Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mini Books Reviews and Actual Progress on ROW80: Camp NaNoWriMo!

Mini reviews!

One of the many things I need an intern for is to collate and catch up with all the book reviews I should be publishing. I find it easiest to mention the books I liked best (or books I didn't like at all) on the blog. This doesn't necessarily help the authors, but I have such a backlog that it would take a few hours to go through the blog and transfer the reviews (which often necessitates adding text or changing the format) to Amazon and Goodreads. I also feel guilty that I haven't reviewed every single book I've purchased on Amazon (whether it's the .co.uk., .de, .fr, .ca, or .com site)!

The trouble is, because I've been reading since long before the Internet, I find my Amazon, Goodreads, and LibraryThing profiles are not an accurate representation of all the books I own, have read, and have enjoyed. LibraryThing comes the closest, but there I have over ten accounts, and also a second job for my intern -- since I created those catalogues, I've obtained at least 500 more books!

However, a blog review and praise on social media is better than nothing. Zan Marie has a great feature on her blog that helps this situation -- mini reviews!

The following aren't so much reviews as a jumble of thoughts on the last four books I've read.

Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson



A light hearted journey through the history and usage of English. This is a good introductory text for someone who hasn't read anything about English before. Bryson's writing style is generally easy to read and usually makes me laugh out loud a few times, especially when he's making snarky comparisons or exaggerations.

His comment that it was odd for Tolkien to be involved in a history of English usage struck me as strange, since it seems so obvious to me that Tolkien was an expert in philology. Based on that, too, I don't find it weird, as Bryson did, that one of the words the Romans had for the male member was worm -- anyone who reads Tolkien knows that worm (or wyrm) refers to a dragon-type creature, and not an earthworm. Another oddity -- not referring to George Orwell at all in a book about English! Given Bryson's personal history, it's no surprise that he focuses on the United States and the United Kingdom. But I would have appreciated more Canadian facts and references. (There are a few Australian ones.)

Overall, however, this was an interesting book: I learned some new facts, got to roll some words around on my tongue, added three more books to my wishlist, and -- as it led me to Google Bryson -- I found out that he has a new book about England, The Road to Little Dribbling, coming soon! I also remembered an old post of mine called I love the English language, where I shared a sentence I wrote using all the words I could on the World Wide Words list of weird words. In alphabetical order! Here's how it begins (the weird words are capitalised):
Abigail and her Attercop Absquatulated with my Bezoar, the Blackguards, and it was utter Balderdash because they were Bankrupt so I couldn’t Blackmail them, the Blatherskites, and I was so filled with Blood and thunder that I Bloviated and wrote a Bodacious Blurb about the Boondoggle, upon which they called me a Bootless Brobdingnagian and a Cad, and then Cadged my Didgeridoo – such Cheapskates they were that they rode down a Cataract instead of hiring a Charabanc down to the Cadastral of Cockaigne; what a Cockamamie way to travel I called out, and tried to perform a [continues here]...

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


I just learned, thanks to Wikipedia, that the edition I read was missing one story (at least). That's a shame. I love Bradbury's simple and understated yet powerful style, especially in Dandelion Wine and Fahrenheit 451.

Unfortunately, I had some trouble with The Martian Chronicles. It's not a novel, but a loose collection of episodes that roughly flow into each other based on the dates. The dates, though, cover 1999 to 2026, and because they cover the current period, it's hard to willingly suspend one's disbelief. Wikipedia notes that there's an edition of the book that advances the dates by 30 years. That really doesn't help, however, and might make things worse; the trouble is that some things just don't make sense in terms of the future. It's possible to imagine that you're reading about another planet (since we know more about Mars now and there doesn't seem to be any water on there, let alone inhabitants) but it's hard to ignore things like people with no training and no physical preparation simply getting on a rocket and flying to another planet, stepping out and breathing the atmosphere. The chapter featuring groups of little children running around makes no sense even in the internal chronology because it implies that the first men to arrive and build up the cities brought their kids with them only one year after the first expeditions, whereas in another scene it's made very clear that the first men were working men and the only women there were "the ones you'd expect" (i.e. prostitutes).

And that's part of the other problem. We certainly haven't reached full equality across the planet by any means, but the lack of women in any other role than housewife, and the entire chapter called "Way in the Middle of the Air", about a racist white man, made me feel sad that Bradbury, in the 1940s and 1950s, couldn't imagine that humans might be just a tiny bit more advanced in the future.
The issue of nearly all the Martians dying from small pox within a few weeks after exposure to the first expeditions from the United States was all too poignant and sad.


Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
and Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott




It's surprising that, as much as I love Agatha Christie, after over 20 years of being a fan, I still haven't read all her books. I checked a bibliographical list the other day and calculated that if I read each one once (skipping only a handful -- the one or two Poirot novels I've reread often and the two Mary Westmacott books I've already read), at one book a week it would take me two years to read them all. Add this to the list of "someday I will..."

