Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

Top photo:

  • When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden - from Avon Romance for review (review already posted; link below)
  • Where the Angels Lived by Margaret McMullan - purchased for F2F discussion

I added the props to fight the ugly because the brown wall made a much duller background than expected. 

Bottom photo:

  • Confederates by Thomas Keneally
  • The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
  • Windfallen by Jojo Moyes
  • Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen
  • The Miracles of Santa Fico by D. L. Smith
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
  • The Penguin History of Canada by Robert Bothwell
  • The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich
  • Maria by Eugenia Price
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

I still consider myself on a book-buying ban, believe it or not. All of these were library sale purchases. I decided it's OK to bring home a pile if I don't spend too much money on them and provided other books are going out the door (I really do have too many books). At $3.50 for the entire pile, I felt like that stack was fine for the budget. Group discussion books are a no-purchase exception, also. If I plan to be there, I'll buy the book.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden

Obviously, not my best reading week. I've had blurry vision (probably from sleep deprivation — I had a lot of weird nightmares that woke me up, last week) so I didn't read much. Things are still blurry, but I'm going to try to finish my current read by tonight.

Currently reading:

  • The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

I've wanted to read The House on Tradd Street for years, but it was the combination of the RIP Challenge and a new Tradd Street publication that got me to finally pick it up. I'm enjoying it. I've found it much more frightening than Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box. The heroine is a bit prickly for my taste, but I'm holding out hope that she'll soften up a bit. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

Fiona Friday on the Wrong Day was posted late because my mouse was dying and only worked off and on for about 2 or 3 days before we finally managed to buy a new one. What a relief to have a mouse that doesn't freeze up!!!

In other news:

I can't believe I did this: I've been anxiously awaiting the first episode of Chicago Fire and what did I do? Oops, didn't even turn the TV on, that night. I'm going to see if I can find it at the network's website.

I started watching Glitch, last week. I think I'm on Episode 4. In case you haven't seen it, Glitch is an Australian program in which people return from the dead. One of them is the local police officer's deceased wife. What surprised me about this show is that it's not a zombie show at all. It's more like a resurrection. The people who return are intact; there's nothing revolting about them. They have flashes of memory about their lives and how they died, eventually, but at this point only one of them thinks she knows why they've been brought back.

What I love about Glitch is the way they handled it. The police officer, not knowing why a bunch of naked people covered with dirt are wandering around the cemetery, calls for medical help, wraps them in blankets, and takes them back to the clinic. He acts like a normal person, in other words, not leaping to any conclusions about where they came from or how a group of people ended up in their condition. I'm a little afraid of Episode 4, to be honest. Vic (a second police officer from a different area, nearby, who found the first officer's behavior suspicious) was acting very odd in Episode 3 and I'm afraid he's going to hurt someone.  The first image of the DVD case is from American Amazon. The second is the image that pops up most frequently in a search and I'm guessing it's the Australian version.

There doesn't seem to be any image at all for The Royal, Season 6, but BritBox has just added 3 more seasons to their site. I've only watched one episode and probably won't watch it as often as I have been because I'm in the mood for something different (hence Glitch), but it was a very interesting episode, showing Dr. Jeff Goodwin in Biafra, where he had to dodge bombs and gunfire.

©2019 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, September 28, 2019

Fiona Friday on the Wrong Day - Whose chair?

I got a reading chair! There was some dispute over which cat it belonged to, but Fiona seems to have won, for now.

©2019 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.

Friday, September 27, 2019

When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden (The Wagers of Sin #3)

I have not read the first two books in The Wagers of Sin series by Caroline Linden and this book is the third, so the first thing you need to know about When the Marquess Was Mine is that it absolutely stands alone beautifully. I was quite surprised to find out it's the third in a series. There was never a sense that I was missing any backstory or important information about any of the characters at all. The second thing you need to know is that I loved this book so much that I was thinking about rereading it while I was still in the midst of reading, which is always a sign I'm especially loving a book. It's unusual for me to feel that way about a romance novel.

As When the Marquess Was Mine opens, a group of men are partying and gambling. A man who does not belong to this particular group of friends ends up gambling with them and losing everything he wagers. But, he's determined to win it all back so, against the advice of everyone present, he decides to wager his home. He loses it to the Marquess of Westmorland (who goes by either "West" or "Rob").

The gambler, Charles, writes home and warns his wife, Kitty, that West may come up to Derbyshire and that he should absolutely not be allowed onto their property. He doesn't bother saying that the Marquess has won the title to his home (his only property) in a game of cards, but instead claims that he's been cheated out of their home. The letter is emphatic enough for his wife to take the threat seriously. Georgiana is visiting Kitty and she's acquainted with the Marquess. She knows him as a man who has been known for making frequent, cutting remarks about people, including herself.  Meanwhile, the Marquess has loads of property and no interest in evicting a man and his family from their home. But, he wants to give the title back in person.

Here is where it gets really fun. Something terrible happens to the Marquess and he's badly injured. He has taken a severe blow or blows to the head and is found unconscious. Georgiana is out riding while he's being attacked, sees the attack, and insists that he must be brought back to Kitty's home (Charles is still in London). Because Georgiana knows the injured fellow is the man who holds the title to Kitty's house, she lies and says he's her fiancé, Lord Sterling, out of fear that Kitty wouldn't allow him to be tended to and he might die, otherwise. But, when he finally awakens, Rob has a bit of amnesia. He readily accepts the idea that he's engaged to Georgiana, although the name "Lord Sterling" doesn't ring any bells.

