The Monday Check-In ~ 8/10/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

I’m not sure why, but I feel like I’ve barely read this past week. I’ve been working a lot, and in my off time, I just haven’t relaxed enough to really sink into my books, I guess. Sigh.

What did I read during the last week?

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett: I’m reading Discworld! This is the first book in the series, and while it didn’t blow me away, I liked it enough to look forward to continuing onward. My thoughts are here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished Schitts Creek! After binge-watching five seasons, I’m so in love with these characters. At least I can look forward to the 6th and final season, coming to Netflix in October. But meanwhile, what am I supposed to do now???

In other pop culture experiences, my son and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies for the past two weeks, sometimes just an hour at a time, sometimes the full movie and more in one sitting. This week, we wrapped up, and I’m left feeling bereft! I don’t think I’ve ever watched them all in a row like this before. It’s pretty amazing to see how the “kids” and the movies themselves grew and changed over time. I’m so sad to leave the HP world behind for now… until I next get the urge to watch them all again.

Other than that, I’m still watching Supernatural. Slowly. I’m still on season 1! I’m not hooked yet, which is why I’m only watching one episode at a time, once or twice a week. At this rate, it’ll take me years to catch up.

Puzzle of the week:

This one was tough! A lot of wood, a lot of shadows and reflections. But so satisfying when I finally finished.

Fresh Catch:

Oh yes I did! This week’s new book…

This will probably be my next read…

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher: Aaaaack. I’ve been reading this all week… but making such slow progress. And it’s not that I’m not enjoying it — my concentration levels just seem to be off this week, so I haven’t been able to settle in and just enjoy. Hoping to finish in the next day or so.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire: I’ve also barely had time for audiobooks this week, so I’ve barely made a dent on this book (which I love). I’m going to set an intention for myself to get out for walks at least every other day this week, which will (a) be healthy and (b) give me more time to listen!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 9, “The Gathering”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! I’m so tempted to just give this one up. I’m behind my book group read by about 5 chapters now — but the group is almost done with part I and then taking a break, so I’m going to try to force myself to at least finish this part. We’ll see if I actually return for part II.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #228: Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Enemy Women
Author: Paulette Jiles
Published: 2002
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee.

The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison. But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

Now an escaped “enemy woman,” Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise…seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory. 

How and when I got it:

I picked up a copy at a library sale a few years ago.

Why I want to read it:

After reading News of the World last week and absolutely loving it, I was surprised and happy to realize that I had another book by Paulette Jiles already on my shelves! Isn’t it strange when that happens? I’d completely forgotten that I owned this one.

The writing in News of the World was so gorgeous, and it made me very interested in reading more of her work. From what I understand, there’s some cross-over between that book and Enemy Women, with a character from News of the World appearing here as well (I think).

I have my eye on at least one of Paulette Jiles’s other backlist books too, as well as her newest release (Simon the Fiddler). I love finding a new-to-me author whose writing just sings to me!

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!



__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 8/3/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

This week’s theme was driving, apparently. My son has his learner’s permit, and practically begs me to take him driving every few hours. Plus, I’m tentatively looking for a new car, and actually did a (weirdly social distanced) test drive this week. No decisions yet… I’m very half-hearted about the whole idea.

What did I read during the last week?

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss: Terrific wrap-up to a clever, fun trilogy. My review is here.

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland: Fascinating, moving historical fiction. My review is here.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles: A short, beautiful audiobook. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m halfway through the 5th season of Schitts Creek, and I love it so, so much. Congrats to the show and cast for all its well-deserved Emmy nominations.

And if you’re a fan, you must check out this amazing thread comparing Dan Levy to cake. Seriously, it’s just the best thing on the internet right now.

Puzzle of the week:

A fun one this week! Not particularly difficult, but I liked sorting through all the colors and patterns.

Fresh Catch:

Some of my book group friends competed in (and won!) a trivia contest, and the prize was copies of this book for all of us, and the organizer was kind enough to send me one! We’re going to read this as a group early in 2021, but I may need to read it on my own sooner. Sounds terrific!

And, I won a Goodreads giveaway! The book arrived this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Peace Talks (Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher: A friend was kind enough to drop off her hardcover edition of Peace Talks for me to read (and we were able to have a lovely masked driveway visit, so that was awesome). I’m excited to read this… especially since my library hold is probably still months away from getting to me. Now, to remember what’s happened so far in the series…

Discworld!

I started my Discworld challenge on August 1st, just like I said I would. Go, me! First up is the very first book in the series, The Colour of Magic. I’ve only read the prologues so far, but hey, I’m doing it!

