Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Photo taken at The Great Jack 'O Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley, NY

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paperboy by Tony Macaulay

Not sure where I've managed to plunk my copy of Paperboy so look here for Paperboy by Tony Macaulay details (that's a link to Amazon).

Paperboy is the memoir of a man who worked as a paperboy in Belfast during "the Troubles," a time when Catholics and Protestants were bombing each other and building up walls to divide their city.  I knew next to nothing about this particular period in Irish history, although I remember the news about bombings very well.  I recall once asking one of my parents what exactly they were fighting about in Ireland and the response was, "The Irish have pretty much been fighting for the last 500 years."  It wasn't quite the answer I'd hoped for.

What's truly wondrous about Macaulay's memoir is that he does an amazing job of keeping the story balanced and staying inside the head of a young boy.  He talks about how he felt, what was required to get the job done in a time when the buses he needed to get around town were often blown up and there was no way home but walking or taking a taxi (which he couldn't afford).  He talks about what he understood and what he did not about the violence, as a peace-loving child.  But, mostly he talks about life as a youngster in Belfast and what it was like to do his job - dealing with his boss, his determination to be the best newspaper boy on the Shankill, the challenges he faced (besides bombings, there were bullies, uptight customers and thieves to deal with) as well as his obsession with the Bay City Rollers and the concert he and the other youngsters looked forward to attending.

The year he focuses on is 1975.  And, don't make the mistake I made of looking up some of those Bay City Rollers songs he mentions, if you read the book.  I thought I'd never get them out of my head (but you should look at their outfits if you want a good laugh - just keep the volume off if you look up one of their videos, seriously).

I thought Paperboy was one of the best memoirs I've read in the last few years and now I'm seeking out more information about "the Troubles".  If you know of any good, readable titles about that time period in Irish history, please let me know!

Highly recommended, especially to those who enjoy memoirs and reading anything at all about Ireland, but honestly . . . just an excellent, well-written memoir, in general. Paperboy gave me that wonderful you were there sensation.  My only complaint would be that it could have used a brief glossary because I had difficulty, at first, in sorting out which soldiers (who were often described in slang terms) belonged to which side.  A little reading, a little googling and I had most of it figured out, though.

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Clumsy Duck by Britta Teckentrup

Clumsy Duck by Britta Teckentrup
Copyright 2013
Boxer Books - Ages 3-6
32 pp.

Clumsy Duck is the story of a duck who is awkward on land, no matter what she does.

Fortunately, Duck has a very upbeat friend called Chick.  They take a walk and Chick ignores the fact that Duck falls twice on the way up the hill, instead admiring the view.  He chuckles when Clumsy Duck falls into the mud and notices Duck's big, muddy foot prints.  No wonder Clumsy Duck trips all the time!  Her feet are huge.

Clumsy Duck wonders aloud why her feet are so big.  Chick doesn't know but suggests they try to figure it out.  This is my favorite page spread, when Duck and Chick are trying to figure out whether running might be the purpose of those big feet:

I love this author/artist's illustrations but the bold flowers in that particular illustration are especially pretty.  I'd love to have a dress with that flower print on it.  Weird tangent, I know.  

The conclusion is predictable for adults; eventually, Clumsy Duck and Chick discover that the duck's big, webbed feet are best suited for swimming.  "She moved across the water like a ballerina."  Clumsy Duck ends with the words, "And from that day on, Duck didn't mind one little bit that she was a clumsy duck on land because she was such a wonderful swimmer in the water." 

I absolutely love Clumsy Duck!  It's about friendship, thinking positive, finding what you're good at and overlooking the things you're not so hot at doing.  I love positive message in a children's book and the combination of upbeat storytelling with beautiful, bold illustrations (some of which remind me a bit of Eric Carle) make Clumsy Duck a winner.  Highly recommended.  

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Look where I went, this weekend!

