rhian_of_oz Reads in 2024 - January to June

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rhian_of_oz Reads in 2024 - January to June

1rhian_of_oz
Editado: Mar 2, 11:05 am

I'm Rhian from Perth and this is my sixth year in Club Read. My participation was sparse the last couple of years as I went back to uni full-time, so now that I’ve finished my studies I’m hoping to do better this year.
In past years my “plan” has been simply to reduce my TBR pile, but this year I thought I might change things up a bit and try and come up with monthly plans. We’ll see how long it lasts!
Given that the intention is still mainly to shrink Mt TBR, the starting count is 161.

Currently reading:
Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

Next up:

3rhian_of_oz
Dez 26, 2023, 7:15 am

Bookclub Recommendations

4rhian_of_oz
Editado: Mar 1, 12:15 am

5rhian_of_oz
Editado: Mar 2, 11:07 am

Quarter 1
January

  1. When Dogs Cry by Markus Zusak

  2. Inheritance by Nora Roberts

  3. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

  4. Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer

  5. Horse by Geraldine Brooks

  6. The Future by Naomi Alderman

  7. Fury by Kathryn Heyman

February
  1. Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

  2. Random in Death by J. D. Robb

  3. The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

  4. Wifedom by Anna Funder

  5. The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

  6. Tiamat's Wrath by James S. A. Corey

March
  1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

  2. Book Two

  3. Book Three

Top 5
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Wifedom by Anna Funder
The Future by Naomi Alderman
Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Fury by Kathryn Heyman

QTD
Books owned pre-2024: 8 (57.14%)
Books purchased in 2024: 1 (7.14%)
Books gifted in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Borrowed books: 5 (35.71%)

YTD
Books owned pre-2024: 8 (57.14%)
Books purchased in 2024: 1 (7.14%)
Books gifted in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Borrowed books: 5 (35.71%)

TBR: 157

6rhian_of_oz
Editado: Dez 26, 2023, 7:21 am

Quarter 2
April

  1. Book One

  2. Book Two

  3. Book Three

May
  1. Book One

  2. Book Two

  3. Book Three

June
  1. Book One

  2. Book Two

  3. Book Three

Top 5

QTD
Books owned pre-2024: 0 (0.00%)
Books purchased in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Books gifted in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Borrowed books: 0 (0.00%)

YTD
Books owned pre-2024: 0 (0.00%)
Books purchased in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Books gifted in 2024: 0 (0.00%)
Borrowed books: 0 (0.00%)

TBR: ???

7rhian_of_oz
Editado: Fev 2, 10:09 am

Planned January reads:
Bookclub - The Future by Naomi Alderman
Group Read - Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer
CalendarCAT (January) - The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
HistoryCAT (North & South American Wars & Conflicts) - Horse by Geraldine Brooks
PrizeCAT (Long-running prizes) - All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
MysteryKIT (short story mysteries) -
RandomKIT (Early Birds) - Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healy
SFFKIT (swords & sorcery/epic fantasy) - Age Of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
AlphaKit (A and Y) - Anne Of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery, Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood
ScaredyKIT (Psychological Thrillers) - My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Historical Fiction Challenge (real historical figure) - The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley
First book in a series (Dead Djinn Universe) - A Master Of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Next book in a series (The Expanse) - Tiamat’s Wrath by James S. A. Corey
Wishlist - Fury by Kathryn Heyman

8labfs39
Dez 26, 2023, 12:48 pm

Welcome back to Club Read for another year, Rhian. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you this year, now that uni is done. Good luck job hunting!

I read Horse this year and have some confused feelings about it. I'll be curious as to your take when you get to it.

9WelshBookworm
Dez 26, 2023, 1:31 pm

Wow - that's a lot of books just for January. Good luck!

10kjuliff
Dez 26, 2023, 4:04 pm

>1 rhian_of_oz: welcome! Another Aussie. That is if WA is has still not seceded 😉.
I’m from Melbourne but live in New York.

I want to know why so many good writers come from WA? What’s the news? Has Tim Winton still newsworthy? Is there an up-coming young novelist on the horizon?

So good to find another Aussie here. I’ve only found one other.

11rhian_of_oz
Dez 27, 2023, 12:13 am

>9 WelshBookworm: I don't actually expect to make it through the whole list, so I guess this is more in the way of the list of books to choose from in January.

I have a credenza near my desk that is currently covered in uni stuff that I'm going to clear and then use to assemble these books for easy access.

