LauraBrook's 2014 Category Challenge

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LauraBrook's 2014 Category Challenge

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Modificato: Gen 1, 2015, 12:05 pm

Hello and welcome to my attempt at doing the 2014 Category Challenge. Last year I went "easy" on myself and did each month as a category and one month of books that I had LT friends select for me from my library. I read more than the 100 books that I wanted to (final total: 188), but I didn't get to read most of the books that friends chose for me. Finishing those up is on my short list for this year, to be sure.

Total books read in 2014: 234!

My categories this time around have more structure than last year, yet still have a bit of wiggle room for me to fit everything into. A few years ago I remember trying to rationalize fitting books in, and that wasn't fun. This is supposed to be fun!

Girl Reading by Charles Perugini, found via google

In general, I have no goals for any category, but I am shooting for a hopefully-not-too-high number of 150 books total for the year. I think I can do it, especially as I'm reading more and more Graphic Novels and children's picture books.

1. Forced Reading (Group Reads, Book Club picks, etc)
2. Graphic Novel and Manga
3. Series
4. Re-reads
5. LT Recommendations
6. Borrowed
7. Children's / Middle Grade
8. ER / ARCs
9. Best Of Lists
10. Read & Get Rid Of
11. Random Piles Around the House
12. Impulse Grabs at Work
13. All Things British
14. Kitchen Sink

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:00 pm

A. Forced Reading (AKA books in Group Reads, for my real-life book clubs, etc)

1. A Lost Lady by Willa Cather (Jan 26) 174 pgs
2. The Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl (spring) 192 pgs
3. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver (spring) 176 pgs
4. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (spring) 298 pgs
5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (spring) 256 pgs
6. 13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro (May) 288 pgs
7. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (May) 334 pgs
8. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (June) 512 pgs
9. Borderlands by Brian McGilloway (July) 324 pgs
10. The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke (September) 304 pgs

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 3:26 pm

C. Series There are always lots of these!

1. Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren (Jan ?) 352 pgs
2. Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren (Jan ?) 432 pgs
3. Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren (Jan ?) 208 pgs
4. Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock (spring) 48 pgs
5. Sabine's Notebook by Nick Bantock (spring) 48 pgs
6. The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock (spring) 48 pgs
7. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (May) 320 pgs
8. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (April) 368 pgs
9. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich (May) 320 pgs
10. Artifact by Gigi Pandian (April) 298 pgs
11. The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker (spring) 336 pgs
12. The Serpent's Trail by Sue Henry (May) 288 pgs
13. The Gryphon by Nick Bantock (June) 56 pgs
14. Alexandria by Nick Bantock (June) 56 pgs
15. The Morning Star by Nick Bantock (June) 56 pgs
16. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (June) 449 pgs
17. Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen (June) 304 pgs
18. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (summer) 341 pgs
19. Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen (Sept) 304 pgs
20. Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian (summer) 306 pgs
21. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (summer) 656 pgs
22. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris (summer) 304 pgs
23. Club Dead by CHarlaine Harris (summer) 258 pgs
24. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris (summer) 310 pgs
25. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (summer) 320 pgs
26. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (summer) 352 pgs
27. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (summer) 342 pgs
28. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (summer) 368 pgs
29. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (summer) 311 pgs
30. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris (summer) 336 pgs
31. A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris (summer) 192 pgs
32. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (summer) 368 pgs
33. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (summer) 352 pgs

Modificato: Dic 31, 2013, 11:52 pm

D. Re-reads A category I've always wanted to have, and I know I'll be needing some comfort reading this year


Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:14 pm

E. LT Recommendations This includes shiny new books I find on the threads and the ones that were chosen for me to read in 2013 and I didn't get around to.

1. The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool (summer) 32 pgs
2. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (summer) 334 pgs
3. I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant (Sept) 28 pgs

Modificato: Dic 31, 2013, 11:52 pm

F. Borrowed I have a some very unruffled friends whose books they have lent to me for months, if not years. I'm sorry, and I'm working on it.


Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:36 pm

G. Children's/Middle Grade

1. Around the World by Matt Phelan (Jan ?) 240 pgs
2. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywait (spring) 40 pgs
3. Mousekin's Family by Edna Miller (spring) 30 pgs
4. Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer (spring) 44 pgs
5. The Dark by Lemony Snicket (spring) 40 pgs
6. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket (spring) 32 pgs
7. Kokeshi Kimono Book by Annelore Parot (spring) 36 pgs
8. The True Story of Stellina by Matteo Pericoli (spring) 40 pgs
9. Hansi by Ludwig Bemelmens (spring) 40 pgs
10. The Scraps Book by Lois Ehlert (spring) 72 pgs
11. Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand (spring) 136 pgs
12. The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson (spring) 40 pgs
13. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (spring) 40 pgs
14. Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully (spring) 32 pgs
15. Flotsam by David Wiesner (spring) 40 pgs
16. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale (spring) 144 pgs
17. Naples! Recipe for Adventure by Giada De Laurentiis (spring) 144 pgs
18. Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale (May) 320 pgs
19. The Giver by Lois Lowry (June) 179 pgs
20. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (June) 2 hrs 31 min
21. Coco All Year Round by Sloane Tanen (June) 32 pgs
22. Where Is Coco Going by Sloane Tanen (summer) 32 pgs
23. The Trail of Lost Time by R.A. Montgomery (summer) 144 pgs
24. Paris! A Recipe for Adventure Book by Giada de Laurentiis (summer) 144 pgs
25. Hong Kong! A Recipe for Adventure Book by Giada de Laurentiis (summer) 144 pgs
26. Appetite for Detention by Sloane Tanen (summer) 80 pgs
27. President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett (August) 32 pgs
28. Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (summer) 48 pgs
29. Little Monster's Counting Book by Mercer Mayer (summer) I'm guessing 32 pages, though I don't really know
30. The Graves Family Goes Camping by Patricia Polacco (August) 48 pgs
31. Barbie Dream Closet by Kristen L. Depken (Sept) 48 pgs
32. Lizzy Bennet's Diary by Marcia Williams (Sept) 112 pgs

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:40 pm

Modificato: Dic 31, 2013, 11:52 pm

I. Best Of Lists Lists of books are so tempting, aren't they? This is the second largest reason for me acquiring books. (The first is LT, of course!)


Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:54 pm

J. Read and Get Rid Of At one point I counted over 100 of these titles on 1 shelf (!!!), so goodness knows there are more lurking around here.

1. Beethoven's Shadow by Jonathan Bliss (Jan 1) 1 hr 57 min, 3*
2. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (spring) 7 hrs 15 min
3. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell 197 pgs
4. Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Evelyne Lever (spring) 374 pgs
5. Naked Heat by Richard Castle (spring) 448 pgs
6. The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh (spring) 256 pgs
7. Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones (June) 271 pgs
8. Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg (summer) 304 pgs
9. Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur (summer) 432 pgs

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 11:51 pm

K. Random Piles Around the House Far too many of these for my liking, it's starting to look like I have a problem. Which, of course, I don't. ;)

1. A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulia Sikka (Spring) 224 pgs
2. The Vision Board by Joyce Schwarz (spring) 208 pgs
3. The Healing Consciousness: A Doctor's Journey to Healing by Beth Baughman DuPree (Spring) 370 pgs
4. Ask Graham by Graham Norton (spring) 250 pgs
5. Complete Guide to Container Gardening by Better Homes & Gardens (spring) 224 pgs

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 3:01 pm

L. Impluse Grabs At Work Lots of these. Lots and lots of these. And I'm only at the library part-time!

1. Sorry I Barfed On Your Bed by Jeremy Greenberg (Jan ?) 64 pgs
2. Test Your Cat's IQ by E.M. Bard (Jan 26) 138 pgs
3. Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli (spring) 249 pgs
4. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (spring) 301 pgs
5. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber (spring) 136 pgs
6. Streamlining Your Life: A 5-Point Plan for Uncomplicated Living by Stephanie Culp (spring) 128 pgs
7. Songbook by Nick Hornby (spring) 152 pgs
8. Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Book You Haven't Touched Since High School by Kevin Smokler (spring) 300 pgs
9. The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson (spring) 304 pgs
10. Hatched! by Sloane Tanen (summer) 80 pgs
11. Roar of a Snore by Marsha Diane Arnold (summer) 32 pgs
12. Dirty Gert by Tedd Arnold (summer) 32 pgs
13. Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong (summer) 32 pgs
14. Stop That Pickle! by Peter Armour (summer) 32 pgs
15. The Mouse Who Saved Egypt by Karim Airawi (summer) 32 pgs
16. The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara (summer) 32 pgs
17. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg (summer) 32 pgs
18. The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg (summer) 32 pgs
19. The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco (summer) 48 pgs
20. Delilah D At The Library by Jeanne Willis (summer) 32 pgs

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:56 pm

M. All Things British Being a lifelong Anglophile, I'm not without options.

1. Doctor Who-The TARDIS Inside Out by John Nathan-Turner (Jan 1) 40 pgs 3*
2. Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia by Annabel Gibson (Jan ?) 208 pgs
3. Jane in Search of a Job by Agatha Christie (spring) 34 pgs
4. Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie (spring) 75 pgs
5. Doctor Who: The Vault by Marcus Hearn (summer) 320 pgs
6. The Murder On The Links by Agatha Christie (Summer) 272 pgs
7. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (Sept) 256 pgs

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 3:17 pm

N. Kitchen Sink Just in case something doesn't "fit".

1. Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio (Jan 27) 288 pgs
2. The What To Eat If You Have Cancer Cookbook by Maureen Keane (Jan 28) 176 pgs
3. The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz (Jan 28) 232 pgs
4. Bearded Lady by Mara Altman (spring) 46 pgs
5. Sheldon & Mrs. Levine, An Excruciating Correspondence by Sam Bobrick (May) 46 pgs
6. Month-by-Month Gardening in Wisconsin by Melinda Meyers (spring) 288 pgs
7. This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (summer) 1 hr 18 min
8. Alive and Well: Into the New Millennium with Edgar Cayce, Volume 1 by Bette S. Margolis (summer) 184 pgs
9. The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives by Kim Ficaro (summer) 208 pgs
10. Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins (summer) 288 pgs
11. What It Is by Lynda Barry (summer) 209 pgs
12. Skeleton Crew by Stephen King (Sept) 576 pgs
13. Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo (Sept) 256 pgs
14. Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton (Sept) 145 pgs
15. A Taste of True Blood: A Fangbanger's Guide by Leah Wilson (Sept) 244 pgs
16. The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett (Sept) 88 pgs
17. Strange Brew by P.N. Elrod (Sept) 384 pgs
18. An Apple for the Creature by Charlaine Harris (Sept) 352 pgs
19. My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding by various (Sept) 310 pgs
20. Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris (Sept) 320 pgs
21. Down These Strange Streets by various (Sept) 496 pgs
22. Games Creatures Play by various (Sept) 368 pgs
23. Death's Excellent Vacation by various (Sept) 352 pgs
24. Dead of Night by various (Sept) 464 pgs
25. Home Improvement by Charlaine Harris (summer) 352 pgs
26. A Week in Summer by Maeve Binchy (Sept) 22 pgs
27. Crimes by Moonlight by Charlain Harris (summer) 432 pgs

Modificato: Gen 28, 2014, 12:23 pm

Monthly Totals Number of Books / Pages / Audiobook time

January: 17 / 3,202 / 1 hr 57 min

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 3:28 pm

American Author Challenge

THE RULES: **Very simple. Pick a book by that author, hopefully something off the shelf (that is always the mission folks!) and read it. Easy, peasy. If you want to list your picks here, go right ahead. If one of these authors revolts you, substitute a different American author. Of course, there will be "The Purists" and these people will be held in high regard. The Book Gods will smile down upon each and every one.

January: Willa Cather A Lost Lady finished on January 26
February: William Faulkner - missed
March: Cormac McCarthy - missed
April: Toni Morrison - missed
May: Eudora Welty - missed
June: Kurt Vonnegut - missed
July: Mark Twain - missed
August: Philip Roth - missed
September: James Baldwin - missed
October: Edith Wharton - currently reading The Cruise of the Vanadis
November: John Updike
December: Larry Watson

Modificato: Gen 28, 2014, 12:29 pm

Books Purchased Title, Author, Place Purchased, and Price

Ideally, this number will be much much less than the total number of books read, but I know that that's not likely. It'd be a nice change, but I'm not holding my breath.

1. A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf (Amazon) $13
2. Henrietta Sees It Through by Joyce Dennys (A) $7 (gift)
3. Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys (A) $6 (gift)
4. Love's Shadow by Ada Leverson (A) $6
5. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker (A) $6
6. A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz (A) $6
7. Henrietta's War (again) by Joyce Dennys (A) $6 (another gift)
8. Hospital Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones (A) $6
9. My Fair Captain by J L Langley (A) $5
10. The Regency Underworld by Donald A Low (A) $14
11. Late Bloomer by Erica Scott (A) $6
12. Whatever She Wants by Andrew Rosetta (A) $6
13. Beach Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones (A) $6
(had a bit of a book buying binge of titles that have long been on my wish list - plus a few gifts - in preparation for lots of extra reading time while I'm taking care of my Mom getting through cancer treatment. Today is Jan 7. Yikes - $93 is not great for 1 week.)
14. Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson (PaperbackSwap) $12
15. The Healing Conciousness: A Doctor's Journey to Healing by Beth DuPree (A-used) $9
16. Locked Rooms by Laurie R King (A-used) $5
17. Pirate King by Laurie R King (A-used) $9
18. Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady (A) $13
19. The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson (A) $12
20. An Edwardian Summer by John Goodall (A-used) $8
21. Justice Hall by Laurie R King (A-used) $5
22. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh (A) $13
23. Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon (A) $23
24. Look Who It Is! by Alan Carr (A) $9

Dic 31, 2013, 8:53 pm

Great to see you here, Laura!

Dic 31, 2013, 9:02 pm

You get a prize for being 1st, Lori!

Gen 1, 2014, 7:14 am

Ready to follow your reading again.

(#12 - and if you do have a problem, so do a lot of us so you're in good company)

Gen 1, 2014, 7:33 am

Wonderful image ! Looking particurlarly froward your Graphic Novel and Manga category.

Gen 1, 2014, 10:04 am

Yay! Nice setup. I will be following your British category most keenly! And good idea to have a rereads category -- I have one because otherwise it's doubtful that I would do very much rereading.

Gen 1, 2014, 10:39 am

Hi Betty - Welcome! Thanks, I know I'm in excellent company with #12. :)

Hi electrice! I should have an entry or two before this day is out, so keep your eyes on this space.

Thanks, rp! There's so much Britishness on my shelves (and in my life, really), it's kind of insane. My poor friends assume that anything I talk about that they don't know about is British in some way and just smile and nod politely. *sigh* Oh well. I'll get to Britain some day, any country will do, they're all on my list! I haven't done re-reading since I joined LT in 2008, and it's something that I can easily work on.

As soon as breakfast is in the oven I'll be back to hit the threads and check out what everyone is doing this year!

Gen 1, 2014, 3:58 pm

I loved everything I've read by Cather but haven't read any of these yet. I look forward to your comments.

Gen 3, 2014, 12:43 pm

Hi Laura, great to see you all set up. I am away from home right now but will be returning tomorrow and I am eager to catch up with everyone and start in with all the various challenges I have planned for 2014.

Gen 3, 2014, 2:09 pm

Stopping in to say, Hi, Laura. Looking forward to reading with you. :)

Modificato: Gen 7, 2014, 1:32 pm

Mamzel, I just picked them up from work on Saturday, so hopefully at least one of them will stick! And, because I'm insane, I've requested yet another one from another library (Alexander's Bridge).

Hi Judy! I hope you had a lovely time away from home, and are enjoying your time back in the swing of things. I haven't gotten around to catching up with all of my friends' threads yet, hopefully some time soon. It's so tempting to sign up for a lot of reading challenges, isn't it? Where IS that eccentric billionaire who wants to pay me a six-figure salary to read whatever I want?!?

Hi Andrea, looking forward to reading with you too!

Book 1: Doctor Who-The TARDIS Inside Out by John Nathan-Turner

Written in the 1980's by the show's then-producer, this slim hardcover was not really what I was expecting. This book is short on words, and tends to be mostly non-information about one or two things the author remembers about each Doctor, both before and while he was working for the BBC. Disappointing, but still, it's about DW, so... 3*

Book 2: The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

Rec'd from Mark/Joe last year, I enjoyed this dark GN. An underwater welder (surprise!) whose wife is due to have their baby any day now, seems to slip through some kind of time slip/layer while he's at work one day. He finds his father who had the same job and who disappeared when he was a young boy, and tries to get back "home" to his wife and baby, not wanting to repeat the same patterns that his father did. Interesting, and I liked reading it, but I can't say it's something I'd want to read again. Not bad, just... fine. 3*

Book 3: Beethoven's Shadow by Jonathan Biss

A just-under-2-hour audiobook that I ultimately found both dry and interesting. Biss, a well-known pianist, talks about Beethoven, his piano sonatas, and his own experience with learning and playing each sonata. I usually enjoy books written by performers about their own experience with music, looking for some kind of connection between myself and them, but this one was difficult to find anything to relate to. Yes, we don't play the same instrument, okay, but that isn't usually something that matters much. Jonathan's intended audience is most assuredly not me, and is probably some classically trained, slightly snobbish Big City type, preferably a fellow classical pianist, but again, that shouldn't matter. Ultimately, this story seemed to float above most things, and not really touch the earth, or the reader/listener at all. I had a hard time finishing it, if I'm honest. Still, it was just this side of interesting, and I can safely delete it from my computer with zero guilt. 2.6*

Book 4: Tonoharu, Part 1 by Lars Martinson

Yet another GN, this one tells the story of Daniel Wells as he begins his life as an Assistant English teacher in Japan, and his copious free time to discover both himself and his adopted country. Not terribly introspective, but an interesting look at a expat's life. Martinson's use of the same layout on (nearly) every page and typewritten script is effective at the isolating experience and samey-ness of days that can happen when you're abroad for an extended period. I'll read part 2 (and 3 and 4), but I'm not in any hurry. 3*


I know that this is just a coping mechanism, but I've bought 13 books so far this year, 2 seasons of Doctor Who on DVD, and the orders for cheap books/movies that I placed between Christmas and NYE are starting to roll in. *gulp* Kind of scary/terrifying. I'm trying not to open things that are sealed in plastic so when I'm feeling another panicky urge to BUY SOMETHING SHINY AND NEW I can open one of those instead. That was my rationale when I started the practice this past fall - so far, it hasn't worked, but I have hopes that I can step away from the computer for just a minute when I'm about to click "complete order" and look at all of the new things I haven't yet used, and that that will dissuade me. Crazy, maybe, but I've got to try it. The temperature has finally gotten close to 0 degrees after 2 days of -15 temps and -40 wind chills, the sun is out, and all of my water pipes are now functional again. I've had a nice breakfast of coffee and almond croissants (see pic below), have spent hours this morning putzing around online and rearranging piles around my messy house. Hopefully I'll get a shower soon, have some lunch, and get to cleaning up around here.