Come, Tell Me How You Live is an amusing anecdotal account of a few seasons at archaeological digs alongside her husband Max Mallowan. The sense of emptiness in the Syrian desert is palpable (another poignant thought, given current situations in Syria) and Christie evokes the charm of the people and the trials and excitements of travel and of an archaeological dig in the 1930s with a smooth and nostalgic style. She makes me want to go back in time and travel with her!

Absent in the Spring is set in the same locations. The novel is amazing, from a writer's point of view, because nothing happens. There are few conversations, except in flashbacks, and most of the novel is the thoughts and memories of the main character during a few days when she is stuck in the middle of the desert waiting for a train.

The story flows, the flashbacks are easily interposed, and there's never a sense of being stuck (i.e. in the narrator's mind). The build up to the emotional climax and again, when the resolution comes (I won't give away the ending), is very well paced. Another aspect Christie does well -- through the flashbacks, and the conversations with the other characters, the reader gets a more well-rounded view of the main character, rather than simply the character's own thoughts and opinions. Little words and phrases can carry so much weight!

Now I'm on another Agatha Christie kick, of course, so I'm reading Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran.


The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
The first book in Callihan's Game On series, available here!


There's a lot to love in this book. For one thing, I wish there had been books like this around back when I was reading VC Andrews. Instead of depraved sexual matter (thinking about My Sweet Audrina still makes me feel squicky. What a horrible way to treat a little girl, instead of helping her through a traumatic event), I could have been reading steamy romances between characters who - despite the flaws they see in themselves -- are strong, opinionated, and in control. I loved the witty banter (though the casual swearing seemed a bit overdone), and the fact that both lead characters study hard and read poetry. If I'd read this back when I was a teen, I especially would have loved the whole taking-care-of-an-injured-strongman scenario. And the variety in the kissing and the sex scenes is really well written -- there's no sense of repetition in the writing at all -- each time feels just as exciting as the first.

There seemed to be a slight imbalance in the steamier scenes -- they were all concentrated at the front of the book, and there were fewer at the end, especially around the climax. The climax itself might not have been strong enough in terms of raising the stakes between the characters. However, anything I say with regard to timing should be taken with a grain of salt, as I didn't get to read this book in my usual fashion at all. I find reading on screen jarring enough as it is, and this difficulty is compounded at the moment by the fact that I read in bed after the baby goes to sleep, and so I don't get to read as casually and for as long as I'd like (the books I read during her naps or on the walk to work are paperbacks, and I'm more used to the flow of those reading sessions). Since I'm such a stickler, and read with a pen in hand 99 per cent of the time, I also find it frustrating not to be able to mark typos! (There are a few here; Zepplin for Zeppelin and so on...)

The gradual reveal of the characters' back stories is very well done. Now that I think back, the setting is also very smoothly written -- the story takes place on a college campus in the United States, and is heavily centred on characters whose lives revolve around college football. Yet not once did I feel confused or out of my depth. Rather, I felt I understood where the characters were coming from and why they made the choices they did. The secondary characters are also well realised; it's always fun to read a book where you feel like you've known the main characters and their friends for a long time, and you're not struggling to remember who's who. The story is told alternately from Anna's point of view and from Drew's point of view; the male voice seemed very strong; I hope male readers would agree!

Speaking of Drew Baylor, who has the same initials as I have, this happened the other day:



Thanks, Kristen! Looking forward to reading The Friend Zone!

As for my own writing, and checking in for ROW80, I actually got some writing done the other day! Typed up three more pages of Larksong. Then I realised I'd had a chance to do that because I hadn't worked on the Wallace transcriptions that weekend. There doesn't seem to be time for both in the same day.

One decision I've made, though, is to stop feeling guilty about editing. I have to finish typing Larksong and the as-yet-untitled NaNo 2014 story about spies in WWI. After that... it seems best to keep writing, while the ideas are there, and leave all the editing for later. Next project, then, is Camp NaNoWriMo in July! I've already signed up, and hope to explore the story of Brother Arcturus and his adventures on Columbus' second voyage.

What have you been reading lately?

Will you be attending Camp NaNoWriMo? We could set up a cabin!

Don't forget to vote in WRiTE Club!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Spring in Geneva, a Photo Interlude

Another busy week! I didn't advance far on my main ROW80 goals of editing and transcribing, but I've been reading a lot and hope to feature another round of ZanMarie-inspired mini book reviews next week!

In the meantime, spring!





view from the dock at Nyon

me at the United Nations!

peacock in the botanical gardens


view in Nyon

a sideways door (she said ruefully - I rotated the photo, I swear!)

cat in Yvoire, France



Chateau de Coppet, where Lord Byron once stayed

Coppet









Hope you're having a lovely spring!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Acronym Soup Day! A to Z Reflections, ROW80, WRiTE Club, and IWSG

You might not want to hear this but yesterday I had the perfect idea for a theme for next year's A to Z Challenge!

