Mary Roberts Rinehart

rinehart

I was off to the war. I might be turned back at Folkstone. There was more than a chance that I might not get beyond Calais, which was under military law. But at least I had made a start.

This is a narrative of personal experience. It makes no pretensions, except to truth. It is pure reporting, a series of pictures, many of them disconnected, but all authentic. It will take a hundred years to paint this war on one canvas. A thousand observers, ten thousand, must record what they have seen. To the reports of trained men must be added a bit here and there from these untrained observers, who without military knowledge, ignorant of the real meaning of much that they saw, have been able to grasp only a part of the human significance of the great tragedy of Europe.

I was such an observer.

Kings, Queens and Pawns: An American Woman at the Front by Mary Roberts Rinehart

 

Rinehart was one of the first woman to cover trench warfare during WWI. The story of this portion of her life is available free at Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.

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Clever Hans

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Clever Hans Clever Hans

Can a horse think like a human?

To many people in the early years of the 20th Century, the answer to that question was “Yes!” After all, thousands had seen von Osten’s Russian trotting horse, Clever Hans, use hoof taps and head nods to solve multiplication and division problems, spell out words, name colours, and answer complex questions from a variety of people, even those who had never worked with him before. Sceptics were quickly convinced that what they were seeing was an animal capable of conceptual thought, limited solely by the lack of the ability to speak from taking his place in human society.

In Clever Hans (The Horse of Mr. von Osten), biologist/psychologist Oskar Pfungst disproved popular opinion regarding that clever horse — and, in so doing, created a landmark study in how to apply the experimental method to human and animal behaviour.

What made…

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RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Join us at RMFAO !

Heena Rathore P.

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old…

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Frozen Wilderness Book

Shackleton’s Forgotten Men
The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic
by Lennard Bickel

ShackletonsForgottenMen

This situation was especially hard on Ernest Joyce. More than six months on the ice, usually in the lead trace, staring day after day at the white wastes, with frequent bouts of snow blindness, had affected his vision. He could not see well enough to read the few books they had carried with them–books that were read over and over again in the months of seclusion. Among these, notably, was For the Term of his Natural Life, and with Wild or Richards reading passages to him, Joyce solved one of their shortages. He heard how a character–a convict in Australia–had made salt from sea water. They had run out of salt at the hut, and without it the seal meat “was very unpalatable.” They filled a cooker with sea ice and kept it boiling on the blubber stove. Joyce recorded the result: “. . . extracted a pound and a half of salt.”

***

Shackleton’s Forgotten Men was my favorite non-fiction read in 2015. What a thriller! Unlike when I read the story of Shackleton’s ordeal, or that of Theodore Roosevelt in the Amazon, I hadn’t heard of these men before and didn’t know the outcome. For me it read much more like a thriller than a true story. Bickel related facts gleaned from journals, personal interviews and other sources so vividly that I almost still crave vitamin C to ward off scurvy.

The book which enabled them to obtain salt, For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke, is a novel which I read several years ago. Thanks go to Lisa for suggesting this excellent book which is available free from Project Gutenberg.

We’ve all heard of Desert Island books, it appears that the men of this expedition took along a great Frozen Wilderness book.

Reading Challenges – 4th Quarter and 2015 Wrap-up

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RMFAO2015

RMFAO 2015 Classics Challenge

With the top level being Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books, this one was a piece of cake for me and was completed during the second quarter. Extras added this quarter:

30. The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells
31. Mont Oriol or A romance of Auvergne by Guy de Maupassant
32. Notre Coeur or A Woman’s Pastime by Guy de Maupassant
33. Evan Harrington by George Meredith
34. The Distracted Preacher by Thomas Hardy
35. The Octopus: A Story of California by Frank Norris
36. Diary of a Pilgrimage by Jerome K. Jerome

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

October – Horror (Level 4: Bibliophile – 4 books)
1. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris
2. A Touch of Dead (collection of the Sookie short stories) by Charlaine Harris
3. After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
4. Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher #1) by Barbara Hambly

November – Historical (Level 1: Casual Reader – 1 book)
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

December – Adventure/Fantasy (Level 2: Frequent Reader – 2 books)
1. The Martian by Andy Weir
2. Shackleton’s Forgotten Men by Leonard Bickel

A success with at least one book for each genre. February – Crime/Mystery, with eight books read was my biggest month, followed by May – Classics/Literary with seven books.

RMFAO 2015 Series Challenge

The same as Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015 below with the addition of:

AMELIA PEABODY series by Elizabeth Peters
18. Tomb of the Golden Bird

A miserable fail! Out of five series I had planned to finish, I only finished one (the Stephanie Plum series shown below).

