Cammykitty's Minimalist Category Challenge Part II

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Cammykitty's Minimalist Category Challenge Part II

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Modificato: Lug 28, 2014, 11:36 pm

Welcome to the second half of my Category Challenge!

And to prove that the dog trainer's dogs are naughty:

What do you think? Did I catch them red-pawed? But to be honest, the box was empty.

As for the challenge, I did a zillion categories last year and found it a bit taxing so this year I'm doing the opposite. I'm only including a few special categories for books that I really want to focus on. That, and I'm working on getting the books off my shelf. So here are my categories:

My Categories are:
1. Lambda Award winners or shortlist
2. Animal (and human) behavior
3. Authors from Central America, Columbia or Venezuela
4. Books in Spanish
5. everything else

And as in the past, a book over 400 pages can count as two.

A "goodly portion" of these should come from books I already own, especially in category 5.

Modificato: Set 6, 2014, 11:02 pm

Category 1
Lambda Award nominees or winners
1. Things Invisible to See
2. Hard Love
*3. Slow River
*4. Sacrament
5. Sacrament


Modificato: Ott 25, 2014, 5:39 pm

Category 3
Authors from Central America, Columbia or Venezuela
1. There Never Was a Once Upon a Time
2. One Day of Life
*3. Our Lady of Assassins
4. The African Shore
5. Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Gabriel Garcia Marquez No one writes to the Colonel
Rodrigo Rey Rosa Guatemala The Good Cripple or The African Shore
Omar Cabeza Fire from the Mountain Nicaragua
Romulo Gallegos Dona Barbara Venezuela
Salvador Garmendia Memories of Altagracia Venezuela
Ruben Dario Nicarauga (Juan P's rec)
Clandestine in Chile
Papillon by Henri Charrière Venezuela

I'm finding tons of authors who aren't readily available translated. !!! Especially from Venezuela and I'm wondering if it's partly political. Hmmm

Modificato: Set 28, 2014, 2:42 pm

Modificato: Ott 25, 2014, 5:40 pm

Group Reads???
October with msf59 on 75ers Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
November Shirley
Year Long Arabian Nights

1and2. The Three Musketeers
3. (team read) Cat's Cradle
4. Storm Thief LT book group
5. Bloodchild LT book group
6. Eleanor and Park LT book group

Lug 28, 2014, 11:23 pm

save 7

Lug 28, 2014, 11:24 pm

save 8

Modificato: Lug 28, 2014, 11:51 pm

I spent this weekend at Diversicon, a convention devoted to diversity in F&SF, and that means both diverse in the people participating as well as diverse in subject matter and kind. This year's Guest of Honor was Carolyn Ives Gilman, who is an historian as well as an author. Her editor at Aqueduct Press, L Timmel Duchamp was there. Timmy is also an awesome short story writer and is on LT. I always pay extra attention to the books that come up as in her library. And yes, Aqueduct Press had a table in the dealers room. They shook me down and forced me to buy books. Here is what I came home with.

Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles
Candle in a Bottle
Lonely Stardust: Two plays, a speech, and eight essays
Through the Drowsy Dark picked for me by my friend Rachel, a different Rachel than the author
In the House of the Seven Librarians
With her body
Never at Home

See what I mean, they shook me down!
And then the auction! I behaved at the auction though because I had more books than I could carry from Aqueduct already. The Auction books were Rosemary's Baby and La Perdida. La Perdida is a graphic novel in Spanglish so I couldn't resist, even though the art is ugly, at least compared to Blacksad.

Lug 28, 2014, 11:57 pm

#32 is Marina. Eva was right. I liked it. It's sort of a gothic novel set in Barcelona complete with zombies. Sort of. But there is something about the story that doesn't sit just right, even with the usual suspension of disbelief one uses for well-written zombie stories. Once you get to the end though, it all makes sense. Or it's a huge cheat. You decide. I'm predicting reviews will be mixed on this, all hinging on what people feel about the ending. My official review is here:

Lug 29, 2014, 12:06 am

>11 cammykitty:
I wavered a while, but ended up on the OK-about-the-ending side.

Lug 29, 2014, 6:25 am

" . . . Barcelona complete with zombies. Sort of. . . "

Stop it! I can't add another book to my wish list! Unless it is dystopia related (I just got Ergo Proxy on DVD we need to watch some DVD's soon!), or translated from Turkish. . . it's not is it?

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Lug 29, 2014, 6:25 am

See? Found you! Happy reading!

Lug 29, 2014, 9:38 am

Love the pooches into something pic as your thread topper!

Lug 29, 2014, 12:14 pm

>13 bruce_krafft:
Not unless by "Turkish" you mean "Spanish." ;)

Modificato: Lug 29, 2014, 12:35 pm

Thanks to everyone for stopping by! New threads scare me!!!

Eva - I decided I liked the ending too. I was wrapped up enough in the "story" that having it dismissed as just a story was kind of like the who shot JR/it's just a dream cop out at first. But, I totally wanted Marina to survive the fire, and I knew she had to die. The set up in the beginning when he talks about how he felt when he was found at the bus station made it clear she dies. The other thing that made it acceptable for me was the writing style changed just a little bit. The story was good enough to keep your interest, but it wasn't masterfully told. There were a lot of threads that led off the wrong direction. For example, I was thinking that German was going to turn out to be the villain and Maria and Marina were both half-puppets, or that Marina was really her mother. The similarities between Marina's family and the Mijail's were too close to be coincidental. There were continuity errors, and hand waving to cover the worst of them. Then we get the big bang finish and the writing suddenly becomes more confident and what I expect from someone with Carlos Ruiz Zafon's reputation. So I accept it because it was masterfully done, but it certainly isn't something that shocked me because I'd never seen it before.

Di - Marionette zombies? Does that make it harder to resist? I'm not planning on keeping it, so if you can find two inches worth of space in your house, it's yours. I haven't listed it on bookmooch yet.

Birgit - Good to see you!!! I'm into Cat's Cradle right now and liking it. Happy reading to you too.

Lori - If only I had a camera attached to my eyes. There would be plenty of naughty pooch pictures then! Actually, part of Sage's tricks class was to get him to stick his head in a box. The next step was to get him to put his toys in the box. Didn't get to the next step!

Lug 29, 2014, 1:51 pm

>17 cammykitty:
And I thought Marina would turn out to be Maria and Mijail's daughter and that, yes, German would be a baddie. I did recommend in my review that it should be written in one sitting - I at least had to go back and reread the beginning to get the tie with the end. I started The Shadow of the Wind on a vacation, but ended up leaving my copy with the friend I was visiting, so I didn't finish. I do have a copy now and am eager to get to it to see if his regular novels (i.e. not YA) are more complete without the loose threads (or continuity errors?) I found in this.

Lug 29, 2014, 2:55 pm

>16 -Eva-: surely you jest?? :-)

hablo un poco de español. . . ben daha fazla Türkçe konuşmak.

We are planning on reading The Time Regulation Institute which is supposed to be "the greatest Turkish novel of the twentieth century" though. It's a translation. The Wall Street Journal said: “Ingeniously satirical and hauntingly philosophical"

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Lug 29, 2014, 5:51 pm

Happy new thread! Love the picture of the dogs :)

Lug 29, 2014, 9:49 pm

Eva - I have The Shadow of the Wind too, but probably won't get to it for awhile. I'm sure it doesn't have the continuity issues that Marina has, unless of course he's playing with another unreliable narrator. I actually have to admire him for being able to write a novel badly that the reader still wants to read.

Di - When do you want to read The Time Regulation Institute. I'm almost finished with Cat's Cradle.

Hi Rabbitprincess! Good to see you here. And more dog pics to come, I'm sure.

Lug 30, 2014, 8:08 am

Found your new thread with no problem at all. Cute picture of the dogs. Gracie has a box for toys that she knows how to take out of but not the put back so much.

Lug 30, 2014, 1:42 pm

Betty, at least Gracie is halfway there! She knows as much as the average 5 year old kid.

Lug 30, 2014, 1:45 pm

Congrats on the new thread!! I adore the photo up top!

Lug 30, 2014, 3:24 pm

>21 cammykitty: - first it has to get here!

But I am trying to finish China's Silent Army and The Underground Girls of Kabul. . . and I am also reading Music by My Bedside, and Brave New World . . .

>22 dudes22: - our Gracie isn't into toys. Just walks and sleeping on laps.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Lug 30, 2014, 8:51 pm

Thanks Marianne!

Di, I've got plenty of books to read while we wait for it too. About to start Double You, my next ER novel - which brings up the touchstone of Hamlet??? Not in the same league.

Lug 30, 2014, 9:09 pm

#33 Cat's Cradle is understandably a classic, filled with cold war dark humor. It starts when our hero (for lack of a better term) decides to do a book about the day the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He starts by contacting the children of "the father of the atom bomb" and soon finds himself floating along in an adventure that involves an invention far worse than the bomb. Along the way, he discovers religion - one that is clearly made up and it's first tenant is all this is lies. I don't know what else to say about it that isn't a spoiler. It's quite an experience, such an odd little book.

Lug 31, 2014, 11:55 am

>27 cammykitty: I've often wondered what Cat's Cradle was like, and it never really felt like my cuppa. Hmmm, still not sure but at least I know someone now who has read it and I can ask questions to. :)

Lug 31, 2014, 9:32 pm

Laura, someone blurbed it as being like Dr. Strangelove. That's your test. If you liked Dr. Strangelove, you'll probably like Cat's Cradle. If you thought Dr. Strangelove was not funny at all, then skip Cat's Cradle. If you've been avoiding Dr. Strangelove, you'll probably want to avoid Cat's Cradle too.

Lug 31, 2014, 11:13 pm

Well, I haven't necessarily been avoiding it, but I haven't been seeking it out, either. That whole period of time doesn't "call out" to me like others do. Maybe I'll just skip it and give up the guilt over not reading this classic.

Ago 1, 2014, 1:37 am

No guilt! It's not for you.

Ago 2, 2014, 8:22 pm

Speaking of guilt - I started a novel in Spanish. It's taking me FOREVER to read each page, and so far I hate it but (you knew there would be a but) it's the filthiest Spanish I've seen on the written page next to the book I have on how to talk dirty in Spanish. Since I work in a middle school that has over 25% Mexican population, this may be a valuable resource. It's got some groserias I've heard but haven't heard used often, and it's got some things I haven't heard before. It's a side-by-side, and I can tell that it's a loose translation but you can still get the idea. So to read or not to read? I also have an ER novel, but it isn't the kind of book I'm in the mood for right now. So two books I should read vs who knows what I want to read.

