Witchyrichy: Determined in 2015

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Witchyrichy: Determined in 2015

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1witchyrichy
Editat: gen. 1, 2016, 7:15pm

I joined the group last year and kept up with my lists for a bit. Then, life intervened...

So, here I go again! This year is all about reading the books I already own OR borrowing books I don't from the library OR diving into all those digital books on the Kindle.

And, I want to be more active in the groups. I love reading about what others are reading! I would love some tips from long time members as to how they stay active AND keep up with their reading.

Now that I finished my first book, here's the ticker:




January 2015 Completed 8

The Remains of the Day
Sweet Thunder
Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the Creators of Superman
The Empty Throne
Gould's Book of Fish
Neverwhere
Riven Rock
Small Steps

February 2015 Completed 10

Dancing At The Rascal Fair
A Confederacy of Dunces
When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II
The Abolition of Man
Bohemians
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Two Years Before the Mast
A Salty Piece of Land
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
No Strange Fire

March 2015 Completed 7

The Things They Carried
Ride with Me, Mariah Montana
The Winter King
The Sea is My Brother
The Men Who United the States
The Windward Road
Murder in the Raw

April 2015 Completed 8

Phi Beta Murder
Factory Man
Dust Tracks on the Road
Murder on the Moor
Murder of the Bride
A Dangerous Place
Mountain Time
A Murder of Magpies

May 2015 Completed: 8

10% Happier
A Week in Winter
American Gods
The Girls of Atomic City
Murder At Midnight
The Alchemist
Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name

June 2015 Completed: 6
Miss Buncle's Book
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion
The Beekeeper's Lament
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society
How To Teach Adults
The Old Patagonian Express

July 2015 Completed: 9
Bucking the Sun
The Storyteller
Welcome to the Great Mysterious
The Postmistress
Snow in August
Flight
Preludes and Nocturnes
The Memory of Running
A Cotswold Ordeal Audio

August 2015 Completed: 5
A River Town
As Always, Julia
The Distant Hours
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
Jitterbug Perfume

September 2015 Completed: 9
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Ready Player One
Sleeping Murder
Murder at the Vicarage
The Invention of Fire
The Bartender's Tale
Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life
The Dive From Clausen's Pier
The Novel

October 2015 Completed: 11
The Technologists
Seraphina
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
Murphy's Law (audio)
Ten Little Bloodhounds
By Book or By Crook
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
Perdita
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Death of Riley (audio)
For the Love of Mike (audio)

November 2015 Completed (8)
The Lay of the Land
Oh Danny Boy (audio)
At the Corner of King Street
Neighing with Fire
Booked For Trouble
In Dublin's Fair City (audio)
The Intelligencer
The Charlemagne Pursuit

December 2015 Completed (8)
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People
Pastrix
The Templar Legacy
The Problem of the Surly Servant
The Alexandria Link
Brooklyn
Angela's Ashes (audio)
High Rising

2drneutron
des. 29, 2014, 9:35pm

Welcome back! My best advice is to pick and choose where you want to get involved. A group read or two is great for getting started. Or just jump into a few threads with books of interest. You're welcome to visit mine!

3craftyfox
des. 29, 2014, 11:30pm

I have the same plan for my books this year. I also love reading what others have to write about what they are reading, but I get so overwhelmed trying to keep up. I left a star here so I can get some pointers.

4evilmoose
des. 29, 2014, 11:37pm

I find the threads do tend to get a bit overwhelming sometimes - you drop back in and it seems like there's so much conversation that's happened it's hard to know how to reply. But it's excellent if you can find some people with similar reading habits or preferences, or who are doing a challenge that you are, so you'll have authors in common.

5witchyrichy
des. 31, 2014, 9:33am

Thanks for the tips! I think part of my strategy is adding LT to my to do list on a regular basis, maybe even putting reminders on my phone. I spend a lot of time on the computer for work with a pretty extensive network so don't always make time for the fun stuff and building community around my personal interests.

6witchyrichy
des. 31, 2014, 7:10pm

I also added the group RSS threads to my Feedly account as I check my aggregator on a daily basis.

7porch_reader
des. 31, 2014, 7:36pm

Hi Karen! Thanks for visiting my thread. Since we have so many books in common, I look forward to keeping up with your thread! I am not very good at keeping up with LT, especially this time of year when all of the threads are so busy. But I have found a small number of people who have similar reading interests as I do, and I generally keep up with them. Good luck with your reading this year!

8SuziQoregon
gen. 1, 2015, 1:05am

Welcome back. Hope this year is a good reading year for you. Last year was my first year here. It can get overhwelming. My advice is to star a handful of threads and keep your participation level manageable.

9scaifea
gen. 1, 2015, 2:20pm

Welcome back to the group, and happy reading!

10witchyrichy
gen. 1, 2015, 2:57pm

I finished Work Song by Ivan Doig late last night...I don't think it was midnight so I'm counting it towards 2014. I really enjoy Doig's storytelling style with quirky characters who come to the West for all sorts of reasons.

My first book for the new year is going to be The Remains of the Day as part of the British authors challenge.

11porch_reader
gen. 1, 2015, 3:01pm

>10 witchyrichy: - I love Ivan Doig! Have you read Sweet Thunder? If I remember right, it is the third book in this loosely formed series.

