September Reading

kathy_t

I'm currently rereading Nomadland by Jessica Bruner because it is my community's One Read book for 2019 and September is our designated month for discussions, films, panels, writing and art contests, and an author visit. It starts tomorrow evening with a book discussion led by our mayor and his wife.


I've also started All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. It's a book club selection I know nothing about.

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yoyobon_gw

I'm having a difficult time finding a book to read before I return to Three Pines .

Tried The Lake House by Kate Morton and think I've read it before, or started it....or saw the movie ( lol).

Tried The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and after several chapters threw it against the wall for being unforgivably insipid.

Considered Bel Canto but got the feeling it was too angst-ridden for my mood.

So....pack my bags I'm going back to Three Pines and The Beautiful Mystery.

P.S. I suspect this is why I'd make a very disagreeable book club member :0)

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reader_in_transit

In about an hour I read How to Be a Wildflower, a field guide by Katie Daisy. Profusely illustrated by the author, the book is a go-outside-and-enjoy-nature pep talk. There are lists of places in which to get lost, things to pack when going camping, quotes by John Muir, Thoreau, Walt Whitman and others. Very relaxing and stimulating at the same time, and illustrations galore of what Bob Ross would have called "happy trees" and other natural things.


Now I am waiting for the sun to come out from behind very thick clouds to put it in practice and go for a walk.

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msmeow

Reader, I guess someone named Daisy would have to be interested in the outdoors!

Bon, you're catching up with me. I finished The Beautiful Mystery a couple of weeks ago and I'm now nearly finished with the next one, How the Light Gets In.

After that I have the third Cormoran Strike novel.

Donna

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reader_in_transit

You're right, Donna! Coincidence or did her name influence her path in life? I checked her website, but she doesn't say...

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lemonhead101

Just finished up "Lottery" by Patricia Wood (2006).


This was a random FoL book sale pick and from just reading the backcover blurb seemed like it had the potential to be a good read. So I got it. Then it sat on the shelf for about two or three years until the other day, when I pulled it down and read it. I still had very little idea what to expect during the read itself, but you know what? I was surprised. It was a good one.


It's a novel, and fast-reading one at that. It's not fast-reading because it's written in a simple manner - it's simply fast-reading because I ended up really caring about the main characters and how their lives ended up, and when I turned that last page, it was a read where you emit a sigh of satisfaction as you close the cover.


So - what's it about? It's a novel that follows some of the life of Perry J. L. Randall (the "L" stands for "lucky") who is a developmentally-challenged man who wins the Washington State Lottery when he is thirty. What happens to him after this life-changing event is the narrative arc of this story. However, kudos to Patricia Wood for not choosing the simple Forest Gump way out of the story though. It's definitely a thoughtful read.


Perry is independent in his own way, as much as he can be. He was raised by his grandma and when she died, he was at a loss. A job at a marine supplies company saves the day for him and provides him not only with meaningful work but also a support team of friends and colleagues who will look out for him. Things really get interesting when Perry wins the lottery ($12M)...


It's not a mind-shattering read, but if you're looking for a fairly uncomplicated (without crossing into too simple) read with believable characters about whom you'll think when you're not even reading the book, you'll like this novel.


Wood is (was?) actually a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaii who was studying disability rights and so she is well-versed in how to include a developmentally-challenged protagonist in a respectful and inclusive way (even to the point of writing it from Perry's own POV and in his own style). I enjoyed it and it was a good reminder that there are still good people out in the world.


For a random read off the shelf, this was a solid effort. I enjoyed it.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading a book I have never read before--Alice in Wonderland. I can't imagine how I've missed it over all these years. It began with a very long and erudite introduction, half of which I didn't understand, some of it referring to Freud. I'm afraid I'm a pretty down to earth reader, not able to see into all those corners.

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yoyobon_gw

Carolyn.....I love the two Alice books and read The Annotated Alice In Wonderland in a college course ! They were both favorites to read aloud to my children. "Curiouser and curiouser ..."

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annpanagain

Yoyo, It may surprise you to learn that I never knew there was a second Alice book until I came across a mention of it when I was well past childhood! I can only put it down to wartime shortages of books.

I must get around to reading it some day. I do know some of the characters from references but I can't remember actually reading the entire book.

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yoyobon_gw

Anna...the annotated version shows why Carroll wrote this story and where he was making fun of political figures through his story-telling. I love both Alices and have enjoyed quoting favorite lines :0) I have adopted one of his "compound" words and use it whenever necessary : mimsy , which is a combination of miserable + flimsy . i.e. " I'm feeling sort of mimsy today"

To this day , I can still quote the beginning of the poem:

'Twas brillig and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimbol in the wabe,

All mimsy were the borogrove

And mome rath out grabe.

( I may have spelled some of the oddities incorrectly off the top of my head )

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lemonhead101

I'm not sure that I knew that there were two Alice books - interesting. I've read the first one (as a grown up) and the only explanation for some of its happenings is that Lewis was on large doses of laudanum or similar. :-}

Since I've finished that novel, I've been swanning around the TBR shelves trying to pick up something else to read. I'm reading a NF about the characteristics of people who survive in terrible natural conditions (snow etc.) and why they survive.

It's ok, but the author is rather unlikable at the moment. He thinks he's all that and a bag of chips right now. Hmm.

RIT - your book sounds rather lovely!...

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annpanagain

Lemon, I love the imagery of "all that and a bag of chips"! So much more expansive than the acrobatic "Up himself"!

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yoyobon_gw

Lemon, the second Alice is Through The Lookinglass wherein Alice climbs up on the mantel and tumbles through the mirror into a land of reversals and oddities .

Ann, " all that and a bag of chips" is the perfect description of someone or something that is the total package and then some.

