The Numbers

DATE: 7/2/18

Titles Finished (Totals To Date):

  • Books: 1,181
  • Poetry: 78
  • Short stories: 55
  • Plays: 2

Titles Finished Totals for 2018:

  • Books: 60
  • Poetry: 3
  • Short stories: 3
  • Plays: 2
  • Early Reviews: 6

All titles left to go for Challenge: 4,393

Next count: 8/1/2018


Draining Lake

Indridason, Arnaldur. The Draining Lake. Translated by Bernard Scudder. London: Harvill Seeker, 2004.

Reason read: to continue the series started in June in honor of Iceland’s National Day is in June.

One of Iceland’s well known lakes is losing water and shrinking. Scientists from the National Energy Authority come researching the phenomenon because what was a deep body of water has slowly dried up, revealing long held secrets; some more disturbing than others. One such secret is the skeleton of a man murdered thirty years earlier. Anchored down with a Russian listening device from thirty years earlier, Inspector Erlendur and his team are called to the case. The mystery of the dead man brings Erlendur, Elinborg, and Sigurdur Oli back to the college days of the Cold War and Communism. Dancing between past and present, Indridason presents his readers with a thrilling tale of espionage and the very definition of loyalty. Fans will be happy to see a little more of Erlendur’s personal life as well.

Author fact: Indridason was a newspaper man at one point in his life.

Book trivia: Indridason was inspired by the true events of Lake Kleifarvatn.

Nancy said: Direct quote from Nancy: “Optimistic readers can see hope on the horizon…in Draining Lake” (Book Lust To Go p 99).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the obvious chapter called “Iceland” (p 99).


Midnight in Ruby Bayou

Lowell, Elizabeth. Midnight in Ruby Bayou. New York: William Morrow, 2000.

Reason read: to finish the series started in April in honor of Lowell’s birth month.

If you are keeping up with the formula, the next Donovan sibling who needs to be (begrudgingly) paired with an unwilling (but incredibly attractive) partner is Faith Donovan. While she is not the last Donovan sibling to have a story line (we have yet to meet the male set of twins, Lawe and Justin), Faith is the last sibling readers have actually met thus far. Faith is the jewelry maker in the family. She takes the contraband gems and turns them into works of art. And yes, the FBI is still trying to catch the Donovans as they smuggle precious gems. This time, it’s rubies. What complicates Faith’s story is that she has an ex-fiance who won’t take goodbye as for good.
Faith’s unwilling, but incredibly attractive, partner is Donovan employee, Owen Walker, a good ole southern boy who knows his way around the Bayou. He’s been tasked with sticking close to Faith while she delivers a priceless ruby necklace to her best friend’s future father-in-law. Of course, thieves are hot on her tail. The rubies are theirs and they want them back, but there is a problem. They are mafia…Of course, the FBI isn’t far behind. Of course, Walker has to save Faith’s life a few times. The Lowell formula is hard at work, “I’m wildly attracted to you but for personal reasons I can’t allow myself to get involved with you…”

Author fact: At last count, Lowell has written over seventy novels.

Book trivia: Midnight in Ruby Bayou is the final book in the Donovan series. I guess readers don’t get to meet Justin and Lawe after all.

Nancy said: Pearl said absolutely nothing about this particular book. What she did say about the entire Donovan series is that it is categorized as “Action-Suspense” (Book Lust, p 204).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Romance Novels: Our Love is Here To Stay” (p 203).


Black Hearts in Battersea

Aiken, Joan. Black Hearts in Battersea. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1964.

Reason: July is Kids Month and Pearl lists this as a book best for kids.

The first thing Ms. Aiken wants you to know about Black Hearts in Battersea is that it takes place in the same time period as The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, near the beginning of the nineteenth century. The second thing you should know is that some characters in Wolves are also in Black Hearts. Simon, an orphan who lived in a cave and came to the rescue in Wolves is the main character in Black Hearts. This time Simon is looking for his friend, Dr. Gabriel Field who has mysteriously disappeared after inviting Simon to come study art with him. A mystery ensues when everyone Simon encounters denies even knowing Dr. Field. It is as if the man never existed in Battersea. While waiting for Dr. Field to reappear Simon befriends the Duke of Battersea, gets a job with a blacksmith, and rooms with a suspicious peasant family. It’s a fun tale of adventure, especially after Simon meets bedraggled Dido who gets him in all sorts of trouble.

Author fact: As I mentioned before, Aiken also wrote The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, a book I read in September of 2013. Some are calling this a series so I should have read Black Hearts in Battersea in October of 2013. Bummer.

Book trivia: Black Hearts was illustrated by Robin Jacques.

Nancy said: nothing special.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Best for Boys and Girls” (p 21). This book, interesting enough, is good for boys and girls.