Will the Marquess regain his memory? If so, what will Georgiana do? When Georgiana finds herself falling for the Marquess, will she act on her feelings? What will the real Lord Sterling do if he finds out Georgiana has been nursing a man who is definitely not him? And, for that matter, why doesn't Lord Sterling write or visit and why has Sterling dragged out their engagement for two years? Is it possible he doesn't really love Georgiana?

Highly recommended - When the Marquess Was Mine is absolutely the best romance I've read, this year. There have been a couple others I loved, but there was just something deliciously fresh about the storytelling and the building friendship between the hero and heroine was nicely paced and believable. It wasn't all throbbing this and tingling that; there was a genuine growing affection in line with their attraction. Plus, Georgiana and Rob are incredibly likable characters and I cared about what would happen to them. I found Georgiana's honesty and forthrightness refreshing. Love it, love it, love it. I need to get my mitts on the first two in the series.

I received a copy of When the Marquess Was Mine from Avon Books in exchange for an honest review and goodness, what a wonderful discovery. I hope Caroline Linden has written a lot of books. I want to read them all. Many thanks to Avon!

Fiona Friday will be held on Caturday, this week.

©2019 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, September 25, 2019

The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan - #2 for RIPXIV

In The Nanny, Jocelyn (Jo) was deeply attached to her nanny, as a child. Hannah was trustworthy, kind, and a better mother to Jo than her own mother. So, she was traumatized when her nanny disappeared in the night and her mother claimed it was due to Jo's behavior. As soon as she was able, she fled the country and has most recently lived in California with her husband and daughter, Ruby.

But, now Jo is home in Wiltshire at her family's 1,000-year-old ancestral home. A young widow, Jo is unhappy to be back with her mother (her father having recently passed away) but she has no choice. Her husband's money was tied up in his business and Jo can't work in the US. Jo needs a job and help with her daughter. Returning home was her only option.

When Ruby and Jo find a skull in the lake on their property, Jo's mother, Virginia, is certain she knows who it belonged to and expects that the truth will soon be uncovered. But, then Hannah shows up and Virginia's confused. Is it really Hannah or is she dead and someone else is pretending to be her? If it's her, how is that possible and why has she returned? When Hannah becomes a part of the household staff, Virginia is horrified. And, Ruby absolutely doesn't like Hannah but is Ruby trustworthy? She's been behaving badly since just before Hannah's arrival.

The story is told from several viewpoints  (Jocelyn, Virginia, one of the detectives, and Hannah in the years before and during her work as Jo's nanny) but I thought of Jo as the heroine. It's Jo's return to the UK and her discovery of the skull that are the inciting incidents. Virginia is there to make you question what's happening. Is it really Hannah or an imposter? The detectives are either trying to lead you down the garden path with a diversion or there as filler (not sure, but their scenes just baffled me, although they eventually get it together). Then, there are scenes from the past that are told from Hannah's viewpoint and they reveal Hannah's backstory. How did Hannah end up becoming the nanny for a posh family when she came from a lower-class background? Is it possible that the person posing as Hannah (if Hannah is an imposter) is Hannah's friend and former roommate?

Iffy on recommendation - The Nanny is the fourth book I've read by Gilly Macmillan. My feelings about the books have varied but one thing is consistent: her writing has an excellent flow and a tendency to suck you in right away. This one I gave 3 stars. I finished it, but there were times I considered abandoning it because I felt like the mystery was transparent to a certain extent, the heroine too stupid to live (sorry, Jo, I just thought you were dense), the facet of grief almost entirely lacking, and the detectives stunningly incompetent. So, not a favorite, and yet . . . no regrets. I particularly loved the gothic atmosphere, which fits well with the setting of an ancient home in the English countryside.

I'm calling this my second RIPXIV read. Working on the third, this time a ghost story.

My reviews of past titles by Gilly Macmillan:

I received an advance reader copy of The Nanny in exchange for an unbiased review. My thanks to HarperCollins! You can't see how the cover reflects light, but it's got a lovely, metallic sheen that is gorgeous. Love the cover. 

©2019 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, September 24, 2019

No Judgments by Meg Cabot

No Judgments by Meg Cabot is a fluffy romance set against the backdrop of a hurricane in the Florida Keys. Sabrina (Bree) left her home in New York after her boyfriend and mother failed to support her through two particularly difficult experiences and now she lives and works on the little island in the Keys where her family used to vacation.

When a Category 5 hurricane heads toward the Keys, Bree's wealthy ex and her mother both offer to help her escape in advance of the storm. But, Bree's cat can't travel and she's uninterested in getting any help from the two people who weren't there for her when she needed them most. Now, even though she's also on a mancation (like vacation, but a break from dating), Bree is frustrated to find herself falling for a local fellow named Drew who has a reputation as a lady's man.

Both Bree and Drew are stubborn. Bree plans to stay in her apartment, even after being told the building will undoubtedly flood due to storm surge since it's too close to the water. Drew is determined to ride out the hurricane in the home he's built on the beach.

When the hurricane has passed, Bree is stunned by the damage. And, when she finds out the person who was supposed to watch her neighbor's pets left without moving them to higher ground, she's horrified. Then, she discovers that a surprising number of people have left their pets behind but will be unable to return to the island for days. The task of taking care of people's pets is overwhelming. But, it turns out that Drew loves animals, too.

