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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

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas, HarperAudio, Bahni Turpin
Progress: 30/704 minutes
C.J. Cherryh

Not Working

And Then There Were None CD: And Then There Were None CD - Agatha Christie

While I am mightily intrigued, And Then There Were None is not working as an audiobook for me (at least not as an audiobook that I listen to when I drive).  I just finished the introductions on the train and the arrival at Oakbridge station and find myself unable to keep the characters straight in my head and wanting to go back and keep notes.  


I will likely pick it up again in print, since I believe it fits several of the mystery-themed bingo squares.

The Book of Joy

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World - Douglas Carlton Abrams, Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama XIV

In 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu travelled to Daramsala for a week of conversations with the Dalai Lama on the topic of Joy and to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.  The Archbishop and the Dalai Lama articulated 8 pillars to finding Joy in a sorrow-filled world: Perspective, Humility, Humor, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, and Generosity. They discussed each topic and answered questions submitted by members of the public. The public conversations were facilitated by Douglas Abrams, video recorded (excerpts are available on YouTube), and summarized in The Book of Joy.  I randomly grabbed the audiobook off the new-book shelf because it looked interesting.


All too often when I listen to the Rabbi’s talk about the weekly Torah portion during services or when I listen to a TED talk, I go “that’s interesting, I’d like to think about it more” but if you asked me the main points later in the day, I couldn’t tell you.  I feel much the same way about The Book of Joy.  The discussions about how to achieve Joy in the face of both individual and world-level suffering were interesting, but it would take a lot more study for me to retain more than the broadest outlines of what was discussed.


The producers of the Audiobook made the decision to have separate narrators for each person speaking.  Douglas Abrams narrated his own role, and distinctive voices spoke for the Dalai Lama and Archbishop.  While I appreciated the ease of knowing who was talking, after watching a few video clips of the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama, I didn’t like that they picked readers with even stronger accents than the men themselves.  I also thought that Mr. Abrams was too blatantly adulatory and spent a bit too long dwelling on his own role in the dialogs rather than getting out of the way and letting the two stars speak for themselves. 


If you have a casual interest, I recommend looking for the videos of the meeting between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu or videos of other panel discussions with the two men.  If you are interested in a deeper understanding, plan to devote time to studying The Book of Joy and exploring the suggested meditations and exercises rather than just reading it.


Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving, Tom Mison



Welp, now I've read a classic.  And I was underwhelmed.  Soo much florid description, and not nearly as much suspense as I expected.


I listened to the version by Robert Dean that is available through my library and Hoopla rather than the audio edition listed here.





Halloween Bingo Week 1


White ghost = called

Grey monster = read

Brainy Guy = read + called



Half-Off Ragnarok - Seanan McGuire  Monster

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving In The Dark, Dark Woods


I hope to post updates about once a week, and to eventually include a copy of my tracking table.  But until then, I'm having fun with the PicMonkey critter overlays.

Building tables in HTML, or, how to get your spreadsheet on BookLikes

I'm using the spreadsheet I made in RL on BookLikes to track my Halloween 2017 Bingo reads and I've been asked by a couple of people how they can go about doing their own. 


BookLikes supports HTML tables in posts, but it's not obvious how to go about doing it.  There are basically two parts involved:  knowing where to put the table and building the table (or copy/pasting).  


I'm going to cover building the table - because there are a couple of different routes you can take to do that - first.  Then I'll cover where to put it, because there's only one way to do that and it applies to everybody.


So first: the code.  For advanced users, this is what I did:  I created my spreadsheet and converted it to HTML**, then opened that HTML up in an editor (any text editor will work) and cleaned it up (most apps put a LOT of extraneous crap in that won't work in BL).  For BookLikes you only need the table itself:  the HTML tag, head tag and body tag will only mess things up.


(**Excel will export to web page.  Mac users using Numbers app need a middle step: Copy the table from Numbers.  Create a new document in TextEdit and make sure Rich Text Format is turned ON. Paste the table into TextEdit - make sure it looks like the one you copied.  Save the document as an HTML page.)


For the person who does not want anything at all to do with the table creation:  if you are willing to PM me your email address, I'll send you the code I used and you can paste that into your post and alter it to suit your books/style.  It can also be had by doing a "view source" on my blog page and doing a copy/paste.


