows or Mac?

Jan 3, 9:49 am

>35 rosalita: and I won't even charge a royalty fee! 😂

Jan 3, 9:51 am

>36 lauralkeet: If we are ever lucky enough to have a meet-up, the drinks are on me!

Jan 3, 11:35 am

Morning, Julia!

>25 rosalita: I love the spreadsheet!!

Jan 3, 12:07 pm

>32 rosalita: You're welcome. And, yes, my thread is here:

Jan 3, 12:14 pm

>38 Crazymamie: We must give Laura all the credit for the spreadsheet, Mamie. She is a wizard and I'm lucky that she's generous about sharing her magic.

>39 rocketjk: I've got you starred now, Jerry. For some reason I was looking in the ROOT Challenge group, so I'm glad I asked.

Editado: Jan 3, 1:13 pm

>40 rosalita: *blushing* that's very sweet, Julia.

Jan 3, 3:20 pm

>35 rosalita: Sent, thanks both! I am on Windows.

Jan 3, 4:33 pm

The spreadsheet is lovely :)

I like your loose guidelines for your reading year.

Editado: Jan 4, 7:37 am

>41 lauralkeet: It's true, Laura! It's not just your Excel skills but also your generosity in sharing that are worth celebrating.

>42 Caramellunacy: You're welcome!

>43 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! We will see how those loose guidelines shake out over the year.

Jan 4, 7:37 am

Este utilizador foi removido como sendo spam.

Editado: Jan 5, 5:56 am

I've still got three reviews from last year to wrap up, so please pardon this trip into the past for the next few posts ...

58. Winds of Evil by Arthur W. Upfield.

A remote section of New South Wales has seen some baffling tragedies over the past 18 months or so. Two people — a woman and a man — have been found strangled to death in the area. The murders occur during fierce sandstorms that last for more than a day, thus wiping out any tracks or evidence that the killer might have left behind.

It's a setup tailor made for Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, a half-caste detective who once again goes undercover to try to ferret out the culprit. The cold case heats up quickly when another storm provides cover for a third attack. Can Bony piece together the puzzle before the winds rise again?

I find the exotic (to me) setting endlessly fascinating, and the characters are finely drawn. There was a plot twist that I saw coming from a mile away but I won't subtract any points as I suspect the reader is meant to catch on long before the twist is revealed.

In this, the fifth book in the series, the formula that Upfield employed has come into focus, though recognizing that doesn't really diminish my enjoyment of the books much. Bony always goes undercover; his magnetic personality magically overcomes the reflexive racism of pretty much every white person he counters, and the weather plays a supporting role in the plot. Oh, and there is a beautiful young woman and a mysterious Englishman who is clearly living and working below his station; if you guessed that the two are destined to end up together I can only assume you've read one of the earlier books.

I might be projecting based on a limited experience with mysteries of this era, but in that inevitable romantic subplot I see echoes of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver series, which also featured star-crossed lovers whose happy ending could be seen from a mile away, even in a sandstorm.

Jan 4, 5:14 pm

>46 rosalita:

Though usually the romantic subplot is far less important to the narrative overall, and sometimes works against the central mystery.

Far more eyebrow-raising to me is that, in these remote and underpopulated regions, there always manages to be two young people of marriageable age and circumstances. :)

Editado: Jan 4, 5:23 pm

59. Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie.

I neglected my chronological read of the Poirot novels for too long, but now that I'm back on track I hope I can polish them off in good time. And this one's kind of a hybrid of Christie's most enduring series, with Poirot plopped down into the middle of a Miss Marple-esque setting (small village where everyone knows everyone else's business).

Here we've got an old cleaning woman (that's Mrs. McGinty to you) who's murdered in her cottage, and the lodger who shared her home who's convicted of the crime. But Superintendent Spence has doubts about the man's guilt, even though it was the evidence Spence gathered that clinched the case. So he enlists his old friend Hercule to nose around to uncover the truth, which the little Belgian does, eventually, but only after more bodies pile up.

I liked but didn't love this one but it provided a nice array of suspects and a satisfying ending — who among us would ask for more?

As an aside, the title is apparently a play on a common children's game in the UK (according to Wikipedia, it's similar to the Hokey-Cokey/Hokey-Pokey). I had to look it up because it was completely unfamiliar to me and I was curious whether it was an actual thing or something Christie invented for the purposes of her plot.

Editado: Jan 4, 5:27 pm

>48 rosalita:

Oh, you ARE spoiling me! :D

This is one of those I like because of the "unimportance" of the victim; and of course because of Maureen Summerhayes, who gets name-checked in a later novel. (And here again we have the "p.g." situation, as we have discussed with respect to the Miss Silvers.)

Jan 4, 5:27 pm

60. The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy.

This was a re-read so I won't write a full review. I'll just say that I I find Binchy's writing about the Ireland of the mid-20th century to be as comforting as a warm bath. So many of her books (like this one) feature children as the main characters and she really knows how to write young people. Lovely.

Jan 4, 5:28 pm

OK, that's 2022 done and dusted! Now I need to get cracking on finishing a book in 2023. I'm already behind in my ROOT/Buy ratio, naturally.

Editado: Jan 4, 5:40 pm

>50 rosalita: - I'm pretty sure that's one of the Bincheys I've read. If only I had a spreadsheet of my reading going back that far...

*scurries off*


Okay, I'm back. It's not on my spreadsheet, which goes back to April 2001. I looked it up on Amazon and read the synopsis and it's ringing a strong bell with me, so I must have read it pre-spreadsheet.

Jan 4, 5:42 pm

>52 katiekrug: I have a lovely hardcover copy that I would be delighted to send to you if you would like to refresh your memory ...

Jan 4, 5:45 pm

>53 rosalita: - I just put the Kindle version on my library wish list, but thanks! If I recall correctly, it's rather a big 'un, yes? In hardcover, it might break my wrists ;-)

Jan 4, 8:06 pm

>54 katiekrug: Yeah, it's pretty chonky! I got the ebook on sale a while ago, and that's the version I read this time around. Definitely the smart move for you!

Jan 5, 5:26 am

>51 rosalita: That's music to my ears! :D (also: me too)

Jan 5, 5:29 am

Hi Julia! Wow, 55 messages and it's only the fifth of January! How am I ever going to keep up? Love the spreadsheet, by the way. I'm always amazed how organised people are about their reading!

Jan 5, 6:01 am

>49 lyzard: I will be on the lookout for Maureen! And of course we have Ariadne Oliver popping up again here.

I was so smug when I came across that "p.g." And knew exactly what it meant! You have trained me well, guru.

Jan 5, 6:42 am

>56 Jackie_K: Ha! I thought you'd appreciate that, Jackie.

>57 MissWatson: Things will settle down soon, Birgit. It's just the New Year Bump right now. I am always impressed at the ways smart people come up with to visualize data — and utterly shameless about asking to borrow it. Ha!

Jan 5, 10:07 am

Great comments, Julia. I can't believe how fast your thread is moving!

Jan 5, 10:14 am

Happy New Year, Julia! Glad to see you here. Keep up the ROOtTng.

Jan 5, 10:21 am

>60 BLBera: Hi, Beth. It's always so busy at the start of the year, isn't it?

>61 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Jan 5, 12:49 pm

>50 rosalita: I feel the same way about her writing! It's been too long since I've read any of her stuff, though.