12rhian_of_oz
Dez 27, 2023, 12:39 am

>10 kjuliff: Hello! I noticed you in the 2023 group as I was catching up on threads but hadn't had a chance to make myself known.

Some might say there's so many good WA writers because there's nothing better to do ;-).

I must confess that I don't follow local writers as much as I probably should. The ones I have read include Amanda Curtin, Craig Silvey, Annabel Smith, Susan Midalia, David Whish-Wilson, K. A. Bedford, Ash Harrier, Brooke Davis, Felicity Young, Shaun Tan, Dervla McTiernan, Juliet Marillier, Greg Egan, and Claire G. Coleman.

I don't really like Tim Winton's writing so I don't know what he's been up to lately. I did enjoy the film adaptation of Breath and the play of Cloudstreet though.

13markon
Dez 27, 2023, 3:17 pm

Welcome back Rhian. Wishing you good luck in the job hunt.

14kjuliff
Dez 27, 2023, 3:44 pm

>12 rhian_of_oz: Ha! I was going to say that about WA writers but have been in the US too long and have become over-sensitive. Really!

I hadn’t heard of any of those Australian writers you mentioned. I’m so out-of-date. Now I’ll try to see what’s available here.

Glad you’ve made yourself known. I wonder if there are any Victorians lurking out there. Or have they all moved to Brooklyn?/

15rhian_of_oz
Dez 27, 2023, 10:28 pm

>8 labfs39: Thanks Lisa. I've been dropping stars left, right, and centre and am hoping I manage to keep up-to-date in 2024.

I'll be sure to go back and read your review once I've read Horse. Geraldine Brooks is an auto-read for me so hopefully I won't be disappointed.

16WelshBookworm
Dez 27, 2023, 10:30 pm

>15 rhian_of_oz: Rhian, Horse was one of my best books of 2023...

17rhian_of_oz
Dez 27, 2023, 11:01 pm

>16 WelshBookworm: Well that's reassuring :-).

18dchaikin
Jan 1, 7:38 pm

Welcome back and happy new year. That’s a fun January reading plan.

19rhian_of_oz
Jan 2, 2:18 am

>18 dchaikin: Thanks Dan.

Funny thing about that plan ... I've already gone off piste :-). I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. As I haven't yet put away my new books they were what was easily available and so I started The House in the Cerulean Sea.

20dchaikin
Jan 2, 7:19 am

Well, surely you can go off plan in the middle of the night. That doesn’t count, right? Like a midnight snack when you’re counting calories? Hope Klune was good.

21rocketjk
Jan 4, 9:26 am

>19 rhian_of_oz: Ha! Roads (and lists!) are for wandering off of! Belated Happy New Year and happy reading to you!

22rhian_of_oz
Jan 4, 9:43 am

>20 dchaikin: and >21 rocketjk: Enablers, the pair of you :-).

23rhian_of_oz
Jan 5, 12:24 am

The Wolfe trilogy
The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry by Markus Zusak

I'm not sure how to descibe these weird little books. Our narrator is Cameron Wolfe, the youngest of four in an Australian working class family. In the first book he says "I don’t really know that this story has a whole lot of things happen in it. It doesn’t really... I guess things happened, but nothing out of the ordinary." and I think that well describes all three. They're pretty introspective.

I guess the trilogy could be described as coming-of-age, though a pretty gritty one. Cameron reads fairly genuinely to me, though I have never been a 15-year-old boy.

This is *nothing* like The Book Thief - not only are these Zusak's first published works, the overall tone is completely different.

I definitely liked the third one the best, and I think you need to have read the first two to properly appreciate the last one. Would I recommend them? Yes? I looked up LT Recommendations and of the ones I'm familiar with I feel like The Outsiders is the one that best matches in mood of this trilogy.

24dchaikin
Jan 5, 9:10 am

>23 rhian_of_oz: Interesting about Zusak’s first books. Did The Book Thief draw you to this trilogy?

25rhian_of_oz
Jan 5, 10:19 am

>24 dchaikin: I can't remember :-). I bought the third book first in 2014 and I suspect I didn't realise it was the last in a trilogy at the time.

The Messenger was the first Zusak I read and I suspect this is what led me to this trilogy even though I had also read The Book Thief by 2014.

26dchaikin
Jan 5, 10:37 am

Do you have a favorite by Zusak? I read and enjoyed The Book Thief, but it’s not my usual type of book.