We had a long weekend visit with Eldest Son, Daughter-in-law and Grand-dog and managed to pop into New York's wonderful Strand Bookstore.  Okay, actually, we did more than pop in.  Naturally, we bought a few books but they were all from the bargain carts outside.

Top to bottom:

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
The 12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts
22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker (2nd in the Regeneration series)
70% Acrylic 30% Wool by Viola Di Grado

22 Britannia Road and The Eye in the Door were on my wish list so I was especially excited to find both titles for $1 each.  Open slots at Paperback Swap!  Wahoo!

What I read, during my mini-vacation:

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly - I absolutely loved The Tilted World.  It has great characters, a terrific storyline and an excellent plot, all set during the Great Flood of 1927, which we hear a lot about, down here.  It's thanks to the levee system that was built after the 1927 flood that we haven't had an equally deadly recurrence during recent flood years.  

Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor was my first Taylor book and the last book she wrote.  It's sad but it gave me a good idea of why people are so besotted with her books.  I love her writing style and am looking forward to reading more.  I got my copy of Blaming at a recent book sale, along with two more of her Virago titles.  I was so excited when I saw them that I snatched all 3 and plunked them on my to-buy stack without even bothering to read the cover blurbs.

I had one book waiting for me when I got home and I completely forgot to photograph it so I'll hold it for next week's Monday Malarkey.  I'm hoping to hit the reviews hard, tomorrow.  Wish me luck!  I've been summoned for jury duty in November and I'm planning to join in on NaNoWriMo so it would be helpful to get those reviews out of the way, ASAP.  

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Twaddle - Reading, life, blogging, arrivals, etc.

This has already been a busy week and it's going to become even more overwhelming, so this might be my only post.  Then, hopefully, I can get back on the ball and post some of my backlog of reviews.  I've decided I'm not going to pressure myself about reviewing as soon as possible after finishing a book and, fortunately, I have a pretty good memory so it shouldn't be a big deal to wait another week to hit the reviews.  There may be no Monday Malarkey or Tuesday Twaddle post, next week, just so I can dive straight into reviewing. We shall see.  

Last week was unique! 
  • I was summoned for jury duty (for a "petit" crime). I'm to report for duty in November.
  • I went to an architectural salvage store with my new BFF.  The bottles shown above were my only purchases.  I've been looking for a milk bottle for quite a while and after I bought the bottle, I looked up the dairy, online.  Babblin' Brook Dairies operated in Tyler, Texas from 1929 to 1943.  So, my bottle is at least 70 years old, although it looks new.  How cool is that?
  • Husband had me running back and forth between old house and new.  Now that it's cooled off, I can get a lot more work accomplished at the old house (which unfortunately "breathes" a bit too much -- it's not well insulated).  Heat and I do not get along.
  • We forgot to put out the recycling, last week, so our two bins are both overflowing.  Usually we're quite good about putting out the recycling because we've found we put out more recyclable trash than garbage.  I love curb-side recycling.


I finished 4 books, last week:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Woman in the Dark by Dashiell Hammett  (one of my recent book sale purchases)
The Compound by S. A. Bodeen (also off my shelves; read and discussed with a friend)
Before I Die by Candy Chang (which I started pretty much the moment it walked in the door)

I'm currently reading The Radleys by Matt Haig, a library check-out.  I think I'm going to give The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly a second go, next.  I wasn't in the right mood for it, the first time I picked it up, but we hear a great deal about the Great Flood of 1927 in Mississippi and I'm quite anxious to read a novel set during that time.  Hopefully, this time it will click.


Recent Arrivals include:
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma, which I signed up to tour before I gave up the blog. I haven't yet received a tour date.  
  • Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier - The third in a series (sent by friend Tammy).  I haven't read the first two books and my library system doesn't carry them so I've added them to my Paperback Swap wish list, for now. I may eventually buy them.  
  • The Report by Jessica Francis Kane - A WWII novel received via Paperback Swap.
  • Before I Die by Candy Chang - nonfiction about a fascinating and quite illuminating project to paint walls with the sentence, "Before I die I want to ______."  People can fill in the blanks with chalk. The idea has spread around the world.
  • A stack of books from my friend Sandie, which I've already dragged away to the bedroom.