12witchyrichy
gen. 1, 2015, 3:04pm

I haven't and it is on my shelf already...it looks like I'm getting a list together for January! I didn't realize it was the third book in the series. Thanks for the tip!

13witchyrichy
gen. 2, 2015, 4:47pm

Just finished The Remains of the Day. I wrote a one-sentence review and will add more after I've thought about it a bit. A quiet book that leaves you with much to consider.

14fuzzi
Editat: gen. 3, 2015, 5:27pm

Stopping by, and dropping a star...I hope to do better "keeping up" with threads this year... ;)

15witchyrichy
gen. 3, 2015, 6:55pm

>14 fuzzi: Thanks...me, too! I'll try to make it worth your while ;-)

16fuzzi
gen. 6, 2015, 9:21pm

Just talk about your reads...that is what I like. :)

17witchyrichy
gen. 14, 2015, 5:31pm

A short visit to retired teaching friends and then start of the semester along with an unusual book have slowed me down a bit.

Today's ice storm left me with a bit of extra time so I managed to finish Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the Creators of Superman. I'm not sure amazing is the right word for the title: as with many early creators, they lost out when it came to the money and led pretty sad lives.

I also found Brad Ricca's writing style a bit convoluted and I get easily frustrated with what I think of as the Freudian approach to literary reviewing. In this case, Superman and the other comics created by Siegel and Shuster are evidently thinly veiled references to their personal lives and psychological sufferings. I'm not sorry I read it but could have stopped about half way through. It may be that I'm just not enough of a comic book fan to appreciate the book.

18fuzzi
gen. 14, 2015, 7:33pm

Maybe a traditional biography would have appealed to you more?

I have read several biographies this past year: one was a solid five star/best of 2014 type of read, and one I just could not "get into". The subject for the "clunker" biography was fine, but the author left me feeling like I couldn't care less about the subject. Too bad.

19Copperskye
gen. 15, 2015, 9:57pm

Whistling Season is my favorite Doig with Work Song as a close second.

20witchyrichy
gen. 16, 2015, 11:04am

>18 fuzzi: I think part of the problem was that I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay first, a fictional account of the start of comic books and somewhat loosely based on Siegel and Shuster. It was fabulous so I think I was a bit let down by Ricca's take. Maybe a traditional biography would have been better.

I have a similar relationship to biographies as you, I think.

>19 Copperskye: I loved both the books. Sweet Thunder was good but perhaps the characters are getting a bit stale the third time around. Plus, I like Morgan but I miss the voice of the young narrator in The Whistling Season.

21witchyrichy
gen. 16, 2015, 6:26pm

Finished The Empty Throne in just two days. Bernard Cornwell is something of a guilty pleasure for me. He seems to be more of a man's writer (all that killing and chivalry) but I really like Uthred of Bebbanburg as a protagonist. Now, I suppose I have another year or two until the next one comes out!

22witchyrichy
gen. 31, 2015, 4:49pm

T C Boyle's Riven Rock has been on the shelf for some time. I had been intrigued by the flyleaf but then wasn't sure if I was ready to commit. I'm glad I finally pulled it down and dug in: a fascinating fictional take on a fairly bizarre interlude in the life of the McCormicks, a famously wealthy American family. At its base, the novel tells the tale of Stanley McCormick and his wife Katherine Dexter remains married to him even as he descends into madness that, because it seems to be particularly related to women, means she must observe her husband through binoculars as he lives in his luxurious prison, Riven Rock, a mansion near Montecito, California. A side tale tells the story of one of his male nurses, an alcoholic who seems to take only his work with Mr. McCormick seriously.

I enjoyed the book, perhaps more than I thought I would. I don't mind that Boyle doesn't provide any hint as to what is true and what isn't. That's what the Internet is for, I guess. This article from Chicago Reader does a good job of teasing out the fact and fiction: http://goo.gl/KTSspH

23witchyrichy
gen. 31, 2015, 5:44pm

I finished last year with Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At The End of the Lane, a magical, mysterious and human tale that I found hard to put down. I haven't read a lot of Gaiman: I listened to The Graveyard Book, read by Gaiman, and loved it. Again, a fantastical tale with a human touch as a young boy is raised by the ghosts in a graveyard. So, I was happy to pick up a copy of Neverwhere on a day-after-Christmas book binge. Like the others, it was full of "realistic" fantasy with a dystopian layer as Richard Mayhew, seemingly normal kind of guy, discovers the world of London Below, the mostly unseen world that thrives below the city.

I always do a bit of research after I read the book and, in this case, I discovered that the book was written after the television series, which is available on Amazon on demand...I may give it a look. Gaiman is a master of description, with a Dickensesque ability to create characters that border on the caricature.

24witchyrichy
gen. 31, 2015, 5:58pm

For the ANZAC Challenge, I read Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish by Richard Flanagan. I have had a reader's advance copy of the book on my shelf for a long time. I think it was gift at an indie bookstore for buying a certain amount of books. I really had no idea about the story but liked the design of the book. And, may have been confused that the author was Richard Brautigan rather than Richard Flanagan.

