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3 to the Highest Power - 3 novellas? Novellettes? by Sturgeon, Bradbury, and Oliver. Dated, and unmemorable.

A Companion to Wolves - Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette - interesting, and deals with the implications from the Pern books. I recall reading something about how the wolf packs are very far off real wolf packs, which are family groups.

Black Horses for the King - Anne McCaffery - nice YA King Arthur about how the horses came to Britain.

The Between - Tananarive Due - horror, and thus not my bag, but an interesting story and well told.

Magic in Ithkar 2 - anthology - science fiction/ fantasy and a nice collection of stories.

The Chinese Gold Murders - Robert Van Gulik - decent enough mystery, part of a set and I've read one of the others.

Mr. Campion, Criminologist - Margery Allingham - decent enough collection of Campion short stories. Mystery.

No Love Lost - Margery Allingham - not mystery stories, and sort of only okay.

Dead on Sunday - A. J. Orde - I like these mysteries, and this is no exception.

The Crown Jewels - Walter Jon Williams - nice light amusement of high society.

Final Curtain - Ngaio Marsh - one of the Alleyn series. Focusses on his wife, and a good read. I will probably hunt out the others.

The Golden Key - Melanie Rawn, Kate Elliot, Jennifer Roberson - a good read (vacation!) and interesting story.

Closet Control: The Ultimate Guide to Revitalizing Your Wardrobe and Revolutionizing the Way You Store It - Barbara Horowitz - not much help. Lots of instructions on how to cut apart your T-shirts.

The King's Peace - Jo Walton - alternate universe King Arthur. Very good read.

Clarion II - anthology - I don't remember it, I read it so long ago. Many short stories.

Stellar 1 - anthology - I don't remember it, I read it so long ago. Many short stories.

The Assassin's Edge - Juliet McKenna - I think the series got too long and complicated for me, so I gave up on this book.

Fires of Azeroth - C. J. Cherryh - The first two of the set were a drag, and I finally gave up.

Year's total: 101
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Dangerous Visions - anthology - ed. Harlan Ellison -
Again, Dangerous Visions - anthology - ed. Harlan Ellison - many of the stories in these try to use interesting narrative techniques (hello James Joyce stream of consciousness!) for the SF stories they are telling. I am not interested in interesting narrative techniques. I skipped the stories that did not catch my attention in the first few pages, and I did not bother to read many of Ellison's introductions. I dislike the person he presents on the page - in the second book, he goes off on people who complain about his selections when they have received a free review copy. I found the statement that James Tiptree is the man to beat for the Hugo highly amusing.

Bab: a sub-deb - Mary Roberts Rhinehart - humorous, set in the late teens. I can't help but be sympathetic to the main character, who has been raised to make a good marriage, but is stymied by not being out, as her older sister is not married yet.

Black Sheep - Georgette Heyer - amusing Heyer.

Unveiled -
Unclaimed -
Unlocked -
Unraveled - Courtney Milan - Regency romances. Fairly well done. Read them all in 1 weekend.

Warprize - Elizabeth Vaughan - a decent fantasy story masquerading as a romance. Will be looking for the followups.

The Score - Donald Westlake - I do not like the protagonist; I finished it because I wanted to see how it turned out; I will not be looking for any more.
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Uncharted Territory - Connie Willis - okay. Sort of thin, compared to her other books.

Earthmen and Other Strangers - an old anthology. Nothing to make me want to keep it.

The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer - I do believe this will be one of my favorites by her.

The Stone War - Madeleine E. Robins - Interesting, and a good read.

Elemental Magic - anthology - well enough, but I gave it to a friend, instead of keeping it.

Great Science Fiction by Scientists - anthology - Well. All the scientists are men. As are all the characters. Some stories were decent, but I see no reason to keep it.

The Thief's Gamble -
The Swordsman's Oath -
The Gambler's Fortune -
The Warrior's Bond - all by Juliette McKenna - with a fifth book, which I've stalled in for a bit, really a single books spread across separate spines. Very good, with well rounded female and male characters. Much enjoyed. If I don't keep these, they're going to my nieces.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 7 - Fumi Yoshinaga - most excellent series. I am looking forward to reading all of them in sequence, once they are all out.

Stories from the Twilight Zone - Rod Serling - passes time. Not bad.

Year to date: 85
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So, a few weeks ago, I moved a bunch of bookshelves around, which opened up the room, and gave a sense of space and immediate progress.