Ago 4, 2014, 9:54 am

>32 cammykitty: My suggestion is a palate-cleanser! Read (or re-read) something short that you know you'll enjoy. That way you won't lose a lot of time, and maybe you'll be more refreshed to tackle your harder books!

Ago 4, 2014, 5:31 pm

Aha! Great idea Christina! I've got 1/2 of Arabian Nights left and tons of short stories.

Ago 6, 2014, 9:48 pm

7> I'd recommend Columbine. Let me know if you decide to read The Professor and the Madman and maybe I'll read it with you.

Ago 6, 2014, 9:56 pm

Sounds like a plan, Booklizard. I've heard good things about Columbine. Hopefully, I'll get to it. A team read of The Professor and the Madman sounds good. Any particular month work better for you?

Ago 6, 2014, 10:08 pm

September? October?

Ago 7, 2014, 6:12 am

>35 BookLizard: I read (ages ago apparently in 2010 - my how time flies) The Professor and the Madman and enjoyed it.

(Bruce;s evil twin :-))

Ago 7, 2014, 8:47 am

38> Good to know! It's one of those books that I wanted to have read, and friends said I would like it, but I didn't read much nonfiction, so I never did. I've been on a nonfiction kick this year, so I figured now is the time to go for it!

Ago 7, 2014, 9:52 pm

I've heard good things about it too, but knowing it has the Di stamp of approval always helps. BookLizard, September???

Ago 8, 2014, 12:25 am

OK, just requested that my library buy the e-book. Should have it by September.

Ago 8, 2014, 6:17 am

I also liked The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus. I think that it was even more fascinating.

Either way, imagine life without either a dictionary or a thesaurus! Of course back then people didn't care as much about spelling . . .

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Modificato: Ago 8, 2014, 3:52 pm

Well, now people don't care much about spelling either! I do love the dictionary though.

Booklizard, great! Keep me posted as to when it becomes available at your library.

#34 in the Spanish Language category Barrio on the Edge. Blah title, even worse than the original title Caras Viejas Y Vino Nueva which translates to Old Faces and New Wine. As for the novel, it was an experimental novel that jumped between two viewpoint characters and even more time lines. As for the plot, we get to hang out with a drug addict doing drugs and getting drunk with his friends who are also doing drugs and getting drunk. His mama is disappointed and dies of a bad heart and his papa is disappointed too, but who cares about his papa because he's a cabron. Do you want to know why I finished this one? Frankly, the language. It had the filthiest Spanish I've ever seen in print. I'd heard the male body parts before, but the female ones were new.

Ago 8, 2014, 9:01 pm

Before noone cared about spelling - because there was no 'right' way. . . have you ever read anything in Elizabethan English?

Caras Viejas Y Vino Nueva - even I can understand that title! If I was learning Spanish instead of Turkish I would SO want to read that book, because of the language, not the plot!

(happy dance I just found out that the İskender Paydaş song feat Tarkan is now on iTunes! And someone posted the lyrics. No swear words I am sure. . . :-))

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Ago 9, 2014, 12:05 am

>44 bruce_krafft:
Ooh, I love Tarkan - he's my workout music and "Hop De" is perfect!

Ago 9, 2014, 9:35 pm

Both Columbine and The Professor and the Madman are great choices!

I can understand what a chore it is to read a novel in another language. I'm almost finished with a French novel (the first I've read in that language in a long time) and it's been such slow going ... and this was a novel I wanted to read, not one that I had to read!

Modificato: Ago 9, 2014, 10:53 pm

Eva, I've heard Tarkan enough that I'm starting to like him too. And you can't argue. He is hot.
Those eyes!

Paulina, looks like I need to try to get both Columbine and The Professor and the Madman in this year. & you know exactly what I mean about reading in a non-native-to-you language. I think the worst thing is a tend to spend so much time with the actual decoding of the language that I don't do those good reader things like predict where the author is going and reading between the lines, getting implications. I want more Blacksad! That I understand pretty well!

Ago 10, 2014, 12:08 am

47> Wow, a man with hair on his chest! When was the last time you saw that in Hollywood? And yes, he is rather yummy.

Ago 10, 2014, 9:59 pm

Ah, I think you've got to leave the US and the UK to get hair on the chest. He's Turkish, and Latin guys aren't ashamed of their hair either. It's the eyes that get me.

Ago 11, 2014, 6:31 am

47> Wadda' mean "Starting to like him"?!?! :-) And you couldn't find a more recent picture? (you know I am high maintenance!)

I will try to remember to look for look for the Professor book. . . in my copious spare time. . . :-)

45> I got Hadise and maNga albums this weekend too. Have you tried either of them? Hadise is usually good for making you want to get up and move. I like 'Dem' (which is instrumental) and 'Parti' the best so far on manGa's album, but it is pretty slow even though it has a good beat and is called party.

If I go deaf it's all Tarkan's fault - I just can't help turning up the volume on "Hop De"!

(Bruce's soon to be deaf, evil twin :-))

Ago 11, 2014, 5:53 pm

>50 bruce_krafft: Di, I had to find a little picture. The first gorgeous one I tried to post spread all the way across the screen!

I like ManGa too. Yes, I notice what your IPod is playing when we're in the car, Di.

Modificato: Ago 19, 2014, 9:58 pm

#35 Storm Thief I feel a little weird commenting on this one because I read it for an LT book group and we haven't met yet. I haven't met them at all yet. And I hated the book! The guy who wrote it is 37 years old, British, and I'm wondering what rock he has been hiding under because no wave of feminism seems to have touched him. I can forgive a lot of naive sexism, but wow! This was really bad. I rated the book 1 star, and I usually reserve that for a book so flawed that I wonder how it was published. Dangerously flawed. Personally, I feel this strongly about the sexism in this novel. He did something that is fairly common in YA now that people have been demanding strong female leads while other people have been saying boys won't read books about girls. He used two protagonists, one male and one female. Yes, the male was dark skinned with dreads. Nice bit of diversity. However, his big thing in his life was protecting little, blond haired female Moa who constantly was needing to be carried while they were running for their lives because she ran out of breath. He had a respirator. It would have made more sense for her to be carrying him, but no, she constantly needed rescuing. For example, at one point they could escape from a boat if they would swim, but she can't swim. So the boy stays with her and they get caught. For the sake of the plot? The author wanted them caught? He could've just made the river unruly or filled with supersized piranhas. Even vintage Disney heroines have more spark than Moa.

So, I might have forgiven him for this annoying protag if he had balanced out his world somehow else. Nope. There were a few stereotypical women scattered around, the spunkiest being a fanatical leader of a passive-aggressive resistance group that at times reminded me of Jim Jones, of Jonestown. Remember, the guy who lead his people to Guyana, sent his sons to safety and then had his people drink toxic kool-aid. Yup, real positive female role model. He could've done something as simple as mentioning some girls among the thief children and some women soldiers. Nope. Apparently in this future dystopia, you've got to be a guy to fight. There's something else he could've done. He could've said that the perfect society before them had gender equality and the sexism was a feature of the dystopia. Nope. I'll quit ranting. I said it much more succinctly in my review here: Apparently I'm the only person bothered by it!

Ago 20, 2014, 5:36 am

>52 cammykitty: I've been meaning to pick up some of Chris Wooding's work but think I'll give this one a miss and stick to his more well regarded Tales of the Ketty Jay series.

Ago 20, 2014, 9:19 am

>52 cammykitty: I hate that, too. It's pretty common, even today, to have male authors who can't manage to create female characters that are also human. It's improving, but you'd think it'd improve faster.

Ago 20, 2014, 11:02 am

>52 cammykitty: Aww, I didn't know that was Chris Wooding. :( I do love his Ketty Jay series, and I don't think it has the same problems you mentioned with female characters.

Ago 20, 2014, 8:10 pm

If I read Wooding again, I'll try Ketty Jay. It seemed like a subconscious problem??? He wanted the main male characters to care deeply about protecting the female one, so he went overboard and made her too in need of protecting. The setting was dangerous enough that he could have portrayed her as competent yet the guys still could've been competing to protect her. Kay, I'd like to think most of the younger authors writing in invented worlds can handle gender roles better than this one! But perhaps not. Writing channels so much of the unconscious and really, we are asking our ya fictional worlds to reach for more than we have now. Even the dystopias. The dystopias are "bad" but the characters are struggling for better.

Ago 21, 2014, 2:11 pm

#36 Double You is a YA James Bondesque thriller. Whereas this book is less imaginative than Storm Thief, it makes me much happier. Young Adam Murphy's grandfather has died and left behind passports with fake identities, lots of foreign currency, and a letter with an address in Bermuda. Adam goes down to Bermuda to find out what this is all about and walks into a situation out of Edgar Allen Poe. Typical of James Bond, there's a girl involved; one who he wants to protect but impresses him because she's more savvy on this spy game than he is. Wow, how refreshing!!! A boy+girl relationship that doesn't have the power all on one side!!! The book isn't great and it isn't bad. I feel it will do what it was meant to do quite well, which is to entertain middle grade boys and some girls.

Ago 22, 2014, 2:27 pm

>52 cammykitty: Well that one sounds awful-thanks for taking the bullet for the rest of us!

Ago 23, 2014, 10:19 am

52> What mstrust said.

I also liked the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. There is quite a bit of sexism in that, too. The main character, Darien Frey is really sexist, but there are strong female characters as well. But if I stopped to think about it, I could find some serious flaws with Wooding's portrayal of them also. La, la, la . . . not going to think about it and let it ruin the last book in the series for me . . . la, la, la.

Ago 23, 2014, 10:35 pm

Jennifer - always happy when I can save someone the trouble of a bad book! BookLizard, and thanks. Sounds like you've saved me from the Ketty Jay series, but la la la, I totally understand not thinking about it! Especially if 1. it isn't so obvious 2. there are other good things going on.

We can hope he reads his bad reviews and decides to correct the problem in his future books. He's still young. He might have something fantastic to write still in him. I don't think he's a hardened sexist like VS Naipaul.

