Friday, December 30, 2016

Fiona Friday - Basket cases

You've already seen Izzy waking up in her bin. This week, I managed to catch both kitties in their current beds - Izzy in her bin of winter clothing and Fiona in a laundry basket with a blanket on top of a pillow. It's a little weird but they're happy. We've emptied an amazing number of those huge bins, over the Christmas break, during our attic cleaning. So there's no hurry to get that bin away from Isabel. And, I pretty much never use the laundry basket. I should probably give away the laundry basket, actually. Later, though . . . when a cat isn't using it as her hangout.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


If you watch The Daily Show, these days, you've probably seen Trevor Noah talk about the fact that his birth during apartheid was a crime. His mother was a black South African, his father a white Swiss/German. As a mixed-race person, he was an outcast in every group - even the coloreds, who were mixed race but generally stuck together. Being mixed race with a black mother was different than having two colored parents; for years, Trevor could not be seen with either his mother or his father without potentially risking a beating or arrest of his mother.

Born a Crime is really a book about race, how a small percentage of people can use hatred and division to rule a larger number of people, and what it was like for Noah to grow up on the fringe, not quite fitting into any group at all. It's not about how he became a comedian who traveled the world and eventually settled in the U.S.  In fact, I hope he'll eventually write that book, as well.

Trevor Noah is a sharp guy, very articulate, and the book is well-written, illuminating, sometimes a bit shocking, and occasionally funny. You can't help but admire his mother's strength of character and the fact that Noah not only survived his crazy childhood but also came out of it with such a tremendous sense of humor and the ability to view his experiences as lessons to build on, rather than enduring pain. I admired him before; I'm in awe of him, now.

Highly recommended - Excellent writing and timely, as Born a Crime shines a light on racial division and how people can be subjugated merely by turning against each other.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Malarkey



Recent arrivals:


  • Metaphors Be With You by Dr. Mardy Grothe,
  • Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond,
  • The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda,
  • The Wars of the Roosevelts by William J. Mann, and
  • Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand - all from HarperCollins for review
  • Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump - Purchased
  • Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh - from Putman for review


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
  • Think Happy, Be Happy by Workman Publishing


Currently reading:


  • Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump (the book upon which the movie The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based - loved the movie, so I ordered the book).
  • Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant - Haven't gotten much farther into this one but it's a light read so I'll probably quickly finish it up after I'm done with Wild Pork and Watercress.


Last week's posts:



I've opted not to take my annual holiday break because I still have a lot of catching up to do, but we've been cleaning our attic and I couldn't possibly count the number of bins we've emptied or trips to the rescue mission Huzzybuns has driven. We even found something we brought from Oklahoma. That was, um, decades ago. I don't know how long it's going to take to finish up the job, so I can't predict whether or not I'll manage to post, again, before the end of the year. We shall see. If I can squeeze in a review or two, I will. 


In other news:



Nobody climbed the tree, this year, although the kitties did pull a few ornaments off the tree (which may be a little bit crooked, at this point, from some of the yanking) and Fiona had a particularly great time batting at ornaments. No problem; we actually hang a few that are unbreakable near the bottom of the tree for the kitties to knock down. I confess it was a little disappointing not having to pull Isabel out of the tree. We've definitely gotten a lot of laughs out of her climbing, in the past.

I had such a pleasant Christmas with family that I forgot to post happy Christmukkah wishes to all who are celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah. And, today I must say Happy Kwanzaa, as well, although Kwanzaa is a holiday I don't know enough about. Better read up.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fiona Friday - Ruffled


We've been purging, this week, and this is what you get when you leave a bin full of winter clothing open - a new cat bed. Isabel is looking a little ruffled because she'd just awakened from a nice nap on that green fleece. She had to give herself a few minutes to fully wake up before jumping out of her new bed.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Malarkey


Recent arrivals:


  • The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle - from HarperCollins for review


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard
  • The View from Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior (e-book)

Currently reading:



  • Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara - I didn't find my missing classic (It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis) so I decided to go ahead and start another classic, using the very scientific process of choosing a book based on "whatever happens to be closest to the bed". So far, so good. Just pray I don't misplace it. 
  • Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant


Last week's posts:




In other news:

The end-of-year scramble to finish all my reviews has begun and I even wrote on the weekend, something I seldom do, these days (Huzzybuns dislikes it when I play on the computer while he's around). I have stopped doing an end of year wrap-up, in recent years, but I'm hoping to manage one, this year. No guarantees. My reading goals for the year were 100 books total and 1 classic per month. Providing I finish Appointment in Samarra in time, I will have completed both, soon. Wahoo for that! Some of my other goals went splat. I haven't given much thought to goals for 2017, but I do want to continue with the reading of a classic per month because that's something I've enjoyed.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard


I'm curious whether or not other people do this. When I start a book, I generally go into it blind. I will have read the synopsis when I bought or requested a book, of course, but then I avoid the description on the book cover or the cover flap deliberately because I've had quite a few books spoiled by cover descriptions that gave away too much of the plot, over the years. Once I get started and have developed a first impression, I will dash off to Goodreads to see what the overall rating is. I might read a review or two out of curiosity, but I usually don't (just in case - not a fan of spoilers unless something I really, really don't want to happen has been foreshadowed).

I'd probably read 50 pages of Under the Influence when I checked the Goodreads rating; and, I did so because I was finding the book duller than I anticipated. The ratings were much higher than I expected and that helped me get through the book. It continued to drag but picked up a bit in the last 1/3 or so.

Helen made a huge mistake. When she met her husband, he was charming and kind. But, over time, his temper began to show and eventually she began to drink after putting little Ollie to bed. After their divorce, she would drain an entire bottle without thought. But, then, one night Helen was faced with an emergency after she'd already drained a bottle.