Now playing via audiobook:

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire: There’s a new October Daye book coming out in September, so you know what that means? It’s time to treat myself to an audio re-read of the previous book in the series! I love these books so much, and the audio versions are just so much fun to listen to.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 8, “An Evening’s Entertainment”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! I didn’t manage to read both chapters on the schedule this week, so I’d better get hopping. Don’t want to fall behind again!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #227: Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Lilith’s Brood
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Published: 2000 (individual works originally published 1987 – 1989)
Length: 752 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The acclaimed trilogy that comprises Lilith’s Brood is Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best.

Presented for the first time in one volume with an introduction by Joan Slonczewski, Ph.D., Lilith’s Brood is a profoundly evocative, sensual — and disturbing — epic of human transformation.

Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children. This is their story…

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy several years ago — don’t remember when or where.

Why I want to read it:

I consider myself an Octavia Butler fan, but I’ve actually missed out on her two acclaimed science fiction series — Xenogenesis, compiled here in Lilith’s Brood, and the Patternist series, available in a compilation called Seed to Harvest. I’ve been wanting to read this volume for years now, probably ever since reading Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, both of which blew me away.

Lilith’s Brood includes three novels: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. Maybe I’ll start with Dawn this year, and then space out my reading of the remaining works next year.

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/27/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Back to the grind! It was hard to get back into the rhythm of working every day after a few days off the previous week. Since I stayed home for those days off, I’m still dying for a real getaway, someplace hot and sunny… where we can social distance and avoid contact with non-family members. I have no idea where yet, but I’m going to work on it!

What did I read during the last week?

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald: Beautiful. My review is here.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris: A gorgeous selkie story. My review is here.

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher: This was my audiobook listen for the past week — a really clever and engaging fairy tale. Definitely recommended!

Pop culture & TV:

Lots more Schitt’s Creek! I’m on season 4 now. Loving it!

Puzzle of the week:

Ah, an image of my dream location!

Fresh Catch:

I bought one Kindle book this week that my husband requested, but that’s it!

I’ll probably start this one during the coming week, once I finish my current read.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss: The 3rd and final book in the Athena Club trilogy. So much fun! I’m almost done, and will share thoughts on this book and the trilogy as a whole in the next few days.

Now playing via audiobook:

News of the World by Paulette Jiles: This has been on my to-read shelf for a few years now. I’ve only just started, but so far I’m liking this Western.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 7, “Davie Beaton’s Closet”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! Plugging away, two chapters per week. I can’t say that I’m deeply enthralled or anything, but I’m glad to be keeping up with the group read.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #226: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Remarkable Creatures
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Published: 2009
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.

Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.

The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and jealousy. 

How and when I got it:

I had my eye on this book as soon as it was released, and bought myself a used copy in 2010.

Why I want to read it:

It just sounds so interesting! I love reading about women going outside the norm for their time periods. What could be more unusual than female fossil hunters in the early 1800s? Mary Anning is a historical figure, and I’m so interested in learning more about her experiences.

I do need to admit that I’ve been especially interested in this book ever since reading Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel — a hidden gem of a book that’s a mash-up of Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice, and is wonderful in so many ways. In this book, Mary Bennet encounters Mary Anning and becomes involved in fossil hunting as well (and it’s amazing!).

I’ve only read one book by Tracy Chevalier (The Girl With the Pearl Earring), but so many of her titles look fascinating.

What do you think? Would you read this book? Are there other books by this author that you’d recommend?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/20/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

I took a few days off work — my first days off since March! Not that we went anywhere, but it was good to have days to relax and not be on video calls all day long! My husband and I went for a walk in the redwoods at Muir Woods, and then my son and I spent a few hours at the (newly reopened) zoo. It was a little weird to be out and about, although crowd control and social distancing seemed mostly effective. Except for the few groups of people we passed who weren’t wearing masks. Grrrrrr.

My son got his learner’s permit this week, so we’ve been going out for practice drives A LOT. He’s doing pretty well! I guess all those years of non-stop video games have really paid off in terms of hand-eye coordination!

What did I read during the last week?

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Just wonderful. My review is here.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center: It was okay, but I didn’t love it as much as her previous book. My review is here.

Agent 355 by Marie Benedict: A free selection from Audible that ended up being a terrific choice. My review is here.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon: Read but didn’t end up reviewing. Enjoyable YA with fake dating as the central plot element. It was fun, but didn’t rock my world. (Of course, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.)