Ago 25, 2014, 10:05 am

>59 BookLizard: I agree, Frey is quite sexist, but I think that's portrayed as one of his (many) flaws in the series. I can understand why it might bug some people, but I wasn't too bothered.

Ago 25, 2014, 10:19 pm

A sexist character doesn't make a sexist book. It depends on how it's handled and what else balances the character out. I disliked Storm Thief so much that I'm a bit gun shy and more likely to think the sexism of Frey (who I know nothing about because I haven't read the book) is a product of a sexist society rather than a deliberate author's choice.

Ago 27, 2014, 8:10 am

I was a big fan of The Professor and the Madman when it came out. I do hope you like it, too.

Had a chance to meet Simon Winchester a while back -- lovely man. He's now moved to the US, living part time in a small town in western MA and just became a US citizen of which he spoke very movingly. I've gobbled up several of his books since and haven't regretted a one.

Ago 27, 2014, 10:45 pm

Marianne - you're making me look forward to it all the more! It's always great when the author is a good person too. I'm getting sick of finding out that public people are often... should we say, far less than perfect?

Set 2, 2014, 8:36 am

I have The Professor and the Madman borrowed! Should we start reading?

61 & 62> I just requested that my library buy Ace of Skulls, so I'll let you both know what I think when I finish it. I think the society is pretty sexist - it's pretty much a space western, so hard to be anything else. But Danika is a strong female character - scary strong. So is Jezibeth. Hmmm, strong female = scary? La, la, la, not thinking about it.

Set 2, 2014, 7:16 pm

>65 BookLizard: Strong female villains count! Sort of. It depends on how they're done.

I have about 170, okay exactly 170 pages of Sacrament left to read, so I can probably start reading The Professor and the Madman on Friday. Sound good? As for Sacrament, talk about scary female villains! Ugh. Story is balanced though with the character of Adriana.

Set 2, 2014, 8:13 pm

Yeah, one is a woman scorned turned villain and the other is a half-undead monster.

I'm working on another book or two myself, so I'll try to get to P&M by this weekend.

Set 2, 2014, 11:36 pm

Woman scorned turned villain is such a cliche!!! This weekend sounds good.

Modificato: Set 5, 2014, 9:31 pm

Happy Thingiversary to me!!! And like most of my celebrations, I've managed to spread it out over a few days. I decided to bookmooch most of my thingiversary books. Two arrived today.

So the book haul is off bookmooch:
The Tenderness of Wolves
Slow Dancing on Dinosaur Bones
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
Skeletons on the Zahara

And two to grow on from B&N:
Cuentos en el exilio by Victor Montoya for next years category challenge. Got it used!!!
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack on my Nook - She will be next year's Guest of Honor at Diversicon.

And perhaps this shows just how sick I am, but I decided on my categories for next year last night. 1. Tiptree Awards 2. Authors from Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador 3. Animal behavior and human psychology 4. Books in Spanish 5. Anthropological fiction 6. Random random random!!!

Set 5, 2014, 9:37 pm

Happy Thingiversary!

Set 5, 2014, 9:38 pm

Congratulations on your Thingaversary, looks like an interesting book haul. I have read Skeletons on the Zahara and thought it was well done.

Your categories are interesting and, for sure, you need that category 6 - Random random random!

Set 5, 2014, 11:05 pm

Happy Thingaversary! And good selection of categories. (Also, if it makes you feel better, I already have my 2016 challenge planned...)

Modificato: Set 5, 2014, 11:51 pm

Happy Thingaversary! "Legitimate" shopping is always nice.

Set 6, 2014, 8:47 am

Happy Thingaversary! How nice you found some of your haul on BM. Interesting categories for next year. I still haven't decided.

Set 6, 2014, 10:18 am

Happy Thingaversary! If there's anything better than more books, it's free books!
I've been working on my 2015 categories too. I thought I had them set but just yesterday I discovered somebody was already using one of my titles, so I'll keeping thinking.

Set 6, 2014, 10:57 pm

Thanks everyone for the good wishes! It's kind of like having a private birthday. I still have three books to watch for in the mail. Love books in the mail!

Glad I'm not the only one to have a start on next year's planning. Jennifer, somebody's using one of your titles??? Hard to believe. They read your mind and posted it before you had a chance. Surely.

Set 6, 2014, 11:10 pm

#37 I'm going to cheat and count The Rat by Elise Gravel as an entry in my Animal Behavior category. Well, it is, but it's a picture book for kids. This was my consolation prize Early Review book for last month. I was trying for the David Mitchell book but requested this one because my best friend from high school loves rats. It's quite cute, but it doesn't have any facts in it that she doesn't know, or that I didn't know for that matter, but I don't really believe rats can pick their noses with their tails. That would be disgusting.

Modificato: Set 6, 2014, 11:39 pm

#38-39 is Sacrament by Clive Barker in the Lambda Award category. What a strange book. I really enjoyed it but I'm not sure what to say about it. It started out like a horror novel, and Clive Barker is known for writing horror so that's what I expected, but the ending is not typical of horror. Horror usually is about the loss of control and ends with the protagonist being smashed on the rocks of something he can't control. Sacrament seems like it might do that up until the last two chapters, but instead their is more order and understanding of the world rather than less. For me this was a very satisfying book with a question that I'll still puzzle over. What happens when one decides to be male or decides to be female and goes about it by trying to do all the things society tells one to do? When one doesn't have the natural instinct to be either gender? When one constructs a self and is aware that they don't know their true nature. I may reread it with these questions in mind some day.

Plotwise, we follow Will Rabjohns, a photographer of dying animals and extinctions, through his travels back and forth through memory and through the world - Canada, San Francisco, England, the Hebrides. His friends are going extinct too from the AIDs epidemic, but he finds himself unable to be whole and deal with it until he confronts an undying, charming killer from his childhood. Plot may not sound that great, but believe me, Barker pulls it off. I haven't read enough of his work to say this for sure, but this felt like the novel that he was meant to write, the one that is nearest and dearest to his heart.

Set 9, 2014, 9:37 pm

Wisdom du jour. Dogs' kisses are much nicer after you've smeared mint doggy toothpaste on their teeth. They liked the paste, but not the delivery of it.

I'm about at page 100 of The Professor and the Madman and am sort of wishing I had it on the e-reader. Winchester is clearly aware that his readers are philophiles (okay, I made that one up) and is using vocabulary to match. Sometimes he repeats a phrase like "vade mecum" which bothers me because unusual phrases should be used once in a work or be deliberately repeated, and it also brings to mind a soup of the same name that my mother used to use. I'm also tempted to see if Johnson's dictionary is floating around the e-sphere for free. It must be. It's way out of copyright.

Set 10, 2014, 1:16 am

>78 cammykitty:
I read all of Clive Barker's novels (and short stories) when I was young(er...) and have been waiting for an opportunity to do a proper re-read of them all. I need more time, please.

Set 11, 2014, 10:46 pm

Eva! LOL! I need more time too! Do you have a favorite out of Barker's works? I've found I love some of his writing and just can't get into some of it. It may be I just wasn't in the right mood, but it seems to me he has a broad range and some of his books will appeal to some people and the other of his books will appeal to a different group of people.

Set 11, 2014, 10:49 pm

#40 I just finished The Professor and the Madman with booklizard, and am a bit torn on what to say about the double biography. It is the story of the friendship between the editor of the OED and one of the most prolific contributors. It's also about the making of the OED, and a bit about dictionaries as well. It's come to me highly recommended. I enjoyed reading it, but once I finished and started thinking about it critically, I feel it was a flawed book that didn't reach its potential. Winchester tells a few apocryphal stories about Dr. Minor. One of them, the first meeting of James Murray and Dr. Minor, he even tells twice. Many pages are spent on this story before he tells us that it was a fiction on the lines of a National Enquirer article made up by a journalist and the real first meeting went like... I could see telling this once or quoting a large text from the papers of the day and then rebutting them, but twice and to that length? It made it seem as though Winchester had trouble finding material about his subject. He did mention once in a while that not many letters remain etc etc, so I'm sure that he did have trouble finding a lot of material but why then pad it out with misinformation? He could have fleshed out the book another way. His comments about schizophrenia in particular seem off to me, like he hadn't done his research. Pop psychology time! I know this is a "popular" biography rather than a scholarly one, but it is about scholars and conjecture just weakened the work.

Set 12, 2014, 8:09 am

82>I'm more than halfway through and will likely finish it this weekend.

Set 12, 2014, 9:50 pm

BookLizard, I'll be interested to hear your thoughts. I seem to be in the minority, but when I glanced through the reviews some other people reacted just the same way and for just the same reasons I did. I haven't said exactly because I don't want to give "spoilers" although Professor and the Madman isn't really the kind of book that can be spoiled because you know something is going to happen, except for the peotomy which is an operation that I didn't even know there was a word for.

Modificato: Set 12, 2014, 10:39 pm

Sage and Wanda got a package today! Dental chews and

squeaky toys! The pig is a form of doggy pillow pet that supposedly squeaks. Basically, it squeaks if you give it CPR. Neither of the dogs have learned CPR, but I think the Heimlich might work as well.

Set 12, 2014, 11:07 pm

#41 The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa in the Central American category. Rodrigo Rey Rosa is from Guatemala, but The African Shore has nothing to do with Guatemala. It is set in Tangiers and one of the main characters is a Columbian who some how manages to avoid getting involved with drugs in Columbia but really needs the money when he is stuck in Tangiers so... I was a bit disappointed in this one and I don't know why. It is by a writer who is well respected in Latin America but virtually unknown in the English speaking world. It was beautifully translated and well written, with lots of subtlety but I didn't connect with any of the characters except the owl which you knew was likely to be killed for the use of its eyes. Apparently owl eyes are powerful talismans in Tangiers. I'm sure I was supposed to make a connection between the owl and the Columbian, but his care for the owl was about the only likable thing about him which meant I didn't feel the ending the way I was supposed to. And I'm getting a little sick of books in which the women are treated primarily as sex objects. In this case they were both sex objects and outsiders.

Modificato: Set 12, 2014, 11:19 pm

>81 cammykitty:
You know, I don't have a favorite per se. It may be that I read most of them at the precise right time and mood, though. I even enjoy his horror, although it's a genre I'm not at all comfortable with. Definitely need a reread!

