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The Western Lit Survival Kit: How to Read the Classics Without Fear by Sandra Newman

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Jude the Obscure (Penguin Classics) by Thomas Hardy

Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics) by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sátántango by László Krasznahorkai

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Best-loved Poems by Neil Philip

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Member: chrisharpe

CollectionsYour library (947), Currently reading (41), Favorites (41), All collections (947)

Reviews2 reviews

TagsNorfolk Libraries (251), Audiobook (145), poetry (88), stories (45), Cover (37), J&C's (36), Nic's (31), Ana's (27), British Council-CCS (23), Itziar's (6) — see all tags

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About my libraryA way to keep track of the books I have read for pleasure since the beginning of 2006, the catalogue does not include any of the publications I read or use professionally, like the hundreds of field guides at home. Some of the volumes are on my shelves, but I prefer to recycle what I can. I like to enjoy books pushed into my hands by friends, borrow those that jump off their shelves or use public libraries, used bookstores and charity shops. I only keep hold of reference books, poetry and anything that I am sure I will want to read again.

GroupsAnglophiles, Asian Fiction & Non-Fiction, Audiobooks, Author Theme Reads, BBC Radio 3 Listeners, BBC Radio 4 Listeners, Best of British, Birds, Birding & Books, Children's Fiction, Children's Literatureshow all groups

Favorite authorsGeorge Mackay Brown, Joseph Conrad, Robertson Davies, Roger Deakin, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Joyce, Ismail Kadare, John Keats, Malcolm Lowry, Alistair MacLeod, Naguib Mahfouz, Katherine Mansfield, Gabriel García Márquez, Cormac McCarthy, Arthur Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Mervyn Peake, John Cowper Powys, Marcel Proust, Juan José Saer, J. D. Salinger, James Salter, William Shakespeare, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, Antonio Tabucchi, Dylan Thomas, Edward Thomas, Henry David Thoreau, J. R. R. Tolkien, Leo Tolstoy, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstoresBosorne Books - The Cook Book, ENTRElibros, Foyles, Galloway and Porter, Heffers Bookshop, J C Books, Lectura, Librería Estudios, Libroria

Favorite librariesCambridge University Library, Central Library, Plymouth, Moor Allerton library, Norfolk & Norwich Millenium Library

Favorite listsThe 100 Best Books of All Time by Norwegian Book Club (World Library)

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Real nameChris

LocationCaracas, Venezuela

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/chrisharpe (profile)
/catalog/chrisharpe (library)

Member sinceMar 12, 2007

Currently readingRalph Waldo Emerson : Essays and Lectures (Library of America) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The History of the Kings of Britain (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey of Monmouth
The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats
The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition by Emily Dickinson
The Prelude: Four Texts (1798, 1799, 1805, 1850) (Penguin Classics) by William Wordsworth
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Hi Chris,

Apologies for the late reply to your question about the Clancy volume, I saw it but then forgot to answer.

Despite the decent moth section to my library I'm afraid I'm very much a beginner in this area, the books are more a reflection of my bibliomania than knowledge of the group. That said, I'm happy to share my first impressions.

Outside: It's a thick paperback of 640 pages so too big for the field and I think the spine will need looking after if you care about the condition of your books as well as the content. Comes in a plastic cover.

Inside: A mixture of photo sizes and qualities, mostly very good. Usually one photo per species, sometimes two and occasionally a caterpillar as well. Text is a single paragraph for each species. It contains the same basic info you'd expect - description, flight period, habitat, larval food plants, distribution - but I would prefer to see it sectioned a la WTL. Numbering is their own system instead of B&F; not sure why but it means it is only useful for finding moths within the book so far as I can see. After the main section come plates of set specimens at life size (except for some v. small species which are enlarged), a very few determination drawings and appendices on imports, Channels Islands, RDBs, etc.

For me it is a further companion to Manley and UK Moths, offering reliably identified photos for comparison. My usual ID path is (my local site in VC55, so has the common local fauna), followed by WTL/Skinner or the specialist group guides, then comparison with the examples in Manley, UKMoths, Flickr (with care for misidentifications) if I'm still unsure. This new guide will fall into the latter group.