Mom Update Last Thursday she had a breast MRI in the morning (the noise was torturous) and we met with the oncologist for the first time that afternoon. He's a very nice man, intelligent and compassionate, and we both like him a lot. We are still waiting on 2 hormone receptor levels (nearly 2 weeks now) that will determine what kind and how much chemo she'll receive before having surgery, so we are still in limbo, but he did start her on an estrogen-blocker, so that's something. I could tell that the next day she was feeling better, and we've even had 1 visit and several phone calls since then where she seems like her usual self and we haven't mentioned cancer at all. !!! It's been really nice to have this little break from cancer/grief/depression, even if I know it's only very temporary. I think finally doing something active on her part, and talking to the person who is going to help heal her, has been the key. She was really not herself when we met with him, but some kind of a breakthrough must have happened overnight. Mom stayed with me that night, and I think an early bedtime, the mental significance of taking that first pill, and the distraction of her grandkids (my cats) all helped. Whatever it is, I'll take it!

Next up for us: a bone scan tomorrow that they have to sedate her for, and if nothing else comes up, we meet with the oncologist again next week to follow up.

Gen 7, 2014, 1:38 pm

You and your mom remain in my thoughts and prayers, Laura. I'm glad to see that things are starting to move forward, though still somewhat in limbo.

I'm feeling really cooped up with these brutal wind chills. Not making up for it by book shopping or even by reading, though. However, I have become obsessed over the weather forecasts. I've finished only one book so far this year, though I might finish another one tonight.

Modificato: Gen 7, 2014, 1:56 pm

I really, completely, totally understand the comfort-buying thing... Nothing better when you're feeling a bit down than heading down to the bookstore and getting yourself a couple of nice shiny new books :) I am also planning to read more books and buy less, but so far it hasn't worked yet *sigh*
Hope your mom will be well, and if you do cave to the urge to buy books, just forgive yourself for it, we all need some extra comfort when we're going through difficult times :)

Gen 7, 2014, 2:06 pm

Your mother is so lucky to have your loving care and support. I was in college when my mother went through her ordeals. I've kept a bit of guilt about that to this day.

About your book about the underwater welder, an acquaintance of my family was such a person. Not surprising he drank quite a bit. It was mentioned that he elected such a hazardous career since he had dyslexia and couldn't do much else.

Gen 7, 2014, 2:36 pm

I'm glad your mom is feeling a hair better, even if it's all an ongoing process. I send you both good thoughts, and hope things – tests, treatements, etc. – develop in a positive light.

No book bullets this time around, which is a relief. ;)

Gen 7, 2014, 3:22 pm

Hi Laura! Wow, 4 books already.
It's nice to hear that your mother is feeling more positive. Even if it's just a little it's a good start.
So which seasons of Doctor Who did you buy on DVD?
Stay warm! Did your pipes freeze? My mother told me that she's leaving all the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open so that heat from the rooms reaches the pipes.

Gen 7, 2014, 9:21 pm

I am glad to hear that there has been some progress with your mom and that she is feeling a bit better, at least in terms of mindset! Glad to hear that the new doc is more simpatico as well.

The croissants look delicious! Do you have any more? ;) Hope you can find time for a Dr Who binge-watch -- that might help as a distraction.

Good to know about the JNT Dr Who book -- will not be in a hurry to collect that one.

Hope the temperatures continue to reach more manageable levels!

Gen 8, 2014, 4:04 am

Don't worry about the number of books you're buying. Really. You'll stop buying books as a stress reliever soon and this is better than taking up meth or body piercings. Or cats.

I picked up Henrietta's War and Henrietta Sees It Through over the holidays, too. Let me know when you're ready to read 'em and we'll do a tandem read, if you want. I've heard good things about them.

Gen 12, 2014, 9:20 pm

I have you starred now, Laura, and I am looking forward to following you. I like how you have things organized over here, and I am wising that I had thought of the kitchen sink category!! Excellent, that! Sorry to learn about your Mom - I did not know, but I will be keeping the both of you in m thoughts and prayers.

Gen 12, 2014, 11:16 pm

Your Charles Perugini image is lovely. Great categories! Starring your thread! I look forward to reading your reviews.

Gen 13, 2014, 10:25 pm

Finally catching up with your thread! 150 books sounds like a good goal. I'd managed to hit that number last year by including a large number of graphic novels, as you're also planning to do. I was happy to have discovered so many excellent graphic novels, as I'd not read very many in previous years.

Best wishes to both you and your mother.

Gen 13, 2014, 11:33 pm

Good to hear your mum has a good doctor - keeping you and her in my thoughts!

Gen 14, 2014, 6:06 pm

Saw this today and thought of you! It's Benedict and Fassbender at the Golden Globes Awards Party :)

Gen 14, 2014, 9:45 pm

I'm just catching up on your last year's thread and this one. I'm so sorry to hear about what's happened with your family! :( Don't forget: we're here for you! :)

Gen 15, 2014, 8:07 pm

29: Thank you, Linda.

30: Hi Britt, thank you. Nearly every day I come home to at least 1 package of books, which is wonderful, but I'm worried about how much it will continue to happen in the near future. Don't want my Mom to know how much I've purchased (or requested from PaperbackSwap), and she'll be staying with me during chemo. I think I'm almost done with the deliveries. But still - fun for now!

31: Thanks, mamzel. I say you can let that guilt go about your Mom. You were in college, and it's hard to really be there for your family when you're in such an insulated place as university. Plus, is that guilt serving you? Life is hard enough as it is to hang on to things we don't necessarily need to. If it's still serving you a purpose, or if it's too difficult to deal with now, or you just don't want to, then by all means keep things as they are. I'd just hate for you to be causing yourself grief if you don't need to - you're too nice and good of a person!

32: Hi Andrea! Mom has still been pretty good, but tomorrow is our follow up with the oncologist where we'll hopefully get her chemo schedule, so she's scared and nervous all over again.

33: Hi VB! Nice to see you here. I bought seasons 3 and 7 of Doctor Who. So now I have those two, and The Waters of Mars, Christmas Carol, and Day of the Doctor on DVD. Still a ways to go, but I'm not in any hurry. My pipes did freeze, in the kitchen only, and one day it was the hot water, the next day the cold. They came on after a couple of hours with a fan blowing warm air on them, though, so that was good.

34: rp! Sorry, I ate all of the almond croissants. But there were only 4 of them (from Trader Joe's), so I don't feel super guilty that it took me 2 days to eat them. It could've been worse, I suppose. Temps are back to normal (I think it's 16 F right now, which is fine), and while I didn't find time for a Doctor Who binge, I'm hoping for one this Sunday afternoon when I next have off (and won't be with my Mom).

35: Thanks, Kay. I have stopped buying for now, and am working on not bringing home impulse titles from work, so aside from the deliveries, I'm doing okay. And I love your examples, I could totally be doing meth or bringing home more cats (long run, not sure which would be more expensive). I've already read both Henrietta books, but really want to read them both again. Why don't you pick a time and let me know? I'll make time for them whenever, they're easy, interesting, fun reads.

36: Hi Mamie, thanks for keeping us in your prayers. And I needed to give myself an easy category, there always seem to be too many that don't quite fit into anything else I have.

37: Hi Caroline, welcome! I'll be off to find (and star) your thread in a few minutes. Glad you found me!

38: Hi Paulina! I'm with you on graphic novels. I can only blame Mark and Joe for so many GN recs, the rest are mostly impulse grabs from work. That's actually why I have 4 checked out right now - shiny objects! ;)

39: Thank you, Eva. We do have a very good surgeon and oncologist, and everyone else we've ran into at the hospital has been wonderful, so it's less scary to be there. Well, for me at least.

40: OMG, THANK YOU FOR THAT RP!!!!! They're such cute boys. Love them!

41: Hi Sara! Been thinking about you, need to find your thread/s. Thanks for the cutie kitty pic. And I'm so glad that I have all of you guys for support. It's strange how much I think and care about everyone here, considering most of us haven't met in real life. LT is the best!

Tomorrow Mom and I go to see her oncologist for our second meeting. Since my last update, she's had the bone scan (which I guess nothing significant was found on, they called and said there wasn't anything there to worry about). The breast MRI showed a small spot in her other breast that wasn't there on her mammogram from a month ago, so the day after the bone scan she went in for some scans and a biopsy for that breast. Mom said it was extremely painful, and the results showed that it was just a small fibroid, so nothing to worry about there either. And last week I had the flu, so I couldn't be there to help support her at all. We both just want to get this show on the road, and we're both anxious and nervous about it.

Gen 15, 2014, 9:56 pm

You're welcome. :) And here's my 2014 thread (save you some hassle).

Best of luck with your mom's appointment tomorrow!

Gen 17, 2014, 12:19 pm

Best wishes for you and your mom.

Gen 21, 2014, 6:09 pm

Thanks for the photo ;) Hoping all is well.

Gen 23, 2014, 8:10 pm

Hello everyone - I just realized that I haven't been back for a Mom update since our oncology visit last week.

It was good! She's got the "good" kind of cancer, in that it's very treatable, and at this point (hopefully never) she DOES NOT NEED CHEMOTHERAPY!!!! We didn't even know that was a possibility, we just assumed that if you have breast cancer and are not doing a mastectomy, that chemo was sort of a requirement. Plans for the wig store and talking to friends who have been through it, preparing emotionally for it - all unnecessary! She's been taking anti-estrogen medication since our first visit (3 weeks now), and when he asked her how the tumor has changed (she hadn't been checking it), all 3 of us felt it. At first, it felt like a big, fairly hard, round mass - now, it's much smaller, it's softer, and she's nearly gone down a stage! What a huge difference!!! We're both pretty excited about it.

Now, while we're still processing some the huge relief, the past two months have started to really catch up with me. I'm weepier, and just bone-tired-exhausted most of the time. Massage work has picked up, which is good financially, but it's really a bear to get through when I'm so tapped out. Thankfully two of my appointments this week were no-shows so I could stay home and relax a little bit. And on Saturday, I'm supposed to be receiving a massage, finally, after at least 4 months of no treatment. It's going to be tough getting through it, just because I'm so overdue, and I'll probably cry on the table. Whatever, I'm just glad to be doing a small thing to take care of myself.

And, I've been reading a few books (though, sorry Joe, I haven't read The Complete Essex County yet), and I'll update that soon. For now, though, I'm just taking it easy and ignoring the housework. :)

Gen 23, 2014, 9:41 pm

So pleased to hear this, Laura. Great news!!

Gen 23, 2014, 10:17 pm

Wonderful news about your Mom, Laura. What a relief for the two of you.

Gen 23, 2014, 11:26 pm

What a difference a new doctor made" so glad to hear your progress report.

Gen 23, 2014, 11:57 pm

>41 saraslibrary: I believe that cat is actually waving! :)

>46 LauraBrook: I suppose it is three cheers for it being the 'good' kind of cancer, as if there could be such a thing. You sound like you are doing a lovely thing helping her, and I bet she really appreciates the support.

Gen 24, 2014, 12:34 am

Hi. Gwenraab, here.
I lost track last year, so am going to try again.

This year I've read:
by Kathy Reichs; "Bones of the Lost" (a Christmas gift -- yay!), "Seizure" and "Code" -- most recent in her new series, Virals. I highly recommend this series.
Although geared to the younger reader, a refreshing change from the Bones series. Just as interesting, with lots of information worked into the plot.

I also reread "Travels with Charlie", by John Steinbeck. So much I didn't remember. A wonderful book, and great for those of us old enough to reminisce, or for any who want to know what life was like when it really was possible to travel the country safely, and to have your dog welcomed most places!

By Sherrilyn Kenyon; "Dance with the Devil," Invincible,"(didn't realize I was reading it out of order, so will probably read it again, later), and "Born of Night"(I did wait to start this series 'til I got this first one), Now I'm reading the second, "Born of Fire." Next will be "Born of Ice."

Also plan to reread, "The Wolfen" by Whitley Streiber.

Gen 24, 2014, 12:58 am

HI, again.
I posted before I read the thread. Glad to hear the good news about your Mom. i will also keep you two in my thoughts.
Just a note -- I am a survivor of more than 30 years, and have never had any hint of the cancer again.
A positive attitude is a great tool/weapon against cancer.
I used a lot of visualization, also.
I was at the 2B stage when they found it, so consider myself very fortunate.
Remember to take every opportunity to refresh yourself thoughout this time. Make time if necessary; don't feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You Mom and your cats need you!

Gen 24, 2014, 1:52 am

That's such good news, Laura, but no wonder you're worn out. You've been through it.

Gen 24, 2014, 6:19 am

Really glad to hear the good news.

Gen 24, 2014, 10:24 am

It's great news that your mom doesn't need chemotherapy. Now you can both relax a little.
Enjoy your massage tomorrow. Don't worry about crying on the table. As a massage therapist you know how therapeutic it is to cry. Get it all out and leave it on the table.

Gen 24, 2014, 11:11 am

Thank God. I'm so glad your mom's prognosis is looking up!

Gen 24, 2014, 12:37 pm

Such good news about your mom! Yay!
I hope she continues to improve. :)

Gen 24, 2014, 4:25 pm

I'm glad to hear about your Mom. You deserve to ignore the dustbunnies/laundry/dishesinthe sink ;)

Gen 25, 2014, 11:50 am

Good news about your Mom. Do take time for yourself whenever you can so that you have the necessary energy for Mom time!

Feb 1, 2014, 10:05 pm

Great news about mom! So happy to hear that chemo isn't on the schedule!!

Modificato: Feb 5, 2014, 11:02 am

Well, crap. I've been trying to sneak in a few minutes here and there over the last week to update my thread with books I've read, stats, etc, but I'm so dang tired that I can't even get to write anything here. Lurking and quick comments on others' threads is about all I've managed. And now...

My Mom got a call from the oncologist late on Monday afternoon. A test result came back (that we didn't know about so we were pretty shocked/scared) and he wanted us to come in as soon as possible this week to discuss it. We went in yesterday morning, and it's not that great of news. Mom participated in a study a few weeks ago. The study involves a third-party lab testing her already-biopsied tumor on various treatments and combinations to see what works best for a cure. It was a no-brainer to do the study as A) it didn't involve anything else on my Mom's part aside from paperwork, B) it's a personalized test for the best possible cure without any out-of-pocket expense, and C) it will help who knows how many women who have this same kind of tumor in the future. They did their part, and the test results that came back were from that lab. Her tumor is right on the border for needing chemo and not needing chemo. If she did nothing to treat it and just had surgery her 10-year recurrence is something like 29%, if she does the hormone pill (which she has been) and chemo it's 8%, etc. We discussed the numbers and outcomes with the oncologist at length and have decided to go ahead and do chemotherapy. It's not what we were hoping for, certainly (who is?!?), but it gives her the best chance for good health and non-recurrence in the long-term, and that's what we want.

This coming Monday morning she starts her treatment. She's receiving TC chemotherapy, for anyone out there who unfortunately has experience with chemo, and she'll start losing her hair 10-14 days after her first treatment. That means that in the next 5 days we need to meet with a dietitian and nurse (separately, of course) to go over plans and what's coming up, tour the treatment areas, etc; go and find/have a consultation with a wig specialist (a friend of a friend who's having a mastectomy right now, actually); meet with the lawyer to get my name on the house, cars, etc so it's one last thing to worry about; rearrange both my massage appointments/schedule, but also my library one; clean my house thoroughly; purchase and re-read a few cancer cookbooks so I can shop for groceries by Monday and have things here, in house, to cook for Mom; and oh yeah, breathe. It's making me a little crazy, to say the least, and for some reason, this, of all the things that have happened in the last 2 1/2 months, is the thing that's making me want to cry and not leave my house ever again. I have to get it together a little more in the coming days.

Right now I'm in that procrastination/ the-amount-of-things-to-do-is-so-overwhelming-that-I'm-frozen-on-the-couch-for-hours kind of place, I'm making lists like they're going out of style, and keep thinking that if I can just not move or leave the house that all of this will be an illusion and I can get back to trying to process some grief from my Dad's passing. I just made myself some breakfast and before Mom comes over to pick me up for our meeting with the nurse I need to finish my dishes, take a shower and get dressed, haul my empty garbage bin up from the alley through the snow, clean litterboxes, clean out all the garbage cans in my house, and oh yeah, try to stay calm and grounded.

I'll be back at some point later on, between appointments and jobs, to check in with all of you, and hopefully will have a chance to talk about what I've read so far too. All I want to do is lay down and take an epic nap.

Feb 5, 2014, 11:12 am

Laura, I'm sorry to hear that your mom will need chemo after all. Even though it's disappointing, if it improves the likelihood of no recurrence, it's a good thing, in the end.

I'm sure it all seems overwhelming but please remember to take care of yourself and take things one step at a time.

A co-worker who had breast cancer about 10 years ago is an absolute fanatic about nutrition. She really feels that it helped.

Feb 5, 2014, 11:44 am

There's not a lot of give left in you, is there? It'll come back. Can you do just one small thing and then another? It's okay if a few things fall through, like if you don't get to visit the treatment area ahead of time or wait a few weeks to do the legal stuff. Get it down to the bare minimum, because looking at everything will exhaust you even more than you currently are. Maybe do two or three things a day, even if they are as small as making a telephone call to make an appointment.

You're doing such a great job supporting your mom. Don't let it send you into a downward spiral that leaves you both stranded. Spend every evening doing something for you, even if it's just laying on the sofa watching movies you've seen before. I wish I lived close by so I could stop by and clean your cat boxes and drop off a few pints of Ben & Jerry's.

Feb 5, 2014, 12:19 pm

Ditto RidgewayGirl--and, too, don't be afraid to ask friends for help if there's anything at all they can do, or to just come over and sit with you and glance through cookbooks or work through a new recipe or whatever else it takes. Even if you're prepping food or cooking, putting a good friend who's far away on speaker and chatting for a while can make a big difference in your own health and energy.

