Stacks of Books

I used to not keep books.    But then, I started a book blogging habit and a massive book amassing began:

OK, not like MOST of you all, but still!   This is a LOT of books for me!

These books were stacked in the guest room and breeding.  We recently got rid of a futon and (I would love to buy a book shelf or three but husband would rather we “limit accumulations”*) so I gathered them up and moved them to this new empty space in my craft room.

How to arrange?   By color, alphabet, size or priority?    Well, for me… I stack by size.    But also by a few challenge groupings.

So fun!   I got excited all over again for the books I want to read.    I rediscovered a few I forgot that I even owned.   I also got a bit stressed because I want to read them NOW.    Very few of these are books I have already read, for your information.   I still don’t keep many done-read books   – –   90% of these are for my future first-time reading experience pleasure.

The leftmost stack is all tbr hardbacks.   The tallest stack is tradebacks; the shortest stack is odd shaped odd books and the remaining tower is almost half book-to-movie and half paperback.    I’ve actually thought about collecting all of Tracy Kidder’s books and guess what:   I have FOUR and have yet to read any!   Of the four books** I have read by this author, I apparently do not own a copy.   Huh.

I just realized I forgot to count them!     ~ 105  (not counting the five or six on the craft table out of sight that I am reading, just read and need to review and a few others that are scattered somewhere else…)

Excuse me;  I need to get back to READING.

* Fun talk around this house is to SELL IT!  and buy a condo and a bigger boat.    I would not have space for 100+ tbr pile on a boat…    Must limit and reduce.    Hey – it’s like dieting!

** I have read but do not own Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine, House, Mountains Beyond Mountains and Home Town. I own but have yet to read Detachment, Among Schoolchildren, Strength in What Remains and Old Friends. This rather amuses and amazes me.   Time to go check bookmooch again.

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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Without a Trace

Thoughts   Without a Trace by Colleen Coble, Thorndike Press (large print*) 2004, 480 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:    I have a friend who loves to read.   However, we don’t read the same books and of all the book conversations we’ve had, we rarely can find any titles we both can say we’ve read.      It’s obvious we have different tastes and perhaps I should have known better when she told me she couldn’t get into The Help and didn’t finish it.

Read for the New-To-Me-Author category of the Twenty in Ten Challenge.

However, after she wrote down a few titles and the author name Colleen Coble on a slip of paper, I decided to try Without a Trace.   It was available at the library.    I saw the rating of 4+ on goodreads;  what could go wrong?

WHAT’s it ABOUT:   A search and rescue team, Bree and her pup Samson, start off searching for a few lost kids in the forests of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we meet a whole slew of people.    And, since I didn’t realize but soon discovered why this is in the Christian Mystery genre,  we are introduced to how wonderful God’s plan is for us if we only believe, which whatdoyouknow Bree doesn’t and is annoyed by all these loving trusting people who keep telling her to pray and read bible verses.     Bree’s husband and 4 year old son crashed their plane a year prior and Bree and Samson continue to look for their remains.     Oh yea!   those kids lost in the forest at the beginning of the book?   They meet a crazy lady living in the forest who has a small boy with her – – Bree, the sheriff, the lost kids’ family dismiss this and think it only wild child imaginations.   (sigh)

Well…   maybe I’m not a plot-driven mystery reader.     This story was very much propelled by what happens and what happens next and clues dropped in dialog here and more background shared in dialog here and then something happens and the character are a bit flat and I, well, I was bored.   I skipped 150+ pages to read the last few and it all got summed up very tidy and happily.   The Christian philosophy didn’t really bother me but it was all so simple.    The mystery, the proselytizing, the clues – all heavy-handed.

I did like the dog, Samson, the mutt search-and-rescue dog.    As soon as he failed to warm to one of the characters, (SPOILER! – are you kidding me?!)

RATING:    Two slices of pie.   Some kind of rhubarb or blueberry or both would be a good – lots of food connections in this book to the Finnish heritage in the region of that part of Michigan.

