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JL's Bibliomania

Also on GoodReads as J L's Bibliomania:


and Litsy @jlsbibliomania


While my first love was SF, I read widely in YA, urban fantasy, police procedurals,  middle-grade, and non-fiction. 




Currently reading

C.J. Cherryh
The Scorpio Races
Maggie Stiefvater, Fiona Hardingham, Steve West, Scholastic Audio
Progress: 46/727 minutes
Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson
Elizabeth Rhys Finney, Priscilla Olson, Zenna Henderson
Progress: 250/577 pages

Bluebarb Pie

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life - Kate McDermott, Andrew Scrivani 365 Great Pies You Can Bake - Lois Hill

We make pie semi-regularly, mostly following ideas from 365 Great Pies You Can Bake (which we picked up years ago from the remaindered book store) or from the great Internet cookbook. 


Everyone else seemed to be having so much fun with The Art of The Pie, and it was available as an ebook from my library, so I thought I would see what it was about. The Art of the Pie seems like an good resource for the new baker.  While most of the ideas (at least for traditional gluten-containing pies) aren't particularly new or insightful, they are clearly explained in the part biographical, part travelogue, part instructional style that seems to be the current fashion for cookbooks. I found Kate McDermott's enthusiasm engaging and contagious.  The information on gluten-free pie crust seems timely and well thought out, but I can't speak to how effective it is.


While I originally learned to make pie crust from my husband, recently I've been baking more regularly.  I was short on time, so asked him to make me pie crust following the recipe from The Art of the Pie.  I think it's just that he was out of practice, because the crust he made was too dry and crumbly and ended up tough after too much rolling.  


I followed the recipe for Blueberry Rhubarb Pie using a mixture of fresh Rhubarb and frozen blueberries.  The resulting pie was one of the prettiest I've made (perhaps because of the egg wash on the top crust), but the filling was a bit runny (as often happens when I bake with frozen fruit).  The mixture of blueberries and rhubarb wasn't one I would have thought of on my own, and was very nice indeed, though almost too sweet.



I'm looking forward to see what she has to say about pumpkin pie, since it's one of the few types younger son likes and he has asked that we make one, even though it's spring.


Ponyboy, Ponyboy, Where have you been?

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

After listening to The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, I can see why this book has been a staple of the High School curriculum.  Ponyboy Curtis is a young adult struggling to find his place with his brothers and in the larger society.  While some of the language is a bit dated (referring to a tobacco cigarette as a "weed?"), or perhaps because of those language choices, The Outsiders does a wonderful job depicting nostagic Americana.  I enjoyed it, though found some of the digressions into description a distraction.



I read The Outsiders for Booklikes-opoly Square Main Street 11: Read a book that takes place between 1945 and 1965 or that was written by an author who was born before 1955.  It feels the events of The Outsiders could be happening anytime within 5 years of 1960 or so. (The book itself never states a year or any identifying information such as a political figure, but the Wikipedia article says that the book is set in 1965).  Regardless, S.E. Hinton was born before 1955.


192 pages

Bank Balance $38

Not rolling again until I finish the rest of my Dewey's Bonus Roll selections (unless I hear otherwise)


Booklikes-opoly Update - Rolls 4 & 5



DATE: May 15th 

Bank Account: $36


I made rolls 5-7 on April 30th as part of the Dewey's Readathon bonanza. I was too busy at work to read much in the last 2 weeks, but a quick jaunt to TX for a cousin's Bar Mitzvah meant time to read on the plane.  


Roll #: 4

Lands on: Cars Land 18 - Read a book published in 2006, 2011, 2013 or 2014 or that has a car on the cover


It's been a while since I've read any Chik Lit like the Elm Creek Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini and I've been wanted to change up genres recently. I selected Fast Women in part due to Murder By Death's recent review and because the cover matched the square




Fast Women wasn't bad, but it was not entirely to my taste. I don't feel compelled to seek out other books by Jennifer Crusie. 




Roll #: 5 


Lands on: New Orleans 21 - Read a book set on an island or that has water on the cover


Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys 



As described in my previous post, I read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  I was compelled by the story, but the tragic topic doesn't lead to swoonlike responses. 