Recommended but not a favorite - Absolutely the right book for the moment. While it's not, in my humble opinion, Meg Cabot's best work and I had a lot of minor issues with this book, there's a lot that I liked about it. I liked the accuracy of the hurricane description (pre-, during, and aftermath) and the predictability of the romantic aspect. I was mostly in it for that predictability, as is often the case with romance. I also appreciated the mental break — no heavy plot, not too many characters to keep track of, nothing mentally taxing. The romance itself was nice but there was just something flat and lifeless about the storytelling in this book and I thought the descriptions of Bree when she was turned on were . . . eww. That could have been left out. The best thing about the attraction between Bree and Drew is the fact that the hero and heroine have a love of animals in common. If you're an animal lover, you'll definitely appreciate their mutual affection for animals and determination to care for all the abandoned pets on the island.

I received an ARC of No Judgments from HarperCollins in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you!

©2019 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.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell and
  • Help the Witch by Tom Cox - both purchased

I read a review of I Am, I Am, I Am that intrigued me and ordered the book immediately. That was at least a couple weeks ago and I'm still holding out well on the book-buying ban. Both of these books took weeks to arrive. Help the Witch was described by the author in a way that made me think it would be perfect for spooky fall reading, so I pre-ordered it for the RIPXIV Challenge and hope to fit it in, soon. I can't think of any other books that were pre-ordered, apart from one that will arrive in January, so this may be the end of the purchased arrivals for a while, although I keep pondering a particular art book that I'd like to buy (not available at my library) for ideas about a new kind of art project I want to attempt.

Funny thing, though. I've found that once I become accustomed to not buying, I often can't talk myself into buying. It becomes a habit. Besides the book ban, I also stopped ordering from Amazon, in general, when I read that Jeff Bezos has cut the health benefits of 1,900 Whole Foods workers. There will be times I'll have no choice but to buy from Amazon because some things just aren't available locally and Amazon is pretty much how I have to buy them, but I'm going to do my level best to avoid Amazon as much as humanly possible.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • No Judgments by Meg Cabot
  • The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan

I read No Judgments (an ARC) primarily because I needed a fluff break and I know Meg Cabot's writing to be reliably light. I followed it up with The Nanny (also an ARC), which I read as my second RIPXIV book. It's a not-so-mysterious mystery (I found it pretty obvious) but it has a gothic sensibility, so it was good for its sinister atmosphere.

Currently reading:

  • Summary of the Mueller Report by Thomas E. Patterson - So, this was not my best reading week and I stuck to fiction. Hopefully, this week will be an improvement and I'll get plenty of this book read. 
  • The House on Tradd Street by Karen White - another RIP read

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I watched a single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Darmok," after seeing someone quote it and realizing I'd forgotten the meaning of things like, "Temba, his arms wide." That's such an interesting episode. Otherwise, I only watched one thing, the first episode of a medical show set in India. I don't recall the name of the show but I didn't like it enough to continue on, anyway.

This week is the return of Chicago: Fire, so I'll be tuning in to see that. I don't watch the other two Chicago programs (Med and PD, although occasionally I'll watch an episode of Med if I don't feel like doing anything else while I wait for Fire to come on).

Otherwise, our world has been revolving around Kiddo — his job hunt and wedding. His second diploma, for the just-finished Mechanical Engineering degree, arrived on Friday. Now, if he can just find a job we'll all be very, very happy.

©2019 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.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fiona Friday - Interaction

©2019 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, September 18, 2019

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill - RIPXIV #1

I've already talked about Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, a bit, but I decided I wanted to have a separate post up that's got "RIPXIV" in the labels, so here 'tis. Let's do the goofy version of a review, shall we?

So, there's this rocker dude named Judas Coyne (not his real name). He's not a nice guy, really. In the past, he's been a bit of a sexual deviant because rock stars can get away with that crap. When he takes up with a woman, he calls her by the name of the state in which they met (or, maybe "hooked up" is the better term), rather than by her actual name. The same is true of his current babe, Georgia.

Judas collects macabre items and when a haunted coat comes up for auction, he buys it. Why not? He doubts its authenticity but whatever. When the coat arrives and it is haunted by the ghost of his former flame's uncle, he's creeped out. When it somehow plucks Georgia's finger and gives her an infection, he's spooked. When the ghost keeps showing up with squiggles in front of his eyes, he's freaked. Then, he finds out he was targeted; the ghost wanted to end up with him so he could kill Judas. How can Judas get rid of the ghost?

Epic road trip, that's how. Judas leaves with Georgia and his two dogs. Much chasing and haunting and making of revolting wounds that won't heal ensues. Death, destruction, and possession occur. But, it ends on a high note, so there's that.

Recommended, if you like that kind of thing - I gave up Joe Hill (with the exception of his short stories) a couple years ago, after I read The Fireman (link leads to my review, which I just posted with a 2016 date to backdate to the actual reading) because he has an unfortunate tendency to kill off cats. And, apparently dogs. But, the guy who makes my neck stop hurting told me, "You have to read Heart-Shaped Box and then talk to me about it!" when I told him about the RIPXIV. So I read it and we talked and you guys, it's really cool to have a physical therapist who likes to talk books. I am, however, still essentially done with Joe Hill. Except for the short stories.

Not sure why I didn't write a review of The Fireman at the blog in 2016 but the review I just posted is one I wrote at Goodreads. Fortunately, I had that content to move over to the blog. Goodreads now just shows my rating.

