Gardener's Group discussion

Overall Reading Goals&Book Chats > What Did You Just Finish, What Are You Reading Now & What Books Have You Brought Home Recently? (Spoilers Possible)

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Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) This is for any & all books we're reading, not just the gardening ones!

I'm listening to The Last Girls by Lee Smith, I'm on disc 4 as of yesterday, and I'm loving it! Such a wonderful story, full of southern charm and humor!

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LemonLinda (lwilliamson0423) I enjoyed reading that one, Jo. I have read most of Lee Smith except for On Agate Hill. I have it but have not gotten to it yet - there are always too many ahead of it.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) This is my first one of Lee's and I'm looking forward to more!

I forgot I've just finished:
The Sea by John Banville
The Sea
(2.5 stars, May's library book club choice)

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" arrived today and I can't wait to get into it. This is book 3 in Stieg Larsson's series about Elizabeth Salander, a very unusual protagonist, part genius, part wild child. First written in Swedish by the now deceased author this is a suspense series with a lot of interesting cultural info and delicious plot twists and turns. The first two books in the series are "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played With Fire." I don't read much of this genre anymore, but found myself hooked immediately when I started reading the first book.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I've added "What Books Have You Brought Home Recently?" to this thread.

I picked up Prodigal Summer yesterday at an amazing used & antique book shop in Milford PA yesterday. (It's within 10 miles of our 2nd home up in north NJ & we spent a couple of hours exploring there again yesterday).

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments It sounds like so much fun to just poke around in this type of shop. I just got home from 5 days in Boston with 4 high school friends so I feel kind of soaked in history at the moment, but it was a great trip. We didn't have much time to spend in out of the way places and I love finding gems like you mentioned above. None of the friends on the trip are big readers, but I did manage to get them into a Borders at Logan and while they bought chatzkes I picked up a couple of new books which is a treat as I usually buy used.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) Sounds like a great trip Cheryl! We went up to Salem a couple of years ago and though my husband and I are both readers, we didn't have much time overall to go searching out the bookshops that weren't in the area's we planned to visit.

It was a lot of fun, both of us, just wandering the aisles of that bookstore. I can't wait to go back there again!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I just re-read a couple of my moldy oldies--"The Hope" and "The Glory" by Herman Wouk. Lots of meat in these books and has been many years since I first read them so it was very enjoyable. Something like spending time with old friends.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I feel that way too about favorite books, that it's like spending time w/old friends.

I'm reading "Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots" by Sharon Lovejoy (sorry, can't link from my cell) and I'm loving it! It's about gardening with children but I think many of the little gardens in this book would be wonderful regardless of having children. (My daughter passed 11 years ago this May and gardening has done a lot to get me through). This book is delightful to read!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Jo, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your daughter, just the thought makes my heart hurt.

I read "Roots, Shoots........." a number of years ago and loved it. Why I didn't save my copy I'll never know.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) Thanks so much Cheryl!

I'm going to order Roots Shoots... for myself. I just love it!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Just finished reading "The Last Child" by John Hart and it is my favorite read so far this year.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I'm reading Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and I'm really enjoying it. (I've picked it up before and didn't get very far with it.

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Miriam I live in Iowa, and we are under an excessive heat advisory this week, so to keep myself entertained while I stay inside instead of being outside (I am on multiple meds that make me very sensitive to the heat), I am reading Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm. It is a long and detailed book, only for history lovers, that gives really good insight into how WW2 was allowed to happen, why Hitler wasn't stopped earlier. Very enlightening, but only for folks who love history.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments This book sounds right down my alley and will look for it. I've been re-reading the Stieg Larsson series starting with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", as it is my book clubs selection for this month. I'm also reading "A Thread of Grace" which is a WW2 novel based in Italy from the perspective of Jews who sheltered there as well as Italians participating in the resistance. It takes a while to sort out all the characters but I'm finding it a terrific read.

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Miriam Gosh, Cheryl, I don't usually run across anyone who has any interest in my history reading! I have a whole library of books on history, mostly WW2, which is so fascinating to me because of the morality that wasn't and was shown by various people, as well as the psychological implications of all that was going on.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Finished "A Thread of Grace" and think it is one of the best books I've read this year. I especially like reading about WW2 as well. When I was a kid all my uncles on both sides of the family served in the military and came home to tell about it. I think I heard so many stories and saw enough momentos, pictures etc that it peaked my interest even as a kid. I like historical fiction as well as memoirs and enjoy reading about historical characters such as Churchill and FDR. Other areas of interest for me are the Middle East, Ireland and Russia; and after my son-in-law served as a Marine in Desert Storm I've done some reading in that area too. Gaining understanding of other cultures is endlessly fascinating to me.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I'm reading Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most. Really enjoying it so far. Funny how certain reads arrive just at the right time.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Just read a doozer--"Unburnable". Right down my ally. Lot's of cultural info in an area of the world I know nothing about. Fascinating!