27rhian_of_oz
Jan 5, 10:49 am

Hmmm, I'm not sure. I recall really liking The Messenger which is very different to The Book Thief (which I also liked a lot).

I haven't read Bridge Of Clay which is currently hiding somewhere in Mt TBR. I started reading it but I think that was in 2020 and I didn't have the headspace for it (it's quite a chunkster).

28dchaikin
Jan 5, 12:06 pm

Thanks for answering my pestering questions. 🙂

29rhian_of_oz
Jan 6, 12:12 am

>28 dchaikin: Thanks for asking.

Question for you: how did you get a proper emoji in your post?

30dchaikin
Jan 6, 2:57 am

>29 rhian_of_oz: I mainly use my iPhone. 🙂 I think in Windows use window button plus “.” … or right click

31rhian_of_oz
Editado: Jan 6, 4:33 am

>30 dchaikin: Brill thanks. 👌

32rhian_of_oz
Jan 6, 4:47 am

Inheritance by Nora Roberts

This is the first in a new supernatural contemporary romance trilogy.

Sonya, our heroine, inherits a haunted mansion under a curse. With friends old and new, and a new love interest, Sonya needs to investigate the hauntings and break the curse. And presumably, eventually, live happily ever after.

Readers of Ms Roberts' will recognise elements of her prior work in this one. So if you like those then you will probably like this.

I liked it. I like the characters and their relationships. I'm happy to suspend my disbelief about ghosts and curses. It was a fun, easy read and I'll be reading the rest of the trilogy when it comes out.

If you're new to Ms Roberts and you think this might be your jam, I recommend her Inn Boonsboro trilogy as something similar.

33rhian_of_oz
Jan 6, 11:03 am

The silver lining of being unemployed and having sleeping problems is more reading. Hurray?!

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

This was adorable. Though I am a little confused about the intended audience because it reads like middle grade but the protagonist is an adult.

Linus Baker is a caseworker for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth (DICOMY) who lives by the Rules And Regulations but doesn't seem particularly happy in his life. Extremely Upper Management (EUM) sends Linus on a month-long investigation of the Marsya Island Orphanage where a number of highly classified children reside under the care of Arthur Parnassus. It is clear the EUM has an unspoken agenda, though possibly not to Linus.

This not a subtle book, which is one of the things that made me think this is aimed at middle schoolers. And we are definitely being manipulated. But I didn't care. I laughed when I was supposed to laugh, was outraged and touched when I was supposed to be, and cried when I was supposed to cry.

Regardless of who this was meant to be written for, if you don't like middle school books then this is not for you. I, on the other hand, will look at other work by this author, including the sequel when it comes out.

34labfs39
Jan 6, 1:13 pm

>33 rhian_of_oz: I am a little confused about the intended audience because it reads like middle grade but the protagonist is an adult.
You and everyone else! But I too was charmed by it. I loved "Extremely Upper Management".

35BLBera
Jan 6, 2:41 pm

Happy New Year, Rhian.

>33 rhian_of_oz: Great comments. I wonder who the audience is? I read with my granddaughter so might give this a try. It sounds like one she would like.

36labfs39
Jan 6, 4:08 pm

>35 BLBera: In my book club, I voted for adult audience, since the protagonist is a 50-ish year old man. If you do read it with Scout, I'll be curious as to her take.

37rhian_of_oz
Jan 7, 10:26 am

>35 BLBera: Thanks Beth, happy new year to you too. I was sorry to hear you were only visiting CR rather than having your own thread (completely understandable). I checked out your thread in the 75ers and it was quite overwhelming! I've starred it to keep up with your reading but I will likely be silently lurking in the corner.

I too will be interested if you end up reading THitCS with your granddaughter.

38AlisonY
Jan 10, 12:44 pm

Welcome back! Looks like you're off to a great start already.

39FlorenceArt
Jan 13, 3:33 am

>32 rhian_of_oz: Noting your recommendation about Nora Roberts. I haven’t read anything by her but and it sounds like I could enjoy it.

>33 rhian_of_oz: Whoever the intended audience is, I think I’m not part of it. I read an excerpt from TJ Klune’s latest and it just felt too childish. And I’m easily manipulated but hate lack of subtlety, so.

40kjuliff
Jan 13, 7:54 pm

>27 rhian_of_oz: I didn’t like The Book Thief or All the Light We Cannot See. They both felt very unauthentic. I’m fussy about WWII novels that seem to use the Holocaust in simplistic ways.

