Friday, September 30, 2022

September 2022

Once again it was a month of library books and light stuff (featuring animals) from Project Gutenberg.
Some good reads and a few duds and disappointments.

I did read one from my own shelves and weeded a couple of others without reading.

And now, for next month, there are two waiting on the holds shelf and another seven "in transit."  and I haven't even started The books of Jacob.

Checked out Aug 31
A Tidy ending : a novel by Cannon, Joanna
Finished Sep 3.  An unreliable narrator who frequently got on my nerves but I really liked this novel.
Dear Edward : a novel by Napolitano, Ann
Finished Sep 4.  Sole survivor of airplane crash.  Liked it.
Checked out Sept 1
Amy among the serial killers : a novel by Willett, Jincy
 Finished Sep 13. Fun. A bit confusing at times but that didn't really matter.
Fox Creek : a novel by Krueger, William Kent
 Finished (sort of, there was much skimming) Sep 7. Love Krueger's writing but didn't care for all the detailed cat and mouse stuff. This was the first of the Cork O'Connor series that I've read, although it's the 19th in the series.  I'll skip the rest but will try to read Ordinary Grace.
Inventing Latinos : a new story of American racism by Gómez, Laura E. 
 Finished Sep 13 Nonfiction. OK
Four Treasures of the sky by Zhang, Jenny Tinghui
 Finished Sep 5  Chinese in USA in 1890s
The Broken Girls by St. James, Simone
Finished Sep 7. Wayward girls, crooked cops, snoopy journalists, secrets, and a ghost! 

Checked out Sep 8
The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Liu, Ken
 Finished Sep 26. Read about half. Sort of fantasy, sci fi, futuristic, AI takes over, etc. Just not my thing.
Ghost Forest by Fung, Pik-Shuen
 Finished Sep 11.  Meh
Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World by Shephard, Sue 
 Finished Sep 27. Not bad but pretty much a review course for me. A lot of stuff I already sorta knew.
The Bell in the Lake (The Sister Bells, #1) by Mytting, Lars
 Finished Sep 19. So very good!
Checked out Sep 19
I Walk Between the Raindrops : Stories by Boyle, T. Coraghessan
 Finished Sep 25. Most of these were good. There was only one I didn't finish.
Killers of a certain age by Raybourn, Deanna,
 Abandoned Sep 27. Sorry this just didn't make it with me.
The books of Jacob by Tokarczuk, Olga
Other birds by Allen, Sarah Addison
 Finished Sep 23. A pleasant read.
Call Me a Cab by Westlake, Donald E. 
 Finished Sep 21 A fun road trip.

From My Shelves:
Belgrad Noir edited by Ivanović, Milorad 
Finished Sep 29
A Review Copy won on LibraryThing ages ago (Oct 2020). I found I hadn’t reviewed it because it was miss-shelved. Since it was in 2020 I'll blame the Covid!.
It was ok but not one of the best of the Akashic Noir series. It certainly shows the very dark side of Belgrade but most of the stories were thin on plot and characterization. Lots of violent revenging and avenging for things that happened in the past. The stories were informative in a social science kind of way but not so much in a literary way. They lacked the suspense and ironic twists that I like in the noir genre.

 Because in A Tidy Ending Joanna Cannon mentioned "paste sandwiches" and I had no idea of what they were. So "paste" is "potted meat" which I do remember having as a child. This article also caused me to put in a request for Pickled, potted, and canned: how the art and science of food preserving changed the world by Sue Shephard. Hope it comes in while I'm still in the mood to read it!
Gutenberg finds:  
The Alley cat's kitten by Caroline Fuller (originally published 1904)
Lots of cats and also some dogs, rabbits, horses, and more in this book of the adventures of an animal loving family.
Dogs of all nations by W. E. Mason 
Produced for The Panama-Pacific International Exposition 1915.
" A complete work, profusely illustrated, bearing on the world’s different varieties of the dog, grouped under their several nationalities, with descriptive matter explaining the characteristics and utility of each."
In addition to the portraits and descriptions of the togs there are also the following chapters:
Dogs of Warfare           
British Sheepdogs
Training the Shepherd Dog
Police Dogs
The Hunting World and the Use of Dogs
The Gun and Coursing Dogs of the World
Whippet Dogs and Whippet Racing
The Sled Dogs of Alaska

Lives of Two Cats by Pierre Loti; translated from the French by M. B. Richards; illustrated by C. E. Allen

Our Friend the Dog by Maurice Maeterlinck; translated from the French by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos; llustrated by Cecil Alden. Charming essay on dogs in general and one dog, Pelléas, in particular.