Under the Influence begins with Helen looking back on the friendship that developed after she lost custody of her son and is told entirely as a reflection of what happened, years back, when she had limited visitation rights and was befriended by a fabulously wealthy couple while working for a caterer. Ava and Swift Havilland took Helen under their wing and put her to work photographing their possessions, capturing photos of their adopted dogs, running errands. For the first time in her life, Helen felt like she was cared for. But, there were hints that something may have been off. And, then came the tragedy.

Recommended but not a favorite - The slow pace and some detail that I found tiresome made Under the Influence drag a bit, but in the end the author redeemed herself by writing a pretty bang-up ending. I don't consider Under the Influence a favorite but I liked it. And, I do feel like it was worth sticking it out till the end. Having said that, I should add that I really was never tempted to stop reading; I just didn't care for the slow pace.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne



There was an old man who lived on the edge of the world and he had a horse called Sydney Bridge Upside Down. He was a scar-faced old man and his horse was a slow-moving bag of bones, and I start with this man and his horse because they were there for all the terrible happenings up the coast that summer, always somewhere around.

So begins Sydney Bridge Upside Down, a New Zealand classic. When the book opens, there are two boys playing near a cliff. Neighbors in a tiny hamlet that used to be a bustling village, the boys argue and then wrestle and one goes over the cliff. You don't find out for quite a while that the one who went off the cliff was uninjured. Now and then, he'll bring it up and nobody is particularly interested. That is a vague hint at the oddities to come.

It's summer and the boys are out of school. Robert, the narrator and one of the boys, spends much of his time doing chores for his one-legged father, playing with his brother and best friend. They climb on the remains of a former slaughterhouse, play on the shore and in a nearby cave, and run around the house naked. Sometimes, Robert thinks about his absent mother and the teacher, both of whom have gone into the city. When an older female cousin comes for a visit, the boys are dazzled by her beauty and puzzled by her behavior. Robert feels like he must protect her from the older men who show interest in her.

Sydney Bridge Upside Down seems very much like a "boys being boys" type of book, a snapshot of one summer in their lives, at first. But, then the first death occurs and the book takes a sinister turn. You know who saw the person alive, last, but was the death an accident? If not, it's clear who is responsible. And, then there's a second death under similar circumstances. This time, a strange dream-like sequence bleeds with guilt.

Recommended - Sydney Bridge Upside Down is very dark. What at first appears to be the story of three innocent young boys having fun takes an odd turn when the beautiful cousin shows up and becomes ominous when the first person dies. From there on, it becomes a bit of a horror, but one so carefully crafted that you aren't entirely certain if your suspicions are true. In the end, all is revealed. While I'm not a huge fan of novels that fall on the darker end of the spectrum, it was obvious why Sydney Bridge Upside Down is a classic, from the beginning. There's an authenticity to the writing that is impressive. Truly a fascinating tale. I love the author's miminalist style; he does an exceptional job of telling you just enough to keep the story intriguing.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Your Alien Returns by Tammi Sauer and Goro Fujita with a Fiona Friday pic



I reviewed Your Alien by Tammi Sauer and Goro Fujita in October of 2015 and I absolutely loved it. Who could resist that adorable alien?

In Your Alien, a little green alien comes to earth and has a good time with the little boy pictured on the cover, above, but then the alien begins to miss his family and the boy helps him send a signal to the alien's parents so he can return home. In Your Alien Returns, the alien arrives on Earth to invite his Earthling pal for a play date on his home planet.

The nameless little boy (referred to as "you") asks his parents for permission and goes on the ride of his life to another planet, where he is greeted by the alien's family, offered some snacks -- declining those that stare back -- and the two share toys. They build a fort, go for a ride around the neighborhood, and meet the alien's friends:

Seeing all of them will make you feel a little alienated.



That line made me smile (and this is how I'm sneaking in my Fiona Friday photo). The little boy is completely surrounded by aliens in a variety of colors but all in similar shapes to the boy's alien friend. A few things go wrong but nothing major. Blowing bubbles will make things better. Some of the aliens float around in the bubbles. Then, it's time to go home.

You and your alien will know this won't be good-bye but see you later. 

The book ends with the little boy telling his parents all about his day, and then a final goodbye gift from his alien friend.

Highly recommended - I'm a big fan of aliens and monsters in children's books, especially when the illustrations are well done. You can see from the photo of Fiona checking out Your Alien Returns that the illustrations are colorful, funky, and expressive. Again, the only thing I disliked was the chosen writing style with "you" as the subject. To be honest, that's not important to me, though, so much as the storyline and the illustrations. I absolutely loved this follow-up to one of last year's favorite children's books and can't wait to see what Tammi Sauer comes up with, next!

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Malarkey

Happy Monday, book lovers! We are finally getting into the Christmas spirit in Bookfooleryville. 



Recent Arrivals:


  • Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant - from Hatchette for review 
  • In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen - from Lake Union for review
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston - from Quirk Books for review


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


I did end up setting aside Ava's Man by Rick Bragg in favor of Born a Crime and that was a good decision. Born a Crime grabbed me immediately and I could hardly stand to put it down. It is utterly fascinating, the memory of how Noah fit into his home in South Africa, which was divided by race. Sydney Bridge Upside Down turned out to be a lot darker than I anticipated. What begins as a story that appears to be about boys being boys takes a remarkably sinister turn when you find out that the main character has a much more wicked streak than you can credit to typical childhood disobedience.


Currently reading: 


  • The View from Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior (available in ebook only)
  • It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis


I've also just begun a nonfiction title but I'm only a few pages in and don't want to mention it till I'm sure it's going to stick.


Last week's posts:



Last week started out fine and then I just wasn't feeling it, so I said to myself something on the order of "Screw it. I'll get back to the blog when I feel like it," and actually was totally off the computer at least one day, maybe two.