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donnamira

August was a very slow month of reading for me - I had a hard time sticking to any one book, plodding through Brian Fagan's The Great Warming (about the effect of the Medieval Warm Period on various civilizations around the globe), the Cherryh/Fancher Alliance Rising, a collection of Kage Baker's short stories, in between a re-read of the Murderbot Diaries. I did finally finish the Fagan book just yesterday, and took it back to the library (only to pick up 2 more to add to Mt TBR).


I decided to go to the National Book Festival in downtown D.C. this year, and came away sorry that it was only 1 day, and that I'd scheduled only the afternoon. There were so many parallel talks/signings that I had to miss several I wanted to see. I managed to attend only 3 talks and 2 signings in the half-day that I had. I caught Sophie Blackall (this year's Caldecott winner for Hello Lighthouse), Jon Klassen (the I Want My Hat Back caldecott winner), and Charlie Jane Anders, SF (All the Birds in the Sky). I missed David McCollough, Emily Wilson, Shannon Hale, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeline Miller, Jon Scieska, and I don't know how many others. I was particularly disappointed to miss a panel discussion on the enduring appeal of the Odyssey, but it was the very last time slot of the day, ending at 8pm, and I'd promised to be home before then.


I read both Alice books as a child, and I thought I'd read Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice as well, but I didn't remember that Carroll/Dodgson included political jabs. It does take well to political satire though - when I went to a training class at work that included people from several different centers of a government agency, we all had to do a skit/presentation to inform the others about our own center. I was with a group from our HQ office, which lent itself very well to an adaptation of Alice! Running as fast as you can to stay in one place, the Tweedles' discussion of logic, and so on. Particularly apt was the Mad Tea Party for a recent Congressional hearing confirming our new administrator. :)


I have 3 library books that are coming due on their first renewal in 4 days - let's see if I can get any of them finished in time. First up will be Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad. I've read 2 books by Whitehead - one was incomprehensible to me, the other I liked quite a bit. We'll see how this one goes.


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donnamira

P.S. Has anyone heard from Woodnymph? I see from the news that Charleston is flooding... :(

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vee_new

I haven't heard from her for a while and hope she has battened down the hatches. I'm thankful our English weather, damp and dull as it often is, doesn't throw these extremes at us.

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carolyn_ky

I am Facebook friends with Mary since meeting her last year and just looked at her page. She has two messages from other people asking her to let them know she is safe. One was sent eight hours ago and the other 48 minutes ago, with no responses from her. I certainly hope she is okay.

I got The New Girl by Daniel Silva at the library today and have started it, thus abandoning Alice temporarily.

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reader_in_transit

Reading Five Flights Up; Sex, Love, and Family, From Paris to Lyon (NF) by Kristin Louise Duncombe, who is an American psychologist, married to an Argentinian physician. They and their 2 trilingual children have lived in Paris for 10 years, when her husband announces he has been offered a better paying job in Lyon. She does not want to move, but he decides to take the job.


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reader_in_transit

Lemonhead,

Yes, How to Be a Wildflower is lovely and invigorating. I got it from the library, maybe your library has it too?

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yoyobon_gw

While at our local library I found a copy of Robert Hellenga's The Sixteen Pleasures. I read it long ago but decided to reread it since I recall really enjoying it.

So... Three Pines will have to wait for me.

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annpanagain

I have just finished a non-fiction book, not my usual choice but I was curious about the case. "A Mother's Promise" by Lee Barnett tells the story of her abduction of her daughter and flight from the US and finally living in Australia where she was eventually found, some twenty years later.

Not only does the story tell about this but also raises the subject of what is going on in women's prisons. Barnett got to see life in several in both countries and it makes sickening reading. I had to skip some of the descriptions...

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woodnymph2_gw

Checking back in after surviving a Category 3 hurricane in Charleston. We lost power for over a day and the downtown (where I live) was under water. Many downed trees in the city (some of which were very old), as well. Many apartments in my building had water damage but luckily I did not, due to the direction I am facing in. There was no generator operating, so no hall lights, nor any elevators. Water pressure got very low or non-existent for a time. Everything in the city was closed up for 5+ days, as were were ordered to evacuate. I sheltered in place and did a lot of reading by very dim window light.

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carolyn_ky

What an experience, Mary. I'm glad to hear you are all right, and you have answered one of the questions about what we need books all those books for.

I finished The New Girl and began Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit, only to find that this is the fourth book in the series and I have missed the third. It will be easy enough to pick up the story, though.

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vee_new

Mary, glad to hear you are safe and well after such a scary few days.

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msmeow

Mary, I’m so glad you ar safe! I’m sad for the lost trees, though. It’s been a while since Charleston had a bit hit, hasn’t it?

Vee, keep an eye on TS Gabrielle. The National Hurricane Center is projecting it to hit the UK on Thursday.

Donna

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vee_new

Donna, I just caught the week's weather forecast and they mentioned Gabrielle hitting the SW of England but don't know how strong it will be. Also that the remains of your last hurricane will arrive by Tuesday(?) bringing damp humid air . . . which | hate, but nothing as bad as you have all suffered.

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donnamira

Woodnymph, glad to hear that you and your home are OK after your brush with Dorian. Reading by dim window light does not sound like much fun, but definitely better than sitting there bored & waiting for the power to be restored. I hope you had plenty of water for both drinking and washing ready for that no-water-pressure period.


I'm halfway through Whitehead's Underground Railroad. So far, so good. Keeps me turning the pages, although some of the scenes are hard to read through. Not only the ones you'd expect, e.g. the brutality of slaveowners, but the ones where the people who opposed slavery and were outwardly kind, still looked upon the former slaves as something not quite human. Ugh!

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I've been unwell and haven't read much but I appear to be on the mend now. Read The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly - Sun-Mi Hwang. This came as a recommendation by Lemonhead quite a while back who thought it was a lovely story. It certainly was but I thought it was so sad that I ended up not liking it too much. For bookclub I've got The Greater Journey - David McCollough. A good book but since not feeling well I'm having a hard time getting through it. The solution is an audio book which is working out fine even though I don't particularly like to be read to. The only thing is that is takes so long that I don't think I'll be able to finish in time for the meeting. I'll do my best. Also reading The Invited by Jennifer McMahon which I'm having no trouble with. Early on at this point but it's going to be a twisty, spooky book - right up my alley.

