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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/27/18 12:18 A

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4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie (4*)
An old friend of Jane Marple's arrives for a visit, en route home from Christmas shopping in London, very upset because she saw a woman being strangled in a train that hers passed, which she dutifully reported, but with no body found, nobody believed her, except Miss Marple.
This was a most intriguing mystery about murders most foul--far from believable, but with a cast of great characters and a cute ending. It wasn't a Poirot, but Miss Marple was at her best.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/25/18 5:56 P

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Hiroshima by John Hersey (5*)
Imagine you're just going about your morning routine when suddenly your world goes off like a giant flashbulb. You have no idea what it is or what the long term effects will be, but the immediate effects are akin to history's worse cataclysms...war correspondent, John Hersey arrives several months later and bears witness to the stories of six survivors, which he splices into this journalistic masterpiece published in The New Yorker.
The beauty of this work is that there is so little of Hersey in the story but so much of "them." It not only covers the basic WWWWH of good journalism but also places the reader into the emotions, fears, exhaustion, confusion, separation anxiety, and pain of those who were there. The narcissistic fake journalists/propagandists of today's media, who make every story about "me, me, me, and my views and my opinions" could stand to read this book and hopefully get some lessons on the power of what real journalism could be.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/25/18 12:33 P

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Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (3*)
Since I so often criticize stock characters and generic plots being re-worked into vapid, hackneyed novels, I am thus obligated to give some stars for the author's very creative story, original characters, and the excellent wordsmithery of her own special writing style--in an otherwise horrid book that I hated. It did run on and on until I thought that with every dreadful page the end was moving further away, not closer. Analytically, I admired the author's creativity and style while subjectively, I received not one bit of enjoyment in the entire novel, which I kept mentally wishing to toss into a wretched pile of garbage where it would be right at home.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (5*)
This was a great old 1930's-style noir novel of crime and punishment created by an absolute master of story-telling, wordsmithery, deep insight into the human psyche, and subtle spiritual nuance. If you enjoy an original story with some unique and uniquely well-developed characters which transports you into the time and setting to see each character's point of view as if through their very eyes, then this is a book for you. And, oh, did I love Ida; I doubt literature has seen the likes of her before or since!


Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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196.75
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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/20/18 6:42 P

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Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano (2*)
Spectacularly beautiful, brilliant, successful hospitality business consultant is sent to evaluate hotel on Isle of Skye being renovated by spectacularly handsome, brilliant, successful TV chef, and, oh, yeah, spectacularly rich, too. Both are relationship shy after devastating breakups, but...Yes, you've read this one before, many times. Cardboard stock stereotypes in a generic romance plot cobbled together from a checklist of clichés cut and pasted into a formulaic romance novel and dragged out long enough to be supremely boring. The only entertaining thing I found in this story was the couple's tour of the Isle of Skye, since I looked up those places on the internet and enjoyed the pictures and reading about them.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/18/18 11:59 A

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Kill Shot by Vince Flynn (4*)
This was the second of two prequels to make us better acquainted with the younger version of Flynn's super-competent terrorist and bureaucrat hating CIA black op assassin, Mitch Rapp. After a long string of assassinations goes smooth and easy, Rapp barely escapes a trap in Paris. He goes into hiding from the terrorists, French law enforcement, and the CIA because the whole thing smells of a leak from his own group, and he's not trusting any of them. Kill Shot was a most enjoyable page-turner, filled with danger, excitement, and loads of ambitious, selfish, greedy politicians and bureaucrats to hate.

The Black Rose by Thomas B. Costain (4*)
In the late 13th century Walter, a noblewoman's bastard, and his commoner friend get into a dangerous scrape and decide to try to travel to China and seek their fortune and in Walter's case make a name for himself, literally. Thus ensues danger, adventure, war, and romance. This was one of those really great sprawling historical adventure romance sagas so popular in that era, and I still love them. The author made a noble effort to keep the historical background of the novel accurate, which I love, but he tended to use a lot of medieval terms that were annoying to look up, but educational. I would give five stars for the "historical" and five stars for the "adventure," but not the "romance," which tended to be too schmaltzy for my unromantic taste.


Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/18/2018 (12:00)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/14/18 2:00 P

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Neuromancer by William Gibson (5*)
Case, a hacker, and Mollie, a mercenary, are recruited by the enigmatic Armitage to assist in a cybercrime of huge proportions which will involve a mega Artificial Intelligence know as Wintermute. It is hard to imagine that this book was written in 1983. That it is a pioneering work of great genius is without a doubt--creating before their time cyberspace, virtual reality, and cars with voice over GPS (missed cell phones, though, haha.) However, even though I must give it 5* for its creativity, I can't say that I enjoyed it. It just wasn't my type of characters and story. The technology was the star, and the human characters were the weakest part of the book, too lacking in development to have enough humanity to engage my interest. I couldn't have cared less what happened to them, thus, I couldn't dredge up more than an intellectual, but no emotional, interest or appreciation of it.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/27/2018 (00:40)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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196.75
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/12/18 8:25 P