©2019 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, September 17, 2019

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

"I keep thinking grief feels like climbing a staircase while looking down," she said. "You won't forget where you've been, but you've got to keep rising. It all gets farther away, but it's all still there. And you've only got one way to go and you don't really want to go on rising, but you've got to. And that tightness in your chest doesn't go away, but you somehow go on breathing that thinner, higher air. It's like you grow a third lung. Like you've somehow gotten bigger when you thought you were only broken." 

~ fr. p. 282 of Advance Reader Copy, After the Flood (Some changes may have been made to the finished copy)

100 years in the future, after climate change has led to such widespread flooding that cities and mountains are buried, Myra and her daughter Pearl struggle to survive. Myra was abandoned by her husband — who took their daughter, Row, with him — during the early days of the Earth-drowning flood. She was pregnant at the time and has been traveling the world on a boat her grandfather built, Bird. Myra and Pearl fish and trade in the few small port towns at what used to be mountain peaks but now are the last remnants of land.

When Myra finds out Row (short for Rowena) is still alive but in danger of a new horror, she decides she must rescue her eldest daughter. But, that means traveling across the North Atlantic, which is prone to rough waters and deadly storms. Her boat isn't strong enough. Then, she and Pearl find another way. I won't spoil the plot point that lands them on a separate boat.

At first, it seems like they've found a fairly harmonious little group of people to sail with, but all is not as it seems. Myra lies about wanting to look for Row, instead saying she's heard The Valley, the place Row is located, is a great place for settlers. But, she knows it's been overrun by a group known as the Lost Abbotts and that she has little time to rescue her daughter. There are also the Lily Black to deal with, basically pirates who murder and plunder. It's a vicious new world. Pearl is going through a stubborn adolescent phase and has an odd affinity for snakes. Myra knows she could be kicked off the ship for lying. Daniel, a man Myra rescues, and the ship's captain, Abran, have dark secrets of their own. And, absolutely everyone has one or more losses they're grieving.

Recommended - I found After the Flood a slow-paced read, apart from the occasional heart-pounding action scene, and one of my biggest problems with it was that I didn't particularly like Myra. She was strong, resourceful, and had a lot of interesting survival skills, though, so what I did like was reading about how she and Pearl survived and thinking about that world and the what-ifs. What would I do if I was in this situation? Would I say or do the same things? Would I choose to live on land or go from port to port, like Myra? How would I survive?

In spite of the fact that I thought the book could have been tightened up a little, I enjoyed it. In general, I found the world-building fascinating and if a dystopian novel is readable enough (while slow of pace, the writing was solid enough to keep me going and I did want to know whether or not Myra and Pearl would find Row), I will finish a dystopian for the experience of imagining myself in that world. So, I most enjoyed After the Flood for the way it made me think and for some adventurous, heart-pounding scenes. It can be brutal but I love the way a dystopian novel makes me ponder.

I received an ARC of After the Flood from HarperCollins for review. Many thanks!

©2019 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.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals:

  • Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman - purchased

It was not that long ago that such a thick book (nearly 1,000 pages) would have intimidated me so thoroughly that I wouldn't have even remotely considered tackling it. I think maybe Don Quixote has made me cocky — or, at least, broken the spell. At any rate, I'm looking forward to Ducks, Newburyport but I will not read it till after I've succeeded at reading Gone With the Wind. Priorities.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
  • Collage and Construction by Harvey Weiss
  • After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

The Rent Collector (link to review, below) is my F2F discussion book for September and I went ahead and reviewed it while it was fresh in my mind, rather than waiting till after the discussion. I enjoyed it and I'm sure the discussion will be a good one. Collage and Construction (an instructional art book) is an old library sale find that I've had for ages, published in 1970. I found it while looking for books to donate and since it was only 62 pages long, I decided to just give it a quick read before donating. It's ugly and water-stained but the content was fascinating! I finished After the Flood at a little after midnight, last night. It's an interesting read but it's fairly slow of pace (apart from some heart-pounding action scenes) so I was just ready to be done with it, to be honest, but don't get me wrong . . . I enjoyed it. More on that, soon.

Currently reading:

  • Summary of the Mueller Report by Thomas E. Patterson

Since I just finished After the Flood, I haven't started my next novel. I'm not far into the Summary of the Mueller Report. One nice thing about it, though, is that the author/professor who abridged the report totally eliminated all of the footnotes. Much appreciated. I think they're important, at times, but if you just want an overview not having to constantly look back and forth makes it a lot more readable. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I watched a movie, this weekend! It was an old one, but other than The Royal (which I also viewed and finally finished), it's one of the few things I've seen on TV in a while. The movie is Three Days of the Condor, a 1970s-era movie starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. It has me thinking I might want to have a Robert Redfordathon. There are quite a few Redford movies that I love.

Out of curiosity, I just looked up Three Days of the Condor and found that it was released in 1975 and has an 86% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

As to that newly-updated review policy, between that and my book-buying ban (which has lasted at least 10 days — I know, but it's hard, people!) there should be relatively few books to photograph in the near future. And, at some point I'll be going on an extended blog break, which will mean shuttering the blog for at least a month, possibly much longer. I'm not thrilled about it but you do what you have to do and I have no control over what's to come. I'll let you know what's up when the time comes. At any rate, till then it'll be business as usual but I'll just be working from the ARC backlog.

©2019 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, September 15, 2019

Review Policy - Updated 9/14/2020

Updated 1/18/22

I am currently not accepting any books for review. 

Thanks for dropping by!


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.