ETA - I bought another 7 or 8 books at a garage sale last weekend which brings my total purchases for the summer somewhere around 70 books. In case we have a famine or something. All set for winter. (hmmm)



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annpanagain

Skibby, sorry to hear you have been unwell. If you are going to garage sales, are you feeling better?

I had bronchitis in June and am still not really over it! I blame the awful Winter we have had for making me feel so rotten! These setbacks seem to last longer as one ages.

When I am feeling poorly, I tend to read books I normally wouldn't, like Relationship genres. I just can't get into even a cosy murder mystery. Comfort Reading Rules!

I have just finished "The Break" by Marion Keyes. I think I have read it before but only vaguely recall the plot! Perhaps I started it but took it back to the library some time ago, if it was due...

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sheri_z6

I finally started Lincoln in the Bardo for my next book group meeting (only three days away -- must. read. faster.). I'm not at all sure what to make of it, the structure is certainly interesting and I am a fan of clever formats, but so far I don't feel any connection to the story at all. We'll see how it goes.

Once I'm through, it's time to cull the ever-expanding TBR pile. There are definitely books in there that I will never get to, and I've found a library one town over that will accept donations, so win-win. I also have the newest Ilona Andrews waiting for me, Sapphire Flame (urban fantasy) and I'm looking forward to that.

We were away for a lot of the summer, and I happily read a lot of light-weight books but I was also lucky enough to stumble across two YA books that stood out for me (and I can't remember if I already mentioned them here or not): To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg and Meg Wolitzer, and an older book, The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt. Both were excellent.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Yes Ann. Starting to feel better. Congestive heart failure. Slowly getting there. Thank you for inquiring. :)

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msmeow

Skibby, I hope you feel better soon!

Sheri, Lincoln in the Bardo has to be the strangest book I've ever read.

I'm reading The Burglar by Thomas Perry. I believe someone here mentioned it in the July reading thread. It's okay...I'm past halfway so I will finish it, but it's only mildly interesting to me.

Donna

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lemonhead101

Glad to hear that you, Mary, survived the hurricane just fine and that you, Skibby, are feeling a bit better. You are both a pair of tough cookies. :)

Just finished a quick read of "Vacationland", a series of essays about life in New England (specifically Maine and Massachusetts) by John Hodgman, a contributor to the TV show, The Daily Show. This was actually the second time I read this book, and I'm glad that I did reread it. This second experience was soooo much better than the first time, but I'm not sure why. (Perhaps just the alignment of the stars!) It was recommended by a fellow blogger who seems to have very similar taste to mine, and after I'd read it that first time but not been too impressed, I put it in a pile to give away. But, then in the few days in-between, I couldn't help but think that I'd not given the book a "fair read". Why didn't I like it when my reading twin (the other blogger) did?

Thinking that I must have missed something, I reread it and you know what? A completely different experience this time around.

The essays are shortish and are focused on Hodgman's family life: buying a new house, meeting new neighbors, hanging out with old friends... Nothing too newsworthy, but all written in a such a way that by the time I finished the read, I felt as though I'd just had a good coffee meeting with a new friend. Can't really explain the differences between the two reads, but glad that I listened to my gut to have another look at this book.

(Actually, I had a very similar experience earlier this year with another novel. Read it the first time, and thought "meh". Put it away. Thought about it some more and then came back to it within a week or two. (Actually, it was almost back-to-back.) Reread it and it was a completely different experience. Weird. Have any of you had this experience? ...

Finished up that NF about how to survive in terrible natural circumstances (weather etc.) and came away with the idea that I probably wouldn't. :-) Now thinking about my next read. What to choose, what to choose...

Plus - it's the big annual FoL book sale in a week or two... (Rubs hands with glee combined with worried look at already-full book shelves.)

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annpanagain

Lemon, I had a worse experience from re-reading a couple of books that I had enjoyed as in light of modern thinking, I decided two of the characters in them were stalkers!

Eg, poor lovelorn Dobbin from Vanity Fair, hanging around the inn where Amelia and George were staying until their bedroom light went out. Creepy!

Also one of Barbara Pym's heroines, checking out a man she fancies and even going to his wife's mother's house and later staying at his mother's hotel as part of her research.

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kathy_t

Sheri - Agreeing with Donna that Lincoln in the Bardo is a weeeird one. And yet, I remember more about it than I do most books. Some of those cemetery images are really burned into my brain.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I'm looking to stockpile some Halloween reads for October - is Lincoln in the Bardo a good candidate?

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msmeow

Skibby, the book is told by ghosts who are stuck in the cemetery where Lincoln's son is buried, so I'd say it qualifies as a Halloween read. :)

Donna

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Thanks Donna! (busy stockpiling...)

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sheri_z6

Msmeow & Kathy, I totally agree, Lincoln in the Bardo is definitely an odd one! I'm almost finished with it and it has really given me lots to think about. Like Kathy, I think this one will linger in my mind. I spent a couple hours reading yesterday (I rarely get big chunks of reading time, so I think that helped) and was able to really sink into the story. I did notice that once I stopped tracking who was speaking, especially in the 'historical documents' -- for lack of a better descriptor -- sections, the book flowed much more easily.

It strikes me as a weirdly constructed commentary on all of human nature, how everyone has a story and wants to be heard. It touches on good and evil, self-determination, sex (lots of sex) and love and regret and justice and delusion. There's lots to unpack here, it should make for a good book discussion Thursday night.

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woodnymph2_gw

As the library was closed for a week during our hurricane, I pulled out a book that had been sitting on my shelves for years. I thoroughly enjoyed the autobiography "An Unfinished Woman" by Lillian Hellman. She had an interesting life, traveling to Russia just before and after WW II. She met a lot of famous personnages and managed a long relationship with writer Dashiell Hammet. Hellman wrote an impressive list of novels and plays and was well known in Hollywood.

