Monday, January 30, 2023

New Books for February Reading -- MAILBOX MONDAY

 

MAILBOX MONDAY

Do you generally buy new or used books? The books that come my way, while "new to me," are not usually new copies. I almost always buy used books (I'm particularly fond of library shops). But the universe conspired to bring four new books to me last week.

  • The King's General by Daphne du Maurier I'm reading for a buddy read with some bookstagrammer friends. We've been reading a du Maurier book each month since November and The King's General is our February book. I needed a copy to start reading this past weekend so got this one when I was at Powell's last week. 
  • The Promise of a Normal Life by Rebecca Kaiser Gibson launches on February 7 and sounds so wonderful that I jumped at the offer of a review copy. It is a coming of age story about a young Jewish-American woman who encounters adventure and colorful characters as she crisscrosses the US and the ocean to Israel, eventually finding herself on her journey.
  • Thirst by K.L. Barron is another new book that sounded too good to pass up. I was happy to accept a review copy of this fascinating novel about a young woman living among the nomadic Tuareg people in Niger.
  • The Maid by Nita Prose seems incredibly popular right now, so I was excited that my book club picked it for our next read. But it is so popular that there is a four-month wait for the audiobook from my library and used copies are selling for the same as new ones. I hope it lives up to the hype. We've had a bad streak at book club of picking popular books no one in book club ended up liking. 


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

What books came into your house recently?

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house lately. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts. You can also find the hosts' favorites at posts titled Books that Caught Our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Emma of Words and Peace graciously host Mailbox Monday.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The King's General by Daphne de Maurier -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining me each week on Friday to share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading. Feel free to share instead from a book that caught your fancy or you feel like highlighting. Please hop around and visit the other participants!

MY BOOK BEGINNING

September, 1653. The last of summer. The first chill winds of autumn.

-- from The King's General by Daphne de Maurier. Each sentence was so short —  and not even a complete sentence — that I wanted to give more than one! I understand why authors like those sorts of staccato openings, using several short sentences or fragments like brushstrokes to paint a scene. But I admit my preference is for full, shaggy opening sentences full of actual story. 

In this case, I don't think I'll have to wait long to get to heart of this plot-driven historical fiction novel set on the Cornish coast during the English Revolution. I'm reading The King's General as part of an ongoing buddy read project on Instagram where a group of us are reading through several Daphne du Maurier books. 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your book beginning post in the Linky box below. Use the hashtag #bookbeginnings if you share on social media.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The King's General:
That Richard should ill use his wife because he could not trifle with her property was an ugly fact to face, but, having some inkling of his worse self, I guessed this to be true. He had married her without love, and in much bitterness of heart, and she, suspecting his motive, had taken care to disappoint him.
Well, that doesn't sound like a happy state of affairs!


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Saul Bellow Bibliography -- BOOK LIST

 


SAUL BELLOW

Saul Bellow (1915 to 2005) may have been born in Canada, but he was an American treasure. He won the Pulitzer Prize once and the National Book Award three times. In 1976, when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Nobel Committee described his work:
The structure is apparently loose-jointed, but for this very reason gives the author ample opportunity for descriptions of different societies; they have a rare vigour and stringency, and a swarm of colourful, clearly-defined characters against a background of carefully observed and depicted settings, whether it is the magnificent faรงades of Manhattan in front of the backyards of the slums and semi-slums, Chicago’s impenetrable jungle of unscrupulous businessmen intimately intertwined with efficient criminal gangs, or the more literal jungle in the depths of Africa, where the novel, Henderson the Rain King, the writer’s most imaginative expedition takes place. In a nutshell, they are all stories on the move, and, like the first book, are about a man with no foothold. But (and it is important to add this) a man who keeps on trying to find a foothold during his wanderings in our tottering world, one who can never relinquish his faith that the value of life depends on its dignity, not on its success, and that the truth must triumph at last, simply because it demands everything except – triumphs. That is the way of thinking in which Saul Bellow’s “anti-heroes” have their foundation and acquire their lasting stature.
Bellow is a real favorite of mine. Henderson the Rain King didn't do anything for me, but I think Hertzog and Humbolt's Gift are wonderful.