Jan 5, 1:04 pm

>63 scaifea: Time to put her on one of your umpteen lists, then! ;-)

Jan 5, 3:47 pm

>58 rosalita:

You still have much to learn, my young padawan! :D

Jan 5, 4:02 pm

>48 rosalita: I have a soft spot for this one because it was my very first Agatha Christie. I remember getting it for Christmas and spending the afternoon devouring it, and then I was off and running through her titles. Luckily my oldest sister Cindy is a huge fan, and she had all of them. She is fifteen years older than I am, so she no longer lived at home, but she and her husband rented the house just across the street from ours, which was convenient.

Happy Thursday, Julia!

Jan 5, 4:02 pm

Jan 5, 4:03 pm

>66 Crazymamie: Oh, nice! I read quite a few Christies back in high school — whatever the county library had — but this one was brand-new to me. I love your story of borrowing them from your sister!

Jan 6, 8:57 pm

How odd, I know I stopped by here and commented a day or so ago, but I don’t see my post...

Anyway, my words of wisdom are lost forever. Lol.

>48 rosalita: I just read Mrs McGinty’s Dead last summer and really liked it. I have a lot of Christie’s to catch up on. Happily.

>50 rosalita: I read The Copper Beech in 2012, I believe, just after Binchy had died and I was feeling nostalgic. I’ve meant to get back to her books so thanks for the reminder.

I love the excel spreadsheet of series reads!

Jan 6, 9:56 pm

>69 Copperskye: Now we'll never know what pearls of wisdom you had shared, Joanne! *sob*

I have the rest of the Poirot series from here, plus most of her standalone mysteries left to read, so I won't run out of Christie content for a while, I don't think. Isn't it a lovely feeling?

I find the Binchy books to be endlessly re-readable. They are almost like literary pacifiers, soothing me when I've been kicked around by life. A Binchy binky, you could say! (But probably shouldn't.) :-)

Jan 6, 10:24 pm

>70 rosalita: “Binchy binky”, Lol! Nice one!

Jan 7, 9:15 am

"Literary pacifiers" - love it!

Jan 7, 3:12 pm

>64 rosalita: Exactly so.

Jan 7, 3:21 pm

>25 rosalita: I like your 2023 reading plan, Julia. You made me laugh though with the guideline Don’t read more than two mysteries in a row. Best of luck!

Jan 7, 4:46 pm

>71 Copperskye: >72 katiekrug: If you know, you know. :)

>73 scaifea: OK, then!

>74 Familyhistorian: We'll see how that goes, Meg. I don't have a great feeling about accomplishing that particular goal, I'm afraid. :-)

Jan 7, 5:18 pm

Jan 7, 5:21 pm

>76 lyzard: It's hopeless, Liz, but let's pretend for at least a couple of months, OK? :-D

Jan 7, 5:29 pm

Jan 7, 5:31 pm

Editado: Jan 9, 10:15 am

Woot! I finished my first book for 2023 — My Policeman by Bethan Roberts. I listened to an audiobook from the library and it worked pretty well. I only dozed off a couple of times and had to rewind to re-listen to what I missed. :-)

Jan 8, 4:12 pm

Currently Reading
(as of January 8)


Still plugging away with The Family Chao — I'm 75% through it, so should finish it up in the next couple of days.

The Bone Is Pointed is the sixth entry in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series, and the last one I'll have to read alone, as Liz and I will carry on together for the rest of the series. That will start either next month or in April, depending on our respective reading commitments. Woo-hoo!

Jan 9, 10:14 am

Daily Deal

The most recent book in Elly Griffiths' superb Ruth Galloway series is on sale in ebook form for just $2.99. It's available at all the usual US sellers: Kobo, Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Google Books. The 15th and final book in this series will be published in the US in April, so now is the perfect time to catch up!

Jan 9, 10:22 am

Oh! I did not know that the next book was to be the final one. Sadness.

Morning, Julia! It's Monday, so be wary.

Jan 9, 10:58 am

>83 Crazymamie: I am alert for any Monday-fueled non-fun shenanigans, Mamie. I have saved this stellar excuse for not doing something from Twitter, so today has not been a total loss:
Hello Professor

will be a little late to class today. I am not
sure how late, but I will be there. I have been
trying to find a way out of my room for over
20 minutes. There is a very big bug between
me and the door and when I move, it moves,
and when it flies its wings make this awful
whirring noise like some vassal of horror. We
are locked in a stalemate and am at every
disadvantage, and I wholeheartedly believe
the bug is aware of this.

Respectfully, am in tears,

I plan to use it the next time I want to call in sick/notsick — just substitute "spider" for "bug" and anyone who knows me would not blink an eye.

Jan 9, 12:47 pm

>84 rosalita: That's great! It reminds me of the poster that was for sale in New Orleans souvenir shops when I lived there in the 1980s. The poster showed a list of "Ways You Know You've Become a New Orleanian." The best of these was, "You've discovered giant cockroaches that fly but have decided to go on living, anyway."

Jan 9, 3:27 pm

>85 rocketjk: Ha! Definitely not a fan of giant cockroaches, either.

Jan 9, 4:50 pm

>84 rosalita: Ha! Glad that you have everything under control and even have an excuse at the ready should you need it. Carry on!

Jan 9, 4:56 pm

>87 Crazymamie: I keep changing my mind on what my favorite line of the tweet is, but right now it's "We are locked in a stalemate and I am at every disadvantage, and I wholeheartedly believe the bug is aware of this."

Jan 9, 5:13 pm

>88 rosalita: That is definitely my favorite line.

Jan 9, 6:20 pm

>84 rosalita: Haha this is extremely relatable. I have also been known to avoid a room entirely thinking that there's a bug in it, only to be informed by my other half (the resident bug-killer) that it was just a piece of fluff, a knot in the wood floor that looks like a bug, or something equally harmless.

Jan 9, 7:17 pm

>90 rabbitprincess: I have an old dark-green throw on the the back of the sofa that sheds a bit of fringe every time it's moved. Many's the time (especially if I don't have my glasses on) when I spot what looks like a spider or other creepy crawly and creep up on it very trepidatiously, only to discover it is just a string of fringe curled up in a bug shape. Irritating!

Jan 9, 8:26 pm

>84 rosalita: Lol.

>91 rosalita: Irritating? I’d say relieved! :)

Have you listened to Elly Griffiths’ podcast, The Plot Thickens? I listened to the first two today and they were very entertaining. She spoke with her editor in Ep1 and with Ann Cleeves in the second.

Jan 10, 7:05 am

>92 Copperskye: Yes! I've listened to all three of the episodes released so far, and am impatiently waiting for the next one. I really enjoy it.

Jan 10, 10:02 am

Hi Julia, today I looked at my ROOTS thread, caught the title of a book, and my immediate thought was "I don't remember reading that!" I was relieved when I realized my brain is about where it was yesterday and hasn't declined greatly overnight, it was your post for The Policeman! LOL. It's not a problem that it's there, I thought you would think YOUR brain was going when you looked at your thread and saw the post you thought you did wasn't there! Here's where it is:

I hope you have a great reading year!

Clue (Luanne)

Jan 10, 10:07 am

>94 clue: Oh, good grief! I'm so sorry to bomb your thread with my finished reads — I meant to post it on the January progress thread, and yours must have been either right above or below that one and I clicked the wrong thread without realizing.

I can imagine what you must have been thinking, seeing a finished read posted that you hadn't read! I promise I wasn't trying to gaslight you — just a little fat-fingered on the iPad. :-)

Jan 10, 10:31 am

>93 rosalita: That sounds great. Off to listen to podcast.

Jan 10, 10:47 am

I did not know that Elly Griffiths had a podcast!!

Hello, Julia!

Jan 11, 12:57 pm

>84 rosalita: I love this so much! Hilarious. There are lots of times I'd like to sign my emails "respectfully, am in tears."

