It’s Monday What Are You Reading #80

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 2 comments

Monday What Are You Reading #65

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.

Finished in Print

1776 by David McCullough

1776 by David McCullough

I’m glad I finally read this. It’s been on my shelf for ages. I enjoyed learning more about the events of this pivotal year.


Started in Print

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

This series is wacky and fun and I’m glad to be reading another one.


Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

Black Hammer: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire

I am a huge fan of Jeff Lemire and I’m happy to be starting another comic series of his.


Finished on Audio

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette Lecat

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette Lecat

I really enjoy this series. It’s like comfort food for me.


Started on Audio

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Norma? by Jeanette Winterson

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Norma? by Jeanette Winterson narrated by the author.

This memoir by the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a look back at her tough childhood.

Reviews since my last update:

Chew Vol. 12: Sour Grapes by John Layman

1776 by Daid McCullough

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette Lecat


What are you reading?

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Bout of Books 19 – Kickoff and Updates Post

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books | 4 comments

Bout of Books 19

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 19 kicked off at Midnight last night. I can always find a way to make Bout of Books work for me. I have a busy week ahead but I’m going to make as much time for reading as I can.

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.

  • Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
  • It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
  • How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
  • Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
  • Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.

I have several books on my desk and on my ereader. In addition I’m in the middle of one audiobook and planning for the next.

I will be using this post as my tracking post and adding daily updates each morning about what reading I have accomplished the day before. I’ll post updates here every morning Tuesday through Saturday. I’ll include my Sunday reading on my final wrap up post.

I don’t set goals but one thing I do a little different this week is to track all my reading time. I have a time tracking app on my phone and watch so it’s easy to hit the start and stop button and track whether it’s reading or listening time. One benefit of using this is it keeps me focused. I find I’m less inclined to get distracted by stuff that I could be doing around the house or playing on my phone if I’m feeling like I’m “on the clock” for reading.

So . . . Let the reading begin . . .

Monday Reading
I had a total of 3 hours of reading today.
45 minutes of listening to Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson.
2 hours and 15 minutes of reading The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

Monday Challenge
Today’s daily challenge was to describe yourself in six words. I adapted from my ‘about me’ section here and my Twitter profile and said
“Beersnob, Blogger, Booklover, Evil Genius Trainee”

Tuesday Reading
Another good reading day with total of 3 hours and 10 minutes of reading.
30 minutes of listening to Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson.
2 hours and 40 minutes of reading The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey. I’ll probably finish that today.

Wednesday Reading
Yet another day with three hours of reading. I’m on a roll.
30 minutes of listening to Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson.
2.5 hours of reading in print. I finished The Stingray Shuffle and started a graphic novel, The Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire.

Thursday Reading
3 hours and 20 minutes today. Excellent as far as I’m concerned.
An hour of listening to ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? It’s an excellent memoir and the author is a good narrator.
2 hours and 20 minutes of print reading. I started The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery and I finished The Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire.

Friday Reading
I worked from home today so I missed out on my normal driving/bus/lunchtime reading. I still managed about 2 and a half hours of reading thought.
30 minutes of listening to Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal. I finished that and will start a new audiobook on Monday.
1 and a half hours of reading The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Saturday Reading
I wasn’t sure how much reading I’d get in because we had things do do. We got the errands done pretty efficiently and I still managed a good three hours of reading.
I finished The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery and started Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham.

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Weekend Update – The Five Books on My Shopping List Edition

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Blogging/Reading, Weekend Update | 3 comments

Weekend Update

Five Books on My Shopping List

I’m a heavy user of the library. After doing a major purge of the bookshelves a few years ago my book purchases dropped off considerably. Because I have great libraries I can get nearly any book I want to read. I seldom read new releases because in most cases I don’t mind waiting. For me to purchase a book it has to be something worth keeping on my shelves. These are five that I do plan to purchase

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: Mostly because I cannot believe I haven’t read it yet.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith: There was so much hoopla when this came out that I wanted nothing to do with it. Now I want to read it.


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: The library won’t do for this one, I need to own it.


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: Too many of my friends were praising this one. Now that it’s been out for a while and the hubbub has died down a bit it’s time to pick up a copy


Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird
Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird: I read Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert back in 2008 but I’ve heard good things about this one and want to buy a copy. I’m trying to read at least one nonfiction a month this year and this one will fit in nicely to that plan.


Which of these have you read and what did you think of them?


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette LecatPrecious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 49 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph—and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills—to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends—who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

My Thoughts:
I’m still enjoying this series seventeen books in. I’ve never read the print editions because Lisette Lecat’s narration is a lot of the reason I like this series

These are sometimes classified as mysteries but despite the fact that the main character is a detective the mystery part of the book is rather light. I consider the series light general fiction.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the case involves a Canadian woman who lived in Botswana as a girl and would like to find her childhood nanny. As usual the outcome is not as straightforward as originally expected. There is also the stray dog and a business opportunity that could be troublesome.

I just enjoy listening to these books as I’m driving. It’s good entertainment and Lisette Lecat is wonderful. The voices she does for the characters are wonderful and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce some of the names.


3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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1776 by David McCullough

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review, David McCullough | 7 comments

1776 by David McCullough1776 by David McCullough

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 386
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.

My Thoughts:
I have read two other books by David McCullough and enjoyed them both. John Adams and The Great Bridge (about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge) were both chunksters full of detail and description yet extremely readable. That’s why when this book was released I bought a copy right away. Then it sat on my shelf until now. It’s not nearly as big as those other two books but for some reason I kept putting off reading it.

I’m so glad I finally read it. Ever since Hamilton took over pop culture and after listening to Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States it was a good time to continue my reading about the American Revolution. I learned a lot while reading this. While George Washington is a major figure in the book, it’s not about him. McCullough also includes the British and soldiers from all classes.

The focus is on three major battles (the siege of Boston, New York, and Trenton. There were both victories and losses for both sides during this year. Mistakes were made and luck seemed to randomly favor each side at different times. Unfortunately for Washington the losses seemed to coincide with the end of his army’s enlistments so not only did he have to take on the British he had to do everything he could to even keep his army from going home.

McCullough includes stories of the well-known people but he also has stories and letters from some of the common soldiers.

I enjoyed this one and have put my copy on The Hubster’s reading stack.

4 stars

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