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2/25 - 2/28 what are you reading to finish up the month?

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The Trespasser ( ) is the latest in Tana French's excellent "Dublin Murder Squad" series, and I was tickled to find it at a new LFL in Cambridge while on my way to yesterday's meetup.

Arctic Sun on My Path ( ) was among the mini-book-buffet offerings at the meetup - and was rescued from the side of the road by BCer haahaahaa98.

Am also enjoying the audiobook The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch, despite the fact that the main character's a narcissistic boob and, inexplicably, most of the other characters seem to fall for him despite all logic {wry grin}.
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Some of Brillat-Savarin’s notions were…odd, to say the least, seeming to have much to do with contemporary wrong-headed ideas about human facial features rather than the inner workings of the human body.


100: It is easy enough to designate the causes of obesity, according to the preceding observations, which anyone can verify for himself.

The first is the natural temperament of the individual, almost all men are born with certain predispositions which influence their physiognomy. Out of a hundred people who die from an illness of the chest, ninety have dark brown hair, long faces, and noses that come to a point. Out of a hundred fat people, ninety have short faces, round eyes, and snub noses.

End of excerpt.

Other ruminations were so obvious; you wonder why he would feel the need to write about them.


101: A double cause of obesity results from too much sleep combined with too little exercise.

102: The final cause of obesity is excess, whether in eating or drinking.

End of excerpt.
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I seem to be taking a break from my nonfiction, not in theory, but certainly in practice: The World of Samuel Pepys by Robert and Linnet Latham, extracts from the famous diary grouped together by topic rather than chronologically, interesting but I can't read more than a few pages a day, and haven't picked it up at all for a couple of days, unfortunately!

I read the prologue to my carrying around book a couple of days ago, The Heart of the Garden by Victoria Connelly, the latest novel by an author I always enjoy, but I haven't done any out of the house reading since, so my Kindle still opens at the first chapter, maybe tomorrow . . . .

My paperback at-home novel is quite intense, Featherstone by Kirsty Gunn, rather limited in time and place, what action there is is within one small town over a weekend, I'm about half-way through and still don't really know what's going on, the language is flowing and poetic and not a lot is happening!
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In 1849 a teenage Chinese girl and a runaway teen slave girl disguise themselves as boys and travel to California from Missouri.
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and will save it to release for the April Ultimate Challenge whose theme is numbers and math.
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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Not registered yet. Reviews are 50/50. So far I’m enjoying except for all of the food used to describe people. It gets excessive. And the cover is beautiful!

Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Tim Leong
It’s just as it says: it’s a book full of graphics for A New Hope through The Force Awakens, including the Rebels and Clone Wars TV shows.

Happily Ever After edited by John Klima
A collection of fairytale retellings by some well-known authors. The Introduction is great! I also recently finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The story she submitted occurs in the same alternative history world but with a different cast of characters. This one will be a book read throughout the year.
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I thought I had read all of her Britt Montero series, but this doesn't seem familiar. I'm enjoying it so far.

(Maybe I have read it years ago but that's the advantage of a bad memory, you can enjoy a book all over again.)

I'll likely release it for the 4 Elements Challenge.
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1. Sweet Revenge by Donna Davidson Mott -- Goldy is a caterer who gets involved in solving mysteries. I am 1/4 done and this is one of the better books by this author

2. The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick -- just beginning this short book so I don't have much to say

3. Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford -- listening to in the car; an intern at the white house (just 19 years old) who had an affair with President Kennedy. We need to remember at this time the legal age was 21, so wow. Wonder why the press didn't pick up on this when he was in office? Maybe because they loved Kennedy?
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Finished The Shawl. Really enjoyed this short book.

Began 52 Little Lessons From Les Miserables by Bob Welch
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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen - Set in North Carolina in Autumn. The women in the Waverly family each have a magical gift each one's is different than the others.

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles - bouncing back and forth to current day and 1960's civil rights era Mississippi. I've already learned one thing - don't go to the swamp. It never ends well.
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a long awaited book ray that I signed up for years ago, because it was set in the Solomon Islands & good for the 666 challenge.
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I'm reading "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman, his now-classic children's story.

