March: What are you reading this month?

friedag

I noticed that a new thread was needed for a new month of reading.


I am running short on time so I'll make this brief, but I will be back to respond to titles several posters made in the February thread.


Without further ado on my part, tell us what books you are reading and what books are enticing to you.

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phyllis__mn

I am engrossed in a Louise Penney book about quintuplets. I find it fascinating in that I recall the Dionne quints so well. (I even had paper dolls of them about six years old or so!) I have not read her books in order, but do enjoy them regardless. I just tossed a Lisa Jackson book the floor by my bed! I just detest the females that look at some guy and are just lost, lustily! Oh, his abs, and the way his blue jeans, fit,etc., etc. I prefer to get acquainted with the characters first, I guess.

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reader_in_transit

Sheri,

I left a message for you in the February thread, regarding Finding Camlann.

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annpanagain

I have been staying indoors a lot. The oppressive heat and humidity is stopping me from doing much more than taking a quick dash to the local mall for groceries.

My reading has been confined to dipping back into the books on my overcrowded bookcases. I re-read Josephine Tey's "The Franchise Affair" and watched the DVD again. I am definitely a person who enjoys re-reading and watching old favourites. Comforting stuff! I do have some books on hand which I have bought to read at some point but am not in the mood for the unknown...

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sheri_z6

Reader in Transit, I totally agree with your assessment. I also would have liked some additional information on the actual history woven through the story.

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friedag

Skibby, I saw your mention of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and how you stayed up as long as you could reading it. Then as soon as you woke up, you were back to reading until you finished it.

Wingate's novel has shown up regularly in recommendations for me; I suppose because several years ago I reviewed a nonfiction book: The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption by Barbara Bisantz Raymond. I recall being horrified by Tann's methods of feeding her greed by child trafficking -- stealing babies from poor women or poor families and selling them to rich folk, including twin girls to the actress Joan Crawford and babies to other celebrities in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s.

I'm wondering why Wingate felt she should write a fictionalized version since the real story itself is a button pusher. Do you think her novelization somehow enhances the story? I'm a bit leery, but I may be missing out by not reading Wingate's thinly disguised version. I'd appreciate to know one way or the other. I know, I know: as my teachers used to tell me, "Read it yourself to find out!" Of course I could, but I still like to know what other readers think.

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carolyn_ky

I spent some more of my Barnes & Noble Christmas gift cards this afternoon to buy The Black Ascot by Charles Todd. I started reading it in the cafe while having a Starbucks (not my favorite brand) cappuccino and a salted caramel toffee cookie that was delicious. I looked up the recipe online just now and found someone's takeoff of it that they said cost 19 cents each to make. Not quite what I paid SB! Anyway, I'm continuing to read the book, one of the few authors I still buy.

Ann, I'm taking your advice to just yell at printed bloopers to heart. It seems to be the best solution.

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msmeow

I just finished The Perfect Couple by Elin Hillerbrand. I enjoyed it very much! It’s a story of family tragedies and deceptions. It opens with the family and friends gathered in Nantucket for a wedding. The morning of the wedding the bride discovers the drowned body of her maid of honor.

The story goes back and forth in time, as the police try to learn what happened to the drowning victim and we learn the background of the story. Sometimes that kind of writing drives me crazy, but this time it didn’t bother me.

Donna

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annpanagain

Comfort reading again! Pride and Prejudice lovers, please answer.

Are there deliberate puns in this book? I am a skip reader so pick things up after several re-reads and noticed this time that after Mary is asked to stop playing and singing, she is "disconcerted"! Am I reading too much into this?

I tried Googling but only got memes etc. on that subject.

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vee_new

Sheri and Reader please don't believe any of the so-called historical information in Finding Camlann is more than fiction. We know Owain Glyndwr was a real person although many/most of the events around his life are probably inaccurate and yes, Stonehenge is a real structure built possibly before the Pyramids but . . . reading some of the comments about the book "It is better than the DaVinci Code" as anything is better than that work; just treat it as myth and be pleasantly surprised if you later find there were some truths hidden within it !

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woodnymph2_gw

Vee, apparently there actually was a "King Arthur", an early chieftain around the 4-5th century in Britain. I've seen many alternative names given. There are even college courses taught on this topic now. Of course, we all know how this bare legend was embroidered in the French and English courts of chivalry in later years by Thomas Mallory et al.

For my course in English Literature, I'm reading Marlowe's Dr. Faustus. For entertainment, I'm in the middle of Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild." It is an amazing, true story and I am loving it. I won't give away the ending, but it concerns a mysterious death of a young man in Alaska. Krakauer is an excellent journalist with a flair for detective work. Frieda, I think you might like this one.

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sheri_z6

Vee, no worries! The story was actually focused on an academic whose goal was to deconstruct all the myths around Arthur. I found historical interest in the way the story explained each wave of Arthurian legends, how one built on the next, and then how they became (somewhat) attached to Owain Glyn Dwr. Definitely not The DaVinci Code!

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bigdogstwo

I am reading The Power by Naomi Alderman for my book club. I am not enjoying it and I feel like I am losing brain cells and/or IQ points with every turn of the page. It was dubbed as speculative fiction, and reviewed as "Shocking! Impressive! Knocked my socks off!" I just find it a bunch of nonsense. It is so simplistic that I feel she wrote it on the back of grocery store receipts, and I am completed underwhelmed. At least it is a library book. (My daughter is reading over my shoulder right now, she said, "Wow mom, tell them how you REALLY feel.").

Wood, I am a Krakauer fan and have read almost everything he has written. Into the Wild filled me with wonder, vexation, and I wanted to throttle that young man several times while reading the book. Looking forward to your comments once you have finished reading it!

PAM


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friedag

PAM, I will be sure to avoid The Power. Thanks for telling us how you REALLY feel.

I loathe dystopian fiction. Nearly all of it that I've read seems like so much perverted wishful thinking and ploys to manipulate readers' emotions. Any time I see a book compared to A Handmaid's Tale (turned upside down, in this case) and a blurb from Margaret Atwood, I suspect tripe is being pushed on me because certain writers want to emphasize their pet agendas in a speculative way. That's what I really think -- bah!

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annpanagain

I don't like fantastic things in plots at all. Even some of my favourite genre of detective fiction gets a bit silly at times and has me muttering "Oh, come ON!"


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donnamira

I didn't think The Power lived up to the hype either - it was too much of a blunt-force message novel for me to enjoy, especially since I thought all of the 4 POV characters unlikeable. I suppose it could make for a decent discussion in a book club (for example, would one find the characters more likeable if their genders were reversed?), but I also was glad that I could return it to the library. :)

After finishing the Reich book on ancient DNA, I found something on prehistoric Europe to catch up on some of the different cultural stages he mentioned. I also read the first 3 pages of our book club selection (Confections of a Closet Master Baker), thought 'Meh' and put it aside for later.

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friedag

Donnamira, when you posted in the February thread about reading David Reich's "Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past", I meant to respond then because I read that book back in January and posted something about it here at RP, as well as at another site I frequent.

However, I got sidetracked so I'm tardy in replying to you. But I do want to say that I found Professor Reich to be one of the best explainers of what I consider to be difficult material. I probably don't remember a lot of it with accuracy -- I'm not a 'hard' scientist so I do have trouble with some of the concepts, including the statistical analysis you mentioned. From a social science perspective though, I was enthralled. It's definitely a subject that I would like to keep up with, and naturally I'm interested in books you've found to follow it. What's the title and who's the author of the study of prehistoric European cultural stages? Please let us know what you think of it.

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msmeow

For those of you who don’t like fantasized reality, don’t read Newt Gingrich’s novels! In his world the South won the Civil War. :)

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

Oh my, I doubt I would want to read anything by Gingrich anyway! :-)

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bigdogstwo

Freida and Donna,

You both nailed it. This author of The Power has either an obvious political agenda or an obvious target audience. Quite frankly, I care not which it might be. And Donna, interesting thought... I shall pose that question in book club by asking if the book clubbies would feel the same if the characters were men, or environmentalists, or 2A supporters, or termites.

Just finished Irene Nemirovsky's Jezebel. At only 199 pages, I found it to be a mesmerizing peek at the life of a (fictional) woman who refused to acknowledge that she was aging. It was like a female version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, but it also touched on how her narcissism affected those around her. I like Nemirovsky's way with words, and believe she is both sparse and descriptive at the same time. She tells me enough but still leaves room for my imagination.

Last night, I spent a few hours in a used book store and came out with 18 books. Yea, I counted. My next read looks like it will be The God Problem by Harold Bloom. I believe it will be about the creation and physics of the universe and what does and does not quite add up per the laws of science. I do like Bloom so I am looking forward to it. It will take me a while to get through, and I am sure I will read some fiction simultaneously.

PAM



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donnamira

Frieda, the book I just checked out on prehistoric Europe is The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe, Barry Cunliffe, Ed. It's a bit dated (1990's), but I didn't find anything comparable of later date in our library. I'm only in the first section (each article is written by a different scholar), and so far, it's not the survey overview I had hoped for. So I am re-borrowing Marija Gimbutas' The Language of the Goddess, which I didn't particularly like (I thought some of the symbology interpretation far-fetched), but it had a nice overview of the prehistoric cultures in an appendix which I didn't realize was there until i finished the book and it was due to be returned. I think I'll be able to use that to get a timeline in my head. Other books I've read recently which I think are good companions to the Reich book are Daniel Everett, How Language Began, and David Leeming, From Olympus to Camelot: The World of European Mythology. Everett's book has flaws (he spends too much time knocking other people's theories, and he uses too much linguistics jargon) but in the associated fields (he brings in archaeology, anthro, neurology, biology too), his explanations are clearer. Leeming's book is a good comparative mythology work, drawing on Campbell, Eliade, Gimbutas, and others. It's almost all Indo-European, naturally, but he does give context to other systems.