If you want to try building your own table from scratch, I'm assuming you know a bit about HTML and CSS.  Below are two screenshots: one of the beginning of my table and one of the end of it (it's stupidly too long to put in as one screenshot).  Feel free to use this as a guide to achieving the coloured rows, etc.  Some of the styles are overkill, but it was easier to leave them than it was to delete them.





Note:  I used a div tag to center the table in the post; span didn't work; I didn't try table align=center, ymmv


This post would go on forever if I explained each style, but if you are looking for a specific result, or want to know what any of them means, please ask in the comments and I'll be happy to explain further.  


Now once you've decided how you're going to get your table, you need to know where to put it.  On the Create new post page, in the toolbar, you want the button at the end:



When you click on that you'll get a pop up window for another text input box called Source Code.  If you've already started your post, you'll see the text and HTML code in this window.  It'll likely look messy.


If you've copied your table code from somewhere else, place your text cursor where you want the table to go in the post, and paste.  If you are starting from scratch, this is where you start typing. 


You can use this 'source code' button whenever you want to add a bit of flair, or tweak your post - I often use it to adjust the padding around my images (i.e. I want padding on the right, but not the left side of my image), or on the rare occasions when I want coloured text.  BookLikes will take a fair bit of CSS, but sometimes it's hit and miss - what it doesn't like it just deletes, so your results may vary.


I hope this helps and if anyone would like to just use my code as a starting point, and adjust colours and styles, please let me know via PM and I'll email it to you (PM won't take the code either, so email is about the best bet).


Reblogged from Murder by Death

Sunday Soup...erm Monday Pickles!!!

Didn't make soup this week, but did put up two types of (vinegar) pickles.  The first is my old standby pickled jalapenos to preserve a truly gorgeous lot of peppers from the CSA.  The second is my first attempt at "hamburger dill" pickles using some of the cucumbers from my garden.  



I planted three kirby vines from 3 different vendors at the farmer's market.  Two of them were duds (though I think I damaged at least one of them trying to train it), but the third climbed like a champ and has been a champion producer!!! 



School starts tomorrow, so we've spent the holiday weekend running around with last-minute pants shopping, haircuts and other pre-school prep work. I've got too many books going at once and can't seem to settle down to any of them.


Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie

On the one hand, Ancillary Sword is a nicely constructed small-scale SF novel focusing on injustices on a single space station and the associated planet. On the other hand, the small scale is a let-down after the sweeping scope of the first volume in this series. While characters in Ancillary Sword spend plenty of time alluding to the wider struggle established in Ancillary Justice, it seems distant and almost as if the events of this book won’t have a bearing on eventual outcomes.


The dominant Radchaai culture minimizes gender differentiation and defaults to female pronouns. In Ancillary Justice, perhaps because the book starts outside the Radch, the main character Breq spends a lot of time trying to decipher and assign gender.  Consequently, I spent much of Ancillary Justice, searching for clues such as broad shoulders or voice timbre that indicated the gender of the characters. I found many fewer clues to the gender of the characters in Ancillary Sword, perhaps because the events occur within the Radch and many more of the characters are speaking Radchaai. But I also found myself not worrying as much that I might have been mistakenly picturing people wrong.


When my husband read this series, he ended up re-starting each volume immediately after he finished his first read.  I’ve also found that I need to read each book twice before even attempting to review it, though I took a short break between the 1st gulp and the reread.


I'm being torn about a star rating, I think Ancillary Justice, which I initially rated 4 stars, is about half a star better than Ancillary Sword, but at the same time 3.5 stars feels low.  I’m looking forward to the last book in the trilogy, though I’m already feeling the tension between just diving right in and the pull of Halloween Bingo.


Reading progress update: I've read 37 out of 348 pages.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach


Authors have profiled the brain, the heart, the eyes, the skin, the penis and the female geography, even the hair.  The pie hole and the feed chute are mine.


It's this irreverence that I remember liking.

Agonizing over choices - Help requested


I know that unless I went entirely with short stories, there's no way that black-out is even in reach.  So, at least to start, I'm concentrating on constructing a few 5-book sets so that I can eventually bingo.


One group of 5 that I am tempted by is:


Classic noir: The Thin Man group read

Aliens: Defender CJ Cherryh – next installment in a series re-read

RAVEN: Gulp The Flat Book Society group read (or a stray Urban Fantasy)

Country House Mystery: ????