41dchaikin
Jan 13, 10:39 pm

>40 kjuliff: i thought The Book Thief did a nice job of establishing tone and maintaining it. I thought it was well done. But i bailed on All the Light We Cannot See. Couldn’t stand it on audio. I know all this is subjective…

42labfs39
Jan 14, 8:10 am

I too enjoyed The Book Thief, primarily because of the character Death. I thought that was creative. The Holocaust treatment was less noteworthy. Although I finished All the Light, I did not like it. To me that was the more juvenile of the two, despite being written for adults.

43Julie_in_the_Library
Jan 14, 10:26 am

>33 rhian_of_oz: >39 FlorenceArt: The intended audience seems to be adults who like middle grade/YA but want adult protagonists. I know people who are part of that audience. It's bigger than you'd think. But I agree, it's definitely not for everyone.

>40 kjuliff: >41 dchaikin: >42 labfs39: I'm with kjuliff on The Book Thief. I haven't read the other.

44rhian_of_oz
Jan 19, 11:25 pm

We're having an intermittent summer holiday at the moment (a few days away, a few days at home, a few days away, etc) so I'm not reading as much as normal. I also haven't been spending much time online, so I'm off to catch up on some CR threads.

45rhian_of_oz
Jan 26, 1:35 am

Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer

This is the first in the Terra Ignota series and I am rereading the first three books before tackling the (unread) fourth one.

Sometimes when you reread a book you pick up on things you missed the first time. I didn't find that with this. I found I remembered most of what occurred even after five years.

I liked this well enough but it didn't have the impact that it did when I first read it. There are a number of reveals (I wouldn't call them twists) throughout the book that of course aren't shocking when you know they're coming.

I enjoyed reacquainting myself with the world Dr Palmer has created and am looking forward to the next book and seeing how much I remember of it.

46wandering_star
Jan 26, 8:11 pm

>45 rhian_of_oz: I have read the first two of this series and am thinking that I should re-read before I hit the third. The trouble is they are such monsters. I need a longish period that I know is going to be quiet at work so I can keep the momentum up!

47rhian_of_oz
Jan 26, 11:01 pm

>46 wandering_star: Yes the size is a bit of a disincentive. I decided to give myself a month to finish it and read a little bit each day. But I'm not working at the moment so it is easier for me to find the time.

48FlorenceArt
Jan 27, 2:57 am

>45 rhian_of_oz: This sounds interesting! I will wishlist it but I already have a series under way (backburnered really) made of huge tomes with a gazillion characters and constantly changing viewpoints that I find myself unable to concentrate on. Is this one of those? I think my problem is mainly the changing viewpoints. I tend to put the book aside every time there is a switch.

49rhian_of_oz
Jan 27, 3:30 am

>48 FlorenceArt: This is mostly narrated by one character but there are lots of people and situations to keep track of (though I wouldn't say gazillions 🙂). The upside is there are only four books in the series.

50rhian_of_oz
Jan 27, 4:10 am

Horse by Geraldine Brooks

This is about an apparently legendary horse named Lexington (my partner had heard of him) told in three timeframes - the present (well 2019), the 1800s (when the horse was alive), and the 1950s (explaining the provenance of a painting of Lexington).

If you're familiar with People Of The Book then this reminded me a little of that book in structure in that we learn something in the present and then go back to the past for the detail and explanation.

I'm a bit torn on whether I think this structure was the best way to tell this story. The 1950s sections were perhaps the weakest and I don't think really added anything to the overall narrative. And while I liked the present sections, I feel like Lexington's story could've been told without them. The romance between Jess and Theo felt a bit contrived. I think it would've still worked if they'd had a friendly professional relationship. I think the death of Theo would've still impacted Jess even if they hadn't been romantically involved.

I am a fan of Ms Brooks and have mostly liked everything she's written. I enjoyed this and thought it's strengths outweighed the weaknesses.

51dchaikin
Jan 27, 9:26 am

>50 rhian_of_oz: i think I’m done with Brooks, but I enjoyed your review.

52labfs39
Jan 27, 11:54 am

>50 rhian_of_oz: I have mixed luck with Brooks and had mixed feelings about Horse. I agree with you about the 1950s portion being weak and unnecessary, and while I liked Jess, I found the sections when the author pontificating for Theo and other young black men to be disconcerting.

53rhian_of_oz
Jan 30, 3:39 am

>51 dchaikin: I had a look at the CR mentions for Horse and saw that you've given her away. Good thing there's eleventy billion other books you can read 🙂.