Feb 5, 2014, 12:32 pm

I'm sorry to hear you mom will need chemo therapy after all. I send you both happy, hopeful thoughts and hugs.

I can totally understand wanting to take a step back, withdraw, sleep. Sometimes taking that moment to pull away is a good thing, let's you recuperate yourself, so that you can come back to reality with renewed strength and perseverance.

Feb 5, 2014, 1:12 pm

ah sorry to hear the news too, you are doing your mum proud. Hope you find time to make space for yourself, you'll get there.

Feb 5, 2014, 2:21 pm

Thanks for providing the update, Laura. Chemo is tough - one of my aunts went through it a few years ago - and you are such a great support to your Mom during this time. If some things don't get done, they can always be taken care of later. It's hard to not feel overwhelmed. I hope you are able to atleast find some snatches of time for yourself.

Feb 5, 2014, 2:49 pm

Oh no, sorry to hear about the impending chemo, but, as said, if the chances are better for her once it's over, then it's the right decision - hope her symptoms will be minimal. I completely understand your paralysis - I do that too when I get overwhelmed. Sending all the well-wishes I have and am keeping you both in my thoughts!

Feb 5, 2014, 4:52 pm

Best wishes from here too. Just do what you can today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Feb 5, 2014, 6:21 pm

Very sorry to hear your mom needs chemo. I hope it does the trick with a minimum of symptoms. Thinking of you both.

Feb 5, 2014, 8:37 pm

Sorry everything is so overwhelming now. Wishing you and your Mom the best.

Feb 6, 2014, 4:20 pm

You and your mom will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Feb 7, 2014, 11:56 am

Oh no, sorry that your mother will need to go through chiro. Remember to take care of yourself.

Feb 8, 2014, 8:08 am

Not much I can say that others haven't, but will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. AS RWG said - try to take just one small thing at a time.

Feb 13, 2014, 11:56 am

Thank you all so much for your kind words and support. I can't begin to tell you how much they all mean to me. I miss being here (a little normalcy would be welcome), and until I can finally get to updating what I've read this year, I've decided to copy the email updates I've been sending to my friends.

Well, there’ve been some changes in Mom’s cancer and treatment.

Late last Monday, Mom got a call from the oncologists office. Some test results came in and he needed to see her as soon as possible to discuss them. Not a great phone call to get, especially because as far as we knew and remembered, there were no outstanding results we were waiting for.

The next morning (a week ago yesterday) we went in. The test results were from the study that Mom took part in. It tested her already-biopsied tumor/lymph glands against no treatment, chemo only, chemo and hormone pill, all kinds of various situations, to see what would have the best result for her particular type of cancer. By doing the study we essentially got (free!) personalized cancer results and helped a lot of women in the future. The results showed that she has a three-fold better chance of no-recurrence in the next 10 years if she did both the hormone pill (which she’d been taking for 3 weeks with amazing results - to the point where she couldn’t find her tumor any more!) and took chemotherapy. It was our decision to make whether she did it or not, and after discussing all sorts of possibilities and outcomes, taking chemotherapy seemed like a logical choice.

Since we had to start as soon as possible, her first chemotherapy treatment was set up for the following Monday - as in two days ago. That left us with a little under a week to get things ready at home (both hers and mine), plan on how we were going to handle most possibilities of side effects and find her a wig. She’ll lose her hair in about 2 weeks. It was a lot of running, but we got it all done. Thanks to my good friend Carolyn we had a referral for a FANTASTIC wig consultation place run by her friend Robbin. She was kind, funny, knowledgable as all get out and very sweet. Both she and the salon owner couldn’t have been more outstanding and wonderful. That really helped my Mom get through the worst part about this whole chemo process.

This past Monday morning we went in for her first treatment. It took about 4 hours (she was receiving what’s called TC chemo), and aside from a small headache and a fuzzy/tired head due to all of the steroids, she was great, no problems. She’s set up to receive 4 treatments, 1 every 3 weeks. Later that night her throat started to feel sore, and she woke up that night to find her throat starting to swell and get tight, so she took a couple of Benadryl, which helped a lot. The next morning (yesterday) she called the oncologist and he had her come in a little early (she was scheduled at 11:45 for a shot that will boost her white blood cell production and case a lot of bone pain - yay). What she was having was an allergic reaction to the first drug she received, the “T” part of TC, and she’d now have AC chemo instead. Adriamycin is incredibly toxic if it gets outside of your veins and can cause cell death/skin burning so they strongly prefer that a port be surgically installed in her chest so the drug goes directly into a main vein. Mom didn’t, and doesn’t, want to have a port, but she reluctantly agreed to have it while we were in the office. The switch in drugs also means that her side effects are different - she can expect more nausea, and since the drug can cause heart damage (but probably won’t since she’ll only have a few doses of it) she needs to have an injection/fraction and an echocardiogram (and have the port installed too) before her next chemo date on March 3.

We know someone who received the same AC chemo who did not have a port and had no problems. The nurses at Wheaton had never seen a side effect from this drug before, but know that it’s possible. Mom will be calling the nurses some time this afternoon to talk to them a little more about the port procedure, and the fact that she really doesn’t want to have to have 2 more surgical procedures if she doesn’t have to, and doesn’t want more opportunities for infection as she’s already at risk. We don’t know yet if she will have the port done or not, but we have a little time to make a final decision.

It’s been a stressful week to be sure, and so far Mom will only be staying with me temporarily for the days after treatment. At some point (probably sooner than she thinks), she will move in with me full time. It will be safer for her and easier with the bathroom on the same floor as everything else, easier for me as caregiver to help her as she’ll never be far from me if she needs/wants anything, plus the cats are here and she really enjoys spending time with her grandkids.

We are both doing pretty well, though chemo brain has started to kick in a little, and I hope that at some point in the near future I’ll be able to send a less-depressing update for you guys. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we can feel them and still need all the help we can get.

I am doing just one small thing and then another after that. It's too overwhelming to do otherwise. And, thank goodness I have Amazon Prime - there are A LOT of little things that we need doubles of, either at my parent's house or mine, and it's been such a relief to just add things to my cart one at a time, do one big check-out, and it appears at my door 2 days later. Surely I'd be more tired and crazed than I am if I had to keep running to CVS, Walgreens, Target, etc on a daily basis.

Feb 13, 2014, 2:15 pm

Laura, you are doing amazingly well. That the exact way to get through this - one thing at a time, don't stress over what you can't get to. Just being there with your Mom every step of the way is a wonderful support for her. Just remember to take care of yourself and give yourself a little pampering now and then.

Feb 13, 2014, 3:15 pm

Laura, thank you for posting an update regarding your Mom's treatment. Continuing to send healing thoughts for your mom and relaxing thoughts for you. Like Judy said - one thing at a time and remember to breath.

Feb 13, 2014, 4:39 pm

Thank you for the update. It's a lot on your plate, but it sounds fairly positive, so that's good. Positive thoughts and prayers heading your way.

Feb 13, 2014, 5:43 pm

I hope your mom doesn't need the port; that sounds invasive. More hugs heading your way. Take care and give the kitties a hug too.

Feb 13, 2014, 9:44 pm

Hopefully things will settle into something like a routine soon and it will get easier. Best wishes.

Feb 14, 2014, 1:51 am

Oh wow, sending all the good thoughts I have to the both of you. One of my friends just came back from Sweden with her mom (who had a stroke last year) and, although her mom would rather be at her own home, she has gotten her head around living here instead - it's been a huge relief for my friend to have her mom here and not have to worry so much. Huge hugs to the both of you!!

Feb 14, 2014, 2:51 am

My sister-in-law has a port and it makes everything much easier. It'll be less stressful for your mom not to be stabbed every time she needs an IV for chemo. Not fun to get, but then no added discomfort on top of the chemo drugs.

I love that you're having her stay with you. You're doing a good thing, even if it never occurred to you to behave otherwise. Also, your cats will be pleased.

Feb 14, 2014, 11:25 am

Hang in there, Laura.

Back after my bile duct reconstruction surgery, when I developed a barely treatable infection, I needed so many antibiotics that they put in a port. It did make things a lot easier.

Isn't Amazon Prime great? You could probably do much of your grocery shopping, even.

When you get your Kindle, besides being able to borrow a book for free every month, they now offer your choice of one of four selected books (in four different areas) for no charge every month.

Feb 14, 2014, 10:04 pm

Best wishes to your mom and to you.

Feb 16, 2014, 6:21 am

Just catching up with you. Keeping you and your Mom in my prayers.

Feb 16, 2014, 9:39 am

Thanks, you guys and gals! Mom went back home on Wednesday afternoon, and since then her shot has kicked in, giving her horrible bone pain. She's being a martyr and trying not to take Advil for it for no reason, so I had to have a very firm you're-being-an-idiot-take-the-damn-pills talk, and told her that if she didn't start taking better care of herself she'd move in with me right this very second to care for her until she's all done. I think she's been a little better since then. ;) We both know that that will happen at some point, but her home is her home and where she's most comfortable, my place being a close second. Once she's here full time I'll drop her off at her house during the day sometimes when I'm working and then pick her up when I'm done. She feels a little trapped at my house because there are things to do, but she can't really do them - at her place, she can do whatever whenever. I understand that feeling completely, and I'm thinking of bringing a few stacks of old files from her house when she stays here, so when she's up to it, she can still get something done. Just sitting for days on end will make her crazy. Well, crazier, but still.

After talking with her doctor and the nurses, they've agreed to put a hold on having the port for now. They'll try this next round without a port to see how it goes, and if they have to stop, they will. My Mom is resigned to having it done if necessary, but she very strongly does not want to have it if she can get away without it. And, since I emailed the latest update to friends, a former coworker contacted me and told me that she had AC chemo when she had breast cancer 17 years ago, and never had a port (wasn't even an option) and didn't have a problem. If they can do it without, and she's just got 3 treatments left, she should be fine.

Today is a pajama day for me - YAAAAAY!!! There're chores to be done, as always, but I'm hoping to just do what's necessary and have some good TV/couch/nap time today. Plus, it feels like I haven't finished a book in ages, so I'd like to do that once or twice too. And, I FINALLY HAVE AN E-READER!!!!! I bought a Kindle (since I already have an Ammy Prime account), a paperwhite version. So far, I like it but I don't love it. What I DO love, though, is that I can borrow library books on it - this should certainly cut down on the amount that I bring home from work every day. So far I've spent about $10 on ebooks, but with checkouts available, I'm hoping to finally force myself to read (or at least give a shot to) the hundreds of physical books on my shelves that I'd like to read since I already own, but don't really feel like "me" any more.

I know there's a group or topic out there somewhere about good places to get free/cheap ebooks, but does anyone who's here have any that they'd recommend? A co-worker told me about BookBub, so that's what I've got right now.

Feb 16, 2014, 11:20 am

Here is hoping your Mom's treatments continue well and there is no need for the port!

For free e-books of the classic/ public domain kind, I love Project Gutenberg. The library is my second spot - which you have already discovered! - and I haven't moved forward in searching for a third location yet. I tend to surf LT's Member Giveaways and have received 3 e-books in just the past two months that way.

Feb 16, 2014, 11:27 am

Here's a discussion about ereaders and good sources of free books:

Glad you're having a pajama day. You deserve a month of them, so enjoy the one you have.

Feb 16, 2014, 12:43 pm

Thanks, Lori. Mom and I hope so too. I forgot all about Project Gutenberg! Thanks for the reminder, I'll head over to check it out in a bit. I checked the ebook section of ER, and will do the same for the member giveaway part too. I just checked 4 books out through my library, so I'm not in any rush to get more right now... of course, it's barely noon and I've got all day to mess around. ;)

Thanks for the link, Kay! I'm so happy right now that I can just stay home for a whole day, I should maybe be a little embarrassed by it, but I'm not. A whole month of them sounds like heaven!

Feb 19, 2014, 1:06 am

->86 LauraBrook:
"I think she's been a little better since then."
Haha! Isn't it great that we know exactly where our loved ones' buttons are located to we can press them when we need to. Happy pajama day - you need and deserve it, so enjoy!

Mar 6, 2014, 11:53 pm

Hi Laura! Just dropping by for a visit. I hope things are going well for you and your Mom.

Mar 26, 2014, 1:11 pm

Hi everyone, and thank you. Things are... well, things are rolling along with the expected bumps and potholes.

Three weeks ago, Mom had her second chemotherapy round, but this time it was AC, Adriamycin. Initially, the oncologist wanted her to get a port put in for this type of drug since it's incredibly toxic, more than some of the others. A few of my friends and people we know have had 5-8 rounds of it through IV and didn't have any problems. (Issues can include cell/vein/skin death if it leaks out of the vein during treatment requiring a skin graft in the worst case.) Since she only had 3 treatments left we decided to try one round of AC through an IV to try and avoid 1 or 2 surgeries (both to install and remove the port) aside from her lumpectomy. She handled it okay until the last few minutes when the vein got red and irritated, but it was mixed with saline and just fine. The rest of the week she spent either sleeping in the recliner or in bed, and then she felt pretty good for the last 2 weeks. However, the vein is still puffy and red and while the oncologist and the nurses think it will heal up just fine in time, they asked us to have a consultation with a vein surgeon just to be sure. We are seeing him later this afternoon. And, because she's having this reaction and we want to preserve her veins and not cause too much damage, my Mom is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning to have a port put in. We have to be there by 6 AM (!!!!!), but she should be done and out by 10 AM, so at least that's something.

The plan from here on out is still to have 2 more treatments of chemo (AC), starting again this Monday, and then she will most likely have another breast MRI to check the lump out and then have surgery to remove any tissue that is leftover after chemo. During her follow up on Monday morning, the oncologist couldn't feel the lump at all, so that's great news. And, since it's been a couple of weeks since her chemo, her hair is starting to grow back a little. Having it shaved off (except for a short mohawk) 2 weeks ago was fairly traumatic for her, and she had all of us crying in the salon for a few minutes. But, she's adjusted to being pretty bald quite well, and she's got a great wig and a few head wrap/caps to wear when she doesn't feel like just going "naked" as she calls it. Mom will stay with me through Friday, go home for the weekend, and then be back Monday morning before chemo. She is doing pretty well, considering the completely crappy past 5 months we have had. And I'm hanging in as best as I can. Last week was really tough for me, as I think things just finally caught up with me. I spent a lot of time crying and sleeping. This week seems to be better overall.

I'm still working both at the library and doing massage (though thankfully I do not have any massage appts this week, so it's a bit of a break), and with all of Mom's appointments my library work has been either cut short (as in I start later) or I have had to take days off to accommodate doctor/specialist appointments. All of this is fine with me.

I've been reading a little bit, but it's just a few pages at a time, mostly, before I fall asleep. And it's a little difficult to read with she's watching TV and vice versa for her, since we are apparently on opposite reading schedules. But not matter. It's nice to spend time together. I've pretty much stopped sympathy shopping, or whatever you want to call it, and have just been buying things that we need or that I could use for the house. That's a VERY good thing, believe me!

Eventually I will get around to responding to people individually, get back to the threads, and post what I've been reading so far this year. I just don't know when. Hope everyone is doing well, and reading lots of great things! Lots of love to you all!!!!

Mar 26, 2014, 1:24 pm

Oh, poor mama. And you, of course. Hope the surgery goes well! 6 am is early, but perhaps it's better to be a bit sleepy and zonked, so you don't have much time to get nervous. :) Keeping you both in my thoughts!!

Mar 26, 2014, 3:27 pm

I wish you both the best and hope things progress well to good health. Hugs.

Mar 26, 2014, 6:25 pm

Hope it goes well tomorrow! Take care of yourselves. Sending good thoughts.

Mar 26, 2014, 7:13 pm

Thank you for the update, Laura. :) I've been worried about you guys, but it sounds like your optimism and support for each other is keeping you both going. Not to worry about playing catch-up on LT. Family is #1. (hugs)

Mar 26, 2014, 10:26 pm

Hi Laura, it was good to hear from you. Hope all went well with your Mon's surgery. Everyone deserves a little pampering so don't forget to include something for yourself every now and again.

Mar 27, 2014, 7:51 am

Yes - please take care of yourself. We'll still be here when you have a chance to get back. Glad things are going well with your Mom.

Mar 27, 2014, 3:19 pm

Sounds like the chemo is helping a bit. I hope the surgeries go well.

Apr 6, 2014, 9:16 am

Hello, friends!

I'm doing alright, and so's Mom. Here's the short version of an update.

She was supposed to have her 3rd round of chemo on the 24th of March, but we met with the Oncologist (who couldn't feel either the lump in her breast or the one rogue lymph node!) and decided to continue with chemotherapy but to have a port put in for the remaining sessions. The following Wednesday we met with a vein specialist who said that the vein in her arm (where she received the 2nd chemo and is still red, puffy, hard, etc) is dying and that it would be fine, just to keep an eye on it. That next morning, at pre-dawn no-one-should-be-awake-and-working hours, she had her port installed. Doogie Hower, her surgeon, said it went in easily on the first try, no complications or problems, nor does he expect any.

This past Monday she had her third chemo treatment, one week later than originally scheduled, and though it was very sore hooking up and unhooking, it went very well. Since this is her third treatment, and the toxicity of this stuff builds up with time, she's still staying here with me, sleeping most of the day and night, and not really feeling up to snuff. But I know she's getting better if for no other reason than she's starting to do that nagging thing that Moms do oh so well. I'm partly glad for it and partly not. This past Thursday we met with her breast surgeon (whom we haven't seen since December 24th) and she couldn't find either lump either, so we got our loose "schedule" set up for the next couple of months. Essentially she will have her fourth/last round of chemo in 2 weeks, then 10 days-ish later have another breast MRI to see exactly how/where things have shrunk to, and then about 2 weeks after that, she will have her lumpectomy. Afterwards, depending on lab work and surgery, she will either have one more round of chemotherapy (this is unlikely) or will have an undetermined amount of radiation. And then, aside from routine tests and follow-ups, she should be done!!!

It feels good to pretty much have the end in sight, but she's still very sick. And now that she realizes that she's going to be okay, all sorts of stuff is starting to process regarding the loss of my Dad. So both of us are weepier than before, which is fine, but it certainly doesn't make you feel terribly positive for long.