In the dark, dark woods: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


I appreciate that MdB put together this Excellent List of possibilities for the Country House Square.  But I'm being overwhelmed by the choices.  I've never read much by the classic mystery authors like Christie or Heyer.  Nor even heard of several of the others. What would you recommend???



And All Between

And All Between - Zilpha Keatley Snyder

It’s always a shock when a reread of a book doesn’t match your memory of it. I loved the Green Sky Trilogy when I first encountered it as a tween. And my recollection had the middle volume And All Between as my favorite.


This reread fell very flat. The first 1/3 to ½ the book covered the same events as the beginning of Below The Root, albeit from the opposite perspective. This time the reprise felt more like a summary and retread rather than a further exploration of the time-period. The rest of the book included more agonizing over conflicting philosophies, and less action than I remembered.


I do think this trilogy is important as part of a larger exploration of the role of violence and the possibility of our better human nature prevailing. But it is now more academically interesting than what I would consider great fiction. I will likely read the last volume in the trilogy, but my expectations are low.

Halloween Book Bingo 2017! Follow Booklikers

Thanks all for the participation in this year's Halloween Book Bingo!

Here are the names of everyone who is participating.

As Moonlight has already said, please follow both of us or you may miss the bingo calls. Also follow one another, since it makes it more fun to see what other books people are reading.


Please use the tag "Halloween Bingo 2017" to read other people's posts and updates. 


1. Moonlight Reader

2. Obsidian Blue

3. Lora's Rants and Reviews

4. Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark

5. Grimlock (heart) Inhumans

6. Chris' Fish Place

7. Rane Aria

8. Ani's Book Abyss

9. Tea, Rain, Book

10. Lillelara

11. Jessica (HDB)

12. Debbie's Spurts

13. A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

14. WhiskeyintheGraveyard Romance

15. Bark's Book Nonsense

16. Tannat

17. Familiar Diversions

18. Wanda's Book Reviews

19. Char's Horror Corner

20. BrokenTune

21. Obsession with words

22. Linda Hilton

23. Themis-Athena's Garden of Books

24. SusannaG-Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

25. Let's Talk About Books

26. Jennifer's Books

27. isanythingopen

28. Murder by Death

29. Person of Interest

30. JL's Bibliomania

31. Emerjas

32. aimeeerickson

33. Kell's Reading Realm

34. My Never Ending List

35. XOX

36. Kitty Horror

37. Wyvernfriend Reads

38. Book Cupidity

39. Yodamom Finds her Force

40. 100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

41. wolf cubs

42. The better to see you, my dear

43. Kaethe

44. Cody's Bookshelf

45.  Lori's Little House of Reviews.

46. Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

47. Benito

48. Murder, She Reads

49. Nighttime Reading Center

50. Fallen Over Book Reviews

51. Horror @ Booker T's Farm


Please let me know in the comments if I accidentally left you off or if you need a card in order to play. 

Don't forget to join the Booklikes Bookish Bingo Club and this is where you can still request a card, Halloween Bingo 2017: Request Your Card!


Image result for scary gif



Reblogged from Moonlight Reader

Where oh Where

Is the option to direct message someone hiding in BL?  I used to know where to find it....

Unquiet Land

Unquiet Land: An Elemental Blessings Novel - Sharon Shinn

In the kingdom of Welce, they believe that all people are affiliated with one of the five elemental groups Coru (water/blood), Elay (air/soul), Sweela (fire/mind), Torz (earth/flesh) or Hunti (wood/bone).  These affiliations come with personality inclinations embodied in the associated blessings.  Welce is headed by a king, but his rule is supported by the approval of the 5 Elemental Primes, one for each affiliation.


Troubled Waters, the excellent first book in the Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn, follows Zoe Ardelay on her journey from unknown refugee to Coru Prime. Along the way is much enthralling court intrigue and a slow burn romance that is long on the emotional and short on physical engagement (as I prefer my books to be).  


Zoe plays a supporting role in the second book in the series, Royal Airs, which follows Josetta, a princess of one of the Five Families.  Josetta is and trying to figure out her place in the world after the exciting finish to Troubled Waters causes a significant change in her circumstances.  Her Elay soul is drawn to building a shelter to aid the many poor in the slums of the capital city.   Shinn builds another, satisfying, slowly developing romance as Josetta tries to figure out why Rafe Adova, a career gambler in the slums, is seemingly devoid of elemental blessings.