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Miriam Just finished "The Help" - so good I stayed up all night reading it. I grew up in Nashville, during the civil rights era. Very interesting read.

Cheryl, I have several books on FDR, and read the first two of Churchills six books on WW2. My interest came through my mother's third husband being a German Jew who escaped in the 30s at age 16 after the Nuremburg laws were passed. Started me reading about it, and I haven't stopped yet.

I also have a lot of interest in Russia. My mother's sister married a man who as an infant was literally thrown into the arms of a friend who got on a train out, when his mom couldn't get onto the train. She later was able to find him in Shanghai. This was during Stalin's purge of the intelligentsia. His dad was killed. He was raised in Shanghai, got his BA in France, his MA in Chemistry at UIowa where he met my aunt. He taught at Michigan State. (The oriental antiques I have were his.)

My BA is in Anthropology, so I also like reading about cultures.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Miriam, your background is fascinating. So many interesting people to learn from.

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Terri | 480 comments I just finished reading 50 acres and a poodle. I laughed out loud and cried real tears. It was a good one. :) I also find history fascinating, WWII, Civil War, Iraq and Afghanistan--I learn a lot from both memoirs and novels. The Churchill book sounds good, I'll have to add it to my TBR pile.

Jo: I have Little Chapel, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and Committed all on my TBR list--glad to hear your enjoying the Little Chapel.

Cheryl: I LOVED The Last Child. I was hooked from page one and could barely put it down.

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Miriam Just finished Cutting for Stone. Started it at noon, stayed up ALL night reading, finished it at ten am. GREAT book. I haven't stayed up all night because a book was too good to put down in years!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Ooh--"Cutting For Stone"--loved that one! I'm just finishing "Trade Winds" by MM Kaye. It's an old book from the 60s written about Zanzibarre and the slave trade and is a romantic novel, something I don't read much of, but it was $.40 at the library book sale. I also have to finish "Gai Jin", which is good, but very long winded and teeny tiny print. For once I have a big pile of books to read, I used up a bunch of credits on PaperBackBookSwap and also picked up about 10 books at the library sale. The memoir book club I joined is reading "Running the Book" for Dec.

Terri, I'm glad you like "The Last Child". I thought it was terrific.

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Miriam Trade Winds sounds good. I spent all day Saturday manning the cash register at our library book sale, then brought home three boxes of books to read before the next sale! Not sure when I will have time with the newborn granddaughter now coming with her brother, and a job interview (at Lowe's) on Tuesday. I do have to read, first and last thing of the day, no matter what. Can't wake up without half an hour at least, and can't get to sleep without unwinding with at least an hour! Habits.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Good luck on the job interview, Miriam, and how fun to have little people coming for a visit. I adore my grandkids, but they're as big as I am and I miss those missing teeth and sticky fingers. I also read to wind down at night, a habit since I was a teenager.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I finished Winter Bloom and I recommend it to all of my fellow gardeners! I gave it 5 of 5 stars and it's definitely my top read of 2010, truly engrossing and inspirational for me and confirmed what I already knew from my experience: gardening has the power to heal.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I'm still struggling with "Gai Jin" I'm sick of it in a way, but am determined after all the time I have invested in it that I will finish no matter what!! I only have about a quarter of an inch left.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) LOL! I love when some books are described like that because they're so thick!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I'm DONE!!! It is a good book, but I feel like I've run a marathon. I'm going to be very happy reading some lighter fare for awhile.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) YAY!

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I just finished reading A Christmas Carol from A Christmas Carol/The Chimes/The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens and I really enjoyed it!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments I read an interesting memoir for the new book club I joined, called "Running the Books". It's written by a young journalist who for some reason takes a job as a librarian in a prison. It's eyeopening and entertaining as well as sad. Should make for a good discussion at our next meeting. I also read Pat Conroy's "My Reading Life". He is my favorite fiction writer and this book is a memoir which I enjoyed very much.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) So far I've received Knit the Season: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel, A Redbird Christmas and Secrets of Harmony Grove as Christmas presents and I bought for Hubbs & myself Whiskey by Marc A Hoffman which explores the history of whiskey in all countries its produced in & the types that come from each as well as their histories.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Somehow I slipped up and didn't request any books this year, but did get gift cards to Home Depot for the new kitchen blind I want, so I'm fine with that.