That Pup by Ellis Parker Butler; illustrated by Frederick Strothmann 

 "Murchison, who lives next door to me, wants to get rid of a dog, and if you know of anyone who wants a dog I wish you would let Murchison know. Murchison doesn't need it. He is tired of dogs, anyway. That is just like Murchison. 'Way up in an enthusiasm one day and sick of it the next."
And so the author, Murchison, and two other neighbors try to get rid of that pup.  It ain't easy!
 The Royal Picture Alphabet (of humour and droll moral tales, or, Words & their meanings illustrated) by John Leighton
Dd.     DELIGHTFUL, Pleasant, Charming.
These boys are bathing in the stream
When they should be at school:
The master’s coming round to see
Who disregards his rule.

A different sort of alphabet book. Some of the rhymes are a bit forced to fit meter and moral.

Tame Animals , anonymous, published by George Routledge and Sons, no date.
 Six pictures (hare, goat, cow, sheep, dormouse, and ass) with brief text. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August 2022

Lukigura River. (from Three years of war in East Africa, by Angus Buchanan)

It was so very hot and humid. Reading was pretty much all I did. Of course there were library trips and a limited amount of shopping.

I ended the month with no carryover of unread library books. (But there are some waiting to be picked up on the holds shelf at the library.) All books were from the public library or Project Gutenberg. Some good reading and some real duds...

Library books carried over from July:

Hotel silence by Auður A. Ólafsdóttir
Something seems familiar about this. I may have started it before and given up on it. Whatever, I just can't get into it.
A house among the trees : a novel by Glass, Julia
Finished Aug 2 Really liked it! 
I Hotel by Yamashita, Karen Tei
This started off with a lot of promise but by page 80 it started becoming tedious and I decided I didn't want to read 600+ pages of this.
Obabakoak : a novel by Atxaga, Bernardo: translated from the Spanish by Costa, Margaret Jull
 Finished Aug 1
Castaways : a graphic novel by Pérez Granell, Laura and Monforte, Pablo: translated from the Spanish by Labayen, Silvia Perea: Letterer Gil, Joamette
Finished: Aug 2.  ok. Art is good, story a bit mundane.
The Empress and the English doctor : how Catherine the Great defied a deadly virus by Ward, Lucy
Finished Aug 7
Fellowship point : a novel by Dark, Alice Elliott
 Decided not (after about 80 pages) to invest any more time in this slow moving (580 pages) story.

These four were checked out on July 30 but not listed on my July page:
30 animals that made us smarter : stories of the natural world that inspired human ingenuity by Aryee, Patrick 
The animals may have made "us" smarter but the author talks down to us.  Too "Golly, Gee!" for my taste.
Checkout 19 by Bennett, Claire-Louise
Too much repetitious, stream of whatever, apparently to fill up 272 pages. This is a book that is not going to be read by me. No, I'm not going to read it. Poof. It's gone.
Peach blossom spring by Fu, Meliss 
Finished Aug 7. Liked this family saga of a Chinese/Taiwanese immigrant 
Secret city : the hidden history of gay Washington by Kirchick, James
Finished Aug 5  Excellent. Nonfiction.
Checked out on Aug 3:
The butterfly house by Engberg, Katrine
Finished Aug 15.
The tenant by Engberg, Katrine
Finished Aug 11. Copenhagen crime.
The it girl by Ware, Ruth
Finished Aug 6 Liked it, even though it was a bit predictable.
A small hotel by Butler, Robert Olen
Finished Aug 10. Story of a marriage.
The widower's tale by Glass, Julia
Finished Aug 16. Interesting situations & character but too many of each.

Checked out on Aug 8:
Grey bees by Kurkov, Andreĭ
Finished Aug 14. Ukraine "grey zone."  Good novel
Mercury Pictures presents : a novel by Marra, Anthony
Finished Aug 9. Liked it but was a bit disappointed probably because my expectations were so high.
The half life of Valery K : a novel by Pulley, Natasha
Finished Aug 13. Liked it but not as much as earlier Pulley novels I've read.