Jan 11, 1:23 pm

>84 rosalita: I'm with you on this. I think I'd be climbing out the window rather than trying to get past that bug!

Jan 11, 1:23 pm

>98 scaifea: Yes! And some of them aren't even work emails.

Jan 11, 1:24 pm

>99 Jackie_K: I really try to avoid interacting with vassals of horror, personally.

Jan 11, 1:28 pm

>101 rosalita: Very wise.

Jan 11, 1:33 pm

>101 rosalita: - "vassals of horror" cracked me up.

Editado: Jan 11, 1:38 pm

>96 BLBera: >97 Crazymamie: So sorry I missed both of your posts, Beth and Mamie! The podcast is really interesting, especially if you like to hear about behind-the-scenes stuff like how series get planned (or not). The interview with Ann Cleves had a lot of tidbits about choosing the setting for a series. And the third episode is an interview between Elly and the forensic archaeologist who advises her on all the bones stuff. Really fun.

Jan 11, 3:56 pm

A LibraryThing poem:


There are lots of times I'd like to sign my emails "respectfully, am in tears."
I'm with you on this. I think I'd be climbing out the window
rather than trying to get past that bug!
Yes! And some of them aren't even work emails.
I really try to avoid interacting with vassals of horror, personally.
Very wise.


"vassals of horror" cracked me up.

Jan 11, 4:49 pm

>105 rocketjk: I love it! Thank you for gracing my thread with a rocketjk exclusive work of art, Jerry.

Jan 11, 5:08 pm

>106 rosalita:, Well, you're welcome, though of course I didn't write a word of it. More like found art, I guess. :)

Jan 12, 8:39 am

>107 rocketjk: The rest of us can (and do) blather on, but you're the one who recognized the art in the blather. :-)

Jan 12, 2:44 pm

>105 rocketjk: Hilarious!

Jan 12, 4:04 pm

Last week, Volumes Bookshop in Chicago vented a little frustration about a customer:
Turns out one of our biggest sales last month was for the person to stage their home for the holidays and now they want to return them all.

Please don’t do this to a small business, people. That one sale was a third of our rent.

The tweet went viral (in a positive way) and caught the attention of the media, including WGN-TV, where one of the Volumes staff was quoted as saying the following, which was quickly turned into a T-shirt by one of my favorite small businesses, Raygun.

Jan 13, 9:32 am

It's Friday the 13th, people! I was never truly a triskaidekaphobic, but after the past 6 or 7 years I don't think the universe could find many more ways to screw things up, so I'm really not feeling superstitious today. Maybe just a little stitious.

I finished The Bone Is Pointed, which might be the best book in that series yet. Two words: RABBIT STAMPEDE. I love Australia. :-D

Jan 13, 9:49 am

>111 rosalita: You made me laugh! I am not feeling stitious at all.

Oh, dear! I have not read that series, but I might have to add it to The List.

Jan 13, 10:25 am

>111 rosalita: - "I don't think the universe could find many more ways to screw things up"

Well, now you've done it. You've dared the universe. Nothing good can come of this. I'm going to hide under my bed ;-)

Jan 13, 11:54 am

>111 rosalita: Bite your tongue, Julia. Rabbit stampede? Hmm.

Jan 13, 12:11 pm

>112 Crazymamie: The Bony series is terrific, Mamie, if you like Golden Age mysteries. The writing is quite good and I am learning a lot about the Australian outback (at least as it existed in the first half of the 20th century). And yes, how could you not love a book with a rabbit stampede?!

>113 katiekrug: I stand by my words, Katie. But if I'm wrong, I feel sure the universe will direct its ire toward me and not gather any collateral damage, so you should be safe. :-)

>114 BLBera: Rabbit. Stampede. Yes, Beth.

Editado: Jan 13, 3:18 pm

>111 rosalita:, >115 rosalita:

Please do continue to enjoy our ecological disasters! :D

But OMG you're finished!! March to start, then??

Jan 13, 6:05 pm

>116 lyzard: Well, Liz, you may remember (how long ago did you read this one?) that the rabbit stampede does occur pretty near the end of the book, so you probably figured I'd finish it off soon! I decided to wrap it up last night after watching an exciting basketball game (my team won in OT) and not wanting to go straight to bed afterward.

March? Yes, if that still works for you! But we can continue to play it by ear and push it back if you need to. I can't wait to see which Aussie natural phenomenon will be featured in the next one. :-)

Jan 14, 10:13 am

>111 rosalita: I read this in my teens way back when and don't remember the rabbit stampede! I think I'll have to find another copy, in English this time...

Jan 14, 1:50 pm

>118 MissWatson: Birgit, how could you forget a rabbit stampede?! I hope you can find a copy and refresh your memory. :-)

Jan 14, 4:06 pm

1. My Policeman by Bethan Roberts.

In 1950s Brighton, England, a teenage girl named Marion falls in love with her best friend Sylvie's older brother, Tom. She nurtures a secret crush on him for years, and is frustrated that even after they become friends as young adults — by then Tom has become a policeman and Marion is a schoolteacher — Tom doesn't seem interested in anything more from their relationship. Some offhand comments from Syvie and others could have clued her in to the reason but she refuses to understand their meaning, preferring her fantasy to reality.

Eventually Tom introduces her to his new friend Patrick, a somewhat older man who is a museum curator, to whom she takes an instinctive dislike though she tries to hide it. She is overjoyed when Tom finally proposes, and is only slightly put out when he chooses Patrick as his best man in lieu of Sylvie's husband. They go off for their honeymoon, and after a few days Patrick shows up to hang out with the newlyweds. Marion gets more signals that something is afoot, and eventually even she cannot deny that her beloved Tom is gay, and in love with Patrick.

The uneasy triangle continues for a few years, until one of the trio can't stand it anymore and does something that cannot be undone, changing all of their lives forever.

The structure of My Policeman is interesting. The first part is excerpts from a manuscript that Marion is writing many years after these events. It's 1999, Patrick is ill and has come to live with Tom and Marion. He is physically helpless and cannot speak, but Marion intends to read her manuscript aloud to Patrick. The second part consists of excerpts from Patrick's private journal, in which he details the instant attraction and growing relationship between himself and Tom — "my policeman," he affectionately calls him in the journal so as not to name names.

Marion's 1999 narration takes over again in the final part, which takes on new resonance now that we've gotten Patrick's side of the story. The only member of the triangle who remains virtually silent through the whole book is Tom, who has a few lines of dialogue in his lovers' narratives here and there but whose point of view we never get. I've spent a fair amount of time since I finished the book thinking about why Roberts chose to tell the story this way, but I'm still not sure I understand it. Perhaps she felt the main interest lies in the hands tugging the rope of Tom's affection from either side, and not so much how the rope feels about being pulled.

I don't think it's a spoiler to say there's no neat and happy ending here. I felt sorrow for all three of them, for various reasons, even when they behaved badly. In Patrick's journal, especially, it's wrenching to be reminded of just how perilous being gay in the 1950s could be (a reality that far too many people in the US would like to see return).

I listened to the audiobook , and while that format is not my favorite because my attention span is that of a flea, I thought the narrators (Emma Powell for Marion's segments and Piers Hampton for Patrick's) did a very good job.

Jan 15, 9:04 am

>119 rosalita: Well, it was more than forty years ago. and there's always the suspicion that we have had abridged books foisted on us in those days. I know that some of the Sjöwall/Wahlöö mysteries have been abridged for German readers.

Jan 15, 9:44 am

>120 rosalita: - Are you tempted to watch the film now? I think it came out last year...