Other things:

We spent one day working on painting and putting in a new light fixture at the old house, this weekend, the other day deep cleaning in the new house.  One yard has been mowed, the other needs work.  Husband has removed wallpaper in both bathrooms in the old house and started the painting, which leaves one last room with wallpaper to remove. When we moved in, every room was covered with wallpaper, dark panelling or both, and we worked on updating the walls and flooring the entire time we lived in Vicksburg.  I have always disliked wallpaper (and dark paneling, although I'm okay with lighter woods).  If wallpaper makes a comeback, you won't see me joining in on the trend.  


I finally managed to take a few new pics of the kitties and I took the camera along to snap a few pics (including the bottles, on a bench outside) at the salvage store.  I've also photographed the wild, abstract painting I bought at a recent flea market, to share with friends.  Otherwise . . . nada. But, I'm happy that I managed to snap a few pics.  It's a start.  I can also look at photos of River without even feeling a pang of loss, now.  Progress!

Sidebar failure:

I haven't been updating my sidebar as I've been reading and I may just ditch the "Currently Reading/Recently Finished" updates -- another very small way to save time online.  It'll probably vary, depending upon how my week is going.  I think it will be easier to just do weekly updates.  

Hope you've all had a fantastic week! 

Bookfool, enjoying Autumn

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - Review and F2F Report

This will be my first review since I returned to the blog, so I'll just tell you a few things I plan to change to my reviewing format, up front.  Things are going to be more casual.  I'm all about the time crunch, at the moment, so if my copy of a review book isn't handy I'm not going to bother running to fetch it to prop it up for details.  If it was received from a publisher, "ARC" will appear in the labels (even if it's a finished copy) to distinguish it from books in my personal library or public library books.  I do think it's important to mention that my Face to Face (F2F) book group received copies of The Goldfinch from Little, Brown and Co., which was much appreciated.  We had a lively discussion.  This review/F2F report is a bit longer than you should probably expect in the future because the cats woke me up at 4:30 AM.  

Onward.  An excerpt:

We looked at each other and just laughed; everything was hysterically funny, even the playground slide was smiling at us, and at some point, deep in the night, when we were swinging on the jungle gym and showers of sparks were flying out of our mouths, I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.  For hours, we watched the clouds rearranging themselves into intelligent patterns; rolled in the dirt, believing it was seaweed (!); lay on our backs and sang 'Dear Prudence' to the welcoming and appreciative stars.  It was a fantastic night--one of the great nights of my life, actually, despite what happened later. 
~p. 333 of Advanced Reader Copy (some changes may have been made to the finished print version)

The Goldfinch is Donna Tartt's third book and the first that I've managed to read (also true of the members of my F2F group, who agree they would like to read more by Tartt), although I do have a copy of her first book, The Secret History, and I knew she was from Mississippi.  At close to 800 pages (densely packed, at that), The Goldfinch is a book rich with detail.  Is that a good thing?  Well, let's see what my F2F group had to say.  We'll just go with the interview method. I will be interviewed by the bird on the cover.  

Goldfinch:  Tweet.

Bookfool:  Hello.

GF:  Tell us about the story, please.

BF:  The Goldfinch is the story of Theodore Decker.  When Theo is young (about age 12, as I recall), he and his mother are victims of a (fictional) explosion in New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  After he regains consciousness, Theo finds The Goldfinch lying nearby and sits with a dying man. Then, he takes the painting with him and keeps it for many years, considering himself its caretaker while realizing he should return the painting.  As Theo grows, he becomes friends with the business partner of the man whose death he attended and moves from place to place.  He keeps the painting, knowing it's considered stolen. What will become of Theo, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress, and the priceless painting?