In other news:

I think we're probably the last people I know to get around to putting up outdoor lights (Huzzybuns and Kiddo) and a tree (not yet decorated). I haven't changed out the mantel, yet; it's still decked out in the fall/Thanksgiving spirit, but I'll be working on that, today. The books above were set up on a table in our foyer, the first place to show signs that Christmas is coming. I'm kind of crazy about that Santa, who has had the place of honor on that table for about 3 years, now.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fiona Friday on the Wrong Day - Cat crazies collage

Izzy had a little episode of the cat crazies on Thursday. At left is a relatively calm moment and at right . . . I may have gotten a little too close. She did manage to catch the camera, a time or two. No humans were injured in the capturing of these photographs, thank goodness. Wild as she was, she's pretty careful with her claws around me. Gotta appreciate that.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

News of the World by Paulette Jiles



News of the World by Paulette Jiles tells the story of Captain Kidd, a man who makes his living reading newspaper articles in post-Civil War Texas, and young Johanna, a girl who was kidnapped by Kiowa Indians and no longer recalls the languages or ways of white people. When Captain Kidd is offered a fifty-dollar gold piece to take Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio, he's in Northern Texas, near the Red River, the border between Texas and Indian Territory. He knows the journey will be long, arduous, and dangerous, but there's more adventure ahead of him than he imagines.

News of the World is a fairly short gulp of a book at 209 pages but it's the perfect length for the story. When Kidd meets Johanna, she's terrified and only speaks Kiowa. He's 70 years old, the father of two grown daughters who live far away, a widower. He understands young girls and is patient with Johanna. And, this is what truly makes the book. Not only is it packed with plenty of action but also a book with characters and a relationship that are utterly heartwarming. As Kidd and Johanna deal with the dangers of a lawless land, they slowly learn how to communicate with each other, trust is built, and by the time they reach San Antonio, you don't want their relationship to end.

Highly recommended - I absolutely loved News of the World and adored the characters. Excellent writing, often so lyrical that I found myself rereading sentences for the sheer joy of their beauty, perfectly paced, with wonderful characters. I loved the blend of history, action, and the building relationship. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that I found the way the book ended immensely satisfying. And, I can see why News of the World was a National Book Award finalist. Definitely a book I'll hang onto to reread, a story worth revisiting.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Monday Malarkey

This is a terrible picture because I used the phone camera and the lighting is kind of pitiful (thanks to a dark, rainy day), so apologies for the poor quality.


Recent arrivals:


  • Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard and 
  • Yesternight by Cat Winters - both from William Morrow for review
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - purchased


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff


Currently reading:


  • Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne - This is one of the books I brought home from Australia, a modern classic by an author from New Zealand. I'm nearly finished and have found it fascinating and somewhat sinister. I like the spareness of Ballantyne's writing.
  • Ava's Man by Rick Bragg - I read 30 pages of Ava's Man and have not felt like picking it up, since. It's a quick read and yet . . . maybe just not for me or bad timing. It's the story of Bragg's grandfather, a man he never met but who was so beloved that relatives were rendered mute or brought to tears by his memory for years. I can't quite put a finger on what it is that I disliked about the book. Maybe it's just not right for the moment? I could finish it easily but I don't want to end up hating it, so I think I may set it aside and start on Born a Crime, tonight, instead. 


Last week's posts:




In other news:

Well, so much for the hope that I'd manage to post more reviews over the weekend, but I'm happy that I managed to knock out two reviews and a month in review, last week. I did start a third review but didn't finish it. You know how that goes.

I haven't chosen my classic of the month, yet. Although Sydney Bridge Upside Down is considered a modern classic Down Under, it's not one that's been sitting on my shelf for a long time and I prefer to use my goal to read a classic per month as a way to get to those titles that have been patiently awaiting their time. My classic-a-month self-challenge has been a raging success, by the way. I'm so happy about it that I'm planning to continue it in 2017. There just doesn't seem to be any end to the number of classics I haven't gotten around to reading.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, December 02, 2016

November Reads in Review, 2016

I don't want to stop forward momentum, here, so there will be a cat photo at the end of this post to fulfill your Friday cat requirements but I want to go ahead and get a book post finished (and, hopefully, I'll get a couple book reviews written over the weekend). Links to the few reviews I've written are provided, where applicable.


November 

93. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly - When 13-year-old Lucinda disappears, the mother of her best friend feels responsible. The child was supposed to have been spending the night at her house, after all. Lucinda is not the first child to disappear; a rapist is on the loose. Will Lucinda be found in time to save her or is it too late? The pages flew and the suspense was excellent, although I did unravel a couple plot points before they were revealed. The author occasionally wrote from the POV of the rapist and those bits were extremely disturbing.

94. The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty - My classic choice of the month, the story of a woman dealing with the death of her beloved father, a selfish and emotional second wife, and the conflicting emotions that come with grief. I particularly thought the scenes that took place with neighbors and friends were a bang-on viewpoint of life in the Deep South.

95. The Paris Review, Issue 218 - The only thing I read, this month, that deserved less than 4 stars. I bought this issue of The Paris Review for the change of pace and I enjoyed some of it, particularly the short story by Ann Beattie and some of the poetry. But, at least one poem was utterly baffling and both of the interviews were, frankly, dull as paste. I ended up skipping most of the second interview. Notably, this issue got terrible reviews at Goodreads. So, it wasn't just me.

96. News of the World by Paulette Jiles - Captain Kidd makes his living reading newspaper articles aloud to audiences in post-Civil War Texas. Young Johanna lived with Kiowa Indians after her family was killed and no longer understands the ways of white people. When Kidd is offered a fifty dollar gold piece to deliver Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio, he's in for more adventures than he anticipated. Absolutely marvelous storytelling.