Here is a list of Bellow's books, from most recent to oldest, with notes about whether I've read it, it is on my TBR shelf, or if it is available from my library as an audiobook. 

There is Simply Too Much to Think About (2015) (essays and criticism) FINISHED

Saul Bellow: Letters, edited by Benjamin Taylor, (2010) (correspondence)

Collected Stories (2001) (short stories)

Ravelstein (2000) FINISHED

The Actual (1997) (novella) TBR SHELF

It All Adds Up: From the Dim Past to the Uncertain Future (1994) (essays) TBR SHELF

Something to Remember Me By: Three Tales (1991) (short stories) TBR SHELF

The Bellarosa Connection (1989)

A Theft (1989) (novella) TBR SHELF

More Die of Heartbreak (1987) TBR SHELF/AUDIOBOOK

Him with His Foot in His Mouth (1984) (short stories)

The Dean's December (1982) FINISHED

To Jerusalem and Back (1976) (memoir) TBR SHELF

Humboldt's Gift (1975) (Pulitzer winner; reviewed hereFINISHED

Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970) (National winner; reviewed hereFINISHED
 
Mosby's Memoirs (1968) (short stories)

The Last Analysis (1965) (play)

Herzog (1964) (National winnerFINISHED

Henderson the Rain King (1959) FINISHED

Seize the Day (1956) FINISHED

The Adventures of Augie March (1953) (National winner; reviewed hereFINISHED

The Victim (1947) FINISHED

Dangling Man (1944) FINISHED

NOTES

This is a redo of a list I first posted back in 2010.

I also have a biography of Bellow on my TBR shelf by Ruth Miller called Saul Bellow: A Biography of the Imagination. I have a lot of biographies of my favorite authors on my TBR shelves. I sledom read authors' biographies, thinking I want to read all, or more of their books before I read their biographies. This is silly. 




Thursday, January 19, 2023

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

What are you reading this week? Please share the opening sentence (or so) with us here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy or you want to highlight, even if you are not reading it at the moment. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

"Sent down for indecent behavior, eh?" said Paul Pennyfeather's guardian.

-- From Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh. This is Waugh's first novel, published in 1928, well before Brideshead Revisited. It is a satire of boarding school life in Britain between the wars. I just started it and it is very funny, more farce than satire so far, almost slapstick. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another weekly teaser event is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice where you can find details and add a link to your post. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book you are featuring. You can also find a teaser from 56% of the way through your ebook or audiobook.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Decline and Fall:

"Oh, sir," came a chorus of reproach, "you've hurt his feelings. He's very sensitive; it's his Welsh blood, you know: it makes people very emotional." 

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Sent down from Oxford after a wild, drunken party, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly surprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at a boys' private school in Wales. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, rascals and fools, including Prendy (plagued by doubts) and Captain Grimes, who is always in the soup (or just plain drunk). Then Sports Day arrives, and with it the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, floating on a scented breeze. As the farce unfolds in Evelyn Waugh's dazzling debut as a novelist, the young run riot and no one is safe, least of all Paul.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Lorrie's Deal by Buck Sawyer -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

How are you doing this second week of January? I'm still wildly swinging between new year energy and a lingering post-holiday slump. I feel like a vitality/lethargy yo-yo!

But I am back again to share from a book I want to highlight this week on Book Beginnings. Please share the first sentence (or so) from the book you are reading -- or just a book that caught your fancy. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

If you wrong the Mob, if you help the Feds take down a crime family, you become dead or go Gone. Thirty-nine years ago, I'd picked Gone.

-- Lorrie's Deal by Buck Sawyer. This new novel is about a mid-level gangster who narced on his boss and got witness protection in New Mexico. Decades later, he retired to Florida. That sounds like the set up for an Elmore Leonard book, so I hope this is as lively and fun. 

A lawyer buddy of mine in Boise sent me this book, which his friend wrote. I've worked with this lawyer for years, most intensely when we litigated 30 sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church. Those cases took ten years to finish, so I spent a lot of time in Boise with my buddy Andy Chasan. 