Checked out on Aug 15:
The almost legendary Morris sisters : a true story of family fiction by Klam, Julie
Finished Aug 17. Nonfiction. Account of author's search to verify (or refute) family lore.
Hotel Portofino by O'Connell, J. P.
Finished Aug 22. A little less than so, so. Oh, hum perhaps.
The many daughters of Afong Moy : a novel by Ford, Jamie
Finished Aug 21. Liked it but it got a bit confusing.

Checked out Aug 20:
After she wrote him by Gentill, Sulari
Finished Aug 23. Meta, meta--loved it!
Blood on the river : a chronicle of mutiny and freedom on the Wild Coast by Kars, Marjoleine
Finished Aug 26. Well researched history of a 1763 slave rebellion in the Dutch colony of Berbice (in present day Guyana).
Heatwave : a novel by Jestin, Victor
Finished Aug 22. I wasn't impressed but I'm kind of beyond coming of age novellas about 17 year old boys written by 21 year old men.

Checked out Aug 25:
Afterlives by Gurnah, Abdulrazak
Finished Aug 28. Excellent!
Dava Shastri's last day : a novel by Ramisetti, Kirthana
Finished Aug 28. Good family bonding story

From Gutenberg:
Three years of war in East Africa by Angus Buchanan (illustrations and maps by the author)
Finished Aug 30. This came up in Gutenbergs "Recent Releases" when I was reading Afterlives which is set in the same time and place. Since the Gurnah novel was from the point of view of Africans and Germans, it was interesting to read this account of the war by a British officer. Also has information about flora & fauna.
A Book of Images  drawn by W. T. Horton; introduced by W. B. Yeats
Read Aug 15

Saturday, July 30, 2022

July 2022

Started the month with thirteen library books on my shelves (and one on library's shelf waiting to be picked up.) Let's see how I do? 
Of course I didn't finish them before I checked out more... (on the 13th, the 19th, 21st, & 26th) many of which will be carried over to Aug.

By the nineteenth of the month I had finished these (except for the three that I decided not to read).
I also finished the two I picked up on the thirteenth.
Time for another trip to the library!
I read a bunch, dumped some more & ended up with a very messy record! I'm marking the carry over to August with *.  (Also made a library trip on the 30th but am not listing those four check-outs here in July.)
As messy as this is I'm letting it stand as it shows how a typical reading month goes.
I also did some random Gutenberg searches and picked some pictorial works..
...and I read some from my large Kindle backlog.

Total read : 21 library books, 2 from my Kindle collection, 3 from Gutenberg
Rejected Library books : 6
Checked Out in June:  
The inheritance of Orquídea Divina : a novel by Córdova, Zoraida,
Due: Jul 9, 2022
Finished reading Jul 1.  Liked it very much.

2) The garden of broken things by Momplaisir, Francesca,
Due:Jul 11, 2022
Finished: Jul 6 A little bit better than just ok

3) Skye falling: a novel by McKenzie, Mia,
Due:Jul 11, 2022 
Finished: Jul 2 Liked it

4) Appleseed : a novel by Bell, Matt,
Due: Jul 15, 2022 (renewed to Aug 5)
Barely started when early boredom set in.
5) Everyone knows your mother is a witch by Galchen, Rivka,
Due: Jul 15, 2022(renewed to Aug 5)
Started but just couldn't get into it

6) The guide: a novel by Heller, Peter,
Due: Jul 15, 2022
Finished: Jul 12.  Sinister activities at a high end Colorado fishing resort. Heller does this so well!
7) Highway blue : a novel by McFarlane, Ailsa,
Due: Jul 15, 2022 
Finished: Jul 3 Not great, but not awful. Just OK and short.
8) How high we go in the dark : a novel by Nagamatsu, Sequoia, 
Yuck! Did not finish
9) Lapvona by Moshfegh, Ottessa,
Due: Jul 15, 2022
Finished: Jul 7. A lot of people didn't like the gore, etc. in this. I read it as satire and thought it worked

10) Pignon Scorbion & the barbershop detectives by Bleiweiss, Rick,
Due: Jul 15, 2022
Finished: Jul 8; Wasn't very good. It's the start of a series I won't be reading.