I have selections picked out for the other 2 Dewey's Bonus Rolls, including one that I'm very  much looking forward to, so I won't be rolling again quite yet.


Salt to the Sea



I selected Salt to the Sea for the first of my Dewey’s Readathon Bonus rolls New Orleans 21   Salt to the Sea has a picture of the sea on the cover.


 Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys 



I’ve made no secret of being Jewish, and I’m of an age that many of my Hebrew School teacher were Survivors of Hitler’s quest to annihilate the Jews.  So I was steeped in the Shoah narrative from an early age.


As she did for Between Shades of Grey, Ruta Sepetys has mined her family history to remind us of how many other tragedies occurred during the Second World War. The chaotic events that culminate in the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff are told by the closely interwoven stories of 4 young adults


  • Joana – a Lithuanian refugee with some medical training
  • Friedrich – a German civilian boy struggling to hide his identity and purpose
  • Emelia – a pregnant Polish girl
  • Albert – an odious German soldier


The extremely short chapters should be choppy, but instead the weave together into a dischordant whole.  I don’t know whether I enjoyed Salt to the Sea, but I was compelled, almost driven to keep reading until the tragic conclusion.  



As We Go Marching, Marching 

As They Went Marching, Marching

March (Book One) - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis March: Book Two - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Robert Lewis March: Book Three - Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, John Lewis Gaddis

 On the 100th day of Mr. Trump’s Presidency, I finished March Book 3


Starting with his childhood in segregated Alabama and ending with the 1963 March on Washington, the three volume graphic novel biography March chronicles the early life of Representative John Lewis of Georgia and the role he played in the Civil Rights Movement as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Nate Powell's strong black and white line drawings bring the determination, blood, and success of the Civil Rights movement to life.


I found these books a timely, painful read.  And the parts that had me heartbroken were not the spare depictions of the atrocities and hardships of the past, but the interwoven scenes of the 2009 Inauguration of President Barak Obama and my fears that the years of the Obama presidency are in hindsight going to be the best years of my life.  Reading March, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come, how much more there is to do, and also how much we could lose.  



May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you

Thanks to https://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2838505123/in/faves-7944636@N03/ for the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Vader

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon April 29, 2017 Wrap-up


Slightly belated closing meme because I had to run off to a parent meeting about an international trip my son will be taking next year immediately after the Readathon ended.


  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?


I didn’t have an hour that was particularly daunting.  I’d come into the Readathon with the first book picked out.  I did have trouble resisting the swan-song of social media and deciding what to read mid-evening when I finished my first novel.  I had the same hiccup after finishing my 1st book during #24in48 in January.


  1. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?


As with the past Readathons, I recommend having a few picture books around for change of pace. I used this Readathon as an excuse to read the 2017 Caldecott Award Winner and 2 of the 4 Caldecott Honor books.


  1. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?




  1. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?


I really liked the search feature on the participant list (when the internet was cooperating and the list of participants was up).


I liked the focus on giving (though I wouldn't necessarily want this to become a constant).  I pledged $5 per 100 pages read to BookMates and will be rounding up to a $45 donation.


  1. How many books did you read?


Finished 1 novel & 5 picture books. Also finished a graphic novel that I’d started a while ago and started another novel.


  1. What were the names of the books you read?
  • Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn (403 pages) – finished
  • March Book 3 by John Lewis (last 80 pages) - finished
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (about 38% or 150/400 pages)


Picture books

  • Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe (40 pages) 
  • Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk & Brendan Kearney (40 pages)
  • The Darkest Dark by Chris Hatfield (48 pages)
  • They All Saw the Cat by Brendan Wenzel (44 pages)
  • Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol (40 pages)


  1. Which book did you enjoy most?


Either They All Saw the Cat or Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast


  1. Which did you enjoy least?


March Book 3 has been a challenging read, but it’s not really a question of liking or disliking, more just of being emotionally wrenching


  1. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?