Jan 15, 4:52 pm

>121 MissWatson:

Oh, Birgit, that's horrifying. :(

Editado: Jan 16, 4:41 am

>123 lyzard: Yes, it is, especially when there's no indication of it anywhere in the book. Publishers took a lot more licence with editing and rewriting in those days. (Didn't someone tell me once that the US publisher edited out a third party from a Jeffrey Archer novel because they thought American readers couldn't cope with this?)

ETC spelling

Jan 16, 11:24 am

>121 MissWatson: >123 lyzard: >124 MissWatson: Oh, that's a shame, Birgit! When I was a kid my mom had a subscription to the Reader's Digest Condensed Books series, and I read a bunch of them, not really understanding the concept of "abridged." Now I avoid abridged versions whenever I can, though it's difficult if the publishers aren't upfront about it.

I hope you're able to find an unabridged version somewhere.

Editado: Jan 16, 11:27 am

>122 katiekrug: Not really, Katie. For one thing, it's on Amazon Prime and I canceled my Prime subscription several years ago. And Harry Styles seems all wrong to me as Tom, at least physically. It's a significant plot point that Tom is not effeminate looking — he's big, blond, blue-eyed, handsome. It's probably not as egregious a miscasting as Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher but enough for me to give it a pass.

Jan 16, 11:41 am

>126 rosalita: - Oof, yeah, that seems like quite a miscast. I wasn't interested in the film either. I didn't realize it was based on a book.

Jan 16, 12:15 pm

2. The Bone Is Pointed by Arthur W. Upfield.

My review of the last book in this series, about Detective Inspector Napoleon "Bony" Bonaparte, a half-caste Australian policeman, laid out what I recognized as common elements in each book of the series. I might have felt a little smug, thinking I had "cracked the code" on what to expect from this series, which I do enjoy even in its more formulaic elements.

Well. This sixth book in the series upends a number of those tropes I was so confident in enumerating, and the result is the best entry in the series so far.

Some elements are still familiar: Bony once again visits a far-flung locale (this one in Queensland) to investigate an old crime (the disappearance of a jackeroo named Anderson). He doesn't work undercover this time, though, and his open investigation creates ripples throughout the people on Karwir Station and the neighboring Meena Station. Not everyone wants Anderson's disappearance to be solved, it seems ...

It was refreshing to find that Bony's educated charm, while it had its usual effect of wiping away racist thoughts from most of the people he meets, met with resistance this time around.
She ought, she was sure, to despise him for his birth, to regard him as she had always regarded half-castes, as unfortunate people, but, well, not quite nice. And she was angry with herself, and angry with him that his personality made it impossible for her to despise him.

In past books part of Bony's genius has been his ability to understand the blacks he encounters in a way that his white colleagues don't, here that understanding is used against him in ways that put his life in peril. ("Pointing the bone" is a sort of curse that aboriginals use against their perceived enemies, which generally results in the illness and eventual death of the target.)

In fact, it's the deeper exploration of the aboriginal spiritual practices, which include telepathic communication and the ability to inflict injury through incantations and from a distance, that captured my imagination most in The Bone Is Pointed. It was a fascinating look into a culture wholly unfamiliar to me. But if your tolerance for mysticism is low, you may find it difficult to suspend your disbelief enough to fully immerse yourself in the the story. Which would be a shame, because it's a first-rate mystery. And as usual, Upfield's prose rises above the genre standard, as when he describes the beginning of the rabbit migration that forms the backdrop for the novel's climax:
Natural caution and fear were in a flash of time driven out of these Meena rabbits. They became controlled by one mass idea like the people of a totalitarian state. Formerly each individual unit lived independently of other units, swayed by fear and governed by hunger; now they had no desire other than to obey the order. Even the primary instinct of self-preservation had been taken from it. From a shy and docile creature, self-willed and possessing a degree of cunning, it had become an automaton in a mass relentless in purpose, irresistible in movement, entirely fearless.

Jan 16, 12:17 pm

>127 katiekrug: I wouldn't have known except the audiobook I read had a still photo from the movie as the cover. After I read the book I looked at the cover again and honestly couldn't figure out who Harry Styles was supposed to be playing because he didn't really seem to match either of the male characters.

Jan 16, 3:39 pm

>126 rosalita: I still think the worst casting was Nicholas Cage as Captain Corelli (I've just been having this exact conversation over on curioussquared's thread). All kinds of no.

Jan 16, 3:51 pm

>130 Jackie_K: I've been lurking on the edges of that discussion, Jackie. :-) I've not seen the movie or read the book so have nothing to contribute, but Nicolas Cage is in general a big "nope" from me.

Jan 16, 4:35 pm

>131 rosalita: He's usually a big 'nope' for me too, as far as supposedly big blockbuster films go. There are some small indy films where he's really good though - I really enjoyed him in "Raising Arizona" especially. But he's definitely not Corelli, and I will die on this hill (I suspect along with quite a lot of other people!).

Jan 16, 4:44 pm

I'm another fan of 'Raising Arizona' but otherwise not a Cage fan. Well, wait. Moonstruck was good (but mostly for Cher)... I did enjoy his portrayal of himself in the meta The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. TW and I both thought that was great fun.

Jan 16, 4:55 pm

>128 rosalita:

Well done! Yes, it's a very unusual book, isn't it? You have to wonder how readers at the time reacted to some of its material---or perhaps with the greater division of the races, and the greater ignorance, they found it easier?

Did you have questions for me?

Jan 16, 5:44 pm

>134 lyzard: I do! But I don't have my book to hand, so I will post them tomorrow morning.

Jan 16, 5:47 pm

>132 Jackie_K: >133 katiekrug: I did like Raising Arizona but I think it was more in spite of Cage than because of him. He just gives me the creeps. I can't explain it, really.

Editado: Jan 16, 6:28 pm

As to Nicholas Cage, that's a big no thanks for me, too, although, yeah, he showed some promise early in his career. My favorite Cage story, which I've told on LT before, so forgive me if you've read this, but my mother and I were watching Peggy Sue Got Married on TV one day. Cage was over-emoting as usual in some scene or other, when my mother popped out with, "You know, I can't see him for spit." Which, a) was an expression I'd never heard before and as far as I know my mother made up on the spot and b) not only cracked me up, but forever encapsulated my perception of Cage as an actor. He is, I believe, or at least as I have heard, actually a nice guy with a sense of humor about himself and his perceived persona. I'd still rather not watch him onscreen, though,

Jan 16, 8:46 pm

I’m also not a Nicolas Cage fan and when my son suggested a recent movie of his I kind of rolled my eyes and asked if he was kidding. But, we did watch it and it (and particularly Cage) were very good. I’ll describe it and you’ll all laugh and roll your eyes, but... The movie, released in 2021, is “Pig” and Cage plays a reclusive truffle hunter whose truffle pig is stolen and he travels to Portland to recover it. Stop laughing. It’s surprisingly good.

Jan 17, 6:35 am

>137 rocketjk: Your mom's comment made me (literally) LOL, Jerry! I must find a way to work that phrase into my vocabulary.

>138 Copperskye: When I first heard the plot of Pig, I thought it sounded interesting. But then I heard Cage was the star and I lost interest. :-) With your recommendation, I'll keep it in mind.

Jan 17, 10:05 am

>128 rosalita: I love it when series books surprise me. I must look for these.

Jan 17, 10:32 am

>140 BLBera: I hope you can find them and give them a try, Beth.

Jan 17, 11:10 am

Currently Reading
(as of January 16)


Strawberry Shortcake Murder is the second in a cozy mystery series featuring cookie baker Hannah Swensen. (Thanks to Amber for introducing this series to me.) For some reason, books in this series go on e-sale frequently, so I'll be reading these as I acquire the books.

Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past edited by Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer. This book is hot off the presses — published earlier this month — but I can't wait to dig in. It's a subject near and dear to my heart, and Kruse is a great Twitter follow if you're interested at all in American history. And I'm not just saying that because I won an audiobook copy of Myth America from his Twitter giveaway. :) I had already pre-ordered the ebook, which is probably what I'll read, but I might try that thing some of you clever clogs do: read and listen simultaneously. We'll see.

Jan 17, 11:25 am

>142 rosalita: - The Kruse/Zelizer books sounds interesting. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

Off to follow a new Twitter-er....

Jan 17, 11:51 am

>143 katiekrug: Kruse is from your neck of the woods — he's a professor at Princeton (oooh, fancy).

Jan 17, 11:52 am

Hello, Julia!

>128 rosalita: Loved reading through your thoughtful review.

Like Katie, I think the Kruse/Zelizer books looks interesting.

Jan 17, 12:24 pm

Jan 17, 12:26 pm

>145 Crazymamie: Thanks, Mamie. I was thinking about calling in sick today so I could start reading Myth America, but it's the first day of the spring semester so probably shouldn't. :-)

>146 scaifea: You are an enabler, young lady!

Jan 21, 4:54 pm

3. The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang.

I've been avoiding writing this review because I am still not sure what I think of the book. On the one hand, I can appreciate the writing and I found some of the subject matter to be quite interesting, especially the depiction of the variety of experiences that Chinese immigrants to America have. On the other hand, the general plot line of dysfunctional and contentious family dynamics is one that I normally avoid like the plague, and nothing about this changed my mind in that regard.

The Chao family have lived in a small Wisconsin town for 35 years, since the father and mother emigrated separately from China as young adults. They own a successful Chinese restaurant in the town, and have raised three sons. As the book opens, the parents have separated and the sons are grappling with their own places in the family and the world, hindered by their overbearing father's harsh treatment. (These are the bits that I absolutely loathe.) Everything builds to a climactic Christmas Eve dinner at the restaurant, where an unexpected tragedy alters the trajectory of all of their lives.

The second part of the book is set inside and outside of the courtroom where one of the family members is on trial. That mitigates but doesn't entirely erase the family's inability to connect with each other, and I found myself not really caring at all about the outcome. The final part deals with the aftermath of the verdict with some half-hearted attempts to wrap up each character's story. In the end for me, my antipathy is less about some characters being unlikable and more that I generally didn't find any of the characters compelling enough to make me care about what would happen to them.

I probably should not have read this book, knowing that it was not going to feature a narrative that I find appealing, so I won't try to pass judgment on whether anyone should or shouldn't read it. I did find the discussions of the immigrant experience to be really interesting, especially as Chang presents different viewpoints — the original immigrant generation who had to make a life for themselves in a new country far from home; their ABC (American-Born Chinese) children, whose experiences range from trying to maintain the old ways to complete assimilation to having a foot in both worlds and feeling at home in neither; to the young woman who was adopted from China by a white couple as a baby and grows up to feel completely disconnected from her native culture and desperate to try to re-join it in some way.

The alumni book club that chose this as its January selection is reading much more slowly and won't even finish the reading schedule until the end of the month. Perhaps when the discussion heats up in that venue I'll get some new insights to the book that will make me appreciate it more. Until then, it's a general 'meh' from me.

Jan 23, 9:19 am

I don't usually post my Wordle results here, but this one was a doozy:

Wordle 583 6/6



I did not think my fifth guess was even a word but I was frustrated at not being able to find an actual word so I tried it anyway. And I still don't think it's a word (it's apparently a shortened/slang form of plutocrat) but it was accepted! I don't understand what the NYT overlords are doing with the word list these days, I really don't.

Jan 23, 12:36 pm

>149 rosalita: You plute your left foot in, you take your left foot out, you plute your left foot in, and you shake it all about.

Jan 23, 12:47 pm

Jan 23, 10:50 pm

>148 rosalita: Great comments, but you didn't sell me this book.

Jan 24, 7:24 am

>152 BLBera: Well, I wasn't trying to, so I guess that worked out OK. :-)

Jan 25, 3:57 pm

So, just checking---

You definitely good to go with The Mystery Of Swordfish Reef next month?

Jan 25, 4:01 pm

4. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke.

A baking contest has come to Lake Eden, Minnesota, bringing contestants from all over the state for a multi-day televised competition. Cookie shop owner and baker Hannah Swensen is one of the judges, but when a fellow judge meets an untimely end, she can't help lending a hand to her brother-in-law and his fellow deputy sheriff, whose status as a romantic interest for Hannah remains ambiguous in this second book of the series.

If you're the kind of reader who prefers her mysteries gritty and realistic, you may raise an eyebrow at a cookie baker sticking her nose into a murder investigation. Unlike other amateur cooking sleuths I could name (*cough* Goldy Schulz *cough*) Hannah never gets too far out over her skis and there's a welcome lack of "Perils of Pauline" plotting. The relationship between Hannah and her younger, more beautiful sister Andrea was decidedly rocky in Book One, but here they've settled into an amiable sleuthing partnership that works well. There aren't any real clunkers among the rest of the supporting cast, either.

I had a pretty good idea of whodunit before the reveal, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment at all. And I appreciated the regular shots of humor that kept things as light as it's possible to be in a murder mystery, especially Mama Swensen's endless efforts to pair Hannah up with, well, any eligible man who walks by. Extra credit for the scattering of cookie recipes that are included. Now I just need someone to bake them for me ...

Jan 25, 4:02 pm

>154 lyzard: You snuck in there while I was laboring over my review, Liz! Yes, I'm ready to hang out with Bony next month, as long as that still works for you. I know you've got some unexpected prehistoric reading to do ... :-D

Jan 25, 4:10 pm

>156 rosalita:

Yup, that's good: just wanted to be sure before I put a copy on hold.

At least it's only half the usual chunkster length (she said, looking for a silver lining). :D

Jan 25, 5:15 pm

>157 lyzard: I have found over the past six months that the Bony books read pretty quick for me. So you have that to look forward to, which is nice. :-)

Fev 7, 11:08 am

Well, things are a little dusty around here! I have been laid low for the past week or so with a nasty fever and general unwellness which has been most unpleasant. I am at a loss how I could possibly gotten sick because I have zero close contact with any other human being, but there you go.

I've visited a few threads but am just throwing in the towel on others and starting fresh because I can't manage to catch up with both LT and my work email, and I only get paid for one of those. :-D

Fev 7, 11:13 am

I'm sorry you've been sick, Julia. Good idea to just start fresh. Too bad you can't do that with work...

I hope you are well on the mend now!

Fev 7, 11:13 am

Currently Reading
(as of February 7)


I've done little reading since I got sick, but I am working my way through Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past and finding myself learning a lot.

I had pre-ordered Jane Harper's latest, Exiles, and it popped up obligingly in my e-reader on publication day (Jan. 31). I have only just started it but it's sucking me right in, as Harper's writing often does.

Fev 7, 11:16 am

>160 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Last night was the first time I felt truly like (my version of) normal since the previous Sunday (Jan. 29) so I think I might live. :-)

And yes, if only we could get a general amnesty on emails that arrive while we're sick. Of course, then people would be calling out sick every other day. Not me, of course! Just, you know, people.

Fev 7, 11:18 am

Aw, Julia. I'm so sorry you have been sick. I think starting fresh is always a good idea - the threads can be overwhelming even when one hasn't been absent.

I still have to read Force of Nature.

Hoping today is kind to you.