Set 13, 2014, 10:49 am

>85 cammykitty: Cute pic. Is the package from that new once-a-month club I've seen advertised?

Set 13, 2014, 10:52 am

>85 cammykitty: - Great picture! I have never understood about squeak toys. Do dogs really like to have toys that make a noise when they bite into it? I know our cats never found any enjoyment out of the balls with the bells inside. They preferred plain old plastic practice golf balls (the hollow ones with the holes in them) or, if they managed to get their paws on one, mini chocolate covered Easter eggs. They would bat those around the kitchen floor for hours. ;-)

Set 13, 2014, 12:19 pm

>89 lkernagh: I can't speak for any other dogs, but my greyhound had one squeaky stuffed toy that he adored. He would squeak it rhythmically for what felt like hours at a time, usually when we'd all settled into bed for the night.

Modificato: Set 13, 2014, 2:01 pm

@89 & 90 Lori, what Kay says. My dogs act just like her greyhound. They love squeakies! They squeak them just for the heck of it, the play keep away with them, they play tug with them and when the squeaky dies, if its a favorite toy they carry it around a bit for a few days but then come to terms with its death and abandon it. The beaver squeaky is already "dead" and they are playing tug with it for today. It also has an additional "access hole" in it that I plan to sew up. The faux lambskin pouch that was inside the beaver that has the dead squeaker in it has also become something to carry around the house. I'll let them mourn for awhile before I put one of the replacement squeakies in. I think the difference between the squeaky and the bell is that the squeaky sort of sounds like a dying animal. No way is a cat ever going to pretend that that bell sounds like the last alarmed chirp of a bird. Brutal I know. We're going all Clive Barker on this post, but it's true. Our beloved animals are predators, and when they aren't actually hunting they like to pretend they are hunting.

Jennifer, no. I've heard of the once a month clubs too, but I prefer more deliberate shopping. I got them from Dr. Fosters. I've gotten them somewhere else before that was good, but couldn't remember where. I like using the CET veggie chews that you can usually only find at vet's. The dogs love them and they seem to work. They're cheaper than greenies too. I also get them some dental chews from Costco. Can't remember what they're called.

Eva - I'll definitely read more Barker. I'm not really a "horror" person either, but I think I lean more towards his horror than his young adult. Which is weird, because I usually really like young adult.

Set 13, 2014, 7:20 pm

Re: RidgewayGirl and cammykitty - Interesting! So, it really is a noise association thing with the dogs, but with (at least my cats), they would do the opposite and veer away from any toys that were 'noisy'.

Set 14, 2014, 3:04 am

Cats are into stealth!

Set 15, 2014, 6:22 am

Gracie says "It's all about the stuffing! I don't care if it squeaks as long as there is stuffing so I can rip out the stuffing and kill it." :-)

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Set 15, 2014, 10:13 pm

Dillon would've agreed with Gracie.

Set 15, 2014, 11:14 pm

82> I think he started with the whole fake first meeting because that's what grabs your attention and draws you into the book. Then he repeats it when you get to that part of the story, and THEN he tells you it's fake. It didn't annoy me as much as it annoyed you - probably because the fake story was more interesting than the real one. LOL.

Yeah, the whole speculation on schizophrenia wasn't done very well. It's almost like he was told that people would speculate about what Minor's condition was so he had to address it somehow even though he didn't really want to do it.

Modificato: Set 16, 2014, 6:31 pm

@96 I would've forgiven the fake first meeting thing if it had been the only thing he had speculated on or if the second time he had quoted the newspaper article. He wasn't incorrect with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. "Dementia Praecox" was eventually in Minor's medical records and that is the old-fashioned name for schizophrenia. What bothered me was all his speculation on how he got it, like it was an organism he could catch from dying soldiers. No. They know a lot about schizophrenia now. It's genetic with a possible environmental component, meaning early nutrition etc. By the time he was in Yale, he was going to get it. Period. The war may have shaped his delusions, but it certainly didn't cause them.

The speculation of Minor's reasoning for the peotomy was what really turned me. If there was really a chance that he had sex with the widow, he needed to say a lot more about the sanatorium's security being lax. Considering that one of the inmates crashed a brick on the director's head at some time and that it was during the Victorian period makes me think that a woman, no matter how lower class, would not have been allowed in his rooms without at least the door open. His delusions sound like they were far worse than sex/desire for the widow and those alone could easily have caused him to think he'd be better off without his member. For all we know, a delusion may have commanded him to do it. .

I'm still glad I read it. Thanks for inviting me to do a team read. It certainly made the book more interesting and fun. And it might have languished on my shelves longer if you hadn't mentioned it.

Set 16, 2014, 11:59 pm

Thank you for reading it with me. It's one of those books that I just never got around to reading because I don't read nonfiction . . . except now I do. I never would have thought of it if I didn't see it on your thread.

At least it was a short book. I agree about the widow. I mean, really?

Set 18, 2014, 12:08 am

98 That's the good thing about LT. It expands your reading experience. & ya, really, the widow.

Set 18, 2014, 12:09 am

Wanda went to her first obedience class today. This was her response when she realized we were going somewhere that required hot dog, smokies, cheese and dried liver.

Set 18, 2014, 12:15 am

Heck, I would be happy going somewhere that required hot dogs, smokies and cheese.... I will pass on the dried liver though. Have the draw the line somewhere. ;-)

Set 18, 2014, 11:28 am

That's dog joy if I ever saw any!

Set 18, 2014, 3:25 pm

>100 cammykitty: That's so cute! It's great to see a happy dog.
My lab gets that way about apples, and we've just learned that we have to spell "chicken" now because of the boxer. She loves it so much that she once stole chicken bones from the dining table right after we'd finished eating.

Set 19, 2014, 1:26 am

Yikes! Chicken bones! My kids haven't learned the word for chicken yet. FYI - secret, if dogs get into chicken bones, feed them smooshy bread like wonder bread until they won't eat any more. It tends to protect the stomach & intestines from the bones. My Sage will steal apples too.

Set 19, 2014, 6:31 am

I had better work on finishing The Time Regulation Institute so I can pass it on for you to read! Then we can discus!

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Set 19, 2014, 4:39 pm

Sounds good, Di! I've got three books going at once right now, so not in a huge hurry. Two are short stories though. Always good to have a longer work to weave in with short stories.

Set 19, 2014, 5:52 pm

>104 cammykitty: That's a good tip. Luckily she didn't have them for any length of time as we looked over and she had her front feet planted on the table and was drawing a pile of bones towards her. She just couldn't handle the temptation.
But that's how we realized that chicken was her favorite.

Set 19, 2014, 9:52 pm

>107 mstrust: LOL! Too bad you didn't get a photo of her doing the deed! It would've been a perfect entry on the dog-shaming website!

Set 19, 2014, 9:54 pm

I finished watching an episode of Get Smart and picked up my book Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts chapter 7 and read this "In the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency recruited an unusual field agent: a cat. In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon transformed the furry feline into an elite spy, implanting a microphone in her ear canal and a small radio transmitter at the base of her skull, and weaving a thin wire antenna into her long gray-and-white fur. This was Operation Acoustic Kitty..." No Sh!t Even Control knew you couldn't control a cat.

Set 20, 2014, 12:13 am

>100 cammykitty:
That's brilliant!!

Set 20, 2014, 8:40 pm

Eva, thanks! Wanda was certainly being her brilliant best that day. Not so much since though. ;)

#42 Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts finishes up the animal behavior category. This was an interesting book to read, especially if you want to look at what has already been done with an eye on what might be mined for science fiction. I was a little surprised about what has already been done. I've seen the biotech zebra fish enough times that I don't think twice about them. They are in one of our science class's aquariums. But I hadn't heard of people make moths and beetles "remote control" and didn't know much about cloning after Dolly the sheep. This was obviously a biased book, very pro biotech although she does mention some of the objections people have to it. It's also a very "pop" science book, showing what science has done but not spending much time on how it has been done. This book is obviously meant for adults, but I think it would appeal to advanced readers in middle school as well. I may ask my school library to get a copy.

Set 21, 2014, 3:19 pm

I always feel sorry for dogs when there's the smell of roasting meat or poultry in the air. I know how good it smells to me, it must be agony for them to smell it but have to settle for kibble or canned dog food!

Set 21, 2014, 10:02 pm

Judy, I know! That's one of the reasons my dogs are spoiled. I usually set aside something for them for a "training" treat. When I cook, which isn't too often. They get excited over roasted green beans even.

Set 23, 2014, 12:15 pm

Same goes for my cats. If I make chicken or salmon, they are all over the kitchen, wandering around, meowing to get a piece. And what good pet mama wouldn't give in to all of that fuss?!?

Set 23, 2014, 4:42 pm

Salmon!!! I remember one time in puppy class, one of the very good trainers brought salmon for her puppies. She's a breeder so she brings her puppies and the people who are going to buy them to puppy class with her, and she supplies the training treats. Wow, super smart puppies! They worked really hard for salmon. Then another puppy was doing his graduation exercises right where the salmon feeding had been and he couldn't think at all because all he wanted to do was sniff where the salmon had been but was no more. I tactfully suggested the puppy try showing off at another spot of the room because "something obviously smells wonderful there." Then the puppy got his brain back and did sits and downs to show off.

Set 26, 2014, 10:01 pm

#43 Bloodchild by Octavia Butler. I don't feel like saying a lot about this one, mostly because the book group (I think) meets tomorrow but perhaps also because it's been a long week. This is the first night since Saturday I've actually been home... and aren't people supposed to go out and party Friday night? Or is that just for teens and twenty-somethings? Anyway, the book was as I knew it would be. Fabulous, filled with stories that are uncomfortable. I especially loved Butler's simple comments, usually about the origin of the stories, that followed each story. I met her about a month before she died, so I can picture her in my mind and hear her talking when I read those pieces. Such a loss. She was such a down-to-earth person in an intimidating body and with an intimidating talent. Or skill. My father always hated the word talent because it implies something you are born with and doesn't give due credit to the hard work put in to learn a craft. Octavia obviously worked hard to become the writer she was.