>52 labfs39: I didn't mind the 'pontificating' (though I agree it was a little heavy handed) because I'm always keen to see other points of view. And while yes she is a middle-aged white woman like myself, she mentions in the afterword about getting insights on the lived experience of POC. I'm not going to recap the very interesting discussion in Dan's thread, other than to say that I think it's better for me to read these insights from Brooks than to not read them at all.

54rhian_of_oz
Fev 1, 4:01 am

Fury by Kathryn Heyman

When we first meet Kathryn she is standing on the boom of a fishing trawler in the middle of a storm. And while the rest of her story is not always so dramatic, it is very often as harrowing.

Kathryn joins the crew of the Ocean Thief because she had "nowhere else to go", and during her months on board she can't hide from the memories of her unhappy past. This memoir interweaves the stories on the boat with those of her life and how she got there.

This is excellently written but it is not an easy read. As an Australian woman of (I'm guessing) a similar age, many of her experiences were familiar. I can only hope that it is not as bad for young women of today.

I'm glad I read it but it was very confronting and (for me) slightly triggering. It's a difficult book to recommend because while I think it is excellent it was very hard to read her story.

I will be checking out her other books.

55rhian_of_oz
Editado: Mar 2, 11:08 am

Planned February reads:
Bookclub - The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Group Read - Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
CalendarCAT (February) - Gilded by Marissa Meyer
HistoryCAT (Georgian/Regency/Victorian Britain) - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
PrizeCAT (A Prize from Australia) - The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley
MysteryKIT (true unsolved mysteries) - Bereft by Chris Womersley
RandomKIT (escape or rescue) - The Secret River by Kate Grenville
SFFKIT (critters/creatures) - Children Of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
AlphaKit (F and E) - Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler, The Book Of Etta by Meg Elison
ScaredyKIT (Gothic) - The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
Historical Fiction Challenge (real historical figure) - The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
First book in a series (The Legends of the First Empire) - Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Next book in a series (The Expanse) - Tiamat’s Wrath by James S. A. Corey
Wishlist - The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

56kjuliff
Fev 1, 4:07 am

>55 rhian_of_oz: Looking forward to your take on The Marriage Portrait

57rhian_of_oz
Fev 1, 4:30 am

>56 kjuliff: I'll have to make sure to read it! I only managed to read of my planned reads for January so it will be interesting to see how I go for February and how "off piste" I go.

58ELiz_M
Fev 1, 8:25 am

>55 rhian_of_oz: I like this post -- listing all the planned reads. I do this in my thread, but in a static post. Hmmm....

59rhian_of_oz
Fev 1, 10:10 am

>58 ELiz_M: I've just started doing it this year. My TBR pile is a little overwhelming so I like that doing this gives me a smaller, less intimidating pile to choose from. I even physically moved the books to a shelf behind my desk.

60dchaikin
Fev 1, 11:20 am

>55 rhian_of_oz: fun list. I really liked The Red Tent (a while ago).

61rhian_of_oz
Fev 2, 10:15 am

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

I liked Anne of Green Gables enough to read this, which I liked well enough. But I think this is where Anne and I part company. There's something about this, that I can't articulate, that is not for me.

62rhian_of_oz
Fev 4, 10:08 pm

Random in Death by J. D. Robb

This was not on the planned list for February but I walked into a bookstore and there it was.

This is number 58 in the series and I don't think it would work as a standalone as there's too much unexplained backstory in the characters and their relationships.

I consider these comfort reads in the sense that I know what I'm going to get, there are characters I like and look forward to "catching up with" and Ms Roberts does have a style that is easy to read. They're my go to reread when I don't have a lot of time but do want to read something but don't want to have to pay too much attention.

63dchaikin
Fev 5, 1:38 pm

>62 rhian_of_oz: have you read all 58?!

64BLBera
Editado: Fev 5, 5:09 pm

Good luck with your February plans, Rhian. That is a long list!

Don't worry about lurking, I tend to lurk on many threads as well.

The Palmer books sound interesting. I might give the first one a try to see...

I had mixed feelings about Horse; I found the horse's story the most interesting and would almost have preferred that she write it as nonfiction. The different timelines didn't really work for me.

65rhian_of_oz
Fev 5, 11:53 pm

>63 dchaikin: I have indeed! As well as some of the novellas and short stories.

The first one was published in 1995 which is nearly 30 years ago. This horrified me (so long!) and then I remembered that this is not the longest series I read.