You mentioned the Little Ice Age somewhere in one of these threads - have you tried Sam White's A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe's Encounter with North America? If you like the topic, you should find White's book interesting. I liked it so much that I gave it as a Christmas present to my JPL friend who runs a number of Earth observing missions.

PAM, I remember my astro professor in the early 70's introducing the topic of quasars in class, calling them a GDI. When we all looked at him, puzzled, he grinned and said "God Did It."


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rouan

I finished Garden Madness by Susan M Watkins. It's a tongue-in-cheek guide to gardening. The author clearly had fun writing it and I chuckled frequently as I read it. Don't pick it up if you are looking for a serious how to manual, but do pick it up if you like gardening or garden related books and want to be amused.

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kathy_t

Woodnymph - I was surprised to see that you are reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, because I just finished reading it last night. It's not a current book that's being talked about these days, so it surprised me that we both happened to be reading it at the same time. This book had been on my TBR list for … well, perhaps years, and it happened to catch my eye at the library at a fortuitous moment last week (finished one book, waiting on another), so I picked it up.

I enjoyed a lot. It did seem though that Krakauer didn't have quite enough material about this young man's story to fill a book, so he padded it with other alone-in-the-wilderness stories (including one of his own). But those stories were quite interesting as well and Krakauer was skillful at always pointing out a parallel or a tie-in with the Chris McCandless story. I think Krakauer is quite good at this type of writing.

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Rosefolly

Annpanagain, in answer to your question about Jane Austen and puns. I do not think that Mary being "disconcerted" when her father stopped her playing was intended as a pun. I looked that scene up in two different annotations of Pride and Prejudice and found no mention of that being meant that way. However, I can think of at least one case where she did make a pun, and a rather naughty one. I her novel Mansfield Park. Mary Crawford makes an arch comment about not wanting to hear about admirals "rear or vice". The very proper heroine sees this as proof of Mary's fundamental lack of good taste.

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annpanagain

Rosefolly, Thanks for your reply. I thought it might be an accidental bit of wordplay but one never underestimates a neat sly allusion being slipped in.

I used to go to a drama school and when we performed a Shakespeare play in a girl's reformatory home, those sharp ears picked up a lot of bawdy humour that we had never noticed.

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friedag

Msmeow: Does Mr. Gingrich usually write alternate-universe, speculative-type fiction -- not present-day political thrillers and such, as I have assumed? If so, he's hardly original.

In high school in the mid-1960s, I was assigned to read MacKinlay Kantor's If the South Had Won the Civil War, which I only did begrudgingly. As I recall, though, it turned out to be quite fascinating to me at the time. However, I haven't thought about it in years. Kantor was an Iowan, so that's why students in Iowa schools were expected to know something about his writing. Andersonville is probably his best-known book, but If the South Had Won . . . is a lot shorter. :-)

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friedag

Donnamira, I have not read The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe, edited by Barry Cunliffe, but I've read several of his other books. I've loved his accounts of archaeology, all of which are profusely illustrated with maps, drawings, and photos. The most recent I perused is Steppe, Desert, and Ocean (published 2015) -- which, as usual, is a beautiful book, but I now suspect he used a team of researchers and he synthesized their findings, along with some of his own. I caught a few mistakes; e.g., in the narrative the River Kuban is said to flow northwest into the Caspian Sea -- but it doesn't; it flows northwest into the Sea of Azov. The corresponding map does show the correct position.

Cunliffe notes the role of DNA to sort out some of the conundrums of cultural origins in Europe and into central Eurasia, but he barely gets into it. He mentioned Marija Gimbutas' theories in several of his books, and I've read some of her ideas in many other books but I've never tried to read any of her own writing. I'll order The Language of the Goddess. I will pay close attention to the appendix in it.

That's quite a list you've provided for me! Thanks so much!

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msmeow

Frieda, I think I've only read one book by N Gingrich (he may have only written the one!) and it was a long time ago. What I remember is the south winning several large battles that were lost in reality, and Custer surviving his famous "Last Stand".

Donna

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donnamira

Frieda, thanks for the comments on Barry Cunliffe. Our library does not have the one you mentioned, but there are about a half-dozen others, so I have a couple to add to my TBR list. A warning on the Gimbutas book: it's basically an image-heavy arrangement of various artifacts, interpreted in the light of Gimbutas' theory of a pre-Indo-European matriarchal culture. I thought some of the interpretations far-fetched, and was reminded frequently of David Macauley's tongue-in-cheek Motel of the Mysteries (the sacred urn, sacred collar and the sacred incantation San-i-tiz-ed-for-yo-ur-pro-tec-ti-on). :) But the appendix was useful! I was really looking for her earlier work which was referenced by Leeming, The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe, but the later book is the only one our library has.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Friedag - I've been thinking about your questions regarding Wingate's Before We Were Yours and I'm unable to come up with anything profound to address them. I will say that I believe there is room for a fictionalized depiction of the Tann scandal in today's reading market. As to her motives for writing it I can't say. Money was my first thought. I thought it was well done especially because it demonstrated the wide reaching ramifications of these events in a way that most people could relate to on a personal level. Her (Tann's) actions affected lives of individuals and families for years after. Also skillful (I thought) was that the kidnapping/adoption part of the story was told by a young victim who didn't fully understand the facts of what was happening but the reader does full well.

I haven't read the NF book that you mention so I can't compare the two but I do think that Wingate's book would reach a very different audience. This book is for my bookclub and we will meet Thursday after next. I'll bring your questions with me and see if they can add anything. I'm a little surprised that no one else has chimed in with comments, being so popular (I think). Thank you Frieda, for asking about it and if you do read it, please let us know what you think.

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woodnymph2_gw

I finished Krakauer's "Into the Wild" last night and truly enjoyed it. Like Pam wrote, I felt frustrated by the character of McCandless, in that he was so unprepared for his wilderness experience. He seemed lacking in "common sense." (Who goes into the Alaskan wilderness for months, to live off the land, without an ax, without a compass, and with only one bag of rice?)

I really liked hearing the author's own narrative, which was similar, in terms of love of risk-taking when young. It presented a more realistic contrast of a survivor, in my opinion.

My copy had addendum, with additional research done decades after the death, with regard to the native plants and seeds that might have led to the boy's downfall.

I'd already read two of Krakauer's books, but this one I found the most riveting. I really think he is a gifted journalist. Hope I have not spoilt this for anyone.

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reader_in_transit

Frieda and Donnamira,

Just last Wednesday (Feb 27) the Nova series on PBS aired an almost 2-hr show, Great Human Odyssey, about how the first humans appeared in Africa, evolved and moved through the rest of the continents. A good amount of the scientific evidence used to determine this was ancient DNA. It may interests you both. As usual, they interview scientists from several fields in different parts of the world. It was very interesting.

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friedag

Thanks to all of you for your insightful comments and recommendations. I have added at least thirty books to my TBR pile and lists. I'm a pretty fast reader, but this may take me a while! I'm delighted.

Merryworld, I'm eager to read what you and your book club think about Dreamland by Sam Quinones. I'm 200 pages into it, about to start the chapter "Fifty, Hundred Cases a Month: Olympia, Washington". I'll have more to say, I'm sure, when I finish.

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Rosefolly

Intrigued by Merryworld's description I have picked up Factfulness by Hans Rosling. I am about halfway through it and very much encouraged by his point of view. We do have a lot of problems in this world, but maybe there is indeed hope for us yet.

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friedag

Rosefolly, I also found Rosling and his coauthors refreshing in their positive outlook of interpreting facts. I haven't read the entire book yet nor studied all of the graphs in depth, but I answered the thirteen questions they posed in the Introduction. I had already picked up that I should be skeptical, so I guessed correctly on several, simply because they run counter to the usual 'facts' often trumpeted by the media and various doom-and-gloom prognosticators.

I particularly like the style of the bubble graphs with different size circles (tiny to large) in different colors unevenly strung out on a diagonal line. The visual makes the information stand out immediately and clearly, in my opinion. (This must actually be seen as describing it with words is probably futile.) I also enjoyed the photo charts; e.g., bed styles according to income level and types of toilets and facilities.

I think Factfulness will be my latest dip-in and dip-out book. It's hopeful and fun to consider its elements as a sort of breather among all the heavy stuff with which we are bombarded daily.

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netla

A couple of weeks ago I booked a trip for me and my little RV to the European mainland by ferry, and will be setting sail at the end of August. The plan is to drive as quickly as I can from the ferry landing in Denmark to Bolzano in the Italian Alps and then take my time exploring northern Italy for 3 weeks before returning to Denmark via France and Germany. Therefore I am delving into my books about Italy and just finished the first one: Vroom With a View by travel writer Peter Moore, which covers some of the territory I plan to visit, especially Tuscany. Despite the punny title (the vroom refers to his mode of transport, a classic Vespa), it's a fun read and I found several places in it that I might add to my itinerary.

I will probably read my copy of Culinaria: Italy next, and then I might delve into Casanova in Bolzano by Sándor Márai or possibly Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes, which takes place on the Italian riviera (in Liguria), another area I intend to visit. After that, I plan to re-read A Room With a View and maybe one of Frances Mayes' Tuscany books. I also have a guide book to Italy on my bedside table that I take a peep at before going to sleep.

I'm aiming for one book about Italy per month until I depart.

