Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Beginning: Out of Africa



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen). Can't you just hear Meryl Streep!




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Book Beginning: Reading Lolita in Tehran



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



In the fall of 1995, after resigning from my last academic post. I decided to indulge myself and fulfill a dream. I chose seven of my best and most committed students and invited them to come to my home every Thursday morning to discuss literature.

-- Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. This has been on my TBR shelf for too long!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child



When Julia first appeared on television, as the insatiable 1960s unfolded, the marriage of fun and food were light-years apart. Most households remained devoted to Jell-O molds, frozen vegetables, and tuna-noodle casseroles.

-- Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. I'm just wrapping up this fun and fresh biography of America's favorite queen of the kitchen. Spitz writes like people really talk, which sometimes feels overly casual (for example, he describes Julia's father as "hard-ass" instead of "authoritarian" like you would expect), but did make me feel like I really knew Julia Child.

Dearie is comprehensive, so makes a good overall biography to go along with Child's own My Life in France and the quirkier Julie & Julia (book and movie).



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Iris Murdoch!


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

Thanks to a swing through Powell's, I have a new stack of Iris Murdoch books:



A Severed Head



A Word Child



Bruno's Dream



An Accidental Man



Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues



Something Special

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Beginning: Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



"Now, dearie, I will require a hot plate for my appearance on Professor Duhamel's program."

-- Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. This comprehensive biography moves along at a fast clip. Even the "main" parts that were covered in My Life in France and Julie & Julia (book and movie) seem fresh and new. I love it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Read in 2015


This is the list of the 92 books I read in 2015, in the order that I read them. Normally I read 100 to 110 books every year, so I was low in 2015. Partly this was because I read more chunksters last year than I usually do. But mostly I didn't get through as many books because I was crazy busy with a big sex abuse case.

I rate books 1 to 5, but only give five stars to a very few all-time favorites. Four stars go to books I think are really good and would recommend to anyone. I rate a book a 3 if I liked it personally, but wouldn't think of recommending it. Most books get 3.5, which means that I liked it and would recommend it to people who like that genre or type of book. See this post for details.

The White Feather by P. G. Wodehouse (2.5/5)

For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance, edited by Victoria Zackheim (3.5/5)

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (4.5/5)

Felicia’s Journey by William Trevor (4/5)

Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler (reviewed here; my interview of Susan Winkler; 4/5)

Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley (3/5)

A Question of Belief by Donna Leon (3/5)

Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard (reviewed here; 3.5/5)

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (3.5/5)

Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley (3.5/5)

Oscar Wilde: A Certain Genius by Barbara Belford (3/5)

The Stories by Vladimir Nabokov (5/5)

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (3.5/5)

Skios by Michael Frayn (4/5)

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (3/5)

Difficulties with Girls by Kingsley Amis (3.5/5)

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (4/5)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (4/5)

The New York Stories by Elizabeth Hardwick (3/5)

The Bat by Jo Nesbo (3.5/5)

The Dinner by Herman Koch (4/5)

Oh, Play that Thing by Roddy Doyle (3/5)

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (3.5/5)

The Lyre of Orpheus by Robertson Davies (4.5/5)

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (4/5)

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellows (4.5/5)

Not George Washington by P. G. Wodehouse (3/5)

The Whole World Over by Julia Glass (3.5/5)

Night Fall by Nelson DeMille (3.5/5)

The Sweet Dove Dies by Barbara Pym (3/5)

Nice Work by David Lodge (4/5)

The Humans by Matt Haig (4/5)

The Untouchable by John Banville (3.5/5)

The Small Bachelor by P. G. Wodehouse (3.5/5)

The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman (3.5/5)

Personal by Lee Child (3.5/5)

Southern Ladies and Gentlemen by Florence King (3.5/5)

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (3/5)

The Clicking of Cuthbert by P.G. Wodehouse (3.5/5)

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker (3/5)

Painting as a Pastime by Winston Churchill (3.5/5)

Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month is Enchanted by Annie Hawes (3.5/5)