2(b). Moved to reflect that this part still applies: I do not post specific, pre-written content (boilerplate information about books or authors written by publishers or publicists). 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!


bookfoolery @ gmail [dot] com

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

I had to ponder The Rent Collector for a bit before even considering writing a review. There were things about it that felt a little off to me (more on that in a minute) but in general it's a fascinating story from which I learned about a place that's escaped much notice from me. Apart from the occasional book about the Vietnam War, I've seldom read much about or even mention of Cambodia.

The Rent Collector is the story of a little family in Cambodia (based on real characters but heavily fictionalized). Sang Ly and Ki Lim live in a literal dump and pick through trash to find items they can sell. Their baby, Nisay, has been sick all his life. Even when they occasionally manage to get treatment, once the antibiotics run out he goes right back to being sick.

Sopeap is a drunken woman who collects the rent monthly. When Ki Lim finds a children's book in the garbage, Sang Ly is excited. Nisay will have a little treasure. But, something remarkable happens to Sopeap when she sees the book and Sang Ly realizes the rent collector knows how to read. She asks Sopeap to teach her, so that she can better their lives. Gradually, Sopeap's former life (before the Khmer Rouge slaughtered the educated) comes out through her teaching.

I was most fascinated by the mystery of Sopeap. Who was she? How did she end up in a dump if she was an educated woman and why did she drink heavily? What had happened to her to make her such a mess?

The story is told a little like a fable and very much like the stories that Sopeap teaches Sang Ly to read. Inside the story, there are lessons. They aren't always what you want to hear. Heroes and villains may have elements of evil or humanity in them, respectively. Things may not turn out the way you expect. But, somewhere in there are the universal themes and similar tales that continue to be retold — always a journey, whether internal or external.

I glanced across a few reviews and noticed that people spotted the same things I did. Sang Ly does not sound like a poor person who lives in a dump. She has a pretty substantial vocabulary and she learns to read at a startling speed. But, I think if you focus on such details, you're missing the point.

The Rent Collector is about literature, about life, about finding the meaning in both that may or may not be hidden. If you look at it too literally, what the author is attempting to say will just buzz right past you. One of those themes was obviously that you should find beauty wherever you are. Kind of a "bloom where you're planted" thing. A little trite, maybe, but I loved the unfolding mystery of Sopeap's past, the growing friendship between Sang Ly and Sopeap, the way Sang Ly helps Sopeap find redemption, the quest for a cure for little Nisay, and the general loveliness of the storytelling.

Highly recommended - While not a 5-star read because I did occasionally have trouble with clinging to reality instead of sinking into the story itself and allowing it to envelope me like a dream, I thought it was a terrific read and it makes me want to learn more about Cambodia and its people.

I bought The Rent Collector for group discussion and I'm looking forward to my next book group meeting. I think we'll have a lot to discuss. If I feel like anything said during the discussion is worth mentioning, I'll return to post about it, after the meeting.

I didn't get any great cat photos, this week, so if I manage to snap anything tonight, I'll post it on Saturday. If not, Fiona Friday will return next week.

©2019 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.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman

Either he did this all the time or he would make a one-time exception for a friend; she didn't care. She just wanted the pills. So badly. 

Just these few hours without them in her system, her world was too much. Edges were sharper, the sun was hotter, her unresolved emotions too present. Sylvie much preferred the alternative. She would do what she had to do. 

~ fr. p. 252 of Advance Reader Copy, Invisible as Air

Teddy stopped eating, his stomach suddenly full. His parents didn't so much argue when they argued; his mom just lobbed firecrackers while his dad retaliated with water balloons. 

~ fr. p. 260 of ARC

In Invisible as Air, Sylvie has been privately grieving her stillborn daughter for 3 years but she has been unwilling to even say Delilah's name aloud. She's become distant and snappish. Her husband, Paul, has channeled his grief in a different way, exercising vigorously and becoming a shopaholic. He's purchased so much unneeded exercise equipment that credit card debt has become a problem. Their son Teddy is on the cusp of turning 13 and Sylvie is nervous about planning his bar mitzvah while dealing with work, the PTA, homemaking, and a homebound husband who has broken an ankle in a biking accident.

As a newish health nut, Paul has decided to battle through the pain of his broken ankle rather than taking the prescribed painkillers and one day Sylvie decides to take one of his pills. Just this once, she'd like to feel a little lighter. The pill makes her feel relaxed, happy, and less stressed. It even makes her kinder to the people around her. So, she starts taking one a day and then two. It doesn't take long before she's hiding the pills and then stealing to keep from having to stop taking them. While she's sinking into addiction and spiraling out of control, her new attitude actually seems to be a good thing from Paul's perspective. But, when Sylvie can no longer bear the thought of doing without the pills, can she stop taking them? Or, will her family find out and intervene?

Recommended - Unputdownable. at least for this reader. An easy read with great flow, nicely paced, which is told from three separate points-of-view: those of Sylvie, Paul, and Teddy. While I was slightly surprised by some errors (bearing in mind that I have an Advance Reader Copy) that I tend to think of as typical of newer writers, which Zoe Fishman is not, they were blips. I just had to know what was going to happen with Sylvie and stayed up way too late finishing the book. There's also one possible research flaw that I consider significant. But, again, because I found Invisible as Air so gripping, I only knocked off a point for the things I found questionable.

I think it's worth adding that Invisible as Air could be triggering for anyone who has lost a child to stillbirth as it really digs into the lasting grief felt by each of the family members and how they responded to it.

I received a copy of Invisible as Air from HarperCollins in exchange for my unbiased review. The paperback has some extra features: a conversation with the author, reading group guide, and information about other books by the author. My thanks to HarperCollins!