Before that, I read "Dutch Girl" by Matzen, which is the definitive biography of Audrey Hepburn. Another uniquely fascinating and strong woman. Audrey was born of parents who were Nazi sympathizers but she herself was on the side of the Resistance in Holland. She nearly starved to death as a child, due to food shortages during the Occupation and train service having been cut off. The book gives detailed descriptions of both the German Occupation and the bombings of the Allies. Despite later becoming an actress, Audrey stated that all she ever wanted to be was a ballet dancer (which she had done in her youth). Just before she died, she took great interest in UNICEF and traveled to Africa and other poor countries.

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msmeow

I finished The Burglar yesterday, and remained only mildly interested in it. I thought he spent way too much time describing over and over how the burglar did her thing, and toward the end there were a lot of "oh, please" moments for me. :)

Donna

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carolyn_ky

I have read several of Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who . . . books and find them quite entertaining. Bernie Rodenbarr is a burglar who just can't help himself but frequently ends up helping others. He also runs a used bookstore, so he can't be all bad.

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kathy_t

"The Burglar Who" books sound fun, Carolyn. I'll have to give one a try.

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lemonhead101

Just threw down onto the floor my latest read: Merry Hall by Beverley Nicholls (1951). Ack. So racist, sexist, classist, that I just couldn't take it any more and it's a DNF. (I have more choice words to say about him in the "Authors who are Stale" thread...) So - now what to read? I've had a spate of good titles, so (not counting this Nicholls crud) what to pick up next...? I need to go through my TBR and pile of library books.

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yoyobon_gw

Lemonhead.....oh no ! Bear in mind the year when he wrote it. Those PC attitudes weren't yet vogue.

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kathy_t

This morning I finished reading All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffen. At first, I thought the book was a bit soap-opera-ish, and perhaps not worthy of a book club discussion (which is coming up next week). But in spite of those feelings, it was one of those books I kept picking up whenever I had a few minutes to spare; I looked forward to learning where this story would lead. I was pleasantly surprised that it did not lead where I thought it might. I really did enjoy it. And now that I'm done, I do see there might be good fodder for a discussion - certainly some things we can disagree about. ;^)

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kathy_t

Regarding the book I just told you about, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, I also want to mention that it is about a very contemporary topic - how parents deal with their privileged and supposedly good kid who has taken a compromising photo of a less-privileged girl who is passed out drunk at a party, adds a racist caption, and sends it to his friends, who of course distribute it widely on the Internet. Will his private school's punishment ruin his chances to get into Princeton? I tend to lose patience with books that rely on characters' texting to move the plot forward, but it worked for me in this novel. As I said, I liked it.

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carolyn_ky

I downloaded A Plain Vanilla Murder, latest in the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert. She has a lot of plant info in these books along with a murder or two, and I enjoy them.

This was my first attempt at downloading library books. I read it on my laptop and had a really hard time finding it again the next day. It finally reappeared and I finished it, but I can't find it today either. I googled how to find it, and the explanation seemed perfectly simple, except I couldn't find the very first thing it told me to go to. It will go back to the library automatically after two weeks, but I really wish I were a little more knowledgeable about this stuff.

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reader_in_transit

Finished Five Flights Up (non fiction) by Kristin Louise Duncombe. She is an American psychologist married to an Argentinian physician, who worked for Doctors Without Borders, thus was away for long periods. They and their trilingual daughter and son have lived in Paris for 10 years. Then the husband accepts a job in Lyon that entails no traveling and a better salary, even though the wife and the son cannot imagine living anywhere but Paris.

The wife and children stay behind, but she capitulates and they all join the husband in Lyon. She falls in love with an apartment on a 5th floor, in spite of not having an elevator (hence the title). In an engaging way, she then tells of their process of adapting to life in Lyon. An interesting angle is that at work she helps English-speaking families to adapt to life in France, especially the trailing spouse or partner of the person who got a job in France. But when it is happening to her, she acknowledges how difficult it is to follow her own advice.

She makes friends with 3 French women, mothers of her son's classmates. The cultural differences and her family dynamics make for entertaining reading.

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annpanagain

I noticed a book in the Relationships section at the library which looked interesting. "The Ship of Brides." by Jojo Moyes. It is about Australian women who married British men and are going to join their husbands at the end of WW2. I knew that British GI brides went to the US but didn't realise there were other brides travelling to new countries.

I have wondered what happened when men and women thought to be dead but were not, managed when they got back after wars. I recently saw an old movie about a woman who was thought dead then returned to find her husband had remarried and there was a child, who now became illegitimite.

There must have been some sad situations, post-war.

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lulu bella

I thought Lincoln in the Bardo was beyond bizarre. I read it, but I really had not idea what I was reading.

I really enjoyed The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. yes it was a bit sappy but it was so good.

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vee_new

Annpan, I read Ship of Brides not long ago. Apparently the story is basically that of her mother and included a dog which the 'heroine' managed to smuggle aboard!

We always heard stories of GI Brides, many of them rather 'sour grapes' . . . I know DH's Aunt married a Canadian/American flyer and was more-or-less cut off by her family. In fact she did very well for herself. Her husband became a well-known expert in the US ceramics industry and their children were all successful.

On the other hand there were stories of 'brides' arriving in New York to find no-one waiting to welcome them to the US, or silly girls who believed the tales of living in Hollywood among the stars or owning nylon stocking factories only to find themselves in a cabin up a mountain living on a diet of squirrel.

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kathy_t

Lulu Bella - I think "beyond bizarre" is a pretty darned good description of Lincoln in the Bardo. I want to say I mostly liked it, but that's a stretch. (It's hard to think about ghosts having any interest in sex.) I really did appreciate the author's originality though. As for The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, I'm with you 100%.