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Yvonne2015

What An Animal Reading Challenge VIII 2015

Level 2 – Read 7-12

7. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris
8. The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’elegance du herisson) by Muriel Barbery
9. Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody #18) by Elizabeth Peters
10. A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris
11. The Octopus: A Story of California by Frank Norris

Completed. Luckily for me, the qualification rules are very broad.

Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more

17. Death of a Liar (Hamish Macbeth #31) by M. C. Beaton
18. Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
19. Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20) by Janet Evanovich
20. Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) by Janet Evanovich
21. Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody #18) by Elizabeth Peters
22. A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris

Successfully completed and loads of fun doing it!

Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Expert series reader – Complete 4 or more series. A massive failure. It seemed so doable in January, yet I only managed to complete one series. There were seven unread books on the list (eight counting the extra series for the RMFAO Challenge). I blame my failure on getting hooked on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and reading nine of them in 2015. They weren’t on the list – but it was worth it as I really enjoyed the series.

Books read this quarter and the only series completed this year:

STEPHANIE PLUM series by Janet Evanovich
19. Notorious Nineteen
20. Takedown Twenty
21. Top Secret Twenty-One

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Riedel2015Mystery

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

February 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Level 5: Invisible Floor 41 or more:

33. Roadkill by Kinky Friedman
34. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
35. Death of a Liar by M. C. Beaton
36. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
37. Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly
38. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
39. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
40. Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
41. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

Since this is not a calendar year Challenge, there is still one month to go. But it is already completed, so – success!

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GoodReads2015

My 2015 Goodreads Challenge was 100 books. Success! Completed on the last day of the year.

2016 Reading Challenges – Classics and Genre

I’ll be participating in two Reading Challenges at the Goodreads group RMFAO in 2016.

 

RMFAO 2016 Classics Challenge

2016Classics2

I’m signing up for the top level of the Classics Catchup again this year:

Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books

This is a casual approach with a cut-off date of 1940 and everyone chooses their own books; there is no set list.

 

2016Genre2

It’s back and with a new and improved version including twenty-four genres!

In this favorite Challenge, a different genre is offered monthly. For 2016 there were be two genres from which to choose each month. Books may be chosen from either or, for the ambitious, both. Participants make their own choices and many books cross genres to make it even easier.

Here is the monthly line-up for 2016.

January: Science-Fiction + New Adult
February: Mystery-Thriller + Speculative-Fiction
March: Romance + Literary Fiction
April: Young Adult + Apocalyptic-Post Apocalyptic
May: Classics + Steampunk
June: Non-Fiction + Mythological/Regional
July: Dystopian + Graphic Novels
August: Contemporary + Historical
September: Humour + Retellings (Mythological or Fairytales)
October: Horror + Paranormal
November: Fantasy + Gothic
December: Action + Adventure

Join us if you dare!

Just click on the link at the top.

 

Alexandra David-Néel (1868-1969)

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alex

Alexandra David-Néel was born Louise Eugénie Alexandrine Marie David in Paris on October 24, 1868.

Exploring was in her blood. At the age of two, she took off down the road to see how far she could go. Undaunted by her parents, it was the woods at age five. By age fifteen she was going farther afield. This time it was London, only returning after exhausting her meagre funds. At seventeen she boarded a train for Switzerland and at nineteen Alexandra was touring France by bicycle.

In 1890, an inheritance from her godmother enabled her to visit India and Tibet. On this journey, lasting into 1891, David-Néel  was awed by the peaks of the Himalayas. She would return to the area several times and even live there for varying periods of time, once for over a year.

MyJourneyToLhasa

My favorite travel book of all time is My Journey to Lhasa in which David-Néel describes her arduous trip to The Forbidden City of Lhasa while in her fifties. Disguised as a man, often as a beggar, she not only reached Lhasa but lived in the city for two months!

Reading Challenges – 2nd Quarter 2015

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ReadingMyLibrary

First is the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge which ran during the month of April in celebration of National Library Week. It was hosted by Stefani at Caught Read Handed and Amy at Read What I Like.

I read the following four library books in April for a savings of almost $100:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling
Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Looking for Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky (audio book)

Remember – libraries are for all year, not just one month!

20BooksSummer

20 Books of Summer

A new Reading Challenge added this quarter is 20 Books of Summer 2015 which runs from June 1 through September 4. It is hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. My complete list is on my original post.