Very likely to participate again as a reader, and cheerleader.  Depending on schedule, maybe I’ll think about signing up for a co-hosting slot on the GoodReads group. 


I also have participated in #24in48 and recommend that folks who like Dewey’s Readathon check them out for more bookish fun.

Goodnight Dewey's Readathon


Since my last update I have


  • Started Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - I'm about 20% through the ebook
  • Read Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk & Brendan Kearney
  • Finished the last 100 pages or so of March Book 3 by John Lewis
  • Read The Darkest Dark by Chris Hatfield


I've also figured out books to correspond to the bonus rolls, but I'll tell you about that in the morning.


I don't think I will make it to 12 hours of reading, but am very happy with how my Readathon has gone so far and will definitely be at 12+ hours for Readathon participation.  As I have done the last few times, I'm setting an alarm to be able to join back in the fun for Hour 24.


Booklikes-opoly Rolls 4 - 7 - Updated with Selections

DATE: April 27th

Bank Account: $28 


Roll #: 4 - For Finishing Jeweled Fire (403 pages)

Dice Roll: 

Lands on: Cars Land 18 - Read a book published in 2006, 2011, 2013 or 2014 or that has a car on the cover


Either Fast Women by Jennifer Cruise (The edition I have pictures a classic turquoise sedan on the cover) or Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (published 2014).  I picked up Fast Women because of MurderByDeath's review a bit ago and part of the GR SF&F club is doing a side-read of Ancillary Sword.


Bonus Readathon Rolls



Roll #: 5 

Dice Roll:  



Lands on: New Orleans 21 - Read a book set on an island or that has water on the cover


Reading Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Current selectiojn



Roll #: 6

Dice Roll: 

Lands on: Paradise Pier 28 - Read something set during Victoria's Reign (1837 - 1901) or in the Steampunk Genre


I've summoned Goliath by Scott Westerfeld from the library.


Roll #: 7

Dice Roll: 



Lands on: Start - Read a book of your choice!!! 


Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop


I started Salt to the Sea during the later hours of my Readathon.  As these rolls fit things that I want to read, I am planning to just work my way through all of them. So my next roll may not be for a week or so, but I've got plenty to stock my bank account.

Dewey's Hour 11.5 Update


From the Skull series of Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat


Almost at the halfway point. 


So far today I have 

Read for approximately 6 hours.

Had my timer reset twice while paused for too long


Finished Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn (403 pages)

Finished Radiant Child by Javaka Steptoe (40 pages) 


Spent about 2 hours on Readathon related social media and challenges



Taken a walk with my husband (and chose to talk to him rather than fuss with headphones and an audiobook)



Enjoyed a pot of Assam Tea (forgot to take a picture with it)

Ate the delicious 3 Bean Soup with bread, cheese and salad for dinner


My 7th grade son (the one who claims he ISN'T participating in the Readathon) finished The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, finished Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee, and started Throne of the Crescent Moon  by Saladin Ahmend along with watching hours and hours of Youtube video game walk-throughs.


I'm off to see what the Booklikes-opoly Dice bless me with and then to choose my next victim read.




Dewey's Mid-Day Update


So it's partway through Hour 5 of the Readathon and time for an update


So far today I have:


Read for 2 hours 7 minutes (according to my timer).


Read about 145 pages of Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn, but found myself skimming ahead and missing details so I'm about to loop back to p 115 or so (and yes, I often do this when I read).


Spent about 45 minutes on Readathon related social media and challenges


Partially cooked a mess of dried beans

Got the pot of Three Bean Soup up to simmer


Ate lunch (tortilla with leftover 7-layer dip from a work function on Friday and some cooked kale with caramelized onions and beans leftover from Thursday's dinner).


Spent half an hour or so helping my son, husband, and other various things around the house.