I'm trying to read my ROOTS this year so this challenge was an opportunity to dig into the book. And what a book it was. Fantastical, horrific, hilarious even at times: I was absorbed and repelled often at the same time. Like Riven Rock that I just read, this book is based in non-fiction but veers into fiction without always making clear which is which. Gould, the narrator and erstwhile painter of fish, is as unreliable as they come even as he seems to be stripping his life and soul bare for the reader.

I have an old friend that lives in Tasmania and when I mentioned reading the book, she commented that Flanagan was "the big cheese around here."

25porch_reader
feb. 1, 2015, 9:27am

Lots of good reading going on over here! I am a huge fan of The Graveyard Book and loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane when I listened to it last year. I'll have to put Neverwhere on my TBR list.

26witchyrichy
feb. 1, 2015, 9:38am

>25 porch_reader: Thanks! I have been enjoying my reading this year. I got a little bogged down with Super Boys but other than that, am having fun. It's gratifying to discover that I like the ROOTS I've bought over the years.

27witchyrichy
feb. 1, 2015, 9:46am

I snuck in one more book for January. I retired to bed a bit early last evening as I have a cold. I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep and wanted something "easy" to read. I discovered Small Steps by Louis Sachar on the headboard bookshelf. It read quickly, obviously, without the depth of story in Holes, a book (and movie) I adored. More of a morality tale, pretty formulaic, and yet I am judging from an adult perspective. For an upper elementary school reader, especially a boy, I think it would be a great read. It doesn't gloss over issues of equity and reacism, but there's action and excitement as well.

28witchyrichy
feb. 9, 2015, 8:12pm

Ivan Doig is just a master story teller with a huge love for his setting and nowhere is that more evident in Dancing At the Rascal Fair. In this novel, we watch Montana change from wilderness to homestead and we meet some of those early agents of change who built the first cabins and ran the first sheep. At a macro level, Doig tracks the beginning of the US Forest Service and its early attempts at conservation. There are historical references to Montana statehood and the great fire of 1910.

But at its core, this is the story of two men who brave the new world together. It is richly drawn with sudden sadness and grief even in the midst of great joy. The ending came as a surprise, a shock really, but written in love and care so melodrama doesn't overwhelm. Doig can be understated but can also write drama that rises from the page.

29witchyrichy
feb. 11, 2015, 11:58am

John Kennedy O'Toole's book A Confederacy of Dunces has been on my shelf since 2000. According to the note inside, it was actually a gift for my husband but since he doesn't read fiction, he passed it along to me.

What a book! Comedy bordering on farce but in the end, goodness seems to be rewarded and everyone, with the exception possibly of Myrna Minkoff, Reilly's girlfriend, gets what they want.

Wikipedia calls it a picaresque novel and it does indeed depict both satirically and humorously the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. Ignatius J. Reilly is confounding to all those around him. He seems to wish to do good and yet can't quite figure out how to do it without causing complete chaos in his life an the lives of those around him.

New Orleans with its wide variety of oddballs plays an important role in the book. We meet tourists, prostitutes, policemen and business owners, all who got caught up Reilly's world.

If only O'Toole had lived to write the sequel!

30witchyrichy
Editat: feb. 22, 2015, 7:14pm

Too many challenges!

I may have gotten overly enthusiastic with the TIOLI challenges for February, forgetting that it was short month!

Challenge #5. Read a book with a number in the first sentence
Two Years Before the Mast with fourteenth in the first sentence DONE

Challenge # 9. Read a book mentioned or listed in a book about books
I'm taking advantage of the "primary source" option and reading When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II DONE and then hoping to fit in The Big Rock Candy Mountain that is mentioned in the book as well.

Challenge #10. Read a non-fiction comic
I have two Logicomix about Bertrand Russell and Bohemians DONE with Bohemians but realized I had read Logicomix in 2011.

Challenge #12. Read A Book With a Three Word Title but the first word cannot be "The"
No Strange Fire

Challenge #6. Read a book that can be found on openculture.com
The Abolition of Man DONE

I've finished one and am well on my way to finishing another one. Mostly I think I'm daunted by Two Years Before the Mast AND The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

31witchyrichy
feb. 18, 2015, 5:55pm

I took a snow day break to read As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust on my Kindle. I think it can count as a February challenge as it is a book that I wanted to read when it came out. I've listened to the other ones and the narrator is great. I could almost hear her narrating this book. It was good although I missed the rest of the family along with Digger and Mrs. Mullett. Because of all the new characters, it felt like a more straight forward mystery than some of the others. But, there was chemistry and Flavia's usual flippant approach to the truth. All in all, a good read.

32witchyrichy
feb. 22, 2015, 7:24pm

Why did I put off reading Two Years Before the Mast? It was such an adventure story! Dana wrote a rousing tale of the sea but also showed his education with some literature and philosophy. We also get a glimpse of his burgeoning sense of social justice. Perhaps the most poignant part of the book was the last section added when he returned to the California coast 25 years after his trip and marveled at how the world had changed. It's a nostalgia we have all felt, meeting a few old friends, discovering that others had passed on, and mostly feeling as though the world had moved on in a way that was not altogether positive. I will admit to skimming some of the sections with details about sails but they served to really put you before the mast along with Dana.