The author of this book, Buck Sawyer, lists Andy as one of his "test readers" with a sample of Andy's commentary: "Tears? That's a cheap out. Fine, don't listen to me but that's dumb." That makes me laugh because it sounds just like Andy. That's exactly how he talked to our clients. 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave a link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Lorrie's Deal:
“The Bureau has honored your wish for us to handle your relocation—”
“That wasn't a wish, that was a demand.”
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Lorenzo Mancuso is a guy with secrets. As a kid, his broken family spilled him onto the streets of Philadelphia. His childhood buddy brought him into the home of the family that ran the Family—the biggest crime Family in that city. He grew up and muscled for them on the streets, but, with his head for numbers, he ended up helping to run the business. Lorrie achieved his dream of being important, trusted and valued. Right up until he wasn’t. Lorrie worked for the Family but wasn’t actual family— and having the Family’s secrets marked him for death. Lorrie made a quick, strategic choice and stayed alive by taking his secrets to the FBI. The Mafia bosses went to prison, Lorrie got a one-way ticket to New Mexico and a new identity. The FBI kept him safe, hidden there for thirty years. Then, without their permission, he moved to an upscale retirement home in Florida. What’s a guy like Lorrie—with time on his hands and crime on his resume—do to keep himself entertained? What secret brought him to Florida? What happens when, for the very first time, other people become more important to him than himself?


Monday, January 9, 2023

Books for Christmas, Finally! MAILBOX MONDAY

 

MAILBOX MONDAY

Yes, the picture above is the stack of books I got for Christmas. I meant to do a Mailbox Monday post earlier, but I didn't get around to it until now. Holidays, work, and a sick cat intervened. Now the holidays are behind us, work is quiet this month, and Ella Cat is feeling a little better, so I have some time to catch up on the blog. 

  • War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy in a fancy Easton Press edition. I asked for this one so I would be well kitted out for the W&P readalong I'm doing on Bookstagram that started New Year’s Day.
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. This is the one new book I’ve had my eye on so I am very excited about getting a copy.
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky because Santa figured as long as he was dipping from that Easton Press well, it was easy enough to dip in twice. 
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham in a fancy Folio Society edition. I got one of these for my law partner for her baby gift and might have mentioned to Santa how much I would like one for myself. 
  • Churchill in Punch, edited by Gary L. Stiles, was a complete surprise and is super cool. It is a compilation of all of the more than 600 cartoons of Winston Churchill in Punch magazine from 1899 to 1988, with captions, attribution, and contextual commentary.

Do any of these catch your fancy?  What good books did you get or give for gifts this year? 

Other books have drifted into my house in the last few weeks. I haven't even processed them, but when I do, I will do another Mailbox Monday post. 


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

What books came into your house recently?

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house lately. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught Our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Emma of Words and Peace graciously host Mailbox Monday.


Saturday, January 7, 2023

My Top Ten Books of 2022 -- BOOK LIST

 

MY TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2022

I don’t usually choose my Top 10 reads of the year. That feels like asking me to chose my favorite cat. Or favorite grandchild. (Well, actually, I could do that. But don’t tell anyone!)

But I thought I'd try something new this year and give a go at making a list of my ten favorite books of the past year. I did not have all ten handy, having read a few with my ears and loaned a couple out. So instead, here you have a picture of my newly tidied up reading corner, now that I put away the Christmas decorations.

Here’s the list of my favorite ten books I read in 2022, in the order I read them. I don't think I could put them in order of preference -- that would be asking too much! See any of your own favorites here?