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msmeow

I finished The Pharaoh Key by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child last night. It was fairly short (about 250 pages) and I read it quickly. Two guys have been let go from their company and steal computer data as revenge. The data is the translation of the Phaistos Disc, which turns out to be a map. They set out to find what is at the location and plan to steal that, whatever it is, too. It reminded me a lot of the Indiana Jones movies. It was an entertaining story!

Donna

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reader_in_transit

Reading Before I Go by Colleen Oakley. At 27, a woman learns the breast cancer that she beat 3 yrs before, has come back with a vengeance: it has spread to the rest of her body. She has only months to live. Her main concern is her absent-minded husband, who is completing 2 doctoral degrees at the same time. How will he manage when she is gone?

In the time she has left, she decides to find him a new wife. So far pretty good.

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carolyn_ky

Netla, what a wonderful journey. I hope you will post often about your adventures, and eat some gelato for me!

I'm reading some old Lawrence Block books, The Burglar Who . . . Quite entertaining, and I was ready for them after a couple of Kate Ellis' Wes Peterson with archaeological old dead bodies tied to present-day murders. The last one was pretty gruesome.

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reader_in_transit

Netla,

If I remember correctly, you sketch, no? Do you do some sketching when you are traveling to document your trip?

With all those books about Italy to read before your trip, you are going to be there (in your mind) way before the actual crossing and driving!

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netla

Carolyn, will do. I actually keep a special blog about my travels and will post a link when I start writing about the trip. It's written mostly in Icelandic, but if I know there are English speakers reading it I can easily write in English as well.

Reader-in-transit, I occasionally sketch in my travel journals, but I mostly take photos. My sketching from life is very hit or miss - I mostly draw fantasy subjects and patterns, mandalas and such.

Last night I combed through my TBR bookcase and found several books featuring Italy in one way or another, and am now reading Tim Parks' Italian Neighbours, about living in a small village near Verona, and while it's not going to give me any ideas about places to visit, it is beautifully written and gives (or at least seems to give) some insight into the Italian character and manners.

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msmeow

Netla, your trip sounds wonderful! That's the kind of travel I would like to do - just have a basic plan and go wherever moves you.

My DH and I are coming to your neck of the woods in July! We sail from Southampton on 6/29 (I guess I should say 29 June, huh?) and our ports of call are Brussels, Copenhagen, Skagen and Oslo. We're spending two days in London at the end and flying home on July 8. We're very excited!

Donna

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kathy_t

Donna - If you have time and decent weather in Oslo, I highly recommend visiting the Vigeland Sculpture Park. Prior to my trip to Norway, I did not even know the park existed, but it remains one of my favorite vacation memories ever. I do realize that the surprise of it added to my delight, but I don't think knowing about it will diminish its appeal.

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msmeow

Thanks, Kathy! We have already booked our shore excursions, and the Oslo trip includes Vigeland. Also a Viking museum and Kon Tiki, I believe.

I'm looking forward to going to Scandinavia. I'll blend right in, since I'm pale, blond & blue eyed. :)

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

I traveled widely in Scandinavia and loved every moment. Such friendly people and good food. Scenery is spectacular everywhere and be sure to try a sauna!

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carolyn_ky

Kathy, you don't happen to have a photo of The Angry Boy, do you? Somehow we failed to get that one. I tried to find something on line, but all I came up with were expensive posters. I just wanted a snapshot for my photo album/memory keeper.

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kathy_t

Carolyn - I don't have an Angry Boy photo either. You can, however, use the Windows Snipping Tool to save a photo from the Internet onto your hard drive - preferably from a site like Flickr (so it is some other tourist's snapshot and not a copyrighted photo), and then send it to a photo-developing site to have a snapshot made.

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friedag

I remember The Angry Boy sculpture. I went to my photo book, but apparently I don't have a picture either. What was with us? Were we just too agog to operate our cameras?! Maybe Donna will get a snap of him. :-)

After reading five major downers (all very well written so I couldn't tear myself away from them), I am ready for some happy reads! Factfulness is very optimistic, but I'm not finding it a book I can immerse myself in. Perhaps I need something SILLY.

BTW, I'll just list those five books that have taken the sap right out of me. Merryworld, be warned about the first one, if you haven't already launched into it!

About the American opioid epidemic:

Dreamland by Sam Quinones

American Pain by John Temple

The following are about . . . well, it's obvious from the titles:

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy

Chernobyl: 01.23.40 by Andrew Leatherbarrow

(Note to Vee: I knew about the Calder reactor, but I somehow never heard about the "Windscale accident". When did you first get the word about it?)

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annpanagain

I didn't take a photo of Angry Boy because I bought a booklet of the popular sites which included that. Although I once joined a photographic club and learned to develop and print my own, it was easier to buy postcards etc. when on our travels and let my husband fiddle around, setting up the best angles with his superior camera!

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carolyn_ky

Ann, "superior cameras" appear to have become somewhat obsolete due to the ubiquitous smart phone. My daughter was taking our photos with hers, and we thought she had that one. Alas, she didn't. She did snap several of the other sculptures, though. I don't think I will bother taking my camera on another trip when I'm with her. Her photos are quite good and so easy.

Thanks for all the replies. He is an eye catcher, isn't he?

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annpanagain

I don't take pix with a camera now, just use a Smartphone I bought by mistake. I prefer a simple Dumbphone with buttons as I rarely use a mobile phone at all.

I take it with me when I go out in case of an emergency and it is programmed with family and the doctor's numbers.

The last camera I had was given me by my MiL to take on a trip to Europe. As my husband and his superior camera were elsewhere one night, I tried to take snaps of some street musicians but couldn't get it to work. When I got home and commented about this to MiL. she nodded and said she couldn't either!

She might have mentioned this! The poor musos were so patient and posed several times until I gave up. Luckily I have a good visual memory...

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vee_new

Have been trying to read Blake by Peter Ackroyd the very detailed bio of the strange mystic poet and artist William Blake (think 'Tyger Tyger' or 'Jerusalem') and finding it very hard going. So far I have learnt that he was too sensitive to attend school, from a early age saw 'visions' of angels/biblical characters and did a seven year apprenticeship as an engraver. Considered odd by those who knew him but loved by younger artists of the 1800's.

Another Ackroyd . .. this time The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, which I picked up during a very long wait at the Dr's and 'borrowed'. I think this is the first time I have actually read a whodunnit by AC. For me it was less about the murder and more about the social setting . . . all those servants and the niceties of playing Mahjong. Easy to see why many workers favoured communism in the 1920's-30's "There will be seven extra people for dinner tonight Cook. That wont be a problem, will it?"

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socks

Forty Autumns by Nina Willner. The story of a German family post WWII when one member flees to East Germany and the rest of the family is in West Germany. Lots of history interwoven with the family story. Very good, brought a tear to my eye yesterday. The author is a member of the family in the book.

Edited to add “in the book,”

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woodnymph2_gw

I've just finished Susan Hill's "The Soul of Discretion." What a page-turner! This time detective Simon Serailleur goes undercover. The ending is a stunner. This is my favorite mystery series, so I hope Hill will keep on churning them out -- they are so well-written, with interesting, complex characters and a charming village setting.

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msmeow

Woodnymph, I don’t think I’ve read any Susan Hill books - I’ll have to check them out.

Yesterday I finished Texas Ranger by James Patterson. I didn’t really like it. The main character was just too full of himself. Nobody could solve the murder but him, all the women in town fall for him, etc.

Today I started Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber. I don’t think I’ve read her before. I like it so far. A young woman loses her entire family in a mudslide and a year and a half later she returns to the cottage her family went to when she was a kid.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

This afternoon I started The Infidel Strain by M. J. Carter, of whom I know nothing. I just picked it up at the library. It is set in early Victorian London (Victoria has just had her second child), so it was a given for me. Involves gutter-press printers being murdered, and the new police force doesn't want to know.

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carolyn_ky

Mary, Simon is one of my favorite characters. Other of Ms. Hill's books are too dark for me, although I did really enjoy her book about combining her husband's and her libraries. It's title is Howard's End Is on the Landing.

(I was afraid to edit my post just above for fear it would disappear.)

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annpanagain

Vee, I am a great fan of AC and my favourite is "The Hollow" which was televised and stuck to the book quite closely. Unlike some recent adaptations!

I believe that Roger Ackroyd was decried as being unfair to readers as they were not presented with all the clues to solve the mystery. Not quite cricket, y'know!

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friedag

I believe that Roger Ackroyd was decried as being unfair to readers as they were not presented with all the clues to solve the mystery. Not quite cricket, y'know!

Annpan, you summed it up exactly! I usually like Agatha Christie's books for what they are: good puzzles to be solved. But The Murder of Roger Ackroyd still is stuck in my craw, years after I read it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was less than impressed with J. D. Vance's self-congratulatory memoir: Hillbilly Elegy. My daughter-in-law who was born and brought up in eastern Kentucky has recommended to me: Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll. It looks promising. I had to laugh at one reviewer's mention that Vance's book should be titled "Hillbilly Reprimand".

“In this illuminating and wide-ranging collection, the authors do more than just debunk the simplistic portrayal of white poverty found in Hillbilly Elegy." -- Nancy Issenberg, author of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.




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vee_new

Annpan, thanks for the info on Roger Ackroyd perhaps that is why I couldn't figure out the plot-line or even why Ackroyd had been murdered!

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woodnymph2_gw

Donna, Susan Hill is my favorite mystery writer, even more so than Louise Penny. Some of her Serailleur series do have a bit of darkness, but for whatever reason, that enhances them for me. The characters are complex and multifaceted. We get to know them as a family, in a charming small English village of Lafferton. I recommend trying to read them in order. The last one that I read was the "darkest" one of all and it had built upon the plots of past books in the series.