Fev 7, 11:19 am

>162 rosalita: - People always ruin it for the rest of us, er, people...

Fev 7, 11:23 am

>163 Crazymamie: Thank you so much, Mamie! I love Jane Harper so much. Have you read any of the standalone novels that don't feature Aaron Falk? They are all very good, in my not so humble opinion. :)

>164 katiekrug: People! Honestly.

Fev 7, 12:43 pm

Oh dang, I'm sorry you've been sick! I'm glad you're back now, though!!

Fev 7, 2:42 pm

>166 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

Fev 7, 2:58 pm

There you are, I was starting to worry! Sorry to hear you've been sick---we're a bit twinny in that regard, though it sounds like you've had it rougher than me (and I know where I got mine: ugh, people). Take care of yourself, I hope it's all better.

BTW appreciate the fresh start but there *is* a little something you might like over on my first thread. :)

Fev 7, 3:26 pm

>168 lyzard: Is it the review of Too Many Cooks? I saw it and marked the thread to come back to when I felt more human. I will sashay over there and grace you with my thoughts. :-)

Fev 7, 3:27 pm

>169 rosalita:

That and something else. :)

Fev 7, 3:36 pm

>170 lyzard: SLOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!


Fev 7, 3:42 pm

I'm really sorry to hear you're sick, Julia. But I'm glad you're well enough to post here, that's for sure. I recently came across Exiles on my library's website, but not soon enough as I am #61 in line and they don't even have copies in circulation yet. Oh well, I have plenty of other books to keep me occupied. I'm really glad to see you were immediately hooked.

Fev 7, 3:49 pm

Sorry to hear you've been unwell, but it sounds like you're finally turning the corner. I hope that you feel much better soon! (and well done on continuing the book acquisitions, which I'm sure were very medicinal :D ).

Fev 7, 4:18 pm

>172 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura! I waited until I felt better to start it, so that was just this morning. But I really hated to put it down to start work (boo!). I know a fine retired hand such as yourself can't relate to that anymore. :-)

I also saw that the long-awaited next entry in Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series downloaded to my e-reader overnight, so that's another one to look forward to. And later this month is the final Ruth Galloway (sob). Truly an abundance of reading riches!

Fev 7, 4:19 pm

>173 Jackie_K: Thank heavens for pre-orders, as I'm sure I wouldn't have remembered it was being released at the end of January! I may have acquired other books, but I haven't felt well enough to update the list at the top of my thread. Yes, that's the reason. :-)

Fev 7, 4:32 pm

Sorry you've been sick and hope your reading energy comes back soon!

Fev 7, 5:11 pm

>176 rabbitprincess: Thank you so much, rabbitprincess!

Fev 7, 6:53 pm

Hey Julia, Amazon says the last Ruth Galloway will be released Apr 25, not this month. Or have you ordered a UK edition? I’m going to be sad to see that series come to an end.

Fev 7, 9:02 pm

>178 lauralkeet: Indeed, you are correct, Laura. A mix of wishful thinking plus seeing Elly flog the UK release multiple times a day on Twitter. :-)

Editado: Fev 7, 11:30 pm

Good to see that you're better enough to be posting again, Julia. (Not that I missed you because I was way behind anyway.) I didn't know Jane Harper had a new one out. Must go and check that.

ETA Well, obviously other readers knew that. I'm #103 in the library hold line.

Fev 8, 3:45 am

It's good to know you're feeling better. Myth America has been showing up on quite a few threads, it looks fascinating...

Fev 8, 8:33 am

>180 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg! My library is always slow about ordering new books that aren't James Patterson or other super-popular authors, and has yet to even purchase Exiles, which is why I pony up the pre-order full price for a handful of my favorite authors. We gotta do what we gotta do!

>181 MissWatson: It's been really enlightening so far, Birgit.

Fev 8, 10:32 am

>165 rosalita: I have not, Julia. I have only read The Dry. Which of the standalone novels is your favorite?

Fev 8, 10:56 am

>183 Crazymamie: I just checked my catalog and there are two: The Lost Man and The Survivors. I gave them both 5 stars, which isn't very useful, is it?

The Lost Man came first, so maybe that one? It centers around a trio of brothers who are ranchers in the Australian outback. When one of them turns up dead in mysterious circumstances (this happens right at the start of the novel so not a spoiler), the other two struggle to come to terms with his death and the suspicion that the answer to the mystery lies in their shared past.

But The Survivors is also excellent, so really whichever you pick will serve you well, I think.

Fev 8, 10:57 am

Well, okay then. Sounds like I can't go wrong. Thanks, Julia!

Fev 8, 12:56 pm

I hope you are feeling better, Julia. I was going to say back to normal, but you know...

I am anxiously waiting for my turn with the Crombie as well. Is the new Ruth coming out already?

Fev 8, 1:06 pm

>186 BLBera: No, as Laura corrected me in >178 lauralkeet:, it won't be out in the US until April.

Fev 8, 1:18 pm

I brought you a present to help with your recovery :)

Fev 8, 1:30 pm

>188 katiekrug: Aw, my favorites! Thanks, Katie.

Fev 13, 8:42 am

Happy new LL season, Julia!

Fev 13, 9:28 am

>190 katiekrug: Happy Match Day 1 to you, too! And I just realized this morning that The Wayne is also in Brundle — the whole gang under one roof. :-)

Fev 13, 9:30 am

>191 rosalita: - Yes, he and I play each other Wednesday. Can this marriage survive?!?!!?

Fev 13, 9:31 am

>192 katiekrug: You've been beating him in Yeardle pretty often lately, I've noticed, so if he can survive that ... ;-)

Fev 13, 9:47 am

>193 rosalita: - Ha! Good point.

Fev 15, 8:57 am

The Wayne is currently curled up in a ball, crying, because he apparently played terrible defense against you.

Try not to gloat ;-)

Fev 15, 9:05 am

>195 katiekrug: He really did, I'm afraid. Which is usually my thing. :-)

We got the same number of correct answers, so he should take comfort in that. And also that in both match days so far, I have tied my opponent in correct answers but won on defense. Definitely not normal for me!

Fev 15, 9:12 am

>196 rosalita: - He usually prides himself on his defense, so this one hurt. I gently reminded him it was just a game...

He and I play each other today. I got 5/6. Watch him egg roll, and then I'll have to start divorce proceedings. Oh wait. It's just a game, right?!?!

Editado: Fev 15, 9:13 am

>197 katiekrug: It's only a game, it's only a game, it's only a game ...

I think you and I don't play each other until the last day of the season, so hopefully we can avoid any drama. :-)

Fev 15, 9:13 am

>199 katiekrug: - *Deep breaths*

Fev 19, 7:27 am

Sorry you have been sick, Julia. I hope you're feeling better now.

>161 rosalita: The Jane Harper book goes on the wish list. I'm not sure if I want to wait for the translation!

Fev 19, 11:35 am

>200 connie53: Thanks, Connie. I'm feeling much better. No spoilers, but Exiles was fantastic!

Editado: Fev 24, 5:17 pm

Currently Reading
(as of Feb 15)


My recent read of the latest Jane Harper, Exiles, has prompted me to re-read her debut novel The Dry, which was the first book to feature Australian police officer Aaron Falk, who makes his third (and I'm guessing final) appearance in Exiles. There are references to The Dry that made me want to refresh my memory of a book I first read in 2018 — just the appearance of some characters who appeared in that one but nothing that affected my enjoyment or understanding of Exiles at all. Once I finish it, I'll probably want to finally pony up the money to rent the movie version.

And I couldn't resist another brand-new mystery, this one from Deborah Crombie in the highly enjoyable Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series, A Killing of Innocents.