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A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (4*)
Compiled from her lectures to inform and inspire future writers among university women, Woolf summarizes why women writers didn't emerge until the 17th century and how those who did fought battles from which women in the early 20th century have benefited. She uses this history to point out the needs of women writers that have had no chance for fulfillment until more recent history, and where women writers need to blaze trails toward works of incandescence and wholeness that unite and liberate both sexes in a common humanity of great art, not just in literature but a multitude of subjects. Although short, this book was a hard read because not only did Woolf have many points that she wished to impart and tried to integrate into a most complex web, but she showed a tendency to chase the possum round the bush. I can't imagine what it would be like to hear this as a lecture, since I often had to read until Woolf got to the point, then leaf back and re-read what led up to it. Some wonderful insights and ideas are in here, but I was not a fan of Woolf's writing style that was circuitous and rambling.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/11/18 9:49 P

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Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith (5*)
This novel tells the life story of an Appalachian woman via her letters--some are letters for mailing, but many are written to get what she has to say out of her system. Ivy Rowe was born near the turn of the 20th century and has rarely left the isolated mountains where she was born, but within her limited geographical realm she deals with whatever life and death send her--marriage and motherhood, friendships and affairs, loyalty and betrayal, joys and sorrows, wisdom and foolishness, and about as much hard work, struggle, and frustration as anyone could ever hope to shoulder and still emerge uncrushed. What a woman! This is a truly great novel with truly great characters and story.

Pied Piper by Nevil Shute (5*)
In 1940 an elderly Englishman vacationing in SE France is trying to return to England upon learning of the German invasion, but his journey gets increasingly complicated as the blitzkrieg moves through France faster than anyone expected and by his collecting more and more children who need to be escorted to safety. This was an exciting read with great characters and a great story. It starts slowly, but once Mr. Howard starts his journey across war-torn France, the book is hard to put down. My one complaint is that the book begins with Mr. Howard telling his story back in London, essentially telling the ending before the beginning. Thus, the book starts out with its own spoiler that takes much of the suspense out of the parts when the travelers are in greatest danger or the task seems most hopeless. It is still quite exciting but it could have been more so without the spoiler.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/14/2018 (14:16)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
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196.75
174.5
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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/9/18 11:16 P

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Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha (3*)
This book sounded better than it was: a true story of family impoverished by the Foreclosure Crisis learning to live off the land like a modern Green Acres. However, I didn't enjoy it all that much. I was annoyed by how the author kept interrupting one story to go off on bunny trails to some other tale(s) then trying to pick up the unfinished thread again. Then, there was the stuff that made no sense. Like, while owing back taxes, having uncertain income, going broke procuring necessities, they conjure up $200 to buy a male pygmy goat so that their female pygmy goat keeps producing her QUART of milk a day--that is some expensive cheese. Obviously, no one in this family can do basic arithmetic, oh, wait, the husband is an accountant! This book caused so many facepalms that it gave me a headache trying to figure out what was that about?

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/9/2018 (23:24)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
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LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/9/18 9:10 P

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Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko 5*
Mixed race Pueblo/White Tayo is a former Japanese POW who awakens in a VA hospital feeling dissociated and not really alive. Returning to family and tribe helps little until a medicine man senses something bigger in Tayo's issues and sends him to old Betonie. Betonie fills in gaps in Tayo's understanding of the old ways and worldview and prepares him to defeat a destructive witchery described in the old stories. They begin a new ceremony that Tayo must then complete by a dangerous quest to right some wrongs, avoiding trickery by this destructive evil, and furthering his sense of his belonging to the interconnectedness and cyclical nature of all things. I really loved this book although it was not an easy read. Most readers, like me, probably will not understand what is happening until the reader also gains understanding of the old ways as Tayo is instructed and learns.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
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130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/4/18 7:22 P

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When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom 5*
Set against a well-researched and fairly accurate historical background, this is a fictional story of a migraine-tortured, alienated, heart-broken Friedrich Neitzsche and renowned physician Josef Breuer, in the throes of a significant mid-life crisis, agreeing to therapize each other before therapy was invented. I studied several of Yalom's therapy textbooks, but I never imagined what a really great novel he could create! This book isn't for everybody, especially someone who wants more action than dialogue, but these dialogues are brilliantly developed. Neitzsche had such a tragic life; it's so sad that this story never actually happened.

The Fall by Albert Camus 5*
The Fall is certainly a masterpiece and a most unusual one at that--absurdist philosophy presented in an absurd derelict bar by an absurd Judge-penitant whose life is on a downhill slide, even though he knows all the answers to life's questions for people who aren't even asking. Take everything that is kind, good, generous, helpful, productive, and noble then turn it upside down by negatively, cynically, and caustically viewing virtue, morality, and decency as vice, and you get an idea of the atmosphere Camus created for The Fall. This is not an easy read and is told in monologue.

Edited by: LADYCALICO at: 4/5/2018 (12:58)
Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
LADYCALICO's Photo LADYCALICO Posts: 8,023
4/4/18 4:14 P

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Please share your reading with the other team members. Let's help each other find interesting books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, and short story or poetry anthologies.
Please post and rate every book members read during the month and tell each other a little about them. Please list title, author, and a 1-5* rating.
If you choose, please follow with a brief summary of what the book was about and what you did, or did not like about it.

1 star--* hated it!
2 star--** bad but not the worst, some positive attributes.
3 star--*** A good read, entertaining but nothing spectacular.
4 stars--**** A great read, above average.
5 stars--***** An awesome read, among the best!Please share your reading with the other team members. Let's help each other find interesting books to read, including fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, and short story or poetry anthologies.

Lola--Eastern Standard Time
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy." Terry Pratchett


 current weight: 177.0 
219
196.75
174.5
152.25
130
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