Frieda, having lived three years in West Virginia in the '60's, I was eager to read Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy". I rather liked it but I would be most interested in the book you plan to read that is a rebuttal of his opinions. I hope you will get back to us regarding "Appalachian Reckoning."

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yoyobon_gw

Woodnymph .....I love Louise Penny's books......If I want to read Susan HIll which book would be a good one to choose first?

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woodnymph2_gw

I think "The Various Haunts of Men" is one of her firsts. I will have to check my list and get back to you.

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kathy_t

I just finished reading The Vacationers by Emma Straub. For me, the book was pretty much a waste of time. In summary, it's about an extended New York family and friends spending two weeks together on the island of Mallorca. Each of the vacationers is on the cusp of a big change or big decision in their life. And what do you know, all tensions and problems get resolved during the two weeks. It mostly involves who has sex with whom and why (or who previously had sex with whom and why) and who is adopting a baby and why. I'd call it a beach book, except I prefer my beach books to be better than this one.

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vee_new

yoyo, below is a list of the Simon Serrailler books by Susan Hill. It is better to read them in order as she has several of SS's relatives lives as sub-plots within the stories and you get to 'discover' her cathedral city in which they are set. Perhaps not best read one after the other . .. they can be rather dark.


Susan Hill Best Read In Order

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kathy_t

Because I typed the author's last name incorrectly, I edited my review of The Vacationers (just above Vee's list of Susan Hill books). I'm curious whether the rest of you can see it now that it's been edited. Yes? No?

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katmarie2014

I wish I would have read this discussion before spending Saturday reading The Power. I do enjoy well done dystopia/utopia stories and books, but this one just never came together for me.

I read Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim by Mary Dearborn for my art book club. I did not know much about the modern art scene in NY, or her influence in it so found it interesting.

I just finished Seveneves another sci fi/dystopian book that got some rave reviews. It is an interesting story, and it kept me intrigued enough to finish the 800+ pages. The author did a lot of very long and detailed descriptions of the technology in various places which was really too much. I found skimming through them did not affect the story for me.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy, it is corrected.

And by the way, it got 3 stars on Amazon= *yawn*

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annpanagain

Kathy, I have it, listed as "posted three hours ago".

I shouldn't be up at 6.30am on Tuesday 12th March but I had one of those nights where sleep eludes me, this time totally! I gave up trying to drop off by the usual methods so I am blearily on my laptop instead where there is generally someone awake too!

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kathy_t

Thanks Yoyobon and Annpan. I was just wondering after talk of edited posts disappearing. I often edit mine, because I don't seem to see typos until after I submit them!

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carolyn_ky

Kathy, I can see your post, too. It is 6:55 pm in Louisville. And the sun is still shining. It's good to see it after all the rain we have had, including an additional inch on Saturday.

I'm moving right along in The Infidel Strain and enjoying it.

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vee_new

Picked up a pb of Testimony by Anita Shreve. Set in a private school in Vermont and divided into short 'chapters' as each protagonist tells their part in the story of a sexual orgy (are all orgies of a sexual nature?) that was filmed and passed around the school until the authorities took control of events. Slowly a picture builds up of who did what to whom, the sins of omission and commission. The lives wasted because of some basic stupid mistakes by people who should have known better.

For me there was way too much information about basketball and all the other aspects of the American 'way-of-school-life' plus I'm not familiar with the terms sophomores, juniors, PG's with which the text was liberally sprinkled.

And a question. Do parents really spend so much time involved with their children's school life and team games? Maybe this was just to help move the story along but I'm certainly glad my parents never breathed down my neck when I was a pupil . . . not that any orgies took place . . .

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vee_new

Kathy, yes I can see your post of twelve hours ago (9.30am here) and no, the sun isn't shining but a gale is blowing from somewhere in the Atlantic via the Jet Stream (blamed for all weather-related ills) and we are to expect heavy rain. But it's March so what else should be blown our way?

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annpanagain

Vee, my parents only went to my High School once, they were asked to bring me for a chat with the Head Mistress and a conducted tour for them before I started. They were advised on what the school expected of the pupils conduct.

It had been a private fee paying school and there was quite an emphasis on that type of expectation. The parents were now from different classes and were politely told what their daughters would be experiencing. No orgies though! Hard work and three hours homework a night at fifteen.

I don't recall parents getting involved at all otherwise back in the Fifties. I kept away from my children's activities too as did most parents in the Sixties and Seventies.

It seems to be very different now. The teachers complain of "helicopter " parents hovering around and in too many cases physically assaulting teachers for various reasons and also pupils they believe are being bullies.

The recent stats are horrific.

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msmeow

Vee, in high school and college in the US the first year is freshman, second year sophomore, third year junior and fourth (and usually last LOL) year is senior. When I was a teen PG was a euphemism for pregnant. As in "Did you hear she's PG?" whispered among other girls, usually followed by catty comments about the "PG" girl.

Donna

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vee_new

Thanks annpan and Donna. The only time I remember my Mother coming to school with me was when I was 4 and the first day of what we used to call 'little school' ie Junior school. No-one had told me where I was going and I and half a dozen other kids spent the morning crying, the loudest one was put behind the piano. I had never met or played with other children before or used a straw to drink milk. Nor did I know how to put my hands together for morning prayers. On reflection there was a lot to take in when so immature. I do however remember enjoying making 'shapes' from balls of wet clay. As it was a 'progressive' school with lots of music, art etc little emphasis was placed on reading or 'sums'. I think we were meant to assimilate these through some process of osmosis; obviously I was rather too thick-skinned for this to happen for several years.

Annpan helicopter parents happen over here too. Every moment of a child's day is planned plus the weekends are full of activities. Also much aggression is often shown by fathers when watching school games of football etc.

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woodnymph2_gw

Vee, I read "Testimony", as well, and was not impressed with it. I had read several of Anita Shreve's earlier works and liked them very much, e.g. "The Weight of Water."

I've noticed that today's parents are far more heavily involved with their childrens' activities in schools than they were in my generation. There also seem to be far more parent/teacher conferences now. In my day, when a parent was called to speak to a teacher, it was because the student had serious issues, either with learning or discipline. Of course, in grammar school, we were sent home with a "report card" which my parents let me read. Also, now parents are expected to attend their kids' games, and there are so many more extracuricular activities at the end of the school day. I've also noticed that far more homework is given now than back in my day. Kids seem weighed down by heavy book loads.

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carolyn_ky

I finished The Infidel Strain which dealt a great deal with the Chartist movement in England, which I didn't know much about, but which also had a descriptive afterword that was helpful with understanding. I'm now reading another Peak District mystery by Stephen Booth called The Devil's Edge.

Vee, a comment on your arts and music sessions, As I cannot sing at all, there was very little of that going on at home. My daughter is quite musical and was enthralled when she started to school and they sang every day. The first thing she told me in the evenings was what they had sung that day. Mostly in the beginning they sang either children's or patriotic numbers. One day she told me that day they had sung a song about our daddies' graves. After much puzzled thought on my part, I realized they had sung My Country 'Tis of Thee that has the line "Land where our fathers died; land of the Pilgrim's pride . . ." I love kids.


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annpanagain

Re carrying heavy books. I did that in my canvas school satchel and have a permanent droop to my right shoulder. Thank goodness that I didn't have a more expensive and heavier leather one! I wish we'd had backpacks in those days. Far more sensible.

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msgt800

Reading The Humans who went Extinct (why
Neanderthals died out and we survived) by Clive Finlayson

Once the
Neanderthal were thougt to be not even human, knew if an Homo
Sapiens had had a sexual reltionship wouldn't have been any newborn but if therewas , it wlould be an hybrid, but
now we know we have more or less 4% of neanderthal genes. In “Sapiens
, a Brief History of humankind” the author Yuval Noel Harani states
that the languages made the difference, namely, at a certain point
the sapiens , probably had a genetic transformation that made him
able to develop language, and it was very important the possibility
to chit chat, adopt new vocabulary increase the lexicon and so on ,
in the meanwhile the Neandrthal was supposed to have only a “sgrunt”
language, probably they could say “watch out when you go to the
ford , because I saw a lion drinking other there this morning” but
also Bonobo, the apes closer to us have a series of shriek meaning
the same thing “watch out when you go to the ford , because I
saw a lion drinking other there”. So scholars fought a more evolute
languages bnrings about a better organisation, beause it is very
strange that Neanderthal more accustomed in a very hard conditions
were overcome by Sapiens who were also physically weaker. Someone says
the Sapiens overcame the Neanderthal only because they ounumbered them. But new studies found out Neanderthal wasn't so primitive and also they had an elaborate language, and they were able to build a motley of tools. So why we survived and the Neanderthal didn't?

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vee_new

msgt, I read somewhere that Neanderthals and similar 'early' species of modern man produced comparatively few children. The theory is that these people, hunter-gatherers, were always on the move, never far from dangerous 'prey', Unlike their later more settled distant cousins it would not have been practical to flee from danger with a handful of small children/babies clinging to their parents or, as in the manner of kangaroos, chuck a small infant out of the pouch to aid escape. Of course this isn't to suggest they practiced some form of birth-control. Maybe as they sat on the Rock of Gibraltar, which is, I think, the last place their remains have been found, they had just run out of places in which to roam and/or not enough offspring to keep their line going.

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annpanagain

Vee, there is a DVD of Roger Ackroyd in the Poirot series that might help you understand why he was murdered but it does have a non-book silly melodramatic finish, I recall. I do dislike these kind of additions.

As for the French versions of Christie plots, substituting a police inspector, his sexy secretary and a nosy girl reporter for Poirot and Hastings...OMG!

