Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Quotes - Advice on Life

The Top Ten Tuesday this week is Book Quote Freebie (
Share your favorite book quotes that fit a theme of your choosing!) I have selected some of my favorite quotes offering advice about how to live (in no particular order).

  1. "If they give you lined paper, write the other way." --William Carlos Williams

  2. "Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." --Bernard Baruch

  3. “Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world, and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it.”― Jennifer Weiner

  4. There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” ― Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

  5. “The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

  6. There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave.” ― Whitney Otto, How to Make an American Quilt

  7. “Of course it's alright for librarians to smell of drink.” ― Barbara Pym, Less Than Angels

  8. “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

  9. “The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.” ― Douglas Adams, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide

  10. “Some people's blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.” ― Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Deadly Threads

Deadly Threads (Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery, #6)Deadly Threads 
by Jane K. Cleland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hadn't read a Josie Prescott mystery for quite a while and I had forgotten how good they are. There are 14 books in the series (so far) and this is #6 so I have quite a few left to enjoy. 

The crime in Deadly Threads was complicated enough to keep me guessing, but with a logical solution in the end; the characters are well drawn and grow through their experiences; and there was lots of interesting vintage fashion details. I also really enjoyed the details of the setting which is the NH seacoast. Part of this story centers on a restaurant in Portsmouth which is fictional, but bears a striking resemblance to the old Blue Mermaid, maybe with a little Black Trumpet mixed in. 

A new character was introduced into the series in this book: a cat named Hank who finds an important clue. I am counting this book toward the Cruisin' Through the Cozies challenge as my "animal related mystery." 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Shelf Control #6

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. 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 the introductory post, Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday.

Title: The Sweet Life: Reflections on Home and Garden
Author: Laura Stoddart

Published: 2001 in the US, 1999 in Great Britain
Length: 80 pages 

What it’s about (from GoodReads)"Laura Stoddart has a devoted following who love the humor and idiosyncrasy of her exquisite, tiny drawings. Now, in this prettiest and wittiest of anthologies, she puts drudgery in its place and elevates the charms of lolling about to new heights. What could be more pleasurable than puttering into the garden, trowel in hand? Perhaps puttering back out, with a cool drink in place of said trowel. Ms. Stoddart's droll little figures toil and tarry their way across page after page of ironic quotations and elegant verse. From Jane Austen to Benjamin Franklin, from Oscar Wilde to oft-quoted "Anonymous"--everyone has something to say about the pleasures of a well-kept house, the charms of an overgrown garden, and the surprisingly refreshing effect that five minutes spent on a patch of green grass can produce. This delightful primer on all things sweet is the perfect house gift--guaranteed to gain all indulgent souls direct entree to la dolce vita! "

How and when I got it: This was a library book sale find. I'm not sure from how long ago. 

Why I want to read it: It looks charming and might inspire me to do all the yardwork that I ought to be doing on these lovely spring days. Also, I love all the pictures of chairs that are included on the cover.

How it begins: "Go, little book, and wish to all, Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bookish Characters

This week's prompt for Top Ten Tuesday is "Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)" I have linked to my post (or Lisa's) for books that were blogged about.
  1. Ianthe Broome, the librarian in Barbara Pym's wonderful novel An Unsuitable Attachment.

  2. Daphne de Luce, who always has her nose in a book. Consequently she knows a lot of things. We first meet her (she is a secondary character) in Alan Bradley's Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

  3. Reine-Marie Gamache, librarian extraordinaire and the wife of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. We first meet them both in Still Life

  4. Cliff Janeway (introduced in Booked to Die by John Dunning) is a Denver homicide detective turned bookstore owner and even though I read these mysteries decades ago I have fond memories of him.

  5. Jo March (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) was the first bookish character I loved and is still a favorite. 

  6. Tricia Miles, the owner of a bookshop in Stoneham, NH who keeps getting herself mixed up in murder investigations. Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett is the first of her adventures.

  7. Karen Nash, the librarian/detective heroine of Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin.

  8. Thursday Next, literary detective, whom we first meet in The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

  9. Mary Russell, the main character in the Laurie King series that begins with The Beekeeper's Apprentice. She is a scholar, a voracious reader, and a skilled knife thrower; an unbeatable combo. I also like her name.