The Swoop! Or How Clarence Saved England: A Tale of the Great Invasion by P.G. Woodhouse (3.5/5)

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro (4/5)

The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken (3.5/5)

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (3.5/5)

On Writing Well by William Zinsser (4/5)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Pulitzer winner; 3/5)

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (4/5)

Wickford Point by John P. Marquand (3/5)

Comeback by Dick Francis (3.5/5)

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Booker winner; 4/5)

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman (2.5/5)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (3/5)

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (3.5/5)

The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn (3/5)

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (3/5)

The Butchers Boy by Thomas Perry (Edgar Award winner; 3.5/5)

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr (3/5)

The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie (3.5/5)

The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block (3/5)

Cat Chaser by Elmore Leonard (3.5/5)

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie (3.5/5)

Olivay by Deborah Reed (4/5)

Fling and Other Stories by John Hersey (3.5/5)

The Charm School by Nelson DeMille (4/5)

Promised Land by Robert B. Parker (3.5/5)

The Second Coming by Walker Percy (2.5/5)

A Bromfield Galaxy by Louis Bromfield:
A Writer’s House in Wales by Jan Morris (3.5/5)

In the Frame by Dick Francis (3.5/5)

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious (3.5/5)

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth (4.5/5)

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (4/5)

The Spire by William Golding (3/5)

Big Money by P. G. Woodhouse (3.5/5)

Getting It Right by William F. Buckley, Jr. (3.5/5)

Let Me Be Frank with You by Richard Ford (3.5/5)

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (3.5/5)

Still Midnight by Denise Mina (3.5/5)

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (3.5/5)

Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens (Pulitzer winner; 3/5)

A Thousand Bells at Noon : A Roman's Guide to the Secret & Pleasures of his Native City by G. Franco Romagnoli (3.5/5)

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (3/5)

The Moving Target by Ross Macdonald (3.5/5)

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (4.5/5)

The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle (3/5)

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton (3.5/5)

Silent Joe by Jefferson Parker (Edgar Award winner; 3.5/5)

Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie (3.5/5)

The Collected Stories by Dorothy Parker (3.5/5)

Bonjour Tristesse Fran├žoise Sagan (3/5)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mailbox Monday


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

Thanks to a stop at Booktique in Lake Oswego, one of my favorite library friends' stores, I got a stack of mystery books last week:



The Crocodile Bird by Ruth Rendell. This is a stand-alone. I've only just started her Inspector Wexford series.



The Hand That Trembles by Kjell Eriksson. I want to read more "Nordic Noir" mysteries since I've watched so many on Netflix.



Missing Joseph by Elizabeth George. I've only read the first Inspector Lynley book, but I have a lot of them on my TBR shelf now, so want to get going.



With No One As Witness by Elizabeth George



Careless in Red by Elizabeth George



The Theban Mysteries by Amanda Cross. I've read the first two of her Kate Fansler mysteries. I start a lot of series, then collect the books. I need to read more!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Challenge: The Vintage Mystery Challenge (Silver)







One of my all-time favorite challenges is the Vintage Mystery Challenge hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block. This year, Bev switched from her recent BINGO theme, which I enjoyed but wasn't good at, to a Scavenge Hunt theme that looks like a ton of fun.

I did the Golden version of this challenge for the first few years, reading mysteries published before 1960. That's how I first branched out from Agatha Christie and Rex Stout to Nagio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers, and other Golden Agers new-to-me.

Last year I really enjoyed the Silver version, reading mysteries published between 1960 and 1989. Instead of the kitschy, vintage charm of the Golden Oldies, the Silver Age mysteries really push my cultural reference buttons because those were my growing up decades. I wasn't reading Dick Francis novels or Robert Parker's Spencer series when I was in elementary school, but the current events, music, cars, clothes, and attitudes in these books was all around me as a kid.

The Scavenger Hunt involves finding as many items on the list below in the covers of the books read. You can only count one item per book cover. You complete the challenge by "finding" six items on the list, at which point you are entered in Bev's drawing for a prize (if you complete your wrap up post). If you find 12 items on the list, you get entered in a second drawing for a second prize. Bev will also award a Grand Prize for the person who finds the most items.