  • Katherine by Anya Seton, a classic of historical fiction. It was the first (full) book I read in 2022 and it stuck with me. 
  • The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, which I gave a couple people for gifts because I loved it so much. It is a charming novel about grown up siblings dealing with the fallout of the ne'er-do-well brother blowing their inheritance. 
  • The Word is Murder, the first in Anthony Horowitz’s Hawthorne Investigates series. I quickly gobbled up the other two and have the new, fourth book on hold at the library. 
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler was a reread for me but so good it sparked a Chandler binge.
  • The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger was a surprise I found hidden on my TBR shelf, a gift from a bookstagram buddy.
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith was excellent, simply excellent. I can't believe it took me so long to get to this clever, intricately-plotted story. 
  • Call it Sleep by Henry Roth is a forgotten classic I put off reading because I thought it would be boring. On the contrary! It is so, so good and will become a book I proselytize for.

The complete list of the 111 books I read in 2022 is here. You can find links to the my annual book lists under the tab at the top of the page called Reading by Year

What were your favorite books of 2022?



Friday, January 6, 2023

Kate Atkinson Bibliography -- BOOK LIST


KATE ATKINSON

I came to love Kate Atkinson (b. 1951) because of her Jackson Brodie mystery series, which I gobbled up and hope she continues writing. But I enjoy all of her books. She is a wide-ranging and talented English author, who has won many awards and honors for her work. For instance, she was awarded an MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. I look forward to reading all of her books and rereading the Brodie books.

Here is a list of Kate Atkinson's books, from most recent to oldest, with notes about whether I've read the book, it is on my TBR shelf, or it is available as an audiobook from my library.

Are you a Kate Atkinson fan? What are your favorites?

2022 Shrines of Gaiety AUDIOBOOK
2019 Big Sky (Jackson Brodie) FINISHED
2018 Transcription TBR SHELF
2015 A God in Ruins (Todd Family) FINISHED
2013 Life After Life (Todd Family) FINISHED
2010 Started Early, Took My Dog (Brodie) (reviewed hereFINISHED
2008 When Will There Be Good News? (Brodie) FINISHED
2006 One Good Turn (Brodie) FINISHED
2004 Case Histories (Brodie) FINISHED
2002 Not the End of the World (short stories) TBR SHELF
2000 Emotionally Weird TBR SHELF
2000 Abandonment (play) TBR SHELF
1997 Human Croquet TBR SHELF

NOTES

I hope to read Transcription this year (2023). It sounds like a terrific yarn about a former WWII espionage agent whose wartime spy work is coming back to haunt her in the Cold War years. 

The first Kate Atkinson book I read was Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which I read because I'm working my way through the winners of the Costa Book of the Year Award. But after that, I dove into the Jackson Brodie books, have tried to keep up with her new releases, and have never gone back to her earlier books. They all look very good, so I want to make an effort. Of course, I say that about so many of the authors whose books are languishing on my TBR shelves! 



Thursday, January 5, 2023

Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Every election cycle, I have the urge to reread P.J. O'Rourke's masterpiece of political satire, Parliament of Whores. Watching the news this week is no different! We lost a funny man, and equal-opportunity satirist, when O'Rourke died last year. R.I.P.

Thank you for joining me here for the first Book Beginnings on Fridays of 2023. Happy new year! Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week, or just a book you feel like highlighting. 

Do you have any reading plans or goals for the new year? If you feel like clearing some space on your TBR shelves, join me in the TBR 23 in '23 challenge! The idea is to read 23 books off your TBR shelves. You can choose the books ahead of time or as you go, or mix it up. Click here for the main challenge page to find more details or to sign up. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING
What is this oozing behemoth, this fibrous tumor, this monster of power and expense hatched from the simple human desire for civic order?
-- from Chapter 1, "The Mystery of Government," in Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government by P. J. O'Rourke. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below and use the #bookbeginnings hashtag if you share on social media. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Parliament of Whores:
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.
That quote isn't actually on page 56, at least not in my copy. But it's the most famous quote from the book, so I had to share it. 




Kingsley Amis Bibliography -- BOOK LIST


KINGLSEY AMIS

Kingsley Amis (1922 - 1995) was an English novelist, poet, and critic, known off the page for his hard drinking and philandering. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, short stories, radio and television scripts, and works of social and literary criticism. His son is the author Martin Amis. 

