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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