With WTL/Skinner/Souths and access to the web I don't think you'll need it, and would certainly have a look at a physical copy before you spend so much.


Hi Chris,

Did you hear the programme on Radio Four about Emma Turner and her life as a photographer and ornithologist in the early 20th century? It had sounds by Chris Watson and quotations from her book ' Broadland Birds' [1924]. After the programme I went on-line to see if I could find myself a copy - but so had a lot of other people and so by the time the programme had finished there wasn't a copy to be had for love nor money anywhere in the world! Still you can't have everything ha ha

Hope all is well with you, wherever you are in the world. I am in Sweden, it is snowy and cold but the highlights include incredible numbers of Jackdaws. The other Saturday I watched a murmuration of them from the balcony of the apartment, not quite a graceful as Starlings but still a stunning sight.


Happy New Year!

Hi Chris,

Hope that you have a great 2012, birds, books and bird watching.

Best wishes,

Hi Chris,

Everything in Sweden is expensive including the books! I don't have a particular book about Swedish Fungi ( they generally cover Britain and northern Europe). But I do have a few small handbooks about the various fauna and flora of Sweden. Many thanks for the reference to the specialist on Chinese birds, I have a copy of 'birds of Hong Kong and South China by Clive VIney, which is quite good, I particularly like the fact that it has keys to denote whether individual species of birds were considered very common - especially useful when trying to work out what my husband was seeing in Shenzen. After seeing a picture on line of the pink dragonflys that he saw I am very keen to accompany him if he gets to go back!

I know what you mean about the Aspley Cherry-Garrard book, I sometimes have difficult understanding exactly what is going on, but keep reading in the belief that it will become clear.

Are you in South America or the U.K at the moment? I am really looking forward to a some proper reading time over the Christmas holiday -fingers crossed.

Best wishes, Ruth
Hello Chris,

Birds are indeed my main interest (for as long as I can remember!) although I do find all areas of natural history interesting. Since this last autumn in Sweden I also have become particularly interested in Fungi. This has been a completely new area for me so has involved the purchase of guide books and a fair amount of time logging images onto the ISpot website. I am amazed at how quickly the seasons change in Sweden and have been logging both the first time I see a particular bird (or plant, bug, fungi) and also where appropriate the last time, e.g the departure of the Swifts.

Just like Affle ( Alan) I was interested to hear about your trip to the Antarctic, as I am currently reading The Worst Journey in the World by Aspley Cherry-Garrard. 2012 will be the anniversary of the final sad event of this expedition, and a large exhibition has been planned at the Natural History Museum, London. I am hoping to visit it.

John ( my husband) is currently away in China and I have been grilling him to make a note of the different birds that he sees - this has also involved the purchase of a new guide book! I am hoping that if he gets to go out there again I will be able to accompany him so that I can see the red whiskered Bulbuls etc, for myself.

Have you lived in South America for a long time and is it now home?

Best wishes, Ruth
Hello Chris,
I have added your library to my interesting list, although I must admit that I would also like to know a bit about the field guides that you use professionally - is that being too nosey ?

Best wishes

Ruth ( Bigpinkchimp)
Sorry to hear about the tour, and the drought….
I'm just so happy to be back in one piece. This was my fifth skiing vacation. I have graduated to blue runs. But I was lucky enough to have skied with my sister this time; she flew all the way from England, which was lovely. She has much less experience than me, but seeing how she practically flew on the slopes made me have an epiphany of sorts. I finally realized that it's fear of heights that make me a bad skier. Really, I'd much rather be on a beach. But my Italian husband is an expert skier, and I hate to disappoint him, so I keep trying.

I'm a doctor myself. I do critical care medicine. It's engaging, but frankly, I'd swap places and take your job any day. Plus, I think it's all the trauma I see that makes me a bit of a coward.