33scaifea
feb. 23, 2015, 7:23am

Oh, I loved Two Years Before the Mast when I read it, oh, a few years ago! I'm glad to hear that you did, too!

34witchyrichy
feb. 26, 2015, 12:14pm

Just finished A Salty Piece of Land, an unplanned but seemingly appropriate read since I'm spending the week in Florida. The landlord is a Buffett fan with copies of his books various places. I had brought my own copy--a ROOT from a long time ago--and am planning to leave it behind. I have a few quotes to share but an old friend is coming to get me for lunch.

35witchyrichy
feb. 26, 2015, 2:11pm

A few pieces of wisdom from Jimmy Buffett via his Mayan shaman named Ix-Nay:

On the slack tide when fish that are normally enemies, simply take a break: "Fish know they need a break from the cycle of the food chain, and that happens at slack tide.' 'So, it's kind of a universal time out?' 'I call it Quiet Time...People would be better off if they did the same...You have to think more like a fish than a man and look for the slack tides and the pools and eddies in life ao you can catch your breath and reflect on the good moments.'" (p. 226)

"Life, when you get right down to it, is no more complicated than the gears on the Fishmobile. But there is one big exception...the Fishmobile has three basic gears--forward, neutral and reverse. We have only two. There is no reverse on the road of life, Tully. You just keep moving forward, and every now and then you try to catch a little neutral." (p. 148)

36witchyrichy
Editat: feb. 27, 2015, 2:48pm

The Big Rock Candy Mountain was a compelling tale of the Mason family, led by their ever-on-the-move patriarch Bo and the woman who loved him enough to give up everything for him. It was a story about America at the turn of the century when the next fortune was just waiting to be made. Some of it was hard to read but I'm glad I did and the list of Wallace Stegner's other books are intriguing: a whole year of Stegner, Doig and Berry would be a challenge in itself!

37Copperskye
març 3, 2015, 9:50pm

I loved The Big Rock Candy Mountain! I'm glad you liked it, too. I have a lot of Stegner in front of me and plan to read another this year. The only other of his I've read is Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs which is a book of essays and also very good.

38witchyrichy
març 7, 2015, 6:00pm

>coppers Angle of Repose was a good story, too. More modern but the same connection to the land. Thanks for the tip on the essays. I'm doing a bunch of those challenges this month but then thinking I may dig into these writers for at least a month.

39witchyrichy
Editat: març 14, 2015, 10:39am

I have found that there is a tipping point in every Bernard Cornwell novel where I simply have to finish it. The Winter King was no different. Cornwell has assembled all the traditional Arthurian characters but given them a personal side not often seen in the tales. He manages to make both pagans and Christians seem somewhat silly sometimes and shows how all of them, from Arthur to Merlin, are simply longing for a time before the Romans when they lived as free people.

It occurred to me that the best stories are told from the times of change, when old and new ideas clash. Certainly The Big Rock Candy Mountain came from that place when America was expanding into the wilderness and The Winter King also, as the Saxons and the Christians began to change Britain into England.

40witchyrichy
març 14, 2015, 10:42am

I read two books at a time these days: a digital one on my Kindle downstairs and an analog one upstairs in bed. It seems to take a week to finish two books, using the weekend to read longer. I'm working on The Men Who United the States and love that Simon Winchester quotes Wallace Stegner. These kinds of connections sometimes make me pause, knowing they are coincidental but also seeing connections across my own interests.

41witchyrichy
març 21, 2015, 10:18am

The Men Who United the States was a terrific read: Simon Winchester organizes the technological history of the United States around the theme of unification. Increasingly it seems as those these technologies serve to divide and I think the challenge is to find ways to get back to unification, using the last great technology of the Internet to find what connects rather than divides us.

42witchyrichy
març 28, 2015, 5:08pm

I picked up a copy of Archie Carr's The Windward Road at the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Melbourne Beach, Florida. Carr is responsible for the stretches of refuge that keeps Melbourne from being completely built up, but his biggest claim to fame is bringing attention to the plight of the turtles. The book was originally written in 1956, long before environmentalism was part of the international conversation. Carr tells his stories without much judgment until he reaches the last chapter when he calls for that conversation to begin before the turtles, especially the greens, disappear completely.

43witchyrichy
març 31, 2015, 10:43pm

I way over promised challenges for March but did some good reading. I finished the month with a cozy mystery Murder in the Raw. This is the second in the Rex Graves mystery series. I liked it better than the first; a little more humor mixed in with the mystery as it is set in a naturalist resort in the Caribbean. The books are short with a sharp focus on the mystery even as the author draws complex characters. Graves is a Scottish barrister whose brogue comes through. It's easy before bed reading. I have the whole series and plan to work my way through them.

44witchyrichy
abr. 30, 2015, 10:58am

Well, a whole month without a post! April brings lots of outdoor time to my life and I've been working hard on the gardens around the farm. Reading takes a back seat although I still managed to get through eight books in April. Part of what helps is that I read a few more of the Rex Graves' cozies.

It feels like it has taken forever to get through the last two books of the month: Mountain Time and A Murder of Magpies. They were both just so-so: not stellar Doig and a just-OK mystery.