I am right on schedule, having finished these seven books in June:
1. Among the Tibetans by Isabella L. Bird
2. Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich
3. Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12) by Charlaine Harris
4. George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
5. Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) by Rhys Bowen
6. The Assassin in the Marais (Victor Legris #4) by Claude Izner
7. The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoi

RMFAO2015

RMFAO 2015 Classics Challenge

My goal for this Challenge was Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books. With the addition of twelve books for the quarter, I successfully completed this Challenge. Never fear, I won’t be resting on my laurels but will continue to read Classics for the remaining six months of 2015. My dozen for this quarter were:
9. Calvary by Octave Mirbeau
10. South! The Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Sir Ernest Shackleton
11. The Little Demon by Feodor Sologub
12. Inca Land by Hiram Bingham
13. The Three Hostages (Richard Hannay #4) by John Buchan
14. Candide by Voltaire
15. Six Months in Mexico by Nellie Bly
16. Novels in Three Lines by Felix Feneon
17. Among the Tibetans by Isabella L. Bird
18. The Black Sheep/La Rabouilleuse by Honore de Balzac
19. The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoi
20. Afloat by Guy de Maupassant

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

Still my favorite Reading Challenge this year! With a different genre each month, I am reading books I never would have read otherwise. A different level can be chosen for each month. My stats for the second quarter of 2015:

April – Young Adult (Level 2: Frequent Reader – 2 books):
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

May – Classics/Literary (Level 5: Bookiopath – 5 books or more):
1. South! The Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917 by Sir Ernest Shackleton
2. The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter and A.C. Mace
3. Inca Land by Hiram Bingham
4. The Three Hostages by John Buchan
5. Candide by Voltaire
6. Six Months in Mexico by Nellie Bly
7. Novels in Three Lines by Felix Feneon

June – Non-Fiction (Level 3: Bookworm – 3 books):
1. Among the Tibetans by Isabella L. Bird
2. George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
3. Afloat by Guy de Maupassant

RMFAO 2015 Series Challenge

This is the same as Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015 below.

Yvonne2015

What An Animal Reading Challenge VIII 2015

Level 2: Read 7 – 12
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling (animals on the cover)
5. Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12) by Charlaine Harris (animals on the cover)

Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more
5. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15) by Janet Evanovich
6. Dead Midnight (Sharon McCone #21) by Marcia Muller
7. Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) by Janet Evanovich
8. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen #1) by Joanne Fluke
9. Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) by Janet Evanovich
10. Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen #2) by Joanne Fluke
11. Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich
12. Her Royal Spyness (Royal Spyness #1) by Rhys Bowen

Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Expert series reader – Complete 4 or more series. During this quarter, I read six of the remaining seventeen on the list as of March 31, leaving eleven to be read during the last half of 2015.

ALIEN NATION series (various authors)
5. Slag Like Me by Barry B Longyear

RICHARD HANNAY series by John Buchan
4. The Three Hostages

KINSEY MILLHONE series by Sue Grafton

STEPHANIE PLUM by Janet Evanovich
15. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
16. Sizzling Sixteen
17. Smokin’ Seventeen
18. Explosive Eighteen

Riedel2015Mystery

My Kind Of Mystery
February 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Level 5: Invisible Floor 41 or more:
11. Echo Park by Michael Connelly
12. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
13. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
14. Slag Like Me by Barry B Longyear
15. Dead Midnight by Marcia Muller
16. Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
17. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
18. Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
19. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
20. The Three Hostages by John Buchan
21. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
22. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
23. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
24. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
25. The Assassin in the Marais by Claude Izner

GoodReads2015

My 2015 Goodreads Challenge is one hundred books. As of June 30, I have finished fifty-seven books.

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That’s the second quarter report (April – June) for 2015 Reading Challenges in which I am participating. All in all, a good quarter for reading.

20 Books of Summer 2015

Another Reading Challenge! 20 Books of Summer 2015 is hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It begins June 1 and runs until September 4, just over thirteen weeks.

20BooksSummer

Here’s my list:
Among the Tibetans by Isabella L. Bird
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
The Island of Sheep by John Buchan
The Overlook by Michael Connelly
Rameau’s Nephew by Denis Diderot
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Road Kill by Kinky Friedman
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Fever Season by Barbara Hambly
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris
The Assassin in the Marais by Claude Izner
George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
Passing Fancy by David Spencer
The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoi

*   *   *   *   *   *

Are you in? There is no set list; we each choose our own books. If twenty is too ambitions, you can opt for 10 Books of Summer 2015.

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge Weekly Update – April 11

ReadingMyLibrary

I just finished the first of three books I checked out last week, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling. Next up are Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris.

This week’s topic:

Books you would like to suggest to your library

Zahi

Most of the books I would suggest that my library purchase are non-fiction. There are several wonderful books by archaeologist and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass. I was first aware of Dr. Hawass from a television special over a decade ago and over the years have seen him several times on The Discovery Channel. I have two of his books, but they are expensive and not always readily available used.