I just read "I Know This Much is True", by Wally Lamb and can't imagine why I hadn't read it before. I gave it a very high rating. Also just read "Tender is the Night" and really got into it until the end which I did not like. Always irritating when that happens. Now I'm reading "Sense and Sensibility" and although Austin will never be my favorite there must be something about her writing as I keep on going with it.

For Jan book club we are reading "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which I have read before and love. It's a mystery set in 1945 Barcelona and I'm looking forward to reading it again for the upcoming discussion.

I have a bunch of credits built up on Paperbackswap right now so plan to work on my to-read list on GR and get stocked up for a while.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) I've just started the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" from The Yellow Wallpaper for our Winter short story discussion group at the library; our first meeting is next Thursday.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments My copy of "Sunset Park" by Paul Auster arrived today and I'm excited to read it, but it's our book club selection for March--so I'm going to have to sit on it for awhile.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) Finished The Yellow Wallpaper and loved it! Made for a great discussion on Thursday evening.

Now re-reading an all time favorite, Where the Heart Is.

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Terri | 480 comments Jo wrote: "Let's see, I've finished The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes and am about to finished Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage."

I have both of these on my TBR list. How did you like them Jo?


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Terri | 480 comments I finished the book "Those who save us" and the very first word I'd use to describe it is "Wow!" It was probably the best book I've read in about six months. Heartbreaking, haunting, compelling, beautiful. What a story! It gave me a whole new perspective on what it must have been like for some of the German citizens who were not involved in the Nazi regime--very interesting take. I would give it 5 stars. Definitely worth a read.

I saw that several people reviewed it on Goodreads and had a problem with her not using quotation marks around the dialogue. Really? That's what stood out to them? It bugged me at first but not enough to include in my review.

The other thing I noticed was that some people were unsatisfied with the ending. I felt the author stayed true to the characters--which necessitated not tying a pretty little pink bow on the ending.

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Terri | 480 comments I am currently reading Rush Home Road and Little Chapel on the River. RHR is pretty intense and LCOTR is very relaxing (after 9/11 part).

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) Terri wrote: "Jo wrote: "Let's see, I've finished The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes and am about to finished Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage."

I have both of these on..."

I liked CeeCee Wilkes which surprised me (not my usual style and a bit far-fetched but well written) and I did enjoy Committed but it's very different from EPL and not the sequel to EPL many had hoped for. A friend was bitterly disappointed as a result, lol!

Little Chapel on the River is a great read! Read it last year.

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Miriam Now that I am done writing down your titles...

I am now rereading Those Who Love, an Irving Stone historical novel about Abigail Adams. I like his writing, although it is old fashioned. His book on Michelangelo is another I have read and reread.

Waiting for my new books to arrive. The pet supplies I ordered the same day arrived today, so hopefully my books are coming soon!

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Read my first graphic novel last week and probably won't read another one. The artwork was beautiful, but as it was based on a series I am very familiar with and I already had preconceived notions of what the characters looked like I was dissapointed. Sort of like seeing the movie after you've read the book.

Now I'm reading "Makes Me Wanna Hollar" a memoir about the experiences of a young black man growing up in the inner city in the 1970s. In some ways it's very shocking, but it's also giving me insight into why so many young black men turn to crime. I'm not enjoying it exactly, but it is educational.

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Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Terri wrote: "I finished the book "Those who save us" and the very first word I'd use to describe it is "Wow!" It was probably the best book I've read in about six months. Heartbreaking, haunting, compelling, be..."

I have got to get this book!

message 48: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Cheryl, that new book sounds very interesting. Race relations post the Civil War is one of my interests. I have read several books on this topic,There Goes My Everything, Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction,The Colfax Massacre, The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction, and White Guilt. Those are the ones on my shelf. The Help and To Kill a Mockingbird are just a few of the novels I have also read. Growing up in Nashville, as an Episcopal minister's kid, then moving to Chicago and living there for years has developed a special interest for me. Also, my dad had a real experience with the congregation when he entertained blacks in our own home- donations to the church dropped $150,000 in response, as well as a lot of anger and yelling and talking about it.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) (BloominChick) Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Where the Heart Is
5 of 5 stars (re-read).

message 50: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 3501 comments Miriam wrote: "Cheryl, that new book sounds very interesting. Race relations post the Civil War is one of my interests. I have read several books on this topic,There Goes My Everything, [book:Massi..."

"Makes Me Wanna Hollar" is opening my eyes to a lot of things I hadn't thought of before. Seems like a timely read with today being Martin Luther King Day.

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