GF:  Did you and your group members know I am a real painting, going into the reading of this book?

BF:  Most of us did.  For those of you who are unaware, The Goldfinch was painted by Carel Fabritius in 1654.  Fabritius himself was the victim of an explosion but the painting has never been stolen.  Although our Dutch F2F member (who is moving away, gosh darn it) has seen some of his paintings, I'm pretty sure she said she had not seen The Goldfinch.  

GF:  What did your group members think of The Goldfinch? [The book title is highlighted in bold, painting name in italics).

BF:  I asked if everyone liked The Goldfinch, loved it or just appreciated the writing (which is stunning in both beauty and detail) in spite of not loving the story.  Absolutely everyone liked or loved the book.  I liked it but I fall closer to the latter category of appreciating the writing more than the story itself, because I personally found it very difficult to read about Theo's drug addiction. The excerpt, above, is from a scene in which Theo and his friend Boris are experimenting with drugs, hence the sparks flying out of their mouths.  Although that scene jumped out at me as one of particular revelation and levity, in general, the portion of the book that takes place in Las Vegas was absolutely miserable to me.  I didn't like reading about the details of his experience and even tweeted about how happy I was to be leaving Las Vegas, when I got to that point.  

However, our group leader found the opening scenes during which Theo lost his mother, realized that he had no place to go and Social Services was going to stick him in foster care the most painful to read.  Nobody else mentioned feeling pained by any of Theo's experiences, although one particular death was a bit more miserable to everyone than the rest (sadly, that is a spoiler).

GF: What other things did you discuss with your group?

BF:  We discussed the length of The Goldfinch and whether or not it needed to be as long as it was, the characters, the theme, the ending, the writing, the relationships between characters, why Theo continued to hold onto the painting instead of turning it over to authorities, the author and her ties to Mississippi.  Our fearless leader had sent us a link to Stephen King's review of The Goldfinch in The New York Times  and we talked about his thoughts and laughed about the comment that it would not be wise to drop The Goldfinch on one's foot.  King's closing thoughts:

There are a few missteps, yes.  It's hard to believe that television coverage of a terrorist attack like the one Tartt imagines would be interrupted with mattress commercials, and there's a lot more about furniture restoration than I needed.  But for the most part, "The Goldfinch" is a triumph with a brave theme running through it:  art may addict, but art also saves us from "the ungainly sadness of creatures pushing and struggling to live."  Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.
That said, don't drop it on your foot.

GF:  What did your group think of the characters?  

BF:  One member commented that there were a lot of bad characters (drunk, drug-addicted, cruel, etc.) but we all loved Hobie, the furniture restorer whose kindness Theo leans on and from whom he learns the importance of the type of beauty that outlives us.  Andy, an old friend whose family Theo stays with, was also a favorite.  And, everyone wished they could have known Theo's mother better.  During the times he and others reflect upon her life, she is always described with affection.  Pippa, the redheaded girl Theo falls in love with at first sight in MoMA we found a little perplexing; we discussed spoilery bits in regard to her.  Mrs. Barbour (Andy's mother, who took Theo in without question, when he was on the verge of going into foster care) seemed cold, at first, but later in the book  you see her softer side.  Kitsey turned out to be a disappointment but at least she was herself.  

We also talked about the names of the Barbour children: Kitsey, Platt, Andy and Toddy.  I wondered if naming a character Toddy was her polite wave to Ole Miss ("Hotty Toddy" being a cheer/greeting used by Ole Miss students), where Tartt spent a year of her schooling.  

GF:  What about the theme?  Did you agree with Stephen King?

BF:  I can't say I got a good fix on what other group members thought, although I do think there's some truth in his observation.  When I closed the book, I was a little baffled about what it was about.  What was the author trying to say to the reader?  I came up with this as a theme:  "Life sucks and then you die.  But, if you're lucky, maybe some good will come of all the bad things that happen to you."  When I mentioned my thoughts, there were quite a few nods, although I don't think that means anyone found the two ideas (mine and King's) mutually exclusive. 