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rouan

I finished reading Dragonholder by Todd McCaffrey; a book of bits and pieces about his mother Anne McCaffrey. It was written a number of years ago, before she died, so isn't current but I found it interesting.

I also finished a graphic novel, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: an Introvert's Story, by Debbie Tung. Boy did it hit home for me! I am definitely an introvert. She really nailed what it's like to be an introvert.

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friedag

Mary/Woodnymph, I finished Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, and I'm happy to report that it surpassed my expectations. I'm grateful to my daughter-in-law for letting me know about it.

There are 41 essays in this collection (well, actually, some of them are poems) that are varied in viewpoints, some of which made me draw in my breath: "Whoa!" I never would have thought of some of these perspectives, although I am usually skeptical of any stereotypical representations of people from particular regions and cultures.

I won't say which essays I liked best, because I intend to reread them all to see which ones hold up well to second and third, or more, readings. If you read these responses to Vance's book some time, I would be pleased then to tell you which writing struck me most and why; but I don't want to give away too much because I think the wallop of surprise is probably an individual reader's matter-of-opinion thing. I do recommend it. I think it was needed, but I won't hold my breath that the opinions it holds will get near as much attention as they deserve.

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msmeow

Rouan, I suspect a lot of us avid readers are introverts! :) Years ago when I worked on a church staff we did a personality assessment. There was one lady who scored about 1,000 on the extrovert side, and I was proud of myself that I was as far on the introvert side! :) I also take exception to the term "painfully shy". Nobody is "painfully outgoing"! What's wrong with being shy?

I finished Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber yesterday. It was a sweet story, borderline sappy in a lot of places, and very predictable, but I did enjoy it. No one was murdered and there were no guns fired. It was a nice break from the police/crime drama type of stories I usually read.

Donna

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friedag

Donna, I've never really understood why introversion is nearly always equated to shyness. I am not shy, but I think I am an introvert -- at least most of the time. Perhaps I am a bit of an ambivert as I do like to be around other people sometimes, but given my druthers I will take solitude over 'the madness of crowds' any old day.

I read somewhere that most of the troublemakers of the world have been extroverts! They want, need, and depend on attention -- be it good or bad. I don't know if that's true, but I think it might be!

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kathy_t

Donna - Love your viewpoint!

"I also take exception to the term "painfully shy". Nobody is "painfully outgoing"! What's wrong with being shy?"

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yoyobon_gw

It's painful ?

Depending on the situation I suspect outgoing folks never feel the angst in social situations that a shy person experiences. It can be extremely anxiety-producing. For instance, I have never had any issue with speaking in front of people but I know many who have shared that they'd rather die than have to stand up and talk to a group.

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msmeow

Bon, I don't know that I'd rather die but I sure would rather do almost anything than speak in front of people. I used to have to give a monthly financial update at staff meetings and I was in knots all day. The group was about 30 people who I knew well and it still caused anxiety.

For some reason I've never been shy about playing clarinet in front of anyone - not from day one. I even did a couple of solo pieces during band concerts in college. Yes, I was nervous, but not anxious.

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

I suspect that many of us here at RP who read a lot are introverts. I know that I am, and the tests I took years ago confirmed that. I grew up as an only child, so became a constant reader. I think having no siblings enhances the introverted aspects of one's persona. I used to be "painfully shy" but tended to get over it in my Twenties. Now, I just don't like loud noises, large parties, and crowds. I avoid all of the above. To me, silence is truly "golden."

Frieda, thanks for your commentary. I will look for the rebuttal to Vance's book.

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carolyn_ky

My-daughter-the-nurse told me that being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean you are shy. Although you may be, introverts basically just need time alone to refresh and renew themselves. This must be true because she claims to be one, and she certainly isn't shy. She does need down time though and is a reader. I can put on a good front, but I like my "me" time, too.

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netla

I consider myself to be an introvert, but I am certainly not shy. I do find social situations with a lot of strangers oppressive. Talking in front of people gives me the jitters, which is why I still don‘t understand why I agreed to take on a part-time teaching job a couple of years ago.

Donna, I have met people who I would say are painfully outgoing. Sure, it‘s not painful for them, but it can be for others.

I‘m now reading three books: Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes, which I am
just getting into; The Wrong Way Home by Peter Moore (whose Vroom With a View I highly enjoyed), which promises to be entertaining, if somewhat laddish; and The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel.

I got the last one at Hatchards bookshop when I was in London last
month, because I love owls and it‘s a small book and I was travelling
carry-on and didn't have much space in my bag for extra stuff.
Lewis-Stempel has been called „Britain's finest living nature writer“
but I‘m not seeing that in this book, which seems hurriedly put together
and lacking in coherence. Perhaps I should buy and read one of his
award-nominated books to see what the fuss is about.

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yoyobon_gw

Carolyn.....yes, if you 've ever taken the Myers-Brigg personality test you find that an Introvert is one who recharges or gets renewed energy from being alone as opposed to seeking the stimulation of crowds or groups. It doesn't mean that they are a shrinking violet but rather refers to how they get balance and energy.

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msmeow

Bon, thank you for the Myers-Briggs name! I couldn't remember it yesterday. I just know I'm INFJ, which means I like to be alone! LOL And that I need time to process things. The church staff also did an assessment called Kolbe that is more about thought processes than personality. I am heavily "red" and "blue" which means before starting a project I like to gather all the information, then spend plenty of time reviewing my work before presenting it to anyone. Many other staff members were "green", which are the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type. An idea occurs to them and they run with it and leave others to pick up the pieces. Not the most comfortable people for a blue/red person to work with!

I was very, very shy as a kid but shook off a lot of that in college. Now I'd say I'm more just introverted than really shy. I definitely am better at speaking up for myself.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna....because you have F in our profile you might find this link very interesting. I discovered a LOT about myself when I read this one :

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201602/10-traits-empathic-people-share


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msmeow

Oh, wow, Bon! That is me to a "T"! I am generally a very happy, upbeat person so I must be good at avoiding the negative people. :) My boss is very negative and sometimes I find I need to get out of the office for a bit and go smile at people.

Donna

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sheri_z6

Rouan, if you haven't already read it, I highly recommend

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I'm definitely an introvert, and this book was a wonderful affirmation.


I just finished Making Rumours by Ken Calliat. It's his recounting of the year he spent with Fleetwood Mac recording and producing the Rumours album. This is one of my all-time favorite bands and records, so I was excited to read it. However, even with a ghost writer, his oddly specific and near endless descriptions of what amp he used and how the mics were placed and what the mixing board did or did not do (how do you recall this level of detail some 36 years on?) made parts of the book a slog -- I found myself skimming madly to get to the more interesting bits. It was just OK, but I'm glad to get it out of the TBR pile.

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, it's me too :0)

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vee_new

Sheri, Cyril Perfect, father of 'Fleetwood Mac's' Christine McVie's lectured in music at the College I attended in the '60's. Of course this was before the band was formed, but it is nice to have some very second-hand association with a Pop Legend . . . :-)

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carolyn_ky

Not book discussion, but since I have gone to a laptop, I no longer have a place for posting a new RP topic. There is a place for Houzz new posts. Can anyone help me, or do I need to consult my retired cousin guru who made the switch from my desktop for me?

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Winter


It's hard to help without seeing what your page looks like. But, if the above is what you're seeing on your laptop [a photo of my own page]...then you're seeing the latest Houzz set up. Just enter your topic in the box that says "start a discussion" and proceed as you always did. I have Win 7.1 on a PC. If you're using Win 10...my suggestion may not help. I'm not familiar with Win 10 at all.

HTH

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Rosefolly

I am one of those people who is balanced evenly on the fence between introversion and extroversion. I am happiest when I have both time with people AND time all by my self, and have them every day.

I finished my current re-listening of the Lord of the Rings. I read it or listen to it every so often, as I do Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen, and several other beloved books I can't call to mind just at the moment.

For the past few days I have been reading a four-novel mystery arc by Sabrina Flynn set in San Francisco 1896-1900. While each volume stands alone as a complete story in itself, there is definitely a longer plot that takes all four volumes to work to a conclusion. For this reason reading in order is a good idea. The first novel is From the Ashes, and the series concludes (I think) with Record of Blood. I am hoping the author will now turn her attention to a new story line since this one has now concluded to my satisfaction.

I may not know whether I am an I or an E on the Myer-Briggs scale, but I am most definitely a J.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading Bryant & May: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler. This book has the pair back in the 1960s at an untypical weekend house party on the order of Agatha Christie. Bryant didn't have the proper clothing and borrowed an old suitcase of actor's clothes. They are such a hoot.

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Rosefolly

Carolyn, my husband Tom loves the Bryant & May series. I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I may pick one up sometime. Like maybe tonight!

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carolyn_ky

Rosefolly, they are different. Some of what I like are the esoteric London descriptions.

Winter, I tried a test post and can't find it anywhere.

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reader_in_transit

A few days ago, I finished Before I Go by Colleen Oakley. A woman who is dying at 27 is worried how will her husband manage when she is gone, and tries to find a future wife for him. Well, it is about more than that.

As expected, the book has very sad moments, without being melodramatic or depressing, but it even has some lighter moments. The writing is good, the characters are likable. I liked the ending.

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msmeow

I started In His Father's Footsteps by Danielle Steele, but gave up after a couple of chapters. The story is about a couple who were liberated from Buchenwald and are sponsored by an American businessman who brings them to the US. The businessman is a miserly and unpleasant guy, and as soon as the young man finished the contracted year of work he leaves to go work in the diamond business.

I gave up on it because the writing was just really, really bad! Paragraphs jumped from subject to subject with no relation to each other. It read like an elementary school child had written it. I wonder if Ms. Steele has a team of writers who pen her novels now? If so, she needs to ditch whoever wrote that one.