©2019 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, September 10, 2019

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling is the second in a series and — full disclosure — I haven't read the first: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. But I loved Momentous Events (I'm going to shorten the title, from here on out, to save time) and there were only a couple minor confusion factors, once I got into it.

Aven is starting high school and her friend Connor has moved away. It's hard enough dealing with the change of schools and all the new people but there's an extra complication for Aven: she's armless. In the first book, she moved from Kansas to a Western amusement park in Arizona. Now, her buddy Connor's absence has left her with a single friend at the new school, Zion. When a good-looking football player takes an interest in Aven, Zion warns her that he's bad news. But, Aven is friendly and she likes the attention. When things turn out badly, the experience causes Aven to lose trust and retreat from people who genuinely care for her. Who can she rely on? Who is just being nice because she has no arms or pretending to like her? Aven is a positive thinker and self-reliant, but even with her terrific attitude, the humiliation of how she's treated by people at her new school gets her down. Can she learn to trust, again, and even find love?

Highly recommended - I adored this book. Aven is a great character with realistic challenges and a terrific sense of humor. Momentous Events is entertaining and upbeat with valuable lessons and terrific characters.

I had a tiny bit of trouble with reading the books out of order, although never enough to slow me down for long and it just had to do with characters who were introduced in the first book. It took me a while to realize that Joe and Josephine were one and the same, for example, and to figure out the relationship between Joe and Aven (Josephine, aka "Joe", is Aven's grandmother). There should be no problem if you read the two in order, but at most the book could have used an introductory sentence or two to clarify who various characters were.

Momentous Events still stands alone fine, otherwise. What's important to focus on is Aven, her closest friends, and the challenges that she faces. It's easy to get behind Aven because she's so likable and interesting. I kept imagining myself in her shoes. She is tremendously adaptable — playing the guitar, eating, and doing just about everything you can imagine doing with your hands with her feet, instead. Aven is used to being stared at by curious people but it's still uncomfortable. And, yet, she is such a happy, positive little clam. You can't help but love her. I wish there were more books that portrayed people with unique challenges as just humans like anyone else, the way Momentous Events does. Reading about a character like Aven is a fantastic way to learn about what it's like to live with a disability.

I received a copy of Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus from Sterling Children's Books for review and it is by far one of the best children's books I've read, this year. My thanks to Sterling! Momentous Events would work equally well for middle grade or high school readers, in my humble opinion. Aven was in middle school in the previous book. Which, ugh, I so want to read. This book-buying ban already sucks.

©2019 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.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - purchased
  • You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley - from Berkley for review
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone - purchased
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli - purchased 

This is an interesting assortment, yes? The Count of Monte Cristo has long been one of the books I list in my top 5 and it's my #1 favorite classic, but guess what? I have been reading the abridged version without realizing it for . . . well, a long time. I've read it several times. I only found out my version is abridged about a year or two ago (it's not stated prominently, inside or out) and have planned to get the complete story, since. Then, someone reminded me, about 10 days ago. Timing is everything. I've been thinking about rereading but decided I really needed to get that chunkster instead of reading the old abridged version. So, I did.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a book I saw someone post about on Instagram but it wasn't a review so much as a mention and an endorsement. I went off to read about it and it sounds like my cup of tea. Lost Children Archive . . . no idea. I remember reading about it, but where? I think it might have been one of my favorite Instagrammers who mentioned it, but I'm just not sure. At any rate, it sounded fabulous and I hope I'm right about that. I'm going to continue to work on not buying books (or anything online) in the near future but I'm not going to kick myself around the room if I slip up, occasionally.

You Were There Too was sent unsolicited. I received a request to review it and ignored it because I still have a backlog of ARCs, but as always I'll try to fit any unsolicited book into my schedule. It's a January release, fortunately, so no hurry. My backlog is a little embarrassing. At this point, I'm putting the books closest to publication at the head of the queue and fitting in one from the backlog, now and then. I'll just keep hacking away at it.

Kiddo kindly held the books for the photo above. He's in town for a job interview, today, hence the nice shirt cuff.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 
  • Invisible as Air by Zoe Fishman

Reviews to come. 

Currently reading:

  • The Rent Collector by Camron Wright 

I just finished Invisible as Air at 2:00 in the morning, last night, and immediately started The Rent Collector, this month's F2F selection. So far, so good. I plan to add a nonfiction title, tonight, probably the abridged version of The Mueller Report that I recently received.

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

I think I totally forgot to mention that I recently turned a year older. Huh. You'd think that would be memorable, but maybe birthdays aren't the big deal they used to be. I got flowers, a strawberry cake (cooked by my future daughter-in-law), a bunch of cards, pizza, and some Japanese munchies. I liked it.

©2019 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.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Fiona Friday - A girl and her carrot

Catnip, of course.

©2019 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.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri


I've put two images of The Beekeeper of Aleppo up because I noticed the one on the right is more common at Goodreads. My copy was like the one at left, an ARC, and it appears to be available with this cover in hardback but it's also possible that the image wasn't updated by the publisher. So, to make it easy to identify, if you decide to go looking for it in an actual store, I've opted to post both images.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo is about a man and his family who lived in Aleppo, Syria, when it was a peaceful place. After meeting his cousin Mustafa and finding out about his work as a beekeeper, Nuri chose to join his cousin Mustafa's beekeeping business. But, then drought hit the country, followed by war. Now, his house has been bombed, his child killed, and his wife blinded. The book goes back and forth in time, from the idyllic past in which Nuri's country is beautiful and peaceful and he has a job he loves to the beginnings of drought, the bombings, the deaths of loved ones, his cousin's escape to England, and then finally a time when Nuri's life is threatened and he's left with no choice but to try to get to England, as well. All of that falls into the past timeline. In the present timeline, Nuri is living in England, hoping to be approved for asylum, and doing strange things like sleeping in the garden.