BOOKS FINISHED


A New Lease of Death by Ruth Rendell (1967; Inspector Wexford #2; Just One Person)


Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George (1989; Inspector Lynley #2; Bloodstains)


Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters (1961; Inspector Felse #2; Edgar Award Winner; A Blonde)


Billingsgate Shoal by Rick Boyer ((1982; Doc Adams #1; Edgar Award Winner; a boat, although it's hard to see)


Don't Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli (1972; Mortdecai Trilogy #1; a bottle for drinking)


After You with the Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli (1979; Mortdecai Trilogy #2; a hand holding a weapon)


Something Nasty in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli (1976; Mortdecai Trilogy #3; the moon)


Missing Person by Patrick Modiano (1978; Nobel Laureate; shadowy figure)


Devices & Desires by P. D. James (1989; Adam Dalgliesh #8; a knife)








Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Beginning: Earthly Powers



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.

Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess. BEST OPENING SENTENCE EVER.

Sorry, I thought that deserved all caps. I've only read A Clockwork Orange, with mixed feelings, so I've let this one sit on my TBR shelf for too long. It is fantastic!

The narrator is a fairly famous, now old, English author asked to help canonize his former brother-in-law, the recently deceased Pope. Having early on broken -- reluctantly -- with the Church over his homosexuality, the request sends him into a reverie of his decades-long relationship with the priest who became the Pope who now may become a saint, as well as the state of his own soul.

I'm only 100 or so pages in with 500 to go, so I don't know what awaits, but I love it so far.

Since this is set, at least in the beginning, in Malta, it counts as my first book in the 2016 European Reading Challenge. There is still plenty of time to sign up! Click the link or the button below.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Challenge: Back to the Classics Challenge


The Back to the Classics Challenge is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. I'm signing up for 2016, even though I didn't do so well when I tried this one in 2012.

This time I am only shooting for six books, with a stretch goal of nine. My problem isn't with reading "classics" because I read a lot of books published before 1966 that would qualify. Where I come up short is fitting the books I read to the categories. I read a lot of books by women and a lot of classic detective novels. But I don't read many translations or short story collections and I rarely re-read a book. I'll try.

CATEGORIES

1. A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2. A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

5. A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

6. An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction. Children's classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.

7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children's classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.

8. A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.

MY BOOK POSSIBILITIES AND THEIR CATEGORIES

Out of Africa by Isak Dineson (FINISHED; woman author)

Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley (FINISHED; science fiction)

Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols (FINISHED; place name)

Orlando by Virginia Woolf (FINISHED; adventure - well, egghead adventure)

Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters (FINISHED; detective)

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (FINISHED; translation)

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope (FINISHED; 19th Century)

Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark (FINISHED; 20th Century)

The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy (FINISHED; short stories)


NOTE: Updated November 23, 2016.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Lightening Round



She wondered again why she tolerated and actually paid money to be part of this perverse and artificial world. Then, she looked in the mirror and she realized why.

-- The Lighening Round by Bruce Stewart. This romantic comedy brings love to the gym, but can romance blossom between lovers at different levels of the ultimate fitness challenge?


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.





Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Challenge: My Wrap Up Post for the European Reading Challenge: COMPLETED!


TO POST YOUR 2015 WRAP UP, GO HERE

TO POST A 2015 REVIEW, GO HERE

TO SIGN UP FOR THE 2016 EUROPEAN READING CHALLENGE, GO HERE


This is my wrap-up post for the 2015 European Reading Challenge. 

BOOKS I READ

The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle (France)

A Thousand Bells at Noon: A Roman's Guide to the Secrets and Pleasures of His Native City by Franco G. Romagnoli (Italy)

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (United Kingdom)

The Charm School by Nelson DeMille (Russia)

The Dinner by Herman Koch (Holland)

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (Germany)

The Bat by Jo Nesbo (Norway)

Skios by Michael Frayn (Greece)

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