GF:  What about the length?  Did anyone skim?  Did they think it needed to be nearly 800 pages long or could it have used some editing?

BF:  This part of the discussion was pretty interesting.  Someone asked if anyone skimmed the book and I think it was pretty unanimous that it's not the kind of book that one skims.  For one thing, it is simply too engrossing.  Our leader said she doesn't usually find it a problem to skim over lengthy description and yet, as descriptive as the book was, she felt like every word was important.  Another member said she thought 2-300 pages could have been edited out, although she was glued to the the book's every word, as well, because there were so many surprises and twists that she thought it was critical to read even the details that could have been trimmed. You never knew when something important was going to happen.  

We didn't all agree about where the trimming necessarily should have taken place, had the book been edited down in size.  I didn't mind the lengthy passages about furniture restoration, useless as they may be to me (our aesthetic leans modern; I'll never own antique furnishings) because those were the times when life was most peaceful for Theo. The detailed drug-abuse scenes drove me nuts.  One member said, "But, that's reality - that's just something people go through," the implication being that experimentation with alcohol and drugs is a normal stage of life.  It's a stage I skipped without regret, but I can see her point.  I think the furniture restoration detail is the bit most commonly considered superfluous.  Point to Stephen King.

GF:  Thoughts about the ending?

BF:  I was personally both disappointed in the ending and relieved because I flipped ahead to read the ending and misinterpreted it.  Reading it in context put it the final words into perspective.  But, I still got a negative vibe from the ending.  Our leader read the ending aloud (two paragraphs, I think) and she said she loved the ending.  That third reading made me see it in a different light.  I thought, in many ways, the book was relentlessly sad, with only occasional reprieves, and the ending was . . . a bit dire in its nihilism, I suppose.  Fearless Leader thought it was beautiful and I admit to understanding her viewpoint when she read it.  Regardless, we all thought the book was an excellent read and felt privileged to have the opportunity to read it in advance of publication.  

GF:  What's the release date?

BF:  The Goldfinch is scheduled for release on October 22, 2013.  Just a few days, now!   

GF:  Recommended?  Not recommended?  

BF:  Definitely recommended by everyone in our group - all of whom found it a stunning read.  And, we also thought it was a terrific discussion book.  Although I came prepared with some generic questions, the discussion was organic.  I did have to ask if we could return to the book, after our chatter somehow managed to veer off to politics in Mississippi (probably because we talked about how Barry Hannah discovered Donna Tartt and Willie Morris facilitated her move out of state to finish her education), but by then we'd pretty much hit all the topics on my question list and all I did was ask if everyone liked, loved or merely tolerated the book and after everyone said they liked or loved it, the meeting broke up.  

GF:  Thank you for letting me interview you.  I'd fly away, now, but I have this ridiculous chain attached to my leg.

BF:  Thank you for interviewing me, little goldfinch. And, thank you to Miriam of Little, Brown for providing the copies for group discussion.  

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today - Just another Wednesday

Today I am reading The Compound by S. A. Bodeen, a post-apocalyptic young adult novel.  My friend Paula is reading along with me, tonight.  This is a big wahoo.  Remember Wahoo! Wednesday?  Maybe I'll bring that back, on occasion.  

Tonight is my F2F group's discussion of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I feel wishy-washy about the reading experience, in general -- thrilled and privileged to have read such remarkable writing early on, prior to its release, paying little attention to the buzz, even as I glimpsed a headline saying it was nominated for some award or other (being lazy, not looking, at this moment).  I'm unsure what I actually think about the story, the theme, the deeper meaning, after closing the book.  But, wow.  Such impressive writing. I can't wait to see what others in my group thought of it.