So that's been my life lately! Lots of doctors and running, and not a lot of working (which is a good thing, mostly), but still more than I'd like there to be for me to really be here for Mom. I've started to read more, and I've sorely missed it. Well, at least the ability to read for more than 10 minutes together. And, as Richard pointed out to me, my Thingaversary was 2 days ago, so that means that some Book Shopping is happening!!! That's always a good thing. :)

And now my Mom is up, so I'm going to go and check on her, get breakfast started, etc. Hope you are all doing well, big huge hugs to you all, and I hope to be back later to do some updating and check out some of your threads!

Apr 6, 2014, 9:37 am

Thanks for the update! Glad to hear that your mom is feeling a little bit more like her normal self. Enjoy your book shopping :)

Apr 6, 2014, 12:24 pm

So glad things are looking up!!! I continue to send you both prayers and happy thoughts.

Apr 6, 2014, 12:35 pm

Are you feeling well-rested? With me, when whatever stressful thing I'm going through is ending, when I can see the finish-line, is when I need to sleep a lot more than usual. I'm glad your mom is doing so well!

Apr 6, 2014, 1:46 pm

Sounds like generally good news! Now buy yourself something upbeat for your Thingaversary.

Apr 6, 2014, 6:30 pm

It's always good to hear from you, Laura. :) Wow, that sounds like a lot of treatment, but I'm glad to hear things seem to be working out for you guys. Hang in there!

Apr 6, 2014, 6:57 pm

Glad to hear your Mom's through the worst and can look forward to less scary days.

Apr 6, 2014, 7:30 pm

Thanks for keeping us informed, Laura. You two are fighting the good fight!

Apr 6, 2014, 8:11 pm

Glad to hear things are looking up. Wishing the best for both of you.

Apr 7, 2014, 12:28 pm

Thanks for keeping us posted, Laura. I think of you and your mom often.

Apr 13, 2014, 7:50 pm

Thanks for the update on mama - keeping my fingers and toes xed, of course!! And, happy thingaversary!

Is her surgeon actually named that??

Apr 16, 2014, 11:20 am

Hello, friends! Thanks so much for your kind words and continued support, it means so much to both my Mom and I. Kay, I think you're right, in that I'm getting more tired now that things are starting to wind up. Though that might also be because the last 6 months have essentially been one big pile of stress, crying, stress, fear, and stress. It doesn't take much to get me to the point of needing a nap. Sometimes even an extra conversation with a friend will wipe me out. I saw my doctor a couple of weeks ago for a routine check-up on my thyroid and that's all screwy again, which helps explain the puffiness and weight gain. But until Mom is done with the bulk of her treatments/surgery, we aren't going to change my medication as it probably wouldn't do much aside from screw me up some more. So whatever. I'm not worried about it, even though maybe I should be, and I figure that things will get back to some kind of normal routine in a little while, so I can deal with it then.

Her surgeon (for her port) is Tony something-or-other, not Doogie. But really, it could've been his name, he looked like he was about 12 years old.

And here's my Thingaversary list! I just recruited a former kitchen rack to serve as another book shelf in my room, in an attempt to free up some flat surfaces. It helped, but if I keep up the buying/requesting, I'll be right back where I started very very soon. But really, who cares - BOOKS!!!! :)

1. The Actor And The Housewife by Shannon Hale
2. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
3. Coronation by Paul Gallico
4. The Children by Edith Wharton
5. The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
6. Midnight In Austenland by Shannon Hale
7. Taste of Home Slowcooker: 431 Hot & Hearty Classics
8. The Queen Is Dead by Kate Locke

Apr 16, 2014, 5:09 pm

Yay for books! :) And you're right--just take it slow for now. When you're up to it, then you can change your meds. Hugs to you both! :)

Apr 17, 2014, 8:13 am

Nice group of books - I see some interesting ones in there. I too have challenges finding places for books. Now that I've retired, I'm hoping to find some space in the closet once I go through my clothes and get rid of the ones I don't need. Glad your mom is doing good. I do find my energy lagging in stressful situations - Hope you're doing better soon too.

Apr 17, 2014, 11:54 am

YAY, book! Looks like you have some great reads there. :)

Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 pm

Mmmm the slow cooker cookbook sounds tasty! Good haul!

Apr 17, 2014, 7:57 pm

Take it easy as much as you can and enjoy your new books.

Apr 21, 2014, 3:12 pm

I look forward to finding out what you think of the Shannon Hale books. I liked Midnight in Austenland, but haven't read the other.

And I miss my slow cooker, there not being such a thing in Germany (I did try to find one). I'll be happy to be able to use one again when we get back.

Apr 24, 2014, 11:29 pm

The slow cooker book is awesome! I checked it out at work and then went right to Amazon and got myself a copy. Unlike a lot of cookbooks that I own, I know that I'll actually use this whole thing. Yay!

117: Ugh, I'm so sorry you're without a slow cooker! I love mine too. And the books I've read by Shannon Hale (Austenland, Midnight in Austenland, The Goose Girl) I've really enjoyed, so I'm expecting more of the same.


I spent most of last Saturday (the day of the Chicago meet-up) sleeping. I'd be awake for a couple of hours and then out for 3 or 4, lather, rinse, repeat. I would have most definitely fallen asleep at the wheel had I attempted to see my buddies.

This coming Saturday is the next Dewey's Read-a-Thon, where I will be doing my darndest to finish as many books as possible, avoid watching the TV that my Mom is sure to have on All The Time, and to stay awake for as long as I can.


We have a few shelves at work full of ARCs from a handful of publishers. They're there for all staff to grab, read, and (theoretically) return. Don't tell, but none of mine have ever gone back once they've come through my front door! Anyways, the bottom shelf is usually just currently published books and the ARCs go untouched, ultimately ending up in the recycling bin. !!!! I KNOW!!!! It's book murder! Anyway, if anyone is interested in any of these titles (sorry that one of the pictures is a little blurry), I'll pick it up and send it your way. No reviews or obligations with these babies, you're just saving them from a horrible death.

Apr 25, 2014, 11:57 am

Wow! That's so cool.

I've been wanting to read Foreign Gods Inc for a while. So, I'd be happy to take that one. (^_^)

Apr 25, 2014, 4:44 pm

Crap, they took some of the "older" ones off of the shelf. I'll head back to work tomorrow to take new pictures and repost. Sorry. I did ask my boss if she could ferret them out of the recycling pile (assuming they're still in the building), or from wherever they are if they're still in the building, and stick them in my locker for me. We'll see.

Andrea, that's one of the ones that's gone. :( Anything else look good? Or maybe you want to check out the new pics instead?

Apr 25, 2014, 9:57 pm

Ah, boo. Oh, well. No biggie.

An Unnecessary Woman also looked cool.

Modificato: Apr 26, 2014, 12:52 am

I do hope things go back to some kind of normal for you both soon! When I'm worried about something, any conversation (even if it's with a friend) will wear me out (yey for being an introvert!!). Just take care of yourself!

Apr 26, 2014, 6:04 pm

#118: Book murder?? Nooo!!! You're doing an awesome thing, Laura--saving all those books! :) I'll wait until you repost pics before I "adopt" a book. Thanks! Btw, best of luck with your Dewey's Read-a-Thon. :)

Apr 27, 2014, 3:11 pm

Andrea, I'll do my best to grab it at work tomorrow!

Eva, thanks, I'm hoping for some kind of normal soon. I hear you about conversation wearing you out. I'm an introvert too, and when things are just normal, I've figured out that I have about a 4 hour window of conversation/activity/whatever before I start to fade and can't pay attention. It's down to about a half hour for me now, which isn't great. Lots of things naturally happen in four hours (concerts, lunch/dinner/coffee, movies) so I'm usually okay without anyone catching on to me. But this is too much right now.

Sara. I KNOW! Book murder is a terrible, terrible thing. I didn't get to work yesterday to do new pics/grab ones people have mentioned to me, but I'll be there at 9 tomorrow morning so i'll do it then.

And yesterdays' read-a-thon was kind of a bust for me. It's difficult to concentrate when there's someone else living with you who's sick and needs things every half hour or so. But I did end up reading 6 books (not too exciting, they're mostly shorties) over about 9 hours, so that's something, at least.

Book 5 Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand
Fun, and I really enjoyed the illustrations. It was interesting to see how closely Emma Thompson made the Nanny McPhee movies to this, the inspiration. 3.5 stars

Book 6 The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
A fairy tale first written in 1950, with of-the-period color and black and white illustrations, I enjoyed it but wasn't blown away. Recommended for those of you who like nonsensical kinds of traditional fairy tales.

Book 7 The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker
An enjoyable 4th entry in the Bruno, Chief of Police series. I read this in 2 different ways - 1, in which I kind of skim-read and found to be alright, and 2, in which I really read, and then it was wonderful. Dipping my brain back into the town and people of St. Denis was really refreshing. This series is technically a cozy, but it doesn't quite have that same feeling that a lot of others do. The pacing is slightly different, and there are always subjects that are perhaps considered more "male" than female. Usually I'm not able to figure out whodunit ahead of time. This time I did figure out the who but not the circumstances and how it was done - and the sad way that one thing happened. I wish I could visit Bruno and St. Denis is real life. 4 stars

Book 8 Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey by Camaren Subhiyah
A clever parody of the show, with a great mystery and plot mixed in. It's not just poking fun at the characters and their relationships, there's a new, spy twist to the scene as well. Recommended for fans of Downton Abbey, especially those that can take a joke, and/or those that enjoy espionage. 4 stars.

Book 9 The Scraps Book: Notes from a colorful life by Lois Ehlert
A colorful and curious autobiography from a local children's author, recommended for fans of her work, both young and old. 3 stars

Book 10 The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
A sweetly simple book with wonderfully detailed black, white, and yellow illustrations. Caldecott winner. 3 stars

I can't (and can) believe that I haven't posted a book read here since January! Hopefully I can get a few more under my belt later this afternoon when Mom takes a nap in bed.

Apr 27, 2014, 5:14 pm

Not to worry about the book photos. Believe me, I have plenty to read as it is. :) And wow on the reading list! Six books in 9 hours is still impressive. I don't think I've read any of them, but I did see another Downton Abbey parody at the grocery store yesterday: Downton Tabby. I only flipped through it, but I wasn't too terribly impressed. Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey looks much better. Btw, I hope you and your mom are doing better! :)

Apr 28, 2014, 2:32 pm

Laura, hope you still had fun with the read-a-thon even though you didn't read all you wanted. (And by the way, 6 books in 9 hours is amazing!) You've gotten me with book bullets for The 13 Clocks and Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey!

Apr 29, 2014, 1:30 am

I think that counts as a successful readathon! Congrats!

Apr 29, 2014, 12:07 pm

Wow. Lots of reading in nine hours! I don't think I could have pulled off that much reading in that short amount of time. Well done! :D

Mag 23, 2014, 11:56 pm

Hi Laura! Just checking in. Hope all is going well.

Mag 31, 2014, 9:36 pm

Wanted to check in to see how things are with you. Sending all my best wishes!

Giu 24, 2014, 8:32 pm

Hi ladies. Thanks for checking in.

Here's the short version of my life since the end of April:

Mom finished her chemotherapy, and had her lumpectomy. They tested her lymph nodes in surgery and they were found to still be cancerous, so the surgeon removed 8 lymph nodes in total (it was one "bundle", better safe than sorry). That meant that Mom not only had a few chunks of her breast removed, but also had a large 7" cut on the side of her chest with a drain. That was in for 3 1/2 weeks, with me doing the draining for the first two, and then she was on her own. At her surgical follow-up, her lymph nodes/axillary area was deemed cancer-free, but there were still 2 areas in her breast that didn't have clear margins. So they waited one more week, and then Mom went in for another lumpectomy, this time it was slightly more aggressive than before, but we didn't want to have to do this again, another surgery. (Mom did have the option of having a mastectomy instead, which she was all for at first {thinking that would get her out of doing radiation - it doesn't work that way}, and then after speaking with her surgeon she decided on doing the lumpectomy again.) That was about 3 weeks ago.

Last week we met with the radiation team for the first time, and next week we go back for her initial scan. That is, assuming that her breast is done filling up with fluid. Because yeah, that's happening. Mom had over a cup of fluid drained out of her breast last week, and until that's all done, we can't move forward with anything - the radiation scan and small tattoos that she needs to do radiation properly require her breast and surrounding area to be as normal as possible. The whole radiation plan may have to get pushed back a week or two, depending on how her body is healing and recovering. And she's started Physical Therapy for her arm and lymph area, with the aim of increasing her range of motion and preventing any edema/lymphatic fluid back-up. BUT! She's doing PT and radiation on her own, which leaves me out of the running and some of the stress.

So, since my part is kind of wrapping up, and Mom is starting to realized that She Is Fine, I let my guard down and got a doozy of a round of the flu 2 weeks ago. It was both stomach and respiratory, and I still sound like Bea Arthur most of the time, but I'm working on getting back to normal. Whatever that is, I'm not quite sure, but it's a work in progress. I've started to resume some of my massage work, and I'm slowly working on getting my garden back to looking more like a garden and less like a jungle. One of the things I still have not done is catch up on posting the reading I've done so far this year, and if I can't get to it this week, it will be next week for sure. It's been so nice to catch up with you all a little and feel a little more like myself again.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and look for some book talk soon! :)

Giu 24, 2014, 9:16 pm

I'm so glad to hear things are starting to look up for you both! And thank you for keeping us posted on everything. :) Hope to see you around!

Giu 24, 2014, 9:39 pm

Glad to hear from you and that your mom is feeling better! Take care of yourself. :)

Giu 24, 2014, 11:11 pm

Thank you for the update. I'm so glad things are looking up for you both. Looking forward to discussing the future reads. :)

Giu 24, 2014, 11:34 pm

Thanks for the update, and I'm glad to hear that you're finally getting some time for yourself again. Enjoy your garden and your books!

Giu 25, 2014, 3:44 am

Good luck getting over the vestiges of your flu. And that's good news about your mom. Take care of yourself and do something indulgent just for you. It's emotionally exhausting to be the companion/caregiver.

Giu 25, 2014, 3:58 pm

Thanks for checking in and providing an update, Laura. Glad to see things are looking up!

Giu 25, 2014, 6:48 pm

Hi Laura, glad to hear that things are going in a good direction. Hope you are able to shake off your flu quickly.

Giu 25, 2014, 7:28 pm

I'm sure having you there to help her has helped your mom feel better. Hope you get back to normal soon.

Giu 28, 2014, 1:56 pm

So glad to hear the worst is over and hopefully your mom will fully recover. A huge load off your shoulders!

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:44 pm

Before I start this giant list of books that I've read, I scanned over my thread to refresh myself on where I left off and ended up reading everything that you wrote. I have to tell you all that your kind words, health whammies, love, and concern mean so much to me that it's hard to describe. Most days it was all I could to do sit in front of the computer, let alone type anything, and having you pop in here and on your own threads was such a nice treat for me. Having at least one area of my life seem regular meant so much to me, like I wasn't losing my mind and I wasn't alone. I can't thank you all enough for being my friends and just for being you. It chokes me up to think about you all, you mean so much to me. ((((HUGS)))) and *smooches* to each and every one of you. I love you!

Okay, ready for this? They're not necessarily in order (not that that matters too much). I'll have to break it up into a few messages so they actually load, but here goes nothing!

Book 11 Sorry I Barfed on the Bed by Jeremy Greenberg
An impluse grab at work that looked cute, about notes from naughty cats. A disappointment, nothing horrible, just not quite what I expected. 2.5 stars

Book 12 Doctor Who Character Encyclopedia by Annabel Gibson
I am a Whovian, and in trying to save a little money I check these books out from work first to see if I really want them or not. This was was okay, format was fine and the information was fine, but nothing about this one made me want to buy it. Eh. 3 stars

Book 13 Around the World by Matt Phelan
A middle-grade graphic novel about 3 people who were racing around the world at the same time. I'd heard of two of them, but not the third, and reading this made me want to learn more about each of them. 3.75 stars

Book 14 Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
I'd read her Page by Paige graphic novel last year and enjoyed it, so I picked this one up when I saw it. This one is about a girl, who's living with her Aunt after her parents' death, and one summer in high school where she befriends a troupe of actors and they put on a fair/play/exhibition of sorts. Fun and interesting, but nothing work seeking out with any kind of urgency. 3.2 stars

Books 15, 16, 17 Beautiful Stranger, Beautiful Player, and Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren
A fluffy, intending-to-be-steamy/sexy, brain candy series that's easy to digest, enjoy, and move on. Each main book (there are 3) follows a different couple and how they eventually become couples, with repeating characters throughout. There are three mini books between each main one, and they're fine too. My favorite of the series was the last "main" book, Beautiful Player. I thought it had the most realistic and honest couple. But, it's fun and fluff, and it passes the time happily enough. 3 stars each, with 4 stars for Beautiful Player.

Book 18 Test Your Cat's IQ by EM Bard
A fun little book (they have one for dogs too) that seemed fairly accurate in how they test intelligence. 3 stars

Book 19 Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle
A beautiful graphic novel about angels and spirits and their visiting earth. (At least, that's what I remember, it's been a few months.) I really liked it, and if I ever find a used copy I'll buy it. 4 stars

Giu 29, 2014, 8:32 pm

Hey there!! Thanks for the update. Great to hear things are moving in a better direction! I tend to do exactly the same; once I'm starting to relax after some strenuous times, I get hit big time with a cold. Hope you're feeling better. Big hugs and hang in there!