97. Your Alien Returns by Tammy Sauer and Goro Fujita - The follow-up to Your Alien, this children's picture book brings the alien back to Earth, where he invites his human friend for a visit to his own planet. The rest of the book is a rollicking adventure on another planet. Loads more fun with the cutest alien, ever.

98. Leveling the Playing Field: The Democratization of Technology by Rod Scher - Starting with the invention of fire, the author describes various inventions and how they have gone from being expensive or otherwise difficult to acquire to common and affordable (or democratized). Much more fascinating than expected, very readable, and the author has a terrific sense of humor.

99. Setting Free the Kites by Alex George - The story of a friendship between two middle school boys in Maine and the experiences that bond them, for better or worse. Utterly captivating.

100. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - The first in a trilogy of books about young Gerry Durrell's family and their time living in Corfu. I bought the trilogy because I was enjoying the PBS series, The Durrells in Corfu, not realizing that My Family and Other Animals was considered a classic. A friend said it was required reading during his schooling in Derby, England. Definitely the kind of book that should be required - exceptionally well-written, humorous, an entertaining learning experience. If American kids read more books like this and fewer of the depressing variety, I'm certain our schools would spawn more readers.

Only 8 books read but I considered November a fantastic reading month because the quality of the books I read was high. Favorites were News of the World, Your Alien Returns, Setting Free the Kites, and My Family and Other Animals. I liked all of the rest of my reading. The only exception was The Paris Review, which did contain some good reading material (and I enjoyed the paintings) but overall was subpar.

Incidentally, the bookmark barely visible in My Family and Other Animals shows where that first book in the trilogy ends and the next book begins.

And, now, for something completely feline:


Cuddle Season has opened! Fiona and Isabel have been snuggling for a couple weeks, now. Always my favorite time of year.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George



I am way jumping the gun, here, because I could not stop myself from reading Setting Free the Kites by Alex George almost as soon as it walked in the door. It was by far my most anticipated read of 2017 (you can tell me what to look forward to, now -- I may need help) and I was frankly shocked when I was offered an ARC. And, darned if I didn't absolutely fall in love with the book. I will probably reread it closer to the release date, which is currently February 21, 2017, but I don't want to wait till then to review. You should definitely pre-order a copy. Trust me, it's one you don't want to miss.

Setting Free the Kites tells the story of a friendship between two middle school boys named Robert and Nathan. Robert has been tormented by an oversized bully for an entire school year and the first day of the new school year appears to be an omen of another bad year to come, until the new boy steps in. Nathan is fearless and relentlessly upbeat, a bit of a daredevil and full of life. Robert and Nathan become friends, then tragedy strikes, bringing them even closer. Meanwhile, at home Robert faces an entirely different challenge. While Nathan's days are difficult yet carefree and filled with acts of daring, Robert's family ignores him and approaches every holiday with the fear that it will be their last with Robert's brother Liam, who has a degenerative disease. Robert's friendship with Nathan is both an escape and a time of laughter and fun like he's never known, before.

I don't want to go into too much more detail because it's best to let the story unfold, but Setting Free the Kites is a book that I could hardly bear to put down. I found myself immediately drawn in by the characters and their stories, the friendship between Robert and Nathan, the way music featured in their lives, the family situations, even the setting in Coastal Maine. But, I think what I loved the most was the subject of grief. Tragedy runs through these two young lives and what I thought the author did best in this particular book was in describing grief as a very personal experience, his portrayal of how the same loss is handled in completely different ways by different people. That was so very true to my own experience; and, since writers often get grief all wrong, I appreciated the realistically varying reactions. But, don't worry, it's not all heartbreak, by any means. That was just one of my favorite aspects of Setting Free the Kites and it is, in the end, a beautiful, uplifting story of life and hope and sometimes surprisingly offbeat and funny.

I neglected to mark any quotes to share, although I can assure you the writing is just gorgeous. That will be something to watch for if I do reread it in January. And, in case you're wondering about that beautiful cover, there is an amusement park that features in the book, hence the ferris wheel bokeh. I'm in love with that cover.

Highly recommended - An absolutely engrossing tale of family, friendship, youth, love, and loss. Could. Not. Put. Down. It reminded me, now and then, of Ann Patchett's Commonwealth in that sometimes ordinary, everyday events came off as so much more interesting than you might expect.

And, now, I've read two 5-star books in a row! I'm almost terrified to open the next book, for fear it cannot possibly live up to Setting Free the Kites or My Family and Other Animals (yesterday's review). Wish me luck. I haven't chosen my next reads.

My review of Alex George's previous release: A Good American

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell


I'm going to do my catch-up posts backwards, last book read first, because I think it would be best to write about what's freshest in my mind, rather than adding to the backlog of books that I can't recall much about. I finished reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, this morning. The cover shown is my favorite available cover. The one I have is in a bound book called The Corfu Trilogy but I'm not reading all three books at once, so I'll write about them individually, as I finish each of the books.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell tells about Durrell's family, their move from England to Corfu, and many enchanting tales about their adventures, mishaps, and the exploration of the island by young Gerald, who was then somewhere between 8 and 10 years old. I bought The Corfu Trilogy because I've been enjoying The Durrells in Corfu on PBS and wanted to read more about the family. I was already familiar with Durrell, although I've never read him, because I bought a copy of one of his other books, The Overloaded Ark, many years ago. My husband read it and told me it was a terrific book but I kept putting off reading it and it's still on the good shelves (probably 20 years post-purchase). I considered reading that, instead, but decided that the whole point was that I wanted to read about the family's time in Corfu. I can read The Overloaded Ark, later.