Good so far.

Also, an anthology around the theme of aging women, "When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple."

I'm not all that far in, but it starts out with Jenny Joseph's famous poem, "Warning," whose first line is also the title of the anthology. So it begins with a bang! I expect a mixed bag as with most anthologies, but I am enjoying it so far.
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I've been reading it for awhile now and am just half way through. It is slow moving and sad. A Japanese fisherman on the San Juan Islands north of Puget Sound is on trial for murder of a Norwegian fisherman. This brings up many of the bitter memories from the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the move of the Japanese Americans to internment camps. It also shows the bitterness of wartime and how young men change through their war experiences.
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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan, which I'm enjoying. An unusal tale.

On my Kindle app, The Girl in the Photograph, by Kirsty Ferry, which I'm struggling through as it's not doing a good job of keeping my attention. If I hadn't gotten it from NetGalley I probably would've already bailed on it.

I'm also reading Cinematic Century: An Intimate Diary of America's Affair With the Movies, by Harry Haun. Each page represents a day of the year, and has anecdotes about things that happened on that date at various times throughout movie history. So every day I read the corresponding page, which means I won't finish the book until December 31st!
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Brillat-Savarin examined the rising of the restaurant, a place away from the home where people could congregate to eat meals.


139: The encouragement of this new profession, which spread from France all over Europe, is extremely advantageous to everyone, and of great scientific importance.

(1) Thanks to it, any man can dine at the hour most convenient to him, according to the surroundings in which either his business or his pleasures have placed him.

(2) He is sure of not spending more than the sum which he has decided upon, since he knows beforehand the price of each dish to be served to him.

(3) Once he has fixed the limit of his expenses, he can, according to his tastes, choose a meal solid, light, or dainty. He can bathe it in the best French and foreign wines, spice it with coffee, and perfume it with the liqueurs of the Old World and the New, and without other limits than the vigor of his appetite and the capacity of his stomach. A restaurant is Paradise indeed to any gourmand.

(4) It is, moreover, an extremely useful thing for travelers, for strangers, for those whose families are temporarily in the country, and for all those, in a word, who do not have their own kitchens or are for the time being deprived of them.

Before the period we have already mentioned (1770), rich and powerful people were almost the only ones who enjoyed two great advantages: they could travel quickly, and they were always well fed.

The advent of new public vehicles which can cover fifty leagues in twenty-four hours has eliminated the first privilege; the coming of restaurants has done away with the second, since through them good living is at the beck of any man.

If he has fifteen or twenty francs to spend, and if he can sit down at the table of a first class restaurateur, he is as well off as if he dined with a prince, or more so, for the feast at his command is quite as splendid, and since he can order any dish he wishes, he is not bothered by personal considerations of scruples.

End of excerpt.
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I am about to start Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
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Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein

It is about human trafficking.
So far I'm not thrilled.
Too many characters introduced too quickly and lots of talk about what I presume is things that have happened in previous books that I haven't read.

I will give it a little bit longer as I am at work and don't have another book with me.
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and decided today to DNF The Girl in the Photograph, by Kirsty Ferry, as I'm at the 63% mark and am still struggling to get into it. I hate to abandon an ARC, but I'd rather move on to something else! So I'll be starting Lullaby, by Claire Seeber today.
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Throughout this book, M.F.K. Fisher’s admiration for this deceased French lawyer and gourmande remained almost constant. She did not ignore his flaws. Brillat-Savarin was proud, smugly self-satisfied and deeply opinionated in ways that would get him labeled racist, nationalistic and faintly misogynistic (not that he hated women; on the contrary, he prized them dearly. But he had the condescending attitude towards them possessed by all his male contemporaries. Women were pretty adornments, helpmeets and mothers. He had little regard for them otherwise).

He was a moocher and an unashamed flatterer when he needed to be on the good side of someone whose help he desperately needed. He could be bitter and insulting, though in a way so urbane and charming you might not realize it. But Ms. Fisher’s overall summation of his character was one of high praise and genuine affection.