So, what next? I saw the posting for the May TIOLO challenges and may try a few. I also got a ping that a new Maggie Hope mystery is out as well. There are all kinds of unread books lying around along with lots on the Kindle so buying a new book seems less than frugal.

45witchyrichy
maig 8, 2015, 9:24pm

It took eight days of the new month to finally finish a book! A professional development event and the end of the semester slowed me down. But 10% Happier by Dan Harris was a terrific read if a little raw sometimes. But he was confronting those voices in his head and I could completely understand...be better, work harder, worry more. The ultimate answer for Harris is meditation, even just five minutes a day, and he had the research to support his claims. He moved beyond the big names in the field who seemed to have the esoteric vocabulary but not the practical practices and shared books by people like Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Mark Epstein, and Stephen Batchelor.

Harris recommends doing some reading in Buddhism and meditation so I may add a couple of these books to the TBR list.

46drneutron
maig 10, 2015, 1:22pm

Yeah, I've gotten into a few days where there's no reading time, do I'm falling a little behind. But I've got some airplane time coming up next week that should catch me up.

47witchyrichy
Editat: maig 29, 2015, 9:48am

I made an effort to carve out time this weekend thinking that the world could wait. A stormy afternoon helped!

48witchyrichy
Editat: maig 29, 2015, 9:48am

Neil Gaiman is quickly becominng a favorite author. I've read some of his shorter works but never managed to connect with a copy of American Gods until I found a lovely hard bound edition that included Anansi Boys as well. It seemed long and imposing until I got moving and then I really couldn't put it down. The mysteries were wovern just tightly enough to be intriguing but not so tightly to be obtuse. I had to finish it this morning before I could do anything else. Gaiman has managed to pull together past, present and future as we take the hero's journey with Shadow. An amazing book!

49scaifea
maig 17, 2015, 9:08am

Oh, yay for Gaiman! He's definitely one of my favorite authors.

50witchyrichy
maig 29, 2015, 9:44am

>49 scaifea: And now I get to read Anansi Boys as part of a June TIOLI challenge!

51witchyrichy
maig 29, 2015, 10:24am

I may just make my goal of 8 books this month! There are dogs that need walked and a garden to tend, but I anticipate at least a few hours of porch time over the next couple days. Looking back on the list, I'm a little dazed by all the diverse reading I've done. The TIOLI challenges have definitely helped with selection so I've been able to dig into my libraries, both analog and digital, to find some real gems.

And, I had decided I wasn't going to do the TIOLI challenges in June: I just wanted to read what I wanted. It turns out, however, that I was able to easily match several of those reads with challenges! Gaiman fit, along with Fannie Flagg's The All-Girl Filling Stations Last Reunion and Amy Hill Hearth's Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society. Plus a few more books that have been lurking around on the shelf and the Kindle for awhile.

I am looking forward to more great reading in June!

52scaifea
maig 30, 2015, 7:55am

>50 witchyrichy: Oooh, Anansi Boys is so good!

53witchyrichy
maig 31, 2015, 9:34am

Whew! This morning, I finished my last book for the May Take It Or Leave It Challenge. It has been a terrific month of reading from a self help style memoir to nonfiction about the nuclear development to a wonderful tale of life in Cornwall that is, happily, the beginning of a series. I've already started on June, reading Fannie Flagg before bed each night.

I loved If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. It was a lovely series of inspirational essays about finding the good in life wherever we end up. Lende live in Haines, Alaska, and write obituaries for the local paper. She is a tough woman who helped build her family's cabin and trekked above the treeline on a goat hunt but her tender side shines through in her descriptions of losing her dog or praying for a neighbor's child lost at sea. The chapter dividers, bits from Lende's "Duly Noted" column, give a glimpse in a lively community who brave cold and dark and snow, snow, snow, to live on the edge of God's magnificence.

54witchyrichy
juny 7, 2015, 6:00pm

Miss Buncle's Book, written by D.E. Stevenson in 1934, was reprinted in 2008 and I am so glad. It was a fun read but then yields real complexity as you consider how Barbara's work leads to change in the village where she lives. I laughed out loud at parts.

55witchyrichy
juny 20, 2015, 6:45pm

I seem to be reading slowly this month. I've only finished three books but I have two more that are moving along. Travel, workshops, meetings and gardening seem to be taking their toll.

I was glad of an excuse to dig into The Beekeeper's Lament with its summery cover meeting one of the June TIOLI challenges. It's a fascinating look at the perils of being a commercial beekeeper. As someone with just two hives, I was interested but I think the story would be engaging for anyone who has followed the problems of bees.

56witchyrichy
juny 21, 2015, 9:43am

I thought Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society was going to be a light hearted book set in the South. And there was a light hearted tone but it masked a much more important story that was even more powerful as I read it during a week when nine African Americans were killed in a church by a white racist. The events in the book took place in my lifetime and, clearly, vestiges of this recent history are still alive.

57witchyrichy
juny 23, 2015, 4:28pm

I teach adults almost exclusively, in workshops, informal groups and university classes. I know a bit about andragogy and try to draw on my students' passions and expertise as much as possible. I'm not sure how I stumbled on Dan Spalding's book How to Teach Adults but there it was on the Kindle. It was an interesting mix of part handbook and part manifesto. Spalding talks about contracts, lesson planning and assessment in very practical ways. I skimmed some of it but found the last chapter on education reform and how teachers tend to support the status quo very powerful and worth reading the rest.