Good decision. I cannot even begin to describe how entertaining Gerald's writing is. Huzzybuns told me The Overloaded Ark was funny and I've never forgotten that, but you really have to read My Family and Other Animals to understand how someone can not only do a fabulous job of describing the various characters in his life with humor and affection but also make hunting for and examining animals that are often pretty revolting sound intriguing. Durrell had a singular talent for description, dialogue, and retelling of events in a way that entertains. My Family and Other Animals will definitely go down as a favorite 2016 read and a classic worth holding onto.

My Family and Other Animals was first published in 1955 and The Durrells in Corfu is actually the second television adaptation. I only know this because, as I closed the book, I decided to look up the DVD to see if it was reasonably priced. The reviews were shockingly polarized and I was curious about that, so I read quite a few of them to find out why. It seems the original series stuck very close to the book itself, while The Durrells in Corfu is more of a series that's based upon the books. I knew this, of course, as I read stories like that of the scorpion (which bites Leslie in the TV series but not in the book) and the murderer who befriends young Gerry (but without Mrs. Durrell feeling obligated to look into his background).

There's also plenty of conflict in the book but I agree that the Durrells often come off as more snappy and rude in the series than in the book. Mrs. Durrell, in particular, is an incredibly relaxed individual, easily persuaded to do her children's bidding. In the book, they live in not one but three different villas because one of the children periodically encourages her to move; but, she comes off as a worrier and her character is the unexpected focus of the stories in the series. So, the reviewers are right that the new series is quite different from the book, but that didn't bother me because I was already enjoying the TV series and in the book I could see the roots of the characters, if not the exact replication of them. I hope that makes sense.

Highly recommended - One of the most entertaining nonfiction reads I've ever found, the kind of book that you want to shove into all of your friends' hands. It is such fun. I would dive directly into the next book in the trilogy, if not for the fact that I have some nonfiction ARCs that I need to get to. It will be interesting to see how long I can keep from opening the second book, though. The writing is that good.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Malarkey

Happy Monday! I hope those of you who are in the U.S. (or from the U.S.) had a terrific Thanksgiving holiday!



Recent arrivals (top to bottom):


  • Think Happy, Be Happy - A surprise book with no designated author but it's by Workman Publishing and just arrived because I have the coolest friends. Thanks, Carrie!
  • The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell - Purchased 
  • The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff - from Mira for review 

Fiona decided to charm me by showing up while I was photographing my stack of books and curling up around them. She is still sleeping in that chair, as I type. 




Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Setting Free the Kites by Alex George - A story of friendship, youthful exhuberance, and how each of us deals with grief in very different ways. Exceptional storytelling. You should definitely pre-order this one and then stand in line to get Alex to sign it if he tours nearby. I'm hoping to reread Setting Free the Kites a little closer to the release date, in January. 


Currently reading:


  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - the first book in The Corfu Trilogy, which I ordered after being completely delighted by the PBS series The Durrells in Corfu. I'm close to finishing and this story is every bit as charming as the TV series, although it's quite different. They've taken some liberties, of course, in creating storylines for the series. But, much of what they've done is based upon actual events and the characters are spot on. 

Usually, I have at least one fiction read going while I'm reading a non-fic, but I'm enjoying My Family and Other Animals enough that I decided I'll just go ahead and blaze through it, then whatever non-fic I read next will be accompanied by a fiction read or two. I don't plan to read all three of the books in The Corfu Trilogy back-to-back but I'll also try not to space them too far apart.


No posts were made after last week's Malarkey, apart from this one:


  • Blogger update that has baffled me - If you have any advice or suggestions, please let me know. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this information about cookies. 


In other news:

We had the usual understated holiday, as we don't have much family and we're all pretty far from each other, but we enjoyed our time together and the food was terrific. We spent some time shopping, but not at Black Friday sales. Instead, we just did a little grocery and necessity shopping. Husband and father-in-law bought a cheap drone for reasons I won't go into but it was pretty hilarious watching them try to figure out how to control it. I missed the part at the beginning, when mom-in-law says she had to get a big stick to knock it out of a tree.

How was your week?


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Blogger update that has baffled me

Blogger has recently posted a message about cookies to the dashboard; and, since I've been unable to locate a notice of the required type on my blog (perhaps because I've changed my template?), I'm posting the info, here, with the addendum that I don't know what they mean by, "In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent." I don't have the ability to create a pop-up item asking people for consent to use cookies, so I'll do my best to make certain that this is prominently displayed. I've clicked through the "Learn more", found it unhelpful, and sent a note to Blogger explaining that it did not sufficiently explain what I need to do. Because I'm finding this entire thing confusing and am concerned about my inability to either figure out the message or responsibilities, I've posted the message from Blogger, which may explain more to my readers (below, in yellow box). If anyone is able to explain what this is all about and/or what I should do, please let me know. In the meantime, my plan is to place a link to this post in my sidebar. And, you should know Blogger is using cookies. If you're not up for that, the best option is apparently staying away. Don't do that, though. You know I love ya.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Malarkey

I've been kind of a terrible blogger, lately, I know. I'm hoping that next week will be an improvement but today's Malarkey is going to be it for this week. We have very small family holidays but I like to be present rather than leaving the room to play on my laptop, so I'll be shutting down for Thanksgiving, this week, and return to blogging next Monday. And, then hopefully I'll have the fortitude to hit the reviews hard. I don't have all that many to write but I do have a backlog.


Recent arrivals:


  • The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt - from Berkley for review
  • Setting Free the Kites by Alex George - from Putnam for review
  • The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly (not pictured because the mailman arrived late) - purchased


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Leveling the Playing Field: The Democratization of Technology by Rod Scher - There were a couple days I didn't read at all because I was so busy, this week, but I enjoyed reading Leveling the Playing Field when I found the time to read and finished it yesterday. 