If I had all sorts of extra time, I could begin scheduling my posts today.

That would be a special form of madness, no? Plus it would remove some of the spontaneity and excitement from the event. In any case, I should focus more on writing and editing! I've had two story ideas in the past month -- this is fun, but not conducive to editing the already-completed novels.


One of my ROW80 goals for this round was simply to survive the A to Z. I did better than expected! Not only did I manage to post every day, but I also (thanks to a couple of days off work) caught up on all the comments here. Of course, I'm still busy making the rounds of many other participants... At last count, I had about 50 bloggers still to visit, plus (unbelievably) 60 others that I still owe visits to following my blog blitz day!

It seemed to me there were lots of fresh ideas for A to Z themes this year. Blogging is alive and well!

This is perhaps a good thing to keep in mind on Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. I worry that not having a regular cycle of editing will somehow loosen my writing muscles, but I forget that other writing -- not just the novel -- is good exercise too! Blogging, brainstorming, everything counts.

And I managed to submit a short piece for WriTE Club, which starts on 18 May! Here are the rules:


Come early and vote often!

Thank you to all the organizers and hosts of the A to Z.

I hope everyone had a great time visiting the A to Zers!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Ze Rest of Ze List featuring Dolly Parton

Z is for ze rest of ze list!

For this year's A to Z Challenge I featured books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.



Today's post details all the categories that didn't fit under A to Y!

A book with more than 500 pages: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

A classic romance: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

A book that became a movie: The Human Comedy by William Saroyan

A book written by someone under 30: Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham

A funny book: Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico

A book you started but never finished: Wicked by Gregory Maguire

A nonfiction book: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

A popular author's first book: Something Wrong (horror stories) by Edith Nesbit (1893!)

A Pulitzer Prize winning book: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

A book that scares you: 1984 by George Orwell

A memoir: Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry

A play: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

A book that came out the year you were born: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah Howe and James Howe

A trilogy: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

A book set in the future: The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin (not exactly in the future, of course, but it is science fiction)

A book set in high school: Bright Days, Stupid Nights by Norma Fox Mazer and Harry Mazer

A book that made you cry: The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

A banned book: A lot of my favourite authors have been banned at one time or another. Judy Blume, WH Auden, the list goes on. Banning books is ridiculous.

A book a friend recommended: The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle


Speaking of recommendations, here's a great way to share books and a love of reading:


I've signed up for the free publication StoryMonsters Ink 
and their last issue featured Dolly Parton's Imagination Library!



"Originally, the Imagination Library was created as a way to reach out to preschool children in Dolly's home county in East Tennessee. Her dream was to foster a love of reading at an early age by giving children the gift of a special book each month, regardless of income. The Imagination Library grew so popular that in 2000, she decided to offer the program to any community willing to partner with her. Today, more than 1,600 local communities have joined the Imagination Library."

 There are five categories I haven't had a chance to fill. Please give me your suggestions!

A book by an author you've never read before
A book based entirely on its cover
A book written by an author with the same initials as you
A book with antonyms in the title
A book with bad reviews

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for FairY Tales or Not-Young Books

Y is for fairY tales...

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is a book more than 100 years old.

I have a few such books in our library, but most are in storage! I thought it might be fun to talk about fairy tales instead.

Here are a few of my favourite authors:

Hans Christian Andersen



My favourite story: The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf


Andrew Lang


The coloured fairy books! (sorry, upside down again)
I happily own all of them, but could only bring one with us, unfortunately.

My favourite story: from the Nursery Rhyme book, Ken Ye the Rhyme to Porringer? (because of the Gaiman Tolkien connection!)


The Brothers Grimm



My favourite story: The Six Swans


Charles Perrault



My favourite story: Puss in Boots


There're also Walter de la Mare, Eleanor Farjeon, Edward Lear, and many other authors.


ROW80 in brief!: I have a couple of days off work coming up. And so many exciting A to Z blog posts to catch up on!

Which fairy tales do you love?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for X-Files

X is for X-Files.

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is a book based on or turned into a TV show: The X-Files!

I only ever read the first two X-Files novels, Goblins and Whirlwind. They were fun, but didn't compare to watching Mulder and Scully, of course.

I wonder if the show would have the same effect if I watched it now? When it first aired, it was on so late that after we watched it, my sister and I would turn on the lights all the way up the stairs to bed, because we were scared to be in the dark. Just thinking about the Peacock family episode still frightens me no end.