* Yes, large print!    I didn’t even request it but that’s how it came when I picked it up at the library.   Which worked out VERY WELL because it is hard to read outside in the sun when you don’t have sunglass-reading glasses.   I read this on the boat – a lovely way to spend a beautiful day even if the book wasn’t compelling.
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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I’m Landscaping

I’m landscaping!   Or rather, my husband is – I’m just helping.   I’m more the gardener.   I just wanted you all to know what I’ve been up to and why I feel I don’t have any internet-play time.   Somebody asked to see some photos…   Enjoy.

WHAT I’m READING:   Northeast Home Landscaping by Roger Holmes and Rita Buchanan, Creative Homeowner 1998,2007; 223 pages and lots of pretty pictures!

On Saturday, we rented a sod cutter machine to create the new space to for me to play in the dirt.    We will be adding granite steps on the steepest part and planting a tree in the center.    Today I am going to lay the weed-prevention fabric and then start mulching.   I’ve got some azaleas to plant, too.

I do intend to take some reading breaks.     I’ve got Woman:  An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier and I’m loving it – learning A LOT.     It’s a library book – HAPPY LIBRARY WEEK!  and I’m also dipping into PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern.

So what are you doing this spring that might be taking you away from blogging?

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

To the Lighthouse

WOOLF in WINTER.   I’m late to the party, having been unable to finish books by any deadline.  To catch up on the discussion, please visit the Evening All Afternoon post from January 29th.

Thoughts   To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, no year printed?!* Harcourt Brace and World (originally published 1927), 310 pages

MOTIVATION to READ:    I’m falling in love with Virginia Woolf’s style.     I am attempting to participate in the Woolf in Winter Read-along but am woefully behind and have ‘blasts of doubt’** that I will get to the remaining books per the discussion timetable.    Can’t read everything!   I hate being overwhelmed by my tbr…    This was a library book, but I’m hoping to find a large print version so I can donate to the Shaw Home Library (and get my dear friend Madeline to read it – not that she needs large print but she doesn’t need me buying her books – ha!  *wink*)

WHAT IT’s ABOUT:    I’ve only just started reading everyone’s posts from two weeks ago, but I hope it is OK to borrow something I saw somewhere in a comment that this is “low on plot.”    The setting is a summer home owned by the Ramseys and filled with their eight children and more than a few guests and servants.    The first half of the book is comprised of a morning scene when a boy expresses a wish to go to the lighthouse but gets shot down due to probable weather conditions.   This part (and the day) ends at dinner.    The second half was an impersonal section of life thoughts (perhaps VWs?) with snippets of death notices – sounds harsh as I write it this way but it was harsh to me so I’ll not change it.     We are back at the summer house ten years later:     the servants tidy the place,   Lily starts over on a painting,  and a few others take a sailboat to the Lighthouse.    That’s about it.

I guess I should mention one of the main protagonists, Mrs. Ramsey, and how she is truly the heart of this novel.    We feel her thoughts and emotions (can thoughts be felt?   Are thoughts not energy?  – say yes – and we can feel energy, right?   so I do believe we can feel thoughts.)   We are “in knowing” of Mrs. Ramsey in the first half of the book as she contemplates everything that is important to her and we get softly seamlessly transferred between other character’s thoughts as they revolve around Mrs. Ramsey – she controlled a solar system and she was the sun.          It just struck me that I usually do not write much in my ‘thoughts’ posts about what a book is about but I want to with this one – and yet almost nothing ‘happens’!   I think, perhaps, that this book is another ‘in the head’ books and I’m not confident with literature-analysis.   Like the difference between knowing a great song and not being able to sing;  I appreciate the amazing critiques but feel unable to express (or even have) my own thoughts.   I am in awe of the other reviews and feel so humbled to think I want to try and be smart enough to participate.   (thus the few comments – I am inadequate even saying ‘wow – great review’.   But I’m here.   I’ll play.    Ya know, these things can get so intimidating – these discussions – but …    I don’t know.  I’ll shut up.   No, I won’t, who am I kidding!?