As far as I can tell I've been reading the Alex Delaware and Vorkosigan series since 1990. Though neither of these writers is quite as prolific as Ms Roberts.

66rhian_of_oz
Fev 6, 12:06 am

>64 BLBera: Yes it is a long list which I use less as an aspiration and more of a way to make book selection easier. Even this goal is questionable - my first read wasn't on the list and I'm about to head to the library to pick up two books that also aren't on the list 🙂.

I'd be interested to see what you think about Too Like The Lightning if you get around to reading it. I've started the second one but it's too early to tell how well I remember it.

I didn't mind that Horse was fiction but I think I would be more positive about it if the later two timelines had been better handled. They didn't *quite* feel like padding but they weren't far off.

67dchaikin
Fev 6, 6:28 am

>65 rhian_of_oz: 1995 is just yesterday. 🙂 That’s pretty cool you have read them all! I’m impressed!

68rhian_of_oz
Fev 7, 12:18 am

The Future by Naomi Alderman

I read this for bookclub so I wanted to wait until after our meeting before writing my review because talking about the book helped me clarify my thoughts, and sometimes hearing other perspectives can change mine.

We start the story with three tech billionaires receiving notification that the world is ending and for them to enact their "evacuation plan". The rest of the book then describes the before and after of this event.

I really liked a lot of the components of this book, but when I'd finished it I was less sure that I really liked it overall. It's non-linear which I don't mind, but there were no indications of *when* we were, so often when I started a new chapter I had to take the time to figure out where it was in the timeline.

I felt most of the characters were almost cardboard cutouts or caricatures, though apparently if you're more familiar with real-life tech billionaires and their nearest and dearest then these are realistic portrayals.

I don't want to go into detail about the parts I liked because I don't want to give away the story so this review seems more negative than I feel about it, but the book does raise some interesting points/questions. It is also, in parts, a little naive.

On the very last page there's a cryptic message and an email address which gives you more of the story if you email it, which I found both fun (it was a good aha moment) and annoying (I want all the story to be in the book that I am reading). It hadn't occurred to me send an email so thankfully one of the bookclubbers did and shared the result.

One of the bookclubbers referred to this as a romp and I would agree with that description. I do recommend this book but maybe read it with a less critical eye. Ms Alderman is a good writer and has interesting ideas (I liked The Power) so I would read other work by her, though maybe I would get it out of the library or at least not buy it in trade paperback.

69dchaikin
Fev 7, 12:39 pm

>68 rhian_of_oz: interesting. Curious if billionaires really do match cardboard cutouts.

Not sure how I feel about that email. Seems ok for an ebook with a live link; clever once maybe. But not for a paper book.

70kjuliff
Fev 7, 1:00 pm

>69 dchaikin: And it probably won’t work in 50 years. It’ll be like - see a clue in the papyrus scroll under the palm tree by the river.

71labfs39
Fev 7, 4:52 pm

>68 rhian_of_oz: >69 dchaikin: Although I haven't read the book, I've known and worked with some billionaires, and they varied widely in personality, values, and lifestyle. It's easy to lump people we don't know into stereotypical caricatures, the true is usually more complicated, IMO. But billionaires are easy targets.

72rhian_of_oz
Fev 7, 10:26 pm

>70 kjuliff: There was a general agreement at bookclub that this book is very much of its time (i.e. now) and might not hold up in the future, but we didn't consider the email. We had an interesting discussion about needing the context of when a book was written versus it being self-contained, someone even mentioned Dante!

>71 labfs39: This was the problem I had with the portrayal of the billionaires - that even though the actions/words attributed to them may be those really performed/spoken by actual billionaires, they came across as cartoon villains. Don't get me wrong, I think the existence of billionaires is disgusting, but I expect more nuance in a book for grownups.

73rhian_of_oz
Fev 12, 11:28 pm

I received an email from a local bookshop saying they're having a sale for their birthday and I thought it would be churlish not to help them celebrate!

The books I ordered are:
Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey
The Ferryman by Justin Cronin
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Babel by R.F. Kuang

74kjuliff
Editado: Fev 13, 5:45 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

75dchaikin
Fev 13, 2:08 pm

>73 rhian_of_oz: Nice! those all interest me.

76rhian_of_oz
Fev 14, 5:03 am

>75 dchaikin: Some of them won't be available until May so I chose the option to have all of them come together. It will be like Christmas, plus it will give me a chance to read some of my existing books and make room on the TBR shelves. Theoretically 🙂.