After giving up on Danielle Steele I downloaded another Faye Kellerman book, Jupiter's Bones, about a cult leader who has (maybe) died by suicide, then a couple of members disappear. I'm enjoying it so far.

Donna

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Winter

Hmmm Perhaps you need to reset the cookie for the Houzz site, Carolyn. I have my Houzz sites bookmarked so I never have to re-enter my password to get into the sites that I visit. With your new laptop, perhaps Houzz isn't recognizing you. It seems strange but nothing ever surprises me with computers.

Beyond these simple offerings, I would suggest that you contact Houzz directly and ask why you're experiencing this problem. Go through the "Contact Us" link at the very bottom of the page. They've always been very pleasant and helpful when I've contacted them directly. Recently, Houzz was "hacked" and they notified all members that were directly involved to adopt a new password. Some members who weren't affected by the hack were still asked to validate their password with Houzz. This may not be related to your issue...but one never knows about these things.

As an aside to your computer posting issues...I've been checking in from time-to-time hoping that you would give a review or critique of Todd's latest...Black Ascot. Beyond the B & N coffee shop...did you like it? Is it up to Todd's standards? I'm a Todd fan as well.

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carolyn_ky

Winter, yes, Black Ascot was great. I liked it better than the past few of the Todd books. Do you think he/they are working their way toward Ian and Bess becoming a couple?

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Winter

I don't think so, Carolyn. Once I discovered the Ian Rutledge series, I stopped reading the Bess Crawford series...but...as empathetic a character as Bess is...I don't think the two would work as a couple. IMO they succeed as independent entities but would clash somewhat as a duo. But that's just my opinion. It would, certainly, be an interesting adventure if they do join forces.

I'm anxious to read the Black Ascot and am so glad that you give it a 5 star review. I was at a loss for something to read before the holidays and decided to reread PD James' Adam Dalgliesh series before I donated my collection to the library. I find PD James almost poetic in her descriptive writing and it's very easy for me to fall under her literary spell. I'm suffering through a dislocated knee and all the related muscle/tendon damage right now so I'm currently very grateful for her talents. If you haven't read any of her Adam Dalgliesh series, you might enjoy her work. Once PD James and I part I shall dive into the Black Ascot. Thank you for your recommendation. I'm glad to read that Todd has rallied to his usual top notch talent.

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woodnymph2_gw

I've just finished "On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood" by Irmgard Hunt. There have been so many books written about the Holocaust, but I found this one a bit different. It begins with the little girl in Bavaria, in a peaceful, closeknit village amidst stunning mountain scenery. The narrative takes us through Hitler's invasion of Austria, her father's enlistment in the German army and transformation of her village into a center for Third Reich activities. Through much hardship, she and her mother and sister survive and make a new life for themselves in America, finally. I found the details fascinating and the writing extraordinary.

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msmeow

Oh, no Winter! I hope you recover quickly! Did you slip on ice or snow?

Donna

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Winter

I took a terrible fall about a year ago, Donna, but thought the results of that had repaired itself. I ended up with a rather sizeable contusion an inch or so above my ankle that will never repair...according to my doctor...but don't think that's the cause of this current malaise.

I have a habit of zooming around with minimal consideration for my surroundings and am beginning to think that my left foot wasn't interested in keeping up with me. I think I went right and the knee/leg either remained stationary or went left. Wearing athletic shoes with rubber soles often results in the sole remaining fixed to the tile or other smooth surface. The result was the knee twisted out of its orbit creating some terrible tears in the surrounding support tissue. I don't respond well to medications of any sort so I'm trying to tolerate this terrible pain with only the use of Tylenol. I've made some healing advances but often they're undone during my nighttime sleep habits. I need to stay as fixed in the bed as that foot did on the tile flooring. I have an uncomfortable feeling that this is going to be a long drawn out healing process and I'm not the happiest of campers about that reality. My next doctor's appointment is in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping he'll offer some encouragement when we meet.

Thank you for recovery wishes, Donna. I certainly need...and greatly appreciate them.






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annpanagain

Winter, sorry to hear about your problems. I am in trouble with exacerbating a back injury caused in a traffic accident many years ago. This time I pulled a heavy shopping trolley home, overloaded with plants in ceramic pots! Stupid...

Like you, I don't like taking medication and rely on stretching exercises, heat lamps and creams, resting etc. It takes so long to get better as we age, sadly!

I read "Death in a White Tie" by Ngaio Marsh and watched the TV episode on DVD. To my annoyance, a dramatic scene in the book was cut out and something that didn't matter to the plot left in!

I have noticed that with book adaptations made into several films and teleplays, some scenes and even characters are left out of one production and restored in another. EG, the youngest daughter in Sense and Sensibility.

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netla

With all the talk of introverts and extroverts: Did you know that this is National Introverts Week in the USA?

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yoyobon_gw

why?

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friedag

Echoing Yoyobon, I'm wondering why? Do introverts really care whether there's an Introverts Week?

I just read that Finland has the happiest people in the world. The Finns are also considered some of the most introverted people. I wonder if there's a correlation between happiest and most introverted? :-)

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yoyobon_gw

Since it is the Equinox today and also the occasion of a SuperMoon perhaps a traditional shrinking violet introvert might go out at that moonrise moment with one of their own !

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msmeow

Netla, I didn't know it's introverts week. Probably because I don't talk to people. :)

I finished Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman yesterday. It started with the apparent suicide of a cult leader and then members kept disappearing. It was really intense toward the end! I enjoyed it a lot.

Carolyn mentioned the Bryant & May series so I thought I'd give one a try. It's called The Water Room. I haven't read enough yet to form an opinion.

Winter, I hope your knee feels better soon. I twisted my knee in a similar fashion not too long ago. I'm also currently going to PT for arthritis in my knees. Not too bad yet, but I want to learn what to do and what not to do going forward.

Ann, I hope your back feels better soon, too! As they say, getting old ain't for sissies, is it?

Donna

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Winter

"It takes so long to get better as we age, sadly!"

Oh Ann...I so agree. What complicates matters even more is that we don't seem to acknowledge that we've reached a point in life where we should be slowing down. Like you...I tackle the same chores today that I gave no thought to doing years ago. And, remember too late that my parts are showing the wear and tear of living longer. I'm an avid walker and that seems to have protected me for some years. But the winter here prohibited for my walking habits this year and I fear that's what may have aided and abetted this current malady.

Donna...I, too, have arthritis in both knees. No doubt that's exacerbated this current problem. You're very wise to be going to PT. I have a feeling that's the next directive from my doctor. I'd welcome it at this point if it helps. My doctor has always been very happy that I'm a walker because it strengthens the muscles that surround these delicate knees of ours. So put your walkin' shoes on young lady. If I hadn't been such an idiot in such a hurry that fateful day...I'm sure I wouldn't be in such pain. My only hope right now is that the damage I did is reversible.

Thanks once again for the well wishes.

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carolyn_ky

Winter, I just heard recently that Tylenol is the least effective pain med there is. I know many people can't take others because of being on blood thinners.

Re Bess and Ian, each has been referred to in the last of their books. That made me wonder if there are plans to hook them up. At least Bess would be understanding about Hamish.

I have read some of P. D. James but many years ago. Awhile ago I made a list of her books and thought I would start from the first and read forward through them, but I haven't done that yet. So many books . . .

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yoyobon_gw

An medical article in AARP mag just noted that Tylenol is the best pain med as far as safety . It stated that unless a person suffers from cancer pain they should be able to find relief with Tylenol. It added that when opioids are used the body actually feels pain more acutely thus necessitating higher and higher doses..

When I had extensive oral surgery recently the surgeon recommended Tylenol every 6 hours to "keep on top of the pain" and it worked like a charm !

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Winter

I do believe that Tylenol has its place in pain relief but 2 every 6 hours is not cutting it with me right now. Of course...if I could sit perfectly still and not have to meet the physical demands of my home to survive....it would probably be more helpful. Regularly going up and down stairs just to meet the necessities of each day is not helping matters at all. And I don't have the availability of help. So I slowly trudge on. I can't raise or bend this leg without considerable pain so getting fully dressed every morning is an act of contortion-ism that would probably make good material for some comedians stage presentation.

I did some extensive research today and have decided to try Aleve/naproxin.. It has no aspirin in it which I can't take. It does have a couple of concerns...as in light sensitivity [not good for my ailing eyes] and has a propensity to cause digestive problems but I think sun glasses will solve the eye sensitivity issue for the time that I need to take it. And...if I suspect the slightest digestive problems or bleeding...I will stop taking it immediately. I'm very fortunate at my age [I'm an octogenarian] not to have to take medications for any health issues. All my "system" figures are within normal, acceptable ranges and I hope they stay that way. Taking 1 Aleve every 12 hours vs 2 Tylenol every 6 hours is much more appealing to me. Plus the naproxin is recommended for the reduction of inflammation as well as pain.

Carolyn...I must have missed the references to Bess. I remember you conjecturing about their meeting up in previous posts but couldn't find references to them then. Of course...my eyesight isn't the best these days.
And I've yet to read Black Ascot. You're right! Bess would definitely understand Hamish. Personally...I'd hate to see him vanish. I wonder if Ian would introduce them to one another. I kinda like the fact that Hamish guards Ian. He's a wonderful writer's "tool". I wonder if Todd knew just how successful Hamish would be as the series moved on. He's a very smart addition.