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Last night, in my sleeps or in my dreams, I’m really not sure which, I wrestled with thinking and the construction of sentences with many commas as Ms Woolf does in this book and I felt the wave action of strange thoughts move and toss me and myself questioning the big questions without really voicing or expressing the question in words – it was a strange gloomy glossy swirly experience that now is only a shimmering hazy reflection that I’m not really sure happened as I remember.

Woolf’s prose is brain candy but luxurious candy like dark chocolate mousse or chocolate truffles from Godiva or Vosges Haute Chocolate with Bacon…

I did not like Mr. Ramsey.      I never did understand the ‘someone has blundered’ stuff.     He was like DOWN to his wife’s UP — opposites.  He only thought of himself – she thought of others.    His creation was his own wonderfulness living on;   hers was a beautiful moment held in time.    Not to say she was perfect;  I don’t want to say that.    But she was at least more self-aware and considerate, even if over-bearing.

p. 240 Mrs. R saying “Life stand still here.”

I loved the dichotomy of different perspectives all on the same event or situation.   How dinners together are wonderful or just a waste of time;  a silly diversion or necessary for true connections to others.

I was amazed at the skill that VW moved us through to other people – sometimes within sentences, so easy!   It felt like a camera panning over a scene and the thoughts therein voiced as the camera focused, from one person to the next.    How non-repetitive the obvious repetition seemed – it was appropriate.      How some phrases were poetry:   “He caught the rats, he cut the grass.”  p. 209  -and/or-   “ineffectiveness of action, supremacy of thought”  p. 292.

I adored Lily.   I respected her thoughtful questioning and her choosing her life as she did while accepting that others thought her a sad old-maid.    I loved her internal challenges to everyone – not giving Mr. Ramsey the sympathy he was so desperate for, considering the idea of not being kind to Charles Tansley because he was a total ass.

So much going on in this:   male-female relationships, generational differences,  reactions and choices per gender,  father-son vs.  father-daughter relationships, physical beauty and its impressions, marriage, even love as a concept – all kinds of love.

Do I assume that the red-hot poker flower was a symbol of something or that I’m over-analyzing?   Passions and emotions?      In fact, flowers in general appear everywhere throughout the text.   “She dropped her basket of flowers.”

I thought the very last line was incredible (and I would quote it here but I dropped the book back off at the library before I wrote it down!!!   oh well.)

RATING:   Five Pieces of Pie.

WORDS
p155 – furze – gorse: very spiny and dense evergreen shrub with fragrant golden-yellow flowers; common throughout western Europe  (I don’t know gorse, either!   You get the same definition…)
p260 – benignant – serenely mild and kindly (I know benign – but am used to it only in terms of types of tumors;  I had not seen it in this form and even though I could ‘figure it out’, I wanted to write it down.)
p294 – cosmogony – the branch of astrophysics that studies the origin and evolution and structure of the universe (see note in parenthesis for benignant – same issue)
p296 – earwig – any of numerous insects of the order Dermaptera having elongate bodies and slender many-jointed antennae and a pair of large pincers at the rear.   YUCK.
p303 – censer – a container for burning incense; especially one that is swung on a chain in a religious ritual.
p309 – asphodels – a plant

I had the coolest bookmark for this book.   It featured a beautiful collection of lighthouses from Rhode Island.   If you would like to see it, please visit the artist who created it;  Bev’s Studio.com.  <– just click

(I just throw this in because it was from first thing this morning after getting 8″ of snow.    It was so beautiful but the pretty suspended stuff in the tree limbs and on the streets are already melted away…  I was trying to find a photo of Whale Rock which USED to be a lighthouse.)

* but this tiny print after the “All rights reserved, blahblahblah”  of Y.5.67 makes me think this book was printed in 1967.    A glued-in note states that the book was purchased for the Wareham Free Library in 1974.   The book cover says it is a Harbrace Modern Classic.