I've been pondering people who hate cats because my kitties are such incredible sweethearts and excellent companions.  They're smart, funny, lovable, gentle.  They don't swipe with claws or bite.  I wonder if everyone who hates cats -- and there are so many! -- has had a bad experience.  I've had some terrifying experiences with dogs but I don't hate dogs.  In fact, I still love them, in general; I just don't think I'm the right kind of person to be owned by one.  

It's dark and rainy.  We're expecting a cool front but it's actually rather warmish out there - not quite the cold snap the weathermen prepared us for.  Still, I'm loving it.  The long, hot summer is definitely over and I am thrilled.

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Serious goals involving dead birds - sorry, vegans

A light moment I thought was worth sharing:

Husband just finished watching Jacques Pépin debone a chicken and he came into the kitchen, all excited.  

Husband:  "I watched Jacques Pépin debone an entire chicken! And, he had . . . he was left --" 

Me: "And, he was left with, what, an amoeba?"

Husband:  "Basically.  That's my new goal in life!  I'm going to debone a chicken!"

I'd put a chicken photo at the top of this post but I'm a little freaked out by the new Google policy allowing them to steal your photos for advertising.  Has anyone heard of that?  Do you know where to go to prevent it?

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Looking back - September's reads, 2013

Only 4 of these books contain links to reviews but I will eventually review those that were extra special.  It's going to take me a while to catch up.

99. True Spies by Shana Galen - I passed this book on to my new best buddy and she is now trying to figure out how to get her hands on everything Shana Galen has written!  Love it when that happens.  True Spies is loosely based on the movie True Lies, this time a romantic spy novel about a married couple working things out during the Regency period in England.

100. Help for the Haunted by John Searles - I think what you're most likely to hear about Help for the Haunted is, "Well, it wasn't quite what I expected." That's what I said and I've read similar sentiments, elsewhere.  It's mildly creepy - nothing nightmare-inducing - and yes, not exactly what you might anticipate given the description. But, Help for the Haunted is a solid read.  I enjoyed it.

101. Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean - A good, old-fashioned thriller that kept me entertained and helped me cool off a bit when our summer was refusing to end. 

102. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - A rare YA, harsh but pitch-perfect in its characterization, pacing and tone.  Several friends I recommended this book to have already read it and they all gave it 5 stars.  

103. Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You by Mardy Grothe - A book on word play of the type used in the title.  Fascinating and my copy is heavy with Post-its but it's the kind of book best taken in small doses.

104. The Buccaneering Book of Pirates by S. Pirotta and M. Robertson - I chose not to review this book because I thought the stories were unsatisfying, but there's much to love about The Buccaneering Book of Pirates.  It comes with a 4-foot pop-up pirate with little pop-up things on his outfit and the illustrations are marvelous.  It's better to look at than read, in other words.  And, if you're in desperate need of a pop-up pirate, there you go. Halloween is just around the corner.

105. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri - I'm embarrassed to admit that The Lowland was my first Lahiri.  It won't be the last.  I do have a couple of her books in my personal library.  I thought the writing was beautiful but it did suffer from a sagging middle and followed a literary pattern I find annoying:  tragedy, a little hope, disaster, suffering, more bad things, and an everything comes together, mostly-upbeat ending.  A few more flashes of hope would have been welcome, earlier on, but still an excellent book.  Love Lahiri's touch.  Her writing is absolutely breathtaking.

106. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle - I've had this book for years and when I was losing heart over the loss of our kitten, I went through one of those pick-up, flip through, put down phases.  Nothing, nothing, nothing was grabbing me.  So, I decided to do some unpacking and found On What Grounds, a cozy mystery that's more about characters and coffee than murder.  Such a pleasant read. There are recipes and we whipped up one of them for fun (a coffee liqueur, cream and vodka drink . . . I required some watering down with real coffee, but it was great).  

107. Clumsy Duck - Britta Tekentrup - Oh, oh, this one I'll have to actually post about!  I'm skipping the rest of the books I haven't reviewed, above, but Clumsy Duck is so cute!  It's a children's picture book: a duck who is discouraged about his clumsiness is nudged by a friend to keep trying things till she finds what she does well.  Loved this book.  Here's a link to the description of Clumsy Duck at the Sterling Books website.