Set 28, 2014, 2:54 pm

#44 The Censors by Luisa Valenzuela - Just the first part. I was reading it in Spanish and feel a little wimpy counting this as a whole book, but it was the logical place to break the book and, hey, it was in Spanish which takes me roughly 6 times longer to read than English. And I was anxious to get a section of the challenge done. I feel like I've tanked on this year's challenge and don't have much reading time coming up in the last few months of the year. If I finish up the "required" part of the challenge, I'll feel much better. At the moment. Isn't that silly? There really isn't any pressure on this challenge, but at the moment, I feel as though the clock is ticking and Kaos is planning on blowing up a bomb if I don't turn the right pages fast enough. (Yup, I've been watching old Get Smart reruns lately.

Back on subject. The Censors. Luisa Valenzuela is an Argentinian author whose writing career began during Argentina's Dirty War, and her writing reflects that. The Dirty War was a time in Argentina's history where people were "disappearing" for being liberal. Babies from these people were adopted into families that were in the military or the government and no records of these adoptions were public. Censorship was rampant. Even today, they are still trying to discover what happened to people during that time period. Her short stories seem perfectly Orwellian, and of course her inspiration was similar to Orwell's. Hers Argentina, his the Spanish Civil War. I can't imagine she wrote at least the earlier stories while living in Argentina. It wouldn't have been safe. From what I can find out about her, it looks like she married a Parisian for a while during the 70s and lived in New York during the late 70s, so she was a writer in exile. She has quite a career and a list of books a mile long to her name. Sadly, many are not translated.

I'll finish the book eventually and am looking forward to it, but wow the stories are much stronger in English! In other words, I need to practice my Spanish if I ever want to be a comfortable bilingual reader.

Modificato: Set 30, 2014, 11:51 pm

It is funny, isn't it, how a random challenge you've set for yourself that has no real repercussions can be of such importance. :)

Ott 1, 2014, 3:03 am

As someone who is looking at my categories, figuring out what I "need" to read to complete the challenge, instead of all those books I'd like to read next, I know exactly how you feel. What is it about these self-imposed challenges?

Ott 1, 2014, 11:44 pm

Eva & Kay, I know!!! All I have left is Chronicle of a Death Foretold which is a novella. Should be easy! I've got Boxers out from the library, Chronicle, and my LT-RL book club selection Eleanor and Park out from the library, plus a book that's super short that I read when the kids have reading time and I'm supposed to be a good example. That book is taking forever, because I'm also supposed to bop around and talk to the kids about their books. I'm also in the 75ers, and it's pretty obvious 75 isn't going to happen. I've also noticed most 75ers don't number their books or have tickers. Hmmm??? Is there a reason???

Ott 2, 2014, 9:32 am

I found Chronicle of a Death Foretold to be wonderfully strange so looking forward to seeing what you think of it!

Ott 2, 2014, 3:44 pm

>120 cammykitty: I think most people keep track of the number of books in each of their categories rather than all at once. I think if you look at the top of their thread you may see book counts there.

Ott 2, 2014, 9:56 pm

Lori "Wonderfully strange" is what I'm hoping it will be. I've read Garcia Marquez before and loved him, but I'm still a bit intimidated by him.

Mamzel, you're right. There seems to be a common thread re-cap that a lot of people use to keep track of their numbers in 75ers. Some people have such high counts! I think I'm accidentally on purpose not noticing the counts!

Ott 3, 2014, 6:49 am

113> Gracie likes broccoli, and recently she happily ate some cooked kale stems that I found a bit too 'woody'.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Ott 3, 2014, 5:30 pm

LOL!!! Kale stems, not even Kale crisps! (Kale, olive oil, salt and a little too much heat)

Ott 3, 2014, 10:06 pm

>125 cammykitty: - Kale crisps? That sounds intriguing. I must consider experimenting.

Ott 4, 2014, 1:08 am

I've actually had them before, don't remember where. They were tasty.

Ott 4, 2014, 10:12 pm

Looking forward to hearing what you think of Boxers.

Ott 5, 2014, 10:23 pm

Eva, I've got about 100 pages left of Regarding Ducks and Universes and then I'm onto Boxers. I had it with me Friday at school and all the kids get grabbing it from me to look at.

Ott 7, 2014, 12:15 am

>129 cammykitty:
My library's teenage section has three or four copies of it and they all seem like they've been taken out a lot - makes me happy!

Ott 7, 2014, 8:42 pm

Eva, I think we have it in our school library. If so, it's never on the shelf!

Ott 8, 2014, 2:51 pm

The book's page doesn't show any YA tags. Is it an adult book that teens like? If so, I need it!

Ott 8, 2014, 4:36 pm

Mamzel, Boxers is in the "teen" section of my public library and has a young protagonist. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I think it is a book with "higher level thinking" concepts that appeals to both adults and young adults but I think it is being marketed as YA except in comic book stores. Comic book stores tend to lump everything together, recognizing the inner teen in all of us.

Ott 9, 2014, 11:26 am

Cammykitty, I have both Boxers and Saints already. I actually was able to meet Yang at a special dinner hosted by a local bookstore. He was fantastic and I love everything he's produced. I was curious about Regarding Ducks and Universes. Sorry I wasn't more clear.

Ott 9, 2014, 9:34 pm

Ah! I was wondering. I've got about sixty pages yet of Regarding Ducks... I think it would appeal to teens. It's goofy strange, but it's also missing a bit of tension. Give me a couple more days and I'll write up a real review so you can decide.

Modificato: Ott 10, 2014, 8:54 pm

#45 Regarding Ducks and Universes. Mamzel, I don't know. It was fun but not fabulous. Protag was a middle aged man who wrote cooking tool manuals but really wanted to write a mystery and goes to an alternate universe because he wants to make sure his alter hasn't gotten around to write the mystery before he has. That's kind of a middle age type of problem. I'm not sure teens would identify. There was someone trying to murder him, a lot of references to classic murder mysteries and a romance that he wasn't putting himself much on the line to make happen. Even the murder attempts were sort of middle aged and undramatic. The world she creates is interesting - two alternate universes that are linked together - but what will make or break the novel for you is the main character. If you connect with him and like hanging out with him, you'll love it. If not, don't bother.

Ott 10, 2014, 8:59 pm

#46 Building Blocks is a short novel, but I've read it five or ten minutes at a time for several weeks at school during the kids' reading workshops - which is the way a lot of kids read books. No wonder they are sometimes a little luke warm on reading. I love Cynthia Voigt and especially Homecoming, but reading a book this way isn't the best way to enjoy a book. That said, Building Blocks also isn't Voigt's best. It is a time travel book that is more about the father's problems than the protagonist's problems. Brann travels back to when his father, Kevin, is ten and is able to understand and help his father because of it. Yup, we've seen that plot skeleton before. The father's life during the great depression is quickly, but well sketched. That is the strength of the book.

Ott 10, 2014, 9:15 pm

I'm about halfway through Boxers and can certainly see why it is a middle school boy magnet. It's obviously well researched. I'm wondering if some of the characters are "fact" too. The gods are and the names of the secret societies are. I don't know that much about Chinese history, but I know enough to know he isn't making that up.

Modificato: Ott 11, 2014, 10:12 pm

#47 Boxers! I thoroughly enjoyed this one but I'm not sure I'm going to go on to read Saints.

The beautiful illustrations, especially of the gods, are what makes this book a boy magnet. It is more than an adventure story with unbeatable heroes who merge with gods. After all, they are to their surprise, able to be beaten. The gods can't protect them from guns. Little Boa is blessed (or cursed) with the god of Ch'in Shih-huang, the emperor who unified China. He's the emperor who had the terra cotta warriors made to fight with him in the afterlife. Even if you don't know your Chinese history, it's pretty clear this guy knew how to fight and didn't mind being ruthless. For me, what makes this book memorable is the interaction between Bao and Ch'in Shih-huang.

Ott 12, 2014, 8:36 pm

I just picked this book up at work yesterday, and decided not to read it right now. But your review makes me think otherwise - perhaps I should pick it up for the read-a-thon this Saturday?!? Hmmmm...

Ott 12, 2014, 9:48 pm

Saints is told from the side of the Christian convert girl they meet in the town. It's good, but not essential, I think. If you are going to read just one, Boxers is it, IMO.

Ott 12, 2014, 9:49 pm

Laura, I think it would be a nice quick read for a read-a-thon. It's thick, but it doesn't really take that much time to read and the pictures will give you a change of pace from whatever else you decide to read.

Ott 15, 2014, 12:01 pm

Well, I had my Future Problem Solving training yesterday. The instructor was all excited about me, almost like I was an antique. They are coming up to their 35 year anniversary and I was the first year of the Edina team. She wanted to know what happened to the other members and I knew Barb was an archaeology prof at Stanford. She makes me feel like I dropped out of society and decided to be a loser, she's so successful. Steve I found after a quick internet search that told me I should call him Stephen. He was insanely successful too. Poor Steve was a computer genius and is memorialized with a special library collection at Stanford. He died at the age of 29. :( I'm happy his brief life left a mark, but sad that it was so brief.

So, sigh.

On to FPS! I'm overwhelmed! First thing to do is put together a timeline for myself. Another thing I want to do is to give them a targeted fiction reading list. The qualifying problem (shhh, it's a secret) is on propaganda so, can you recommend any books suitable for good readers between 6th and 8th grade that feature propaganda!

Current list is:
Animal Farm??? I haven't read it and have a friend who read it in high school and hated it. I think she saw herself as one of the animals.
Hunger Games
Fahrenheit 451 (which is more censorship?)

Ott 15, 2014, 12:14 pm

What about some Roald Dahl? Can't pull titles out of my head, but I do recall some propaganda-ing in a few of his works. Matilda, maybe? The Witches, maybe? Hm.

Ott 15, 2014, 12:34 pm

Good suggestion, Laura. Even Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starts off with some pretty good propaganda, find the golden ticket!!!

Modificato: Ott 15, 2014, 12:43 pm

I need someplace to hide some photos of my next villain. I'm writing a little horror piece inspired by the students I work with. No, the kids aren't the villains! I'd "hide" them on fb but my first group of critics see that and I want to see if my descriptions work.

Here she is!!! Ms Mae Nak

and some other clothes that might be inform her fashion sense?

Ott 15, 2014, 2:46 pm

Does that name sound like "maniac" on purpose?
She's beautiful, by the way!