Someone's probably made this comparison before, but in a way the earliest X-Files episodes were like Doctor Who - there was a central core of disbelief, and once you'd willingly suspended into that, the fun and excitement and unassuming cheesiness was there for the taking. I was watching a lot of the old Doctor Who episodes in the same years, now that I think of it. My favourites are still Hartnell and Troughton. Aww. I miss them.


An Unearthly Child, first episode ever

The Simpsons is mostly unavailable on YouTube, but I did find this from the X-Files episode, The Springfield Files:



The X-Files is returning with new episodes next year!

Doctor Who is back on the BBC in autumn!

Which book would you like to see turned into a TV show?
(Of course, there's always Outlander. And I didn't even mention All Creatures Great and Small!)
Which TV show would you read books of?

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for Watership Down and the Library Book Sale

W is for Watership Down.

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.


Today's book is a book with nonhuman characters: Watership Down by Richard Adams.



There's also a sequel, Tales from Watership Down.



Both books are about the adventures of a group of rabbits, led by two brothers called Fiver and Hazel, who are forced to leave their warren and find a new home. "The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese)" (from Amazon)

There's a brilliant recent interview with Adams in the Telegraph.

I also glanced at the Wikipedia entry for the book just now and learned that Adams participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything last December. I missed it! If only I'd seen a notification for it on Twitter. Someone asked a Tolkien question:
"I'm a huge fan of your fantasy novels. Did you ever meet J. R. R. Tolkien? What did you think of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies?

I never met Tolkien, and I can't say I've seen the films. I hear they're good. I think the Lord of the Rings is first class. Wonderful. There aren't enough novelists today writing stories. Not many novels nowadays are really stories - they concentrate on character and the relationships between characters. Sad love and happy love. But a story. "Once upon a time...". It's not sophisticated enough you see, but I think there' a real place for it."

I also learned that Adams co-authored a nonfiction book on a journey in Antartica, Voyage Through the Antarctic. That sounds fascinating! It's definitely difficult for me to resist adding books to my wishlists all the time.

Not only that, but I keep adding to my To Read pile... Last weekend the Library in English in Geneva hosted another book sale!

Purchases on the first day

The second day's haul

Which books with non-human characters would you recommend?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

V is for Mandalas by Wendy Piersall

V is for very many colours!

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is a book with a colour in the title. I've been reading a few Usborne touchy-feely books in the past year, which are full of colours:

The colours, children!

Mainly, though, I'm reposting part of a recent book review blogpost. But I'd like to insert a brief note here with regard to the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day, today. In 1934, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields in Turkey:

"Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well."

And now, the letter
V





and very many colours:
Look, a colouring book!

"From the Sanskrit word for "circle," mandalas have been used for meditation and healing for thousands of years.
"Coloring Animal Mandalas" adds the beauty of the animal kingdom—including butterflies, tigers, swans, snakes, peacocks, seahorses and even unicorns—into these intricate designs for page after page of coloring book bliss.
As you transform the detailed shapes in this book into stunning works of art, you'll find yourself relaxing, focused, reaching a higher state of mindfulness and simply enjoying yourself."

Here are a couple of sample pages, both coloured and in black and white:





It might be a fan-of-Tolkien thing (he drew lots of friezes and sigils and emblems that I find very attractive) but I've always enjoyed colouring in patterns and shapes, and even drawn a few geometric repeating patterns of my own (usually when in class...).

There's lots of enjoyment to be had in this book if you're also a fan of that sort of thing. Just looking at the images gets my fingers itching to pick up coloured pencils!

And there's even a time lapse video showing a colouring-in.

Which books on colour have you enjoyed?

Friday, 24 April 2015

U is for Ulysses by James Joyce

U is for Ulysses.

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is a book with a one-word title: Ulysses by James Joyce. I've blogged about Joyce twice before, including him in a list of intimidating books and noting that his works are now public domain (which seems scary!) and that the first book of his I read was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I first read it in my early teens. I had a sweatshirt that featured Joyce and jokingly referred to Samuel Beckett going out in the middle of the night to get pizzas.

I mentioned then that I've read Ulysses! It took me a year - I read a chapter each Sunday (or so). After each chapter, I read the corresponding chapter in Stuart Gilbert's James Joyce's Ulysses: A Study. Is it really possible to read Ulysses without any help at all? I haven't tried Finnegan's Wake yet... A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is still my favourite of his writing.

Of three Joyce-related parts of Europe, I've visited Dublin and the James Joyce Centre, Paris and the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and am hoping to visit the third -- which is in Switzerland!

The James Joyce Foundation in Zurich which "was established in 1985 with a view to keeping alive the memory and work of the Irish writer James Joyce for the literary world in general, and above all for Zurich, where he spent some important creative years and where he died."


I hadn't realised he was buried in Switzerland. Not only that, but there are all sorts of houses and pubs associated with him to visit!

Screenshot of photos from the James Joyce Foundation page

Which difficult books have you tackled?

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html