I have the hobby books segregated on a bookshelf, and the unread books on others, and I have a whole empty bookshelf to unpack books into! Yay! I can also purge as I unpack, which is very, very exciting. I am also reading a 5 novel set which I probably won't keep; I am trying to read down my unread pile, so as to free up the shelf space.

The computer is set up, and the desk is mostly cleaned, and ready to use!

I've started to purge files, and am making progress there. I think I will end up with significantly less paper. Woot.

I figured out what to use to replace the jewelry box I broke.

I just let go of a bunch of rubber stamps I won't use again. I'm keeping the ones I like. I never use the sealing wax, so ... bye!

The knitted kerchiefs I made a few summers ago? I never wear them. Bye!

I have an entire empty plastic rolley-cart, just waiting for me to figure out what to put in it!

This is so exciting - it feels do-able that I can have a clean, organized room, for the first time in my life. And once I get the room in shape, I have the room to clean out the other places (attic, basement, closet) where stuff collects, and get rid of the things in there, as well.
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Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary - Pamela Dean - interesting read; all the plot happens in the last 20-50 pages or so. If you don't mind that you might enjoy it.

Beyond Grimm - anthology - BVC - A nice collection of riffs on fairy tales by some of my favorite authors. Good summer reading.

V is for Vendetta - Sue Grafton - a nice murder mystery. I do like this series

Pulchritude - Ana Mardoll - ebook - very interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. Recommend.

Charity Girl - Georgette Heyer - a little less amusing that I usually like from her.

Lady of Quality - Georgette Heyer - much better than the above.

The Wind Done Gone - Alice Randall - oh my. What a brilliant different take on Gone With the Wind. Highly recommend if you've read the original.

Year to date: 73
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I have lived in the same city for 18 years, and in the same house for 6 of them, and accumulated quite a lot of stuff. I'm now at a point where the equation is:

More stuff = more time & energy spent taking care of stuff = less time and energy for other things

I've done a lot of headwork in the past 9 years or so, and I no longer want and need to hold on to everything. I can let go now.

Since we moved here, I've mostly dealt with my stuff by shoving the mess into my room, where it was my problem and not hun's. I've gotten rid of some things in the past 3 years or so, but nowhere near the amount I want to.

The problem is this - everything has to be dug out, assessed, compared to other pieces to see what redundancy exists, and then disposed of (mostly donate or save). I want to have some sort of big, comprehensive plan for cleaning up this room, and work it through piece by piece, checking stuff off lists and feeling so accomplished.

But I've noticed that I can't summon the interest/energy/willpower/spoons to even make the big, comprehensive, perfect plan. Stuck in the mud, spinning the wheels.

I just moved my desk. I took the foot high pile off it, put it onto the extra bed - no sorting, no organizing, no assessing, no thinking - just moving it. The desk is in the corner, the computer is set up, the rolling file cart is underneath it, and the entire room is a massive wreck. Aside from that one corner. The plan - the hope - the dream - is that I will build on that one corner. Do a little bit, every day, until the whole darn thing is clean, neat, and organized.

Wish me luck!
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Royal Blood
Royal Flush
Naughty in Nice - all by Rhys Bowen - amusing fluff, much as the rest of the series.

Raven's Shadow
Ravens's Strike - Patricia Briggs - fun duology. Really a single book in 2 covers. Well drawn characters, interesting world. Recommend.

Luck in the Shadows - Lynn Flewelling - the first of an ongoing series. Muchly enjoyed. Will be looking for all the next ones (Casket of Souls just came out!)

Daddy-Long-Legs - Jean Webster - light little epistolary novel. Saw the major plot twist coming. It may mean more if I had read it at the right age to identify with the protagonist.

The Dreaming Place - Charles de Lint - apparently his first YA novel. Set in Newford. Okay, but not great, and a shorter read than many of his are now. Will be passing on.

Lady John - Madeleine Robins - read on nook - one of her Regencies. I highly recommend all of them, along with the Sarah Tolerance books.

Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore - What happens after the heroes save the kingdom? Very good read - third of a trilogy. Recommend all 3.

Drift - Rachel Maddow - I have never seen so many curse words in a non-fiction books, which tells you what dry tomes I usually read. An interesting look at how the deliberate restraints on warmaking built into the U.S. Constitution have been subverted, but Democrat and Republican alike. Recommend.

Year's total: 67
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Cold Fire - Kate Elliot - a good read. Muchly looking forward to the next one!

Fire - Kristin Cashore - awesome YA. Muchly looking forward to the next one!