** Although the context weight is much different between my situation here and the one with Lily on p236-7, I loved this: “Always (it was her nature, or in her sex, she did not know which) before she exchanged the fluidity of life for the concentration of painting   (text shows no punctuation but I need a pause here) she had few moments of nakedness when she seemed like an unborn soul, a soul reft of body, hesitating on some windy pinnacle and exposed without protection to all the blasts of doubt.”

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Playing Librarian

I spent Friday afternoon playing librarian at the Assisted Living / Home for the Aged where I volunteer.    It is such fun!

One of the local town libraries donates their discarded large print books to us and that means that someone gets to cull the stock already there and place the new books onto the shelves.

And that volunteer is me.    🙂

It is tough to choose the books to remove.    It is also hard not to look at each and every one but who has time for that?   I wish we had an inkling which books were most ‘checked out’ but we don’t – it’s an honor system.    Just borrow and enjoy and return it when you can.    So we don’t have a system to know if romances are what the residents enjoy most?   or biographies?   or who are the favorite authors?

The first step yesterday was to find any books that are not large print.    I was actually shocked that we found so many!     I piled these into boxes and moved them to the basement.  Eventually I will put this in my truck and donate them.

Some of these books come home with me, too.    I chose a Nadine Gordimer (A Sport of Nature), The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks, a bio of Catherine the Great, and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

I still have a lot of hours to donate to get them all into alphabetical order, but I’m really enjoying my work and sharing my love of books with the residents.

Mailbox Monday Jan 18 2010

Welcome to Mailbox Monday!   Actually, I’m listing all the books I brought into the house from all sources and not just the ones I found inside my mailbox…

From my dear friend JoAnne, the Book Zombie, via bookmooch:   Stewart O’Nan’s Songs for the Missing

From the library:  audio-  A Wrinkle in Time / Madeline L’Engle – for discussion soon!

Purchased from the library booksale cart:   Guns Germs and Steel:  The Fates of Human Societies / Jared Diamond

Purchased from the White Birch Bookstore in North Conway NH:    The Fiction Class by Susan Breen, When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale, and The Best American Short Stories 2009 Edited by Alice Sebold (my husband picked this!   I’ll see if I can’t somehow trick him into reviewing a few).

Purchased from Borders because I was buying a book as a gift and thought I would just check on a few books I keep saying I want to read, so I came home with the paperback of Fear and Loathing:   On the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S Thompson.    I suppose I was somewhat influenced by all the ads on TV right now trying to convince me that Scott Brown is horrible and anti-woman and that Martha Coakley is horrible and wants to spend all my money.    I can’t wait for tomorrow’s election day so that the ads will stop and my phone will cease to ring.

In other news, I ordered cards from Moo – thank you Book Line & Sinker! – that I won and hope to give out with bookmooch and possibly at the book blogger convention in NYC in May.

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Hobbit

Thoughts   The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin 2007 (orig 1937), 320 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:   Challenge(s)!  In my Flashback Challenge post,    I explained that I cite this book as the catalyst for my love of reading.    My 5th grade teacher read it to us and it was then I realized that I didn’t have to read ‘kids’ books anymore.    I believe I jumped headlong into an Agatha Christie obsession.

Back to ‘now’ times, I also signed up for a Read-A-Long for Lord of the Rings. But I’m only doing this one book, and not LOTR.   (eeeek!  I know, I know) and I see that I was supposed to wait and read this in January, though.    This was a library book.

I HAD A LOVELY TIME READING THIS.

On to Eva’s questions

When did you first hear of The Hobbit? What made you decide to join the read-a-long?

I had already committed to this when I found out about the read-along.   When I FIRST heard about it was in 5th grade (um, 1975?!)
Have you read it before? If so tell us about that experience.

No, I had not read this with my own eyeballs.   My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Neuman, read it to us.