Yes...PD James was prolific. :-) All tolled...I think there are 14 Dalgliesh novels. I did what you considered. I started at the beginning some years ago and read forward. Currently...in my re-reading of the series, I' m reading The Murder Room written in 2003....which may or may not be # 10 in the series. Actually, I'm quite amazed at how much I'm enjoying re-reading the entire series. I'm definitely looking forward to Black Ascot but meandering through the last of PD James is equally enjoyable. She's so thorough in her writing of the investigation proceedings.

YoYo...are you referring to the AARP issue with Martin Short on the cover? There's an excellent article in there about the Relief of 8 Ailments. It's not much help to me now with this current "mess" but the article is very informative and one which I shall save for future reference. I love the AARP magazine. It's one I read from cover-to-cover when it arrives. There's always something helpful in it.

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annpanagain

Winter, you are fortunate not to be on any regular medication. I am 81 and only need a small daily dose of Oroxine for thyroid balance. When I went on holiday with a senior group I noticed some people had that many pills I wonder they didn't rattle, poor things!

I do wish I had a larger home than my one bedroom place but there isn't much to do either. I have a cleaner who does floor cleaning for me which saves me that effort. The weather has been so warm and humid I need to rest a lot but the young weather girl on TV also said she needed an afternoon nap so I don't worry about my recent doziness now!

I have been trying to read an old murder mystery "Wobble to Death" by Peter Lovesey but keep falling asleep after a few sentences!

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friedag

Carolyn and Winter: Your back-and-forth speculation about the development of the characters of Hamish, Ian, and Bess and their stories spread into multiple books reminds me fondly of listening to my grandmother, mother, and aunts discussing the serials they followed on the radio and later on television. There were sagas they followed in the daily newspaper comic strips and the special Sunday "funny papers," too. (I remember one fairly well: Mary Worth, which always confused me because I couldn't discern what was 'funny' about it.) At any rate, these women in my family would get so wound up about what they thought was going to happen! For the longest time, I thought they were talking about real people.

Do you think the same sort of involvement with the characters, although they are fictional, is part of what makes book series so appealing to you and legions of other readers?

Perhaps I have missed out. I suppose I am like Huck Finn when he heard about Moses and the Bullrushers <sic>. . . and then lost interest. ;-)

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yoyobon_gw

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

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friedag

Well, Yoyo, what about the fortune makes it 'desperate'? More information, please.

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yoyobon_gw

A quote in the preface of the story is The Quaker's Advice to the Young Pretender :

" Whoever joins with thee or stands up for thee, by doing so forfeits all he hath...What is it to us that thou callest thy Name Stuart ? A Name that will gain thee no Man that was not bewitched to thee before, by desperate Superstition, or desperate Ambition, or a desperate Fortune." (sic)

Here is the blurb :

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.

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Winter

Ann...I always wonder how people deal with numerous necessary medications, too. Like you...I think they probably rattle in the breeze. But the more frightening issue to me is how they manage to keep them all straight and to take them on time. That would be my biggest worry if I ever had to deal with that kind of situation. I hope it doesn't become a reality in my life.

You have my deepest admiration for your tolerance of the heat and humidity. I dread the summer weather here. It's usually identical to what you're tolerating now and I positively wilt. Nothing in this body works the way it's supposed to once the humidity starts to rise. My electric bill for air conditioner usage during the warmer months is always higher than my winter heating bill.

Frieda...I remember Mary Worth! Perhaps those printed sagas were yesteryear's answer to today's soap operas. Or...if nothing else, perhaps they were submitted to the public as demonstrations of how to live life in a somewhat agreeable manner. A nickel bought the reader a daily session on the psychiatrist's couch. They weren't judgmental but they did suggest palatable solutions to life's issues. If I remember correctly, Mary Worth was also offered on the radio as were so many of those earlier characters.

"Do you think the same sort of involvement with the characters, although
they are fictional, is part of what makes book series so appealing to
you and legions of other readers?"

I can't answer that question per se. I do think that it's somewhat natural to adopt the characters of any series...written, oral or visual. As a reader, we want them to win at life. Or in situations where their behavior is despicable...we want them to be punished. As a matter of fact, I don't think one needs to be involved with a series to do that. Whether intended or not...characters are teaching/learning tools. We adopt them because they appeal to our basic geniality. If the Mary Worth's of the world can overcome some social malady or worse...then perhaps the reader can do the same. Or...at least learn to recognize the signs of what they're facing and accept a more rational solution.
Then, there's always just the pure pleasure of relaxing within the fantasy world...giving reality a vacation for a while. Personally...I find that most enjoyable. Plus I'm an inveterate puzzle solver. Charles Todd and other mystery writers pleasantly test my talents from page 1 through to the end.

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carolyn_ky

Frieda, yes I do get involved with the characters in the series books I read. If I don't like them, I don't continue. I enjoy the deeper characterization that builds from book to book.

My mother liked the radio soap operas. Once when I was small, we had a radio where the sound was going out, and it was louder if you put your hand on top of it. It was my job to sit beside the radio with my hand on it so Mama could get on with her work. I particularly remember one called Our Gal Sunday, the story that asks the question, can a girl raised in a little mining town in the West be happy as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman. Poor Sunday had a lot of hard trouble.

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Winter

Oh my! The memories! I remember Our Gal Sunday, Carolyn. How about Portia Faces Life? We even had a radio like yours. By putting your hand on its top...you grounded it. That's why the sound improved.

I wonder how much the Depression and WWII years influenced the production of those old soap operas. Also...whether they were created for radio because most people in those days couldn't afford [dollar wise or time wise] series books for entertainment. Hmmmm.

As an aside...I took my first naproxin this morning and am about to take # 2. It's working!!! I am overjoyed....and so looking forward to a night of blissful sleep. Still can't bend the leg but miracles only happen in books...on the radio...and on TV. :-) They take a little longer here.


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annpanagain

Winter, that is good that you have found something that works. My daughter is in continual pain from a traffic accident but has found a US hemp oil product free of marijuana that helps. Border Control is very stringent here!

I have been to a chiropractor today with a follow up next Tuesday. I get five free visits a year from the Government. The usual cost is $A90 for 20 mins.


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Winter

Oh Ann...I'm so sorry for your daughter's pain. The naproxin is working in the sense that it's 100 times better than the Tylenol but it's not 100%. It will help me stay mobile until the damage is either repaired surgically or it heals on its own. It did afford me a wonderful night's sleep last night for which I am very grateful. I suspect...once I've reached a point of either no pain or tolerable pain that PT will be part of my life for some time to come. I've never been to a chiropractor by I have no doubts that my back could benefit from one. I'm very glad it helps you. Every time my neck snaps I wonder if my head if going to come unhinged. I'm sure a chiropractor could fix it. I'm not sure my insurance includes chiropractic benefits but I intend to investigate the possibility.

We have the availability of the hemp oil here, too. It's becoming quite a popular topic and it's going to be sold at pharmacies. I'm not as well informed about it as I should be but I do know that many people are very enthusiastic about its pain relief/tolerance potential. I hope it continues to work for your daughter. IMO, there's nothing worse than constant pain. It robs one of the simple enjoyments in life.

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carolyn_ky

We can get it in tablet form here. In the old days Kentucky grew a lot of hemp, and farmers are getting excited about it again now that tobacco is no longer a big money crop for us. My chiropractor, who has helped my sacroiliac pain tremendously, recommends the pills highly for patients with chronic arthritis and such.

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annpanagain

Winter, chiropractors are different in their methods so you need to find one that suits you. Some work with manual manipulation and some use other aids such as a clicker or a friction machine or even the bed you lie on which angles and drops to loosen joints. I have had chiropractic treatment for many years for various conditions and have experienced all these kinds of practices.

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friedag

Continuing my synoptic reading inspired by Nancy Issenberg's White Trash and J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, I finished Jim Goad's The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats. Well, Goad surely has an appropriate surname to author a book that literally goads a reader! He's satirical and profane, and my ears would be burning if I had listened to him say the things he wrote. Some of it is almost hysterically funny in a gallows humor way. He tells a lot of American history that I seriously doubt could be told in any other style than a dirty diatribe. To think, this book came out in 1997! Maybe people had more of a sense of humor twenty-two years ago.

I've also been reading Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class by Jefferson R. Cowie. Many of us lived through the 1970s, but how many really understand what happened during that decade? Cowie proposes that the 1970s are perhaps the most misunderstood ten years of the twentieth century. I certainly have misjudged a lot of what was the American experience of those years, because I spent nearly seven years of that time living outside the U.S. I'm catching up on what I missed. I told a friend about this book, because he said that most of the 1970s was a big blur to him. He didn't say why, and I didn't want to ask. :-)

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Rosefolly

Re: Tylenol. I read once that about 10% of people are immune to Tylenol and get no pain relief whatsoever from it. Truth be told, I read this as an article in the newspaper, not the most reliable source for science information. However I personally have never had the slightest effect from it and regard it as useless. Maybe it is an okay fever reducer. In any case I no longer waste time taking it. Also, it is not thought to be safe. I don't know how it got that reputation. It can be dangerous to the liver either through taking too high a dose or through chronic use. If I can't take aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen, I do without (and complain bitterly). Admittedly I have never had a painful condition where I could not take either aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen, so I have not been put to the test. I earnestly hope that never happens.

P.S. Here are some links. I am not familiar with this organization, so keep that in mind.

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/09/11/tylenol-far-most-dangerous-drug-ever-made-11711

https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/09/18/tylenol-isnt-so-safe-least-it-works-right-11827 

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yoyobon_gw

Where'd You Go, Bernadette ? - Maria Semple

A really delightful read !