Spalding is a great guide who tells us that he doesn't always practice what he preaches AND that what he preaches may not be the best practice for all of us. His reference list and recommended readings are excellent fodder and I may dive into a few more before the fall semester.

58Copperskye
juny 24, 2015, 11:19pm

>53 witchyrichy: You've reminded me that I have If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name hiding on either my kindle or nook. I'm glad to see you loved it!

59witchyrichy
jul. 18, 2015, 11:01am

I ended up at my parents' house with no books! I had my Kindle but my night time reading is always a regular book to help me drift off to sleep. So, I pulled volumes from the shelf there and had a lovely time reading books I wouldn't have necessarily chosen myself:

The Storyteller
Welcome to the Great Mysterious
The Postmistress

The Storyteller and The Postmistress both dealt with World War II and the Holocaust in different ways. Picoult dug into the horror in a personal way, weaving the stories of a survivor and a guard together. I had figured out the twist before the end but that didn't matter to the story. The characters were authentically drawn and, as a baker myself, I love the baking thread that tied all the stories together.

The Postmistress was equally powerful with its tale of two women who find that the truth is not always the best path to take. Something is coming and we don't know what so living each moment is essential.

I couldn't say if one or the other was better: different views of human beings living through heartbreak and horror in the best way they can.

60drneutron
jul. 18, 2015, 9:45pm

Away from home without a book?! That's a recurring nightmare of mine... :)

61witchyrichy
jul. 24, 2015, 11:20am

>60 drneutron: I knew I would happen upon books on the trip. Both my parents and my friend are great readers. I came home with a bag of books, gifts from my friend and purchases as an Indie bookstore.

62witchyrichy
jul. 26, 2015, 7:49pm

My husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary this weekend. I travel so much in the summer that I am not always home for our special day. This year, I was home AND it was a weekend! And...my husband surprised me with an above ground swimming pool. I spent several hours each days floating and reading.

I'm working on ROOTS right now and pulled a dozen books off the shelf. The two I chose--Flight and The Memory of Running were similar in terms of the characters: young men trying to find their way in the world despite tragedy.

63scaifea
jul. 27, 2015, 7:05am

Happy Anniversary!! And a swimming pool?! *Note to self: 23rd anniversary gift should be a swimming pool...*

64witchyrichy
ag. 11, 2015, 2:43pm

>63 scaifea: Thanks! I am LOVING having the pool. Get lots of reading done since I can't carry any digital devices with me!

As Always, Julia was wonderful. Hard to believe that people used to write these kinds of letters and that those letters led to a lifelong friendship. The book was full of food, of course, but also politics and books and so much more. Just terrific. I read Dearie last year and have been looking for a chance to dive into this book as well. Can't recommend both of them enough as a glimpse into the life of this icon of American cooking and television.

65witchyrichy
Editat: set. 5, 2015, 12:11pm

Pulled two Tom Robbins' books of the shelf: they've been traveling with me for a long time. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas has a Rizzoli's price tag which means it came from Williamsburg, Virginia, in the early 80s. It also included a book mark from a paperback book exchange in Ocean City, New Jersey. I haven't vacationed there for nearly two decades!

They were both lots of fun if a bit preachy at times, most notably in Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. Larry Diamond, the conduit of the Mali tales, takes up long pages filling us in and it gets a little long. I didn't mind the use of the second person as much as I thought I might.

I enjoyed Jitterbug Perfume a bit more, I think. You discovered the story as it was told with little in the way of long fill ins.

I'm heading off to the beach next week and hoping to get lots of reading done...just 13 to go for the 75 and only a few for my ROOTS goal. It's been all analog books since I've been working on cleaning off the shelves. There are lots of good books waiting on the Kindle as well but I can't read it in the pool or before bed so I'm sticking with "real" books right now since those are the two times I read.

66witchyrichy
Editat: set. 7, 2015, 11:42am

My sister recommended Ready Player One and my father read it and loved it. I finally ran into a copy of it at an indie bookstore a week or so ago. Just finished it in two days...it was good and reminiscent of Cory Doctorow's Homeland and Big Brother. All the 80s references were fun, and as a denizen of at least one virtual world, I was fascinated with the technologies, particularly as they are mostly with us now. There's a Minecraft Mod that is a movie theater complete with popcorn that shows My Little Pony moview.

67witchyrichy
Editat: set. 20, 2015, 7:52pm

I will be rereading Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life and doing the 12 steps. But Karen Armstrong recommended reading the whole book first and then returning to complete the activities. It is a powerful read with an extensive reading list that will have me digging into my book shelf.

68witchyrichy
set. 28, 2015, 8:31am

Just finished The Novel by James Michener. It's been on my shelf for a long time, purchased at a used book sale. I bought it for two reasons: it's a book about books and it's located in Pennsylvania Dutch county, specifically the Reading/Allentown area. I was a little disappointed: having loved books like Hawaii and Chesapeake, I found this book to be ponderously written and hard to read. I did like the multiple voices but the real action of the novel didn't happen until almost the end with the rest being taken up with the stories of the four characters and long musings on books and writing. The good part of the book was that it awakened my desire to read and reread some of the classics. But I'll admit to being a bit relieved when it was done.