If you’re new to The Hobbit, do you have any preconceptions going into it?

It’s not new to me.    AND…  I read LOTR when I heard the movie(s) were being made.   I was on a HUGE read-the-book-see-the-movie kick in those years.

J.R.R. Tolkien pretty much founded the modern fantasy genre. So let’s take a moment to think about the genre as a whole; have you always loved fantasy? Or perhaps you still feel rather skeptical towards the whole idea of wizards and dwarfs and magic? What was your introduction to the genre?

This looks like an interesting time to ask myself the question of why it took me so long to read LOTR!?    I don’t have an answer.     Yes, I enjoyed The Hobbit but not for its genre but for showing me that I didn’t have to read books from the kids part of the library.      I did love Narnia but for some reason never got on a path of reading similar books.    Like I mention above, I jumped into the mystery worlds of Agatha Christie and then was probably in Jr & High School assigned reading (ugh Hemingway, double-ugh Steinbeck) and then Kurt Vonnegut?  and Danielle Steele!!   Once I hit college, I stopped slowed reading for pleasure – didn’t have the time – too busy studying math and science.     I might have to give Tom Clancy a mention for getting me back to fun books…   I read The Hunt for Red October and then on…

Reading my answer, do you think I avoided the full question?   yea, me too.    I don’t think I was totally aware of genres or gave it much thought…  before book blogging.    I still don’t have a grasp of what is ‘out there’ in the fantasy category and what I might like to read.    I think I’m more into contemporary fiction but I do like to dip into other worlds now and then.

Do you have a certain plan for reading it? A few pages a day, spacing it out over the month? Or are you just going to race through it? Let whimsy decide?

I read The Hobbit on my trip from Mass to Kansas for our week-before-Christmas Christmas trip.    I can read in the car (yippee!) and I was delighted.     The characters were familiar yet the story seemed fresh. Timeless! My one gripe is that since it was a library book, the book cover was taped on and I could only glimpse at part of  the maps on the inside covers…

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Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Juckets by Joyce Keller Walsh

Thoughts  jaswbyjkwJuckets by Joyce Keller Walsh, Infinity Publishing 2008 (first pub 2002), 224 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:     I read this book for the Literary Road Trip Hosted by Galleysmith.    I had been wanting to read this for awhile – the author lives in my part of the world and I’ve seen this in local shops so it had been on my wishlist for quite awhile.    Thank you to one of my former employers (LV!) who told me this was a good representation of our area and the ‘real’ locals who live here.    When I heard about the Lit Road Trip idea to read books that are set in your town and/or were written by a local author, I instantly knew I had to finally get this book!       Then…   I was at the Somethin’ Brewin’ Book Cafe and the author was signing her books – opportunity and timing met, so I bought one.  🙂

I’ve since given to my friend Holly who still has it.   So I don’t have it.   so I can’t refer to it.   ack.   I wish I had it here but I am waffling with wanting to post this review.  now.   oops…

Let me distract you share a photo of a house I drive by often, usually multiple times per day.

It’s the house from the cover of the book!  [Cover is reversed image.] Can’t get much more local than that, I don’t think.    I snapped the photo with my camera phone while driving which is why it is slightly off-kilter.   Notice the cool light house?

Back to story:    The blurb on goodreads.com says this:

In Juckets, the story begins with the disappearance of the little Bradburn girl the day before a blizzard. The entire town turns out to search for her, but what they do not know (and will not know until the following Spring) is that she was brutally murdered. Psychology professor, Julia Arnault, discovers the body in Pittsley Woods. As she pursues the investigation, she begins to fear that the man she is in love with may be a serial killer. Meanwhile, veterinarian Adam Sabeski leads Julia into a Deliverance-like world of backwoods New England to find both evil and humanity in unexpected ways.