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annpanagain

Vee, I heard tales like that about the GI brides too. I don't know if it was true but apparently some of them found they had been divorced! As for the tall tales of ranches etc. the officials shrugged and said that "our boys" told them the old. old story and were believed.

When you go to a new country, you have expectations that aren't always fulfilled. I was on a ship from Sydney to Perth and found there were a lot of British people on it who were going back home. Australia sadly hadn't worked out for them.

I loved the place as soon as I arrived! So casual and laid back...


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vee_new

Annpan, a few years ago a local boy, son of a small farmer decided to make his fortune in Australia and started to save up . . . well actually it was mostly his Mother who did the saving on his behalf. The Great Day arrived and the family waved him off at Heathrow. Within about 5 days he was back. He got to Melbourne and stayed for one night in a hostel where he was told by a couple of lads that jobs were difficult to find; so he packed his bags and came home. In fact he arrived before the post card he has sent en route while in Singapore.

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vee_new

I've just finished Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn.

Doggerland is a area between East Anglia and main land Europe that was gradually covered by the North Sea perhaps 6000 years ago. It gets it's name from the Dogger Bank the area of shallow sea between England and Holland and back between Ice Ages was a fertile hunting ground and home to rhino, mammoth, elk etc. JB wanders around with 'experts' and finds bones, flints, stone axes often brought up in fishermen's nets. I found the read interesting in a rambling sort of way but as my knowledge of the different ancient periods is somewhat hazy I think a time-line to indicate whether the Pleistocene or the Cretaceous came first would have helped me.

There were some maps showing how possibly the River Thames flowed into the Rhine and the English Channel was much narrower and further South, but they needed a modern outline/overlay to show the recent coastlines.

She visited an area near us here, Goldcliff, further down the River Severn Estuary where footprints of animals and adults and children several thousands of years old have been found 'intact' below the mud (and believe me the area is VERY muddy) that now and again appear at very low tides.

Below an article which describes the book better than I could!



Doggerland

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carolyn_ky

I picked up some requested library books today and have begun When H*ll Struck Twelve, latest in the Billy Boyle WWII series by James R. Benn. I have really liked these books, and four of them have been nominees for different awards. None has ever won, though. The author must be quite discouraged by that, and I hope one will win for him before the end of his war.

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lemonhead101

I'm reading a NF about honeybees right now. (Actually, it includes other kinds of bees, but honeybees are mentioned quite a bit.) Called "Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee" by Hattie Ellis, it's fascinating right now...

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annpanagain

Vee, one of the conditions of Government sponsored migration was that one had to stay for two years or return the fare! Luckily there was plenty of work available when I went.

I finished the "Brides" book quickly as I have the latest Simon Brett waiting at the library. I found some of the story a bit odd. Why didn't the wealthier girls fly to the UK instead of enduring the privations of the long trip on the aircraft carrier?

I was so lucky, getting a berth on the Promenade deck but never realised this until a paying passenger complained about it! I am told he went to the Purser and was told that the Australian Government paid the fare, apart from the ten pounds which was my share of the passage.

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vee_new

Ann, I assumed the 'Brides' book was set in the 40's so the use of 'planes would have been very expensive with lots of 'stop-overs' involved, that is assuming it was then possible to fly between England and Aus.

re folk on your ship complaining because you weren't berthed in the bilges . . . I recently had to attend a private hospital 'out-patient' dept (the wait for an appointment with the NHS being about 3-4 months) and got chatting to another woman. She told me she was able to be there because her husband's firm's insurance covered the cost. I replied that I normally relied on the NHS. She told me, quite politely, that she didn't think I should be in the same waiting room as she was! I told her, equally politely, that the next time I came in I would wear my pearls.

Of course it was a better class of room with the day's papers and magazines less than 6 months old . . . and free tea/coffee etc . . . and AC, almost unknown over here.

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annpanagain

Vee, I loved that!

Reminds me of the train attendant who obviously didn't think I was a First Class sleeping car passenger when I arrived in casual wear, until I provided my voucher!

I must admit I don't dress up to travel or to do much else. Only a really formal occasion rated the amount of effort back then! I now almost always live in leisure wear. Stretchy waist bands Rule!

You are correct about the plane travel. It is mentioned in the book that it was expensive and took several days. However, although one of the characters does ask her father to fly her over, he refuses but then flies three people over to meet her!

There is a mention of other socialites from wealthy families on the ship too. I think it was in the late Sixties that the Government started to fly migrants out when it got cheaper.

I think that migrants might have settled down better without the long sea trip. We got rather spoiled with the pampering, well I did! All those meals and in-between snacks!

Entertainment provided day and night and the shopping at the ports.

Tea brought in the morning and beds made etc. What wasn't to like? It took me a while to adjust afterwards.

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yoyobon_gw

I've heard from various travel reports that if you are dressed nicely when flying you are more likely to be upgraded ( gratis ) if there is an opportunity.

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carolyn_ky

Some other young enlisted men's wives and I got chased off the "officers' beach" by their wives once in Hawaii. It was a sandy beach, but there was no line drawn in it that we were aware of! We obediently went off to where we were told was our place, giggling as we went, which I'm sure reinforced their belief that we were not of their class.

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rouan

Intrigued but Vee's description, I went online and checked to see if my local library has Time Song. It does so I ran up there and picked it up to read.

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annpanagain

Yoyo, that being well dressed was an upgrade advantage was true but I was told that these days it is being a Frequent Flier which is more likely to do the trick!

I got an upgrade to Business Class once by complaining about being put in the Smoking section but these days that wouldn't work as no smoking is allowed on the airlines I would be using. Sadly you get what you pay for generally!

I am going to read "The Killer in the Choir" by Simon Brett, the latest in the Fethering series. I wouldn't start it last night as I would read it through probably. I need my sleep too much to risk that!