And I continue to work my way thoughtfully through the very informative and interesting Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past.

Fev 28, 8:27 pm

You already got me with Exiles, Julia. Now you've reminded me of the series by Deborah Crombie. I've only read one and really liked it. Maybe I should read another.

Mar 1, 8:12 am

>203 Familyhistorian: I enjoy the Crombie series a lot, Meg. I hope you do give it another try.

Mar 3, 1:03 am

>204 rosalita: I intend to. I put one of the Crombie books on hold at my library, Julia.

Mar 3, 8:47 am

Mar 3, 12:32 pm

Recommended Reading

Judy Blume Goes All the Way — I just loved this recent profile of the beloved YA (although the term didn't exist back when she was writing her most famous works) author. She sounds like a lovely person.

Mar 3, 12:35 pm

>207 rosalita: I'm embarrassed to say that Judy Blume completely passed me by during childhood, I'd honestly never heard of her till my 30s, probably. Perhaps I should read her now, I'd probably learn quite a lot! :D

Mar 3, 1:13 pm

I loved Blume's earlier-than-YA stuff, especially the Fudge books. I remember reading Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret but I don't remember much about it. I know it was a touchstone for a lot of teen girls.

Editado: Mar 3, 1:14 pm

>208 Jackie_K: Ha! I somehow never managed to read much Blume when I was a kid. I think I was a precocious reader who thought that because I was capable of reading "adult" (not that kind; get your mind out of the gutter) books at a relatively young age that books aimed at my actual age group were inferior. I love that my mom never put any guardrails on what I was reading at any point, but I think my own attitude caused me to miss out on a lot of good stuff, I think. If I had it to do over I'd make different choices, I hope.

Mar 3, 1:14 pm

>209 katiekrug: Honestly, the books sound great. As I said to Jackie in >208 Jackie_K:, I wish I'd read them when I was at the age they would have been most useful.

Mar 4, 7:02 am

Are you There God It's Me Margaret was a 6th grade touchstone in my generation. I remember getting hold of a copy in the summer and it being passed around to what seemed like all the girls in my grade. I don't remember the details of the story, just the way it made you feel normal for having the kinds of thoughts and feelings you have at that age.

Mar 6, 8:30 am

>212 lauralkeet: That seems to be the consensus, Laura. A valuable gift for kids of that age, for sure.

Mar 8, 7:53 am

Good morning, Julia! Congratulations on your total annihilation of me in LL yesterday :)

Mar 8, 9:18 am

>214 katiekrug: There were a couple of questions (Aryans and Pink Flamingos) that I mentally flipped a coin to decide between two possibilities, and for a change both came up heads. I haven't submitted yet today but I expect things to get totally back to normal!

Mar 8, 9:26 am

>215 rosalita: - Poor The Wayne goose-egged yesterday. He's having a terrible season...

I did better today than yesterday but not by much!

Mar 8, 9:50 am

>216 katiekrug: It's been a rollercoaster ride for me this season — when questions are good they are very good and when they are bad they are horrid.

I want to wish The Wayne better questions the rest of the season, but I have a feeling better questions for him would be worse questions for me. :p

Mar 8, 9:52 am

"but I have a feeling better questions for him would be worse questions for me."

Yeah, me too!

Mar 15, 1:14 pm

You were right about the Crombie series. I picked up the second one, All Shall Be Well and couldn't put it down until I finished it.

Mar 15, 2:57 pm

>219 Familyhistorian: That makes me so happy, Meg! And you've got so many lovely books ahead of you to enjoy. I'm a little bit jealous. :-)

Mar 15, 8:35 pm

>220 rosalita: Nothing like coming late to a good series and having them all to look forward to, Julia. Thanks for giving me the nudge.

Mar 16, 9:13 am

>221 Familyhistorian: It is I who should be thanking you, Meg. Introducing (or in your case, re-introducing) someone to a book I love and having them enjoy it is one of the real pleasures of LibraryThing for me.

Mar 25, 1:25 pm

Judy Blume does sound lovely, Julia. My kids loved the Fudge books.

Abr 13, 12:18 am

I hope all is well with you, Julia.

Abr 13, 9:31 am

>224 BLBera: I'm fine, Beth, just not reading or writing reviews of the books I have managed to finish. So nothing interesting to write about here. Thanks for stopping by, though!

Abr 16, 5:57 pm

>225 rosalita:

I've been feeling like I dropped the ball with our joint projects - certainly with the communication side of them - but if you're having a fallow patch I won't bug you. I'm in such a mess that I'm okay with putting things on hold for a while if that works better for you? I have read The Mystery Of Swordfish Reef (February) and Over My Dead Body (March), though goodness knows when they'll be written up, but I'll hold off on going any further.

Abr 17, 1:21 pm

Hi Julia, Just dropping by to see what you were reading and see you're in a bit of a slump. I hope you're feeling better soon!

Abr 19, 3:21 pm

>226 kac522: Thank you, Kathy! I hadn't seen that before. I passed it on to some friends as well.

>227 lyzard: I think a pause might be a good idea, Liz, if that works for you. Would you rather push everything back a month, or would it be better to push it back two months so we stay on the original schedule?

>228 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne. There are glimmers of hope on the reading front, but I don't want to jinx it. :)

Abr 19, 3:34 pm

No, I haven't written any of my overdue reviews, but thanks for (not) asking. :-)

I am coming out of the shadows to post this link for anyone who stumbles by this thread and is also a fan of Elly Griffiths. It seems that in addition to the final book in her Ruth Galloway series coming out next week (The Last Remains), she has a new contract with her current publisher/editor for four more books, including two in a new series and a sequel to The Postscript Murders.

I admit that last bit of info gave me pause, given that TPM is the second book in the is-it-a-series-or-not Harbinder Kaur series. It's unclear from the article linked below whether DI Kaur will also be back for this sequel or if it's just the motley crew of amateur detectives that she worked with in that book. Either way, I'm happy to go along for the ride.

This, though, is the really intriguing bit of information about the new series:
The brand new series will launch in February 2025 with The Frozen People featuring a new character, police officer Ali Dawson, who travels back in time to research unsolved crimes.
Oh, and there's another book in the Brighton Mysteries series, but that particular series never caught on for me so I'm less interested in it.

Read all the details here:
Quercus signs four books by Griffiths

Abr 19, 5:05 pm

>230 rosalita: Color me intrigued! Time travel can go either way with me but in the right hands and with the right protagonist, that may be something to really look forward to. I've only read the first two Brighton mysteries and liked them well enough. I'll get to the next one eventually. Notice I'm not champing at the bit. I will absolutely miss Ruth.

>229 rosalita: Hope the glimmers are still glimmering! :)

Abr 19, 6:51 pm

>229 rosalita:

Two months is both neat and practical. :)

Reading-wise I am only Over My Dead Body ahead of you: I have a copy of Bushranger Of The Skies but will set it aside until you're ready to go again. If you can get Nero done next month we can resume from there---but if you don't feel like it, just let me know.

Abr 20, 7:04 am

>230 rosalita: Well that's all very interesting indeed. The news about The Postscript Murders sequel is confusing (I like your is-it-a-series-or-not characterization). A completely new series is exciting though!

As for Ruth Galloway, recently on Karen's thread there was a bit of chatter about The Last Remains, where it was stated this may not actually be the last we see of Ruth Galloway. Despite my curiosity, I skimmed past these posts because I didn't want to pick up any details of the plot. I'll post something on Karen's thread to see if she can recap the news and her source.