69witchyrichy
Editat: oct. 3, 2015, 10:57am

Another ROOT under my belt: The Technologists by Matthew Pearl was a good read. I loved learning about the history of MIT and following the students as they pursued a madman out to destroy Boston. The Civil War substory was a little distracting but played an imporant role in the end. There's a short story at the end that I haven't tacked yet.

70witchyrichy
oct. 6, 2015, 12:52pm

Really enjoyed Seraphina and just ordered the sequel. I haven't read a lot of young adult fiction since I left the classroom but I think this would be a great read to use with middle schoolers. Its themes of what makes a monster and when not telling the whole truth can be helpful would make for excellent discussions.

71witchyrichy
oct. 12, 2015, 8:10am

I am traveling for the long weekend and remembered my neglected Audible account. I enjoyed Murphy's Law. The narrator was excellent and the details about the experience of a poor Irish immigrant coming through Ellis Island added a nice historical feature. I'm driving home tomorrow and have the second book queued up and ready to go.

72witchyrichy
Editat: oct. 13, 2015, 4:47pm

I officially reached 75 books! With 10 weeks to go! About half were my own tomes and I've been giving them away as I read to open shelf space for some new ones. Ten Little Bloodhounds was just OK...I really didn't like the narrator with her prickly personality. She seemed to treat everyone like a hound to be trained. At the end, she did recognize that her friends supported her despite all but it was too little too late. This is the fourth or fifth in a series that I picked up at a used book sale a long time ago. I don't think I'll seek out the rest of them.

Meanwhile, I got four hours of listening time to the second Molly Murphy mystery and it occurred to me that she is somehwat pricky as well, with a similar characteristic of jumping to conclusions about people without giving them a chance to explain. Death of Riley provides more insight into life in New York at the turn of the century.

73drneutron
oct. 14, 2015, 11:11am

Congrats!

74porch_reader
oct. 15, 2015, 7:35pm

Congrats on reaching 75 books, but I think that I'm more impressed that about half were your own tomes. I've been trying so hard to read more of my own books, but I seem to buy more new ones as fast as I read the old ones!

75Copperskye
oct. 16, 2015, 1:07am

Congrats on reading 75 books!

I set a goal to read 25 of my own books each year and usually don't quite reach it. You'd think with all the books I keep buying that it would get easier, but no.

You read a lot of Ivan Doig this year! Do you have a favorite?

76witchyrichy
Editat: oct. 17, 2015, 7:13am

>73 drneutron: >74 porch_reader: >75 Copperskye: Thanks! I just put one more on the list so I'm over! I still bought plenty of books, too. More tomes for next year!

>75 Copperskye: Hmm...a favorite Doig? I think it has to be This House of Sky, his memoir of growing up in Montana. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his father and his grandmother. They didn't always get along but they both loved him fiercely. It was the kind of childhood that I don't think really exists any more and Doig really did it justice in his memories.

That being said, I loved the Montana trilogy for its wonderful storytelling. Much of it, I think, was drawn from Doig's own life.

77witchyrichy
oct. 20, 2015, 11:54am

Just finished The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, a graphic depiction of the creation of the first computer. I love the way the author pulled in lots of Victorians from Dickens to Austen to the Queen herself. There was a lot of text in addition to the images and I don't think I completely understand how the computer worked, but it was a fun romp anyway.

78Copperskye
oct. 23, 2015, 12:58am

>76 witchyrichy: This House of Sky is also my favorite of the Doig books I've read. I just finished Last Bus to Wisdom and it was a lot of fun.

79witchyrichy
Editat: oct. 23, 2015, 1:15pm

I am doing the Take It Or Leave It Challenge for October 2015, and since I've reached both my 75 book goal and my ROOTS goal, I felt like I could read a few new books. Perdita was a good read with mystery, literature, nature and life lessons rolled together and mostly told through the journals of a 134-year-old woman. The website (http://perditanovel.com/) mentions a second volume of journals that must hot have been published yet. In addition, it is full of great information about the setting and the literary references.

80witchyrichy
Editat: oct. 24, 2015, 11:30am

Autumn has finally arrived and brings with it perfect porch sitting weather. The dogs hang with me as I rock and read. Managed to get through The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in one evening: I'm sure I read it in college. It was funny if a bit pretentious. I think my favorite moment was when Arthur Dent realized he was standing on another planet. It was just a second of awe in an otherwise silly narrative.

I've been doing audio as well: my new car makes it so much easier to listen to books as it has both bluetooth and a USB port. No more listening through the static-y radio. I found that I had bought Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series when I closed out my Audible account. The third one is ready to go but for now, I don't have a trip. I may have to get on the treadmill.

I have about three more books to go to reach my Take It Or Leave It goal for October...it could happen!

81witchyrichy
oct. 31, 2015, 7:20pm

The end of October finds me reading two books--Far From the Madding Crowd and The Lay of the Land. Both of them are somewhat demanding in their prose. Hardy's tale uses the local dialect and can be hard to understand. Ford just lays out the language in the long fluid prose. I am enjoying both of them but they can't be read in short spurts and I haven't had long days to dive in.