Ott 15, 2014, 4:57 pm

She's quite beautiful! No, maniac is just a nice side note. She's a traditional ghost. The national Thai opera, Mae Nak, tells her story. Worth seeing if you ever get a chance. The composer had an earlier life as a science fiction writer and a B-movie director, S P Somtow. She is the ghost of a woman who dies of childbirth while her husband is away at war. When he comes back, she tries to carry on as usual but she gets jealous of the women flirting with her husband and... you can guess.

Ott 15, 2014, 9:30 pm

#48 Guyana by Bob Temple was a quick overview of Guyana's geography, history and culture. It was meant for kids. Not terribly exciting, but a good overview - although it skirted around the politics. The picture of the slave rebellion seemed daring in it's pages.

Any more suggestions on propaganda???

Ott 16, 2014, 9:35 am

I have got nothing for you. I even did a tag search for 'propaganda' and didn't see anything that I could recommend. nothing. ;-(

Modificato: Ott 16, 2014, 10:31 am

Better Dead than Red by Michael Barson is a fun look at Cold War propaganda.

edited to add that I'm not sure if it's age appropriate.

Ott 16, 2014, 11:55 am

Lori, thanks for trying! It's harder to find than I thought it would be.

Kay, I'm having trouble figuring out "age appropriate" too. One of the past FPS kids (hope he's returning!) was reading Life of Pi in 6th grade, and understanding it. His NWEA scores had him, in 6th grade, reading comfortably at a college level. He's in 8th now. Then, one of the 6th graders I probably will have is both Special Ed and Gifted & Talented. Sped mostly for vision and stress handling reasons. I don't think he reads that well, but he asks really interesting questions that show he's understanding on a higher level and trying to do something with the information. My guess is some will be ready for adult books. Some won't. So, I guess the rules are no explicit sex or over the top gratuitous violence. I'll take a look at Better Dead than Red first.

Ott 17, 2014, 11:43 am

#49 Future Problem Solving Coach's Handbook - mostly boring, and somewhat confusing in e-book format. There numbered bullet points and bullet points didn't work. Since it was 175 pages that could have been Eleanor and Park, I'm counting it as a book.

Ott 23, 2014, 8:31 pm

CAtching up on some threads after a little hiatus. Very interested in FPS. Will have to look up more on this. Am afraid I haven't any ideas on 'age appropriate' books on propaganda. Will have to think on that one.

Hope all's well!

Ott 25, 2014, 5:23 pm

Hi Marianne!!! Missed you. I'm nervous and excited about FPS. We start Wednesday, and I should be worried about figuring out when what needs to be done but instead I'm worrying about after school snacks!

Modificato: Ott 25, 2014, 5:38 pm

Got kind of behind!

#50 Eleanor and Park I see why people want to ban it, but hey, kids don't live in a cuddly world. & if I can say something rude, time and energy spent on banning this book would be better spent on preventing/treating the problems the book talks about. Just saying.

#51 Homesick by Jason Walz was a graphic novel/autobiography about losing a mother to cancer. Not really a subject I wanted to read about right now, but it was very well done and worth the time.

#52 Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez finishes up my northern South America category - geez louise! What a weird book. Duh. Of course it's weird. It's Garcia Marquez. It is the story of how a town reacts to a murder that is about to happen. Every one knows about it but the victim, so who is going to tell him? - I really enjoyed this book, but got to say my favorite from the category is still hands down Our Lady of Assassins cuz I didn't see that one coming.

So, that completes the structured part of the challenge. Now to get some of those books off the shelf! Right now I'm into The Lives of Christopher Chant. He doesn't protag much so far. It's more a "don't go down into the basement" sort of a plot. You can see exactly what Christopher is doing that is going to get him into trouble.

Ott 25, 2014, 8:15 pm

156> if I can say something rude, time and energy spent on banning this book would be better spent on preventing/treating the problems the book talks about. I have no idea what the problems are, but AMEN! And I don't think it's rude to speak your mind. Anyone who wants to prevent someone else from reading a book is beyond rude!

It's been years since I read The Lives of Christopher Chant, but I remember liking it well enough.

Ott 25, 2014, 9:35 pm

>156 cammykitty: - if I can say something rude, time and energy spent on banning this book would be better spent on preventing/treating the problems the book talks about.

*Nods head in agreement*

As for Chronicle of a Death Foretold, weird is a perfect word to describe it. ;-)

Ott 26, 2014, 6:25 am

I read Eleanor & Park and if that's what's up for banning, there must not be very many approved books!

Ott 26, 2014, 12:00 pm

I think it takes incredible narcissism coupled with fear to believe that you need to save everybody from being exposed to ideas that you don't like.

Ott 27, 2014, 10:06 am

Book banning? Never a good idea. Even if I disagree emphatically with a book, better to consign it obscurity than give it more attention with a banning ...


Ott 27, 2014, 1:40 pm

Nothing makes a teen want something more than telling her/him she/he can't have it. Wise up, people! *aimed at would ban-ers*

Ott 27, 2014, 11:34 pm

Yeah! We're all in agreement. And I so agree with you, Marianne. In college, I remember going to two movies simply because they were banned. One was Hail Mary - here's the descrip from Netflix. In a daring cinematic venture that incited widespread controversy, Jean-Luc Godard's contemporary retelling of the birth of Christ was banned in several countries and unequivocally denounced by the Catholic Church. Set in modern-day urban France, the story follows the chaste teenage Mary and her gas station attendant boyfriend, Joseph, as they try to come to grips with the young virgin's mysterious pregnancy. 2 star rating, and I'd have to agree with that. Mary played basketball. Oooo And Adam and Eve were running around at the same time for some reason??? I couldn't understand it enough to be offended, and it's still - 30 years later - available???

The other was Fritz the Cat and most of us walked out on it because it was just rude. 1972 and it's still on netflix???

But seriously, Eleanor and Park is a good banned book that recreates the 80s well. As for the swearing, alcohol, and abuse, it was realistic and nothing that the average 7th grader couldn't handle. The most unrealistic thing about it was the ending. It is implied that after Eleanor leaves, her mom gets the courage and strength to take her remaining kids and leave her abuser. In reality, most mothers in this situation sadly take the man's side and if they do try to leave, they'll do it several times unsuccessfully before they succeed, if they don't end up dead.

But back to the censorship thing, I found myself telling a 6th grade girl who I know is on the fetal alcohol spectrum "make sure you're listening to music that's school appropriate." She snapped back with "just because you see a man without his shirt on, you think it's inappropriate." I said "No. I know that artist, and there is very little he does that is school appropriate." It was Flo Ri Da. She was also listening to Pitbull. I'll confess to liking some Pitbull, but speaking of the objectification of women??? & when you get the two of them together? They get so bad, it's actually sort of funny. They are objectifying/stereotyping themselves as much as they are objectifying women. Then I started thinking about what message she is getting from the music and I'm guessing the lyrics are going straight over her head. All she's hearing is the beat. She doesn't even realize that all the music is talking about is women as sex objects.

Ott 27, 2014, 11:44 pm

#53 The Lives of Christopher Chant I'd like to be able to do that right now - drift off to sleep, go walking in a world where the mermaids talk to you and the farmers invite you in for the most fabulous hot something like chocolate ever and they give you cool gifts, and you wake up with energy - but in a house with fighting parents that ignore you and a governess of the week? Not so much that part. It was a fun romp. Diana Wynne Jones has never let me down.

Ott 28, 2014, 10:38 am

>163 cammykitty: My friend works in a middle school library and was shocked when a girl walked in wearing a shirt proudly proclaiming "Friends with Benefits". Her mom bought that for her?? Maybe she was just as clueless as to the definition.

Ott 28, 2014, 9:13 pm

!!! I hope she was clueless! 6th grade maybe, 7th probably not. & I've got to report a funny conversation today. In social studies class, we're studying the Dakota so we watched clips from Dances with Wolves. Then one of the kids told me he was watching Titanic. He says "There's some kind of inappropriate scenes in there. I wish there weren't. It kind of cheapens it." My comment "I'll bet there were." Wasn't that movie an R? Don't Kate and Leonardo steam up a few things before he dies a cold death? Matter of fact, wasn't that kind of the point of the movie? Love and a watery grave?

Ott 29, 2014, 4:02 am

A friend of my son was taken to Saw and Jackass type movies from the first grade. Oddly and inexplicably, he will not sleep alone in his room, but camped out in his parents' room until recently. They couldn't figure out why.

Ott 29, 2014, 10:07 am

>166 cammykitty: "Titanic" was PG-13...but I remember vividly that my mom wouldn't let me see it (I was 12 when it came out) because of that one naked painting scene.

Ott 29, 2014, 7:15 pm

Kay - LOL on the Saw, but seriously isn't a babysitter cheaper than a psychiatrist?

Christina - what naked painting? I'm vaguely remembering a painter (Leonardo?) wanting her to pose. Shows what an impression that movie made on me. All I remember is abide with me, ice covered Hollywood dummies and enough water to make any guy run for the bathroom.

Ott 30, 2014, 11:59 am

>169 cammykitty: Leo wanted Kate to pose nude, and she did. Plus there's the scene where they steam up the jalopy. :)

Ott 30, 2014, 9:10 pm

Ah! I remember the steamy jalopy! LOL! Too much for my sixth grader!

Ott 31, 2014, 9:23 pm

Sage says Happy Halloween! He is celebrating with some squeaky balls.

Nov 1, 2014, 7:07 pm

>172 cammykitty:
That's a happy puppy!!

Nov 2, 2014, 8:01 am

I haven't read Eleanor & Park yet, mostly because there's a wait list at the library and I'd rather let people who really want to read it have a go at it first. But you've definitely moved it up on my TBR list.

172> Cute! Now I'm feeling guilty because my cats didn't get anything for Halloween. . . . Wait a minute - I didn't dress them up in costumes this year - that was their gift.

Nov 2, 2014, 12:46 pm

Eva! Yes, very happy. The fav game in the house right now is zombie ball kee away.

BookLizard - yes, there is a huge list of people at my library too. They got a gazillion copies though, but I still think it was kind of a freak accident that I got a copy so fast. & yup, no costumes is a huge gift! ;)

Nov 2, 2014, 10:24 pm

Di (alias Bruce_Krafft) and I walked with Sage & Gracie around Locke Park today. Here's me with chicken Sage and Gracie the Courage Consultant.