Glamour in Glass - Mary Robinette Kowal - sequel to Shade of Milk and Honey. Different, because the first was about finding a husband, at least partly, and this one is about how to make a life together.

The Power of Habit - James Duhigg - Interesting nonfiction for the non-scientist. Full of anecdotes. Recommend.

Her Royal Spyness -
A Royal Pain - Rhys Bowen - Silly murder mysteries, featuring a cousin of the British royals as a detective in the early 1930s. Amusing fluff.

The Stepsister Scheme - Jim Hines - a take on what happens after the fairytale ends. Not bad. Might take the rest of the series out of the library.

Year's total: 56
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Graceling - Kristin Cashore - excellent. If I had a daughter, I'd buy this book for her. Spoiler ROT13'd: Fb avpr gb unir n ebznapr gung qbrfa'g raq va zneevntr!

Dark Moon Defender -
Reader and Raelynx -
Fortune and Fate - Sharon Shinn -
Really good series. Am contemplating for my nieces. A variety of relationships, and relationship types, and the last book is what happens after the war is over, which is a really nice thing.

Isabella - Loretta Chase - ebook - Regency fluff. Amusing.

The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett - one of the Watch Discworlds. A good read. I really do prefer the Witches to everyone else, I think.

Friday's Child - Georgette Heyer - ebook - amusing enough.

Year's total: 48
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Pentecost Alley -
The Hyde Park Headsman -
Belgrave Square -
Brunswick Gardens -
Bluegate Fields -
Ashworth Hall -
Southhampton Row -
Seven Dials -
all by Anne Perry. If you couldn't tell, I'm reading myself out on these, and then donating them to the library.

Cousin Kate - Georgette Heyer - nook - a somewhat Gothic Regency romance. Don't read if you have issues with representation of mental illnes....

The Thirteenth House - Sharon Shinn - second in the series. Quite a good read. Am waiting on the last 3 from the library

Never After - anthology - good reads - subverted fairy tales.

I am Half Sick of Shadows - Alan Bradley - another Flavia De Luce; good enough, but not great.

Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs - another excellent read by someone who is consistently a good read!

The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemesin - It took me a while to remember from the first book. Interesting read.

Year's total: 41
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Silence in Hanover Close - Anne Perry - ending a bit abrupt; otherwise, nicely crafted murder mystery. I especially like the bits where one character is acting as a lady's made in 1887 London. Not pleasant.

The Story of the Stone - Barry Hughart - amusing mystery. I will find the others in the set, but not buy them.

To the Resurrection Station - Eleanor Arnason - interesting book. Rather ... unfocussed? Atypical plot arc. Won't be keeping. Thinner book from the 70s; not as fleshed out as it would have been written 20-30 years later. Publisher would have allowed doorstop.

Mystic and Rider - Sharon Shinn - first of at least 5. Very good. Am in the second now. Probably won't keep. The entire book is spent on a trip to gather information and bring it back to the king. Obviously part of something larger. I do tend to like her books.

Year to date: 27
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The Thorn and the Blossom - Theodora Goss - received free from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program

This book is beautifully designed. The clever accordion binding allows one to read the story from the point of view of either of the main protagonists. The artwork is fantastic.

The story is a sort of mystical romance story. I was hoping for something more explicitly fantasy. I also find the protagonists unbelievable, in what they give up and where they end up at the end of the story. The ending is also ambiguous, which is not something I care for.

Year's total: 23
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The Secret Lives of Wives - Iris Krasnow - received free through the LibraryThing early reviewers program.

I was expecting something with more numbers and studies in it. Instead, this is a collection of anecdotes, and commentary on the author's own marriage.

As someone who is contemplating marriage, and in a 9 year relationship but not yet married, this book scares me. There is a lot of emphasis on how hard marriage is, and I saw very little in it that might encourage me to pursue one. I seem to recall hearing that marriage is detrimental to women's health. That research is not even brought up in this book.

The author has a definite viewpoint - you should get married, and stay married. And children are the glue that holds a marriage together. You should stay together if you are bored, unhappy, uncomfortable, for the sake of having a family, and not ripping apart the tapestry that a family becomes. You owe it to your forebears, and to your descendants, to maintain your place.

The background seems to be: A woman will get married, she will lose herself in taking care of the kids, then when they grow up and are out of the house, she will have the time and financial freedom to take up old hobbies and interests.

Most of the women she interviews are very well off indeed. 6 figure salaries. Enough money to take separate vacations.