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:46 pm

Book 20 Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio
I'd had this on my Amazon wish list for years, and finally decided to check it out from work instead of buying it first. Boy, am I ever glad that I did! This was a total disappointment, and I could barely keep my mind on it. For something that's supposed to be dishy and fun, it ended up sounding braggy and whiny. Yuck. 1.2 stars

Book 21 A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
Read as a part of the 75ers American Author challenge, I enjoyed this story of a Lady and her small Western country town more than I expected to. I think I'm always surprised at how much I like Cather each time I read her. Really, she should be on my short list of classic authors to catch up on. At any rate, this was a quiet, insular old-fashioned-feeling book, and reading it made me remember what it was like to read and be totally engrossed in books the way I was when I was a teenager. A wonderful book. 4 stars

Book 22 The What to Eat if you have Cancer Cookbook by Maureen Keane
A nice book filled with information and a few recipes that actually sound appealing and that have ingredients that are fairly standard. (No running to the store for saffron and things.) It hasn't gotten a lot of use so far, but it's a great resource for what it is. 3.1 stars

Book 23 The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywait
A quirky story about how each crayon quits because they're sick of only being used for ballerinas, pumpkins, dinosaurs, etc. Fun for kids. 3.65 stars

Book 24 Mousekin's Family by Edna Miller
I think I read this (or other Mousekin books) when I was small, so it was really refreshing and restoring to read this quiet, slow little book about a mouse and his family and friends. 4 stars

Book 25 We Can Fix It! by Jess Fink
Jess goes back in her time as her current self to try and help her out of awkward and embarrassing situations with all that she's learned in her 20-odd years on Earth. Easy and funny graphic novel dealing with a lot of teens and early 20's topics. 3.8 stars

Book 26 Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who Assimilation 2, Volume 1 by Scott Tipton
A truly geeky combo graphic novel, lots of fun to read. Recommended! 4 stars

Book 27 The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz
Pretty much the same as the other cancer cookbook, only this one has less information on eating for cancer, and more recipes with why they're good for you. I prefer this one to the other, especially with how it's organized (what to eat on days of treatment, sweet things, etc). 4 stars

Book 28 Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
One of my favorite blogs in book form! She's hilarious and has a way of describing events and feelings that can be difficult for most but seem to come easily to her. Love it! 5 stars

Book 29 Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer
A pretty and dark oversized picture book about two siblings who visit the much talked-about and must-never-go-to Fog Island. 4 stars

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:46 pm

Book 30 Bearded Lady by Mara Altman
My first Kindle single. A short and funny story about her life-long trials and travails with body hair and its removal. 4 stars

Book 31 Essex County, Volume 1 by Jeff Lemire
Recommended by Mark and Joe, two of my favorite guys. Unfortunately, this GN didn't do anything for me. 2 stars. Sorry!

Book 32 The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Ms. Vowell is her usual smart, dry, smart and smart-ass self in this book about the pilgrims. Recommended for fans of her work. 3.4 stars

Book 33 The Woman in the Wall by Patrice Kindl
A pick for one of my book clubs, this had its moments, but overall seemed off somehow. It's a story of an extremely shy girl whose mother and sisters forget she's there (they sometimes can't even see her sitting in a chair!) because she's so quiet and unremarkable. The girl creeps into the walls of their old rambling Victorian house, eventually bumping in walls for some rooms and creating her own house-inside-the-house, taking over the attic space as well. She fashions this mostly during the night, and can get into practically any room through her small hallways and crawlspaces, making cookies and clothes for her family. She lives this way for years, until finally one of her sisters remembers and some apparent friends find her and force to "come out" at a Halloween party at her house. Odd. It sometimes seemed like I'd missed something in reading, and sometimes Ms. Kindl's descriptions of the main characters thought processes were so spot-on for how young kids and early teens can think it was eerie. 2.8 stars

Book 34 The Dark by Lemony Snicket
A great children's picture book about The Dark and how a little boy is afraid of him. The Dark eventually helps him not to be so scared of him. Cute and very Snicket-y. 4 stars

Book 35 Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli
Another implies grab at work, it's a book of miniature people posed on fruits, veggies, etc. Very clever, and it must have taken absolute ages to conceive, create, and photograph everything. 4 stars

Book 36 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy by Lemony Snicket
Eh. It's supposed to by mysterious/creepy and I just didn't get it. 2 stars

Book 37 Kokeshi Kimono Book by Annelore Parot
A bright and colorful interactive picture book featuring kimonos and kimono culture and families. 4 stars

Book 38 What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
A book club choice. I didn't like this one at all, and I don't think I "get it". 1.6 stars

Book 39 The True Story of Stellina by Matteo Pericoli
A sparsely illustrated and watercolored story about Matteo's wife finding an abandoned baby sparrow (?) in NYC, and how they nursed it and raised it as their family pet. Sweet. 3.8 stars

Giu 29, 2014, 9:28 pm

Books 40-45 The Griffin & Sabine trilogy and follow-up trilogy by Nick Bantock
I really like books like this, with postcards to read and envelopes to open with letters to read and fake ticket stubs, etc. An enjoyable hour or so. 3.4 stars on average, each.

Book 46 The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
In this book, Sarahs essays cover different spectrums and conundrums of being and American, and what life is like in the (formerly) 20th century. Entertaining and funny, as usual. 3.5 stars

Book 47 A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka
Received as a gift from my Uncle, this book was almost perfect. Full of short chapters/essays on each of 26 issues that cancer patients and their caregivers have to deal with, it was both reassuring, funny, insightful, and touching. Wonderful 4.8 stars

Book 48 The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
A surprisingly enjoyable, if occasionally plodding, time travel novel in Cornwall, England. 3.8 stars, and a good reminder to read more of the authors work.

Book 49 The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
A disappointment. The first half or so is just action and pointless talking, and in the end I just skimmed the rest of it. A real bummer, especially as I loved reading The Lord of the Rings 10 years ago. 2.5 stars

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:47 pm

Book 50 Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
Maybe it was because this book got me out of a reading slump, I don't know, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Stephanie Plum & Co. 4 stars

Book 51 God Save the Queen by Kate Locke
An impluse grab at work that quickly lead to a purchase of the trilogy, this was a fun alternate London fantasy romp with vampires, werewolves, goblins, and undead royalty. Great! 4.2 stars

Book 52 Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnarvon
An ER win, this story about the current Earls' grandparents and their lives was entertaining enough, but for me at least, a little went a long way. 3.5 stars

Book 53 Hansi by Ludwig Bemelmens
A sweet children's story about Hansi, a young boy, who goes to spend part of the winter with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin up high in the mountains. Full of cozy adventures and lovely illustrations. 4.3 stars

Book 54 Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Evelyne Lever
Meh. This fell flat for me. While some of the details were new to me, I had the overall feeling that the author really didn't like her subject, and that's not fun to read about. And, why would she write this if she despised MA? 2.4 stars

Book 55 The Vision Board by Joyce Schwarz
Trying to get a little inspiration to finish my own board, this gave me a lot of ideas, and it was really interesting to see how other people make their own boards and what they use them for. 4.2 stars

Book 56 Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
I liked this one too! 4 stars

Book 57 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
This was my fourth attempt to read this book, and I'm glad this time finally stuck. While she was occasionally whiny and her projects didn't necessarily apply to my life specifically, I liked the book. It got me a little pumped up about changing some of my attitudes/outlooks, and that's never a bad thing. 3.5 stars

Book 58 Artifact by Gigi Pandian
The first in the series (only 2 books so far) about an archaeologist living in San Francisco. Half Indian, and a tabla player, she receives a beautiful (real!) ruby bracelet from her Ex who is on a dig in the UK. Getting help from a jewelry specialist at the library, he and she go together to the dig to get to the bottom of the story both of the bracelet, and the supposed death/murder of her Ex. I liked this book more than I expected to, and I liked the detail not only of Indian royal history/myth, but also of the archaeologists and their dig, and the history of the area they were in. I'm looking forward to book number 2! 4.4 stars

Book 59 Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
I'm not sure where I heard about this picture book, but it was nice enough for what it was. 3 stars

Giu 29, 2014, 9:45 pm

Love the Big Appetites photos!

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:48 pm

Book 60 Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
Another picture book, recommended from who knows where, it was a nice enough story about a girl who learns to walk on a high wire from a relative. (I think it was a relative?) 3 stars

Book 61 Flotsam by David Wiesner
Rec'd from the same place as the last 2 books, I always enjoy David's wordless, wildly colorful and varied picture books. 3.75 stars

Book 62 Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
After seeing her speak and sign books, I requested whatever I could get my hands on and read in a reasonable time. This graphic novel for middle grades told a slightly bastardized story weaving fairy tales and mythical/legendary characters together. I like it enough, but sometimes the story didn't quite hold together for me. 2.5 stars

Book 63 Streamlining Your Life: A 5-Point Plan for Uncomplicated Living by Stephanie Culp
While this was dated and some information didn't apply to me, there were a few very helpful chapters on how to organize paperwork and sentimental objects. 3.4 stars

Book 64 The Healing Consciousness: A Doctor's journey to Healing by Dr. Beth Baughman DuPree
A breast surgeons story of her life (personal, spiritual, professional), it was so refreshing to read a book written by a medical professional who really gets energy work, spirituality, illness, and all sorts of things like that, how they go together, how current Western medicine is lacking in certain areas and excelling in others, and all related areas. Reassuring to read something that totally jibes with how my Mom, Dad, and I think. 4.6 stars

Book 65 Ask Graham by Graham Norton
I adore Graham and want to be his friend. Maybe that makes me nuts, but he's had such an interesting life (I recommend his autobiography, So Me), and has such a great sense of humor and practical and sarcastic view of things, that I don't care if it makes me nuts. I love him. This is a collection of his advice columns for The Daily Telegraph, it was sometimes very same-y, and often very funny, accurate, and honest. 4.5 stars!

Book 66 Sheldon & Mrs Levine, An Excruciating Correspondence by Sam Bobrick
This parody of the Griffin & Sabine books was funny enough, and this mother-son duo are terrible for each other and perfectly matched at the same time. Received as a gift, or I'd have already gotten rid of it. 2.3 stars

Book 67 Songbook by Nick Hornby (sorry, can't seem to find the right touchstone)
This collection of songs that were or are important to him was varied and interesting, and there were more songs there that I hadn't heard of than I was comfortable with. If I can find a nice used copy, I'll look for one that has an accompanying CD so I can listen as I read. 3.7 stars

Book 68 Naples! Recipe for Adventure by Giada De Laurentiis
I'm trying to find some new series for two of my friends little girls, and this one popped up during my search. While I don't necessarily go nuts over the author (my Mom and I call her Big Head because her head is ENORMOUS compared to her tiny little girl body), I liked this story of a brother and sister who somehow magically find themselves in Naples, while their travel-happy Aunt tells them about her time there, and how to make an authentic pizza. Cute, and appropriate for middle-grade-school age readers, this was a nice start to a series that I think my girlies will enjoy. It's certainly unlike any other books out there that I know about! 3 stars

Book 69 Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
The start to a series by Ms. Hale (again, I found out about this at her talk/signing), it treads the same territory (children of famous fairy tale characters) as the (much better) School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani. The book itself was nice enough to read with pink and purple colored illustrated edges throughout, and some crossed-out and handwritten notes in it. It would be perfect for young girls, I think. And for this 36-year-old, it was fun enough, but it seemed to create new, girly territory that I wasn't always 100% with and behind. Again, I much prefer the series by Soman Chainani, as that has a darker, twister storyline that seemed to follow a little closer to the source material. But, this was good too. 3 stars

Giu 29, 2014, 9:57 pm

My BF read The Hobbit for the first time this year and was also underwhelmed. And he couldn't believe that Peter Jackson is able to get three 3-hour movies out of it! I'm skeptical of that too, but I liked the book more than he did. It may have helped that I read it before LOTR.

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:49 pm

Book 70 Complete Guide to Container Gardening by Better Homes & Gardens
An excellent reference for container gardening, and I really liked the new and unusual plans for different types of planters. 5 stars

Book 71 Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by Agatha Christie
A typically lovely little Poirot murder mystery. 3.6 stars

Book 72 Naked Heat by Richard Castle
The second on the series, it's like reading a slightly extended version of the Castle TV show. Murder mystery fluff. 3.4 stars

Book 73 Month-by-Month Gardening in Wisconsin by Melinda Myers
Another excellent reference resource to have. Broken up into types of plants, and then by months, it's a lot of information, but it's all good! 4.3 stars

Book 74 13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro
A disappointment, and it was my choice for one of my book clubs! While I usually groove on books like this, with photographs of the objects that are talked about in the story, and things based on fact, I just could not get into this book. The story shifted from first- to third- to second-person, was told very unsympathetically, and ended up being about nothing in the end. Plus, it seemed like the author hated this woman, the experience of writing this book, and I constantly found myself wondering if I had missed entire chapters of story because things just didn't make sense. Nope, it just wasn't that well-written, in my opinion. 1 star

Book 75 Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School by Kevin Smokler
Another impulse grab at work, this book made me want to reread some books again - most shockingly, The Catcher in the Rye, which I'd previously sworn off ever touching again! Great for what it is, but I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend it or not. 3 stars

Book 76 The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Another book club pick. So long-winded I wondered if he'd ever get a point about anything. I "get" why it's a classic, but it was a giant miss for me. 1.5 stars

Book 77 The Serpent's Trail by Sue Henry
The start to what sounded like a pleasant-enough cozy series, I just couldn't get into it easily. Skimming is what got me through, well, that and the fact that my Mom and some of her friends enjoy the series. It's nice to give a series of books a pass, though. Really, what I didn't like was the writing. It was fine, and I've most certainly read worse, but it seemed like every other sentence went on for 2 phrases or 10 words too many. It kept pulling me out of the story and it was incredibly annoying. 2 stars

Book 78 The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers by Patrick Kavanaugh
This is incorrectly titled - it should be The Christian Lives of Some Composers instead. Too heavy-handed with Jesus and each composer was equally effusive about JC. It seemed like the author (who is a conductor and teacher of a Christian orchestra and symphony, I found out too late) was grasping at straws to show how much each of these people loved them some Son of God. Even composers who are well-known as Jewish were apparently Christian. Who knew?!? This book was very disappointing and very very much Not For Me. I'm sure it's great for some people, but they are certainly not me. 1 star (I also want to say that while I know some of these listed composers were very religious, it just seemed to overly strongly geared to show how much they LOVED Jesus it was very off-putting, like these guys could hardly eat or think about anything else. I'm pretty sure some of them worried about finding enough food to eat and things like that from time to time.)

Book 79 The Giver by Lois Lowry
I have no idea how I'd never read this before! I regret not getting my hands on it when it was first published, as I would've been about the same age as Jonas, and probably would have like it even more than I do now. 4.5 stars

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:50 pm

Book 80 The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
What originally took me 5 months to get into, I ended up really liking. It only took 70 + pages! A wonderful story, that was surprisingly more fluffy than I expected, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series sooner than later. 3.9 stars

Book 81 Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Originally purchased due to my enjoyment of the TV show, I think I waited to long to read it, and found it a let-down. I much preferred the more recent Heads in Beds that treads the same water, though that is less gossipy than Babylon. Fine enough, mindlessly name-dropping fluff. 2.2 stars

Book 82 Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! by Richard Ned Lebow
Another ER win, I have to say that I'm glad I didn't spend any hard-earned shekels on this. The author knows his stuff, and it's well-organized and well-though-out, but it wasn't an easy read. (Not all reads should be easy, but it was difficult to follow any kind of a narrative for this non-fiction book.) Just okay. 2.5 stars

Book 83 Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen
One of my favorite series, set in 1930's England. Our Lady, Georgiana is sent by her Grandmother, the Queen, to help a young Australian man who has newly learned of his relation to an Earl and who needs some education in the ways of the British Upper Classes. A murder or two, her friend and boyfriend show up, laughs are had, mistakes are made, and the bad guy gets it in the end. Lovely. 4 stars

Book 84 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
I've finally gotten around to this series, and I think I liked this book so much because I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by the awesome Tim Curry. Lots of bad things happen to these three orphans, that's for sure, and I don't think I could've enjoyed myself listening to their misery any more than I did. Plus, I started listening to it at work, and it was a great way to keep me awake while I paper clipped hundreds of coupons together. Oof. 4 stars

Book 85 Coco All Year Round by Sloane Tanen
I'd no idea that Sloane has written a few picture books starring her chick dioramas! Read while checking in books at work, it was colorful, funny, and fun. 3.75 stars

Book 86 Jane in Search of a Job by Agatha Christie
A short story about Jane, well, looking for a job, and finding one. She ends up getting hired to impersonate a Grand Duchess, and after she's drugged and kidnapped in the process, she finds out that she wasn't hired by who she thought she was. Sweet and short. 3.5 stars

Book 87 The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson
What a stinker! And, yet another series I can cross off of my list! What sounded like a fine-enough start to a cozy series (set in Roanoke, VA, and dealing with the gardening world) left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The set-up, secondary characters, and setting were fine enough, but the reveal (which didn't make sense), the actions of some of the characters (ridiculous in a bad way), and Good Lord, the main character, were just awful! Camellia (AKA Cami) seemed fine enough at first, but her butt-insky nature, outrageous assumptions in how people should treat her and what they should tell her, and how she treated everyone around her (especially her supposed best friend and boyfriend) was so snotty, underhanded, childish, stupid, and mean, it was unbelievable. How did this woman ever get through life, let alone find anyone who'd want to hang around for more than an hour or two? Just ridiculous, and it felt about 50 pages too long at least, that I threw the book across the room when I was finished. It was so frustrating, and I only finished out of spite. 0.2 stars.

I did try to read the second in this series, but only because I'd already checked it out, and I'd read that the author had a new editor. It was nearly as bad 20 pages in, so I promptly returned it. P.U., what a stinker!

##### And, I'm done! That took longer than I expected, but I'm really glad to have this task behind me. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but it was a project! I hope you all had a good weekend, and that you have a great start to the week!

Giu 29, 2014, 10:45 pm

Wow, that is some update!!!! Well done! And, of course, have a great week you too!

Modificato: Giu 29, 2014, 10:59 pm

Eva! It's so nice to see you here!
>142 -Eva-: I do feel better, thank you. I keep hearing about more people who get sick after a lot of stress, so we are in good company, so to speak! Big hugs back to you!
>147 -Eva-: I know, aren't they cool? I like the one-sentence stories that he writes for them too. The last picture I posted, of the smashed berry crime scene, has the story of "If only they'd realized the killer was right there in the crowd."
>152 -Eva-: It's a lot to update, so thank for hanging in and reading it all! Thanks, I think it's shaping up to be a decent week!

>149 rabbitprincess: Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed Hobbit more than I did, and glad that I have some company with your BF in the not-really-a-fan boat. I think if I'd read it before LOTR I'd have liked it better. I'm not sure how Peter Jackson is eking out 3 three-hour movies either, it seems a nearly impossible job. Even with adding characters and fluffing the storyline, I don't know how it'll get done. *shrugs* But that's probably why I'm not a highly-regarded, award-winning director, either. :)

Giu 30, 2014, 1:39 am

Hugs, back!

That's quite the book update! So many great reads. I've been meaning to get the Hyperbole and a Half book for a while. Sounds like I finally should.

Also, is the Star Trek/Doctor Who book an actual crossover with intermingled plot line? That's what it sounds like which would be so freaking awesome. :D

Giu 30, 2014, 12:08 pm

Hi, Laura, it's so good to see you back -- with a vengeance! :) I just reread The Hobbit for the first time since 2007, and I was surprised at how juvenile the book is compared to LOTR. There's that cutesy tone, as though he's telling the story to a little kid who isn't smart enough to understand the nuances on his own. Honestly, I don't mind it that much, maybe because I was much younger when I first read the book, but I can certainly understand how it would grate on other people!