77rhian_of_oz
Fev 17, 8:21 am

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

This is a rollicking, ridiculous romp and lots of fun. It has pirates and magic and literary references and romance. Yes it is as bonkers as it sounds.

I don't always like silly slapstick but for whatever reason this worked for me at this time.

I'm not going to rush out and get the next in the series, but I will read it when I'm in the mood for some light entertainment.

78BLBera
Fev 18, 2:01 pm

>68 rhian_of_oz: Hi Rhian. I bought this one when I saw Alderman at the Portland Book Festival, so I skimmed your comments because I hope to read it soon. She was very amusing. She told us that she would write in the morning, read the news and write fueled by rage in the afternoon. It sounds like she may have included a lot of various issues that annoy/infuriate her. I really liked The Power and look forward to this one.

79rhian_of_oz
Fev 18, 10:36 pm

>78 BLBera: Beth I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it.

It would be amusing to read it again and try and guess which bits were written in the morning and which in the afternoon 😆.

80rhian_of_oz
Fev 21, 2:40 am

Wifedom by Anna Funder

I think this is excellent.

I had no particular feelings about George Orwell one way or the other before reading this but I do now!

While this is the story of Eileen and George, it is also an illustration of how biographies are not unbiased (I realise how naive that makes me sound) and how spouses/partners (mostly women) can be erased from a famous person's life. A related theme is how the uncompensated and unrecognised labour of (mostly) women allows (mostly) men to do what they want. Grr.

One criticism that I read, and agree with though it didn't occur to me while reading the book, was even though this supposed to be about Eileen, it continues after her death (by page count 17% of the book) and so becomes about George in the absence of Eileen.

Another criticism is about how Ms Funder inserts herself into her narrative. I agree to some extent in that some of these parts don't add anything, but on the other hand they show the context within which the research for this book occurred.

If you're not a "woke feminist" 🙄 then this probably isn't the book for you. I am interested in exploring Ms Funder's other works.

81dianeham
Fev 21, 5:27 am

>80 rhian_of_oz: What is a "woke feminist?"

82wandering_star
Editado: Fev 21, 9:13 am

>80 rhian_of_oz: interesting comment about Funder inserting herself into the narrative - this was a problem I had with her previous book, Stasiland.

83rhian_of_oz
Fev 21, 11:02 am

>81 dianeham: It was in at least one of the negative reviews that I read online about this book.

I Googled it and read a couple of the results and I'm not much clearer than I was before. As far as I can tell it seems that if a feminist mentions anything about how men benefit from the current systems and structures then they are woke.

84rhian_of_oz
Fev 21, 11:06 am

>82 wandering_star: Thinking about it a little bit more, I don't mind it as much because it shows a recognition that biographers are not neutral, objective observers, and this way she shows her perspective which affects her writing whether consciously or not.

85kjuliff
Fev 21, 12:14 pm

>80 rhian_of_oz: I’ve read two books by Funder both literary non-fiction and in both her views are unashamedly inserted into the descriptions of historical events.

I’m not a great fan of her work so probably won’t read Wifedom .

I liked your review - it’s good that the book was written, but I’ve lost any interest now, in reading it.

86dchaikin
Fev 21, 5:15 pm

>80 rhian_of_oz: one from the new Women’s Prize longlist! I adored Vera, Stacy Schiff biography of Vera Nabokov. That’s one reason why this interests me.

>83 rhian_of_oz: how does one differentiate a woke feminist from whatever a normal feminist is? (there is a quiz online somewhere that i tool recently. I came out less feminist than i thought i was.)

87kjuliff
Fev 21, 5:18 pm

>86 dchaikin: I think a woke feminist is a woke person who happens to be a feminist. Def not you Dan 😊

88dchaikin
Fev 21, 9:28 pm

Wait, am i definitely not feminist? Not woke? Or not woke feminist? 🙂 (For wife and daughter’s sake, I hope I’m feminist!)

89kjuliff
Fev 21, 9:39 pm

>88 dchaikin: Not woke. Second generation feminist.

90dchaikin
Fev 21, 9:53 pm

Good, i think i can live with that. (Sorry Rhian!)

91rhian_of_oz
Editado: Fev 22, 1:52 am

>86 dchaikin: - >90 dchaikin:

The references I looked at for "woke feminist" were all disparaging, so when I used it in my review I was being sarcastic. Sorry that it didn't quite come across the way I intended it.