The third book, Jeweled Fire, centers on Corene, another of the princesses.  This strong-willed and fiery Sweela young woman along with her loyal bodyguard, Foley, stow away on a ship bound for a neighboring kingdom Malinqua.  Once there, Corene is drawn into the intrigue surrounding the competition to marry one of the Queen’s nephews and so win a kingdom of her own.  She is assisted by Leah Frothen, spy for the Regent of Welce.  My critique of Jeweled Fire is embedded in a Readathon Update


The most recent book in the series, Unquiet Land, continues the story of Leah Frothen, who identifies as Torz.  Unquiet Land very much fit my mood and was quickly and enjoyably devoured.  While better than Jeweled Fire, Unquiet Land in no way lived up to the first book in the series. The romance aspect was more explicit, with a bit too much agonizing about whether she deserved to trust/love her man.  The evil deeds committed by the villains are a bit more explicit than I prefer.  In addition, I felt like Ms. Shinn recycled too many plot elements from previous books

How many times is the love interest going to turn out to be a long-lost prince or other person of courtly importance?

(show spoiler)


Goodreads doesn’t (yet) list a #5 in the series, and the only characters that comes to mind as having a Hunti affiliation are the Regent, Darien Serlast and his Aunt Mirti the Hunti Prime.  But I’m hoping that Ms. Shinn will find a Hunti young woman to feature so this series can continue for at least one more book and we can have a complete set of elements. 


As a sidenote, Sharon Shinn has made a set of blessing coins and once a week she posts the blessings she pulls to her Facebook page.

Halloween Bingo Card Preview

Preview of my Horror-wimp Bingo Card



Thank you Moonlight 


Now to pick what to read...


A few possibilities come to mind quickly


I'm thinking about joining the Classic Noir buddy read and counting it for the named square or the center 


I'll probably read the next volume in the CJ Cherryh Foreigner series for Aliens


I'm trying to read at least another few of the Incryptid series before Philcon and those definitely fit for Supernatural  and perhaps a few other squares


Vampires is likely to be Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris.  While I've not loved the last few volumes, with only 2 books left, I'm going to make an attempt to finish it.


I started White Trash Zombies once before, but just wasn't in the right mood.  


Unless I went entirely for short stories, there's no way that blacking out the card is feasible given my typically available reading time and book-finishing speed.  I'm planning to take some time over the weekend thinking through possibilities and plot out at least one complete set of 5, because a goal of 1 bingo is much less daunting.


The Flat Book Society: Our First (and Second) Reads!

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

Voting for the first two books came to an end today and we have two books tied at 7 votes each, so they're our first two reads.


Starting September 1st and running through October 31st:

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary RoachThe irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. 


The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars.


Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?


In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies. 


And Starting November 1st running through December 31st:

Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermidThe dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can use a corpse, the scene of a crime or a single hair to unlock the secrets of the past and allow justice to be done.

Bestselling crime author Val McDermid will draw on interviews with top-level professionals to delve, in her own inimitable style, into the questions and mysteries that surround this fascinating science. How is evidence collected from a brutal crime scene? What happens at an autopsy? What techniques, from blood spatter and DNA analysis to entomology, do such experts use? How far can we trust forensic evidence?

Looking at famous murder cases, as well as investigations into the living - sexual assaults, missing persons, mistaken identity - she will lay bare the secrets of forensics from the courts of seventeenth-century Europe through Jack the Ripper to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.


Reminders will definitely go out closer to our starting dates, and threads will be setup beforehand.  (There is one thread for each in the club now for general comments).


If either (or both!) of these books sound good to anyone not already in The Flat Book Club, our door is always open and everyone interested is welcome. 


Reblogged from Murder by Death

The Hanging Tree

The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch

I enjoyed spending time back in the skewed world of PC Grant and his "Falcon" cases. But at the same time, I was slightly disappointed by Installment #6 in The Rivers of London Series.  


Not sure how much of that disappointment is from The Hanging Tree being a weaker, mature series book, where it feels like all that gets advanced is the plot and the character's don't grow much.

We DO learn the name/identity of a key villain, but somehow that doesn't seem to change much of anything. 

(show spoiler)



Or how much of my disappointment is just general malaise and book hangover from the intensity of the last few weeks of Booklikes-opoly.