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I just finished a book called The Night Visitors. A book I knew nothing about but looked good from the "new" shelf. The author is Carol Goodman. A psychological thriller/ghost story set in NY state. Very good and twisty, but the characters were a lot scarier than the ghosts. A fun read.

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vee_new

Carolyn and Ann re. knowing one's place . . . many years ago my Mother was getting a branch-line train from the small local station ie few coaches, very old and grubby and connected with the 'main-line' train at the bigger town a few miles up the track.

She bought her ticket and was heading to the nearest coach when an ancient porter, no doubt in a quavering voice called to her "That compartment is for 1st class passengers you know" Mother, quick off the mark answered "Thank you I am aware of that." Of course she hadn't even noticed but the porter hobbled over, opened the door for her, touched his cap and probably dusted the seat with his handkerchief.


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annpanagain

When a ticket collector checked the tickets in our crowded Premiere Classe compartment on the Paris to Dieppe train we were the only ligitimate holders!

We had received complimentary vouchers due to an earlier problem. You wouldn't believe the excuses the rest of the foreign passengers came up with!

The French ones just quietly removed themselves...

Vee, I notice Simon Brett is talking through his character about the littering of the beaches and Bill Bryson has also commented on countryside litter in his last book.

Is this a bad problem all over Britain?

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kathy_t

Skibby - What are you doing browsing the "new" shelf at the library? Tales of your recent book shopping exploits make me think you have multiple TBR piles at home!

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vee_new

Annpan, yes litter/trash has been a problem for years, although I think people are being made more aware of it . . . thinking of the on-going anti-plastic campaign . . . Of course much of the muck on the beaches is washed ashore from other beaches depending on the tides and from ships that often break all the rules by discharging their rubbish into the sea.

Bryson is/was the chairman (?) of the Keep Britain Tidy movement. Another well-known US literary name, David Sedaris who now lives in West Sussex has become a litter picker and spends evenings clearing his local streets. Apparently he has a dust/trash cart named after him.

I live by a very busy main road and it is common for drivers to throw discarded plastic bottles, wrappers, fast-food containers, banana skins etc out of their vehicles. Some people are quite disgusting!

A friend who works of BA (airline) says after a flight when passengers have left the plane, the tidiest people are the Japanese, the British are way down the list but the Americans are the worst . . . Is this a surprise? I have no idea.

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socks

Reading a Elizabeth George mystery. Omg it is so long. She writes well but 500++ pages is just too much. Title something about “sinner.”

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msmeow

Vee, we flew BA over to London and back earlier in the summer, and both times the plane looked like a tornado had gone through it. I don't know how they can clean and reset them as quickly as they do.

I finished A Career of Evil by Robert Galthwaite (JK Rowling). She writes very well, but the story was quite gruesome. The previous book The Silkworm started with a gruesome murder, but Career of Evil was about a serial killer so the gruesomeness (?) continued through the book. It also seemed a bit long to me.

I'll try to find something lighter for my next read.

Donna

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annpanagain

I usually take my litter with me off the plane and that was a mistake on one occasion. It was a banana skin and taking fruit between States is forbidden. Luckily the drug and fruit sniffing dogs were more interested in a burly chap at the other end of the airport.

I burned it when I got home to be on the safe side. Importing diseases can wipe out the crops, as we are sternly warned.

We have orange and lemon trees in our Village and the dropped fruit gets removed quickly to discourage fruit flies etc. However in spite of our care, I have a couple of rats nesting in a tree nearby! With so much untended area of bush land next to the Village, it can't be helped. I just hope they don't attract any snakes but I have never seen any. I think the bob tail goannas keep them away...

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vee_new

Annpan, your rats nest in trees? My husband always calls squirrels 'tree rats' and they do look very similar, except for the tail!

The bob tailed goannas sound very exotic; I've never heard of them before.

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vee_new

re sniffer dogs. My brother was returning by train from a cold and wintry Romania. He even slipped on the icy floor inside the carriage. Once settled he was just about to eat a sausage sandwich prepared by his hosts (no meals on the train) when a policeman with a huge Alsatian entered and the dog grabbed the packet of food and ate it all including the wrapping. My terrified brother just quivered, too scared to complain until the man explained the dog was searching for drugs. During the very long journey the other passengers became very agitated with one old lady packing and re-packing what appeared to be dishcloths. Late at night the engine stopped in the middle of 'nowhere'. A guard/customs official came on board, checked passports and ordered everyone, except my brother, off into the snow. None of these passengers got back on the train and my brother travelled on alone. He was very glad to reach 'civilization'.

Of course this was back in the '80's when the communist regime was still going strong. I think things are somewhat easier now.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

kathyt - oops! it was an accident!

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msmeow

Vee, my hubby calls squirrels "tree rats" too. Though we have citrus rats here in FL and I think they nest in trees.

That story about your brother is scary! I'm glad he got where he was going in one piece (though probably hungry).

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Vee....egads. Sounds like a very scary plot for a novel.

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carolyn_ky

My brother lives on a farm and regularly picks up trash that people driving down the highway toss out. It's disgusting.

I saw a sniffer dog stop a woman in an airport. His handler searched her bag and found that she had some herbal cosmetics that the dog had smelled.

I'm reading two books--The Billy Boyle one I mentioned upthread and an e-book I downloaded from the library, Murder by Accident by Veronica Heley. It is one of the early ones in a series, and they only have it available electronically. I got it before my current requests had begun to come in and have just begun to try to read books this way when I can't get a real one. I lost the first one I tried somewhere in space. I finally found it, but I'm not sure how I did it. Now I know to bookmark them. They go away automatically after two weeks. Old dogs can learn new tricks, some by trial and error.

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yoyobon_gw

In New York state in the 70's there was a huge campaign called " Give A Hoot, Don't Pollute ! " with a cute owl as the logo. It was taught in all the schools and children were encouraged to clean up their environment and not toss garbage along roadsides. It worked nicely, then over time it seemed to have been abandoned and forgotten. I often wish that the governor would reintroduce that slogan . I cannot understand why someone throws trash out their car window. Where do they think it ends up? Who do they imagine cleans up their filth? Is this the result of entitled, spoiled generations of "let someone else do it " ?