Nov 3, 2014, 9:52 am

Love it! What a great picture of all three of you! Jealous that you've got an LTer so close!

Nov 3, 2014, 12:37 pm

Does Gracie have a mouthful of leaves? What cutie pies!

Nov 3, 2014, 5:55 pm

Awww! Great photo!

Nov 3, 2014, 6:27 pm

That looks like the perfect place for a November walk - lots of leaves to scrunch through!

Nov 3, 2014, 10:39 pm

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Yes, it is great having an LTer so close. Di and I met through LT and now she's one of my closest friends. Yup, Gracie's got leaves stuck all over her face! & where there are lots of leaves, there are lots of trees. We love Locke Park.

Nov 6, 2014, 6:17 am

178 & 181 - She has her tongue out, and fancy 'flowers' on her collar from the groomer. . .

And yes, Locke Park in a gem! So glad I managed to find it by using Google maps! Lots of good walking can be had there.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Nov 6, 2014, 9:21 pm

Yes, lots! Walkies this weekend?

Nov 7, 2014, 1:34 pm

umm . . . .cold...No kitchen sink for 4+ weeks... lunch with mommy on Sunday . . . .


How do you tell a plumber from a chemist?

Ask them to pronounce - unionized.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Nov 7, 2014, 1:59 pm

I will be forwarding that to our Chemistry teachers!

Nov 8, 2014, 1:42 pm

LOL-Yes! Mamzel, I'll bet the Chemistry teachers can infiltrate the plumbers union without being detected. ;) As long as they don't tell any plumbers not to "sag" their pants.

Nov 8, 2014, 1:47 pm

#54 Brave New World The propaganda is magnificent, and the characters recognize Shakespeare as the best propaganda writer of them all. But alas, I don't think it will work for my Future Problem Solving group. ;) It's edgy enough with all it's talk about decanting babies, cut you could argue the book is all about sex. And religion. And The Fall of man. So is John Savage more like the serpent or Christ?

Odd book. I can see why it's a classic.

Modificato: Nov 9, 2014, 4:06 pm

#55 Siberiak This is the kind of book I hate giving a bad review. It's for the Early Review program, and it's an autobiographical account of one of the teens that visited the Soviet Union toward the thawing of the cold war. It didn't explain what the cold war was, and teens and middle school kids these days don't know. She mentioned the general fear of the "Russians" and "the bomb" but it went by quickly because that wasn't her purpose. It's hard to know what her purpose was. Was it to tell how a shy, awkward teen made friends during a strange adventure? Was it to show that people who are culturally different still have warm hearts? I found myself bored while reading this. I'm not sure if teens will be bored or not when reading it. Either way, the story could have had more depth... or the depth was lost on mean.

Nov 11, 2014, 6:27 am

>187 cammykitty: I started Brave New World as research for CONvergence next year and haven't finished it yet. I should finish it. 1984 seemed to have a lot of sex too . . . I suppose because it is something so many people think/feel they need to control?

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Nov 11, 2014, 10:26 pm

@189 people think/feel they need to control other people's sex. LOL because after all, violent passion leads to anarchy and at best, unrestrained sex leads to families and people care about their families and may be okay with being sheep themselves but they aren't okay with their sons and daughters being sheep. ... tongue in cheek.

Perhaps the idea is that sex is one of the most difficult things for a government control, so if you have a government that can control it -- that's a super scary government.

I didn't remember 1984 as having that much sex in it, but I read it in high school and may have been a bit oblivious to what they were doing in that little cabin. Anyway, it couldn't have been that racy because the sex part left no lasting impact on me... that I know of.

Nov 12, 2014, 6:14 am

>190 cammykitty: it was probably more implied sex. . . but it seemed that sex was the big motivator.

Have you heard of the book The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden? It came up when I was looking for the ISBN for an Ikea cookbook that I got.

Amazon says "In this wild romp, Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power while telling a charming and hilarious story along the way. In the satirical voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, Jonasson gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can have sweeping—even global—consequences."

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Nov 12, 2014, 7:54 pm

Yup, sex was the motivator in 1984! Never heard of The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. Looks like people mostly like it. "Wild romp" often means sex though!

I got some propaganda poster books out from the library to show the girls. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a US one too. Unless you want to count a book on Norman Rockwell's boy scout art. Not quite the same league, but still propaganda in it's own way.

Nov 15, 2014, 7:20 pm

#56 was a long-term member of the wishlist, V for Vendetta. Now I've read it, and it does deserve it's place as a classic graphic novel but Watchmen is much more subtle and ultimately fulfilling. There's something a bit unsettling about V for Vendetta which is perhaps some of its charm. I keep thinking we are supposed to forgive everything V does, but really? Everything?

Modificato: Nov 16, 2014, 1:46 am

>193 cammykitty:
V for Vendetta is the one I mention when anyone asks me for my favorite book. I don't think we're supposed to forgive V's actions, but rather to think about what we should/would do (i.e decided whether it is sometimes better to "die behind the chemical sheds" than to be a pliant and quiet participant). That's what's interesting about the character - he is poetic and charming and callous and deadly. Half of the time you get to be horrified at the atrocious terrorist acts he performs and half of the time charmed by his bravery and loyalty. Lots (if not most) of people do have a greater respect for Watchmen, but for me, V speaks to my heart - but I did live in England through part of the Thatcher era and some things just hit closer to home in Vendetta because of it.

Nov 16, 2014, 12:26 pm

We own the movie adaptation of V for Vendetta but I have never read the GN. Maybe I will try to plan to read it next year.... say on November 4th? ;-)

Nov 16, 2014, 4:17 pm

Eva - living through Thatcher's England would put V higher up in my heart too! When I saw the movie, I didn't really know what the setting was and it kind of lost it. Substitute Reagan for Thatcher, and then multiply the bad by ten, and you've got the US version of V. And we don't have Guy Fawkes day here so the mask doesn't have the extra twist for us. It's kind of a weird concept for us, celebrating a day where you executed a "traitor." V is very British so I think I'm missing some of the cultural background for it.

Lori, yes, read it on the 4th of November.

Nov 17, 2014, 10:44 pm

#57 Eccentric Circles by Rebecca Lickiss. This one sat on my shelf for so long that I started actually avoiding it. I enjoyed it a lot, although it looks like most reviewers didn't. It's an urban fantasy metafiction - yes it does use a lot of the tropes - girl inherits grandmother's house, house is gateway to faerie, handsome elf at kitchen table. Eh, guess I was in the mood for a handsome elf.

Nov 18, 2014, 11:53 am

>197 cammykitty: Now, see, that sounds kind of appealing to me! I'll have to check it out. :)

Nov 18, 2014, 8:28 pm

LOL! There aren't enough handsome elves in literature.

Nov 26, 2014, 7:58 am

Hope you have a good Thanksgiving.

Nov 26, 2014, 5:08 pm

You too, BookLizard!

Nov 26, 2014, 10:12 pm

Well, I decided to pearl rule Deerskin. I was about 100 pages in, so didn't pearl rule it soon enough, but oh well. Not a bad book, but it dragged and the protagonist wasn't protagging. I read a review and it sounded like that wasn't going to change, so basically I'd be reading it for the dog, Ash.

Nov 28, 2014, 3:43 pm

the protagonist wasn't protagging Love it!

Nov 28, 2014, 3:50 pm

"protagonist wasn't protagging" is a local phrase. You can kind of tell who knows who if a person uses that. You're probably talking to an SF&F writer from MN or WI if they say that. ;) Mamzel, may all the books you read in 2015 have protags that protag!

Nov 29, 2014, 10:46 pm

That's one of the fun things about LT! Learning new stuff every day.

Nov 29, 2014, 10:57 pm

205 :)

And for reading, I'm 1/2 way through Melmoth the Wanderer, written in 1820. I had it in one of those humongous e-anthologies of 20some books, but it was 91 pages??? It's a 600 page book, abridged down to 90 pages? But, I got to say tastes have changed since 1820. If this book were published today, it would be YA because of the age of the protags and it would be a series of three short books. Not to mention, it would probably be a graphic novel.

Dic 6, 2014, 3:42 pm

58-59. Melmoth the Wanderer completes my challenge. The abridged version was on my nook, so I'm counting it as an "off the shelf" even though I paid .99 cents for the unabridged version once I figured out that it was very, very abridged. I'm actually curious to know how they abridged it. It must be like Cliff Notes. The book contains several stories, one told twice two very different ways, and the point of the book is the wandering stories that account for Melmoth's life. It is a little like The Arabian Nights in the way it frames a story with a story with a story, only these stories are about religion and people pushed to the brink by misery. Yup, it's a ye old horror novel, much of the action set in the late 1600s. It's not that scary though. It did, however, fix a problem in the little story I'm writing. I can't find any ghoulies for Guyana, so I'm going to borrow this kind of ghoulie - a person who can't die until he completes a particular task.

Dic 7, 2014, 4:39 am

Congrats on completing your challenge!

Dic 7, 2014, 9:59 am

Woo hoo, congratulations! :)

Dic 7, 2014, 9:02 pm

Congrats on finishing the challenge!!

Dic 7, 2014, 9:14 pm

Yay! Way to go!!

Dic 7, 2014, 10:07 pm

Thanks for the congrats! The other part of the challenge was to reach 75 books. Ha ha ha. Not going to happen, so I'll celebrate this!

Dic 8, 2014, 6:11 am

Congratulations! I abandoned Melmoth the Wanderer halfway through because I couldn't keep track of the plots.

Dic 8, 2014, 11:00 pm

I almost abandoned Melmoth too for the same reason, Birgit, but then I decided it was written in the 1820s and set aside my expectations. At some point I thought he probably was writing it as a serial, publishing a chapter a month and writing it as he went. I figured one plot line tanked for him so he started another and another and really had no idea how to end it. Now that I've finished it though, I think he knew where he was going, but I wouldn't place on money on that hunch.

Dic 8, 2014, 11:03 pm

Pearl ruled after two chapters Gargantuan. It only had a 2 1/2 star rating and I got annoyed at knowing exactly how many pounds and how many inches each of the characters were. Yeah, I know one was a jockey, but really? I don't need to know that the sleuth, Ruby, is 5'4" and 112 lbs and cute cute cute with painted toes to match her name. And I certainly don't need to reminded repeatedly about it. In two whole chapters.