She seems shocked at the swingers, in an open marriage.

She is very gender essentialist - she and her female friends seem to have some sort of "Sex in the City" thing going. She believes that you should have good male friends, but being friends with a guy is very different from being friends with a woman. Cherish the straight guys who actually want to have a conversation with you. Seriously. You can't expect your husband to talk to you, or listen to you. I find this a deeply weird attitude - people are people, friends are friends - why would I want to be with a person who doesn't talk to me?

I do agree with some of the underlying things in this book: do not expect your husband to be everything to you. Maintain interests outside of the relationship - a job, hobbies, friends.

This book was a disappointment, and I would not recommend it to anyone.
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Quatrain - Sharon Shinn - a collection of novellas set in four different worlds, some of which I'd met before. Excellent.

Troubled Waters - Sharon Shinn - a nice story of a young woman finding herself.

Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett - fun witches story.
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Eternal - Cynthia Leitch Smith - second in the trilogy that started with Tantalize. Seems to have no link to its predecessor. A nice Twinkie like its predecessor.

Blessed - Cynthia Leitch Smith - third of the trilogy. Ties them all together. Again, a pleasant, quick, fluffy read.

Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell - nook - oh. What a good read. Less action, and more portrait of the people. Recommend.

Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett - reread. Since this was published, lots of people have remembered how ... dangerous the Fair Folk are.

Sword & Sorceress XXVI - latest in the series. Enjoyed.

Motel of the Mysteries - David Macauley - amusing book. Illustrated. Future historians excavate a motel, and explain (wrongly) what they find.

Beauvallet - Georgette Heyer - ick. Do not recommend.

The Sleeping Partner - Madeleine E. Robins - fantastic mystery/ alternative history/ Regency fun. Yay! Another will be coming!

Moon Called -
Blood Bound -
Iron Kissed -
Bone Crossed -
Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson series. Coyote in a pack of werewolves. I really like how the love triangle doesn't last for more than a few books.

Cry Wolf -
Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs - 2 more in the same world as Mercy Thompson. No coyote, only werewolves. Not quite as good.

Wolfsbane - Patricia Briggs - continuation of Masques. It is really nice to see a couple working out how they are going to be a couple, not just the start of, "Oooo! I like him!"

Steal the Dragon - Patricia Briggs - another in the Sianam series, set about 10 years after Masques.

When Demons Walk - Patricia Briggs - a fourth Sianam book. Set a few years after Steal the Dragon.
If you couldn't tell, I really like this series.

Year's total: 18
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Tantalize - Cynthia Leitich Smith - nook - fluffy YA vampire novel. An amusing Twinkie.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker - Leanna Renee Hieber - nook - I picked this up on a recommendation from someone at the bookstore. Didn't like it. Brooding "romantic" hero, fate of the world, yadda, yadda, yadda.....

The Stone Fey - Robin McKinley - reread - I do like this book. Sweet and romantic in all the right ways...

Food Matters - Mark Bittman - very interesting book about how to change your diet, and what to. Recipes included. I plan to try some of them.

The Escape - Katherine Mansfield - like the more boring stuff in high school English. Ick.

Crown Duel & Court Duel - Sherwood Smith - fantastic! Fantasy, lightly romantic, most of the plot focus is not on the romance part, which is excellent.

The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer - nook - reread - delightful romp.

Mina Laury - Charlotte Bronte - wow. Very Gothic and overdone. Mercy.

The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera - Very interesting book. It has been a long time since I saw the movie, and I had a migraine when I did.

The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories - Charles W. Chesnutt - nook - fascinating set of short stories, written by a black man and set in black culture between the Civil War and the turn of the century. Recommend.

Year's total: 179

Well, I didn't make the 180 goal I set in November. The 2012 goal will be 52, which should be nice and easy.
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Well, I lost steam around Wednesday. Still managed to get some stuff done. Most of the mess that was dumped on the floor and the bed has been put away, with the craft stuff in a pile against one of the bookcases.