I liked "The Housekeeper and the Professor". It's translated from the Japanese and it's very original with a few very beautiful passages. It also brings home the poetry of mathematics, which is a subject I haven't thought about in a very very long time. I would recommend it, especially as it's a very quick read. In the end, 'though, there was something a little too oppressive about the Professor's condition; it left me feeling like I needed to run out for fresh air.

As far as books about Iran are concerned - my husband has quite a few non-fictions which I've uploaded onto this site. But I still have to upload 2/3 of our books, so they're not all there. "Reading Lolita in Tehran" is supposed to be excellent, but I confess I haven't read it yet. I would definitely recommend the graphic novels of Marjane Satrapi - "Persepolis". They are quite brilliant. Also make for quick reading. The movie is supposed to also be good. Let me know what you think.

I haven't been back since my childhood, and given the situation, probably will not be back for the foreseeable future.

I have a couple of black headed caiques as pets. Born in captivity, of-course. But I am riddled with guilt for having bought them (perpetuating the pet bird industry, etc.). So I spoil them and love them as best I can. I am fascinated with tropical birds. It sounds like you have a fabulous job. I am quite envious.

Off for a week's vacation in Colorado. Reading 'The housekeeper and the Professor' at a friend's recommendation.
It's not my fox, just a pic I pulled from the net. I get several questions about this maybe I should leave an explanation on my profile.

The cornish group is still around, just not very active. you wrote "Scillies - would that count? I'm guessing it's legally Cornwall... " I thought the Scillies were independant teritories but a quick check of wiki shows that they are a seperte unitary authority (county) within the UK - but close enough to count by my reckoning.

Enjoy your camping, I hope you get decent weather! and the reading of course.

Thank you for the note! I'm glad you found something to like in my meager library. I don't know why no one reads Powys. I find I sometimes gravitate to books just because they're unpopular, they seem more precious somehow. I looked at your Favorites list and see you listed Under Milk Wood. Dylan Thomas is one of my favorite poets. And anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You've got a great list of favorite authors too. Regards,
Welcome back, Chris! I'm taking two classes and have several assignments coming due this weekend, so my time on LT will be short for a bit. I have several books waiting for my polar read, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do much with them. At least I enjoyed reading the summaries of all the suggested titles. Oh, well...another time.

I haven't done much birding other than New England and Southern California and a bit in England (Norfolk & Dorset). I'd love to take my boys to Costa Rica - another place is Trinidad & Tobago. I bet they have great slugs in Costa Rica. Someday! I just hope it's before they're grown and gone >_
Hi Chris,
Sorry for my lack of response. I haven't been on LT much lately - I've been tied up with some courses I'm taking & end of the school year at work. The polar regions kind of slipped away from me. I'll go browse through the threads and see where you're at with it and whether there's anything I can help with at this late date.
We sure have in common some less common books, interesting
I just made two recommendations for The Outsider before realising you'd made the same two recommendations before me - what's that they say about great minds?
I grew up there. Well almost. My parents live in Somerset, perhaps an hour north of Plymouth. I've done a lot of walking around there and in Devon, though only a few trips into Cornwall proper. I love the compacted nature of the countryside where it seems that every corner has something new. Although I enjoy the bigger hills of th Peaks and Lakes, it isn't quite the same.

Plymouth isn't too bad a connection from Manchester, there's a direct train which takes 5 hours or so. It's 8 all the way to Penzance. Just about faster. However if I wanted to get to the other coast it would be about as long again!
Oh, I had forgotten that you would probably read him in the original Spanish...
Interesting Chris. There is a lot of early American literature that provides a fascinating look at the European conception of nature and landscape. I had a friend in graduate school who did some work along those lines via 19th century American literature. Have you perchance read PrairyErth (A Deep Map): An Epic History of the Tallgrass Prairie Country?
Hi Chris,

It is interesting that you too found Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery intriguing. It is on my top two list.
Hello again

No worries, I have another taker so it's on its way to Canada. I'll let you know if I end up with any oither spare Bolanos!

Hi Chris

I have a spare copy of The Savage Detectives to give away and avaland suggested that you might want it as Bolano's are expensive in your part of the world.

Leave a message on my profile if you want to claim it!