Pop culture & TV:

A friend convinced me to give Schitt’s Creek a try… and I should know by now that she doesn’t steer me wrong! I’ve watched one season (of five) so far, and I’m loving it. Super funny, and I also love the fact that each episode is only about 25 minutes. Should be able to zip right through!

Aaaaand… I decided to finally give Supernatural another chance! I remember I watched the very first episode when the show premiered in 2005, and then never went back for more. I’m taking a slow but steady approach, watching one episode every few days. Considering there are 14 (?) seasons, this could take a while!

Puzzle of the week:

This one was hard, but so much fun!

Fresh Catch:

Hurray for the new Lady Astronaut book!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald: My book group’s book for July! Really good so far.

Now playing via audiobook:

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher: This is such a fun fairy tale! I’m loving it — should finish up in the next day or two.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 6, “Colum’s Hall”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! Plugging away, two chapters per week.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #225: Dogsong by Gary Paulsen

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Dogsong
Author: Gary Paulsen
Published: 1985
Length: 162 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

“In the Old Days There Were Songs”

Something is bothering Russel Susskit. He hates waking up to the sound of his father’s coughing, the smell of diesel oil, the noise of snow machines starting up.

Only Oogruk, the shaman who owns the last team of dogs in the village, understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. But Oogruk cannot give Russel the answers he seeks; the old man can only prepare him for what he must do alone. Driven by a strange, powerful dream of a long-ago self and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever. 

How and when I got it:

My daughter bought a copy for my son about 5 or 6 years ago. (He never ended up reading it, but I still want to!)

Why I want to read it:

My first experience with Gary Paulsen was only about a year ago, when I read Hatchet as part of a challenge to read books from PBS’s The Great American Read list. I really enjoyed Hatchet — after all, I’m always a sucker for a good survival story!

Dogsong sounds like another good choice for me. I mean, right off the bat, it’s set in Alaska, which is always a plus. I enjoy coming of age stories, and I like the sound of the boy in the story setting out to learn more about himself and about his elders.

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 7/13/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

A quiet week, mostly — but hey, the sun was shining and I was able to get outside and enjoy it!

What did I read during the last week?

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss: Such a fun book! My review is here.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski: I love the audiobook narration for the Witcher series. My review is here.

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Oh my gods. The most adorable thing ever! Review to follow.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally finished my binge of Jane the Virgin — so naturally, I had to write about it. If you’re looking for a perfect binge show, definitely check it out!

Meanwhile, my son decided that we should watch ALL the Harry Potter movies again. So far, we’ve just watched one… good times.

Puzzle of the week:

I’m still limiting myself to one puzzle per week. Here’s the latest:

This was fun! It’s all children’s book covers. It felt a little too easy when I started it, so to make it a challenge, I did the puzzle without referring to the picture on the box. I had a good time figuring out just how many beloved books were included.

Fresh Catch:

No new physical books this week, although I never can resist a good Kindle price break, so I ended up with a few new titles for my e-library:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

What You Wish For by Katherine Center: I’ve enjoyed this author’s previous books so much. I’m excited to be starting her newest!

Now playing via audiobook:

Agent 355 by Marie Benedict: My new listen is an Audible original, and it’s good so far! It’s just over 2 hours, so I’ll finish up quickly.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club’s re-read of Outlander is underway. We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 5, “The Mackenzie”. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, so just ask me how.

Onward with Don Quixote! It feels really good to be caught up with the rest of my book group on this one.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #224: Journey by James Michener

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.png

Title: Journey
Author: James A. Michener
Published: 1988
Length: 366 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

One of the premier novelists of the twentieth century, James A. Michener captures a frenzied time when sane men and women risked their very lives in a forbidding Arctic land to win a dazzling and elusive prize: Yukon gold. In 1897, gold fever sweeps the world. The promise of untold riches lures thousands of dreamers from all walks of life on a perilous trek toward fortune, failure—or death. Journey is an immersive account of the adventures of four English aristocrats and their Irish servant as they haul across cruel Canadian terrain toward the Klondike gold fields. Vivid and sweeping, featuring Michener’s probing insights into the follies and grandeur of the human spirit, thisis the kind of novel only he could write.

How and when I got it:

Here’s my super-battered paperback copy:

I bought it at a used book store ages ago — probably 10 years, at least!

Why I want to read it:

Michener books are essential travel prep for me — I read his Alaska before my first trip to Alaska, and I can’t even express how much richer my experience was because of this.

Journey focuses on the Klondike gold rush, which does come up in Alaska as well, and I’ve always wanted to read more about it. Plus, Michener just knows how to spin a great tale, and thankfully, this book is much shorter than some of the hefty novels of his that I’ve read.!

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!