I have a lot left to do:
-put the craft stuff away
-purge the papers in the filing cabinet
-purge the boxes of paper on the bottom shelf of the enclosed bookcase
-purge the papers in the potter holes
-organize the papers that are left
-purge the books, including the books in the potter holes
-it would be good if all the books could be out on the shelves, except maybe the textbooks
-purge the clothing (noticing a theme here?) in the closet
-purge the clothing in hun's closet
-purge the clothing in the downstairs closet
-it would be good if all the clothes fit into my closet
-purge the office supplies
-move the non-rolling plastic cabinet into the closet to hold underwear and socks
-get rid of the yarn and other craft supplies I no longer want or need, which are taking up valuable mental and physical space
-measure out the furniture and the room
-figure out what goes in the pigeon hole cabinet
-move the bookcases from the center of the room to each side of the windows
-decide which desk goes on long term loan to my friend (yay friend!)
-move the dresser back by the door?
-change where the bed goes?
-sort out where the cat's box goes
-strip the bed and wash everything
-figure out what to do with all the music
-hang various things up on the walls, in the bedroom and in the rest of the house
-vacuum the floor of the bedroom
-figure out if/what new rugs to get
-figure out what should be in the dresser instead of yarn
-figure out where the yarn should go
-read down the pile of books that I have not yet read, before buying too many more
-work down the pile of fiber projects that I have planned
-finish the fiber projects I have already started
-get the commonplace book up to date
-try out new recipes and bring the recipe book up to date with the good ones

I'm sure I'm missing something. Somehow, I'm thinking this is probably the work of at least the next year....
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Buried by Breakfast - Claudia Bishop -
Carol for a Corpse - Claudia Bishop -
A Dinner to Die For - Claudia Bishop - all three from the Hemlock Falls series. I've decided not to keep them, and I also want to make 180 books this year, and I knew they'd be quick reads.

The Kepi - Colette - a short book. I don't particularly like it.

Night's Rose - Annaliese Evans - romance with monsters, set in the 1750s or so. Not bad.

The Heiress Companion - Madeleine Robins - quite a good Regency romance.

Year's total: 168
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I started my new job in May, and couldn't take vacation for 90 days. I thought about going various places, but it seemed... like too much work. Picking someplace, making arrangements, booking things, making decisions... So much effort! The only thing that got me really excited was the thought of ... wait for it ... cleaning my room. Seriously.

We've lived in this house 6 years, and during that time I have changed somewhat a lot. One of the biggest changes is that I no longer need to hold on to everything. I have started to trust that I will be able to provide for myself - that I can buy a notebook or a skein of yarn or a book when I want to read it, so I don't have to keep stuff for years, in case I might need it, in case I might use it, even if I don't like it or want it, but You Never Know, and It Might Be Useful Someday.

I spent 4-6 hours each day Monday and Tuesday cleaning. All the loose books are now on bookshelves. Several boxes of papers have been sorted and put away. The 20 gallon tote full of "stuff" has been sorted. Still not positive what to do with some of what was in it. The coffee and side tables I am giving away have been cleared off. The pigeonhole cabinet I bought a few months ago is upstairs in their place. I have purged my notebooks - some are for friends, and some for children at a local school whose teacher I know. Done the same with stationery. Both now fit into the same rolley drawers. Markers will go to the same teacher. I don't need them, I don't use them - pass them on to someone who can.

Today, I worked only an hour, went and had a routine sonogram and lunch, came home and took a nap. And then woke up, did a little copying/organizing, watched some TV, bonded with the cat, and now, am finishing this post. I will go upstairs, and pack up everything I want to mail tomorrow.

The goal is 4 hours per day, cleaning/purging/sorting/organizing. I don't have to do anything specific, just do something.

This week seems to be a good one for getting stuff off the floor, and into some semblance of "away." Once the room is fit for human habitation, I will have the space to sort out clothing (maybe this weekend?) and all the other stuff I have. It is time to let go of the things that I will not use, do not need, do not want, that are just taking up space and energy.
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1632 - Eric Flint - read on nook, free from Baen's library, but I did have a hardcopy - frothy story, in which a chunk of West Virginia is transported to the middle of the Thirty Years War. Subtly sexist - almost every main character woman is young, and all are attractive. The men's appearances are all described in terms of fighting, the women's in terms of being cute. I don't believe these people would have adapted as well as they seem to, nor do I believe the 17th century Europeans would have. On the other hand, the characterizations are pretty shallow, so maybe that part just got left out. Also, much too mil-sf for me.

The Door through Space - Marion Zimmer Bradley - pre-Darkover. She stole some of her ideas for Darkover from this book. A nice Twinkie of a read.

Masques - Patricia Briggs - ooooo. Very good story, with a fantastic heroine, a believable romance and a good plot. Will be looking for hardcopy.

Snuff - Terry Pratchett - okay enough. Not one of his best.


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November 2015



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