Also, I'm glad you enjoyed The Secret History of the Pink Carnation! I really like the's very fluffy, as you say, but sometimes you just need that. :) And you're reminding me that I want to continue with the Royal Spyness series -- I just got Naughty in Nice out of the library!

Giu 30, 2014, 3:09 pm

I had not heard of that book by Cather. I also love her books.

Modificato: Lug 1, 2014, 10:49 am

I'm hosting a very casual Readathon this weekend over in the 75ers Group - come and join us! 4th of July Readathon.

154> Hi Andrea! It's really fun, and I read it one sitting. Go and grab a copy and have a few laughs! The Star Trek/Doctor Who IS a crossover with intermingled plot line. I'm just starting to get into Star Trek TNG so I'm sure a few things were lost on me, but I thought that the story went together beautifully and was very thoughtful and smart. It is So Freaking Awesome!

155> Hi Christina, it's nice to be back! You're spot-on, Tolkien does seem like he's talking to a kid that doesn't get it. It's not horrible or anything, but it's not like LOTR, and not what I was expecting. I'm doing my fair share of fluff reading lately, and I've got the second Pink Carnation book on my coffee table to hopefully start this weekend. Oh, Naughty in Nice was a lot of fun! I really like Georgie and her fairly useless maid, her grandfather, well, everyone and everything in these books! The next one, Queen of Hearts, comes out in about a month, and I can hardly wait!

156> Hi Mamzel! I hadn't heard of it either, but it was there at work when I was looking at her books and the title intrigued me. I think you'll like it if you can get your hands on it.

Lug 1, 2014, 1:26 pm

>157 LauraBrook:
OMG, I was obsessed with TNG when I was in high school and I'm obsessed with the Doctor now, so I'm definitely going to have to give that a read. :)

Lug 2, 2014, 10:16 am

Wow! You have been reading! Love your snippet summaries and glad to see things continue to improve for you and your mom, Laura.

Lug 4, 2014, 3:46 pm

>158 andreablythe: Andread, then you HAVE TO get your hands on this book. (And the second volume too!)

>159 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. We're doing pretty well, all things considered. And it doesn't quite seem like I've read as much as I have, but I'll take it! I have a few more to update here, but that will wait until later this weekend. Hopefully I'll have a few more to add to my currently short list!

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! I hope you are all enjoying the day and have the chance to get outside with a book and something yummy to drink! The weather here in Milwaukee is perfect today, 70's, sunny, breezy - after doing a bunch of yard work with my Mom, I'm getting ready to hop into the shower, throw on some comfy clothes and head back out there to read for awhile.

Lug 4, 2014, 8:15 pm

Happy 4th to you, Laura. Sounds like you have a very nice day planned out for yourself. Enjoy.

Lug 4, 2014, 8:55 pm

Yay! Laura's back. I'm glad things are going well for your mother. I hope her lymphedema is better.
That's quite a book list. Lots of good books. Love the picture with the blackberry. Are you planning to continue with The Series of Unfortunate Events books?
I'm glad someone is having good weather for the 4th. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Modificato: Lug 5, 2014, 10:51 am

>161 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy, and Happy 4th to you too!

>162 VioletBramble: Hi! Lymphedema is pretty good - going to PT is really helping her, especially since she's been getting lymphatic massages from them. (I think the physical therapists wonder why I'm not giving her lymph massages {I'm a massage therapist, FYI} but I really can't bear to think of doing that for her right now. Not to sound crass or like I don't love her, but Mom gets the majority of my love/attention/worry/etc and has since October - it's best if she can get some things from other people, you know?) I am planning on continuing with the Snicket series - I have the 2nd and 3rd audiobooks checked out now - but I watched the movie last week and it combined what seems like the first 3 books, so I'm less enthused to continue than before. Oh well. Hope you're enjoying your weekend too!

Lug 5, 2014, 9:26 pm

after doing a bunch of yard work with my Mom !!!! That's fantastic!!! A couple months ago, I'll bet you couldn't imagine her helping out with yard work. & I'm impressed that you got caught up on your reviews. I would've just put down some random numbers Book #7-46 and the comment "much good reading happened here." Love the little people with the food!

Lug 16, 2014, 11:10 pm

>164 cammykitty: I totally couldn't imagine that, Katie, really and truly. At least, not this quickly. And she probably should have done a little less, but she's both stubborn and forgets that she's sick and doesn't have her usual oomph, so I can't argue with her.

According to goodreads (not my favorite place, but it's easy to quickly update what I've read) I've got 107 books under my belt so far this year. That means that I have some serious catching up to do here and on my category challenge thread. But that's what the weekend is for. Or avoiding doing "productive" things like finally going through my junk mail to mail sure there isn't any "real" mail that got stuck in there, or doing the dishes (why does this task NEVER go away?!?!), or doing laundry for work, or insert adultish house and life care here. ;)

In other news, my kitties are a couple of years overdue for a general checkup. They each have one out of the ordinary thing (Chico needs his teeth cleaned and Sweetpea has a cyst near her spine/hip that doesn't bother her but it's there), but otherwise they're in pretty good shape for 11 year-olds. One of the deterrents for them going to the vet is that they Hate car rides, and it's 20 minutes each direction, not to mention the fiasco that is getting them into their cages. They're stressed, my Mom and I are stressed, and the entire afternoon/evening is shot at least. My good friend, Carolyn, recently transferred her cat to a mobile vet and she and kitty love her. (I don't have a price list, but I guess it's not that different from taking them in.) I just heard back from the vet and she could see me starting early next week, and she should be able to do everything except for a "larger" dental clean.

Here's my dilemma. I'm fully planning on transferring my cats to her care (I just have to take them to my driveway!), I trust her (she's been a vet for decades and I have yet to find one even moderately average review for her anywhere online), so it's mostly a done deal. But, here's the thing. I suspect that Chico will have to go a "regular" vet to have his teeth done since he'll probably need to be knocked out. Do I take him to the old vet, that's under different ownership, and who I like better than the old one? Or do I try someone that this new vet refers me to? Price isn't really an issue, but renewing/reminding the old vet about these two is giving me agita, and I'd just be taking him in there for this one procedure. I feel so guilty about not taking them there as it is, but these cats are so stressed about the car ride and everything that I'd feel like a real asshole doing that to them. If the old vet were closer, again this would not be an issue, and 20 minutes each way is not the end of the world. But... AAAAARRRGGGHHH I'm making myself crazy here. Any input/advice/head-slapping will be much appreciated.

And I realize that I wouldn't know if she could do the dental cleaning or not until she sees them (probably a couple of weeks away), but I don't want to have to think about this then - I want to get it planned, mentally, now, so I'm prepared for whatever comes at me.

Lug 17, 2014, 7:31 am

One of the things to consider is that anyone the mobile vet would recommend already knows that they won't be seeing your pet regularly because you use the mobile vet. But even if you wanted to go to the new/old vet that you like, I can't imagine that they wouldn't understand why you want to use a mobile vet and care about the animal's wellfare first. Maybe the mobile vet could even pave the way and talk to your old vet if that's the way you want to go.

Lug 17, 2014, 9:21 am

You know, the vet practice will survive. Don't stress about something like that! If it is bothering you, use whomever the mobile vet recommends and ask her about a vet closer to you to minimize the cat stress.

Lug 19, 2014, 7:35 pm

As I don't own pets, I can't offer advice, but I wish you best I luck in figuring out a good solution that works for you.

Lug 20, 2014, 12:15 am

I think the idea of a mobile vet is awesome! Dogs don't seem to mind car rides to the vets, but cats are another story altogether! I haven't had cats for awhile, but I remember how it used to take two of us to stuff Cameo in her crate and then put her in the car. Then she'd throw half her fur. And Sid was worse. He'd get so scared he would pee all over. I'd take the cat to the old vet for the dental and just explain that you are going to try the mobile vet because the cats find the car ride traumatic. The old vet will totally understand and will want to stay on good terms with you. After all, even if you aren't going to him/her, you can still refer people.

& so glad your mom is feeling well enough to push her limits!

Lug 20, 2014, 4:12 pm

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm going to just go with who the vet recommends. I have rec'd the old vet to several people, mostly people who live in a 5 mile radius, so they've gotten extra business out of me. And my Mom's neighbor still takes her cat there - though that cat doesn't seem to mind car rides as much as my two do. Anyway. Thank you again, you all made me feel better about my decision.

I've just spent a good chunk of the day out at my parents house. We didn't do anything much productive outside of eating a good breakfast, talking, and talking to my Uncle in Alaska for about a half hour. We're both really worried about him - he's had a bad year (I think he can't quite relate to what Mom and I have been through, but maybe relate is the wrong word. Remember the feeling? Something? Ugh, you get what I mean) having lost 3 good friends and with the death of 5 of his animals, his officially retiring from his job, and a few other general life things. He said today (which he's never said before, and I think he sort of let it slip) that he's not eating much, only one meal a day. That is incredibly worrying for Mom and I! When I kindly got on his case about it, he just said that he didn't have the energy to cook like he used to. No kidding! Perhaps if you could scramble 2 eggs in the morning and then eat some lunch you might feel better! Oh, there are lots of things like that that he just can't face. It's like life is too much for him to handle. He is talking to a therapist on the phone for a session once a week, or we'd be more worried than we are. It's like he needs a mother to come up and take care of him. He is 68 years old. And did I mention that he lives in Alaska? Kind of far away from us in the Lower 48. Nearly impossible to just pop in and have dinner together. It's frustrating for us and for him in all sorts of ways.

I'm beginning to think the only solution to this is for me (ideally both of us, but that seems unlikely) to come up and stay with him for a few weeks and help him out. I know he needs someone to talk to, and help cook, and he's always needed help in cleaning his house up and out. There was talk about 5 years ago, in a general fashion, about him moving back down to Wisconsin or to the UP. We even looked at some properties in the UP. But that's as far as it went. He talked about it a little more this past winter, which was very hard for him, but he's got two houses up there, and dozens of cars/farm/logging equipment, and he's built his whole life there, coming in on 50 years. I used to have a little hope that we could go up and help him a few times in a year, and we could find an old farm property within a half hour from here (Milwaukee/Waukesha counties) where he could live that's still got space but we're still close by. Now I'm really doubting that will happen. I'm afraid that he's going to die much earlier than any of us think, just by mentally shutting down. Does that make sense? Not that he's going to intentionally kill himself, more like just give up and fade away. It's so frustrating and scary, and whenever he goes, if he's in Alaska, I've got to be up there for at least a month and deal with all of that by myself. Not an enchanting prospect, let me tell you.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. There's not much for me to do down here except for call him once or twice a week like usual, and send him some fun books and DVDs in the mail. And Mom would like to go up and visit him too, but she's exhausted and has just started her radiation treatment, so she can't go anywhere until the end of August. Ugh.

Anyone have a magic wand they're not using that I could borrow?

Lug 20, 2014, 10:07 pm

I wish I had a magic wand for you.

I know exactly what you mean about mentally checking out. My grandma lives in Alaska (coincidentally) and, while she's not alone because my uncle and other family is up there, she's actually expressed feelings of being ready to go. Knowing that is really hard.

I hope things work out for your uncle in the sense that I hope he can find an ongoing connection to life, whether through friends or hobbies or whathaveyou, so that he can enjoy many, many years to come.

Lug 20, 2014, 10:07 pm

Laura, I sure wish I had a magic wand for you. You are having such a difficult year.{{{hugs}}} Does your uncle have any friends near by that could check on him a few times a week? I guess if he talks to a therapist on the phone he must be in an isolated area of Alaska. Maybe the therapist could help him find an aide. Someone to cook for him and make sure he and his home are passably clean. Maybe mention to him the possibility of moving close to you and your mother. Maybe he doesn't want to be the one to bring up the subject. It's hard to tell if mentally shutting down could facilitate his death. Has he always lived alone? My grandfather announced, at age 64, that he was going to die. He knew this because no one in his family had lived past the age of 63. He then spent all day laying in bed, listening to news radio and reading the National Enquirer. His diet consisted almost exclusively of ice cream and Hostess fruit pies. He lived like this for 16 years. So, you never know.

Lug 20, 2014, 11:35 pm

Hugs! I know what you mean. There really isn't much you can do other than let him know you care about him. I'll admit sometimes I eat just one meal a day, and those are days I don't get out of the house much. He may be snacking and getting more calories down than you think, and if he isn't active he doesn't need much food. That said, I'd try to see if there is any way to get him out of the house! Anywhere else but Alaska, I'm sure there would be plenty of elderly ladies willing to play cards and flirt with him.

Lug 22, 2014, 11:46 pm

I too wish I had a magic wand for you. You guys sure are having a little too tough a year, aren't you! Sending some virtual strength, since I have nothing more constructive to contribute.

Ago 30, 2014, 3:43 pm

So good to see you again, Laura!!

Set 22, 2014, 4:20 pm

Good to see you too, Linda!

Uffda, haven't been here in FAR too long!

Mini Life Update: Mom is currently done with all cancer treatment, having finished her radiation two weeks ago. We "celebrated" by spending a few days in the UP with our cousins, which was by turns nice, irritating, peaceful, and annoying. But it was still nice to get away. I'm starting to adjust once again to my new "normal" life, and pondering a job change so I can earn, perhaps, an actual living for the amount of hours that I work. That means I'm just starting to look into getting a Masters in Library Science degree. So some googling is happening on that front. Cats are good, I've taken off the next couple of days to give myself a little break, and am currently doing a marathon laundry session and listening to the latest BBC Music magazine CD.

Here's Mom on our way back home on Saturday - Stephenson is her maiden name, so we were surprised to see a small town with the name!

I've been reading quite a bit (though never enough, don't think that's possible) and hope to update that portion of my threads in the near future.

How have all of you been? How's your reading going so far?

Set 22, 2014, 5:14 pm

Yay, so glad to hear from you! Glad to hear Mom is done with her treatments, and I hope she's continuing to feel better.

Set 22, 2014, 8:34 pm

Happy to see you posting, Laura! Yay for the end of your Mom's cancer treatments and what a great picture!

Set 23, 2014, 7:49 am

I'm glad she's finished her treatments! I have a friend who finished early in the month and did some serious celebrating.

I'll be looking forward to finding out what you've been reading.

Set 23, 2014, 1:32 pm

Your mom looks healthy and happy!

Set 23, 2014, 11:02 pm

She does indeed look healthy and happy - hope she is and stays that way!!

Set 24, 2014, 5:51 am

Wonderful to hear that your mom is finished with her treatments!

Set 24, 2014, 7:19 am

I was happy to see the update on your mom and your other activities and I look forward to hearing about the books you've been reading!

Set 24, 2014, 6:28 pm

Ah, yay! I'm glad things are going well, and it's great to see your mom healthy and happy. :)

Reading wise I finished Fingersmith by Sarah Waters last night and its still lingering with me. Such a fantastic book!

Good luck with the potential job hunt!

Set 25, 2014, 12:34 am

Yay!!! Glad the cancer treatment is over with and your mom is doing well enough that your considering the job hunt. (I should be doing that too, for the same reason.) I'm almost done reading Bloodchild and I'm reading The Censors, Building Blocks and Regarding Ducks and Universes. Talk about scattered!

Modificato: Set 28, 2014, 8:25 pm

>177 rabbitprincess: Hi, rp! Me too, and she was starting to feel better. She started taking an anti-estrogen pill (that she'll most likely be on for at least the next five years, or the rest of her life, they're not sure right now) and it's making her more brain-space-y and tired, so she's kind of taken a step back. Frustrating.

>178 lkernagh: Hi Lori, thank you!

>179 RidgewayGirl: Hi Kay! No serious celebrating yet, but she would like to go to Maggiano's for dinner some time in October. She's never been, but has had leftovers/dinners I've brought home for her, and she'd like to go there herself. I'm going to make her get a glass of wine or a cocktail to celebrate, even though she hardly drinks, because why not?!?

>180 mamzel: Hi mamzel! She's as healthy and happy as she can be, and we'll take it!!!

>181 -Eva-: Thanks Eva, us too!

>182 paruline: We're pretty thrilled, paruline!

>183 mathgirl40: Thanks, Paulina, and I'll be getting started with the update just below!

>184 andreablythe: She looks better than she has any right to, as far as I'm concerned. ;) Kidding, of course! I own a few Sarah Waters books but so far I haven't read a word of her. I suspect I'll love them (as you did!). Maybe next year will be the year! Thanks for the job hunt luck - it's so stressful and exhausting for me to try and find someplace else to work. Draining.

>185 cammykitty: Hi Katie!!! Let's both go through the suckage of a job search together! Wow, that is a scattered reading list - you sound like me! ;)


Alright people, let's get this book review catch-up started! I missed using my "old" ticker by a day or two so I had to make up a new one - blerg.

Book 88 Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
A book club pick (not mine), I had a hard time getting into this story. I enjoyed the world-building and the dragons, but couldn't connect to the main character. 3 stars

Book 89 The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Jeffers is quickly becoming a favorite children's author for me. This story about a boy who nibbles, chew, chomps, and inhales any book he can find is quite charming. 4 stars

Modificato: Set 28, 2014, 8:35 pm

Book 90 Doctor Who: The Vault by Marcus Hearn
A Whovian Geek must-have! 4 stars

Book 91 The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool
This story of a boy who learns how to spin clouds into cloth is totally made excellent by the wonderfully colorful illustrations. A great reading pleasure! 4 stars

Book 92 Where Is Coco Going? by Sloane Tanen
This time Coco travels around the world. Charming and cute. 3 stars

Book 93 This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Don't remember anything about this book, but I apparently liked it since I gave it 3.5 stars!

Book 94 The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Book #2 in the Poirot series finds Hercule and Hastings investigating a body found, yes, on the links of a golf course, though it seemed to me that the focus was on the people in the neighboring great house, and was only bookended by the whodunit. 3 stars

Book 95 The Trail of Lost Time by R.A. Montgomery
A typical Choose Your Own Adventure book, in which I inevitably died about 10 times and lived once. 3 stars

Books 96 & 97 Paris! and Hong Kong! by Giada de Laurentiis
Books 2 and 3 in the middle-grade Recipe for Adventure series fell a little flat for me. 2 stars each.