The fact that THE PHYSIOLOGY OF TASTE is about gastronomy has little, nothing really, to do with its author’s innate good taste, nor with his art in making it clear upon each page. I have plumbed every word of his, and after many years of casual enjoyment and two of the most intimate kind, I have yet to find myself either bored or offended, which is more than most women can say of any relationship, whether ghostly or corporeal. For me, the Professor is a continuing delight.

In the Professor’s time it was considered the unquestioned right of any man of common sense, which he so eminently was, to choose how best he might spend his hours of creation. When young he studied war and love and politics with an ardor and directness and unclouded simplicity impossible to our own murky days. When he grew older, and withdrew perforce from actual combat, he found himself in the happy state of being able to think, to recollect in tranquility.

That is perhaps the greatest difference between him and us: by the time we have slugged our way as courageously as possible past the onslaughts of modern engines and bacteria and ideals we are drained and exhausted, and any one of us who reaches the age of seventy-one with serenity and a clear conscience is felt to be an unfair freak. Something must be wrong, we say resentfully; he must have cheated somewhere, taken some secret elixir.

Perhaps we can sip that potion, even vicariously, in the slow reading of a few books like this one, and can feel ourselves encouraged and renewed by the knowledge that if Brillat-Savain could outride the wild storms of revolution and intrigue and not let them trouble his digestion, as Balzac wrong of him, so in our way can we.

End of excerpt.
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is the book that I finish February with.
I liked it a lot. It's about an unconventional teacher working at a conventional school in Schotland in the 1930's. I've read my share of boarding school books when I was young and this sounded very familiar, although I couldn't really determine whether the girls were at boarding school or not.
It was nice in writing about the teacher and her unconventional ways of educating young girls.
What I disliked was the many repetitions of flash forwards in this rather short book. That could have been less (or skipped at all for my part).

Still reading Reizen zonder John by Geert Mak, a Dutch writer that follows the trail John Steinbeck made many years ago with his dog, travelling through America and writing about it.

Also still reading The Horse, the Wheel and Language by David Anthony. /A book on the history of language in Europe. Not an easy or quick read (my philology skills are a bit rusty), but nevertheless very interesting. Intending to finish before Bordeaux, for I've promised it to a fellow bookcrosser.

And the last book that seems to dreag on at my currently reading shelf is The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber. It has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time, other versions have passed through and still the book is resillient. Not convinced yet that it's worth to read on, but I'm not yet giving up.
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Terry cleared his throat. “I’m a member of the Czar’s intelligence organization, but, to be perfectly honest, my specialty is analyzing data. I’m not usually involved with interrogations, but I was the only one around, and, well, beggars can’t be choosers. Am I right?

“Now, I’ve got a list of questions and procedures here, so that should help things along.” He produced a pencil and a clipboard from his briefcase. “First question: are you here to kill the Czar?”

“Actually,” Mortimer said, “I think I can save us some time. If I can just talk to the Czar—”

Terry tsked, sucked air through his teeth. “Yeah, the thing is, I just have this list of questions, and I’d feel better if we just got through them. I’m a rules kind of guy, and, look, I’m going to be square with you, okay? I’m a little out of my comfort zone, so I really think I should stick with the format.”

Mortimer said nothing.

“Let’s skip ahead,” Terry said. “Are you here to steal gasoline or sabotage Red Stripe gasoline supplies?”


“Super. Now let’s—” Terry consulted the clipboard. “Oh, wait. It says here not to believe you and in parentheses it says ‘slap face’.” Terry tsked again. “I guess we can skip that. Things are going well enough, don’t you think?”

The stone-faced guard cleared his throat, shook his head.

“Oh.” Terry seemed disappointed. “Rules are rules.”

Terry leaned forward, swung his hand in a wide arc and caught Mortimer’s face with a loud, stinging slap, Lights danced in front of Mortimer’s eyes. He tasted blood, his cheek having caught on some teeth.

Terry flipped a page on the clipboard, then another page, reading ahead. “Oh, dear. Looks like we’re in for a long day.”

End of excerpt.

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