Meanwhile, I've moving through Rhys Bowen. I just finished listening to the third book in the Molly Murphy series. I got most of it done on a road trip and then it helped me get in several walks on my visit as I wanted to keep listening. I've got the fourth book downloaded and ready for my drive home tomorrow. Maybe it will encourage me to get back on the treadmill!

82witchyrichy
nov. 13, 2015, 7:14pm

Wow...I really got stalled out with these two. I managed to finish The Lay of the Land today and am not sure I'm going back to Thomas Hardy. I didn't hate Richard Ford's story of Frank Bascombe but it just seemed a little too long, as though he could have used a bit more editing to find a better balance between reflection and action. After a somewhat oddly rambling story, the ending was jarring and somewhat far fetched.

83witchyrichy
nov. 23, 2015, 8:30pm

I have yet to go back to Thomas Hardy. I've traveled enough to finish another Rhys Bowen Molly Murphy series audio book. And, I picked up At the Corner of King Street. I have an autographed paperbook from Fountain Books in Richmond...a favorite Indie store from which I bought the first two books as autographed copies.

With the cold weather here, I have books beside two beds: downstairs on the warmer night but probably mostly upstairs now that winter seems to have arrived. Both books are mysteries set at the Outer Banks, also purchased at a favorite Indie bookstore, Island Books in Corolla, NC. Neighing With Fire is the third in a series set in Corolla and featuring the wild horses. Booked for Trouble is set in the Bodie Island lighthouse imagining a library set in the lighthouse. They are easy reading and, as cold weather settles in, a reminder of warmer days as we vacation in Corolla every year.

84witchyrichy
nov. 28, 2015, 5:51pm

I took Leslie Silbert's The Intelligencer to bed and managed to finish it this morning. She moved easily back and forth from 1593 to the present, twining past and future together in a fast-paced mystery. By making one mystery overt, she hid a huge mystery in plain site. I loved the connection to Marlow and Elizabethan politics, too. I am sorry the next book is still to come after 10 years!

85witchyrichy
des. 10, 2015, 10:39am

Can I make it to 100? Maybe...

I have the best job on the planet and every year, I run a conference for nearly 1000 people. It ended on Tuesday and I'm still tying up loose ends. But, the free time has arrived: a few Christmas gifts to finish, some cookies to bake but there's lots of reading time!

I followed up one mystery thriller with another: The Charlemagne Pursuit was terrific! Love the history tie in and how the bad guys seem to win. I've started on the Cotton Malone series from the beginning now.

I've been meaning to read Nadia Bolz-Weber's Accidental Saints since I heard her interview on NPR. I took it with me to the conference because I thought it would make easy evening reading with its short but thoughtful chapters. I was right. Her willingness to admit her own faults and her ideas about how we find God even when we aren't looking was just the tonic I needed after 16-hour days of being surrounded by people. I'm reading Pastrix now and also loving it.

86witchyrichy
des. 11, 2015, 4:18pm

I just finished Pastrix and am determined to go back and reread chapters one at a time. Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks directly to me: those ugly voices in my head who tell me I'm not good enough or make me worry about failure, those moments when compassion fails me and I am ugly myself, and then those moments of wonder and awe when Jesus just loves me. I know there are people who find her offensive but she has touched me with her honesty and love.

87witchyrichy
des. 13, 2015, 8:32pm

I am officially hooked on Steve Berry! After reading the fourth book, I returned to the beginning and just finished The Templar Legacy. Fast paced thriller but with a historical background and beautiful landscape. There always seems to be a twist where a good guy suddenly becomes a bad guy but is really a good guy after all. Make sense? I loved the conspiracy theory of the Templars and the way the various threads came together. I've got a few other books going but may just dive into the next book in the Cotton Malone series.

88witchyrichy
des. 27, 2015, 1:13pm

I picked up Brooklyn on a visit to the Chester County Bookstore this summer, along with Nora Webster. I seem to be in an Irish mood these days. Still listening to Angela's Ashes and ready for my next Molly Murphy mystery when I drive north next week.

Colm Toibin tells the story of Eilis Lacey who finds her place in Brooklyn after being sponsored by a priest. She works hard and shows a sensible side to the world, but we are able to peer into her thoughts as she navigates between the old and new world. I enjoyed it although the prose sometimes seemed stilted. The story was layered with details, intimate glimpses into the lives of the characters, petty, passionate and so human.

89witchyrichy
des. 30, 2015, 7:35pm

I finished listening to Angela's Ashes, read by author Frank McCourt. McCourt relates the story of his childhood and adolescence, first in New York and then in Limerick, Ireland. In some ways, it is a horrible story of poverty, alcoholism, illness and death. I've read a few reviewers that said how angry they were at McCourt's parents. But he has good memories of them and treats them, as well as the rest of the Limerick community, with a certain tenderness. Similarly for the Catholic Church with its superstitions and strict morality. McCourt meets several kindly priests who are willing to go beyond the confessional to help a young, essentially fatherless boy navigate the waters of adolescence. I was a little taken aback by the focus on raw sexuality in the last third of the book but I shouldn't have been surprised. This was, at all points, a brutally honest memoir.