Book 98 Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg
The perfect book to pick up and set down a lot, some of these stories are more well-known (and salacious) than others. 3 stars - and I recommend that you read it in good lighting since some of the typeface is white with a lighter-colored box around it.

Book 99 Hatched!: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood by Sloane Tanen
Funnier than the previous two Coco books I'd read, I purchased this as a shower gift for a friend. I think it's great for that! 4 stars

Set 28, 2014, 8:51 pm

Book 100 Appetite for Detention by Sloane Tanen
Ah, the horrible times and funny (now, at least) misadventures of being in high school. Now even better in fake-chick form! 3.5 stars

Book 101 Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
Simply put, this is Story Crack. Darn you, Richard! 6 stars

Book 102 A Tramp in Berlin: New Mark Twain stories and an Account of his Adventures in the German Capitol During the Belle Epoque of 1891-1892 (phew, what a title!) by Mark Twain and Andreas Austilat
An ER win, this slim volume has got to be the authority on Twain's time in Berlin. Covering every aspect of the time, we read about the history of certain things in Berlin (like the street system), and then get historical and current photos of the areas, and at the end of the chapter was a newly translated article that Twain wrote. Phew! 4 stars

Book 103 The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
Another ER win, this story of a young boy in an orphanage that "grows" miracles was really delightful, if the ultimate message ended up a bit heavy-handed near the end. I'm looking forward to the next in the series. 3.75 stars

Book 104 Roar of a Snore by Marsha Diane Arnold
Cute story of a little boy investigating where this mysteriously loud snore is coming from! 3 stars

Book 105 Dirty Gert by Tedd Arnold
This sweet story about a girl who loves to play in the dirt and eventually becomes a tree is all about individuality and being yourself. Yay! 4 stars

Book 106 Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong
This wordless story, illustrated by the great David Small, reminded me of a big, complicated Family Circus cartoon that follows Jeffrey on his adventures of the day. 3.5 stars

Book 107 Stop That Pickle! by Peter Armour
This tale of a pickle on the run (to prevent being eaten) was cute and a breeze to read on my break at work. 3 stars

Book 108 The Mouse Who Saved Egypt by Karim Airawi
Another book I don't remember anything about, but I did give it 3 stars, so it must've been decent, at least

Book 109 Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Yet another ER win, and one of my favorite reads of the year! A modern-day version of another favorite book, Dear Exile by Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery, this all-email book was a breeze, totally consuming the 2 days it took me to read, and made me a lifelong fan of both of these girls. It took me right back to the first couple of years after college. 5 stars

Set 28, 2014, 9:25 pm

Book 110 President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett
A funny and historical picture book, I picked it up since Taft is an inside-joke between a few of my friends, and ended up really enjoying myself! I'd only heard about Taft's epically enormous bathtub but didn't really know anything about it. And now I do! 4 stars

Book 111 Alive and Well: Into the New Millennium with Edgar Cayce's Health Care Wisdom, Volume 1 by Bette S. Margolis
Very interesting and mostly accurate, as Cayce usually is, this was a very good read. 4 stars

Book 112 Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
I know some are tired of Stephanie's misadventures, but not this chubby gal! Loved this book, and had some good laugh-out-loud moments. A great distraction from the suckage of life. 4 stars

Book 113 Rheinsberg: A Storybook for Lovers by Kurt Tucholsky
Another ER win (I know!), this slim and charming book of how two lovers spend their weekend away, was nostalgic and light and funny. Wonderful, and I'm glad it was finally translated into English! 4 stars

Book 114 The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives by Kim Ficaro
Kind of disappointing, this was a mostly minimalist house tour, and only a couple of the homes included were warm and quirky like the one on the cover. I'd say skip it. 2.5 stars

Book 115 Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur
Another page turner by Ms. Arthur, and an exciting and slightly bittersweet ending to this paranormal series. 4 stars

Book 116 Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Wow. Just wow. A top poet for me, and a new discovery thanks to timely LT and in-person friends! 4.5 stars

Book 117 The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
Really charming story of a library open at night only, and the little girl and woodland creatures who love it! 4 stars

Book 118 Borderlands by Brian McGilloway
A Classics book club pick, this mystery set on the Irish border was harsher and more upsetting than I thought it would be. Also, the main character was unsympathetic and kind of a jerk, missing some obvious clues and mistakes. A series I won't be continuing with unless someone is enthusiastic about the rest of it! 2.5 stars

Book 119 The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
This collection of illustrations by Harris Burdick for books that were never published features only a caption. Van Allsburg found out about this guy and put this together. Fun and unusual! 3 stars

Set 28, 2014, 9:39 pm

Book 120 Delilah D. at the Library by Jeanne Willis
Cute story of a little girl who claims to be the queen of a mysterious land no one has heard of, Delilah get the librarian and her fellow kids to help her try and find it in books! 4 stars

Book 121 The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg
This picture book fell a little flat for me, with the main guy as being kind of a jerk who got what he deserved. Beautifully illustrated, though. 3 stars

Book 122 Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
Great. Wonderful. Typical Tan! 4 stars

Book 123 Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
The GN the movie is based on, the bittersweet story of two young girls in love was interesting but seemed to lack the depth I was expecting. 3 stars

Book 124 The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco
Fun and spooky, perfect for fall! 3.5 stars

Book 125 The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan
A short collection of photos and collages of Shaun's work. Interesting to see his mind at work. 3 stars

Book 126 Crimes By Moonlight: Mysteries from the Dark Side by Charlaine Harris and others
Don't remember the Sookieverse short story in here, but I'm sure it was fine. 3 stars

Book 127 What It Is by Lynda Barry
Though her work doesn't really speak to me, this was creatively-sparking and unusual. The more I think about it, the more I like this guide to writing and creativity. 4 stars

Book 128 Home Improvement: Undead Edition by Charlaine Harris and others
A short story involving Tara, Sookie, and a nanny. 3.5 stars

Book 129 Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
I read a few of these stories on the recommendation of a friend (they were some of her favorite scary/creepy stories of all time) and I didn't find them scary or intriguing. I'm beginning to think that "typical" King stuff is not for me. 2.3 stars

Set 28, 2014, 9:40 pm

Ooh, good to hear about Doctor Who: The Vault! I got it for Christmas but haven't had a chance to go through it yet. It's huge!

Re Borderlands, I have another friend who disliked it even more than you did! I've read books 3 and 5 in that series but haven't been as interested in the others.

Set 28, 2014, 9:58 pm

Book 130 Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo
If I had any extra money/space/time, this book about miniature gardening would create a seeeeeerious fun problem for me! 4 stars

Book 131 Little Monster's Counting Book by Mercer Mayer
A childhood favorite! 5 stars

Book 132 The Graves Family Goes Camping by Patricia Polacco
The spooky family (and a pre-Harry Potter camping scene) head off to an unmapped lake for some summer fun and end up with a voracious dragon on their hands! 3 stars

Book 133 Kids Are Weird: And Other Observations From Parenthood by Jeffrey Brown
A quick graphic novel read that I picked up on a whim at work, it was cute but not as funny as I'd expected. 3 stars

Book 134 Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton
Not a fan of Clifton's work, but nothing bad here either. It was just...there. 2 stars

Book 135 A Taste of True Blood: A Fangbanger's Guide by Leah Wilson
A collection of essays on all things True Blood, they were all well-thought-out and well written, but two were particular favorites that had me laughing out loud! 3.2 stars

Book 136 Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Ahh, Lady Georgie and her mother cross the pond on a big boat and end up in Hollywood! Excellent fun, as expected. Do I have to wait another year for another installment?!??? 4 stars

Book 137 Pirate Vishnu by Gigi Pandian
The second in the Jaya Jones series, this story wasn't quite as page-turning as the first, but it was still good. Involving Jaya's Great-Uncle (or Great Great?) who seemingly left a treasure map in 1905 San Francisco, Jaya needs to find out if it's real or not, find out why the now-dead-man gave it to her, and if it's really for SF or for the North of India! A real adventure! 3.5 stars

Book 138 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The new TV series starting up was the push I finally needed to read this nose-breaker. Fluffier than I expected, and boy howdy, was it long, but it was good, and I look forward to book #2 - but not for a little while! 4 stars

Book 139 The Game of Boxes by Catherine Barnett
Another kind-of miss of a book of poetry, just didn't speak to me. 2.3 stars

Modificato: Set 28, 2014, 10:27 pm

Books 140-148, all short story collections featuring one story in each by Charlaine Harris. Strange Brew, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, Must Love Hellhounds, Down These Strange Streets, Games Creatures Play, An Apple for Teacher, Death's Excellent Vacation, and Dead of Night
All fine, some better than others, averaging 3 stars

Book 149 Barbie Dream Closet by Kristen Depken
Just felt like reading this after checking it in at work, and it was ridiculous and silly, but still fun. 3 stars

Book 150 Lizzy Bennet's Diary by Marcia Williams
Written for younger readers, not quite young adult, this sweet and charming book tells the Pride and Prejudice story from Lizzy's point of view, filled with letters to unfold and read, charming watercolors, and flaps to lift, this book is firmly on my wish list. 4.5 stars, and recommended for all Austen fans!

Book 151 A Week in Summer by Maeve Binchy
A typical Binchy short story, delightful and realistically heart-warming fluff. 3 stars

Book 152 Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
Poirot #3 is a collection of short stories that were instantly familiar to me thanks to the outstanding TV show with David Suchet. 3.5 stars

Book 153 The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke
I've owned this book for 15 years, "saving" it for the "right time". This was my book club pick for one of my groups, and it was disappointing miss. So well researched and chock full of information as to be nearly unreadable, I ended up skimming the last half and savoring the photos, and getting more out of the wikipedia page for Bridget Cleary than I did this whole book. So save yourself some money and shelf space and do that instead. 2 stars

Book 154 I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant
A book bullet from Suz (chatterbox), this was a thoughtful Kindle short about the place books have in our lives, and what culling the herd can do to a person. Close to home, and cringe-inducing in spots, but still a great read. 4 stars

Books 155-166 by Charlaine Harris - Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead in the Family, Dead and Gone, A Touch of Dead, Dead Reckoning, and Deadlocked
Don't know what kept me from diving into the deep end of the Sookie Stackhouse series before, but book #2 must've been "right place, right time" for me, and I devoured each and every one. 4 stars each, though I have to say that I enjoyed the earlier books better. I'm currently reading the final Sookie book now and I'm making myself read it slowly so I can savor it.

Now all I have to do is go back and figure out which category all of these puppies fit in to!

Set 29, 2014, 12:48 am

My daughter was given a copy of The Incredible Book Eating Boy and it was a favorite in our house for several years.

Set 29, 2014, 8:20 am

I think job search is one of the most stressful things there is, so I hope it goes well. Added to the stress of your mom, you should have a glass of wine too when you take your mom to dinner.

Ott 1, 2014, 12:03 am

Wow, that's one heck of an update! Well done, you!

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 2:02 pm

>191 rabbitprincess: Sorry, I missed you in my flurry of updates! The Vault is a huge book, and while I didn't love love love it, I did like it quite a lot. I'm still hoping for my own copy this holiday season, though I'll probably just end up using a coupon and getting it for myself. :) I've heard that later books in the Borderlands series get a little better, in that the main dude is less of a putz, but I agree with you - I don't really have plans to try them again. There are far too many books that I Really Want To Read first!

>194 RidgewayGirl: Yeah, I'm tempted to get my own copy for when I watch my friends' kids!

>195 dudes22: I know, it's crazy! Don't worry, a glass of wine was always in the plan for me! It usually is, though I typically fall asleep before I can remember to pour myself a glass. ;)

>196 -Eva-: Thanks, Eva! I see that I've totally forgotten to go back and update my categories with this latest round. Hmmm, maybe I should do that now, before I head off to work tonight.

Yesterday afternoon I had a fabulous Thai massage, and I ended up skipping both my water aerobics and watercolor classes! Oops! I was just too relaxed and comfortable to think about leaving the house again, so I spent the night napping and watching Masterpiece mysteries. :) It was a good night!

So far today my Mom has come over to hang out for awhile, I've had a Peapod grocery delivery, Mom left, and I've been putzing around the house, recycling big piles of junk mail, and listening to my iTunes on shuffle. (Current song: "Alone" by Heart - it's totally cranked, like any good child of the '80's!) I work at the library tonight, and I'm so thankful for the time at home during the day to catch up on things and read a little.

Ott 1, 2014, 2:05 pm

Wow, lots of books for you this year, Laura. Sadly, I think I'm up to only number 68 so far. I ought to read chunksters for the rest of the way and then start over next year.

Modificato: Ott 1, 2014, 11:06 pm

Holy crap that's a lot of books! :o I love it!! :) I'm still going through them all....

ETA: Yay for Choose Your Own Adventure books (even though I really suck at them ;)! Hatched!: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood looks hilarious and is now in my want-to-own list. I really loved her other books, too. I love all the other picture books you read (love Mercer Mayer), which I'm not sure if we have at work yet (actually, I know we have President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, because we've had it on display and it always makes me smile; oh, and Rules of Summer we have, but I wasn't too crazy about his book The Arrival, even though Stephen recommended it). I'll have to check. Thanks, as always, for the awesome recs! :) Sorry about the Stephen King book, though. :*( He really is a pretty good writer. Some of his stuff anyway. And I really need to read Kids Are Weird: And Other Observations from Parenthood. I keep checking that one out, but never reading it. (squeals over Barbie's Dream Closet) Yeah, I'm 30-something, but I'd probably still read it. :D I'm so glad you got into the Sookie books. I only read the first one (Dead Until Dark), but loved it. Loved the TV show, too, but again, I neglected those. :( One more series to catch up on!

P.S. More importantly, I'm glad your mother is doing better! :)

Ott 2, 2014, 1:57 am

I'm going to have to take a look at Lizzy Bennet's Diary. I love pullout letters in books.

I was briefly confused for a moment, because there's a youtube series, called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (goes to wikipedia), which is just a brilliant modern adaptation but not actually connected to the book it seems. The youtube has spin off channels with Lydia making her own videos and so forth. It's all media connected fun.

I need to check out Outlander I think. From what I hear it's got some rather sexy scenes in it. ;)

Ott 3, 2014, 1:50 pm

>198 lindapanzo: Linda, I have no idea how my total has gotten as high as it has, seriously. I mean, yes, there were lots of hours spent waiting in doctor's offices and in hospitals, but it still doesn't quite add up. Though I have gotten into the habit of reading 2 or 3 picture books on my break at the library, so that does help. Still, I don't get it! I think you should read whatever you want to read for the rest of the year - you may surprise yourself yet, and reach your total!

>199 saraslibrary: Hi Sara!!!!!!!!! I always sucked at Choose Your Own Adventure books too, but at least you can "cheat" and find a thread where you live! I read that Barbie Dream Closet book on my break, and my boss and a few other librarians were in the room too. My boss said "Laura, I'm sorry, but I have to ask - what on earth are you reading?" and then I told them and we all laughed - hey, it looked kind of cute and fun and I'd checked it in so many times, I figured "why the hell not?!?"! OMG, you have to finish watching True Blood! I need someone to talk about the end of the series with, and I don't know anyone else who watches the show. Hop to it, friend! :)

>200 andreablythe: There aren't a ton of them in the book, Andrea, but there are plenty of other things that fold open and have little flaps and things. Plus, the whole Diary looks like it's hand-written and it's filled with cute little watercolors and photographs of pressed flowers, etc. So cute! I haven't had a chance to watch the youtube series uyet, and I hear there's one they recently started that's based on Emma too. There just aren't enough hours in a day!

Outlander does indeed have some sexy scenes in it, but I enjoyed trying to figure out the "lay of the land" and which clan members were together, etc. I'm looking forward to catching up on the TV show with the friend who recommended it to me, we're hoping for some time next week. :)

Ott 3, 2014, 2:04 pm

>201 LauraBrook: Just wanted to add my plug for the "Lizzie Bennet Diaries" webseries...and you're right, there's also one called "Emma Approved" that is based on Emma. Both of them are finished now, so you can watch them straight through without waiting for the next video to post! :)

Ott 3, 2014, 2:32 pm

Gah! Stop making more butt-in-front-of-computer time sound so appealing!

(It probably doesn't help that I'm in the middle of a re-watch of "The Net", and even though I've been online here the whole time, it's making me a little paranoid about having so much stuff online now. Yikes!)

Ott 3, 2014, 4:24 pm

>201 LauraBrook:
I've heard of Emma, but haven't had the time to view it yet. I'm sure it's great based on my Lizzie Bennet Diaries experience.

>202 christina_reads:
Sweet! I didn't know Emma was done yet. That means there's a tea drinking and video watching marathon in my sister and my futures!

>203 LauraBrook:

Ott 3, 2014, 5:03 pm

>204 andreablythe: re:Muahahaha. ;-p

Ott 6, 2014, 7:56 pm

>201 LauraBrook:: Hi Laura! :) Miss you much, and I'm glad you're back on LT more--though I completely understand family emergencies. Family first. Always. :)

I should probably do that--mark the pages where I die and avoid those situations. D'oh! You would think after so many years I would've figured an easier approach to those Choose Your Own Adventure books. And who'da thunk it, but they've trickled over into the girly romance section of books. I own The Dance Dilemma by Cylin Busby (part of the Choose Your Boyfriend: Date Him or Dump Him series), which I plan on reading eventually. And I think I've seen them elsewhere in our teen section. It's good to see they're still alive and kicking. :)

Thankfully, I work at a library where several of my coworkers read children's book as well, so we don't think it's weird at all for adults to enjoy Barbie, Sponge Bob...whatever! :)

(hopping to it) Yes, ma'am! ;) (salute) I may make a special trip to HPB soon and stock up on my Dexter and True Blood TV shows. The stuff we have at work is so scratched up, I can't even watch it. :(

Ott 16, 2014, 11:24 pm

Wow! You read a ton!!! I think The Incredible Book-Eating Boy may turn into a Christmas present. I know a pair of kids who "eat" books.

Harris Burdock! They published that "book" in two formats - one is a book, the other is posters for teachers to use as writing exercises. Van Allsburg is pretty cool.

And as the suckage that is job hunting, I still haven't started! And I took a coaching position at my school and would feel guilty if I left before that was done, but I should start looking anyway. If the perfect job does come up, I could probably find a way to finish the coaching obligation and take the new job.

Ott 18, 2014, 9:44 am

>206 saraslibrary: Aw, Sara, I miss you much too! BTW, I keep forgetting to ask if you've got a thread this year or not - I don't have one starred, but I could've missed it.