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annpanagain

Vee, the bobtails are a protected species. Although they are wild and roam around the complex being useful by eating snails etc. some residents feed them mince. They come out in the sunny weather and bask on my back paved area under the washing lines. I have to watch where I tread when I am pegging out the clothes.

I found it was best to keep that place well swept of dead leaves as they liked to conceal themselves and blended in too well. I nudged one with my soft shoe once and got a very basilisk stare! He was enjoying a snail and wasn't going to share it with me!

My son called to see me today and knocked down some of the leaf litter in the tree where the trunk forks with a branch that could be a potential nest site.

I have started the Brett mystery but haven't had time to read today. I think he has been reading Jane Austen as he is echoing her cynical wit in a main character!

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yoyobon_gw

anna....:0)........."pegging out the clothes ", we say " hanging out the wash"

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woodnymph2_gw

Never heard of rats in trees --- snakes there, often, however.

As for "sniffer dogs", they are now being used professionally to track and find bedbugs and other pests in city buildings -- very accurately.

I'm just finishing up "Everyone was so Young" by Amanda Vaill. Waiting on the TBR pile are the autobiography of Michele Obama and "Denmark Vesey's Garden", which is about the history of slavery in Charleston, SC.

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vee_new

Annpan, I had to look-up 'bobtails' as in my ignorance I thought they were some sort of fluffy creature . . . and find they are lizards! I live and learn.

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yoyobon_gw

Vee.....yes, like a little bunny . Far cry from a reptile !

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annpanagain

Yoyo, I refer to dealing with the washing in various ways! Sometimes it is "pegged out" if it is clothing or "hung out to dry" if it is bedlinen which I throw over two lines to get air in between without necessarily using pegs. Whatever, it is a troublesome job as I have a stiff right shoulder! I can ask the cleaner when she comes but am very fussy how it is done, so prefer to manage it myself.

Re, the rats! I have a good view of the tree they are climbing up as it is about six feet from my sitting area picture window. Today there was a flurry as the small grey one hurtled down the trunk with a magpie swooping on it. It is breeding season and although they don't inhabit that tree, they are very territorial.

I hope the rats get the unfriended message!

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yoyobon_gw

Ann...."pegs", we call them " clothes pins " . I am wary of hanging out any bed linens , though I love the fresh smell, because I'm afraid a spider will hide in them and end up sharing the bed !

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vee_new

yoyo. 'pins' is the word used in Scotland, rather than 'pegs'.

Re 'linens' over here it is always used in the singular . . so we say linen for one sheet or many sheets. The same for 'meat' 'fish' 'cereal' etc. although someone may pick me up on it . . .

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annpanagain

To add to the confusion of terms, bed linen needn't necessarily be made from linen! Could be cotton or a mixture of synthetics.

Also in Australian stores, the department where one can buy sheets and towels etc. can be referred to as the Manchester Department, as that was where this type of goods came from. Nowadays, it comes from all over!

I have sheets from Portugal, Pakistan, India and China and a blanket from France, curtains from the UK and a bedspread from the USA.

Courtesy of the internet, I shop from the whole world!

I am still struggling to read my library book. There seems to be so many other things taking priority! I am reading far fewer books than I used to. I could get through three of four a week at one time. Once I hit eighty, the days seem to fly past a lot faster too! I can't believe September has only one full week left!

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yoyobon_gw

Currently reading The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny , the 8th book in the Gamache/Three Pines series. I am really enjoying it, as always.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading The Long Call, the first of a new series by Ann Cleeves. So far, it is pretty good. I really liked her Shetland books; have only read a few of the Vera Stanhopes. This one is set in North Devon, and the description of the scenery makes you want to go there. The main character is a young male detective.

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vee_new

I just finished an enjoyable light book, one of the Rumpole series by John Mortimer. It is a collection of some of his original stories put together by Penguin Books. I remember watching some of them on TV. Apparently they used to be very popular in the US. Does anyone remember them?

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woodnymph2_gw

Vee, I remember them well. They are available in series form in the US and my English friend, Derek, and I used to watch them together every week. I admire Mortimer's writings as well: e.g. "The Narrowing Stream."

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donnamira

Yoyobon, I remember that owl and the 'give a hoot' slogan! I was still living in New York (state) in the 70's, so I guess that's why. BTW, I read somewhere that NY is ending its Regents exams, after all these years? What will teachers do for the last quarter of the year since they won't be needing to coach the students through the regents exams? :)

After a dry reading spell in August, I seem to have returned to normal this month, having just finished my 8th book so far, Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists. It certainly held my attention, since I read it in one day, but most of it was pretty grim. Four siblings sneak out to visit a fortune-teller, who tells them individually the date on which he or she will die; the story then follows each sibling in turn until that date is reached.

Speaking of critters, I spent about 5 minutes yesterday morning chasing a baby skink around my bedroom before I finally captured him and let him go outside. How a skink got into my upstairs bedroom, I have no idea! He was placidly curled up on a sunny spot of the carpet when I saw him.


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msmeow

We had the Give a Hoot campaign in FL, too.

Donnamira, I gave up on The Immortalists a couple of chapters in. I think it seemed very cliched and, as you said, grim.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donnamarie......there is also a movement in NYC to dumb it down so that the percentage of students able to graduate with a Regents Diploma ( supposedly more significant educationally ) will increase significantly. The Board of Regents is one of the reasons that cursive writing ( yes, that gnaws at me ) was dropped because they no longer required a written essay on the Regents exam.

Indeed, most HS teachers always taught to the Regents exams the last month or so. Ridiculous. Right now, in my opinion, the only diploma that signifies any kind of excellence is an IB diploma ( International Baccalaureate) because it is a rigorous course of study that actually has value. Students must be accepted into the program based on their academic achievements.