I was glad to get the invite. I only joined the group after your note ... didn't mean to imply I had done the posts in advance of your note.

Strange coincidence ... Parrot Without a Name was one of the first narrative natural history type books I read when I started birding. Dr. Angelo Capparella did a program for our local Audubon on discovering the Scarlet-banded barbet in Peru. In discussing other some of his other expeditions after the program, he mentioned Don Stap's book. It sounded interesting, I found it at the library, and it was (even if Dr. Capparella didn't have much of a role in it).

Anyway, this spring I hope to identify 100 birds by ear ... and have been studying my recordings and making some notes to myself. I well below-average at birding by ear and thought maybe tackling my deficiency head-on would add some zing to this year's migration. I figured the Stap and Kroodsma books would give me some added motivation although the Kroodsma book looks pretty daunting based on its size and all the sonograms!

Hey, Chris. Thanks for the compliments. I don't get the whole "friend" business at LibThing. Of course I know what a friend is, but don't really understand how it works systemically. Does this mean you can poke around in my tax records, or show up at the front door on Thanksgiving?

I was thinking maybe whenever I add books, it notifies others. Ah--Maybe it's that you can see when I've posted in other threads without having to find which groups I'm affiliated with or something.

Anyway welcome to my privileged few!

-- Gerry
Hi Chris, Thanks for the return compliment. I like expanding my reading horizons, so I love the concept of virtually dipping into your library.
I didn't know Robert Service was born in England, either!
Thank you for the recommendation of "the Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde. I already read it during my undergrad years. I liked it and was fascinated by Oscar Wilde's personal life as well.
I just got your recommendation, and The Scarlet Letter is certainly one of my all time favorites, even wrote about it in college! Thank you for reminding me to add it!
Hi Chris: I just now finished reading your profile on Borderland Tours, checked out the photos and see what a privilege it would be to accompany you. I've briefly crossed paths with Rick Taylor a couple of times here in Arizona and, not surprisingly, have his book. We live close to Madera Canyon and often go there. Recently, I observed two elf owls mating when I happened by their preferred location at dusk. And when I was up there a couple of mornings ago I saw my first-time-this-year blue grosbeaks, varied buntings, and sulphur-bellied flycatchers.

My husband is not a birder, altho' he's been a very good sport and enjoys being out and about as much as I do. Since I started birding the late 80s we've been to Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Venezuela, South Africa, and of course Mexico (since we now live right next door). These trips have been of a more general appreciative-of-nature experience, since I've never been with a group. I've rarely encountered other birders (except here in Arizona and in Mexico, in the mountains east of Mazatlan) and my lists aren't very impressive. For instance, while in Venezuela, we didn't rent a car and had quite limited exposure to the country - only the Pico Humbolt Trail (we stayed at La Casona de Tabay - the only guests there) and four days in the llanos in the company of French tourists who were primarily interested in fishing and anacondas. Not that piranha, peacock bass, caimans, capybaras, and various other flora and fauna of the llano weren't interesting. They most certainly were. And I did get to see hoatzin, flocks of scarlet ibis and many other avian wonders. We stayed at a basic fishing camp near Bruzual and slept in hammocks. Given the cramped quarters, I arranged to have my hammock hung outdoors in the yard - a much more pleasant set-up. On the way back to Merida we drove right on by the cock-of-the-rock territory without stopping. My favorite all-too-brief venue was a shade-grown coffee plantation (can't recall where) - tanager heaven.
I'm always up for recommendations of any sort, 'new' country or not. In terms of my challenge I only have Ecuador and Suriname to 'visit'. I have Jorge Icaza's 'Huaspinga' winging its way via bookmooch, which just leaves Suriname. I have found lots of Dutch Surinamese writers, but nothing translated into English. Do you know of anything?
I wish you much happiness with Proust - really reading any of the translations is worthwhile and delightful and will fill up your life - lucky you!

Elizabeth or enevada
Hi Chris, you gave I. Compton-Burnett's Mother and Son two and a half stars?! What don't you like about it? I thought it was quite brilliant and should deserve 4 stars at least. :)
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