Editado: Abr 20, 7:03 pm

>231 Copperskye: I agree that time travel can be tricky, but I've enjoyed Griffiths' work enough to give her the benefit of the doubt, at least to start.

>232 lyzard: I actually did read Over My Dead Body in March, but since my brain currently seems to be practicing a work stoppage on writing reviews, you wouldn't know that unless you scrolled all the way back up to the meager list of books read in >3 rosalita:. :-)

>233 lauralkeet: I mean, Elly Griffiths herself has posted about it being the last Ruth Galloway book on Twitter and talked about it on her podcast, but I'never been good at trying to convince other people of things so I'll leave it there.

Abr 20, 9:58 am

>233 lauralkeet: Ha ha, well you've convinced me Julia!

Abr 20, 10:04 am

I think the confusion over The Last Remains has to do with an email Karen got ( I think the line "not the last forever" might be read as not the last Ruth Galloway forever, but could just mean not the last book Griffiths will ever write.

Abr 20, 11:09 am

>236 katiekrug: Just to be clear, I am not confused in any way. :-D

Abr 20, 11:48 am


Abr 20, 12:28 pm

>237 rosalita: LOLOL do I detect some snark there? Why yes, I believe I do. And I'm totally fine with that!

Abr 20, 1:14 pm

Hello, Julia!

>230 rosalita: I thought the sequel to The Postscript Murders was Bleeding Heart Yard. I don't understand how this is not a series when there are three books featuring the same police detective Harbinder Kaur. Confusing.

The new series sounds like it could be interesting - thanks for the link to the article. I also never got into the Brighton Mysteries series.

Abr 20, 1:37 pm

Thanks for the Elly Griffiths news, Julia. I watched the Iowa City video -- why have I never eaten at the crepes place? That is on my list for my next visit.

Abr 20, 1:44 pm

Just popping in to say hi, how are the book acquisitions going? I am excelling at mine :D

Abr 20, 5:05 pm

>239 lauralkeet: Not at all! I just wanted to be clear that the doubts expressed on the topic were the responsibility of other people. :-)

>240 Crazymamie: The Kaur series/not-a-series situation is baffling to me, and I'm half tempted to tweet at Elly and ask her WTF!

>241 BLBera: I'm glad Kathy posted the link to the Iowa City video — I hadn't seen it yet. I'm glad you've got a list for your next visit. :-)

>242 Jackie_K: I am doing about as well as you are, Jackie. I have purchased 12 and read 13, but I have three pre-orders coming in the next couple of months, so that will throw off the numbers even more. Oh, well.

Abr 20, 5:55 pm

>243 rosalita: I'm half tempted to tweet at Elly
Oh yes! Do it! Because Mamie made a great point that didn't register when I read your earlier info. Why is the new book considered a sequel to TPM and not BHY?

Abr 20, 6:32 pm

>234 rosalita:

Oh, cool! Yes, I did miss that. Since we're at the same point, that makes it nice and tidy; just let me know when you want to pick up again. :)

Abr 20, 7:06 pm

>241 BLBera: Yeah, that crepes place looks fantastic.

Abr 21, 8:18 am

>243 rosalita: OH, Julia! Do it! Do it!

Hoping your Friday is full of fabulous!

Abr 21, 2:28 pm

>243 rosalita: I'm afraid I'm leaving you standing, Julia! As of today - 14 read, 30 acquired. I... think I may have a problem (#sorrynotsorry).

Abr 24, 3:03 pm

>248 Jackie_K: Oh, dear. I can see I have some catching up to do!

(Wait, are we not supposed to be viewing this as a competition? Why didn't someone tell me?)


Editado: Abr 24, 3:07 pm

So, I had not yet gotten around to tweeting at Elly Griffiths to ask her to explain herself regarding the Harbinder Kaur series-not-a-series situation, but she did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit today so I submitted the question there. Here is our exchange:

Abr 24, 4:57 pm

>250 rosalita: Thanks for asking that question about Ella Griffith’s series, Julia. Whatever way they are categorized I enjoy her books (even the Brighton ones) so will keep reading.

If there is a contest for acquiring books I’m sure I have both you and Jackie beat.

Abr 24, 6:06 pm

>250 rosalita: Thanks for asking that, Julia! It makes sense. (Wouldn't Elly Griffiths be a fun person to know!?)

Abr 24, 9:28 pm

I just got a box of books in the mail today, so can I join your contest? I would definitely have a drink with Elly Griffiths.

Abr 25, 7:00 am

>250 rosalita: Way to go Julia! I'm so glad you asked the question, her answer is really helpful, and so is your follow-up comment. It helps me a lot to think of the Harbinder Kaur not-a-series in the same category as Dublin Murder Squad.

Abr 25, 9:28 am

>251 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. That sounds like a challenge on the book acquisition front! Honesty compels me to admit that a pre-order was just downloaded to my Kobo this morning, so I've got one more on the virtual shelf. :-)

>252 Copperskye: She does seem like great fun, Joanne. I've enjoyed getting to hear more from her on her podcast, and she's inspired me to try some of the other authors she's interviewed. I think you'd really like her talk with Mick Herron, if you haven't listened to that episode yet, because I know that you are also a fan of the Slow Horses.

>253 BLBera: The book-acquisition race is open to all comers, Beth! I will have to visit your thread to see what new goodies you've gotten. Maybe we could convince Elly Griffiths to make a stop at Prairie Lights for a reading in support of the new Ruth book?

>254 lauralkeet: Thanks, Laura! I really liked her answer as well; when I read it I immediately thought of the Dublin Murder Squad and then felt a little dumb for not having made the connection earlier!

Abr 25, 9:30 am

I'll sign the petition to get Elly Griffiths!

Abr 25, 1:17 pm

I didn't intend for this to become the Elly Griffiths thread, but here we are and I'm not mad about it. This was published today at

Elly Griffiths on Knowing When to Say Goodbye

Abr 25, 2:28 pm

>257 rosalita: What an excellent article. Thank you so much for sharing it!

Abr 25, 3:27 pm

>257 rosalita: Thanks Julia. I don't mind this becoming the Elly Griffiths thread.

Editado: Abr 25, 3:41 pm

>257 rosalita: Thanks for sharing! If only we could get Elly Griffiths to join this Elly Griffiths thread... :)

ETA - I love the Crime Reads emails and one of the few things I subscribe to via email that I actually do read and look forward to!

Abr 25, 4:46 pm

>251 Familyhistorian: Challenge accepted! (that's how this works, right?)

Abr 25, 5:09 pm

>258 lauralkeet: I also thought it was really good, Laura!

>258 lauralkeet: I'm glad you're on board with the Elly Thread, Beth.

>260 Copperskye: Maybe I could get Elly to write my overdue book reviews, Joanne? I bet she'd do a great job. :-)

>261 Jackie_K: I can't resist a challenge, Jackie. Ha!

Abr 29, 9:56 am

Well, I don't know how I've managed not to find you since the beginning of the year, Julia, but thanks to lauralkeet, that's been remedied. I came here because Laura linked to your tweet exchange with Elly Griffiths, after I read (and sadly, didn't really appreciate) Bleeding Heart Yard. I like the Harbinder Kaur character, and it appears Griffiths has been avoiding doing much with her in a "developing life story" sort of way. That's my gripe, actually. I didn't think the plot of BHY was sufficient to carry the book, and there wasn't enough about Harbinder to make up for that. I will be curious to see where she goes with the "sequel" to The Postscript Murders. And my next Ruth Galloway is waiting for me at the library...I've a few to go before The End (if that's what it is).

Maio 4, 5:34 pm

>263 laytonwoman3rd: I'm sorry the Kaur books don't work for you, Linda. But then it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things!