Amis is a favorite of mine because his novel, Lucky Jim, taught me (and thousands of others) that literature can be funny. Because of Amis, I learned to read "good books" for pleasure, not just because I should. He was fortunate to live in a time when the publishing industry tolerated popular authors writing anything they wanted, as long as they turned out a new book on a regular basis. Along with the comic novels of which he was the master, he turned his hand to mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history, poetry, biography, and essays.

Here is a list of Kingsley Amis's books, from most recent to oldest, with notes about whether I've read the book or it is on my TBR shelf. Some I can't find links to because they are so out of print. You can bet I'd like to get my hands on those! 

  • 1957 Socialism and the Intellectuals (a Fabian Society pamphlet)



Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The TBR 22 in '22 Challenge -- My Wrap Up Post

 


TBR 22 IN '22 CHALLENGE

My Wrap Up Post

COMPLETED

Sign up for the TBR 23 in '23 Challenge here!

The TBR 22 in '22 Challenge was simple -- read 22 books off your TBR shelf in 2022. You could pick them ahead of time, like I did, pick them as you went, or any combination you like. Or pick ahead of time and then switch! The only "rule" is that the 22 books had to be books you owned before January 1, 2022.

Here is the list of the 22 book I read for the challenge, in alphabetical order by author, not the order in which I read them:

  • Atlantic High by William F. Buckley, Jr., the second of his four sailing memoirs. I read the first one last year and planned to read them all but didn't get to them. 2022 will be the year I finally do. 
  • Windfall by William F. Buckley, Jr., the last one
  • Rat Race by Dick Francis, on my Classics Club list
  • The Wall by John Hersey, on my Classics Club list
  • The Masters by C. P. Snow is the fourth book in his Strangers and Brothers series, which I started years ago and want to finish. This one is on my Classics Club list because it won the James Tait Black Prize in 1954.

 



Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Book List: Books Read in 2021

 

BOOKS READ IN 2021

Every January, I try to remember to post a list of the books I read the prior year. Somehow, I completely forgot to post my list of 2021 books. I was really busy at work in early 2022, getting ready for a big trial that started in March. A lot of non-work stuff fell out of my brain. I didn't realize that my 2021 list was missing until I went to post my 2022 list. Oh well. Life happens. 

Here now, a year late, is the lit of the 134 books I read in 2021, in the order I read them. I usually read 100 - 110 books a year and have no idea how I read so many in 2021. You can find an explanation of my rating system below the list. 

  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctrow ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Ship of Fools by Katherine Ann Porter ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Reflex by Dick Francis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Shugie Bain by Stuart Douglas ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Whip Hand by Dick Francis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Lighthouse by P. D. James ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Old Filth by Jane Gardam ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Mystery Man by Colin Bateman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Dead Cert by Dick Francis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Last Friends by Jane Gardam ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Obasan by Joy Kogawa ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Faithful Place by Tana French ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Consequences by Penelope Lively ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Dead Bell by Reid Winslow (reviewed here) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Skios by Michael Frayn ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Twice Shy by Dick Francis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Labyrinth by Kate Mosse ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Darlings by Cristina Alger ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Choir by Joanna Trollope ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Uncommon Clay by Margaret Maron ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • A Changed Man by Francine Prose ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Split Images by Leonard Elmore ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Funerals are Fatal (aka After the Funeral) by Agatha Christie ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Past Tense by Lee Child ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • March Violets by Philip Kerr ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Dr. Yes by Colin Bateman ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • LaBrava by Elmore Leonard ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2


MY RATING SYSTEM

In 2020, I switched to using roses for my rating system, since this is Rose City Reader. My rating system is idiosyncratic and ever-changing. It is a mix of how a book subjectively appeals to me when I read it, its technical merits, and whether I would recommend it to other people. For example, I might rate a book highly if it's a social comedy set in a British country house because that kind of story checks all my boxes. On the other hand, I will probably rate a book on the low end if it lacks any humor, takes itself too seriously, or intolerantly espouses a point of view I disagree with ("intolerantly" is key in that sentence). 

With those general guidelines in mind:

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Five roses for books I loved, or would recommend to anyone, or I think are worthy of classic "must read" status." Examples would be Lucky Jim (personal favorite), A Gentleman in Moscow (universal recommendation), and Great Expectations (must read).