There's so much to this book. You get a glimpse of the horrifying journey that one must take to escape across Europe, where not every country is willing to let immigrants pass through and human smugglers take too many people across the water on dangerously unstable boats. You see the deterioration of a country from peaceful and lovely to being reduced to violence and rubble (in this case, due to climate change). The loss of one's livelihood (Nuri's beekeeping; his wife Afra's art) is shown as yet another facet of loss and grief. The death of a child and the post-traumatic stress and how they change the way Nuri and Afra behave is described. The dangers to women who are refugees are shown.

Being a refugee . . . this is the third book I've read about people having no choice but to escape violence-ridden countries (not the same country) but the hazards are always the same. You leave out of desperation and take very little. Every little thing you have, though, some people are willing to steal: your money, your backpack with just a few shreds of clothing and maybe a bar of soap, your phone, your shoes, your life. Women are often raped or otherwise abused. You could have been wealthy in your home country but you're nothing and nobody, just a chance to make money to a smuggler, a nuisance to the countries you travel through, a suspicious alien to those from whom you seek asylum. We, the readers, normally see these stories from the opposite side, as the place people try to go. In a country where asylum is a possibility, it's incumbent upon the residents to understand why anyone would want to leave their home and travel thousands of miles to ask for asylum. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a novel that helps give you that perspective.

Highly recommended - While I didn't find that The Beekeeper of Aleppo tugged at my heartstrings in the way that some do (I didn't cry; I just took the family into my heart and maybe grieved with them and feared for them), I think I got out of The Beekeeper of Aleppo what the author wanted — a better understanding of what it's like to live somewhere that was once a happy, beautiful place to live with a rich history and then have no choice but to run for your life; a feel for the horror, the grief, and the terror of being a refugee. I'm glad the author chose to portray the story through the eyes of Nuri rather than Afra because Afra's grief made her nearly catatonic, at times, while Nuri refused to give up hope. He had problems and fears and guilt, but he was still mostly a functioning human.

I received an ARC of The Beekeeper of Aleppo from Ballantine Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House) for review. Many thanks! I think this title would be a good one for group discussion and I plan to loan my copy to my F2F group's leader in the hopes that she'll agree.

©2019 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, September 04, 2019

In Pain by Travis Rieder

First the simple description, which I wrote immediately after closing In Pain by Travis Rieder:

A fascinating memoir and exploration of how we mishandle pain management in America.

And, now a deeper description:

In Pain is part memoir, part analysis. The memoir portion is the story of author Travis Rieder's personal experience with opioids after his foot was crushed and degloved (the skin almost entirely removed) in a motorcycle accident. His injury was so severe that he had to be heavily medicated to cope with the pain. But, he had one doctor who was a bit conservative about medicating him and another who came up with a non-opioid solution to cover the time between doses when he got "behind" the pain and was in agony for an hour or two while he waited for the next opioid dose.

After the surgeries, Rieder was on a heavy regimen of regular painkillers and he thought he was doing pretty well until one of his doctors disagreed. He shouldn't need that much pain medicine, anymore. But, out of all of the doctors he'd dealt with (including the one who helped him manage his dosages in the first place) not a single one was willing to work with him on tapering off his opioid medication so that he could learn to live with minor pain and the least pain medication possible. Not even a pain management clinic would take him. And, he wasn't an addict so he didn't technically belong in rehab. One doctor made a "tapering" recommendation that shocked me. I wasn't surprised when Rieder, upon following his advice, went through a miserable withdrawal. What surprised me was that he didn't slow it down. Instead of cutting out an entire dose every 4 hours (that's an example; I didn't write down the specific details), maybe he could cut out half a dose twice a day?

At any rate, Rieder was dependent upon the opioid medication he took but not addicted. And, here is where the meat of the book lies. What's the difference between dependence and addiction? Who is responsible for helping people who are dependent on to drugs taper off of them as safely and easily as possible? Why don't doctors seem to know anything about how to safely dispense or taper opioids? And, what can be done to keep people from literally dying by the thousands during the opioid epidemic? Is there a way to prevent needle-borne disease and accidental overdose? Is there a way to keep people in chronic pain from getting entirely cut off from painkillers and ending up in such agony that suicide seems the only solution?

Because Rieder is a bio-ethicist and works with doctors, there was actually no reason at all that he should have had to go through the horror of withdrawal without help. He had friends he could have turned to. But, Rieder mentions, because we think of addicts as people without will, he was ashamed of his dependence and it didn't even occur to him to reach out. Imagine what it must be like for people without the resources he could have called upon.

Highly recommended - I'm going to hand this book to my doctor, the next time I see him, and may even buy a copy or two to pass around. I am so impressed. The author mentions ideas that challenge our strict, puritan thought process. Needle exchange programs to keep people from getting HIV, for example, often make Christians cringe. "We're encouraging drug use!" they say. Rieder disagrees. If they're going to use needles anyway, why not make doing so safe? Non-opioid medicines that work equally well or sometimes even better than opioids (depending on the kind of pain) are withheld by hospitals because they cost more — opioids are cheap. Why allow hospitals to refuse the use of a medication merely because it will affect their bottom line?