I had no idea that they had "girly" Choose Your Owns! I'll have to see if my library system has one, I'd love to read it. I'm totally a child at heart, I can't imagine ever giving up kids/middle grade/YA books for anything.

Doesn't that suck when work DVDs are too scratchy to work properly? So frustrating! I was putting DVDs away on Thursday and found a Dexter season - disc two was stolen! Seriously, why on earth would someone want the 2nd disc of a season?!? Jerks. That's almost as bad as wrecked discs, really. People suck sometimes. Let me know when you catch up on True Blood - still haven't found anyone to talk to about it yet!

>207 cammykitty: The Incredible Book-Eating Boy would be a great present for kids! I may do that myself, actually.

Van Allsburg is very cool. I've been starting to read his books a little more as they come back to the library, but I should really go upstairs to the children's department and read whatever's there.

Why does job searching suck so much?!? It's terrible. You sound a lot like me - say "yes" to a part time job for something you enjoy but doesn't really pay the bills, or isn't quite what you want to "do" for a Job job, and then feel stuck there in some respects because you either bail on that job you took first to take a different job, or you stick it out, liking it and finding it annoying in equal measure, just to finish what you started and be nice to the people who hired you. Ugh! Here's hoping we can both figure out the right things for us without disappointing anyone - including ourselves! ;)

Today is Dewey's October Read-a-Thon, so I've been up and at it since 7AM today. I'll try and stop by here a couple of times and leave updates, but no promises. My Mom is coming over for awhile to help me with some fall yard cleanup, and I'm taking care of my neighbors' cat too, so that's already a couple of breaks in my day coming up. So far I've just been listening to an audiobook (The Bone Season), and it's so good that I want to keep on listening, but I know that I should save some of it (even though there's 11 hours left) and read a book-book during the day. On the plus side, it's looking to be a cloudy, slightly rainy day today, so I shouldn't feel too guilty about spending most of the day reading on the couch. :)

Modificato: Ott 18, 2014, 5:51 pm

>208 LauraBrook: I do have a thread: *fingers crossed the link works* Not to worry about missing it. I've been pretty absent from other people's threads, too, since I don't have internet anymore. :(

Same here re: a total child at heart. :) I still love reading kids books and wouldn't give them up either.

Oh, believe me, people will steal anything at a library! Some I'm not surprised at--erotica like Fifty Shades of Grey, magazines like Cosmo and the swimsuit editions of Sports Illustrated, etc. Patrons even steal our toilet paper. :D The list is endless. (ETA: I forgot, they've also stolen our computers right in front of the help desk, if you can believe it. Kind of bad on our part for not noticing, I'd say.)

Anyway, I went ahead and put a hold on the entire True Blood series, though I'm pretty sure I've watched the first couple of them. It might take me awhile to catch up. I'm in the middle of watching the second season of Bates Motel right now.

ETA: Ha! I checked in the 2nd season of True Blood a few minutes ago, and it trapped my hold. Yay! :) I think I've already seen season 2, but still, I'll rewatch part of it tonight.

Nov 20, 2014, 1:46 am

Hi Laura! Just checking in. Hope you're doing okay.

Nov 22, 2014, 4:01 pm

Well, yes and no. Since my last check-in (over a month ago - oops!), I've worked quite a lot, unfortunately the $ doesn't reflect that. And my Mom and I successfully got through the first anniversary of my Dad's passing and her birthday.

But, we got more bad news on my Mom's birthday. My Uncle, who lives in Alaska, has been in the hospital for a week. The short version is he is a bigger alcoholic than anyone really knew about - so bad that his cirrhosis is out of control, he can no longer walk/use his legs because his brain is so fried from alcohol, and also because of that he has the mental capacity of a 7 year old. It's so sad and angering and frustrating and sad again, because he was such a smart, brilliant man, who lived one hell of an adventurous life up there. He's very well-known in his line of work for all that he did for the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and had a wonderfully quirky and dry sense of humor. He's definitely his mother's son, though, as both suffered from alcoholism and a pretty hefty Jekyll & Hyde syndrome when drinking. Both were wonderful, kind, funny, creative, loving, open people when sober. It's those things my Mom and I are working on remembering now. His long-time friend and neighbor, Mary, has been the supportive voice of reason for almost 40 years, and she's the one who is now dealing with the giant heaping mess that he's left behind. She's remaining positive that he will be able to regain some more brain usage and the use of his legs and that he'll eventually be able to move to a long-term care facility. No one thinks he'll be able to live on his own at home again. Mom and I are praying that he just leaves his body in the night, quickly, easily and painlessly, so whatever that is left of him doesn't have to suffer any more. We are both mourning the loss of this wonderful family member, even though he's still physically on this planet. So awful.

And here I was, thinking that maybe eventually this time of year wouldn't be so bad for me - looks like that's not the case.

I'm still reading, or at least trying to, as much as I can. I fear that I just collapse on the couch to sleep or stare blankly at PBS for an hour or two a lot of the time. And that's okay, I've just got to get through this, and more importantly, get my Mom through this. It's her baby brother, so it's hardest for her.

Modificato: Nov 23, 2014, 1:21 am

Oh, that's so sad, for any person, but especially when it's someone who you know had great potential. Sending whatever strength can be transmitted via the computer. Hugs!

Nov 23, 2014, 12:08 am

Oh, Laura. That's so hard to deal with. I'm so glad you are focusing on the person he used to be. It's such a hard disease to understand. I too have a friend who is gone but still living because of alcohol, but not one as close to me as your uncle is to you. Here's hoping for the best possible outcome.

Nov 23, 2014, 10:40 am

Thanks, ladies. It's just overwhelmingly sad. I just got an email from his friend Mary. Apparently he's sitting up in bed on his own, talking relatively coherently, and he said that with assistance he could put some weight on his legs yesterday. There was no one around to confirm or deny this, though, so who knows. And, he's very emotional right now, of course. So, just when Mom and I were thinking that this would be it... maybe it's not. I truly cannot imagine a body recovering from the severe state he is in after decades of abuse, but you never know. Mary seems encouraged, at least, and is planning on bringing by a few of his CDs today so he's got something else to do besides watch TV. He's been talking about Huck Finn, his favorite book, a lot in the last year or so - maybe she can bring his copy to him? Even if he can't really read or comprehend, it surely would be a comfort just to hold it in his hands and go through the motions?

Also, my car is actively dying. The brakes are fixed so it's safe to drive in the short term, but I've got to start looking at cars very seriously in all of my spare time. Doesn't sound like fun to me, but yay?

Nov 23, 2014, 3:49 pm

Laura, so sorry to hear about your Uncle. Alcoholism is a dreadful disease, having a devastating impact on whole families. I truly hope he is able to be stabilized enough to have some quality of life to enjoy.

Nov 23, 2014, 6:16 pm

>211 LauraBrook: Oh, man, where to start, huh? I'm glad you and your mom were able to make it through your first anniversary of your dad passing--and especially to have your mom around to celebrate her birthday! :) I am so sorry to hear about your uncle, though. That must be extremely rough for everyone to deal with. I have my fingers crossed he'll be able to be moved on to long-term care facility. My best wishes to you and your family! :)

Nov 23, 2014, 7:12 pm

Oh yes! Very fun to be you. {{hugs}}

Dic 2, 2014, 11:47 am

Man, what a rough year. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle. I hope he is able to recover. HUGS

Dic 17, 2014, 11:05 am

Thanks, ladies. :) As of a week ago, he's in a long term care facility, and in town, too, thankfully. He will move to a different facility in the spring - some long-time friends of his own their own place, so once a bed opens up in the spring (a resident is moving to the lower 48), he'll transfer over there. They're looking forward to having him stay with them, and hopefully he'll remember who they are and they can talk about old times a little. He's still not walking (either can't or won't, no one knows), and he's confused a lot, but he's on the earth. That's good, I suppose. (I don't mean to sound awful or mean, but what kind of quality of life has he got now? I don't know, it's just so sad and terrible.)

The plan is still for me to go up once the roads aren't so iced over all the time, to help Mary, visit with Uncle Rob, clean out the country house and maybe his house a little too. And I do mean actual cleaning, not just getting rid of things to the proper place (garbage, recycling, donation, etc).

I haven't been reading much lately, just falling asleep instead, but I can feel a big reading binge coming on. I'd like to update what I've read since the last update here (too long ago), but I'm hoping to finish up my Christmas shopping today so I don't have to face the crowds on Saturday. In that case, I should probably step away from LT, pull out my trusty list, and hop in the shower! Hah! We'll see if that actually happens or not. I'm enjoying drinking coffee in pajamas too much right now to be motivated. :)

Dic 17, 2014, 11:59 am

Glad to hear things are getting more settled with your uncle.

Sleep sounds well deserved and necessary. PJs and coffee time can be great sometimes.

Dic 17, 2014, 7:28 pm

Good luck with the Christmas shopping! The weekend crowds are such a pain. And I hope you enjoy your reading binge when it comes. Sending you relaxing thoughts for the holidays.

Dic 17, 2014, 10:25 pm

Dic 18, 2014, 5:29 am

All my best wishes for the holidays after such a rough year. And I hope you enjoy your reading, having a little time to oneself is so important.

Dic 20, 2014, 10:25 pm

>219 LauraBrook:
Such a sad fate - sending virtual *hugs* to all.

Dic 21, 2014, 10:13 am

Glad to hear that your Uncle is in long term care and has friends that are checking on him.
You and your mom have had a rough year+. I hope you're both able to enjoy the holidays and get some rest.
Happy Holidays Laura!!

Dic 23, 2014, 10:21 pm

Merry Christmas, Laura, and Happy New Year! :) I hope you have a good time with your family.

Dic 24, 2014, 7:10 pm

Very happy to see a solution has been put into place for your uncle.

Stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2015!

Dic 24, 2014, 8:05 pm

I hope you and your family have a peaceful, joyful holiday season, Laura and that 2015 is going to be chock full of good things for you.

Dic 24, 2014, 9:13 pm

Sending you best wishes for the holidays and hoping that 2015 will be good to you.

Dic 25, 2014, 6:00 am

Merry Christmas Laura and a Happy better New Year.

Dic 25, 2014, 10:46 am

Happy Holidays, Laura. I hope you and your mother are enjoying a peaceful Christmas.

Dic 25, 2014, 9:38 pm

Happy Holidays, Laura and I hope you and you're whole family have a peaceful new year!

Dic 27, 2014, 11:04 am

Thanks everyone, and a very Merry belated Christmas to you all! I found myself feeling not quite right during the day of the 24th, and by the time Mom and I got home from our friends house at 9pm, it was a full-on flu. Yay? Ugh. I'm just glad that today I'm feeling better and can get online and maybe do something around the house aside from hold the couch down. Mom, thank God for her, stayed through yesterday to make sure I didn't fall down in the hallway and break my nose, brought me tea and water when requested, and put up with me randomly snoring on the couch for hours at a time. So thankful for her! Our plans for Chinese food on Christmas Day did not happen, obviously, so we'll do it in a couple of weeks once things are back to normal.

I received some very lovely books for Christmas!

From Mark's Xmas Swap I received One Hundred Ways For A Cat To Train Its Human by Celia Haddon, The Waves by Virginia Woolf, and Stephen Fry's Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music by Stephen Fry, from Lunacat!

From LT's SantaThing I received London by Edward Rutherford, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth Arnim, and Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman, from pmarshall!

From my favorite eight-year-old, Chloe, I received Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I've promised her I'd read it soon so we could talk about it. She's SO excited to talk about a book with me. :)

From her Mom, my dear friend Joy, I received What Would Jane Do? by Potter Style.

And, though she doesn't know it, my Mom bought me Realms of the Earth Angels by Doreen Virtue, Longbourn by Jo Baker, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, and The Marseille Caper by Petery Mayle. If I happen to get any of these as doubles, I'm happy to give them away here. I'll keep you guys posted.

Dic 28, 2014, 1:33 am

And, though she doesn't know it, my Mom bought me . . . LOL. I added books I wanted to my brother's Amazon Wishlist so he'd get the hint.

Glad you're feeling better. There's nothing worse than feeling sick around the holidays. I used to get sick every Christmas until we figured out I was allergic to pine.

Dic 28, 2014, 3:40 pm

Sorry to hear you were sick around Christmas. :( But that's an awesome haul of Christmas books! :) Yay you!

Dic 29, 2014, 2:34 pm

I'm glad you're feeling better. It sucks to get sick around Christmas.

But it seems you got an awesome assortment of books for the holiday, which is awesome!

Dic 29, 2014, 4:58 pm

Hope the feeling better lasts!

You did get an interesting looking assortment of books.

Dic 29, 2014, 9:22 pm

Oh no, Merry Flu-Christmas. :) Glad you're feeling better.

Dic 30, 2014, 12:58 am

Hi Laura. Glad you're feeling better. Hopefully you can have an illness free New Years Eve.
Great book haul. I just realized that I've been confusing the Red Rising trilogy with the Red Riding trilogy. Hmmm..

Dic 31, 2014, 11:56 am

Hope you get better soon! Reading those lovely books might help :)

Gen 1, 2015, 11:26 am

>234 BookLizard: Wow, I've never heard of that allergy before! It's one of my favorite things about the holidays, the smell of pine, mostly because you never know quite when you'll get a passing whiff. Must be a landmine for you, though. :(

>235 saraslibrary: Thanks, and I know! Very happy with the books all of the various Santas brought me.

>236 andreablythe: Thanks, Andrea! Totally please with my haul. ;)

>237 hailelib: So far, so good! Well, mostly. Every time I get hot for long periods my digestion acts up. So strange, and I don't know what that's about. Maybe there's still something lingering? But as long as I'm comfortable or cold, I'm good, so I'm just going to roll with it and call my Doctor tomorrow.

>238 -Eva-: Hah, that's so appropriate, Eva!

>239 VioletBramble: No illness last night! Yahoo!!! Haven't read the Red Riding trilogy - I'll go and investigate, and then probably confuse myself. ;)

>240 paruline: Reading books ALWAYS helps, no matter the problem.


Last night I managed to stay awake until 11:55 and then woke up at 1:30 in the morning! Apparently a glass of wine and "Green Wing" will do that to a girl. ;) So far today I've managed to have coffee and doughnuts, and keep up the Green Wing watching. I'll be working on a quick list of the books I've read in 2014 since my last update here before heading over to my 2015 thread.

Gen 1, 2015, 11:48 am

Books 167-173 Cozy Classics: Moby Dick, War & Peace, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, Pride & Prejudice, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
A beautiful collection of felt figures retelling classic stories in beautifully photographed settings with felt dolls. Maybe sounds weird, but they're really lovely. 4 stars each

Book 174 Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, Volume 3 3 stars

Book 175 Lily Dale by Christine Wicker, 4 stars

Book 176 What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman, 4 stars

Book 177 Chester 5000 XYV by Jess Fink, 4 stars

Book 178 The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny, 5 stars

Book 179 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, 4 stars

Book 180 The Exile by Diana Gabaldon, 3 stars

Book 181 Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi, 4 stars

Book 182 Jane Goes Batty by Michael Thomas Ford, 3 stars

Book 183 Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants by The Oatmeal, 3 stars

Book 184 The Journey by Sarah Stewart 4 stars

Book 185 Ghost Hunting by Jason Hawes, 3 stars

Book 186 Life Below Stairs by Alison Maloney, 3 stars

Book 187 The English Country House: The Grand Tour by Gervase Jackson-Stops, 4 stars

Book 188 Grandville by Bryan Talbot, 4 stars

Book 189 GI Brides by Duncan Barrett, 3 stars

Book 190 The Cruise of the Vanadis by Edith Wharton, 2 stars

Book 191 The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi, 4 stars

Book 192 Pride & Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams, 4 stars

Book 193 Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, 4 stars

Book 194 Anna Karenina: A Babylit Fashion Primer by Jennifer Adams, 4 stars

Book 195 Firefly July by Paul B. Janeczko, 4 stars

Book 196 The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec: The Eiffel Tower Demon & Pterror over Paris by Jacquis Tardi, 3 stars

Book 197 The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat, 5 stars

Book 198 Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, 3 stars

Books 199-201 Zen Shorts, Zen Ghosts, and Hi, Koo! by Jon J. Muth, 4, 5, and 4 stars

Modificato: Gen 1, 2015, 12:04 pm

Book 202 Captured by Beverly Jenkins, 3 stars

Book 203 Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, 4 stars

Book 204 & 205 Journey and Quest by Aaron Becker, 5 stars each

Book 206 A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker, 4 stars

Book 207 Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, 4 stars

Book 208 Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke, 4 stars, nearly 5

Book 209 Sparky! by Jenny Offill, 4 stars

Book 210 The Girl & The Bicycle by Mark Pett, 3 stars

Book 211 Maple by Lori Nichols, 3 stars

Book 212 Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood, 3 stars

Book 213 The Pigeon Needs A Bath! by Mo Willems, 4 stars

Book 214 I Work At A Public Library by Gina Sheridan, 3 stars

Book 215 The Best American Comics 2014 by Scott McCloud, 3 stars

Book 216 Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett, 3 stars

Book 217 A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene, 3.5 stars

Book 218 How to Mix Colors by Parramon Editorial Team, 3 stars

Book 219 Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers, 4 stars

Book 220 The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak, 3 stars

Book 221 Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner, 3 stars

Book 222 Sweet Spot Guide to Home Style by Desha Peacock, 4 stars

Book 223 Yes Please by Amy Poehler, 4 stars

Book 224 Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, 3 stars

Book 225 A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, 2 stars

Book 226 The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace, 3 stars

Book 227 Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, 5 stars

Book 228 Flea Market Fabulous by Lara Spencer, 4 stars

Book 229 Maybelle the Cable Car by Virginia Lee Burton, 4 stars

Book 230 Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton, 4 stars

Book 231 The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, 4 stars

Book 232 Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy, 2 stars

Book 233 What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, 4 stars

Book 234 Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie 4 stars

All in all, not a bad total for the year! Here's hoping I can at least get to 200 in 2015!

Here's my new thread:

Gen 1, 2015, 11:07 pm

That's a brilliant total!! Congrats!

Gen 2, 2015, 9:50 am

I am in awe!

Gen 2, 2015, 12:49 pm

Thanks, Eva and paruline! I'm hoping I can get close to that again in 2015. *fingers crossed* :)

Gen 3, 2015, 12:01 pm

Laura, I don't know how you read that many books with everything you have going on. Amazing book total!

Gen 9, 2015, 2:45 pm

Wow. Nicely done!