  10. Brooklyn Wainwright, the book expert and amateur detective featured in Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile Mystery series which begins with Homicide in Hardcover.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation

The #6degrees meme is hosted at Books are my Favourite and Best 

This month the chain begins with True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. I haven't read this novel, but I understand that it is a man writing his life story for his child. This is also the premise of one of my very favorite books so I will start with it: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Among the many things that main character John Ames tells his son about in this novel is the history of their family which included an abolitionist grandfather who fought in Kansas. That history is also the backdrop to the novel (2) Bleeding Kansas by Sara Paretsky. Also referencing that history as a backdrop (though less directly) is (3) Kansas Troubles by Earlene Fowler which is #3 in the Benni Harper mystery series. All the Benni Harper books have a quilt named in the title and some connection to quilting in the story. Another series of quilting mysteries begins with (4) Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks. I haven't read this one yet, but one of my quilter friends has been devouring these so it is on my TBR. A series that I have binged on is The Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini, which is quilt-related, but isn't mysteries. My favorite one in the series (so far) is (5) Circle of Quilters. The novel (6) How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto also features a circle of quilters. Otto's novel includes two of my favorite quotes:

“Why are old lovers able to become friends? Two reasons. They never truly loved each other, or they love each other still.” 
“There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave.”

Thursday, May 5, 2022

20 Books of Summer 2022

Once again  746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer challenge. Here's how it works: you make a list of 20 books you want to read between June 1 and Sept 1. You read the books. If you want to change out your list, or only read 10 that's OK.

Here is my list:

  1. 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown*
  2. Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton
  3. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin*
  4. Biography: Fiction, Fact and Form by Ira Nadel*
  5. Bloodline by Felix Francis*
  6. Burning Questions by Margaret Atwood
  7. Fluke by Christopher Moore*
  8. Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs*
  9. Jingo by Terry Pratchett
  10. Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert*
  11. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
  12. NPR's Podcast Startup Guide by Glen Weldon
  13. Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris
  14. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
  15. Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett
  16. Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs
  17. Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields
  18. Sticks & Scones by Diane Mott Davidson
  19. The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
  20. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The books marked with * I have on my shelves and the rest will come from the library.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

One Word Reviews

This week's prompt for Top Ten Tuesday is "One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read." I have linked to my post for books I blogged about.

  1. Goofy (Eric by Terry Pratchett)
  2. Brilliant!
    (Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel)
  3. Intertwined 
    (The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel)
  4. Breezy
    (Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker)
  5. Horrifying
    (Blizzard of Glass by Sally Walker)
  6. Wistful
    (Lust for Life by Irving Stone)
  7. Repetitive
    (Women Writers at Work by the Paris Review)
  8. Madcap
    (Murder Your Darlings by J J Murphy)
  9. Uneven
    (One Half of Robertson Davies)
  10. Riveting
    (The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin)

Monday, May 2, 2022

April Book Report

April 2022, Concord, NH
I finished 13 books last month.

A quote from this month's reading:

"But Dickens was not a cool customer. He was, in fact, a ripsnorting, raging, egotistical cad, and if he had not also been a supremely great writer he would have been intolerable." --Roberson Davies, "Phantasmagoria and Dream Grotto," in One Half of Robertson Davies

Here is my progress toward various goals and challenges:

 Here are the books I finished in April 2022: 
  1. Death in Cornwall by G. M. Malliett (4-stars)
  2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield  (audiobook, 5-stars)
  3. Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction by Neal Wyatt (4-stars)
  4. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (4-stars)
  5. The Art of Falling: A Novel by Danielle McLaughlin (3-stars)
  6. One Half of Robertson Davies by Robertson Davies (3-stars)
  7. Murder Your Darlings by J. J. Murphy (3-stars)
  8. Women Writers at Work by The Paris Review (3-stars)
  9. Lust for Life by Irving Stone (4-stars)
  10. Blizzard of Glass by Sally M. Walker (4-stars)
  11. Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker (audiobook, 3-stars)
  12. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel (4-stars)
  13. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (5-stars)
This was a good reading month: I finished a challenge; read two 5-star books, and got to wrap up the month with a whole day of reading

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of TranquilitySea of Tranquility 
by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I’ve been thinking a great deal about time and motion lately, about being a still point in the ceaseless rush.”
I hesitated to start this novel because I thought it might be too science-fictiony for me. I should not have doubted Mandel. Once again she has crafted a thoughtful story full of interesting people struggling to figure out their interconnected worlds. There are characters in this book that we met in The Glass Hotel . I love it when authors do that. This is a story about (among other things) global pandemic and I felt like it was handled very well in the context of the larger story.
I thought this was such a true observation:
"My point is, there’s always something. I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millennia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world.”
This book counts toward the Canadian Reading Challenge because the author is from Canada and parts of the book are set in Canada.  
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