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Four roses for books I really enjoyed and/or would recommend to people who enjoy that type of book. So I give a lot of four roses because I might really like a book, but it isn't an all-time favorite. And while I'd recommend it to someone who likes that genre -- mystery, historical fiction, food writing, whatever -- I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who asked me for a "good book."

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Three roses for books I was lukewarm on or maybe was glad I read but wouldn't recommend. This is where my subjectivity really shows because I will often give a book three roses simply because it isn't a genre I like. I will read sci-fi books, for example, because they are on some Must read list I'm working on, then not enjoy them because I don't like sci-fi. So when I give a sci-fi book three roses, take it with a big grain of salt.  

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Two roses if I didn't like it. I like most of the book I read because I chose to read them and I read what I like. But I occasionally pick a clunker. And I often dislike the book my Book Club picks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐ŸŒน One rose if I really didn't like it. I don't know if I've ever rated a book this low. The Magus might be my only example and I read it before I started keeping my lists.

I use half roses if a book falls between categories. I can't explain what that half rose might mean, it's just a feeling.

Here is a link to the star rating system I used for years. I include it because the stars I used in years past meant something different than these roses, so if you look at my lists from past years, the ratings won't mean quite the same thing.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Book List: Books Read in 2022


BOOKS READ IN 2022

Every January, when I remember, I post a list here on the blog of the books I read the prior year. I keep track of the books I read on LibraryThing

Here's the list of the 111 books I read in 2022, in the order I read them.

Notes about my rating system are below the list.

  • Katherine by Anya Seton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Bostonians by Henry James ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Island of Gold by Amy Maroney ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris (reviewed here)๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Falls by Ian Rankin ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Little Big Man by Thomas Berger ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Rat Race by Dick Francis ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Trio by William Boyd ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Lucky by Marissa Staples ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Love is Blind by William Boyd ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Holy Orders by Benjamin Black ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • Blue Moon by Lee Child ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • The Counterlife by Philip Roth ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Mr. Majestyk by Elmore Leonard ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Masters by C. P. Snow ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • The Reservoir by David Duchovny (reviewed here) ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Murder at Hazelmoor (aka The Sittaford Mystery) by Agatha Christie ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Literary Life by Larry McMurtry ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2
  • The High Window by Raymond Chandler ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • The Black Cat by Martha Grimes ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Airframe by Michael Chrichton ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

  • The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน
  • Call it Sleep by Henry Roth ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน


MY RATING SYSTEM

I switched to using roses for my rating system, since this is Rose City Reader. My rating system is my own and evolving. Whatever five stars might mean on amazon, goodreads, or Netflix, a five-rose rating probably doesn't mean that here. My system is a mix of how a book subjectively appeals to me, its technical merits, and whether I would recommend it to other people.

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Five roses for books I loved, or would recommend to anyone, or I think are worthy of classic "must read" status." Examples would be Lucky Jim (personal favorite), A Gentleman in Moscow (universal recommendation), and Great Expectations (must read).

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Four roses for books I really enjoyed and/or would recommend to people who enjoy that type of book. So I give a lot of four roses because I might really like a book, but it didn't knock my socks off. And while I'd recommend it to someone who likes that genre -- mystery, historical fiction, food writing, whatever -- I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who asked me for a "good book.".

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Three roses for books I was lukewarm on or maybe was glad I read but wouldn't recommend.

๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน Two roses if I didn't like it. Lessons in Chemistry is an example, which proves how subjective my system is because lots of people loved that book. I found it cartoonish and intolerant. 

๐ŸŒน One rose if I really didn't like it. I don't know if I've ever rated a book this low. The Magus might be my only example and I read it before I started keeping my lists.

I use half roses if a book falls between categories. I can't explain what that half rose might mean, it's just a feeling.

Here is a link to the star rating system I used for years. I include it because the stars I used in years past meant something different than these roses, so if you look at my lists from past years, the ratings won't mean quite the same thing.






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