I'm not enjoying Jeweled Fire as much as I thought I would - there's a scene early on where the empress's 3 nephews are introduced/described to Corene, our protagonist. The eldest is the smartest, but his flaw is that he uses a wheelchair after an accident left him partially paralyzed. The middle nephew is adequately smart, but his flaw in the eyes of his countrymen is that he is more interested in other men than in any prospective wife.  The youngest nephew is described as beautiful, popular, but stupid and headstrong.  The whole set-up is awkwardly handled and Ms. Shinn spends just a little too much time ham-handedly trying to show that Corene doesn't see disability or homosexuality as a barrier.  The story then moves on to much court intrigue, that I'm sure will eventually lead to exciting chaos.  Far from DNF, but at this point, 4 stars is likely the highest I'll go for this book.



Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon April 29, 2017 Starting Line


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

South Jersey (near Philadelphia) and Dewey’s starts/ends at 8 am for me


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

EitherJeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn or Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop


3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I visited a specialty tea store when I visited my Father over Passover. I’m looking forward to curling up with my book and a big mug of freshly brewed Assam.


I’m also planning to put a pot of 3-bean soup up to simmer early in the day so we can have a quick dinner of soup, bread and cheese.


4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am thrilled that I was able to mostly clear my schedule for today.  My goal is 12 hours of reading, since I’m not one who can entirely do without sleep and I have several time-locked obligations on Sunday.


I’m also really, really happy that BookLikes appears to have stabilized after the summer upheavals and am looking forward to melding Booklikes-opoly with my Readathon


5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my 4th Dewey’s Readathon. The two things I plan to do differently than other Readathons are a) try to actually run a timer when I read and b) I am pledging $5 for every hundred pages read to BookMates, a local interfaith literacy program that provides weekly one-to-one reading sessions with an adult volunteer at Title I elementary schools in Camden and other low and moderate income communities throughout Southern New Jersey.



Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures tells the story of the role that women “computers,” particularly female African-American “computers” played in the birth of the aeronautics industry.  This is an important story, a story that should have been better known a long time ago, especially considering how important race and gender were, and still are, in the US.


Biographies tell what people did; the best also tell who people were – their personalities and what they cared about.  1st time author, Ms. Shetterley generally does a good, though dry, job telling a story about Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden.  But at the end I didn’t feel like I know the women themselves. I am currently #65 on the hold list for the movie.  I wonder if I’ll have a better sense for who Dorothy, Mary, Katherine and Christine really are after watching some of the scenes I just read about come to life.

Booklikes-opoly Roll #2 (& #3) - Updated with Selections

I finally finished Hidden Figures!!!  I'd started it shortly before Booklikes-opoly, but I was only about 50 pages into a 265 page book.  So my bank now stands at $23


DATE: April 27th

Bank Account: $23

Roll #: 2

Dice Roll: 4 (2+2, DOUBLES)

Lands on: Fantasy Land 9


   Jeweled Fire - Sharon Shinn  


I started Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn during my vacation, but set it aside in favor of Hidden Figures.  Jeweled Fire is first up on my Dewey's TBR, so I've decided to use it for this square as well. (403 pages per GoodReads)



DATE: April 27th

Bank Account: $23

Roll #: 3

Dice Roll: 3 

Lands on: Main Street 11 



   The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton  


My selection for Main Street 11 is The Outsiders by SE Hinton.  While not explicitly stated in the book, the story is set in 1965 and SE Hinton was born in 1948. I've never actually read The Outsiders or watched the movie, and my public library has the audiobook on CD.  At 5.5 hrs (equivalent to 192 pages), this should be relatively quick for an audiobook, though I do intend to claim the audiobook exemption and not wait to finish before I roll again.


I'm about to call it a night, so I'll pick books and update tomorrow.  I'd originally pushed to finish Hidden Figures tonight so that I could roll, pick my next audiobook (I've less than an hour left to go in On the Oceans of Eternity) and be eligible to roll again during Dewey's Readathon on Saturday.  Now I'll have to do some thinking about which square to choose for the audiobook  I'm looking for suggestions for an audiobook available through Hoopla or Overdrive set between 1945 and 1965?  My fallback is to count Salt to the Sea, which is set in December 1945 and to defer the audiobook selection to the next roll.

AudioBook SYNC

Do you like YA? Do you like Audiobooks? Do you like free stuff?


Audiobook SYNC is starting up for the summer!