Angry Island

Gill, A. A. The Angry Island: Hunting the English. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005.

Reason read: Gill was born in the month of June; read in his honor.

From the very beginning you know you are going to laugh out loud at least once or twice while reading Angry Island. Right in the preface Gill starts off with, “Facts are what pedantic, dull people have instead of opinions.” Well okay! He later states “the national character of the English is anger.” At the time of this writing he was a food and travel critic so he was required to be a little…well…critical. It was expected of him. In The Angry Island his snarky essays cover all kinds of topics from language to war memorials, from sports and animals to drinking. Needless to say, he has a well-barbed opinion about everything. My big question is this, if he was born in Scotland and considers himself Scottish and hates England, why stay there? Why didn’t he move away? He has even less of an opinion about America but that (or Ireland or Australia) would have been an option for an English speaking bloke, especially one with a sharp tongue.

Other quotes I liked, “The purpose of an army must surely be to put itself out of business” (p 237),

Author fact: A.A. Gill is Anthony Andre Gill, born on June 28th. He died of cancer in 2016.

Book trivia: since Angry Island is a collection of essays I was surprised to find an index.

Nancy said: Gill’s essays are “filled with biting, sometimes snarky commentary about morals and mores of England” (Book Lust To Go p 78). I had to laugh when I read the word “snarky” because it’s a favorite of mine and it describes Gill perfectly.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Entering England” (p 76).


Six Days of War

Oren, Michael B. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Reason read: the Six Day War took place in June.

Oren’s challenge was to weave together an accurate account of the Six Day War that covered many different perspectives from a myriad of sources. All sides of the conflict needed to be represented and not just from the perspective of battles and conflict. He needed to produce an account that was not only balanced and unbiased, but thorough in its investigation and analysis. This was accomplished through meticulous and extensive research.

Author fact: Oren is a former ambassador to the United States

Book trivia: Six Days of War includes a fair collection of black and white photographs as well as maps to orientate you.

Nancy said: Six Days of War is “massively thorough and equally readable” (Book Lust, p 154).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “The Middle East” (p 154).


Stories of Alice Adams

Adams, Alice. The Stories of Alice Adams. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

Reason read: June is Short Story Month.

The first time I read a collection of Alice Adams’s short stories (After You’ve Gone) I noticed similarities that soon became redundancies throughout the stories. The same is true of The Stories of Alice Adams. Virginia, San Francisco, Maine,the Carolinas, and Mexico are popular places for her characters to either live or vacation. Lawyers, artists, and writers are popular occupations for her characters. Old wealth is especially favored. Adultery, money issues, and other marital woes always seem to be in the mix from story to story. In other words, a word of caution: these stories are best consumed intermittently. Like After You’ve Gone I could not read more than one story at a time.

Lots of quotes to quote but here are two I liked, “She was simply enraged at the sea for knocking her down” (p 54) and “Adolescent memories are not only the most recent and thus the most available. They are also the least subtle, the simplest” (p 75).

Author fact: Adams was born in Virginia, raised in North Carolina, and lived in San Francisco. Sound familiar? Proof you write about what you know.

Book trivia: There are a total of 53 short stories in The Stories of Alice Adams. Two stories are mentioned more than once in the Book Lust Challenge and there are eight that I can skip because I already read them in After You’ve Gone.

Nancy said: Nancy said there was an “excellent cross section of her short works in Stories. (Book Lust, p 1).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the very first chapter called “A…My Name is Alice” (p 1).


July’s Pages Upon Pages

I have a prediction for July. I will read a crap load of books. Actually, I am cheating. It’s not a prediction because I already know I will. Case in point – yesterday my husband and I spent seven hours on the water. He fished. I read. Yesterday was July 1st so I was already knee-deep in the July Challenge list and thanks to an iPad I had five books with me. I made a decent dent in the “Boat” books:

Fiction:

  • Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston – in honor of Jacqueline O. Kennedy’s birth month.

Nonfiction:

  • The Coldest Day: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam – in honor of July being the month the Korean War ended.
  • The Book of Mediterranean Cooking by Elizabeth David – in honor of July being picnic month.

Series Continuation:

  • The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason – to continue the series started in June.
  • Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April.

Others on the list:

Fiction:

  • Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken – in honor of July being Kids Month.

Nonfiction:

  • Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart – in honor of July being Job Fair month (odd choice, I know).

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristam Koten.

If there is time:

  • Gardens of Kyoko by Kate Walbert – in honor of Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
  • Animals by Alice Mattison – in honor of Mattison’s birth month.
  • Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait – in honor of Lizzie Borden’s birth month.
  • Cop Hater by Ed McBain – to honor McBain’s passing in the month of July.