I enjoyed it.    The author was extremely effective at evoking images of the area I live in.    Without being cookie-cutter and sterotypical, she describes and categorizes a variety of ‘local’ people as Juckets and Swamp Yankees. I know that I would have difficulty knowing who was what but I do appreciate the perspectives of those we affectionately term “OFM’s”.   Anyone who was born and raised in Middleboro (town I live in), we call OFM  – –  Originally From Middleboro.    I would be considered (and not affectionately) an outsider – I’ve lived here 5 years and grew up in Kansas.     I’m perceived as very strange.    Very very strange; an odd duck.    Locals cannot imagine why anyone would move away from ‘home’ where ever home might be.   And I also assume that they think it odd that we chose to move to Middleboro.    I’m sure many resent me moving into ‘their’ town but I have never been treated to any discourteousness for it, thankfully.

As to how I approach mystery reads, I am not one of those who try (or are good at trying) to figure out the whodunnits.   I enjoy the relationships and how the clues unfold but appreciate the surprise and resulting conclusion.   This was a good story and I enjoyed getting to know the main characters.  The crime, however, was sad and disturbing.    Of course, if you love veterinarians who love and care for dogs especially, this will not disappoint.

The book I show here actually contains TWO stories;  Swamp Yankees is second in the series and a third Bog Men, a separate book, is also available.   I will be reading those eventually.      I was more eager to read at least one book for the Road Trip and also share with Holly because I knew she would enjoy it.    She assures me that she did and so did her daughter who has read it, too.

RATING:   Three Pie Slices for Juckets!   I liked it.

Off to Wrap Holiday Gifts and Unplug

I was remiss to blab about this at that time when you were supposed to sign up for the book blogger HOLIDAY SWAP.     oops.    Did you?  Sign up?   Well, I just got back from shopping and I purchased a book which I can’t tell you about because you might be my Secret Santee.

I bought myself one, too.   So when it arrives and you post about it, then we can do a read-along together!  Won’t that be swell?

I also bought Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter because Nancy the BookFool told me to.      I looked for a few other books but couldnt’ find them.    Which is probably a good thing.  (Maybe my husband called the store and told them not to sell them to me so I wouldn’t spend the money?)

NOW.  The next thing you need to know about if you don’t know about it already is Beth Fish’s idea to unplug and be proud of it! She has an excellent post explaining it, but in the meantime, just know that if the following button is displayed on my blog, then you know you’ll  see read? me sometime later.     That I really am trying to stop checking Twitter all the time!

That said, do check the Women Unbound Challenge for a Guest Post on Women in the Bible!     Clicking on the button will take you right there…   Post is scheduled for Monday, November 23.

Happy Let’s-Be-Grateful Week!

Books in My Future

I thought I would quickly list off the books I know I want to read in the next few months;  some to finish challenges and some to start new challenges.   This list is more for me to help me get organized – my book to-do list.

Dewey’s Reading Challenge
John Green’s Abundance of Katherines – have but loaned to my next door neighbor
John Green’s Paper Towns – need
The Virgin Blue / Tracy Chevalier – have in house
The Sea – John Banville – need

Science Challenge
I wanted to read a book about bees and have narrowed it to A Spring Without Bees:  How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply by Michael Schacker and Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen,   I’m hoping the library can find these.  I have yet to search.

I should finish my Einstein book, too.

Books I just want to read now ‘cuz’: The Mandarin and Other Stories by Eca De Queiroz (thanks Nymeth!) and Greenblatt’s Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (thanks KB!)

Now, for upcoming commitments, I have officially and unofficially decided to read The Hobbit, Mrs. Dalloway and just maybe Moby Dick.   Of these, only MB is in the house.     I believe I said yes in Twitter to the Really Old Classics but honestly, I’m just a wimp.   But the book IS in my goodreads – unfortunately, I will have to order it.     The library, yes – even the I.L.L. – does not show it in the system: Two Zen Classics: The Gateless Gate and The Blue Cliff Records by Sekida, Katsuki.

Anyone care to talk me into any other challenges?     The Historical Fiction one, perhaps?     I could read Moby Dick for that, right?