11) The woman in the library : a novel byAuthor: Gentill, Sulari,
Due: Jul 15, 2022
Finished : Jul 3 Loved it!

12) Filthy animals by Taylor, Brandon
Due: Jul 20, 2022
Finished: Jul 11. Surprised I liked the somewhat linked short stories. 
13) Moonlight and the pearler's daughter by Pook, Lizzie,
Due: Jul 20, 2022
Finished: Jul 13 Meh. Stuff about the pearl business was interesting  but the story...
To Pick Up  Picked up: Jul 6
1) The ocean in winter : a novel by De Veer, Elizabeth,
Due: Jul 20
Finished: Jul 12. three Sisters. 

Checked out: Jul 13
1) The angel of Rome : and other stories by Walter, Jess, 1965-
Due: Aug 3, 2022
Finished: Jul 17  Loved all the stories

2) The Baba Yaga mask by Spisak, Kris,
Due: Aug 3, 2022
Finished: Jul 15 Ukrainian/American sisters search for their grandmother in Poland and neighboring areas.
Checked out Jul 19 (all due Aug 9)

1) The harbor by Engberg, Katrine; translated from the Danish by Chace, Tara F.
Finished: Jul 28  Police in Copenhagen. Liked it.

*2) Hotel silence by Auður A. Ólafsdóttir

*3) A house among the trees : a novel by Glass, Julia

4) In sunlight or in shadow : stories inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper edited by Block, Lawrence. Illustrated with paintings by Edward Hopper. Contributors: Stephen King, Justin Scott, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Gail Levin, Kris Nelscott, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Jill D. Block, Joe R. Lansdale, Warren Moore,  and Lawrence Block .
Finished: Jul 22 It's rare that I like all the stories in an anthology, but these were all good.
5) Mary Coin by Silver, Marisa
Finished: Jul 22. Three points of view, three eras but unifying events set mostly in Central California depression era. I really enjoyed this.

6) The paper wasp : a novel by Acampora, Lauren
Didn't get very far with this one. The first person direct address narration just didn't work for me in this case.

7) Rush : revolution, madness, and the visionary doctor who became a founding father by Fried, Stephen
Finished: June 26  Excellent!

8) The sea garden by Lawrenson, Deborah
Lost interest about a quarter of the way through...

9) Snap by Bauer, Belinda
Finished: Jul 23 Good thriller

10) This house is mine by Hansen, Dörte; translated from the German by Stokes, Anne
Finished: Jul 28 Loved this. German village through a generation or two.

11) You made a fool of death with your beauty: a novel by Emezi, Akwaeke
I'd like to forget I even read the first page of this!

Checked out Jul 21 (all due Aug 11) 

*1) I Hotel by Yamashita, Karen Tei

2) In the great green room : the brilliant and bold life of Margaret Wise Brown by Gary, Amy
Finished: Jul 27

*3) Obabakoak : a novel by Atxaga, Bernardo.

4) Tales from the cafe: a novel by Kawaguchi, Toshikazu; translated from the Japanese by Trousselot, Geoffrey
Finished: Jul 25 (I didn't actually check this out--my housemate did) Liked the first of the series better.

Checked out on July 26 (all due Aug 16)
*1) Castaways : a graphic novel by Pérez Granell, Laura and Monforte, Pablo: translated from the Spanish by Labayen, Silvia Perea: Letterer Gil, Joamette
*2) The Empress and the English doctor : how Catherine the Great defied a deadly virus by Ward, Lucy
*3) Fellowship point : a novel by Dark, Alice Elliott

From my Kindle Collection:
Happy Dreams by Jia Pingwa; Nicky Harman (Translator)
 So, so.  Neat characters. Chinese trash pickers.
Jerkwater by Jamie Zendt 
 not bad...
From Gutenberg:  
I went here for some pictorial relief...

Phil May's Gutter-Snipes: 50 Original Sketches in Pen & Ink by Phil May. Original Publication McMillan, 1896. Gutenberg has other works by this noted cartoonist.

The shasta route along the southern pacific—the road of a thousand wonders: A scenic guide book from San Francisco, California, to Portland, Oregon on the road of a thousand wonders
Original Publication     United States :Curt Teich & Co.,1920. 
The charm of Reynolds by James Mason. Original Publication United Kingdom :T.C. & E.C. Jack,1911. 