Currently reading:


  • Setting Free the Kites by Alex George - I could not keep my mitts off this one, I was so excited. And, so far, it's amazing. I love Alex's writing.


Possibly set aside:


  • I Can't Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan - I haven't decided whether to go back to page 1 and reread the 50 pages I've read (I didn't touch this one, during the past week) or just set this one aside for a while. I really was struggling with it, a bit, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's just the timing.


Posts since last Malarkey:




No reviews because last week was so crammed. I didn't manage to even open my F2F book, let alone make it to the meeting (and we're welcome to come, even if we haven't read the book).


In other news:

Huh. I thought of some other news to write, earlier, but I've gone blank. Oh, well. Better luck next week. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! See you next week!


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fiona Friday - A hammock of sorts


At least, it looks a bit like a hammock-type space. Sleeping kitties seem to have become a theme. Well, this one sleeps a lot, so . . . there you go. I thought this position was pretty funny. Later on, the same night, Fiona climbed onto the other couch cushion and curled up, so I had to keep shifting myself to keep from squashing paws. I love it that my kitties want to be near me, even if one of them wouldn't climb on a lap to save her life (that would be Isabel).

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

October Reads in Review, 2016

I'm a bit late getting around to my October summary as I expected to write the last three remaining reviews before posting about the entire month. Since I still haven't gotten around to them and all three of the titles I haven't reviewed were from my personal shelves, I think a paragraph each will suffice. Links are provided (via title) for the three reviews I did get around to writing: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit, Carrying Albert Home, and Killfile.


October

87. A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray - When the man who has inherited a Duchy goes missing, the personal secretary to the former Duke of Olympia goes in search of him, with help from the dashing Lord Silverton. Ghosts, mythology, archeology, seasickness, and even a little paranormal aspect made A Most Extraordinary Pursuit engaging and adventurous but a little over-the-top. The ending was not particularly satisfying. First in a series.

88. Landfall by Nevil Shute - During WWII, a pilot is sent on a reconnaissance mission and bombs what he believes to be a German submarine. Upon his return to base, though, he finds that a British sub has gone missing and articles of British naval clothing have been recovered from the precise location of the sub that he bombed. Is he guilty of friendly fire or did Jerry correctly spot and destroy a German craft? Plenty of tension is interspersed with a sweet romance and a few scenes that drag a bit. Overall, I absolutely loved Landfall.

89. Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam - Not so much a tall tale as a series of tall tales based on a family legend, Hickam tells about a road trip his parents made to return a pet alligator named Albert to his Florida home. I thought the book was a bit too long and certain incidents, while humorous, pushed my ability to suspend disbelief a bit too far. So, I found Carrying Albert Home only an average read.

90. Little Bee by Chris Cleave - The gut-wrenching tale of an affair, a broken marriage, a suicide, and a young woman's escape from danger in Africa, only to end up living in a detention center for two years and then . . . well, that's a spoiler. Little Bee was an F2F discussion book and the conversation was excellent; it's definitely great for discussion. But, I found the book too heartbreaking to love.

91. Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth - A former military man and telepath sells his services to the wealthy. But, when he's asked to retrieve information and wipe it from an entrepreneur's brain, things go horribly wrong. He and sidekick Kelsey find themselves being pursued by a man who can track their every move. A thriller that's nicely balanced, cinematically written (easy to visualize on-screen), with a touch of romance.

92. Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev - My classic choice of the month, the bittersweet story of a young Russian man who falls in love while on a European tour. But, when he's caught under the spell of a siren-like married woman, will he escape from her in time to return to his beloved? Well, you can guess from the use of the word "bittersweet". I liked Spring Torrents but it's probably not a book I'll reread.

Favorites of the month were Landfall and Killfile. I also enjoyed (but didn't fall in love with) Spring Torrents and A Most Extraordinary Pursuit. Little Bee and Carrying Albert Home were my least favorites, although it seems a bit harsh to pair Carrying Albert Home - a book crammed with humor and adventure, if a bit overlong and hard to buy into - with Little Bee, a book so depressing I had to force myself to finish.

Not a great month, either for quantity or quality, but my two favorites were both excellent and the only book I kind of wish I could have avoided is Little Bee, which turned out to be one of those rare books I can't wait to get rid of.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Malarkey


Recent arrivals:


  • Glimmer Train, Winter 2017, Issue 98 - purchased, yet surprised to see this arrive so quickly, since I just got my first issue from the subscription, last week.
  • Your Alien Returns by Tammi Sauer and Goro Fujita - from Sterling Children's Books for review
  • News of the World by Paulette Jiles - from HarperCollins for review


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • The Paris Review, Issue 218 - I gave this 3 stars and considered knocking it down to 2 at Goodreads. There were a few stories and poems that I loved but there was a lot of material I considered substandard or just flat boring.
  • News of the World by Paulette Jiles - Called to me from the moment it walked in the door and I'm glad. I absolutely loved this book. Hope to review it very soon.
  • Your Alien Returns by Tammi Sauer and Goro Fujita - As always with children's books, I read this the moment it walked in the door. Loved it. The aliens are so stinking cute!


Currently reading:


  • Leveling the Playing Field by Rod Scher - Planning to focus on finishing this one, next.
  • I Can't Begin to Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan - A WWII novel.


Posts since last Malarkey:




In other news:


We went to the zoo. Kookaburra went for the glamour pose.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fiona Friday - How to handle a holiday



I think Izzy has the right idea.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Monday Malarkey



Recent arrivals: 


  • Glimmer Train, Fall 2016 (Issue 97) - Yep, that's the only arrival. I ordered a full year of Glimmer Train plus the issue that arrived last week, which is a back issue but one I intended to buy primarily because of David Abrams' short story. 