Doctors need more training on how and when to dispense pain medication and how to taper people off of it. There's more. I'm babbling because I think In Pain is such an important book. He also talks about the fact that the worst of the opioid crisis has actually passed, and yet legislators are writing panic legislation that punishes people who actually need regular pain medication ("legacy" patients) for long-term conditions. This is true where I live. It ties the hands of the prescribing physician, threatening them with losing their license if they go over draconian prescribing guidelines.

I received a copy of In Pain from HarperCollins in return for my unbiased review. If I could, I'd pass it out to every doctor in the country; at the moment it's a new release and a bit on the expensive side, but I will at least buy one copy to pass around and hope it comes back to me. Know any billionaires in need of a mission? I've got one for them. My thanks to HarperCollins!

©2019 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, September 03, 2019

RIP XIV - I'm in

The Roman numeral after the RIP in the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge is enough to make your head spin a little. 14 years! Wow. I've been playing along without signing up for as long as I can remember. I only joined in officially during the early years (the first two, if Google is accurate) and then I realized I was better off just doing it on my own. This time, however, I've signed up. I didn't see any specific place to choose which Peril I'd signed up for, but in my head it's Peril the Third: read one book that fits the description.

Dark Fantasy.

Carl's description works for me a bit better, so I'm going to go off the garden path, a bit. Anything "spooky or atmospheric" is the definition I used when hunting for books for the RIP XIV. That includes dystopian novels. At any rate, it doesn't matter all that much. The point is to usher in fall with some special reading. I've gathered a few books and I've signed up to read one of them, but I won't limit myself to a single book if I feel called to read more, nor will I stick to this list if I feel like something else is calling to me.

Current stack (with thanks to Isabel for letting me borrow her haunted house to use as a prop):

Top to bottom: 

  • A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
  • Vox by Christina Dalcher
  • The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
  • The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Not pictured:

  • The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

I've already begun to read Heart-Shaped Box because, as I mentioned in my Monday Malarkey, an acquaintance is dying to discuss it with me.

Blast from the past:

Here's what my stacks looked like for the RIP II, a dozen years ago, back when our Miss Spooky was still alive.

©2019 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.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom): 

  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis
  • The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

Two of these were stress purchases and the other was for the RIPXIV Challenge. I have one more from the stress purchases on the way, but I think it's coming from England; it's also for the RIPXIV Challenge (which I'll probably post about tomorrow). Hopefully, I'll get a grip, soon, but in the meantime . . . not a bad set of books for a horrible day's stress shopping.

Heart-Shaped Box is a book my physical therapist has been begging me to read for at least a year and he said, "You have to read Heart-Shaped Box!" when I told him about the RIPXIV Challenge. I'd decided I'm done with Hill, after the 2nd or 3rd book with a cat torture scene but Nate assures me there's no cat torture in this one and he is desperate for me to discuss it with him. I am, humorously, the person who introduced Nate to Joe Hill's writing. He's bought everything Joe Hill ever wrote, at this point, and has moved on to Uncle Stevie's work (that should keep him busy for a while). But, Hill remains a favorite and he's even gotten at least one of his other clients started reading Hill. Word of mouth. Never knock it.

Dom Casmurro is a book I'd never heard of but I read about it in a conversational thread at Facebook. I don't recall which book was being discussed but the general consensus was a negative one. There was an unreliable narrator, but it just wasn't as good as everyone hoped. Someone suggested Dom Casmurro as an alternative and said it's a favorite in her home country. I was curious, of course, so I looked it up and read about it. Obviously, I decided it sounded like a good read.

I'm "friends" with Mary Doria Russell on Facebook (but not real friends; we've never met, although she shared one of my Facebook posts and may have responded to me once). So, I've been seeing her posts about The Women of Copper Country since it was released. It wasn't till I read a review of the book that my ears perked up, though. And, then came that stressful day and I just went for it.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Rogue to Ruin by Vivienne Lorret
  • In Pain by Travis Rieder
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Yay, finally a decent reading week! And, every one of those books was great for entirely different reasons. The Rogue to Ruin nicely wrapped up the Misadventures in Matchmaking romance series with some surprises. In Pain is an incredibly important book from which I learned a great deal about where we've gone wrong managing pain in America and what can be done to change things. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is the book our head of state needed to read 2 or 3 years ago, when massive numbers of people were trying to find asylum from the bombing in Syria. It is timely and deeply meaningful.

Currently reading:

  • Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

The heroine of Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus is a girl who is just entering high school and has to deal with the challenges of making friends in a newer, larger school after one of her besties has moved to a different school. The complication: she is armless and doesn't know who to trust when people are friendly to her. Momentous Events is a follow-up book and I haven't read the first, unfortunately. While it mostly stands alone, there have been moments when I've felt lost, particularly when Aven (the heroine) refers to one of the many cast members without any context. I don't know, for example, who or what Spaghetti is, at nearly halfway through the book. A dog, maybe? She has a horse named Chili, but she also has a tarantula, so who knows what other kind of critter Spaghetti could be. Still, it's a fun read and I'm not letting a few little road bumps stop me.

I'm not far into Heart-Shaped Box but I hope to finish it before my next PT appointment. So far, so good. I think I'll stick to reading this one during the daylight hours, since it's about a haunted suit.

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Meh. Nothing to say. Hope my American friends have enjoyed the Labor Day holiday!

©2019 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.