108. American Museum of Natural History ABC Animals (no author listed) - An oversized children's board book, also by Sterling, in ABC Animals you get the usual "big letter, associated image" but the animals shown are not necessarily common -- some are, but there was one animal whose name I didn't even know how to pronounce.  Each entry also contains a little blurb/factoid about the animal in smaller print, below its name, as well.  Colorful photos, bright pages and some unique animals make it a special find.

109. Paperboy by Tony Macaulay - Another one I must review when I find the time.  Tony Macaulay was a paperboy in Belfast during "the Troubles" ("What an understatement -- you'd think it was a time of stomach aches or something equally mild," said my migraine doctor, when I told him about what I was reading).  Macaulay does an excellent job of staying in the perspective of his younger self, giving you a good look at what it was like to be a child just trying to get around while people were shooting at each other, hijacking and blowing up buses and building walls between sides.  I highly recommend Paperboy and would appreciate any suggestions for further reading. I really don't know much about Ireland's "Troubles," although I learned a little bit from this wonderful memoir.

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Changed my mind

I miss blogging, so I've decided to come back in a limited manner.  Blog posts will be more snippety, not limited to books or cats (yeah, I know they've been pretty narrow in focus) and probably not as regular.  I like spending less time on the Internet, as I have been.  I'm not going to force myself to put a photo on every blog post and will try not to edit so thoroughly that it takes an hour to write a post.

Updates . . . 

Cats:  We're used to having just the two, again, and have decided we're open to taking on another kitty or two eventually, but not now and not deliberately -- just if one happens to find us, as they often do. The nights are cooling off, so snuggle season has opened.  The girls are adorable together.

Books:  Oh, Lordy.  I've only had about 4 books show up since I stopped blogging but ask if that's stopped me from acquiring.  Obviously, the answer is no.  I went to a local college book sale where books were priced at $1-2 and brought home so many I had to take an analgesic to relieve the shoulder pain from carrying them. Haha. Not going to list all those but I might take a photo of them.  Maybe.  


  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan from Random House (via Shelf Awareness newsletter - which is for some reason no longer arriving in my inbox and I can't figure out why).
  • A Great and Complicated Adventure by Toon Tellegen, Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg from Sterling Kids.  Just read this one and loved it. 
  • Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling - from HarperCollins
  • Priscilla by Nicholas Shakespeare - also from HarperCollins
  • Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano - purchased, already read it and liked it even better than the Chemical Garden books.  I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
  • The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath - purchased
Photography:  It took a while before I managed to pick up the camera after River left and I've still hardly taken any photos but I did take a couple bad pics of the cats snuggling in the cat carrier.  I need to go on some field trips with the camera.  

Things I've done:  I've been gone from home, quite a bit.  I'm considering applying for jobs but haven't found the resumé I wrote a couple years ago, yet, and I can't remember the details of when/where I've worked, anymore.  Will keep digging.  It's around here, somewhere.  

I've been going out with my new friend Mary Alice for lunch, shopping, whatever floats our boat (last week, an annual flea market), weekly.  We always have fun.  I redid my mantel decoration - had been stuck on Easter all summer long.  Now, it looks summery.  I bought a wild, abstract painting at the flea market and will hang that, soon, but it's just propped on the mantel, for now.


Things change when you quit blogging!  I've been indulging in thicker books and have only read 3 books, so far, in October.  I'd like to keep that up.  Am just going to continue reading what I feel like. After I quit, I realized it was a huge relief not to feel obligated to blow through as many books as possible to keep up with obligations.  I don't plan to request anything at all, for now, although I did find myself a little sad to pass up two favorite authors' releases, while I was away.  

I've been reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for about 5 days, now.  Should finish in a couple days.  It is quite an impressive read.  

That's all for now!

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