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carolyn_ky

I have finished A Darkness More than Night, the first in a three-book omnibus of Harry Bosch mysteries by Michael Connelly and started the second one, City of Bones. It is convenient to have the three consecutive books, but I don't think I will try this again. The book is too heavy and unwieldy. I am reading it with a pillow in my lap to prop it on. I like the stories, though. Harry is a tough act to follow, troubled policeman that he is.

Regarding Tylenol, I am one of those people who can't take the PM version. It keeps me awake instead of making me sleepy, and I also greatly prefer aspirin or ibuprofen.

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friedag

I stayed up all night to finish Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. It's very good, I think, but I'm a bit troubled by the conclusion made by Keefe or whether there actually is -- or can be -- a conclusion. Perhaps I am just tired and after a nap things might be clearer to me. I've been trying to find the phrase told by the I.R.A. to its members that inspired the title . . . I know it is mentioned in the beginning but I can't find it now!

I had heard of the Price sisters, Dolours and Marian, and knew that Dolours later married the actor Stephen Rea. I had also heard of Dolours's death in 2013, perhaps from an accidental overdose of medication or quite possibly from 'slow suicide' that had taken her years to accomplish.

I suspect the whole subject is too complex to fully understand all aspects of it from just reading this one book. Looks like I will have to read a lot more corroborative and support writing! Have any of you read Keefe's book or have suggestions for other books about 'The Troubles'?

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vee_new

Frieda, having for years heard daily on the news and read about the Troubles I don't think I would want to read about them, however well-written the book. We have several friends, who when young were brought to England to get them away from the horrors. Going back to the 1920's a school friend of my Mother was told that her Father had been shot by the IRA. A case of 'a knock on the door at night'.

I checked some of the reviews on the US Amazon site and was interested in that few Americans knew much about those sorry times, or had a very one-sided view despite/because of so many having an Irish heritage.

I have no time to write more now but hope the subject didn't give you night mares after too much reading.

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sheri_z6

I finished three books while we were away last week. I read Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter, re-read Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and followed that with Jasper Fforde's newest, Early Riser. One of the best part of our vacation was to have time to just sit by the pool and read.

Elizabeth Hunter is one of my favorite authors and I'll read anything she writes. This newest addition to her Elemental Legacy series deals with treasure-hunting partners Ben (human) and Tenzin (vampire) seeking a long-lost pirate treasure, and is set in post-hurricane Puerto Rico. A nice addition to the series and I'm already eager for the next installment.

Garden Spells is an old favorite, re-read to refresh my memory of the characters before reading its sequel, First Frost. There are magical elements in these stories, but they are set in our ordinary world.

I have had The Eyre Affair sitting in my TBR pile for literally a decade, but had never read any Jasper Fforde before last week. My daughter brought Early Riser with her and passed it along to me when she was done and I really enjoyed it. It was a bit of straight up lunacy set in a semi-familiar world where humans hibernate and things get wonky for those who stay awake over winter. I will definitely be looking for more Fforde books to read.

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4kids4us

Friedag, I’m halfway through Say Nothing - very interesting read so far. I only have an elementary understanding of Northern Ireland’s history. I was only a kid during the time frame of this book (early 70s) but I do remember the news stories about Bobby Sands hunger strike and death. I knew nothing about the Price sisters, nor did I know that Stephen Rea had been married to a member of the IRA. I agree, the subject is complex and hope to read other works to learn more.

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annpanagain

I am reading "The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village" and not liking it very much! Author Joanna Nell is a doctor with geriatric patients and her main character seems to have all the worst traits that an almost eighty year old can possess! I am fascinated at how different to me she is. Thank goodness!

Surely no one who reads women's magazines could think that Low GI would have anything to do with a US serviceman? Rather unrealistic. I don't find her malapropisms amusing either, just exasperating.

I might get too annoyed to finish or persevere in case the story improves!

The book rates very well on Goodreads so I could be out of step but there you go! Perhaps the reviewers aren't in their eighties and have a general impression of what it can be like in real life!

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carolyn_ky

Three cheers for octogenarians who have it together.


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Winter

This octogenarian has lost the challenge with Naproxin. My system just won't accept it. I began to show definite signs of negative side effects a couple of days ago...only six 220 mg OTC pills into the dosing...but tried to overlook them. When my water retention reached the point where I not only couldn't get a sock and shoe on the offending appendage but could barely see my toes...I knew it was time to wave the white flag.. Now I'm patiently waiting to see how long it will take for the water retention to abate. Because I had traumatic surgery for thrombophlebitis in my early 20's...I can't afford to fool around with anything that causes water retention in my legs.

On a more positive note...I found enough time to be destracted from my ills to finish PD Jame's The Murder Room [which is # 12 in the series, Carolyn] and am a chapter or two into The Lighthouse. James is getting rather romantic with AD in these last few books. I suspect a wedding before the series is finished. Or, let's say this. An offer of marriage has been happily accepted. Hopefully the wedding will follow. :-) But one never knows.

As a side note, I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying re-reading this series. When I started this project over the holidays I feared that I would remember too many poignant details to enjoy a second reading. That hasn't been the case and I've been delighted to progress onward. Whether I owe this enjoyment to an aging octogenarian's brain or the gazillion books I read after I read the Dalgliesh series...only my shadow knows.

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yoyobon_gw

Has anyone read other Maria Semple books ? I am absolutely loving Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and would like to read another by her if it's as delightful.

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kathy_t

Last night I finished reading John Grisham's The Reckoning. What a complicated tale of family woes and legal maneuverings. In the opening chapter, the main character, a well-respected pillar of the community, walks into the office of his small-town Methodist minister and shoots him dead. He is sent to jail and a trial ensues. He refuses to state his reason for the murder and he refuses to allow his attorney to use an insanity plea, thus leaving no defense. Then the backstory begins, and among other things, you read about the horrible years the protagonist spent in the Phillipines in WWII, including his participation in the Bataan Death March as an American POW of the Japanese army. (That is a part of WWII I knew almost nothing about. It was very hard reading, as is most WWII literature.) Many many pages later, the reader finally learns the reason for the murder.

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carolyn_ky

I am well into the third and last book in the Harry Bosch opus. This one is Lost Light. I really like these books, but they do show the underside of the life of our policemen and the FBI. More than I want to believe is based on reality, at any rate.

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friedag

Kathy, the Grisham book sounds interesting with the protagonist being in the Philippines during WWII. It makes me curious about what that has to do with his shooting of a Methodist minister. What is the time setting? How many years after the war ended?

My father was stationed in the Philippines during the war. He would never talk about his experiences there, except he acknowledged that was where he contracted malaria. When he arrived home in Iowa, he swore he would never set foot off the North American continent again. He never did -- not even when I moved to Hawai'i and invited him and my mother to come visit. He declined the invitation and Mama came alone. His reason he said, "That's too close to the Philippines for me!"

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kathy_t

Frieda - The murder of the minister occurred in 1946, so the protagonist had not been back from the war for very long. Part of his standing in the community was that of a war hero. During his years at war, the army visited the family and told them that he was missing and presumed dead. So that's what the family and believed, of course. In truth, when he fell out of the Bataan Death March, he survived and became a guerilla fighter in the jungle.

The description of this character's service in the Philippines was truly horrible. I certainly hope your father did not experience anything that bad, but I had the impression that everything about the war in the Philippines was pretty terrible. If my father had fought there, I don't think I would want to read this book. It's just too heartbreaking. By the way, I believe the American surrender in the Bataan Peninsula was the only surrender of US armed forces in a foreign war.

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msmeow

Frieda, my dad was also in the Philippines in WWII and didn't talk about it. He would talk to my DH about it (a little) and that really surprised my mom!

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woodnymph2_gw

Frieda, regarding Irish history, I would recommend your going back into history far earlier than the time of The Troubles to get an accurate picture of the reason behind certain events, however egregious. I took two college classes here on Irish history and the Penal Laws stands out large in my mind, which was quite early. I recall we read some Irish nonfiction and fiction. I will try to look up my class notes and give recommendations.

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carolyn_ky

I finished the Bosch book, took it back to the library, and picked up The Vanishing Man by Charles Finch. It is a prequel to his series about a man who sets up a private inquiry business in the early Victorian era. The opening of the first book of the series had me hooked, beginning with the main character sitting in his easy chair in his library with a cup of tea in front of a fire perusing travel books. The last two or three have not been as much fun, so I'm glad to go back to his young days.

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reader_in_transit

Carolyn,

You are talking about detective and gentleman Charles Lenox, no? That opening scene in his library in the first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, was charming and cozy. In that book also he frequently visited the clubs he belonged too, which I don't think he did as much in the next couple of books. I don't read a lot of mystery books, but I've read the first 3 of the series. I'm disappointed to hear that the last books have not been as good. Have you read all of them?

His butler, Graham, and Lady Jane are quite charming too.

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msmeow

I finished The Water Room by Christopher Fowler last night. It took me quite a while to get into it, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It has a lot of plot twists and some interesting London history. Of course I "Google-mapped" Balaklava Street and found that there is a Balaclava Road in London (just across the Tower Bridge from where we will be staying in July), but I assume the street in the book is made-up.

Now I've started The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny.

Donna

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Rosefolly

I've read three of the Christopher Fowler books now and am taking a break, but I enjoyed them and will be back to read more, Donna. My DH Tom has been reading them for years, but I needed a little additional nudge from outside the walls of our house, so thank you!

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carolyn_ky

Donna, yes, the Charles Finch books. The one I've just finished, The Vanishing Man, and the one before that, The Woman in the Water, are both prequels to the series; and it is fun to read about his early exploits and learning to be a private detective before it was a profession. I have read and enjoyed them all, but some are more fun than others.

I get monthly notices from the website stopyou'rekillingme.com that give me updates by author on the release of new mysteries.

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