Books finished since last Malarkey:


  • Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly - A book I saved specifically for a week when I was feeling slumpy and it did the trick!
  • The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty - While I'm not certain whether I'll bother writing a full review of The Optimist's Daughter, I can tell you that I enjoyed it and was sometimes confused by it. But, the general feeling was, "I get this." I understood the mixed emotions of Laurel, the daughter of a judge who died, having experienced both the loss of both parents and the remarriage of one. And, the scenes with lots of locals and some visiting family from the second wife were so spot on I felt like I'd already been there. There is definitely a realness to the novel. 


Currently reading:


  • The Paris Review, Edition 218 - Still reading this. I'm getting close to finishing, though. Last night, I read a short story by Ann Beattie, which was excellent, and a very thought-provoking poem. 
  • Leveling the Playing Field by Rod Scher - This one lingered unread, this week, but not for lack of interest. I simply needed a mood breaker and focused my efforts on the suspense by Paula Daly. 
  • LaRose by Louise Erdrich - I haven't gotten very far into LaRose because we went kayaking, again, and Sunday is my TV day (I bury myself in PBS on Sunday evenings) but I think it's going to be a very good read. "LaRose" is the name of a child. Personally, I think it's a terrible title with a worse cover, so I'm glad the contents are promising.


Posts since last Malarkey:




In other news:

I updated my review policy, this week, but the only change was the removal of the notice saying I'm accepting absolutely nothing. I've been incredibly picky, hence the lack of arrivals, but I didn't realize I hadn't altered my review policy in a while, so . . . fixed. I doubt I'll be accepting many books for review, but I figured I might as well update. I like to do that about every 6 months or so.

There's not much other news. I'm still painting and I'm trying to spend more time at the gym. Today, the weather changed and I have a mild migraine so I'm not accomplishing much. I kind of hate days like today. And, I think the entire United States would like to skip right on past tomorrow, if that were possible. Regardless of the outcome, I'll be praying for a peaceful, united country in the days to come.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Fiona Friday - Cat Inception?



This is a picture of Isabel exploring the table upon which I keep my paint supplies and some of my in-progress paintings (it's a mess) but I thought it was pretty funny that a collage I'm working on that features Isabel happened to be right behind her.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly


I just finished reading Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly, two nights ago, and since I keep falling behind on reviewing, I figure I should talk about it right now.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is about a woman who is a working mother of three, married to a taxi driver and living in England's Lake Country. She works at an animal shelter and is so overwhelmed that she finds herself frequently spacing out, particularly around the children. Lisa is thinking about the fact that she needs to be more attentive when her friend Kate calls and asks her a strange question: "How are the girls?" This throws Lisa, but it's not till later that anyone realizes her friend's daughter, Lucinda, is missing. Lisa feels responsible. Lucinda was supposed to have spent the night with Lisa's daughter, Sally, but Sally became ill and missed school. Nobody knows exactly when Lucinda disappeared but she should have been with Sally. Lisa didn't bother calling Kate to let her know Sally was ill.

Lucinda is the second 13-year-old to disappear in England. The first was half naked when she showed up, having been repeatedly raped. A known rapist is out there. Does he have Lucinda? When a third girl goes missing and Lucinda hasn't shown up, does that mean Lucinda is dead?

There are all sorts of little twists and turns to Just What Kind of Mother Are You? While I figured out a couple of the questions that the story posed before they were revealed, I found the book impossible to put down for long and raced through it. The ending, while predictable in some ways, was still utterly satisfying. Unfortunately, reading a single suspense novel did not manage to usher in cold weather as I'd hoped, although it has cooled off a little bit. So, I need to read a second suspense and cross my fingers that a real cold front will show up as I'm reading.

Highly recommended - I love a suspense that has so many little strands that it poses a lot of questions. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? was apparently Paula Daly's first book. If so, I'm impressed. It is very well-written with believable, very human characters and suspense that keeps going, right till the answers are revealed. It didn't even matter that I figured out a couple of the mysterious plot points because there was enough left hanging that I was still in suspense, even when I thought I knew what exactly was going on. Now, I'm wishing I had more of Daly's books sitting around. I may look to see if there are more titles I can order. I've enjoyed both of the books I read by Daly and I'm glad I saved Just What Kind of Mother Are You? for a time when I needed a slump-breaker.


©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam



Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is a tale that's based on a family legend, the story of a road trip once taken by Hickam's parents, who drove to Florida from their home in coal country to return their pet alligator to the swampy land he came from. Hickam confesses he doesn't know what's true and what's not, so he clearly just ran with the story and had a good time.

The book reads like a string of tall tales that are interwoven. Elsie is unhappy as the wife of a coal miner and spends a good bit of her time daydreaming about the romance that never was, with actor Buddy Ebsen. Buddy sent the couple a young alligator as a wedding gift and the alligator, Albert, has grown to four feet. He likes to have his belly rubbed and he has his own little pond but Homer (the elder Homer, father of the author) has had enough of Albert and gives Elsie an ultimatum: give up the alligator or lose me. This prompts the road trip to Florida after Elsie decides that her choice is Homer, not the alligator, but only if Albert is returned to Florida. Somehow, a chicken ends up traveling along with them.

I enjoyed Carrying Albert Home but I had several problems with the book. The first problem was the flatness of dialogue. Everyone -- and I do mean everyone -- sounded exactly the same to me. There was no variety from one character to another. The second problem was the book's length: I thought Carrying Albert Home dragged on far too long. Around page 300 of the 400-page book, I started to get sick of the story and just wanted to get the reading over with. Third, both John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway make appearances in the book. As if.