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lulu bella

I read The Immortalists and did not love it at all. It was ok but I see it getting mentioned and keep hearing of it for book clubs lately. I don't know why it is getting so much "play" . I am going to try Carnegie's Maid next.

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vee_new

I've been listening to The Testaments Margaret Atwood's follow-up to her Handmaid's Tale. Although some so-called critics say it contains dark humour I obviously missed those references. Don't read/listen to this if you are in a low mood and keep all sharp instruments, lengths of rope, strong medication well out of reach.

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annpanagain

I finished the Simon Brett murder mystery and wonder if he was feeling down when he wrote it! It was rather depressing and even the usual two women who investigate seemed flat! I like my cosy murders to have some humour about them!

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msmeow

I'm working on The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis, and finding it somewhat dull and slow. Maybe it's the switching back & forth between past & present, which breaks the two story lines into little pieces.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

I have finished The Long Call by Ann Cleeves and gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I'm glad to see she has started another series.

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carolyn_ky

Last night I finished Iced in Paradise by Naomi Hirahara. This book was set on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, but it looks as if others by her are mostly set in Japan. Has anyone read any of them? I enjoyed Iced, but then I like anything Hawaiian.

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msmeow

I finished The Doll House by Fiona Davis yesterday. I ended up getting caught up in the story about halfway through the book and I enjoyed it.

I've just started Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, have you read any of her other novels : The Address , The Masterpiece ? She constructs her stories the same way so that we can understand and appreciate the historical aspects of the building . I really enjoyed her way of writing and found I learned things in each one....in fact for each story I did research to find photos or more info about the building.

She also has a new one, The Chelsea Girls , which I have not read yet.

Bon

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astrokath

I have been reading the thriller/crime books by Mick Herron, starting with Slow Horses. It involves operatives from MI5 who have made a variety of mistakes, and are sent off to a building nicknamed Slough House to do menial paperwork, with the hope that they will resign. Of course, somehow they get mixed up in more operative things. Herron's writing style is very dry British wit, and I think it is bordering on unique. The leader of this group is a very strange man, politically incorrect, and physically repugnant, but somehow likeable.

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msmeow

Bon, this was my first Fiona Davis book. I did find myself Googling the Barbizon Hotel! :) My only time in NYC was long enough for a cab ride from Penn Station to the cruise port and a subway ride from the port to Penn Station. Maybe we'll go there some day for a real visit.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

As I said, I enjoyed her others very much......especially The Address because of the back story.

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carolyn_ky

I read Simon Brett's The Killer in the Choir and agree with Annpan. I like Carole and Jude to work as a duo, and I'm tired of hearing how uptight Carole is.

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annpanagain

Carolyn, I am relieved that you thought as I did! Sometimes what one reads in a book is a reflection of your own mood and mine is still a bit bleak after the recent rotten Winter!

I am trying to get into "The Spook in the Stacks" by Eva Gates, one of the Lighthouse Library Mystery series and this time I have trouble with the "cast of thousands"!

I am still getting them sorted out, plus recalling "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" plot mentioned in this book. I think I read a digest version in a book for children some seventy-five years ago, so remember little about it.

Of course I could look it up as well as where the Outer Banks are! But I don't feel I should have to do research before I read a cosy...

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msmeow

Ann, I don't know the whole Sleepy Hollow story, but the Outer Banks are the chain of barrier islands that run down the east coast of North Carolina. Cape Hatteras is the easternmost point, I think.

Donna

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annpanagain

Donna, thanks! I find it easier to read a book set in a familiar scene if I want to just relax into it but I suppose we have to get out of our comfort zones sometimes!

I actually did that once physically when I went to Dublin to see the places mentioned by favourite Irish authors. There is nothing like being in a place, however much one reads about it!

I glanced at travel literature before I went to Adelaide in South Australia many years ago but the first thing I noticed when I arrived was the fresh air, blown pure and clean from the Antarctic. It reminded me of a plain vanilla ice cream!

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vee_new

I had heard good things about Pat Barker's book The Silence of the Girls so ordered a copy from the library. It is based on Homer's Iliad and some of Euripedes telling the gruesome story of the long wars between the Greeks and the Trojans through the 'voice' of Briseis captured daughter of a king, who has been made a slave to Achilles.

What a bloodthirsty hate filled, revenge seeking, brutal lot the Greeks were . . . Endless scenes of stabbings, decapitations, blood-soaked ground, plagues of rats, endless rapes of the slave women. Even knowing that the 'story' came from such a great and ancient work did little for me and I only finished it because I thought I should and not to see if there was a Happy Ending, which of course there wasn't.


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kathy_t

Finished reading The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh last night. I liked it fine, but not on my list of top favorites.

Up next is This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (thanks to Skibby's post about it).

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kathy_t

Oops, I think I might need to change my "next up" book to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. According to my library website, I'm now #1 in line for it, and I need to read it for my October book club meeting. Darn! Isn't that how it always goes when you put books on hold? They become available at the most inconvenient times.

Well, on second thought, I guess it's a nice problem to have - two reputedly very good books knocking at my door at the same time. Better than a wolf wanting in.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Let us know how you like the Krueger book Kathyt. I've reserved it at my Library but I don't know how long I'll have to wait.

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kathy_t

Will do, Skibby.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading Gallows Court by Martin Edwards, whose books I like. This one is set in London in 1930 where a rich young woman seems to be entertaining herself by investigating murders and then dealing with the murderer by making him commit suicide. I'm not very far along in it, so I don't know where it is going.

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yoyobon_gw

How The Light Gets In - Louise Penny ( #9)

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msmeow

Bon, you've caught up with me! :)

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yoyobon_gw

I cannot help myself. I tried reading another kind of fiction between the Three Pines books but had to go back to them. Especially this one, since how The Beautiful Mystery ended was disturbing and I needed to continue that story !

No spoilers !!

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