Elsewhere in the Internet: 

Friday, July 01, 2022

June 2022

Some pretty good reads for June--all from public libraries. No really bad ones on the lists below though I was a bit disappointed by the Ali Smith. 
 (I tried to read  On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Its blend of fiction/memoir and poetic prose seemed forced and pretentious. I read about a third of it and gave up.)

When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Solà, Irine; translated from the Catalan by Lethem, Mara Faye
Build Your House Around My Body by Kupersmith, Violet
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Roffey, Monique
Go, Went, Gone by Erpenbeck, Jenny; translated from the German by Bernofsky, Susan
Metropolis by Shapiro, B.A.
Thy Children's Children by McCain, Diana Ross 
 Local--Lyman Family of Middlefield CT 
A Dream Life by Messud, Claire 
 Short but nice. American ex-pats in Australia.
The Foundling by Leary, Ann 
Hotel Magnifique by Taylor, Emily J.
And By Fire by Hawtrey, Evie
You Have a Friend in 10A, Stories by Shipstead, Maggie
Companion Piece by Smith, Ali 
Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir by Yovanovitch, Marie 
The Artisans; A Vanishing Chinese Village, by Shen, Fuyu; translated from the Chinese by Tiang, Jeremy 
Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle by Rosen, Jody
River of the Gods: Genius, Courage and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Millard, Candice

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

May 2022

Another month of good reading--all from the library or online. No dent in the Owned-but-unread shelves. No real duds this month
Apart from the reading is was a month of mini disasters. I was exposed to Covid and had to quarantine again. Fortunately I tested negative. Then there was a mysterious crash in the night. We wandered all over the place trying to figure out what happened. Alas, it was our favorite bathroom mirror. Not too mush glass to clean up but it's no longer usable. Then the air conditioner stopped working properly. It's now fixed - we hope! It's getting old so....

I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Pickhart Kalani
Family of Liars by Lockert, E.
Bitter Orange Tree by Alharthi, Jokha; translated from the Arabic by Booth, Marilyn
Quantum Girl Theory by Ryan, Erin Kate 
 missing girls 
True Biz by Nović, Sara
Glad Ghosts by Lawrence, D. H.
 on Project Gutenberg
Marrying the Ketchups by Close, Jennifer
The Saints of Swallow Hill by Everhart, Donna
The Nakamo Thrift Shop by Kawakami, Hiromi; translated from the Japanese by Powell. Allison Markin
High Spirits by Gomera-Tavarez, Camille
  short stories from the Dominican diaspora
This Time Tomorrow by Straub, Emma
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us edited by Kinder, Colleen  
The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Letts, Elizabeth
The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Mask, Deirdre

 Two inspired by The Address Book:
  I never would have known this exixted if I hadn't read Mask's book!
Directions  Essay by Robert Sullivan. Photographs by Elizabeth Felicella
 Serendipity - this came up in my Bloglovin' feed when I was reading Mask's book.

Other online stuff..
 I'm such a picnic person....
Why Did the U.S. Government Amass More Than a Billion Pounds of Cheese? The long, strange saga of government cheese. by Diana Hubbe
 I remember mother-in-law volunteered at a senior center for a government food distribution. Many of the eligible recipients wanted "that damned cheese!"
Bib Ballads by Ring Lardner
Some poems in anticipation of Father's Day. We had BooWoo Got Left in Orosi and The Samantha Bear Stories, the Lardner family had:


He was weary of all of his usual joys;
His books and his blocks made him tired,
And so did his games and mechanical toys,
And the songs he had always admired;
So I told him a story, a story so new
It had never been heard anywhere;
A tale disconnected, unlikely, untrue,
Called The Grocery Man and the Bear.

I didn't think much of the story despite
The fact 'twas a child of my brain.
And I never dreamt, when I told it that night,
That I'd have to tell it again;
I never imagined 'twould make such a hit
With the audience of one that was there
That for hours at a time he would quietly sit
Through The Grocery Man and the Bear.

To all other stories, this one is preferred;
It's the season's best seller by far,
And out at our house it's as frequently heard
As cuss-words in Mexico are.
When choo-choos and horses and picture books fail,
He'll remain, quite content, in his chair,
While I tell o'er and o'er the incredible tale
Of The Grocery Man and the Bear.