Dec 30, 2012

Reading 100+ Books in a Year: Challenge Met in 2012

I joined the 100+ Books in a Year 2012 challenge by Book Chick City and found I read more than 100 books for the challenge, 128 to be exact. I have shortened my list to show the ones that stood out for me.


The Poser: my life in twenty-three yoga poses by Claire Dederer *
Living Fully by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche *
We're With Nobody: Two Insiders Reveal the Dark Side of American Politics by Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian *
Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain *
Pilgrimage to the End of the World by Conrad Rudolph *
Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi by Brian Leaf *
Street Freak by Jared Dillian *

 Bond Girl: A Novel by Erin Duffy *
 Walter's Muse: A Novel by Jean Davies Okimoto *
 Other Waters by Eleni N. Gage *
 I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella *
 The White Pearl: A Novel by Kate Furnivall *
Skios by Michael Frayn *
What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang *
The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson *
The Round House by Louise Erdrich *
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett *

 The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly *
The Face Thief by Eli Gottlieb *
The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan *
Raylan: A Novel by Elmore Leonard *
No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie *
Broken Harbor by Tana French *
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman *
A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn *
Tahoe Trap by Tod Borg *
The Expats by Chris Pavone *
The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura *
Livin' Lahaina Loca by JoAnn Bassett*

What challenges have you met or exceeded this year?
Here is my list of Books Read in 2012 and Books Read in 2011.

Dec 28, 2012

The Essential Rumi - ( In Time For New Year's Eve)

The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks
Paperback published May 28, 2004 by HarperOne

I bought this book of poetry by the thirteenth century Sufi mystic and Persian poet, Rumi, allegedly the most widely read poet in the U.S. A brief story in each chapter is followed by poetry. The first chapter, The Tavern, talks about the drinking of wine.
Chapter 1: The Tavern: Whoever Brought Me Here Will Have to Take Me Home
In the tavern are many wines - the wine of delight in color and form and taste, the wine of the intellect's agility, the fine port of stories, and the cabernet of soul singing....
All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?

I wonder if the word "ruminate" comes from the ruminations of Rumi? In any case, I am thoroughly enjoying this book, which I pick up and put down whenever I'm in the mood, with or without wine :)

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Dec 21, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to you all. Thanks for visiting and reading Book Dilettante. Hope to see you again after the holidays!
(graphic courtesy of Webweavers Free Clip Art)

Dec 18, 2012

Book Feature: Thursday at Noon by William F. Brown

Featured book: Thursday at Noon by William F. Brown
E-book published June 6, 2012
Genre: mystery
Source: author

Book description: "As The New Yorker said, it is “a thriller in the purest cliffhanger vein. The technique is flawless. It could only have been learned in a thousand Saturday afternoon movie matinees."

Cairo, 1962. Richard Thomson is already having a very bad day when someone leaves a corpse lying on his back steps. Thomson is a burned out CIA Agent and the body belongs to a petty Cairo thief who tried to sell him photographs of a long-abandoned RAF base in the Egyptian desert. Alone and on the run, no one believes what Thomson knows -- not the CIA, the US Ambassador, the Egyptian State Security, and most assuredly not Captain Hassan Saleh, of the Homicide Bureau of the Cairo Police.

Like Night of the Generals, this is a murder mystery set within an international crisis. (from the publisher)

"Thursday at Noon was originally a Joan Kahn Book published by St. Martin’s Press in hardback and subsequently by Harlequin’s Gold Eagle in paperback, and in various foreign editions." (from the author's web page. Visit for information about his six thrillers). 

Book Teaser: The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify author and title for readers.  First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Title: The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy
Published September 12, 2012; Free Press
Genre: memoir
Opening sentences: We had traveled just nineteen miles west - my childhood was left behind. Gone were the backyard Wiffle ball games with my brothers that had defined my summer afternoons, as was the small maple tree in the front yard that I nearly succeeded in chopping down with a rubber ax when I was eight; over were the nights lying in bed talking to my older brother Peter across the room in the dark before sleep came. We had lived atop a small hill, safely in the center of a suburban block, in a three-bedroom colonial with green shutters; now we would live in a long and low house in a swale on a large corner lot a half hour and a world away.
Book description: Award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy delivers a revealing and insightful memoir about how travel helped him become the man he wanted to be, helping him overcome life-long fears and confront his resistance to commitment.

Do the teasers/opening sentences make you want to read the book?

Dec 15, 2012

Sunday Salon: Jigsaw Puzzles

Fruit Jigsaw Puzzle, picture by  Here's how I've been spending my time, besides watching basketball and baking bread.

I'm also reading Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson, a novel about female spies during WWII, set in the Middle East, and received two new ARCs, The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout and Merciless: a Mystery by Lori Armstrong, thanks to Random House's Shelf Awareness giveaway and Touchstone.

What are you doing this weekend?

Dec 14, 2012

Book Review: The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder

Title: The Raven's Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots
Author: Jesse Blackadder
Published September 11, 2012; Bywater Books
Genre: historical fiction
"Where are you hurrying to, laddie?"
"I am on the Queen's business." I struggle, trying for a position where I can kick his groin.
"I don't doubt it." The cold of his dagger tips my throat. I freeze.
"What brings the Queen here to Dunbar in such secrecy? And who are you?"
(ch. 17)
Description: "Scotland, 1561, and a ship carries home Mary, the young, charismatic Queen of Scots, returning after 13 years in the French court to wrest back control of her throne.
The Blackadder family has long awaited the Queen’s return to bring them justice. Alison Blackadder, disguised as a boy from childhood to protect her from the murderous clan that stole her family's lands, must learn to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, building a web of dependence and reward.
Just as the Queen can trust nobody, Alison discovers lies, danger and treachery at every turn. Then, unexpectedly, she finds love…
This sweeping epic of political intrigue, misplaced loyalty, secret passion and implacable revenge is based on real characters and events from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots." (publisher)

Comments: What impressed me about the book was the research that this Australian author did to find out more about her family name originating in Scotland. She recounts the story, in novel form, of the Blackadder family of Scotland and their loyalty to Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Raven's Heart covers the period of Mary in Scotland, before she was imprisoned by her Scottish lords, and before she fled to seek refuge in England, where she was imprisoned by Elizabeth I of England. Alison Blackadder, who is the narrator in the novel, is a fictional character woven into the historical events. This is a fascinating novel that those interested in the early history of Mary Queen of Scots will want to read.

The author: Born in Sydney, Jesse now lives near Byron Bay. She is an award-winning short-story writer and freelance journalist, fascinated by landscapes and belonging. Her first novel was After the Party (2005), which was voted onto the Australian Book Review’s list of all time favourite Australian novels in February 2010. She is writing her next novel about the first woman to reach Antarctica. Connect with Jesse Blackadder at her WEBSITE.

For more reviews, see the Book Tour schedule. Thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the author for a review copy of the book.

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...