Recommended but not a favorite - I'm glad I stuck it out till the end but Carrying Albert Home was just a bit too fanciful for me. I had trouble suspending disbelief and I didn't fall in love with the characters. In the end, I felt like I had to fight my way through the final hundred pages. Having said that, I think if you like a wildly tall tale in which a young couple goes from one adventure to another, you might enjoy Carrying Albert Home. I found it an average read and can't recommend it enthusiastically, but it's worth mentioning that stuff happens. There's plenty of action, in other words, if the dialogue and characters don't get in your way.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Leaping Lemmings! by John Briggs and Nicola Slater


The opening spread of Leaping Lemmings asks the reader, "Can you tell these two lemmings apart? No? That's because all lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike." Two lemmings are facing each other and they look nearly identical but not quite. Four others are below the igloo the first two are standing upon, all of the four lemmings squeaking. But, then you meet a lemming who is different.

When all the other lemmings dug tunnels to keep warm, he went sledding with the puffins. 
When the other lemmings squeaked and squealed, he banged on the bongos he got from the seals. 

And, so forth. Clearly, this lemming is not like the others. He says he would not follow his lemming friends off a cliff. And, he calls himself "Larry". You can get a pretty good idea of how Larry stands out from this interior spread (click to enlarge):



Because I'm an information junkie, I looked up lemmings to see if they really are, in fact, willing to follow each other off a cliff. Apparently not. The idea of lemmings being suicidal is based on a cartoon, not reality, although lemming populations have a tendency to rise precipitously and then drop significantly, which makes you wonder if they're lining up somewhere and committing mass suicide. The article I read indicated that there's really not a full understanding of the reasons lemming populations rise and fall so dramatically, but they do occasionally cross bodies of water to get to food, which can cause inadvertent mass drownings.

At any rate, Larry would probably not follow anyone across the water without a boat because Larry is  different, and deliberately. He doesn't want to be like everyone else. Eventually, Larry tries to break away from his lemming family, but he discovers that living with other creatures has its own discomforts (like living on a cliff if you're with the puffins) and he runs home just in time to save the lemmings from walking off a cliff, leading them instead to his home, where he feeds them pizza and they learn it's all right to be a little different. But, they're still mostly alike.

Highly recommended - I love the simplicity of the text and artwork in Leaping Lemmings, and the underlying theme that it's good to be different but you can still enjoy those who are like you, even if they're not so great at going against the flow. Larry is a pretty funny character and the lemmings are adorable. I like the text but I adore the minimalist illustrations, which are both fun and easy on the eyes.

©2016 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 bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Review Policy - Updated 11/2/16


1. No e-books, PDFs or self-published books will be accepted, ever. I tried electronic books and discovered that I need and desire a solid book in hand, the ability to mark passages with Post-its, the feel of placing a bookmark inside a book and the satisfaction of closing a book when done. The only exception to this rule is self-published, bound books by friends or relatives. If you don't already know me, sorry.

2. I do not review books that require a post on a specific date, aka "book tours" or any other scheduled reviews, nor will I post specified content. My blog, my content.

3.  Any books accepted for review are subject to being ditched if they don't work for me. If I choose to DNF (Did Not Finish) a book, I reserve the right to say nothing at all about the book.

4. This is a new condition: If I accept a book for review, a "review" may consist of something as minimal as a single paragraph. You can say quite a bit in less than 50 words; I've discovered that during the times I've written "month in review" posts. But, don't ask me to review a book at all if you're not willing to accept very brief thoughts.

5.  I reserve the right to change this policy at any time.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Bookfool
November 2, 2016


Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday Malarkey

Last week was another meh week, reading-wise. I think I'm just about ready to be done with 2016 and start a fresh year.


Recent arrivals:


  • Glimmer Train, Spring/Summer 2016 - Purchased because I was in the mood to read literary periodicals.
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - Sent by friend Carrie of Care's Books and Pie. Thanks, Carrie!


Books finished since last Malarkey:



  • Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev was the only book I finished, last week, my classic choice for the month of October. I got a late start choosing my classic for the month, so I'm happy to have finished it. It's a bittersweet romance. 



Currently reading:



  • The Paris Review, Edition 218 - I'm beginning to agree with those who have given this issue a poor rating, although not for the reason most of the reviews I've seen have quoted (too much poetry). I think the quality of some of the material is mediocre, chiefly the most recent poem and short story I read. I'm hoping the rest of the Review will be an improvement. It started out well and has a lousy middle.
  • Leveling the Playing Field: The Democratization of Technology by Rod Scher - Don't let that rather dull title put you off. I'm really enjoying Leveling the Playing Field, which is about how technology has generally followed a pattern of being available only to the elite and then eventually becoming easier to pay for and therefore available to the masses. The first chapter is dedicated to how fire was a civilizing force. Next is the development of language and then written and printed language. 
  • Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly - I decided not to participate in the annual R.I.P. Challenge, this year, and I'm blaming my lack of participation for summer's refusal to end. Reading spooky, atmospheric, or suspenseful books is a great way to usher in the cooler weather and Just What Kind of Mother Are You? (which I won in a Twitter drawing held by the author, a couple years ago) is a suspense. I just happened to be thinking about Halloween and fall and the R.I.P., last night, and decided fall just doesn't feel right without a little bit of suspense, so I started reading the closest suspense book. So far, so good.


Posts since last Malarkey:




In other news:


This weekend was unexpectedly fun. Husband has been looking at kayaks for a few weeks and decided he was ready to buy. We've thought about buying kayaks for years but either decided they were out of our price range or balked at the thought of paddling something made of plastic in bodies of water that might be home to alligators. Years ago, we went on a float with the local canoe and kayak group and one of the locals pointed out the spots where alligators had pulled themselves from the water. Shiver. But, Huz investigated and found that there are places the alligators aren't as prevalent and alligator hunting season was not all that long ago. So, the time was right. We didn't go far (to prevent aching shoulders) but we had a blast. The photo absolutely doesn't do the beauty of this little lake justice. 

Happy Halloween!

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