Dic 9, 2014, 7:13 am

215> Whenever you get that much repetition, you have to wonder if it was edited or not. And since that's the second book in the series, you shouldn't need to be reminded that many times. Glad you got out early. :-)

Dic 9, 2014, 9:39 pm


Dic 9, 2014, 10:38 pm

@216 My thoughts exactly, Liz. Usually books with low ratings on LT got them for a reason. If it had a 4 rating, I might have given it a few more chapters! It looked like it had a bad case of Mary Sue going on.

Lori, thanks!

Dic 10, 2014, 5:32 am

I try not to look at a rating before I start a book so it doesn't influence my opinion, but sometimes I'll go check if I'm not liking it. Although there have been a couple of books here and there that everyone but me seems to like.

Dic 10, 2014, 8:06 am

Congrats on finishing!

I made up my 15 categories for the 15 in 2015 challenge, I'm focusing on EAGLEs - Emerging and growth-leading economies. Mexico is on the list. Hopefully you can help me pick out some stuff to read and we can have some great conversations.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Dic 11, 2014, 9:27 am

Congratulations! :) So you've got some "free" reading time, then?

Dic 11, 2014, 12:40 pm

Congratulations on completing your 2014 Challenge. Enjoy your free reading time.

Dic 11, 2014, 10:33 pm

Wah!!! I posted yesterday, but it didn't post!!! Multi-tasking hits again, probably, unless LT was having a fit of hiccups last night.

Betty - If I've decided on reading the book, than the rating doesn't matter to me. & yes, I've hated some very popular books too! But usually the LT rating is right on, except for "classics" or on books that have a wide range of high and low ratings. My WL is soooo long, that I'll confess to thinning it out from time to time by deleting anything with a 3 or less.

Di - Mexico!!! There are some good books there, but I couldn't tell you about economics books. Fuentes gets quite political though. & the book I read on the earthquake is worth reading, and does approach the economics of the situation some.

Dic 11, 2014, 10:41 pm

Laura - yes!!! Yeah! I'm going to try to finish out the year with books I already own mainly. I think. I'm still trying to reach 75 books so I'm tempted to pick shorties!

Thanks Judy! Good to see you. I think I've been missing your thread when I'm on-line. I'll be popping by in 2015 though.

#60 Afrofuturism by Ytasha Womack. I'm getting a head start preparing for next year's Diversicon. Womack is our Guest of Honor. I wish this book had been an e-book with links added. She referred to so much music, so many visual artists, actors, movies and writers that it could've been riddled with links and you could've lost yourself looking at all the things she talked about forever. I've started exploring the music of Sun Ra and have revisited Parliament. I want to read Henry Dumas. etc etc etc. It will be a fun Con, and I'm envisioning a room with Sun Ra playing 24 hours and a few scenes from the Matrix being shown from time to time.

Dic 12, 2014, 7:01 am

223> I need to learn about stuff other than economics too. I guess it wouldn't hurt to learn more Spanish. But let's not go over board there! :-)

Oh, I got a new App - Hello Talk. It's for learning languages and 'hooking' up with native speakers. They help you learning their language and you help them learn yours. It's pretty cool, but not as easy to use as I would like. But I am sure that once I figure it out will be be great.

I have already been contacted by 4 native Turkish speakers in less than 6 hours.

Bruce's evil twin :-))

Dic 12, 2014, 10:24 am

Congratulations on finishing!

Dic 12, 2014, 10:57 pm

Wow, Di. Are they all men? Bet they've figured out learning English is a good way to flirt! HaHaHa, or ja ja ja as the Spanish speakers say. I should try out that app, but it sounds a bit like a time commitment.

Thanks Jennifer!

Dic 13, 2014, 7:39 pm

>225 bruce_krafft:
Oh, that looks really interesting - I'm going to have to try Hello Talk out!

Dic 19, 2014, 9:37 pm

#61 My first Edgar Rice Borroughs A Princess of Mars. Quite a fun read, but oh the science in this science fiction! I think even in 1870 or whenever it was set, they knew the offspring of a mammal and an egg-laying creature wasn't likely to be viable. That's just for starters. But yes, if you can suspend quite a bit of disbelief, it is a rollicking western with most of the action in space. My dad always said that science fiction was westerns in space.

Dic 23, 2014, 12:54 am

#62 The Eye of God Think I like the science in A Princess of Mars better than the science in The Eye of God. It was more believable.

Dic 23, 2014, 7:42 am

>229 cammykitty: The Barsoom books are just good pulp fiction. Turn off your brain and enjoy them for what they are. I've never read any of his other stuff though but would assume it's pretty much of the same variety. Didn't think the movie was as bad as most people said at the time of its release.

Dic 23, 2014, 1:53 pm

Yup! Quintessential pulp fiction. I'm sort of curious about the movie. The book had plenty of eye candy.

Dic 24, 2014, 8:05 pm

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season, Katie.

Dic 24, 2014, 9:12 pm

You too Judy!!!

Dic 24, 2014, 9:20 pm

Happiest of holidays to you and Sage and Wanda!

Dic 25, 2014, 6:01 am

Hope you and the pups have a Merry Christmas and a Happy reading New Year, Katie.

Dic 25, 2014, 6:33 am

Merry Christmas Katie!

Dic 25, 2014, 4:12 pm

Merry Christmas!

Dic 26, 2014, 1:27 am

Thanks for all the Christmas wishes! I had a great one with my brother and sister-in-law. I'm still stuffed. Yum yum yum. The dinner was worth eating only a banana with peanut butter all day in prep for it. Of course, that got me compared to my grandmother and her "tinfoil-lined purse." Hope everyone else had a good holiday too!

Dic 26, 2014, 1:31 am

#63 or something. My numbering got messed up somewhere. Tropic of Cancer Orwell described the events of this book as "amoral" and "irresponsible." It is all that, but it isn't too. At times it even becomes immoral and rarely and briefly, moral. It is a fictional autobiography of Henry Miller and his fellow expatriate "artists" in Paris during the early 20th Century. I put artists in quotes because there was more effort in finding the next lay than there was in producing art in this novel. Orwell also said he'd love to give a quote from the book, but he couldn't, because it was all obscene. I'm sure Orwell could have found a sentence or two that was clean, but since the novel was on trial for it's obscenity, that comment was hard to resist making.

The book doesn't sound very appealing, and to be honest, I finished reading it feeling soiled. But, it is also a fascinating and fun read. His descriptions are so alive and dead on and his characterizations so unkind but loving that it is hard not to admire the writing. Orwell also points out that Miller is a happy person and that the book describes a happy man. Broke and starving, not always sure where he was going to sleep, but happy. Quite happy. Which is the counterpoint to my thought all the way through, that the misery was somewhat self-inflicted. These starving artists could've found jobs. Really. They could've. Occasionally they did, but often the employment didn't last long. Looking for another job never seemed to be much of a priority though.

Another point I just have to make - the whores. At some point I made a link with sex and artistic creativity. The point of sex and creativity is to create, but in Tropic of Cancer the sex only creates the clap and as for the artists, they aren't having much better luck with their arts. When someone does actually finally create something, the Miller character feels that the person has lost their joy to do so and must be saved from the situation. Then I found myself having dreams about an old boyfriend of mine. He was a painter and print maker who lived on the financial edge, more due to alcoholism than artistry. He wasn't too dedicated to his art, and often didn't complete projects. For example, he didn't finish his college degree until years later and then he didn't really finish it. He wrote the college and said he didn't do his senior show because his professor was a drunk and therefore should be given credit for completing college anyway. They agreed. Which I think means the prof really did have a drinking problem, but that wasn't what kept him from finishing. It was the fear of failure. The fear of putting yourself out there, trying really hard but failing anyway was a baseline in Tropic of Cancer. Well, Miller succeeded. What a humble, embarrassing, warty book.

Dic 27, 2014, 12:37 pm

A belated Merry Christmas, Katie! It sounds like it was a good one! :) Here's to a totally tubular 2015! (You're a kid of the 80's like me, right?)

Dic 27, 2014, 10:54 pm

Yup, totally know what you mean, Laura. I'm still stuck in the '80s. Here's to a rad New Year!

Dic 28, 2014, 1:14 am

Another product of the 80s here. A few weeks ago I went to a fundraiser that had an 80s theme. The DJ was dressed like George Michael and he only played like 3-4 songs that I don't know!

Dic 28, 2014, 11:42 am

>240 cammykitty: I read Tropic of Cancer a few years ago and I understand your review completely. I read it thinking "gross" and "why?" yet I finished thinking that Miller was a great writer to get me to read it all the way through. It's like digging in mud and finding gems.

Dic 28, 2014, 1:24 pm

Jennifer, that's the perfect way to describe it! Definitely digging in mud and finding gems, but the mud doesn't shower off very easily! It's enough to clog the drain.

Booklizard, LOL! I would've loved to be at that party. Did he even play the naughty songs like Strip and Dancing with Myself and Ra Ra Rasputin, which I know is the '70s, but the frat boys of the '80s didn't care that it was "old?"

Dic 28, 2014, 1:25 pm

#64 #64 In the House of the Seven Librarians was a sweet, quiet little story about a magic library that is shut down but seven librarians stay and keep it running, until one day a woman pays her long, long overdue fine for a fairytale book by leaving her first-born child in the returns slot.

Dic 28, 2014, 1:30 pm

245> It was a fun party although it was hard to get all the "old" people to dance. It really was like a middle school dance - all the girls dancing while the boys sat around watching. I can't remember what the naughtiest song was, but I remember during one dance wondering if my hips were really moving the way I thought I was moving them. LOL. It's tough getting older, but at least I didn't hurt myself.

Dic 28, 2014, 3:40 pm

LOL! Love those middle school dances! Guess the guys are just more self conscious of there hips moving the wrong way. Sounds like a blast.

Dic 31, 2014, 6:37 am

There is a group reading The Children's Book by A S Byatt. Are you interested? I can get it for the kindle and let you use one of ours to read it on. . . What do you think? It is almost 900 pages long according to Amazon.

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Dic 31, 2014, 10:59 am

900 pages! I'll pass on that one. Thanks anyway though. Sometimes I like Byatt, and sometimes not. I prefer her short stories. She tends to drag for me in her longer works. Her style is so quiet and mood-centered, that it works better in the shorts.