As far as I can tell, people that use woke feminist as an insult say they agree with equality for women, as long as men don't have to give up their privilege to achieve it. /sarcasm

>85 kjuliff: Yes I saw some of your comments about Funder's work around about the place so I wasn't surprised by this book as I otherwise might've been.

>86 dchaikin: I thought the one place I would be safe from BBs is my own thread but apparently not 🙂. Vera is now on the wishlist.

92dianeham
Fev 22, 3:32 am

>83 rhian_of_oz: I googled it too and was not enlightened or awoken.

93cindydavid4
Editado: Fev 24, 12:21 pm

>80 rhian_of_oz: Im almost finished and just love it Its making me angry on her behalf and changes my opion of wells in a big way (in orwells roses he comes across as a gentle soul that just wants his roses, Doesnt mention his wife much)

>80 rhian_of_oz: "While this is the story of Eileen and George, it is also an illustration of how biographies are not unbiased (I realise how naive that makes me sound) and how spouses/partners (mostly women) can be erased from a famous person's life. A related theme is how the uncompensated and unrecognised labour of (mostly) women allows (mostly) men to do what they want. "

good summary; also how clueless men can be; really, go fight in Spain and disappear from wife, or what really got me, how he basically killed his wife and didnt seem to notice

I didnt mine the author inserting herself; thoses m oments were few but when done she makes another point from her own life that goes with the subject. At all times she was focused on Eilenn

94dchaikin
Fev 25, 11:54 am

>91 rhian_of_oz: ☺️ book danger everywhere

95kjuliff
Fev 25, 2:51 pm

>91 rhian_of_oz: My friends back home were over the top about her a few years back. She seemed v popular in Oz. Is she still?

96rhian_of_oz
Fev 26, 2:46 am

>93 cindydavid4: I'm glad you're enjoying it.

>95 kjuliff: I'm not sure. Most of my offline book friends read primarily science fiction and fantasy. The recommendations I get for non-SFF books mostly come from CR.

97rhian_of_oz
Fev 26, 2:47 am

The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

This was okay, but it didn't blow my skirt up.

I like the relationship between the three young women, though admittedly it's more an idea than properly shown. I liked the magic and that it's female-centred. There were other things that I didn't exactly dislike but didn't sit right with me.

This is described as historical fantasy and what I would add to that description is YAish. It's not wholly in that space, but it certainly isn't what I'd describe as well-developed or mature fantasy.

My book guy recommended this and usually he's a bit more spot on. Oh well, I don't regret reading it but I'm not going to rush out to read anything else by this author.

P.S. Slightly annoying but I don't know who "the weaver" from the title is supposed to be - the non-witch queen protagonist is a healer.

98BLBera
Fev 26, 9:12 am

Wifedom sounds like one I would enjoy, Rhian. Great comments, too!

99rhian_of_oz
Fev 29, 12:57 am

Tiamat's Wrath by James S. A. Corey

This the penultimate book in The Expanse series and most definitely *does not* stand alone.

Hoo boy, there's a reason The Expanse won a Hugo for Best Series and this instalment is a worthy addition. I don't try and figure out things as we go, I just go along for the ride.

I'm torn between wanting to read the last book straight away to see how it all ends, and not wanting it to be over after all these years (I read book 1 in 2013).

If you like space opera then I wholeheartedly recommend this series.

100rhian_of_oz
Mar 1, 1:21 am

Planned March reads:
Bookclub - A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
Group Read - Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
CalendarCAT (March) – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
HistoryCAT (Science and Medicine) – The Body by Bill Bryson
PrizeCAT (A Prize that’s New to Me) – The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
MysteryKIT (historical mysteries) – The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
RandomKIT (world wildlife day) - The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley
SFFKIT (space opera) – Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey
AlphaKit (H and R) – Hel’s Eight by Stark Holborn, Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
ScaredyKIT (True Crime) -
Historical Fiction Challenge (over 500 pages) – The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
First book in a series (Monk and the Robot) – A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers
Next book in a series (Rivers of London) – Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch
Wishlist – Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson


101rv1988
Mar 1, 3:10 am

>100 rhian_of_oz: Looks like a great month of reading planned. I'm looking forward to your thoughts, especially on the Stuart Turton book. It's been lying on my shelf for several months now!

102rhian_of_oz
Mar 1, 7:06 am

>101 rv1988: Given how poorly my actual reading has matched my planned reading so far this year, there's a better than even chance I won't end up reading The Devil and the Dark Water in March 😁. We might have to organise a group read to get it off both of our TBR shelves.